Arrows and Roses - Chapter 9
“So, basically, I need to ask Erosa’s father, permission to enter the temple so I may take a look out our mother’s marriage history so I can find out how to keep his daughter in the Underworld without her dying. People are going to think I’m planning to kidnap her.”
He felt like a creeper, just sitting in the arm chair staring at her. He watched the rise and fall of her chest as she slept. He did wonder if it was uncomfortable for her wings, but when she rolled over, she made a face before rolling back into her previous position, on her side with her wings hanging off the bed. Then it occurred to him, how did she get her clothes on? He looked around and spotted her dress laying on the end of the bed, along with her bra… He tried to swallow, but his throat and mouth had gone very dry all of a sudden. He looked back at her and it hit him that she was wearing a black nightgown, bits of lace peeped out from under the duvet when she moved. Oh damn… he tried to remain stoic, so he looked away, but he had to make sure she was okay so he looked back every couple of seconds to check. Giving up, he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and tried to avoid looking at her clothes.
Thanatos watched as she mumbled something in her sleep. Unable to make out the words, he brought the chair closer in hopes of catching something if she were to speak again.
He was listening so intently that he didn’t hear his brother come in.
“So it’s true. You really did bring a girl home.” Hypnos strutted in, looking pleased until he saw her face. “No way, is that the daughter of Eros?” He slapped his brother’s shoulder and grinned. Being the god of sleep, Hypnos had a rather soothing voice, able to lull an army to sleep with a few words; so when he spoke, it didn’t matter who was awake, they would be asleep now. “You sly old fox. How did you manage it?” He conjured up another chair and sat on the opposite side of the bed. Erosa sleeping in between them.
“I didn’t. And yes, it’s Erosa. And no I didn’t bring her home intentionally. She fainted.” Thanatos whispered.
“Let me guess, she saw your ugly face?”
“Oh? Maybe she got too close. Brother, you should know that you reek of death.”
“I am the god of death.” Thanatos growled in a low voice.
“Hmm… She couldn’t stand the sight of you?”
His brother gasped. “She saw you shirtless!” He clapped and grimaced when Erosa stirred in her sleep.
“Keep it down, Hypnos!” Thanatos hissed.
“Do you want me to peek into her mind and see what she’s dreaming about?” Hypnos rubbed his hands together, his mouth sporting a cheeky grin.
“Did you know when you smile like that, you look like a goblin?” Thanatos remarked.
The smile disappeared slowly from his brother’s face.
“What’s wrong with you brother? Did Gavin stuff up again? I say, just toss him to Cerberus. We can get a new Gavin.” Hypnos shrugged and ignored his brother’s icy glare.
“No and no. Gavin’s just slow. And you can’t peep into her mind. I don’t give you permission to.” Thanatos rolled his sleeves up and loosened his tie all the while looking at his brother, challenging him to disobey.
But Hypnos knew better than to go against his brother. Last time he did, he lost and had to do reaper work for a decade.
“Who made you in charge of her mind?” He crossed his arms over his chest and eyed Thanatos from the other side of the bed.
“Nobody did. You know perfectly well it goes against our laws to interfere with other gods. And by interfering, I mean messing around in their heads.” Thanatos reminded.
Hypnos rolled his eyes. “Fine. I wasn’t actually going to do anything. Just a tiny peak, she’s an interesting sort. I would love to know what her kind dream about,” he shrugged.
“What do you mean? Her kind?” Thanatos looked at her in confusion.
“Well, she is a cupid. She’s not a regular mortal. She doesn’t have the usual aspirations and goals like most women do. Most women these days dream about careers. Becoming the greatest at what they do. Erosa is different.” Hypnos sat forward and looked at his brother thoughtfully.
“Erosa is a goddess. She already has a career.” He cocked his head to the side.
“Do you know if she has any hobbies?” He asked suddenly.
“That’s a random question.”
“No it isn’t.”
“No it really isn’t.”
“Hypnos.” Thanatos warned.
“Thanatos.” Hypnos mocked.
The young men turned to see a young woman standing by the fire.
“Sister!” Hypnos rose to stand, holding his arms out wide.
“Philotes.” Thanatos acknowledged. Their sister was the oddball in the family, while their other siblings were gods of chaos and revenge, Philotes was the goddess of friendship.
“Pff, I see you’re still a stiff, Than. Hyp, come here.” Philotes gave her brother a warm hug before looking down at the sleeping cupid.
“So… brother… wanna explain the girl in your bed?” She smirked slyly at Hypnos who snickered.
