A/N: It's been forever since I updated this and I know a lot of those who have followed this story since the beginning probably do not remember what has happened. I'm surprised I still do but this chapter just kind of crept up on me out of nowhere so I hope it isn't too all over the place. As usual please excuse my many mistakes and I would also like to give the warning that Thera takes quite a battering in this. Hope you enjoy it. Quite a few questions have been answered in this chapter and it also kind of explains the importance of the title. Well at least I hope it does.


Cupid's Arrow

Thera


The moment I regained consciousness was the moment Eros signed his own death warrant. Feeling more than a little groggy I forced myself up to a sit, sliding my legs off the side of the bed I'd been put on as I brought a hand up in an attempt to rub the bleariness from my eyes. I pushed myself off the strangely familiar mattress and with only a slight stumble quickly found my feet.

As soon as I opened my eyes my anger quickly melted away. My breath caught at the sight that greeted me. At the drapes lightly swaying in the gentle breeze, the intricately designed dressers barely visible through the shadows and the majestic mirror that stood in amongst it all. It was a sight I was more than familiar with, a sight I would be able to recognize anywhere. Even in the darkness I knew where I was. There was nowhere else I could be. This room. It was the same, the same room I would always find myself in, night after night. Waiting, always waiting, just for him.

With that realization came another. This was dream. It was just another dream. I was sure of it. There was absolutely no way it could be anything else. Absolutely no way I could really be awake and be where I was. Because there was absolutely no way that this place could actually exist.

"A dream," I whispered to myself.

Only this felt different. I glanced down, a frown marring my brows at the sight of what I was wearing. It was the dress I'd worn at the party. Not the robes I've long come accustomed to finding myself in. I took a deep breath and though I wondered about him, the man in my dreams, it wasn't the same. I realized I wasn't the same. All the anxiousness, uncertainty, longing, desire, love and fear – I didn't feel it. Not any of it. It was like I was a whole different person. No longer was I the hopelessly lonely girl who would every night, without fail, wait for a man who was only ever barely there. This, whatever this was, felt more like me. Like who I really am. But though everything felt different one thing remained the same and that was the longing. It seemed even as me, as I truly was, I still wanted to see him. I needed to see him.

Unsure of what to do I walked towards the beautifully crafted dresser, reaching out a tentative hand to gently run my fingers over the strange but vaguely familiar pieces that littered the, what I was astonished to realize, solid gold surface. Taking a moment to admire the craftsmanship that went into every single one I moved towards the large vanity I've only ever glimpsed.

The moment I was standing before it my eyes widened. The image staring back at me was not my own. In place of my short blonde hair and brown eyes was a mass of long dark curls and eyes a shade of violet I never even knew was possible. Like my dream self she wore the same long flowing robes I was, until now, so use to finding myself in.

Not knowing why I reached a hand out and watched as she did the exact same, her every movement, expression, in complete sync with every last one of mine. I frowned, my fingers just a touch from the mirror's surface, from her fingers. I lifted my head and stared right into her eyes. There in her gaze, was everything I was missing – all the anxiousness, uncertainty, desire and love I've always felt. It was then I realized. It was her. My dreams. It was all her.

"Who are you?" I found myself asking. "Why do I dream that I'm you?"

As if hearing my question she gave a pointed glance towards where our hands were, just on the verge of touching, her expression becoming pleading as she met my gaze once again. I have no idea what possessed me to do what I did next but before I could even think to stop I pushed myself forward that last few inches. Instead of the cold touch of the mirror's surface my fingers slipped right through, completely disappearing into the other side. For a moment all I could do was stare. Shock soon giving way to panic I tried to pull away, only to find myself stuck.

"Don't be afraid," came the whisper of a faraway voice.

On the verge of hysterics I demanded, "Let go of me."

Futilely I continued my struggle. Yet it was all in vain. To my absolute horror I felt a tug on my encased hand. In the blink of an eye I stumbled forward with the sudden force. Like Alice I found myself falling, further and further down the rabbit hole and straight through the looking glass.

Squeezing my eyes shut I bit my lip. Not stopping until the faint trace of blood filled my mouth with the distinctive metallic taste. I winced at the pain but did not dare to open my eyes as I desperately murmured, "Wake up Thera, wake up."

"You are awake," was the reply I received, a reply I could have easily done without.

