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Daddy Issues

Chapter Text

Hood of his jacket pulled down low over his head, Deuce Gorgon stalked through the front doors of Monster High. He was in an uncharacteristically bad mood, far from his usually cheerful demeanour. He knew why, of course. His father called the previous night to talk to his mum, only to quickly have it turn into a screaming match with curse words slung from each side. Again.

"Deuce!" He heard Cleo's voice call to him. He frowned, glad, for once, that she couldn't see his eyes, and the fury that they held. He straightened his posture slightly and he pretended, like always, that he was normal old Deuce.

"Hey Cleo, hey girls," he greeted, waving at Cleo, Frankie and Ghoulia. "What's up?"

"You're a bit later than normal, and we wanted to make sure you were okay," Frankie spoke up. Ghoulia mumbled in Zombese that he wasn't a bit later, he was a lot late.

"Ghoulia's right, you're twenty minutes late, and class starts in five!" Cleo stressed to him.

Using the most nonchalant tone he could muster Deuce supplied, "I'm fine, guys, really. Just slept in. Sorry for not letting you know I was gonna be late."

Cleo seemed unconvinced. "Fine," she said, sincerely, but not believe his excuse that was only a half truth. She hugged him, and lowered her voice, "But if you ever need anything, just talk to us," he wrapped his arms around Cleo as she continued. "You know you can talk to me about anything."

"Yeah," he murmured back, before pulling away. "Maybe later."

 


 

The following day did not help improve Deuce's mood in the slightest.

Lunch was spent discussing the newest topics from class with Cleo, Clawdeen, Draculaura and Frankie. Frankie was sparking at the seams to share. “We’re doing stuff about the Greek gods!”

Deuce frowned at her statement and asked, “children?”

“Probably. We’re focusing on Zeus at the moment, and then we’ll be moving on to Hades.”

“That sounds golden, don’t you think Deuce?” Cleo gently prodded.

He shrugged noncommittally. “I guess.”

At this, Clawdeen butted in. “What’s up with you? You’ve bugged by something all week.”

“Nothing to worry about. Just a minor thing with my mum.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Frankie gently asked.

“Maybe later.”

“Oh, okay then.”

 

Chapter Text

 

He knew he had done this. Everything, all of this was his fault.

The air was of quality that reminded him of Tartarus, the pit of eternal damnation, and ran razors down his throat.   

As he stood at the foot of a mountain of rubble, the icy dread, and the feeling of having lost something, rushing through his veins couldn’t be contained.  

Whatever it was that he was looking for, he had to find it - them . Dread that it was someone he cared about coiled around his stomach as he raced forward, and inky spots of void blotted out sections of the sky.

Scanning the horizon, the boulders of rubble began to change shape. At least, he thought they did. Were they already like that? He couldn’t be sure.

He approached one, carefully, and realised.

 

Oh.

 

Oh gods.

 

Cleo.

 

He cradled her granite face in his hand, and the stone dissolved like sand through his fingers. But her eyes were dull, no glint of the royal pride they carried left.

 

Please...please, no. I’ll do anything. Anything. Begging, bile seared his throat. Hades…? Zeus? DAD!


Anybody…


He cradled her limp body, stroking her hair and begging. Begging to anyone.

He didn’t dare look up, he already knew that if he did he would the statues around him - his classmates - his friends.

Regret filled him as he curled over Cleo’s body and screamed.


He screamed until his voice was raw.

Deuce was covered in sweat, his hands bleeding gold-flecked blue, his nails having cut like razors.

A light tap on the door and a cautionary voice made him look away from the pooling blood. “Deuce? Moró, are you alright?”

No, he wanted to rasp. Instead, he untangled his sweaty limbs from the sheets and, despite the stinging throb, opened the door to his cousin, Viperine. She looked down at his bloodied hands and gently took them hers.

Suddenly, it was no longer pain from a nightmare, but rather nostalgia; they were little again, on Petros Island. Deuce had fallen off his new skateboard he had gotten for his seventh birthday the previous week, cutting his hand deeply as he broke his fall. Viperine had rushed over to help, seeing him crying and bleeding.

“Let’s get you cleaned up.”

Slowly she led him down the stairs to the large kitchen in their mansion. By no means were they wealthy, but Medusa had built the mansion on a plot of land next to the forest. Reminded her of home, she had said, when a young Deuce had asked why they didn’t just buy a house.

