Actions

Work Header

Shadow Wars: The Rise of Hellfire

Chapter Text

Shadow Wars Series:
The Rise of Hellfire
Prologue

The Prophecy of Kassandra
When Men fly and Gods return
The Demon Goddess will be released
Darkness shall consume and Chaos will reign.
However all is not lost
Out of the Darkness, heroes will rise.
Led by one who has known only suffering.
He will have the fire of Hell in his blood
Only through love will he be truly saved
Under his leadership the Guardians will return.

June 2016

Flames shot across the battle as Grant Ward faced off with the sorceress Medusa. He could feel the fire in his blood continue to build as he reached deep into his very soul, trying to prevent the darkness Medusa stood for from reaching his family. As he fought, images of Rosie, Kiki,Sakura, his team, his siblings, Skye, and even Coulson and his teammates raced through his mind. He would be damned if he allowed Medusa and her grandmother to win. Drawing on his will power and even the Beserker rage that he hated so much, Grant let out a vicious roar as suddenly he released a massive blast of fire. There was a bright light and then a shockwave that sent him flying, and his world went black. He could swear he heard the voices of his grandparents and birth mother calling to him and telling him to rest.

Chapter One

Wisconsin Woods- 1999

The searing pain was the first thing that came to 15-year-old Grant Ward’s mind as he slowly came to. It was quickly followed by worry for Buddy when he didn’t feel his best friend beside him. Did John hurt him? he wondered fearfully. Finally his pain and panic ridden mind registered that he was laying on something soft and slowly he opened his eyes only to shut them once again due to the harsh light. Grant tried to sit up, but had to bite back a scream as a new wave of searing pain rushed from his side. Where am I? he wondered silently as his eyes took in what little bit of the room he could see from his position on the bed. The bed he was laying on was soft, almost too soft for him considering he had spent the past six months sleeping on the cold hard ground. In front of the bed was dress with a neatly folded pile of clothes on top of it.

A door opened somewhere to his left, causing him to turn his head.

“Welcome back to the land of the living, kid.” Grant recognized the man who walked into the room carrying a tray of food, Buddy right on his heels. He had been coming to see him once a month for the past six months. Though Grant had continuously refused to speak to man--he had learned his lesson with John about not trusting anyone, after all--the man still continued to come around, bringing Grant and Buddy food. “You gave us a bit of a scare.” he commented as Buddy jumped up onto the bed and laid down next to Grant.

Grant’s brown eyes watched the man suspiciously as he placed the tray on table next to the bed and helped him sit up gently. He couldn’t hide the involuntary flinch when he touched him, though if the man saw it, he didn’t acknowledge it. He was tall, with short black hair and hard brown eyes, and he spoke with what Grant could only describe as a New York accent. However, when his eyes looked at Grant they seemed to soften just a little bit.

“Where am I?” Grant asked hesitantly, speaking to the man for the first time in the four months since he had met him.

“A safe house a couple miles up the mountains from your camp. Now, you gonna tell me your name, kid?” the man asked, raising an eyebrow.

Grant looked down at his hands and before he could stop himself, whispering…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

April, 2015

“Grant, it’s time to wake up, luv.” a soothing English accent said as a gentle hand stroked his forehead.

Grant recognized the soothing tones as he started to slowly return to the land of living. “Wynne,” he whimpered, leaning into the gentle touch. His voice was hoarse and his mouth dry.

“That’s it, luv,” she whispered, “you’re safe now.” Grant shivered a little as he felt a damp cloth being placed on his forehead. Grant hesitantly opened his eyes only to shut them again because of the bright light. After a moment he slowly opened them again and found himself staring into the tender green eyes of his “Aunt” Wynne.

“Where… am I?” he whispered, trying to look around, but he couldn’t really tell much from his position in the bed.

“Sanctuary” Wynne said calmly as she briefly turned to the bowl of water resting on the table. She dropped the washcloth into it before slowly helping him sit up in the bed. “Stefan and Damian received your distress call. You had already passed out when they got to you and your friend.”

Images suddenly flooded his mind of him bringing Skye and Raina to Puerto Rico, Raina telling everyone that he loved Skye, Skye holding that damned artifact, and finally Skye shooting him and leaving him to die. He felt his heart break as he remembered her words as she walked away: ‘Never turn your back on the enemy, you taught me that.’ Grant turned his head away from Wynne toward the window overlooking the ocean, not wanting her to see the pain in his eyes, though he knew it would be useless. Sure enough he felt Wynne gently stroke his hair in comfort, just like when he was a child before Claudia and Maynard Ward forced her to stay away from him. As he looked out at the waves crashing along the shoreline, another memory hit him. It was of him laying on the ground bleeding and Agent 33 coming to his aid. Turning back to Wynne, he asked, “Where is the woman who was with me?”

Wynne smiled softly at the young man she had always viewed as a son. “She’s safe, Grant. Sakura and Noelani have been showing her around the base. It’s you we need to worry about though, Luv.” She paused for a moment and glanced out the window at the shoreline, trying to compose herself as she thought about how close to death he had been when Stefan and Damian had brought him and the young woman in. “You were shot four times in your right side and developed an infection. Even with my magic and Selena’s abilities as a doctor, we almost lost you a couple of times.” Wynne’s voice broke slightly as she remembered the pain she felt at seeing her best friend’s child laying unconscious and almost dead to world. She was brought out of her memories when she felt Grant squeeze her hand. “You’ve been unconscious for four days, Grant. Your Grandmother, CJ, and Tommy have been besides themselves with worry…. We all have.”

Grant looked at Wynne and gave her hand another quick squeeze. “I’m sorry Aunt Wynne,” he whispered, finally letting go of the tough, badass mask he had been hiding behind and letting Wynne pull him closer to her so that his head was resting on her shoulder. Normally, Grant would never let someone get this close to him, but Wynne had always been the exception to his no-touching policy, along with Gramzy, CJ, and Tommy. Even when he was a child, he had always known he was he safe in Wynne’s arms. After all, he could always remember how Wynne’s touch reminded him of what a mother’s touch was supposed to be, like nothing could get to him.

A sudden scratching at the door caused Wynne to laugh. “Seems like someone wants to see you,” she said mischievously as she walked to the door. As soon as the door was opened, a brown ball of fur came bounding into the room and onto Grant’s bed.

Grant joined in Wynne’s laughter as the ball of fur began licking his face. “Ares, enough,” he said in between his laughter as he stroked the fur of his Chocolate Lab/German Shepard mix. “I missed you too, boy.” The two and half-year-old dog finally settled down and laid next to him on the bed with his head resting in Grant’s lap.

Wynne watched the display with a gentle smile from the door. “I’m going to tell the others you’re up. Why don’t you and Ares catch up? Maker only knows how much that poor dog has missed you over the past year.” With that she turned and left the room, leaving Grant to his thoughts.

Grant once again stared out the window at the waves crashing on the shore. Memories of the team, Skye, and John flashed through his mind. However, at the same time he also knew what was truly at stake. There was a war going on that was bigger than SHIELD and HYDRA’s little turf war. It was a war that had been raging from the shadows for thousands of years. A war he had been destined for since the day his birth mother had been ruthlessly murdered trying to protect him. Did he regret the lives he had taken while undercover with SHIELD and HYDRA? Of course! But he had made his peace with the fact he would most likely never know true happiness or love.

With a wince, Grant pushed himself out of bed, and after a few shaky seconds to gather his bearings, he limped over to the large window with Ares at his side.

“Wynne’s gonna kill you if she sees you out of bed,” a familiar New York accent said, causing Grant to turn his head. Leaning against the doorframe looking as if he didn’t have a care in the world was Stefan Montelli. Making his way over to Grant, Stefan ruffled the fur of the lab/shepherd mix. “I know none of this has been easy for you, Grant,” he said, looking at the younger man that he had seen as a son since the day he’d found him bleeding in those Wisconsin woods. “For what it is worth, I am truly sorry that we had to ask you to do this. You should have been able to experience all the joys life has to offer. Instead all you’ve gotten is suffering, pain and heartbreak.”

Grant looked at Stefan and was shocked to see the remorse in the older man’s usually hard brown eyes. “It’s not your fault, Stefan. I knew what I was signing up for when I accepted your offer.”

“Grant you were only fifteen. Instead of worrying about girls, school, and sports, you were forced into a world where you had to bury your true self. I can’t help feeling partly responsible.” Grant could hear the guilt in Stefan’s voice as he spoke of the past.

“Stefan, stop.” He said softly, turning to the man that, like John, had been a father figure to him since he was fifteen. “I hadn’t been a child since long before I met John and you. Christian and my aunt and uncle saw to that. My mistakes and choices, for good and bad, were my own. Do I regret them? Damn right I do, but at the same time I know that they had to be done.” Grant turned fully to face Stefan. “We are at war, and HYDRA and KHAOS have to be stopped.”

