Lightning struck. So many people were screaming. His friends. His family. Some of them were dead, and many of them were injured. Oh, gods, HE was doing this. It was all him, and no matter how hard he had tried... there was nothing he could do to stop him. It was always going to BE him causing this. He should have known this was coming. He was warned, but he couldn't stay away. It was this place...
John took a deep breath, and began to crawl over to a body just a couple of feet away. He knew who it was, but he knew that he had to see it for himself. He winced as he outstretched his hand. He gently rolled the body over, and took a long look at that face. Pain, both physical and emotional, flooded his entire body as he saw the life flickering away from the boy's face-
John Watson woke with a start. It kept happening, that dream. The camp, the lightning. And him. None of it made any sense. But that was ok, he rationalized. It was just a dream. Only a dream. He brought his hands to his face, and rubbed his face, as if trying to wash the nightmare away.
He had seen all those faces before, in a crowd. It was impossible to see faces in dreams that he had never seen in real life before. He'd been told that a dozen times. There was no one set out to kill an entire group of adolescents and young adults. There was no storm.
And yet, as the days went by, these dreams made him worry more and more. After all, it wasn't as if stranger things have happened to him that day alone.
He was attacked by monsters on a daily basis. Monsters that he couldn't fight back.
John had always been a good shot. A great shot even. He had never missed a target, not ever. Which is why it stunned him when the bullets seemed to go right through the monsters.
All he could do now, was run. And he had been running. For weeks now.
It all started about a month ago, when he saw shadows shifting. It could only have been a trick of the eye, couldn't it? Then just the next day, the shadows seemed to be following him. He had hoped, prayedthat he was just being paranoid. These were the shadows that haunted him since childhood. Why would they come back now?
But it would only get worse. One random person on the street would just grab at him one day, and their face would just change, and the shape of their once human body would melt into a more demonic like form.
He was lucky enough to be able to get out of the fake-humans grasp, but he wasn't able to lose her for two miles. The next time, the monsters didn't even bother hiding in human form. They just started to come out of no where. They varied in shape, but mostly they reminded John of wild looking wolves.
John knew that he had to run farther once they discovered where he lived. He couldn't bare to put his family in danger. The monsters only wanted to kill him? Fine. They could chase him to his hearts content.
And they did. John couldn't sleep, he ran out of food money five days ago, and he had never been more desperate for a shower in his life. Waking up on a park bench was the highlight of his day. He had always been a fighter, but he didn't know how much more of this he could take. He had been beaten, and bitten, and forced into sleeping in ridiculous places for odd hours of the day.
He slowly stood up, feeling the affects of his involuntary fast. He needed somewhere to rest...
He groaned when he heard that all too familiar growl coming from the shadows. He grabbed his back pack, and he began to run towards the city, where the he hoped to lose the monsters in the crowd. No one else seemed to see them, and the monsters didn't seem to glance at anyone else.
The monsters seemed to thirst for his blood alone.
The day was finally ending, and settling it's way into the dark. Shadows washed over the entire city, and the street light started to flicker on one by one. This was his favorite time of the day, when hunting the unseen was the least problematic.
He peered around the corner of the abandoned building to see if anyone (or anything) was coming his way. For now however, he was undetected. This just intensified his curiosity. Usually, the monsters could sense him from miles away.
Life had been so peaceful lately. No running into monsters. No enemies trying to breach the gates of the only safe place he knew. He had never been so bored in his entire life.
So of course the seemingly random increase of Monster activity in London called to Sherlock like a siren's song. Nothing much was going on in Camp Half-Blood recently, except for the recent flood of new campers. He absolutely refused to take on any of them. Nothing irritated him more than someone asking him the same questions, over and over.
Luckily, Chiron knew all about Sherlock's boredom and how dangerous that could be, and sent him on this small quest. Of course, he wouldn't Sherlock wander around the London alley ways by himself, so he was stuck with Lestrade blundering behind him. Still, it could be worse. Chiron could have made Anderson "watch over him" instead.
A sort of growl seemed to come from the other side of the building. Sherlock moved silently, listening hard for another sign of the beast. He heard Lestrade sheathing his bronze sword. So the fun was about to begin...
According to Chiron, the monsters in this area were searching for something, and for that reason alone, it worried Chiron and intrigued Sherlock.
Monsters didn't usually hunt anything but Half-Bloods. Perhaps a God or Goddess had sent them to do something? Possible, but somehow unlikely.
Perhaps they are just getting restless from the lack of demigods to hunt. Also unlikely.
Suddenly, they heard the pounding of footsteps coming towards them. Sherlock took a step back, and pressed against the brick wall of the building. It wasn't just one set of footsteps coming towards them. They all weren't the same size, either.
Someone was being chased.
He only caught a glimpse of the teenaged boy running from the two huge, wolf like monsters running after him, and it was obvious that he wasn't in good condition. Sherlock sensed that the teenager had been teetering between life and death for a while now.
He had been running for a while. He could see the monsters. Conclusion: That teenager was an unregistered demigod.
That didn't happen. It hasn't happened for years... and yet, there he was, running for his life.
Oh, this was going to be fun.
He waited until the monsters turned a corner, and then he started to run after them, hoping Lestrade was at least smart enough to catch on.
Sherlock's heart raced as they followed the monsters through the alleys. The thrill was back. Up ahead, he saw that the young man had stumbled, and for a moment he thought that he was going to collapse. Surprisingly enough, he didn't. If they didn't get to him soon enough, however...
Without warning, it had gone silent again, save for the sound of the monster's growls. He must have been cornered. Wanting to make sure he and Lestrade went undiscovered, he slowed down, and moved quietly.
Each step was calculated, and silent. Then Sherlock realized, the monsters were not going to attack him, or Lestrade.
Stupid, absolutely stupid. They had been hunting. The specimen was right in front of them. Perhaps he had been right about his earlier assumptions. No, he was sure of it. Someone wanted that boy to die. They made sure his name was wiped from the list, and had been hunting him ever since.
That's right. He thought. A new prophecy was made just a month ago. It must have something to do with him.
Brilliant. But sloppy.
Once again, he found himself peering around a corner. And there was the teen, looking hopeless as he saw no means of escaping. Obviously he had missed the sound of extra footsteps.
The monsters were lowering them selves, getting ready to pounce, and enjoy taking the life of their pray, and Sherlock couldn't help but be annoyed.
He felt through the alley way, and commanded the shadows to bind the beasts. No way would he allow them to destroy the first interesting thing that came his way.
Lestrade, without wasting another moment, ran towards the monsters, and slashed them both with a great swing of his bronze sword, and the monster's burst into dust.
Lestrade put his sword into his pocket, (the sword had the not-so incredible ability of shrinking. It was not very creative, but at least it was useful.) and turned to the teenager.
"You alright?" He asked, voice full of concern.
The teen swayed one way, then the other, before collapsing.
"Sherlock-" Lestrade called, waiting for some explanation.
"He isn't dead," He said simply. "But we need to get him to a half-way house immediately."
He turned, and started heading towards the nearest half-way house (only a couple of blocks, we should have no trouble patching him up. Just a bit of ambrosia, and some rest, and then he'll be able to talk.)
Sherlock started listing the list of characteristics the mystery demigod had in his head, trying to distinguish who his divine parent(s? Possible) was. Blond hair, didn't catch the colour of his eyes. Has a good build, he's been on the run for a while. Athletic. Possibly been mending his own wounds.
Sherlock wouldn't be bothered with any other thoughts that night. Lestrade would deal with all the transport will Sherlock connected the dots.
Re-Post. Non beta'd
John did not have any nightmares, for once. He was just dead asleep. The darkness was so welcome, though. After days of being conscious, this was an improvement. His body was healing, and he even felt good. Warm. Safe. Maybe it was the last month that had been a bad dream. Perhaps he'd be waking up any moment in his room. The blankets he would be under would be his own. He'd go to school the next day. Struggle through, but work hard in class. Maybe join the army.
He shifted in his sleep, and breathed in deeply. This happiness didn't last long.
When John awoke it was still dark outside, but he could tell that he had no business being where he was. Where ever that was.
He took a good look around the darkened room. Looked like some sort of guest bedroom, none he ever visited though. From what he could see, it was cluttered with all sorts of books, and boxes, and one ridiculous looking cat jumper was spread out on a chair in the corner. To his right, there was a night stand with a glass full of water.
Not only that, but someone had actually changed his clothes. (A faded orange tee shirt that read “Camp Half-Blood, and pajama bottoms. Thank god he was unconscious for that.) Someone certainly went out of their way to take care of him. In a moment of panic, John checked himself for his gun. Whoever had taken him in had hid his gun.
Without a second though, John threw the covers off, and jumped out of bed, and waited for the pain that was sure to follow. But none came. That might have been the strangest thing to happen to him that week. His body should not have healed that quickly. That was not possible, not human.. But at least this meant he could run again.
He started to search the room for his belongings. Did his rescuer hide all his stuff? As much as he'd appreciate all they had done for him, he couldn't shake the annoyance. He had a gun on him and they had taken it away. Shouldn't that have clued them in that he was dangerous? That it wasn't safe for them for John to stay here?
Maybe they have my gun in another room? They probably think I'm some escaped convict or something. Or maybe they do know I'm in danger. Though looking around the room, that didn't make much sense. This place looked like it belonged to an older women.
He quietly stepped out of the guest room, and took a good look around at the room. It seemed that the whole flat was cluttered with books, and odd trinkets. The wallpaper had a horrible 70's feel to them, while the carpets looked ancient, with some of the tassels at the end battered and frayed. A fraction of light his his eye, and he turned his head to see two bronze spears hung on the wall.
He walked over to the wall and admired the craftsmanship of the weapons. They had a sort of otherworldly feel to them. He brought up a hand and swept his hand carefully over one of the pointed tips. It seemed to pulse with power.
John shook his head lightly and took a look a some of the books that were laying around. Usually, John hated reading. His dyslexia had only seemed to get worse over the years. The letters on the page seemed to dance, and with each new sentence, his frustration grew. His school grades dropped, and he hadn't even bothered to try to do his homework after a while.
But after looking at these books John realized that he almost understand them. The letters weren't switching around, and he didn't have any problems sounding the words out in his head. But... these books weren't written in English. Not a single book. It looked like some form of... Greek. Was it Greek? Why could he understand it? He picked one up.
The words formed easily in his head.
The Power Woman's Guide to Knitting.
Alright then, time to put that back down.
John would feel weird leaving this place. It seemed that he could almost be normal in this cozy little flat. With the books he could read, and the weapons on the wall, and the over all idea of just finding some place.
He wished he could leave a note expressing his thanks, but he doubted he could leave something legible in English, or anything in Greek. Instead, he went back to the room, and made the bed as best he could, and even took the time to straighten a few things out.
It would just be easier if he could just find his things. He halfheartedly searched the flat as quietly as possible. John managed to find his pack stuffed in the an odd corner of the room. He quickly went through it. A great weight was lifted from his shoulders when he saw his gun was in the side pocket.
He made his way towards the door. He sighed a breath of relief when he saw that his shoes were right by the door. He was surprised by how many other shoes littered the area. He pulled on his shoes and reached for the knob, refusing to look back. John didn't need the extra dose of guilt.
The door barely opened before someone caught his attempted escape.
“If you leave now, you'll be dead in 5 days.”
John slowly turned around to see a smirking teenager about his age sitting on one of the ancient looking chairs. Dark curls clashed against pale skin. His long legs were crossed, and his hands folded. He stared at John with those pale eyes. John had never felt more exposed.
