TWO - Whispers in the Garden
WHISPERS IN THE GARDEN (3,050)
The vines on Olympus acted differently to her powers than the ones on earth. They were only made to look like plants but in fact, were intricately woven magic, created to full the eye. But a plant was a plant, and they all bend to her fingers eventually. It felt good to create something entirely from her imagination. They wove to her hand making shapes while she sat ideally in the garden.
She had begun to grow tired of the party and all the gods in attendance, she could smell the arrogance rolling off them all. The only reason the olympian gods attended these parties was to show the others how mighty they were and to remind them why they were made a god. She found it sad that to these gods the only family they would ever have were within those walls and yet they still worried they would be forgotten.
With that thought, a hand reaches out of the night to grab her arm, pulling the breath from her lungs. Although she did not see her assailant, she knew without having to see his eyes who it was. Hades. She could feel the warmth of his power before he had gotten close enough to touch her. Over the years she had grown uniquely accustomed to that same feeling, she was even drawn to it.
Without spearing a moment’s thought he pulls her deeper into the garden and behind one of the pillars. When she was turned around and pressed up against the stone she could see his gleaming eyes through the darkness. She couldn’t help the foolish grin that spread across her face. If her mother could see her now she would have scolded her for looking so foolish. But Hades didn’t mind, instead, he shared the matching set. He silenced her laugh with a kiss of his own. His hand reached up to cup her face and pull her impossibly close so she could do nothing but melt into the kiss. She thanked the fates he was there to keep her from falling onto the floor. When he finally pulled away she could not catch her breath.
“I’ve missed you Hades,” she whispered to him.
“As I have missed you, Persephone” he replied kissing the sides of her mouth softly. “The Underworld is so cold when you are gone.”
“I will come visit soon,” she promised. She knew it had been a while since they had been able to hold each other like this and unfortunately it had been her fault. Although she had tried to sneak away there seemed to always be something that needed her attention. Her mother had been keeping her very busy lately.
At her words, he stopped his assault on her neck and leaned away so they could see each other more clearly. She hated the disappointing sound she made at the absence of his lips and returned him a confused look of her own. “I wish you would never have to leave,” he told her sadly.
“Me too,” she agreed. “Imagine the life we could have.” The possibility of a life with Hades, however impossible, was always a thought close to her heart. “One day that future will be ours. But not right now,” she said as she tried to kiss away the bad taste her words left in her mouth. She knew her mother would never allow it. One day they would have their moment, but as of now, she could not see a way it could happen. No matter how much it pained her to admit.
“So this is it? A series of secret visits until you finally grow tired of me or find yourself a suitor your mother will approve of?” he asked. A look of hurt flashed across his face so fast any other would have missed it, but she caught it before it was replaced by his usual neutral look. “Is our love fated to be hidden in the shadows?” he asked looking around them. Until he drew attention to their current location she had forgotten about it altogether, solely focusing on him.
“Hades, i-” she stopped herself unsure of what to say or what she could tell him to make it better. “You know I can’t tell my mother, she wouldn’t approve.” she knew as soon as the words left her lips this was not what he had hoped for, but it was the only truth she had for him.
“What right does she have over your life Persephone?” he asked her, making her freeze when he used his nickname for her. No one else called her ‘Persephone’ besides him and it usually warmed her heart but tonight it was used sharply. He waited for her but she could not say anything. She did not know what to tell him.
If only he knew the control her mother had over her, maybe he would understand. But then what would he think of her? He was a mighty god, one of the ‘Three King Brothers’ that now rule the earth, and one of the ‘Six Traitors’ who had defeated the titans. What would he think if he found out that while she was a powerful goddess she allowed herself to be controlled and imprisoned?
He would think her weak.
“I cannot go on like this Persephone, I want to hold you without worrying about who can see us, I want to kiss you when I want to, and above all, I want to be able to dance with you tonight.” he sighed heavily. She wanted to tell him how badly she wanted those things and even more for them, but for her, they would always be just out of her reach. “But I can’t, can i? Will, I ever be able to?” he asked her, his voice shrouded in sadness.
