A/N: So at first this was going to be part of my series Of Gods and Men, but I decided to just post it separately, since it doesn't really fit in with my AU world. Actually it completely contradicts that AU theme, sooooo...
This was born after I spent several hours deciding exactly how things needed to go in movie three, when they ABSOLUTELYMUST bring the gods back. I actually have the entire film planned out in fairly specific detail, so who knows - I may just write it for myself over the summer. For now I'm calling this a finished fic, though I have some ideas which I may to add to it in the future.
Dedicated to somethingbeyondprecious and desertfyre, both of whom requested more Hades. I hope you enjoy this, guys!
Warnings for fluff and brotherly feels. Some dialog borrowed directly from the film.
Something in the world was changing.
The wind whispered of it, the earth trembled, and even the stars had seemed to dance in anticipation. But what that change was Hades didn't know, and he no longer had the strength or will to search out the answers for himself.
For ten long, long years the Earth had slowly begun to crumble as mankind fought amongst themselves in wars innumerable. Hades had watched in his solitude as kingdom destroyed kingdom, and as Death claimed souls to be cast into the now ungoverned Underworld. He had watched it all and grieved that the earth had come to this.
He bore no great love for mankind, just as they bore him none, but he had never wished to see the humans completely obliterated by their own foolishness, either. Sometimes it seemed like they really were children, and he often wondered, if they as gods had been better rulers, would it all have turned out differently in the end.
But the gods were gone. They had been dead for a decade, some of them by Hades own fault, and that guilt had haunted him for all the years of his mortal life.
And now that life was ending, and the coming changes made no difference to him. He was bound for oblivion, and the future of the world was well beyond his control.
Weariness mingled with pain as his aged body betrayed him, and he lay alone in the darkness of his home, a hut of stone and wood ill-fit for the god he had once been.
Alongside weariness there was also fear, flooding his soul with misery as the dread of oblivion that had once induced him to betray his brother found him again, and it clung to him like an icy hand.
He should have - he almost wished to have died long before now. Often it had occurred to him that it should have been he, and not Zeus, who had faded away on the day that Kronos had risen. It had been Hades' own doing, yet his brother had paid the price while he went on alone, suffering under the burden of his own guilt.
"I am sorry, brother," he whispered to the empty space. Apologies meant nothing and he knew it, for there was no one left to hear them. But at long last his penance was about to be paid, and his guilt would be lost in the cold darkness of non-existence. In fact, the coming ease of the burdens almost made the knowledge of his oncoming doom easier to bear.
But only almost.
Darkness, whether from the setting of the sun or from his own fading eye-sight, settled over him. Pain faded, raged, and faded again, and a chill spread through his limbs and snaked upwards, brushing at his heart and soul with tiny tendrils of molten ice.
"I am sorry. Forgive me. Forgive me."
A soft intake of slowly fading breath escape him as a voice of one long dead whispered to him. His eyes opened but there was no change - all around him was darkness, and nothing else.
"Brother," the voice said again, this time louder than a whisper but still from some unseen source - a dream, he decided, a final trick of Fate, sent to torment him as he faded away.
"I do forgive you."
Hope blossomed in his chest, even though he knew the voice could not be real. And yet a warm, steady hand seemed to take his own as the words were repeated; and in a sudden moment life and fire and power flooded through him, sliding through his veins and leaving him gasping in the shock of its unexpected presence.
This cannot be.
But the fire continued to spread, the life continued to fill him, and the shadows of oblivion began to melt away in the face of a new-found light.
With a shuddering breath Hades eyes opened again and strong hands rested on his shoulders, helping him to rise. In disbelief he stared, his dark eyes meeting another set of bright blue that seemed to smile at him in greeting.
But - it could not be.
"You look ten thousand years younger."
The reply came to his lips unbidden, a repetition of a conversation held long ago when their places had been reversed. "And feel it."
Zeus smile widened and he took in his brother's confusion and uncertainty with fond amusement. "Death was circling you," he said quietly, turning solemn for a moment as he continued their game of previously-spoken words. But now there was a change in the script, for not all was exactly as it had been on that day. "Fortunately that was the last time I shall have to chase it away."
The truth and meaning of his brother's words struck Hades with all the force of a thunderbolt, and suddenly the life that flowed through him took on a new feeling - one of power and strength. Mortality and human weakness left him...he was immortal. He was a god again.
"I do not understand," he said, looking at the still smiling god of thunder with amazement clearly written in his eyes. "How can this be?"
Zeus shook his head. "You were wrong, brother mine," he said, simply and without condemnation. "Oblivion is not our fate after all."
Hades had no answer, for what could be said? Silence stretched on as he came to terms with this newfound knowledge. Slowly relief washed through him, mingling with feelings of joy and peace that he had not experienced for a millennia.
"The gods are rising. Our places have been restored." Zeus went on, reaching out to place a hand on his brother's shoulder. "You are not alone in this any longer."
Slowly, hesitantly, Hades clasped his brother's wrist. "For a decade I have lived with the the belief that I sent you all into oblivion," he said quietly. "Today I thought to finally join you in that fate. I have never been more happy to be proven wrong."
With a grin Zeus returned the gesture, grasping Hades' wrist in a show of brotherly affection that had never existed between the two before. The mistakes and bitter memories of the past had all been cast aside that day ten years before - they would be enemies no more or ever again.
"Come," Zeus said after a moment, stepping back and releasing Hades from his hold. "The others are waiting."
"The world is not as it was," Hades warned, looking out and past the walls and windows to the wide earth around them. "Much has changed."
Zeus nodded. "I know. We gods have been absent long enough. Come, Hades," he said again, once more reaching out to rest a hand on his brother's shoulder. "There is work to be done."
Something in the world was changing.
The wind whispered of it, the earth trembled, and even the stars had seemed to dance in anticipation. What that change was, Hades hadn't known - until now.
Death had failed, oblivion was vanquished, and all would soon be set right within the world.
Life had been victorious.
The gods have returned.
...Not sure about the ending. Review and let me know how I did?
This is probably the last fic you'll see from me for at least a couple of weeks. After finals though I'll be back with some more updates for Of Gods and Men. Wish me luck!