Hi all! This is a VERY different sort of fic for me - it's the first chaptered fic I've worked on completely on my own. Most of it is already finished - I'm going to be posting one chapter at a time to give myself time to finish the remaining pieces and do some cleaning up on the rest of it.
We're playing fast and loose with not only canon, but also mythology - you don't need to know a lot of either to really enjoy this fic, honestly. This is my brain child of absolute chaos and definitely some wish fulfillment - it's both parts a Stucky fic, and a Hades/Persephone fic. More character tags will be added as chapters are posted to avoid spoilers. Clarification for Mythology-specific bits in the fic will be added in the end notes for each chapter when necessary.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
He was asleep atop his husband’s chest when Cerberus began to growl.
Their home was still and quiet, their beloved beast curled contently at the foot of the bed, both of them exhausted and resting in each other’s arms after the welcome home they’d given one another. Six months was a long time, after all. A long time to survive without the touch of the hands that loved him, that could soothe away the ache that had built in his chest at the long, heart wrenching absence of one another in their lives.
His king was the only one who could wipe away the pain of being torn from his home, and he did so eagerly, lovingly, pulled pleasure from his body until it was all he knew, until there was no more pain, no more sorrow, only the sensation of being loved, being worshipped, and being allowed to worship in return.
It was dark, because of course it was; the sun didn’t reach through the miles upon miles of earth that covered their kingdom, that shielded them from the mortal realm and the realm of the Gods above. It would brighten, though, once the realm learned that he had in fact returned; the gardens would bloom, bright and healthy and cheerful, life crawling and thriving in this place that was meant only for death.
His king worried, sometimes, that the Underworld would be too much for him. That the dank, dark space would stifle out any hope of light, snuff his attempts to bring forth his gifts, but he should have known better. His Kore was a powerful deity, moreso than his mother gave him credit for; even the most temperamental of his gardens bloomed and flourished under his careful hands as beautifully and perfectly as if they were in his meadows. His lover was unstoppable, even here, shrouded in death.
“I wish you wouldn’t call me that,” he said one day, rolling his eyes, a pink flush taking over his pale cheeks. He was always so fair skinned, even when he spent his days running through the sun, chasing the shade from tree to tree, blond hair a halo atop his godly head. “Your lover . It makes me sound like I only exist in your bed.”
“Welllll…” His king teased, an amused smirk tugging his lips as he wrapped an arm around his prince’s bare waist to drag him across the sheets. He laughed loudly when a strong hand had promptly smacked his chest and shoved him along the midnight blue silk. “Oh, darlin’,” he drawled, climbing to his hands and knees to stalk his way across the mattress. He caught his hand in his own, lifted it, kissed his knuckles, his palm, the delicate skin of his inner wrist, smirk pressed to the faint blue veins glowing in the dark light.
“What else am I supposed to call you?” he murmured, nipping that soft, soft skin, blue eyes trained to blue, “seeing as you won’t let me call you my King.” His baby’s face went the most beautiful shade of red he’d ever seen, and he had no choice but to surge up and press his mouth to his, desperate, tasting that spring air and chasing it into his mouth.
“Soon,” he’d gasped against the king’s mouth, and the growl it ripped from the other man had driven both of them to distraction.
The door to their room opened silently, and the figure that stood in the doorway was shrouded in the darkness their home afforded those within it. It only helped the intruder’s cause, concealing him from sight, keeping him hidden and unrecognizable.
It all happened in a flash.
The man stepped into the room. Cerberus, already on edge, leaped to his feet, letting out an earth-shattering howl in the face of the stranger, but all three of his heads were too slow to snatch a limb off the quick footed man. The figures in the bed jumped, the king’s arms going tight around his prince, but it was no use; the stranger had a hold of his prize’s arm by the wrist, and he gave an almighty pull, ripping him from his love’s embrace and the warm confines of the bed. A silken sheet stayed tangled around his hips, and he cried out, free hand shoving at his captor, but the light that suddenly bloomed from the figure was blinding. It chased the shadows out of every corner of the room, and the king threw an arm over his eyes to block it even as he leapt from the bed, hearing the other’s ragged cries as he was dragged along the rough stone floor.
White, shining wings snapped from the intruder’s back, and the king lunged, grabbing a handful of feathers, but the most he did was rip them away, earning a pained hiss as one of the appendages whipped back, smacking into him, razor sharp edges slicing his face and chest as he was thrown to the ground.
“NO!” Hades cried, watching his prince, his love, his Persephone, be ripped away, disappearing in a flurry of wings and a flash of blinding light. His Kore’s screams echoed in his ears long after he’d disappeared.
“Have you heard what the mortals are calling us these days?” Persephone asked, trailing fingers up and down Hades’ chest absently as he pillowed his head on his shoulder. Hades hummed softly.
“You know I don’t keep up with mortal affairs like you do, my dove,” he murmured absently, kissing the blond temple beneath his chin. A quiet huff sounded, and he craned his neck, taking in the slightly annoyed look on Persephone’s face. So this was something important to him, then. Hades hummed, squeezing his side gently where his hand rested.
“What are they calling us?” he indulged, watching the stubborn set of the other’s mouth soften around the edges.
“It’s all quite modern now,” he said, lifting from Hades’ chest, bracing his hand there instead of gently touching to smile down at him. An answering expression appeared on Hades’ face, and he reached up, thumb dragging gently over Persephone’s cheekbone, then down, fingers cupping his chin to rub the pad of his thumb over that full lower lip.
“Oh?” he prompted, cocking his head to the side curiously, and Persephone flicked the tip of his tongue out, dragging it over Hades’ thumb and then sucking it into his mouth as he tossed a leg over his king’s, straddling his thigh, not a stitch of cloth between them.
“Mhm,” he hummed around his captured digit, and Hades’ eyes darkened. He gently eased his thumb free of his mouth, dragging it over his cheek, smearing spit and making Persephone blush darkly and squirm atop him.
“Tell me,” he ordered gently, free hand gripping Persephone’s hip, and he used the hold to gently guide him forward, then back, watching those blue eyes flutter with pleasure. Strong thighs clenched around his own, and Hades gave a soft, encouraging sound. “Go on,” he goaded, watching the blush spread down Persephone’s chest, fair skin pinking all the way to his sharp little hips below his flat tummy and narrow waist. “What do they call you, my creature? Hm? What’s the newest title that they shout into their prayers?” Persephone gasped, cock hard, grinding against Hades’ firm thigh.
“Steven,” he whispered. Hades nodded.
