Persephone walked through the garden to find a small bench located in a remote area, covered in unfamiliar flora that she could have only guessed would be discreetly located in the underworld, made especially for her.
"Why don't you prove to him that you love him?" Psyche's voice wouldn't stop ringing in her ears. The mortal obviously knew what she was talking about; she was proving her love to Eros in every small gesture she made to get him back. Standing up to a Goddess, especially Aphrodite, would most likely prove fruitless in her labors… the Goddess of love and Beauty was not known to keep any promises, and yet Psyche was willing to do anything to win back the love of her husband.
"Prove to him…"
Persephone knew that she needed to do the same. Win the love of her husband, or future husband, the marriage was to be bound the next day so it didn't matter to her to just title him as her present husband. She bit her lip; Persephone had fallen in love with him… while he was sleeping. While he was unconscious… her gratitude turned to adoration and then slowly into love.
He had fired her emotions even more when he challenged her when he had awoken… gave her small kisses, egging her on until her passions that she kept at bay for the time he was unconscious, finally broke loose and wildly claimed the God that she had come to love!
"Hades loves you…" Psyche had told her, yet the mortal didn't know what had trespassed before she had reached Persephone's solemn prison of darkness that Hades had kept her in for days when he decided to ignore her and keep her more like a pet than his Queen! Persephone knew her feelings for Hades were not lust… but love! How would he know what she felt for him? He was out of it for days and days! He was the one that left her alone in the Underworld while he slept nice and sound…
'Shame on you, Persephone!' the young Goddess scolded herself. Why was she blaming everything on Hades when it was she that put him at risk with all of his injuries, a second time! She put herself in that situation when she had decided to run away again! He had done no wrong to her! He never hurt her, he made sure she was taken care of… and then she would just stab him in the back! Although he had kidnapped her, she did much more damage to him than was done to her.
"Prove to him…"
Persephone woke out of her reverie when a small fruit like object, hanging low from a tree that shaded and hid the bench she was seated at, caught her eye… it was as red as Hades' blood. It looked delicious… "I wonder what that is…" She stopped herself before reaching for it, Persephone recalled Hades forbidding her from eating any food from the Underworld. Whenever a meal was brought to her, it was always from her world above, he stressed to her that it was important she stay pure from her own world. But why?
Psyche had told her that by proving her love to the God of the Underworld, he would perhaps accept it. Persephone was so confused…. How would she ever show him more than she already did? She kissed him multiple times… showed him affection… and he would always blame it on lust! She experienced his lust for her many times… so why was he so upset at her? Even before she came to the underworld, he flirted with her and lusted after her! She recalled the occurrence after she had been punished by Zeus for acting out at the assembly; he had followed her and tempted her!
Persephone did not realize that she was not alone until a familiar voice came, "You're a clever one, my Persephone." The voice belonged to Hades and it was right in her ear.
She turned her head slightly to see his face mere inches away from her own, with his eyes closed.
"Why do you say that?" she asked, turning back to face forward.
Hades whispered even quieter, "Because you are still wearing my necklace."
Persephone tensed as she felt his long fingers trace up and down the side of her arm. She didn't understand why the touch made her uncomfortable, yet she didn't want it to go away.
Persephone woke from her trance and pulled away to the displeasure of Hades, "We need to go somewhere… more private."
Hades smirked, not quite understanding her true meaning of worry, "Alright."
Persephone blushed as she realized his thoughts, "No! That's not what I meant… I am not supposed to be out here… I'm being punished… I'll get in trouble if I am seen… especially with you."
Hades nodded, "Hold on to me, tightly."
"We're going to transfigure somewhere more private, as you said, no?" Hades raised an eyebrow.
Persephone regained her confidence, "Oh," she understood what he meant now, "I thought you meant…"
"I guess we are just two misunderstood people."
Persephone thought about it, he didn't just mean that to be funny, he was speaking the truth, there was so much more to him than others thought and it was the same with her…
She wasn't all innocence, "You're right."
"Persephone?" Hades gazed down at her.
"I still need you to hold on."
She blushed, feeling horribly foolish, "Okay."
Persephone wrapped her arms around his waist and felt the lean muscle underneath his clothing which made her blush even more but it excited her. He was very cold, though. It felt as if he was frozen stiff.