“A week, if you're lucky.” He said.
John frowned. He didn't know this guy, but he could already tell that he was going to be a massive headache.
“Why did you bring me here?” He asked. He was honestly curious. Why would this kid waste his time on a total stranger.
The stranger raised his eyebrows in surprise, as if expecting a totally different response.
He got up in one smooth motion, and walked over to John. Without a word he closed the door. He left his hand on the door, and leaned close to John. It seemed he had NO idea what personal space was, and if he did he ignored it. On top of that, he was much taller than John and he kept staring at him with those eyes. (God, what colour were they? Green? Blue? Grey? All of the above?)
“Why weren't you claimed? You're over 13. There isn't anything all that special about you. Just an ordinary demigod. Not even a child of The Big Three.”
Oh, so he's crazy. Ok.
“Look, if you could just tell me where my things are, that would be great, and I'll leave. Won't bother you further. Thanks, though, for everything. I mean it.
“Without any money? And you weren't even planning on stealing any. It didn't even occur to you, did it?” A look of satisfaction crossed his face. He was loving this, wasn't he?
“Really though, I need to leave, you don't understand-”
“I understand that you've been on the run for at least a month. That you refuse to stay in one place for very long in fear that someone might get hurt. Things have been chasing you, and you don't even know why.”
“Well, yes but-”
“You also don't have any idea how to fight them, and yet you keep your gun on you at all times. Paranoia, is it? You've been followed by the monsters all your life. They are always there in the corner of your eye.”
“How did you-”
“Been expelled from a school or two in the past. Probably only one. You're not the type to act out, although you do get highly frustrated when it comes to school. Specifically the fact that you can't read properly. Dyslexia. Probably been diagnosed with ADHD, as well.”
Ok, now that was scary. How could he possibly know any of that? He'd barely been able to get out an entire sentence.
“Oh, uh. John. John Watson. Just how did you know all that?”
Sherlock (who on earth names their child Sherlock?) finally put his hand down, but didn't move away.
“It's obvious. When I saw you running from the monsters, you didn't look scared, just determined to get away. You had seen them before. Most of us have.”
So he wasn't the only one who had seen monsters. It felt a bit wrong that he felt relieved, but he couldn't help it. At least that canceled out the theory that he himself was crazy.
Sherlock sighed, looking disappointed at John.
“Demigods, John. Pay attention. You're a demigod. Though who your divine parent is, I haven't quite narrowed that down yet...” He seemed to look even harder at John, as if the information would suddenly appear on his face.
John resisted the urge to shrink away.
“There is no way either of parents are divine.” He loved them, yes, but he doubted that either of them were Gods.
“They lied to you. One of them is not your real parent.”
At this, John got annoyed. He pushed Sherlock back lightly.
“Listen, I appreciate all you've done, but you can't just go and say things like that. You don't actually know my family.”
Sherlock just looked taken aback.
“Wouldn't you want to know who was lying to you?”
John shook his head, and he brought his hands to his face.
“No, no, that's- No. That's not the point!”
“Then what is 'the point'? Would you like to continue living a lie? Not knowing why you have monsters chasing after you, or why you can do certain things without explanation? How dull. That's how most people choose to live. To ignore the facts.”
John let this information sink in. He did want to know why he had to run all the time. Why some things came naturally to him while other seemingly normal things to do were so difficult.
“You can remain running. Live out your last days in pain, and ignorance. Or...”
John knew that Sherlock was doing this on purpose. Luring him into something. But he was already entranced. He did want to know.
“You could come with me. Hone your skills. Find out what it all means. Fight the monsters.”
John scoffed. Sherlock should sound crazy to him. Instead John found hope in his words. That maybe things would start to change for the better. He found the words slipping out of his mouth before he had even really thought about it.
“Oh, god, yes.”
What did I just agree to? John wondered as he saw the annoyingly satisfied expression bloom on Sherlock's face. Smug bastard.
Sherlock didn't speak another word. Instead, he walked over to one of the bookshelves and picked three different books. Each had looked like they had gone through hell, with yellowed pages that waved slightly. As Sherlock sat down and opened one of them, a faint cracking noise erupted from the book.
He didn't bother asking Sherlock what he was reading. He was already lost to the words that were printed on the aged pages.
Taking the hint, John went back to his guest room and sat on the bed. He had so many questions he wanted to ask, and at the same time he had no idea where to start. Was he really a demigod? He didn't feel like one. Never felt he could be anything other than average. (Except when it came to playing the clarinet. John was a damn good clarinettist.)
Then there was the whole being lied to his entire life thing. Did his mother really cheat on his dad? Not his mother, his sweet mother, she would never. Sherlock must have got that wrong. Right? But then he had mentioned the monsters. And he'd known about his dyslexia and ADHD. Could they really all be symptoms of being a demigod?
Maybe he was just one of the unfortunate few who had dyslexia and ADHD. That might have thrown the monsters off.
As if monsters could sense learning disabilities. That was ridiculous. At least, it sounded ridiculous inside his head. Would it be better to learn that Sherlock had made a mistake about him?
John sighed. Well, if Sherlock had it wrong, at least he'd get to see the look on his face once he found out.
For the rest of the night, John thought of all the things that might happen in the days to come. Where would Sherlock take him, and what kind of training he might receive to defeat the monsters. He even dared to think about who his father could be. If his father was a god, it was probably one of the smaller, insignificant gods. He wondered if it was possible if he would ever meet his father. What would it be like standing in the presence of a god?
Before he knew it, sunlight was streaming in through the space between the curtains, the light warming his skin. For a moment he was at peace with himself. All his nightmares were fading, everything was going to be OK. The moment of peace was interrupted by the sound of a light knock on the door.
"Uh. Come in."
The door opened, revealing an older woman. She was a tiny thing. She had taken care of herself through the years, the only wrinkles on her face were where her warm smile touched her eyes. She seemed to radiate cheerfulness and motherly affection.
"Would you like some tea, dear?"
He smiled, and nodded.
"Yes, thank you."
It must have been her nursing him back to health last night. He laughed at the idea of Sherlock actually taking the time to heal him.
John pushed himself off the bed, and walked out of his room. The flat seemed to be a lot busier now that the sun was up. The sunlight that spilled in through the windows had just made John feel clearheaded, and ready to take on the day.
He was one of the few people that actually enjoyed the morning.
"Sherlock, dear, did you get any sleep at all?" the woman asked softly, her concern clear.
John turned his attention to the big chair in the middle of the room and sure enough, there he was. Sherlock didn't seem to have moved since last night. He didn't even acknowledge the old woman's presence. He was too busy trying to absorb as much information as he could from the books stacked around him.
Another man sat across from Sherlock, studying just as hard. However, the look of confusion on his face indicated that he wasn't understanding the material as well. He looked to be about twenty, with jet black hair, his eyes equally as dark. He looked up and saw John, a smile stretching across his face.
"Morning," he said. Placing his book on the table, the man walked over to John and held out his hand.
He must be really desperate to get away from all that studying John thought.
"John Watson." He smiled back, shaking Greg's hand.
"Are you... Uh." John's voice faltered. He felt like an absolute idiot. Is that even the right way to ask someone if they were a demigod? Was there a right way to ask someone? He almost missed the simplicity of his life a week ago. No questions asked, just running. It was going to take some time to get used to social situations. Not that he ever really dealt with them in the first place.
Thankfully, Greg just nodded. He was grinning at John.
"Son of Nemesis, actually," Greg smiled. So they were the Greek gods John realised. At least that cleared things up. Greg was standing taller. It was clear he was very proud of his heritage. "So Sherlock told you all about Camp Half-Blood then?"
"He didn't really tell me anything. Besides possibly being a demigod."
Sherlock sighed loudly in the background.
The landlady handed John a striped mug, and gestured him to take a seat.
"Thank you Ms..."
"Mrs. Hudson, dear. And don't you worry about a thing." She handed a mug to Greg and Sherlock as well, before disappearing back into the kitchen.
John sat on one of the big comfy looking chairs.
"So what is Camp Half-Blood?" John asked Greg.
Greg sat back down and scratched the back of his head. A bit of a complicated answer then.
"Camp Half-Blood is a safe haven for people like us. Demigods. It's the only place on earth where we are safe, actually. You're a bit old though. Usually people arrive at age 13. You should have been claimed. I don't understand why you're not on our lists... It's a miracle you lasted this long."
"It's obvious, isn't it?"
John and Greg looked over at Sherlock. He must have seen the look of confusion on their faces as he leaned forward to explain.
"Someone didn't want John to be found. So he wasn't. When the new prophecy was made a month ago, whoever had made his name disappear panicked. So they sent monsters after him in hopes that it would kill him."
"Sherlock, you haven't even heard the prophecy. It could be about anything. And monsters have always gone after demigods. What makes hunting him any different?" Greg tried to reason.
Sherlock's gaze locked onto John. "Have the recent attacks become worse over the past month?"
"Sherlock-" Greg warned.
John licked his lips, an old nervous habit making its reappearance. "They just started to attack last month," he said quietly.
But, he thought wildly, that didn't mean someone went out of their way to make sure he didn't get to camp. Maybe someone really had just forgotten about him. He guessed the Gods did have a lot of children. Why worry about one more?
"John is a threat to whoever hid him. Not enough to finish him off themselves, though. They sent a couple of their thugs because they believed that John would not be able to handle it. The person we're dealing with is smug. Believes themself to be more important than everyone else."
"Incredible." John blurted out.
Sherlock gave him a curious expression.
Greg seemed less impressed. "You can't just make things up like that Sherlock, there aren't any facts to back your statement up. We should wait until we get back to camp. Chiron is going to want to hear from John. We haven't met an unregistered demigod since Nico di Angelo. Isn't that interesting enough?"
"The facts are there, you are just ignoring them," Sherlock said. "Chiron will likely tell you the same thing."
John was getting irritated. He was the only one in the room who found all of this new.
"Who is Chiron?"
"Oh, he's Camp Director." Mrs. Hudson said as she came back into the room. She settled into one of her own chairs. She looked at John and smiled.
"Feeling better now?"
"Yes, thank you. But where is this Camp Half-Blood?" He was getting desperate for any sort of information.
"New York." Sherlock said without missing a beat.
John's mouth dropped open. For some reason this shocked him more than the monsters or the idea that he was a demigod.
"Problem?" Sherlock looked slightly surprised.
He scoffed, "And how, exactly, are we going to get to New York?" Mostly meaning himself. He couldn't exactly afford a trip to America. He didn't have any money to his name- literally.
"Oh don't worry about that, I managed to get everyone ticket's last night," Mrs Hudson said cheerfully. Seeing John's look of surprised, she waved her hand casually. "Oh, it wasn't difficult. You'll be leaving tomorrow as I thought you might need the extra rest. Although, the ambrosia really seems to have done the trick," she added happily.
"Food of the Gods. It heals demigods. If you were mortal, you would have burned." Sherlock answered for him. A ghost of the smug look he had seen earlier had made its way onto Sherlock's face.
"I don't even have a passport." He said.
"I have one ready for you already!" Mrs Hudson said proudly. "When it comes to travel, it is very useful to know a child of Hermes."
This felt vaguely like kidnapping. Looking back, John realized that he had little choice in anything since his run-in with the demigods. Before they even knew his name, they fed him a potentially poisonous substance, bought him a plane ticket and forged a passport. Just what would happen when he actually got to this camp?
Special to thanks to my anonymous (but lovely) beta reader and britpicker
It's the little things that really make life good, John realized. He was thankful that Mrs. Hudson had taken the time to cook him the first decent meal he had had in weeks. Then she had offered to mend his clothes. John was euphoric when she told him he could also have a shower.
