Kill Me Softly: Persephone

Weeks have passed and I have yet to be graced with his presence. I continue to spend my days in the meadow in the hope that he will reveal himself to me once more. How could he possibly believe that I could go such a distance of time without so much as a whisper of his whereabouts?

Well. I suppose that is rather melodramatic.

Still, I have been unable to force him from my thoughts. And by the Gods, I have tried. It takes every ounce of my concentration to complete my daily duties. If a leaf rustles in the wind, I always pray for it to be him.

Mother is at her wit's end. I know she cares for me deeply, but I could never speak the truth. Not to her, nor to anyone for that matter. After all, how could I trust anyone with a secret such as this?

The weather has been uncomfortably warm as of late, but I refuse to remove his cloak. In some minute way, I feel closer to him with it caressing and blanketing me. Even after all this time, his scent lingered. I can only describe it as otherworldly. It is at once intoxicating and soothing. Entrancing. Sublime. It embodied everything I have ever seemed to long for.

I used to mock the other girls of Olympus when they would gossip about their latest romantic dilemma. Ares, Eros, Hermes, I have heard it all.

Now I am more the love-struck fool than they have ever been. Still, at least they can name the men who have stolen their hearts. What knowledge do I possess? His apparent disdain of society, his utter refusal to adhere to certain styles and customs of our time, and the fact that he is an extraordinary kisser.

Not to mention his devilishly good looks, but that is hardly enough to give me positive identification.

"Dear heart!" Hermes bounded into the clearing, his ebony locks cascading behind him. Seated beside me, he stretched his tan, lean legs to their full length in front of him, the sunlight causing his emerald eyes to glitter with mischief.

"Out with Dionysus again last night, I take it?" I give a wry smile, ruffling his tresses. Despite being the only person I truly consider a friend, I understand why he is so popular amongst the ladies of Olympus. Had we not been practically attached at the hip from birth, I would probably be no different. However, he is my dearest friend and will probably always remain so.

"So interested in my nocturnal activities…but I digress! A great tragedy has surely befallen our little Firestarter." Despite his jovial tone, I knew he was concerned for me, but I could not tell him the reason behind my change in mood. Or rather, I greatly wished not to tell him. This is all I have that is mine, and mine alone.

And I am not ready to share him just yet.

So I will continue my portrayal of the guileless innocent. "Oh, Hermes, whatever do you mean?" I flash a light smile, resting my head against his shoulder. I feign interest in a honeybee, watching it flit from one wildflower to the next.

"Lady Demeter has been concerned for you, dear heart. Neglecting your duties and companions..." I tensed slightly at the mention of my mother, but quickly recovered. Of course Mother would be concerned; I knew I had been out of sorts recently, but not so much to draw suspicion.

Clearly I was wrong.

"It is nothing so dire as to arouse so much concern." Smiling lightly, I place a quick kiss to Hermes' cheek. Knowing that I will have to suffer further interrogation if I stay, I make a show of how the heat is affecting me. Pulling the cloak away from my shoulders, I stretch out languidly, pretending not to notice Hermes gaze intently focused on me. We may have known each other since we were children, but I know he has an insatiable curiosity in the female form. And that is a fact I am currently willing to exploit.

"Helios has been most unforgiving as of late, has he not?" Hermes only stares at me, seeming unable to form a coherent thought. "I believe I shall go cool off in the spring." Rushing off before he regains his senses, I run until I reach the sanctuary of the forest.

Heaving a sigh of relief, I continue walking at a leisurely pace. Throwing my head back, I feel the sparse ray of sunshine break through the forest's canopy; it was a wonderful contrast to the cool, damp earth beneath my feet. It is strange to think that I feel most myself when alone with the allurement of nature. Not the obvious beauty that even mortals feel awed by, but the most insignificant things – a thunderstorm, morning dew on a blade of grass, a fawn grazing with her young; it is the simplest of things which are taken for granted, after all. Therefore, I have always made it a point to take notice and remember.

The forest clears before me, revealing a patch of wildflower surrounding the clear, cool water of the spring. The soft gurgling of the stream was all too enticing with the heat from the midday sun, causing my feet to carry me that much faster. Tentatively dipping a foot in, the temperature is all but perfect - warmed by Helios' rays, with a hint of chill to still be refreshing.

Untying the sash, I let my robes slip to the sides, cascading over my shoulders and pooling at my feet. Walking out until the water is at waist-level, I sit on folded legs, brushing the hair from my face. With the gentle waves lapping at my skin, I could feel the tension slowly melt away.

