Disclaimer: I do not own HP or PJO.
A/N: Right, so I've edited the story majorly. I even changed her name, because it seemed too cliche, and Mary-Sue-like(okay, it's still pretty bad, but whatever), which is the main reason I'm editing.
Hope this is better.
The One They Left Behind
Zari gripped her wand tighter, trying to recall what got her into this mess in the first place.
"Get out," James Potter hissed. "We don't want you. You've dragged this family down since you were born. We don't want you anywhere near us. I've already formally disowned you. You'll never burden us again."
15-year-old Azari stared up impassively into her ex-father's sneering face as her former mother nodded in agreement. Zari's prat of a twin was standing smugly next to Lily, arms folded across his chest. She didn't know whether she was glad or not that she was being abandoned with only a wand. Not that it mattered, she could take care of herself, and the Potter's had never paid her any notice anyway.
"Fine," she replied coldly. "As far as I'm concerned, I never had a family. At least I have closure now." She smiled bitterly. Some part of her had hoped, that perhaps they did care for her, deep down. Apparently not. Still, having that hope crushed ruthlessly kind of hurt.
The Potter's were the darlings of the Wizarding World. Lily and James Potter, kind, loving parents to the perfect, selfless, and intelligent Boy-Who-Lived, Michael Potter. Note the sarcasm. Until she was eleven years old, no-one had ever even heard of Azari Potter. She was the forgettable, worthless twin of the Chosen One. She was especially glad she hadn't breathed a word of her less than hetero leanings in case they reached the ears of her family.
"Don't speak back to us, girl," Lily scolded.
"Or what?" Azari shot back, simply not caring anymore. "You can't do anything, you have no control over her anymore." She stood stiffly, her hands clenched into fists at her sides.
No-one cared about Azari, believing her to be an attention seeking brat, trying to steal Michael's fame. She knew there was no point in arguing - it would have only made her punishment worse.
Azari was unusually independent, having practically raised herself while her parents fawned over and doted on Michael. The house elves had helped her during infancy, taking pity on her, but nearly everything else she'd handled herself.
The youngest Potter was often looked down upon by her parents for her appearance, also. It wasn't that she didn't make an effort in it, but that she simply had achieved the impossible and not inherited her parents' beauty. She wasn't ugly, by any means, merely ... plain. She had her mother's fiery red hair, the Potter unruliness with it, but it didn't suit her like it did Lily. She'd inherited her mother's eyes also, and her face still had a slight amount of baby fat. Her mother had often marvelled the sheer uselessness of her daughter, and frequently commented upon her average, general face that seemed to blend in with the crowd, claiming that the only way she'd ever find a husband was through her family connections.
With a final glare at the Potter's, she spun on her heel and off the property of Potter Manor, hoping to never return.
So here she was, six months later, battling off five pretty girls with fire for hair and mismatched legs in the middle of a forest (how does that even work?).
Zari sent off seven stunners in rapid succession, ducking and twisting out of the way of claws, fire and whatever potentially fatal weapons the monsters had. Two hit three of the girl/monster/hybrid/things each, leaving only two, knocking them out temporarily.
The last two had just about cornered her when they burst into golden dust. Coughing and spluttering, she raised her head to see... a bunch of teenage girls. Wait, what?
Watching them warily, Zari spoke hesitantly.
"Hello!" Even she could hear the nervousness in her voice. "I was just, ah ... taking a walk." Just brilliant, Zari. Because that is so going to convince them.
The auburn haired girl at the front of the group smiled.
"Of course." She smiled dryly, as if she knew exactly what the other girl was doing, but humouring her, all the same. "Hunters," She turned to the group behind her, "return to camp. I have a feeling we have much to discuss."
Zari swallowed nervously as the girl walked towards her. What was going on? Teenage girls shouldn't be in the middle of the woods. The strange girl appraised her silently, noted her thin appearance. "I am Lady Artemis, goddess of the Moon and Hunt," she said. Zari eyed her carefully. She didn't seem crazy, but...
"Artemis, as in the Greek goddess?" she asked, as though clarifying.
Artemis smiled. "Yes, that Artemis."
Zari nodded as if this made sense. Okay, so her initial assessment of the girl, which was that she was totally sane, just got thrown out the proverbial window.
"Right," she said, though something in the back of her head was screaming at her don't say it! She's dangerous! "You're nuts." she finished bluntly. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Zari realised this might not be the best thing to say to an insane lady - who looks armed.
