|The Crimson Shadow
Author: Ailleann PM
Another take on Hades's abduction and marriage of Persephone.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 3 - Words: 13,630 - Reviews: 88 - Favs: 102 - Follows: 62 - Updated: 05-14-04 - Published: 02-23-04 - id: 1746931
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I'm not too clear on dining rituals in ancient Greece, so everyone will have to bear with me. I'm planning on taking a class on Greek Culture next semester, but that's next semester. I don't think I should wait to write this chapter until then. :) I haven't changed the rating of the whole story because as far as I know so far, this is the only chapter that would earn an R rating. So—warning before you read, this chapter is rated a soft R. And if that doesn't bother you, then read onward!
"Fine," he said, some of his icy façade cracking. "Persephone, you are a woman, and I am a man. There are limits to my patience. You drive me to want you, Persephone."
She blinked rapidly. "Want me?" she asked blankly, and he nearly groaned. Gods, could any woman be more sheltered?
He stepped toward her swiftly and knelt at her feet. The motion was so swift, and she was so startled to see the Lord of the Underworld kneeling before her that she was held speechless and immobile. "Persephone," he said hoarsely. "It means this." His hands came up and slid into her hair, scattering pins and causing the golden mass to come tumbling down around her shoulders. She blinked rapidly, but made no outward protest against his actions.
He threaded his fingers through her hair, and then drew her down to his mouth. His lips brushed hers, and she gasped in surprise. Taking advantage of her opened mouth, he slid his tongue along the edges of her lips and then inside to caress her tongue. He could feel her trembling, but knew from her tentative touches on his shoulders that it wasn't from fear. He pulled her closer to him, still kissing her gently. She whimpered softly into his mouth, and he drew away.
Her eyes whipped open, and she stared at him shock. "Why?" she whispered. "Why did you leave?"
He felt his blood surge, making him almost dizzy. But despite that he was intoxicated with her taste, there was a small, cold part of his mind that knew precisely what he was doing and why. He could not allow her to leave him. And if that meant taking advantage of her naïveté, then it had be done.
"Nothing, darling," he whispered softly, using his velvet dark voice to persuade her. Her eyes slid shut, and he saw her pulse hammer in her throat. He felt his body surge at the knowledge that he could seduce her with only his voice.
He rose from where he knelt in front of her on the couch, then seated himself again. "Will you kiss me again?" he asked her, staring at her from beneath lowered lashes.
She caught her breath, and nodded her head mutely. "I don't—I don't know what to do," she whispered, and he nearly smiled.
"But I do, my sweet," he murmured, leaning closer to her. She didn't draw away from him, merely stared in fascination as he came closer. He wrapped his fingers gently around her upper arms and drew her to him. When he pulled her so far that she couldn't sit comfortably, she rose on her knees, staring at him with a dazed look in her eyes. He felt a pang of guilt, knowing that she had absolutely no idea what was going to happen, and no way to stop it. Then those thoughts were swept away when she unselfconsciously slid her leg over to straddle his legs.
He felt his heart hammer so hard he was sure it was going to burst. When she gave him a tentative look, he smiled at her and drew her so that she was against his chest. Then he dipped his head and captured her mouth with his again. He caressed and teased, took and gave until she was whimpering, shifting anxiously on his lap, unsure of what she wanted so badly.
When she slid her hands over his flat stomach, he felt his muscles jump anxiously in response. Her eyes flew to his anxiously. "I didn't hurt you, did I?" she asked, her eyes afraid and nervous.
"No," he said hoarsely. "You didn't hurt me. Quite the opposite."
She bit her lip, and with a low growl he moved her teeth aside and nipped teasingly at the same place. He moved his kisses down her throat, his fingers brushing at her robes teasingly, until she pressed herself against him, her fingers digging into his shoulders anxiously.
Abruptly she shoved anxiously at his shoulders. It took him a moment to realize that she was no longer trembling with desire, but with apprehension. He pushed himself up on his elbows to look at her face. She stared up at him, tears trembling on her lashes. The sight hit him in the gut like a hammer. "What's wrong?" he asked hoarsely, not sure if it was from emotional or physical pain that his voice was so rough. He hated to see the distress in her face, but his body was also aching.