“Steven,” he repeated, and he pressed his thigh up, giving him more friction, pulling a whine from his prince. “Quite a change from Kore. Even more from Persephone. And what do they call me?”
“J-James,” his love gasped, and he frowned, rolling the name around in his mind as he slowly and gently took his boy apart above him. Did he like it? He couldn’t tell, but then again, Hades had not been his first name. It would wear on him, just as the others did. “James!” Persephone gasped again, breathing rapidly, chest moving with each breath.
“Come for me,” he ordered him, and he surged up quickly, kissing him hard as a hand snaked down to his lover’s ass, fingers slipping between until he could tease his hole, surely still sore and open. “Come for me, Steven,” he breathed.
“James!” Steven cried, spilling onto James’ stomach, shuddering with pleasure, and he kissed his slack mouth, hushing him gently and guiding him down to rest on his back.
“I like it,” James decided, nodding absently, and Steven hummed softly.
“Some are trying to make another one stick, you know,” he said, and James raised a brow, smirking. The smile on Steven’s face made it clear how he would feel about it.
“And what would that be?” he sighed out long sufferingly.
“Buchanan,” Steven informed him primly, a wide, smug smile on his face. “Some call you Bucky.”
“Bucky?!” James balked, shooting up to sit as Steven dissolved into peals of laughter. “No one is ever calling me Bucky!”
“Bucky!” Tony said in surprise. “What are you doing here? Didn’t Steve come back home today?” He seemed to not notice the tension in every line of Bucky’s body, or the rage sparking in his eyes. If you asked Tony, his brother just always happened to look like that; never let it be said that the God of the sky was the most observant of them.
It was a miracle Bucky had managed to dress instead of appearing in Olympus as he’d been, naked and furious, and he stalked to his brother, hand slamming into the other’s chest and shoving him back.
“Did you order this?” he seethed, eyes cold as the dead that were put in his care, and Tony stiffened.
“I’ve ordered nothing that would harm you or yours, brother,” he swore, and he shoved Bucky right back, forcing space between them. “What’s going on?”
Bucky looked ready to rear a hand back and send a fist into Tony’s face, king of the Gods be damned, but instead he merely shoved a hand into his pocket and grabbed Tony’s wrist, slapping what he was holding into his palm. Tony looked down, and frowned in confusion.
“...Feathers?” he asked, baffled. “You’re asking me if I ordered feathers?” Bucky growled.
“I’m asking,” he bit out, practically vibrating with anger, “if you ordered whoever those belong to--” he stabbed a finger forward into Tony’s palm, “to break into my home and steal my husband from our bed!”
Tony went white, and he drew himself up, fury sparking in him. “Someone’s taken Steve?”
Bucky nodded, jaw working. “I ripped those feathers from the pathetic thief’s back,” he confirmed. Tony sighed, rubbing a hand over his face, and gestured for Bucky to take a seat, tossing the crumpled feathers on the table between them before sinking into a chair.
“Tell me everything.”
Steve cried out as he was tossed down from much too high up, colliding with the ground hard. He stumbled to his feet, and the sheet that had been knotted and tangled around him fell in a flurry as it was dropped. He batted it away, seething.
“Apologies for the nakedness,” the man said, but Steve could feel the lecherous way his eyes dragged up and down his frame, in a way that made it clear he wasn’t sorry at all. "You and that husband of yours really wasted no time!” Steve flushed, grabbing the sheet and wrapping it tightly around his hips.
The room around him was small, and closer inspection showed him that it was meant to be that way - because between himself and the smooth stone walls, there were thick iron bars. His head whipped around wildly, fear sinking into his heart. Straining his eyes, he could see the man high above him holding the edge of another bar, keeping the contraption open.
He’d been dropped into a cage.
“If you let me out now, I promise to give you a swift death,” he bit out, rage boiling under his skin.
“That isn’t happening,” his captor laughed. “And you would never catch me anyway, little God.” Steve’s lip curled in disgust.
“What do you want from me?” he demanded, and the man merely laughed.
“Oh, darling,” he cooed, and Steve physically recoiled from the pet name. “Your naiveté has always been your downfall.” His wings beat a breeze down on Steve, ruffling his hair and his cloth, and he kept a far enough distance that Steve, try as he may, couldn’t distinguish out his face. “Things will become clear soon enough. Until then...” The door the man was holding fell shut with a clang, and he heard the rustle of chains sliding around the metal, the echoing click of a padlock closing with an air of finality that sent despair into Steve’s heart.
“Who are you?” Steve commanded, drawing himself up fully, desperate to keep the man talking, to stall. For what, he didn’t know. Surely, though, Bucky would be right behind him. He clung to that hope.
“You don’t recognize me?” the man asked. “I should have known.” Bitterness soaked into his tone. “You’re just like that worthless husband of yours. Only pay attention to people when they’re useful to you.” Rage burned in Steve.
“You don’t know me, or my husband,” he hissed, slamming a hand into the bars.
“It doesn’t matter,” the man dismissed. “This is where you’ll stay, little God. In a cage, where you belong.”
The beat of wings flying away was covered by Steve’s fury filled screams.
"Kore" is another name for Persephone in Greek Mythology - from what I understand, most of the gods and goddesses were referred to with multiple names, because that's not confusing at all.
Tony sighed, leaning back in his chair as if it were his throne and not an armchair in his living room. His eyes dragged over Bucky in front of him. The man looked terrible - not that Tony could blame him. He thought of how he would feel if someone had broken into his home and stolen Pepper from his bed; he was sure he’d look much the same.
Bucky’s long hair hid his face as he let his head hang, hands buried in the dark locks and pulling ruthlessly. His skin was pale, and golden tears gleamed on his cheeks, dripped down his arms and onto the floor in front of him. The pain in his chest was unimaginable; to lose Steve every six months to the mortal realm and his mother’s control was bad enough. To have him ripped away from his arms on the night of his homecoming was an inhuman, godless torture.
“Bucky,” Tony said quietly, and it got him no response. “...James,” he tried, and still nothing. Tony sighed, drawing himself up once more, and his voice very nearly boomed. “Hades,” he all but snapped, and his brother’s head shot up, bloodshot eyes fixed on him.
“Zeus,” he murmured in response, his expression grim, as if he knew what his brother was about to say.
“We have to call Demeter.”
Steve had been right when he’d said the names were becoming more modern, but it didn’t matter if she was Thesmophoros or the simple Sarah she’d been titled as of late; Demeter was a commanding presence. Small in stature, blonde like her son, lacking the muscle mass - though Gods knew she didn’t need it.
