"Persephone, don't get mad!" Hades rubbed his tired eyes as he sat up resentfully in the large bed he shared with his wife. It was midnight, and the King of the Underworld was not prepared to have a fight with his wife. All he wanted to do was sleep, but he'd gone and upset her.
He knew he was never going to hear the end of this.
"I am mad! I am really, really mad!" She snapped, throwing the covers away from her body and standing up, apparently to yell at him at a greater height.
"Gods, Hades, I swear that sometimes you're more insensitive than Cerberus. How could you say that about my mother?" She was distractingly tempting in her silk nightgown. The low light threw her into shadow, and her green eyes were glittering and smoky with anger.
"When I called her a whore," he began, unrepentantly, "I just meant that it's improper for a widow to remarry." He tried to keep his tone reasonable. Maybe this would just blow over. Hades was a patient man, and he knew Persephone as well as he knew his own body. But then again, he hadn't seen her this mad in a long time...
"So she fell in love again! Big deal. Just because you had to kidnap a woman to find love-"
She'd gone and upset him. The kidnapping issue was still a touchy and hotly debated subject between them.
"Hey!" he growled. "You chose to stay with me, remember?"
"That," she snapped, pointing an accusatory finger at him, "was before I knew that I had to stay anyway, after I ate that pomegranate! You tricked me into eating it!"
Hades remembered it vividly. She had been sitting before the roaring fire, lit up from behind like some kind of angel of hell. She'd delicately taken the pomegranate pieces from his hand, quirked her head to the side and said in a soft voice, "Well, I guess you'll have to tell Hermes I'm not coming home. Mother will be so mad. But I'm a woman now, and I choose you." Then she took a bite, and the red juice stained her fingers like blood. She smiled at him, and he lit up with triumph. In eating the pomegranate, she could never leave him.
Catching Persephone had been the greatest triumph and joy of his life, except that he'd also caught her fiery temper.
Hades sat up a little straighter in bed, offended. "You'd already chosen to stay with me, I didn't think it mattered that eating it would keep you here!"
She threw her hands in the air, exasperated. "You're impossible. And you know what? I've about had it with your backhand remarks about my mother. I know you don't like her-"
"Need I remind you that she threw a royal hissy fit and starved half the countryside when she couldn't find you?" Hades snapped. He'd always had some issues with Persephone's mother Demeter. He thought she was melodramatic and manipulative, but his wife would hear none of that. Seph thought the moon of her mother.
"Demeter was grieving, because a certain Prince of the underworld decided to kidnap her only daughter!"
Hades had heard this speech so many times that he was sick with it. His anger bubbled up in his chest, and he shouted, "Yes, and look at the trouble it brought me. I'm stuck with you for the rest of eternity!"
She took a step away from him, and a look of deep hurt shone from her eyes. When she spoke, her tone was clipped. "Well. I guess for once we're on the same page then."
Hades regretted his words instantly. "Look, Seph, I didn't mean that."
"No, I think you did." She said hotly. "And you know what? I'm leaving."
She turned away from him and walked to the closet, fumbling around for something.
"Running home to mother?" Hades sneered. It hurt his pride to hear his apology rejected, and now he was going in for the kill.
"As a matter of fact- yes." She said matter of factly, not looking at him.
Startled, Hades stuttered out, "You, you can't!" This conversation had taken an unexpected turn.
"I can!" she declared, walking over to the box on the dresser where she kept her enchanted flowers. He noticed with growing concern that she had put her shoes on.
"I'm a grown woman now," she continued, "and I think it's ridiculous you expect me to follow some "rule" you made with my mother when I was a teenager. I'm an adult, and I get to make my own choices!"
"You're still a teenager!" Hades roared, getting up out of bed.
"Only in body." Her tone was accusatory, and she faced him square on. "Mentally I'm twenty five!"
He laughed. "Oooh, twenty five. You're practically ancient." He mocked.
She flushed hotly, anger in her pretty green eyes. It distracted him for a moment. "Just because you're old enough to remember Zeus in his diapers-" Her scorn was evident as she began tucking her flowers in her hair.
"It doesn't matter, you can't leave. The rules say-" he began.
"Rules be damned! I'm a goddess!" It was a favorite excuse of hers.
"Demi-goddess." He corrected her automatically, and for half a second, it was almost like they weren't fighting, and she was reclining in his lap like she did every night, making flowers grow out of his beard and laughing at his stories.