"You're so cold," Persephone shivered, holding on to him tighter.
"And you, my little one, are my long sought after blanket." Hades whispered as he held onto her.
A flash appeared and as quickly as it had come, it left. Persephone found herself still wrapped around the Lord of the Underworld, and she didn't want to let go. True, this was the first man she had ever touched, but she found herself becoming bolder with every breath she took.
She looked around, "We're in Aphrodite's gardens…"
"And Aphrodite is the only one who won't spoil our meeting."
"I guess…" Persephone backed away from him.
"Are you afraid of me?" Hades asked, tracing her arm once again with his fingers.
Persephone shook her head, unable to speak. She felt Hades smirk as he touched his nose just below her ear and traced it down the side of her neck.
"You're a terrible liar." He said softly.
Persephone stopped breathing. She couldn't believe he was controlling her in such a way. The slightest touch from him was driving her crazy, and she had no idea why.
She heard Hades chuckle softly, "You're very easy to seduce."
Is that what he's doing? Seducing me? Persephone thought to herself.
"What are you thinking, my sweet, sweet Persephone?" he said in a whisper as he moved his nose to her chin while placing one hand on her collarbone, fingering the skull necklace.
I'm thinking of telling you everything I have heard and what my mother is planning to do with the others! She thought, but lied through her teeth, hoping he would not sense her uneasiness.
"I… I'm thinking of why you asked me here," she replied, unsteadily.
He smirked again, not catching her lie this time as he brushed his lips along the length of her neck, "Why are you thinking that when you already know the answer?"
He suddenly pulled away from her, snapping her out of the daze she was in. She didn't realize how much of a trance she had been in for her legs gave out and she fell to her knees. Persephone looked up at Hades, standing over her.
He smirked as she gave him a questionable look, "You wore that dress because you wanted to see a reaction out of me, yes? Well I gave you one."
Persephone continued to stare up at him.
"Along with you getting a reaction from me, I got an even better one from you," Hades said with an evil smirk.
Persephone would never forget that… that was the first time she was truly tempted by a real man… let alone the King of the Underworld! It was extremely exhilarating when he was so close to her.
"I am his long sought after blanket…" she said out loud as she scanned the garden Hades had created for her. Persephone wondered if he still felt the same way. She needed to prove herself, to give him the warmth that he always wanted. Glancing above her, the forlorn Goddess stared at the tempting fruit.
"I never truly realized how alone I was in my own world until I met you, Hades, and I never wanted you to leave me even when we first saw each other." Persephone called out to the abyss… hoping Hades would hear.
"I wish to see your face."
Moments later Hades appeared in front of Persephone.
"And why do you wish to see my face?"
Persephone stepped closer to him and placed one delicate hand on his cheek. She stared into his green eyes. "I'd rather speak to your face than not at all."
Hades raised an eye brown, "And why is that?"
"I honestly don't know," she replied.
Hades smirked and leaned forward to whisper in her ear, "Tell me something, my Lady. What is it about you, the Goddess of the spring that attracts me, the God of the Underworld, so?"
"I don't know but I wonder the same thing," she whispered back.
"I wish to see your face now, my love." She sighed, dejectedly. Rejecting the idea of the forbidden fruit or so she thought of it as, Persephone stood up to walk around the garden to discover more of its secrets.
"Hades?" she leaned over to where he was sitting and reached out to him, but never made contact, "are you okay?"
He looked up at the young woman he loved, his eyes were glazing over, "Persephone... I need my vile... my medicine..."
"Hades!" Persephone lifted the covers off her small form and got of her bed, she knelt beside her captor, "No you can't leave me now! What's happening to you?"
Sitting up straight as best he could in the chair, he turned to Persephone and gave a small smile, "My love, Hecate knows what to do... I need you to get her for me..."
She hesitated and put her small hand on his arm, "But what will happen if I leave you? You're scaring me... I don't even know where she is! I keep getting lost down here... I don't know where I'm going... I need your help... Hades!"
Hades doubled over in pain and fell out of the chair onto his knees, he started dry heaving until blood began to drip out of his mouth, he weakly turned his head, "Persephone I already claimed you as my own from the day you were born... the Underworld is just as much yours as it is mine. Listen to what it tells you... it will lead you to wherever you need to go." he coughed as more blood came.
