Author: JenBrat PM
Yet another Persephone and Hades story. But please give it a chance anyway.Rated: Fiction K - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 3 - Words: 4,009 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 12-11-06 - Published: 11-01-06 - id: 2269993
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: The Choice
A/N: Sorry this chapter took so long to post. And MANY thanks to Rio's Desire for actually taking time to post a review.
The next day Hades planned to show Persephone the beauties of the Underworld and the Elysian Fields. He also showed her Tartarus. Hades had spent much of the evening debating that decision. In the end it had come down to the simple facts. Persephone was his Queen. That meant she was Queen of Tartarus and well as the Elysian Fields and she'd have to learn to accept that. Putting it off wouldn't make it any easier.
Seeing the look on her face as they stepped into Tartarus he paused. He never enjoyed visiting here. The acrid stench alone was enough to drive one away, especially combined with the stifling, oppressive heat. Though parts of Tartarus were not hot, but bone chilling cold. "This place disgusts me, and even Ares. But it is necessary, Persephone."
"Would you rather they escape justice? This man was a killer. He enjoyed hurting his victims before killing them," he said, motioning to a man roasting over a fire. "He did that to his victims, and so now he must endure it himself. If he were free he'd do the same thing to those in the Elysian Fields. They deserve the peace and security they have there. These people can't be allowed to destroy that. And he's not the only one who would. Any of these men or women would eventually, in one way or another, bring about the end of the Elysian Fields if allowed to go there. It's my responsibility to make sure that doesn't happen. And now it is also your responsibility."
He half expected her to become angry and say she'd never asked for that responsibility, but instead she turned to go further into Tartarus.
"There are no children here, are there?" she asked, even as horror at the thought of a child in this placed caused her to feel cold and shiver despite the smothering heat.
"No. Of course not. No child deserves this place. They are all judged worthy of the Elysian Fields."
She turned to look at him and he saw curiosity in her blue eyes. "Judged? Even knowing they will go to the Elysian Fields? That there's no chance they'll end up here."
"It's a formality with children, but every person must be judged," he explained.
"I suppose that's only fair."
An hour later they entered the Elysian Fields. The light breeze smelled of wild flowers and carried the songs of nearby birds. The sun was warm, but not hot enough to burn.
Hades wasn't surprised by Persephone's first question.
"How is this possible?"
"It's an illusion, but real enough to keep the people here happy."
"Very real," she agreed, closing her eyes and turning her face up to the sun.
Hades smiled and silently watched while Persephone was surrounded by children eager to welcome their new Queen. They seemed as drawn to her as they were afraid of him. Perhaps he should let her begin judging the children, he decided. It seemed the perfect way to introduce her to her new duties as Queen.
Looking over the heads of the children Persephone watched Hades for a few moments. A crowd had gathered around him. It had been obvious that the inhabitants of Tartarus had feared and hated Hades. Who could blame them? But here the people seemed to love him and look on him as a wise and kind King, who protected them. She had the thought that he was like his kingdom: full of contradictions and surprises.
And now this kingdom wasn't just his responsibility it was also hers. Her responsibility. Something she'd never before been allowed. She'd wanted some responsibility, but also worried she wouldn't be ready, or strong enough, to handle it. But Hades had carried sole responsibility for this kingdom, surely she could at least help him carry that burden? Make it lighter for him, and gain strength for herself?
And he hadn't tried to hide Tartarus or it's ugliness from her. He'd trusted her to be able to deal with it. It was something her mother would never had done, and she decided if nothing else she owed him her thanks for that trust and honesty. And after hearing the stories of the people in Tartarus she had to admit his judgments were fair. He was a just ruler, she admitted, and found herself admiring that quality in him. There was much he could teach her about the real world. The world her mother had sheltered her from.
"Will you join me for dinner?" Hades asked that evening.
The day before Persephone had found it easy to say 'no'. This evening she hesitated for the space of a heartbeat. "I can't."
The next day Persephone joined Hades in the throne room as he judged those who had died.
Two brother, who had killed each other in a fight, stood before him. His first inclination was to send them to Tartarus to fight each other for eternity. Just before he pronounced judgment he felt Persephone's hand on his arm and looked over at her.
"Something isn't right. Ask them why they were fighting," she whispered.
Seeing the uncertainty and hope in her eyes he paused. She wasn't sure he would do as she'd asked, but hoped he would. It was such a simple thing, and a fair question, that he felt he couldn't disappoint her.
"My Queen asks a valid question. Why were you fools fighting?"
"He hit my Helena," answered one brother.
"Me? You're the one who beat her! And she isn't yours, she loves me!" retorted the other.
The heated argument lasted almost a minute.
"Silence," Hades said. He hadn't raised his voice, but the authority in his tone silenced the brothers.
"Did you hurt this Helena?" he asked the first brother.
He asked the same question of the second brother and received the same answer. Hades had been judging men long enough to know when they were lying, and both spoke the truth.
"It seem this woman has played you both. Which you would have learned if you'd trusted each other and talked to each other as brothers should. You'll be taken to the farthest end of Tartarus. If you work together and trust each other you'l be able to find you're way out and go to the Elysian Fields. If you fight or separate you'll both wander through Tartarus indefinitely."
As htey were led away he glanced at Persephone and saw the gratitude in her eyes. He'd done such a small thing, and yet she was grateful that he'd simply listened to her. And if anything he owed her thank for stopping him from making a mistake. "Feel free to ask any question you like, or make comments. You are Queen here," he reminded her.
She nodded, and gave a small smile. Then she turned serious. "What about this woman, Helena, who manipulated them into fighting each other?"
"She's still alive, and therefore not our concern. We'll deal with her when she comes to be judged."
Several hours later Hades watched her walk away after again refusing to eat with him. He was pleased to see that she had taken so well to her role of asking the children a few questions and then sending them to the Elysian Fields, often escorting them herself. She had made a few other comments or suggested questions when he questioned adults, but always quietly to him, rather than addressing the person directly.
Thinking back on her comments and questions he realized she was much more perceptive than most would give her credit for. But perhaps that wasn't so surprising, he thought. She'd spent her life trailing behind her mother, all but ignored. This mush have given her the perfect position to watch others, mortals and Olympians both, and learn to read people. Such perceptiveness made her perfect for her new role, helping him judge the dead. Hades allowed one of his rare smiles as he admitted that he and Zeus had made a better choice for his Queen than either could have guessed.
Staring out her window at the waterfall Persephone decided it had been a very good day. She enjoyed talking to the children. And even more she enjoyed the respect Hades had shown her. He not only listened to her opinions, but acted on them; asking the questions she suggested and honestly considering the comments she made. He was the first person, other than Aphrodite, to take her seriously, and it felt good. Made her feel as if she was truly his Queen and companion, rather than the shadow she'd been to her mother.