Beauty & the Tragedy

Standing alone, shoulders slightly curled, left leg bent keeping weight off of his twisted ankle, Asterion looked out towards the rising stars of Crete's peaceful kingdom. For many years no one thought this day would come. To be ruled under a king who listened and invited travelers of Athens with open arms. Since peace had been created, various new and exciting foods had been tasted along with spices. Asterion smiled, remembering the very first cheers of on lookers as boats came into port. Olympic games no longer held in fear. His brothers name was now honored instead of used as a black market investment to carry out horror.

Those achievements kept Crete in happiness for over fifty years. It seemed only yesterday Asterion was a strapping young man, a couple of years over twenty. Now though, his bones were starting to turn brittle. Long dark brown hair, now shimmering grey tied in a lose pony tail. Smooth eyebrows now large, shadowing once pearl blue eyes, which now took on a pearl white shade - he'd lost his sight half a year ago (people of Crete still claimed to see them shining with kindness). Deep wrinkles around his eyes and dimples of cheeks. Hands worn, slightly scarred upon his palm, from years of isolation, but also helping out with rebuilding his kingdom. Despite his age, Asterion never asked for help. He could still be seen riding his horse across the beach, or rising from his chair to toast to the gods. Never once did a cane reach his grasp. Despite all this, Asterion was ashamed. Beneath his elegant clothing and stubborn streak, Asterion knew lay a withered old man. No longer strong or handsome. Many years had passed since his wife took the journey to the Underworld. Asterion had remained by her side, for support but also to gain a glimpse of his first love. She never came. His withered eyes didn't even see the cloaked figure enter the room, to escort his wife's soul away.

Letting out a tired sigh through dried lips, Asterion began to turn slowly. Asterion knew the palace better than the Labyrinth. Every echo of a servant or march of a warrior returning from duties. He could even see the pitiful glance of his eldest son. Crusted lips turned upwards. If there was one regret Asterion bore; it was losing his sight before his grandson was born. Never the less, he could be seen bouncing the little tyke on his boney knee. His ears became his eyes, allowing him to picture golden hair and sea green eyes, inherited from his daughter in law, with his sons strapping chin and button noes. Letting out a tired sigh, glassy eyes scanning once more around the magnificent throne room. Strong smell of spices guided him easily around. Withered hands stroked mosaic designed walls; his cane left forgotten against the throne chair. As he took his leave, bowing his head to every 'Evening' or 'Your Highness' which greeted him, Atserion couldn't bring himself to care that his legs guided him towards his bedroom, his busted ankle needed time to rest, along with a couple of droplets of pomegranate and honey to keep his dreams sweet. Pushing heavy oak doors open, hissing in pleasure as warmth from a roaring fire greeted him.

Stepping timidly around a marble pillar, lower lip worrying between sharp teeth, face hidden beneath a crisp velvet hood while flame shadows danced across ashen coloured cheeks. As Asterion disappeared, the figure stepped forward in two quick strides, the flames blew out in silence their fallen ashes swirled not into the air but instead around her, cloaking her almost invisible. It was just enough to allow her to slip unseen between Asterion's turned back and closing doors. Despite the risk, she stretched her hand lightly brushing his shoulder blade.

"What the...?"

Questioning empty air, Asterion shook his head.

Pain shot through his ankle, as he stumbled backwards. Hand reaching towards his sword handle ready to strike.

"Now, now my King. Surely its rude to raise weapons upon a humble woman?"

Blood pounded Asterion's ears, deafening him. His head swam like a night of sour drinking. How dare this intruder demand anything of him, this castle was his home. Like nails against ice, his sword slid smoothly from its cow hide belt, both reflections on opposite sides. While one showed remorse the other showed rage. Letting out a warrior cry, Asterion charged. All colour drained from Melione's features, she barely had time to react. Diving to the side, body shivering in fright hearing a painting being slashed. Palms started to burn, her eyes watered, every fiber in her being demanded to take him down. Spinning around, nostrils flaring teeth grinding in a feral snarl, Asterion charged once again.

"Beast stop!"

