You'd think it would get easier, living with the guilt. But that's all he really had now. In the days after the Nogitsune Incident, he could still feel it. The blood on his hands. Allison was dead, and it was all his fault. He cut himself off the Pack. He just couldn't face them. Not after what he did. The Nogitsune had changed him, he could feel it.
He was currently sitting in the dark confines of his room, his face and walls cast in soft blue light as he was doing what he always did when sleep eluded him: research. He was looking for ways to keep something like this from happening again. Most sources say that once possessed, it opens you up to future possession. His eyes were heavy with the need for sleep, his nails bitten to the quick. He hadn't showered in a few days. His dad was at work, there was a lot of paperwork and filing that had to be done in the aftermath of it all. They weren't talking much right now. Usually on nights like this he'd call up Scott and they'd have a bro night.
"Ugh." He rubbed at his face and, not for the first time, debated the ethics of asking Deaton if it was possible to erase memories with his druid mojo.
"So this is what you've been up to?" Stiles flailed, tipping his chair too far back, falling on his ass when Derek made his presence known by Stiles's window.
"Christ, Sourwolf, knock much? What are you even doing here?" Stiles pushed himself off the floor and fixed his chair before plopping down on his bed, not ready for more monster drama. It had been months since he seen Derek. After Erica and Boyd died, Derek had wanted to get Cora somewhere safe, so they quickly "Please tell me something new isn't attacking the town." He didn't bother mentioning that it was two in the morning, he hadn't slept for three days, and was nowhere near ready for another Big Bad right now.
Derek snorted, wrinkling his nose at the scents stuck to the room. Teenage hormones, angst, and guilt. So much guilt. "No. Nothing new." He pushed off the window and sat down in the newly vacated desk chair; eyes drawn to the still-open laptop, browser filled with at least ten different tabs.
"'Demonic Possession and it's Causes', 'Side Effects of Possession', 'How to Prevent Possession by Spirits, Demons, and other Entities'." He turned the chair to face Stiles, who was now sitting up with back pressed against his headboard, his nails suddenly very interesting as he tried to avoid Derek's eyes. The scent of guilt got stronger, it until Derek's wolf was practically whining in his chest, urging him to comfort his packmate.
"Yes, Derek?" He picked at a stray blue strand on his jeans.
"Stiles, look at me."
"I'd rather not."
"Stiles." Derek begged. "Please."
Defeated hazel eyes met worried green ones. "What do you want me to say Derek? that I'm scared? That I feel guilty? Pretty sure you can fucking smell that already. Or do you want to say that I remember it? Every last bit. I can still feel the sword in my hands, as I twist it into my brothers gut. I remember screaming inside my own brain for them to just kill me, don't trust it, it's not me! Over and over again." He was shouting at this point, throwing each word with a viscera Derek hadn't thought him capable of, but weathered it nonetheless.
Stiles took a deep breath and slumped against his headboard, drawing his knees up to his chest. "I can still remember, still feel, the Nogitsune's utter joy," He spat. "As it's pet Oni killed Allison."
Derek sighed, and for a few minutes the room was quiet. Filled only with the sound of Stiles's frantic breathing and erratic heartbeat. Stiles didn't like silence, it made him feel as if the werewolf was judging him, of all things. He was about to tell Derek to leave, until-
"I killed my family." Stiles head snapped up to once again meet Derek's eyes. This time though, they glowed blue. It was the mark of a wold that had killed an innocent. As blue as sapphires, and it made something Stiles's stomach twist and lurch, though not unpleasantly.
"Derek, you didn't-"
"I did though. I know, that in the end, it was mostly Kate. I do. I get that." He scratched the back of his neck, and all at once appeared more vulnerable then Stiles had ever seen him. "I told her when my family would be home. I told her how to get in. I told her everything she needed to know to kill them."
"Yeah, but that wasn't your fault Derek!" Stiles threw a pillow at him; which he caught with an unimpressed eyebrow raise, of course. "You were a stupid kid that was seduced by a psychotic hunter bitch. You didn't know, Sourwolf."
Derek nodded. "You're right. I didn't know. I was just a dumb kid, and I accept that now. But I was a dumb kid fully in charge of my own actions. Completely conscious and capable of saying no. Or warning my Pack. And I did neither. And in the end, whether directly or indirectly, I got them killed. Because of my own actions." He stood up and headed towards the window, throwing one last glance at the boy whose pain was so similar to his own. "You've told me multiple times that what happened to them wasn't my fault, and I've learned to accept that. Even believe it. But I also know that it happened because actions and decisions that I was in control of. The Nogitsune didn't leave you any control Stiles, not from what I've heard. So how could any of what happened be your fault?" Having said his peace, Derek leaped out the window, going only God knows where. Leaving Stiles with nothing but his thoughts.
"...Thanks, Sourwolf." He got up, closed his laptop, and went right back to bed. The nightmares weren't as bad that night.