At that moment, nothing sounded better. He could spend an entire day in the shower. Feeling the warm water run through his hair and down his body put him in a state of relaxation. Washing away the grime was really just a plus. And towels, soft towels that smelt like heaven. He would never take anything for granted again.
In the guest room his clothes were waiting for him on the bed. God, they smelt good, fresh and clean.
He hadn't felt this good in a while.
John supposed it was because he wasn't as sure about his future before. And while that had been exciting, it also gave him a certain sense of hopelessness. But now, going to New York with a group of strangers he had only met the night before, to a place was filled with children of ancient gods? Finally having the opportunity to fight his demons? Now that was exciting. Just the thought of it had his heart racing.
He rubbed his hair with the towel a few times then changed into his clean clothes.
He paused and glanced at the mirror near the door. John had never been vain, but he wanted to look at least presentable to these people who had taken him in. He ruffled his hair a bit, and smiled. With a little more self confidence than earlier, he strode into the living room.
His eyes took a minute to adjust to the surprising darkness of the room. Someone had closed the curtains. Which was ridiculous really, it was a nice day. And Sherlock looked like he could use a bit of sunshine, being as pale as he was.
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, John saw something coming at him rapidly. Instinctively, he ducked. The object he narrowly avoided flew over his head, and smashed into the wall to his left, the noise echoed throughout the flat. A thousand tiny pieces scattered across the floor.
John blinked in surprise. A shadow loomed over him. He looked up to see Sherlock. He was looking at John as if he was some sot of riddle.
"Not Ares, then."
"Hold on, you threw that at me?" Bewilderment was quickly being replaced by anger.
"I've already narrowed it down by quite a bit. It's not going to be a goddess. You seem surprised that you had a different parent. It's unlikely your adoptive father had managed to convince your mother that she had a child without being aware." He thought for a moment. "Perhaps Hephesteus. John, would you object to being set on fire?"
"Wha- Yes! Yes, I would!"
It really should worry him that no one else had been reacting to what Sherlock had been saying. Was he always like this?
Sherlock took in John's entire image, as if to commit it to memory.
Unbelievable. He was going through an entire list of gods within minutes.
Sherlock walked acorss the room, and sat in his favored chair. He looked through some of the books on the coffee table. He picked one at random and opened it up. His eyes however, never left John. He would watch him closely until he figured it out..
John slumped down onto one of the couches. This was going to be the hard part- waiting for the time to pass.
John looked over to Greg, hoping he could take his mind off the fact that Sherlock was watching his every move. But Greg had his head bent low over his bronze coloured sword, taking long careful wipes with a soft rag. It really was a beautiful weapon. John didn't quite understand why it was bronze though. The spears that hung on the wall were the same polished hue.
"What kind of metal is that?", John asked, blushing suddenly as he hadn't actually meant to ask that out loud.
Greg looked up, a spark of pride in those dark eyes. "Oh, it's celestial bronze. That's how we were able to take down the monsters last night. Normal weapons don't work on monsters, or other magical beings. It goes right through them."
"Normal weapons don't work on magical beings? But... they work on demigods, don't they?"
"Unfortunately, yeah. We're part god, part mortal, so we get the benefits of being hit by all sorts of nasty things."
Oh, wonderful. Being a demigod certainly had its perks.
Greg looked thoughtful for a minute, then held his sword out. John wasted no time in getting up and reaching for it. The sword was a lot heavier than he thought it would be. It didn't balance quite right in his hands. He admired the sword, but it wasn't his kind of weapon.
John would rather use his gun. Maybe he could find some bronze bullets somewhere?
He handed the sword back to Greg with a nod of thanks. He walked over to the bookshelves and read some of the titles. He still couldn't believe that he was reading without much difficulty. Well, almost without difficulty. Some words didn't completely translate, which left gaps in the title of some of the books.
Another thought entered his head.
"And... mortals can't see monsters?" John asked hesitantly. He knew that regular people couldn't see the things that chased him. They always gave him strange looks when he was running for his life, yet nothing seemed to be behind him. "Why?"
Sherlock looked at John with a touch of surprise on his face. The look disappeared quickly. "It's because they don't want to," he said. "Or they are just too stupid to see them. Mortal minds can't handle the fact that there are things beyond their control."
Greg rolled his eyes. "He's just being dramatic. Mortals can't see monsters or magic because of The Mist. It makes it hard to actually see the monsters. Messes with their brains, puts in different images. Where we might see a monster with huge wings, mortals will see some kind of bird. It's better that they don't freak out."
Sherlock scoffed, "Dull."
"Why is it so dark in here?" Mrs. Hudson asked as she strode into the room. She placed her hands on the curtains.
"Don't-" Sherlock began.
Sunlight flooded the room as Mrs. Hudson ripped the curtains open. Greg squinted and held his hands up to block the light. Sherlock was still adjusting to the light when he caught a sight of John.
"Mrs. Hudson, do that again." Sherlock asked, his pale eyes fixed on John who was beginning to feel uncomfortable under his intense gaze.
"Do what again?"
Sherlock sighed loudly and got up from his chair. He almost pushed Mrs. Hudson out of the way. She made huffed in annoyance and left the room. "Honestly, Sherlock, you should learn a bit of patience! I'm not a young woman anymore!"
Sherlock closed the curtains, and waited a moment. Then, without warning, he opened them again. And then he did it again, his eyes never leaving John's face.
"Sherlock, could you please not do that?" Greg asked, looking more annoyed with Sherlock by the minute.
Sherlock left the curtains open this time, looking extremely pleased with himself.
"Do you have any drachma?" He asked Greg. He held his hand out.
"What? What for?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes.
"I need to make a call." He said as if it were the most obvious thing. "Well?"
Greg shook his head, and groaned. He placed his sword on the floor carefully and reached into his pocket, pulling out a single silver coin. Sherlock snatched it out of his hand and walked straight into the bathroom and closed the door. The water started to run.
It was the strangest thing John had ever seen.
"Sorry, he's going to make a call in the bathroom?"
Greg had picked up his sword again and started polishing it furiously. Looks like Sherlock was really pushing his luck.
"He's making an 'IM' actually. No demigod uses a phone. It's pretty dangerous."
"Really?" This was a little hard for John to believe. He had never been attacked by a phone. "What's an 'IM'?"
"An Iris Message. Iris being the Goddess of the Rainbows. She passes on messages between Gods. If we ask nicely enough, she'll pass on our message- paying her helps. We need a bit of water and sunlight to contact her."
"Must be a bit difficult to make a rainbow in the shower." John says offhandedly. He wished he could go in there and see it for himself. The world of magic was new to him and he would enjoy seeing some good magic instead of the dark magic he had been chased by.
Moving back to the couch, John began, "Greg,"
"Who is Sherlock's divine parent?" That particular question had been sitting in the back of his mind ever since he had found out about this whole demigod business.
"Oh. Hades, Lord of the Underworld." Greg said. John thought he saw a twinge of fear colour Greg's eyes, though who that fear was directed towards, John didn't know. Sherlock didn't seem the type to go damning people to the underworld. Could he even do that? He wondered. What exactly demigods could do was still a little vague for John.
"There aren't many children of the Big Three," Greg starts. "But they are more powerful than the rest of the demigods. Their power can be a bit... overwhelming. I haven't met many other children of the Big Three but..." He took a deep breath. "Sherlock is one of the most powerful demigods I have ever met."
John got the strangest feeling he wasn't going to like Greg's next words.
"Just... be careful around him. He's taken an interest in you, and that can be-"
"I'll make sure to keep an eye on the person who saved my life." John said.
Greg blinked. He looked a bit shocked.
John couldn't blame him. He wasn't exactly sure where that comment had come from either.
At this moment, Sherlock chose to walk back into the room.
"Talking about me?" He said.
John felt warmth creep up the back of his neck. How had he known that?
"I informed Chiron about your arrival. He's a bit shocked though. He's talking to your possible father as we speak." Sherlock said the word 'possible' as if he was disgusted with it.
"Wait... you know who my father is?" John asked. How could he have figured that out?
"Isn't it obvious?"
Greg's face was in his hands, and he was shaking his head.
Mrs. Hudson must have heard what Sherlock had said. She came back in, a look of excitement on her face. "Oh, you've figured it out! You were always such a clever boy."
"Who is it, then?" John asked. He was feeling more than a bit nervous.
"Apollo." Sherlock said simply.
"Sherlock, what are you basing this on?" Greg asked.
"Oh, come on!" Sherlock exclaimed. "It's so obvious!"
John repressed a smile at Sherlock's impatience at being questioned.
"Didn't you see before? When he walked into the room it took him longer for his eyes to adjust to the dark then a normal person, but when I opened the curtains he didn't need any time to adjust at all."
That was amazing. Had he really deduced who John's father was, just by the way his eyes reacted to sunlight?
Sherlock was giving him that curious look again.
"Do you know you do that out loud?"
John felt himself flush. He really had to stop voicing his thoughts, it was going to get him into trouble one day.
"Oh, um. sorry."
Sherlock smiled lightly. "No, it's... fine."
"So he didn't squint! That doesn't mean anything!" Greg exclaimed.
"It means that you weren't paying attention!" He breathed deeply. "Either way, Chiron will be speaking with Apollo to confirm."
"Apollo is god of the sun... right?" John asked.
"God of prophecy, music, medicine, poetry, archery, and of the sun," Sherlock answered. "And your father."
"Isn't that wonderful, dear!" Mrs. Hudson smiled. "It suits you, as well."
To be honest, John wasn't exactly sure what he thought of the whole thing. He looked at the sunlight that danced across the floor. Was Apollo really his father? It wasn't like he had any other ideas as to who it might be. He thought for a moment.
If Apollo really was his father, and Apollo was the god of prophecy... did that mean his nightmares actually meant something?
He pushed the dark thought away, and tried not to think about it for the rest of the day.
Special thanks to my anonymous (and awesome!) beta reader and britpicker.
The flat seemed alive, excitement lay thick in the air. Very shortly Greg, Sherlock and John would be on their way to the airport. None of the young demigods had much to pack so there shouldn't be any luggage issues with their underweight backpacks.
Mrs. Hudson assured John they would not encounter heavy traffic for the ride to the airport and he wondered how she could be so confident in her statement. But then again, he wasn't sure exactly what exactly a demigod was capable of. Did it include traffic control? John felt it was probably best not to assume anything until he learnt more of this new world.
He tapped his fingers against the arm of the chair, his foot bouncing up and down as he tried to collect his thoughts, aware all the while of Sherlock's keen gaze watching his every move. But why, what was Sherlock hoping to observe? Wasn't the mystery solved? John was Apollo's son so what more was there for Sherlock to deduce? Other than the fact he was a demigod there wasn't anything special about himself, John was sure. But Sherlock seemed convinced he was hiding something and until he satisfied his curiosity there really wasn't much John could do about the staring except endure it silently.
He pressed back into his chair and closed his eyes. He had so much to think about. The paths his life might now take, the people he might meet and the places he could go. But at the moment all John could think about was his family.
He liked to think that they got along pretty well. They weren't perfect but honestly, who needs perfection? And truthfully he had always thought his family just a little bit boring. His parents loved each other and seldom argued and though he didn't always agree with Harry, they still tolerated each other.
In the light of this new information however, John was starting to wonder how much of that family image was just an illusion. Take his father, for instance. John had never once doubted that his father was his own. But had his father ever looked at John and wondered?
