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A Touch of Chaos: Part 3 – Chapter 42

PERSEPHONE

When Persephone woke, she felt like she could have slept for an eternity. Even now, it was a challenge to open her heavy eyes, so she didn’t. She lay still and quiet, but she was so hot, and she didn’t know why. It was what had woken her, the feeling of her skin burning.

She struggled to remember how she had gotten here—wherever here was—and all she could recall was the feel of fire-hot power coursing through her veins. Her body hummed with the memory of it. She shivered, hating it.

It was not hers. It belonged to Cronos.

Cronos. She remembered. She had trapped him in a tree with his greatest fears, and Hades had killed Theseus.

Hades.

The last thing she remembered was the feel of his arms around her and his voice.

You did it, darling. It is done.

This time, she had no trouble opening her eyes, and when she did, she found she was plastered against Hades. Beneath her, his body felt like an inferno. She peeled herself away, expecting to find him awake, but she found that he slumbered.

She relaxed a little, watching him. It was so rare to see him like this—unaware and serene. His forehead was smooth, and there were no lines between his brows.

There was a part of her that did not believe this was real, that feared she was still trapped within the labyrinth.

She touched his lips, full and slightly parted, and then bent to kiss him. It was real. He was real.

And they had won.

Hades inhaled, and his hands came down on her, his tongue slipping into her mouth as he deepened the kiss, his arousal growing hard between them.

“I did not mean to wake you,” Persephone said when they parted.

“I do not mind,” he said. “Especially when you do it like this.”

He gripped her ass and ground his hips into hers. She took a deep breath, and he slid his tongue into her mouth again. They were content to kiss for a while, but eventually Persephone pulled away and whispered against his lips, “I want to taste you.”

He grinned.

“Darling, you can have me anytime.”

She loved his smile and the promise in his words, and she kissed him again before moving down his body, lips brushing over his chest and stomach. She let her nipples, peaked and hard, trail over his skin and his length, which lay heavily against the bottom of his stomach.

As she sat back on her knees and took him into her hand, Hades adjusted his pillow and braced a hand behind his head. He looked languid and content, but she wanted to make him writhe. She felt more alive than she had in months, unburdened by fear and the dread that came with the possibility of never seeing him again.

She was hungry for him, and she wanted him to be voracious for her.

She pumped her hand up and down his cock, bending to lick the come that beaded at the tip. As she did, her hair fell, curtaining her face. Hades gathered it into his hands and swept it to the side.

“I do not wish to miss a single part of this,” he said.

She met his gaze, and then she licked him, teasing one of the veins that had risen to the surface of his soft skin. She let her tongue swirl over the top of him and took him into her mouth.

Hades groaned, and the sound vibrated in her chest, down to her very core. She tensed, her thighs squeezing together.

“I love when you take me deep,” he said.

His fingers were in her hair again, and she let him hit the back of her throat, keeping him there for only a moment before she released him to breathe. Suddenly, he was gone, and she felt his fingers slide between her legs and tease her damp heat. She realized he had teleported behind her.

“That’s not fair,” she moaned.

“Nothing is fair, darling,” he said, slipping one finger inside. “Fuck,” he said, planting a kiss on her ass before removing his finger and pressing his mouth to her slick skin.

“Yes,” she moaned. “Yes.”

She pulled away from him and then turned, dragging his mouth to hers. She kissed him hard before she lay on her back and spread her legs again. Hades’s eyes glittered, dancing over every part of her body.

“I fucking love every part of you,” he said.

Then his mouth was on her again, and his fingers dove into her flesh. Everything inside her started to feel tight, wound by Hades’s hand, and then, as if a thread snapped, she was unleashed, body seizing as wave after wave of pleasure shuddered through her. She had never felt something this intense, but it was like everything she had kept inside her for weeks—all the pain and the guilt and the fear—was suddenly released. Now she had room for hope.

She had room for dreams.

As if he knew, Hades stretched out, resting his body against hers and the head of his cock between her legs. She brought her knees up, framing his body, ready and desperate for him to be inside.

“Are you well?” he asked. He brushed his fingers along her brow.

“I am,” she replied. “More than.”

Then he kissed her, and Persephone opened her mouth against his, taking a breath as he filled her.

“I love you,” she said.

Hades grinned again, and a breathless laugh escaped him.

She lifted her legs, wrapping them around his waist. “Why do you laugh?”

“It is merely disbelief,” he said, his words punctuated with a breath as he moved inside her. “You have become my past, my present, and my future.”

Her eyes watered, but for once, it wasn’t because she was afraid. It was because she was happy—ridiculously happy.

And so very much in love.

Hades lowered his forehead to rest against hers, and then they kissed once more before there was nothing more they could say with words.