Despite all rationale screaming that I wasn't, that I couldn't be, deep down I knew it to be true. No matter how real all my other dreams felt they were never like this. Taking a deep calming breath I slowly opened my eyes. Instead of my room, instead of the garden where I last remembered being before Eros approached me, I found myself in the middle of nothing. Nothing but darkness. With the only light coming from what looked like a doorway but I knew was not, because through that doorway I could see myself. With a hand held out I stood, fingers touching an invisible surface that seemed to ripple under the touch of my fingers as I stared back in a perfect picture of shock, completely frozen. Just like a photograph.

Not knowing where else to turn I focused all my confusion and sudden anger on the only one I could, the one who now stood before me. My defenses rising I crossed my arms and taking a step back growled, "Who the hell are you and where the hell am I?"

"This mirror, it was given to us by him, our beloved," she began to explain, her voice feeling like a soft caress. "Despite his love he could not give us everything we needed, everything we wanted. So in order to starve off the loneliness he gave us this, the gift of sight. The gift of being able to see anything we wanted." Her expression turned sad and with a waver she continued. "Anything but him."

I frowned and more than a little frustrated snapped, "Just tell me what the hell is happening. Where the hell am I? Who are you?"

For a moment she stared at me and then with a beatific smile said in an infuriatingly gentle tone, "Is it not obvious? You are inside the mirror. You are inside Psyche's mirror."

At that I wanted to laugh. I wanted so bad to laugh but knew that if I did I would probably never stop. Because as crazy as it sounded, as crazy as it seemed, I knew it was the truth. All I had to do was glance back at my own frozen reflection to know that it was.

"And as for who I am," she continued after giving me a moment to let it all sink in. "I am naught but a remnant."

When all that did was to elicit a look of utter confusion from me she gave a small, if not somewhat sad smile.

"A memory if you will."

"You are a memory," I repeated slowly, unable to understand what the hell she was on about.

"I am all that remains of your memory," she declared, somehow managing to make less and less sense as she went on. "Created the moment you stepped before the mirror."

"My memories?" I repeated incredulously, staring back at the strange girl before me with a deep frown.

"Yes. Of who you are, of your dreams, of him, of everything that has come to past."

At that I bit my lip. Then deciding there was no harm in playing along I carefully asked, "And you can tell me all that?"

"No," came her reply, but before I could say a word she reached out her hand in very much the same manner I did before her and simply said, "But I can show you. I can show you everything."

Unsure of what to do I stared at her hand. I may have accepted that I wasn't dreaming, the stinging pain from the self-inflicted cut on my lip was a testament to that, but I still couldn't quite accept that this was all happening. That this was actually real. My thoughts drifted back to the last few weeks, to the weird things that kept happening since I met Eros, to the night I was sure I was to see my death at the hands of a monster I'm still convinced I saw. With the feeling of nothing to lose I again reached out, only this time it was I who took her hand in mine and allowed myself to be pulled towards her. The instant our bodies met I felt an unexpected shock go through me as I stumbled back – falling right out of the darkness and back into myself. Like a reel in my head the images began to flash, one after another. At first they were nothing more than a scattering of distorted images, the imprint of feelings, of long gone emotions. Then it came. Flooding my mind like a broken dam were more than just images and the vague remainders of what I felt. They were memories, I realized with a sudden jolt. They were my memories. As if burned I recoiled from the mirror, unable to do a thing but watch as it began to crack and shatter from where only a moment earlier my fingers had been.

"Stop," I cried, my head becoming a throbbing mess as for the second time that day the world around me began to fade to black. Only this time there was more than just darkness. Like a puzzle all the dreams I've ever had began to thread themselves together along with every missing piece. This time I saw a world that shouldn't be possible, a man who couldn't possibly exist and a fairy tale that I knew just couldn't be true.

"Thera," I heard a very familiar voice call, the deep timbre of his tone sending an involuntary shiver through my very being. "Come on Thera, show me those gorgeous eyes of yours."

Unlike the first time I woke up there was no anger, no weariness. There was nothing but an incredibly deep feeling of loss. A deep hollowness so profound I felt my whole world tilt with the violent turn of my stomach. Ignoring everything around me I pushed myself up and with a heave allowed myself to be sick all over the floors. Completely uncaring of the sight I made. Unbidden my eyes began to water, my whole body shaking with the weight of what I've just been shown. Of everything I've just witnessed. Of everything I felt.

"What the hell happened?"

Regaining enough control of myself to remember I had an audience I lifted my head to meet his concerned gaze and immediately felt something in me stir. It seemed I wasn't the only one. The moment our eyes met his brows furrowed, gaze clouding with confusion as he stared right back at me.

"Your eyes," he whispered, reaching a hand up to run the tip of his fingers over the curve of my cheek.

