There was a time Leonard might have been surprised to learn that there were gods shacking up at the top of the Empire State Building, but after years of fighting a speedy kid in a red suit, wielding an ice blasting gun, traveling through time, taking on an immortal idiot, dying, and coming back from the dead…Well it wasn’t really much of a shocker these days. It was surprising, though, discovering that, apparently he and his sister Lisa were children of two of those gods.
The discovery started with a nightmare. The Legends had just turned in for the night, having had a long day of wrestling with Neanderthals and making sure Pompeii's volcano still erupted. (That one was particularly rough on the team, especially Raymond.) Leonard stayed up for a few hours after everyone else had fallen asleep.
He was pacing around his room, running through the day’s events through his mind, wondering how the hell all their plans seemed to go to crap. (Not that he particularly cared about the dead people. They were going to die anyways.) It was extremely frustrating, like the Legends just couldn’t do anything right.
He wasn’t sure why it bothered him so much. (As long as they got the job done it shouldn’t have mattered.) But it always got under his skin how quickly things went wrong on the Legends' mission, since that first day at the auction in the ‘70s. And ever since he had come back from the dead things seemed to have only gotten even more chaotic. He did his best to keep the team out of trouble, even though Sara was the one calling the shots, but it seemed futile. The Legends were trouble within themselves.
At some point, Leonard found himself laying back in his bed, running plans in his head. (About a dozen and one ways their missions could have gone much better.) He didn’t remember falling asleep, but he figured he must have because he started dreaming.
There was fire. That alone would have been enough to unsettle him, (he despised the heat, and even in the dream it was suffocating) but then there was the rotting corpses at his feet. Leonard scowled his nose, as his nostrils were assaulted by the metallic smell of decaying flesh. One of the corpses' faces were pealing off like a snake shed it’s skin, and Leonard could see a large gaping hole in the side of another's.
He kicked them over with his foot, turning away with a frown. What the hell had happened? Leonard looked around, taking note of all the fire around him. It was raging through the city, destroying everything in its path. But even so, Leonard was shocked to see that he still recognized the city. The tall buildings, that little coffee shop at the corner of the road, the round structure of Star Labs in the background… Central City…
It only took about three seconds for Leonard's mind to erupt like Mt Vesuvius earlier that day, exploding with worry and curiosity, mainly asking things like, “What happened to my city?” and “Where is Lisa??”
He knew it was just a dream, but he still found himself overwhelmed with dread. The scene reminded him a little too much of that image Rip Hunter had showed him and the other Legends that night he had recruited the original eight team members. And considering that had resulted in his own death…it wasn’t really something Leonard wanted to revisit.
“Your friends are reckless.” Leonard turned to see the speaker, a little startled. It was a woman, maybe in her mid thirties, with long, dark hair. She was dressed in Greek battle armor, a long golden sword dangling from her belt. Her skin was pale, like Snow White’s, only her eyes seemed a bit too sharp to be a dainty princess, and Leonard had never heard of a princess who carried weapons before.
Leonard locked eyes with the woman once, and he quickly decided that was a mistake. Her eyes were intense, like stepping out into a dangerous storm. They were the same color as storm clouds, too. And he could tell just from the glint in them that this woman could easily take just about everyone with nothing but her pinkie finger. She sort of reminded him a bit of Sara… Maybe that was why he thought she looked so familiar…
“Though,” the woman went on before Leonard could tell her off for insulting the Legends, “I suppose they aren’t all that bad…for mortals.”
He could sense a bit of passive aggressiveness, but he decided not to focus on that. Instead, he raised an eyebrow and asked, “Mortals?” It was an odd thing to say, as if she were implying that she wasn’t mortal.
“Regular mortals anyway,” the woman said, like that cleared anything up. “At least they are no worse than that Jackson boy.”
“Jackson boy?” Leonard asked, his mind instantly going to Jax. He wasn’t sure who this lady was or what she was talking about, but it sounded like she was insulting the Legends, especially Jax. And that was something Leonard didn’t really appreciate.
The woman waved her hand, the fire behind her flickering as she made the movement. “Just an observation.”