Melione cried as she shot out a blast, it struck him in the chest; not enough to harm him but enough to unstable him.

"Omff!"

Asterion grunted, hands blindly reached for something to grab hold of. Back hitting the wall, hand pressed firmly against it. Chest heaving, mouth agape swallowing greedily at the air. Her words had made no impact on him, they flew over his head like birds flying south.

"Get out..."

His words came out harsh, breathless. Melione shook her head, timidly taking a step forward she jumped backwards as if she'd been burnt. Despite his clouded eyes looking to the left, his words still hit home.

"Get. Out!"

Bellowing the last command, Melione grasped hold of cloak clasp, the cool metal doing little to lower the over bearing heat consuming her from the inside. If looks could kill she'd surely be dead. Biting her lower lip, (which did little to silence a heart broken sob) Melione bowed her head in defeat. Had she truly waited to long? She knew humans were strange creatures, that time and distance effected them more than beings such as herself. Stepping over broken pieces of furniture, even turning a table top back to its rightful position, her hand lingered a little longer over a dark green cloth. A sad smile tugged, at least his servants cared enough for him to make his room presentable. Hearing Asterion shuffle behind her, quickly pulled Melione from her thoughts, with a wave of her hand the door creaked open. Her footsteps turned more rapid than before, causing her cloak to flutter.

Asterion's head was tilted listening to the unknown woman take her time in leaving his room. He should call for his guards, have her executed. But that wasn't his style. His bitter act of rage had been out of character, his emotions driving him forward. Her voice wasn't cruelly mocking, just a small quip. But it was the accent... Grunting in amusement, head shaking in despair Asterion began to wonder if he was getting delusional in his old age. Using his sword as a cane, he started to navigate his way through his room, muttering to himself about how he was supposed to explain the mess. As the door creaked open, but footsteps sounded to hurried to be close enough for the intruder to leave, Asterion turned his head sharply brow creasing in confusion. Was it a servant? A concerned guard? Hearing no shrieks of distress, or orders, Asterion started to prepare for another attack.

"Who-"

Words became lodged. A strange yet comforting smell traveled around him. While his body remained tensed, nostrils began to quiver inhaling and exhaling. The smell was not something that could be described. Ever so slowly, Asterion's heart traveled up his throat. Knees turned weak. It was only when she spoke, did the tears finally fall. With a ringing 'Clash!' his weapon fell.

"Beast!"

Forgetting in an instant, his earlier attempt at causing her harm, Melione spun around only to watch in disbelief.

Despite his ankles disagreement, Asterion scrambled down upon one knee, bowing respectfully towards the once unknown stranger. Head bowed, not out of fear, more to hide away the embarrassment and shame of letting her see him in such a weak form. Asterion didn't doubt that she would still be as beautiful as the day he first laid eyes upon her. While he was old and crippled.

"My... M.. My.. L.. Lady... Forgive me. It wasn't my intention to insult you."

Curling her noes in disapproval, irritation sparked. Not towards Asterion personally but towards his actions. Never once did she ask him to bow in her presence, why start now? Keeping her face covered, Melione stepped forward. Watching his body tense, not thinking about her actions she looked upon his more aged form; it didn't fill her with distaste or shame. Crouching down in front of him, eyebrows lowering fighting back an annoyed sigh as Asterion turned his head away from her. What made him so ashamed of himself, that he tried so hard to hide?

"Asterion..."

Reaching her hand forward she lightly cupped his cheek, feeling his facial hair rub harshly against her cold palm. Melione's grip became firm, as she felt him trying to pull away. Feeling his warm tears drip onto her palm, caused her heart to twist with emotion. To witness him weep, was never something Melione enjoyed but to know she was the cause... Forcing his head up, not surprised when he closed his eyes tightly, hiding away colourless iris, Melione brought her head closer to his, resting her forehead upon his. Such an act caused Asterion to shiver, he never remembered her being so cold. Subconsciously he moved closer, wanting to provide her with extra warmth. He felt the slight twitch upon her forehead and knew that she was smiling.

"Is it really you...?"