"The Underworld is mine?" Persephone asked herself more than Hades', but she returned back to the present, "Wait Hades... hold on just a little longer! I'll be back in no time. I promise just stay strong, okay?"
Hades was in shock but got more of a surprise when he felt a warm body embrace his cold one, "Hold on for me."
He looked up one last time at Persephone's big brown eyes that were filled with worry and unfallen tears of fright,
"Please don't run from me anymore..."
Before he fell into unconsciousness, Hades heard her small cracked voice let out a whimper as she held him to her, "I promise-"
He knew no more...
Persephone started hyperventilating, what had just happened? Had Hades really fallen unconscious? He had seemed so powerful to her and now here he was, collapsed on the floor , wounded everywhere your eyes could see. She bit her lip, what was she to do now? How would she find Hecate? Hades made her promise not to run from him… but this could have been her great escape. But he was so vulnerable; Persephone didn't think she would be able to ever do that to him. And yet a powerful anger started to sweep over her, seeping into her mind as her breathing became more labored and intensive.
"Hades!" Persephone called out, "You can't leave me here… trapped and alone! You're such a jerk!" she wrapped her arms around him tighter, frightened more for herself then for him.
"Why are you letting me suffer like this, I shouldn't be in this situation… why did you kidnap me in the first place?! WHY?" she sat up straight, wiping angry tears. This was unfair to her, why take away everything she loved so much from above?
"Are you trying to make yourself feel better, seeing me suffer like this? Refusing me laughter, sunlight, friends, and family? What are you playing at??" She cried for a time until there were no more tears to be shed.
Seeing her captor lay unconscious on the floor sparked something in her that woke Persephone up.' What am I doing?' She thought to herself. 'He needs my help, he has saved me twice now and I don't even care? I'm blaming him while he could be dying? I'm just trying to comfort myself and be selfish.' Persephone took a deep breath and wiped away the last of her tears.
She laid him down softly onto the floor, kissing his forehead softly, "Don't worry, you will be just fine, I'll be right back." She told him, as if he was listening to try to comfort him, although she realized it was more to comfort herself! She was not sure what to do yet…
She followed her heart and jumped up and ran out of her chambers, trying to listen to what Hades' had instructed, 'Listen to what it tells you, it will lead you to wherever you need to go.'
"I am part of the Underworld now… I AM the Underworld…" Persephone kept whispering to herself as she turned different corners of different hallways that she had never seen or been in. She had to find Hecate, she had his medicine, she had his cure… her cure. Her way out…
'STOP thinking that way, girl! You're only hurting others by thinking that way!' she kept thinking in her head… her mind was telling her to leave Hades for dead and to save herself, but her heart ached at the thought of him being hurt. Hades' always told her that the thing he loved most about her was that she acted on her heart, not on her head. She had to prove to Hades' that she still acted the same. She would save him!
"Hold on, Hades." She yelled as she picked up her pace.
'I love you Persephone…'
"Hades? Who's there??"
'Take the third right, go all the way down and turn left, keep going straight and turn left again until you see an iron clad door six doors down the hall on your right hand side.'
'Trust me…' a breeze blew by Persephone in reassurance to what was being told to her in her mind.
Persephone took a left and started counting the doors… "one…two, three, four… five… SIX!"
She yanked open the door as hard as she could and ran inside… it was pitch black but she heard voices… she couldn't make out what they were saying but Persephone thought it sound like a chant.
"Hecate?!" Persephone cried out, "Are you there?"
Not getting a response, the breathless Goddess ran straight, feeling a cobblestone path beneath her feet. 'Hopefully this will lead me to her…'
'Follow the path, follow the voices,' she heard the voice inside her direct her once again.
Persephone ran and ran, she felt like she was running through an endless abyss that she feared she would never get out of… right when Persephone thought she could run no more, a torch, in the distance, lit a fork in the path… a crossroads. Becoming extremely excited that she had neared the end to find Hecate, she picked up her pace… the closer she got to the crossroads, the more she could see a white clad figure of a lady standing proudly in the middle of the path.