My voice failing me I picked up a broken shard of the mirror by where I was and brought it up to my eyes. The instant I saw what Eros must've seen my breath instantly caught. Where there once was dark brown my eyes was now a brilliant shade of violet I've only ever seen once.

"What the hell happened Thera?"

At the accusation I could hear in his tone my whole body suddenly tensed. I dropped the shard and with the force of everything I've just seen propelling me on I pinned him with a tearful glare and demanded, "Why don't you first tell me what you did to me? Where you brought me? Why don't you tell me who are you Eros? Who you truly are?"

Like predicted he immediately clammed up but instead of the denial I expected, instead of the lies I was sure he would try to feed me he relaxed.

"This is my palace, at least one of the palaces I keep around the world. If you want to get technical I guess you can say that we are somewhere in Europe. This is where I go when I need to think or when I just get away from it all. I don't know what it is about this place. It puts me at ease," he admitted with some reluctance. "To be quite honest I don't know why I brought you here." He paused with a slight frown. "It just felt right."

"So what are you going to do now? Are you going to try and explain this away? Tell me you somehow flew me all the way here while I was unconscious or something," I bit out angrily.

Expression grim he silently shook his head.

"Then tell me who you are? Please, tell me something."

"I am Eros Dipuc, a student-"

"That's not what I meant and you know it," I practically yelled, interrupting him before he could say another word. "Tell me who you are. I want to hear you say it. I want the truth this time."

He swallowed, his eyes becoming pained as he gently said, "There are rules. I can't-"

"You didn't care about the rules when you brought her here. You didn't care about the rules when you married her," I snapped heatedly.

He frowned and looking truly confused demanded, "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Don't pretend you don't know. Just don't," I found myself saying, eyes drowning in tears that I wasn't even sure was my own. I shook my head, tried my hardest to shake the feeling of utter heartbreak away. I touched my throbbing head. I could feel her in me. Desperate. Lonely. Wanting nothing more than his touch. It was as if I was possessed. It was as if I was fighting to remain in control.

"Thera, what the hell happened to you?" he demanded frantically. As if just realizing there was something seriously wrong. That I didn't just have some kind of fit and decided that smashing the mirror and passing out in front of it was a great idea. That whatever was happening to me wasn't the result of whatever it was he forced into me with that kiss.

"Get her out of my head," I cried, gripping at my hair. "Get her out. I don't want to know. I don't want to feel all this. Please. It hurts. It hurts so much."

"Who? Who is she?"

With a pained gasp I forced my violet gaze up to meet his and stuttered out, "Pysche."

Rather than the recognition I couldn't help but crave he did little more than frown before quickly telling me, "She doesn't exist. That myth isn't real. Psyche isn't real."

A strong wave of betrayal suddenly washed over me.

"I do exist. I am real," I found myself yelling. I shook my head hysterically at that, realizing I'd just answered as her. Quickly coming back to myself I added, "It happened. Just like the stories. Only she never got her happy ending. She never saw him again. She died on her last task, both her and their unborn child. They both died."

"Thera," he yelled, griping my shoulders and holding me still. When he was certain he had my full attention he calmly stated with so much conviction I could believe it was the truth, "She doesn't exist."

It was then it hit me. It wasn't an act. He truly believed it.

"Like you're not supposed to exist," I bit back bitterly. "Right Eros? Or should I call you Amor? Or maybe you prefer Cupid?"

As if slapped he fell back, his arms falling completely from my shoulders as he protested with a weak, "This is crazy Thera. Do you even realize what you are saying?"

"Crazy," I repeated, feeling something inside me snap.

Without warning I quickly got to my feet and rushed over to the balcony. The view that greeted me there was everything the memories revealed it to be, absolutely breathtaking. Had it been any other time I would have been able to enjoy it. But as I reached the grand stone railings I did no more than gave it a fleeting glance before pushing myself up and over.

"Shit," I heard Eros swear, the words quickly followed by the pounding of steps.

With a precarious perch on the top of the balcony rail I tilted my head back and warned, "Don't come any closer."

Heeding my words he came to an abrupt stop just a few feet away, hands held up and expression frantic with worry.

"What the hell do you think you're doing? Get back inside," he blurted out with wide, shocked eyes.

Eyes never leaving his I refused with a simple, "No."

"No," he repeated with incredulity, his voice almost breaking with the effort. "What do you mean no? Get your ass back in here. Please."

I shook my head.

