Hope in Dark Places

Chapter One

A man lies in a field. Glittering lights hover in the sky above him. The dewy grass tickles his cheek. Closing his hazel, with flecks of gold and grey eyes, the man sighs. Sweet perfume from the wildflowers fills the air. He was surrounded by beauty. But it wasn't real. None of it was real. This man, if you can call him that, is named Hades.

I groan. I miss the surface. But with the dramatic increase in human population and thousands of people dying every hour, I was far too busy to go to the mortal world.

I hate the fake stars in the fake sky. I tried, a millennium ago, to recreate the surface as best as I could, here in Elysium. It's just not the same.

Speaking of thousands of people dying per hour, I have a job to do. Unfortunately for me, I can't slack off, like Zeus and Poseidon do. Or any of the Olympians, to be honest. What do they even do these days? Not actually caring enough to think about the answer, I transport myself to his throne room. Thanatos is there to meet me.

A common misconception is that I am the God of Death. I am not. I am the God of the Underworld. There is a difference, you know. Thanatos is the God of Death. He's a minor, but one of my favourite 'underlings'. I wish I was the God of Death. It's a much easier job, much less time consuming. However, I have to say, the perks aren't quite so good.

Thanatos takes one look at me and groans.

"Sire, surely you know that that is not appropriate attire for a king." I look down at my simple black tee, whitewashed grey jeans and bare feet. Don't see anything wrong with it.

"If I'm the King, Reap, then I decide what's appropriate," I say with a grin. I don't usually display such arrogance, but Reap's my best friend. He knows it's only a joke.

"Don't call me Reap, Hades. I swear to Zeus!" Rolling my eyes, I walk passed him towards my throne.

"Then don't call me Sire." Tos grins at that.

"Touché."

I plant my ass on a black velvet cushion. Oh, excuse me, my royal ass. Damn, my throne is so uncomfortable. Why in Tartarus did I make it so hard? I mean, sure, obsidian looks cool, but it doesn't really make for the best chairs.

"What's on the agenda for today, Tos?"

"Well, Mrs Matthews in London died a minute ago."

"Ha, the stubborn old bird held on as long as she could. I mean, she was 114."

"She's on her way to Elysium right now."

"Bless her. Anything else?"

"Well, you have a visitor." Hmm? I'm aware of everyone in the Underworld. I know exactly the where and who of everyone in my domain. I search my brain. Nope, no one who shouldn't be here.

"Who?"

"Me," the voice of thunder crackles and howls from the corner. I groan, sit my elbow on the armrest and rub my forehead.

"What do you want, brother dearest?" Zeus hates it when I call him that. That's why I do it. My brother, younger brother, looks the epitome of the term 'Greek god.' His pretentiousness couldn't allow him to wear modern clothes; no it was all ancient battle armour for Mr Hotshot over there. Ha, he even brought his shield. Cute. He hasn't changed his beard in a hundred years, still all salt and pepper and so long he could tuck it into his belt. My own chin is covered in stubble, as beards are itchy but being clean shaven feels weird. So, I like to keep a bit of dark stubble. There's nothing wrong with that. I reckon it makes me look devilishly handsome, actually. Zeus's beard just makes him look old.

"I want you to stop calling me that. I am your King."

"Is that all you came to tell me, Bolt? Seems like a heck of a journey if that's all." Um, maybe I shouldn't have said that. Bolt's starting to look like he's getting a hernia.

"Hera sent me. She seems to think that I need to develop better relationships with my brothers." I laugh at him. Very loudly and vigorously. Zeus stopped caring about Poz and I the second we had helped him to defeat Cronos. Typical Hera, though. Being the Goddess of Family and Marriage, she can't help meddling in our lives. She means well, I guess, and she needs something to take her mind of her husband's latest affair. This time with a Nereid, which is adventurous for Zeus, truth be told.

"And how is your darling wife? Not that I believe you care about her."

"I do care about her! I made her queen! I gave her children!" I shake my head, poor delusional Zeus. Why can't he see how much he hurts Hera with all his affairs and illegitimate children? He forced Hera to marry him and now she suffers because he managed to make her love him. She has no escape because divorce is against her nature as a goddess. I know how much her situation sucks. At least I'm not in love with my estranged spouse.

"You're an idiot, Bolt. But I'm not going to try to get through to you. It's impossible." Zeus's face mottles red and his hands clench. He's two seconds from decking me.

"Oh yeah? Well, if you're such a great husband, how's your wife? Still fucking every man that moves but you?" I flinch. Low blow. He's the one that made me marry the shrew in the first place. "In fact, I remember her paying me a visit…"

I roll my eyes. "She's your daughter." That makes his triumphant expression fall. "Oh yeah, that's right."

"Why are you here, Zeus?" I'm sick of his bull.

"I told you. Hera sent me." I know he's lying. I raise one eyebrow. His eyes shift around, but he doesn't speak his true purpose. Fine, he doesn't need to tell me. He just needs to leave. I decide to give him a taste of his own medicine. I sit up straight with my shoulders back, emulating the king I hated to be.

"If that is why you are here, leave. I do not have the patience to deal with you, Zeus. Go back to your kingdom and do not return." My voice takes the cold, disdainful tone I had perfected years before.

"You cannot speak to me like that, Hades! I am your king!" He rages, thunder and lightning filling my throne room. I will not be intimidated.

"Then what do you want, your majesty?" I harden my voice with spite. Zeus looks shocked, but he actually gives in. Surprising, coming from my stubborn baby brother.

"I… I have another child. Hera is after him. I want you to protect him here." I sigh; I already kind of knew that it was going to be something like that. Jeez, Zeus exhausts me.

"You want me to raise your baby son for you? Here, in the land of the dead?"

"No one else wanted to cross their queen," he says resentfully. "Not even for their king."

"How wise of them. No, I do not want another ward. Bringing demigods to the Underworld never ends well. Remember Achilles? Orpheus? The last one of your sons you sent here went mad."

"I know, I know. But there is nowhere else."

"No, Zeus. You'll have to deal with Hera yourself."

"She will kill my son."

"At least then he would actually belong here. The living cannot handle the realm of the dead."

Zeus glares at me. Goodness, he does an awful lot of glaring, doesn't he? I wish he'd just leave. Every time I decide to help with his children problems, it backfires. Not again.

"Fine then. I will see you at the next solstice, brother." Zeus vanishes with a puff of blue smoke that smells strangely of rain.

"Oh, good, he's gone. You two get so intense when you argue." Tos's voice comes from my left and I jump. Was he here the whole time?

"I know. Tos, did I make the right decision? I may have just sentenced the poor kid to death."

"You may have, but if you allowed him to come here, you would have. Mortals that cling to life cannot come here, and the ones that do are forever changed because of it."

Tos is right. No way can I allow another demigod here. I have only just finished cleaning up after the last one.

"I'm sorry, Grim, but you have another visitor." I grin at the nickname. Fair enough. If he's Reaper, then I certainly am Grim.

"Who is it now?"

"Your wife."

"Fuck."

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Author's Note: Hey there! Just so you know, I had originally uploaded this onto , but then realised that it could be counted as fiction as well. Don't worry, if you've read it on there, it wasn't stolen! It's still me, KatyLynne. I hope you liked it, please review/follow/favourite, whatever you like. Have a good day!