Author's Note: I have so much else I have to write at the moment, but I saw this prompt in 31_days on LJ, and I just had to write this. Had to. The prompt is "and we lie: 'I'll never leave you.'" This prompt just screams God/Mortal to me. I cannot be the only one that sees this. Anyway, I've always wanted to write a Hades/Maria fic, so here we go! It's before Bianca or Nico have been born, and considering the fact that Rick Riordan never gives us a actual age for Maria, I do believe he mentions that she looks fairly young at one point or another, so I'm going with early twenties.
Some things you should know before reading. I believe that if Sally could see Poseidon's trident then Maria can see Hades in his Helm of Darkness. I also believe Apollo can tell the future, and Aphrodite freaks out over basically anything remotely romantic. Oh, and about the quotes: I'm on a Shakespeare binge, 'Kay? Deal with it. With that, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
"Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
-A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare
"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
-Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
Hades enjoyed to recall what he had thought when he first saw her. He remembered thinking that she was nothing special, albeit being exceptionally pretty and, seemingly, very well put together. He recalled his shock in realizing he was wrong, for Maria di Angelo was quite special indeed.
Naturally, when you're a Greek god, all the humans you come by on a daily basis begin to blur together. A mush of petty problems and mundane imaginations. So he wasn't exactly startled when he realized he had passed right over a woman with the Sight. Because still, in four-thousand plus years of living, everything grew a bit repetitive.
No, he wasn't startled until he realized the extent to this woman's individuality. Until he realized exactly how well put together she was.
He'd experienced the unfortunate dilemma of a woman with the Sight seeing him, while he wore his Helm of Darkness, before. And he'd experienced the unfortunate after effect of this dilemma, which was always, without fail, the poor girl running off and screaming tales that no one would believe.
When they crossed paths again, such an event occurred. Except this time, the outcome was enormously different and entirely unexpected.
She made direct eye contact with him for what felt like a very long moment. She looked at the Helm. She looked at the other people on the street. She looked back at him.
And then the strangest thing happened.
She looked away, and walked on as if nothing had happened.
This woman—who had been nothing more than just that a moment before this event: just another woman—had figured it out. She didn't know why she saw the things she did, and she didn't know why everyone else didn't. She didn't know what everything she saw even was. But what she did know, was that there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. She knew that if you were born with such a gift as to see what was really there, and not just what the silly mortals wanted to believe was only there, you were not to flaunt it. You were not to go running in the opposite direction like you'd seen a ghost. Because really, why get yourself thrown into an insane asylum, on top of everything else? No, you were to acknowledge discreetly, and ignore. And that was exactly what Maria di Angelo did.
In that instant, totally unbeknownst to herself, she became the single most unique human Hades had ever laid eyes on.
And thus, by the early thirties Aphrodite wouldn't stop gushing about them, and Apollo wouldn't stop dropping hints. Both were terribly annoying to the other Olympians, for Aphrodite's gushing consisted of randomly bursting into tears of joy anytime anyone even uttered the word sight, and Apollo's version of "dropping hints" was quite similar to someone having seen a movie that all their friends wanted to see, knowing that they didn't want to know the end, but still gathering them about, standing in the middle of them all, and screaming out (yes, screaming, and in the form of a limerick, too—Apollo was nothing if not thorough) the ending. And everyone knows that's particularly annoying when it's not a happy one.
So while Apollo was saying things like, "But you know, explosions are just so common nowadays," and Aphrodite would shriek, "Just let it be, Apollo! Just shut up! Let me enjoy this!" and burst into a fresh batch of tears, Hades was with Maria, in the mortal world. Because when they were together, for the moment there were no monsters, no intrusive immortal family, no war—they hid together, in their shadows, relishing in the feel of just a moments peace and the touch of their lips on each other.
Hades enjoyed to recall all of this. When she was still alive, that was. Once beautiful, fiery Maria was deceased, such recollections were actually painful to make, for it would entail thinking of all that love lost, all that could have been. And despair and longing were not emotions that the Lord of the Dead, or any immortal at all, were accustomed to feeling, much less on a daily basis.
But still, memories of her face—the dark eyes, smooth skin, thick hair tumbling about her shoulders— were sweet, if bittersweet, and the bittersweet memories were enough to make him want to recall, to tease himself with just a small memory.
So he started small. Perhaps a recollection of a recollection?
He remembered watching her, peaceful and secure in her dreams, where she could truly escape the reality she faced everyday. He remembered being catapulted back into the memory of first time she had ever truly astonished him—which was, suffice to say, not an easy feat. And she had done it without even realizing. He remembered recalling it fondly, and with a rare smile as he stood up to dress and leave.
Maria stirred in the bed, the sheets rustling slightly as Hades was standing, beginning to leave, because as much as he wanted to stay in the shelter he and Maria had built for themselves, he did have work that had to be done, duties to attend to. No matter how long they stayed frozen in their own world, everything around them continued to move forward, leaving them in the dust—not that they minded.
She opened one eye, her face resting against the pillow, and something that looked like hurt flashed across her eyes as she opened both of them; but it was soon gone, replaced by understanding, rationality winning over.
"You're leaving?" she said still, softly, sitting up in the bed and bringing the white sheet with her, hugging it to her body. Even a tad groggy with sleep, her voice still had it's lilting, soft accent.
He looked at her, hair bedraggled, a yawn on her face, and couldn't resist but sit down next to her, at least for a moment more.
He sat by her legs which were covered in the sheets, and she smiled tiredly at him when he took one of her hands in his, pulling her closer, so that their foreheads were leaning together. He could feel her breath, warm—and somehow always managing to smell like mint—on his face. She brought her loose arm around him, resting her hand on the back of his neck, rubbing a smooth pattern with her thumb. When she pressed her palm harder against the back of his neck, it brought his face that inch closer to hers, and their breaths mingled for just a moment longer, lips nearly touching, before she added just a touch more strength, bringing their lips together into a kiss, one of the ones that made Hades wonder what he ever really did before he met Maria.
The kiss broke minutes, hours, years later, but they kept their foreheads together, breathing a bit harder than they were before.
It was then that he realized he still hadn't answered her earlier question, and even though she probably wasn't even expecting a answer in the first place, he knew what he wanted to say. He knew it wasn't true, and it could never be true, but it was such a nice idea, that it ever possibly could, even in theory. Because the words were so sweet that breathing them out loud would be even sweeter, if bittersweet.
After all, it's the lies you want to believe that are the easiest to tell. And Lord Hades is, was, and always has been an exceptional liar.
"I'll never leave you," he whispered, although it was entirely audible, and how could it not be, considering how close they were and how loud the words were in his head?
Maria smiled that smile of hers again, and brushed her lips across his, softly, almost chastely.
"I know," she said against his lips.
And it was then that she astonished him for the second time.
She was just as good a liar as him.
He knew he'd gone too far, yet again. He let himself get dragged out of the simple (or so he told himself) memory of a memory, and instead let himself relive a moment that, as sweet and wonderful and perfect as it was, only hurt him more in the end, when it was over, and he remembered that no matter what he did, or tried to do, or ever let himself remember or imagine, her breath would never be warm against his lips again.
So maybe it wasn't sweet. Not anymore. But it was bittersweet, and that's close enough.
This isn't supposed to be posted on lj till tomorrow, but that doesn't mean I can't post it here a day early. I'm actually proud of this, as short as it is. Review!