Chapter One

The Meeting

(Long Ago)

He hated being in Olympus.

It seemed every God and Goddess here were so full of themselves, it made him sick. Zeus most of all, laughing at his own ridiculous jokes, claiming authority like it was something to wear on his belt. Aphrodite walked around putting herself on display, her poor husband sitting in his wheel chair talking to Athena. Ares was across the room from Aphrodite, speaking loudly and giving her indecent glances. Poseidon seemed to be drinking more than usual, and Selene seemed to be angry at Helios for some unknown reason.

Oh how Hades loathed being on Olympus.

He could be back in the Underworld right now, alone of course, but perfectly content. Everyone here was avoiding him like a plague, a few would walk by and nod a greeting, and he would give them a cold stare in return. His skin was pale and tight against his high cheekbones; his lips were somewhat thin and gave the impression of someone who never smiled. His nose was straight, his jaw strong and his shoulders broad, all making him extremely handsome with his death black hair, one small patch of grey at the corner temple. His eyes were ice blue, making the cold stare feel truly real.

He had no reason to be here, Zeus had called an urgent meeting, it was the same every hundred years. The annual meeting, his thoughts scoffed, it was more like the annual party. There was just more Gods, those who never came were now here, such as himself, and anything needing to be discussed? Well that would have to be put into the conversation and hopefully make its way to Zeus himself. Hades was trying to plot his escape when his brother came barreling up, laughing grandly.

"Hades!" he boomed, and everybody turned to see what the Underworld God would do when put into a conversation, "Good to see you're still alive!" Zeus laughed, nodding as if to say, 'of course I'm hilarious!'

"Not all God's such as yourself have time to enjoy themselves so often."

If Zeus noticed the backhand he did not show it, "It must get so lonely down there with the dead, I hear they're not much for words," again Zeus laughed heartily, "If you ever need a wife, I offer anyone of my children!"

Many of the mothers of these children began to prickle at this, giving Hades looks of complete hatred.

"Except for Athena of course," Zeus said waving at his favorite daughter who looked embarrassed for her father's sake, "We need her wisdom with the living."

"I assure you I have no plans to make any unfortunate Goddess my wife."

The mothers all around began to relax, and Hades felt as if this were some sort of cruel joke. Sadly Zeus could just be that ignorant.

"One day Hades!" Zeus patted him on the back and Hades gritted his teeth, "One day!"

Thankfully he walked off and Hestia replaced him, "You poor man."

Hades nodded, "You deal with this more often than I."

"But they don't talk to me nearly as much," Hestia said brushing back her long black waist length hair.

"I think," Hades said when Hera appeared on the scene to see Zeus flirting with some poor Goddess, "I'll go get some air."

Hestia nodded as he left, not feeling as if he was leaving her they were too close for that, he was leaving everyone else.

As he left Zeus's brightly gold palace he was able to relax on the steps, clouds passing by slowly, the occasional Nymph passing by. He wasn't really interested in anything until he heard heated voices. Even then he wasn't interested, but the voices happened to be coming his way.

"Didn't I tell you to stay home? You are not allowed here!"

"I am allowed, you have just taken it upon yourself to say so. This is for every God or Goddess; you have no right to ban me!"

"You have no right to disobey me!"

"I wasn't getting into any trouble at all!"

"That doesn't matter; you should listen to what I tell you, Kore."

Two Goddesses came upon Hades and came to an abrupt halt.

"Demeter," Hades bowed slightly, his gaze still cold. He cared very little for this goddess, but had nothing against her personally. She was a short goddess, with golden hair and bright green eyes, her smooth creamy skin alluring, she was a very pretty goddess, although Hades paid little attention to her, many goddesses were pretty, and he found Demeter no better than any of the others.

The goddess next to her however, she made his breath catch slightly. Her skin had a tan to it, her hair a copper tone, although some of it seemed to have turned blonde in the light. It curled down to her shoulder blades, even though it was tied in a type of half bun. Her eyes were an almond shape, the color of fresh leaves, her long lashes framing them. He seemed entranced by the slant of her jaw, and the curve of her neck. She was small as well, though taller than her mother, and had a smaller waist, which was tied by a yellow rope around her porcelain white chitonion.

"Hades," Demeter said stiffly and then turning to her daughter snapped, "Go home. Now. I have some urgent meetings to attend, but if I hear you do not return immediately, you will regret it."

Demeter stalked off leaving her daughter behind.

"Gods," she shook her head, and then as if she just realized Hades was there pause. She watched him for a few moments until he raised an eyebrow which made her blush, "Sorry," she muttered.

"I'm used to the staring," he said dully.

"Oh, I wasn't staring! I mean I was, but not on purpose, and not because you are who you are."

"Hades," he said again.

"Yes," she nodded, "Oh, um, I'm Persephone; I mean if you cared, which you probably don't, I just thought I would be polite…"

He was amused by her, although he didn't show it. It probably didn't help her obvious shyness that he was giving her a solid look.

"Oh I'm sorry, I'm so socially inept, it's ridiculous!"

"You won't find that talking to me will help you with that," he said stoically, and she found his voice oddly sensual and alluring, sending chills down her spine, although she can't say they were at all bad chills.

"Being shy is nothing to be ashamed of," he said trying to make her feel better.

"Its just, I don't see many God's really, only my mother and her garden really, so there isn't… I can't really practice I guess…but then many of these God's aren't worth talking to," she said and then instantly regretted it and looked down. But Hades just gave a low chuckle and she gasped, she nearly made him laugh!