Chapter 2: Enchantments Made, Enchantments Broke, Long Lost Memories Finally Stoked
Loki gets his handed handed to him, and feels broken in more ways then one.
As Loki, God of Chaos, looked upon the army of monster's he set loose, he can't help but think, under the azure haze of enchantment, that this was a mista-.
He ground his teeth in anger as the Man of Iron took down yet another Leviathan. He was Loki of Asgard, and this realm would be his! He was burdened with glorious purpose.
It was a small, magical pressure surrounding his mind, punishing each doubt or moment of inaction as he set his Master's army against the Midgardian's New York. He soared the the sky on a Chitauri glider, surveying the damage done to his number. Chitauri and Leviathan corpses littered the streets, but not a single Avenger had been taken down.
The ears of his Asgardi- Jotun - physiology heard the projectile from yards away. With reflexes that definitely weren't human, he snatched the arrow from the air, inches from his face. He raised his eyes to meet Barton's; yards away upon a roof, bow in hand., and smirked.
'Foolish mortal, did you really think that would work?' He thought. 'I have been inside your head. Dug through your secrets. I know all your tric-'
And soaring through the sky he went, the arrows explosion separating him from the glider and sending him crashing through the glass of the Stark Tower terrace. No sooner then did he land and look up in fury - fucking Barton - did he see the giant green monstrosity that the Avenger's called friend flying towards him from another building. Just. Jumping hundreds of feet.
It's roar shook him to the bone, but he didn't have time to move.
A large green shoulder barreled him through even more glass, knocking the air from his lungs as it sent him flying into a concrete wall, spraying stone across the floor as he fell upon it face first. He quickly picked himself up off the ground with a snarl and met the savage eyes of the Hulk as just as the beast pounded his fist againt the floor and built to charge at him again.
"Enough!", Loki screamed, giving the monster pause. "You are, all of you, beneath me! I am a God you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by-" 'By Odin's filthy beard!'
Quickly, with strength worthy of his title, the Hulk had grabbed the God of Chaos by his ankle, and for the third time in thirty seconds Loki found himself flying through the air, though this time was much shorter, as the behemoth of a man simply crashed his body over and over again into the stone beneath them, leaving several Loki-sized dents in the floor. Even for a God, being slammed around with such force hurt. It stole his breath from his lungs; clouded his mind even more then constant pressure of blue and pain, just to replace it with a different kind of pain all together. One of the body, so bad that it sharpened the mind into focus.
As the Hulk stalked off with a victorious beastly smile and a muttering of "Puny God", Loki released what little breath his lungs still held in a wheeze as his focus pinpointed upon all the places his body simply felt broke, though he knew it wasn't, and with his newfound clarity... the Enchantments on his mind snapped. The faint blue azure that flecked his iris; much more muted then what had once been Barton's vibrant electric of a color, faded and become emerald once more.
With his mind returned unto his control, memories flooded back. With a sickening twist of his stomach he realized that he had not be pushed from the Bifrost's Rainbow Bridge, he had fallen. He let go. Rejected his own brother's hand of aid because he himself had felt rejected. He flinched at the memories of falling through the Void, plummeting through endless nothing, just to wind up on His doorstep. The torture that ensued. How He had used the Mind Stone, a God's damned infinity stone to subtly rewrite The God's memories and fuel his jealous rage, before setting him upon Midgard with an army.
And just as he was about to get up, to search for Thor, his brother, to apologize, to beg for forgiveness, to grovel if he had too - a different set of memories came. The enchantment that had locked them within his mind years ago undone as the Mind Stone's was. These were of a little boy, skinny but not frail, with pale skin - paler then even Loki's - dotted with moles. His head adorned with dark hair that fell in waves around his face and framed perfectly honey gold eyes. Images of the boy as a wee tot, looking up at him with a toothy smile, making grabbing hands and yelling "Momma!".
Flashes of entire years in Midgardian time, passing before his very eyes, each and every one including this bright eyed and happy child. His child. It hit harder then the green monstrosity or his brother's hammer ever could. He had a son. A mortal son. Yes, images of the child's father were starting to filter in as well. A.. officer of Midgardian Law. He.. he remembers his smile. He knew for a fact this child was half Midgardian, and had a father aside from Loki, meaning.. Loki had given birth to him. He had taken female form, which wasn't all unusual for The God of Chaos, and birthed a a scion of Midgard. Stiles. The named filtered through his mind, and all of a sudden he knew his son's name.
"Huh, what do you know Jolly Green. You hit Reindeer Games so hard, ya made him cry."
Shocked out of his memories Loki quickly wiped the tears he didn't know he was crying from his face and pushed himself up on his hands. He was met with the sight of the Avengers, weapons aimed and drawn. He searched for the Man of Iron, meeting his exposed face, noting his lack of visor, with a tired smile.
"If it's all the same to you, I think I'll have that drink now."