Mother, Hermes, even the walking mystery who has captured my heart, they cease to matter here. Closing my eyes, the forest lulls me into a state of peace. Times such as these, I can understand why Lady Artemis has such an immense following. Living amongst the flora and fauna, not bound by society's rules...it would truly be heaven. Or so it would seem, had I not been there just this morning.

Emerging from the spring, I sprawl out on the grass, allowing the warm breeze to caress and dry my skin. Closing my eyes, I decide to rest before rejoining Hermes. Rest, and think of the most viable excuse to explain my running off.

"...sephone..."

Quickly pulling on my robes to salvage my modesty, I glance around, searching for the source of my intruder.

"Show yourself, you lech!" Showing more courage than I felt, I hastily tie my stash and begin to search around the spring and forest.

"Your nose crinkles in the most adorable way when you are angry, my light." Deep, rumbling laughter seemed to echo from all directions of the forest. In the midst of my search, I stop when two simple words permeate my mind: 'my light'. After weeks of silence, he finally returns for me! I try to remain nonchalant; allowing him to witness how much his absence has affected me is out of the question.

"Why must you hide, milord? Do you not wish to greet me properly?" Twirling around, I expect his entrance, as the teasing lilt in my voice leaves little to the imagination.

"I would enjoy nothing more, however, it would put you in a most compromising position when your guard dogs come sniffing." I suppose I should have expected that; Hermes is highly protective of me, after all. And Mother seems to have a special talent for knowing when he is panicked because of me.

I find his obvious fear of discovery rather disheartening and cannot resist telling him thus. "You would rather hide yourself from my starving eyes than risk exposure to my mother?" As the words leave my mouth, I realize my folly; of course he would wish to remain hidden from her. Smiling sheepishly, I duck behind a tree to hide my embarrassment.

"Worry not, love. We have a few moments of privacy before they intrude upon us." A breeze caresses my bare arms, making me long for his touch.

"You seem to know much, milord, yet you are completely ignorant of the fact that I have longed for you these many weeks." As much as his phantom presence brings me joy, I cannot help addressing the proverbial Minotaur in the room. The nerve of him to be so cavalier!

"No need to get so upset, love. I would have come for you sooner, but there were urgent matters which demanded my immediate attention." This man is so infuriating! Why did I ever wish to see him again?

This is far from the reunion I had envisioned. Where are the whispered words of adoration, the gazes of longing and desire? "It seems the folly of my gender is to build pedestals for men that are much undeserving, a mistake I shall not make twice."

"You are angry." For being one of the most annoyingly perceptive people I have ever met, he can be surprisingly dense.

"Of course I am! I wait for you all this time and when you can be bothered to come to me, you hide yourself from me! And why? Because you are nothing more than a coward!" Running back towards the meadow, I can only hope he cannot hear my sobs.

Breaking into the clearing, I see Hermes flirting with a wood nymph. How typical. Before I can call out to him, no doubt ruining his chances for romance (and why should I have to suffer alone?), a hand grips my arm, pulling me back into the shade of the forest. Twirling me around to face him, he cradles me close to his chest, brushing his fingers through my hair.

"Never waste your tears on me, love." He nudges a finger underneath my chin, urging my gaze to meet his. "If you only knew how desperately I have missed you. And if you choose to believe anything I have ever told you, let it be this; I am doing everything in my power to ensure you stay by my side, always."

My tears start anew at that, but for an altogether different reason. Clinging to him as if my very life were dependent on it, I whimper when I feel him start to pull away. My fears are quickly put to rest when his lips brush against my own. Whispering against the kiss, I hope not to ruin the moment, "Hopefully my lord will not think it forward of me to make a request?"

"Were it mine to give, you would have the whole of Olympus at your feet." He trails kisses along my neck, stopping periodically to inhale the scent of my skin. A tempting distraction, but I will not be swayed.

"May I know the name of the man who has captured my heart?" I thought I felt him tense slightly, but it had to be my imagination.

He keels before me, taking both of my hands in his. "I am your Aidoneus." He gently pulls me down before him, gazing deeply into my eyes. "And I truly mean that, love. I am now, and have always, belonged to you."

Kissing me once more, he disappears into the shadows, leaving me with only my thoughts. Touching my fingers to my lips, I smile into the approaching darkness.

"Aidoneus..."