"I don't think this is right," she sniffled. "I just don't, Hades!"
"How is not right?" he said persuasively, feeling his heart flutter. He wouldn't force her—it was against his oath as well as his intentions—but he planned on having her tonight. "Does it not feel right, little cat?"
She stared up at him with such fear and trust that he felt a funny little clutch at his heart again. "But, my lord, my mother says that women should only submit to their husbands."
"Submit what?" Hades asked her gently, his eyes glittering as he damned Demeter for her foresight.
He watched in fascination as a blush crawled over her cheeks. "Submit themselves," she mumbled.
Trying to fight his reluctant amusement, Hades cupped her face in his large hands. "Submit what of themselves, little cat? Their will? You have not done that. Your will is your own, and I have not attempted to take it from you."
Persephone bit her lip nervously. "I don't think that's what she means, my lord," she stammered.
"Then what does she mean?" he asked her coaxingly, using his sensual voice to his advantage. He saw her eyes flare, and felt her body move restlessly beneath his.
"It means—it means that I should not be doing this," she said in a rush, putting her hands over her face to hide her shame. Her mother would be absolutely livid for what she had done tonight. If she gave herself to Hades—there would be no returning.
Hades gently removed her hands from her face. "Little one, you don't have to give yourself to me," he said quietly. "Not if you don't want to. But I don't think it is such a great sin if I hold you for a while. Maybe kiss you. Such things mortal lovers do—there is no sin in this."
Persephone looked hesitant. "Are you sure?"
"Quite," he said smoothly. "Am I not one of the oldest gods? We made these laws, little cat, and I know precisely how to keep them." Or break them, he silently amended, although his steady black gaze gave nothing of his thoughts to her.
She hesitated again, then said something so low that Hades couldn't hear her. He blinked. "I couldn't hear you, little cat."
She looked up at him hesitantly. "All right," she whispered. "But—but just until I say no."
"Of course," he said immediately, feeling another pang of guilt. By the time he was done with her, she wouldn't want to say no.
She eyed him, not quite sure how to resume what they had been doing. With a predatory smile, Hades lowered his mouth to her throat and pressed gentle kisses to the soft column. He could feel her shift restlessly beneath his body, and felt himself harden even more. Her fingers wandered over his back, making him feel a little lightheaded.
Although he was wholly unprepared for the emotions that she evoked in him, he also didn't dwell on the newness of it. He had to concentrate solely on her. He was going to have her tonight and bind her to him so that not even Demeter could take her from him. He didn't know how long he lay there, holding her and kissing her before she began to shift against him again, a small movement that betrayed her impatience.
He felt a little kernel of satisfaction bloom as he smoothly slid his fingers around to travel up and down her spine. She instinctively arched from the touch, pressing her body further against his. She made a little whimper in the back of her throat, moving against him again. Hades continued the soft touches for a long moment before he brushed a gentle fingertip from the dip in her waist to the curve of her breast. She stiffened against him, but Hades was relentlessly as he swept back down. A moment later, she relaxed against him. Hades chanced a look down at her, and saw that her eyes were closed, her lips parted slightly. His hands nearly trembled with the urge to possess her right then. But he ruthlessly pulled himself back under control.
Touching her delicately, he made sure that his hands smoothed over every inch of her body so she would become accustomed to his touch. He kept his kisses leisurely, until she squirmed against him. He lifted his mouth long enough to whisper, "What do you want?"
"I don't know," she whimpered. "I ache."
He felt a bolt of pure lust, and his hands trembled before he stilled them. He laid his hand on her breast and kneaded gently. She gasped sharply, arching into the touch. He couldn't suppress the triumphant smile or the glitter in his eyes, although her eyes were closed so she could see him. "Is this what you want, little one? You must tell me."
"Yes," she gasped. "Yes, it is." Then she was clutching at his shoulders as she pulled him back down again.