Or just another trick of the gods... Such accusation wasn't heard, but Melione knew more wanted to be spoken as she felt him pull her tighter. Pouted lips buried themselves within grey hairs, kissing him softly. He smelt of cinnamon and mint. A playful smile tugged at her lips, remembering a certain story her mother whispered to her in bed. Stroking his tense back, fingers lightly massaging around taunt shoulder blades, or just simply dancing across his bony spine. Relaxing against her, Asterion rested his head upon her shoulder, burying his face into her neck.

"Yes Asterion, its really me..."

Letting out a pained laugh, Melione rolled her head back, teeth gnashing at the air.

"Sweet Zeus, I wanted to be on that beach with you. Leaving you behind... I don't... I don't..."

A small whimper broke Melione from a brief ramble, looking back down she flinched not realizing her finger nails were digging sharply into Asterion's back. Brow creasing in guilt, hands gliding gently almost as if hoping to smooth away unseen marks.

"I'm sorry my darling."

Asterion whimpered in reply, curling himself closer against her chest. How could one woman, make him feel so terrified and yet safe at the same time? Her scent, delicate fingers curling his hair, powdered lips kissing lovingly... Pulling away reluctantly, heart kneeing in despair Asterion's clouded eyes looked straight towards Melione; the young goddess could've sworn she saw a faint twinkle of mischief. A tender smile tugged at her lips, gently clasping his hand she helped Asterion back onto his feet, her hands glided over his clothing smoothing out the creases before she cupped his cheek, wiping away his tears without the faintest hint of judgement. Standing in silence, relishing in Melione's soft hands his heart hammering wildly wanting to pull her into a hug or maybe even a kiss, but his hands remained by his sides, to afraid to make such a bold move.

"You came back..."

Such soft spoken words were almost left unheard, it caused Melione's heart to lurch painfully, tears to prickle her eyes, for there was a great burden she carried for allowing herself to come here. Instead however she forced a smile, fought back her tears and nodded. At the sight of Asterion's furrowed brow when she remained silent; faint blush, bloomed her cheeks remembering that Asterion wouldn't be able to see. Dampening her lips, Melione gently kissed away his furrowed brow.

"Of course I did. I'll always come back for you."

Her words held a promise, but her eyes twinkled with unspoken emotions. Such dread wouldn't ruin her perfect moment with Asterion. Looking around his grand room, impressed that even with all of his power it hadn't gone to his head.

Darkness crept over the city, as a full moon bloomed above sleeping habitats. Shadows stretched across dusty roads, hiding away beautiful market stalls and children's footprints. Peeking through closed shutters like a nervous mouse, moon light draped over the hunched figures sat awkwardly on the floor, their soft breathing followed by a couple of muffled snores indicated they were both asleep. The fire in the corner of the room had long since burnt out, the smoke crawling up the wall like slithering snakes. A darkened log slipped with a faint 'thump'. Though not dangerous or intimidating, the sound was enough to startle the young female, who grunted grumpily. Her eyelids fluttered open while her brow creased with a painful wince. Everything hurt. Her collar bone felt like it was breaking through her skin, left foot tingled with painful pins and needles and her knees felt rather numb and raw at the same time. Blinking away the sleeping dust, gazing blindly around the dim lighted room for a moment forgetting where she was.

"What-"

The fire came on slowly, flames licking dead logs like a mother comforting a child after a fearful nightmare. As light began to once again fill the room, so did the memories of the emotional few hours. All discomfort slowly crept away, as Melione peered down towards a still sleeping Asterion. If the love she felt for him could get any greater, this moment would've surely made it burst through her chest. There were so many things she wanted to do, from massaging his scalp, kissing every inch of his body to make up for the wasted years, to simply counting the stars.

Such thoughts were quickly banished however, as the fire grew its light danced across Asterion's withered features causing his colourless eyes to snap open in alarm, body grew tense as sleep still clouded.

"Shh... Asterion it's only me."

Melione soothed.

One of two things happened at the sound of Melione's voice. First Asterion mentally cursed the gods for once again playing mind tricks with him, second as sleep rose from his sore form, he was able to feel delicate hands trace over tensed shoulders, massaging gently causing a purr to rumble. Rolling his head back, resting it once more upon the crest of her shoulder.

