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After Sunset, All That's Left are Thorns

Chapter Text

The air is harsh as it rushes in and out of Kore’s lungs, her chest heaving with the force of it. Her legs burn straight through the soles of her feet, and the sun, beating down on Kore’s face and neck, seems to mock her. You can’t do it, little one, the sunbeams whisper in her ear.

Yes, I can, and I will, she hisses back. Kore glances over her shoulder. The others are completely unaware of the silent exchange, but she’s grown distracted, and they’re catching up. Kore turns back to the path ahead. A hundred feet away, the finish line is stretched out invitingly.

Kore has never run faster in her life, but she knows Artemis is gaining on her, and in a split second her decision is made. Pretending to stumble, she brushes her fingertips along the soil, sending a root out along the path, before straightening and pushing herself onward. Behind her, Artemis trips and cries out in frustration.

Kore grimaces. She didn’t want to hurt her friend, but she must win this race.

Kore breaks through the tape stretched across the path, and the ends billow behind her in the wind.

The sun beats down hard on the meadow, and the light shimmers in an odd way, solidifying until Apollo himself steps out of the sunbeam. “I’m impressed, baby.” He sneers. Kore feels herself shrink back a little bit.

The sun is harsh in the meadow, the wildflowers and tall grasses bending and wilting in the heat. Kore feels herself wilt, too. “You win this one, Kore. I’ll see you again tomorrow.” Apollo turns, smiling at Kore as if she is his prey. The heat is sweltering, and the light intensifies as he climbs through a ray of sunshine into the sky, disappearing into the light.

Artemis walks up to her then. “Was that my brother? What did he want?”

“To congratulate me.” Kore whispers.

“I wish he’d stayed a little longer.” Artemis barreled on, oblivious to Kore’s discomfort. “I could use some help with this.” Kore looked down at her knee, dripping golden ichor, and felt a pang of guilt. She hadn’t wanted to harm her, but if Artemis knew why, maybe she’d understand.

 

“Mama?” Kore prodded at her mother’s shoulder. “How come we aren’t the same color?”

“Well dear, not all daughters look like their mothers. Some look like their fathers.” Demeter answered, smiling down at Kore.

“Who is my father?” Kore asked. Demeter sighed.

“Kore.” She warned.

“Yes, mama.” Kore relented.

“Sweet girl. You are pink like sweet summer roses and the sky at sunset. But you must remember, roses have thorns and sunsets lead to darkness. Be careful not to be either.” Demeter pushed Kore’s long hair behind her ear. “The day isn’t over yet, dear. Why don’t you go see if any of the dryads need help.”

 

Kore shuddered at the memory. She’d take a lifetime of darkness if it meant that Apollo wasn’t watching her all the time. She shook off the haze pushing into her mind.

“Come on, Artemis. Let’s get inside. The heat is making me dizzy.” Kore let Artemis lean on her as the walked to the little cottage at the edge of the meadow.

Inside, she cleaned the wound on her friend’s knee and applied a salve. “How do you know so much about healing, Goddess of Spring?” Artemis asked.

“I don’t, really. I just know the uses of all the plants.” Kore explained.

“Is it a prerequisite to be a Goddess of Spring? Did you have to memorize all of them?” Artemis joked.

“I never had to learn it, just as you never had to be taught to use a bow. I’ve just always known.” Kore said.

---

“Cerberus!” He calls, cutting off the long winded speech that the man before him is giving. Hades is done listening to him attempt to justify his life. The three headed hell hound prowls out from the shadows behind Hades, melting into being. He sits next to the king.

Hades rises and descends the steps. “What is the mortal’s name?” He calls, lazy almost.

“Ander.” Hecate answers.

“Ander.” Hades repeats, stepping closer. The mortal is trembling now. Hades knows how much fear he inspires. He uses it well with men like this.

“You stand accused of many crimes.” He begins to pace a circle around the man kneeling in the sand.

“You raped a young girl.” His long obsidian robes swish through the sand, the fabric weird and swirling.

“You forced her into matrimony, one of the holiest stations.” He rests his hand casually on the scythe at his hip.

“You violated her and the gods.” Hades snaps his fingers, and Cerberus slinks down the steps, passing through the shadows to stand at his master’s side.

“You abused her children!” Hades thundered, Cerberus’ growl matching his own.

“THEY WERE MINE!” Ander roars back.

 

“Rhea. Where is he.” Kronos is calm, measured in his anger. It always starts that way.

“My love, I know not of what you speak.” Rhea crept closer to her husband, ignoring the fear pulsing like ice in her veins.

Kronos laughed. “Do not lie to me.” He was still laughing, he wasn’t angry yet. Hades shrunk further into the cave.

Rhea slipped her hand up her husband’s arm, sidling closer. “Kronos, it’s been so long.” She whispered.

“Not today, Rhea. You will not distract me today. Where is my son?” Kronos was losing his composure now, but Rhea persisted.

“We have no sons. Perhaps we should try?” She tried to kiss her husband, but Kronos pushed her down. Rhea tumbled onto the ground, gasping in pain.

“Where is he?” Any hint of the happy husband was gone. Danger glinted in the Titan’s eyes.

“You can’t have him!” Rhea cried, cowering on the ground. Hades saw the strength that ran through her, pillars of iron that held strong in defense of her child.

“Where is he? Is he near?” Kronos taunted. “I’m sure I could pull him out of hiding.”

“You won’t.” Rhea was sure.

“I disagree.” Kronos hissed, then delivered a swift kick to his wife’s stomach. Rhea curled in on herself, wheezing.

“You can’t have him.” She sobbed.

“MY SON,” Kronos roared, “IS MINE!”

 

Hades whirled on the man before him, hauling him up by the collar of his shirt. “They were never yours, you disgusting mortal.” He dropped the man, pacing back to the steps at the foot of the throne. “I’m done with this trial. Cerberus, eat.” He commanded.

The mortal scrambled to the opposite end of the court, cowering in a pathetic attempt to escape the hellhound. Cerberus stalked along the shadows, drinking in the whimpers and sobs of the soul before him. Hades whistled once, low and sharp, and Cerberus pounced.

Chapter Text

Demeter’s hands shake as she reads the letter before her. Demeter hasn’t been to Olympus in over eighteen years. She should’ve known she couldn’t keep Kore safe forever.  

She’s quite the beauty, isn’t she? I need to meet her, Demeter. Bring her for the Winter Solstice. It’s time she met her people.

 

---

 

Hades pushed the car a little faster, enjoying the fast turns of the road to Olympus. He was running late, but he doubted anyone noticed. His presence was always more noteworthy than his absence. 

He pulled the car to a smooth stop in front of his brother’s house. The white marble glowed with golden light from within, and the sound of music and cheerful chatter wafted outside. 

Hades sighed, knowing he was about to ruin it, and climbed the steps. He pushed through the door and wandered into the ballroom. Silence blanketed the party like ash after a volcanic eruption. 

Hera was the only one unaffected. “Hi, Bunny.” Hades whispered into her hair. 

“Please, continue playing.” Hera directed the band. As a cheerful melody burst through the room, everyone visibly relaxed. Hera took Hades arm and led him through an open set of french doors to the veranda.

“Why do I ever come to these things? I only ever ruin them.” Hades moaned. Hera slipped a scotch into his hand.

“You come because some of us enjoy your company.” Hera chastised him. 

“I came because Zeus told me you really wanted it. What’s going on, Bunny?” Hades asked.

Hera blushed. Hades looked at her a little closer. She was flushed, but no cigarette or cocktail in sight. Her golden glow seemed a little brighter. Apart from all of the subtle clues, Hades could sense the soft pulse of a quiet little soul growing deep inside her.

“Oh, Bunny.” He sighed. “Congratulations.”

Hera slid a hand over her stomach, which was just beginning to swell. “Did you bring a date? What about that nymph you were going to go out with?” She asked

Hades downed the rest of his scotch all in one swallow. “It didn’t work out. Women are scared of me, or they only want the power I can give them.”

Hera smoothed a hand down his face. “I could look for a wife for you. It’s kind of my specialty.” She smiled. 

“Thank you, Bunny.” Hades smiled sadly.

“Come, on. Let’s go find Zeus. I saw him slinking off to his office earlier.” Hera towed the King of the Dead behind her as if he wasn’t the most feared God of them all.

Demeter sat in one of the plush chairs outside Zeus' office, visibly fuming. Thetis ushered them in, and Hades stopped cold, for there before him was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen 

A small pink goddess, clad in a gauzy golden dress that tried and failed to contain the soft curves of her body. A mane of rosy hair flowed down her back, and she held a small tumblr full of liquid.

Hades knew he hadn't met this goddess before, because he never would've been able to forget it, and yet, somehow, he felt as if he knew her. 

 

---

 

Kore looked around the office, amazed. She felt like a simple village girl here in this grand office in this great big house. 

Thetis stuck her head in. “Can I get you anything? Water, tea? He’ll be in shortly.”

“No, thank you.” Demeter said. She looked as if she belonged here. The regal cut of the deep green dress only made her seem taller, more beautiful and powerful.

The door swung open, and a tall God swaggered in. He wore a white suit, and his long purple hair was tied up. He exuded power. 

If there was any question who this man was, it was answered by the crown upon his head. Golden lightning bolts circled his brow, and the echo of thunder flashed in his eyes. 

“Demeter, Kore, welcome home to Olympus. I trust Thetis made you comfortable?” He circled the wide mahogany desk and settled himself in the chair behind it.

“Yes, she did. Thank you for inviting us on this visit.” Demeter said, all forced cordiality.

“Visit? This isn’t a visit. I’m collecting my daughter.” Zeus said.

“What?” Kore was shocked. This was her father?

“Did you not tell her, Demeter?” Zeus asked, the distant thunder in his eyes growing closer. 

“Of course not!” Demeter scoffed. “She belongs in the fields and the forests, not here playing politics for you.”

“I need to speak with her.” Zeus said.

“No. Not without me here.” Demeter insisted.

“Mama.” Kore touched her arm. Demeter turned to look at her daughter. “It’s okay. I want to speak with him.”

Demeter looked at Kore for a moment before turning and sweeping through the doors.

Kore looked up at Zeus, the King of the Gods, and her father. He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, and muttered quietly.

“Would you like a drink, daughter?” He asked, rising and pouring himself a shot of bourbon. 

“Sure.” Kore answered. Her mother never let her drink, but Demeter didn’t have to know.
She sipped on the amber liquid, letting it burn down her throat. 

Zeus sighed. “Kore, I have an enormous amount of responsibility, you know? Managing this kingdom is more burden than gift. Any problem anyone has is placed on me. I want you to come to Olympus and learn about life here, so that you can help me.”

“Me?” Kore was shocked. Her mother never gave her that kind of trust. 

“I’ve talked to my wife about it. She thinks if we let you live with Artemis, a sacred virgin and protector of women, you will be safe here. Then your mother can be confident in your safety and I can be happy knowing you are here to help me.”

Kore sipped more of her drink. 

“Think on it, will you? I could really use you, not to mention how much I want to know you.” Zeus smiled down at her. Kore looked up at him. He was every bit the father she’d dreamed of.

The moment was interrupted when Thetis stuck her head in the door. “I’m sorry to interrupt, Your Grace, but your wife is here.”

“Send her in.” Zeus said.

A beautiful golden goddess, just as small as Kore, swept into the room.The elegant white dress that sheathed her body matched Zeus’ suit. Kore was so caught up in admiring the goddess, she almost missed the man behind her.

He was taller even than Zeus, with cobalt skin and short hair to match. The black suit he wore seemed to almost glitter in the light, and Kore shivered.

Kore met his eyes, and gasped. He was beautiful.


Chapter Text

Hera breathed a laugh as her husband brushed a kiss against her belly. “What do you think love? A boy or a girl?” He asked, smiling up at her.

Hera pushed his hair behind his shoulders, curling a strand between her fingers. “A girl this time, I think. A little princess.” 

Zeus was creeping closer, now. His mouth was pressed to her throat. “Do you think your brother will come to the party tonight?” She asked.

Zeus groaned. “Do we have to talk about this now?”

“It seems wrong that we should be so happy while he sits on his throne alone.” Hera said.

Zeus flung himself down beside her. “What would you have me do?” He asked, exasperated.

“I want to find him a wife.” Hera mused.

 

—-

 

Kore watched Zeus converse quietly with his wife in the corner. Hera glances worriedly her way, and Kore quickly averted her eyes. The only problem was that there was only one other noteworthy thing to look at in the office.

Kore knew that Zeus and Hera were king and queen of the world, the most powerful beings, the only ones who controlled gods. Yet, somehow, this tall blue god was more imposing than both of them combined. 

Her eyes traced the sharp lines of his profile, taking in his smooth forehead and his prominent nose, the point of his chin. She couldn’t help but notice that his mouth seemed impossibly soft against the contours of his face. She also couldn’t help but notice that he looked tired.

His eyes met hers again. Kore wasn’t breathing. She didn’t know this man. She had never met him. So why was he so familiar?

Zeus clapped his hand onto the god’s shoulder. “Hades, come back to the party with me. My wife wishes to speak to Kore.” He practically dragged the God, Hades, out of the room. 

Hera settled herself in Zeus’ desk chair. “Hello, dear. I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Hera. I’m your father’s wife.” 

Kore winced. “Yes ma’am.”

Hera flapped her hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it. I’m not too upset about some secret daughter he’s had somewhere. We’ve worked through it.” Kore didn’t hear the quiet, “for now,” tacked onto the end of the statement. “My husband wishes for you to come live here and learn about Olympus. I agree that it’s a good idea, but I want to know what you think.” 

Kore was a little stunned. No one ever wanted to know what she wanted for her life. She simply always did what her mother wanted. She leaned back in her chair and thought about what Zeus had said. 

“I’m not sure I know enough about what the arrangements would be. I’ve never been away from home. I’m still in school. I’m not sure I’m ready.” She said.

Hera sighed. “No woman ever is.” She said. “There’s a state of the art University here, where you could continue your studies. How about we get you enrolled and settled in with Artemis. You can adjust to life here slowly, have access to some good internships, and you can start helping your father more after you graduate.” 

“Wow. That sounds like a dream.” Kore breathed. She could almost see it in front of her. Kore could walk to class everyday, make friends, join clubs. She could go to Stardrachma whenever she wanted. 

“What would you want to study?” Hera asked.

“Political science or maybe sustainable agriculture. I’d like to minor in design.” Kore couldn’t believe she’d told Hera that. She’d never said that aloud before.

“That’s perfect! Olympus U has a great poli sci program. And there’s so many internships available. You could supplement your classroom time with work done in the field. They partner with the three kings to give a fully rounded education.” Hera gushed. 

Kore’s head was spinning. She could work? She could be independent? 

“That sounds amazing!” Kore started, the hope coursing through her veins. Then she began to deflate. “I just don’t think my mother would let me do that.” Kore said. She couldn’t let herself get her hopes up.

“Let me deal with Demeter.” Hera said, her smile turning cold.

 

---

 

Hades let Zeus pull him out of the office. He can’t get that little pink goddess out of his head. 

“Zeus!” Hades turns to see Demeter rushing towards them. “What’s going on?” She asks.

“Relax, Demeter. Hera wanted a word. They’ll be out shortly.” Zeus kept walking, dragging Hades behind him. Demeter skulked back to the chair she’d been waiting in.

Zeus finally stopped when they stood on a balcony overlooking the party below. A scantily clad nymph deposited drinks in their hands before disappearing again.

Below, Poseidon was flirting with a giggling nymph. Amphitrite marched over and yanked him away. Hades and Zeus watched them argue for a while before Poseidon grabbed his wife and kissed her. They slipped down a hallway. 

“Is that what marriage is?” Hades mused.

“Fighting and making up, brother. Why do you ask?” 

“The underworld gets lonely.” Hades shrugged.

“What about the nymph you were going to go out with? What was it, Minnie?”

“Minthe.” Hades corrected. “I don’t know. It didn’t feel right. I don’t think she was interested for the right reasons.” 

Zeus groaned. “I’ll never understand why you’re so selective.”

“The Underworld is a rough place. I need a queen who can handle everything I do right alongside me.” 

“You work too hard.” Zeus rolled his eyes, his sentence punctuated by the ring of Hades’ phone. 

Hades walked a few paces away and answered. “Hades. Speak.”

His face took on a dark glee. “Really? So soon. Well then. I just might have to leave this party early.” Hades hung up, turning to Zeus. “I’m sorry brother. Business calls.”

“Yeah, Yeah. Have fun.” Zeus waved at his brother’s receding back, beginning to hatch a plan of his own. 

 

---

 

Hades straightened the heavy obsidian crown on his head. This was one of the few times that it did not feel heavy on his head. 

Hades took pleasure in donning the usually cumbersome robes that dragged heavily behind him and strapping the scythe to his hip. He normally hated how it reminded people of his father, but today he relished the reminder of his cruel legacy. 

Let them remember who locked the great Titans in Tartarus without lifting a blade. Let them remember the reign of terror and the oldest son left to inherit it. Hades whistled for Cerberus, and the hellhound melted out of the shadows, bounding up to his master’s side. 

“Ready for work?” Hades asked, and his favorite dog transformed immediately into Cerberus, Guard of the Underworld and Devourer of Souls.

Hades took the chariot with Cerberus sprinting alongside him. He preferred to go old school for these types of things.

Hades calmly opened the doors and strode in, Cerberus growling softly at his side. He crossed the great courtroom and settled on the throne. Hades had learned that most souls expected a grand entrance and were far more shaken from a calm demeanor.

Hecate began to read the charges of the woman before him. “The soul before us today stands accused of the following: destruction of property in the second degree; causing of multiple deaths, numbering more than ten; the desecration of a sacred temple; lack of regret or repentance for crimes; many more petty crimes, too numerous to name.” Hecate snapped her scroll closed. “Do you have any defense?”

Hades reached out and stroked a hand over one of Cerberus’ heads, fully aware of how terrifying his casual contact with the hound could be.

The soul before him lifted her head beneath a veil. “I didn’t mean to do what I did.” She whispered. 

Hecate waved a tape in the air. “I’d like to present some evidence for the consideration of the court.” Hades nodded his assent.

A young woman wades through a field of golden wheat, only a week away from harvest. The villagers are celebrating what will be the biggest harvest in a decade. 

Suddenly, storm clouds surge over the horizon, and thunder sounds in the distance. A single bolt of lightning stretches down from the sky and touches down mere feet from the young woman. A fire roars to life in its wake, consuming the grain and the girl both.

Men run from the village, frantic as they attempt to save the grain and their families. 

The tape goes black before transitioning to a new scene.

A man pushes what little food he has to a small child. The child gobbles it up. They are both visibly starving. 

The man leads the child out of the house. They pass a blackened field and pick the first wildflowers beginning to bloom alongside it. 

They continue on, coming to a cemetery. They distribute the wildflowers among many graves, almost none of them grown over with grass yet. 

It’s clear the decimated crop is the cause of the death that blankets the village. 

The child follows his father to the small temple at the top of the hill, where they lay the last of the wildflowers.

“Mother Demeter, please forgive our meager offering. These are the most beautiful things we have, and the only thing we can give without killing ourselves. We pray for your continued blessings.” The father’s prayers are interrupted by a loud laugh.

A girl slinks forward from the entrance of the temple. “Demeter?” she laughs. “You pray to Demeter? She can’t help. She has no power. Why not pray to a greater god?” The girl’s eyes spark with a familiar light. 

