2. Narcissus
"Blue eyes—"

Yes, blue eyes so dark they were almost black. He needed to be caught in just the right light, but those eyes of his were undeniably blue. All three of the brothers had blue eyes, but his gaze was the only one that could make her shiver that way.

"—and light brown curls—"

No. His hair was black as pitch, black as the realm he commanded. Was it as thick as it looked? As silky as she imagined? Such wondering would do her no good, though. She would never find out.

"—a great, strong warrior—"

Perhaps he was great, perhaps he was strong, but he did not seem a man of brute strength like Hephaestus or Ares, but nor did he seem to slip through her fingers like Hermes. And perhaps he was not as perfect as Apollo, but that somehow made him more of a man than the sun god.

"—who loves me more than life, and would give anything to keep me in his arms."

Persephone nodded, though her friend's words made her throat tighten. She'd had many suitors who'd offered her mother gifts, read her poetry, sang and played for her, tried their best to romance her, but… He hadn't tried. He'd laughed at her, chastised her so gently so that it didn't feel like a scolding at all, and then he'd smiled for her. Hades, god of the underworld, had smiled for her. It was such a gentle expression that had not fit with his infamous cold demeanor. The thing was, though, he hadn't seemed cold to her.

They—the goddess and her three nymph companions—sighed. They lay in a circle in a field of flowers. At the end of the field was a gently flowing river, and they'd just finished a refreshing dip in the water beneath the sun's watchful gaze. Now they were drying off, the cool wind teasing over their bare skin. Like most young women, they were innocently gossiping about the men they would like to someday lie in the arms of. As far as Persephone knew, the four of them were all virginal, all simply indulging in romantic fantasies featuring imaginary young men who were perfect in every way. But every time she took a moment to imagine a man's strong arms around her holding her close, a certain face would appear in her mind, his quiet laughter tickling her ear. Hades…


Hades lay on his bed sideways, an arm over his eyes. He knew there was work to do, but he was too distracted for work. He couldn't even nap because he feared what kind of adventures his dreams would take him on, what kind of images his unconscious mind would parade before him. So he simply lied there on his bed, fully clothed atop the sheets. Now that there was no avoiding it, he was forced to admit a terrifying fact to himself: he wanted to see her again.

A flash of lightning jolted him from his thoughts and, running his fingers through his hair, he sat up to find that there was another in his chambers. "Zeus." He couldn't even muster up a false smile for his little brother, so he simply reclined against the pillows, his arms crossed against his chest. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

As usual, Zeus laughed, his booming laughter making the foundations of the underworld itself shake. Hades supposed his little brother was a jolly kind of fellow, with his blond hair and blue eyes. Vaguely, it registered in his mind that, even if the three of them had drawn lots to decide their domains, fate had a funny way of working so that the sunny brother ended up ruling the sky, the earthy brother the sea, and the darker brother the dead. He supposed that also meant he couldn't complain that he'd been allotted the underworld and unable to be named an Olympian. It was fate that landed him here in the underworld, and it was fate that said he would continue to rule here alone.

"Don't be silly, brother. You know why I'm here." Zeus sat on the bed, giving Hades a pat on the shoulder that was sturdy enough to make the older god flinch as lightning coursed through his veins on impact. But he was used to it. "You met her, didn't you? My daughter. What do you think? I did promise her to you. My offer still stands. Do you want her?"

Hades sighed. Yes, he wanted her. He remembered when Zeus had first learned of Demeter's pregnancy. Immediately, his brother had flashed a note down to the underworld, offering his unborn child's hand in marriage in the event that the child was a girl. Hade's had found nothing unusual about that, quickly seeing through his brother's logic—If the girl lived in the underworld, then the rightfully jealous Hera wouldn't see the child on a daily basis, sparing Zeus her constant wrath. However, he'd dismissed the note, not wanting to become involved in his brother's schemes and affairs. But that had been before he'd met her.