Stefan felt a surge of pride break through his guilt as he watched the young man he had come to see as a son pull himself up from the wreckage SHIELD, HYDRA, Garrett and the Wards had left in their wake. Grant had come a long way from the scared and angry teenage boy he had met in the backwoods of Wisconsin all those years ago.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wisconsin, 1999

“You did good today, kid,” Stefan said, holding his hand out to help Grant up from the ground. They had been training for the last two hours. It had been three weeks since Grant and Buddy had come to stay with him. In those three weeks, Stefan found himself amazed at the boy’s tenacity; no matter how many times he got knocked down, he got right back up and was ready to go again.

“Stefan,” Grant said hesitantly, looking the older man who had taken him in.

Stefan paused as he raised a towel to wipe his face, “What’s up kid?”

“Why are you helping me?” Grant asked as he eyed Stefan warily.

Stefan sighed as he watched the fifteen-year-old for a moment. “Grant, I’m helping you because I know you are destined for greatness.”

Grant shook his head fiercely, “No I’m not…” he whispered. “I’m a weak little waste of space who can’t do anything right.” Grant’s hands curled into fists as he could almost hear Christian’s voice taunting him in his mind. However, he was pulled out of his thoughts by a gently bump against his leg. Looking down, Grant felt himself relax as Buddy stared at him with his deep brown eyes.

“You are not weak, kid,” Stefan said, walking over to Grant. “You are strong, you are a survivor, and anyone who can’t see that is not worth it. However, only you can decide to if you want to reach that greatness.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
“You once told me that only I can decide if I want to reach the greatness within,” Grant said as he shook himself from his memories and turned to look at Stefan. “Well, I’m more ready than ever.” A smirk made its way across Grant’s face, giving Stefan a glimpse of that smartass fifteen year old kid who had first breached the walls around his heart. “It’s like you always told me, I’m a survivor and I’ll be damned before I let HYDRA, SHIELD, or KHAOS destroy me.” Grant reached down to pet Ares and once again turned his attention to the waves in their never ending dance.

“Well, then I guess your mind is made up,” Stefan said, joining him in watching the waves breaking along the shoreline. “Count me in. What can I do to help?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Two days later, Grant and Agent 33 were walking along the water’s edge as Ares raced ahead of them. “What do we do now?” she asked, looking at Grant as they walked, her scar hidden behind her long brown hair.

Grant stopped and turned to look out at the ocean as he thought about her question. “You are free to do whatever you want,” he said finally after a moment of thought. “Your life is your own again. As for me, my responsibilities are to the Hellchasers, taking down HYDRA and KHAOS, and most importantly finding my little girl.” He could feel the remnants of the berserk rage building inside of him. That, mixed with the inherent protectiveness that comes when a father learns their child is in danger, as he thought about his little girl in the hands of KHAOS and HYDRA. Despite only finding out the fact was a father, let alone the fact that his baby girl was in danger just hours before he had taken Skye and Raina to Puerto Rico, Grant was ready to face down the forces of heaven and hell to save her, and may the gods have mercy on the fool who gets in his way.

33 stared at Grant as his words sank in. He was right; her life was her own again. The question was what would she do with her new found freedom. After a moment of staring out at the water and watching Ares running in and out of it like a little puppy, she found her answer deep within herself. “I want to help you and the Hellchasers,” she whispered softly. “I want…. No, I need to find out who I am and I have a feeling that answer can only be found by helping you and the others.” 33 looked at Grant hesitantly as if waiting for him to say no.

 

Grant turned and looked at 33. He could see the fear of rejection in her eyes. He took a deep breath before he replied.
“I would never turn away an offer for help, 33. The Hellchasers will be more than happy to have you on board.” He flashed her a comforting smile. “I haven’t forgotten my promise to you, 33. When we get back I’ll talk to Oracle and Nessa about trying to dig up anything about your past.” Grant paused for a moment as he took in the hopeful look on 33’s face. “I refuse to keep calling you 33. You’re a person, not a number or an asset.”

33 hesitantly leaned up a placed a gentle kiss on his cheek. “Thank you,” she whispered, a slight blush coming to her face, “You are the first person to treat me like a person since all this happened.”

Grant smiled at her softly, “You’re welcome,” he said, “Now, let’s go save the world.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 2
Strength through adversity. The strongest steel is forged by the fires of hell. It is pounded and struck repeatedly before it’s plunged back into the molten fire. The fire gives it power and flexibility, and the blows give it strength. Those two things make the metal pliable and able to withstand every battle it’s called upon to fight. – Sherrilyn Kenyon

 

April 2015- Three weeks after Puerto Rico.

 

A gentle rain splashed against the windows of Grant’s safe house as he silently made his way through it. It was after midnight and everyone else was already fast asleep. Entering the living room, he smiled softly at Kara (or 33 as they had recently discovered thanks to the wonder trio of Oracle, Nessa, and Cyn), who lay fast asleep on the couch. He paused briefly to cover her with a blanket before continuing on with his once-over of the house, checking all the doors and windows as he went and then making his way upstairs.

His final stop was the room where his newly recovered daughter Rosie slept peacefully, along with another little girl he and the team had rescued from the HYDRA/KHAOS base. He paused in the doorway and took in the sight of Rosie cuddled up under the Belle quilt that Kara, his sister and Sakura had picked out just this morning. She was also clutching a dog stuffed animal tightly in her arms. The second little girl, who couldn’t have been older than four months, was fast asleep in the crib against the back wall. In the middle of the room Ares was sleeping soundly, though Grant knew that even just a small peep would have the Lab/Shepard mix up and ready to protect the little girls.

Grant felt as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders as an unexpected feeling of peace washed over him. His daughter was safe and sound where she belonged.

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Sanctuary, Two weeks ago.

 

“What? Run that by me again,” a young Japanese woman said from her seat at the situation room table where Grant, 33, and the Hellchasers had gathered to go over their plans to stop KHAOS. “Since when do you have a daughter, Grant?” she asked curiously.

 

“Apparently, since about two years ago. I only found out a few days ago before the whole Puerto Rico fiasco,” Grant replied, meeting the woman’s golden eyes that marked her as something otherworldly. “From what I was able to gather, her mother gave her to John and HYDRA when she was only a few months old. Well, John being the bastard that he was knew that he could use her as a bargaining chip if I ever decided to rebel against him, so he had her taken to a joint HYDRA/KHAOS facility.”

 

Everyone at the table was horrified that someone would willingly abandon their child to HYDRA. The woman who spoke muttered angrily in her native Japanese and her eyes flashed to an almost blood red color, serving as further proof of her supernatural origins.

 

“I’m sorry man, but your ex was a psycho bitch,” a tall, African-American man said before quickly turning to the Japanese woman. “No offense to you, Sakura.”

 

Sakura smiled coldly, showing off her fangs. “None taken, Damian. I know what you meant, and personally if I ever meet this woman, Grant, I will use my uncle’s Wind scar on her and then have Mom reanimate her just so I can use her for target practice.” A shiver involuntarily went through the group at the cold tone in Sakura’s voice. Gone was the snarky, flirty Sakura everyone in the room knew and loved, and in her place was the fierce, cold demoness. In fact, at that moment every Hellchaser in the room could see the ruthlessness of her father coming out to play.

 

Like most of the Hellchasers, Sakura’s past could be described as tragic. While she had grown up with loving parents, which was a little shocking since her father was the king at not showing emotions, Sakura had also seen her share of tragedy. Of course that was to be expected, considering she had been born in the Warring States Era of Japan to an extremely powerful Demon Lord and a snarky wind sorceress. Needless to say her parents had their fair share of enemies and Sakura still bore some of the mental and physical scars from some of those enemies.

 

“Sakura, are you ok?” Cyn asked, breaking the demoness from her thoughts. Her bright blue eyes met Sakura’s amber ones with a look of concern that was mirrored by everyone else at the table.

 

“Of course I am,” she scoffed before smiling at Cyn. “But thanks for your concern, Cyn.” Sakura turned back to Grant. “So how do you want to do this, Grant? After all, your little girl needs her aunts and uncles to help daddy save the day.”

 

Grant looked at each and everyone of the Hellchasers and found himself in awe at just how far his friends would go to help him save his little girl. He smirked at his team with an almost cocky air. “I was thinking we rain down our own brand of chaos on those bastards.”

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
New Mexico, Two days later.

 

The Hellchasers and Agent 33 made their way stealthily toward the joint HYDRA/KHAOS base located in the middle of the New Mexican desert, just outside of a small town under the cover of darkness. They had split up into two teams of four, with Grant, Agent 33, Sakura, and Demon making up one team and Cowboy, JB, Noelani, and Shark making up the second team. Back at base, Cyn, Oracle and Nessa acted as their eyes and ears monitoring the enemy movements and also coordinating any medical aid that may be needed. The plan was simple: rescue Grant’s daughter, get any intel regarding KHAOS and HYDRA’s plans, and render the base completely unusable. Cowboy and his team were the first to split off and to create a diversion for Grant’s team and provide the extraction transport. Meanwhile, Grant and his team proceeded towards the containment wing.