EEEEEEEEEEE. Was so excited to write this but I couldn't figure out how to structure it, then today I was listening to music, got reaallly fucking happy and wrote it all in about an hour. Thank the music Goddess that is Zhavia. Like always, TELL ME WHAT YA THINK!! <3 Kudos and comments are always appreciated.
Chapter 3: Author's Note
Hello guys, gals, and non-binary pals!
I'm afraid that I mus apologize, as the new chapter will be a few days later then originally intended. Ya boi just went through a really nasty breakup and it's kinda effecting my ability to write, but I should have it written, edited, and posted within the next few days!!
I'm so sorry for the delay, but I thank each and every one of you for continuing to be interested in this story, as a beginner author it really means a lot!
Chapter 4: Dreams of Ice, and Tales of War
Stiles admits he needs help. The pack bear witness to the invasion of new York. Sheriff Stilinski is a good sheriff and a great father.
Through harsh wind and biting cold, hazel met the hard blue of frozen desolation; ice as far as the eye could see. Drakon hide, dyed scarlet in hue; strapped to shoulder, arms and sternum, could only provide a modicum of warmth on what should have been frost bitten flesh. But as hands raised to eye-level, it was clear that frostbite would not be an issue. Where should have been pink skin, blackened by the hellish cold, was instead an arctic azure, matching the landscape of endless winter before him.
'Stiles, it's time to wake up'
Head tilted, listening, eyes itching as the world went red.
Tendrils of magic, ancient and freezing, pulled his attention towards the cloud-filled sky. There, floating above him, was a stone of blue and black, encased in a cage of silver. A voice came from its center, soft in comparison to the harsh winds that carried it to his ears.
"Awaken, my Chosen; Destiny calls you eastward. Turn your eyes upon your storytellers, for the Mad One's army approaches. Chaos looks for you with fractured mind, find him."
Stiles woke with a gasp, eyes flying open and blinking hard against the harsh light that flooded his room from his window. He groaned and rubbed his temples in a fruitless attempt to stave off the coming headache. Ugh, more senseless dreams. Caffeine. He needed caffeine.
"Stiles, I swear to God if you don't open this door, I will open it myself, and neither of us want that after what happened last time."
With eyes now wide awake and frantic, Stiles scrambled out of bed, falling to the floor as he tangled in his blankets before quickly extracting himself and wrenching open the bedroom door. He glared at his father's knowing smirk.
"Hey, HEY! You swore never to speak of that again! 'Tis an incident that has been blacklisted, struck from memory! How dare you old man."
The sheriff chuckled and ruffled his hair. "Got you out of bed though didn't it? Now come on downstairs. I've made an early dinner. Figured we could eat as a family before I had to go back into work."
Rubbing a hand across his sleep-worn face, Stiles cranes his head to look at the clock on his nightstand. "Shit, did I really sleep 'til three?"
"You've had a rough few months kid, figured I'd let you sleep in this once. Also, don't think I didn't notice that line of mountain ash around your bed. We are going to talk about that, right?"
"Oh, is that turkey burgers I smell?" And just like that, he was off. He wove around his dad and made his way downstairs to find the plates already set and steaming on the table. His chair squeaked as it pulled it out and sat down before surveying what was on his father’s plate, nodding when he noticed that what he first thought were french fries, were actually cauliflower fries. He didn't care for the beer on his father’s side, especially since all he got was milk, but he’d let it pass this time.
"I saw that you know." His fathered grumbled he came in a took his own seat. "I have a doctor’s appointment in a couple weeks Stiles, and I swear to God if everything comes back normal there won't be anything on this Earth that is going to stop me from having a real burger. With steak sauce. And fries."
Stiles narrowed his eyes jabbed a finger in the air towards his father. "Salmon burger, with sweet potato fries. No steak sauce! But I may permit a garlic butter and wine sauce, if you play your cards right." This was met with a glare from the sheriff as he took a bite from his plate with a harrumph.
"And here I thought I was the parent."
"Well, you were wrong."
"Well in that case, you can pay the mortgage."
They laughed and small talked through the rest of dinner. When they were both finished, they continued to sit at the table in silence for a few moments, basking in each other’s company as they so rarely got to do.
"Son, I know you don't want to talk right now." Stiles tensed. "And I get that. So, I'm not gonna make you talk. But I do think you need to talk to someone - anyone - so I've made you an appointment." Stiles swallowed and clenched his jaw, meeting his dad’s tired eyes with his own burning ones.
"A therapist, Dad? Really? I mean, I know I haven't been great lately-"
"- but that doesn't mean I'm fucking crazy!" Stiles said, throwing his hands up in frustration as his voice gained in volume.
"Language! And before you go and throw a fit, son, it's not a therapist. You'll be seeing Deaton twice a week. Every Monday and Friday after school."
Grinding his teeth, Stiles asked. "Deaton? Alan Deaton? Mister King of Cryptic Non-Answer Bullshit? That Deaton?"