“Demeter is our patron.” The father said. “There is no greater god.”

“I tried to show you. I tried to tell you that she is nothing compared to the king, but you,” a clap of thunder rolled through the temple, “wouldn’t,” a bolt of lightning snaked through the air, “listen.” The father lay dead on top of his wildflowers. The girl turned and walked out of the temple.

Hades rose from his throne. “Daughter of Zeus, you are more than mortal. That power comes with a certain responsibility, one that you misused poorly. I’ve seen enough.”

He walked down the steps to where the girl knelt on the floor, unsheathing the scythe.

“My father will see! He will punish you!” She cried.

Hades grabber her veil, yanking her head back.

“He cannot see here.” He whispered in her ear, before drawing the scythe across the line of her throat.



Chapter Text

A year later

 

Kore walked into the great white house for her appointment with Hera. The Queen herself appeared at the top of the sweeping staircase, a baby cradled in her arms. 

“Oh, hello!” Kore cooed. Hebe stretched and reached one tiny golden fist out, and Kore caught it with her finger. 

“Here.” Hera said, handing the little goddess off to Kore before leading her further into the house. A nymph appeared and took Hebe from Kore at the door to Hera’s office.

“So,” Hera began, settling into her chair. “Let’s talk. Your professors say that you are excelling in class. Your grades and attendance are excellent, as is your engagement. You’ve taken a heavy class load and bore it gracefully.” Kore blushed a little.

“I didn’t want to waste the gift you’ve given me. I value my education highly.” 

“Well, the year is starting up again and I’ve made a decision. You only need one more semester to graduate but I would like to spread your classes over two. That will give you enough time for an internship.” Hera slid a packet across the table. “This is a survey that will help us decide which program would be the best fit for you.” Hera set a heavy black pen on top of the packet. 

 

—- 

 

The door to Hades’ office eased open and Hecate walked in. “These have just arrived from Olympus. They’re the  intern surveys. I’ve weeded out the obvious ones and these are what’s left.” She set a stack of paper on his desk.

“Is this necessary?” Hades asked, thinking of the mountains of work he already had on his plate. 

“Yes it is! We agreed to the intern exchange program. You have to choose at least one. There’s only five applications, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Just get them to me tomorrow.” Hecate turned and walked out, leaving Hades alone at his desk.

He sighed, then hauled himself up and walked over to the tall cabinet to pour himself a drink. Settling on the couch in his office, he began flipping through the applications. 

 

Name: Ariadne

Area of Study: History of Religion

Designation: Nymph

    Where would you be interested in interning?

Any place that would take me! I’m very adaptable

    What clubs were you involved in?

Nature Appreciation, Temple Builders, and Cat Lovers

 

The questions went on, each answer further proving how horrible of a fit she would be for the Underworld. The next two were satyrs, and he immediately threw them out. Cerberus always tried to eat satyrs, and that would be an HR nightmare. The fourth seemed promising, but the nymph already lived in the Underworld. Wasn’t this program supposed to be about exposure? 

Hades downed what was left of his drink and poured another, then opened the fifth application. 

 

Name: Kore

Area of Study: Political Science and Government

Designation: Goddess

 

A goddess? Most gods and goddesses didn’t go to college. This was interesting. There was no indication of what she was the goddess of, but Hades shrugged it off. 

The rest of the application was glowing. Recommendations from Hera and the dean of her college. She’d taken far more classes last semester than she’d been required to, and excelled in all of them. 

She was also involved in many clubs, Hades noticed, smiling when he saw not one, but two that were focused on dogs. She had grown up in the mortal realm and it seemed the only place she had no experience was in his own kingdom. 

He set her application on his secretary’s desk on the way out, directing her to have it delivered to Hecate. 

 

---

 

Kore and Artemis were sprawled out on the sofa, wine glasses in hand, chocolate wrappers on the coffee table, and Pretty Nymph playing on the television. The nymph was flirting with a handsome god, leaning in closer, when the doorbell rang. 

Before either goddess could stand to answer it, Apollo sauntered in. Kore’s skin prickled.

Apollo had been showing up at Artemis’ house since the first week Kore moved in. When she’d commented that she thought no men were allowed in the house, Artemis had laughed and rolled her eyes.

“He’s not a man, Kore. He’s my brother.” She explained.

He’s not my brother, Kore thought, but she never said anything. Artemis had taken her into her house. She wasn’t going to disregard her hospitality. 

Even when Apollo stood a little too close, she didn’t say anything. When he brushed against her in the kitchen, she stayed silent. The days that he picked her up from class for her “safety” but kept his hand on her thigh the whole way home, she locked herself in her room and cried. 

Kore was so confused. She and Artemis danced in their underwear together and cuddled on the sofa. They bumped hips playfully in the hallway and bestowed affection upon each other freely. None of it ever made Kore feel small and itchy the way that Apollo did, though. So she stayed silent. 

But when Apollo sauntered into the living room, something felt different. He sat down a little too close to her, and Kore could smell the alcohol on his breath. When he discreetly gripped her knee, Kore jumped. 

“I think I’ll head to bed now. I have a long day tomorrow. Goodnight.” Kore stood abruptly and shuffled to the bathroom. She took a quick shower, and brushed her teeth. She was tossing her clothes in the hamper when she heard a soft knock.

“I was just in the shower! Be out in a sec!” Kore called. She tucked the towel a little tighter around her frame and unlocked the door. Apollo loomed in the hallway.

Faced with the God before her, Kore felt herself shrink. She ducked down and tried to scurry past, but Apollo stuck his arm in the doorway, blocking her path. 

“Little one, you should have told me you were taking a shower. Maybe I could have joined you.” He gave her body an appreciative once over.

Kore ducked under his arm and scurried down the hallway, slamming and locking her door. His words echoed in her mind and she shivered.

Kore wrapped her hair into the towel and slipped on her fuzziest pajamas. She double checked her planner, making sure that all of her assignments were done. 

The only thing she had left to do wasn’t due for another week, so she decided she could let it wait until tomorrow morning. 

Kore snuggled under the covers of her bed and picked up the book she’d been reading. A few minutes later, she heard Artemis’ door close down the hall and breathed a sigh of relief. If Artemis was going to sleep, her brother was gone. 

Fifteen minutes later, Kore had finished her chapter and Artemis was audibly snoring on the other side of the wall. Kore flipped her light off and settled in to sleep. She had almost drifted off when a noise jolted her awake.

Puzzled, she sat up, and it came again. Someone was jiggling her doorknob. 

“Kore. Kore, I know you’re in there.” Apollo’s voice drifted through. Kore began to tremble.

“Don’t worry, I’ll see you next time, little one.” 

Kore sat on her bed, shaking, long after the front door slammed shut.


Chapter Text

Hecate flipped through the application in front of her. Did Hades know who this was or was he completely clueless? Kore, the Virgin Goddess of Spring, coming to intern in the Underworld? 

Demeter wouldn’t be too happy. Hecate hit the third number on her speed dial list. The phone rang a few times.

“Office of Her Majesty, Hera, Queen of the Gods. How can I help you?” 

“Inform Hera that Hecate is on the line, please.”

  “Please hold.”

A quiet classical piece played over the phone for thirty seconds, and then Hera picked up.

“Hecate. What can I do for you today?”

“Hades choose Kore for the intern program. Are you sure this is the best idea?”

“Oh, Kore would do great down there. It’ll be great for her, and I’m sure she’ll be an asset.”

“Hera, what’s going on here. This seems fishy.”

“Don’t worry, Hecate. Everything will turn out just fine.”

The line went dead. Hecate groaned and went to figure out where to put the goddess when she arrived.  

 

---

 

Hades pushed the car faster as he leaned into the curve of the road. There was nothing like starting his day with the speed and precision that the drive to his office required. He pulled smoothly into his reserved parking space. Hades killed the engine and listened to the rumble of the car fade. Stepping out and straightening his jacket, he headed for the tall glass doors that opened into the lobby of Tower One. 

His path was blocked by a small, familiar pink form. The goddess from Zeus’ office, more than a year ago. She was still just as beautiful, but her formerly long hair was now cut just above her shoulders, and instead of a gauzy golden dress, she wore straight black slacks and a pretty blouse. 

“Excuse me, can I help you?” he asked, trying not to appear too menacing. 

She jumped and turned to face him. “Hi! I’m Kore. I’m here to meet with King Hades about my internship.”

This was Kore? He remembered her application, but this was not who he’d expected. She seemed young and sweet, and not at all suited to the darkness of his realm. He mentally shook himself. He’d read her application and deemed her capable. He wasn’t going to let her appearance change that.

“Ah. I can show you the way.” He opened the door for her and led her through the lobby. He waved to smiling nymph at the desk and continued to the elevator. 

“So you work here?” Kore asked.

“Yes, I do.” Hades answered, a little amused that she seemed to not know who he was.

“Wow. What do you do?” She asked looking up at him.

“A little bit of everything.” He answered truthfully.

“Do you know who handles interns?” She asked again. No wonder she did well in school, she was so inquisitive.

“Hecate directly manages interns, and then reports to Hades. You’ll most likely have a mentor in whatever department you are placed in, as well.” He said.

“What is King Hades like?” She said, fidgeting with the ties on her blouse.

The elevator dinged for Hecate’s floor. Hades walked Kore out and showed her to the receptionist. 

“This is Kore, here to see Hecate.” He said, walking back to catch the elevator before it closed. Kore gave a cute little wave as the doors slid shut, and Hades found a dopey smile spreading across his face. 

He turned to find the small red elevator nymph giving him an odd look. 

“What?” He asked. “Do I have something on my face?”

 

---

 

“Kore? I’ve never heard that name before.” The red nymph sitting at the desk had an unpleasant, pinched look to her face. The name plate read Minthe in a sharp font. 

“I’m a new intern. I’m supposed to see Hecate.” Kore said. Minthe just glared at her.

She picked up the phone on her desk and pressed a button. “Hecate, a girl named Kore is here to see you. Mmhm. I’ll send her in.” Minthe set the phone down and stood up. 

Kore felt weird looking up at this tall, slender nymph. She was so beautiful. 

Minthe sashayed down the hallway, with Kore following behind her. The nymph led Kore to a set of doors that opened into an office situated on the corner of the building. A small sofa and two chairs sat in front of one wall, and a desk stood in front of the other, with a slender blue goddess just peeking over the top of a laptop. 

“Minthe, can you access my email chain with Hera and let her know that her intern got here alright?” Hecate handed her laptop off to Minthe, who clicked back out of the office on her sky high stilettos. 

Hecate rose and walked over to the sofa. “Come sit, Kore.” Kore sat down in one of the armchairs. 

“Alright, I’ll give you the welcome spiel.” Hecate smiled, and Kore couldn’t help but smile back. The goddess turned on the television, and pulled up a presentation. 

The first slide was a picture of the Underworld. “This is the Underworld, it’s almost always dark here because Apollo doesn’t have much time to visit, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.”

The slide changed to a picture of the building they were in. “This is Tower One. The Underworld is constantly expanding and it’s always busy. Tower One is the headquarters for everything that goes on here. You’re a poli sci right? Most of your time should be spent here, because this is where all of the important decisions are made.” 

A picture came up of several employees smiling for the camera. “Underworld Corp has endless opportunities for employment. If you want to work in government, you probably don’t want to be a receptionist, secretary, or junior bookkeeper. There are also opportunities in data management and our judicial system that you may be interested in.

“After this, you’ll go meet with a company representative who will give a tour of the corporation and explain in greater detail each department and its role here. Finally, this is Hades, King of the Underworld, super powerful, judge of souls, pat the ground twice to summon him, yadda yadda yadda. I’ll be your immediate supervisor, but you will also report to him.”

Kore stared at the picture on the screen. It was the man from the elevator! The one she had asked all those embarrassing questions! She looked closer. He looked different. In the elevator, he’d been smiling and laughing. In the picture on the screen, he looked almost miserable. 

“Kore?” Hecate interrupted Kore’s spiralling thoughts, and she snapped back to the office. “Here.” Hecate handed her a note scrawled on thick stationary. “Give this to Minthe, and she’ll tell you where to go.”

“Thank you.” Kore smiled at the woman before her. Hecate pulled a cigarette from thin air and took a drag. 

“Don’t mention it!” She called as Kore walked out of the office. 

Kore carefully traced the path back to Minthe’s desk, trying to reconcile the man she met in the elevator with everything she’d heard about Hades. It seemed impossible.

Minthe was typing furiously when Kore walked up. Kore gently passed her Hecate’s note. Minthe read over it, thought for a second, and then started typing again.

“Umm,” Kore didn’t want to interrupt, but she also didn’t want to be ignored. 

Minthe reached below the desk and handed her a sheet of paper.

“These are directions to Tower Four. Go to level 82B. Say that Hades sent you.” She smiled, and a chill ran down Kore’s spine.

“Okay. Thank you.” She said. 

Kore rode the elevator back to the lobby and followed the directions down a street to a tall building. Letters running down the corner of the building identified it as Tower Four.

The interior was much less ornate than Tower One, the lobby still clean and impressive, but much smaller. The elevator was only a few paces away. Inside, she used the keypad to enter the level. The doors slid open, and Kore stepped out. 

“Hello?” She called.

Deep in the darkness, something stirred. Kore shivered. “Is anyone there?” She called.

A clatter sounded somewhere far away. “Um, Hades sent me?” She said. 

Instantly, everything changed. A pale blue light hurtled forward, growing bigger and bigger. Kore took a step back, and then another. She stumbled a little, and when she looked down to see what had caused her to trip, her breath caught in her throat. A gnarled hand, reaching for nothing, sprouted out of the ground. 

Kore glanced up and saw a wall of blue light bearing down on her. An army of shades was charging toward her from inside it. 

Kore screamed. She could feel her hair brushing her biceps when moments ago it hadn’t even touched her shoulders. Vines were wrapping through her hair and down her arms. 

I’m all alone, she realized. The shades would be upon her soon, and there was no one to save her but herself. Kore took a deep breath, and reached her arms out.

The blue light surrounded her fingertips, and an icy chill began to creep into her bones. Kore cried out, and a bright white light burst forth from her hands, throwing all the shades back a hundred feet. Kore fell to the ground, and as she crawled, a forest sprouted up around her. 

She collapsed onto the floor, unable to move another foot. She could see the shades. They were beginning to rise. Kore sobbed. She was done for. 

Mama, I’m so sorry, she thought. Then she remembered something Hecate had said during the presentation.

“Hades!” She whispered, slamming her palms into the ground.



Chapter Text

Minthe sat at her desk, Hecate’s laptop in front of her. Who was this Kore? Why was Hades so interested in her?

She had gone on one date with Hades, and he’d never followed up. It had gone perfectly! He was a king, she was beautiful! Far more beautiful than the short frumpy goddess he had delivered to her today. 

Following her gut, Minthe ran a search on Hecate’s computer. As she read the messages from Hera, she seethed. Minthe wasn’t about to let some silly little goddess steal her prize.
A piece of paper slid onto her desk. A note from Hecate.

Send Kore to HR for new employee orientation. She’s Hades’ new assistant. Thx.

Minthe fumed. Then, she began to formulate a plan. There was somewhere this Kore would do far better than HR. 

 

---

 

Hades’ head jerked up at the familiar twisting in his gut. Someone was summoning him. It was odd, though. The summons was strong, but the voice was almost whispering his name. 

Hades!” He shook himself out of it. Someone needed him. He stood, grabbing the umbrella by his desk and giving it a spin. In an instant he held his bident, the prongs gleaming black and wicked sharp. He bent and placed his hand on the floor, melting into the shadows. 

He stepped out of the shadows into Tartarus, but it wasn’t Tartarus as he knew it. A forest that looked hundreds of years old sprouted up around him. He tripped and looked down to see a gnarled hand clutching a white heeled pump.

“Hades…” 

He almost missed the sound of his name being called. He whirled toward the noise and began tearing through the forest. Hades stumbled upon a small pink form lying among the trees, long hair splayed across the forest floor.

Flowers were growing up around her, and every living thing seemed to be leaning in toward her. Even the shades crept toward her, craving the power of life that poured off of her.

Hades bent, turning her head. It was Kore, the goddess from the elevator. How had she gotten here. Hades turned, lifting his bident, and spoke a word in ancient Greek. The shades faded. 

He bent to lift Kore into his arms, and carried her out of the pit.

 

---

 

“You really don’t have to do this, you know. I’m sure I’ll be fine.” Kore smiled bashfully up at Hades. He felt a blush begin blooming across his cheeks.

Get a hold on yourself! Hades chastised himself. She’s been through an ordeal and is in no shape to have you mooning around over her!

She walked into the elevator cart and he followed. 

“Do you need a ride home?” He asked. He didn’t want to press the little goddess, but she was in no shape to use public transportation. 

“Actually, I’d really appreciate it, if it’s not too much trouble. I know how busy you are, and I don’t want to bother you.” Kore looked up at him from under her lashes, and Hades was done for. 

“Of-of course. It’s the least I can do.” He stammered. What?! You haven’t stammered since before the Titans fell! Get it together, Hades! He screamed at himself. 

The elevator doors opened and she looked away from him as she stepped out. Something deep in Hades’ chest ached. He would do anything for her to look at him like that again. 

He trailed behind her through the lobby, like a lovesick puppy. Hades couldn’t help but admire the striking image of her profile outlined against the lights that twinkle in the Underworld’s perpetual darkness. 

“I’m sorry that your first day was… less than ideal.” He said as she walked through the door he held open for her. 

“Oh, don’t worry about it.” She managed a small smile.

“Still, you shouldn’t have been put in that much danger.” He insisted.

“Danger?” A cold voice rang across the pavement, bouncing off the smooth glass of Tower One. Hades turned to see Apollo leaning against the hood of his ugly sports car. “Kore, you shouldn’t work here if it’s going to put you in danger. I can’t have my girl somewhere this dangerous.” 

My girl. Realisation dawned on Hades. Kore and Apollo were somehow together. 

“Come on,” Apollo said, walking forward and tucking Kore under his arm. “Let’s get you home.” 

He ushered her into the front seat of his car. Apollo slammed the door, and Kore looked up at Hades. He couldn’t help but feel that she wasn’t happy to be sitting in that car. It was something about the trapped look in her eyes. 

“Wait.” Hades said, but he was too late. The engine was rumbling to life, and Apollo was roaring away.

Kore watched him through the window, and a ball of anxiety bubbled in Hades’ gut.

 

---

 

“What happened to you?” Apollo demanded.

“It was a misunderstanding. I ended up in Tartarus.” Kore said quietly.

Apollo grasped Kore’s knee and she flinched. “I can’t let my girl work somewhere this dangerous! You have to quit.” He growled.

Kore tried not to whimper. He was driving fast, much faster than he should have been, and he seemed to be losing control. “I just want to go home.” She whispered. Artemis would be there. Artemis would make her tea and wrap her in a blanket and promise never to let it happen again. How could she love Artemis so much, and yet despise her twin brother?

Apollo’s hand stroked Kore’s thigh. “Don’t worry. I’ll get you home and I’ll take care of you.” Kore tried not to shiver.

“I think Artemis can handle it.” She whispered.

Apollo brought his hand off her leg and she breathed a relieved sigh. Her calm was short lived, though. A second later, his hand smacked her thigh, hard.

Kore sucked in a breath, curling in on herself.