In hindsight, he realised how stupid he has been. He shook his head and sighed. He was the only one in the family with sandy blond hair. His mother had always waved it off with a laugh, saying how her hair had darkened with age. Why would he question that? It was entirely possible.
Then there were his dark blue eyes. His mother had bright green eyes, his father's were brown. Had those warm brown eyes ever followed John and wondered? Had his dad watched John and Harry play in the garden with questions on his mind? Had his parents ever discussed John's colouring, or argued over it? John wondered if it would be better if his dad knew, or was ignorance something to cherish?
He knew that it wasn't his fault but John couldn't help feel the wave of guilt crash over him. He made a silent promise to himself that he would never treat his dad any differently. After all, he wasn't the one who had abandoned him. His father loved him and John loved him back. He had been there all through John's life and he was his true father, blood or not.
John realises he doesn't care if his biological father is a god. John is still John at the end of the day. He is proud to be a Watson, to be a member of a family which has laughed and loved and stayed together, no matter what. He wonders about his biological father and why he chose to abandon his forgotten son.
John's tapping fingers increase in tempo as his anger rises against Apollo. His eyes remain closed, mainly to block Sherlock's stare, so he doesn't notice as the lights in the room grow brighter.
What, just because his father is a god means that he couldn't come around to say 'hello'? To make sure that he was doing okay? He clenched his fists and began to rise, to pace the room, noticing that the already strong lighting seemed to be growing brighter.
He jumped at the sound of his name and immediately the lights went back to their normal brightness. He looked across the room at Sherlock, his hands pressed together under his chin, a familiar glint in his eye.
"Yeah, sorry," John muttered, flopping back down into his seat and closing his eyes again. No point getting bent out of shape over some deity he had never met.
Pull it together, Watson, he told himself.
"Someone wasn't just hiding you," Sherlock muttered quietly.
"The lights. Usually demigods don't have trouble keeping their powers and the emotions separate. The light above you started to grow brighter in response to your obvious growing anger. I suspect whoever has been hiding you also kept your power at bay." Sherlock couldn't keep the excitement from his voice, "We're dealing with someone very powerful."
"Right." John replied slowly.
Sherlock frowned at the obvious sarcasm. John didn't know what Sherlock was expecting from him. He'd really only entered this world a few days ago and at times it felt like he was suddenly living his life in another language. A language he didn't know.
Was Sherlock right about the lights thing? If the brightness was triggered by John's anger, he had never experienced it before. But why would someone powerful want to suppress this power? Why would anyone even care?
"Boys, you have fifteen minutes," Mrs. Hudson warned.
John jumped out of his seat, suddenly desperate to get in as much movement as possible before they had to get on the plane. John had already double checked that he had everything packed. It was pitifully little; his only set of spare clothing, washed and neatly folded by Mrs Hudson, a snack for on the flight, his fake passport and his gun. John still wasn't quite sure how that was going to pass through airport security, 'Mist' or not.
He slung his nearly empty back pack over his shoulder and walked into the living room. The three exchanged smiles, all eager to race out the door.
Mrs. Hudson handed each of them their ticket as they headed out the door. She was staying behind to keep an eye on the halfway house.
"You never know when another demigod might need some rest," she said, kissing John gently on the cheek.
John felt total relief when he exited the house, it felt good to be outside again. He stretched, loving the sun's warmth on his skin.
Then he remembered, he was outside, in public again. What if the monsters attacked? He couldn't risk Sherlock and Greg getting hurt.
John looked out of the corner of his eye. Were they following him already?
"Relax," Greg said. "If any monsters show up, Sherlock and I can handle them. Don't even think about fighting them until you've got some training."
The words should have eased his conscious, but instead, it made John realise how useless he was. He hated that he had to rely on the other demigods.
Sherlock hailed a taxi, and they all piled into the black vehicle.
"How are we going to get past security with all of our... things?" John asked. "You know, the weapons?”
Greg shrugged it off, "Sherlock will take care of it."
"Yes, but how?" John wasn't going to accept being kept in the dark anymore.
"I can manipulate The Mist. It's really not that difficult." Sherlock waved it off like it was no big deal.
They settled into a silence that lasted all the way to the airport.
On arrival at the airport John was bewildered by the crowds, the noise and by the many procedures but Sherlock and Greg guided him through without a hitch. Even getting past the security check was easy. Airport security had a far away look in their eyes as the three backpacks, each laden with a weapon, passed through the scanners. As promised, Sherlock was manipulating the Mist around them.
As they turned to walk towards the gate, John turned to Sherlock.
"How often do you do that? The thing with the Mist?" John was nearly jogging to keep up with the other two.
Sherlock looked at him out of the corner of his eye.
"I don't usually need the Mist to trick a mortal," he said, his tone dismissive.
John watched out the window as the plane took off. He thought he'd be a nervous flier, but he felt completely comfortable amongst the clouds.
He did however, dread the thought of being cramped in this tight space for the next six and a half hours, especially beside these two who obviously both suffered from ADHD. It was going to be a nightmare.
Still, 30 minutes in, and everything seemed all right.
He turned to ask Greg something when he caught sight of Sherlock.
The youngest of the three was staring at the back of the seat in front of him, quite determined to not look anywhere else. His entire body was tense, his fingers gripping the armrests as if they were some sort of life line.
"Sherlock, are you ok?" John asked quietly.
"Fine," Sherlock's answer was clipped, he did not look enthusiastic to continue this conversation.
Lestrade turned to John, his voice amused. "He's afraid of heights, he whispered.
Sherlock didn't turn to face his offender, but his scowl deepened.
"I don't like heights,” he stated as if it made all the difference.
"No one said you did!" The amusement was still lingering in Greg's voice. He turned to John. "This is Zeus's domain, "he explained. "The sky, you know? And Sherlock here, being a son of Hades, it kind of puts him on his bad side."
The plane rumbled slightly and if it was possible, Sherlock tensed even further.
"Zeus doesn't get along with Hades?" John's knowledge on the Greek Gods was close to nothing.
Greg smiled lightly, "Well, no. He doesn't really get along with either of his brothers. But for the moment, they have a sort-of truce. Still, none of the Big Three like the children of their brothers. It's always been that way. Zeus has usually been the more... sensitive of the three though," he worded carefully. "It wouldn't be the first time he knocked one of his brother's children out of the sky. In fact," his smile growing wider. "The only reason Sherlock here isn't plummeting towards the ocean is because of his-"
Suddenly, the little light bulb above them flickered.
Greg stopped talking at once, the smile sliding off his face. The dark atmosphere radiating from Sherlock saturated the air. It seemed every light on the plane was flickering, or had grown very dim. The flight attendants were trying to calm the more nervous passengers, when someone called loudly about the sudden chill in the air.
Sherlock finally risked a look towards Greg, and he had looked positively murderous. Greg cleared his throat, and looked down at his feet.
John's eyebrows flew up. Sherlock was the one who was doing all this. But why? What was Greg about to say? He gestured for Greg to continue, but it looked like he'd been scared into silence.
Sherlock turned his gaze back to the seat in front of him. The lights came back to normal and the chill in the air dissipated.
John sighed loudly and leaned back into his chair. He just knew this was going to be a long, long flight. He spent most of the time wondering about Sherlock. He supposed he should be scared of the dark haired boy. Greg definitely was nervous around Sherlock, and the young man didn't look like he'd be easily scared. But the look Greg had on his face when the lights above them started to dim...
What was it that Sherlock was capable of? To John, he was already pretty amazing with that incredible intellect of his, which he supposed could be rather intimidating by itself. When those pale eyes turned to look at him, it felt as if Sherlock was looking right through the wall he'd so carefully built up around himself.
Sherlock's gaze made him feel exposed and he couldn't help but feel slightly annoyed at the intrusion. He got the feeling keeping secrets around Sherlock would be useless. Other than that, there was really nothing about Sherlock that seemed frightening. Then again, John had been called stupidly brave by his classmates.
He resisted the urge to sigh again. He felt like a mess. Nothing made much sense anymore. He drummed his fingers against the arm of his seat. How much time had passed since they had taken off? His gaze flicked down to his watch. It had only been an hour. John slumped back into his seat.
A movie had begun to play on the screen in front of him.
John could barely pay attention to the plot. He felt like an absolute child- unable to sit for very long, squirming in his seat. He wasn't the only one though. His friends beside him were equally restless.
Greg was the better off though. He had a somewhat dreamy look in his eyes, as though trying to forget where he was. Sherlock however, was still tense and his entire body was now seemingly vibrating with impatience.
I suppose he's bored of being afraid,
John thought to himself. He wondered if Sherlock had been deducing the people on the plane. But how long would that take? Sherlock had read John's past in a matter of seconds. Deducing wasn't going to keep him preoccupied for long. He hated to think about what would happen when the young demigod ran out of things to do.
It was the longest seven hours of John's life and he couldn't wait to land.
The three weren't the only ones desperate for the flight to end. The other passengers were certain that there was something wrong with the plane. The turbulence was apparently worse than usual, which in turn, made Sherlock even more tense.
John recalled Sherlock's earlier words, about how demigods were usually able to separate emotion from their powers. He was surprised to find that Sherlock had some problems keeping the lights from flickering. John didn't say a word about it. It wasn't his place to question Sherlock, and it would probably just make him angry anyway.
Exiting the plane was almost as bad as the flight itself. Now that they were safely on the ground the other passengers were taking their sweet time getting off. John felt as if he was seconds away from pushing his way through the crowd.
Almost simultaneously, everyone went back to their seats, searching for something. John looked around, it seemed very few people had actually left things behind. He looked up to see Sherlock racing down the aisle and past one befuddled looking flight attendant. Behind him Greg sighed. He was muttering how Sherlock shouldn't use the Mist for stupid things like deplaning.
Yeah, maybe he shouldn't have done that John thought, but he didn't waste another moment. He reached for his backpack and was off the plane within moments, Greg following close behind.
Greg and John were speed walking to catch up with Sherlock. The airport was loud and it felt cramped. John glanced at every dark corner he passed, ever aware of the danger that might come to him. Still, John couldn't help but feel happier. It had been an absolute nightmare being cooped up in that plane. When is was time to return home to England he would look into other means of transportation.
John pulled his bag closer to him, and kept walking.
"So how are we getting to Camp Half-Blood from here?" John asked.
"Oh, you don't have to worry about it John," Greg assured him. "Argus is giving us a ride there. He's sort of the camp driver. Just... don't stare at him when you see him,
That didn't ease John's curiosity, but he could tell that Greg was not going to say anything more.
They caught up with Sherlock fairly quickly. Sherlock wanted to make the Mist thick enough so that they didn't need to pass through the security. Greg had said though, that would take far too much power.
"We're all jet lagged,” He said. “It won't take too much longer to get by, alright?”
John could understand his reasoning. It didn't make it any easier though. Sherlock definitely had his vote to use the Mist to get by.
“What's the difference? Either way, it will be a lie.”
“Please Sherlock? It will make me feel better.”
“If that's my only incentive-”
“Sherlock, if you don't, I'll make sure you have cleaning duties for a week.” Greg's voice was authoritative. John supposed he held more power in the camp than he initially let on.
Sherlock scoffed. It was clear he had no intention of doing anything of the sort.
John was surprised to find that Greg was not backing down. His arms were crossed and his face was tight.
“Sherlock. I'm sure if you're not on your best behavior, the higher ups will hear about it.”
There it was- that dark look.
“This is a complete waste of time.” Sherlock complains, but amazingly walks towards security.
Greg was holding something over Sherlock. It must have been something powerful, to get him to react like this. Sherlock wasn't the kind of person who appreciated being told what to do.