"I entirely agree," he said nodding.

"I didn't mean to be rude, it's just they're all so..."

"Foolish and in love with their godly status," Hades finished.

She nodded slightly, "Well in a way…"

He noticed she left a lot of her sentences unfinished.

"Persephone you said?"

She nodded shyly, biting her lower lip. She had such pretty lips he thought, so full and pink. He stopped his thoughts; he was not here to fall over a beautiful goddess.

"I thought I heard your mother call you Kore."

"Oh that," she said and he knew instantly he had brought up a topic she was passionate about, "Kore is not my name at all. How would you like it if your name meant 'girl'? I mean it would be odd for you, but for me I absolutely hate it, I just hate it. The Fates gave me the name Persephone, I can't help it if my mother does not approve! Kore is such a horrid name in my opinion, even 'bringer of destruction' or whatever my name means is better than 'maiden.' Honestly how can I ever be taken seriously when I have a name like that?"

She stopped abruptly and blushed heavily again, lowering her lashes, "Sorry, I did not mean to bother you."

"You did no such thing," he said, and he meant it.

"I've spoken too much of myself," she said in embarrassment, and he started to think that she didn't speak of herself very often, "Do you… I mean… is there nothing about yourself… I don't mean to be nosy! I'm so sorry, I just thought…"

"Calm yourself," he said, and she thought his eyes began to smile, "I rule the Underworld, it's a thankless job, and there's nothing interesting to talk about it."

"I think it's a very important job," she said timidly.

"It is," he nodded, "One that nobody wants."

"Well maybe it's because it would take more effort than they're willing to give?" she said looking towards the doors where the other Gods hid behind, "Not that all of them are that way," she added hastily, "I don't really know them, so I can't judge, I'm sure they're all very nice and hard working…"

He nearly smiled at that one. She wasn't ignorant, just- nice?

"I won't turn you in for saying what you feel," he said.

"You know them better than I do," she said, "All I've seen is mindless chatter about how they've been worshiped by humans. But really, it must have been the wine, or just the topic of conversation they were on. I'm not sure I would fit in with them is all," she sighed, "I guess my mother accomplished what she set out for."

"Your mother is just protective," he said.

"She's usually like a hawk, not now though; she's much too busy trying to get everyone to discuss grain."

"Well many people protect what they love."

She sighed, "I suppose. I'm very sorry for bothering you like this, I didn't mean to put off my problems on you, and after all you have so much more to deal with than I do!"

"You didn't bother me at all," he said, "Demeter may be protective but she seemed to do a good job at raising you."

Persephone blushed again, and he began to think that he could watch her blush forever.

"I should go," she said pointing to the steps, "It's a real privilege for me to be given the chance to walk home alone," she smiled and he loved it.

"You joke, but I'm starting to think there's truth behind your words."

She waved as she went down the steps, "It was nice meeting you."

"The pleasure was mine."

He gave a small content sigh, and turned to see the curly blonde hair of Eros, his bow drawn tight, and a sardonic smile on his lips.

"Don't-" Hades started, but it was too late, the golden arrow had given off a soft gasp, and with a small thud, hit Hades in the chest.

"Eros," he said slowly, "What is this?"

He pointed to the golden arrow in stabbing him, and Eros laughed.

"That my friend would be one of my arrows."

"And why," Hades said in a dark voice that leaked poison, his eyes turning colder and full of hatred, instantly stopping Eros's laughter, "Is it piercing my chest?"

"I had assumed that's where your heart would be, although I couldn't be entirely sure if you had one," Eros said twirling his sunny curls, looking nervous.

"Is this some type of joke?" Hades growled.

"No sir I can assure you, Aphrodite was very clear when she said to shoot you with that particular arrow."

"Aphrodite?"

Eros nodded at his mother's name.

"What did she think she would accomplish with this?" he pulled the arrow out of him, not wincing at the pain and broke it in half.

"Oh, that was my best work!" Eros cried in despair.

"What is the meaning of this?" Hades now roared, and Eros began to shake, though tried to seem indifferent.

"You're in love oh mighty King of the Underworld!" Eros said bowing, "Happens to the best of us," and then looking him up and down, "Or the worst."

"Fix this!"

"Sorry Hades," Eros shrugged, "It's done. Now who is it that has your cold heart?"

He looked around and saw Persephone walking down the stairs and gave a low whistle, impressed, "Nice. Who is she?"

Hades cleared his throat, "Persephone."

"Owch. Well you should have fun with this one. I think I'll be having the most though. Good luck with Demeter," he said in a sing song voice and began to leave.

"No you don't," Hades growled and took Eros by the collar, "I want this undone now!"

"I can't!" Eros choked, "It's just what happens!"

"This doesn't just happen," Hades hissed, "Take it back."

"It's too late," Eros said trying to pull away, "Please let me go! I was just doing my job!"

Hades dropped Eros, who fell to the floor gasping for breath.

"This is the last time I come within arm length of you!" Eros cried and began to run away.

"I'm going to kill Aphrodite," Hades growled and started back towards the doors.

"Aphrodite!" he called, and the room suddenly stopped cold. Everyone was looking at Hades, whose voice had suddenly risen above all of theirs in anger.

"She left," someone managed to say.

The fire in Hades eyes began to burn as he turned on his heel and left, going straight towards his chariot. He would deal with her later. Now he would go home, back to the dead. At least they didn't meddle in his affairs.