Later, Persephone lay draped over Hades. They were both naked, bodies spent from their lovemaking, but it was in this quiet that the darkness crept in. Persephone could feel it like a cool blanket settling over her, and she shivered.

Hades felt it, and his warm hands eased her prickly flesh.

“What are you thinking about?” he whispered. He sounded drowsy, and she liked that. It said a lot, that he felt comfortable enough to rest.

She was quiet. At first, she had a hard time tracking her thoughts. They seemed to move rapidly through her mind, jumping from one concern to the next. She thought about all the work they had to do to rebuild New Athens, and while that would be a grand undertaking, nothing was more daunting than earning the trust of mortals again. They had to prove they were worthy of worship, and that would require building a different kind of pantheon, one where mortals were not punished for the shortcomings of the gods.

But what had brought about the chill were the thoughts she’d had about herself.

“I am only trying to decide who I am now that the war is over,” she said.

“You are Persephone,” he said. “You are my wife and my queen. You are everything to me.”

She traced a circle on his chest but did not look at him. “But even you know I am not the same as before.”

“If you weren’t, you could not live in this world,” he said. “I am not afraid. Why should you be?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I think I worry that if I live long enough, I will cease to care for the world. I already feel it, this urge to be selfish, to not go beyond our borders.”

“It is not selfish to have a desire to be where you are loved, Persephone,” Hades said. As he spoke, his warm hand continued to move soothingly over her back. “Doubt and suspicion are not the same as losing your humanity. If anything, they will protect you better than even your magic.”

They were quiet, and then Persephone spoke. “What are you thinking about?”

“I am not sure you wish to know,” he said.

She lifted her head and looked at him. “I always want to know your thoughts.”

Hades smiled, his eyes glittering. “They are not so complicated,” he said, but then he paused before saying, “I am thinking about how many times we have come close to never having a moment like this again.”

Persephone was quiet after his confession. In some ways, it was comforting, knowing his thoughts were similar to her own.

“Do you think those thoughts will ever go away?” she asked.

“Eventually,” he said.

“What do we do? Until then?” she asked.

“Whatever it takes,” he said. “But we should make a promise that if either of us has those thoughts, we will tell the other.”

She raised a brow at his suggestion. It was ironic, given that he had not wanted to tell her his thoughts earlier. “You realize if you make a promise, it is binding?”

He smiled. “I do,” he said, brushing her hair behind her ear. “But I will do anything to keep you from suffering alone with your thoughts.”

She held his gaze for a few moments and traced his bottom lip.

“I love you,” she said, and she wanted him to feel just how much. She kissed him, softly at first, then harder, shifting so that her knees were on either side of his body, highly aware of his arousal and the heat it stirred inside her.

She sat back, sliding over his cock.

“Care to share your thoughts now?” she asked as his hands closed over her breasts. He squeezed them as she ground against him.

He grinned. “There are too many to count.”

“I did not ask you to count them,” she said.

“Hmm. I am thinking about how beautiful you are and how much I fucking love your breasts and that I want to suck them until you scream. I’m thinking about how long I’ll let you ride my cock before I fuck you into oblivion.”

“All those things sound like promises,” she said.

“They are,” he replied.

She smiled, almost delirious, and slid down Hades’s length. They both groaned, and then the doors burst open.

“Wakey wakey, eggs and…” Hermes paused when he saw them on the bed and then grinned. “Sexy!”

Persephone groaned again and then collapsed against Hades’s chest. The high she’d been riding crashed hard. “Hermes, what are you doing here?”

“I’m here to collect your plaything,” he said. “Sorry if he’s in use, but this is nonnegotiable.”

Everything is negotiable,” Persephone said.

“I’m afraid this isn’t,” said Hecate, sweeping into the room.

“Hecate!” Persephone said, pushing against Hades’s chest. She had every intention of running to the goddess and pulling her into a tight hug, but the sudden movement reminded her that she was both naked and currently impaled by Hades’s cock. It occurred to her that she should be more embarrassed, but with friends like Hermes and Hecate and a lover like Hades, it was pointless.

They had no boundaries, and Hades was willing to fuck her anywhere. Though she did cover herself with a blanket.

Hecate smiled. “Hello, my dear,” she said.

“Am I the only one who finds this really fucking annoying?” Hades asked.

“With the way Sephy keeps moving, I imagine you find it quite unbearable,” said Hermes.

“Considering you are aware of today’s schedule, you have only yourself to blame,” said Hecate.

“What schedule?” Persephone asked, and then she looked down at Hades. “What’s going on?”

“It is a surprise,” he said.

“A surprise that has a deadline,” Hecate reminded, clapping her hands. “So come on! Up, Persephone.”

“I’m not sure that is the command you wish to give,” said Hades.

