A/N: This is ... completely and 100% AU. I'm kind of freaking out and nervous about this one, because it's very different than anything I've ever done before. It's the myth of Hades and Persephone - Captain Swan style. It was inspired by the amazing Maggie, who made the beautiful graphics on Tumblr. I don't know how many parts this is going to have, but I hope you like it. I'm definitely taking liberties with the myth for this story, and I've added elements of the Eros/Psyche myth to this as well. Both these myths lend themselves well to CS, and I really wanted to play with something that was blissfully AU, which this is. But I've definitely kept Emma and Killian and all other characters mentioned in-character.
For reference, the gods and goddesses mentioned in this chapter are as follows:
Persephone (goddess of spring) - Emma Swan
Hades (god of the underworld) - Killian Jones
Demeter (Persephone's mother) - Snow White
Zeus (Persephone's father, king of the gods) - David Nolan
Hera (Zeus' jealous wife) - Kathryn Nolan
Aphrodite (goddess of love) - Regina Mills
Artemis (goddess of the moon and the hunt) - Ruby Lucas
I'll make sure to update the list as needed. Enjoy!
The sunlight was warm against her skin as she walked in her mother's garden, inhaling deeply. Every day in her mother's garden was perfect, more beautiful than the last. It had been this way for as long as Persephone could remember. Lately, however, she'd become more and more restless.
She'd been having dreams again. She'd almost call them nightmares, but ...
Her mother told her they were nothing, but Persephone wasn't so sure. Every night, it seemed to be the same. Darkness encroaching on the garden where she'd grown and laughed and played all through her childhood. Darkness that came and overtook her, darkness that dragged her down with it.
But that wasn't the worst part of the dream ... no the worst part, it seemed to her, was the fact that she welcomed it. Darkness was enticing ... it promised adventure, and new things to see ... a life outside the confines of her parents' realm. And there was more ...
Darkness promised things she shouldn't even think of ... but she dreamed of them nonetheless. Skin and heat and breaths intermingled and soft cries and ...
She wasn't a child any longer, that much was apparent, and she'd heard Demeter - her mother - whispering with Zeus ... soon it would be time for her to be married. Married to some faceless, nameless man she'd never met. Or worse, one of the lesser gods ... the idea made Persephone cringe. She had no desire to be lashed to anyone against her will. If she had to be married ... why couldn't it be for love?
Her mother had simply smiled at her sadly when she'd made her feelings known. "It's a lovely thought, True Love ... but it's not the way of our world," Demeter had told her with a sigh. "You know that, my darling girl."
Persephone sighed heavily. She did know ... she knew that her mother was prevented from being with her own love - duty and his jealous wife were just a few of the obstacles that stood between Demeter and Zeus - but it didn't change the fact that Persephone wanted none of it. Freedom was what she wanted most. Freedom from all of it. A life out of this gilded cage they called her home.
"Well I hate it."
And she'd stormed out, and that had been the last they'd spoken of it, but she knew it was only a matter of time before it came up again. Before Zeus announced who it was she was to wed. "Who I'm to be chained to, more like," she muttered irritably.
Even the perfect day did nothing to alleviate her own moodiness. Miserably, she thought that perhaps her impending nuptials were the darkness she'd been dreaming about. But gods, she wanted so much more from her life, for her life.
She sat down at the edge of the reflecting pool, frowning at the face reflected back there. They all said she was the loveliest of all of them, but she just didn't see it. Aphrodite was the great beauty, all dark hair and dark eyes and seductive ways. Artemis with her bow had her own sort of girlish charm as well.
Persephone just had gold hair and eyes like the sea - like her father's. Her mother's chin. And a bad attitude - she'd been told that more than once. For someone who looked as "angelic" as she did, she certainly had a moody streak. Or so they said.
But there wasn't anything miraculous about Persephone. A minor goddess with very few magical powers. She could make a few flowers grow, and not even to the degree her mother could. There wasn't much else she was good for around here. Just one more reason she wished she could be free.
She cast her fingers in the water of the pool then, causing her reflection to dissipate in the ripples and she sighed heavily, making to stand up and find something else to do. As soon as she stood, the ground beneath her feet rumbled, and she had to brace herself on a nearby pomegranate tree to keep from falling over.
The sky went dark, darker than the darkest of moonless nights ever dreamed of being. Darker than pitch, darker than ash, darker than coal.
"What the ... ?" she said, eyes looking around frantically for the source of the shaking ... this was completely out of the ordinary. No ill ever befell things in her mother's garden. But she couldn't see anything in the inky blackness surrounding her. Her throat constricted then ... her dream!
She wanted to cry out for help, but the only other beings around right now were the nymphs - and they had all turned into trees as soon as the danger presented itself. Fat lot of good they'd be to her now.
"Who's there?" she finally found her voice, and she made it sound as imperious as she could. Maybe whatever - whoever - was causing this would mistake her for someone important, and would be intimidated enough to leave.
That was stupid of course. Only gods were allowed on Olympus. Of course, all the gods lived on Olympus.
All except for one.
Persephone's eyes widened then. She still couldn't see anything around her, but she felt his approach like a fire in her blood. She had a vivid recollection of one of her dreams then, darkness just like this, skin and sweat and sighs and her own limbs tangled with those of a man whose face she couldn't see ...