John watched as the security guards had looked through their bags and once more completely missing everything of importance. The guard was taking longer than he should. John thought this might be due to Sherlock had been practically thrown his bag at him and being unnecessarily rude to the guard. When the guard finally finished poking through their things, Sherlock snatched his bag from him, and walked away quickly.
“Sorry about him,” John offered. “He's, erm...” John shrugged. He didn't have a word that described Sherlock yet.
The guard just stared back at him.
John was looking for some help, but Greg was already walking away.
“Right,” John muttered. He walked as fast as he could.
People were talking loudly in the airport. They were pushing and shoving, all trying to get to their destination in the quickest way. John was quickly growing tired of having to fight his way through everyone.
“Ah, there he is,” Greg said, sounding relieved.
Even through the crowds, John could tell which person was Argus. A large man in a trench coat stood in the back of the arrivals hall. His face was completely covered with some sort of face mask and he didn't show any signs of moving. Sherlock stood by him, waiting impatiently for the other two to catch up.
John took in Argus's covered image. It was obvious that there was something he was hiding. Greg had said something about not staring. Was he deformed, had he been injured? When they approached closer Argus and Sherlock turned without a word and headed outside. It was a complete relief to breathe in some fresh air, and better still that it smelt of the city.
The four reached a large white van painted with a bright logo reading 'Delphi Strawberry Service.' The word Delphi seemed somehow familiar to John but his scattered thoughts slipped away through exhaustion from the flight. Greg opened the rear of the van and hopped in. John and Sherlock following closely behind.
The van smelt of ripe strawberries. Empty crates were strewn over the rear cargo bay of the van. Argus had climbed in through the left door, reminding John that in the US they drove on the other side of the road. Argus readjusted everything, before whipping off his coat along with his face mask.
John couldn't help but stare at the sight before him.
Argus's entire body was covered in eyeballs. Each eye was a strange shade of blue. The eyes were all looking in different places at once, not overlooking anything. It wasn't long before a pair of eyes on the back of Argus's neck found John's gaze.
John quickly looked down. Monsters were one thing. Argus was another. It meant he'd probably be seeing a lot more oddities.
The van started with a deep purr. John hoped that the camp wasn't too far away. He didn't know if he had it in him to sit still for much longer. He was already fidgeting, despite the exhaustion. And the sun didn't feel like it would be setting anytime soon.
Feel like? John sat up suddenly from his slumped position against the van door. Since when was he able he feel what time the sun was going to set? Were all these magical powers going to start to show up out of nowhere? John rubbed his eyes tiredly. Maybe he was just jet-lagged.
John thought about closing his eyes and getting in a nap before his arrival at camp, but he was once again being watched.
And it wasn't by Argus.
To John's dismay the ride was not short. Plus there were no windows to look out of except for the front windscreen and John had no interest in looking towards Argus if he could help it. At least here in the van there was more room to stretch out his legs after the cramped seating on the plane. Leaning back, John closed his eyes and allowed the smooth ride to lull him into a light sleep.
The van stopped at the bottom of a hill and without any sort of signal from Argus, Sherlock climbed out of the back.
"Come on then," Greg said, shaking John's shoulder gently and John suddenly found himself nervous. This was it. He jumped out of the back of the van, pressing the door closed behind him.
The van continued down a twisting road leaving the three demigods alone. Sherlock started walking up the hill, expending all the energy that had been building up. "Come on, John!" he called out.
The sun was beginning to set which did not help John at all as it reminded him of how tired he was. He took a deep breath and hurried after Sherlock and Greg, the two of them already moving rapidly up the hill with their longer stride. The hill was steep but nothing John couldn't handle and he soon caught up with his two companions.
A large gate was starting to show itself, the words Camp Half-Blood written out in ancient Greek across the top. John was glad to find that he had no trouble reading the sign. A golden fleece was wrapped around a great tree which stood at the entrance.
The sight of the Camp was absolutely magical. The grass was a perfect shade of green. The sky above was turning a deep shade of red. There were campers clad in bright orange tee-shirts everywhere. Were there really this many of them?
"Incredible," John breathed then he halted, embarrassed. Had he said that aloud? He certainly hadn't meant to. But it didn't matter, no one seemed to be taking any notice of him. He followed behind Greg and Sherlock, taking in the sights, the sounds and the smells as fresh air and the scent of strawberries filled his lungs.
Above him, two winged horses flew somewhat gracelessly with young people trying to steer them. Away in the distance he saw a great mountain that had lava oozing out of the top. Some of the campers were wearing armour and carried weapons much like the ones he had seen on the wall in Mrs. Hudson's flat.
"I'm going to go check on my cabin," Greg said. Turning to Sherlock he added, "You take him to Chiron right away, Sherlock. You hear me?" He didn't wait for an answer but jogged across the hill and into the crowded field, blending in with the other demigods.
Twenty great cabins stood in half circle, with two cabins on each side jutting out. The layout looked familiar, but John couldn't remember where he had seen it before.
Each one appeared to be flooded with a different power. One cabin caught his eye as it seemed to emanate pure sunlight. The whole cabin was a brilliant gold with the campers surrounding its front door strolling and chatting amiably with their fellow cabin mates.
He nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt someone touch his shoulder. Sherlock was looking at him, his pale eyes amused at John's complete wonder.
"There's plenty of time for you to get acquainted with the camp later. Come on, Chiron's been wanting to meet you."
As much as John wanted to protest and take in more of the camp, he knew first that he had to meet the camp director. He trudged along beside Sherlock but couldn't help but sneak peeks at the camp surrounding them.
Some of the campers were pointing him out. They were whispering and some were giggling. A group of particularly pretty campers were waving at him. One of the braver ones even winked. He suddenly felt compelled to go talk to them but Sherlock tugged hard at his shirt. Sherlock glared at the group in passing but instead of getting intimidated, they looked as if they were up for a challenge.
John wanted to know who they were. He didn't think he had ever seen such nice looking people. Why couldn't Sherlock see how nice and pretty and perfect they were?
“Sherlock, we can talk to Chiron later, can't we?”
“No.” He snapped. “Honestly, John. Falling for the charms of the empty-headed Aphrodite children so easily.”
The farther they moved away, the clearer John's head became. What had just happened to him.
“They... charmed me?” He was still a bit foggy, and getting a bit annoyed.
People could do that? Why can't they just talk to people normally?
“Obviously.” Sherlock said, a note of finality in his voice.
John hoped that there would be some way around the whole charm thing. The last thing he needed was to be forced into some sort of infatuation with those kids.
Finally, they reached a dark wooden cabin. As John entered the cabin a step behind Sherlock a certain warmth greeted him. There, sitting at a desk in the rear of the room was a man with dark curly hair and a friendly smile on his aged face. Sitting next to the man was a much younger man who John judged to be about his own age. Well, he appeared to be the same age but as John's eyes adjusted to the low light of the cabin he saw the man's eyes told a completely different story. Hidden beneath the sky blue irises were tales of wisdom, grandeur and hidden depths that John could not possibly even begin to understand. There was an air of arrogance about him with his feet resting casually atop the Chairman's desk, his tanned arms crossed over his chest. His golden blond hair was tousled as if it had been swept up by the wind. All in all, he was a handsome young man with outdoorsy features.
John imagined he usually had a smirk gracing his features but at the moment he looked slightly annoyed. Surprisingly, when he looked up to see John the scowl vanished and a quick grin spread across his face. The man behind the desk gestured for John and Sherlock to take a seat.
"There's my boy! See, safe and sound, just like I knew he'd be. You can tell them now, John!" He spoke to John as he had known him for years. Which was odd, seeing how John had never seen him before. He didn't even know any Americans. Unless... no. It couldn't possibly be.
"John has never been here before, Lord Apollo," the man said gently. Turning to John he continued, "My name is Chiron. Welcome to Camp Half-Blood, John. Thank you for finding him for us, Sherlock."
Oh my God, John thought weakly. Apollo. This kid is supposed to be Apollo. The Sun God. My father.
"Speaking of which, about the prophecy-" Sherlock started.
John couldn't believe it. Apollo didn't look any older than 17. John actually looked older than his father. His mother fell for this guy?
"No, I must have claimed him. I'm sure of it. It was on my decade-long to-do list. I've still got it on me, hold on..."
John couldn't help but flinch at his father's words. Oh, wonderful, he was part of some to-do list.
The supposed Sun God reached into the back pocket of his cargo pants and pulled out a pad of paper. He flicked through the pages quickly, nodding at some points, laughing at others. Then his entire expression changed.
Suddenly, the boy seemed dangerous.
"Whoa, hold on here. Someone has been messing with me," he growled. The low lit lamps in the room started to glow brightly and the room's warmth increased to a fiery heat. Whatever music that had been playing in the background came to an abrupt halt.
John's eyebrows shot up. Well, he didn't have any doubt that Apollo was sitting in front of him now. Still a bit shocked that he was… well... so young looking.
Gradually, the temperature went down, the lights went back to normal and the music started up again.
"Well. What's done is done and I trust that something will be done about this soon enough!" Apollo stated firmly. He turned and smiled brightly at John. His gaze was so warm and direct, he looked at John as if he was the world to him.
But he's the Sun God, John reminded himself. He didn't have time to visit me. He doesn't care about me at all.
"Don't go thinking badly of me, John. I've been there in ways you can't understand." Apollo explained calmly. He wasn't yelling, he wasn't even defensive.
He must be used to this, John realised sadly. His kids' thinking that he's not really their father.
He held his gaze with the Sun God then nodded, still a bit reluctant.
"Yes. Now about the prophecy-"
"Sherlock!" Chiron hissed. "Now is not the time!"
Apollo just waved it off. "Don't get your panties in a twist, Sherlock! We'll get there eventually."
Sherlock did not look satisfied. Apollo turned back to John.
"Believe me when I say that this poor sucker who tampered with my list is going to get it..." He brought his legs down from the desk and stood up suddenly. His fingers played in the light streaming in through the window for a few seconds.
Suddenly, the light twisted and turned. The dancing dust particles illuminated in the sunlight started to gather, colliding at an incredible rate. A brilliant light flashed through the room and John almost had to look away from the intense light. In the Sun God's hand was a beautiful golden bow. It had intricate carvings.
Apollo tossed it from one hand to the other, as if it were just another toy.
"Stand up," Apollo commanded.
Without really meaning too, John stood.
"This bow can be summoned from light, sunlight is the best of course as it's accuracy is then increased. At night it becomes little more than regular bow and cannot be summoned. Easy enough to understand right?"
John nodded, speechless.
Apollo placed the frankly magnificent bow in John's hands and patted him on the shoulder. He then looked up to the sky, the scowl of annoyance back in place. "Yes, yes, I heard you!" Apollo stuck his tongue out at the clouds.
"I've got to go now, John. Sorry everyone. Something about the music not playing right in the west. Not sure when I'll be back."
"But you need to tell me what the prophecy-"
"Don't worry about it Chiron! He's excellent at the violin," Apollo said offhandedly. John didn't see what that had to do with anything. "Welp!, say 'hi' to your brothers and sisters for me, won't you John?"
Brothers and sisters? But there was only Harry. And Harry wasn't Apollo's daughter, was she?
John felt a hand on his cheek and he was forced to look away. Sherlock had turned his head for him. Why? A great light flooded the room and suddenly the world was much darker.
Sherlock gently released John's face and he looked around the room in confusion. Apollo had gone and with it, the last bit of sunlight.