“You were hurt.” Apollo hissed. “You don’t know what’s best for yourself right now, so you’re going to shut up and let me take care of you, okay?” A tear rolled down Kore’s cheek. 

“Answer me!” Apollo shouted.

“O-okay.” Kore whispered.

When they pulled into the driveway, Apollo opened her door and ushered her into the house. She sat on a stool in the kitchen while he put the kettle on and made her a cup of tea. He made sure she drank every drop.  “Go get in bed.” He directed.

Kore, lost in a haze, obeyed. What was happening to her? She was so tired. Maybe she should go to sleep. She crawled into bed, shivering under the blankets. Despite her best efforts, she was almost asleep. Why wasn’t she supposed to fall asleep? She couldn’t remember. Her eyes closed.

Kore blinked her eyes open, and a bright light flashed. She covered her face, disoriented and confused. What was happening?

“There’s my girl.” Apollo cooed. Apollo? What was he doing in her room?

She looked around. Her blankets were gone and so were her clothes. Apollo sat on her thighs in his underwear. His phone was in his hand.

He leaned down, caressing the swell of her breast. Kore shifted. What was happening?

“Shhhh. It’s okay, baby girl. Just be still.” Apollo’s voice was sickeningly sweet. She realized that not only was she crying, she was thrashing against him. 

“Wait, Apollo.” She said.

“No, no, it’s okay.” He soothed. He held his phone up, and the flash went off again. 

He’s taking my picture, Kore thought, and I want him to stop.

“Stop.” She croaked, grabbing for his arms. Why was she so sluggish? Apollo laughed. 

“You’re my girl, Kore. I don’t have to stop.” He chuckled. What? That didn’t sound right.

He took another picture.

“Stop.” Kore said, louder this time. She was beginning to panic, and through her distress, she was beginning to grasp at some clarity.

Apollo was laughing again, pulling at the cup of her bra. 

I have to make him stop . She thought.

Kore could feel the life pulsing through him, as she could in every living thing. She grappled with it. She thought of the way a tree felt when one of its limbs was dying, the way it felt when an animal lost hold of its life force. She pushed it onto Apollo.

STOP, she thought.

And he did. 

 

---

 

Hades jolted awake in bed. Something was wrong. A wave of death was rolling through the mortal realm. The power driving it felt familiar. 

Where did he know that from? He thought back and realized that he had felt that same power in Tartarus, in the forest that Kore had created.


Chapter Text

With Kore in his arms, Hades walks through the doors of Tower Four. As he makes the quick walk back to Tower One, every nymph and god on the street stops and stares. 

Hades, King of the Dead, is cradling a tiny pink woman in his arms. She is unaware of the whispers and everything else. 

A single older woman rushes forward, and Hades feels a rush of protectiveness. 

His anxieties abate when all she does is gather up Kore’s long hair and deposit it in her lap. 

“We wouldn’t want it to get dirty.” She murmurs. With a soft smile, she turns and walks away, fading into the crowd.

Hades glides into Tower One and heads straight for the elevator, only pausing to tell the receptionist to send Hecate to his office immediately. When he steps out of the elevator and into his office, Hecate is already there, waiting.

“Oh no. What happened?” She asks.

“It doesn’t matter right now. All that matters is that she’s okay.” Hades says, depositing her on the sofa as gently as he can. Hecate draws a soft blanket over her before laying a damp cloth on her forehead. 

Slowly, Kore comes awake. “What happened?” She whispers.

“You summoned me to Tartarus and I brought you back.” Hades answers. Hecate shoots him a look that says You will explain more later , but he doesn’t want to overload her right now. 

“Do you want to go home?” He asks. Kore nods. He makes sure the blanket is wrapped tightly around her before taking her to the elevator. 

 

---

 

Hades dressed as quickly as possible, dialling Hecate as he rushed into the garage. He settled in the front seat of his fastest car, pulled out of the garage, and put the pedal to the metal. 

“Hades? It’s the middle of the night. What’s going on?” Hecate sounds as if he’s woken her up, but Hades can’t find it in himself to care. 

“There’s been some tragedy in the mortal realm. I need you to prep for a huge incoming of souls.” Hades doesn’t think he’s ever made it through the Underworld this fast, but he’s nearing the entrance to the mortal realm in record time. 

“Hades, what happened?” Hecate asks carefully.

He sighs. “I don’t know yet. Something big. I have to go.” 

“Yeah, go. Gods be with you.” Hecate hangs up.

Hades shoots into the mortal realm and follows the sense of death. It doesn’t take very long to find the source.

The car screeches to a stop, and Hades climbs out. 

He looks down at the grass beneath his patent leather shoes, taking in how vibrant and green it is. How unlike the world a few feet away from it.

A line of gray is spreading towards him, slowly. The grass is dead and withered, oaks that look to be hundreds of years old are rotting, flowers have wilted and died. Hades takes a deep breath and steps into the gray.

The grass beneath his feet crumbles into ash. What happened here? He asks himself. 

There’s a power pulsing out through the landscape, driving the pure aura of death that is rolling through the land. Hades makes his way towards it, despite every piece of him screaming danger! Turn around!

He sees Artemis’ house, with Apollo’s flashy car out front. Hades sucks in a breath, steeling himself for what he’ll find inside, and walks through the front door. A vase of flowers in the kitchen are gray and dead, dried to the point of being unrecognizable. 

Hades is shocked to realise the entire house is full of plants, every one dead. He pushes further into the house, following a hallway. The last door on the left is ajar. Hades pushes it open. 

The room is full of light colors, contrasting deeply with the thick gray vines snaking through it. Apollo is passed out on the floor, vines holding his body down. Kore sits on the bed, shaking. 

She’s in her underwear. Hades tears his jacket off and rushes toward her, then stops himself. He has some idea of what happened here, and he doesn’t want to invade her space. 

“Kore.” He says, as softly as he can. Her head jerks up, and her eyes are faintly glowing blood red. A crown of red thorns graces her brow. He reaches his hand out, offering her his coat. She takes it, wrapping it around herself. 

“I’m going to step out and call some people, okay?” Hades waits for her nod before stepping into the hallway. 

“Hecate. I’m at Artemis’s house. I need you to send her and Hera here immediately. Tell them it’s urgent.” He hangs up without waiting for a response, and walks back into the room. “Do you need anything?” He asks. 

“Will,” Kore breaks off, looks up at him, and then pats the bed next to her. Hades sits down a few feet away. “You always come rescue me.” She murmurs.

“Hopefully this will be the last time.” Hades says. They’re interrupted by the sound of the front door slamming open. 

“Kore! Kore, where are you?” Artemis shouts, barrelling into her room. Artemis rushes to Kore’s side, taking her small pink face in strong hands. Artemis looked her over, searching for damage, and apparently satisfied, yanked her into a hug. Artemis began murmuring to her, so soft that Hades couldn’t make it out. 

He glanced around, and saw a phone lying on the bed. Hades picked it up, and quietly walked to the kitchen. He figured they needed some space.

He opened the phone, then nearly dropped it. It was a picture of Kore, almost naked, obviously afraid and dazed. A purple hand grasped at her bra. Hades slammed the phone onto the counter and gripped his hair. 

“Hades?” He looked up to find Hera standing there. She looked a little less impeccable than usual. The buttons on her coat didn’t line up quite right, and her hair was frizzy.

“Oh, bunny.” He breathed. Hades handed her the phone, watching her expression fade from confused into something cold and steely. 

Artemis appeared then, with Kore under her arm. She was wearing a t-shirt and loose pants, both of which looked as if they belonged to Artemis. “We’re going to Olympus.” Artemis announced. “Hades, can you drive?” She asked.

Hades nodded. They climbed into the car, Artemis and Kore in the back, Hera in the front with him. 

 

---

 

Kore sits in her father’s office, Hera next to her, holding her hand. The doors open and Zeus walks in. 

“Hera, you can go now.” He says.

“But-” Hera starts.

“Go.” Zeus says. She gives Kore’s hand one last squeeze, stands, and walks out. 

“Kore. Twice in the same day you lost control.” He chastises. 

Kore’s head snaps up to look at him. “My life was being threatened! A man tried to-to rape me!” She cried.

“Nevertheless, you must learn control, daughter. You wreaked havoc on the mortal realm.” Zeus continued.

“I can fix the mortal realm! I can’t fix what he did to me.” Kore said.

“You will fix the mortal realm, and then you will return there until you’ve learned control.” Zeus said.

“What? No! I’m almost done with school, I just started an internship. I can’t go back now!” Kore couldn’t believe it. How could he do this to her?

“Kore, no man will want to marry you if you can’t control yourself! Especially now that you're damaged goods!” Zeus thundered.

“Damaged goods?” Kore squeaked.

“Yes. Damaged goods. You aren't a virgin anymore.” Zeus pinched the bridge of his nose, and for the first time, Kore thought he looked tired.

"How does that make me damaged goods?" She demanded.

“There are several bachelor gods who want your hand in marriage. Most of them will probably rescind their offers after this fiasco.” 

“What if I don’t want to marry them?” Kore asked.

“You have to marry someone.” Zeus said.

“What? Why?” Kore was shocked. Didn’t she get a voice in her own future?

“Because there aren’t enough goddesses and the gods want wives. Apollo, Hermes, Ares, and Hades are all alone.” Zeus told her. 

“Let me go back to school.” Kore said. “I want to be the best wife I can be. Give me one more year.” Her head was spinning. She needed to buy some time to figure this out.

“Okay.” Zeus relented. “You can finish out the year. But at the end of it, you must tell me who you will marry.”



Chapter Text

Artemis shook with the force of the sobs wracking her body. How had she let this happen? Kore came to live with her because Artemis could keep her safe. Artemis had failed.

She’d failed the sweetest, kindest, most compassionate person she knew. Artemis’ chest heaved. She felt as if she was about to be sick. She looked over her shoulder at the feeling of a hand stroking her hair.

Hera dropped down to sit next to her. 

“I couldn’t protect her.” Artemis gasped. “It’s all my fault.”

“Shhh.” Hera soothed. “This is no one’s fault but Apollo’s.”

“He’s the only man I let into my house. She questioned it and I dismissed her!” Artemis cried.

“You had no way of knowing this would happen.” Hera said.

“I knew that he sought her out. I knew he was interested, I just thought that it was a crush and he would get over it.” Artemis swallowed, despising the salty tears running into her mouth.

“Artemis. Look at me.” Hera’s voice was kind, but stern, and Artemis obeyed. “This is not your fault.”

Artemis curled into Hera’s embrace, letting the Queen hold her while she cried.

 

 

Persephone took a deep breath and pushed the door open. The receptionist looked a little shocked to see her, but she smiled anyway. 

Persephone just managed to catch the elevator before the doors slammed shut. 

“Kore.” She looked up and saw Hades. For a second they both just stared. 

“Persephone.” She squeaked.

“Persephone?” He stepped closer. Shouldn’t she be afraid right now? Her heart was beating fast in her chest and her palms felt damp, but she wasn’t afraid.

“I go by Persephone now.” She said, pushing more confidence into the words than she felt. 

“Bringer of death.” Hades breathed.

“Yes.” Persephone answered. The elevator dinged. The doors opened. They stood there, just looking at one another, until the little red elevator nymph cleared her throat. 

Persephone turned and rushed onto her floor, not seeing the dopey way that Hades stared after her. 

She fished the piece of paper out of her pocket and followed the directions to her office that Hecate had set up for her. It wasn’t very big, but there was a nice sized desk with a laptop, pens, and a name plate sitting on it. She found the laptop box with all of its cables in one drawer, and paper in another. Persephone explored a little bit before settling down into the comfy chair.

When she opened the laptop, another piece of paper sat on the keyboard. 

 

Persephone,

Welcome to your office! This may be a temporary place for you as your supervisor may decide he wants you a little closer, but this is where all administrative assistants start out! Please report to the 99th floor for further directions. 

-Hecate

 

Administrative assistant? Okay. Persephone grabbed a notepad and a pen and made her way back to the elevators. 

“Floor ninety-nine, please.” She requested. 

When Persephone stepped out of the elevator, she found herself in a nice reception area, with an elegant, unmanned receptionist’s desk. She walked forward and knocked lightly on the tall doors in front of her. 

“Come in!” someone called.

Persephone opened the door and looked around the office. There were two doors to the right, one of which was opened and showed a small lobby with its own elevator. To the left sat a large sofa a several modern looking chairs. Further into the office, a wet bar stood against one wall, and past that was a large desk with a familiar face sitting behind it. 

“Persephone.” Hades called, standing and beginning to walk toward her. “Do you need something?” 

“Hecate sent me. I’m supposed to be an administrative assistant.” She answered.

“Oh. She mentioned something to me about that. Hmm. I’ll give you a quick tour.” Hades walked over to the open door. “This is the entrance from the private elevator. I’ll get you a key card that will allow you to use it, if you wish. It also goes to the floor above this one, which is the penthouse.” 

“If you have a private elevator, why do you use the regular one?” Persephone asked.

“I like to see the people I work with.” Hades shrugged, a sheepish smile appearing on his face. “Here’s the coat closet, and this one is in case I leave here for court or if I need clothes for the mortal realm. I’ll get some in your size as well.” 

“Hades, if your penthouse is on the top floor, why do you go all the way to the lobby just to come back up again?” Persephone wondered.

“I don’t live there usually. I have my own house. Sometimes I stay in the penthouse if I’m working late, and it’s usually where my visitors stay.” Hades explained, leading her out and to the other door. “This is your office.” He said.

It was bigger than the office she’d been to that morning, but not massive. The furnishings were nicer, though, and a sleek desktop computer gleamed at her from the desk. 

“You can move into this office if you wish. If you dial 1001, it rings my desk phone. 1002 is Hecate, and 1003 is my receptionist, but I don’t have one right now.” 

“What’s that door?” Persephone asked, pointing to the other door in the room.

Hades opened it and they went in. A spiral staircase ran through one corner, and Hades explained that Hecate was directly below them and above was a back entrance to the penthouse. This room mainly served as a snack room, with a small shelf covered with food and a mini-fridge.

“Wow.” Persephone said. 

“Alright, well, we’d better get started.” Hades led her back to his desk. They sat across from each other and Persephone made notes on his schedule. “Do you have any dress robes?” He asked.

“No.” Persephone felt a stab of shame.

“It’s okay. We’ll get some for you. Until then you can wear mortal dress for court. Be ready to go by 9:30.” Hades dismissed her. 

It was 8:30. Persephone took ten minutes to grab everything she needed from her office and move it into the one adjoining Hades’. Thanking the Gods for her mandatory computer class, Persephone typed Hades’ schedule up and then compiled some basic research about the case. At 9:15 she steamed Hades’ robes and polished the scythe, then changed herself. She called the dog walker to make sure Cerberus was on his way, and then went to make a quick snack. 

 

 

Hades listened to Persephone pottering around the office as he worked. It was oddly soothing. At 9:20 he stood and went to the closet to fetch his robes. He was pleasantly surprised to find them neatly ironed and his scythe lying atop them, polished to a gleam. He went through Persephone’s office, intending to change in the break room, and stopped, shocked at what he found. 

Cerberus was lying on the floor next to her chair, and she was absentmindedly running a foot along his fur. A bowl of berries sat on her desk next to a small stack of paper with his name scrawled on the front in neat cursive. She was typing away and didn’t notice him at first.

“Oh! Hi.” She exclaimed. “I made a snack for you, and compiled a report about the case so you could get a briefing about the situation before we get there. Also, Cerberus is waiting.” She smiled bashfully, and Hades about fell to his knees in front of her. She’d only been here an hour. He wanted her to stay forever. 

Instead he whispered a quiet thank you and went to go change.

He flipped through her briefing in the back of the car, trying to ignore the way her skirt rode up while she scratched Cerberus’ ears. He failed miserably.

For Gods’ sake Hades! She’s had not one, but two bad things happen to her in the last week. She doesn’t need another one!

When they got out of the car, Hecate was waiting for them. The two women fell in behind Hades, and Cerberus trotted up to stand at his knee. The four of them entered the circular court room. 

Judges ringed the depressed platform in the middle, where a soul knelt, waiting for judgement.

Hades crossed the room and settled in his throne, Cerberus laying down across his feet. Persephone stood to his left, Hecate to his right, and the trial began. 

The man before them was a serial killer. The only issue with the proceedings was that he had a mental illness. They had to determine if his actions were the result of his illness or his own mind.

“Who are your favorite people to kill?” Hades asked.

“Girls.” The soul growled. “Girls with long hair. Like that pretty one right there.” He grinned at Persephone. Hades glared, Cerberus sat up and a growl ripped forth from his throat. In the sand beside the soul, a vine sprouts.

“Why did you kill them?” Hades asked.

“I liked the way they screamed. I’m sure that hot lady would have beautiful screams.” The soul made a kissy face at Persephone. The vine wrapped around his ankle. He didn’t seem to notice.

“How many women did you kill?” Hades asked.

“I didn’t keep count. But none of them were as beautiful as the hot piece of ass you’ve got next to you.” The man winked. 

“Okay, we’re done here.” Hades said. “I sentence this soul to eternal punishment. Persephone, is there anything you’d like to add as reparation for his disrespect?” 

“There isn’t anything I’d like to add, your majesty, but there is something I’d like to take.” Persephone answered. Hades gestured her forward, and she descended the steps, Cerberus falling into step behind her.

At the sight of her slinking toward this man with hell in her eyes and his favorite dog behind her, his knees were weak. He wished he could see this every day.

Red thorns laced their way through her hair, and the vine around his ankle wrapped up his leg, disappearing under his tunic. The soul began to scream, and then the vine retreated back into the sand, and Persephone turned and walked back to her place behind Hades, Cerberus following her.

Hades watched her in amazement. Persephone had castrated the man.

Chapter Text

Hera: I need your help with something.

Hecate: Oh no. Who do I need to bury this time?

Hera: No one, I swear. Zeus’s daughter is coming to the Underworld to intern. 

Hecate: Oh yeah, I filled the forms out this morning. What about it?

Hera: Zeus wants to marry her off to one of his sons.

Hecate: So?

Hera: Apollo is too forceful, Ares is too violent, Hephaestus might work, but I have other plans for him. 

Hecate: So what’s the plan?

Hera: I want you to set her up as Hades’s PA.

Hecate: He hasn’t had one in centuries! You know he hates assistants. 

Hera: Once you meet her, you’ll understand. They’re perfect for each other. 

Hecate: Fine, but you’ll owe me one.

 

---



Hades found Persephone standing outside the courthouse. Cerberus left his side to head back to work, and Hades approached her alone. She looked up at him, her eyes massive and her face hard as stone. Something deep in Hades’ chest burst open and started pounding against his breastbone. 

He felt entranced by this woman before him. Persephone was strong, and powerful, and the most gorgeous creature he’d ever seen. Unable to stop himself, Hades reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. 

Persephone blushed dark pink, and the crown of red thorns bloomed bright blue hydrangeas.  

“I’m sorry.” She whispered. Hades’ fingertips were still in her hair and Persephone’s eyes were still locked on his face. 

“For what?” He asked, just as soft. He didn’t want to break whatever spell this was. Hades wanted to live in the little magic bubble they had created forever. 

“For doing what I did to that man. I don’t know what came over me.” Shame bloomed over Persephone’s face, and Hades thought that if he were to look down, he’d see his own heart shattered on the ground between them. 