 

“Ok, my lovelies, there should be an entrance to the tunnels that will lead you to the containment unit about 100 yards past your current location,” Oracle’s perky voice rang out over the comms. “From the looks of the most current schematics of the building, HYDRA and KHAOS don’t know the tunnels exist. Once you guys get in the tunnels it should be a straight shot to both the containment unit and also one of the server rooms.”

 

Grant and the team stealthily made their way towards tunnels. Water dripped from the pipes overhead and the air held the lingering smell of stagnant water. The only source of light came from the team’s flashlights.

 

“Fuck, this place reeks to high heaven,” Sakura muttered behind Grant as the smell hit her sensitive nose. As a dog demon, Sakura had an enhanced sense of smell so the scent hit her particularly hard.

 

“Sorry, girlie,” Oracle said apologetically over the comm system. “On the bright side, you guys should be reaching the end of the tunnel in about 50 feet.”

 

“Thank Kami,” Sakura muttered as the group cautiously made their way forward.

 

Grant scanned the area with his flashlight, looking for a way into the base. Suddenly, he spotted a smaller tunnel that branched off to the group’s left. Grant let out a soft whistle to draws his team’s attention to his discovery. “Hellfire to Oracle, we found another tunnel. It looks to lead towards the surface. Tell JB and Cowboy to be ready to blow this place to hell on my signal.”

 

“Roger, Hellfire. You guys be safe and bring your baby home.”

 

After muttering an affirmative into his comm, Grant turned to his teammates. “Sakura, Demon you guys bring up the rear. 33, you’re with me,” he whispered, raising his gun higher as the team began to make their way through the smaller tunnel.

 

The smaller tunnel took them to a set of stairs that lead to a metal door. Once everyone was assembled there by the door, Grant cautiously opened the door a crack and saw that it led to a supply room. The team swiftly entered the room. Grant exchanged a quick look with his friends as Demon crept silently to the door of the room.

 

Demon peeked out the door and saw an empty hallway. “We’re clear, man,” he whispered to Grant, who nodded in acknowledgement, trusting Demon’s assessment. Damian “Demon” Lawrence had met Grant through Stefan and the Museum about 10 years right before Grant had started at the Academy. At the time, Demon was a Navy SEAL recruit whose mother was an associate member of the previous generation of the Hellchasers. Over the years the pair worked together on a few joint SHIELD/US Military ops before Demon retired from the SEALS about three years after they met, and joined the BAU over at the FBI. When Grant and Stefan had started the current generation of Hellchasers, Demon had jumped at the chance to work with his friend once again.

 

Grant held up three fingers to signal them to move on three. Seconds later, the team made their way out to the hallway. They proceeded to cautiously creep down the hallway, Oracle providing them with directions to the server room. As they passed each room one of the team made sure to peek in and check for any hostile soldiers.

 

After about ten minutes, the quartet made it to the server room. Grant and Demon went in first to clear it while Sakura and 33 kept watch. Much to their surprise, the room was empty and Demon beckoned the girls in to join them. 33 made her way directly to one of the stationed along the left wall of the room and began hacking the base’s network.

 

“Oracle,” Grant said into his comm, “get me a sitrep from bravo team. This base is way too empty and there is no way in Hell that Khaos and Hydra would leave any of their bases this vacant without blowing it sky high.”

 

“Will do Hellfire,” Oracle responded quickly.

 

Grant then turned to Sakura and Demon, “I want weapons to remain hot until we are out of this place.” The pair nodded and Grant made his way over to 33. “How’s it coming?”

 

“It’s coming along. I may not be as fast as Oracle, Nessa, or Cyn, but I should be done in the next few minutes.” 33 then looked up at Grant softly. “How are you feeling, Grant? You haven’t fully recovered from being shot.” she asked in a soft, concerned voice.

“I’ll be fine, 33. Let’s focus on getting my daughter home safe.” Grant replied in a low voice. “I appreciate the concern though.”

 

A few minutes later, 33 was finished with the hack and the group cautiously made their way out of the server room.

 

As soon as Grant entered the hallway, he sensed something that seemed to call out to him. While the others tried to figure out which way they should go, Grant remembered something his Gramsy had always told him growing up. Part of the magic that flowed through Gramsy’s side was the ability to sense those he loved and to call to them when they were close by. The strongest of that ability was between that of a parent and child.

 

Going along with that sense, Grant indicated to the right and the team started moving forward. 33 looked like she wanted to say something, but Demon and Sakura both shook their heads. They had both seen Grant’s siblings and Gramsy do something similar throughout the time they had known the family. Making their way stealthily down the hallway, they were once again greeted by a lack of guards in the base. The quartet made their towards the area where the sensation pulling at Grant was the strongest.

 

15 minutes later, Grant stopped in front of a door at the end of the hallway. There on the door were a series of deadbolts, and from behind it he could sense fear and sadness pouring through. He shot a look at Sakura, causing the demoness to step forward, her claws glowing an eerie green.

 

33’s eyes widened as she watched Sakura touch the door, which proceeded to melt away from the spot where Sakura’s hand rested. “What the hell?” She whispered in shock.

 

“It’s a little gift I inherited from my father,” Sakura said, chuckling softly at the look of shock on the newest member of the team. “After you, Hellfire.”

 

Grant nodded and proceeded inside the room, gun still raised as his eyes scanned the room. Through the darkness of the room he could can see a small figure shivering on a bed. Silently, he motioned for the others to check the rest of room. While they did that Grant crept towards the bed. When he got closer, he saw a little girl no older than three years old, fast asleep and clinging to a worn baby blanket. His heart pounded as he realized that this innocent little girl was his daughter. She looked just like the picture Whitehall had shown him days earlier. He reached up to gently brush a blonde curl out of his daughter’s face, causing her to begin to stir.

 

He leant down and whispered softly, “Roselyn, it’s time to wake up baby.” Her hazel eyes slowly opened at his words. “That’s it, Princess,” he encouraged, gently brushing back another curl.

 

“Daddy?” The little girl asked sleepily when her hazel eyes fully met his chocolate brown ones.

 

“Yeah Princess,” he whispered quietly, “Daddy’s here to take you home, ok?”

 

Rosie sat up in her bed, and after another moment threw herself into her father’s arms, her tiny hands gripping his tactical vest tightly. “Daddy,” she cried, snuggling as close as she could to him. Grant’s heart broke as he wrapped his arms around his little girl.

 

“Shh Princess, daddy’s here. You’re safe now, baby girl,” he soothed, running his fingers gently through his daughter’s hair and hoping it would calm her down. Despite the air of calmness he was trying to project for his daughter, internally Grant was freaking out. He didn’t know how to be a father, let alone a father to sweet innocent three year old who had probably never known kindness. Also, he could feel the Berserker rage beginning to rise under his skin as he took in the conditions his daughter had been kept in. The room was sparse with only one tiny window, his daughter’s bed, what looked like a crib, and nothing else. To top it off the room was freezing and his daughter had only a thin blanket and a tattered nightgown to keep her warm.

 

Taking a deep calming breath and inhaling his daughter baby scent, Grant buried the rage back down inside him. He swore to himself and his daughter that his ex would pay for what she had done to their child.

 

“Grant,” Sakura called out softly, causing him to look up from where he was holding his daughter. “There’s another little girl here,” she whispered, walking over to him and clutching a bundle of blankets. She showed him the infant and Grant noticed the tiny fangs as the infant yawned and snuggled deeper into the blankets. Sakura and Grant’s eyes met before the demoness whispered so 33 and Demon couldn’t hear, “Grant, she’s a Kitsune pup.”

 

The two were interrupted as Rosie lifted her head from her father’s chest and whispered shyly, “Kiki come with us too, Daddy?” Grant’s heart melted even further as he looked into his daughter’s pleading hazel eyes.

 

“We’ll take her with us. Hopefully, we can find her parents,” he replied before slowly standing up. “We need to move and get to the rendezvous point. 33, you take point, Demon I want you bringing up the rear. Sakura and I will stay in the middle with the girls.”

 

Demon nodded before muttering into his comm. “Baby girl, got the package along with an extra. How far are we from the exit?”

 

“According to the layout there should be an exit about 500 feet down the hall. Just be careful you guys, Cowboy’s team is reporting a disturbing lack of guards as well,” Oracle said softly to the team.

 

Before leaving the room, Grant looked down at his daughter again and whispered, “Rosie, I need you to keep be very quiet and still, baby. Daddy and his friends are going to take you and Kiki home.” Rosie nodded and rested her head once again on Grant’s tact vest right over his heart.

 

The team proceeded to make their way towards the exit. As they got to near the door, 33 paused. “This is seriously disconcerting,” she whispered to the others, who each nodded.

 

“We need to keep moving,” Grant said, looking down quickly at Rosie to see the toddler was surprisingly starting to fall asleep in his arms. “I want these two out of here yesterday.” His team nodded and they swiftly made their way to the rendezvous point where Cowboy, and the others were waiting with a commandeered pair of SUVs to take them to the airstrip.