Leonard rolled his eyes. This was by far one of the strangest dreams he had ever experienced. The woman took a step closer to him, and Leonard watched her skeptically. Even in dream land he didn’t trust strange women, especially if he knew they could easily kick his ass. “Anyway, that is not what I came to discuss,” she said.
“What did you come here for, then?” Leonard asked, slowly. He had a sneaky suspicion it had something to do with whatever caused the mess in Central City.
The woman gave him an exasperated look, like he should have already known what she wanted. “To deliver a warning to my son, of course.”
“Great,” Leonard sighed, kind of annoyed. He wasn’t sure what that had to do with him, and the heat from the fire was starting to get rather nerve wracking. “So, good luck with that.”
He made to turn away from the strange dream lady, intent on searching for his baby sister until he woke up from this bizarre world, only to turn around again when the lady said, “You are my son, Leonard.” She sounded kind of miffed as she spoke, like maybe his not recognizing her offended her somehow.
Leonard snorted, giving the woman a questioning look. (It was a bit unnerving, the way she knew his name even though he hadn’t told her what it was, but then again she was just a figment of his subconscious. So, maybe it wasn’t that odd.) She had to be at least ten years younger than he was, most definitely not old enough to he his mother. “Excuse me?”
The woman nodded curtly, folding her arms over her chest, as she eyed him with that intense gaze of hers. “Yes,” she said. “Don’t you remember me claiming you? Or at the very least you could have the decency to recall when I saved you from death a few months ago!”
Leonard was about to protest, when a sudden memory flashed through his head. The vanishing point…He was at the oculus, and the stupid machine had just exploded. Leonard had been sure he was about to get blown into oblivion, but then a magical lady who had looked suspiciously similar to the one standing in front of him now appeared, pulling him from the explosion before he was hurt too badly. At the time he had thought he’d just imagined her, but what were the odds he’d hallucinate the same lady twice?
Then, an even earlier memory, something he had forgotten about until now. He had been young, no older than eight; he was playing outside in the park. It had been one of those rare days when Lewis had actually been acting like a decent human being. Leonard couldn’t remember much about that day, but he recalled catching his reflection in the lake.
Something odd was in his mirrored imagine. Floating just above his head was a grey face of an owl, glowing like a night light. He wasn’t sure how, but he knew that was what getting ‘claimed’ looked like. He remembered looking around to see if anyone else saw it, but no one seemed to notice it and no one really believed them when he told them about it. Eventually, he had just let it go, writing it off has his over active, childish imagination.
Something must have shown in his expression, because the woman's face went slack. She smirked a little as she let her hands drop. Behind her, a fire flickered among the burning buildings, the light casting frightening shadows across her face. “Ah, so you do remember…Good. Very good.”
He didn’t like the way she said that. Like he had just barely passed whatever test she had given him. It sort of reminded Leonard of the way Lewis would sometimes teach him and Lisa “lessons.” He glared at her.
“Listen, dream lady,” he said, “I don’t know what my subconscious is trying to tell me, I have unaddressed mommy issues, I’m missing home. Whatever. Don’t really care. You can keep your warnings, I have enough excitement in my life as is.”
The woman’s eyes flashed dangerously, the shadows from the fire rising higher, making her look even more frightening. Rage quickly filled the woman’s face, and it was strange how, in the blink of an eye she could change from Sara to Mick. (Because, with that storm billowing in her grey eyes, the woman, now, reminded Leonard of his life long friend Mick Rory.)
“Dream lady!” she hissed. “I am Athena, goddess of wisdom and battle strategy! How dare you insult me! Don’t think that just because you are my son I can’t vaporize you where you stand!”
Ooh. Threats. Now, she was reminding him of his old man. Maybe she was his mother after all, because of course he couldn’t possibly just have nice, decent parents. They were obviously both abusive asshats.
Maybe it was just because he was use to Lewis talking to him like that, but he wasn’t all that phased by the woman’s threat. (Although, with Lewis it was less like ‘I will vaporize you!’ and more like ‘I’ll punch your lights out!’) And when he didn’t react, the woman calmed a little, letting out an aggravated huff the way Mick sometimes did when Leonard wouldn’t let him off someone.
