EIGHTEEN - Forever
Persephone tossed and turned for hours that night, trying not to wake Hades while also trying to find that long-awaited sleep she so desperately needed. She could not slow her mind enough for her to drift off. Instead, it kept buzzing with the events of the day, going over every second.
She remembered fondly the private moment behind a pillar she and Hades had shared before entering Olympus. She remembered feeling confident then, nervous to be in the spotlight but sure the day would end with anything but tears. She also remembered her mother. Her hand swinging for Persephone seconds before she had caught it and the betrayal in her eyes as she left the courtroom. She had always known her mother would do anything to remain in control, but nothing could have prepared her for what her mother had done to Hades. The things she had said will take years to erase from his image. Hades had told her that it didn’t matter to him what others thought about him, all that mattered was the life they would create together. The lies had not affected him, at least not that Persephone could tell. For her, it was not so easy to forgive.
Guilt struck Persephone as she crawled out of bed, wrapping herself up in a blanket to battle the chill of the underworld night. Quietly she made her way out to the terrace where she could think and not be at risk of waking Hades. She certainly was not going to sleep tonight.
She had not yet decided if she should tell Hades of the confrontation between her and his brother. Poseidon hadn’t done anything to her except attempt to scare her. She wasn’t even sure if his threats were real or if they were said to send a chill down her spine. If they were then they had certainly succeeded. One thing was certain if she did tell Hades of the altercation, innocent or not, Hades would never forgive his brother.
Hades sometimes looked so lonely while he sat upon his throne. He had relied on himself for so long she sometimes wondered how he found room for her. And in truth it had taken years from him to feel comfortable being vulnerable around her. But once he had decided she was someone he could trust it was as if no one could change his mind. It was as if a switch had been flipped. Ever since then he had always let her in, told her his thoughts, and relied on her. She had always treated this trust with the utmost seriousness. She knew soon the harvest would come and with it, she would have to leave him, and once again he would be alone. But maybe this could bring him and his family together. Maybe when she was not available he could call upon his brothers.
She could not ruin even the slightest possibility because of a strange feeling. She knew how important family was and how difficult it could be to rely on them. Or at least she once did. She knew she should hate her mother for what she had done, but still, she missed her mother already. She didn’t think there was anything her mother could ever do that would make her stop loving her. Even after this, after all the hate, after all the crosswords, there was still love no matter how small.
But the same was not true for her mother. Persephone had seen the hate in her mother’s eyes as she left the trial hall. Demeter would never forgive Persephone. She could grow the most magnificent spring, most fragrant flowers, the greenest trees, and still her mother would never look at her the same. Her mother had never been one for forgiveness.
Suddenly she heard the doors open behind her and the echo of his footsteps as he walked out towards her. She did not have to turn to know it was him, she could feel his magic reverberate around her. It was only then that she noticed tears leaking down her face. Quickly she wiped them away before he could reach her.
In his own quiet way, he sat down next to her pulling her small frame into his much larger one. He must have known that she needed him to hold her because that was all he did. He simply sat quietly with her in the chill of night and held her as more tears made their way down her cheek.
He was quiet for quite some time before he broke the silence, “Persephone?” His voice shook her as his fingers gently stroked her cheek, wiping the remaining tears away, “Tell me what is wrong.”
“Nothing, I’m just tired after everything that happened today.” She whispered back to him.
“Don’t lie.” He stopped her, “Lie to anyone else but do not lie to me.” he told her seriously. His eyes hardened and his forehead remained tight in his normal worried fashion. Yet still, he was gentle with her.
She never wanted to lie to him. She had let the lie slip only because she knew it would be more painful to talk about what was truly troubling her than it would be to ignore it. Somehow she had convinced herself that if she didn’t say the words, then maybe there would be a chance she would wake up from this horrible dream.