"If Pysche doesn't exist. If you don't exist, then this place can't possibly exist either right," I began to say. For the first time I felt as if I was actually making sense, that the world was finally making sense again. "I was convinced this was real you know. I felt pain. You don't feel pain in dreams. You just wake up. But I didn't." Past the point of hysterics I let out a laugh, a horrible hollow laugh that would've made me flinch if I wasn't so far gone. "But maybe it wasn't enough. Maybe I need to do more than just bite my lip to wake up from this."

I gave him a serene smile as his eyes widened in fear.

"You can't die in dreams, can you?" I murmured to myself. Before he had a chance to do a thing to stop me I jumped as I closed my eyes and whispered to the rushing air, "You just wake up."

For the briefest of moments I felt completely weightless. I felt oddly at peace. While I knew it was still there, lingering somewhere in the back of my mind, I didn't feel as if I was being split in two. My mind warring with itself, warring with the memories and emotions I was sure were not my own and yet felt like they belonged.

With my eyes firmly closed I waited for the jolt, for the moment where I would snap awake and find myself safely back in my bed. But the moment never came. Instead there came an entirely different jolt. From out of nowhere I felt a pair of arms wrap around me, straining as I was suddenly pulled against another body. With what I can only describe as a whoosh I suddenly I wasn't falling anymore. Instead I felt as if I was floating.

The moment my feet hit solid ground I snapped my eyes open.

"What the fuck did you think you were doing?" I heard Eros growl into my ear.

Upon finally realizing I was in his arms I lifted my head and instantly wished I hadn't. Eyes blazing with rage he glared at me, grip tightened at the sound of my silence.

"I-" I began, eyes becoming wide upon realizing what I'd just done.

"I shouldn't have trusted her," he seemed to berate himself, releasing me with a look of pure self-loathing. "How many times does she have to screw me over before I learn? Fuck Thera, I shouldn't have brought you here."

As he ranted I could do no more than stare, the enormity of what I'd just done – dream or not – paling in comparison to the sight before me.

"Eros," I managed to breathe out, just loud enough to catch his attention.

On cue he turned to me, gaze becoming questioning upon no doubt noticing the look of pure and utter awe on my face.

At the confusion I could so clearly see written all over him I merely gave his back a pointed glance. Still clearly confused he followed my gaze, tilting his head back over his shoulder. The moment he realized what it was I was staring at he snapped his head back to me.

Completely unheeding of his unease I closed the distance between us, easily sidestepping him to reach a hand out towards the white-feathered protrusions on is back. His wings. The same wings I realized I had so readily dismissed as an elaborate costume piece all those weeks ago. Just as my fingers were about to make contact they began to shrink, folding into themselves before finally disappearing completely. Leaving nothing more than a line of dark tattoos where they once had been.

"So what happens now?" I asked with a trembling breath. "You said there were rules."

With those words he swallowed, expression shuttered as he turned to avoid my penetrating gaze. For a moment not a word was spoken. Then with a deep breath he finally met my eyes, his own glowing with an inhuman light as for the third time that night my vision began to blur.

"I'm sorry Thera," came his shaky reply. "You just forget. You have to forget."

The third time I woke up it was with the awareness that I shouldn't even have known it was for the third time. Head still throbbing I sat up and without having to look I knew exactly where I was. I was in my room. I was back home. But there was absolutely no comfort to be found.

"Gods, I remember," I realized with a start. "I remember everything."

Try as I might I just couldn't get my head around, any of it. It was real. All real.

"Of course you do," a voice I'd hope to never ever hear said. "Even when he doubts me he still believes me enough to not even think to question whether or not what I said about the potion he gave you was actually true."

Again I felt it, the sudden rush of emotion, thoughts. Ignoring the instinct in me that told me to show reverence in spite of the pure loathing bubbling within I raised my head in defiance and stared right into the eyes of the last being I ever wanted to see.

"From the look in your eyes I can see that no introductions are needed, are they Psyche?"

"My name is Thera," I bit back with a snarl.

At that the woman before me simply gave me a look. A look that spoke volumes of her current displeasure with me, with my insolence, and practically spat out, "Do not test my patience. You may not yet have come to accept that you and Pysche are one in the same but I know you remember. You know who I am and what I am capable of. You know I could end you in an instant if I so willed it."

Knowing I was playing with fire but completely uncaring I dared, "Then do it."

Despite her beauty even she could not overcome the ugliness of the expression that twisted her features.

"You are not worth dirtying my hands over," she muttered angrily.