The woman, Athena apparently, took a deep breath, getting herself under control. “Listen, son, you have no idea what is coming. You must prepare yourself!”
Leonard shrugged, kind of bored and not at all worried. “Thanks for the tip,” he drawled.
Athena's eyes flashed with anger again, and he could tell he was getting to her. Good to know he could annoy his subconscious. “Half bloods,” the woman grumbled to herself. “Always so insulant, even my own children…”
“What did you just call me?” Leonard tensed up, glaring at her. He didn’t know what she meant, but that didn’t sound like a very nice comment.
“A half blood!” Athena hissed. “Demigod. Half mortal, half god.” She shook her head, like maybe his ignorance was disappointing her. “Perhaps, I should have sent you to the camp all those years ago after all…”
Maybe it got under his skin more than he thought, maybe he was frustrated at this stupid dream lady for talking to him like he was an idiot, or maybe the heat from the fire surrounding them was finally pissing him off beyond all rational thought, but he said, “Listen, you hag! I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. So, why don’t you either stop being so cryptic or get the hell out of my dream.”
The apparent goddess didn’t look like she appreciated being called a hag, but Leonard thought it was fair considering she had just called him insulant. Her face twitched, like she wanted to carry out her threat from earlier and vaporize him. Instead, her voice tight and stiff, she said, “This isn’t a dream, Leonard.”
“Still cryptic,” he muttered. And when she shot him yet another annoyed look, he asked, still rather bored, “What is it, then?”
Athena moved forward slightly, gesturing around the decaying Central City. “This,” she said, “is the future.”
“Still not any less cryptic, but I’ll bite,” Leonard told her. “What happens to cause…all of this?” He made his own, lazy, gesture around the surrounding area.
Athena glanced wearily at a burning car, its alarm blaring into the night. “A battle,” she said. “He is rising again.”
“Who?” Leonard asked. Because if it was someone like Vandal Savage or Eobard Thawne or even Damien Darhk he wasn’t sure that warranted a goddess plopping herself in the middle of Leonard’s dream. (Not that he fully believed her yet.)
“His name is Kronos,” Athena said, eyeing Leonard like the name should have invoked fear, but all he felt was more confusion. He remembered for a time Mick had gone by that name, but he didn’t think this lady was talking about that…At least he hoped she wasn’t. “Last time you were lucky enough to escape his wrath, but this time I fear you will not escape so easily. His plans are much more dangerous this go around.”
Leonard got a sense of deja vu as he was once again reminded of the night Rip recruited the original eight Legends. Just like then, Leonard felt nothing but apathetic boredom. Utterly detached from the threat she was proposing, he said, “Spooky.”
Athena looked irritated at the fact that he wasn’t taking her warning seriously. “He is the titan of time! He will destroy all of history and make it his own!” (Honestly, where had Leonard heard that one before? Oh, right! From Rip Hunter about Vandal Savage. Boring.)
Leonard rolled his eyes again. “Say I believe you,” he drawled out slowly. “Say you really are this goddess and this Kronos guy really is plotting to destroy history… Our AI should pick up on anything disrupting the time line. She hasn’t.” He thought that would be enough to shut the woman up and make it abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to believe her no matter what she said…But she kept talking anyways.
The alleged goddess returned his eye roll. “Devine beings cannot be detected by mortal technology!”
“I don’t know,” Leonard said, “Gideon didn’t seem to have a problem detecting that time demon a while back…”
“Demons are different,” Athena insisted.
“And she easily found Vandal Savage and Damien Darhk when the Legends fought them too,” Leonard continued. “Immortality and magic seem pretty divine to me.”
Athena waved the thought away, like the past enemies of the Legends were insignificant, small in comparison to this Kronos guy. “Those few belong to those other gods. They don’t matter. Honestly, those Egyptians will allow anyone to have immortality…” Leonard guessed that last part was a comment to herself, so he ignored it.
“If Gideon can’t detect it it’s not really the Legends’ problem,” Leonard said, sort of feeling like this dream was a waste of time.
“If Kronos takes over then it will be everyone’s problem,” Athena growled again with that cryptic attitude. “Now, stop being so insufferable! I’m trying to give my son a warning out of the kindness of my heart!”
