AN: Short look at Hades and Persephone's relationship my Hades' POV. Something that came to me while in myth class while discussing the Hymn to Demeter. Title is Latin for "little pomegranate." Even though the title is Latin, Greek names are used (people tend to be more familiar with those, anyway).
I am Hades the Unseen, Lord of the Dead, the All-Receiver. This netherworld kingdom of mine, do not bother asking me how I got it. Some say I was the last to pick his realm, my brothers seizing the more noble ones. Others claim I wanted this world, its darkness somehow matching my own. It was millennia ago. I no longer know.
Many ask if I like being the Black Lord. I would simply say that I'm ambivalent about it. There are better realms to rule. There are worse. This one brings me power over the dead, sway over the living, influence with the immortal. Makes the mortals revere me. Or fear me. I do not care which.
Men would ask me what it's like being a God. I must always answer in terms they can understand. What is my power, my true form to the mind of a man? It is as if explaining the life of a man to an ant.
Mortals spend their lives waiting for death. Death is meaningless to me. It's my constant companion, yet it will never encompass me. I've wondered if I would embrace death, if I were made mortal. It does not matter. 'What ifs' only concern me if they're plausible. I instead spend most of my life waiting for life.
My only living companion in this ever-rising sea of the dead. The only glimpse of the light above.
I don't bother counting the days, months in between. Just like I don't count the moments we spend together. Knowing how much time is left does nothing to ease the burden. This way, at least when she comes, it is always a welcome surprise. Like the first buds of the year. The first tendrils breaking through the soil.
My life is backwards. She is their autumn, she is my spring. She is their winter, she is my summer.
She came in smiling, new freckles dotting her cheeks, eyes shining like my own personal sun, a warm breeze left in her wake. Her white dress cascading around her, flowing to her knees and calves, dancing above her feet, as she skipped her way over to me. With a quick twirl and sashay of her hips, the pure white deepened to a lush red, the daisies entwined in her belt blossoming into roses. Then as she crossed the threshold of our bedchamber, they instantly wilted and shed their hardening and cracking petals. Not even her mother's gifts could preserve them here.
I haven't seen her this carefree since I first saw her playing in that meadow, secure in her maidenly innocence.
I'm frozen, feet rooted to the ground and eyes fixed on her. I can already feel my heart melting, growing to make room for her. She does this to me every time. Death of a god behind the birth of a man.
That seductive smile, mockingly shy as she nervously bites her lip. No, not nervous. It's to contain her mirth, not her apprehension. This full-breasted, lusciously curved woman makes a joke of the timid, crying child who first descended into darkness, the girl who had barely taken her first steps into womanhood. Aphrodite's gifts suit her well.
I've often thought of fighting for her. Let loose the armies of the dead housed below. Let them ravage the land until my brother submitted and gave her to me fully. If her mother can hold the world of men hostage for her, why can't I? But there's always the fear of what would come of it. Not fear of my brother. I know his weaknesses as he knows mine. He's a menace only to the men who don't keep an eye on their wives. Always fear of her. Would she side with me… or her mother? What side of her is stronger - the woman or the child? So I keep my heart locked away for these too rare and too short visits. I cannot tempt the fates to take her away for good.
She was a girl when she first became my queen, and now we've met in the middle, a man and a woman at the peak of their lives, never to fall into the grips of old age. Or death.
She's pushed me back onto the bed. When did she do that? Was I so lost in her presence? Yes. Always yes.
Her scent still of fresh grass and flowers and life. I dread but long for when it will turn into the earthy smell of upturned dirt. Of an open grave.
Next she'll tell me the world. Everything she gets to see and hear and feel and be firsthand. I only know of news once it's old. Battles once fought. Great deeds once the men who did them are dead and gone. But that's later. This always comes first.
Smooth, tan thighs under my fingers as dress creeps up. It should be a sin to be this radiant. She'll have lost her color by the time she leaves. Not pale. Creamy white. Always diplomatic, not to offend her. Even when she should be offended that her husband's kingdom ruins her.
Our lips meet in conflicting desire. Her taste, how I wish her taste could always be on my lips. Honey and barley. What do I taste of? Dirt and bones?
I drink her in like a man dying of thirst. Long to fill every part of her, to wrap myself in her essence, mix her soul in with mine so that we can never be parted. Our lovemaking is always this desperate, always driven by my need of her. I worship her above all others, to a degree that would be blasphemous if I were mortal.
But our coupling is over all too soon. Limbs still entwined, I hold her close, willing time to stand still. Please, please stand still. But who can the Gods pray to?
"Stay with me, my love," I whisper into her neck. Peppering her collarbone with adoring kisses.
A smile in her voice. "You know I can't."
How can I be her loss of innocence when she marks the repeated loss of mine?
She is their spring, she is my autumn. She is their summer, she is my winter.