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Thanatos stifled a groan. It wasn’t that he wanted to be paired up with Erosa. But being in the same room as the woman did something strange to him. Seeing her again only reminded him of what he wanted but he always believed he could never have.
Today she wore a light pink pencil skirt which hugged her hips, bringing out her lovely hourglass figure, with a white blouse that fastened at the neck with a silk ribbon. Her aura glowed dimly around her, it was pink naturally. When was it not pink. Her dark brown hair was tied up neatly in a ponytail and her eyes... her honey brown eyes, almost hidden by her glasses.
He felt his heart constrict and he fought the urge to rub his chest at the ache. It was bad enough when they saw each other at reunions and olympian meetings but when she grabbed his tie, he began to think of all kinds of things he would like her to do with his tie, but he shook his head. ‘That is highly inappropriate to be thinking in her home and with her family so close by,’ he chastised himself. His mother had taught him better. However, it did not stop the blush from creeping into his cheeks when she walked in front of him on the staircase. He made sure to keep his eyes downcast. His mother would kill him if he did anything to offend the cupids and leering at the God of Love’s daughter would be a one way ticket to a lecture and a threat of castration. Besides, he had manners compared to some of his relatives. *cough cough* Zeus and Poseidon...
Thanatos bowed again before leaving, Erosa trailing behind him.
‘She is most beautiful today,’ he thought to himself.
He stopped by the kitchen bidding everyone a farewell before taking his leave.
“Tell your mother I said hi!” Lady Psyche handed him a plateful of warm brownies to take to his mother.
When he got to the front door, he turned around and bowed slightly.
“I will pick you up tomorrow night. Wear something warm. It’s cold where we are going,” he said gruffly.
Erosa nodded, smiling sweetly at him. “I’ll bring a beanie,” she assured.
With that, Thanatos fast travelled and found himself at the entrance of the underworld. He passed Cerberus who yipped happily at his presence.
“Hello Cerb.” Thanatos pat all the heads and scratched them in all their favourite places before making his way into Lord Hades’ palace. Cerberus whined as he started to leave and Thanatos smiled at the three headed dog.
“No these aren’t for you. But… this is.” He waved his hand and a large steak appeared in front of the large mastiff. Immediately all three heads tore into it, allowing Thanatos to leave without any problems.
“Is that my son I hear?” Thanatos smiled at his mother’s voice.
“Where are you?” he shouted back.
“In the greenhouse!” He heard her reply.
“Which greenhouse?” He grinned.
“The Green greenhouse!” He looked at the six green houses in front of him. Shaking his head, he walked into every single one of them before finding her.
"This one?" he called.
"How about this one? "
"Mother!" he complained
"I said the green one Than!"
"They're all green!" he said, throwing his head back, exasperated.
She was in the very last one.
“My darling! It’s been ages since I’ve seen you.” Lady Persephone came forward to give him a big hug.
“It’s only been six months.” Thanatos would never admit it, but he did miss his mother when she left for the summer season.
“Six months is too long and no one visits me,” she said sadly.
Thanatos wanted to roll his eyes. The last time a certain someone visited her, she refused to let him go and the underworld stopped working for a month. Everything was flooded and the wait line was so congested it took two weeks of intense plumbing to get everything working again.
“I’m sure Hypnos visits from time to time.” Thanatos recalled his brother telling him about a recent visitation.
“Yes but he never stays long.” Lady Persephone cut another stem and placed the flower in a vase.
“Well, people don’t dream for very long.” Thanatos looked at the pink flower that bloomed near him. He could imagine that flower sitting in the presence of a certain cupid.
“How was Eros? Oh and his wife. I chatted with her for a bit while I was up there. She’s such a dear, always happy to stop by for a chat and some pastries.” Persephone smiled.
She was fond of the Cupid’s wife. She didn’t particularly like talking to anyone else. The other goddesses were busy with their own things, but Psyche wasn’t like them. She loved talking about the developing world, especially baking. It was much different from the conversations she use to hear when speaking to the other goddesses.
Artemis and Athena were busy with their feminist movement. Hera could only complain about her marriage troubles (Zeus had been busy again or as the cupids liked to say, ‘couldn’t keep it in his pants’). Hestia was alright but she was rarely available for brunch. Nike was obsessed with winning. Always busy spectating at every sport, checking out new talent, promising talent… anyone that showed potential in scoring a victory. Nemesis was busy with her plans of revenge—should anyone be worried? Probably. Did anyone take her seriously? Not really.
“They’re good. Lady Psyche told me to take these to you.” He handed over the plate and his mother took a sniff.
“Oh my… her famous home-made brownies. If I were human, I would die for a slice.” She took a bite and closed her eyes, relishing the taste of heaven.
“Well it’s a good thing you’re not human.” Thanatos kissed his mother on the cheek before turning to leave.
“What about Erosa, how is she?” His mother said out of the blue.
Thanatos froze at the mention of her name.
“Lady Erosa is well too.” He grimaced at the crack in his voice. He turned to look at his mother who was trying hard to suppress a smile.
“Stop it. Don’t go getting any ideas.” He frowned at his mother who grinned knowingly.
She put her hands up and made a face.
“I already had ideas, but I promise not to act upon them.” She made a cross over her heart before crossing her fingers together.
“Is Lord Hades home?” Thanatos looked towards the underworld palace. His mother nodded.
“In his study, working as always.” She smiled and patted his face.
“Do you feel uncomfortable calling him father?” she asked gently.
Thanatos lifted a shoulder.
“It is strange. It’s different with you. You like being called my mother. Lord Hades’ is not as vocal about his thoughts as you are,” Thanatos explained. His mother nodded.
With that, Thanatos left the garden and through the front doors to the hall.