"Hey sleepy head."

Asterion grunted at Melione's over enthusiastic tone. Judging by the fire roaring, there had been no sun rise yet. Smothering back a lighthearted laugh, Melione uncoiled herself from Asterion before standing back up. Stretching out her hands, eyes sparkling despite the bags now hovering underneath them. Listening to Melione's movements, hands easily finding hers, he slowly stood back up with her help. Holding on for a little longer than necessary, finally letting go, hands curling as if hoping to keep some of the warmth.

"Your welcome to sit down."

Nodding gently, watching carefully as Asterion walked around with so much ease, there were a couple of times when her breath became caught within her throat, fearing he would topple over. But this was his area, he knew it like the back of his hand. Shaking her head at being so foolish, eyes focused instead on the bed. It was the most comfortable looking piece of furniture. Hissing through clenched teeth as her joints throbbed in pain. Hobbling towards the bed not putting to much weight on her right foot, she eased herself down. Turning as the bed eased as Asterion took a seat next to her (he was very careful to keep at least a breaths distance away) tilting her head to the side, watching as he produced a golden bowl filled with figs and other sun-dried fruits. Despite the unruly hour, her stomach gave a rumble of hunger. At the sound of Asterion's deep chuckle, Melione arched a brow, a fig inches away from her lips.

"Don't think I didn't hear that purr earlier..."

Melione teased lightly.

Asterion ducked his head in embarrassment. Playfully pushing Asterion before biting into the ripe fruit, allowing herself to slouch a little. Her father would surely scold her for such a posture, but he wasn't here. As Asteion poured himself a small goblet of wine, Melione whispered the secret she kept hidden for almost five years.

"I was there, when your wife passed. She went peacefully, no pain. Its not really allowed, but I allowed her to watch over you for a short time."

Looking towards Asterion, forcing herself to smile, despite the lump forming in her throat. She felt foolish, even selfish; the young woman clearly adored Asterion and yet Melione couldn't help but resent her. Even so, when his wife requested such a formal gesture, Melione couldn't turn her away. If it was her, of course she would've wanted the same. Flinching suddenly at the light weight of Asterion's wrinkled palm eyes looking away guiltily. Asterion scooted closer, their hips bumping causing heat to dust withered cheek bones.

"Melione... Please don't look away" (Melione's eyebrows shot up. How did he know?) "I had no idea, I'm sure your father wasn't to impressed huh?"

A childish giggle answered the question. Shaking his head in amusement, Asterion lowered his hand placing it soothingly on her shoulder instead. His fingers became covered in goosebumps at the soft brush of her hair. Talking about his wife wasn't an easy subject, of course he loved her, there had been many happy memories with just them and then when she brought him three sons. A year after she passed was when he lost his sight. It seemed only fit as he lost both of the women he loved. Now though... Leaning forward, biting his lower lip trying to prevent it from trembling, but none of that mattered when he finally kissed her cheek.

Everything suddenly sparked. Her blood burnt so hot it felt like her heart was freezing, tears burned the corner of her eyes but they didn't fall. Lowering her head, even when her subconscious screamed at losing the warmth from his lips. Before there was any cause for distraught their lips met. Sparks flew behind their eyelids, hands started to grab hold of anything though never staying in one place to long. Asterion tasted of sweet wine with a hint of meat spice - a rare delicacy. His hands so much larger than hers made her feel safe and on fire. They only pulled away when breathing became essential, even then Melione managed to crawl into Asterion's lap, nuzzling underneath his chin. Wrapping his arms around her waist, holding her against him. Despite his leg becoming inflamed from their awkward sleeping habits, it was worth it.

"My sweet Melione..."

He whispered softly into her hair.


It happened so fast, one moment they were sat innocently on the end of his bed, nibbling on various fruits and taking a sip of wine, the next they stood in the middle of his room bodies so close he could swear he could feel Melione's heart beat. His own body trembled with fear - fear that he would disappoint her. But even without his sight, he knew that she was smiling down at him, and if this is what she wanted to do, well who was he to turn her down...

