'Cause with your hand in my hand and a pocket full of soul
I can tell you there's no place we couldn't go
Just put your hand on the glass
I'll be tryin' to pull you through
You just gotta be strong
'Cause I don't wanna lose you now
I'm lookin' right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I'll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin' back here to you once I figured it out
You were right here all along
It's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it's clear as this promise
That we're making two reflections into one
'Cause it's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me
This chapter is narrated from Hades's point of view, and I hope it is a very powerful chapter, as a lot of emotions are divulged. Be warned that I switched from first person from the last chapter to third perosn for Hades' chapter. I am sorry to any readers who find this distracting. I can change it back to first person. But I hope you like Hades's character, so please be sure to tell me your thoughts.
Hades stood unmoving as a plant as he watched his wife sink into the river. Her screams of pain, before the fiery waters swallowed her, shattered his shock. Without wasting another second, he dived into the river. Hades waded through the waters, frantically searching for Persephone. He hardly noticed the blazing flames that lapped at his clothes. Soon the water reached his chest, and the heat became more intense. Though the fiery waters singed him, he knew that they could not harm him.
Being the Lord of the Underworld, he was immune. Though Persephone was not. Just thinking about her made Hades quicken his pace. He glided through the thick waters, but he felt like he was swimming through syrup.
Hades scanned the river for any trace of dark brown hair or a glittering tiara. As something floated past Hades, he noticed a delicate hand protruding from the water. Immediately, he noticed it was Persephone's, but his heart almost stopped when he noticed how charred her skin was.
Her normally pale skin was midnight black, and the skin was peeling away, exposing her bones. Hades felt his eyes sting and his chest constricted as his eyes blurred. Droplets dampened his cheeks and he realized in alarm that the strange sensation he was experiencing was tears. He had seen Persephone weep innumerable times but he never understood the strange display of emotions.
Though as he stared at Persephone's mangled hand, he now understood why people wept. The icy exterior coating his heart melted, leaving it soft and vulnerable. He felt it shattering into a thousand pieces like a delicate piece of pottery. He hooked his fingers under the tattered fabric of Persephone's sleeve and pulled her close to himself. Though if what he had seen before had appalled him, he was not prepared for the sight of his wife-or what was left of her.
What once had been a fine robe embroidered with jewels was now threadbare rags that barely covered Persephone's body. Her skin, the pale skin that glowed like porcelain that Hades' treasured, was dark angry shades of reds and browns. Persephone's visage was so severely burnt that Hades could not distinguish any of her facial features. To Hades' horror, most of Persephone's former silky curls had been singed away. Thin strands of scorched hair clung to the clumps of skin on her deteriorated scalp. She looked more like a half petrified cadaver rather than a goddess.
More tears gathered in his eyes, but he shook his head in disgust. Crying was a weakness, and right now he needed all the strength he could muster. He could already feel the life fading from Persephone, like a beautiful blossom slowly wilting, one petal at a time. He could feel his strength diminishing. It was his heart was tied to Persephone's, bound by a string, and Atropos, the wielder of the Scissors of Fate, was ready to snip the thread. A surge of protection rushed through him. The Fates could have any mortal they wanted, but he would not allow them to take Persephone. Not even Zeus could defy the Fates, but Hades would. He was King of the Underworld, and if there was anyone who was able to challenge destiny, it was him.
Hades forced his way through the waters, doing his best to keep Persephone's head above the surface. Her head lolled to the side, falling against his chest. As he swam, he saw the dark shoreline silhouetted against the sky. Despite the tightness in his chest, Hades forced himself to swim faster. A grunt escaped his lips when he clambered to shore. The flaming waters licked at his legs before retreating as his feet touched land.
Hades collapsed, back pressed against the soft marshy grass. He stared at the pale twinkling stars in the velvet night sky. A fog clouded his mind as the earth seemed to embrace him in warm grasp and his eyelids drooped, trying to yield to sleep. He was vaguely aware of Persephone's head cradled against his chest.
She stirred lightly, and the sleepy mist gripping Hades' mind slackened, and he tried to sit up but lacked the energy. Persephone moaned softly. He was more alert than before, but the traces of the fog lingered in the back of his mind, whispering softly to him, and urging him to sleep. Hades shook his head groggily, trying to shake off the last traces of drowsiness. He forced himself to a sitting position. which was harder than he anticipated with Persephone's limp body sprawled across his.
Hades sat there for a moment wondering what to do. His palace was so far away, and he did not have nectar and ambrosia with him. Sadly, unlike Hermes or Apollo, he could not conjure it out of thin air. Hades noticed his guard hovering near him, anxiously awaiting orders. The guard's empty sockets were locked on Persephone. Perhaps he was too frightened to meet his master's gaze.
"What are you doing just standing there?" Hades bellowed. "Bring some nectar and ambrosia immediately! And be quick about it! If anything happens to her, you will be liable, and I swear upon the Styx I will throw you into Tartarus personally."
"Yes, my lord," the servant replied nervously, his voice quivering pitifully.
He scampered away, putting on a burst of inhuman speed. Hades watched his guard retreat until he was a blur in the distance. Hades focused his attention on Persephone. She was struggling weakly in his arms and her eyeballs fluttered uneasily beneath her eyelids.