The smack that sounded when she’d heard the news had seemed to echo through Olympus. If she’d had her child’s strength, Bucky would be on the floor.
“It’s not enough,” she seethed, “for you to steal him away from me? For you to come and kidnap my only child, my most precious thing--”
“Do not!” She rounded on Tony. “This is just as much your fault as his! You made that - that - ridiculous deal with him! Steven didn’t know what eating those seeds meant, he never would have touched them if he’d known it would mean he was trapped with the likes of him--”
“This has nothing to do with Steve and I’s relationship,” Bucky seethed. Sarah laughed in his face.
“It has everything to do with your relationship.” She spat the word as if it were a curse. “If he wasn’t with you, he would have been safe at home--”
“Sleeping in a field to be snatched from instead!” Bucky roared in Sarah’s face, anger rolling off of him. “The location doesn’t fucking matter, Sarah! What matters is that he is gone!” All at once, the agony showed on Bucky’s face. He sagged where he was standing as if he would fall to the floor right there.
Sarah looked much the same, eyes brimming, her mouth set in a stern line. A soft sob escaped her and she turned her back to the Gods, ducking her head as she struggled to collect her composure.
Tony reached over, gripping Bucky’s arm bracingly.
“I’m calling the court,” Tony said in the quiet of the room. “We’ll get him back, and we’ll show everyone what happens to those who dare threaten us and ours.”
The meeting wasn’t a long one. It couldn’t be, not with Steve in active danger, and there weren’t many facts to go on; just that a winged man had taken Steve directly from his bed. It spoke of an arrogance and confidence that was, unfortunately, all too common on Olympus.
Wanda and her huntresses set out as soon as they were tasked, and Pietro would take his chariot to the sky and search the earth with the dawn. Pepper had taken to comforting Sarah, and the rest of the Pantheon dispersed, swearing to Bucky and Sarah both that Steve would be returned. Bucky stood with his brothers, Tony on one side and Thor on the other, the God of the sea murmuring soft comforts to Bucky, but his gaze was fixed forward, unseeing, plotting. He would tear this earth to pieces to find Steve, and he would burn anyone in his path to save his husband. That winged bastard would die slowly.
“Pepper,” Sarah said after a long stretch of silence, her hands wrapped tightly around the mug of tea the other Goddess had pressed into her hands. “What if we never find him?” She turned her red rimmed eyes up to the other woman, hopelessness written in every line of her face. Below, on the mortal realm, storms raged with Sarah’s distress, and Pepper sighed.
“We will find him, Sarah,” she swore, sitting next to her and wrapping an arm tightly around her shoulders to comfort her. “Can you think of anyone who would hurt him?” she asked. “Anyone at all? Steve can be...Stubborn. He didn’t piss off the wrong God, or...?” Sarah sobbed softly, ducking her head.
“Pepper,” she croaked out, reluctance in her voice, and she stretched forward, setting her mug down. “Isn’t it obvious?” Pepper frowned.
“Isn’t what obvious?” she prompted gently, and Sarah laughed, wet and sad, lifting her head. Her gaze pierced into the other woman’s.
“Think about it,” she said, voice suddenly harsh. “Only one person was in the room when my son disappeared. Only one person saw and only one person says it happened.” Pepper’s eyes widened.
“It was him,” Sarah seethed, hands curling into fists. “Taking Steven from me for half the year wasn’t long enough. He’s taken him, and he’s hidden him away in some dark little hole where no one will find him, where he’ll wither away until that monster can keep him forever--” She cut herself off with a harsh cry, body shaking with anguish, and Pepper hushed her gently, holding her tight and rocking her.
“Sarah, I know you don’t believe it, but James loves Steven--”
“Loves to control him!” Sarah snapped, shaking out of Pepper’s hold and shooting to her feet. “Loves to have him, loves to own him, loves that he’s his! He tricked my son into eating those seeds! Steve told me so!” Pepper gasped, and Sarah charged on. “He trapped my son away from me and now he’s going to keep him!” Pepper looked up at Sarah, shaking her head, trying to deny it, but the Goddess was speaking sense.
Bucky was the only one to see it happen. Bucky’s account was all they had. Bucky’s word and a handful of feathers. It was a shaky platform at best. And if Sarah was telling the truth, that Steve had admitted that Bucky had tricked him into eating the seeds...
“Bucky wouldn’t…” Pepper protested weakly.
“He did,” Sarah said, her resolve firm, and she stared Pepper in the face.
“Demeter,” she sighed, and the woman shook her head.
“I know my son, Hera,” she refuted. “And I know he married a monster.”
“Hel- lo, little god!” a voice called, and Steve rushed the bars, slamming into the iron and shaking them fiercely. “I’ve brought you a meal! I’m afraid it’s not much, but it will just have to do, seeing as you really have no other option!” Steve snarled.
“Yeah, come here and hand me the plate. It should be enough to bludgeon you to death with,” he seethed. The voice tutted.
“Such anger from the God of spring!" A cloth wrapped bundle was dropped through the bars, landing with a dull thud against the bottom of the cage. "Does your mother know you have this violence in you? Or did that only come when that King stole you from her?” the voice asked. Steve’s vision went red.
“I was never stolen,” he spat. “I begged him to take me away. I ate the seeds knowing what they meant - and then my mother forced Zeus’ hand--”
“Yes, yes, we all know your story,” the voice said, and Steve swore he could hear his eyes rolling. “Say what you will, tell what lies you will. We all know the truth about what was done to you. How he hurt you, violated you.” Steve was floored; a hysterical laugh bubbled from him.
“Of all the things that man has done to me,” he said, voice low, “none of it was a violation.”
Cool hands ran along Steve's sides, caressing him, and he shivered softly.
"Bucky," he sighed, and the large figure above him hummed softly.
A mouth followed the touch, dragging along his chest, kissing and biting and sucking marks into his pale skin. Steve’s fingers tangled into Bucky’s hair, tugging gently with an impatient little moan, and Bucky chuckled.
“You have no patience,” he teased, looking up at Steve with a smirk. Steve huffed.
“Oh, I’m sorry, did you want me to just lie here? You should take it as a compliment,” he grumbled, and Bucky only laughed again.
“Dear one,” he said reverently, flicking his tongue over Steve’s nipple and making him gasp. “You are so much more than a compliment.”
Steve flushed, some of the fight draining out of him at the sweetness in Bucky’s voice.
“What am I then?” he asked, brushing a lock of Bucky’s long hair out of his face. Bucky’s cold metal hand skated up to Steve’s face, cupping his cheek.