“Lord Apollo should have told you to look away. When the Gods leave, they become their true form for an instant,” Chiron explains. “Should you have seen that, you would have burned up.”
Maybe he should have put it on his To-Do list.
John thinks bitterly.
He looked down at the bow in his hands. It was still vibrating with power as it faintly glowed in his hands. This was nothing like holding his gun or a sword. He resents it for being the perfect weapon.
"John, I'm afraid there isn't any room in the Apollo cabin at the moment,"Chiron said, breaking the spell.
"Oh, really?" John muttered, not sure what that might mean for him.
"Well," Chiron looked slightly embarrassed. "We weren't expecting another child of Apollo. We haven't had an unregistered demigod in... quite a while. Not even the Hermes cabin has extra bunks."
"Wait, pardon? What do you mean 'another child of Apollo'? How many does he have?" Anger rose within him again. Did the Sun God think he could just randomly sleep around? Was his mother just another shag?
"At the moment there are ten demigods sleeping in the Apollo cabin.” Seeing the dismay on John's face, Chiron added softly, "You have to understand, John. The gods have very different views on love from mortals."
Ten. John had ten brothers and sisters. All about his age, he guessed.
And they weren't forgotten, a voice in the back of his mind added sadly. They were here, acknowledged and living together as brother and sister.
"He'll stay with me."
"Sherlock..." Chiron said, obviously wary.
"What?" Sherlock replied innocently. "There is an extra bed in my cabin. And no one will bother John there. I think this might be the best solution.”
John looked at Sherlock. There was no way he was just being nice. Not even Chiron was buying it. Still, John had no desire to stay in a cabin filled with siblings he didn't even know he had.
Chiron sighed and looked at John. "Would that be okay with you, John?"
John gave a nod of agreement, "I don't have a problem with it."
Sherlock smiled - a dangerous thing.
The storm above the camp raged on. The lightning tore through the sky and struck a silver cabin. Younger campers were screaming while the elder ones tried to fight off an invisible enemy. Bodies were dropping around him like rocks. So many were dead... all those kids never stood a chance.
In the middle of the war stood John, who seemed to be glued in place. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't go to help his family. It was a horrifying scene. A sense of dread filled him- somehow, this was his fault. The feeling was alien and not his own, as if someone had planted a little seed of doubt in his mind.
He felt his panic flare up when he realised he had no idea where Sherlock was. Again, John tried to move. His entire being was screaming at him to find his friend, and yet, he still could not move.
Just in front of him, a young blonde girl was struck down by the storm, her eyes quickly losing that spark of life. All his friends... all gone.
“This is a warning.” The voice boomed from the heavens. It shook John to his core. For some reason, he mistrusted this voice. Something was off about it.
“A warning for what?” He shouted back, unafraid of the consequences his words might bring. “Why are you doing this?”
“Patience, young demigod. You must tell someone about this, or people will suffer. Gods will fall, Demigods will die, and They shall rise again.”
“What, and just telling someone will solve everything?” He asked skeptically.
“Do NOT question me!” The voice was as loud as thunder and it probably should have scared John.
“If this is isn't some dream...” He felt ridiculous saying this. Of course it was a dream. “If this is real... then why don't you do something about it? Why are you leaving this to me?” John was not going to follow through an order without knowing the reason behind it. He was not some dog.
Instead of lashing out at him, the voice did not sound for a moment. Things in the nightmare were surprisingly still. Eerie.
“There are some things We should not meddle with. I am not sorry for giving this quest to you, John Watson. I am sorry for what it will cost us.”
John frowned. Cost? What was the voice talking about What did he mean by cost? As far as John knew, he had nothing to lose.
“Don't wait, John. Pass on this message and await further instructions.” The voice commanded. It was obvious that it was not going to tell him anything else. John was feeling lost. The bodies kept dropping around him, one by one. This was just a dream, a nightmare. He just had to wake up and it would all be over.
The sky cracked, as if made of glass. Pieces of the sky started falling to the ground. They all shattered into smaller pieces, threatening to cut anyone that stood near them. The bodies of his friends and family started to melt away. Everything around him disappeared until John was the only thing left.
His eyes snapped open. He gasped, taking in as much air as he could. The vivid dreams of the night before was still imprinted in his mind. John sighed. The last couple of hours had been pretty rough on him. Those nightmares were getting worse. He'd never heard a voice so... demanding before. It felt like the voice was still echoing through his mind.
Why would John's unconscious mind want him to talk about this with someone? They didn't really mean anything. And there was no way he was listening to instructions given to him by a figure of his imagination.
He yawned and slowly sat up. It felt like 5:13 in the morning.
A groan escaped his lips.
Great, He thought. Now I can tell what time it is, Which wasn't strictly true. John seemed to know what time it is when the sun was up- that's all. It would have been nice to know what the time was the night before. He had tossed and turned for hours in the relatively cool cabin before he had actually fallen asleep. For most of the night, whispers were coming from the walls. John had not been able to understand a single word. In fact, most whispers clashed with others, making them indistinguishable.
At some point during the late night, Sherlock had crawled into his own bed. John suspected that Sherlock fell asleep almost instantly. It took him a moment to notice, but the whispers died when Sherlock's breathing had evened out.
He glanced over at his... cabin mate. Sherlock was lying on his chest, his head facing away from John. His legs were tangled in the sheets and his quiet snores echoed in the otherwise silent cabin. It was almost like looking at someone completely different. Sherlock was the type of person who was always focusing on something (despite the ADHD).
John laughed softly. He sat up and stretched. The cabin was dimly lit by the first rays of sunshine. The streams of light stretched farther. They didn't stop moving until they reached John's hand. John jerked his hand away.
For a moment, it felt as if his father was... comforting him. What, because of the nightmare? A bit late to start doing things like that. Curiously, the beam of light moved off the bed. John frowned. Light didn't move like that. Not naturally, anyway. He shook his head. It was too early in the morning to be thinking about that.
John climbed out of bed and decided to take a closer look at the cabin he would be staying in temporarily. There was a fire place. The night before it was lit with a sort of purple flame that Sherlock had called 'hell-fire'. All traces of it were gone now. On top of the fire place were seven different skulls. Real, human skulls. John wondered how Sherlock acquired them. Maybe his father sent them to him as a gift. He wasn't sure whether to laugh or not at that thought.
In the left corner of the cabin was a table littered with music sheets. John walked toward the table quietly. Some of the pages had smear marks on them. It took a moment for John to realize that Sherlock might have actually written some of the music he was looking at. He looked at the violin case that leaned against the table. He had a fleeting desire to hear Sherlock play the violin. Would he ever play it while John was around? Probably not. Ah, well. He'd have to take Apollo's word for Sherlock's talent.
Now that he was up, he'd figured he might as well get dressed. Maybe he could take a look around the camp. It would be nice to do so without onlookers. Specifically those Aphrodite children. He was still a bit annoyed that they had charmed him yesterday. Not exactly a warm welcoming by anyone's standards, really.
He walked over to the trunk that sat by the foot of his bed. It was apparently full of his clothes, even some of it from his house back in England. It was the courtesy of the Hecate children. (Hecate being the Goddess of Magic.) He flipped the top open and picked out an orange camp tee-shirt, a pair of jeans, and a cream coloured hoodie. Apparently, the camp was a bit chilly in the early hours. He quickly changed. His nightclothes were tossed in the corner by his (temporary) bed. The trunk top came down faster and harder than he thought it would. The loud crack echoed off the walls of the cabin.
Anxiously, John looked toward Sherlock. Much to his surprise, Sherlock was still asleep. He hadn't even moved. John rolled his eyes, but a fond smile made it's way onto his face. Even in his sleep, Sherlock had somehow managed to ignore the annoying noises. Though John was now sure that Sherlock could sleep through a war, he made sure to keep quiet as he left the cabin.
Nothing could beat the feel of the early sunlight on his skin- even if it now reminded him of his biological father. He closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of strawberries on the summer breeze. This was why he was a morning person. Who would want to miss seeing a golden morning? It felt like your slate was wiped clean. A beam of light hit his eye.
Across the stretch of grass, the golden cabin that drew his attention yesterday was shining brightly. Young campers were filing out of that cabin alone. None of them had that tired look that John was used to seeing on other people in the morning. From what he could tell at this distance, each one of them had golden skin, blonde hair, and they were all wearing that signature orange tee-shirt.
It took a moment, but John finally realized that those were his brothers and sisters. He toyed with the idea of going up to them. Introduce himself. The whole thing felt a bit ridiculous. Who had to introduce themselves to their own siblings?
One of the girls seemed to notice him. She crossed her arms and thought for a moment before jogging towards him.
John stood up straight, trying not to looks as lost as he felt. The girl caught up to him and gave him a small smile. She looked to be about his age.
“Hi,” She said. He was momentarily surprised at the sound of her American accent. That's right. Most of the people here are American. He was one of the exceptions.“You must be John Watson.”
John's frowned. Word traveled around camp fast, it seemed.
The girl laughed lightly and stuck her hand out.
“I'm Natalie, your surprise sister.”
John took her hand and gave it a quick, firm hand shake.
“It is a surprise, yeah.” Which was an understatement, really. Although, after the last couple of days, he supposed it wasn't the worst surprise he's had. Natalie withdrew her hand. She rubbed the back of her neck.
“Yeah, I heard that you didn't know anything until a couple of weeks ago. Jeez, an unregistered demigod. Don't hear about that anymore.”
“Yes, well, not much I could have done about it.” He failed to keep the bitterness out of his voice.
“Oh, no. Sorry, that's not what I-” She sighed. “Shit. It must have been rough. I mean, I thought Papa Sunshine was a bit of an airhead before, but now? Seriously, what an idiot.”
It wasn't her words that made him feel better, but the reasoning behind them. She really was trying to be nice. Plus, she wasn't giving him those eyes. The ones full of pity.
“So listen, the other Apollo kids and I usually shoot off some arrows before breakfast. Good way to start the day. Joinage?” She asked.
John thinks about the bow. His bow. Suddenly, he was itching to try it out, deliberately ignoring the fact that he would be giving in and using his biological father's gift.
“Not like there is much else to do,” He says with a smile. She grins, and beckons for him to follow. He follows closely behind her. At that moment, he realizes that he might have been quick to resent his siblings last night. It's not like they had chose this life either.
“Right, so this-” She paused for dramatic affect. “Is the Archery Range. Since we're the Apollo kids, we get first dibs.”
The hill that they had to walk down was steep, but it was worth it. The Archery Range was out in the open. The few trees that protruded from the ground were incredibly tall. A chalk line stood out in the green grass. Just a few feet from the chalk line were targets. Just behind the chalk line was a table filled with all sorts of supplies.
John had thought that some of the targets were too far. It couldn't be possible to hit them from the chalk line, could it?
On the field itself, there were targets lined up. The targets were inconsistent in their placement. Some were a bit closer, which John had assumed were for the beginners. There were some targets attached to some branches on the trees that were farther out. Some of the arrows stuck out of the taller parts, just missing the target. There were hundreds of holes in each target. They really had been out here every morning.
Some consistency in his life might nice.
Most of the Apollo children looked ready to pounce on the table.
“Er, what are they waiting for?”
“They're waiting for you, stupid. We figured you should get the first shot. C'mon,” She pulled on his arm and led him to the table. There were gloves, quivers filled with arrows, adequate looking bows, and hundreds of extra arrows.
Without a word, she began to get ready. Natalie moved quickly in her preparations, seemingly without any thought. It was sort of fascinating to watch. Once she had finished gearing up, she turned to John.
“Um, will you be needing help?”