“No.” Hades said, bringing his other hand up to cradle her head. “Don’t be sorry, and don’t be ashamed. I gave you full leave to do whatever you pleased. You could’ve killed him and I wouldn’t have minded.” 

“Killed him? He was already dead.” A single tear escaped, running down Persephone’s cheek.

“Whatever happens to a soul here is permanent. If I run my sword through his chest, he will cease to be. That punishment is reserved for the worst mortals.” Hades explained.

“You’d let me do that? He didn’t deserve that.” Persephone whispered.

“For what he said to you, he deserves worse.” Hades said, his words firm and unyielding. Persephone wrapped her arms around herself, shivering a little. “Come on, let’s get out of here.” Hades steered her to the car, gave a few quick instructions to the driver, then climbed into the back with her.

She started crying. Hades tore the belt that held his scythe off of his hip and threw it onto the floor before grabbing a blanket from the back and wrapping it around her shoulders. Persephone huddled into his side, and he put his arm over her shoulders. He stroked her hair and held her close while she cried. 

“Hades, this isn’t the way back to the office, is it?” Persephone asked, small and quiet and shattered. 

“No, sweetness. I told the driver to take us to my house, if that’s all right?” Hades asked, suddenly worried that he’d done the wrong thing. 

“No, it’s okay.” Persephone answered. She burrowed further into his side, and by the time they pulled into his driveway, she was asleep. Hades gathered her into his arms, whispered to the driver to have the scythe brought back to his office, and tossed a ruby into the front seat.

For the second time that week, he cradled the goddess in his arms, her mane of hair trailing behind them as he carried her. He settled her into his guest bed, and carefully pulled the hydrangeas from her hair. They’d wilted and died while she’d cried. 

Next he went to his own room, and changed out of the heavy robes into a t-shirt and a pair of joggers. Hades padded through his home on bare feet, and began pulling things for dinner from his fridge. He roasted peppers and onions with zucchini and pecans, then made pasta to go with it. Unsure of what Persephone ate, he made shrimp separately and then checked to see if he had any alternative protein options for her. Hades was rifling through the pantry when Persephone walked into the kitchen. 

“Hades?” She said.

“Oh, Kore! I made dinner, if you want some. It’s vegetarian.” Hades rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. 

“Oh, thank you. You didn’t have to do that.” More blue hydrangeas bloomed in her hair as she sat down at the counter.

 

 

The food was delicious. After dinner, Persephone sat on the cold marble counter and watched Hades do the dishes.

“Would you help me with something?” Persephone asked. 

“Anything.” Hades smiled at her, setting down the dish rag and walking over to stand in front of her. 

“I want to cut my hair.” She announced. 

“Of course.” He didn’t even question her. Something deep in Persephone bloomed. “I have some scissors and a razor in the bathroom, or I can make you an appointment.” Hades suggested. 

Persephone felt more flowers spring to life in her hair. Blue petals drifted down onto her lap, covering her clasped hands. She met Hades’ eyes and blushed. A small wave of shame rushed through her. She could never control herself. 

Persephone looked down and found Hades’ blue hand grasping her much smaller pink one. He turned her hand palm up and pressed something small and hard between her fingers. Persephone held it up to the light. It was a diamond. 

“You’re not the only one.” He told her. “Let’s take care of your hair.” 

Persephone hopped off the counter and followed him through his house to the bathroom. His bathroom, she realized as they passed through what was definitely his bedroom. The heavy black robes from earlier were pooled on the floor by the hamper. Persephone couldn't stop herself from wondering what he'd looked like as he took them off. She shook herself and followed him into the bathroom.

“How much do you want off?” Hades asked, opening a cabinet and pulling out scissors and an electric razor. 

Persephone considered herself in the mirror for a minute. She pulled the long mass of her hair over her shoulder and ran her fingers through it. 

“Get it to my chin, and we’ll go from there.” She decided. 

Hades was gentle as he pulled her hair back behind her. He cut carefully across the back, his fingers brushing against the back of her neck. Persephone shivered. Each snip sent a cascade of pink petals floating down around them. 

Hades stepped in front of her to even out the front, his fingertips pulling the strands from behind her ears. He fixed her part with a fingernail drawn carefully across her scalp. 

“There. How do you like it?” Hades asked. Persephone turned to the mirror and reached to run a hand through her hair. 

“I feel so light.” She breathed. Persephone shook her head a little, enjoying the way her shorter hair wooshed around her jawline. She giggled a little before looking back up to Hades. “Will you do some more?” She asked.

Persephone rather liked it this length, but she wanted an excuse to feel his hands on her again. 

“How short?” Hades asked softly.

“As short as yours in the back, but longer on top.” She said.

Hades sectioned her hair off and started cutting again. Persephone marveled at the skill he had. Who knew the King of the Underworld was so talented with his hands?

The buzz of the razor against her scalp held almost as much electricity as his touch. He turned the razor off and began styling the front. When he pulled away and she saw it, Persephone was shocked. It looked as if she had gone to a salon.

“Thank you.” She said, turning and throwing her arms around him. 

“Of course.” He said, soft and sweet and so, so kind that it broke Persephone’s heart just a little. “Would you like for me to take you home?” He asked.

Persephone pulled away, her face falling. “I don’t know how to go back.” She whispered. “Artemis couldn’t protect me in that house. How am I supposed to sleep in that room again?” Persephone knew she sounded small and broken, but she couldn’t find it in herself to care. She was with Hades, and she felt safe.

“Do you need somewhere to stay?” He asked, still soft and gentle. 

“I can’t impose on you again.” Persephone said.

“It’s no imposition. I have more house than I know what to do with. I’m sure the company would do me good.” Hades assured her.

“Are you sure it’s alright?” She asked.

“Sweetness, you never have to ask.” Hades brushed the back of his hand against her cheek, and Persephone found herself leaning into it. 

I’m so screwed , she thought.



Chapter Text

Demeter opened her front door, surprised at the goddess standing on the other side. 

“Hecate? What are you doing here? I haven’t seen you in ages!” Demeter ushered her friend into the kitchen, going to start the kettle for tea.

“I had some things I wanted to talk about.” Hecate said, evasively. Demeter continued pouring the water and measuring the tea leaves, used to Hecate’s antics. The goddess wouldn’t say a thing until she was well and truly ready. Demeter set out some scones she’d made the afternoon before and the mugs for tea. 

“I hope this isn’t about my Kore. I didn’t want her to intern in the Underworld, of all places, but I still want her to do well. You should know how relieved I was that you’d be there to look out for her.” Demeter beamed as she poured the water, and Hecate heaved a heavy sigh.

“Actually, my friend, it is about Kore. A few days ago, Hades sensed a surge of death rolling through the mortal realm. It was sudden and unscheduled, so he went to check it out. The epicenter was Artemis’s house.” Hecate sipped at her tea. 

“What happened? Is Kore alright?” Demeter demanded.

“She’s as fine as she could be, all things considered. I don’t know how to say this.” Hecate was fidgeting. Hecate never fidgeted. “A jealous nymph in our office sent Kore to Tartarus on her first day. She made it out all in one piece. She grew an entire forest down there. Hades was going to take her home, but Apollo had come to pick her up. He drugged her. She woke up….” Hecate took a deep breath. “She woke up part way through. When we got there, they were both unconscious. Any lesser god wouldn’t have survived the fight she put up. She came back to work yesterday, of her own volition.” Hecate took another sip of tea. 

“He-he raped her.” Demeter whispered.

“Yes.” Hecate replied, as gently as possible.

“He drugged her, and then he did all those horrible things to her. To my Kore, my sweet little flower.” Demeter let out a trembling breath.

“Are you alright?” Hecate asked, leaning closer to her friend.

“That piece of garbage isn’t going to survive what I’m going to do to him.” Demeter growled.

 

---

 

Persephone slowly became aware of her surroundings. A dim room with pale gray walls, a large bed with fluffy white covers, the soft rumbles emanating from somewhere beneath her feet. Her eyes opened slowly, and she found Cerberus snoring gently across the bottom of the bed.

Persephone smiled at him, briefly entertaining the thought of staying in this bed forever. With a sigh, she instead pushed herself out of the bed and onto the smooth floor, trying her best not to disturb the hellhound.

When Persephone came back in from her shower, he was still on the bed, but he gazed at her lazily. Persephone pulled the t-shirt that Hades had leant her the night before over her head and went off to find the King himself. 

That was how Persephone realized how severely she had underestimated the size of Hades’ house. Eventually, Cerberus came walking up behind her and led her through the labyrinth. 

“Hecate, I’m serious, I don’t want that shitty little sun god in my realm.” Hades’ voice boomed through the hallway. Persephone stumbled back a little. Sure, at the trial the day before Hades had been cooly authoritative, lazy and powerful in the brusque way that he decided that man’s fate. But this? This was pure, unbridled fury, and the force of it almost made Persephone dizzy.

“Do you think I give a flying fuck what that rat bastard wants?” Persephone followed his voice through the hall.

“This is final. I’m sorry, Hecate, but I won’t change my mind. Just deal with it.” The ice in his tone made Persephone shiver. She was definitely not supposed to have overheard that. Persephone turned and traced her path back to the kitchen, hauling Cerberus after her. 

He happily obliged once he realized their destination, showing her to the cabinet that held his food container, along with several others. Persephone followed the carefully printed instructions, doling out the appropriate amount of mortal soul and mixing it with the egg whites.

“Persephone?” 

She turned to see Hades standing in the doorway to the kitchen and oh . He was wearing workout shorts, sneakers, and nothing else. Persephone’s brain short-circuited. Her eyes were glued to every inch of muscle that was packed onto his frame, to the way his normally impeccable hair was damp with sweat and hung in his eyes, even his fucking shins were sexy. When had shins become sexy? When had she started thinking things were sexy?!

Persephone was jolted out of her head when Hades laid a hand on her bicep. Oh his hands were nice, warm and big and strong. Strong enough to pick her up and-

“Are you alright?” Hades asked, concern laced through his voice.

“Yes!” She squeaked, mentally yelling at herself to get it together. 

“Would you like some breakfast?” Hades asked. 

“Let me make breakfast, since you didn’t give me a chance to help with dinner last night.” Persephone suggested. She began looking through cabinets, gathering the ingredients for pancakes. She turned to check on Hades and found him leaning against the counter, watching her.

Persephone whirled back around, hoping he hadn’t seen her blush. What was happening to her? She’d never been this ridiculous before in her life.

She poured, waited, flipped, waited, and flipped again until she had managed to push the image of Hades cupping her face with his gentle hands while he kissed her out of her head.

They ate quietly, Cerberus curled up next to Persephone’s chair, and did the dishes together. It wasn’t awkward. The silence was neither too heavy nor too empty. It was comfortable, like being alone with yourself.

It wasn’t until Hades was almost out of earshot that Persephone called his name.

“Yes?” He said.

“What should I wear to work?” She asked, feeling small and vulnerable. Hades considered her for a moment. 

“You look about Hera’s size. She comes here sometimes when she needs time apart from her husband. Her clothes should fit you.” Hades said.

“Are you sure she won’t mind?” Persephone asked.

“Of course not, she left them here in the first place. Come on.” Hades led her through the house to a different guest bedroom, which boasted a small closet full of beautiful clothes. Persephone ran her fingers gently over the fabrics, marveling in the feel of cashmere, silk, and tulle. 

“Take whatever you’d like.” Hades said, soft and far away. Persephone picked up a smooth white dress, simple and elegant, and a pair of beautiful black pumps to go with it. She turned to smile at Hades, and felt herself heating up under the heat of his gaze. 

 

---

 

What had he been thinking? Inviting her into his home and giving her dinner? Letting himself see her tired and vulnerable, then offering her a place to stay? Letting her make him breakfast in nothing but an old ratty t-shirt of his had been nothing less than torture. Finding that Cerberus had abandoned him in the middle of the night to go sleep with Persephone had been a shot to his heart, until he’d peered in on the two of them in that great big bed, and yearned to join them. 

Now, Hades sat at his desk, a meticulously organized schedule of his day in front of him and a glass of water already on the coaster. Persephone was straightening the pillows in his sitting area, and a vase of fresh flowers sat on the coffee table. This was what, her second day? Already Hades had no idea how he’d live without her. By lunch, he was formulating plans to make sure she’d never leave. 

She’d made him a chicken sandwich and brought it with notes on the meetings he had planned for that afternoon. When he went to thank her for the sandwich, she was sitting cross-legged in her chair and typing away. 

“Oh, hey! Was the sandwich alright?” She asked.

“It was amazing.” He answered. “What are you working on?” 

“Oh, I’ve just been going through resumes. Trying to decide if you need a receptionist or if I can handle it.” Persephone smiled up at him, and Hades melted again. “Do you need anything else?” She asked.

You. Hades thought. “Not until my two o’clock.” He said.

Hades left her to her work, returning to his own desk to wonder when he had become so unbelievably smitten. 

It didn’t get any better when she began prepping the sitting area for his meeting, and he had to sit at his desk and watch her move around the office in that dress. Gods, that dress. Every so often, she would catch his eye and smile at him, and Hades felt himself swoon a little more each time.

A knock on the outer doors startled Hades out of his daydreams of a life made up of days just like that one.



Chapter Text

Apollo was still icing his bruises from those vines that horrid little tramp had conjured. He hadn’t woken up for hours after she’d attacked him! Now he was covered in cuts and scrapes and ugly mottled bruises.

Kore was an ungrateful piece of shit if ever he saw one. His attentions were a privilege and she had gone and fucking attacked him!

Apollo threw the ice down and went to look through his fridge. He needed to go to the grocery store. 

He was halfway down the sidewalk to his car when the ground started shaking.

What the hell? There isn’t another earthquake scheduled for a week! Apollo’s thoughts were interrupted when the ground a few meters ahead split open. A wave of grain burst from the opening, flowing around his legs and securing him in place. 

Apollo was so caught up in struggling to free himself he almost didn’t see what came next.

Demeter rose up through the earth, a veil trailing behind her and a staff in her hand. She was the embodiment of murderous rage.

“Apollo!” She thundered.

Fuck, he thought.



---

 

Persephone was always the first one in the office. Hades had offered to let her stay in the penthouse until she could get everything sorted out, and Persephone had gratefully accepted. 

She loved waking up to the floor-to-ceiling view of the glittering city below, and walking down the stairs to her office to plan out the day. Persephone felt a rush of pleasure every morning when Hades brought her a latte and thanked her for the schedule she’d left on his desk. The few days that Hades hadn’t been too busy, they’d gone for lunch together. 

Persephone let herself pretend he was courting her, that each cup of coffee and lunch together was a gift. It was easy to settle into the routine they were building together, and even easier to convince herself that it would last forever.

Naturally, it did not. 

The front desk called, letting her know she had a visitor. Persephone didn’t get visitors. She wasn’t important enough. Persephone told the nymph to send the visitor up and have them wait outside, then went to tell Hades she’d be unavailable for a short while. 

When Persephone opened the door, she nearly fainted from pure shock. Artemis was sitting in one of the chairs outside, wringing her hands together nervously. 

“Artemis? What are you doing here? You hate the Underworld.” Persephone found herself saying. Artemis shot to her feet.

“Kore, I’m so sorry. I had to see you.” Artemis rushed forward, stopping short a few feet away from Persephone. “What happened last week… I can’t even begin to apologize enough.” 

“Artemis, it wasn’t your fault.” Persephone soothed.

“I was supposed to protect you.” Artemis whispered. Before Persephone knew what she was doing, she had stepped forward and folded her friend into her arms. “I-I knew that he was interested and I just assumed he would get over it.” 

“Whatever he chose to do is on him, not on you.” Persephone said, reaching up to stroke her friend’s hair. “I missed you.” She admitted.

Artemis let out a sob. “I thought you would hate me.”

“I could never.” Persephone hissed, stern and unyielding. “You are my best friend. I’m so happy you came to see me.”

“There’s more than one reason I came to see you.” Artemis said. Persephone led her friend over to the chairs so they could sit. “They set a court date for Apollo’s trial. It’s in ten days.”

“Wow.” Persephone breathed. “I didn’t expect it to happen so fast.”
“Apparently a certain King of the Dead put some pressure on Zeus. What’s going on with that, Kore?” Artemis wiggled her eyebrows suggestively and both girls burst into giggles.

“Actually, I go by Persephone now.” Persephone said. 

“Damn, okay, girl. I can respect that.” Artemis nodded appreciatively. “But don’t think you’re getting out of telling me all about your stay in the Underworld.”

 

---

 

Hades had given Persephone the rest of the day off so she could catch up with Artemis, and he was regretting it now. He was going to have to eat lunch alone, and go home to his empty house without saying goodnight to her. 

Hades ran a hand through his hair, not caring that he was messing it up. When had he gotten so attached to that goddess? 

Shaking himself out of his moping, Hades called Hecate and told her to send up that week’s reports for him to go over. 

In record time, Hecate’s secretary was strutting into his office. Hades withheld a wince at the memory of that one awful date he’d gone on with her. Thank god she’d never texted back after that. 

“Is there anything else I can get for you, sir?” Minthe purred, leaning over a bit too much as she placed the stack of folders on his desk.

“No, thank you, Minthe.” He sighed, reaching for the first folder in the stack. Minthe caught his hand, running her thin fingers up his arm.

“Are you sure, sir?” She asked, batting her eyelashes at him. Minthe leaned even further over the desk, her hand making its way over his shoulder and chest.

“I’m fine, Minthe.” Hades said sternly. He just wanted this to be over. “You can go back to Hecate now.”

The nymph pouted a little, before withdrawing her hand. “You just let me know if you need anything, okay, sugar?” Minthe gave him what was probably supposed to be a seductive smirk before turning to sashay out of the office. 

Hades rolled his eyes, then opened the first folder to read over the stats for that week.

Lost in numbers and notes, Hades didn’t realize how late it was until he closed the last folder. 

There wasn’t much else to do, so he shut everything down and went to leave. He glanced toward the door to Persephone’s office, wondering if she was just up the staircase in the penthouse above.

There was nothing he could do, no excuse to go check on her, so he reluctantly took the elevator down. The drive home was slower than normal, even though he pushed the car faster than usual. 

The house seemed so empty, even with the dogs bounding around him. The kitchen without Persephone perched on the counter was cold and lonely. The guest room was musty and the scent of flowers faded. His own room, usually his single safe haven, felt strange and alien. He went to change out of his suit, and found the shirt he’d lent her to sleep in sitting on top in the drawer. 

Hades lifted it to his face, knowing that it wouldn’t smell like her, but still wishing it would. His brain was filled with images of her laying on the sofa, stretched out and happy. He thought of her fast asleep in his guest room, the excitement over the dress he’d given her.

God, that dress. The way it had hugged every curve she had. He didn’t know if he preferred her in the dress or his shirt. Hades made his way to the bathroom, wondering what she was doing now.

Was she taking a shower, too? He mentally cursed himself for planting that image in his own head.

The thought of Persephone in a steamy room, water cascading down her body, sent his brain spiralling into arousal. The water was pounding hot on his back, but he didn’t care. The only thing Hades could think of was his throbbing erection.

Not without a little bit of shame, he took himself into his hand, stroking slowly, letting the pleasure build. He thought of her soft hands and the smell of her hair. 

Did she touch herself like this? Secret and alone, soft sounds escaping the only thing that betrayed her? 