"To trace my lips and hands over your skin is a blessing,” he whispered to Steve, staring at his prince as if he were the only important thing in the world. “Every inch of your body is a gift to the Gods."
It was Steve’s turn to laugh, then, but in the face of Bucky’s devotion, all he could manage was a breathless chuckle. He turned his head, pressing a kiss to the smooth metal palm, looking at Bucky with a soft, shy smile.
"Every inch of me is yours, love,” he told him, and he watched as Bucky’s eyes darkened. “Just yours. I am no gift to the gods.” He lifted his own hand, taking Bucky’s and lacing their fingers together. “Only to you."
Bucky growled, possessive, and it made heat swoop in Steve’s stomach, a delighted, dizzy grin appearing on his face as Bucky shot up to slam his mouth onto his.
“Say it again,” Bucky gasped breathlessly against Steve’s lips, his hands gripping bruisingly tight.
“I’m yours,” Steve whispered, breath hitching as Bucky’s hips ground down. “I’m yours, all yours, so fucking yours--”
“You’re mine,” Bucky growled, grinning a wolf’s smile, pressing his teeth to Steve’s throat. “And I intend to prove it.”
Bucky’s voice boomed as he stepped through the gates of the Underworld, and the God appeared in front of him with a quiet rustle of wings.
“My lord,” he said, bowing, and Bucky hummed in acknowledgement.
“You’ve heard the news,” Bucky told him. The whole realm would have felt the shattering of one of their rulers being ripped away, and gossip spread fast everywhere, even in the Underworld. By now even the lowliest of sprites and sirens would know that Steve had been taken. Still, Thanatos gave Bucky a curt nod.
“I did,” he confirmed, fire sparking in his eyes. “What are my orders?”
This is why Bucky appreciated a man like Thanatos. He cut through the bullshit, even if his personality frequently left something to be desired. He was a loyal guard dog, if nothing else.
“The Gods above are making their promises,” Bucky said, his upper lip curling. “They mean nothing to me, and we won’t be counting on them. Tony’s already been convinced once to let Steve be taken by his mother. Who’s to say someone else won’t strike another deal?” Fire burned in Bucky’s veins at the very thought. Thanatos nodded in understanding.
“Your orders are to bring him home,” Bucky told him, no room for argument. “Use any resources you need. The Underworld is at your disposal, Thanatos.”
“Of course, my Lord,” Thanatos confirmed, a righteous fury burning in his eyes.
Bucky paused, staring at the man in front of him, before speaking again. “If you fail me,” he said, his voice like ice, “It won’t end well for you, Brock.”
Brock nodded his head sharply. “I’ll bring him home, Lord James,” he confirmed, and he spread his wings, launching from the ground.
Bucky turned his back on the man too late to see the crumpled set of his left wing, as if a handful of feathers had been ripped free.
Sarah Rogers is world's best mom, but Demeter can choke.
Thanatos is a lesser God of Death, often depicted with wings. Some historians believe that Thanatos and Hades were actually the same God but with different names, but for the sake of Plot, we're going with the theory that they're separate people.
“She won’t rest until she has me back.”
Bucky sighed, looking up at Steve where he was standing in front of him. Sorrow curled in his heart, and he couldn’t help the way it showed on his face.
The most fearsome God, ruler of the Underworld, cold and hard, softened to despair at the very idea of his lover disappearing.
“She doesn’t control you,” he tried, but the argument was weak, even to him, and the sad smile that appeared on Steve’s face was heart breaking.
“She doesn’t, no,” he allowed. “But she controls so much more. The mortals are dying, Bucky. I know you can tell.” It was true. The influx of souls this season was almost overwhelming. The harsh time of winter overtaking the mortal realm was too much for the humans, and there wasn’t a hint of an end in sight.
“Tony will step in at some point,” Bucky insisted, and Steve nodded.
“Yes. He will.” Bucky got the sinking feeling that he was only telling Steve things he already knew. His Kore was a brilliant man, sharp as a knife, softened by Spring but not made less powerful because of it.
So of course, Steve already had a plan.
For the first time, Bucky noticed Steve holding something. A pomegranate, bright red and plump, looking fit to burst open.
“What is that?” Bucky asked, brow furrowing, and Steve smiled crookedly.
“Food from the Underworld.” Bucky’s blood ran cold.
“Steve. No,” he insisted, shaking his head. “I will not bind you here. I won’t trap you.”
“You aren’t trapping me--”
“You KNOW what eating food from this realm means! You will be TRAPPED--”
“By choice!” Steve snapped, closing the distance between them in long strides until they were nose to nose. “I would choose to be with you in your realm a thousand times over, even if the alternative isn’t being my mother’s shining bird in a cage!” Still, Bucky shook his head.
“I will never take your choices away from you, Steve,” he hissed, angry, and Steve threw his hands up in frustration.
“Then what is this?!” he demanded. “I know what eating the seeds means, Bucky! It is MY choice, not YOURS!” Bucky groaned, ducking his head and moving away.
“Do what you will,” he said roughly. “Gods know you will no matter what anyone says. But you can’t take it back, Steve. You can’t undo it. You’ll be stuck with me.”
“As if I would ever undo something like committing myself to you,” Steve said, almost bitter. Bucky met his eyes, self doubt shining in his own. He could never ask Steve to stay forever. He would never even think of it. The God of Spring deserved more than the harbinger of death that Bucky was. He turned and walked away.
When he returned to the room a few hours later, the pomegranate was cracked open on the table.
Six seeds were missing.
“Tony,” Pepper said, stepping into the room, and Tony sighed, walking to his wife.
“Pep,” he groaned, wrapping his arms tight around her. “This is all such a mess.”
“I know,” she agreed softly, rubbing her hands soothingly up and down Tony’s back. “Sarah’s beside herself.” Tony sighed.
“So is Bucky. Thor and I - we’ve never seen him like this. Not even before Steve. He’s frantic.” Pepper pulled back, looking up at her husband.
“...Too frantic?” she asked, voice heavy with an indecipherable weight. Tony’s brow furrowed.
“What do you mean?” he asked, hands coming around to gently grip her upper arms, rubbing absently.
“I mean,” Pepper said carefully, “that you said you’ve never seen him like this. Tony, Sarah told me something--”
“Pepper,” Tony sighed, exasperated, “you know you can’t trust what she says when it comes to Bucky and Steve. She’ll say anything to get Steve back to her.”
