A/N: Reposted, very slight changes from last time. A modern interpretation of Hades and Persephone, keep in mind that these characters have many different sides to them. You'll see what I mean.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Greek myths. I own this modern retelling, and the modern characters. I also own my own imagination, I hope. This fanfic in set in Baltimore, as you will come to see. There's no particular reason I chose it, just because. I don't live in Baltimore, and I never have. All my information on it comes from Wikipedia and driving above on it on the Beltway. Residents of Baltimore, forgive me.
"I have a business proposition for you."
The voice echoes across the conference table-red mahogany, I note to myself. Pretty darn expensive. Jude's been doing well for himself.
Of course, so have I. I've been doing extremely well for myself. And for Jude as well, but that's of lesser immediate importance to me.
I don't even look up from cleaning my fingernails with my switchblade. Cliché thing to do, I know. It works great for scaring the hell out of certain fellas. Jude isn't one of those fellas, but that's more because he's known me all his life.
"Everythin's a business proposition to yeh, bro." I throw the knife onto the expensive, red mahogany conference table. It makes a mark, but Jude doesn't even flinch. That's how well he's done for himself. "Let me guess. 'Nother yur rivals up again?"
He nods. I've known Jude all his life, just like he's known me all mine. I love him like a brother, more than a brother in fact, cus I distinctly remember stabbing my older brother in the leg when I was ten, before all the foster homes.
But that's a bygone. A long dead memory.
My point here is, I've known Jude all his life. All of it that counts, 'nway. He's a brother afta my own heart, ya know? But 'e can get, well, repetitive. Like now, f'example. Right now, Jude's gonna tell me ta make sure no enemies of 'is gonna get in the way of 'is company. Then 'e's gonna go home an' sleep with anyone 'cept his wife.
"Well, should I kill 'em for you, for should I simply assist in their economic ruin?" I ask, calmly. I've done this a hundred times before.
He's frowning. Then he's shaking his head.
"No," he says. "No, it would look too suspicious, their chief executive dropping dead while on the rise to threaten Pantheon Industries. God knows, I have the district attorney on my case enough as it is. No...it's gotta be subtle."
"Financial ruin?" I suggest, putting my feet up on the table. Black hiking boots, still grimy from the streets.
Jude thinks about this. He doesn't find any better alternative, and eventually shrugs. Like I say, repetitive.
"Make it seem like coincidences. Two or three unfortunate incidents, which have absolutely nothing to do with Pantheon. And no murders. That attorney bitch turned up again yesterday, and so did that journalist bitch. God, I hate journalists."
He stubs out his cigar, and stomps around the room, making a point of this. Then he looks up at me.
"Why aren't you gone?" he asks in surprise. My brother's got a point in this. I would usually slip out in silence while he was busy going on about journalists.
I smirk at him.
"Don't you like my company, bro?" I move my boots off the table and let them fall to the floor heavily, using the momentum to stand up. "I'm hurt, bro."
Jude looks at me. That blue-eyed stare still has command in them, and the power to make junior vice presidents want to jump through the nearest window. Too bad I'm immune to it, by now.
"Don't play games with me." he warns me, in a low dangerous voice. I throw my head back and laugh. It reminds me of the street, where life was anything but a game. Unlike our lives now, of course.
"Hey now." I say. "Calm down. It's just the small issue of my pay that we've got to talk about, now."
"Your payment? You'll get your payment. With Pantheon's next government payment, like we always do."
Let me explain for a bit here. Pantheon is widely known as the single best company for weapons aircraft. Fighter jets? They've got it. Stealth helicopters? They've got it. Micro Ultra-Biotic Light Adapter? (Don't ask, I don't know) Yep, they've got it, whatever the hell it is.
Anyways, the point is. Pantheon majorly supplies for the U.S. military, although they do quite a bit of selling to wealthy individuals and even other nations. How does the military cope with this? It simply makes sure it puts in the largest orders of weapons, making Pantheon the only company of its' class in the weapons aircraft industry.
The thing is, Jude likes to keep it that way. That's where I come in. I go and threaten/cajole/assassinate/financially ruin people out of enterprising in the industry. In return I get lots of cash, and weapons if I happen to want them. Call me a stock investor. I just take an active part in making sure that stock comes to cash.
So that's the explanation. Back to the actual conversation.
"I want another payment." I lean over the table, annunciating very clearly. People who know me well know this as a warning sign that I'm completely serious.
"What more do you want, Lethe? I pay you weapons and cash. What more have you ever wanted?"
"I want your daughter."
"I want your daughter." Lethe says, annunciating clearly. He's completely serious about this.
As my mind quietly reels in shock, my mouth opens to say,
Yes, that's a bastard thing to say. One, because it implies I've agreed to Lethe's demand. Two, because it also implies that I can't keep track of the children I've fathered that I even know about. Which is basically true.
As for the first implication, well, I haven't agreed to anything yet.
"Korianne." he smiles, revealing white canines. He's painted all his other teeth black, so his mouth appears to be four sharp teeth in a sea of dark.
Korianne. I'm trying to remember that name. Korianne...I'm pretty sure I don't have a daughter with that name...
"Proserpine." he supplies. "That's her last name."
And it all comes flooding back.
Sarasé Proserpine was the most headstrong woman I've ever met. A stirring speech-maker, an ambitious political riser, an activist at one point, and a strong feminist. I'm still surprised I ever slept with her.
I met our daughter once, when she was thirteen. Two years ago, now. We were at a feminists convention, and I was addressing the crowd about how Pantheon was an equal op employer, and to introduce my CEO of Management, Elizabeth Parker. Halfway through my speech, I noticed her. She was sitting, whey-faced with shock. I was pretty shocked too. Of course, a major factor was the teenage girl sitting next to her.
When I got down, Sarasé had nodded stiffly and introduced her daughter. Then she took my aside and asked my what I was doing here and that I had better not ever cross her path again. And I haven't, so far.
But how on earth did Lethe meet her?
"She's only fifteen." I say.
Of course, he knows by that sentence that I'm going to give in. And he doesn't even realize what a precarious situation I'm in. The government is threatening to shut Pantheon down if I don't stop selling to foreign countries and individual buyers. They want me to be a government-owned company. But I can't do that. I just can't. I'm going to need Lethe's support as much as possible.
He smirks at me, saying,
"She's sixteen. Her birthday was passed two weeks ago."
Well, he seems to know her better than I do. And Lethe, contrary to what others-and himself- will say about him, he's not a cruel man. He's not a good man either, but who is, really?
I say nothing. In my mind, I've already agreed. But I can't say it.
The silence stretches. It is like an emptiness between us, and sound waves will just get lost and wither up in a great void.
Eventually, Lethe breaks it.
"So," he says, speaking the words that I couldn't. "I can have your daughter."
That night, I am haunted by visions of a girl being pulled down into shadows, amongst pale demons.
If you liked, review. Or don't. But really, reviewing is good. Very good.