Hecate lifted a brow, and then she narrowed her eyes. “I am going to step out those doors and count to ten,” she said. “And if you both are not out of bed and reasonably clothed, I will curse your sex life for the next week.” Hecate turned. “Hermes!”

“What? I am here for accountability!” he said.

“I’ll curse you too, Hermes. Do not try me!”

“Fine,” he whined and stomped toward the door. “No one ever lets me have any fun.”

When the door was closed, Persephone looked down at Hades.

Outside, she heard Hecate yell, “One!”

“I am trying to decide how long it would take to make you come,” Persephone said.

Hades laughed. “I think it depends on whether Hecate decides to actually count to ten,” said Hades.

“Nine!”

“And there is your answer,” Hades said.

Persephone scrambled off him and summoned a robe while Hades sat up in bed, dragging a sheet over his erection, and when that didn’t work, he grabbed a pillow.

“Ten!”

Hecate threw open the doors.

“You skipped, like, seven numbers!” Hermes complained.

Hecate entered the room like a storm, her expression determined, though Persephone was used to this version of the Goddess of Witchcraft, especially when she was involved in organizing something. She took pride in the work and wanted everything to go smoothly.

Now that she was dressed, Persephone went to her. “I am so glad to see you, Hecate,” she whispered as her arms slid around her waist.

The goddess held her close and spoke against her hair. “And I you, my dear.”

Persephone pulled away, but Hecate held her hand.

“Come. We must get you ready for tonight!”

Persephone looked over her shoulder at Hades. “Remember, you made a promise,” she called as Hecate dragged her out of the room and down the hall to the queen’s suite.

Inside, the lampades waited near the mirrored vanity. Persephone smiled at the silvery nymphs who had come to be an integral part of her glamorous routine.

“I am so glad to see you,” said Persephone. “It has been too long.”

“Lucky for you,” said Hecate. “You will need them for quite a few things this month.”

Persephone wondered which things, but mostly she was curious about tonight. She did not think it was time for the ascension ball, though it was fast approaching.

She sat down, though it took her some time to face herself in the mirror. When she finally lifted her head and met her gaze, she did not see what she had expected.

She’d thought she would see a stranger, a shell of the person she had been in her previous life.

Instead, she saw strength.

She saw pride.

She saw a woman who was queen.

She let her gaze rise to Hecate, who watched her in the reflection.

“Now you see yourself clearly,” the goddess said.

The lampades worked, smoothing her hair into perfect waves, which complimented the simple but glamorous makeup they had chosen—winged eyeliner and a bold red lip. The look made even more sense once Hecate dressed her. The goddess had chosen a black gown with a narrow waist, a flared skirt, and a high slit.

Hades will like that, Persephone thought.

The bodice was almost a corset, and while the fabric over her ribs was sheer, the fabric over her breasts was velvet and embellished with shimmering black beads.

It was just simple enough, and Persephone loved it.

“It is beautiful, Hecate,” she said, meeting her gaze in the mirror. “But what’s the occasion?”

The goddess smiled. “You will know soon enough.”

“You can’t blame me for trying,” Persephone said.

There was a pause, and once again, in that quiet, darkness seeped in, and Persephone spoke.

“I saw you die,” she said. “I will never forget it. Cronos broke you.” She could not look at Hecate, but she could feel her gaze. “I love Hades. I will not live without him,” she said. “But I cannot live without you either, Hecate.”

“Oh, my dear,” she said, her voice thick with tears. “You will never have to.”

When Persephone looked up, she saw that Hecate’s eyes were watering, but the tears never fell. Instead, she drew Persephone into a hug, and when she pulled away, she touched her chin.

“I do not have children of my own,” Hecate said. “But you, I consider a daughter.”

This time, Persephone burst into tears, and suddenly, the lampades were fluttering around her, fanning her face and touching up her makeup. Before they could risk any more heart-to-hearts, there was a knock at the door.

“It looks like it’s time,” Hecate said.

As soon as Persephone stepped outside the room, she was met with cheers. She halted, startled by the sudden sound but also the appearance of so many souls. They lined both sides of the hallway, creating a path for her to follow.

“Oh, Hecate,” Persephone whispered. Her hand came to rest over her racing heart.

“This is only the start,” said the goddess, and she offered her arm.

Persephone took it, and together they walked down the path of souls as it curved into the foyer, past the library and dining room. The journey took a while because she paused to hold hands and pull others in for hugs. Everyone was here, crammed into the palace—even the children, who raced to her and wrapped their arms around her legs.

It wasn’t until she saw Yuri that she really began to cry, and she wondered why she had bothered with makeup at all. The young soul approached and threw her arms around Persephone’s neck, and while they hugged, she caught sight of Lexa and then Apollo. With each friend, each embrace, she felt like her heart was going to burst from happiness.