Taking his brother's sigh as a sign that his presence wasn't entirely unwelcome, Zeus waved his hand across the air. Clouds, white and fluffy with no place in the underworld, formed a picture that solidified into a vision of beauty. Persephone and her nymphs, the same scene that Hades had been trying to avoid seeing in his scrying bowl. It was different from before, however, because this time, the women were naked. His eyes were drawn immediately to Persephone, who was laughing as she rolled over, and damn her and her feminine form, because she was wet, glistening in the sun. His mouth went dry and he had to look away, not just for the sake of her modesty but because it was a vision that made him want to do more than just look.

"Look at it this way. Persephone is in a field of flowers. A narcissus flower grows there, your flower. When she plucks it, you will have an excuse to rise from the earth and take her. She is a very beautiful young woman, Hades, worthy of only a god. Can you not imagine, brother? She would lie like that with you on this very bed. She is still a virgin, of course, but you could teach her how to kiss you, just how and where to touch. Your name is the only one that will ever fall from her lips on a moan, and I'm sure the young girl has enough energy to get even you to scream."

Movement on the bed made the king of the gods pause, and he glanced over at his brother. A confident smile turned up his lips as he caught Hades pulling a pillow across his lap, looking pointedly away from both Zeus and the picture he'd painted with the clouds. "Accept my gift, brother."

With that, Zeus disappeared, leaving Hades all but alone. That image in the clouds remained, haunting him. His eyes were drawn back to it, and the erection he'd ineffectively attempted to smother with his pillow jerked as one of those fair, delicate hands fell innocently between her legs to pluck a piece of grass that was poking through the robe she was lying on. Frustrated with both his brother and himself, Hades groaned and rolled over, forcing himself to turn away and watch the moving image no more.

She was promised to him, but he couldn't take her like this. This wasn't what he wanted. He hadn't built that throne for an unwilling woman. He couldn't just rise from the earth and take her. It wasn't the same. Being the lord of the dead, he was too often faced with the pleading cries of separated lovers. People, who feared death more than all things, would beg to die so that their loved one might live. It was something he did not understand, but it was something he wanted. There was something enchanting about a bond so strong it spanned even death. He ached for the opportunity to feel so deeply for another, or to have another fall to their knees before the gods and beg, "I'll do anything, I'll give you everything I have. Just please, let me be with him!" What would it be like to know someone would give up everything they were for him, or to know that he would do the exact same for that very same person?

Determination in his eyes, Hades sat up, parting his robe. He was a god, damn it, and he was going to prove he was bigger than this. He was going to get her out of his head. This was a physical attraction; he wanted her body, those lush curves, and soft lips. He didn't feel a thing for her as a person. It was her beauty and not that smile, not the explosion life contained within her, not her bold charm—He was attracted to the skin, not the woman contained within it. That was his mantra as he turned his hard, cold eyes to the image of the naked maiden suspended in the clouds, reached down with both hands to wrap his long fingers around his throbbing member and stroked himself hard into a fast and viciously satisfying release that left him gasping hard for air.

Or at least, it should have been satisfying—and physically it was—but inside he felt raw and empty. And dirty. Why the hell did he feel so damn dirty? This time, he didn't have to force himself to look away from the image in the clouds. He didn't understand. What was it that he wanted from her? How was it that in a matter of mere minutes, that young woman had enchanted him so that physical gratification left him sore instead of sated? What had she done to him? Because he wanted her body, didn't he? He'd reacted to her body. He'd sated his desire for physical pleasure. So why wasn't he satisfied?

Frustration clawed at his stomach from the inside as he glared at the image in the clouds. "What have you done to me?" He demanded, knowing she would not answer. "Why won't you let me be?"

Before he could turn away, the image begged his attention, except this time the vision offered more than a moving picture. This time, he had audio.


"I do think I'm in love." Persephone confessed softly, reaching up into the sky to shield her eyes from the sun. "Or at least, I do believe I'm rather infatuated with a certain man, a certain god. I would very much like to see him again."

