CkyKing's prompt: Harry is the reincarnation of Adonis and Persephone sends Cerberus to watch over him. Originally; Harry& Clint/Natasha/Phil(Harry&Bucky/Steve/Natasha )
Harry sees it when the three headed dogs eyes open, grey blue like the stormy skies, like a sea about to storm. There is something familiar about those eyes and that haunts him from this meeting to every day after. The eyes close, like a wink, as if the three headed hound who Hagrid calls Fluffy is about to sleep – but it feels more playful than that.
Instead, in that moment, those eyes had studied them, and closed to better recall him – or them? - later. As if the familiarity Harry feels goes both ways, and the three headed hound sees and recognizes him, somehow…
(Persephone had smiled secretly, sweetly, when Heracles had took up Cerberus and led the hound upon the earth, and oh, how Gaia had shook and groaned with the touch of Ekhidna's monstrous offspring upon her. Persephone's brother knew not what he had done in the end, bringing forth and back the death hound of darkness. Had he known, he might have stopped to beg of Eurystheus another task. He had thought his sister only favored him for their father Zeus's sake.
How was he to know his immortal sister's mind? Persephone knew that once done, it could not be undone, now Cerberus could now at any time roam the wide world above and below at her whim. )
Harry, Ron and Hermione are down the passageway Fluffy guards before the three headed hound can do more then bark in protest – and Harry, he feels sure that Fluffy is playing with him – with them, and if Fluffy had wanted to they would have met their death in its claws and sharp teeth.
(Adonis the son of Phoenix and Alphesiboea, met Hercules with Cerberus at the court of Eurytheus, by his beauty Aphrodite favored him, but for his love of the hunt Hercules wooed him – but it was in the end Cerberus that doomed Adonis, when Hercules led back to the underworld the hound of his sister, and Cerberus told Persephone of he, and she found she must have him.)
That night he dreams, dreams of a woman with red hair and stormy grey blue eyes, whose smile is as sharp teeth and snow.
Seeing he is like remembering something long forgotten, like seeing it anew. Harry can not shake the feeling that hovers over him like a shadow, that he knows her. She means something, something he is wary of, something he welcomes. Her smile is absentminded as if she does not remember him fully, but sees someone who she knows is not a stranger.
He dreams of her every night that summer, dreams that she's in the Forbidden Forest, digging, her nails torn and fingertips bruised and bloody, he sits at her side and watches. He doesn't know what she is digging for, and she will not, he knows without asking, accept any help from him.
"I will find myself." She whispers to him, holding him tight the night that his uncle hadn't known as Harry watched on the black and white screen as the world went to war. It frustrated Harry that no wizard or witch let him know what was being done to help – and Harry had wanted to help – but alone Harry had no way to get there with any surety.
(Floo might not cross the sea, it was the stuff of smoke, fire and air and ash, he could not fly by broom so far - a Portkey might take but such a journey would surely confuse him into sickness, and to Disapparate from one location and Apparate to another might very well splinch something that might kill him.)
"How can you not know yourself?" Harry asked her, wondering if that was what she was digging for – or if it was for something else, she hums, ruffles his hair.
"Who are you?" She asks him, and he understands, for the first time, what she searches for and how hard it can be to grasp with any surety. It is like a shadow that can be seen, sometimes to the east, sometimes to the west, sometimes before and sometimes after – but sometimes it slips away, gone beneath your feet and you can not tell, can not see, can not guess at your own true identity, and it seems like the world as gone dark and you are lost – or the whole world sits in your shadow.
"I thought I knew." She kisses his brow, gentle and kind, but her lips carefully protect him from her teeth.
"Rest, Adonis, you will rise and fall, wither and grow, in this world you are one of the rare certainties." In this dream, blood red anemone bloom beneath wherever he goes be it sleeping or standing or laying about. Maybe that is why she calls him as she does, Adonis – or else, else it is something else.
Day after day passes this summer and he waits only, wants only, to sleep.
"Who am I?" She asks one night, in the dreams, in the Forbidden Forest where they meet so effortlessly, she is always there, always seemingly the same. This night, her voice has changed, is caught between English in accents of America and Russia, and Harry wonders if she recognizes him.
If she has at last found what – who – she was looking for.
"You were lost, I think, but you've always been yourself." He sees in her stormy blue grey eyes coldness like ice and death. She sees in him a stranger; she does not know him – or herself. He does not fear her. He feels that he has remembered as much as he has forgotten.
"I know you." Harry nods his head, smiling, his eyes green like growing things, and his hair wild and untamable like the wind, black and curling where it wills.
"You call me Adonis." She gasps and steps away from him, and he tumbles out of bed, wiping tears from his eyes. She had seemed so frightened, so lonely, but he can not fall back to sleep no matter what he does.
He watches the dawn rise, as if in opening her arms to embrace the fleeing stars.
That day, he will never forget, because she comes to him – not in dreams – but in waking, during the day, her hair is red like blood and her eyes blue like a endless storm of ice and sea. She smiles at him, neat and tucked away of all sharpness.
"I've remembered who I am, do you know me?" She opens her hands to him, and they are warm no matter her eyes being cold. She has seen so many things that he would rather never know or remember, but remember she must, being what she is. What she can no longer deny being, what she is can no longer be denied – or hid – from her.
"Ker, Cerberus, Hecate, Hecuba, Aphrodite, Erinys." It is the last of her names that he spills out between eager lips – she smiles upon, it means avenger.