"Yes, Stiles, that Deaton. And this is non-negotiable." The sheriff sighed. "You can't keep bottling everything up, you have to talk to someone, and you won't talk to me, or the Pack. So, since you're still legally a minor, and I am your father, I've taken it upon myself to find someone you can talk too."
Stiles took a deep breath and clenched his fists under the table, nails biting into his palm in an attempt to stave off the coming panic attack. He had another angry retort on his tongue before his mind flashed back to the dream he had been woken from, and it died in the back of his throat as he sighed in resigned defeat. "Okay."
Surprise colored John's face, and he hedged forward in cautiously. "...okay?" Stiles snorted and carded nervous, shaking fingers through his hair.
'Almost time for another cut'
"Yeah, Dad. Just.. okay? I won't argue. It's been almost three months, school starts in a couple weeks, and I can't just keep waiting for my brain to fix itself. Speaking of, I need another refill of Adderall." The sheriff nodded, a bit of pride and worry mixed in eyes.
"Got it, I'll call it in and pick it up on when I get off shift. And Stiles?" The teen looked up to meet his father’s gaze. "I'm proud of you son. It's never easy to admit when you need help. Especially for a Stilinski." He chuckled and shook his head in a wave of nostalgia. "Your mother... Your mother use to say that there was nothing more stubborn, in Heaven or Earth, than the heart and mind of a Stilinski."
Stiles fought the lump in his throat and rubbed away at suddenly misty eyes before giving his dad his best "everything will be okay" smile. "She was right. We Stilinski men are stubborn. But that also means we're hard to keep down." His father and raised his bottle of beer.
"Amen to that. And God help whoever crosses us." As they clinked their drinks together in a toast to old memories and new promises, the sound of radio static filled the air, followed by a frantic voice.
"This is Officer Carmichael to Sheriff Stilinski. I repeat, this is Officer Carmichael to Sheriff Stilinski. Jesus, Sheriff, please tell me you can hear me. We got a clusterfuck of bad news." The Father-son duo shared a worried look before the Sheriff bolted out of his seat to grab his radio where it hung on his uniform by the door.
"Tara, this is Sheriff Stilinski, what's going on?" The normally laid-back deputy let out a sound of relieved and frantic.
"Thank God. Sheriff you need to turn on the news right away. There's coverage of this all across the country."
"Deputy, calm down. Take a deep breath." The sheriff soothed, relaxing when he heard his deputy comply. "Now, tell me slowly, what's going on?"
"I-I can't explain it, sir. Just turn on the news! Deputy Carmichael, out."
"Deputy? Deputy!" He dropped the radio and smacked his forehead. "God dammit, man."
"Dad! You need to come see this!" The sheriff ran into the living room, where Stiles stood with his shocked face bathed in light from the TV. The sheriff stopped dead as he caught sight of its screen.
"We're here now live at New York News headquarters, and as you can see from the images on your screen, provided from our reporters on the ground, New York is under attack from an unknown, and dare I say it, extraterrestrial enemy. All New York Police Departments have converged on the city of Manhattan, where the attack is taking place, desperately trying to hold the tide until the military arrives, if they even will."
"Oh my God..." Stiles whispered, barely a breath as he watched another building fall, as he watched monsters pour from a hole in the sky. He jumped when his father placed his hand on his shoulder, squeezing comfortingly. He gripped it tight and held it as an anchor.
"We are now getting reports that a group of people calling themselves the 'Avengers' have arrived on the scene and seem be battling the invaders. Among their number seems to be none other the famous super-soldier, Captain America-"
"Language" The sheriff said, reflexively but with no real heat.
"- Iron Man, a.k.a. billionaire playboy Tony Stark."
"Stiles, shut up!" The teenager was almost bouncing on his feet in a mixture of fear and excitement. His father had raised him on stories of Captain America, his Aunt Peggy having actually fought beside him in the war. And Stiles has had a not-so-secret nerd crush on Tony Stark for years. The man is the only real name in renewable clean energy, and he has a metal suit!! That flies! And shoots missiles and shit! "I'mma text the pack!"
The teen jumped and flopped on his back on the couch, quickly pulling out his phone.
Stiles has created the group chat "Alien BITCHES!!"
Stiles has added Scott, Lydia, Kira, Isaac, and Allison to the group chat.
Stiles has set his nickname as 'Wise One'.
Scott has set Stiles's nickname as 'Dumbass'.
Stiles has set his nickname as 'Wise One'.
Stiles has set Scott's nickname as 'Rude Ass Bitch'
Lydia has added Derek to the group chat.
Wise One: Oh cool, thanks. Didn't have his number.
Stiles has set Derek's nickname as 'Big Bad'.
Derek has set Stiles's nickname as 'Little Red'.
Little Red: I wear a red hoodie ONE TIME.
Isaac has left the group chat.
Stiles has added Isaac to the group chat.
Little Red: First off, you're fuckin RUDE
Stiles has set Isaac's nickname as 'Scarf Boi'.