Hades stared down at Persephone as she lay beneath him. Her glorious halo of hair was tousled, her cheeks still flushed from pleasure. He should have felt triumphant. But all he felt was disappointment and sadness. In himself. As if having the emotions weren't bad enough, he was doubting himself for the first time in centuries. She had done that to him. Made him doubt his own judgement.
But it no longer mattered. She had given herself to him. She was no longer a virgin. She had effectively signed her own marriage writ, because her mother wasn't going to take her from Hades now that he had taken her maidenhead. She had given herself to him for all eternity, whether or not she knew it. And he had an aching feeling that she didn't know it.
He sat up, carefully drawing her robe over her so she wasn't chilled. He scrubbed his hands over his face in a gesture uncharacteristic of him. He felt bone-weary even as he felt energized. His body was sated and happy, but his mind was in turmoil. Seeing her blood staining the couch made him feel vaguely sick to his stomach. It wasn't that he had hurt her that made him uneasy—although her pain had been gone in but an instant. It was the fact that he had taken advantage of the innocence that drew him to her. She had trusted him, and he had taken advantage of her.
He rubbed his hands over his face again, then pulled on his robe and gently dressed her. She remained asleep, her breathing regular and heavy. Just the feel of her silken skin beneath his hands made his blood quicken, even though he had just had her. But he forced himself to handle her as if she were a child, tenderly dressing her and pulled her into his arms.
He stepped into the hallway and was confronted by the nymph who Persephone had noticed earlier. He narrowed his eyes when he saw the tears falling silently down her cheeks. "What are you doing here, Menthe?" he asked quietly, his voice a rumble of quiet thunder in his chest.
"Why did you bring her here, my lord?" she whispered hoarsely. "Did I not satisfy you?"
I don't have time for this, he thought irritably, keeping the thought to himself.
"Menthe, you were a wonderful woman," he said passionlessly, his tone of voice almost giving lie to the words. "But Persephone is going to be my queen."
"But I should have been your queen!" she hissed, and Hades nearly blinked in surprise. The chit actually thought he would have taken her as his queen? He was the Lord of Souls, second only to Zeus himself. His consort would be none but a goddess in her own right.
"Menthe, you would never have been my queen," he said coolly. "You made that fantasy for yourself. I never mentioned such a thing."
Her tears started to flow faster, and if Hades had been any other god he would have shifted impatiently. "But it was understood, my lord!" Her voice had started to rise, and Persephone shifted slightly in Hades arms. Immediately Menthe was forgotten as he glanced down quickly at her face. She was frowning slightly, then she curled closer to his body, pressing her face to the bare skin of his throat.
He could have sworn he felt his heart hit his stomach. That gesture was so full of trust, of innocence. All the things that he treasured in his little cat. His throat was hot and tight, and he stayed for a moment with his head bowed, trying to get himself under control. Then he raised his head and saw Menthe was looking at Persephone with venom in her eyes. Immediately his eyes flashed with fire, and he drew himself up to his full height. "Menthe, this lady will be your queen. If you cannot control yourself to show her the respect that is due her, I will remove you from my realm."
Menthe stared at him in stricken horror. She fell to her knees and almost crawled to him, her eyes pleading. "Oh no, my lord! Please do not send me away!"
"Get up," he told her curtly, stepping back from her. She quickly obeyed, her tears still sliding like liquid diamonds down her flawless cheeks. "Go to your sisters, Menthe."
She hesitated, then nodded and walked away, her shoulders slumped and shaking slightly as she wept. Hades gave her no more than a thought before he strode toward Persephone's chamber. Once inside, he gently settled her in bed, making sure that she was comfortable and warm.
Then he merely stood at her bedside, staring at her face and feeling his heart tremble and fill with emotion. He closed his eyes for a second, praying that someday he would be forgiven for what he had done to her. He didn't want her to wake—because when she woke she would no longer have such blind trust in him. She would hate him, and he already knew that it would rip him apart.
He took a shaky breath, then leaned down and caressed her cheek with his lips very softly. "Good dreaming, my love," he whispered, then withdrew from the room, closing the door behind him. In the darkness of the room, light gleamed from the single teardrop that had fallen on her silken cheek.