"Hecate!" Persephone cried out to her, "Help me! Hades is in trouble! He collapsed on my floor and told me to get you for help!"
'Why would she help you?' the familiar voice that Persephone listened to, harshly reprimanded her.
"What? You told me to go this way…" Persephone stopped, confused. She started sensing something went very wrong when she left her room and Hades.
"Hecate… please help me! Why are you just standing there? I thought you cared about Hades! I thought you loved him! I know that's why you hate me so much!" Persephone screamed. She decided to run towards the witch…
'Do you think she wants to help you? Who would want to help a spoiled brat like you? Do you think you are here by accident? Hades wanted you to fall into this trap! He acted like he was hurt so he could rid the world of you!'
"That's not true… Hades loves me! He would never do that!" Persephone screamed outloud.
'Then where do you think you are?'
"I'm in the Underworld… trying to help Hades! I'm trying to help HADES!" she gave a final blood curdling scream into the abyss and collapsed at the crossroads.
The figure that was once Hecate morphed into a shadow… the cobblestone she rested on turned to nothing and Persephone felt the warmth of the fire that lit the way, burn out. And a familiar feeling took over the frightened little girl. For that is what she truly was… a little girl who didn't care about anyone but herself, she felt the ground beneath her give way once more and she was falling again… for the second time.
And then there was a baby's cry once more, like it was screaming for its life, and she heard other noises, the noises of demons waiting to kill its prey… but wait…
What was a baby?
What was a scream?
Who was she?
Persephone stopped herself, before tears would come to her eyes again, she kept having nightmares of that… that awful experience. She stopped her mind from wandering farther into what had happened that night… that night that Hades had left her all alone.
The garden appeared to have much fauna in it as well; mythical birds flew overhead with wings more beautiful than anything she had previously seen from her world above. The underworld held many beautiful secrets that almost everyone from above was oblivious to. Persephone sighed, her was pace getting slower, was she to feel guilty for the rest of her existence for what happened that fateful night? Should she keep blaming herself for truly not trusting her instincts? Trusting the man that had saved her life and put his own in jeopardy? Like all the other Gods that remained above the Underworld, she truly was selfish as well. She thought she was different; that she was separated somehow from all the others, but in that night, she realized that the only one who was singular from all else, was Hades.
Picking a dark purple wild flower that grew among her red roses, Persephone examined the little weed. It was almost a metaphor that she would be thinking the way she was and then to see this small plant, although minute and disconnected from the graceful roses, still grew amidst the vast flowers and growing at the same rate. Some would say the purple flower was a nuisance and unattractive compared to the elegant flora it tried to compete against, yet as she stared at the little plant in her hands, she saw beauty amongst the thorns… just like Hades.
Persephone sorted through more of her garden, trying to find a clear spot for her small flower to blossom and grow all on its own. Smiling when she came back to the bench that she had previously been sitting on, a nice open space was readied for her as if someone had purposefully done so in preparation of the petite flower.
"Perfect, now every time I come to my garden I will spend the most time with you," she smiled as she patted the soil around the flimsy stem. After wiping her hands haphazardly on her dress, Persephone decided to lay flat on her stomach on the bench to stare at her wild flower and her handiwork. She had not lost her touch, she decided happily. And once again, flashbacks started to seep into her mind once more of her unfortunate night.
"Are you alright? Say something, Milady!" Persephone felt herself being shaken awake by a familiar grasp and a soft voice that she loved so much. Squinting her eyes open, she realized how much every part of her body ached, even her eyes did and trying to keep them open was a difficult feat all by itself.
"Charon?" she squeaked, softly.
The boatman hugged her tightly to him, "Oh Persephone… I thought you were gone for sure, you have made me so happy now." He smiled at her as small tears ran down his slender, youthful face.
Persephone took a sharp inhale of breath as she was squeezed against him which instantly told Charon, without words, to let her go. As she watched him cry for joy, another thought had hit her, "What happened to me?"
"You tried to run again, you spoiled little brat!" a cold woman's voice echoed through her head as she turned to see Hecate in the corner of her room, snarling.
"You shouldn't even be here… We should have thrown you out once we found you! Are you stupid enough to make a run for it, a third time now… my Queen?" she spat sarcastically.