She straightened up to her full height. "QUEEN. I am queen of the Underworld and no law binds me. I'm leaving." She made for the door, turning on her heel and stomping out.
He was out the door in a moment, watching her run down the hall. His pride wouldn't let him chase after her.
"Seph, it's the middle of winter and all you're wearing is…that for gods sakes! Seph! PERSEPHONE!"
But she was gone, flown down the corridor and out of sight.
Hades stood there for a moment, thinking. Could she just leave? No, of course not. It was against the rules.
But if he considered it rationally, Persephone was powerful and had an iron will. If she didn't consent to be tamed, she would have her freedom at any cost.
Willful woman. A stifling rage rose in him, which he mastered. After all, he was several hundred years older than his pretty wife. It was understandable that she would defy him. All he had to do was catch her.
Hades sighed and walked stolidly over to his dresser. Donning his boots and armor, he prepared for an unpleasantly cold midnight walk thought the Frozen Wood.
Damn her. Damn her. Damn her.
Muttering mutinously, he drew his cloak around him and set off towards the palace gates, seething the whole way.
It wasn't as if he'd intentionally offended her, it was just a slight of tongue, and honestly, how could she not see how stubborn she was being? Every other woman on the face of the planet would have the good sense not to anger the king of the Underworld, and yet he'd fallen for her. And now here he was, chasing after her in the middle of the night so that she wouldn't go and get herself killed in the freezing cold.
His thoughts swirled in his head like the snow that was falling down around him. The woods were dark as pitch and utterly silent. Hades found her footsteps easily enough, and he set off at a leisurely pace. He had a large stride and felt confident that he could find her within the hour. Hopefully she would turn around when she got cold and come back to him, and she'd apologize.
He walked for a while, thinking. He realized that Persephone had only ever seen these trees in the dead of winter. It was quite a beautiful forest, really, but she always left in the Spring. Subconsciously, he began imagining a vacation in the trees, knowing full well that dream would never be realized.
A trickle of unease ran down his spine. Her footsteps were growing faint now, buried in the falling snow. Hades expected to find her by now, but she was nowhere to be seen. It occurred to him that forests were Persephone's element. She was a goddess of the forest, and she grew up in terrain like this. Plus, she was quick on her feet, headstrong, and angry.
Cursing, the King sped up. Unwillingly, images of her face flitted before his mind's eye. Persephone laughing, her eyebrows crinkling like they did when she was truly, deeply amused. He pictured the face she made when she was intently focused on something, how her cheeks always went pale when she'd been sitting still for too long.
With a splitting pain, the sad expression she had when they parted for the warm months flitted before him. He felt the same wall of weakness that descended on him in the face of those long months without her. Her expression was the same as it always was when she left him- it conveyed a feeling of loss, a promise of reunion. It said, I love you. I will come back. But for now, let me be happy.
Hades had to pause for a moment and collect himself. When he set off again, he was running.
"Persephone!" Her name tore through him almost unwillingly. There was no response, and the swirling mass of snow and forest in front of him was haunting and empty.
Pounding through the trees, he realized how much he relied on her, and how much he loved her. She could die out here. He imagined her dead in the snow, pale and lifeless in front of him, and him knowing for the rest of his life that she died because of him. The idea turned his run into a flat out sprint.
He was calling her name, running at top speed, his only objective to catch up to her, to fall at her feet and beg for forgiveness if she would promise not to run away again, not to risk her life. This cold winter chase made it clear to him that he would lose her to her mother forever rather than know she was dead, because losing her to the vast and lifeless realms of the Underworld would be a torture worse than death or separation.
And as soon as that thought registered on his brain, he burst into a clearing. A shaft of moonlight illuminated Persephone's slight form, fallen still on the snow. Her lovely flowers were scattered around her like fallen feathers.
Hades stood there, frozen, conscious only of the pulse he could see beating in her neck, of the slow rising and falling of her chest. A joy so huge he could hardly contain it swept through him, and at once he was kneeling next to her, reaching out to touch her face for the sheer joy of knowing she was still with him.
Pulling her close, he felt her heartbeat and whispered into her flower scented hair. "I'm so sorry. I love you. Please stay with me."
She wasn't conscious enough to speak, but she responded by nuzzling his chest through a crack in his armor.
And with that, Hades carried his wife in his arms back to their palace and their big bed. Then, entangled in each other, they slept, as happy as if there had never been a wound between them at all.
I'm a big fan of these two. If you read, do take the time to review. Maybe I'll make some more. Thank you!