"Then why are you here Aphrodite?" I demanded, daring for the first time to speak her name. To acknowledge out loud what I already knew. "Why lower yourself to appear before such an unworthy mortal as myself."

There was silence and though all I knew of her was from the memories that plagued my mind I knew enough to know that she was struggling. That it was taking her all to come to me like this.

"Because he needs you," finally came her response, the admission costing her more than she'd ever allow herself to show. "No matter how much I hate it he needs you Psyche. So much it's destroying him."

Clutching my head I took a deep calming breath and with a conviction I wasn't even sure I felt, cried, "I'm not Psyche. I'm not her."

Rather than reacting with anger or even impatience she instead responded to my denial with a derisive snort of, "You can believe that you are going to school with the God of Love and that I, the Goddess of Love herself, is standing right in front of you but even with your memories and everything you know you can't bring yourself to believe that you could possibly be Psyche."

"This is a trick," I protested, my eyes burning. "I'm not her. These memories aren't mine. I can't be her. I have my own memories. I have a family, a life. I can't be her. I'm Thera."

"You know you were adopted. You know there are no records of your birth. There are no records of you existing beyond the orphanage you were found in," she countered smugly, seeming to revel in my distress. "Do you want to know why that is?"

At those words my breath stuttered.

"No! I don't care what you have to say," I yelled furiously, pushing myself off the bed. "I don't look anything like her. I don't feel anything like her. I'm not some meek and mild-mannered princess. I'm a completely different person. I have her thoughts, feelings and memories but nothing about it feels like me. I'm not her. I can't be."

"But you are," the goddess exclaimed, what little patience she had beginning to wear thin. "You may not be the exact same thorn in my side as you once were but you are still a thorn."

Seeing the absolute certainty in her eyes but still unable to accept it I tried another route.

"Let's say I believe you. Let's say I am her," I began to position, ignoring the feeling of utter rightness just saying the words managed to elicit. I shook the feeling aside and told myself to breathe, to just breathe.

With a conviction that staggered me she interrupted with a firm, "You are her. The sooner you accept it the better of we will all be."

"How can that be possible? I- she died," I found myself saying, the slip of my words the least of my worries.

"My son has never been one to do things by halves," she began to explain in fond exasperation. "When he married you he did more than just join the two of you as husband and wife, he bonded himself completely to you and you to him."

"What does that even mean?"

"It's means that even now you carry a piece of him with you," came her reluctant answer. "And without it he is slowly but surely losing the very essence of himself."

Trying my hardest to get my mind around what I was being told I shook my head in silent denial.

No longer finding any satisfaction in my distress she adverted my gaze and continued, "You were never meant to die."

"Then what happened? Tell me what happened?" I practically begged, wanting to understand.

For a moment she seemed to hesitate.

"Please Aphrodite, I need to know," I implored. When all I got was silence I decided to bring out the big guns and use the one thing I knew she valued nearly as much as herself against her. "How do you expect me to save him if I don't even know why he needs saving in the first place?"

"Fine," she finally agreed, her eyes taking on the same glow as Eros's as she held a perfectly manicured hand out towards me.

I suddenly felt a tug in my mind and bringing a hand up to my throbbing head glared at her.

"What are you doing to me?"

"You will always doubt my words," was her response. "This is too important for me to allow any of you doubts to linger. So since it seems you can't trust my words I'm going to give you something you cannot doubt."

Fighting the pain in my head I demanded, "And what the hell is that?"

She took a deep breath before replaying, "Eros's memory."

Unlike the last time a memory was forced upon me the world did not fade to black. Instead there was nothing but a flash. Feeling as if I was being pulled out of my own body I let out a gasp and found myself reduced to little more than a passive observer.

Through hate filled eyes I found myself glaring. With her head held high and blue eyes determine the woman before me took a tentative step forward, the unwavering resolve in her gaze belying the uncertainty of her step. She wore her hair in the Grecian style. The long blonde curls piled high on her head with glorious cascades of golden silk falling against the classical Greek peplos that hugged her body to perfection. To many she was beautiful and in another time, another place I would gladly agree but right now, at this moment the feeling of hate, overwhelming betrayal and a hurt that transcended all belief made her the vilest creature to ever meet my gaze.

"You will thank me for this later," her soft melodious voice gently told me.

"No, I will hate you for this," I found myself snarling, the sound of my voice a growling tenor that sounded oddly familiar. I grabbed her arm roughly, an action that for some reason shocked the both of us, but unlike her I was too far-gone to care. "So help me Aphrodite," I growled, the simple fact I'd used her name causing her blue eyes to widen in a fear that I knew was relatively unknown to her, the fear of losing her son. "If she is lost to me because of you I will never forgive or forget. You will be dead to me forever."

