THIRTY EIGHT - Evil And Virtuous
EVIL AND VIRTUOUS
Persephone stormed into their room, so ferrous she could not even utter a word to Hades. The whole walk back to their rooms Hades did not try to slow her or say a word but instead walked by her side. While her pace must have been faster than a normal walk he did not complain. She was thankful for it because she could not focus on anything other than the dreaded nymph, the focal point of her anger.
They usually spent their time in some form of comfortable silence. Hades was not a big talker, and she enjoyed just spending time with him. But it was clear this was different than their normal silence, there was anger in the air that had never been there before. Like he could read her he could tell there was most definitely something on her mind
Hades caught the door as she tried to slam it closed, not releasing Hades was so close behind her. “What is the matter?” he finally asked, not understanding the reason for her silence or her anger. She could read on his face that he was afraid he had done something to anger her. The truth is he hadn’t done anything, yet when she looked at him she saw the nymph’s arm on his and it angered her all over again. Feeling guilty for feeling this way she sent him a forgiving look but could not find the words to explain her actions.
She did not yet know how to put into words her fresh anger and hurt. And if he did not already know why she was angry then she didn’t know if she wanted to bring it up. How would she sound?
She didn’t like any version of herself that would give that impression. “Why does something need to be wrong?” she said, deflecting his question. Without waiting for him to respond she turned away to start to get undressed. All of a sudden she felt the need to get the heavy cloth off of her.
Instead of letting her go, he stopped her by grabbing her waist. Instead of pulling away from him, he ended up pulling her closer to his chest. “Because my dear Persephone you are light incarnated. Sometimes i kiss you and think i can taste the sunshine on your lips.” he told her, “And ever since dinner… your usual shine is gone. Now tell me.” While Hades’s voice had started off soft, it had ended rough and demanding. There was no questioning, he was not asking, he was telling her to tell him.
For a moment she tried to resist but then saw it as fertile. She looked up at him and felt every feeling boil to the surface once again. “If you must know it is her.” she in defiance. She was angry. At him or at the nymph she couldn’t now tell. She was so filled with anger she could not control where it was directed to. This time when she spun away she was successful.
“Her? Who are you talking about.” Hades asked, watching her as she marched across their room. “Your mother?”
Suddenly Persephone turned around to look at him with her fury seemingly sewn into her eyes. “No, that nymph!” she spat at him.
“Minthe?” he asked innocently. Instead of letting her harsh tone affect him he only studied her. As he always did he remained calm, allowing someone else’s anger to tell him things that a calm temper never could. If anything it only made her angrier.
“Do NOT say her name!” she yelled at him. It should not have but him saying her name seemed to only validate that Persephone had something to be insecure about.
Instantly Hades went to her, once again circling her into his large arms. This time she did not resist but sunk into his warmth. He had read her anger, saw ugly things, and knew that she was more hurt than angry. “Persephone, what happened? I thought you liked her,” he asked, clearly not understanding the situation. “You were the one to invite her to dinner.” he offered as a reason she should like the witch. Persephone laughed at the idea.
“That was before I saw her with you,” she said sickly.
Hades was clearly taken aback by her words, “With me? What are you talking about?”
“She was eyeing you and touching you during dinner. She wants you, Hades. In her bed.” Persephone said through her teeth. From the outside, it seemed like she was angry but she could tell that Hades saw deeper and could tell she was mostly just hurt.
“You are seeing things where they are not.” he shook his head.
“Yes, she does. A woman knows that look. How did you not notice? Are you blind!” she asked exasperated. Once more she took one step away from him, far too mad to be held at the moment. How dare he question her and what she had seen, it had been plenty obvious to everyone else. She turned around and began to untie the back of her dress. Once again struggling with the fabric.
“I wasn’t paying attention to her,” Hades said as if it should excuse him for practically telling Persephone she was causing useless drama. Closing the space between them he put one hand on her shoulder to stop her angry struggles. Once she stilled her motions he reached down to the ribbon and untied it. One at a time he unbuttoned the back of her dress agonizingly slow. Far too slowly for her anger to withstand.