When the thought of never being able to have him to herself came to her mind, her mouth began to move without being told to. She simply could not fathom the thought. “Yes! Of course, you will,” she told him desperately.
“But when?” he asked, pulling her tighter towards him, “It is tearing me apart Persephone, i want to be proud that you’re mine, i do not want to be hidden any longer.” he looked at her as if he was making up his mind, like he was being torn in two directions. “If we are truly impossible and the fates spin against us then maybe it would be better if you did not come to the Underworld anymore. I do not think i could take it.”
“No! Do not say another word Hades!” she stopped him. He was her everything and she could not bear the thought that they would no longer be together. He was all that brought light to her world. It would break her to know she had pushed him to leave her, to shut her out. And even worse, that she had brought pain to the man she loved. “I love you. Even if you lock me out of the Underworld, I would still love only you. I am a goddess, do you know how long that would be?” she told him.
She looked up at him, he was calm while she felt wildly out of breath. She was grasping only anything that would keep her life from ruin, that would keep him from leaving.
She stilled before continuing. She had always told him how difficult it was for her to leave him in the Underworld and he had always said her departure was always the hardest to watch. And yet she felt that Hades did not understand how much he meant to her, how much she depended on him. She knew she had to speak clearly, now was not the time to keep her feelings private.
“Don’t you know I want the same?” she asked him. “Every time i leave you i feel as if i can’t breathe, as if my lungs cannot work without you. I miss you and i cannot think of anything but the feeling of your hands, the smoothness of your chest, and the taste of your lips. I try to convince myself I can exist even without you. That there is more to life than just our love. But it is no use, I have never succeeded. It is you that keeps me going, even if you are not with me. So don’t you see? One day it will have to be us!” she told him.
She knew there was nothing more true. She would do anything for him. Swallowing hard she made up her mind. If this was what it would take to love Hades the way he needed to be loved, she would do it for him. “I will tell her. I swear it,” she promised.
His smile was radiant and she soaked in its rays but for only a second until it disappeared once again. “But Persephone, don’t you see? The moment your mother knows of what we have done she will lock you away and I will never see you again. I can’t bear to lose you.”
She knew what he was saying was true, her mother, Demeter, was a jealous goddess. The moment she heard her daughter was in love with the god of the Underworld she would certainly whisk Persephone away to the farthest reaches of the world. Where not even Hades could reach.
“But can you go on like this? Tell me the truth,” she asked him, clinging to his shirt as if it would ground her to this moment. “I was a fool to think we could go on like this. Hidden moments behind pillars,”
He shook his head only a fraction. “I cannot go on acting like I do not love every part of you.”
“Okay,” she said as if coming to an agreement.
“Okay?” he echoed.
“Yes, let’s do it.” she encouraged, “Even if it ends in disaster, i want to be with you, for however long we can be,” she answered with a kiss, sealing their plan. It is not soft but still loving as if this was the kiss that could save them.
“I can have it taken care of, you wouldn’t have to do anything,” he told her, trying to take the worry off her shoulders as he always did. “I can handle Demeter’s anger better than most.” This was the way he had always been, trying to take care of her even though it was something she had to do herself.
“No, i should do it,” she told him. “Maybe if she hears it from me it will make it easier.” he studied her trying to make out the meaning of her words.
“Do you really think that?”
“No, it will certainly be awful. But there is no way around it.” It was the truth she was trying to cover with her optimism. But the truth was, she knew her mother would not let this happen without a fight. A fight she was not sure she was ready for but knew she had to face. “She will curse me. I love my mother but a golden cage is still a cage,” she whispered sadly. No matter how restricting her mother was Persephone would always love her. She did not think there was anything that could change that. But at the moment she was beginning to feel torn between one love and another, hoping beyond all hope she could have both.
“Hades I’m not going to be forced to leave you again. If she refuses and there is nothing left that can be done, we will leave together. No one is ever taking me away from you ever again. This is where it ends. From now on I will not be controlled, I will do as I please, and if I want to spend the rest of my days in the Underworld then that’s what I will do. No one, not my mother, not Zeus, not even the king of the damn Underworld will stop me.” she told him feeling her power crinkle under her fingertips.
