For the remainder of the celebration, everyone was in much higher spirits as they all traded stories and tried building stronger bonds. Since Vahn didn’t get to spend too much time with her, Eina stayed at his side for the duration of the party and Vahn even teased her a bit by trying to feed her snacks. She was embarrassed to the point where her ears had become red, but Eina didn’t pull away as if she was trying to take a stand against the other girls in the room. As the ‘first wife’ of the mortal faction, she couldn’t get so easily flustered when interacting with Vahn.
Later in the party, everyone gave Vahn gifts which primarily consisted of personal items, charms, and even a strangely shaped doll that Vahn thought was somewhat adorable, even if it looked odd. Apparently, Ais had been learning how to sew with Rivera and spent the week trying to make a miniature ‘Ais’ doll so that Vahn could ‘take her with him wherever he went’. Her gift seemed to have inspired something in the other girls and they each had glowing eyes as Ais gave a small ‘v’ for victory with her fingers.
After another round of embraces, everyone started to leave since it was getting late in the afternoon. Vahn had calmed down a lot by then since he had entered the orb after excusing himself to the bathroom at one point. His ‘transformation’ wasn’t unnoticed by the girls but none of them brought it up as they accepted Vahn’s affections before promising to meet soon. On their way out, Loki informed Vahn that they would be going on an expedition soon and it would probably take more than a month. Hearing her words, Vahn gave Tiona and Ais a longer embrace which included a kiss before patting the head of Lefiya and giving her some encouraging words. Tione seemed as if she wanted a hug as well, but she was standing on the opposite side of Loki and didn’t make a move.
The last to depart were Hephaestus, Eina, and Chloe who had taken the day off to attend the party. Since all the girls, minus Hestia, were considered his future wives and loved ones, Vahn gave them much more passionate embraces since everyone else had cleared out. As the only ‘non-wife’ left, Chloe was the first and Vahn nuzzled his head against hers as they shared a few light kisses. When she was satisfied, Chloe prepared to leave but not before sending a wink towards Hestia who looked like she wanted to throw her wine glass.
When it came time to embrace Hephaestus, Vahn didn’t hesitate at all as he reached his hands around and ‘gently’ grabbed her butt. A light blush touched her cheeks as she whispered, “You really…” Vahn cut off her words by kissing her on the lips with more than a bit of passion. He felt like words couldn’t express how happy he was that she organized all of this just for him so Vahn decided to show it with his actions. After inserting his tongue into her mouth and coiling it around hers for nearly three minutes, Vahn finally released her as she began gasping for air with a light glaze over her eyes. Because of their connection through the ‘eternal flame’, Hephaestus could feel Vahn’s love and excitement and it had compounded her own to an almost intolerable level.
Vahn was still holding firmly onto her backside as he smiled and said, “I won’t keep you waiting much longer…” Even though he spoke quietly, everyone in the room could hear the seriousness in his voice as he held Hephaestus gaze without flinching in the slightest. She released a few strained breaths before kissing him again in several short, but passionate, kisses. Vahn could almost feel the tensions in the atmosphere increasing when she looked at him with slightly ‘blazing’ eyes and said, “When it happens…I’ll clear my schedule for…for three, no, five days…”
Not only everyone present, but even Vahn’s brows raised at her ‘bold’ claim because they could all understand the implication behind her words. Thoughts raced through Vahn’s head for a while before he put a bit more strength into his grip and held Hephaestus against his body. Leaning close to her ear, Vahn whispered in an almost inaudible tone, “If you want to…I’ll make sure you get pregnant at that time…” His words made the blush on Hephaestus’s face try to compete with the vibrant red color of her hair as she began breathing at a much faster rate than normal.
Because she was mentally checked out, Hephaestus stood off to the side in a daze while being tended to by Hestia. Though she looked very happy, Hephaestus’s soul seemed to have escaped her body and she had an uncharacteristically silly look on her face as Hestia shook her body to try and bring her back. While they were putting on a small play that brought a smile to Vahn’s face, Eina stepped forward with her hands held behind her back while a gentle smiled covered her face.
Vahn initiated a loose embrace with her and she returned his affections while gently stroking his back. They didn’t say anything for a while as the two just enjoyed each others company for nearly a minute until Eina whispered, “After we get married, I’m going to move in with you…I have already talked with the Guild Head and got permission to act as a liaison between the Hestia Familia and the Guild in the future. It seems as though Ouranos wants to keep an eye on you and is already aware of our relationship…”
Hugging her waist a bit tighter, Vahn pulled away his head to see her face and saw the seriousness contained within. He knew she was cautioning him a bit, but Vahn just put the matter to the back of his mind as he smiled and said, “I look forward to being together more often…I’ve been missing you a bit these days.” Stroking the side of her face, Vahn gave Eina a long kiss that didn’t get too intimate. After separating, he could see her face had taken on a tomato-like color and he couldn’t help but smile about how elves and half-elves always blushed all the way to their ears.
After a few more parting words, Hephaestus and Eina left for their respective abodes while Vahn began leading Hestia back to their Manor. Since she had been relatively quiet for most of the celebration, Vahn grabbed her hand and led her along as he asked, “Are you okay Hestia? If you’re tired, I can carry you again.” When he asked the question, Hestia slowed down a bit until Vahn looked back and saw her with a contemplative look on her face. After they came to a full stop, Hestia reached out her arms and Vahn smiled before kneeling down so she could climb on his back.