“I know, I know,” she hurried to agree, gently pulling away from Tony. “But - well.” She frowned. “...She said Steve told her that Bucky tricked him into eating the seeds,” she said quickly. Tony’s jaw twitched.
“Bucky’s a lot of things, but he isn’t that much of a monster,” he said firmly. “He wouldn’t do that to Steve. And Steve isn’t helpless, he wouldn’t be tricked--”
“Think about it,” Pepper insisted. “Sarah’s always kept him so sheltered - is it such a stretch to think that he didn’t know the rules of the Underworld? And - and Bucky was the only one who saw Steve be taken--”
“Stop!” Tony said firmly, holding up both hands. “You’re talking complete nonsense! What, you think Bucky made up the kidnapping?!”
“I don’t know!” Pepper said loudly. “All I know is that we only have his word to go on! That doesn’t seem suspicious?!”
“No!” Tony shouted. “What, should there have been another person in their bedroom? Should Bucky keep a guard in his room at all times in case someone breaks into his private fucking home to steal his husband?!” Pepper’s eyes narrowed, and she drew herself up.
“All I’m saying--” she barrelled on when Tony scoffed at her, “--all I’m saying - is that we should examine every angle. What if someone had kidnapped me, Tony? Wouldn’t you exhaust every option?” Tony glared at her.
“...Yes,” he finally admitted, reluctantly. Pepper smiled triumphantly.
“Then it’s settled. We’ll question Bucky,” she said.
“Wrong. I will question Bucky.” He lifted a hand to silence Pepper’s protests. “I know my brother. If he’s lying to me, I’ll see it.”
“You can’t go easy on him,” Pepper demanded. Lightning flashed out their window, startling her, and when Pepper looked back into Tony’s eyes, she saw fire.
“When have I ever gone easy on anyone?”
“Your dear husband is frantic.” The voice was back, and Steve merely rolled his eyes. His back was pressed to the cold metal of the bottom of the cage, and he stared up, seeing the shadow of the stranger flying above him.
“I would imagine,” he said dryly. “I wonder what part of you he’ll tear off first once he gets his hands on you? Personally, I’m hoping for your tongue.”
“Oh, Steve,” the voice laughed, “if you wanted to feel my tongue, all you had to do was ask!” Steve stiffened, and resisted the urge to cover himself more thoroughly than the flimy sheet still knotted around his hips could manage.
“Touch me again and I’ll skin you alive,” he snarled. His wrist still ached, blackened and purple where he’d been gripped so harshly and dragged along through the sky before being tossed into this cage.
“All within good time, little prince,” the voice promised. There was a soft sound, another meal landing on the other side of the cage. It joined the other untouched ones. If he went by how many small bundles he’d received, assuming that he was right in thinking he was being fed twice a day, it had been three days since he was taken.
Steve closed his eyes and pressed his hands into the metal, trying to pretend that he was anywhere but here.
“If you ever need to summon me,” Bucky said softly, pulling his pants back around his hips, “All you have to do is hit the ground twice.”
“That’s it?” Steve asked, wrinkling his nose in confusion. The way the sunlight played over his face highlighted the little freckles dotting his pale skin. “I was expecting a lot more…you know.” He waved his hands in a vague gesture, and Bucky chuckled.
“I’m not one for theatrics,” he said, and Steve snorted.
“Sure you aren’t,” he laughed. Bucky rolled his eyes.
“Anyway,” he continued, pressing on. “You’ll just kneel--”
“Oh, I see, so you wanted to get me on my knees--”
“Steve,” Bucky said, exasperated and flushing lightly. “I’m serious.” Steve sobered slightly. “Kneel on the ground. Place your palms on the earth. And hit twice.”
“How will you know it’s me calling you?” Steve asked, his brow furrowing, and Bucky chuckled. He walked across the grass to Steve, winding his arms around his trim waist and turning him until his chest was pressed to his prince’s back.
“Little flower,” he whispered in Steve’s ear, sliding a hand down the other’s stomach, “I could pick you out of a million souls. If you call for me, I’ll be there.”
Of course Steve had tried it. It hadn’t done any good. And yet still, once he heard the beat of wings retreating and knew he was alone again, he pushed himself up, kneeling on the hard metal.
“Bucky,” he whispered softly, closing his eyes tightly, and hit his palms against the floor twice.
Sorrow crawled up Steve’s throat like a living thing, and he squeezed his eyes against the hot tears that formed in them. It was no use. He laid back down, this time on his side, one palm flush to the ground.
Gold dripped from his eyes, and he desperately prayed.
Please, my King. Find me.
“What do you mean there’s no news?” Bucky seethed, sitting proudly on his throne. His eyes sparked red, teeth gritted. Brock barely contained a flinch.
“I’m sorry, my Lord,” he said, the apology said through gritted teeth. “We’re searching every corner--”
“Clearly you aren’t!” Bucky boomed, slamming his fist onto the arm of the throne. The echoing of the strike reverberated through the throne room. “I warned you, Brock. It has been three days, and my husband is still not home. Wanda knows nothing. Pietro knows nothing. You know nothing. If I cannot trust my own men to do as I say, what is the point of having you?!” Brock clenched his jaw tightly.
“I will bring him home,” Brock said with a note of finality in his voice. Bucky scoffed, and waved his hand derisively.
“Get out of my sight,” he dismissed. Brock didn’t hesitate to obey, turning with a bow and swiftly exiting the throne room.
He nearly walked into Tony on his way out, giving a hurried apology and acknowledgement, bowing as the man dismissed him as rudely as his brother had.
“Brother dear,” Tony said, striding into the throne room. “We need to talk.”
“So,” Bucky said flatly, “Sarah thinks I’m the one responsible.”
“Of course she does,” Tony sighed. “The bad part is she has Pepper half convinced, too.” Bucky’s eyes went wide with anger.
“If your wife questions my devotion to--” Tony waved a hand, silencing him.
“Calm down,” he said, exasperated. “She doesn’t really think it. I don’t think. The signs are pointing to the obvious conclusion, though. You have to admit, from an outside view, it doesn’t look great for you, Bucky.” Bucky sputtered indignantly, but Tony continued. “You were the only one to see it happen and the only evidence you have is a crumpled handful of feathers and some cuts that healed before you even got to my home. I promised Pepper I’d question you. I’m doing this here instead of calling you to the Court as a courtesy to you as my brother.”
Bucky sighed, slumping in his seat. He glanced across the platform that his throne rested on. There, in pure white marble, was Steve’s throne, proud and just as imposing as Bucky’s obsidian black one. It sat empty. The ache that never quite went away grew in his chest.