Asterion chuckled good naturally.

"But my lady, I am old, blind not to mention crippled. Not much of a dancing partner.."

Melione gave him a look, as she squeezed his hand before placing it upon her left hip, holding it firmly as she felt him tense beneath her hold.

"Indeed you are, but despite when we first meet, I was twice if not three times your senior. Despite my looks and age, gods age slower than humans. Now, you've finally caught up..."

She teased. Asterion pulled a shocked expression, causing Melione to laugh. Lowering his brows into a mocking scowl, Asterion leant forward, placing his mouth at the shell of Melione's ear.

"Surely then, my lady, that gives me good enough reason to give you a good whacking, for such cheek."

Arching her brow in thought, Melione gave Asterion a knowing look, before pecking his cheek.

"Maybe later. Now though, let us dance."

Terror gripped Asterion's withered heart. Never the less, feeling how lightly she held his hand, while entwining their fingers against her hip, Asterion easily put his trust into her. Feeling a slight shift of her body, Asterion followed. With caution, body tense fearful of stepping on her toes. Clumsily at first, steps soon became synced, while frowns grew into open smiles. Feeling Asterion's body relax beneath her grip, Melione casually allowed Asterion to take the lead. The pair moved in wide open circles, to full spun figure of eights. Despite lack of musical instruments, anyone who watched would swear somewhere Orpheus was playing in secret for them.

Feeling himself grow bold, Asterion stepped away from Melione, while he remained clasping hold of her hand. Rising her arm high as offering a sacrifice to Zeus, he spun her around in a tight circle. Melione laughed with glee. Her graying hair, spun around, covering her face. Her eyes however continued to glow with affection and joy. Asterion smiled. His lips didn't stretch to much, but the expression was relaxed allowing his eyes to carry the heavier emotions. She was so beautiful. Pulling her back into him, resting his hands upon her hips.

"Your getting bolder"

Melione lightly teased. Asterion shrugged his shoulders; she gave him confidence. Pausing their movements for just a moment, Melione looked deep into his clouded eyes.

"Come on, lets dance until the sun rises."

"Anything for you"

And so they danced. It seemed that time stood still for them. The moon growing larger in the darkened sky, its ghostly ray creating a perfect beacon, which followed their every step. Every so often a stumble would occur, though neither would curse; simply dust themselves off or pretend it was part of the act. At one time, Asterion drew Melione close against his chest, hand bedding its self within her locks as he rocked her gently, their footsteps creating tight circles. Allowing her eyes to close listening to Asterion's heart beat, allowing him to move them around. Despite having no sight, he put Apollo to shame. Sighing peacefully, snuggling closer inhaling his scent, Asterion hand's rubbing her hip or stroking her back keeping her centered.

Sadly though, good things never last to long.

With every step they took, Melione's hold would become stronger. Her movements less bold, with every spin or graceful slide apart a stream of black fog wrapped around Asterion, keeping him afloat. Muffled tears replaced joyful laughter. Legs no longer trembled with nerves, arms easily found themselves wrapped around his frail body, but not to kiss her prince charming, instead easing him to the ground with strained comforting words, while her inner monologue cursed every deity that created this unbreakable curse.

"Shh... I'm here..."

Listening to every pleading gasp of breath sent a stab of agony through her heart. Fighting back tears, forcing herself to be strong just this once. Cradling the back of his head, allowing him to curl into her bosom, she in return curled around him believing that if she was to shield him then it would protect him. It never did. A once powerful heart beat slowed down, pained gasps silenced. Even his sweaty palm against her cheek slowly slid away to land with a muted 'thump' on the cold marble floor. Finally the flood gates opened.

"This isn't part of my duty...! I- I- I don't..."

Drool hung from her lower lip, licking it away almost hungrily, red veined eyes peering down. This was her duty, but the emotional attachment. They'd gone over the plan so many times, she'd promised that nothing would get in the way. And it wouldn't.


"Uh..! Huh..!"