Even though he couldn’t quite get used to the feeling on his back, Vahn had, at the very least, grown accustomed to it and it didn’t distract him. He carried Hestia’s light body all the way back to the Hearth Manor while she hugged his neck from behind and didn’t say a word the entire way. Vahn almost thought she had fallen asleep but, the moment they entered into the foyer, she patted his shoulders and Vahn let her down from his back.
Vahn turned to look back at her and saw that her expression had turned more gentle than the ‘serious’ and contemplative look from earlier. After a brief hesitation, Hestia’s smile widened a bit and she asked, “Are you serious about all of those girls?” Though he was a bit distracted, Vahn understood what she was trying to ask so he responded seriously, “Even though I don’t understand my own feelings well, I know that I care about each of them deeply. I treat all of my relationships as seriously as I can…even though I might make mistakes every now and then. I want to make them happy because their happiness is my happiness.”
Hestia’s smile grew marginally but there was a sad look in her eyes as she asked, “What happens if one of them leaves you in the future? I’m afraid that you might get hurt trying to balance so many things all at once…” Because of the matter with Milan and Tina, Vahn knew what she was trying to get at since the event hadn’t just impacted himself and the two girls. Things had developed to the point where it influenced a great number of people and the gods and goddesses of five Familia.
Vahn’s brows furrowed a bit and his expression became especially serious as he said, “I have learned…that you can’t live for others.” Shaking his head, Vahn continued, “The only thing I can do is my best. Even if there are people that will move on in the future…as long as they are happy…that is enough for me. I know now that there are a lot of people who will stay with me when things get tough…and they give me the strength to continue moving forward.”
The smile on Hestia’s face turned into a cheerful one as the sad look in her eyes vanished entirely. Replacing it, there was now a glimmer in the crystalline blue eyes that always drew Vahn’s attention because of their depth and clarity. For the third time since they had met, Hestia brought her hands together as if she was praying for a few seconds before she turned her head upwards and Vahn and said, “You really are an exceptional person Vahn. I look forward to seeing how far you can go in the future and, no matter how difficult things get, I will always be one of the people that helps you move forward.”
Her words finished, Hestia turned into a bullet and launched herself at Vahn’s face as she wrapped her arms around his neck. Since it wasn’t the first time she had ‘surprise’ attacked him, Vahn caught her easily as Hestia began to rub her cheek against his. Vahn always felt a little awkward when she dangled from his body because he never knew where to put his hands and always ended up holding her awkwardly from the sides.
As if she had thought of something, Hestia asked Vahn, “Do you like big breasts or small breasts? And what about butts?” Vahn’s mind blanked for a short moment since it felt like a question he was commonly asked and never understood why girls placed a focus on such things. Since he had answered the question before, Vahn said a similar thing as last time, “I think everyone has qualities that I can appreciate, and I don’t really have a preference regarding breast size…”
Hestia nodded her head and put a little more strength into her arms as she pressed her breasts more firmly against Vahn and asked, “And what about butts~?” Vahn noticed Hestia had almost ‘hummed’ the words as if she found his dismissal of the subject earlier humorous. After a brief consideration, Vahn responded, “I don’t think I have a preference for butts either…it just feels nice to hold onto when I embrace people. I think…I think everyone has a unique feel and it’s interesting?” Vahn was confused by his own words because the image and feel of various butts were passing through his brain.
As if using his words against him, Hestia asked, “Eeeei~? Do you want to grab my butt too~? Though I don’t mind, it feels a bit strange for you to be holding my ribs like you’re preparing to pull me from your body.” Vahn’s hands flinched a bit at Hestia’s words because that was exactly his intention if she got too carried away. He laughed awkwardly while thinking of an excuse before Hestia said in a low, somewhat angry, voice, “Vaaaaahn-! If you want to grab my butt…” A blush touched Hestia’s face and she looked like she was struggling a bit before she continued, “Then just do it!” Apparently finished with her words, Hestia hugged Vahn’s neck and hid her face against his shoulder as if she was refusing to look at him.
Vahn considered her words for a few seconds and decided to give it a try since he was somewhat curious. However, before he could move his hands from her side to her butt, Hestia released his neck and laughed in an awkward manner as she started walking toward the direction of the onsen, “Ehehehe, lets to a bath instead~! It’s weird that we’re just standing in the middle of the foyer~Ehehehehe!” Vahn watched her walk away in a mechanical fashion and could see her aura fluctuating a bit.
With a small smile on his face, Vahn released a short sigh before shaking his head and following behind her. Perhaps it was because of her lack of experiences with men, but Hestia seemed to have a strange nature where she was both ‘forward’ while also being highly bashful at the same time. She was very affectionate and liked physical contact but was also prone to panicking as soon as things began to escalate. Though he had some inhibitions himself, Vahn decided that he either needed to be more decisive with her or work harder to reign in her behavior in the future. With that thought in mind, Vahn stepped through the threshold into the men’s changing room before coming to a halt after witnessing a strange sight.
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Five days!?’,’Ouranos’s Intentions’, Indecisiveness’)