His hand sped up, and Hades let his thumb brush over his slit. He drew in a sharp gasp. 

Did Persephone’s eyes half shut, her beautiful mouth hang open? Did she rub circles over her clit or pinch her own nipples?

Hades bit his lip in an effort to keep himself quiet, and failed as the image of her fondling her own breast the way he so longed to filled his head. He remembered her flitting around his kitchen, his shirt hanging around her, those luscious thighs on display. What would they feel like clenched around his head?

What would she taste like? His hand sped up as he tried to imagine what it would feel like to sink into her, fill her completely, grasp at soft handfuls of her hips and ass and thighs. 

With a gasp and a cut off moan, Hades came over his hand. He stood, bracing himself against the wall of the shower with one forearm, trying to figure out when, exactly, he had let himself get this far.



Chapter Text

“Wow.” Hecate’s eyes were blown wide. She worked in the Underworld, where the worst punishments were doled out on the world’s worst people. She’d watched a person get skinned with a dull knife, a woman with no sense but her hearing left to listen to a child cry, men whose every body part grew back no matter how many times they were chopped off, and worse. 

Yet watching Demeter descend upon Apollo was something else. Hecate adjusted her headscarf a little and settled in the front seat of her car. She conjured a cigarette and a vodka tonic and kicked back to watch the show. 

Apollo was frantically struggling to free himself from the grain that had trapped him while Demeter effortlessly glided through it. She glowed with a violent rage, raising her staff high in the air before throwing it off to the side. 

With a vicious growl, Demeter pounced on Apollo. He was helpless against the onslaught. Hecate was impressed. Who knew the harvest goddess could fight so well? 

Demeter’s entire body was a weapon, kicking, punching, clawing. Finally, she pulled back. The grain began to recede, and Apollo was left lying on the cold pavement, panting for breath. 

“I’d kill you myself, but my daughter deserves her justice.” Demeter spat onto the man beneath her. “I hope you rot in Tartarus, where you belong.” With that, Demeter spun on her heel, walked over to Hecate, and climbed into the passenger seat.

Hecate happily revved the engine, watching the puny god spilling ichor onto the pavement fade in her rearview.

 

---

 

Persephone hadn’t slept much. She supposed that was to be expected, but Gods was she exhausted. She needed a half dozen Stardrachma lattes and a long shower, but she probably wouldn’t get either. 

Reluctantly, Persephone rolled out of bed, sinking her feet into the lush carpet. She padded across to the bathroom, brushing her teeth and squinting at herself in the mirror. 

Would the Kore who first applied to college recognize her? Persephone appraised her shorter hair, the mouth that was slower to smile, the eyes that held more wariness. 

She washed her face, even though it wouldn’t clean off the last year. She carefully applied makeup, just enough that she wouldn’t look tired, but not too much. It was a ritual she was used to. Moisturizer, primer, foundation. Color corrector, concealer, powder. Eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara. Soft lipstick that she could wipe off easily after. 

Persephone brushed her hair out, making a mental note to see if Hades would cut it for her again. She’d been so stressed lately it had grown several inches, and now brushed over her shoulders. 

She smiled as she remembered the jewels Hades pressed into her hands every time he noticed that her hair had grown. She had a small box with each one kept safe inside. 

Persephone dressed in all black. Everyone knew she had little claim to virginal white, why not accept it? Besides, she looked badass. 

She tucked makeup wipes and a hair tie into her bag next to the flask. Persephone stood in front of the mirror and considered herself. Her soft body, warm and gentle, matching her pretty face. The stark contrast of the leather pants with the more feminine blouse she wore. The steel caps on the heels of her stilettos which made a delicious sound when she walked. Her hair tumbled down, full of soft curls. She grappled with it, trying to push it into some semblance of an updo, settling on a vaguely neat chignon. 

She did not look the part of the sweet maiden who had been raped by a more powerful god, but had she ever been that? No. She refused to step before a council of her elders and beg for justice. Persephone was owed a debt, and if she had to take her payment with force and bloodshed, so be it. 

She did not need any king to hand her justice that already belonged to her, nor did she need him to exact it for her. Persephone knew that she was not the same little girl whose parents had tossed her about like a bargaining piece, nor was she the nervous intern who had first set foot in this tower. Something deep inside her had shifted. She was a goddess, she was Persephone, Bringer of Life and Death, and she intended to take what was hers. 

Persephone spun on her heel, making her way through the bedroom, the kitchen, into the foyer. She dropped down the staircase, her own desk quiet and empty, but Hades waiting in the great office beyond. 

He stood, sober and focused, Cerberus sitting at his side. The king wore fine leather shoes, straight slacks that disappeared under a vest, which was worn under a jacket. Everything, except for the pure white of his dress shirt, was a deep black. Like every piece of clothing he owned, it was tailored to perfection. 

Something deep in Persephone stirred, wrapping warm fingers around her spine, crawling into the base of her neck and reaching for her throat. She forgot to breathe for a moment. Hands in pockets, facing her, his face a mask of stone. 

They were both frozen, their eyes on each other and their breath held in a cold grip between them. Cerberus launched himself from his haunches towards Persephone, breaking the spell that hung between them. 

She smoothed his fur down lovingly, dropping a kiss onto each of his foreheads. Hades advanced on her then, and a deep seated panic welled up inside her. What was going on? They were friends, coworkers. Why was he suddenly making her so nervous. 

“I brought you something.” He whispered, and the panic settled down to a soft buzz under her skin. 

“Coffee?” She asked with a coy smile.

“It’s in the car.” He seemed nervous, too. What had gotten into them. Cerberus looked between the two of them dubiously. 

“Then what?” She asked, curious now.

Hades pulled his hand from his pocket, a delicate golden chain held between his fingers, from which a brilliant diamond hung. 

“Oh, Hades.” Persephone breathed. “I couldn’t.”

“Yes, you can.” Hades said, moving around behind her. 

“You’ve already been too generous.” Persephone insisted, turning her head to follow him.

“There’s no such thing. Don’t think I haven’t noticed the fields of flowers popping up in my realm. You gave me a gift, let me give you one.” Hades unclasped the necklace. 

“Thank you.” She murmured.

“It’s my pleasure.” His fingers brushed the nape of her neck, and Persephone suppressed a shudder. “Are you ready to go?”

Persephone turned to look up at him, and wished for a single selfish moment that they could stay here, just the two of them, just for a little longer. But no. They had somewhere to be. She linked her hand into the crook of his arm, and he led her to the elevator.

She was strong, and able. She could do this, even without him. But she didn’t have to. 

There was something about having the King of the Underworld on one’s arm that made one feel invincible. 

 

---

 

That outfit. Oh, fuck, that outfit. Hades’ mouth had gone dry, his bones had frozen in place, his eyes had been helpless to do anything other than drink in the sight of her. 

Now, with one of his diamonds glinting on her chest, it was all he could do to unglue his eyes from her. She was absolutely brilliant, radiant in her beauty. She sat next to him, eyes full of determination and strength, and he wished she didn’t need it so much. 

Hades had fought tooth and nail for the trial to be in the Underworld. “After all, brother, it is where the ultimate court is held.”

The battle for him to preside had been even worse, but ultimately, “I am the god of judgement. Who else would be better?”

In comparison, it had not been overly difficult to convince Zeus to hold the trial sooner rather than later. “We want to get this over with, do we not?” 

The car slid to a slow stop, and Hades helped his guest step from the car. They entered the circular courtroom, the familiar sand floors and wooden chairs offering little comfort. 

The usual judges had been replaced with various gods, Hestia, Athena, Hera, Hermes, Eros. They sat beneath Hades’ throne in dark wooden benches. 

Persephone went to her place, to the left of the judges, where her mother already sat waiting for her. By the time Hades was settled in his throne, the two were embracing. Hecate slid into place on his right, and Cerberus settled down to doze next to him. 

The room slowly filled, Artemis coming to sit by Persephone as every other god took their place. Apollo was the last one in, exactly three minutes late. He stumbled in, giving a sheepish grin, trying to access his charm as he clambered down the stairs and sat in a chair set in the center of the pit. 

Hades leaned over to Hecate. “Who roughed him up?” He asked. It had been long enough that any damage dealt by Persephone should have faded. His friend shrugged, feigning innocence. He’d wring it out of her later. For now, he had a trial to preside over.

“Apollo, son of Zeus, please rise.” Hecate called. “You stand accused of stalking, drugging, and raping a goddess and fellow Olympian. How do you plead?”

Apollo stood, scoffed, and spread his arms. “Not guilty, babe.”

Hecate rolled her eyes. “Do you take any counsel for this trial?”

“Yes. My father, Zeus.” Apollo smirked, obviously thinking he’d won. Zeus rose from his spot directly opposite Persephone and made his way down to his son.

“The court accepts this decision.” Hades boomed. 

“Persephone, daughter of Demeter, please rise.” Hecate said. Persephone stood, steady and calm. “You accuse Apollo, son of Zeus, of crimes upon you. In bringing your complaint to this court, you swear he has committed these crimes. Will you take a counsel?”

Persephone straightened her shoulders, and a bolt of pride ran through Hades. “No, I do not.” 

“Then we shall proceed. Hecate, the doors.” Hades watched his right hand woman follow his direction before continuing. “First witness, Persephone.”

The small goddess climbed into the stand, and began her testimony. “Many of you know that I have only been going to college for a year. Part of the reason I was able to do so was because my gracious friend, Artemis, took me into her home. I knew I would be safe with her, because no men enter her home. When Apollo did, I didn’t want to question her. He was her family, and she had been so kind to me, so I let it go.

“It didn’t take long for him to form an… interest in me. He would corner me in the kitchen and sit too close to me on the couch. He’d show up unannounced to take me home from school and then feel me up on the way home. He would come over drunk and act weirdly toward me. He often made suggestive comments that made me uncomfortable. One night, he tried to come into my room, but the door was locked. I was so scared, I didn’t sleep that night. 

“He continued to hang around, a lot. On my first day of work, he showed up to pick me up. He yelled at me on the way home. Told me that I didn’t know what was best for me, and when I tried to argue, he hit me. Once we got home, he made me some tea and told me to go to sleep. Normally I don’t go to sleep if he’s in the house, but something was wrong. I just drifted off.

“When I woke up, he was on top of me. I wasn’t wearing many clothes, and he was taking pictures. He-he was inside me. He continued to touch me and take pictures, despite me repeatedly telling him to stop. I remember thinking that I wanted everything to stop, and then suddenly, it did. 

The next thing I knew, Hades was there. Apollo was hurt and everything seemed wrong, but he wasn’t touching me anymore.” Persephone took a breath and met Hades’ eyes.

“Would the accused like to cross-examine the witness?” He asked.

Zeus rose and walked to stand before his daughter. “So Apollo had been giving you attention for quite some time, correct?” Persephone nodded. “Why didn’t you say anything if it made you so uncomfortable? Is it possible that you wanted his attention, and everything that came with it, until you realized that people might find out? Is that why you lashed out at him?”
“I didn’t want his attention, I never did. I didn’t want to make things awkward with my roommate, and I thought I could handle it. I was wrong.” Persephone said. 

“Nothing further.” Zeus called.

“Persephone, you are dismissed from the stand. Next witness, Artemis.” 

Artemis squeezed Persephone’s arm as they passed each other, and settled into the stand. “I have known Persephone for ages. We’re best friends. When I found out it was possible for her to move in with me, I was so excited. I knew that Apollo coming over was weird, but he’s my brother, so I let him. I knew that he had a crush on Persephone, but I thought it would fade. I didn’t think he’d let it go that far. When I found out, I was crushed. I thought I had failed her. But what happened to Persephone isn’t anyone’s fault but Apollo’s, and he deserves to be punished for his crimes.”

“Counselor, would you like to question the witness?” Hades asked. Zeus rose again, and walked toward his daughter. 

“You let Apollo into your house?” He asked.

“Yes.” Artemis answered.

“So it’s safe to say that you don’t see him as a threat?” Zeus wheedled.

“No. He’s never been a threat to me, so I assumed he wouldn’t be to others. I was wrong.” Artemis gulped.

“Is it possible that Persephone willingly participated?” Zeus asked.

“No. Not at all.” Artemis was adamant. “She told me that she thought sex was something special, not to be thrown around and given away to just anybody. Persephone wanted to wait for the right person. She wanted to be in a committed relationship or married before she gave up that part of herself.”

“Hmm. Do you think it’s possible that Apollo drugged and raped Persephone?” Zeus questioned.

“I do.” Artemis said.

“I’m done for now.” Zeus turned and walked away as his daughter left the stand.

“I’d like to call the first witness for the accused, Apollo, son of Zeus.” Hades said, doing his best not to snarl the words. Father and son stood and took their places. “Apollo, God of archery and the sun, do you swear a stygian oath that you will tell only the truth to this court?” Hades asked. 

“I do.” Apollo said. Hecate stepped forward and wrapped a silver chain around Apollo’s throat, binding him to the truth.

“Son, did you have sex with Persephone?” Zeus asked. 

“I did.” Apollo replied.

“Did she tell you she didn’t want it?” Zeus asked.

“Only at the end, and then I stopped.” Apollo replied. 

“He obviously didn’t rape the girl. I’m done with the witness.” Zeus turned and walked back to his seat.

“Persephone, you may question the witness.” Hades said.

She walked down to stand before him, the diamond glinting on her chest. “How many times in the past year have you shown up to pick me up from school?”

“At least once a week, if not two or three times.”

“So, easily more than a hundred times. Did you touch me during these car rides?” Persephone questioned.

“I-I did.” Apollo stuttered a little.

“Why?” she demanded.

“I-I wanted you. I wanted to ha-have you as my own. I th-thought you would come around.” The chain was obviously pushing the truth through his lips, now. 

“Did you put a drug into my tea the night that you… engaged in relations with me?” Persephone bit out.

“I-I did.” Apollo admitted.

“Did you begin to have sex with me and photograph me when I was not concious?” She was still quiet, and somehow the quiet was more terrifying than the loudest scream.

“I did.” Apollo whispered. 

“I think it’s clear what happened here. I see no further need to question the witness.” Persephone nodded to Hades before going back to her seat. He was a little bit in awe. She’d been so efficient.

“I ask for silence while the assistant judges make their deliberations.” Hades called. Hecate brought him their slips of paper. Every one read guilty

“It is unanimous. Apollo, you are convicted as guilty of every crime levelled against you. I proclaim that Persephone shall decide your punishment.” Apollo sat there, shocked and silent. 

Persephone stood. “Please, come down to the sand. It’s easier to clean up any blood that is spilt there.” She grinned, and Hades shivered. She was magnificent.

Apollo stumbled into the sand, looking up at Persephone as she advanced. He trembled. The room held its breath. 

Persephone stood on the last step down and spread her arms. A breeze entered the stagnant room, smelling of the wild spring and all its power. Persephone began to rise through the air, hovering above her prey. Her hair tumbled down from its trappings, growing and flowing around her. Persephone’s eyes flashed red as a crown of red thorns threaded through her hair. 

Thick black vines wound around her arms, falling onto the sand and slithering toward Apollo. They grasped at him, holding him tight and binding him. The vines grew up around him, until there was nothing to be seen but a mass of thick blackness in the middle of the court. 

Persephone’s feet dropped into the sand, and the breeze stuttered to a stop. The vines in her hair and on her arms disappeared, and her eyes faded back to their normal color. 

“I want him to stay there, and think about what he’s done. We can revisit the idea of releasing him in, oh, a century?” Persephone smiled, and Hades melted.

Fuck, I’m done for, he thought. Hades made his way down to her as the courtroom emptied out. 

“Would you like a ride home?” He asked.

“Actually, could we get dinner, or something? I can cook.” Persephone offered.

The last thing he needed right now was this gorgeous, powerful woman that close to him, cooking for him and taking care of him. But he couldn’t say no.

Hades walked her to his car, praying that he wouldn’t fuck up this time.



Chapter Text

Oddly enough, Persephone did not fall asleep on the ride home. She sat in the passenger seat, gazing at the scenery that flew by. He realized that all she wanted was to look out the window and breathe in the silence. And if Hades took the scenic route once he realized it, there was no one around to comment on it. 

Persephone seemed almost restless, her knee bouncing softly and her fingers flitting around as if they had no clue where to go. Hades wished he could rest his hand on her knee, or take her hand within his. Gods, but he wanted to be something she could always return to, someone she could always trust enough to stop and breathe around. 

His chest almost hurt at something foreign and warm that strummed through it. This goddess, this woman, sitting quietly in his car and all he could think was how can I make her stay ?

Persephone ran a hand through her hair, and Hades glanced over at her. She didn’t seem to be sad, or victorious, she just sat there. Hades pulled into his driveway and walked around to open her door. She sat there for a moment before seeming to notice that he was there. Persephone reached a hand out, and Hades found himself fumbling to take it. 

He led her into the house, somehow still holding onto her hand. Hades decided he wouldn’t think about that right now. He brought her to the room she had stayed at last time.

“Do you have any clothes that might be more comfortable?” Persephone asked. Hades had actually gone and bought some for her, going off of the sizes in Hera’s closet.

“Yes. In the closet.” He said, thinking back to the time he’d taken to perfectly fold and hang and place each article. She looked up at him, and Hades couldn’t quite read her eyes. “Well.” He said, then found that he didn’t know how to finish it. He fumbled for a moment, then, “I’m going to go change. Let me know what you want to do about dinner.”

Hades left her there, even though tearing himself away hurt like hell. He shucked off his jacket, vest, shirt. He left his shoes by the closet and pulled off the socks and pants as well. He stopped in front of the mirror, considering himself.

Maybe he could have been considered attractive in his youth, with the lean muscles that sat on his frame, and his imposing height, and his cool demeanor. But his nose was too long and hawkish, his body marred with scars, his face held a deep sadness. Or it usually did. Now, though, it seemed to be breaking. The cold stone mask he wore was slowly chipping away, and he had a sinking suspicion it had something to do with the little pink goddess currently in his house. 

Hades heaved a sigh and went over to pull out his joggers and a t-shirt. He had just pulled on the pants when his door creaked open. He turned to look, and found Persephone standing there in a tank top and a pair of tiny shorts. She stared at his bare chest, and a bolt of self-consciousness ran through him. It disappeared when she dropped her gaze and walked slowly toward him. 

Hades stood still, breathless, afraid to break this moment, whatever it was. She crept closer, and her big eyes flicked up to meet his. Her eyelashes brushed against her cheeks when she blinked. She reached out, slow and hesitant, her fingers brushing over the shirt he held in his hand. 

Hades was so shocked that he didn’t even think to resist when she pulled from his grasp. She was still so close. Persephone pulled the shirt over her head, and Hades gulped as it slipped down over her thighs. Fuck , he thought. 

Persephone placed her hand in his and led him out of his room. Mute, he followed her through the house, letting her push him onto the sofa and watching as she retrieved a bottle and two glasses from the bar.

She plopped down next to him on the sofa, so, so close he could smell clean flowers. Persephone gave him an odd look. 

“What’s going on? Why do you look like that?” She asked.

Hades chuckled a little, self conscious again. “You smell good.” He murmured. Persephone blushed, tilting her head forward so that she could hide behind a wall of hair. Hades reached over and pushed the hair behind her ear. They stared at one another.