Waking up in a state of terror, swimming in sweat Asterion's knuckles bone white, almost tearing the sheets apart. Forcing himself up right, mouth gawping like a fish out of water. With every gasp he tried to take no oxygen could be found, and yet it didn't feel like he was suffocating. Brow creased in confusion, mouth turned into a snarl. Was this just another twisted joke. They certainly were getting better - he could still smell Melione's sweet perfume. Flopping back down, trembling hands dragging themselves across his face, tears burning like fire ants, how long was he going to be punished? Rolling over onto his side, hands tucking themselves under his head glancing with little interest towards the flicking candle and two golden goblets.

"How much did I-"

Wait... He could see them. Scrambling backwards, heart in his mouth eyes casting down his form. It was no longer withered and old, even the ugly veins across his legs had been replaced with luscious tanned skin once again.

"What's happening..."

He didn't know how to feel or what to think. So many questions spiraled around it made him feel dizzy. Resting back on his elbows, eyes closed tightly. 'One, two, three, four... One, two, three, four..' Repeating over and over in his mind as he breathed deeply through his nostrils. Was everything just a dream? He'd heard of people feeling like they'd slept for hours though it'd only been minuets.

"Asterion..."

That voice. Shaking his head stubbornly, worrying his lower lip hard enough to draw blood. No. No he wouldn't listen to it this time. But the voice had other ideas. It spoke soothingly, like music to his ears. Though right now he would rather rip his ears off.

"Leave me alone..."

He pleaded through a whimper. Bloody lower lip trembling, tears spilling down reddened cheeks. Listening with dread as something shuffled closer, he cowered in on himself, jumping as if he'd been burnt when it touched him. Of course she didn't; stubborn or persistent, Asterion couldn't tell but at this moment he hated her. Once again her hand rested on his shoulder, giving a firm but gentle squeeze forcing him to meet her gaze. Eyes widen in shock, dried tears scattered quivering cheeks, her lower lip bloodied, teeth lightly spotted. Shifting cautiously Asterion lent forward eyes narrowed, finally able to see her face he couldn't deny her beauty. But it still didn't stop his heart from breaking in two.

"I'm dead aren't I..."

He spoke in no more than a whisper. Rolling her eyes towards the ceiling, lower jaw slacking, Melione could barely bring herself to nod. But it was all the answer Asterion needed.

"I'm sorry. Usually, father doesn't allow me to really participate in such events, unless the soul is lost or scared. With you though he made the expectation."

The lord of the Underworld wasn't well known for his kind heart, but there had been tales of his wisdom; only a fair few had been honored to witness it.

Asterion let out a bark laugh. Raking his fingers through his hair, hissing as a knot became caught he glared at Melione. Such an act not even his former 'beast' self would dream of doing. He knew it was selfish to blame her for his death, the years had been good to him, maybe it was only human to feel some regret... Tossing aside suddenly unwanted bed sheets, followed by unfriendly grunts and huffs as he clambered out of bed for a moment hesitating before putting any weight on his ankle. An angered blush bloomed his cheek bones, remembering that it didn't matter anymore. Brushing aside pleading hands, not wanting any help. Regaining his balance was easy, but keeping his stubborn grudge...

"So.. How long do I have before you take me away."

Melione flinched at Asterion's tone, wishing they could go back to dancing or even just asleep curled up on the floor. Rubbing her wrists, eyes casted down towards her bare toes.

"Not long... Asterion, please, I don't want this moment to ruin what we shared last night."

Melione could swear she could hear Asterion's teeth grinding.

"Why are you acting like this?!"

Raising her voice to keep the terror out, Melione was torn between shame and regret. She was a spawn of the Underworld, spirits should be obeying her; but this was Asterion the one person in this world who managed to see beyond power and blood lines. Instead of responding Asterion turned his back like a petulant child. Blood boiling Melione sprung towards him, forcing him to turn around as she gripped hold of his wrist hard to enough to stop the blood flow. Eyes a blaze with fire, lower lip quivering.

"Tell me why!"

Losing her grip when Asterion had the decency to flinch, waiting impatiently for an answer.