Scarf Boi: 🖕
Lydia: Is there a point to all this nonsense? Although it is good to hear you’re not dead, Stiles. What's this about aliens?
Lydia has added Jackson to the group chat.
Stiles winced, before the Nogitsune him and Lydia had actually started to get pretty close, friend wise, but he hasn't talked to her really since they got rid of it. Better late than never though.. right? She was going to kill him.
Stiles has set Lydia's nickname as 'Strawberry Goddess'.
Little Red: Lydia, my Goddess, light of my life, I am sorry.
Strawberry Goddess: Hmm.
Jackson: I see your still a suck up Stilinski
Little Red: Fuck you, Jackson. It's not fair how much I actually miss your snarky presence. But I still feel sorry for the entire population of London for housing your lizard ass.
Stiles has set Jackson's nickname as 'Slime Lizard'.
Jackson: I told you, I'm everyone's type. And London might be more temporary then was originally planned.
Strawberry Goddess: ?? We will be talking about that. But I feel like what Stiles has to say might actually be important.
Rude Ass Bitch: It's been too long Stiles, but it is good to see you’re okay enough to text.
Little Red: Yeah, yeah, love you too buddy. Now turn on the news!! New York is being attacked by fucking ALIENS! And Captain America and Iron Man are fighting them!
Scott has set Kira's nickname as 'Sneaky Fox'.
Little Red: Just watch the news!! Aliens pouring from a portal in the sky!!
Slime Lizard: Holy shit, they're covering it all the way here in London.
Strawberry Goddess: This has just turned the entire world of science on its head.
Big Bad: If we even have a world after this.
Scarf Boi: There's no way to tell how many more are on the other side of that portal. Can these 'Avengers' -and seriously, cool name - really hold back all of them? There's giant fucking worm monsters!
Sneaky Fox: The people on the news are calling those Leviathans.
Rude Ass Bitch: Fuck, was that Thor??
Big Bad: Wait, I think they figured out who's leading them.
Stiles pulled his attention away from the screen his hand to look at the screen on the wall.
"Our reporters on the ground have overheard talk between Captain America and another Avenger, who our sources have dubbed 'Black Widow', an apparent renowned assassin, talking about the leader of the invaders, which they are calling the Chitauri, called Loki. Who is apparently the brother of Thor, a supposed God who invader our world a year previous and led a battle against a metal monster in a small town in New Mexico City. One has to ask, has he simply brought his problems, once again, trailing behind him? Is Thor himself a threat to our very way of life? And why would a renowned assassin be working to save lives?
The questions keep piling up, but we here at New York News will do all we can to- bzzzzz"
The television filled with static before a message "We are experiencing technical difficulties" appeared on the screen.
"Stiles." The sheriff pulled his attention to him. "I'm going to head in to the station, I was due in anyway. I'm going to do my best at damage control, keep the people calm for as long as possible and call in every deputy I can just in case New York can't keep this contained." He pointed a finger at his son. "Stay here. I can't be worried about where you are too right now, okay? Call the pack and have them come here if you absolutely have too, they can even stay the night." He pulled out his wallet and tossed a hundred dollars into Stiles lap. "For food and emergencies. Blankets and pillows in the upstairs closest. Be safe."
Right as the sheriff turned to leave, Stiles bolted up and grabbed him in a strong hug. "You too, okay? Be safe." The sheriff smiles and kissed his forehead in a rare show of tenderness.
"Of course. We Stilinski men are stubborn, remember? Can't keep us down." And with that he was out of the room, the sound of the front door closing filling the house seconds later. Stiles was left standing in an empty house and a dark room, save for the light of the TV. He took a moment to collect his thoughts, each one racing through his mind at a mile a minute.
'Turn your eyes upon your storytellers, for the Mad One's army approaches.' Words from last night’s dream flashed at the forefront and his breath caught in his throat.
Little Red: Emergency Pack Meeting. My House. ASAP. Scott, stop by the vet clinic and grab Deaton, tell him to bring any books he has relating to dreams and magic blue stones. You guys should bring a change of clothes, it'll probably be a Pack Night. Well. Except for Jackson.
Slime Lizard: Video call?
Little Red: That works. Seriously guys, get here ASAP.
Sneaky Fox: Scott and I are heading to Deaton's now.
Strawberry Goddess: Omw.
Big Bad: I'll bring Isaac.
Little Red: Good, nice to have to band back together.
Scarf Boi: 🖕
Hey guys! I'm SO sorry this came so late, but I've been excitedly working on this all day just to get it out. I'm actually gonna start working on chapter 5 immediately! Enter, Nico di Angelo and Camp Half-Blood! As always, comments and kudos are appreciated! All the kind words I've gotten so far have meant SO much to me! I love you all, and hope you continue to enjoy my work! <3
Nico di Angelo sat at the Hades table of the Dining Pavilion at Camp Half-Blood, wondering idly what his chances of disappearing would be. Not even an a few hours earlier he had broken up with his boyfriend, Will Solace, who he had been dating for less than two months.