He was in front of her, she could feel him standing there, could feel his breath on her face. She swallowed thickly, trying not to make a sound, though she knew it was futile. He knew she was there.
She felt his hand encircle her wrist then ... and though she expected to be burned, expected it to hurt, there was a surprising amount of gentleness there. "Will you come or must I take you?" The voice was low and menacing, but also rich, and seductive, full of dark promise, and she knew he meant what he said.
She didn't know who he was, though she had an idea. And it should petrify her. All her life, she'd heard stories about this one. She shouldn't want to go ... and yet ... she wanted. She didn't fear him, though she had no reason to trust this unseen intruder. She'd never known such a tumult of emotions, all at once. "Are those my only options?" she asked him, her voice surprisingly strong.
"Yes," he hissed, and his face was very near hers once again. She wondered if he could see her better than she could see him.
"It's not your place to ask 'why', nymph," Darkness sneered at her, and she wrenched her hand free then.
"I'm no nymph," she retorted coolly.
"It doesn't matter what you are," he said again, breath hot by her ear, sending shivers racing down her spine, "you're mine now."
And the blackness crept closer, and it swallowed her whole. Before she was completely overtaken by it, she swore she heard her mother's voice, screaming her name.
When the blackness receded, she was no longer in her mother's garden. She was in a large room, lit only by torchlight. The walls appeared to be stone - dark, probably granite. The floor at her feet seemed to be stone as well, but polished and smooth, not rough-hewn like the walls. At the far end of the empty, cavernous space, was a raised dais. Atop the dais was a throne, huge and ornate, made of ebony wood, upholstered with blood red velvet, and encrusted with rubies.
She had been right. She was now the captive of Hades. Lord of the Dead. Prince of Darkness.
She turned slowly, knowing he stood behind her. She was both terrified and fascinated to see the one she'd heard of her entire life - the god so evil, he'd been cast out of paradise by her father, banished and made to never return.
But when she turned, no one was there. Her brow furrowed. "You've brought me here. For what purpose?"
There was a dark chuckle from somewhere behind her. "All in good time, darling," the same voice from before said. She whirled in the direction of the sound, but of course, there was nothing there.
"Are you seeking to unnerve me with your parlor tricks?" Persephone asked, jutting her chin defiantly.
"Ooh, you're a tough lass." The tone was amused now, she swore she could hear the hint of laugh in his voice. "I think I'll keep you."
"I'm not a thing to be kept," she retorted sharply. "What do you want?"
"I want what's mine," he said then, and the amusement was gone, replaced by heat, dark and angry. "And you, nymph, are the key to getting it."
"I'm not a nymph! Do you have any idea who my father is?"
"Oh, aye." His voice was lower then, and she could swear he was right behind her. "You're going to stay with me, Persephone," her heart sped up at the way he said her name, "until he gives me what it is I'm due."
She swallowed thickly. "I'm your hostage," she said, and it wasn't a question, but a statement of fact. She might not have been scared before, but there was a tremor of ... something ... coursing through her now.
"You needn't sound so put out, lass," he said, his voice back to that charming, amused tone from before. She was wondering now if the man wasn't a bit unhinged.
"Oh, no, I can't imagine why I'd sound upset," Persephone spat disdainfully. "I was only kidnapped and ripped from my home, and now I'm at the mercy of ... of you. I know who you are. I've heard the stories."
"Ah, so you've heard of me."
"You're a fool if you think my father will ever give into you," she said, placing her hands on her hips and shaking her head. "And if you harm me ... he'll do more than just banish you."
"Harm you?" This time he did laugh. "Please. You needn't worry about any of that, and you needn't worry about your ... honor, either."
Persephone couldn't see him, but just the way he said that, the low tone his voice had taken on, she could almost feel his eyes raking over her form. She fought off the urge to cross her arms in front of her, suddenly feeling exposed in her thin white peplos. "Because you're going to be a gentleman?" she said dryly.
"I'm always a gentleman," he whispered, and she could feel his breath on her neck.
Persephone closed her eyes, fighting off the urge to shudder at the sensation of his breath on her skin. "It doesn't seem very gentlemanly that you can see me, but I can't see you."
"No one's allowed to see me."
Persephone frowned. "Why not?"
"You ask a lot of questions for a nymph, don't you?" He sighed heavily. "I was not only banished, I was cursed. And this is part of it."
"So ... nobody can see you?"
"Nobody who's alive."
Persephone blinked. Should she be feeling sorry for this being, the one she'd always heard was the worst of the worst of their kind? He was a trickster, she remembered that from the stories. Was this part of his trickery? Or was he simply a desperate soul?
"Why do you need me?" she asked softly then.
"Your father is the one who cursed me. He's the only one who knows how it might be undone. And he's going to tell me or I'll ... "
"Kill me?" Persephone finished for him.
There was a long pause, so long that Persephone wondered if he hadn't just left. "I will break this curse," he finally said, and she knew he was right in front of her then. "I must."
She recognized the sound of desperation in his voice, and she knew he meant what he said, just as she knew how vehemently her father despised this man. It would be a very long time before she'd see her mother again.