A vignette

Old Friends

The salt-breeze played with the miniature horses’ manes and tails, brushing a caress through Poseidon’s hair where he sat in the small meadow pasture, near the estuary stream running through it.  He was far enough from shore that the stream stayed fresh enough for the horses to drink, except for strange tides like they’d been having recently.  So, he sat with his ponies, monitoring the rise in salt water, and preventing it from sickening his pets.

The breeze whispered news in his ear, and he frowned lightly, pushing himself to his feet and ambling downstream toward the shore.  Where the stream came out was the only sand beach on his property.  Usually, when he had trespasser (like the breeze had told him was happening now), that’s where they settled.

He honestly didn’t mind, most of the time.  His land was isolated enough that the usual trespassers were either young people looking for a picnic spot, or older people wanting away from the noise of the youngsters.  He usually just warned them to pick up after themselves, and left them to it.

His favorite pony nudged him in the back of his knee, whickering as she followed him.  He chuckled, leaned down, and scratched under her mane.  She whickered again, nosing his hand in affection (and in begging for treats).

He shook his head, patting her as he straightened.  She whinnied, kicked and bucked, then raced back over to the rest of the herd, settling back into grazing.

Poseidon watched her go, then stepped into the stream, letting it wash him down to the shore and out to sea so that he could observe his trespasser.  He turned on his back and floated for a few moments, relishing the feel of his ocean, and doing a quick check to make sure there was nothing he needed to do…and noted that his trespasser was wading in the shallows.  It felt like a woman, and felt…familiar.

He swam to shore, and his jaw dropped.  He did indeed know this woman, in every sense of the word.  “Medusa?” he yelped.  “What are you doing here?”

She spun, her lovely face going slack with shock, her hair writhing.  All of it.  She wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing, and he noted that Athena’s curse extended to her body hair as well.  “Poseidon?  You live?”

He smiled gently.  “Of course I do.  I’m retired, but still around,” he told the only woman he could ever tolerate spending time around.

There was a reason he didn’t get along too well with his niece.

She smiled, wading over to him and taking his hands gently, smiling up at him.  “This is a very pleasant surprise,” she said.

He glanced down at her, noting that the centuries hadn’t touched her body in any way, then looked away from the gently weaving, quietly hissing snakes at her crotch.  “It is.  What are you doing here?”

She grimaced.  “I was hoping to find a bit of deserted beach to spend the day sunbathing.  I can’t exactly blend in with the general population,” she said, petting then pushing one of the snakes’ heads away from her face.  “Usually, I go around with my head covered, and fully dressed.”

Poseidon waved his hand at the surroundings.  His sand beach was surrounded by high hills, and the little cove was sheltered (and hidden) by high rocky outcroppings.  “I understand, but you’re safe here.”

She smiled again, her bright blue eyes warming.  “Thank you, Poseidon.”

He let go of her hand, brushing his through his hair.  “Well, it’s the least I can do for you.  It is, after all, my fault that you have to be careful.”

She gurgled a laugh.  “Not entirely,” she admitted, eyes sparkling.  “Athena was such a bitch to me when we met that I took quite a lot of joy in defiling her temple and altar.”

He shot her a quick grin, then darted in to kiss her cheek.  “I’ll be back in a little bit,” he said, ducking away from the suddenly angrily hissing snakes.  “Damn.  I bet that makes a few different activities difficult,” he said, winking at her.

She was giggling helplessly as he dove back into the water to swim around to his house—where he’d left his phone.

He had a niece to pester.  He was tired of living alone, and he’d just found the only woman he’d ever cared to spend the time around.

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