by Melissa Treglia
The humans got it all wrong. You cannot kidnap one who follows you willingly, knowing of where you will lead them and surrendering themselves to you just the same.
She had loved him upon first sight; a strange sort of magic between future lovers that only the gods know, and humans think they are familiar with. She remembers his dark eyes and pale too-cool hand intertwining with her warm, tanned fingers. His free hand had been buried in her blonde, sun-kissed hair as their lips met for the first time.
His lips were cold, and yet there was a comforting sense of familiarity with the contact, as if she had been intended for him from the first. It had been a stolen moment, and he had vanished into the darkness when the footsteps of her mother drew near.
"Kore! Why are you standing out here in the dark?" Demeter had queried, using Persephone's childhood appellation. She remained ignorant of her daughter's nocturnal visitations.
Persephone gazed up at the constellations she and Hades had been admiring together. "Because I wish to be alone, Mother, in order to stargaze."
Demeter snorted. "My dear child, there is so much to be done tomorrow. You do not intend to shirk your duties in growing things anew for the humans." Demeter wrapped an arm around her daughter, inexorably pulling Persephone inside. "Come. You must rest. We will have a busy day tomorrow."
A few nights later, Hades had bestowed upon her a precious gift: a flower that could never wilt. Its stem was crafted from white gold, the metallic leaves studded with emeralds, and the bloom carved from some precious red gemstone that had not yet been named.
Persephone had been overwhelmed from receiving such a gift. Never had she been given something that so resembled who she truly was, not as the child her mother still thought her as, but the goddess she both was and wanted to be.
He had placed the gift in Persephone's hair, tucking the stem behind her ear so it shone at just the right angle, its gemmed leaves glowing softly in the moonlight. Then, he placed his hands around her waist and kissed her again.
He had no choice but to vanish again when her mother appeared.
It had taken several more weeks, with Hades bestowing upon her other precious gifts in his courting of her, before they were able to properly spend time alone.
She had taken to her room, citing weariness from a long day handling the prayer requests of the humans who petitioned herself and her mother for the tending of their crops, their medicinal herbs and the flowers they chose for their beauty. Demeter looked upon her daughter with pity, and allowed the girl to retire early.
In the quiet dark of her room, she nearly ran into Hades' broad chest and bit back the instinctive yelp of surprise. "How do you come and go, unseen by any eyes, milord?" She asked, her flayed nerves from a hectic day causing her voice to shake. Or perhaps it was his proximity that caused her words to come out in tremulous tones.
"I have my ways," he replied, his deep voice carrying an almost... mischievous note, that was so very unlike the staid, unruffled Lord of the Dead. His tone changed; although the alterations in cadence were always quite subtle. Others, who didn't know him as well as she, often claimed erroneously that he spoke in a certain monotone.
His voice seemed tender to her, now, and vexingly nervous. "My love, these days without you have been torturous. I cannot exist without you by my side any longer. Will you come with me to the Underworld, to reign by my side as my Queen?"
"Milord, you honor me greatly with such a request. But surely there are far greater goddesses better suited than I?"
"I love no one but you," he replied softly. "Not before, not now. Not ever. I pledge myself upon the Styx that you are all to me. I shall be satisfied with none but you."
Persephone gasped. Without so much as the faintest hesitation, he had uttered the Unbreakable Vow, which promised death if one attempted to circumvent it. Truly, Lord Hades must love her beyond all expression to commit such a vow!
"Milord." Her voice was quieter now, choked with emotion. "I am a young goddess. I have never known such love or devotion. I only know that, if your feelings are as great for me as mine are for you, then we must never be apart again."
Hades nodded, his brow furrowed in thought. "My love, allow me to express that which cannot be said in words." He opened his arms to her. "Come to me, my Queen."
He captured her lips against his then lifted her in his arms, carrying her over to her bed. It seemed fitting that her new husband should consecrate their union, not through the ridiculous pomp of mortal ceremonies, but through lying with her in the bed of her childhood home.
His cool, large hands tenderly pulled aside the yards of fabric that made her dress and cast it to the floor. She was left naked and trembling under his piercing gaze; his lips upturned in the faintest hint of a smile, before pressing against her breast to suckle.
A cool hand found its way to her most delicate and secret spot, fingers deftly tracing the soft damp flesh until she began to whimper and squirm. He uttered hushing noises, and his mouth journeyed to the precious site. Her hands grasped at his black hair as he plundered her bounty, until her throat tightened from the screams of pleasure that were denied utterance past her tightly clenched teeth.
"Hades," she cried, trying to keep her voice down as best she could to avoid alerting the household. "Please!"
He crawled his way up her body, muscles under the pallid flesh flexing with the restrained urge to ravish her immediately. He reminded her of a great panther, his almost predatory gaze inciting primal urges within her that she never knew existed.
He kissed her yet again, and she felt... she felt the length of him slowly entering her, and she placed her thighs around his waist to grant him greater access. She could feel her own muscles, tightly surrounding him and it was... perfect, harmonious as the heavens themselves. She wanted more, wanted him like this always.
Oh, but he was being so agonizingly slow! His languid pace frustrated her, and the animal growl that ripped past her lips startled her... as did the realization that her own nails were clawing at his back like a tigress in heat. Indeed, it seemed blood rushed through her veins like liquid fire, as her body sweat and pulsated from their lovemaking.
She heard his soft, indolent chuckle in her ears. "Please, my love!" she begged him. "You drive me to madness!"
She gasped when he obediently altered the tempo to slam his hips against hers, filling her completely. She clung to him as he ravished her thoroughly, his hard yet fluid thrusts battering her and still leaving her hungering for more, until they were both spent and panting.
When he slipped from her, he simply held her in his arms, breathing in her scent, of flowers, sweat and sex. There would be trials tomorrow, but for now nothing could keep them apart.