She was alone now, her nymphs having gone off to find her dry clothes

"He is a very mysterious man. Beautiful. An acquaintance of my father." She sighed, sitting up. She ran her fingers through her damp hair before she stood. Idly, the goddess began to pick the delicate white flowers that grew in the field. "He is very powerful, very stern, and he seems that he can be at times sarcastic, but he has the most gentle smile. He is a famed warrior, and the stories imply he values stealth and cunning over strength."

Persephone sighed, drifting closer to the water. "Oh, but that smile… It doesn't feel as if he is smiling because he wishes to please me, but instead because he truly has something to smile about. I feel as if it is a rare thing for him to express his happiness in that way and I wonder if, perhaps, that smile might be only for me. Or if at least that particular smile was. I wish I could see him again, if only to see if I could coax such an expression back onto those li—"

The goddess paused as she neared the river. There, amidst the sea of white and green, was a single red flower. It was a beautiful sight, a red trumpet surrounded by brilliant red petals. She was a nature goddess, so of course she knew what kind of flower it was. It was a Narcissus, and it was a flower of the dead, a flower of Hades. She swallowed, severely tempted. It was a lone flower, and if she picked it there would be no more left in the field. But she wanted it.

"Hades…"

With a caution she could not explain, she approached the lonely flower. It was so like him, all alone among a sea of other men who were all the same. He was the outsider on Olympus. Was it lonely in the underworld, or did he find comfort in the vast darkness? She took a step closer, another step, reaching out. Her fingers closed around the stem gently and she bent to smell the single bloom. Desire curled around her stomach, and she dropped the other flowers in her arms as, after a moment's hesitation, she plucked it. A soft smile touched her lips as she tucked the bloom behind her ear, but as she felt a rumbling beneath her feet, that smile disappeared.

Suddenly, the ground split before her, opening up into what appeared to be a bottomless void. But from the rift sprang a team of coal black horses drawing a dark chariot from the black rift in the earth. She took a step back, surprise making her stumble, before she realized that she knew the man holding the reins. Her heart sputtered to see him in such a grand light, the sun spilling down onto his hair, his chariot gleaming, his four steeds at full attention. And his eyes, his eyes were blue beneath the afternoon sun.

"Hades."

"Persephone."

There was something about his voice this time, some kind of strain she could not name. It was in his eyes as well.

"To what do I owe the honor?" Persephone asked, shielding her eyes from the sun as she looked up at him, trying to recompose herself. She couldn't show him how happy she was to see him again so soon, couldn't show him how pleased she was to hear him say her name.

Hades seemed to hesitate before responding quietly. "I am the one who should be honored. The goddess of spring deigned to pay my humble narcissus undeserved attention."

Persephone touched the scarlet bloom in her hair. She'd been raised on Olympus until her mother had put her foot down to all her potential suitors and hidden her away, so she was used to the flattery constantly embedded within the speech of the gods. "No, it is a lovely flower, Hades. And it seemed so lonely I couldn't possibly leave it here all alone."

The great god paused, then held out a hand. "Come with me."

"Why?"

"Come talk with me, Persephone."

The goddess paused, her gaze lingering on his outstretched hand. She wanted to take it. She wanted to get to know the dark man who owned it, to get to know his smile a little better. A soft, lilting voice called her name from the other side of the field, and she knew her nymphs were coming. Her mother had forbidden her from meeting with men without her supervision, and if her nymphs saw her leave with Hades…

"Persephone."

His soft, deep voice made her decision for her. She took his hand and found herself jerked into his arms. The feel of being held against his solid body, strung with tight muscles, knocked the wind from her lungs.

"You're naked." He observed quietly, and she had the decency to blush as, his jaw tight, Hades called out to his horses. Thus, they who dove back into the fissure. And then the light was gone as the earth swallowed them whole and they descended into the Underworld.


Author's Note:
And there's chapter two! Thank you for reading. I have to admit, I'm getting a little swept up into this story. I'd very much appreciate some feedback, since I'm still kind of new to the world of fanfiction. But yeah, tell me what you think. Next time, we'll watch Hades grapple with what he hopes is lust. Let's see if Persephone can convince him it's not.