"I'm sorry, Will. We're just too different. You bring sunshine wherever you go. You heal whatever you touch. I'm the frickin' Ghost King, Solace. Death follows me wherever I go, and I don't think you can handle that. I don't want you to have to handle that."
The look on Will's face was heartbreaking in a way Nico didn't think it could be. "So, that's it?" Nico swallowed and nodded.
His dark brown, almost black, eyes met Will's own sky blue.
"Yeah. Yeah, Will, that's it."
Now later in the day, Nico finds himself staring down at his cold plate of mashed potatoes and turkey legs. He startled as a tray clanged down in front of him, drawing his attention up to a pair sea-foam eyes. He sighed and raised an eyebrow in question.
"What do you want Percy?" Percy, shrugged as he quickly tore into his own food, smiling as another person sat their tray beside his. Annabeth; Percy's long-time girlfriend, greeted Nico with a smile of her own. "Hey, Death Boy. How ya doing?"
Nico shook his head and pressed his knuckles into his eyes. He jumped again when another tray appeared, this time being violently slammed onto the table by none other the Clarisse, Daughter of Ares, herself. She nods in his general direction and begins eating at a speed that suggests she's trying to out-do Percy. Which was probably the case given their pseudo-rivalry.
"Okay, them-" Nico says as he points toward Percy and Annabeth. "-I get. Concerned friends, and all that jazz. You? Not so much. Explain, la Rue."
She spewed food on the table as she spoke. "Whole camps heard about you and sunshine boy. They're worried that you're gonna go psycho and raise an army of the undead or some shit." She swallowed her mouthful. "I, of course, don't believe this because I know how much you helped us against Gaea, but I offered to talk to you to help put them at ease." Nico raised a skeptical brow. Clarisse la Rue doesn't do feelings. Sue him, but he knew she was lying about something.
"Talk to me, huh? No vague promises of bodily harm should I turn out to be an evil overlord?"
"I mean, of course there was. I'm a daughter of Ares, Ghost King." She snorted, as if the very thought of nonviolence were a joke to her. Which... yeah it probably was.
Nico roller his eyes and took a sip of his nectar. "You guys. I broke up with him. I am not the one you should be trying to comfort right now."
"Oh, don't worry." Annabeth said, picking at her nails. "All of Apollo cabin is consoling him and trying to come up with ways to put an arrow in your head. I know for a fact that no less than five haikus have been written about your apparent dumbassery." Nico groaned as Percy chuckled at his dismay.
"Don't worry dude. Nobody is dumb enough to come after you with us on your side." His smile was so blinding that Nico almost believed him. Then he remembered who was talking and banged his head on the table.
"Father, deliver me from this camp." He prayed. No sooner than his words were spoken was there a pulse of energy around the Pavilion that seemed roil the shadows. In a brilliant flash of crimson light three men and a woman, four Gods, appeared in front of the campers.
"I regret, that you may yet get your wish, my son." His father's deep baritone carried across the field of tables; his usual cloak of tormented souls fastened around his thin shoulders with clasps of Stygian Iron. Beside him stood Ares, decked out in full Greek battle regalia, a sword in hand, with his signature sunglasses blazing under his helmet. Artemis and Apollo, the twin Gods of Moon and Sun, were somber expression few had ever seen on their faces before. They each had their bows strapped to their backs, but upon Apollo's belt also rested a flute, dangling from a leather cord.
The son of Hades grew a step paler when he caught Apollo's eyes and noticed them grow a bit angrier than they already seemed.
Clarisse stood and bowed in the presence of her own father; the Ares table quick to follow her example. "Father," She spoke. "What is happening? Is Olympus under attack again?"
Artemis answered her instead. "Yes and no, daughter of War. There is an attack on Manhattan as we speak, and Zeus has once again closed the Gates of Olympus in his folly to keep himself and his precious throne protected." She spat these words upon the ground and glared at the sky as thunder rolled through the fields, leaving an angry charge in the air that promised retribution at the slight. "We three; my brother, Ares, and I, refused to be caged again. Hades has agreed to house us within the Underworld as long as we require."
Annabeth spoke up, never once wavering in the presence of the divine guests before them. "Who are the enemy?"
Ares curled his lip at her. "We have heard them called Chitauri. A breed of what the mortals refer to as 'extraterrestrials'. Fuckin' invaders is what they are, and when I'm through 'em-" Apollo cleared his throat, interrupting what was sure be a rage fueled tirade.
"Yes, Ares, we get it." He turned to survey the campers around them, offering a brief smile to the table that held his own children, dimming a bit more when he noticed one in particular was missing. "They are being led by a foreign God. Our intel says his name is Loki-" Already with her laptop out of the bag she carries with her and typing away furiously at its board, Annabeth quickly interrupted. Her mind was already overrun with thoughts of life existing beyond planet Earth.
"Loki? Son of Odin and brother of Asgard's Crown Prince, Thor?"
