Note from the Author: I just want to make sure that everyone knows before they start reading this that I wrote it right after seeing the movie in theatres, and that means it has nothing whatsoever to do with the series Disney put out, which I haven't actually sat down and watched much of even to this date. I just want to make that clear now, so you don't get confused as to why my version of, say, Poseidon is entirely different from the one in the series. All I was going by was the movie (well, that and mythology books). Thanks for listening. 8^) ~Sparky

"Once Upon A Narcissus"
C. "Sparky" Read

Chapter One

It all started out as a joke (or at least everyone had thought so): Poseidon promising Hades his first-born daughter in return for a few extra poker chips. All the gods present had shared a good laugh at Hades' expense as they tried to imagine the King of the Underworld ever marrying, and after a few antes they had forgotten the whole thing.

But the more Poseidon thought about the agreement, the more he liked it. Hades was a powerful god, with an immense kingdom; besides himself and Zeus--who was already married--Hades was the most influential immortal around. So, years later, when Demeter bore Poseidon a baby girl, the Sea Lord had made up his mind that little Persephone would marry Hades when she came of age.

The only problem was, he forgot to tell anyone.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"You forgot?" Persephone stamped a tiny foot. "Daddy!" she whined, hands on hips, "How could you forget my birthday?"

"I'm sorry, angelfish," Poseidon tried to appease his daughter, "but there was this typhoon...I simply had to be there."

Persephone turned her back on the reflecting pool where her father's image floated. "You could have hurried," was all she could say.

"I'll be there by nightfall... Is your mother there?" Poseidon changed the subject abruptly.

"Not yet."

A ripple went through the pool as the sea god sighed with relief. "I'll see you later, precious," he said, and vanished.

Persephone cast a wistful glance over her shoulder. Her father's forgetfulness was normally only a nuisance, but this time, it hurt. Her birthday! Her eighteenth birthday, and her own father had forgotten...She sighed forlornly, and knelt to trail her fingers in the water.

A sea nymph, who thrust her head out of the pool, instantly replaced her reflection.

"Sephie!" exclaimed the nymph, treading water. "What are you doing here? Everyone is waiting for you by the big tree!"

"I'm sorry Cyane," said Persephone, as she helped her best friend out of the pool. "I was thinking."

"Well there's no time for that," Cyane admonished and, seizing Persephone's hand, the nymph broke into a run towards the island's only wooded area. "Come on!" she cried over her shoulder. It was all Persephone, with her short legs, could do to keep up with the flighty nymph.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Hades was mad.

No, no, I take that back, he wasn't mad, he was furious.

"Who--just tell me who," he began, "has been eating all my fruit?" he demanded of the room.

No one answered.

Hades began floating back and forth in front of the six frightened imps impatiently. "I mean, here I am, going to all the trouble I do, just to get together what, a peach, maybe a grape or something, and somebody goes in the pantry--which, I may add, is completely sealed off--and eats my fruit!"

The imps eeped and bunched together.

Hades flung his arms wide. "All I want is a plum now and then, is that so bad?" he demanded.

"No, no!" came the chorus.

"Then whoever," continued the god, bending down to put himself eye-level with his audience, "has been taking my fruit, had better lay off, or all of you are going to find out what humus feels like! Now get out of here!" he roared. Imps scattered everywhere.

Hades grunted something to himself as he watched his minions flee. What a day this was turning out to be! First Rhadamanthys had demanded a raise (yeah, right), then Poseidon--the single most obnoxious immortal to ever roam Creation, in Hades' opinion--had requested to speak with him, now this. What was the Underworld coming to?

"What do you mean I have to leave my trident at the door?" an irritated voice boomed from somewhere along a corridor. "I made this trident with my own two hands! Let me tell you about the time I used it to bore a terrific well out of a plain ordinary rock--"

"Sy!" Hades rounded the corner, greeting the God of the Sea with as much enthusiasm as he could muster. "So nice of you to visit me--I don't get many people coming...and then going, you know."

"Oh, nonono, my pleasure," replied Poseidon. He stepped forward to shake Hades' hand, but was intercepted by Strife, who seized the handle of his trident and refused to let go.

"House rules," she growled, tugging. "Can'tcha read?"

Poseidon glanced at the "Whilst In the Underworld, Thou Shalt Not:" sign on the cavern wall behind him. "'Rule Number Two, thou shalt not bear arms,'" he read. "Big deal! Hades doesn't mind if I break one teeny little rule, do you, Hades?"

"No, of course not," replied Hades through clenched teeth. He nodded at Strife, who reluctantly released the trident and stalked away grumbling.

"Now, Sy," began Hades, attempting to sound cordial, "What can I do for you today? Keep in mind that I am very, very, extremely, busy..."

"Of course you are!" agreed Poseidon, nodding vigorously. "You're a very important man, with a very important job to do."

Hades blinked. Was that recognition? "Come again?"

"Yes, yes...very important. And that, my friend, is why I am here. Shall we put our feet up?" suggested the sea god, striding purposefully past Hades.

"Yes, let's," monotoned Hades. Just what was this guy up to?

Poseidon suddenly stopped in his tracks, and whirled around. "No, no, this can't wait," he said, "I'm much too excited. This is your lucky day, Hades!"

"Will you please stop with the vagueness, already!" Hades demanded rather than asked. "What is it?"

"Well, remember that we made, ages ago?"

Hades frowned. "No," he said.

"Oh come remember. We were playing cards, and I ran out of chips..?"

Hades shook his head and shrugged exaggeratedly. He always remembered making deals, but this, this he couldn't recall.

Poseidon caved. "You gave me some chips, and I promised you my first-born daughter's hand in marriage! You've got to remember that." Poseidon's lip trembled a moment, then he threw himself bodily on Hades, giving him a rather violent hug. "Son!" he cried emotionally.

"Uh...I'm confused," said Hades, not reciprocating the embrace. "Did you say 'marriage' back there? Because well, that's what it sounded like, and I--"

"That's what I said," answered Poseidon, grabbing Hades' shoulders and holding the Lord of the Dead out at arm's length. "All these years...watching my little girl grow up into a this." Poseidon sniffled a little. "It's so...I'm just..." With that he put his forehead against Hades' chest and sniffled some more.

"Look Sy...Uh...Sy, no need to get... ...Get a hold of yourself...You're wrinkling the tunic, Sy."

Poseidon looked up with red-rimmed eyes. "Do...Do you think you could call me 'Dad'?" he asked hopefully.

Hades sighed.