Hades did not know whether to be relieved or alarmed. Though his momentary relief vanished when he felt her heartbeat slowing and her chest rose and fell so shallowly for a moment he was unsure if she was breathing. Hades could already imagine Atropos leaning forward in anticipation, scissors in hand, inches away from Persephone's thread.
"Hurry," he whispered.
Time seemed to grind to a halt, and he became aware of everything around him. The pounding of his blood in his eardrums mingled with the bubbling of the Phlegethon and the faint breaths of Persephone. From the corner of his eye, he saw the crimson flames dancing swiftly, creating a blur of reds and oranges that anyone could be lost in forever...
"My lord!" a voice yelled, pulling Hades out of the eerie trance. "I have the ambrosia and nectar!"
Hades swung his head to gawk at the servant running toward him like Cerberus was hot on his trail. He clutched a pouch of ambrosia and a flask of nectar. He almost collided into Hades as he grinded to a halt. The guard mumbled a string of incoherent apologies. If the circumstances weren't so grave, Hades would have been amused. But his wife was dying in his arms and every second lost brought her closer to the Fates.
He gave the servant such a cold look, the servant shrank back, as if trying to retreat within himself. Hades pointed to the flask and purse of ambrosia, he motioned impatiently for the servant to hand it to him. Arms trembling, the guard thrust it forward, practically shoving it into Hades chest.
"You are dismissed," Hades said standoffishly. Bowing low, his incompetent servant retreated.
Hades sighed as he forced himself to gaze at Persephone. It took all of his willpower not to avert his eyes from her broken body or to break down. His eyes prickled with tears, but he steeled himself and unscrewed the stopper on the flask. Elevating Persephone to a sitting position, he slid his free arm underneath her head and levered it. With great care, he gently pried her jaw open, pressing the flask to her lips so the nectar would trickle down her throat. Hades tucked the pouch of ambrosia in his robes; he knew that in her unconscious state Persephone would not be to swallow whole cubes of ambrosia.
Hades waited in apprehension, waiting for the nectar to take effect. Minutes crept by like days but nothing happened-at least not immediately.
His breath hitched in his throat as he watched the muscles and tissue in Persephone's hand slowly weaving back together before a layer of scarred skin covered it. Her skin should have been unblemished and healthy, instead of red and sweltering. Though he was relieved that the nectar was healing her, a pang of concern stabbed at his heart. Why wasn't she fully healed? She must need more...
Involuntarily, he brought the flask up to Persephone's lips and angled it to allow the life-giving elixir to flow down her throat. But as the drink touched her lips, he sighed, lowering his arm as he placed the stopper in the bottle and slid it into a compartment in his robes, right beside the ambrosia. Hades knew that the more fatal an injury, the longer it took for the nectar and ambrosia to thoroughly work. Doubt still nagged at him, eating away at his innards like a hungry animal. What if her wounds were too lethal?
"Stop," he growled halfheartedly to himself. "Getting so emotional over a woman."
His voice sounded hollow and flat to his own ears. Though, as Hades spoke the lie, his heart skipped in protest. She was not just some woman. She was the first person he had ever truly loved, and at one time, she had been the first person to love him back. To see that he was not a monster. And maybe Hades would never admit it but Persephone had taught him to love himself. Because of Persephone, he could look at his reflection and not avert his gaze or try to deny the truth. She was his mirror that reflected his true inner self.
Hades felt an alien, uncomfortable feeling stirring inside of his chest that made him feel as if his internal organs were melting into a large puddle. Yet, he welcomed it. Once again, Persephone had managed to abduct his heart. If only he could have abducted hers... No time for regrets. He made a promise that when Persephone recovered he would tell her the truth. He clung to the foolish hope that one day he would be her mirror of truth, and that she would be able to reciprocate his love.
"Persephone," he whispered fiercely. "I will not let the Fates or anyone else claim you. You are mine." He wanted to add, "And I am yours," but he was not brave enough to speak the words out loud.
Persephone shifted feebly in his arms. Hades stared at her, his mouth pressed into a grim line. It wouldn't be long before she roused. Slipping his arm beneath her lower back, he scooped her up and carried her to his chariot. Hades' guard slid into the chariot with him. Wordless, he handed the reins to the servant.
The sentry stared at the reigns in bewilderment before gazing at Hades in fear and horror. He appeared more lost than a newly arrived soul of
the Underworld. Hades' lips twisted into something that resembled a mirthless smile. A dark expression settled on his face, one that the servant was too familiar with.
"Steer ," Hades instructed, his voice dripping with cold authority. "Be quick, but steer firmly to keep the horses steady."
"Yes, my lord," the servant mumbled and obeyed. His hands trembled as he tugged on the reigns softly. At first nothing happened. The horses ignored him, and they seemed more interested in the grass along the banks of the Phlegethon.
"Harder," Hades grumbled. "You have to lead the horses, not the other way around."
"Sorry," the guard responded, his voice shame filled and barely audible.
He pulled on the reigns tentatively at first, and the horses resisted. Though, he jerked the reins and the horses launched into a gallop. Bitter reminiscence washed over Hades. This was Persephone's second time riding in his chariot-unconscious. The first time had been when he abducted her. The Fates have such a sense of humor, he thought sardonically.
But he reveled in the knowledge that despite their best efforts to take her, they had failed. But they had almost succeeded and that alarmed Hades. Persephone had slipped away from as easily as water sliding through a pair of cupped hands. And water was nearly impossible to contain.