Word Count: ~24,600
Warnings: loose interpretation of Greek and Christian mythologies (both within and outside of canon)
Summary and Author's Notes: At the masterpost.
Samouel couldn’t lift his head to drink. Aidoneus held his neck, pouring small trickles of water into his mouth between his wheezing breaths. Aidoneus was careful in gradually lowering him back to the cushion, running his fingers through Samouel’s sweaty, graying hair.
Aidoneus could feel the approach of Death – Samouel was slipping away from him with every passing second. His fingers curled in the mortal’s shirt, gripping tightly, but he knew better than most that he couldn’t stop Death from coming. Even he had never been powerful enough for that.
But he did have enough juice to keep Samouel from going too far.
He lit the candles, positioned in a circle around them, and kneeled beside Samouel’s head to place both hands on his lover’s scalp.
“I love you,” he whispered, pressing a kiss to Samouel’s forehead. His eyes fluttered open to lock with the god’s, returning the sentiment without having to rasp it out. Aidoneus smiled, his eyes wet, and began the incantation.
He could feel the magic draining his power as he spoke. Samouel’s eyes closed again as Aidoneus leaned over him, pressing his palms to the sick man’s chest. He could feel Samouel’s soul, so close to the surface in preparation of leaving its host, and watched warm strands of its bright orange light weave around his fingers. He recited the spell louder, refusing to let his voice waver as he encouraged the bond between them. Finally, the bond snapped into place and he could feel the soul as strongly as if it were one of his own limbs.
Tears were streaming down his cheeks but he ignored them. He took a cloth and dipped it in a bowl of cool, clear water, wringing it out and dabbing it against Samouel’s fevered skin. There wasn’t anything to do but try to soothe him until he fell unconscious, and hold him until their time was up.
He sensed Death before he saw Him, familiar as He was. His face was as gaunt as ever and His expression utterly blank. Human death was nothing more than a job to Him – He was too old for individual lives to be significant. For a moment, Aidoneus envied Him. Death would never experience the grief he was feeling over a mortal.
“I must take him,” Death stated simply, and Aidoneus appreciated the courtesy. It was the closest thing to comfort he would be offered. He nodded, watching as Death’s touch sucked the last breath from Samouel’s lungs. Then He was gone.
A reaper followed soon after, approaching the spirit who was trying to orient himself, the way they always did after death. Samouel looked from his still body to Aidoneus, who offered him a weak smile.
The reaper reached out for him, pausing and blinking before she could lay her hand on his arm. She looked towards Aidoneus with narrowed eyes. “What have you done? You know you cannot cheat death.”
“He is dead,” Aidoneus pointed out, the corners of his lips quirking up with real amusement. The reaper was relatively new – not one that Aidoneus had worked with back when he’d been in power. “I am not trying to keep you from taking him.”
She finally made contact, feeling the spell. “Curse you, Hades. He should be Heaven’s.”
“He is mine,” Aidoneus corrected, his voice cool as he stared her down. “My bonded mate. You can take him now, but he will come back to me.”
She huffed, looking at Samouel again. “Come. You will rest until his magic brings you back to earth. You should not have agreed to this.”
Aidoneus could have beamed with pride when no trace of worry darkened Sameoul’s wrinkled face. “It was my choice as much as his.” He held out his hand towards Aidoneus, who did the same, their fingertips not quite touching.
“I’ll see you soon, my love,” Aidoneus murmured, and Samouel smiled. The reaper led him away, and Aidoneus knelt down to pick up the candles. He would mourn, and the grief would weigh heavily on him for many days to come. But his Samouel would return, and that was enough.