“...Fine,” he sighed. “Let’s get this over with. The sooner you clear me, the sooner we can focus on what’s actually important here.”
Tony gave him a grim smile. “My thoughts exactly. Now.” He leaned back in his chair, chin resting on his palm. “Let’s start at the very beginning. Prove to me that you aren’t a suspect.”
Bucky raised his head, meeting his brother’s eyes, his own steady. “The first time I met Steve, he had a handprint on his cheek.”
Tony left Bucky after hearing the gruesome tale of his and Steve’s love from the beginning to the night Steve was taken. His brother was pale, cheeks stained with tears, looking exhausted. When Tony finally exited the room, it was to the sound of Cerberus’ concerned whine as he nudged at Bucky’s hand with one of his noses, another head resting on his master’s thigh, the other licking his arm, trying to comfort his master. Tony only hoped the animal would manage it.
Brock growled as he stalked his way out of the palace, taking to the sky. He cast a glamour, hiding himself, and he slammed through the Underworld’s gate, cloaked immediately in the protection his partner had offered to him. He flew swiftly, and it wasn’t long until he arrived at his destination. He landed, stalking into the home, ripping the door open.
“Brock,” a sharp reprimand sounded. “I don’t know what you think you’re doing--”
“He’s too suspicious,” Brock growled. “I can’t keep him off my back for much longer--”
“It is your one job,” the other snapped, whirling around and glaring. Brock laughed incredulously.
“My one job?! I’m sorry, which one of us stole the prince of the Underworld from his very bed and locked him in a goddamn cage?! Who is juggling the god of Hell’s temper while hiding any and every hint of where his husband is?” His partner huffed sharply.
“And who will be king of Hell once we oust that monster?!” Brock grit his teeth, cowed slightly. He had to remember the promises he’d been made.
Kidnap Steve. Help frame Bucky for it. Get Bucky thrown into Tartarus.
Reign as the newly crowned king of the Underworld.
“Now,” Sarah said, placing her hands on her hips, drawing herself up to her full height and glaring at him, “isn’t it time you checked in with my son?”
“Tony?” Pepper said softly when her husband returned home. It was storming outside, thunder clapping loudly. Lighting struck through the sky in dizzying patterns. Tony stared at her, his face stony.
“You will never suggest my brother as Steve’s abuser again,” he commanded, voice low. Pepper stood, brow furrowing, her chin lifting stubbornly.
“What is your evidence?” she pushed. Tony’s jaw ticked.
“I do not have to justify my decisions to you, Pepper,” he said harshly. Pepper’s face went red.
“I am not some meek little mortal to order around, Tony! Just because he’s your brother doesn’t mean he’s guiltless!” Pepper snapped back. Tony rounded on her, face furious.
“Before you throw the blame so thoroughly on my brother, maybe you should take a look at the woman Steve has always been so desperate to escape from!” he shouted. Pepper’s eyes widened.
“No,” she said softly, shaking her head in denial. “Sarah wouldn’t--”
“She would,” he insisted. “It’s time to look into our Goddess of the harvest.”
Sarah sobbed openly into her palms in front of Tony. In the sky above them, clouds darkened and winds howled. Around them, fields began to shrivel, carefully cultivated food stores turning to ash and wasting away to nothing.
“He can’t take him!” Sarah shouted, her voice hoarse. “I will destroy every crop on this earth, Tony, I swear it!” Behind her, Steve clutched Bucky’s hand, his face pale. Bucky had to resist the urge to step in front of him, to shield him from his mother’s wrath, but in truth, it was Steve planted firmly in front of the king. Sarah wished nothing but harm for Bucky, but she wouldn’t hurt her son to cause it.
“Sarah, please,” Tony tried to reason. Sarah screamed in anguish.
“I’ll make it so every mortal will starve!” she commanded. “Those who manage to survive the hunger will freeze in the winter and ice I will rain down. He will NOT TAKE HIM!”
“Mother,” Steve spoke harshly. “I’ve eaten the fruit. I’m tied to the Underworld. You can’t keep me here.” Sarah whirled on Steve, anger flashing in her blue eyes. The two of them stared each other down in the rain, twin pillars of stubbornness.
“Don’t remind me,” Sarah said harshly. “You and that damned pomegranate - how could you have done this to me--”
“How many seeds?” Tony demanded. Steve’s eyes shot to Tony, mutiny shining in them.
“Six,” a low voice spoke, and every head snapped over to Bucky. Steve’s eyes widened, but Bucky just squeezed his hand, casting a hopeless look at him. He knew his brother. Steve knew his mother. There was no winning against them.
“Six,” Tony repeated, and he nodded, then turned to look directly at Steve.
“Each year, you will spend a month in the Underworld for each seed eaten,” he decreed. Sarah screamed her rage, but Tony’s voice sounded above her. “QUIET!” he shouted, loud as thunder. Even Sarah recoiled.
“The other six months, Steve, will be spent here, with your mother.” Steve’s heart sank. His jaw clenched tightly, and his fingers gripped Bucky’s hard enough to bruise. “Say your goodbyes to your husband, Steve, your time in the mortal realm begins now.”
Steve turned to Bucky, sorrow burning in his eyes. Bucky shook his head, a weak smile on his face.
“Don’t cry, dear one,” he whispered. “The time will pass in the blink of an eye.” His metal thumb caught a gold tear as it slipped free, and he rubbed it away, smearing the shimmer over Steve’s cheek.
“Pretty words from a pretty god,” Steve murmured back, and then he surged up, kissing Bucky hard, trying to memorize the feel of his lips on his, his body pressed against his own. “Don’t forget me while I’m away,” he murmured, and Bucky gave a soft little laugh, choking on a sob.
“Never, little flower,” he whispered. “I’ll be counting the days until your return.”
Sarah watched the exchange, hatred in her heart. How dare this monster take her son. How dare he twist him into this unrecognizable man in front of her.
Bucky would pay, Sarah swore. Even if she would be the one who had to ensure he received the punishment he deserved.
Sarah sweetie I'm so sorry--
"Mother?" Persephone spoke quietly, kneeling in the grass. He had a softly blooming tulip in his hand, gently coaxing the bud open. It was shy, almost like it was afraid.
Persephone could understand. He was terrified to continue speaking, and yet his face was serene, eyes focused on the soft red petals cradled in his hand.
Living with his mother, he'd perfected masking his fear with contentment .
"Yes, darling?" Demeter said absently, not sparing him a glance.