"All of those, yes, but you must call me Natasha, please." She kisses him fondly upon the cheek. He sees that name, its history of who she is now, flash between his closed eyelids. Black Widow, assassin, the Red Room and what it took.
(Romanov and her family, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, who had been Emperor Nicholas's brother and Tsar Alexander's son, who took a wife in Natalia and made her Countess Brasova, her son Georgy Mikhailovich, Count Brasov being Natasha's father – and by that blood…
In old days it was not guessed with smirking contempt upon them why certain people ruled while others did not, it was known, as clear as Aither above and Gaia below the feet and wide watery Thalassa, those that ruled had descended from the gods themselves.
Now, if ever there was such lineage between those that govern now and the gods, it is long died out in their blood – blood that is red, red as any mortal, blood that does not shine golden like the gods.
Yet still the gods favor them, and sometimes…sometimes are born again by that blood, reincarnated, but mortal – yet no less immortal.
Natasha's blood was blood that went back to Emperors and Tsars and Caesars of Rome and old Hellenes's many lesser Basileus and Basilissa united by Anax's and Anassa's born from the blood of the ancient gods and goddesses.
It was by that blood that Natasha had awoken, remembering immortality that had been taken by mortals with memories.)
"Of course…" Harry breathes, knowing her – and knowing that with her kiss she's seen him in much the same way as he saw her.
"If you would fight, fight at my side." She offers, and he knows that she is Hecate who stirs spirits and hounds to follow her, to hunt at her side, to right wrongs against the dead, to fulfill their curses against the living, such is immortal justice - it was of her hunts that such fearsome and dreaded lore as the Wild Hunt had warned in whispers of.
All will die, eventually, so it is the rights of the dead that she avenges
"It would be my honor." Harry follows her out the door.
(They say the blood from which Aphrodite and Erinys were born came from Heaven, spilled by Cronus so it is that those that follow them are untouched by centuries, those that come after – and those that came before.)
At her side he meets a man who becomes a ideal, a idol, a hero – much like he was, and his best friend, who is like Natasha in more ways than they first realize – Harry and Natasha, Adonis and Hecate, lose them, in war - find them again in years after Harry's own time, a time he could have been happy in and had children of his own – if he had stayed and turned Natasha away.
There and then is a man who has the gift of Apollo's kin to draw them in, and a man whose sense of justice and steadiness is rooted to the very earth no matter where he stands, that they would protect him from all but his own hand.
By blood and death they are bonded, bound, and it amuses him and Natasha that they are led by a man named Fury, are called Avengers – it is right, and the truth, but just how true it is mortals may never see.
So, eventually, they will go together - Adonis and Cerberus, to Persephone who waits and watches and knows – and they will ask her for immortality for their Avengers – and she will not say no.
(Ker, was a death goddess, like Thanatos a child of Nyx but of a more violent nature, Cerberus is well known to be born of Typhaon and Echidna, it's name meaning 'death dark'; the Ker/Cer of it's name is curious because of older myths, the only Ker or Keres are female. Born of Nyx too, was Philotes (Friendship, Affection) a goddess whose name also means sexual intercourse, an ancient goddess with like nature to Aphrodite.
Hecuba is a curious Queen of Troy, her mother and father were much disputed in ancient times, any woman who has nineteen children is most likely a goddess of some kind in my book – but in the end she drowned herself rather than be a slave and ended up fated to be Hecate's hound – no source I can find tells what kind of hound she looked like, and usually Heracles is said to be dead before the Trojan war, but there is a history between Heracles and Troy of a earlier generation.
I had always wondered what if Hercules hadn't returned the hound and she had gotten away from him when he went to Troy…only for him to return her to the underworld as a god…?
As for Aphrodite, it may seem strange that a goddess of beauty, love, pleasure and procreation was associated with death, but it must be remembered how she was born – from the blood of Cronus cutting off the genitals of Ouranos – the end of his procreation created her, so it must be that she was a goddess of infertility, of unnatural desires (incest, bestiality, exc.), or sexual repulsion, of ugliness and unfulfilled desire, but that side of her nature is not so widely embraced or well known. She was not a goddess to slight, recall that she armed herself in Ares chariot – that she loved Ares the very god of war! She was the mother of Phobus (Panic) and (Deimus) Dread and (Anteros) Love Avenged, Ares sons.
Zeus himself preferred her to dwell upon matters of love and its pleasure and beauty, recall how often he fell in lust/love with mortals and immortals – Zeus, too, was at the mercy of her whims and revenges.
The Erinys or Eumenides were born of the same blood as Aphrodite, but upon earth (Gaia) and not upon the sea (Thalassa) – so it is not so strange that the mistress of the Erinys was Persephone and that she and Aphrodite had a history, both loving Adonis, and he is a god of beauty and desire as life-death-rebirth, for like Persephone and Hades and Demeter, Adonis spends his time between Persephone and Aphrodite.
Hecate, of course, was a goddess who was companion of Persephone, a goddess of hounds, and like most gods and goddesses of ancient Greek myths, she could transform herself and had a talent for transforming others – her mother is sometimes Nyx, sometimes Asteria, fathered by Perses or Zeus, or a father in Aristaeus, a mother in Demeter… she is sometimes like Artemis told to be a virgin goddess, sometimes she is not and births children both monstrous and magical.
There is a statue of Venus and Adonis by Canova – if you look behind it, there is a dog.)