“You might not have seen, but she was all over you,” Persephone claimed in defense. This time Hades only hummed in resonance as he continued his path down her back. “She was so blatant in front of me, not even afraid of me catching her. Not trying to hide it at all. She was so comfortable touching you in front of company.” she reflected. Glancing up into the mirror she saw Hades move her hair so it all cascaded down one shoulder so he could lean down and kiss her neck. A chill ran down her back staring from where his lips touched.
Despite the moan that surprised her she tried to keep herself composed. She waited for him to look up at her. When she asked her question she needed to look into his eyes. She stilled as he looked up at her, “Does she have reason to be familiar with you?” They both stood in a stiffer silence than before. It choked her and she could not take a breath. The only thing keeping her standing was his firm grip on her.
Turning her to face him, he drew out a frustrated sigh. “Minthe and I’s paths have crossed before,” he spoke carefully.
“What?” she asked quietly, too shocked to yell even though her head was screaming.
“This is not the first time we have met.” Hades clarified. She leaned closer to him, reaching up on her toes to get close to him. She stared for a second, trying to read what he was thinking. As always she could not read his masked face. She could only see he was cautious, which did not calm her nerves.
“Define what you mean by ‘met’” she asked carefully. If she was to be mad she would have a valid reason for it. She had been left out of everything for so long, always been the last to know. Now she needed to know everything.
She watched Hades swallow hard but his eyes never faltered from hers. He was being honest, he always was no matter the topic. Always painfully honest with her. “I’ve slept with her,” he said as if his words could draw blood.
Honest. He was always so honest with her.
Heartbroken. That is how she felt. As if all the oxygen had been ripped out of her lungs and as if she could no longer breathe. She had always described the effect of her love for him as making her breathless when she was around him. This was a very different feeling. This was so much worse.
Of course, she had known that Hades had slept with other women, he was an old god and she had no reason to believe he had waited all this time. She had not even felt jealous about it. Never. Of course, she had never asked for names or details but she had always known, Hades had not always been just hers. But she had never dreamed she would have to meet one of his past bedmates. Not to mention share a meal with her. It made it even worse knowing this woman clearly still had feelings for him.
Suddenly she found herself needing to know if he too still had feelings for her.
Breathless. Suffocated. Strangled.
“You slept with her,” she repeated, unable to form words of her own.
“It was a long time ago,” Hades told her. His arms began rubbing soothing circles down her arms to calm her. “Long before I ever met you.”
“You slept with the nymph,” Persephone responded, clearly still in shock. She took one more step away from him needing room to think. He followed her but she pushed past him to get farther away. She couldn’t have his touch and think clearly about this.
“It never meant anything.” Hades said trying to reason with her, “I didn’t even remember her until Thanatos reminded me today.”
“Did it? Did it mean nothing?” she asked, finally finding her voice. “I do not think she would agree with you.” She pointed an accusing finger at him that seemed to frighten him more than the deepest monsters in Tartarus. “How many times did you sleep with her?” she asked but he remained silent. In a very obvious way, his silence was his answer. Still, she needed words. “How many times?” she repeated.
“I truly don’t know,” he said in defense.
“Take a guess!” she yelled.
“Off and on for a hundred years.” he offered quickly like he was ripping off a bandaid. “It was when I was young and still a new ruler. I had only just been sent down here and I needed a release. I promise Persephone, she meant nothing to me. Not like you.” he told her.
She completely ignored his last comment and continued to scold him, “Do you know how it made me feel to watch her with you? And now to know your history?!” she shouted, getting louder the more she thought about it. She was so distracted she didn’t even notice herself starting to pace the floor.
“I do not understand why this is a problem.” Hades finally confessed, seemingly bored with her rage. “I don’t want her. If I did I would have made her my queen, But i didn’t and I don’t. I only want you.” he told her while pulling her close once more. While she didn’t pull away she did not relax into him like she always did.
“Why is it a problem?” she asked, deadly quiet. “Because It’s humiliating Hades. You kept me in the dark hoping I would not find out. She made me feel like I was temporary like she could take you if she wanted to.” Persephone said, grabbing onto Hades’ dress shirt. She may be mad but she also needed to hold onto him and make sure he did not leave.