 

“I see you picked up a spare passenger, Hell,” James “JB” Bentley commented in a no-nonsense way. JB and Grant had been friends since childhood when JB’s father had been the ambassador from Great Britain. He, along with Sakura, Demon, and Cowboy, had been the first people to join Grant’s Hellchasers team when he and Stefan put it together six years ago.

 

“We’ll explain once we’re in the air and far away from this hellhole. Cowboy,” he said turning his other childhood friend, “blow this place to next month.”

 

Cowboy nodded before he pulled out his compound bow and one of his incendiary arrows. He took aim and, once everyone else was in the SUV, fired at one of bombs his team had planted nearby. The bomb would start off a chain reaction of other bombs they placed strategically around the base, hopefully leveling the building. As soon as the arrow was in the air he hopped in the SUV and the cars sped of towards the airstrip.

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Present day

 

Pulling himself from his thoughts, Grant slowly made his way into his daughter's room. Ares lifted his head sleepily to look at his master before laying back down. Grant crept over to Rosie’s bed and brushed a stray curl out of her face before placing a gentle kiss on the top of her head.

 

He then made his way over to the crib and smiled as he watched the infant sleep. Suddenly, the infant’s eyes slowly opened and she let out a sweet little yawn. Grant picked up the infant and gently started rocking her in his arms. “Go back to sleep Tsukiko.” He whispered still rocking Kiki and his mind once again began to drift for moment.

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Museum Headquaters, Medical wing
12 hours after the rescue of Rosie and Kiki

 

Grant sat at his daughter’s bedside, clutching her tiny hand as the toddler slept. He hadn’t left her side for more than five minutes since they had rescued her 12 hours ago. Also in the room was a crib with the infant kitsune the team had rescued. Rosie had refused to let the infant be more than 10 feet away from her and had pitched an epic tantrum when one of the doctors tried to the baby into another room to be checked. When Grant tried to calm Rosie down she had simply continued to sob that they couldn’t take away her little sissy, a fact which had stunned everyone in the room, Grant in particular. Once he had assured his daughter that no one was taking Kiki away from her, he asked her what she had meant when she called Kiki her sissy.

 

It was only when they were visited by Sakura’s mother, Kagura, about five hours ago that team found out the truth behind Kiki and Rosie’s bond. While she had confirmed Sakura’s analysis of Kiki being a kitsune, Kagura had pointed out that the infant was only a half demon. According to Kagura, Kiki’s (short for Tsukiko) mother had been held captive with Rosie for about four months (two months prior to the infant’s birth and two months after). During that time, the baby’s mother, a Kitsune demoness named Hoshiko, was a protector figure to Grant’s daughter, keeping her safe from the KHAOS and HYDRA soldiers. From what Kagura could gather, Hoshiko’s clan had been attacked by HYDRA soldiers and wiped out. Hoshiko had only survived because HYDRA wanted to use her child as weapon due to her half blooded roots. After looking through the files 33 had located, Kagura had found that Hoshiko had become sick shortly after giving birth to Kiki and with the last bit of strength cast a protection around the two children.

 

After Kagura had told them this, Grant surprised himself by saying that he would raise Kiki with Rosie. He reasoned that Kiki’s mother had protected his daughter up until her death, so the least he could do is raise her child as his own as well. So now Grant would have to get used to idea of being a father of not just one little girl but two. Despite his nerves at being a father, and despite only knowing the girls for the less than a day, Grant realized he wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Present Day

 

Once again Grant was pulled from his memories and saw that Kiki had once again fallen asleep. He smiled softly at the infant before he placed her in her crib once again. Quietly Grant made his way out of the room and headed to bed. There was a lot to do tomorrow, none the least of which included bringing the girls to visit Gramsy and discuss the preparations for the traditional blessing ceremony. He also had a few meetings at the Museum so the girls would also get to spend time with Nana Wynne and Papa Stefan. With a final glance back into the room at his little girls, Grant went to bed with a gentle smile on his face.

Chapter Text

Rise of Hellfire
Chapter three

Paris, France (A day after the rescue of Rosie and Kiki)

The dripping sound of water falling from the ceiling echoed through the eerie silence of the Parisian catacombs. It was a silence that would cause even most stalwart of people to jump out of their skin at even the slightest hint of movement. A small group of armed men dressed in all black made their way through the corridors guns at the ready. Leading the group was a young woman in mid to late 20’s. The woman was also clad in all black and the steady clicking of her knee high boots was the only other noise besides the steady dripping water. Her cold brown eyes scanned the underground cavern as if looking for something.

“Madam, how much further?” one of the armed men asked hesitantly, his grip tightening on his gun.

The woman grinned sinisterly, “Why Captain, are you scared?” She continued on purposefully down the corridor her boots clicking ominously on the cavern floor.

“N...no madam,” he stuttered as he followed behind her.

Suddenly, a rustling sound cut through the silence as a beautiful woman appeared in front of Medusa. “Greetings, Sister.” Medusa greeted with a seductive smile. “What do you have to report?”

The other woman returned her smile wickedly, “Everything is going to plan, sister, despite the loss of our little pets.”

“That reminds me Sister, why did you let your child’s father rescue them without any resistance?” Medusa asked curiously. Last she had heard Circe wanted her ex-boyfriend to suffer for the role he played in her Uncle John’s downfall.

“It is simple, Medusa,” Circe replied, “What better way to torture Hellfire than to allow him to get to know his daughter and that the kitsune pup and come to love them as a father, before snatching them away from him. It also provided us with an opportunity to retrieve this without interference from the Museum.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a talisman that the image of a half bird/half woman harpy on it.

Medusa smiled evilly as she took the talisman from Circe, “An excellent argument, Sister, and a most devious plan. Report back to Grandmother, and tell her everything is progressing as scheduled.”

“Of course, Medusa,” Circe said with a bow before disappearing in a blast of air, causing some of the HYDRA soldiers to take a step back in fear.

Medusa rolled her eyes at the soldiers’ terror; so much for these guys being big tough men. She couldn’t wait to see how they reacted to what was to come. Continuing through the catacombs, the group came upon a massive chamber with a statue of what the HYDRA soldiers thought was an angel holding a small chest. Medusa approach the statue and placed the talisman in an indentation in the chest, causing it to open. Reaching down into her boot, Medusa then pulled out an athame and proceeded to slice her palm open. The blood dripped into the chest as Medusa chanted under her breath in a long-forgotten language.

“NO!!!” A voice screamed out from the darkness as bright light filled the room, causing the HYDRA soldiers and Medusa to shield their eyes. When the light faded, a young woman dressed in ancient armor stood before the group. As if that was not odd enough, the woman also had a pair of wings growing from her back. “How dare you try to awaken the Cursed Ones,” the woman said in a voice that echoed through room, sending a blast of air out and causing Medusa and the soldiers to be knocked back several feet. She then moved in front of the statue while pulling out a short sword. “I will not allow you to break the seal.”

Medusa glared at the woman, her cold brown eyes meeting the woman’s brilliant green ones. “Stand aside, you pathetic Spirit,” she snarled, causing the soldiers to take a further step back as she raised her hand and sent out a powerful bolt of energy. The angel-like creature shot up into the air to avoid the blast, before swooping down and swiping at Medusa with her sword. Medusa rolled away from the sword. “Don't just stand there you fucking idiots!” she shouted at the soldiers, startling them. “Shoot the meddlesome bitch.”

The sound of gunfire filled the chamber as the soldiers proceeded to fire at the angel. Medusa smiled evilly as she watched the Protector of the seal constantly having to avoid the barrage of bullets flying at her. Making her way back to the statue, Medusa continued her spell to break the seal. The Protector’s feeble attempts to stop her amused the dark witch to no end, and before long she heard the sound of stone crumbling and the screech that signaled the awakening of the first of Enchnida’s lieutenants as the statue shattered in pieces.

The Protector let out a piercing shriek of pain as a bullet ripped through one of her wings, sending her plummeting to the ground. “No!!!” she shouted, staggering her feet and attempting to stop Medusa, only to be sent flying into wall by a ferocious blast of wind as a portal appeared were the statue once stood. Searing pain from her wing and the impact with the wall caused the Protector to pass out as a tall woman with black bat wings stepped out of the portal.

Medusa smiled at the woman, “Welcome back to the Human World, Megaera, Queen of the Harpies.”

Megaera turned her pitch black eyes to Medusa. “What year is it, Mortal?” she asked, looking around the room.

“It is 2015. You have been imprisoned almost six thousand years,” Medusa replied. “Enchnida has need of you and your army once more.”

Megaera stepped forward, her wings shrinking back into her body. “I am her ever faithful servant. However, I require nourishment if I am to regain my powers.”

Medusa indicated to the soldiers behind her, “By all means,feed to your heart’s content. These men are yours for the taking.” With that said, Medusa disappeared in a fashion similar to Circe only an hour earlier, leaving the HYDRA soldiers to face the demoness alone.