"I'd like to visit Olympus." That got her attention. Demeter whirled around, eyes wide.
"Olympus? Darling, what use could you possibly have for that place?" Persephone shrugged, flushing lightly.
"Well I won't know until I go and see, now will I?" he asked, and Demeter narrowed her eyes. Dread curled in Persephone’s chest. He’d known this was going to be a battle, but he hadn’t realized he might be teasing at a war. His thumb rubbed a velvet petal, and the tulip bloomed fully.
"I don't need the attitude, Persephone," Demeter snapped. Persephone frowned, releasing the tulip and raising to his feet. Fire sparked in his eyes as he turned to face Demeter.
“It’s not attitude,” he said mulishly, “I just want to visit--”
“You don’t know what you’re saying,” Demeter scoffed. “You think a simple boy raised in the Mortal realm has a place there? No, you’ll stay here, where you’re needed.” Persephone’s eyes sparked, and he stood straighter. Demeter’s jaw set stubbornly, angrily, and she stood firm in front of him.
"I don't need to be coddled like an infant!” Persephone snapped. “You can't just lock me into your control forever, mother, I'm not a child - I'll leave here one day, with or without your permission!"
The slap echoed through the meadow.
Persephone looked back up at his mother, shock coloring his features. On his pale cheek, a red handprint burned.
"You will never speak of leaving me again," Demeter seethed, nothing but rage on her face. "You are my child. You will be protected as long as I stand."
"This isn't protection," Persephone denied, taking a few quick steps away. "This is imprisonment." He ran, then, and Demeter let him go; he wouldn’t be able to leave this oasis she had crafted for her son on his own. Let him have his tantrum - he would see reason soon enough.
Demeter turned back to her fields, ignoring the sting in her palm.
"We have to tell Bucky," Pepper said, sitting in her chair.
"No,” Tony refused, pacing restlessly back and forth through the room.
"What do you mean no?!" she snapped.
"If we go to Bucky and say we suspect Sarah, he'll act before thinking. We still need a harvest, Pepper," Tony said. His mouth was set unhappily, as if he'd tasted something foul. Pepper huffed in annoyance.
“Don’t be silly, what, do you think he’s just going to show up and - and…” she trailed off, looking back at Tony, taking in the serious look on his face.
“Anyone between Steve and Bucky is a threat in his eyes,” Tony said grimly. “If we tell him we suspect Sarah, he won’t stop until he’s able to question her - and being a Goddess won’t be enough to keep him from hurting her.” Pepper blanched, swallowing hard, but knocked the discomfort from herself with a firm shake of her head.
"Well we have to do something!" she said, and Tony nodded.
"We have to hope that we can find Steve," he said. "And that Steve has the answers we're looking for."
“It has been a week,” Bucky seethed, tone low and furious. Once again he sat on his throne, crown atop his head.
He looked terrible.
The absence of Steve for Spring and Summer were bad enough on Bucky, but to have him gone now, in the way he was taken, was wreaking havoc on him.
He looked thin, even paler than usual. His hair was lank and limp, and his hands gripped the arms of his throne as if the hold was the only thing keeping his fingers from trembling.
The bags under his eyes were so dark they seemed bruised. He’d been spending every moment combing the Underworld or searching the Mortal realm. Nothing was bringing him any closer, and with Thor and Tony hunting for Steve but also coming up empty, he was nearing his wit’s end.
Brock did his best to keep his satisfaction at the sight from showing on his face.
“There’s been no sign of him, my Lord,” Brock said, bowing, keeping his head bent in the face of Bucky’s anger, so as to not let the king see the mirth shining in his eyes. “Not a single trace. Sir…” he hesitated, finally raising his head. “We might need to entertain the possibility that he’s--”
“ENOUGH!” Bucky roared, rage sparking red-hot in his eyes at the mere suggestion. “If you want to keep your head, you’ll shut your fucking mouth.” He stood from the throne, and Brock’s eyes widened. “I told you what would happen if you failed me,” he said quietly, and the color rushed from Brock’s face.
“My Lord--” Brock realized his mistake too late.
He may have looked worse for wear, but the God of the Underworld was still an almighty King. Only a fool would underestimate his anger.
Bucky stalked forward, his metal hand flying out and crushing Brock’s throat, lifting him from his feet to hold him aloft. His wings beat uselessly behind him, and Bucky yanked him in close.
“This is your last chance,” he said quietly, nose to nose with the other man’s red, tear covered face, able to hear every choke and aborted gasp he tried to give. “If you come back empty handed again, Thanatos, you die.” He threw the man down the stone steps of the throne room.
Brock bounced down the stairs, hand gripping his throat tightly as he coughed air back into his lungs. Already his neck was bruised, blackened where Bucky’s metal fingers had nearly squeezed the life out of him. He wheezed his way to his feet, and he didn’t wait to be dismissed; instead he rushed from the throne room, tripping over himself on the way out the door.
Bucky sunk into the throne once Brock was gone, squeezing his eyes closed and pinching the bridge of his nose.
‘If you want something done,’ a familiar, exasperated voice sounded in his head, ‘do it yourself.’
He sighed, smirking a bit.
“You always were a stubborn one,” he mumbled to himself. He stared at the stone beneath his feet, then stood.
He would have to find Steve himself, then.
The loud clang of metal jerked Steve from his restless sleep, and he shot up to sit up properly from where he’d been curled up on the floor.
“Little God,” a voice hissed angrily. It was the same man, Steve was positive, but his voice sounded off. Rougher, like he was hurt. Vindication sparked in Steve. He hoped the monster was in agony.
“Here to gloat more?” Steve asked disinterestedly. Over the week the man had only appeared to drop a meal and pester him. He was an annoyance, sure, but hardly one that Steve had given much attention to.
But maybe that had been a mistake.
Steve had still been skipping the meals provided to him, but here, it felt odd. When he’d been avoiding food all those years ago, it hadn’t mattered much; needs became different in the Underworld. Here in his cage, Steve could feel the acute pain of hunger, and the exhaustion it brought to his body. He stayed on the ground, not wanting to exert excess energy to stand and entertain such a useless visitor.
The sound of metal against metal caught him by surprise, and before he knew it, the man dropped in, landing hard with his wings spread out behind him.
“What--” Steve exclaimed in a panic, promptly shooting to his feet and stumbling back.
“Your husband is in quite the fucking mood,” the man wheezed. The room, and the cage, were both dim; even with the proximity, the man was still cast in enough shadow that Steve couldn’t make out his features. “Seems like he’ll tear apart the whole world to get to you. Wonder what your bitch of a mother will have to say to that.” Steve’s eyes narrowed, and his bare back hit the icy bars of the far wall of the cage. The man advanced.