Was his hand still in her hair? Fuck, his hand was still in her hair. Worse, he didn’t think he would take it out anytime soon. Gaea, she was beautiful. The most beautiful creature he’d ever laid eyes on, and here she was, barely a foot away, wearing his shirt, and his hand was in her hair. Her eyes flickered, almost imperceptibly fast, down to his mouth, and oh

 He’d wanted to make her comfortable, feed her dinner, give her a place to sleep. Maybe even he’d wanted to feel a little less alone for a night by letting her sleep under his roof. But Gods above and Titans below, she was looking at him like she’d rather sleep in his bed than under his roof.

 

---

 

She was safe. Apollo was gone, and would be for a while yet. She was with Hades, who would protect her if she needed it. She was in his house, in his shirt, her head was in his hand.

Persephone could finally breathe. She sat there for a few minutes, letting his hand stay in her hair and her eyes rest in his. Would he let her crawl inside him and rest? Would Hades take her soul and hold it and soothe her? Could she take some strength from him?

She realized with a start that she didn’t need to. Persephone had overpowered one of the original twelve not once but twice . She had bound him and taken away any power he might once have had over her. When she had exercised her gifts over him, an explosion of poisonous plants had burst out from the courthouse. She had covered miles of dead ground and salted earth with life. Now that same life pulsed through her.

She wasn’t tired, she wasn’t weak. She was alive . Persephone looked at this god in front of her. He’d given her so much without even expecting a smile back in return. Why did their family hate him so?

This man, this king, who was generous and kind and so, so perfect. She thought of her own father, a king as well, but so, so different. Zeus was cruel, and a drunk, and she hated him. Oh, but this man in front of her, she loved him so dearly. 

Gods, she loved him. 

And, oh, how she wanted him to give her even more than he already had. She wanted to share his house and his bed and his children. The magnitude of what she wanted from him scared her just a little. 

How could she know if he had any more left to give her, when he had already given her so much? How could she ask that of him? Hades, my father says I must marry and I’m afraid of being wife to any man but you. Not because I think they’ll hurt me, but because not having you would.  

She was in such a predicament. His fingers moved in her hair a little, running the silky strands between his fingers. Persephone’s eyes glanced at his mouth. Surely, surely she could ask for that? A kiss wouldn’t be too much, wouldn’t tip the scales too much?

She heard him suck in a breath, and glanced back up to his eyes. He was looking at her like she was everything, everything, everything that ever mattered and more. 

“Kore.” He breathed.

“I’m not Kore anymore.” She murmured, bringing her own hand up to card through his hair. Kore had been innocent and naive. Kore had been virginal. Persephone was none of those things. She pushed her fingers over his scalp, leaving a mess behind her. He stared down at her, shock coursing through his face. Persephone held the back of his head and slowly, slowly moved closer. 

She closed the small distance between them, shifting onto her knees so that she would be level with his face. Hades’ nose brushed against hers, that big, hawkish nose that she loved so much. This big, quiet man that she loved so much. 

Her mouth met his. Persephone’s eyes slid shut and she just kissed him. Hades wrapped an arm around her waist, his hand curling into the hair at her scalp. Her hands gripped his shoulder and the side of his head and she melted into him. 

This man, this god, this king had completely undone her. She wanted his breath in her lungs and his kiss on her throat and forever together. She pulled back a little, needing air. Persephone’s forehead rested against his, both breathing in the same air, and she could still taste him. 

“Sweetness.” Hades whispered, and she understood. He wanted this, too, but it was her domain. He was her domain. 

She shifted, their lips met again, and she opened her mouth. They were kissing, really kissing now. Her tongue in his mouth then his tongue in hers. She let out a low whine and he nipped at her lip. His hand on her waist tightened and she pushed herself further into him, then pushed more, until he fell back on the sofa beneath her. 

She followed him, let Hades kiss her a little more before breaking away. She pressed a gentle kiss to the corner of his mouth, his cheek, his jaw. She found the corner of his jaw and scraped her teeth over it lightly, and he sucked in a breath under her. 

She smiled a wicked grin into his throat. No, she was Kore no longer. Persephone pushed on, leaving kisses on his throat and his collarbone and his bare chest. She mouthed along every scar that marred his chest and held his hands in hers. 

Persephone got to his navel, and kissed that, then the thin line of hair directly beneath it. Hades’ hands, so long still, scrambled for her head, pulling her back up to him, and he kissed her. He kissed her deep and sweet and with so much promise that Persephone’s heart swelled. 

She sat up, pulling him with her, never once taking her mouth off of his. He held her in his lap and kissed her like there was no tomorrow, like the very walls of the underworld could come crashing down around them and he wouldn’t care so long as he could keep kissing her.

He pulled away, finally, and held her head between his two hands. “Persephone, what do you want?” He asked, so gentle and kind. 

“You. I want you.” She insisted, trying to push closer to him again. He held her in place.

“What man will want for a wife the woman that death has bedded?” He asked.

“A man powerful enough to handle her.” Persephone growled. “A man like you.” 

Hades stared at her, breathless. She blushed. He knew, now, what she wanted from him. He knew that although he had given her so much, she still wanted more. And he wasn’t shying away. 

“Oh, my love.” He said, his fingers gentle on her face. His thumb brushed her mouth, then rested on her cheek. 

“I want to give myself to you. I-I want to be with you, who respects me and loves me, and does not see me as an object or a prize.” Persephone looked at him, hoping he would understand. 

“Beautiful woman.” He murmured. “What did I ever do…”

“Nothing, yet.” Persephone grinned down at him, wicked and bright and happy. He laughed at her, big and wonderful, then scooped her up in his arms and stood.

She squealed, clinging to him as he carried her through his halls to his bedroom. He set her down on his great big bed and kissed her again. His hands smoothed over her shoulders and his tongue pushed against hers. His hands squeezed her waist, then dipped lower, feeling out the hem of his t-shirt and lifting it up.
“Is this okay? Do you want to do this?” He asked. She nodded.

“Yes, I do.” He pulled the t-shirt the rest of the way over her head, and gently pushed her down onto the bed. 

Persephone was laid out before him, and he was looking at her with those eyes. He dipped his head down, kissing her throat as she had kissed his. Hades pulled the strap of her tank top over her shoulder with his teeth, grinning at her mischievously. 

She laughed then, bright and clear, and he kissed his way to her other shoulder and did the same. Hades sucked at her breast, then turned to lay his tongue over her nipple. His mouth on one nipple and his hand kneading the other, Persephone couldn’t hold back a moan. He grinned up at her, then slowly slipped his hand over her breast, her stomach, and let it rest at the top of her thigh. 

Persephone reached down, grabbed his hand, and pushed his fingers right over her clit. He smiled at her, then went back to her nipple, his fingers beginning to trace slow circles over her through her shorts. 

Persephone bit her lip. Gods above, she wanted more. Her greed for this man was insatiable. She reached down again and pushed her shorts off a little. Hades got the message pretty quick. 

His hand dipped into her panties, and his finger traced her slit torturously slow. His eyes never left her face as he gently pinched her clit and rolled it between two fingers. Persephone heaved a huge breath at that, and he did it again. Her head dropped back on a moan. He continued massaging Persephone, her moans growing louder, and then suddenly, he withdrew, grabbed the tank top that had bunched up around her waist, and pulled it down over her hips, taking her shorts and panties with it down her legs. 

Hades gently pushed her knees apart, then knelt between them. He looked up at her from between her thighs and Persephone couldn’t breathe. He leaned in slow, so slow, and licked her. Oh. OH !

His tongue swirled over her clit, then he pulled in to suck on it. Persephone whined. He dipped down lower, his tongue probing her entrance. Persephone had touched herself there, she had never been shy of her body, but this was entirely different. 

She was so wet, and his tongue was warm and it was inside her. Hades went back to sucking on her clit, and a finger came up to circle her entrance. Persephone moaned again. 

He pushed inside her, slow, gentle, and began slowly pumping his finger in and out of her. Persephone writhed underneath him. He pushed in, deeper this time, and crooked his finger and - OH !

He had found that spot. Persephone jerked and gasped out part of his name. He did it again. 

“More.” She gasped. His finger pumped in and out of her, and each time he moved it just over that spot. His tongue was still on her clit and Gods, how much more of this could she take?

He pulled his hand out, teased two fingers against her, then pushed both of them into her. Hades began his previous rhythm, curling and sucking and oh, Persephone felt so good. A pit of tension was growing deep in her belly.

“Come on, love.” Hades said. He pushed her a little harder, and she leaned into it. Pleasure was building and her legs were tingling and he was so good at this. 

“Come for me, Persephone.” He said, and a white hot wave of pleasure washed over her. It left her gasping for air and stunned. How had he done that? He’d told her to come and she had. Hades crawled back over her body and pulled her into his chest. 

“Oh, my sweet girl.” He murmured into her hair. Persephone wiggled up closer, then kissed him. She hovered over him, and he held her tight, and she just kissed and kissed and kissed him. 

He moved, and she was on her back beneath him. His hips fell between her thighs and she bent her legs to embrace him. 

“Hades, please.” She begged, pulling him closer still. 

“Okay, sweetness, okay.” He said. 

Persephone pushed down his joggers, surprised at the sheer size of the erection that waited under them. It didn’t seem quite possible, but she trusted him. 

She laid back down, and watched him roll a condom on. He settled back between her legs, and slowly pushed into her. There was pressure, then he slipped in and it was just one long slide. Persephone gasped at him, at the size and the pressure and the sensation of being full. 

He pushed all the way in to the hilt, then pulled back out and repeated the motion. Slow and sweet, he made love to her. Her man, big and strong and gentle. 

“Faster.” She breathed, and Hades complied. His hips snapped up into her and her eyes rolled back into her head. Confident that he wouldn’t hurt her, he pushed faster and harder, and she grew louder, and he made soft little grunts and moans above her, each spurring the other on. 

Persephone could feel that she was close again, her legs tight and her hands scrambling at his back. “Hades.” She moaned. “I-I’m gonna-” She broke off as he pushed into her hard and took her breath away. 

“Me too.” He growled. He grew more frantic, then. He bucked into her, and she took it. She took everything he had to give and begged for more, and when her orgasm rushed over her, he came with her. 

They lay together afterwards, her head on his chest and his leg between hers. 

“What’s going to happen now?” She asked.

“Whatever we want.” He answered.



Chapter Text

“I can’t believe she did that to my son!” Zeus fumed. He flung himself down into the car. Hera followed, calmly settling down in the limousine and pouring her husband a drink. 

“Hush, dear. He deserved it.” Hera scolded. She handed him the glass.

“Your plan better work out.” Zeus growled, taking a swig of the liquid. “I need her married to someone.”

“Don’t worry. She’ll be married before long.” Hera reassured him. 

Zeus rolled his eyes. “What do you think is going on with them right now?” 

Hera smiled, and hummed a little. 

“I wonder.” She smiled at her husband.

 

---



Hades looked down at the little goddess dozing on his chest. Her fingers were curled against his diaphragm and he could feel the warm little puffs of her breath against him. He slipped his fingers through her hair, the long locks flowing over the both of them. 

How he had gotten here? God, a few weeks ago he hadn’t even known her, but now here he was, and he didn’t know if he could go back to before. 

Persephone stirred against his chest and he looked into her face. Her eyes blinked open slowly, and a lazy smile pulled on her cheeks at the sight of him. 

“Rise and shine, darling.” He said. She stretched against him.

“Hi.” She whispered, shy and gentle. 

“How are you feeling?” He asked. 

“Hungry. A little sticky.” Persephone made a funny face, her nose wrinkling up. Hades laughed a little, unable to help himself. 

“Why don’t you go get a shower and I’ll find some food.” Hades brushed a kiss onto her brow, and she caught his face in his hands. Persephone kissed him, short and quick and perfect, then climbed out of bed and headed for the bathroom. 

Hades sat in the bed, watching the sway of her hips. He pushed himself to climb out after her and shrugged on his robe. He found his way to the kitchen, where Cerberus sat, watching him with a sly look.

“Hush, you.” Hades scolded, but he couldn’t help his smile as he set about looking for food. Hades sliced apples and cut out the seeds. He peeled oranges and separated them, then cut up peaches and plums. He was elbow deep in the fridge when a set of arms slinked around his waist. 

Hades turned to find Persephone, wearing a tank top and his joggers, with the drawstring pulled tight to stay above her hips. Her hair hung long and wet past her hips. Hades found his hand gripping her and pulling her close. 

“Look at you.” He murmured. She giggled and flung her arms over his shoulders.

“I could say the same for you, Your Majesty.” Hades shivered at her use of his title. Usually he didn’t care much for it, but the way it rolled off her tongue did something to him. He kissed her again. He wanted to spend every day left of his immortal life kissing her. Persephone pushed closer, nipping at his lip. He walked her back, then picked her up and set her on the counter.

Persephone laughed for a second, before spreading her legs so that he could slot himself between them. He pushed back close to her. Persephone clutched at his hips, pulling him in. He framed her face between his hands and kissed her. He kissed her and kissed her. 

“Hades.” Persephone whimpered. He moved to her jaw, the place right beneath her ear, and sucked. She whined.

Hades slipped lower, kissing the line of her throat, right over where her jugular pulsed beneath her skin. The life in this woman was intoxicating. Here he was, the God of death, addicted to the life of this woman. 

“So sweet.” He muttered into her skin. Hades went lower, littering the top of her breasts with kisses. Persephone moaned, her hands coming to hold the back of his head. He could see her nipples through the thin tank top, hard with arousal. He sucked on the softness of her chest, relishing in the soft, sweet sounds that were escaping her lips.

They stayed there, her on the counter and him standing before her, making their own quiet music.

 

---

 

Some time later, Persephone and Hades found themselves back in his big bed with the soft gray comforter and the crisp white sheets. Hades had found his way out of his robe and back into his joggers, and Persephone leaned against him, her bare legs buried in the covers.

Persephone’s fingertips were tracing his scars, and he explained where each one had come from. Her fingers brushed over a particularly deep one and Hades sucked in a sharp breath.

“That one was from my father.” He said. “After the Great War, I was the one who trapped each Titan in Tartarus. He saw one more chance to try and escape, and so he took it. A cruel man, my father. Although, I guess you know what that’s like.”

Persephone looked up to him, his face nothing but open and understanding.

“He was upset that I let Apollo rape me. He said that no one would want to have me as their wife after. He was very angry with me.” She told him. 

“He was wrong.” Hades said. Persephone’s eyes snapped to his face. Did he mean what she thought he meant? Images from earlier passed through Persephone’s head; how gentle his hands were on her, his head buried between her thighs, him telling her to come and her obeying. 

She wondered what it would be like to marry him and be his queen, sit by his side at trials, dole out punishments with him, wear his crown. What would their children look like? Which of them would they take after? She smiled at the thought of Cerberus playing with a tiny god or goddess, with Hades’ blue skin and her eyes. 

Persephone shook herself out of her daydreams. She and Hades had only known each other for a few weeks. She shouldn’t even think of it yet. 

“I went to college so I could have some time away from my mother. I love her dearly, but she’s always been so controlling. I thought I would finally have some space to control my own life. Instead, I just left my mother’s control for my father’s.” Persephone admitted. “Mama wanted me to be an eternal maiden, but that can’t happen now. Papa wants me to marry and that probably still will. I’m so afraid of being married off, traded to the highest bidder, and being forced into a role for the rest of my life.”

“Sweetness, you don’t have to do either of those things.” Hades said. 

“Says who?” Persephone gave a dry chuckle. “I’m not in control of anything.”
“What you did earlier to Apollo shows that you are. Anyone who isn’t afraid of you is stupid.” Hades said.

“I want to get married for love, not obligation.” Persephone whispered. 

“So do that.” Hades insisted. 

Persephone looked up at him again. Oh, she was fucked. It was his kind eyes and his gentle smile and his big calloused hands that handled her like glass. She wanted to spend the rest of time letting him make her smile. 

“Your Majesty.” She said with a smile.

Hades smiled back, a wicked glint in his eye.

“King of the Dead.” She sat up, bit her lip in the way she knew drove him wild.

He shifted a little, his heavy eyes resting on her.

“Eternal Judge.” She crept a little closer, watching his reaction.

“My lord.” She said, quieter now. Persephone brushed her lips over his throat, let her teeth drag against skin.

“King Aidoneus.” Persephone slung a leg over his hips. Hades’ hands dropped, as natural as anything, onto her thighs. 

“Lover.” She whispered. He leaned in and kissed her cheek. 

“Careful, sweetness.” He warned.

“I don’t want to be careful.” Persephone said. Hades smiled at her. 

“I didn’t think so, little goddess.” He said. 

She laughed as he flipped her over.



Chapter Text

Hades sighed as he set down the last wage report he had to review. He wondered if Persephone was in her office or off somewhere running errands. 

Their days stretched into a familiar pattern: they woke up together, got ready for work, had breakfast. He’d drive them to the office and they’d ride the elevator up. Then they’d both go to their desks and get started on their days. 

Hades would drink a cup of coffee and review the night reports. How many souls had come in, were there any trials he needed to preside over, was Cerberus eating alright? By the time he’d signed off on everything, Persephone was there, setting a neat schedule down in front of him. She always wrote it out by hand, delicate cursive outlining every minute of the rest of his day. It was nice, having a plan, something to fill every minute between now and when he got to go home to her. 

The only problem was that “Review wage reports” was only number three on his list. Hades sighed again, before marking down that Hecate needed a raise. Sure, she was well paid already, but she worked hard, and if anyone could spare the funds, it was the God of riches.

Hades was moving the reports to his outgoing paperwork pile when something in the edge of his line of sight moved. His head snapped up, eyes scanning the office for any threat. Hades held his hand out and his bident materialized in his grip. 

Slowly, he stood, pushing his chair back, and stalked around his desk. A wall of windows framed his back, all the sparkling lights of his realm a contrast to the deep darkness that simmered in his eyes. Hades moved forward, rounding the corner to the sitting area. 

His footsteps were silent, his body taut with tension. Shards of obsidian, deep and glimmering, scattered across the floor in his wake. Hades was so engrossed in his task, in the voice that screamed Persephone! Find Persephone! Protect her, that he didn’t notice the dark vine weaving between the stones behind him. It slipped between the obsidian shards, creeping up on the God of the Dead, and winding around his ankle.

Hades jumped, and whirled around, bident at the ready, only to find Persephone, barely suppressing her giggles. A vine was spilling out of her hand and toward him, her long white dress fluttering just a bit. She pulled her hand away from her mouth and advanced on him. 

“Little minx.” Hades growled. He wasn’t truly mad, though. He dropped his bident so that he could lift her up in his arms. Arms against her thighs, he hoisted her up and kissed her. “That wasn’t very nice, sweetheart.” He scolded.

Persephone giggled more, then nuzzled into his neck. 

“I might just have to punish you for it.” He growled. Persephone shrieked, and he laughed with her. She wiggled out of his arms, and dashed out of his reach. 

Hades chased after her, both of them running circles around the office until she tripped and fell onto the sofa. He went down after her, trapping her between his arms and beneath his body.

“I got you.” He whispered into her hair. 

“You did.” She said, soft and sweet. He brushed his fingers through her hair, emeralds and diamonds sparkling in the light that she gave off. He looked into her eyes, deep and wise and so beautiful. He was so in love with her.

“What are you doing, little goddess?” He asked, kissing her cheek. 

“Distracting you.” She giggled, running her hands down his sides to grip his hips. 