"That would be the one, daughter of Athena. It is no doubt that your mother's blood runs in you." Said Hades, almost approvingly. "We have reason to believe that he too may be under the control of an outside force, Hecate, who still resides inside my realm, has sent out several of her ravens to get eyes on the situation. Many have come back stating that they sense strange magics around the mind of the Norse God Prince. Zeus is worried that his army will soon attack the Empire State Building and has as such cut all magickal connection between Olympus and the mortal world."
Clarisse cleared her throat and asked her dad. "But doesn't that mean that you can't return either? Won't you be weaker without your seat of power?" The God of War smiled somewhat nastily before he answered.
"Apollo would have the biggest problem. Very little sunlight down there. Me, though? Well, the Fields of Punishment are full of never-ending battle. I'll be just fine. And Artemis will have her share of monsters to hunt down there as well, should keep her nice and strong for a while."
"I am afraid, children." Intoned Hades, startling even the Gods beside him with his confession. "Never before have we faced a threat such as this. Enemies pour from a portal in the skies of Manhattan and a God from a land unknown to us, with unknown abilities, possibly being led by unknown master, is their shepherd. We come, opposing the orders of the King of Olympus, to issue you a quest." Here, the obsidian eyes of the God of the Dead scan the faces of the crowd; still weary from their last war, but ready to fight all the same, before locking with the resigned stare of his own son.
"We choose you, Nico di Angelo, he who closed the Doors of Death, to lead this quest. You may choose three companions to accompany you to Manhattan via shadow travel, where you must do everything in your power to cut their army down as you await the rest of the battle-abled here to join you. My son," and here the King of The Underworld shocked the crowd yet again as he got on his knees and put a kind hand on Nico's shoulder. "do you accept this burden? For I will not force it upon you."
Resolute, Nico met him stare for stare. "I accept."
Ares, spear suddenly in hand, slams the polearm against the ground, shaking it with his strength. "Then choose your companions, Princeling."
For several moments, Nico was quiet, thinking long and hard on who would be the best choice. Finally, he came to a decision. "Do you have to be from this camp?" His father raised an eyebrow but shrugged.
"If need be, I can pull anyone you need from the Roman Camp using the shadows." Nico nodded, that makes this easier than.
"I choose Lou Ellen, Clarisse la Rue, and Jason Grace." Jason had long since returned to the Roman Camp to help them with rebuilding after the fallout of the Gaea War, and had returned to his post as Praetor. The Hecate table erupted in cheers, as they had rarely had one of their number chosen for a quest. They quickly pulled Lou, a rather unimposing girl with dark hair and green eyes, dressed in casual wear, from her seat and pushed her towards Nico and the Gods before them.
Clarisse to his side looked surprised but puffed her chest and nodded her assent, an unspoken thanks in her eyes. Indeed, Ares himself seemed to give a sharp smile; to sharp to be fond, but proud all the same.
Hades reached out a hand and pulled, the shadows of the Pavilion pooling around his fingers in a display of power, before where once stood empty air, now stood a tall, confused blonde haired boy in Roman regalia. He quickly took in his surrounding before noticing the divines before him and offering them a quick bow.
"My Lord Hades, why have you pulled me here?" Hades released him and waved toward Nico, Lou and Clarisse now standing at his side.
"My son has chosen you to accompany him on a quest, beside both the Daughter of Hecate, and the Daughter of Ares. You four shall be defending the city of Manhattan from invaders that have come here from beyond the bounds of space." Jason blinked, tilting his head at Nico.
"Did... Did the Lord of the Dead just tell me we're going to be fighting aliens? Cause I mean, that's just crazy... right?" When Nico only shrugged, Jason sighed and rubbed at the bridge of his nose.
"War with aliens, right."
“, now that I think about it, could our weapons even harm them?" Annabeth asked, inquisitively. "I mean, they're not technically monsters, right?"
Ares grunted, weighing the question before answering it. "Celestial Bronze and Imperial Gold is made to hunt monsters, while being unable to harm normal mortals. But they can still hurt animals, so it's my guess that they're designed not to hurt humans." He snapped his fingers and the sharp grin overtook his face once more, his eyes glowing napalm behind the lenses that covered them, as a red light seemed to envelop the weapons of every half-blood in attendance, and indeed probably even those who weren't. "But now your weapons carry a Blessing of War. They shall harm everything you intend to harm. Mortals too if need be. So, the point, Daughter of Athena, is moot." Annabeth stared at the dagger on her hip as it's red glow slowly faded into the blade, before looking and nodding at the God of War.
Apollo spoke, his voice subdued, but still tinged with fire. "We also have gifts for you four who shall go and face the unknown power of this threat first." Here the God of Music took the flute from his belt and held it out towards Lou Ellen. "For when your magic alone is not enough to destroy a beast, sooth it instead. " She took it with reverence, studying the intricate silver and gold that danced along it's body. "You are strong, daughter of Hecate, perhaps the strongest currently amongst your siblings, but do overestimate that strength."