Thanatos let out an exasperated sigh. “Can we please not do this right now? She’s sleeping.” He pointed to Erosa who had not moved.
“She’s a deep sleeper by the looks at it.” Hypnos poked her leg and Thanatos looked in horror, waiting for her to stir. When she didn’t, he let out the breathe he’d been holding in a hiss.
“Don’t do that,” he whispered, losing his patience.
“Do what? Oh this?” Hypnos poked Erosa again, Philotes in the background, biting her fist.
The siblings watched in surprise as their normally cool-headed brother lost it for a moment, grabbed the book sitting on the bedside table and threw it at Hypnos who ducked. The noise the book made hitting the floor echoed in the room, and all three disappeared when Erosa woke up, startled by the noise.
Thanatos looked at his brother pleadingly and Hypnos nodded, holding his hands up, signalling for his brother to calm down. They were invisible to her, but not to each other.
“I’ve got this,” he mouthed.
He leant down and, much to the indignation of his brother, he whispered soothingly into Erosa’s ear. “Sleep my dear, the sweetest dreams will come to you.” He said in a low voice. He knew he’d used enough charm when she quite literally fell back down, her soft snoring letting him know she was gone. He took a quick peek in her mind just to double check and chuckled at what she was dreaming about. He nodded to his siblings and they collectively let out a breathe.
“Do you guys remember when Lord Hades brought home Lady Persephone?” Thanatos asked suddenly.
His siblings looked at him with intrigue.
“That was a very long time ago, bro. Why do you ask?” Hypnos looked at Philotes who shrugged, feeling equally confused.
“I want to know how mother managed to live here and not feel the effects of the underworld.” Thanatos answered.
“Didn’t mom tell us that the pomegranate seeds were a metaphor for something?” Hypnos scratched the back of his head, not looking up from his shoes.
“Yeah, they were a metaphor for something important… Freedom. Mother ate six of the twelve seeds and then it was six months in the underworld and six months upstairs?” Thanatos recalled.
“But she didn’t actually eat the seeds. That was code for something. She never told me what it was code for.” Hypnos looked at their sister who was looking at Erosa.
“Do you think maybe the cupids have it in their history books? I mean, they have to keep a record of all marriages don’t they?” She asked.
Thanatos shook his head.
“No, they’d have to backdate everything. But, they might have kept all the marriages in the immortal world.” He looked at his sister with a smile.
“You’re a genius,” he said.
“Well, it’s not like I try.” Philotes replied.
“You’d have to go to the temple though.” Hypnos advised.
“Yeah, and from what I know, Cupids are very strict on who enters. Doesn’t matter if you’re an immortal or not. You gotta have permission from the man upstairs.” Philotes interjected.
“God?” Hypnos frowned.
“No, you idiot. Eros, god of Love. He’s the one in charge of the temple.” Philotes gave her brother a playful shove and rolled her eyes.
“Oh, that God.”
“So, basically, I need to ask Erosa’s father, permission to enter the temple so I may take a look out our mother’s marriage history so I can find out how to keep his daughter in the Underworld without her dying. People are going to think I’m planning to kidnap her.” Thanatos said dryly.
“Well, you did consider it.” his brother snorted.
“Yes, but I didn’t actually decide to go through with it,” he quipped.
“Regardless, brother. If you want to know, you’re gonna have to go.” His sister continued.
Thanatos exhaled through his nose, his nostrils flared at the frustration.
“I’ve never seen you so worked up before. It’s fascinating.” Hypnos leaned against the bed frame and watched his brother with interest.
“Yes, well take a good look. It won’t last much longer.” Thanatos grumbled.
“Come, Hypnos. Let’s leave him with his bride.” Philotes winked at him while ushering their brother out of the room.
“Don’t forget to invite us to the wedding ceremony!” Hypnos said in a stage whisper.
Thanatos rubbed his temples, resisting the urge to throw something else at him. When he heard the doors close, he looked down at Erosa and reached out to touch her cheek.
“Thanatos,” she murmured in her sleep.
He felt himself being pulled to her even though he was standing right next to her. He wanted to fall to his knees, overcome with this unfamiliar feeling. It was like no other feeling. All the breath had been sucked out of him. His legs lost feeling, his heart beat faster than it usually did when standing in her presence. He felt light-headed, almost as if he were floating. It took so much effort just to drag himself to sit in the chair a few feet away. He couldn’t even take his eyes off her.
Finally, he managed to settle down, he could now feel his eyes growing heavy, no longer able to resist sleep.