She took a deep breath before she began to tell him, “I can’t stop thinking about what my mother said. The way she looked, so desperate for her power but not for me. At least not me alone but also the power that I hold. I know now she’ll never see me in the same way. She’ll never be able to forgive me, not for this.” She watched him as he swallowed hard and nodded, trying his best to understand the pain she was speaking of. He too had betrayed a mother.
“She is your mother. She’ll love you until the end of time, that I know for certain,” he told her while gently tucking her hair behind her ear.
“It’s just… I wish things were different.” she shrugged sadly. “Historically gods do not make good parents, you know this as well as I do. So I was thankful when my mother even claimed to love me. I guess it hurts most of all to see the facts I already knew come to light. Now I know for certain, don’t i? She did not love me. It is like you said before, she is power-hungry and only wanted me for what I could give her; A dynasty and all the power she could want.” when her voice broke he held her closer. Tighter. “I just wish I knew what to do. I wish there was something I could say or do to change her mind, to get her to forgive me,” she said, struggling to get the words out. She should have been worried about how weak she sounded. Her olympian blood was screaming for her to stop. But this was Hades and she knew she was safe in his arms.
“You shouldn’t have to be the one to apologize,” Hades told her, his voice rising over their hushed tones.
“No, I mean it. She is the one at fault, not you. She has taken control of your powers for a millennia. Taken what was rightfully yours.” he said. His hold tightened as his anger grew. She knew that Demeter was not one of Hades favorite gods but to hear the disdain in his voice was a much different subject.
“I never minded it,” she said in defense. It was true, she had no need of praise for her work, she genuinely enjoyed creating the spring. The fact her mother took the credit for it was of little concern to her. What she did mind was her mother’s control over her life.
“But it should have, darling. It makes my blood boil that she has gotten away with it. She should have been the one to be dethroned, not you or I. All you wanted was to be free. Free to be yourself, to love, to live, to make your own god damn decisions without her playing the part of a puppet master.” he said angrily. She listened to him as he played with a strand of her hair, tucking it behind her ear. His voice softened as he continued knowing she was still upset, “She has done all this to you but worst of all, she has made you cry and has made you feel guilty for being happy. An unforgivable offense.” He spoke as he wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “Darling, are you happy to be here?” He asked, watching her face for any sign of regret.
She was surprised by his question. Of course, she was happy, she would always be happy with him. She might have had tears drying on her cheeks at the moment but she was also glowing on the inside now that she was home with him. She wanted to be with him more than anything. She thought he knew, that she didn’t have to tell him, she thought their love was beyond words. How stupid of her to think that Hades was unlike anyone else and didn’t need to be told how loved he really was.
Her hand came up and caressed his face as she sweetly smiled at him. “Of course, I am.” She told him, reaching up to kiss his jawline. “I will always be happy here.”
“I just wanted to make sure,” he said in a hurry like he was unsure what words would come out next. Persephone watched as he stopped and slowed himself in preparation for his next thought. He took a deep breath before he started, “I am here because I drew the short straw, but you choose to come here. To stay with me. I want it to be your own choice. Not some seven seeded deal.” He said, his tone filled with seriousness.
She smiled at her husband through the darkness. “I remember my old life. I was basically a flower nymph running from dawn to dusk in the forest and fields. I was so happy then.” She told him and watched his face fall before she could continue. “But then I met you Hades and my life became exceptionally superior. It’s like I didn’t know what happiness felt like before you. And now I have everything I’ve ever wanted.” She told him as she nodded letting him know every word was the truth. “I’m happy as long as I’m with you, Hades. I’m much more than happy.” His brilliant smile stretched across his face as their lips locked.
“I’m just worried you’ll grow tired of me, of this place, and will soon want more than to be trapped in a hell of forevers. But if what you’re saying is true and you want nothing more than to be trapped. Then I will gladly give you forever.” He said before locking his lips with her’s once again while tilting her head to have better access. He worked her lips in such a way that she knew they would be bruised tomorrow morning. “Come back to bed,” He whispered to her, beckoning her too much more than bed.