Deuce sat down on a stool and placed his hands, bleeding palms up, on the marble bench. The bleeding had slowed to the point where there were only small beads of blood forming.  

Viperine got alcohol, linen and an anti-bacterial cream, and set them on the counter. Opening the bottle of alcohol, she gave Deuce an apologetic smile. He offered his hands forward, and she dabbed and poured the clear liquid onto Deuce’s bleeding hands. He winced and hissed, but didn’t complain. Viperine gently rubbed it in, allowing the alcohol to do its job of disinfection. Deuce whimpered as she did, though she was careful. The sting felt like it was crawling up his arms and burying in his bones.

He’d endured worse cuts, deeper wounds. He would be fine.

With a clean cloth, Viperine wiped off the liquid, and began to unwind the linen. She placed the first wrap around his left hand and he flinched, as the fibres brushed against the jagged wounds.

Viperine apologised. “Do you want me to st-”

“No. Keep going.”

‘...Okay. Sorry in advance, Moró.

Chapter Text

History was not something Deuce looked forward to. The ghouls, on the other hand, seemed ecstatic. Clearly, he had missed something.

Sitting in the front row, closest to the door, Cleo sat on his right. She had pretended not to notice the bandages adorning his palms, and instead had gently held his fingers tightly, gently, and tugged him into the class. Cleo had witnessed one of his many relentless night terrors, and outside his family, exclusively held the knowledge that they even happened.  

The teacher droned on, mentioning the building of the Grecian empire, after moving on from the Trojan war, he began telling of the journey home. “Odysseus faced many challenges, many due to the interference of Poseidon,” he explained to the class. Some were asleep, some were enraptured, but Cleo was watching Deuce.

She noticed him flinch at the mention of the god of the sea. She arched a perfect eyebrow, silently contemplating talking to Viperine afterwards. Cleo understood that some things took time to trust others with, but she didn’t understand Deuce’s hatred - or was it fear - of the sea god.

“Poseidon is the father of many creatures, including Pegasus, the winged horse, and Chrysaor, who bears the golden sword.” Cleo notice Deuce still, unmoving as many of those he had turned to stone. He didn’t even appear to be breathing.

“We won’t be going into their history, as they do not play much of a role in the Odyssey, however, we will be looking at Poseidon some more tomorrow.”

The bell shocked Cleo out of her dazed observation, and Deuce murmured something as he dashed from the room.

Cleo got up slowly, deciding to let him go, she would catch up to him later. Right now, she wanted to find Viperine.

With minimal effort, Cleo managed to find the gorgon girl at her locker. Viperine looked away from her locker and smiled.

“Heya Cleo, what can I do for you?”

“I’d like to ask you something about Deuce” Cleo asked.

“About Deuce? What about Deuce?” She frowned.

"He was acting… Strange, when our teacher brought up Poseidon in history,” Cleo began.

"Poseidon? Oh, Cleo, I’m sorry. If this is about him, I’m sorry but I can’t. Deuce asked me not to tell.”

"Oh,” Cleo blinked in surprise. “Why?”

"It’s his to tell, when he’s ready. Of course, if you ask him, he might tell you something.” Viperine suggested. “I am sorry, Cleo. I’d tell you if I could.”

Cleo nodded and thanked her, heading towards her own locker, and Deuce. She saw him, standing with bandages hanging from his hands. Carefully, she touched him on the shoulder.

He jumped, fisting his hands around the bloodied strips of fabric and pulled away from her. “Sorry,” he murmured, pulling the door closed, so she could get to her locker.

Cleo smiled at him softly, “I love you.”

"What was that for?” He almost sounded surprised.

"Do I need a reason to tell my boyfriend I love him?”

Deuce answered tentatively, “no?”

"Didn’t think so!” Cleo chirped, opening her locker and dumping her books inside. She decided she would put Poseidon out of her mind and focus on Deuce. He was upset about something and she would do what she could. Even if it really wasn’t very much.

 


 

Though she had decided not to do much, Cleo de Nile was still concerned about her other half, Deuce.

Waiting in a small alcove in the hallway, patiently she counted down the minutes until his practice ended. She could hear them packing up, loudly congratulating each other on a good, solid, practice.