“Apollo,” she whispered, holding him tight, her head resting against his hard chest. He had no heartbeat, but he was warm.

“You look beautiful, Seph,” he said.

“I miss you,” she said.

He chuckled. “You won’t for long.”

She pulled away. “Don’t say that.”

He shrugged. “Call it self-awareness,” he said. “I’m a needy motherfucker.”

She laughed, and Apollo smiled, then he turned his head, nodding in the direction of the throne room.

Persephone looked, and it felt like her heart had stopped and all the air had been sucked from her lungs.

Through the open doors, she could see Hades on the dais before his throne, his eyes burning brightly, the deep sapphire blue of his Divine form. His hair was down, falling thickly past his shoulders, and his horns were on display, making him look even larger. Beside him stood Hermes, who was dressed in a gold himation, the fabric moving almost like water. He was also in his Divine form, his white wings spread wide.

Cerberus, Typhon, and Orthrus waited too, no longer in their monstrous form. They sat stoically on Hades’s right, though Persephone could see Orthrus’s body wiggling. It was taking everything in his power to remain where he was.

“Hecate,” Persephone asked. “What is this?”

“Your coronation,” the goddess said. “You are Queen of the Underworld, but you have not been crowned.”

Persephone’s lips parted in surprise, and she met Hades’s gaze again.

Hecate tugged on her arm, guiding her forward. Yuri, Lexa, and Apollo followed behind her. She looked at Hecate, confused.

“They’re your handmaidens,” said the goddess. “It’s tradition.”

Persephone felt like she was in a daze as she made her way into the packed throne room, her eyes never leaving Hades’s. She had never felt so nervous. It was like marrying Hades all over again, except that this time, she was basically marrying his entire realm.

Hecate led her right to the bottom of the steps.

“Your Highness,” she said, nodding to Hades. Then she turned to Persephone. “I love you, my dear.”

Persephone’s mouth quivered. “I love you too,” she whispered.

The goddess smiled before leaving her side, making her way up the steps to stand on the other side of her ivory throne.

Persephone’s gaze slid to Hades.

“My darling,” he said, his voice quiet but warm.

“My love,” she replied.

“Sephy,” said Hermes.

Hades glared at the god, but Persephone laughed.

“Bestie,” she said.

Hermes grinned. “See, Hades, we’re besties.”

“Curse, Hermes!” Hecate snapped.

“Fine,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest, pouting.

There was a beat of silence as Persephone’s attention returned to Hades, though it had never truly left. She was always aware of him, even when she wasn’t looking at him. She could feel him, an anchor to this world.

“Darling,” he tried again. “I have chosen you as my wife and queen. Do you accept—”

“Yes,” she said.

Everyone laughed, including Hades, his eyes glinting. “Ever eager.”

She felt the rasp of his voice in the bottom of her stomach. There was a pause, and this time when he spoke, she did not interrupt.

“Do you accept responsibility for the people of this realm and all who will pass through its gates?”

“I do,” she said.

She had, but then they all already knew that. They had watched her fight for them, and she would do so over and over again.

“And you promise to uphold the laws of my court?”

Persephone lifted her head, her answer a little more hesitant. “Yes?”

Hades chuckled. “Fair enough.”

Hermes approached Hades and handed him a crown. It was made up of black spires, identical to the one Hades wore now. With it in hand, he approached. He was already tall, but now he was elevated by the steps, which forced her to tilt her head back to hold his gaze.

“Then it is my pleasure, my greatest honor, to offer you this crown as a symbol of your dedication and love for my people and this realm.”

She lowered her head, staring at Hades’s chest as he placed the crown upon her head. She was surprised by how heavy it was, but it also felt as familiar as the weight of her horns.

Hades offered his hand and helped her up the steps, kissing her deeply before they sat on their thrones.

Only then did the dogs move. All three shot forward, crowding Persephone, desperate for pets and head scratches. She was all too happy to oblige, but then Hades whistled sharply, and the three sat immediately.

“Oh, Hades,” she said. “They are fine.”

“With the way they act, you would think they never get any attention.”

She arched a brow. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were talking about yourself.”

Hermes snorted.

Then Hecate spoke, her voice resonating in the crowded room. “All hail our King and Queen. May they reign forever.”

The crowd cheered, and Persephone looked at Hades.

“Forever,” she said.

“Forever will never be enough,” he said. “Not when I have lived half my life without you.”

She considered commenting that he might say otherwise when he had lived half his life with her, but she knew he would disagree.

“Perhaps I can make you forget you were ever alone,” she said.

“I accept,” he said.

“Did you take that as a challenge?”

“No,” he said and grinned. “A promise.”


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