Leonard almost laughed at that comment. In his experience no one, except maybe Ray Palmer, did anything ‘out of the goodness of their heart’. If this lady was giving him a warning, however true or false it might have been, whether she really was his mother or not, he was willing to bet she wanted something in return for it. “Immortal psycho moron,” he said. “Impending doom. Terrible future. Got it. Been there done that. Anything else?” Because he was sure there was.
Athena gave him a once over, as if trying to detect sarcasm. Apparently, she didn’t because she said, “You should go to the camp, meet the other demigods. You will need their help. Then, you will go to where it all began and find Chaos's staff. It is the only thing capable of stopping Kronos this time!” It bothered Leonard the way she said, ‘you will’ like he didn’t have a choice in the matter. (Not to mention she was being really cryptic again, and he was pretty sure she was doing it to annoy him now.) He took a deep breath, deciding it would be best not to comment on that. Instead, he focused on other things.
“That’s the second time you’ve mentioned this camp,” Leonard sighed, exasperated. Getting answers from this woman was like getting his teeth yanked out with a wrench. It was almost enough to make him want to throw himself into the nearest fire, because if the heat of the flames would be more bearable. “What is it and where is it?”
“It is a safe haven for half bloods,” Athena explained, actually looking calm as she did so. She reminded him a bit of the late Martin Stein now, the way she spoke, like she just loved educating this poor ignorant soul. “A summer camp in Manhattan… There is of course another one located in California, but I suppose since your sister is already waiting in New York you should go to that one first.”
Leonard blanched. “Lisa?”
Athena hummed softly. “No, your…other sister.”
Leonard frowned. He was about to tell her he only had the one sister, when the horror around him started fading away. He guessed he was waking up.
Athena looked at him urgently. “We don’t have much time!” she said. “Go to the camp, inform the demigods, and find the staff!”
Leonard rolled his eyes one final time, and – just to see the annoyance on her face – he said, “Sure, thing, Ma!”
He woke up in his room, a bit sweaty, like he had actually been near a fire or two. That was annoying. He got up and changed clothes, flicking the light on. The dream was still lingering in his mind’s eye, as he took a seat on the edge of the bed. Now that he was awake he was wondering if he should have heeded the supposed goddess’s words more carefully.
That dream…It had felt too real, now that he was thinking about it. And it wasn’t like anything he had ever dreamt before. Normally, he wasn’t a lucid dreamer, and his dreams were a lot more random than that.
It’s not a dream, he remembered the dream lady saying. It’s a warning.
Leonard couldn’t help the shutter that ran up his spine, as he remembered those godawful corpses at the beginning of the dream. Could that dream lady have been right? Was there really some godly beast out to get the time line?
Then, there was that other thing she had said. That he was half god and that she was his mother. Athena, she had called herself, goddess of wisdom and battle strategy. That was Greek mythology, he was pretty sure. Well…she didn’t look so mythological, now did she?
Was that all true, too? Could there really be some camp (two apparently) out there dedicated to holding half gods for a whole summer? If there was how come he had never heard of it before, especially if he was really one of them? He shook his head, brushing off how crazy it sounded. He came from a city full of super powered freaks. Gods and half gods weren’t too much of a stretch, in retro spec. (Besides he had basically traveled a gods a few months back when Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders were still onboard.)
The air shimmered in front of him, making Leonard jump to his feet, startled. A rainbow appeared at the center of the room, and after a moment a faint image of Lisa formed. For a second, Leonard thought he was still dreaming after all, but he knew he wasn’t. This was far too insane to be a dream.
Lisa didn’t look hurt, which Leonard was glad to see. He’d been worried for her, considering that dream had, evidently, been a vision of the future. She did look a bit tired, though. Her brown eyes were more serious than they usually were, and her dark brown hair was tied back when she normally preferred it falling over her shoulders. She was wearing an orange t-shirt, which didn’t really seem like her style, honestly.
Leonard blinked, staring at the image in utter shock. What the hell was this, now? He was about to ask her what the fuck was going on, when she beat him to it. “Lenny,” she said. “We need to talk.”