John almost said yes. He should need help- he's never seen most of this equipment before. And yet... Something in his gut told him that he did not, in fact, need help.
John grabbed a quiver full of arrows and swung it over his head, so that it would rest comfortably on his back. Next, he slid the arm guard onto his left arm, the leather on the inside part of his arm. He picked out a rather nice looking dark brown leather glove (the glove only covered his three middle fingers.) and pulled it onto his right hand. The entire process felt completely natural.
Warmth gathered in his finger tips. Something sparked and tingled in his left hand. The light around his hand fractured and gathered until his bow had formed. The weight was already familiar to him.
“Gods,” Natalie said, sounding impressed. “Apollo gave you that, didn't he? That's an incredible bow, John! Jeez, I'd give anything up for something like that. It's even been programmed to light-travel...” She said longingly.
The Apollo children finally started to gather around the table, gearing up. John noticed that they had all taken a peak at his bow. After a while, he started to ignore them. He bet that none of them realized that it was just given to him out of guilt. (He wished his gun gave him that same 'right' feeling the bow gave him.)
“Alright, so you stand here,” Natalie gestured to a spot just behind the chalk line. She stood a couple of feet away from him. “Right, now spread your legs apart like this... You want a good stance.”
John felt his body fall into place. It was almost like a muscle memory.
“Okay, good. Wow, this comes naturally to you, huh? It's not always like that,” She said, her smile faltering for a moment.
'It doesn't?' John thought. 'I suppose being related to a god doesn't exactly ensure that his talents will pass on,'
“So you want to take the arrow and place it like this...” She had pulled an arrow out of her quiver and placed it on the part of the bow John had suddenly known was called an 'arrow rest'. “Then you use this clip at the end of the arrow called a 'nock' and attach it to the bowstring. Right, you got it!”
John had easily followed her movements. Natalie was grinning again. She removed her arrow from the bowstring and put the arrow back into her quiver. She flipped the bow over her head. The bowstring held the bow safely against her chest.
Flashes oh his nightmare invaded his mind. Natalie looked like one of the young fallen soldiers. It disturbed him. These kids were too young to fight. John shook his head, trying to clear his head. It was just a nightmare.
“Ok, so, hold out the bow with your left hand. Good. Now pull the bowstring back with your three middle fingers- slowly.” He looked at her when he was done. “No, lower your elbow a bit. Mhm. Okay, now aim for the nearest target.”
John licked his lips and took a breath. His instincts were taking over.
“When you're ready, fire.” Natalie said, although John barely heard her. He was focusing. (Which he would later marvel at. He had never been able to focus so long on something.) John breathed in slowly and looked at the target. He released the bowstring while he exhaled. The arrow flew across the field and struck the target with a great thunk. John frowned. He was way off center.
“Wow,” Natalie whistled beside him. “You hit the target on the first go...” She slapped his back playfully. “Way to go, Watson. You'll be a pro in no time.”
After hat first shot, his brothers and sisters lined up and began shooting off their own arrows. The rules on the Archery Ranger were after you have shot six arrows from your quiver, stop shooting. Then, once it was clear, everyone went up and gathered the arrows that protruded from all the different targets. Other than that, it was a pretty relaxed morning.
With each new shot, John was closer to the bulls eye. Pride filled him when he actually managed to shoot the center. He was surprised how calming this was. Natalie was right: it was a good way to start the morning.
All too soon, they had to start cleaning up to get ready for breakfast, which started at 7:00 am every morning. His bow disappeared in a bright flash. John shrugged his quiver off. He placed all his supplies on the table and waited to be to shown to the dining pavilion. He frowned when his siblings started to snigger. John's eyes flicked down. Did he have something on his shirt?
“Sorry, Watson. You clean up. Initiation and all that, you know?” Natalie said with a mischievous smile. He sighed heavily, but it wasn't so bad as far as initiations went.
“Just be glad you're not one of Ares' kids! The armory is just up the hill. It's an old looking place- you can't miss it. You'll have to hang the bows and quivers properly. Careful around the orange tipped arrows.” She said very seriously. “After that, you can join us at the dining pavilion. It's an immediate left when you leave the armory. All the campers will be there, shouldn't be too hard for you to find.”
They thanked him and some even apologized, but none stayed to help him. Well, at least it gave him some time to himself. John slung three quivers over his shoulder and grabbed two medium sized bows. Even though he had been on the run, climbing up the steep hill wasn't easy. By the time he got to the top, he was lightly panting. No wonder they left this to him.
The armory looked like one of the oldest buildings at the camp. The door creaked slightly when he nudged it open. Inside it was dark. It smelt like it hadn't been dusted in years. A single chain hung from the ceiling. John moved the bows from his right hand to his left and tugged on the string. The light from above flickered before settling into a dim shine. John drank in the image before him.
The armory was full of weapons that John thought he would never see in a camp. Swords, crossbows, spears, and even the odd mace. There were tons of arrows placed farther back. All the feathers that jutted out in the back were all sorts of different colours. A sign (written in Greek) had said 'Caution' over the quivers that held the orange feathered arrows that Natalie had warned him about. John wondered what made them so much more dangerous then the other weapons. Still, he thought it was better safe than sorry and steered clear of the arrows.
John carefully maneuvered through the different weapons, some of which looked ancient. The armory was full of history and campers younger than him were using these weapons. Amazing. John laughed lightly. He had no idea how this world was so different. He hung up the bows as best as he could and placed the quivers on the wall. Then, he went down the hill and did it all over again.
By the time he had grabbed the last of the supplies, it was 7:03. Great, John thought. I'm late for breakfast. He trudged up the hill for the last time, happy that he would soon be eating. It would be nice to get to know some of his siblings better and find out more about the camp.
Once he had finally dropped off the final bits of the archery supplies, he turned the light off and began to head out the door.
A sudden chill swept through the air. John turned around and scanned the area. Something was wrong. It felt like he was being watched. He looked all around him, looking for whatever it was that that made him feel this way. Perhaps he was just being paranoid. He looked back at the armory again before walking a bit further. Something stopped John. His breathing rate went up. He tried to take a step forward, but found that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't move, not even to see what was doing this to him. Horror filled him as he realised that this was a similar feeling to his nightmare.
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Everything around him had become dark. Whatever warmth the sun had provided, the shadows had suddenly destroyed.
Then, the feeling was gone. The sun warmed his skin once again. John was free of the odd sensation. He took a tentative step forward. Nothing was holding him back... except the feeling that whatever had held him captive was still there, lurking in the Armory.
Common sense dictated that he went straight to Chiron to tell him about the sensation he had just felt. But John thought that if he left now, all the clues would all be gone, and he might miss something important in the chaos that went on in his mind.
He looked over his shoulder, towards the cabins. They would all be awake now, the other demigods. He could hear their chatter in the distance. They were going to have breakfast in the dining pavilion. They wouldn't know what would happen to them, if anything even happened.
John took a deep breath and marched forward, right into the Armory. The door creaked open again. Once inside, John looked around for anything different- something that might have caused the him to lose control of his limbs. But there was nothing. As far as he could tell, it was exactly the same as he had left it before. John took another look around the Armory before turning back to go outside. But that's when the door shut right in his face.
John swallowed, and reached out for the door handle. He twisted it over and over again, but the door wouldn't budge. It was obvious that he was trapped. His instincts screamed at him to get a weapon of some sort.
As he crossed the room, the one source of light went out. John stood still, and waited for the unreliable bulb to flicker back on. When it did, there was one obvious difference from before; none of the weapons stood in their former places; they had all disappeared. Someone- or something had managed to make them disappear within a few seconds.
For a moment, he was tempted to call out, ask if anyone was there. But that never quite worked out well, did it?
The light went out again and this time John was ready and didn't move or make a sound. He listened for some sort of movement, or the sound of someone breathing, but there was nothing, just eerie expectant silence.
The light came on.
John was no longer alone in the armory.
A young man stood in the corner, looking somewhat amused. He looked about 5 years older than John, and he was dressed sharply in a suit. There was something in his eyes that John didn't trust even as he stood and surveyed him for the first time.
John thought about summoning his bow, but realised that it would do no good as the arrows and the quivers had disappeared along with the rest of the weapons. Still, the young man didn't exactly look like he could put up much of a fight. If he posed a threat, John reasoned that it wouldn't take much to take him down.
"I wouldn't try anything if I were you, Mr. Watson." The young man said. It took one long embarrassing moment for John to realise that he too was English. He had thought that most demigods were American, that Sherlock, Greg, and John were some sort of exception.
The man smiled, it wasn't a particularly friendly one. "I thought my display of power would have taught you not to attempt anything stupid, don't tell me that I'm wrong in this assumption." Oh, John did most certainly not like this one. He was itching to punch that look off of his face. Just who was this bloke?
"Please, why don't you sit down?" The young man gestured to somewhere behind John.
As John turned around, he saw shadows rise like smoke off of the ground, curling in small wisps, then growing into something bigger. After a moment or two, a dark wooden chair was formed. John turned back to the hawkish man. Like hell was he going to sit.
"What do you want?" He asked, surprised that his voice was steady. It was not as if the man before him didn't radiate power that resonated through each fibre of his composition.
The man lifted his eyebrows, but didn't seem all that surprised. Just even more amused.
"Aren't you tired from training? And putting away all that equipment? Really, you should sit down." The man said incessantly. To John's ears, it didn't sound much like a request at all.
"I don't want to sit down," John thought, by this point, that he might actually have a death wish. Where was all this rebellion and defiance coming from? Strangely enough, he believed he could get used to the alpha-like manner he was displaying.
The hawk-like eyes narrowed, and the young man took a few steps forward. John stood his ground, although he is thankful that the man didn't crowd his personal space. He was not quite sure how long this bit of bravery was going to last, but he hoped it wouldn't desert him when he needed it.
"I understand that you have met Sherlock Holmes." The man finally said, after looking at every inch of John and sized him up. It almost felt like he was uncovering every thought he ever had. Not once did John look away, he didn't feel he could afford to be intimidated by this man. Not if he was going to walk away from this confrontation whole.
"What about him?"
The young man laughed quietly. It's an unkind laugh, John realised, full of mockery and it made John dislike the man before him even more.
The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a notebook. John can tell he was just pretending to read and John feels a surge of anger rise up through him, he wanted the man to say what he wanted to say and then to leave him the hell alone.
"You've been receiving messages haven't you? Ignoring them as well, I see."
"I have no idea what you're talking about?"
"No, I really don't." John countered. He was gritting his teeth. Messages? What messages? He'd been on the run for three weeks, who could he have been getting a message from? Unless... Unless he was talking about the nightmares. But those weren't real. Those were just nightmares. They didn't mean anything. This man had to have meant something else.
The look of confusion on his face must have shown, because the man started to smile again.
"Ah, you've figured it out, haven't you? It's about time, don't you think?" The man said smugly. John glared at him, as hard as he could. He was not going to confirm or deny anything- that would seem like surrender.
"This message of yours- listen to it again. As many times as you need to. But do hurry up, you're running on a bit of a schedule, or so I'm told."
Again, John said nothing.
"One last thing, Mr. Watson. Leave Sherlock Holmes out of it."
"I'm sorry, what?" John said, taken aback from the sudden turn of the conversation.
"I don't want him getting in any more trouble than he needs to be in. It would save me a lot of time..."
John narrowed his eyes.
"What do you care what happens to Sherlock, eh? I didn't see you out there, fighting the monsters along with him."
The young man obviously didn't like the way John was addressing him and frowned.
"That is of my own concern." He said, and snapped his notebook shut, then proceeded to tuck it back into his inside suit pocket.
