We have a pact: normal, village life and adventures on the road. No powers, no ambrosia, and the fate is our own.
Yes, the bard is not completely honest with her wife; Gabrielle has a habit of doling out the truth in doses. Still, what Athena does is inexcusable; and no, it’s not understandable. The Goddess breaks the very foundation of their marriage, the premise of equality. She has nothing to stand on.
Love, the wound goes deeper than burned flesh.
The removal of Callisto’s brand most certainly has nothing to do with the bard’s wishes. Gabrielle communicates to her wife the reality of the wound and the Goddess listens but does not hear. The bard straightforwardly tells Athena that the inside has to heal before the outside.
The Goddess is weak; she cannot deal with the visibly damaged body and opts for quick and easy fix. Gabrielle, when she is ready, will likely ask her wife to do it anyway. Athena makes things worse and hurts the bard in two significant ways: breaching the trust and not coming clean about the reasons.
Gabrielle is not off the hook either, albeit for a different lie of omission. The implicit agreement on her part is to stay true to heart; the key element here is bard’s gift. The secret comes from Prometheus and remains unshared: her certain death on this path. Gabrielle owes her wife the Titan’s second prophecy.
Neither woman lives up to the oath. You might question the relevance; suffice it to state that their bond must withstand the trials. The hardest thing in a relationship is to say or do the things that are needed and necessary. Protecting the other is often more about self and leads to problems; you are doing your partner no favors. Mostly, you are making things worse for the lies grow and bear fruit. Discuss in FORUMS.