Hades gasped in mock indignation. “That’s very naughty, princess. We’ll have to do something about that.” Persephone smiled at that, wicked and gorgeous. 

Hades pressed his mouth to her chest, sucking little marks onto her breast. He slipped lower, nosing his way beneath her neckline, unfastening her dress. Hades sat up and shimmied the dress down over her hips. He resumed his path, trailing lower along her curves, pausing to put a soft kiss next to her belly button.

She was so soft, and she smelled like a spring breeze. The soft silk of her dress had caught on her hips, and he pushed it down, revealing lace panties and long legs. Hades glanced up to make sure Persephone was watching, then he gently took the top of her panties in his teeth and guided them down her legs. 

Persephone gasped, eyes wide and hungry. Hades took the lace in his hand and pushed it into his pocket. 

“I think I’ll hold on to these for now, flower.” He said, unable to help the smile on his face. Beneath him Persephone blushed. 

Hades, now kneeling at the end of the sofa, picked up his lover’s foot and slipped the high heeled pump off of it. He kissed her ankle, then did the same for her other foot. Hades ran his hands up her legs, gently squeezing at her calves and thighs, following his fingers with his teeth and his tongue and his lips. He kissed and nipped and licked at her, listening to the music of her gasps and moans. 

Eventually, his hands were holding her hips and his mouth had reached the tops of her thighs. Gently, he bit at the soft flesh there, leaving red marks and eliciting little cut off gasps. 

“Hades.” She whispered. 

“Yes?” He asked, smiling up at her.

“Please.” She begged.

Hades hummed lightly at her, smiling up from between her legs. “Please what, little goddess?”

Persephone groaned in frustration. Hades smiled up at her, then moved his hand down to trace a single finger along her folds. He swirled it around her clit, and her legs spasmed around him. 

Hades watched her twitch and writhe and moan as he slowly dipped his finger into her, pumping it in and out as slow as he could. He crooked it, feeling for that spot inside her, and she jerked. 

Hades smiled, then bent down and drew his tongue over her clit. Persephone gasped, clenching down on his finger. He sucked at her clit, and slipped another finger into her tight heat. 

He pushed his fingers in and out, occasionally twisting them or curling them against that spot, never taking his mouth from her. Hades gripped her hip tighter, listening to the sounds she made.

He pumped his hand faster, harder, bringing her closer and closer. Persephone was panting his name, little cut off syllables and moans. It was so fucking amazing. Hades pulled back a little, and nipped lightly at her clit.

She spasmed around his fingers, and came with his name on her tongue. Hades pulled his hand from her and placed it above her head, then leaned down to kiss her.

She tasted so sweet. He looked down at her, naked and unashamed in his office, him over her still completely dressed, dick aching in his pants.

He reached up and traced a finger along her brow, golden vines growing from his hands. They encased her head, crowning her with soft little flowers and leaves and branches. 

Only after he had done it did he realize what he had offered her: the crown of his queen.



Chapter Text

Persephone set down her mug and looked up at the queen before her. Hera’s hair was twisted into a neat half-up style, and she was dressed to the nines, as always. She also wore her crown. 

“Hera?” Persephone asked. “How did Zeus… propose?” She cringed, hoping she wasn’t being too obvious.

“Well, dear, first he courted me. Brought me beautiful flowers, gave me lovely gifts, the sweetest little cakes and treats. But when he asked, I turned him down. I thought he only wanted me for my beauty, and that he was vain and arrogant.

“A week later, there was a terrible storm. I’d never seen so much rain! The thunder was deafening, the lightning lit up the night sky like the sun. Then, a small golden bird fell out of the sky, right to me. I felt so sorry for the poor thing, all alone in the storm, so I took him in. I held him close to me, fed him nectar and let him rest on my hand. 

“The next morning, the storm had cleared, and the bird was still with me. I took him outside to set him free, but he flew right back to me, over and over again. Finally, I shooed him off, because he needed to go home. Less than half an hour later, the bird reappeared with a laurel wreath clutched in his beak. He dropped it into my hands, then transformed into Zeus. He knelt before me, and told me that nothing would make him happier than to care for me as I had for him, for the rest of our immortal lives.” Hera looked up at Persephone and smiled.

“I said yes.” She giggled.

“Wow. That’s so sweet.” Persephone breathed.

“Why did you want to know?” Hera asked, eyeing Persephone over her cup of tea.

“Um… no reason.” Persephone lied, but she could feel the heat in her cheeks.

“I’m the goddess of marriage, you know. If you were thinking about marrying someone, I’d be the one to talk to.” Hera looked at Persephone as if she knew everything. Persephone caved. 

“Hades and I were at work, and he kind-of-sort-of-maybe-gave-me-a-crown.” Persephone rushed the last part, then glanced up at Hera, who was gaping at her. 

“WHAT?” Hera screamed. “REALLY?!” Persephone nodded.

“Was that all that happened?” Hera raised her eyebrows and levelled Persephone with The Look.

“Uhh… no.” Persephone muttered. 

Hera squealed. “Oh my god! Finally! Little brother goes to work!” 

Persephone shifted in her seat, a little uncomfortable.

“Soooooo tell me everything!” Hera exclaimed. 

“Well, he was working.” Persephone muttered. “But I thought he could use a break.”

“Ooooh!” Hera interjected.

“So I was running around the office, trying to get his attention, but he thought that I was an intruder, I guess, because he stalked into the sitting area all angry and intimidating, with all this obsidian sprouting out of the ground behind him. Then I wrapped a vine around his ankle, and I swear he was so scared.” Persephone smiled a little at the memory of Hades whirling around, bident in hand.

“Anyway, he told me that I hadn’t been very nice. He chased me around the office and we ended up on the sofa…” Persephone trailed off, discomfort shooting through her. 

“What next?” Hera pressed.

“He, uh.” Persephone pursed her lips. “He took off my panties with his teeth . His teeth Hera! He kissed literally every single part of me, and I mean every part, and then after I came, he kissed me again, and then he kind of trailed his fingers over my forehead and before I could blink there was a fucking crown of golden vines on my head, with all of these flowers and leaves made of gems, and he was looking at me like I hung the fucking moon and made the earth spin and holy shit Hera, I don’t know what happened!” Persephone was breathing heavily. Had she really said all that? Judging by the look on Hera’s face, she had.

“A crown?” Hera whispered. “A crown?!” She shouted.

“Yeah, pretty much. It was just there, on my head. All pretty and glittery and stuff.” Persephone said, taking a big gulp of tea. 

“Damn.” Hera whistled. “Then what?”
“He was still dressed. He gave me the best orgasm of my life, and I could feel how hard he was through his pants, but he just sat there looking at me for a few minutes. I could barely breathe, Hera.” Persephone sighed. 

“Did you, you know, help him out?” Hera asked.

“No! He just kissed me on the cheek, pulled my dress back up, and then got up! He helped me off the sofa and then went back to work with my panties still in his pocket!” 

“Interesting.” Hera mused, sipping her tea. 

 

---

 

Hades threw back his first drink faster than he had in a while. Zeus raised an eyebrow, but didn’t hesitate to top him off. 

“Brother, not that I don’t enjoy your company, or random visits, or your unparalleled ability to drain me of alcohol, but why are you here?” Zeus asked.

Hades took a swallow of the liquor, felt it burn down his throat. “I had a rough day.” He ground out. 

“Do tell.” Zeus sipped at his own drink.

Hades ran a hand through his hair. “I thought there was an intruder in the office.”
“Okay.” Zeus nodded.

“So I went out to defend myself and my assistant, but apparently the ‘intruder’ was actually my assistant. She uh, wanted me to take a break from work.”

“Ooh.” Zeus smiled. “A break. I love breaks. Coffee? Tea? Snack?”

“Not quite.” Hades winced, slipping his hand into his jacket pocket, where Persephone's lacy panties still sat.

Zeus’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline. He brought two fingers up and wiggled them suggestively at Hades. Hades winced again and nodded. Zeus split the two fingers into a V and stuck his tongue between them. Hades nodded again. Zeus smirked and mimed giving a blowjob. Hades shook his head aggressively.

“What!” Zeus shrieked. “You didn’t get anything out of it? Have I taught you nothing? You just gave her everything!”

“Yeah, I did give her everything.” Hades sighed. 

“What do you mean?” Zeus asked, danger seeping into his tone.

“I maybe, kind of, sort of, might have given her a crown.” Hades bit out, swallowing more of the liquor.

“WHAT!” Zeus shrieked. “YOUR ASSISTANT?!” 

“She maybe, kind of, sort of, might be your daughter…” Hades muttered.

“ARTEMIS?” Zeus screamed.

“Nooo. The other one.” Hades said.

“ATHENA?!” Zeus asked.

“Oh my gods. The one that is NOT a sacred virgin?” Hades prompted.

“Ohhhh. You mean Persephone?” Zeus asked.

“That’s the one.” Hades said.

“PERSEPHONE?!” Zeus screamed. “You gave her a crown?! Are you insane?” Zeus threw back his own drink, then poured himself another, and topped Hades off. 

“I didn’t mean to!” Hades said. “I just… she’d just come on my hand, and I was kissing her, and I was so hard I could barely think, but the one thing running through my head was ‘Fuck I love this woman so much.’ and the next thing I know, boom! Crown.” 

Zeus gave a low whistle. “Uh-oh.”

Hades slouched down next to his brother. “Uh-oh indeed.” He agreed. 

“Well,” Zeus said, “Did you mean it?”

“What?” Hades gave his brother a look.

“Do you actually want her to be your wife? Your queen? Do you want to be bound to her for the rest of time? Do you want to rule by her side and raise her children?” Zeus asked, a deep look in his eye. 

“I do.” Hades replied, helpless against the magnitude of his feelings for Persephone.

“Well, brother. It seems you’ll be a far better husband, and father, than I ever was.” Zeus looked down at his glass, which was empty again. “If you truly wish to marry her, I give you my blessing.”

Chapter Text

“So dear, it seems your plan paid off.” Zeus smiled at his wife, who was swirling her gin and tonic. 

“So it does.” Hera replied. “You aren’t too upset at not getting to marry her to someone else?” 

“No. You’re happy, my dear.” Zeus smiled. “And no one else would’ve taken her.” He muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” She asked.

“Nothing!” He said. 

“She’s such a sweet girl. She’ll be a good queen.” Hera said.

“You really think so?” Zeus mused.

“I know so.”

 

---

 

Hades walked through his house, following the trail of tulips that led to the guest room Persephone had used a few times. Lately, she’d just slept in his bed, but maybe he’d overstepped. 

After the whole crown incident, he’d gone back to work and so had she. They’d gone their separate ways for lunch, and he hadn’t seen her in the office after that. Judging by the thick carpet of flowers covering his floor, she’d come back here. 

You idiot! Hades berated himself. You go and fucking propose! On accident! To the woman of your dreams!

He shook his head. He’d be lucky if she ever wanted him now. A few weeks together and boom he plopped a crown on her head. Such an idiot.

The flower petals that were being crushed by his every step let out sweet aromas, a sharp contrast to the worry that permeated his being. The door to the guest room was cracked open, but no light spilled out. Hades crept closer, slowing down every second.

He stopped, laying one large palm on the cold door. He’d always hated his hands, large and oafish and just like his father’s. The only time he hadn’t hated them had been when he’d used them to make a meal for Persephone, or pick out a gift for her, or make love to her. He realized that maybe, the only time he’d been truly proud of his hands had been that morning, when he’d made the crown for Persephone. 

Fuck .

Hades looked at his hand, the pale, sickly blue against the dark grey paint. Gently, he leaned forward and placed his forehead on the door. 

He knew Persephone was in there. Even if the flowers hadn’t given her away, he just knew. He could sense all life, because he was the one responsible for taking it. Hades heaved a sigh. He wanted to stand and bask in her presence, even if it was on the other side of the door, even if it was laden with sadness and tension.

What if she never came back? What if she was scared or didn’t want him? Hades didn’t know if he could bear that. 

He stood for a few minutes, and allowed himself to take in the feel of her, just a few yards away. Then, he pulled his head back from the door and pushed it open. 

Persephone was sitting on the bed, in the same dress from earlier. Her hair had grown since that morning, and it hung down over her shoulders, past her hips. She had been crying, and strands of hair were stuck to her cheeks, and she was flushed. 

She held the crown in her lap, with both hands, as if it was dangerous, or precious. 

It struck Hades then that she shouldn’t be so beautiful, sitting here before him so steeped in her own sadness. Still, he couldn’t help but admire her. 

She looked up at him, her eyes deep and sad and his heart broke into about a million pieces. 

“Sweetness.” He murmured, and went to her, faster than he meant to, and ended up crashing into the floor at her feet. He knelt before her, and cursed himself again for not doing it properly. He’d basically offered her his kingdom, while she was naked

Who wanted to accept an entire fucking kingdom when they didn’t even have underwear on?

Persephone was crying harder now, and Hades felt every shard of his heart shatter again. 

“I’m so sorry, darling. Oh, I didn’t mean-” Hades broke off to run a hand through his hair. “I can… let me make it better. I’m so sorry. I can take it back. Please, please Persephone. Whatever you want. I’m so sorry. Kore. My love. Please. Just tell me what you want. Anything. Whatever you want. Please just tell me…” Hades realized he was babbling and cut himself off. 

“D-do you not w-want…” Persephone trailed off, sobbed once, then said, “Do you want to take it back?” 

Hades gaped at her. 

“It’s okay.” She hiccuped. “Just take it. It’s, it, I’ll be okay. I’m sorry.” Persephone shoved the crown at him, and Hades still hadn’t managed to shut his damn mouth. 

“I shouldn’t have… of course you don’t… Gods, I’m so stupid.” Persephone buried her face in her hands, her body shaking.

“Kore…” Hades breathed, unsure how to make her understand that he didn’t want it back, not at all. He wanted her to take it just like she’d taken him, quiet and soft and in a way he almost hadn’t noticed.

“I want you to have it.” He said, laying a hand gently on her knee.

“You do?” She asked, looking at him with big doe eyes. 

“Yes.” Hades said. 

“I thought it was an accident.” Persephone said, a little more of her stubborn obstinance bleeding back into her voice.

“It wasn’t on purpose.” Hades admitted. “I was just looking at you and I thought that you’d look good with a crown. With my crown. Before I realized it, you were wearing one. 

“But Persephone, I want you to wear it. I’ve wanted you to wear it for a long time. I’ve known that if there’s anyone for me, it’s you since the day I met you. You’re smart and strong and powerful enough to rule by my side, but kind and gentle and wise enough to be my wife. There’s no other goddess who could be half as fit for it as you.” Hades reached up and pushed a strand of her hair back. He stood, grasping her hands, and pulled her up with him.

Silently, she followed him through the house, up the winding staircase tucked into a back corner. 

Hades preferred to keep a more modest house than his brothers did, but he still liked certain things. The rooftop garden was one he’d been working on the last few weeks. Hecate had really helped, and now it was bursting with flowers. 

The soft colors faded into a watercolor picture against the sparkling lights of the Underworld. He’d wanted to give the garden to her as a gift, after he proposed. He’d wanted to propose in the mortal realm, with lush grass beneath their feet and a map of stars over their heads, but he guessed this was close enough. 

After all, the only thing that mattered was that the two of them were here, together.

Persephone looked around, wide eyed, as he led her to the edge of the roof. It made for a nice symmetry, looking over the land of the dead from a field of flowers. 

He tugged her around, her back to the city, the lights glimmering through her hair. Gods, she was beautiful. Once again, he knelt before her. 

His city glowed behind her, the light spilling out around her every curve and lighting her up. The sweet aroma of hundreds of flowers floated through the air. 

“Hades.” Persephone’s voice broke.

“Shh, love.” He kissed the words into the palms of her hands, and then held her dainty little hands in his own. 

“Persephone, the time I’ve spent with you has been the best of my long life. You are brighter than a spring day, more brilliant than the most precious gems, sharper than the sword of judgement. 

“I never thought that I would love a woman, much less earn her love back. You have given me the greatest gift, and I hope to earn the honor of spending every day of the rest of my life working to deserve it.

“I know that I’m not young or particularly handsome. I’m moody and scary. I work too much, I never relax enough. But sweetness, you make me feel young, and handsome, and happy. You make me relax. I don’t know how to live without you.

“For all this and more, I have no choice. Persephone, Daughter of Demeter, Goddess of Spring, Bringer of Life and Death. My darling, my love, my life. Would you do me the honor of becoming my queen?” Hades looked up at her, beautiful and vibrant and so alive. He held her crown up to her.

Persephone reached down and pushed his shoulders until he fell back onto the floor. She climbed into his lap and kissed him. Hades had never been kissed like that before. It felt like a promise, like coming home, like everything he had ever wanted.

Persephone pulled back, her hands still framing his face, and smiled big and bright and perfect.

“I would love to be your queen.” She breathed. Hades laughed, and she was laughing too. They were miles beneath the surface of the earth, but there on his roof, he felt as if he was on top of the world. 

 

---

 

The crown lay on a stone path, a few feet away from its monarchs, who had seemingly forgotten it. 

“Hades.” Persephone heard herself saying his name, over and over, but it didn’t quite sound like her. That voice was high, and breathy, and out of breath. 

Her lover, her fiance , was holding her in his lap, hands planted firmly on her ass, mouth paying glorious attention to her throat.

“My queen.” Hades answered. He grasped for the crown, finding it and gently setting it on her head. Persephone straddled his lap, looking down on him. The heavy gold weight made her feel different, more powerful. 

“Do you promise to love me?” She asked.

“Forever.” Hades said, sliding a hand over her side. 

“Will I rule by your side, as your equal?” Persephone lay a kiss on his mouth, pulling a groan from him with her tongue. 

“As my equal and more.” He promised, pulling her closer so he could get to her breasts. 

She let him work her over, move down past her breasts to her ribs. 

“Will you be my king?” 

Hades scraped his teeth over her navel, and Persephone’s head rolled back on a gasp.

“As long as you are my queen.” He murmured. Persephone moved forward, pulling at the buttons on his shirt, yanking it out of  his pants and off of his shoulders. It slid over his back, and she pushed him back so that he was lying on the ground.

She kissed him, a promise of the eons that stretched before them. He moaned into her mouth. 

She pulled back, smiling, and then leant down to mouth along the planes of his abdomen. She listened to the soft gasps of his breath and cut off groans as she went lower and lower. Persephone licked along the soft trail of hair that started at his belly button and disappeared beneath his belt. 

She unfastened the belt, and then the button and zipper beneath it. Persephone pushed his pants and boxers down just enough to get at what she wanted. Above her, Hades drew in a sharp gasp. 

Persephone grasped his length in her hand and gave it an experimental stroke. Slowly, she built up a rhythm, pumping the shaft and running her thumb over the head on every other stroke. 

“Fuck, Persephone.” Hades groaned. 

“Shh.” She said, looking at his cock. Persephone licked her lips as a thought entered her mind. Slowly, she leaned down, still grasping the base of him, and wrapped her lips around the head. 

She gave an experimental suck, and Hades groaned. Hmmm. Slowly, she sank further down, taking more of him in.

She began bobbing her head back and forth, slowly at first, and then gaining speed. Huh, this wasn’t so hard. Why did everyone make such a big deal about this?

She kept going, slowly speeding up and taking him deeper into her mouth. Suddenly, the tip of his dick bumped the back of her throat, and Persephone was hit with the sudden certainty that she was going to be sick. 