Lou bowed in thanks. "Thank you, Lord Apollo. I will use it wisely." Artemis stepped up next, removing a silver bracelet from her wrist and presenting it to Jason.
Her voice was smooth and her face bragging... "Attach this to your wrist and it will become like a second skin. Flick your wrist like so, and it will become whatever weapon you wish. Should it become a bow, you will need ammunition, and your arrows will never miss."
"Show off", muttered Apollo, rolling his eyes.
Jason accepted the bracelet with a nod. It was a thing of silver vines, the moon emblazoned upon its front with an ethereal glow. He quickly slipped it on and watched in no mild amazement as it seemed to melt into his skin, leaving a silver tattoo in its wake. Curiously, he flicked his wrist and thought 'dagger'. A silvered blade with a pure white hilt that seemed to copy the earlier glow of the band appeared in his hand between one second and the next.
"Ho-oly shit." Jason whispered. "I mean," he gulped. "Thank you, Lady Artemis. Your gift is amazing." The moon goddess smirked at her brother and snorted at his sour expression at having clearly been outdone by his twin yet again.
"Clarisse." Barked Ares, quickly garnering his daughters attention. The God of War twisted a ring off his finer, a steel-colored thing set in the face of a skull with ruby eyes. She quickly took it from his outstretched hand and slid it onto her own finger, where it shrunk to fit, it's gleaming eyes seeming to twinkle at her. "That ring is special, girl." The god explains. "Once a day you may twist it three times over and it will give you the strength of Ares. For ten whole minutes you have all the strength and speed of a God. But, be warned." His napalm eyes glowed as his words took on a darker tone. "With the strength of War, so too comes its madness. Once activated, for ten minutes you shall become a Berserker." Annabeth, having long studied history and many of its battle tactics, sucked a harsh breath through her teeth, earning a chuckle from Ares. "Yes. Daughter of Athena, you seem to understand." He turned his attention back to his own daughter.
"Do you know what a Berserker is, girl? It is an enemy powered by blind rage. You will know not the difference between friend or foe, and all in your sight will become the target of your strength. Use this gift wisely, or not at all." Clarisse swallowed around the knot in her throat, her stomach suddenly filled with razor-winged butterflies as she gave a shaky bow. "Thank you, Father."
"My son," Hades still stayed knelt in front of Nico, but now his hand left his son's shoulder to reach into the depths of his cloak, emblazoned with the faces of the damn and they struggled for freedom. He pulled from the folds of his cloak a cord of leather, the crossed bones and smiling skull visage dangling from its length. As he slipped it over Nico's head and ears, Nico could feel the power of the Underworld, raw and bound within the trinket as it settled over his sternum. For a brief moment those who watched closely could see his eyes enveloped in an inky blackness, from pupil to sclera.
"Padre," Nico whispered, staring as Hades with a look that could only be described as fear. "Padre, che hai fatto? Zeus ti ucciderà per questo!" Hades shook his head, standing from where he knelt.
"Zeus cannot find you now my son. Hecate herself has charmed that symbol to make it so. As for what I have done? I think you already know." Here he offered his son a somewhat sad smile, but it's edges held pride and determination. "I have given you a piece myself, my divinity, in that trinket. So long as you wear it you will be hidden from the King of Olympus, and your powers will come to you much easier. It should also keep you from fading." And here a note of disapproval crept into his voice, causing Nico to look rather sheepish all of a sudden. All around them demi-gods began to whisper, awed and fearful at the thought of Nico growing even more powerful, and at the fact that a god could care so much for their children as to rip away a piece of what makes them a God int he first place.
The son of Hades toyed with the symbol that rested on his chest, dark eyes bright and dewy, before he surprised all around him. With a speed that surprised even the Gods, in a rare public show of emotion, Nico rushed forward and threw his arms around the King of The Underworld. The chatter in the Pavilion tripled in sound and size, and indeed even Lord Hades appeared surprised before he awkwardly returned the embrace.
It was over as quick as it had started and once more Nico stood beside his friends, under the scrutiny of all in attendance.
The shadows began to once more twist and roil, gathering around the four Gods as they gave their final words.
"You four stand before a threat that neither Greece nor Rome has ever faced." said Artemis. Apollo gave a little salute as he next spoke.
"Face the field of battle with bravery."
"And pride." Said Hades.
"And rage." Ares smirked, earning a sigh from Artemis beside him.
"Above all, young ones," she said. "Remember this: you fight not only for Olympus, but for yourselves and your people. Good hunting, demi-gods." With one last smile, Hades bid farewell.
"Be safe, my son."
And they were gone, sinking into the murky blackness of the shadows until they disappeared, and the shadows returned from where they came.
"Well," said Jason. "I guess let's kick some alien ass, guys."
WHOOO. Two updates in two days, both around 3k words. I feel so freaking excited right now! How'd you guys like the new update? Have I done the characters justice so far? How do you feel about Daddy Hades?