The cold that he felt when he stepped out surprised him.
Despite his expressionless face, Hades was surprised at the sights around him. He walked through a white covered landscape, with bare trees that looked to be clawing against the slate grey sky. The wind was harsh, carrying cold white crystals of snow on the currents of air that brushed passed his solid, armour-clad, towering frame.
His cobalt blue eyes looked around for any life in this barren land. He didn't even see a plant or animal. However, he wasn't searching for those. He quickly walked forward, his cloak and hair sweeping behind him as he moved against the wind.
Hades had not been in the world above for years. He last walked the earth after the war with the titans, when he and his brothers were deciding who would rule which realm. He remembered that before he descended into the depths of the earth, he looked out at the sunset over the horizon, realising that he may never see the beauty that this world held ever again. Even when he went to Olympus he had little time to wonder around the world, and due to being in darkness, his eyes stung with the overpowering light.
Now here he was, walking on the earth again, after centuries of being in the dark. He would have thought that Helios would be spreading his rays across the life of the world, and that he would be stepping through a field of tall grass. He was expecting to be blinded by the light, and that his eyes would be stinging. This ice cold world though reminded him almost of the world he had just stepped out of. There was still light but not enough to send him back t the shadows, and the coldness almost matched the temperatures of the Underworld.
He had never seen anything like this. Perhaps it was caused by Demeter. Had she abandoned the world because she had lost what he was trying to find? She left this world barren and unfertile, with no life growing. He wondered if this was why there had been more mortals passing on into his realm.
Hades had been flooded with dead mortals, and now he knew why. It would not be long before the whole world would die...and he would be the reason for it. Somehow, this didn't concern him. It was hardly on his mind as he walked through the cold, barren landscape.
Nothing mattered to him, except for the person he was looking for.
He didn't know how she escaped. She had run past Cerebus, the River Styx and Charon and had escaped to this cold world above. Her escape plan didn't matter to him. He only cared that she was safe and unharmed. Though she didn't appear to be hurt, she wasn't safe. He thought it was idiotic that he worried about her safety, but she was still just a child, despite her mature appearance.
If she were in any danger, the gods would save her. If they did so, he would never see her again, understanding that his sister would lock her away from him. Despite Zeus' permission, he would not be allowed to take her back.
Hades shuddered, but not because of the cold. The very thought of not gazing upon her innocence and beauty was unthinkable. For so long he had watched her from a distance, unseen by her in his realm. He had been lonely, until he saw her on Olympus. He had heard her light, vivid laughter from across the hall of the gods, and it rung in his ears as he walked down the steps to the Underworld.
He would watch her from below as she danced through the forests, sang to the creatures and trees, plate the nymphs hairs and collect flowers. Her smile was an unseen gem to hose on Olympus. He wondered sometimes as he watched her if Aphrodite had cursed him. Had she doomed him to love the naive, innocent goddess? For what reason was it her?
The more he thought about it, the quicker he came to realise. He thought about those reason when he came back to the present time.
Hades loved this girl for her love of life, her natural beauty and for the light she created in the dark. She was the light his dark world, the only goddess who had the power to bring a strange warmth to his heart.
The warmth of love and companionship.
A longing he never knew he had.
Fire flickered in the distance. It took him a moment to realise that it wasn't fire. Hade quickened his pace, almost running towards the waves of orange ahead of him. He ran past the dead trees in the forest, taking little notice of where he was. This was the place she would usually dance and sing. It was where he had seen her for most of the time from the Underworld.
He slowed down as he found the source of orange waves.
The orange waves of silky hair that floated down to the ground again as the wind died down and the forest became still.
He gazed upon her beauty with relief that was kept hidden under a frowning exterior. He let a breath escape his lips and come out in the form of a thin trail of smoke. Then, one word followed that breath.
The name of the goddess who haunted him in his dreams. The name of the goddess he had taken away from her home. The name which only he spoke while other referred to her as 'Kore'.
He closed his lips, still keeping the frown in his brow. As he knelt down to her unconscious form, he felt the wet and cold snow drench the material behind his armour. The snow was of no concern to him. The flower that lay before him was all that capture his attention.
He couldn't look away, even if he wanted to.
She wore only a thin, silk garment that barely covered her petite body. The orange waves of her hair fanned around her head that was turned away from him. Around her white flowers had grown from the ground, and some were entwined within her hair. Even in these conditions she was able to make the plants grow, to bring life to this desolate forest. Hades thought it was almost like a metaphor for what she had done to him. She had brought life to his desolate heart by planting the seeds of a beautiful, fragile flower where no one had dared to touch.
She lay here as if she were mortal. As if she was dead.