I released her, not caring that she'd fallen, not caring that she was obviously hurt by my words, my behavior. I was always loyal, always there for her. No matter how childish, no matter how petty or wrong she'd been I was always on her side. No more. She was my blood but the woman she so callously hurt, so cruelly disregarded was my wife, my soul. I turned away, forcing myself to concentrate. I was fool. I shouldn't have left my only love, my wife, yet my pride refused to let me do anything else. In all my arrogance I'd simply thought it was enough. I was a god, an immortal and for that she should be thankful I'd even bothered to save her, to love her. I clenched my fists, realizing just what an idiot I've been. God I needed to find her, needed to see her, hold her. Damn it, where was she? Why can't I find her? Why can't I feel her?

"She's dying Cuppy," I heard a murmur from behind me. "It's too late."

My blood went cold but unwilling to believe it convinced myself I was being lied to. I focused all my strength on my intended location and before I knew it I was there. The moment I arrived I felt her. Though very weak she was here, she was alive. She was still with me. My mind a blur I found myself racing through the place, unheeding of all and any of the dangers, my mind focused on one thing and one thing only, finding her. The moment she came into my sight my heart shattered, because it was right then I felt both her and the child she carried take their last breaths. There amongst the darkness she laid, her vibrant eyes closed, looking for all the world as if she were lost in sleep, and though I longed to believe in the same I knew better. I felt tears burn in my eyes and like a man robbed of his all strength fell to my knees. With what little I had I gathered her into my arms. Still unable to believe she was gone I carefully leant down, capturing her cold lips with mine, hoping by some chance, some miracle I'd be able to bring her back to life.

"Please don't leave me, breathe my love, breathe," I brokenly cried, not caring in slightest of the weakness I displayed, of the weakness my father had been determined to beat out of me as a child. "Please Psyche. I need you."

Fingers shaking I traced the soft curve of her cheeks, the pout of her lips, remembering the times we'd share, the nights we loved. I buried my face in the mass of ebony curls, the sight of her violet gaze burned into my memory as I recalled the last time I had seen them, teary and full of pain as I walked away from her. I don't know how long I remained there. Seconds? Minutes? Hours? I didn't care. Wouldn't even bother to budge even if the whole world crumbled around me. I refused to let her go. Not again. Never. Not without a fight. Steeling my resolve I lifted my head, willing myself to be strong, for my voice not to shake as I summoned the only one I could think to help, "Hades, I command you to show yourself."

"What do you want?" came an irritable voice as a tall darkly handsome man appeared before me. With his shoulder length hair pulled back into a low ponytail and a neatly trimmed goatee that only added to the harshness of his already sharp features the imposing figure of death stood, dressed head to toe in the black leather that had long since become as much a trademark as his surly temperament. "This better be good arrow boy. I was just in the middle of-" He trailed off, swearing fiercely as his gaze fell on the prone form lying in my arms. His eyes immediately softened, a testament to the change his beautiful wife had wrought in him. The old Hades wouldn't have given a damn about anything or anyone but himself. "That wasn't supposed to happen."

"Then give her back to me," I demanded angrily.

"Boy, considering the circumstances I'll forget you taking that tone with me," he growled back before calmly albeit a bit gruffly replying, "Her death wasn't the will of the Fates and because of that the natural order of thingscannot be observed. Those who are forcibly taken before their time are refused passage. They are forced to just exist, to become lost souls. Never allowed to pass on or be reborn, to just simply exist as a ghost that feels everything a human does but be unable to sate even the most basic of needs. It's a pain far worst than death and even more dreaded than any punishment the three judges could ever sanction. There's nothing I can do. My hands are tied Eros."

He went silent then and with a calculating look stared at me for a moment. His brows furrowed as if pondering something. Then reaching down I felt a touch on my shoulder, a static shock quickly shot through me at his touch. After a while he removed his hand and let out a deep sigh.

"I can't even believe I'm considering this. Like the bitches they are the Fates will definitely make my life one long pain in the ass after the other if they ever found out but I think there's something I can do. The question is, are you willing do anything for her?"

"I will walk through the fires of hell and back again if it meant one more second with her."

"Ah shit, I was kind of hoping all the doom and gloom crap will put you off," he muttered disappointedly, though the faint curve of his lips suggested otherwise. With a shrug he lifted a hand, holding out an open palm to me as it began to illuminate. "Oh well, it's not like the gods can make my life any more of a hell, I mean I already live there already."