"You don't know what it's like. To be something so... ugly, unloved and hated. Then to have a second chance, to hold something living that doesn't cower, scream or even try to get away for you. But you wouldn't know about that would you. You had everything given to you, from dear old daddy. No work, no challenge, no pain..."

Words died on his tongue. A large red print glowed on his cheek, tears trickled down his cheeks. What had he become? Though harsh, Melione's grip left her eyes became colourless as she backed away.

"Melione..."

She disappeared the second her name left his lips. Panic over took. Everyone had heard tales about lost souls, those who wondered around seeking a way out, only to live in eternity in despair. Spinning around in a tight circle, almost expecting her to be behind him. No luck. Stumbling towards the door, hands fumbling for the lever he instead fell straight through.

"It takes a while to get used to..."

Instead of scrambling back up, Asterion felt like a bug under Zeus's wrath. Staring down at the floor, wishing for it to swallow him whole, hiding back a smirk at the backward hilarity, he slowly started to stand back up. There was no pain, or discomfort. Not bothering to dust himself off, Asterion instead stood awkwardly, hands clasping and unclasping, brow knitted in distress eyes looking everywhere but Melione. It was ironic really, so many years he prayed to see her and now he couldn't even look at her.

"I never should've said those things..."

"No... You shouldn't have."

Pushing a strand of hair behind her pale ear, eyebrows knitted together as she skimmed the floor. Despite it's lack of pattern it was suddenly much more interesting than Asterion's nervous posture. Gasping faintly, feeling trembling fingers stroke her pale arm, daring a chance seeing the regret in his eyes, the way his lower lip quivered and nostrils flared. It was almost as if Eros had managed to strike her.

"I forgive you.."

Three simple words were enough to bring the light back into Asterion's eyes. Trailing his hand lower, taking hold of Melione's entwining their fingers.

"How can you ever forgive me... I was a a beast..."

Giving his hand a reassuring squeeze, running her thumb across his knuckles. Despite how much his hands had changed, they still not only engulfed her own but her heart swoon.

"You were human. Humans make mistakes just like everything else in this strange world."

Rising onto her tip toes, kissing his cheek before nuzzling against his jaw line, grinning at his musical purr. (Somethings would never change) Walking closely by his side, her head resting perfectly just underneath his shoulder. Every time she felt his body tremble in fear, she would either whisper soothing words, or even stop them all together allowing him to calm down. Their footsteps soon became dimmer and harder to hear, the flooring turned from crisp marble to burnt ash and thick fog. An all to familiar sound of dog growls, petrified whimpers and lapping water reached Asterion's ears, but there was one other sound that sprouted a timid grin on the corner of his mouth.

"I was wondering when you would both turn up. Not very lady like to keep a gentleman and his misses waiting you know..."

"Charon it's so good to - Wait, misses...?!"

Turning to Melione for conformation, the daughter of Hades simply shrugged her shoulders, eyes twinkling with mischief. Furrowing a brow Asterion shook his head. He had a good idea on who Charon was referring to, but dared not say it out loud. Maybe, being dead wasn't such a bad idea and if what Melione said was true, they'd been happy together forever.

"I love you."

Almost jumping out of his skin, Asterion looked towards Melione for conformation. Her head was tilted, one arm swaying awkwardly by her side. Here in her domain he'd never seen her so vulnerable, open but most of all powerful all at the same time. It made his blood boil, dead or not he could've sworn his heart gave a happy thump. Stepping forward, letting go of her hand only to wrap his arms around her waist instead, he lowered his head, rubbing their noses together affectionately, before stealing her mouth for a kiss. Breaking away slowly, their breathing entwined Asterion peered deeply into her eyes taking them into memory never wanting to forget this moment.

"I love you to, my beauty Melione. When we cross this river, I promise we can dance under the stars every night."

Certain as the sun, rising in the east. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast.

Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme... Beauty and the Beast.

The End.


Sadly, this is where we leave the Greek world - at least for now. Thank you to everyone who read, reviewed and followed me to the end. Its certainly been fun writing about these characters. Hope you've all enjoyed the journey. Until my next story. Also, did anyone notice the Easter egg I left in this story?

- Signed The Broken Ghost.