This upset Persephone greatly, "But- I wasn't run-"
Hecate joined her side and mocked her, "Oh I wasn't running, I wasn't trying to escape… Then why did you land yourself back in Tartarus? The underworld is a living being, and since my Lord has joined you with it, it can sense your true thoughts and actions… If you weren't trying to run, then why would it lead you back into that hell hole?"
She was cold; Hecate would never understand Persephone… never.
Persephone glanced up at Charon, hurtfully, "How did I get out?"
He sighed softly, "Thanatos and Cerberus went after you."
Persephone jolted up, "But- how are they? Are they ok? Are they??" she clenched Charon's tunic in her small hands, wanting an answer.
"Hecate took care of them, don't worry." He tried to soothe her, but Persephone would not calm down…
"Where's Hades?! Is he alright?" She looked frantically around for her captor. When she saw that the only people that occupied the room was herself, Charon, and Hecate, she wriggled her way out of Charon's hold on her and jumped up, "WHERE IS HE?!"
Hecate did not stop her from freeing herself, "In his own room, unconscious because you decided to run away."
Persephone shook her head in despair and ran out of her own room, looking for Hades, "ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!" She screamed out. "You lead me back into Tartarus when I was trying to help Hades!?" She was floored, if the underworld was supposed to be hers as well, then why did it lead her away from help? WHY?
Coming to a wrought iron door, Persephone leapt across its open threshold to get inside to where the room was holding the Lord of the Underworld. He lay sadly on a grand bed with cream silk softly enveloping his bruised and wounded body. He looked so innocent and naïve and Persephone couldn't help but scan him up and down. He appeared more as a boy than a fearful God of Hell. Persephone stood there, time escaping her, she did not know how long she was on her feet, but all she could stare at was the final product of her selfishness. Did the underworld punish her for her previous thoughts before she went looking for help? Was she being taught a lesson…? 'Can I ever rid myself of this place?'
After the Gods knew how long, Charon knocked softly on the opened door, not really waiting for a response, but to let her know he was present. He retreated to the corner of the room and fetched Persephone a chair to be seated in. Obviously, Charon could sense how long she had been standing there. Once the chair was placed next to Hades' bedside, the ferryman led Persephone to it and let her collapse in its support. Tears started to pour down her face and she buried her head in the sheets in front of her. Seeing this happening, he quickly grabbed another chair to sit beside her and comfort her.
"Hush, it's alright… Hades will be alright… so why the tears, Milady?" He wrapped his arms around her once more and let her cry into his chest.
"Oh Charon! I promise I didn't run away! I didn't! Hades told me to trust in myself that I would find help for him!" she breathed out in huge gasps.
He sighed, "Did you really believe in yourself?" he turned her chin up so he could look at her.
She shut her eyes tightly, "I guess not since I had to be saved once again!"
"Hecate heard your cries for help, and told Thanatos to start searching for you while she went to find Hades. Everything was taken care of; you just needed to believe in yourself. You have so much power in your hands and I don't believe you realize it." He patted her back, trying to soothe her from her incontrollable sobs.
"Look at Hades! I did that to him? How could I believe in myself when it's my fault that he was even hurting in the first place?!" Persephone covered her mouth to try to stifle her cries. She attempted to control her breathing, "I'm too young, Charon, I am not good for him… I don't know why he wants me at all, especially with everything that I put him through!"
She looked up at the young man who was smiling sweetly at her, adoration twinkled in his eyes, "My Lady, Hades loves you. Did you not think that he did not know what he was getting himself into? He knew you would struggle, he knew that both of you would get hurt one way or another… I'm not sure that physical pain was his thinking, but he would do anything for you."
Persephone shook her head in disbelief as Charon continued, "Hades would do anything for you, he loves you so much… all he could truly hope for were for you to love him in return. I understand that he kidnapped you from above, but he had wished for you to fall in love with his kingdom and the God that watched over it. And, if I do say so myself, you have not had ample time to spend with him with all this running around, am I right?"
She looked down in shame as Charon lifted her chin once more to look at him, "I suggest you stay with him, and prove to everyone else who you are and who their Lord fell in love with. And maybe, just maybe, you just might fall in love with your kidnapper too."