A burning sensation wracked my body and though it wasn't enough to induce me to pain I found myself tearing at my chiton. Throwing the cloth aside I looked down, the sight of the black markings that covered my right arm made my mind reeling as I realized what it meant. I heard rather than saw him kneel down, reaching down to place a hand over her heart. A soft glow illuminated from his touch, spreading until her entire body glowed with an ethereal aura. A bright flash blinded my eyes, forcing them to close as a strong breeze washed over my body. I quickly opened my eyes again only to find her gone, in her place a small butterfly whose wings swirled with a brilliance and color I'd never seen or even thought possible. Though mystified by the sheer beauty of such a creature I immediately became panicked by the sudden loss, the sudden disappearance of my wife's body.

"Relax, I just gave her a form and body that can sustain her for the time being," Hades quickly assured, opening his palm to allow the butterfly to flutter into his hand. "She has your blood in her and because of that unlike the other lost souls she can exist in this realm physically. It will be a while yet before anything bigger than this is possible. Both Persephone and I will look after her for you. She will grow in strength and when and only when I'm sure she's capable will I give her a human form and when I do the real test will begin. Since the day you were married she has been tied to you, her heart, body, and soul. All I've done is strengthen that which had already existed, tying your fates together for all time. Without you she'd once again be doomed to a fate far worst than death and without her you will lose all emotions, becoming naught but a shell of the man you had once been." He looked up at me then, his expression grim. "Trust me, it's not a great way to live."

"I'm already dead without her," I brokenly responded. "Tell me what must be done. No matter what the cost I don't care. I just want her back."

"You have one chance Eros, so listen and listen good because I won't be repeating myself," he began to say. "Once she has been returned you have until the eve of her seventeenth birthday. Before then you must unite yourselves once again through the sacred bonds that has forever entwined your souls. Your love is the reason I'm able to save her and only with your love will either of you be able to live again."

He scowled at that.

"Damn, I'm starting to sound like some old fucking oracle minus all that cryptic shit and a whole lot of mush. You better appreciate what I'm doing for you. God knows I already hate myself for it."

With those words he stood, my world in his hands as he slowly disappeared. For a while I could do no more than remain there, my eyes trained on the ground as I absorbed what had just happened and what I had to do. I didn't care how long it took I was going to succeed. I'm not going to lose her, not again.

Coming back to myself I let out a loud gasp. Eyes watering with the ferocity of the emotions that still lingered. His pain, his devastation, it was just about enough to cripple anyone.

"I c-can't," I panted.

Clearly taking my denial as a refusal to help, to save myself from whatever hell I was promised if I didn't, she let out an angry demand of, "Can you really leave him like that? An eternity of nothing?"

Unable to handle the recrimination I could hear in her voice I snapped back with a bitter, "Why not? He left me."

"No, he didn't," the goddess corrected, her eyes refusing to meet mine as she released a breath it seemed she'd been holding all her life. "At least never in the way you thought."

She paused then, that one simple admittance gaining her my complete attention.

"When he married you he disobeyed my orders. Not only that but he went completely against our rules and he knew it. So when he left that night, yes, a part of it was hurt on his behalf that you'll so easily doubt him and his love for you but another part of it was so he could ensure your safety. For rather than running to me like a hurt little boy the stories would have you believe he went to plead his case to Zeus and then to me."

"Then why didn't he come back?"

"Because I wouldn't let him," she admitted with some hesitance. "Because the moment I found out what he did I had him locked up. I was convinced neither your love for him or his for you were true. You see the first time he laid eyes on you he accidentally put himself under his own spell."

She gave a wry smile at that.

"I twisted the true nature of Cupid's arrows to my advantage, allowed myself to see only what I wanted to see. I knew that they compelled attraction, even lust, but I also knew that without the presence of true love its effects eventually diminishes. In my anger I held onto to that thought. I was convinced all he needed was time, that whatever he was feeling was nothing more than a by product of his own spell."

Shaking my head I whispered with certainty, "You were wrong."

"Once initiated I knew that there are only two ways to break the hold of Cupid's arrows," she continued, completely ignoring me. "One is to let it run its course. And-"

"Two," I interrupted with a realization that came a lifetime too late. "Is death."

Something twisted deep inside me as both their losses, both Psyche's and Eros's, weighed down on me. It tore at me, compounding together like a physical blow to the gut.

"I knew my life mattered nothing to you but I was carrying his child. How could you let your own grandchild die like that? Even if I had to die you could've saved it."