The sight was hauntingly beautiful, despite the coldness of the forest that encased them. Persephone would not have been use to the cold, perhaps explaining why she was unconscious. He imagined her face turning to shock at the sights around her and the cold temperatures. She must have thought that this place was no different from where she had just escaped from. Yet she ran, but not far enough. She ran only minutes away from the entrance to the Underworld.
Hades realised just how vulnerable she was to the world now. Perhaps his concern for her safety was valid. She was vulnerable to the point where any god could have come and taken her to claim her as his own. She was exposed to the touch of others...
As if the thought had control over his body, Hades raised a gloved hand towards her face. He would be able to touch her, to feel her skin under his gloved hand. His hand froze as he took something he hadn't noticed before into account. His fingers curled inwards as he restrained himself from touching her.
Her skin was a shade of life, unlike his own, a shade of death. It gleamed from the wet snow that had melted on her skin, creating a dull shine on her skin. Her skin looked so soft and sickly sweet to him. It was untouched by others, protected since moment it was given into the world. He imagined her skin would smell of the sweetest flowers with a hint of honey and sweet wine. The scent of an innocent maiden that only belonged to her.
He had not had the pleasure of getting intimately close to her yet. How he longed for it, to have that contact of flesh. To feel the warmth of life on coldness of death.
However, he had upset her enough by taking her away from her mother and home. Persephone was been frightened by him, immensely. She locked herself in the rooms he had prepared for her, screaming at him through the door to go away. Some days she would scream in anger, and others in fear.
Hades recalled that he once pressed his hand to the door in a pathetic attempt to feel as though he were closer to her. He heard her sobs, her desperate pleas to go home, and the flat palm that touched the thick doors turned to a clenched fist. He was angry at himself for putting her in this state. He later reasoned that he had no choice, that this was the only way that they could be together, and that she would eventually return his affections.
He held power far greater than hers and could have had her anytime he wanted. But Hades was not like his brother Zeus, who would claim a woman whenever he pleased. He wanted to wait for Persephone to be willing, to have her reciprocate his feelings.
A gentle wind brought Hades back to the present. It blew his hair behind him, and the fur that lined the top of his cloak. Whisps of Persephone's lashed in the wind, and some f the petals from the flowers flew past him from their stalks.
His frown deepened when he realised what sort of effect she had on him. She had this ability to bring him to his knees, to bring down his expressionless exterior piece by piece to reveal his true emotions.
That thought caused his frown to vanish, and his face softened into an expression of pain and guilt. Memories of the past month flashed before his eyes.
Persephone quivered whenever he entered her room, despite his attempts to assure her he would never harm her. The voice that had been like a siren to him was nothing more than a desperate, saddened, helpless murmur when she spoke to him.
Hades' chest clenched painfully whenever he saw her like that. He had that affect on her, the opposite of what he desired her to be when he was with her.
He looked to his hand, still hovering above her face with the fingers curled in. Dare he touch her?
He uncurled his fingers, slowly bringing his hand forward to her skin. Moments before his glove made contact with her skin he could feel the warmth radiating off her.
Then he flesh was under his touch.
He felt as though his hand was going to melt into her skin. The softness was exactly how he imagined it, and the warmth was greater than the rays that Helios gave off. He felt small sense of guilt in back of his mind. He had touched her when she was at her most vulnerable. His touch was probably cold to her too, an icicle compared to the hands of the nymphs and her mother.
He caressed her cheek with such gentleness that it seemed out of character for someone of his position. He was always gentle with her, even when he captured her. He was not rough when he pulled her to him. He had taken hold of her forearm and tugged her forward with little force. She still wasn't able to flee from him, to break out his grasp. He held so much power; he wondered he was able to keep it under control.
Realising that much time had gone by, Hades brought his hand under Persephone's head. He extended his other arm under her knees, pulling her closer to him and eventually raising her up in his arms. He held her above the ground with little effort. He would think his arms were empty if it weren't for the radiating heat of her skin.
He looked down at her, half hoping that her eyes would open. That he would see the golden brown eyes of the young goddess look up at him. He had many wishes, but he didn't know how long it would take until they came true.
He couldn't think of such things right now. It wouldn't be long before the others gods and Demeter would realise she had escaped. He looked behind his shoulder in the direction he had come. As he turned, his cloak smothered the flowers that grew from the ground. When he moved, the cloak trailed behind him and revealed that the flowers were dead.
Hade did not look back at the dead flowers, only looking forward into the misty fog that had formed. He hoped that she would become a flower that would bloom in a place where light didn't exist. He hoped that she would realise that he loved her to the very core.
He hoped that this cold, relentless environment that stood between them would melt into the eternal spring that he wanted to have as his solace in the Underworld.
A flower that would bloom in the darkest place.
He already knew such a flower.
A flower that had bloomed in the darkest place was in his heart.
It was flower that he admired and cherished much like the young goddess he held in his arms.