Cleo peeked out of her hiding spot, and saw him walking towards her, towel around his neck, bag slung over his shoulder. He sighed heavily, shoulders sagging.

Grabbing his arm, she pulled him aside. He looked furious, and opened his mouth to yell, only to see that it was Cleo.

"Oh.” He breathed, relieved.

"Deuce,” Cleo started cautiously. “I’m worried. What’s the matter? Why’ve you been so on edge?”

"It really doesn’t matter, besides, if you knew, you’d get hurt, and I really don’t… I don’t want to see that.” He murmured.

It wasn’t really the response she was after, not even a proper answer. “Hurt by who?” She pushed. Deuce pulled away from her, backing into the hallway.

"Someone, okay? Please, just leave it alone. I’d tell you if I could.” He kissed his princess’ head, and left her standing in the alcove, more worried than before. She stared at her feet, and frowned. She wouldn’t push for more, knew he had walls for good reason, but she was so worried about him .

Out of the corner of her eye, Cleo noticed a shimmery aquamarine card. Curiously - cautiously - she picked it up, it crackling in her grasp. She couldn’t read the scrawl, almost couldn’t recognise the language, but she did. Ancient Greek.

Determined to find out what it said, she set out to find the student who would be able to help her.

Chapter Text

Ghoulia had been incredible in deciphering and translating the frustrating scrawl of Ancient Greek. Though it wasn’t a exact, perfect translation, the friends had come to the conclusion that the card was an invitation, directly inviting Deuce to an annual gala of sorts. Cleo had thanked Ghoulia, and headed home. After hours of mulling over it, unable to distract herself from it with anything, she decided to go talk to Deuce. She wouldn’t push, wouldn’t pry, but she would ask, and she would be there.

A cold gust of wind blew her gold streaked hair into her face, loosley tangling the dark strands. Rounding the corner, sweater wrapped tightly around her, shielding her from the brunt of the wind, she heard yelling from within the house on the corner. It was a large, white marble building, with towering pillars and gorgeous fig trees lining the front. Second largest in the suburb, only to the DeNile mansion, it glinted softly in the light of the full moon.

A desperate call from Medusa was followed by the slamming of the door. She approached slowly, trying to gage whether or not she should just come back tomorrow, suddenly she collided with a familiar wall of warmth.

A surprised angry hiss greeted her, only to be replaced with a relaxing of muscle, and a forehead on her shoulder.

“Sorry,” Deuce mumbled.

“It’s okay, love,” Cleo started. “Look, I found-”

“C’mon, come with me. Gotta get some air.” He interrupted, gently grabbing her hand and tugging her towards the forest.

“Deuce, I’m not going in there, it’s too dark!”

“I go in there all the time! Promise, it won’t be bad. Besides, I got my phone torch.” He smiled. That was all Cleo needed to be convinced, the first real smile in a few weeks. She let him pull her into the forest.

 


 

“How, exactly, did you manage to translate it?”

“Ghoulia.”

“Ahh.”

“I thought you’d be madder.”

“I am, in a way, but I also don’t see the point in being mad at you. Yes, you should have asked me, but I probably wouldn’t have said, so, I understand.”

“Why wouldn’t you have said?”

“Because it’s dumb, and I’m trying to convince mamá to let me stay home.”

“Surely, it isn’t that bad?”

“Boring as.”

“Would it be boring if you could bring a friend? Or... Me?”

“You could come. I’d be allowed to take you.” He said.

“Great! How formal is it?”

“As formal as you like, you’ll easily be the most gorgeous person there.”

“I think you may be a bit biased.”

“Maybe just a bit.”

 


 

“I should go, before someone figures out that I’m not in my room watching Nailed It.” Cleo sighed. She hugged Deuce and kissed him quickly,

leaving Deuce alone in front of his house.

“I love you.”

“Love you too, Cleo.”

“See you tomorrow, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Deuce entered his house, closing the heavy door behind him.

“Mamá?”

“I’m here,” she called from the lounge.

“Mamá, I’m sorry. I was rude, I shouldn’t have been.” His native Greek flowing out in an anxious, sincere apology. “I will go, but… May I bring Cleo? And Clawd?”

Medusa smiled softly, holding out her arms. “Yes, Moró, you may. I’m sorry, too. I shouldn’t have been harsh.”

“You weren’t, Mamá.” He said, embracing her. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Moró. So much.”