Okay, apparently I forgot to post this last week, and I apologize. On the plus side, that means another update already tomorrow!
Looking at her husband with curious eyes, Persephone wondered if he had truly changed or if it was merely her perspective of him that had. But Hades did appear more relaxed as he was sitting in front of the fire in her room, having just finished dinner with her. His eyes were partly closed and a little smile was playing on his lips. He seemed happy, and Persephone couldn’t recall him ever looking like that during her months underground.
“You look happy,” she said, stating her thoughts, and Hades lazily opened his eyes to look at her.
“I am happy,” he said.
“But you didn’t use to be,” she wondered out loud, because he’d always seemed so tense, so in control.
“My wife used to hate me,” he said as an answer, and Persephone gaped at him, not having realised that perhaps her changed attitude was what had changed his mood.
“Oh,” she said, because she didn’t know what else to say. “Hermes wants to pretend to seduce me,” she then blurted out. Apparently her mouth had decided that was what else to say.
Hades certainly didn’t look relaxed now.
“What?” he said.
“Hermes wants to pretend to seduce me,” she repeated helpfully.
Hades stood up, fury clear across his face.
“I knew it!” he raged. “That… that little weasel, that little rat. Trying to seduce another man’s wife! I knew that most of the cursed gods of Olympus didn’t have any honour, but this! This is too much!”
Completely shocked by his reaction, Persephone acted instinctively by jumping up and hurrying over to him. Reaching up, she gently took his face in both her hands, forcing him to look down at her.
“Listen to me,” she ordered. “Pretend. I said pretend. He’s not actually planning to seduce me.” I think, she added in her thoughts. “So calm down. It’s just a…a ruse.”
Hades blinked, but slowly the anger disappeared from his face, and now he just looked confused.
“A ruse,” he repeated.
“Yes. To… against my mother,” she told him, hurriedly telling him about Hermes’ suggestion.
Hades frowned, but he didn’t look enraged any longer, and Persephone felt certain that she could let go of his face without any repercussions. She didn’t.
“I hate to admit it,” he finally said. “But it does sound like exactly the sort of thing that Hermes might do.”
“Really?” Persephone hadn’t felt as certain.
“Yes.” Hades voice was dry and unamused. “There’s a reason that Hermes is the god of tricksters. There’s nothing that he likes better than making a fool out of everybody else. He just forgets to think about the consequences of his actions. Zeus only knows how often he’s gotten himself into trouble because of it.” Hades frowned. “I’m just surprised that you would be part of such a thing.”
Persephone shrugged, suddenly feeling very young and stupid. “Mother… mother has done me a lot of wrong,” she finally said. “I just wanted to… wanted to…”
“Punish her?” Hades suggested, and Persephone nodded, not quite certain if he disapproved.
“I see.” He didn’t look disappointed or angry, and Persephone finally removed her hands.
“Why are you telling me of this?” he finally asked, and Persephone gaped at him, shocked.
“You’re my husband!” she said. “Of course I had to tell you! Otherwise you’d think I was being unfaithful!”
Hades looked pleased once again, and Persephone wondered if she was ever going to figure him out. Was he happy because she’d told him, or because she’d seemed so against the thought of her being unfaithful?
Hades sat down once again, but this time he dragged her down with him until she sat in his lap. Blushing furiously, Persephone made no move to get up.
“Do me a favour,” he said. “Make sure the ruse is only seen by Demeter. Even though I may know the truth, I’d prefer that every god in Olympus didn’t think that my wife was sleeping with another man.”
“Sure,” Persephone promised easily, deciding not to tell him that she hadn’t officially made her decision. But then again, perhaps she’d really made her choice the second she’d decided to tell Hades.
Leaning her head against his chest, Persephone closed her eyes, enjoying the steady sound of his heartbeat.
“Hades,” she said, sighing when she felt him begin to stroke her hair. It felt nice. Better than nice.
“When we go home, do you think I could bring a few flowers with me?” she asked. “I did miss them terribly much the last time.”
Hades’ hand froze in her hair. “I gave you flowers the last time,” he said, and Persephone lifted her head to look up at him. He didn’t look happy any longer.
“I know,” she said. “But I meant flowers that haven’t been plucked. Flowers I have a chance to watch grow. Your flowers were pretty, but they all died so quickly.”
“Wouldn’t they need sun in order to grow Underground?” Hades asked her, and she shook her head, wondering if that was why he’d never given her live flowers.
“Usually,” she said. “But I’m the goddess of spring. If only they have roots, soil and water, my magic can be the sunshine they need in order to grow. If you’d let me,” she added, suddenly worried. But of course he would, wouldn’t he? He was her husband. He loved her.
“Of course,” Hades said, and she leant her head against his chest once again.
“Perhaps,” he continued, sounding hesitant. “Perhaps you would like your own garden?”
She smiled against his chest, allowing her fingers to play with the buttons of his shirt. His heartbeat grew less steady by the second.
“I’d like that,” she said, imagining having a garden of her own that she would actually be completely in charge of. Usually Demeter always had the last say. “A small one,” she added, because that even though she did love gardening, she didn’t miss having to spend all her time doing it.
“A small one,” Hades willingly agreed, stroking her hair once again, and Persephone closed her eyes, before suddenly laughing softly.
“What’s so funny?” her husband wanted to know.
“It’s nothing,” she assured him. “I was just thinking… the idea of Hermes actually seducing me. It’s rather laughable.”
She nodded against his chest. “Hmm. I mean, I wasn’t lying when I said he was kind of like a little brother,” she said. “It’s going to be odd having to pretend to see him as anything else in front of mother.”
For a long time neither of them said anything.
“I don’t like the thought of you touching him,” Hades then said. “Even if it’s just pretend.”
Persephone smiled. “Hades, it’s my mother. Hermes and I hardly have to touch at all before she thinks the absolute worst. I certainly isn’t planning to do more than a few embraces and stuff like that. We’re not actually going to do anything. We’re just going to let mother think that we are.”
“So you’re not going to kiss him?”
“I wouldn’t kiss him just to prove a point,” Persephone assured him.
“You did with Ares,” he said, and Persephone looked up at him again. Was Hades jealous?
“That was different,” she said.
“Well, back when I kissed Ares, I didn’t have you,” she said. “I mean, I did, but not in the way that I have now. You know in the sense that I would actually care if you… and back then you were just my husband… and you still are, but I just mean that –“
The rest of what she had planned to say was cut off my Hades’ insisting kiss.
Persephone had no complaints.