|Hera's Punishment by Natasha Neil|
The marriage of Zeus, king of the gods, and Hera, his queen, has always been stormy. Eventually something had to give, for not even divine will could be tested so long and so cruelly without a reckoning. When Hera came to Zeus’ chambers, he suspected her passion was too good to be true. It was. Soon, Zeus was bound and helpless before his angry wife. When the king of Olympus got free, Hera’s Punishment would be legendary. (M/F)
Hera lay still upon him, completely content for a moment. Slowly, she eased off him. She removed herself from his bed and unfastened Aphrodite’s magic girdle. Silently she pulled her peacock feathered gown down over her head.
Hera went to the door and opened it. There stood the other Olympians: Hades, dark and foreboding, pale in the light of the golden sun, but smiling at what was to unfold; Poseidon Earth-Shaker, wild-haired like his brother and almost as strong; Apollo, God of Light and Truth, but in this case, ready to be a part of deceit. Hephaestus bore a lopsided grin and held the manacles he had made especially for his mother’s husband; Ares stood in the shadows wearing his dark helm and holding his spear. Athena and Artemis had not been told, but Aphrodite stood smiling, as did Demeter who had never forgiven Zeus for allowing Hades to take Persephone as his wife. Hermes, the God of Ways, with his winged sandals and helmet, stood in the shadows, unable to resist a good scandal.
The Olympians silently surrounded their king. Hephaestus put the special cup-shaped manacles over Zeus’ hands, and then the others all descended at the same time, tying him fast with magical rawhide thongs. He was slow to wake, but realizing his wrists were bound together, his eyes opened in rage and he struggled and kicked. Poseidon and Hades held him fast; each god caught one of his kicking feet with two hands and held them while Hephaestus tied his ankles together with a magical strip of rawhide. When it was done, the gods laughed to see their king bound naked and helpless.
Tied by a hundred knots, Zeus fought still, his muscles straining. Hera smiled to see her husband’s eyes widen in shock, unable to believe that the magical thongs prevented him from changing his shape. This kind of betrayal by one god was no surprise, but by all of them! He shouted obscenities and threats, swore to kill them all, but with his hands manacled and his lightning bolts out of reach, he was powerless.
“You would do this to me?” he bellowed. “I am your elder! I am your king!”
Hades approached his captive brother. The richest of all the gods, owning every precious stone beneath the earth, the God of the Underworld was not known for speeches or for his smile. He reached out a strong, pale hand. His nails black around the edges, he stroked his brother’s naked thigh. His hands were cold as night and his touch sent a shiver through the King of the Gods. The shock of being at the King of the Underworld’s mercy hit Zeus hard. Hades inhaled as if he could smell his brother’s fear.
“Cloud Gatherer, you always claim to be the eldest, but you are not. I was the first living born son of our mother, and you tricked me into ruling the darkest realm. I tire of my lands. Shades do not make good subjects. Why should you have all the power and all the fun? I rather thought you should take my place and live in my land. See how you like that. And I will take your place and rule the skies.”