she presents a daughter to zeus, and a son to poseidon.
she gives nothing to hades. hades is death, and death can't bring forth life.
kore is the most beautiful of children. flowers bloom where she steps, and her laughter resounds with birdsong. nobody's surprised when she's named the goddess of spring, and demeter watches proudly as zeus places a crown of flowers on her head.
at the party later, kore tries hard to not glance at hades. she doesn't entirely succeed.
if there's something about death that draws her in, nobody has to know.
she finds the doors to the underworld entirely by accident.
(stepping through those doors is no accident.)
she wanders the entirety of it in only a few months, some unknown strength pushing her forward. it's all dark and mostly empty, and she revels in the space. it's been so long since she was alone.
it's not long before it starts filling up. millions descend into the underworld, their faces twisted in sorrow. they whisper of demeter's wrath. kore feels like retching, feels a hot lump of guilt lodge itself into her throat.
she doesn't go back.
(sometimes, kore thinks she must be the most terrible person in all the world.)
hades finds her, eventually. a goddess can never be fully concealed, not even in this darkest of realms.
he comes on his chariot, snatching her as she sleeps, and makes his way upwards.
he doesn't know that she's been here for months. she knows these lands, has grown into them and all their cracks and crevices, like the weeds her mother likes to uproot.
she refuses to be uprooted.
vines burst from the soil at her call, long and thick, curling around hades's wrists, forcing him to his knees. she grins, savage in her triumph, "this may be your realm, lord hades, but it is still earth and i am still her keeper."
"you are a child of demeter, before you're anything else. your essence is tied to her, and the longer you're away, the weaker you'll get."
she is not impressed.
"do i look weak to you, lord hades?" she asks, feeling her power bubble under her skin. "i am spring. winter bore me just as demeter did, and death was my cradle just as life was."
she watches as hades's expression changes, hesitant and joyous and alight with new wisdom. she frowns, tightening her hold. what does he know?
"death was your cradle, you say?"
her vines shrivel as he rises. she reaches for them, panicked--capture him, capture him now!--but hades doesn't move further. his eyes are kind when he says, "if you wanted your crown so badly, daughter, you could have asked."
well. that explains a lot.
at long last, persephone takes her throne.
1. "Persephone only becomes “Persephone” after the abduction. Before it, her name is Core/Kore which means “maiden.” Her entire identity is based is based on her maidenhood, her innocence, and her beauty. She is tied to her mother completely and there is a sense that Demeter would want to keep her in perpetual childhood.
In contrast to “Core,” the name “Persephone” means “to bring destruction” which is, objectively, a much cooler name. --"The Cultural Reinvention of Persephone", Princess Weekes, The Mary Sue.
2. Godly children are usually a mix of their parents, but Zeus seems to have no hand in either Persephone's powers or her destiny as Queen of the Underworld. I thought it would be cool if Persephone's parentage actually reflected her powers.