“Lord Hades.” He bowed to the man wearing a similar dark suit sitting in an office lit up with a thousand candles.
Hades looked up over the paperwork and gestured to the seat in front of him.
“Sit, come. Tell me about your day.” Hades waved over one of the invisible servants and gestured for a tray of hot tea and biscuits.
One of the servants misinterpreted the wave and started to fix his tie.
"Not my tie, Gavin! The tea and biscuits!" he snapped. The servant backed up quickly, nearly knocking over a stack of paperwork. Hades let out a sigh before looking at Thanatos expectantly.
“Well, I’m happy to see mother has returned in one piece,” Thanatos started awkwardly.
“Yes, did you know she sent me 16 letters this time, all of them about how she’s lonely and wishes for someone to visit her?” Hades put the file down and looked at him before a smile broke out.
“Last time you abided by her wish, the underworld was on emergency red alert for weeks.”
“Yes, I never seem to learn that lesson.” Hades looked at him properly and tilted his head to the side.
“Something is bothering you. What is it?”
Thanatos wanted to roll his eyes. Lord Hades never missed a thing and he was always quite blunt and straight to the point.
Wanting to sigh, Thanatos looked at the pocket watch Hades had given him for one of the birthdays they had celebrated. They celebrate every century but it was hard to keep track when you were as old as time. It must’ve been during the 18th century when they had just started to keep track of time more accurately.
“My assignment, my lord. This one requires both a cupid and a grim reaper to be present. I decided to go, I felt like I had been cooped up long enough. I told the reaper I would see to this personally, and when I went to ask Lord Eros for his presence, I walked out the house with his daughter instead.” Thanatos wanted to slump in his chair but that was bad manners so instead he took a breath.
Hades stared at the young man in front of him. He’d never had this conversation before, he didn’t know how to address it. Was it time for ‘The Talk?’ Hades thought he had already given the talk. Maybe he should give the talk again.
“I can’t work with Erosa,” Thanatos said.
Hades relaxed in his chair, he didn’t need to give the talk.
“You don’t like working with Erosa?” he asked, frowning.
Thanatos’ eyes widened and he was quick to refute it.
“No, my lord, it’s not that. It’s…” Thanatos trailed off before Hades understood.
“Ah, I see. You fancy Erosa!” he grinned triumphantly.
“Tell me, have you already begun to court her? Does your mother know? I bet she already knows. It’s about time. HONEY!” Hades bellowed.
“Wait… my lord… oh no..” Thanatos buried his face in his hands when his mother came rushing in excitedly.
“Husband! Did he tell you already? It’s exciting news, isn’t it?!” Persephone gushed to her husband and the two of them looked at Thanatos proudly.
“She doesn’t know!” Thanatos moaned.
Hades smile faded.
“You haven’t told her?” he demanded.
“No, my lord. I don’t know how. After twenty centuries you’d think I’d work up the courage to but I can’t.” Thanatos glared at the floor, feeling himself burning inside with shame.
Persephone and Hades looked at their son before looking at each other, a silent agreement between the two of them.
Thanatos looked up to see his mother make her way over to him.
She knelt by his side, took his hand and smiled encouragingly at him.
“Then now’s your chance,” she said.
“Son, it’s time we have the talk…” Hades began.
“Lord Hades… I really don’t think that’s necessary,” he stammered.
“No, I think it’s time.”
“I really don’t think we need to—”
“Nope, we need to.”
“Son, when you court a young woman…” Hades continued.
Thanatos felt his face pull into a grimace.
“It’s important that you know… that you should never kidnap the woman you fancy,” Hades advised.
Thanatos visibly relaxed. His mother Persephone didn’t, though.
“Darling, I do believe that it’s common sense to not kidnap the woman you like.” She placed a hand on her husband’s arm and gave Thanatos an apologetic smile.
“Actually, I did consider doing that…” he admitted, looking down bashfully.
His mother glared at him and Hades grinned.
“Like father like son!” Hades clapped his hands and Thanatos looked up in surprise as did his mother.
“Now, what do you plan on doing on this assignment?” he leaned forward on the desk and waited for an answer.
“I don’t really have a plan.” Thanatos winced at his oversight. He was not prepared for this grilling and he was definitely not prepared for his time with Erosa.
“Well, where is the assignment?” Persephone inquired.
“It’s in Europe, Belgium, I believe.” Thanatos answered. He clasped his hands together rubbing them in thought.
“What things can you do in Belgium, dear?” His mother looked at Hades who shrugged.
“Good food?” he suggested.
“Ugh, you're so helpful—” Persephone rolled her eyes at her husband. “I think it’s safe to say don’t ask your father for advice on dates.”
“Guys… it’s not a date.” Thanatos moaned at them.
“Is it cold? You could give her your coat!” Persephone gasped as an idea came to her.
“I could call Khione! Her father wouldn’t be of any help but Khione would help.”
“What would Khione do? It’s already snowing there.” Hades lifted an eyebrow at his wife.
“She could snow them in! Then they would have to bunker down for shelter!” Persephone pumped her fist in triumph.
“No, we are not doing that.” Thanatos looked at her incredulously.
“Why not? I’m thinking, a nice warm fire, candles, toasted marshmallows… A glass of wine?” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively at Thanatos who buried his face in his hands and let out a mournful groan.
“I could give you a very long list of reasons why that wouldn't work but because I don't want to continue this conversation I’m not going to do that. I’ll just treat it like an assignment,” he insisted. Hades and Persephone looked at him a little disappointed.
“Okay well, if that’s what you want. But you just say the word and I can get a message to Khione in a second,” Persephone offered.
Thanatos nodded, rising to bow to them.
“I’ll be in the office. Good night,” he said.
“Good night son!” they replied and then he left them to go and ponder about this assignment. The kidnapping idea was starting to sound pretty good now.