“I told you when you first brought me here,” he bit out, “Bucky would stop you.” A low, cruel laugh sounded.
“Little God, I don’t know if you’ve noticed,” the man said, “but your Bucky isn’t here right now.” Dread sparked through Steve, and he clenched his hands at his sides, jaw ticking. “And once he’s been thrown in Tartarus for killing Demeter’s only child, you’ll be all alone.” Steve’s eyes widened.
“No,” Steve breathed, an unimaginable ache building in him. “No,” he said, stronger. “You will never manage that.” The man chuckled. Steve watched the shadow of him shake his head.
“I couldn’t,” he agreed. “Not without help.” Even in the dark of the cage, the smile in front of him gleamed bright. “Your mother, however, is a very powerful woman.”
It took a moment for the words to register, but when they did, it all fell into place.
His mother was too possessive a person to be appeased. He should have known that a compromise would never work with her.
“She set this up,” he breathed. He’d thought he was done letting his mother cause him pain, but apparently, he was wrong, because this betrayal felt like it was ripping his heart out. His eyes stung, and he turned his head, letting rage overtake his sorrow. “Even with her help you’re no match for Bucky,” he bit out, mean, shoulders hunching as the man walked closer. “Who would believe your word anyway?!”
The man stepped out of the shadow and into the dim light in the center of the cage, and Steve’s blood ran cold.
“Thanatos,” Steve breathed, face ashen. “How--Brock, how could you--”
“Oh, so now you recognize me!” Brock laughed. “The years spent standing at the foot of your throne while your husband barked orders at me didn’t do the trick, but facing the man with your life in his hands jars that little brain of yours!” Steve let out an outraged sound, but couldn’t find the words he needed, too overwhelmed with rage and betrayal.
“I may not be as powerful a God as your bastard husband,” Brock said, and his wings unfurled, grand and huge, “but I’m still a God.” He smiled, an evil thing, and closed the space between the two of them, hand lifting to grip Steve by the throat roughly. He forced Steve’s head back, slamming it into the bars behind him with a loud, painful clang. “And your mother’s already failed to protect you from one God of Death.”
Panic surged in Steve as his air was cut off, head swimming from the impact against the metal bars, and he threw a fist out, soaring into Brock’s face.
Brock let the blow land, laughing, and turned a bloodied smile to Steve, his eyes wild.
“Oh, little God, you’ll regret that,” he promised, before pain lashed through Steve’s body as he was thrown down to the ground. He closed his eyes against the pain, trying to fight back, but he was weak from hunger, and locked in metal and stone. Away from the source of his powers, there was next to nothing he could do.
By the time Brock was satisfied with the beating he’d given him, Steve was wheezing, his hands bruised from fighting back and his body shivering on the ground.
The latch of the cage clicking closed was a relief, and Steve laid on the floor, bruised, spitting blood from his mouth and listening to the beat of wings leaving him on his own once more.
The latch of the padlock never sounded.
It was the sound of sniffling and tears that drew Hades to that corner of the meadow.
Nestled in a neat little bundle of trees, the shade here was nice and cool, a balm to him when he was unprepared for the heat of the sun.
It had been a while since he’d been to the surface, and he hadn’t realized he was in the heart of summer, when the heat lasted even after the sun had dipped from the sky. Now, it was blazing and bright, unobstructed by even the faintest wisp of cloud.
It was such a beautiful place, this valley strewn throughout soft, rolling hills, bright and alive with growth and greenery that spoke of something beyond mortal hands.
When he saw the blond man leaning against a tree, he knew he must be the source.
He was beautiful, was Hades’ first thought. Tall, strong, with hands that spoke of hard work and gentle touches. His body was shaped perfectly, broad shouldered but tapering down to the trimmest little waist he’d ever seen. Immediately Hades wanted to wrap his hands around it, use the grip to pull the man flush, see what delightful sounds he could pull from that pink, pouting mouth.
It was then that he realized the man was crying.
He must have been the maker of the sounds Hades had heard, because his shoulders were slumped in a resignation that spoke of having gone through a long, bracing cry. His eyes, blue as the sky above, were red rimmed, and golden tear tracks stained down his sweet face. One cheek was a soft, delicate pale shade that Hades longed to touch. The other, however, was an angry red, and when he focused, he could pick out the individual marks of fingers.
Rage coiled in his stomach. How could someone lay a hand on such a lovely creature? Who had dared to bring tears to this beauty’s face? If the man would only point them out to him, Hades would drag the monster to Hell himself.
“Why do you cry, little dove?” Hades asked, and the man gasped, head shooting up. He shoved off the tree at his back and stumbled away, bare feet nearly tripping over a root. The tree itself seemed to apologize, bark groaning and leaning away from the man. Surely it was a breeze, Hades thought dimly, but he saw the root sink deeper into the earth, and knew that this man was stronger than he seemed.
“I’m sorry,” he continued, holding up his hands in surrender. “I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
“You shouldn’t be here,” the man said sharply. “No one should be able to get through the protections--” He cut himself off, eyes narrowing. “...No mortal should be able to get through the protections,” he corrected himself. Hades smiled, a sharp, almost playful little thing.
“Then you already know I’m not mortal,” he said simply. The man’s eyes dragged over him, but there was no instant recognition. No fear, no recoil, just the caution that came with running into a stranger among the trees.
“What are you then?” the man demanded. Hades chuckled.
“The same thing you are, little flower,” he said, inclining his head. If the golden tears hadn’t given it away, the strength and aura of power surrounding the young God would have. The man scoffed.
“I sincerely doubt that you’re a bringer of life,” he said dryly, eyes dragging over the dark black clothes Hades was draped in, and Hades gave a choked laugh.
“The opposite, actually,” he mused. He took a step closer. The man didn’t move. Cautiously, Hades closed the space between them. He lifted his hand - his right, his left tucked out of sight - and gently brushed his thumb along the slowly forming bruise on the man’s cheek. He flinched, but still, he didn’t pull away.
“My name is Hades,” he said softly, hand dropping to cup the man’s chin, tilting it back gently to look into his eyes. “God of Death.”
The man slowly grinned.
“Persephone. God of Spring.” Hades matched his smile.
“Are you looking for trouble, Persephone?” he asked the blond, giving his head a gentle shake with the hold on his chin. Persephone laughed delightedly, and gave Hades a meaningful look.
We're coming up on the home stretch, folks.