“I love you,” he exclaims happily, kissing her quickly. He held her close and swung her around the garden no longer hiding behind a pillar. No longer hiding at all. She could not stop the laughter that sprung up from within her, it was like a weight she did not know was there had been lifted off of her. As he swung her she kissed his face madly not being able to get enough of him and he shined under her attention.
From somewhere dark she suddenly remembered her mother’s wrath. She remembered all the times she had punished humans, beings she had never met, for the slightest offense. Mistakes even Aries would have forgiven. She wondered what her mother would do to an offense from those closest to her. It would only make it worse that everyone on Olympus would be watching. Appearances were always so important to her.
But with that thought came another, a much happier one. One of Hades and her. A thought of them going home together. Of happy mornings and quiet evenings with each other. She could not wait to start.
“This isn’t a dream, right?” she asked him. “Tell me that when i wake up this will not all be a figment of my imagination. Tell me I can stay. That i can disobey my mother. That she won’t strike the moment she finds out what we have done and locks me away.” she pleaded, looking up at him for any semblance of hope he had to share. “What if I never see you again? What if we go in there together and have a wonderful moment where we have everything we want; Each other together without having to hide. But what if that is all we can have? What if she takes you from me? I don’t know if i could handle it.” she echoed his earlier words.
“I would never let that happen,” he told her, wrapping his arms around her waist and holding her close. “I would search the earth, give up my kingdom, and my godhood to find you.”
“I would never ask you to do that, Hades,” she told him.
“You wouldn’t have to,” he answered her and she wondered how he could smile like that while saying such terribly sad things. “When you leave, you are also all I can think of. i can concentrate and dream of nothing else but the day you will return to me and never leave again. It is a recurring dream. To be able to hold you throughout the night and not have to dread the morning when you must leave, that would be Elysium for me. I promise I will protect you in the Underworld. We can be together, No longer separated. Come live with me in the Underworld, my darling.” he pleaded in a way a king never did.
“Am i to become your mistress?” she sadly asked him. She had thought about this many times. Living with Hades in his castle, spending all their time together seemed like a dream. But If she went to the Underworld everyone would assume she had slept her way into power and seduced one of the King Brothers. A feat many have attempted. She had always tried not to get caught up in what others whispered about her but this was not the image she wanted to portray. And Hades knew it.
She had always lived in her mother’s shadow and if she followed Hades she would once again be living in another’s shadow. Even though she loved him she did not think she could stomach it.
“I do not want you to be my mistress, Persephone, I want you to be my queen,” he confessed to her. She snapped her head up to meet his eyes searching for any sign he wanted to take his words back but there was no remorse. And just like that she fell ever so slightly more in love with him.
“Your queen?” she asked, she had to be sure. Strangely the word had slid off her tongue gracefully as if it had belonged there.
“Yes, marry me and become my queen,” he told her once again, taking back the step she had taken. “Rule besides me as the goddess of spring and queen of the Underworld. I promise your mother will not be able to touch you in my realm. Think about it, we could be happy there.”
“You… you want to marry me?” the words don’t seem to make sense in her mind. How could this be real?
“Persephone how do you not already know this? I’ve loved you unconditionally ever since you stumbled into the Underworld. I would have stolen you away long ago if I thought you’d be happy in the Underworld with me. But I can’t wait any longer now that I know I might never see you again.” ever so slowly and ever so gracefully he kissed her again. It nearly brought tears to her eyes. “I’ve called you my queen countless times but now I’m asking you. Well, you become my queen. Will you marry me? Say the words and I’m yours.”
“Yes!” she screeched, leaping into his awaiting arms. She was his, forever and even longer. She would always be his. She kisses him with everything she had in her. All the emotions that seemed to have bubbled up inside her went into their kiss. When she pulled away, she suddenly understood what it was to be spring - to bloom under care. She had been reborn, like all things in Hades’ realm.
“I’ve lived thousands of years but I cannot remember a single day I was happier than you have made me now. I promise I’ll spend the rest of my days making you just as happy.” Hades promised, cupping her checkers into his large hands, she could not help herself when she leaned into his touch. She could not say anything but instead kissed him again, not needing words to tell him how she felt.
He kissed her. She kissed back. How right the world was then.