“No Megaera,” the Protector called out weakly, trying to stand up and protect the men who only moments ago she had been trying to kill. “Cousin, I beg you. Do not give in to the darkness once again.”

Megaera sneered at the angel, “Erytheia, I should have known you would have been the one to guard me.” She walked over to Erytheia and grabbed her by the throat. “You were always a soft hearted fool, little cousin. Always seeing these pathetic mortals as something to protect. Well know this: I will not kill you today, oh no. I want to watch you suffer as this pathetic world burns.” With that said, Megaera threw Erytheia across the room, knocking her out. With her cousin out of the way, the Queen of the Harpies set upon the HYDRA soldiers, draining their life force from them. Her cruel laughter echoed through the chamber as each man collapsed lifeless to the ground.

Despite being unconscious, a single tear fell down Erytheia’s cheek at her cousin’s senseless violence. Once all the men were lifeless on ground, Megaera unleashed her powers, calling forth her army from the portal. There was an earth-shattering shriek as hundreds of harpies began pouring out of the portal and swarming out of the Catacombs into an unsuspecting world. With a final, evil smile, Megaera summoned her wings and took off into the air, leaving the place of her imprisonment.

A few moments after Megaera and her army left, Erytheia slowly began to regain consciousness. “No,” she whispered softly. “I failed. I must warn the Guardians.” She shakily got to her feet and with the last of her strength, flew out the chamber to the streets of Paris where she collapsed in an alley. As she once again lost consciousness, Erytheia saw a flash of silver as a man appeared over her.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Medical wing, Museum of Antiquities
New York Branch (2 days later)

Grant smiled at his sleeping daughter across the room as he fed Kiki her early morning bottle. The doctors at the Museum wanted to keep both girls under observation for another day or two to ensure they didn't have any long term effects from their time in captivity. After their release, Grant was going to take the girls and 33 to his Gramsy’s house on Long Beach Island for a couple of weeks, while his team and family got the house he’d inherited from his Gramps in Essex County, New Jersey ready for the small family of three to move into.

A small yawn from Kiki caught his attention, and he looked down and saw the kitsune half demon push the bottle away, clearly full. Putting the bottle on the table beside Rosie’s bed, Grant proceeded to burp Kiki as the nurse on duty had shown him the first night. While he was still nervous about being a dad, Grant found that he took to the role with ease. Rosie and Kiki had helped him more in the last three days by simply being their sweet, innocent selves than anyone else when it came to finding peace with himself.

He smiled down at Kiki and gently stroked a finger down her cheek. “You getting sleepy, Sweetheart?” he whispered softly as Kiki’s golden brown eyes started to drift closed. Grant started to hum softly as he stood up and placed her back in her crib and covered her with a light purple blanket.

“Daddy,” a sleepy voice called from the bed letting him know Rosie was now waking up.

Grant walked to his daughter's bedside and brushed a stray curl out of her face. “Morning, Princess,” he whispered, softly placing a tender kiss on her forehead. “Are you hungry?” Rosie nodded softly, clutching the stuffed chocolate lab puppy Grant had given her a few hours ago. He reached over to his phone on the bedside table to call his sister, knowing she was coming on duty for her shift as a doctor in a little while, to ask her to bring up some breakfast for him and Rosie.

Twenty minutes later, the door opened and a young woman a little older than Grant walked in, carrying a brown bag from one of the bagel places near his house. “Just so you know, Grant,hat dog of yours has been very moody without you around.”

“Don’t pretend you don't love watching him, CJ,” Grant shot back, rolling his eyes at his older sister. Even though technically she was Grant’s cousin, the pair had always been more like brother and sister. They had tried to protect each other and Tommy from the abuse they
suffered at the hands of Maynard and Vivian Ward.

“Whatever you say bro,” she shot back before walking over to the bed. “Hey Rosie, how are you feeling, Sweetie?” Rosie looked shyly at her aunt and just shrugged as she clutched her dog tighter. “Still a little nervous, I see,” CJ said kindly, knowing that her niece still needed time to adapt to being in a loving environment. “Well take your time honey, you’re safe now.” She then turned to Grant. “Gramsy is gonna come visit with you and the girls for a bit. She said something about wanting to finally meet her great-grandbabies.”

Grant rolled his eyes, “Translation: she wants to come and spoil them rotten.”

CJ laughed at her brother as she finally put down the bag of bagels, “Probably, but hey, at least your girls have gotten her to stop nagging me and Julian about when we’re gonna make her a great-grandmother. Anyway, I got rounds to make. I’ll try to stop by on my break.” She touched Grant affectionately on the shoulder before she turned to Rosie. “I’ll see you in a little while, Rosie Posie.” With that said, CJ left the room, leaving Grant and his daughters alone once more.

“Alright, Princess, let’s get your breakfast ready,” he said, pulling a tray over to his daughter’s bed before reaching into the bag his sister had brought. Grant then pulled out a plain bagel with butter, along with a paper plate. He put both down in front of his daughter and watched as his little girl hesitantly took a bite of bagel.

A short while later, as Rosie sat watching Sofia the First on his laptop and he reviewed files of possible new trainees for the Hellchasers, there was a knock on the door. Grant looked up to see his grandmother walking in, and the pair shared a quick smile. He could also see two gift bags in his grandmother’s hands and knew his comment to his sister had not been that far off. Though Gramsy had always tried to instill in her children and grandchildren the independent spirit and strong sense of doing what is right, she never could resist spoiling them a little. At 93 years old, Catherine “Cate” Thompson had known more than her fair share of heartbreak. Her late husband had been killed on the day Grant was born, and then just a year later, her youngest child, Grant’s mother Angelina, had been murdered. However, despite all her heartache, Gramsy had continued to guide Grant, CJ, and Tommy as best she could as their powers had each started to emerge.

“Hello, my darling boy,” Gramsy said with a smile as Grant got up to meet her by the door. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before she handed him the bags she had brought for his daughters, which her grandson placed on the bedside table.

Grant returned his grandmother’s smile and led her over to the chair he had just vacated, before he sat down on the bed next to Rosie, causing her to look up from her show. When Rosie saw the newcomer, she tried to hide shyly behind her father. “It’s ok, Princess,” Grant soothed, “This is Daddy’s Granny.”

Gramsy smiled softly at her newly discovered great-granddaughter. “Hello, my Little Flower,” she said kindly, her doe-colored eyes shining with unshed tears. “I’m Nana, what’s your name?”

Rosie looked up at her father, who smiled encouragingly. “Rosie,” she whispered softly, clutching her puppy close to her.

“That’s a beautiful name,” Gramsy responded softly. “And what’s your friend’s name?” she asked, pointing at the stuffed animal. Rosie shrugged in response and Gramsy just smiled before continuing, “Well, your daddy once had toy dog just like that when he was a little boy about your age.”

“Weally?” Rosie whispered, looking at her great grandmother.

Gramsy smiled. “Yes darling, it’s name was Ruru. Your daddy use to take Ruru everywhere with him. I have a picture if you would like to see it,” she said, trying to draw the shy little girl out of her shell. Gramsy then reached into her pocket and pulled out a picture of Grant when he was Rosie’s age, and sure enough he was clutching a stuffed animal that looked exactly like Rosie’s. She handed the picture to the little girl and watched as a smile lit up her sweet face.

“That daddy?” Rosie asked, pointing at little Grant.

“Yeah, Princess,” Grant replied kissing his daughter’s blonde curls, “That’s Daddy when he was your age.”

Gramsy reached over slowly and took her great-granddaughter’s hand. “Rosie would you like to keep that picture of your daddy?” she asked softly.

Rosie’s eyes lit up even more as she looked up from the picture. “Yes pwease,” she said politely.

“Then it’s yours, my Little Flower, and I have something else for you and your sister. Would you like to see it?

Rosie nodded. Gramsy reached over to one of the gift bags and handed it to the toddler. Grant smiled at his grandmother before saying, “Here princess, let Daddy help you with that.” He reached into the bag and pulled out a card that read,

“To my darling granddaughter,
When each day dawns, I wish you Joy
When your spirit takes flight,
I wish you Peace
When you follow your dreams,
I wish you Hope
When you are in doubt, I wish you Faith
With all my heart and soul, I wish you love.
Hugs and kisses, Nana.”

After reading the card, Grant reached back into the bag and pulled out a beautiful silver jewelry box engraved with Rosie’s name. “Look, Princess.” he said handing the gift to his little girl.

Rosie looked at the jewelry box a for a moment before she smiled at her father and great grandmother, “Pwetty,” she whispered. “Tank you, Nana.”