Hades shook his head. “You are nothing close to temporary Persephone. You know that. She and any other woman will never stand a chance compared to you.” He vowed to her before leaning down to kiss her gently. She began to return the kiss when it began to become heated.
Persephone finally relaxed. She had not known it but she was not as secure in their new relationship as she had thought. In truth, she now knew that she had only been waiting for something bad to happen, for one wrong move. Hades, as he always did, had reassured her and made sense of all of her manic.
She didn’t know why she had focused all her anger on him. He had truly done nothing; he had not been the one to bring her here, to invite her to dinner, and had barely glanced her way the entire day. She knew she had nothing to worry about and yet she still felt this way.
She sighed deeply before apologizing, “I’m sorry. I’ve never been a jealous woman before, but when i looked up and saw her falling all over you I couldn’t stop that ugly feeling from spreading. What is mine, is mine end of story.” she told him definitely.
“Why would you be jealous, I love you and no one else,” Hades pondered, curious. Persephone laughed because he honestly didn’t understand, but knew how Hades would have reacted if the roles had been reversed.
“Tell me, would you be jealous if you had to meet one of my ex-lovers?” she asked him playfully. At the word lover, his grip on her hips tightened. His eyes darkened as if his anger could personify.
“Jealous? No.” Hades shook his head. “Furious? Bloodthirsty? Yes. My blood boils at even the thought.” he said angrily before nodding is something close to understanding, “I see your point.” he confessed. She felt his tight grip let go of her hips only to travel up her back to finish taking off her heavy dress.
“I’m not mad at you.” Persephone clarified. She felt like she owed him an apology for he never deserved her anger. He simply kissed her lips, too focused on her dress to talk about something he already decided was over. Still, she continued. “I never meant to make it sound like i don’t trust you because i do trust you,” she told him as he pulled at the last knot holding her dress together. In a large heavy pile, it fell to the floor. He grabbed her hand and helped her step out of it. Once she had she found herself lifted off the floor and wrapped in his arms. “I didn’t even want this to be about you. It’s about her, and the way she looked at you,” she confessed.
Hades still did not say a word, clearly not wanting to discuss this while she was practically naked in front of him. Still, he cleared his throat trying to focus because he knew it was still on her mind. He slipped a single piece of hair behind her ear and pulled her even closer. She thought he would kiss her until across her cheek he said, “You know that I only have eyes for you.”
Though he didn’t touch her a tingling still ran down her and made her toes curl. She smiled up at him and whispered in return, “I know that too.”
This time she did not wait to be kissed. This time she took it herself.
Coming back to her senses she realized how bare she was compared to the fully dressed Hades. Deciding this needed to be changed immediately she took his tie and began to undo it, slipping it from around his neck.
“It will not change that i do not like when she touches you,” she told him as he kissed her neck.
“I understand I would kill any man who touched you.” He mumbled in agreeance while continuing his path up behind her ear, “I will ask her to leave.”
Suddenly Persephone was rocked out of the trance Hades had put her in. “No!” she said at a volume that could almost be described as shouting. She had answered quicker and louder than she had expected. She had not even thought about her answer, instead, it had simply been out of reflex.
She knew she had to be the one to do it. To ask the horrid woman to leave her home. And she knew that before she could tell her to leave they would have to have a conversation first. The nymph would have to learn a lesson about who was available and who was off-limits. She couldn’t let this insolence go unpunished.
Her answer had shocked Hades as well because he had leaned back so he could study her reaction. “No, i want to do it myself,” she explained to him. Instead of waiting to see his reaction, she went back to work unbuttoning his dress shirt.
With the last bottom, Hades finally spoke, “Very well then.” With his agreement, he picked her up allowing her to wrap her legs around him without waiting for her to get to his pants. Hades had always been impatient. She could feel him against her most intimate of parts as he walked her to the bed.
While he had everything to distract her she still had so much on her mind, “I think you are beginning to rub off on me Hades.” she said in her mouse of a voice.
Of course, Hades had heard and looked up at her with deep concern written on his face. Though he had never said, she knew his greatest fear had always been that he would be responsible for changing her. “How so?” he asked her. He cupped her face in his hands after setting her down on the bed and kneeling in front of her, completely forgetting his desire.