"Are we done here?" John glared just as heatedly, his temper finally finding a way out.
"For now." The man began to take a few steps back into the corner, keeping his eye on John. "Do remember what I said, Mr. Watson. Keep Sherlock Holmes out of your mess." And then he melted into the shadows and the light above John flickered off.
When light covered the room once more, the weapons were back in place. John took a moment to gather his thoughts.
Who was that man? How could he possibly know about his nightmares? And did he want something with Sherlock? Was he a threat?
Whatever the case, he knew he needed to tell Sherlock about that man. (He would still be leaving his nightmares out of it, however, he still needed to figure out what those meant.)
Once out of the Armory, John started to speed walk towards what he hoped was the Dining Pavilion. It was a left right after the Armory, right? Something like that. Sherlock had to be there. That man wouldn't go after him, would he? In front of the whole camp? Just what was he capable of, anyway?
The chatter was getting louder, and thankfully, the pavilion wasn't that hard to find after all. All the demigods were gathered together.
Honestly, it was beautiful. The way the tables were set up, all lined up in rows. The sun was shining in through, making the vines hanging on the wooden structure shine. There was a great big fire pit in the middle of it all, the fire crackling and the wood at the edges smoldering. John thought that the smell of fire wood lingering with the scent of strawberries would smell horrible, but it didn't. It smelled a bit like home.
In front of the tables was a longer table, and on it were all sorts of foods. After all the exercise he did this morning, it looked and smelt better than it probably was.
John looked through the crowd of children and young adults, hoping to spot a head of dark curls. Much to his dismay, he couldn't find Sherlock. Of course he couldn't. That would have been too easy.
He ran through the pavilion, pushing his way past some people who were making their way back to their tables, some complaining when he bumped into them. Not everyone was a morning person, apparently.
Someone grabbed a hold of his arm and he nearly stumbled backwards.
"Watson, you okay? What happened?" It was Natalie. All of the Apollo children were sitting at the same table. John looked around, it seemed like all the siblings stuck together. Would've saved him some time if he knew that before but Sherlock didn't have any siblings that John knew of.
"I... Sorry, I can't- Where's Sherlock?" John asked. He thought about telling Natalie, but something didn't seem quite right about telling her. Looking up and across the pavilion, he saw Chiron. Maybe John ought to speak to him first.
No. He had to find Sherlock, make sure he was okay.
"Your roomie?" Natalie made a face, but then it slipped away, as if she had just remembered that John actually liked Sherlock. He would let it go just this once. "He's probably still in the Hades cabin. That kid never wakes up before noon."
"But I thought everyone had to come to breakfast."
"...Right." Of course Sherlock would ignore the rules here as well. "Thanks, Natalie." John said. He turned to walk away.
John turned around again.
"You're going to miss breakfast, you know. There won't be anything for you to eat until one or two," She said with a concerned frown on between her eyes.
John sighed. It was not much of a choice, was it?
"I'm sorry, I've got to go speak to Sherlock about something," And he raced off without hearing what his sister has to say.
I'm not too pleased with this one... But alas. Muse demanded Mycroft.
The children who didn’t make it to breakfast, or were on their way to other camp activities were giving John strange looks. At the moment, he was crossing the camp quickly, with a sense of urgency in his step. They didn’t even realise that there had been a break in. John didn’t know whether to find that amazing or horrifying. Maybe a bit of both.
He tried to come up with reasons why he was interrogated like he was, and came up with nothing. First of all, he had just arrived at the camp yesterday. He was not a threat to anyone, no matter how good he was with a gun. (Well, alright. Maybe a little bit of a threat.) Still, he gets the feeling that there was definitely a mistake. There wasn’t any messages. Those were just dreams.
As for Sherlock, why would John want to hurt him? Again, it’s not as if he had known Sherlock for a long time. He doesn’t have any grudges against the bloke. Aside from the occasional condescending comment that made John want to smack him over the head for, John has never felt the urge to hurt Sherlock.
It was completely ridiculous for the man to say any of those things to John. But then, what would he gain from lying?
Maybe Sherlock knew something. It was possible that the man knew Sherlock. No, he must know him. Unless he just… spied on Sherlock for some reason. That was possible as well. Well, aren't I a natural detective? John thought sarcastically. Unfortunately, John knew that he wouldn’t get all the answers that he wanted until Sherlock woke up. That is, if Sherlock decided to tell him anything at all. Stubborn prat.
Once he reached the Hades cabin, he threw the door open without hesitation. That didn’t help much at all though, seeing as there wasn’t a speck of light getting past the door frame. John even tried to step out of the way to see if he was blocking the light. But no, nothing resembling any sort of light entered the cabin, and John couldn’t see a thing inside. How was that? Oh, god. What if this meant that the man (criminal mastermind?) had already got to Sherlock? Shadows, yes that’s right. That’s what he used against John.
Instead of pondering over the fact, he took a step inside, ready to feel his way through the damned shadows to find Sherlock. Even if it isn’t ideal. What would people say to the idea of him accidentally groping Sherlock in the dark? People might talk. God. Gods might talk. (Pay attention, Watson, there are far more important things to be worrying about!).
Luckily for John, he heard an annoyed groan coming from the direction of Sherlock’s bed. So that man hadn’t come and snatched Sherlock after all. That was good, very good.
Of course, that made things very confusing. Why on earth would some criminal mastermind tell John to stay away from Sherlock? Sherlock was right here, for the taking. He’s still asleep. No one would even know if he slipped in through the dark corners of the cabin. John realises that he’s apart of that group as well. He would have never known if Sherlock was snatched up in the dark. He was a criminal mastermind, right?
How did he even get into the camp anyway? Wasn’t his place supposed to be safe for demigods?
John decided that he should have a word with Chiron later. Better to talk to him about the security system now, rather than put the children who live in this camp in danger. Some were just 7 years old.
Thoughts of the Criminal Mastermind coming into the cabin made John feel wary about leaving Sherlock alone so started to look around the cabin for any trace of him. Maybe he had been here, watching Sherlock through the darkness. Could have easily done that last night while they were both sleeping. That would be tremendously creepy, John thought. John realises that it’s not just the smaller children that he wants to keep safe.
As quietly as he could, he stepped into the cabin. Thankfully the flooring beneath him was made of a cold dark stone rather than old creaking wood. Wait. Why is he thankful for that? Why he was actually letting Sherlock get away with sleeping past ten on such a beautiful day? How can anyone sleep through it? He hopes that it’s one of those demigod things. It’s probably why he gets up so early.
That thought soured his mood further. Another god damn habit that comes from the god of the sun. Is there anything that John does that doesn’t have to do with Apollo? Anything at all?
This wasn’t really the time to start thinking about things like that. Not when there is some potential threat to Sherlock and the rest of the camp. Focus.
As far as he could tell, nothing was out of place. Although, there wasn’t much detail he could make out. It’d be much easier to look for signs of the spy if he had some light, but no. Shadows are just all consuming, aren’t they?
Was… was Sherlock doing this? In his sleep? Keeping the light from getting in? It would be him, wouldn’t it? John rolled his eyes. The absolute lazy sod had managed to keep the light out. How was John supposed to make sure that no one was in here before?
He sighed quietly, and moved to sit down on his bed. It creaked beneath him. The bed was old, but hardly used. John wondered why there was even a second bed in here to begin with.
Then, his stomach growled.
Oh, right, John thought. I skipped breakfast. It’ll be at least another couple hours before lunch, won’t it?
Great. John laid back over his bed and started to think this situation through. Maybe this was the time where he should take the opportunity to talk to Chiron about the security. It would get some of all this free time out of the way. But that would mean leaving a sleeping Sherlock behind, and John’s not sure if he’s comfortable with that.
After lying there for a moment, John realised that there wasn’t much else for him to do anyway. It was explained to him last night that schedules were handed out in the morning. He’s stuck here in the cabin, protecting Sherlock. If he could even do that in this darkness. What was it that man was doing with the shadows?
Was he a god, or a demigod?
“I can hear you thinking.”
It was Sherlock’s voice, but John could barely make out his face. All he could see was the outline of his body from the outside light, and even that wasn’t much help.
John looked back up at the dark ceiling. No point in looking at that.
“I’ll try to keep it down then.” He replied. Should he tell Sherlock? What would Sherlock do if he found out someone wanted him to stay away from John? Take their advice? That didn’t seem likely. Sherlock wasn’t one to listen to anyone, was he? Bending the rules at his own convenience. At least, that’s what John has gathered about him from the last couple of days. Maybe he shouldn’t be making such an assumption.
As if sensing his distress, Sherlock shuffled in his bed until John could see that he was sitting up. Could he see John in this lighting? After spending so much time in the darkness, he wouldn’t be surprised.
“One of your friends abducted me and told me to stay away from you.” He answered honestly. His gut told him that it was the best way to go.
“A friend?” Sherlock had sounded so thrown off by this that it nearly made John laugh. “Who was it? What did he look like? Don’t leave out a single detail.”
‘Erm, tall. Well dressed. Young. Had the… ability to manipulate the shadows, I think. Power complex. Er, and- what?”
John had to stop talking when he heard Sherlock scoff. So he did know the criminal mastermind, did he?
Sherlock sighed heavily and then let his head fell back against the pillow. John heard more movement, then, muffled speech. Angry, muffled speech.
Was Sherlock yelling into his pillow?
“That was my brother. Mycroft.” At least he had the decency to remove the pillow before he spoke.
“Your- your brother? I didn’t know you had a brother.” Well, it’s not like Sherlock have really been sharing little bits and pieces about their own lives, have they? No, it was mostly Sherlock deducing things about John, and John nodding. Now he feels a little put out that he doesn’t know anything about Sherlock at all. “Wait, why would your brother tell me to stay away from you? I haven’t done anything!” John couldn’t decide whether this made things make a bit more sense, or make it even worse. At least he knew how Sherlock was keeping the light out this morning: the shadows.
“Hm,” A bit of light was starting to break in through the doorway and the windows, and John could see that in a quick movement, Sherlock was on his back, his hands were pressed together under his chin. Just a moment later, Sherlock sat up quickly. His lanky legs swung over the side as he sat up to look at John. His hands, still pressed together, motioned towards John.
“Did he say anything else? Anything useful?” Sherlock said, his eyes narrowing.
“Not really.” John replied. Nothing that made much sense. All that nonsense about his nightmares, and that he had to tell someone. That it was his boss that told him to tell others about his dreams. But why should he? There wasn’t a point to them. They were just dreams. Night terrors.
Sherlock narrows his eyes further.
“That can’t be all he’s said. Just to stay away from me. Come on, what else? Mycroft does like to hear the sound of his own voice.”
There wasn’t much else that Mycroft said. John kept trying to hush him, as if his words weren’t important.
Well, they weren’t, were they? Nothing he had said even made sense. Mycroft didn’t even bother to tell him that Sherlock was his brother. Why didn’t that information come up? All he had said was “That is of my own concern,”.
Sherlock still didn’t look very convinced with John, but he let it go for now. John suspected that it was because he had an idea. Even in the shadows, John could see his face light up with brilliance.
“If Mycroft is involved, it’s with the higher ups,” Sherlock mumbled. He started to pace. Was he really all that excited? “It must have something to do with that prophecy. Yes, it must...”
Finally, the light broke through completely, and John saw Sherlock take a step towards him, a grin spread wide across his face. Instantly, John knew that it couldn’t mean a good thing.
“Oh, John. The games are about to begin!”
I'm a terrible person. D: This shouldn't have taken so long!