A/N: This was written for a request for Calex. Introspective one-shot exploring the relationship of Persephone and Hades. Somewhat inspired by the song lyrics of "Hello Lonely" by Theory of a Dead Man.

Disclaimer: All standard disclaimers apply regarding ownership of Greek Mythology, not that it could really be considered a typical "fandom".


She knows that there are no flowers above-ground now, either. It isn't enormous consolation.

This is the third year-- third set of months, perhaps-- that she spends with her husband. And really, though she'd never let on to her mother, she forgives him for the pomegranate trick. It is almost touching, in a way, that the dread Lord of the Underworld would resort to cheap tricks such as that to keep a girl by his side, and she feels a dreary, half-angry sort of respect for Eros for causing all the trouble in the first place.

Today she feels almost alive down here, a rare incidence of vivacity lingering from Orpheus' ill-fated concert earlier. Eurydice was back, pale and forlorn amongst the shadows, and when she blew back like a wisp of torn silk in cold wind, even Hades' eyes had been filled with pity.

Her husband isn't completely without feeling, and that was a bit of consolation, certainly more than knowing that her beloved flowers were wilting under Boreas' blast above-ground.

Hades had been, in his taciturn, brooding way, almost a perfect gentleman to her, every day that she spent with him. But she would never be courted like Aphrodite was, or even Hera, when Zeus in his contrariness determined that she'd be his queen and no other. And perhaps in her girlish dreams, if she'd had a choice, she would have chosen someone more like Apollo-- young and golden-haired and courtly. Someone to sing her to sleep and surround her with blossoms and laurel.

She hears his footsteps and turns, and like always, his striking face falls just a little when he sees her unsmiling countenance. The first year here, all she'd done was weep, her head aching from the cold and the tears and the echo of his agitated pacing. In the end, before he'd given her the pomegranate, he'd asked her, his eyes terrible, why she was so sad-- didn't she know that it was she who held his dreams and thoughts? Couldn't she try to love him back, even just a little?

She'd been crying too hard to give him an answer either way. And she had thought that he was angry from the look in his eyes.

Now she knows that it was despair.

Hades holds something out to her, something strangely colourful in his pale, long-fingered hands. She gazes down, and utters a little cry. She knows that it isn't real, but it looks so lifelike that she doubts herself for a moment. It is a perfect replica of a rose, carved of the gemstones of the underworld, its crimson petals sparkling as though glittering with dew.

"It's beautiful," she murmurs, fingering the cold, inflexible leaves. For a moment, she admires the contrast of the jewel flower's brilliance against the pallor of his graceful hands before she catches herself, and then she feels tears springing to her eyes. It scares her to admire anything about Hades. In this, she is almost human.

A tear falls and lands on a ruby petal and slides off like a raindrop, and a shadow crosses his face at the sight. She knows what he's thinking and feeling-- she's learnt to read him in the months that she stays with him, and she wonders if he regrets giving her those six pomegranate seeds when she frustrates him so. The contemplation doesn't give her any joy.

Taking a deep breath, she plucks the delicately crafted rose from his fingers, which are cold but warmer than the flower, and blue eyes meet dark ones. It would be insanity to love him-- he kidnapped her against her will, didn't he? -- but Persephone was tired of misery. The Underworld is such a gloomy place.

"Thank you," she says softly, and allows a hint of a smile to cross her lips. It felt strange and out of place here, but it is genuine, and he realizes it. It is not her prettiest smile, but the transformation it renders upon his face changes it far more than she could ever have imagined. His eyes shine and his features soften a bit, and he looks almost youthful-- Melpomene as a man-- for a moment. And in that moment, Persephone feels a sense of peace for the first time since she'd been to this place. She keeps her fingers on his for another moment before walking away, holding her rose.

The next morning she wakes to a bouquet of golden sunflowers and amethyst violets and she smiles again. He'll never be golden and warm and heroic, the subject of daydreams, but she'd make do. Perhaps smiling more often would make the days seem brighter-- when it reflected in his eyes.