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There and Back Again

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Mount Olympus' Throne Room is silent. The gods and goddesses who occupy it hardly dare to breathe for fear of invoking the wrath of Hestia. Hermes sits cross-legged above his throne, the soft sounds of his winged sandals keeping him aloft not enough to distract from the ringing in his ears. In this still, calm moment, he can count Apollo's breaths, hear the click of bobby pins against the silver amaryllis in Aphrodite's hair. It's not enough, and as he drags a hand through the messy brown curls of his hair, it's too much. He can feel something thrumming below his skin, anxious and hyperactive; he can feel words begging to spill out of his throat and into the air. His nails drum a spastic rhythm into his biceps and he can hear that too and suddenly all the not sounds are rolling into one undecipherable cacophony that tugs at the edges of his mind like static and that's when Apollo grips his hand, and squeezes it hard

He's staring toward the centre of the room, and there is...another room, and in this other room, their uncles and father sit around a table in silence. Their faces are young, too young for their usually preferred guises but some things have stayed the same. 

Zeus' eyes are the same unnervingly bright blue, but it's the unimpressed smirk playing around the edges of his mouth that gives him away. It's the superior arch of his eyebrow and the uncompromising set of his jaw that make him unmistakable. 

There's the bluish-green of Poseidon's, clear as the most gorgeous of ocean waters, and that hasn't changed. Neither has the small mischievous grin on his face, save for a slight hardness that taints the expression of carefree nonchalance and speaks of a quick, destructive temper waiting to be unleashed. 

Hades looks between them impassively, midnight blue, almost black eyes flicking back and forth between Poseidon and Zeus. His arms are crossed, and his fingers tap against his biceps steadily as he patiently waits. He clears his throat lightly, and Poseidon looks over at him for a second before leaning back in his chair and shaking his head. 

"Alright," he says. "Okay." 

"Good. And you?" Hades asks, raising an eyebrow at Zeus. 

Zeus scowls. "I don't see what the point of this is." 

"You don't need to. Just do it and we'll be able to move on with our lives." 

"Yes, of course," Zeus says. "In about a month, sure." 

"Better a month than a year. You know that Hestia is capable of keeping us like this for as long as she pleases. Perhaps even permanently if she has help." 

"She would never." 

"Oh? Who's to say?" Poseidon asks. "I wouldn't blame her. Why leave the majority of the Earth in the hands of spoilt immortals who can barely rule themselves? At this point, we likely deserve to be left like this." 

"It's Hestia," Zeus says, incredulous. 

"Yeah, it is. And she's made us an example. Sure, she's given us a chance at redemption, but do you think for one second that any of the others will step out of line anytime soon?" 

Zeus says nothing. 

"Well?"

"I agree."

"Good." Poseidon pushes his chair away from the table, and stretches. His joints crack. "Let's go, then." 

The other two rise as well, and Zeus takes to pacing while Poseidon disappears out of view for a moment. Hades leans against the table, arms crossed. 

Poseidon reappears, a small backpack in hand, and he upends it over the table. He picks up the piece of paper that falls out, scans it and then huffs, a small smile in his face. "An instruction manual." 

Then, he slides the black credit card over to Hades, along with the black jewellery pouch. He keeps the green one for himself, absentmindedly tossing it up and down, and he passes the blue one to Zeus. 

"What are these supposed to be?" Zeus asks. 

Poseidon opens it, shows them what was in the little pouch. A tiny bronze trident, curved to form a ring. 

Zeus' mouth drops open. "That's not--There's no way..." 

"Let's see, shall we?" Poseidon says, and tosses the ring into the air. He grins when it comes down as his signature weapon, laughing as he idly twirls it in one hand. "Oh, wait. It is." 

"Then, that means--" Zeus holds the pouch tightly, and grins when his lightning bolt tears through the bag and into his hand. The grin fades when it stutters for a bit and the sparks die until all that's left is a golden sword. "...What?"

"They draw off our powers, which we currently don't have...hence why she decided to let us have them at all. We'll need whatever we can get, whether we like it or not." 

"Fine," Zeus says through gritted teeth. "Great." 

"Let's go, then," Hades says, and the scythe in his hand shrinks back into a sturdy black chain that he fastens around his throat. 

They replace their weapons on their persons, and after grabbing the backpack, now empty, they stride out of view. 

The room disappears, and the Olympians are left staring at Hestia, waiting to deliver her ultimatum. She doesn't need to ask for their attention, she has no need to gesture or to insist. They look at her, ready to listen. The silence still reigns. 

"You have reputations to uphold. Duties to carry out, and yet, you argue and behave like petty. Little. Children. You've had millenia to settle differences, millenia to remind yourselves of why you exist and you've squandered them by quarreling amongst yourselves and completely--foolishly--disregarding the fact that you are family and that you have all made mistakes. Make an effort. Please, make an effort. Understand each other. Try to uphold the values of harmony, balance, order. All the things we try to  influence on mortals...please, remember them. Enact them amongst yourselves. Do it, or you face the same fate as they did." 

She disappears, and Hermes lets his head fall back. The ringing in his ears returns.