Gramsy smiled. “You are welcome, my precious Little Flower.” She looked at her watch. “I have go to a meeting, my Little Flower, will you make sure your sister gets her present when she wakes up?” she asked Rosie tenderly. The toddler nodded and reached her arms out to Gramsy, silently asking for a hug and causing Grant to smile as he watched them embrace. Gramsy then turned to him and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek. “I’m so proud of you. Your mother and grandfather would be too,” she whispered before she walked out the door of the hospital room.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

Mexico, Museum safehouse (6 weeks after Rosie and Kiki’s rescue)

Grant stared out the window of the safehouse he, Sakura, Kara, and Demon were staying while they were trying to gather intelligence about HYDRA and KHAOS’ movements. This was the first time he had left his daughters since he and his team rescued them from the joint HYDRA and KHAOS. It had been hard to leave them; Kiki was crying for him in Wynne’s arms while Rosie had clung to him and refused to let him go until Stefan had bribed the three year old with pancakes and ice cream for dinner. Stefan and Wynne were watching the girls while he was away since CJ and her husband were helping out at Jessa Foster-Anderson’s dig in Greece, while Tommy was on his honeymoon and the rest of his team was tracking down other HYDRA and KHAOS bases.

Grant and his team had been tasked with tracking down a rumor that had to do with KHAOS and HYDRA attempting rebuild Sakura’s father's old sword “Tokijin”. Grant and the others knew if HYDRA was able to rebuild that sword, no one would be safe. At the moment, Sakura and Demon were pulling surveillance duty as the team’s local sources had informed them that Coulson, Fitz, and some new guy were spotted in town. So the pair split up with Demon tailing SHIELD and Sakura watching over the suspected HYDRA base where the pieces of Tokijin were supposedly being studied. Kara meanwhile had agreed to play bait for Coulson and his little group which left Grant here watching their guest. He turned to look at Bakashi, who was staring blankly at the wall.

The Museum had managed to get Whitehall’s former Number Two transferred into their custody much to General Talbot’s extreme annoyance. Grant smirked as he remembered watching Stefan and Wynne ordering Talbot to release Bakashi. It had been an awesome sight watching Wynne threaten to turn Talbot into a frog. He was pulled from his musing by the door to safe house opening as Sakura and Demon walked in.

“Well, that was a fucking waste of time.” Demon said, “The damn base was cleared out before we got here. From what we can tell we missed them by about a day.”

“In other news Agent Jackass and his group made contact with Kara,” Sakura said, using one of the Hellchasers’ favorite nicknames for Coulson. She hopped up onto the counter while Demon retrieved bottles of water from the fridge for all three of them. “You should be getting a call any second now.”

Grant nodded, “Ok, we stick with the plan. Kara and I will stall Coulson and his merry band of misfits and also see if they know anything about KHAOS. Meanwhile, I want you two to keep trying to find the pieces of Tokijin. My sources in HYDRA tell me List and Von Strucker have it, so have Oracle look at their financials and also real estate records under their names both real and any alias.”

Both of his friends nodded before Demon spoke up, “Be careful, man. I don’t trust SHIELD, they’ve let their anger at you consume them.” The former FBI profiler met his friend’s dark brown eyes. “You and Kara keep your guard up and call for backup up if you need it. There are two little girls waiting for their daddy to come home.”

“We will,” Grant replied, bumping a fist with Demon’s before giving Sakura a quick hug. “You both stay safe and I’ll see you back at base.”

Sakura shared a look a look with Demon before replying, “We will now go give them Hell, Hellfire.”

Grant smirked before he turned on his heels and left the safe house.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Arctic Base (minutes after Simmons’ attempt to kill Grant)

Grant raced through the HYDRA base quickly and efficiently after he had left Simmons and Skye. He could feel his heart hardening even more against his former love and the scientist he once might have seen as a little sister. May’s words about trauma kept ringing in his head and he knew next time he saw his former teammates he would throw those words back in her face while calling the team out for the hypocrites they had become. He knew not one of them knew just how much blood, sweat and tears he had given to keep the world safe from the threat posed by HYDRA and KHAOS.

He paused at the entrance to a new hallway he knew led to the hanger, thanks to Oracle, and was horrified to see a creature he hoped never to see again. The creature was massive with horns and he could smell the decay and sulfur that clung to it. ‘Fuck,’ he thought, ‘what’s an Ogre doing outside of Thedas?’ This was not good, if KHAOS had access to Ogres and other creatures like them, then humanity had quite a bit to be worried about. He took a deep breath and summoned the fire that gave him his code name. Once a baseball sized flame appeared in his hand, Grant hurled it at the Ogre, making the creature howl in pain. Then, not wasting a minute, Grant pulled out his gun and started shooting the creature.

“G, what the hell is going on down there?” Demon’s voice said over his comm.

“We got a massive problem,” Grant replied as he rolled away from the Ogre that was now reaching for him and replaced his empty clip. “Seems KHAOS recruited a little muscle from the Deep Roads.” He continued firing at the hulking beast before his gun emptied once again.

“Well, hurry up and get your ass out of there. SHIELD just called in the air strike. That base is about to blow,” Demon replied back, “Sakura and I are ready for your extraction.”

“Alright, I’m on my way.” Grant took a deep breath and summoned one more ball of fire and unleashed it at the Ogre as he ran past the creature and out the hanger door. He chanced a glance and saw to his relief that the Ogre had finally collapsed and the flames were slowly consuming it. Fire alarms had begun to go off as he finally made it outside of the base. He turned back and saw the plane he knew was carrying his former teammates take off from the opposite side of the base. “I’m out and heading to the extraction point now.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Long Beach Island, NJ (two days later)

The sun was slowly rising over the Atlantic Ocean as Grant jogged along the beach with Ares at his side. The crisp cool ocean breeze felt good this early in the morning. After he had gotten back to base last night with Demon and Sakura, the Council had given them and the others two weeks of R and R. So Grant decided to take advantage of the vacation time and go back down to Long Beach Island (or as the locals call it, LBI).

Beach Haven hadn’t changed much since he was a little kid and already Gramsy was talking about taking the girls to Fantasy Island Amusement Park and Bay Village. He had to remind her that the Amusement Park wouldn't be opened til the weekend since it wasn't officially summer yet. He had loved coming down here with Gramsy, CJ, and Tommy when they were little. The house his grandfather and Gramsy bought when they got married had always been a welcome escape since Christian and his aunt and uncle hated it down here, preferring to stay either in the Hamptons or in Martha’s Vineyard.

About forty minutes later, Grant was hosing off Ares in the backyard to get rid of any sand or sand fleas the lab Shepard mix may have picked up while they were running on the beach. The pair made their way into the house, Ares heading over to his dog bed in the living room and Grant to the kitchen to begin making breakfast. Today, he and Gramsy were going to take the girls to the beach for some fun in the sun.

The sound of babbling from over the baby monitor on the counter brought a smile to his lips. It sounded like Kiki was up, so he decided to grab her before she woke up Rosie. Quietly making his way upstairs to the girls’ room, his smile grew as he saw Kiki laying on her stomach looking at him. “Good morning, my little moon,” he whispered as he picked her up, “you hungry?”

Kiki snuggled close to him as he carried her back downstairs and put her in her Winnie the Pooh swing, turning it on before he went back to making breakfast for everyone. The six month old reached up to play with the Pooh and Tigger toys that hung down in front of her. Her giggles and baby babble were music to Grant’s ears as he set to work making pancakes, bacon and fresh fruit for his family’s breakfast.

A few moments later Ares perked up from his dog bed as Gramsy’s bedroom door opened and she entered the living room. When Kiki saw her great grandmother, she forgot all about Pooh and Tigger and reached out for Gramsy. Gramsy laughed as she picked up the six month old and proceeded to sit down on the couch before she turned on the news. Ares got up and padded over to the couch and settled down at Gramsy’s feet. “ Good morning, my little Moon,” Gramsy said before she tickled Kiki’s belly, causing the little one to laugh.

Grant stepped into the living room for a moment. “Morning, Gramsy,” he said, kissing his grandmother’s check, “Breakfast is ready.”

“Thank you, darling,” Gramsy said with a smile before she carried Kiki to the back porch where breakfast was all set up. Suddenly, the door leading to the second floor opened and a pair of tiny feet could be seen carefully making their way down.

“Daddy,” Rosie called as she reached the bottom of stairs looking as adorable as ever in her Merida PJs and clutching her favorite stuffed animal Ruru tightly.

Grant smiled as he walked over to Rosie and picked her up. “Good morning, Princess. Are you hungry?”

Rosie nodded sweetly, wrapping her arms around her father's neck.

“Well, let's go eat then,” he said, walking to the back porch and putting Rosie in her chair. Kiki was already in her high chair with Gramsy feeding her rice cereal. Grant headed back into the kitchen once Rosie was settled and brought his oldest daughter's breakfast.

Rosie’s eyes lit up when she saw her favorite breakfast. “Thank you Daddy,” she said as Grant put her plate down in front of her.

“No problem, Princess,” he replied before turning to Gramsy, “Gram go get your breakfast, I’ll finish up with Kiki.”

“It's fine dear,” Gramsy motioning for him to eat, “she's almost done and then I’ll eat.”

