Her mother had always told Persephone that it was easier to be rational after a good night’s sleep. As Demeter never had followed this advice herself, Persephone hadn’t thought much about it, but she came to realise that her mother had been correct.
I don’t want you to see him.
That was what Hades had said, and the memory of it still infuriated Persephone. She already had one mother trying to decide whom she could be friends with, so she certainly didn’t need another.
After a good night’s of sleep, Persephone came to realise that Hades’ wasn’t completely irrational. The male gods weren’t exactly known for wanting to be friends with the female ones. When she thought about it, Persephone couldn’t think of a single male and female god who were friends. Well, not counting Apollo and Artemis, but they were twins so it didn’t really count. Besides then they weren’t really friends.
But Persephone felt nothing for Hermes except as a friend, and even if Hades had no reason to trust the younger god, couldn’t he trust his own wife?
Except that she had kind of kissed Ares. Not because of any specific desire to do so, but she supposed that she couldn’t really fault Hades for thinking that she might kiss Hermes as well.
Well, why shouldn’t she? Hades had kidnapped her. He’d hardly deserved her loyalty, and Hermes was attractive enough. Though to be fair then all the gods were, excepting Hephaestus.
But still, the thought of kissing anyone but Hades made Persephone feel unpleasant in a way that she wasn’t completely comfortable with. She didn’t want to hurt him.
Sighing, she let her hand slide over the many dresses that Hades had given her. She’d wear something more conservative today and then she’d go talk with Hades. She’d tell him that she only saw Hermes as a friend, and that she was certain that he also considered her one.
Hades would understand. He always seemed to understand in a way that Demeter just hadn’t.
Thankfully the Lord of the Underworld wasn’t hard to find, and to Persephone’s relief he didn’t seem displeased to see her.
He bowed to her, and Persephone hurriedly curtsied. She couldn’t quite get over how formal he sometimes was.
“Lady Persephone,” he murmured lowly, and Persephone watched him attentively. Like her, he seemed to have calmed down over the night.
“Lord Hades,” she greeted in return. “I was wondering if you would take a walk with me through the gardens?”
“Of course, my lady.” He offered her his arm, and Persephone accepted as graciously as she was able.
They walked in silence to the gardens, while Persephone tried to gather the courage that had suddenly deserted her. After several minutes walking in silence, pretending to watch the flowers, she finally pulled herself together.
“I can’t believe I’ve only been home for a couple of months,” she said.
“Two months and fifteen days,” Hades answered softly.
Persephone looked at him in surprise, completely forgetting to pretend to enjoy the flowers. “You’re counting?”
“Oh.” Persephone wasn’t sure what else to say. “I feel like it has been so much longer,” she finally said.
“I know what you mean. So much has happened, has it not?”
“Yeah.” Persephone grimaced. “Most of it because of Mother.”
“Demeter has been rather involved in your life.”
Persephone grinned at him, wondering why he couldn’t have been this polite yesterday. “That’s certainly a nice way to put it.” She hesitated, trying to decide how to open the subject. Finally the words just blurted out of her.
“I’m not in love with Hermes.”
Hades stopped, and the words just continued to flow out of Persephone.
“I mean, I like him. A lot. But like a friend. Just a friend.” She looked at him pleadingly, willing him to understand. “I’ve never had a friend before.”
Hades frowned. “You must have had friends. Even the day where I… where we married, you were playing with the nymphs.”
“Those weren’t my friends. They were just someone whom my mother had told to play with me. Hermes is my first friend.”
“I had rather hoped that you considered me a friend.”
Persephone blushed, staring intently at the ground. “You’re… well, I’m still kind of trying to figure that out. But you’re not exactly a friend. You’re my husband.”
Chancing a glance at him, she saw that he smiled. “Yes?” he murmured.
“Yes. So don’t… don’t worry about Hermes. I’m not interested in anything beyond being friends.”
Persephone sent him an annoyed glance. “He is not. He considers me a friend.”
Hades seemed entirely unconvinced. “I can not imagine the male god that would consider you merely a friend. And I do not mind you having friends. I want you to be happy. But can you not have female friends? Athena. Artemis. Even Aphrodite if you please.”
Persephone grimaced. “They’re all nice, but… I don’t know. I like hanging out with Hermes. I get to feel like a child again, but not in the way my mother wants me to. He’s funny. But he’s… he’s like a little brother.”
Hades’ eyes seemed to bore through her. “A little brother?” he repeated.
“Yeah. I can’t find a better description really. I like him, but the thought of kissing him is… weird. Wrong, somehow.”
Hades smiled at her words, and Persephone was for a moment speechless. Hades was always handsome, but when he smiled it felt like a swarm of butterflies had gotten loose in her stomach. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant. Blushing, she felt oddly daring. She thought about how much this god had said that he loved her.
“Hades,” she said, standing on her toes beside him.
“Yes?” he asked politely, before freezing as she kissed him on the cheek, just barely touching the corner of his mouth.
“You have nothing to worry about with Hermes,” she told him. “I’m not thinking about kissing anyone else.”
The look in Hades eyes made Persephone feel more powerful than ever before. She wondered if this was how Aphrodite felt like when she seduced someone. It was a heading feeling.
“You are thinking about kissing me?”
Persephone blushed. “Sometimes. Thinking,” she stressed. “Do you? Think about kissing me, I mean?”
“Constantly,” he answered.
Persephone decided not to dwell on why this answer pleased her so much. “Good,” she said. She kissed him again, this time clearly brushing her lips against the corner of his mouth.
“Trust me?” she asked him pleadingly, and Hades willingly nodded, a dazed look in his eyes.
“Thank you.” Persephone smiled brilliantly at him, considering going in for a third kiss. Instead she sent him a look from under her eyelashes. What had seemed so awkward with Ares, suddenly seemed to come natural to her. “Come to dinner tomorrow?” she asked, and Hades nodded again.
Unable to help herself, Persephone kissed him a third time, before walking away, leaving her husband standing frozen among the flower.
Her mother had been right.
Everything did seem easier after you had slept on it.