At first, she did not want to answer him. She wanted to hide this fear deep inside and forget about it until it disappeared. She regretted mentioning it and now wished she hadn’t. Still, he had heard and now held her chin between two fingers so their eyes would meet. She was sure that without them she would have looked away. Instead of asking again he simply kissed her, giving her enough courage of her own to tell him what she had meant.
“I wanted to hurt her tonight. I still do.” she confessed, “She overstepped tonight and put herself in between you and i. She wasn’t afraid of me. ME a goddess and her a nymph!” Persephone said, beginning to become enraged once again. “I felt it, the rising heat, and the anger. I think i hate her. I have never hated anyone before.”
“Many would say you have good reason to hate her.” Hades resonated. He reached up and tucked a stray curl that had fallen in her eyes.
“Do you think?” she asked hoping he could be her salvation from the darkness inside of her. “What I’m feeling... Do you think it is evil?” of course she had the prophecy at the forefront of her mind. She had remembered it during dinner but had seen it as a tool she could use on the nymph. It was a moment in which she was no longer herself, but what the prophecy was creating her to be.
Hades shook his head seeing this as a simple matter. He always had a wonderful gift of being able to simplify an impossibly complicated matter down to its most basic parts. It was what made him a good king. “I do not believe it is as simple as good and bad. Darkness does not always equate to evil, just as light does not always bring good. I’ve seen evil in many men’s eyes and even more in god’s. I pride myself on being able to look into a soul and see it as it is. Good or bad. Evil and virtuous. Evil is cruel while bad is sometimes necessary. I know this better than most. The point I am trying to make is that I’ve never seen evil in your eyes, Persephone. Not for a second.”
“Maybe you weren’t looking hard enough,” she replied. She knew it was there, she knew that while she may still look the part of kore the flower goddess she was beginning to earn her new name, Persephone bringer of destruction.
His palm came up and cupped her face and she could not keep herself from leaning into his touch, “Believe me Persephone, I see you.” he whispered to her. When he saw no worry elevated from her eyes, his own saddened. “You are worried about the prophecy aren’t you?”
Persephone nodded, “How could i not be?”
“The Fates be damned. We are gods, who are they to tell us our path?” Hades dared as he shouted angrily.
“They are the weavers of fate Hades.” she reminded him. The fates were as old as time and wove the old magic. While the gods may believe they are divine and invincible it would be the fates that would still be here when all the gods were gone.
“They may be but they do not see what I see,” Hades said, holding her hand in his. “You are kind and there is no prophecy that could ever convince me otherwise.” Persephone wanted to believe his kind words but he did not feel what she had felt. He did not know what she knew. It warmed her heart that he only saw kindness when he looked at her but she knew one day he would turn and see a much different version of her than who she was now.
“But what of the hate? Even you must admit it is not like me to hate another. The things I’ve done recently, they are not what a good person does.”
“Evil is not a person, evil cannot be gained or ridden of. All of us, every soul, every god has evil within them and the capability of acting on the evil within us. We act on it and we are tempted. It may consume us or we learn to tame it. The difference between a truly evil person and the one who wants to be good, is one of them is still searching their heart for the light they once had.” he told her as plainly as if he was speaking of something unimportant. But it was massively important to her, and he knew that. She did not answer, she couldn’t even try. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him deeply. He was the only certain thing she could hold onto.
After she fell into the rhythm of his lips he pulled away only a fraction so he could whisper across her lips, “You will be ok I promise, I would never let anything happen to you.”
“I know.” she smiled for once feeling as light as a feather, “Let us not talk of prophecies and nymphs any longer.” she offered, feeling a different type of need within her.
“Not tonight.” he agreed huskily. “Not while I have you in my arms. Tonight I only want you.”
“And now that you have me?” she asked, faking the innocence that he loved.
“You’re all mine and I don’t plan on sharing,” he growled into her ear as he leaned her back onto the bed. “Do you know how hot you are when your jealous Persephone?” he noted, planting kisses up her jaw.
“I’m not jealous, because i know you’re mine.” Her confidence and her claim on him was enough to push him over the edge. She had been dying to have him since their interruption this morning and this time, no one would stop them.
He tilted her chin up to make her gaze meet his, “And now you’re mine.”