Grant shrugged, knowing his grandmother was stubborn and there was no way to talk her out of anything. He went and grabbed a plate for himself and Gramsy from the kitchen. Once back at the table he sat down and began eating. As breakfast went on, Grant and Gramsy began discussing the plans for the day while Rosie and Kiki happily ate.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Afterlife, Midnight

Jiaying stood in her office looking out at over the various homes that made up Afterlife.

“Hello, Jiaying,” a figure cloaked in shadows said from the corner, causing the leader of the Inhumans to turn and face her guest.

“What are you doing here, Melinoe?” she hissed at the young girl with black and white hair and soulless silver eyes.

“Oh don't be like that, Jiaying,” Melinoe said in a sickeningly sweet childlike voice. “I’m merely here to deliver a message from my Queen.”

“Well, what is it?” Jiaying asked, trying to suppress the feeling of dread that she felt anytime she was in the young girl’s presence.

“Remember your vows, Jiaying.” Melinoe said, taking a step forward. “What you were given back can be taken away just as quickly as it was returned.” With her message delivered, Melinoe faded back into the shadows, leaving Jiaying once again alone with her thoughts.

Chapter Text

Upstate NY July 2015

It had been a month since Skye returned to SHIELD after having an argument with her mother regarding her wanting to use her powers to help those who needed it. In that month a lot of crazy stuff had been happening, not least of which included getting to meet the Avengers, who had found out Coulson was alive thanks to an anonymous source. The revelation led to the Avengers working with both Coulson and Gonzalez factions as they tried to rebuild SHIELD’s credibility.

Currently, Skye and Hunter were working with Captain Rogers and Black Widow to investigate reports of the population of a small town in NY vanished without a trace.

“Anyone else find this place a little creepy?” Hunter asked as they walked down the Main Street looking for any hint to where the townspeople had did disappeared.

Skye peeked into the front window of the Starbucks to see if anything was there. To her dismay it looked like everyone had simply got up and walked away. Drinks, books, cell phones and even laptops sat on tables as if waiting for their owners to return. The entire town was starting give her a really bad vibe, if she was being honest. “What the hell could make everyone just up and leave?” she wondered aloud as she continued to wander down the street. She was so caught up with her thoughts she didn't realize she had gotten separated from the others.

Moments later she was at the mouth of small alleyway when she heard movement further down, causing her to stop. Suddenly, a dark shape shot out of the alleyway and attacked her. Acting quickly, Skye sent a vibration out at her attacker only for it to shoot up into the air and land on the lamppost across the street. The creature looked to be a statuesque woman with black wings that were currently wrapped around her like a cloak.

“What do we have here?” the woman said in enchanting voice. “Fresh meat.” Suddenly, the woman swooped down towards Skye, causing her to throw herself to the side. The Inhuman SHIELD Agent tucked and rolled and when she came up she threw her hand up and sent a blast of vibration at the flying woman. Her blast met its target, sending the bird-woman flying back as she rounded to make another attack at Skye.

“Hunter, Widow, Cap,” Skye said into her comm, “I need you guys to come to my location. I think I found a possible lead–or should I say she found me.” She ducked behind a building quickly.

“Where are you, Luv?” Hunter’s voice echoed back through the comms.

Skye took a moment to look at street signs across the street from her hiding spot. “I’m at Main and Franklin.” A sudden noise above caused her to look up just as the bird woman once again dove at her, forcing Skye to race out from behind the building.

Just as Skye got ready to go on the attack, a red blur collided with the woman sending her flying back. Skye turned to see Captain Rogers, Black Widow and Hunter running towards her. The woman straightened herself out, but before she could go after Skye again, a voice rang out.

“Enough, Phaedra.” Phaedra, Skye and the others turned to the building across the street to see a beautiful blonde haired woman standing on the roof.

“Circe,” Phaedra hissed, “why do you stop me?”

Circe smiled evilly. “We have what we came for and you have had more than enough time to play. Besides, we don’t need to draw any more attention to our activities.”

Phaedra glared at Skye and the others before she disappeared in a flash, while Circe shot Skye an evil smirk before she too disappeared.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The Playground

Skye, Captain Rogers, Black Widow and Hunter disembarked from the Quinjet and made their way to the command center where Coulson and the others were waiting for their report. Skye kept at Natasha who had been deep in thought since their run in with Phaedra and Circe. When they entered the room, Skye saw that everyone was there from Coulson and Gonzalez’s teams and the rest of the Avengers. The quartet took their seats at the table.

“What happened out there?” Coulson asked from his spot next to Gonzalez at other side of the table.

“I don’t know, D.C.” Skye said, looking at her surrogate father figure. “I’ve never seen anything like that Phaedra woman.” She turned to Thor, who was seated next to Jane at the Avenger’s side of the table. “What about you, Thor? Do you the names Phaedra or Circe ring a bell?”

Jane’s head shot up from where she had been reviewing the file in front of her when Skye said the name Circe. “Wait, Agent Johnson, did you say the woman who attacked you was named Circe?” she asked the young agent.

Before Skye could answer, Natasha spoke up, “It was her, Dr. Foster. I’d recognize that bitch anywhere.” The assassin's voice took a dangerous turn as she spoke, causing everyone in the room to stare at her. Natasha Romanoff was well known for her ability to control her emotions, so they all knew there something about this Circe woman that made even the legendary Black Widow’s blood boil.

Jane gasped. “Does Hellfire know?” she asked, knowing that if Hellfire did know Circe had made an appearance, the fireworks were going to be extreme (pun intended).

Natasha shook her head. “No, I haven’t been able to reach him and frankly I’m not looking forward to telling him. He has enough to worry about.”

Coulson, Skye and the others looked at the two women. “Who is Circe, Dr. Foster?” Coulson asked curiously. He paused for a moment before he asked, “Also who is this Hellfire person?”

Jane looked at Coulson and the others. “Circe is bad news. If she was involved in what happened in that town, then I don’t think SHIELD and the Avengers are going to be enough.”

“We’re definitely not going to be enough,” Natasha said seriously, causing everyone else to protest both women’s words. However, when the red-headed assassin held up her hand, everyone fell silent. “If Phaedra was what I think she was, then things are about to get a lot more dangerous in the world.”

“What do you mean, Tasha?” Hawkeye asked his friend and partner.

“I mean that this Phaedra woman is like nothing we have ever faced before.” Natasha knew that if even 1% of what the HellChasers said about Enchidna and her minions were even the slightest bit true, then the world was on verge of destruction. “I hope to God we’re wrong Dr. Foster, but if Circe and her cohorts managed to free creatures like Phaedra then we need to be prepared for dark times to come.” Then to Clint’s question she replied, “Phaedra is something that is the stuff of myth and legend.”

Suddenly, Jane shot Natasha a terrified look. “Agent Romanoff, you don’t think Circe and her allies are trying to free the ‘She-Viper,’ do you?”

At Jane’s question, Natasha face drained of blood. If the stories she had heard from Grant and the other HellChasers were to be believed, humanity was to face its darkest hours.

Steve looked at his friend and his heart dropped to his stomach when he saw the look of terror on her face. He knew it took a lot to frighten Natasha and to see the terror as plain as day told him something bad was about to happen. Everyone else in the room was silent as Jane and Natasha’s words flowed over them.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

KHAOS HQ Location classified
July 2015

Circe walked purposely through the halls of the base towards the Inner Sanctum where Medusa, Lilith and the others were waiting. In her hands she held the clue to the location of the next seal. She entered the room to find Lilith, Medusa, Melinoe, and the Harpy Queen, Megaera all standing in front of the viewing portal. Lilith turned as Circe walked in.

“Welcome back, dear. I trust everything went according to plan?”

“Of course,” Circe responded, taking in the beautiful woman, who despite her appearance was much older than one would think from looking at her. She handed over the tablet she had managed to steal while Phaedra distracted Skye and the others.

“Excellent,” the leader of KHAOS replied as she took the tablet from Circe. Lilith’s dark eyes scanned the tablet greedily, knowing that this artifact would bring her one step closer to releasing her mistress, the “She-Viper.”

“Grandmother,” Medusa said, looking at Lilith, “Where to next?”

“Pack your bags,girls,” she said, looking at Circe, Medusa, and Melinoe. “You have a sword to find.” The three young women nodded and quickly left the room.

“So the Stones have decided to reveal themselves,” Megaera sneered as she too looked at the tablet once the other three left. “My Queen will be pleased,” the Harpy queen commented, walking closer to the viewing portal and staring at the swirling surface. Soon the world would once again belong to her Queen and all who stand in the way will be dead.

From deep within the swirling portal, a sinister laugh echoed.

Chapter Text

Rise of Hellfire Chapter 6

Grant found himself staring out at full moon over an ancient city, his mind drifting towards the battle he and his comrades would be fighting to finally rid their people of the vile “She-Viper” that was parading herself around as a goddess made flesh. He knew that there was a good chance that he would die in the battle, but if it meant that his ‘Heart’ and people were safe then that seemed a small price to pay. He was suddenly pulled from his thoughts by a woman’s gentle touch on his bare bicep.