Unconsciously I felt my hands move to rest over my stomach as my words faded into the suddenly overbearing silence around me. There was no response. At least not any I could hear. But the response I saw was enough to send me crashing towards the body of the woman before me.

"You heartless bitch," I cried, not holding back as I slammed her hard into the wall. "You could've saved our child."

Again, there was silence. I didn't know why but the silence angered me more than any words could. Uncaring of the consequence I brought my hand back and with all the strength I possessed, slapped her, again and again. Not stopping until I felt myself being pulled back and away, brought against the warmth of an embrace I knew only too well.

"That's enough Thera," I heard Anteros murmur. "You're only hurting yourself. Trust me. She feels nothing."

Knowing what he said was true I wrapped my arms around him and let out a broken cry.

In a tone that brook no arguments he turned to the shell shocked woman that stood before us and ordered, "Go."

"But-"

"You've said your piece. Your presence is no longer needed." he interrupted in a steely tone. There was a brief pause. "Aphrodite."

At that there came the sound of a hurt gasp.

"Ant-"

"Go. I will not ask you again."

"Fine," she finally agreed. "But remember what is at stake here."

"I know perfectly well what is at stake," came his cold reply. "Better than you."

Not a word was spoken but even without being told I knew that she was gone. In the silence that followed Anteros gently guided me back towards the bed, setting me down on its edge as he carefully wiped away the tears.

"Are you okay?"

"No," was my blunt reply. "No. I'm really not okay. How can I be when I'm the only one who can save him and I'm somehow suppose to do that by loving him."

A sob caught in my throat.

"I can accept that I was her, that I was Psyche once upon a time ago but I'm not that person anymore. I can't be that person anymore," I cried, griping his arm tightly as I fought against the tears. "I don't even know how I feel about him right now. I don't even know if what I'm feeling is because of me or if it's only because of her. I don't know what's real and what isn't anymore. I don't even know if I'm real. Am I even real Anteros? Can I even be real if I was never born? I was created right. This body, this me, was created." I paused with a whimper. "Am I even human?"

"Listen to me Thera," he forcibly called, his tone demanding nothing less than my complete attention. "You were born differently but that doesn't make you any less of a person. It doesn't make you any less human. I held you in my arms as a baby, I've felt your heart beat, I've seen you grow up, seen all your smiles and pains.."

He gently touched my cheek.

"Pysche is and will always be a part of you. Even when you didn't remember she was always there, a distant part of you that has helped shaped you into the kind, caring person you are today. But you have long grown beyond her. This smart, independent and incredibly strong young woman I see before me is who I imagine she would have become if given the chance. You have long become your own person Thera. Don't ever doubt that," he said, his expression becoming pained as he wrapped his arms around me. "I won't tell you what to do. But I'm going to be selfish and beg you to please give this a chance, to give my brother a chance. Because if it doesn't work out I know I will still have Eros, even if what remains will only ever be a mere shadow of who he used to be he will still be here, but you… I don't want to lose you Thera."

He took a deep breath.

"He can't lose you. Not again."

"What difference will it make? He doesn't remember," I cried, bringing my arm back to beat down on his chest in frustration. I lifted my head and demanded, "Why doesn't he remember?"

For what felt like an eternity there was nothing but silence.

"Have you ever heard of the Lethe?" he began in an unusually somber tone. "It is a river that runs through the Underworld, the river of forgetfulness. For a mortal it only takes one drink and your memories are completely erased. For an immortal it was enough to help erase some of their more painful memories, enough to make them forget what wants to be forgotten."

"He-"

"No," Anteros vehemently interrupted the thought before it could even form. "Knowing what he knew Eros would have never willingly drunk from the Lethe. Despite what he was going through, despite everything he was feeling he would have endured forever with the pain of your death just for the chance to be with you again."

"Then what happened?"

"Aphrodite," was his only reply. "Still believing her own delusions and unable to withstand being hated by her eldest son she tricked him into drinking from the Lethe."

At that he gave me an imploringly look.

"He didn't want to forget you but you have to understand that he was so broken, in so much pain that I guess a part of him, no matter how minuscule, secretly wanted to forget and it was enough to give the magic held by the waters the power it needed to take his memories."

Not quite sure if I wanted the answer I asked in a small, almost broken voice, "Will he ever remember?"

He sighed and replied, "I don't know Thera. I honestly don't know."

Allowing myself the comfort of his embrace I held onto him tightly, trying my hardest to stop the tears as I felt something inside me break.