Fuck FUCK FUCK ABORT .

Persephone pulled off and pushed her hand over him again. Maybe she should take a break for a while. She didn’t feel as if she was about to be sick all over him, and she wanted it to stay that way. 

Hades reached over and adjusted the crown so that it sat straight on her head. She smiled down at him, and he smiled back. Persephone reached down and ran a finger over her clit.

Hades’ eyes were glued to her hand. She dipped it further down, gathering some of the wetness onto her fingers, then began rubbing circle over her clit. She was breathing harder now, unable to control the way his eyes on her made her feel.

“Will you rule over me fairly?” She gasped. He groaned a curse. Persephone slipped a finger into herself and moaned. 

“Will you protect me from harm?” She said, pushing her finger deeper, pumping it in and out of herself. His chest was heaving beneath her. 

“Will you damn to Tartarus those who would tear us apart?” Persephone was enjoying this immensely. She normally enjoyed touching herself, but there was something about the way he watched her, the way he reacted to her words. She added a second finger.

Persephone moaned. His erection hadn’t flagged at all. 

“Will you master my pleasure as if it’s your own?” She slipped her fingers up to rub over her clit, before reaching for his cock. She pushed herself up and lined him up with her entrance. She slid down, taking him into her. 

Persephone ground against him, slow and careful. His hands gripped her tight enough to bruise. She hoped she’d find soft little marks there tomorrow, sweet little reminders of this moment.

Hades’ hips pushed against her, the two of them working together. She didn’t think she’d last long. She rode him as best she could, listening to the soft litany spilling from his lips of, “Harder, fuck, Persephone! Yes, yes, harder.”

She planted her hands on his chest and pushed herself harder. 

“Aidoneus!” She gasped out. “Fuck. Please, please, ple-” She broke off into a scream as she came.

Persephone slumped over Hades’ chest, trying to catch her breath. She looked up and saw that he was obviously as fucked out as she was, and that at some point a flower crown had bloomed into life on his head. 

Persephone laughed a little and ran a fingertip over one of the roses. Hades laughed with her, then cupped her face in his hands and pulled her in for a kiss. 

They lay there for some time, basking in each other and perfect, lazy kisses. 



Chapter Text

Hades watched Persephone’s hips sway as she walked out of the kitchen. Gods, she was perfect. He stood in dopey silence for a few minutes before he remembered that she was going to see her friends and wouldn’t be back for a while. 

Sullenly, he went and changed into real clothes for Brother Brunch, because he was nothing if not presentable. The car ride to the restaurant was uneventful, and he enjoyed the curves and the speed, letting it lull him into a familiar sense of comfort.

By the time he pulled into a parking space, his nerves about seeing his brothers had somewhat dissipated. Hades strode in, easily making his way to Zeus and Poseidon, who were drinking a pina colada and a mimosa, respectively. 

“Brother!” Zeus thundered. Hades groaned. How many drinks had Zeus had already? “I just wanted to see how you were after our little chat last week.” Zeus said in the worst stage whisper Hades had ever seen.

“Chat?” Poseidon immediately perked up.

“Ohhhh yes. Our brother dearest accidentally gave Kore a crown.” Zeus giggled.

Hades rolled his eyes and signalled to the bartender as his brothers collapsed into fits of hysterics around him.

“Oh! Oh my Gods!” Poseidon laughed. “Kore! Ahh my man!” 

Hades winced as his brother clapped him on the shoulder.

“Did you do a redo?” Zeus grinned.

“Yes, I did.” Hades retorted.

“Okay…” Zeus stared at him.

“Just spill!” Poseidon cried.

“Okay, okay!” Hades relented. “So you know about how I gave her that crown, right?”

The other two kings nodded eagerly, leaning in closer.

“Anyway, she just disappeared after. I went and talked to Zeus about it,” here Zeus nodded sagely, as if he was the solver of all problems, “and then I went back to the house to look for her. She was so upset that the entire house was covered in flowers. I found her in an old bedroom, crying over the crown.”
“Oh, no.” Poseidon whined.

“What happened next?” Zeus demanded.

“Shhhh!” Poseidon hissed, “Let him tell his story!”

“She thought that I hadn’t meant to give her the crown, that everything was a mistake.” Hades sighed.

“Did you tell her that was wrong?” Poseidon gasped.

“Hush!” Zeus exclaimed, swatting at Poseidon.

“You know that garden that Hecate was helping me with?” Hades asked. His brothers nodded. “I brought her up there. I wanted to propose in a field in spring, up in the mortal realm, but that was the closest I could get. I knelt down in front of her and told her all of the reasons I love her, and how much she has changed my life in such a short time.”
Poseidon sighed happily, and whispered something that sounded suspiciously like, “So romantic!”

“I asked if she would be my wife.” Hades smiled then, happy memories filtering through his head.

“Awwwww!” Zeus and Poseidon sighed in tandem.

“She said yes.” Hades grinned, and his brothers let out a raucous cheer. 

“And then…” Zeus waggled his eyebrows at Hades.

“What do you mean, ‘And then’?” Hades demanded.

Poseidon scoffed, “You mean you gave her a fucking crown, proposed in the most beautiful spot you could find, gave a huge romantic speech, and all that happened was she said yes?” 

“I’m calling bullshit!” Zeus chirped.

“Fineeeee.” Hades groaned. “We uh…”
“Ohhhh yeah!” Poseidon pumped his fist in the air. 

“Shut up! Gods, I can’t take you anywhere!” Hades chastised, but he was laughing as well. 

“I can’t believe it.” Zeus sighed.

“What?” Hades demanded.

“We’re going to have a wedding, baby!” Zeus called.

 

—-



Hades had let her take a car to meet Eros and Artemis, and she’d enjoyed the drive and the time it gave her to think about everything that had happened. What would it be like to be Hades’ wife? To be a queen?

Truthfully, Persephone wasn’t too worried about being a queen. She was too caught up in the joy she felt at the idea of getting to marry Hades. As she wound through the familiar streets, Persephone paid special attention to every street corner and crack in the sidewalk. 

Every part of this neighborhood was a memory for her. Here was where she and her friends had grown close, and coming back always made her happy. 

Eros’s driveway was steep and his house grand. Artemis’s motorcycle was parked in front of the garage, and as soon as Persephone had parked the front door flew open. Artemis and Eros shot out toward her, and Persephone found herself scrambling out of the car to rush and meet them. All three friends collided into a group hug.

Persephone hadn’t realized how much she’d missed her friends. 

They went inside, where Eros already had her favorite tea brewing, and Artemis had pulled up some reality show to play in the background while they got caught up. It felt exactly like old times, and Persephone felt a pang of sadness.

She pushed the feelings away. This was her time to sit and gossip with her friends just like they had in college. She wasn’t going to let herself ruin it.

“Okay, Psyche went out with some of her friends, so it’s just the OGs.” Eros grinned, handing Persephone her mug. “And we want to hear about everything!”

“I haven’t seen you since the trial.” Artemis pouted.

“Girrrrl that trial!” Eros fanned himself a little.

“I know.” Persephone blushed. “I got a little out of control…”
“Pssh, what?” Eros interjected.

“That might have been the most self-control I’ve ever seen. You didn’t kill him.” Artemis shrugged.

“Also, the way Hades looked at you while you were going all Powerful Boss Ass Bitch on Apollo… I thought he was about to keel over.” Eros crowed. 

“Yeah…” Artemis gave Persephone a look. “What’s going on with that?”

Persephone felt her cheeks heat up a little more. She reached into her purse and fished out the small box in the bottom. Carefully, she set the little box on her lap and opened the lid. 

Artemis and Eros gasped at the diamond glittering up at them. 

“Duuuuuude.” Artemis gaped.

“Wow.” Eros was slowly reaching his hand out, almost subconsciously, toward the ring. 

“Is that what I think it is?” Artemis wondered.

“Hell yeah it is!” Eros answered, ever eloquent.

Persephone was almost a little afraid to wear it. She and Hades hadn’t quite figured everything out yet, let alone made a formal announcement. For the past few days, she’d carried the ring around with her, safe in its little box. She explained all this to her friends when they asked why she wasn’t wearing it. 

“Does it fit?” Eros asked.

“He literally made it for me. Of course it fits.” Persephone scoffed.

“Put it on. Let me see. Pleaseeeee.” Artemis whined. Persephone chuckled at her friend, and carefully lifted the ring out of its cushion. Gently, she slid the golden band over her finger until it rested in place. Persephone let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.

She was wearing the ring, Hades’ ring, and not only did it fit, it was perfect. It was right. 

“That is gorgeous.” Eros beamed. 

“Even I can admit that.” Artemis agreed.

“Have you started planning the wedding?” Eros asked, clearly excited at the concept.

“Not really. We talked about where we might want to do it, who we want to invite, if we want a huge party or a little celebration. Obviously, Artemis, you’re going to be a bridesmaid. Eros, I was hoping you’d help me find a dress?” Persephone was not at all prepared for the amount of squealing this brought on. 

The two began badgering her with questions, meaningless babble about color palettes and seasons and silhouettes. At some point, Eros’s cat came and curled up on Persephone’s lap. They laughed and planned broad strokes of Persephone’s wedding, and Persephone whispered to them all of the things that had made her love Hades in the first place.  



Chapter Text

Hades took a breath. In. Out. In. 

He tried not to fidget too much. Why was he so nervous? Hecate appeared at his side, wearing the dark chlamys she had for these types of things. Hades wore his most elaborate himation, and his crown. 

Hecate grasped his arm. “Hades. She already said yes. This is mostly a formality. Just breathe.”
“What if she changes her mind?” He breathed, feeling his chest heave. He felt like he was watching his body from a few feet above his head. 

“She won’t. I promise.” Hecate assured him.  

Hades looked out at the landscape that stretched before him. The rolling hills and valleys of Sicily, lush with spring. He knew that Persephone and Demeter had been working on this meadow for the last week, and it showed.

Flowers and trees and shrubs bloomed around them, violent and beautiful, just like his bride. His bride . Her family and friends were there, standing in the field below. Hera and Zeus, Eros, Psyche, Artemis. A handful of nymphs. Hermes, the furies, and a few people he worked closely with in the Underworld. All of his dogs, save Cerberus, were sitting around Artemis, quietly begging for her attention.

Persephone had spent the last few months working on this quiet, intimate ceremony, and it was perfect. Just like her. Hades smiled a little. Who would have thought? 

A few of the muses had come, and with a nod from Hecate they began playing a soft, romantic song. The small crowd gathered before him turned, and Cerberus came trotting out of the forest. A little basket filled with flower petals hung in his jaws, shaking petals onto the makeshift aisle with his every step. He came to stand by his master, and Hades gave him a soft pat on the head. 

The music changed a little, and Persephone glided out of the trees on Demeter’s arm. Hades couldn’t breathe. She wore a long, white, ionic chiton, and below a long, transparent veil, her hair hung down to her waist in loose curls. Light blue flowers sprouted in the long waves, but her brow was bare. 

He imagined how she’d look like this, with his crown on her head. Hades was melting.

Persephone caught his eye and cracked a small smile, and every nerve that had been crackling with pent up anxiety shorted out. Calm rushed through Hades like the gentlest spring stream.

He knew it only took a few minutes for Persephone to make her way to him, but the time stretched out to forever. Hades took in every detail, the white polish on her fingernails, her tiny feet, peeking out from the hem of her chiton, bare in the lush grass. Her small, perfect hands held a beautiful bouquet, made up of white roses and baby’s breath and pale blue hydrangeas. Demeter pressed a kiss onto Persephone’s cheek, and she smiled, tearing up a bit.

Finally, she was there. Hades felt a pull in his cheeks and realized he was beaming down at her. Persephone was smiling just as hard. Demeter took Persephone’s hand and held it out, and Hades took it in his own.

“Do you take my daughter, Persephone, under your care, from this day until your last, to love, to defend, and to rule by your side?” Demeter asked, the words solemn. Hades knew he wasn’t her first choice for Persephone’s husband, but he was glad that she had blessed their union anyway. 

“I do. I swear to love her, defend her, and honor her as my queen.” Hades said, giving Persephone’s small hand a light squeeze. Her tiny pink fingers barely peeked out from beneath his large blue ones, but she still squeezed back. 

Hecate nodded to Demeter, and Demeter leaned forward and folded the veil over Persephone’s head, kissing Persephone’s brow and then gripping Hades’ shoulder. He understood the message: she trusted him.

Demeter turned and walked back to join the rest of the small crowd, and Persephone turned to face Hades fully.

“Persephone, do you take Hades, King of the Underworld, Eternal Judge, God of All the Riches Beneath the Earth, Punisher, Ruler of the Dead to be your king? Do you trust that he will honor you fairly as your queen, that he will care for you and your children as a father, that he will love you as a husband, that he will fight as your champion?” Hecate said. 

“With all my heart.” Persephone said with a watery smile.

“Aidoneus, do you take Persephone, Goddess of Spring, Bringer of Death, Daughter of Demeter, to be your Queen? Do you trust her to counsel you fairly as your queen, to care for you and your children as a mother, to love you as a wife should, and to fight for you as your champion?” Hecate asked.

“I do.” Hades said, his voice cracking. Persephone squeezed his hands between hers. 

“Persephone, do you have a token for Hades to wear as a symbol of your union?” Hecate asked.

“I do.” Persephone produced a black obsidian ring, and placed it on Hades’ finger. Its cool, heavy weight grounded him. 

“Hades, do you have a token for Persephone to wear as a symbol of your union?” Hecate repeated. 

“I do.” Hades smiled, and Persephone’s crown shimmered into existence in his hands. He placed it on her brow, over the gentle veil that already sat there. When the crown settled, her chiton shimmered, changing, until it hung black and heavy around her, the shroud of the Queen of the Dead. Hades was breathless. She grinned up at him, secret and wicked. 

“You may kiss your queen.” Hecate declared.

Hades wasted no time gripping her head and pulling her up to him. He bent down, and their lips met for the first time as husband and wife. 

The people gathered around them burst into cheers, and Cerberus let out a jubilant howl. Hades pulled back and took in the vision before him, his beautiful wife, in her wedding gown, glowing with light and happiness. Could life get any better?

He grasped her hand in his, and they walked down the aisle as the wedding party sang around them. 

 

—-

 

Persephone looked up at her husband . He smiled down at her, and she laughed a little. They’d returned to the Underworld in his chariot and gone their separate ways to change for dinner. 

The wedding was mortal garb, but the afterparty was full on glamour. Persephone’s dress was white and lacy, and clung to every curve she had. A slit ran up her right thigh, and the dress’s long sleeves didn’t cover her shoulders. A transparent slip of fabric draped taught across her neckline, lace climbing over her ample breasts and up her arms. The entire dress glittered with tiny diamonds, which also adorned the black obsidian and spinel crown. Hades had wanted her to look like the queen she was for their reception.

He had come to get her from the dressing room, in an expertly cut black suit that had been tailored to fit him exquisitely. Shards of diamonds, brilliant and glinting in the light, circled his head. It was rugged and masculine and perfect, just like him. 

“Hello, wife.” Hades said, giddy and laughing. 

“Hello, husband.” Persephone responded. She leaned up onto her toes and kissed him. She wanted to relish in this quiet, perfect moment with him, because she knew the rest of the night would be loud and raucous and crazy.

Persephone pulled away and smiled up at him. Hades tucked a stray lock of hair back into place, correcting her chignon. He offered her his arm, and she glided along at his side. She was so ready to spend the rest of her life wearing his crown and standing next to him. 

They reached the doors, and Hecate grinned at them. “You ready? Because if you aren’t, you better be quick.” She winked, and pushed open the doors. 

The cheers were deafening. Persephone couldn’t even hear Hecate announcing them. Hades led her down the steps into the massive ballroom. They were immediately crowded with people. She waded through the crowd at Hades’ side, and eventually they made it to the front of the ballroom. A wall of windows offered an uninhibited view of the skyline. 

They sat at the table and the rest of the party followed their lead. Shades began serving the meal, every kind of meat imaginable, marinated in nectar and roasted for hours, rolls with ambrosia butter, salad with a tangy vinaigrette, three different kinds of soup, grilled fish, and more vegetables cooked in more ways than any mortal could count.

Dionysus had created a wine just for the occasion, and the casks flowed freely. The cake towered above the party when it was brought out. It was decorated with glittering stones and fresh flowers, artfully placed on swirls of white icing.

Hades fed Persephone a bite on his fork, gentle and smiling, and she returned his kindness by smearing the icing over his cheek before slipping a morsel of cake into his mouth with her fingers. He just laughed and pulled her into a kiss, and she pulled her finger along his cheek, collecting the icing and licking it off. Hades gazed at her hungrily, and Persephone knew he was after more than another bite of wedding cake. 

The muses struck up a soft song, and Hades pulled her out to the dance floor. He held her hand and swung her around, catching her in his arms. Persephone giggled as his hand came to rest on her waist. 

“I should know by now not to be surprised by any of your secret talents.” She smiled up at him. 

Hades kissed her forehead, and murmured, “A queen deserves the best.” 

The ballroom faded into swaths of color behind him, and nothing mattered but his arms around her and his heart beating strong and forceful against his chest, right beneath her ear.
Hades spun her around the dancefloor, spinning her out and then pulling her back in, smiling wide every time she laughed at him. Slowly, others melted onto the dancefloor around them, waltzing in tight circles as Hades spun her. 

The song ended with a flourish, and Hades dipped her one last time, kissing her heavy and deep. 

She moaned quietly into his mouth, glad that the applause around them masked the sound. Everything was perfect. This was their moment, and Persephone had a feeling it would last forever.

 

—-

 

The Fates stood at the edge of the ballroom, sipping the special edition Pomegranate Champagne and watching Hades twirl his new bride. 

“Ahhhh, so romantic.” Lachesis sighed. 

“He’s so different with her. It’s kind of nice.” Atropos commented. 

A grin split the blue god’s face, and the tiny pink goddess in his arms seemed to finally have grown into herself.

“It’s almost as if they were fated.” Lachesis winked.

Next to the two, Clotho scoffed.

“What?” Atropos demanded. “Even I can see that this is a good match.”

“You two haven’t seen it yet, have you?” Clotho realized.

“Seen what?” Lachesis laughed. 

“All of the children and the eons of happiness they’re going to have?” Atropos asked.

“No. That isn’t their ending.” Clotho said, solemn and calm. “There’s a storm coming. These two were fated, yes, but not for the reason you think. The God of the Dead and the Bringer of Death.” Clotho let out a dry laugh. “Just you two wait. You’ll see.”

The three women turned back to the ballroom, where Hades and Persephone were nowhere to be seen. They were off in a corner, giggling as they snuck out of their own party early, doubtless headed for a party they’d enjoy far more. 

Lachesis threw back her drink, wondering how long the peace would last. Atropos placed her hand on her sister’s arm in an attempt to soothe her, but Clotho just rolled her eyes.

“Is there anything we can do?” Lachesis wondered.

“You know that’s not our place.” Atropos murmured.

“We do not do, we see. Oh, what I’ve seen.” Clotho shuddered. She glanced at her sisters, glad that they hadn’t seen it yet. 

It had only been one vision, and yet it haunted her, day and night. Before long, it would haunt her sisters, along with every God and mortal there was. Clotho prayed Persephone and Hades enjoyed themselves while they could. Those two had already had enough pain to last a lifetime. How long would they be able to survive what was coming?