“Please, my love,” a gentle voice said softly as its owner wrapped her arms around him from behind. “Do not go into battle tomorrow, I fear you will not survive to see our child’s birth if you do.”

Grant could hear the tears in her voice and he slowly turned to face the woman that held his heart. Her face looked extremely familiar but for some reason he could not place where he had seen her before. He gently cupped her cheek and brushed away a stray tear as it rolled down. “Hush, my Heart,” he whispered, “you know that I must if our people are ever to be free of that She-demon.” His other hand drifted down to the small baby bump that was covered by his love’s nightgown. “Know this my Princess, even if I should die in battle, you and I shall always be one.” The hand that been caressing his love’s stomach picked up her hand and he brought it to his lips to place a gentle kiss on her knuckles.

His love was openly sobbing now, tears pouring down her cheeks. “Promise me that you will come back to me. I cannot raise our child without you, my Warrior.” Grant’s heart broke as the strong woman in front of him broke dowb from her fears of losing him.

“Do not cry, Princess,” he soothed, “you know I will always do my best to return to you. However, if it is in the gods’ plans for me to die, I will be at peace knowing that the strongest woman I know is raising my child. Never sell yourself short, my Heart. It is you that are the strong one, you are my strength, my Light in the Darkness, my Peace in a Lifetime of War.” He scooped her up in his arms and carried her over to their bed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next morning, his love silently helped him put on his armor. He could tell she was still petrified about losing him in the upcoming battle. Her hands trembled softly as she fastened his chest piece, refusing to meet his eye. Just as she finished, the door to their room was opened and his second in command and adopted sister, Artemis.

Artemis’ parents had taken him in after his parents, the late King and Queen were murdered when he was ten. The pair had been training together since they could walk. “Brother, it’s time,” she said softly. Her amber eyes met his before she walked over to the couple.

Grant looked at his love and his adopted sister. “Artemis,” he said carefully, knowing his sister would not like what he was about to ask her, “I want you stay here and protect Aphrodite.”

“No, Brother,” Artemis exclaimed as Aphrodite gasped in shock, her delicate hand covering her mouth. “I will not let you ride into battle without me watching your back.”

“Ares,” Aphrodite whispered.

Grant,or ‘Ares’ as he was called in this life, looked at two of the most important women in his life. “It is not up for debate.” He turned to Artemis, “You are one of the few I trust to protect what is most important to me.”

Artemis looked like she was about to protest again, but before she could open her mouth, one of Aphrodite’s handmaidens came into the room.

“My King,” she said with a bow to the trio. “Lord Hades’ spies have advised that the Snake Queen’s army is moving towards the gate.”

Grant looked at Artemis and Aphrodite one more time before he made his way out of the chamber. Just as he reached the door, Aphrodite called out to him.

“Ares!” she shouted, causing Grant to stop and turn to look at her. Aphrodite threw her arms around her lover and kissed him passionately, pouring all her love and fear for him into the kiss. “Please come back to me, my Love,” she whispered tearfully as she pulled away.

Grant kissed her gently one last time. “I love you, my Heart. Always and forever.” He shared a look with Artemis before he left the room to face the woman who had stolen so much from his people.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The clash of swords filled the air as Grant’s soldiers fought valiantly against their enemy. True to her treacherous nature, the “She-Viper” had summoned creatures from the deepest pits to aid her army. He cut down another enemy soldier as he pushed through to where his main target stood.

Her black hair flowed down her back as she spun and cut down one of Grant’s soldiers. She seemed to revel in the bloodshed around her. Finally, Grant had enough. “Enchnida,” he hollered over the sounds of the battle, “Come and face me like a Warrior, you Bitch.”

“You should learn respect when talking to your betters, little prince,” a seductive voice said from behind him, causing Grant to turn and face the creature that had caused his people so much pain and suffer. Enchnida was a beautiful woman with long black hair and skin as white as ivory. However, he was not fooled by her outward beauty, this woman was a heartless demoness who revelled in blood shed.

“I assure you, Witch,” Grant sneered, “I respect my betters just fine.” He and Enchnida proceeded to circle each other like two lions waiting for the kill. “Let us finish this,” he said banging his sword on his shield, he prayed the enchantments on the sword would be enough to seal the demoness back in the deepest parts of Hell, where she belonged.

All around the pair the fighting slowly began to stop as the combatants paused to watch their leaders battle. Grant was observed Enchnida with an battle honed eye, so he was able to put his shield up just in time as the demoness sent a blast at him trying to knock him off balance.

He watched Enchnida, looking for the right chance to attack and when Enchnida had briefly shifted her attention from him, he pounced. Moving with quickness similar to a viper striking, he brought his sword up.

Enchnida shrieked in pain as the metal of Ares’ sword meet the flesh of her check.”You will pay for ruining my face.” The demoness rushed forward to attack him once again.

Minutes felt like centuries as the pair exchanged blows as their armies watched on. Suddenly, Ares saw his chance and drove his sword into Enchnida’s chest right as her last blast of energy managed to collide with him.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Long Beach Island, June 2015

Grant bolted up in bed with a startled gasp, one of his hands shooting down to where the blast of energy had entered his chest. When he found no wound there, he realized it was only a dream.

‘What the Hell was that dream?’ he thought silently, running a hand through his hair. A quick glance at the clock told him it was only 3:30 in the morning. He laid back down to try and go back to sleep, but found his mind just would not shut off.

Getting up, Grant made his way out of his bedroom and decided to check on the girls. Gramsy had headed back up to North Jersey with his siblings. He headed across the small hallway and opened the folding doors of the girls’ room and peeked. Ares had taken to sleeping in the girls’ room, which gave Grant a little piece of mind knowing his loyal friend was watching over the two of the most important people in his life.

He then made his way to the back deck off his bedroom and breathed in the ocean air and listening to waves breaking on beach just down the block. This house had been his sanctuary growing up and even now at 31 years old he still loved coming here.

“Hey kiddo,” a voice said behind him as his grandfather materialized in behind, “You’re looking a little lost.”

Grant smiled despite the chaotic thoughts whirling in his mind. “Hey Gramps, how’s Mom?”

Jack Thompson came to stand next to his grandson and stared out into the darkness of the early morning. “She sends her love to you and those great grandbabies of mine. Now enough small talk; what’s going on in that head of yours? Your mother and I could hear your turmoil from all the way up there.”

Jack turned to face his favorite grandchild (despite the fact the two never met when Jack was alive). After all, as his wife said, Grant had the same spirit and attitude as him. Both men were stubborn (pigheaded fools, if one was listening to Cate or Peg), loyal and extremely protective to those the loved, and held high expectations of themselves.

“Something big is coming,” Grant replied after a moment. “Erytheia, the guardian Medusa injured a few months ago, has lost contact with several of the other guardians of the seals. Then there’s the visions Althea has been having.” Grant took a deep breath before he continued. “And now that weird dream I just had. It was almost like I was at the battle that sealed away Enchnida.”

Jack placed his hand on Grant’s shoulder, “I know it’s hard, Grant, but you will figure this out and I know when all this is over you will win. You have the best parts of your parents. You have your mother’s kindness and heart and your father’s warrior spirit and will to fight for what you believe in.”

Grant looked at his grandfather in shock, since it was common knowledge in the Museum that his grandfather despised his father after the way his parents’ relationship ended.

“Don’t look at me like that, Kid. Your father and I settled our differences a long time ago. I may hate what he did to your mother and you, as well as his decisions regarding that younger boy of his. However, your father was a man of honor and always tried to do what was best for his people.”

Just as Grant was about to respond, a small sleepy voice called out from the deck door, causing both men to turn.

“Daddy,” Rosie said, clutching her stuffed dog, Ruru.

Grant walked over to his daughter.

“Hey princess what’s wrong?” He got down on one knee in front of her.

Rosie didn’t say anything as she just looked up at her father with her sweet blue eyes. Jack walked over to join his grandson and great granddaughter.

“Did you have a bad dream, Sunshine?” He asked her. Rosie nodded, clutching Ruru tighter to her.

“Scary lady said she was gonna hurt Daddy,” she whispered quietly.

Grant’s heart broke at his daughter’s words. “Oh Princess,” he whispered pulling her into his arms, “No one is going to hurt Daddy. Ok?”

Rosie nodded softly as she listened to the comforting beat of her father’s heart.

He placed a gentle kiss on his little girl’s head. “How about we get you back to bed, ok?” Rosie nodded again and Grant picked her up. “Say good night to Grampy, Princess,” he said.

“Night night, Gwampy,” she said tiredly as her eyes began to close.

“Goodnight, my little Angel. We’ll talk later, Kiddo,” Jack said as he watched Grant and Rosie walk back into the house. Once the father and daughter were in the house, Jack disappeared in a swirl of white lights.