"I assure you," the self-proclaimed goddess said, her eyes narrowing slightly, "that I am perfectly sane."
"Right, and Hagrid's married to Professor McGonagall," she snorted.
"Would you like proof?" the lady asked calmly.
"Sure," Zari rolled her eyes. This was proving to be the most fun she'd had in months, the last being that leprechaun with an obsession with Veela toenails. That had been ... odd. The less said about that, the better. "Hit me with your best shot." Not the best choice of words, Zari thought belatedly, considering she's got a bow.
She stared at Zarifor several seconds as if assessing her. Trying to find out what would make her believe the far-fetched story. With a satisfied nod, she raised her hand.
And apple appeared in her hand. Zari gaped. Pushing aside disturbing thoughts of Snow White and poisoned apples, her brain went into overdrive. You can't conjure food! It's one of the five exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration! You can only transfigure something else, or duplicate it! It's actually impossible. The only explanation was ... the girl stumbled back, feeling as though someone had just sucker punched her in the stomach.
"Goddess..." she breathed. "No freaking way."
"Walk with me back to camp," the goddess requested. Zari could only nod, her mind still reeling. 'Camp' was about a two-minute walk away. They walked in silence, Zari fidgeting as the weight of her companion's curiosity smothered them.
It was only when they'd reached the Moon goddess' tent and had settled down on the warm carpet was the silence broken.
"Tell me about your life."
So she did. She explained how Lily's sister Rose had sacrificed herself, Michael became the Boy-Who-Lived, how she was neglected in favour of said hero, how she was constantly saving his pathetic ass from Voldemort, while he took all the credit. Zari explained how her punishments had varied, from not being allowed out of her room for a week to no food for a fortnight, how she'd been a disgrace by being sorted into Slytherin, that she was friendless because Michael would spread fake rumours, and she also explained her disownment.
Zoë Nightshade, the lieutenant, was horrified from her place beside Lady Artemis. How could someone do that to their own child? But, she reflected sadly, mortals can be so barbaric.
Artemis was also shocked. Her resolve hardened. She would do whatever she could to help this girl.
When Zari had finished, Artemis spoke after a few moments of silence, digesting the information. "Would you like to join the Hunters?"
Stunned, Zari's eyes widened. "M-me?" she stuttered. "I would - it would be an honour, milady," she breathed.
Artemis smiled softly. "Very well. To join, you must say an oath. Repeat after me. 'I pledge myself-'"
"Wait!" Zari interrupted as a thought struck her. She flushed feeling slightly panicked. Interrupting a goddess - would the immortal smite for that? "What's the time?"
Raising an eyebrow, Artemis answered. "11:58. Why?"
"D'you-do you we could wait til 12?" she asked awkwardly, unsure about requesting something from a goddess. "Because I turn sixteen then, and my magical core will reach capacity. I'll have the magical power of an adult."
Artemis nodded in understanding, smiling warmly. A few minutes and an awkward silence later, a bright glow enveloped the witch. Her jaw dropped. When you came of age, your aura would show, just for a few brief seconds. The brighter and flashier your aura, the more powerful you are, white being the most powerful.
Her aura was a shining, silvery colour, with flecks of yellow and platinum. Even Dumbledore's aura was a murky yellow. Rumour had it that Voldemort's was a shimmering blue silver, like the sunlight reflecting on the water on a summers day.
Neither goddess nor huntress seemed to understand the significance of what just happened.
"Congratulations, Azari. Now, are you ready?"
She nodded, still slightly bewildered and more than a bit awestruck.
"I pledge myself to the goddess Artemis..." Artemis began, and she repeated line dutifully, heart pounding.
After her oath had been accepted, she was introduced. Zari was welcomed quickly, she found, and soon discovered a friend in a blonde daughter of Apollo called Sophie, who looked like she had traits of a Veela. Zari liked her the moment they met, a warm feeling growing in her chest as they were introduced and the other girl smiled at her.
Zari could already tell she was going to like it here.
TEN YEARS LATER
"Permission to kill, milady?"
"This is not fair!" The monster shrieked. "Direct interference! It is against the Ancient Laws!" Lady Artemis smirked.
"Not so. The hunting of wild beasts is within my sphere. And you, foul creature, are a wild beast. Permission granted, Zoë," Artemis replied, her eyes not wavering from the manticore.
The monster growled something and lunged at the dazed demigods.
"Get back, half-blood!" Zoë called as a blonde girl jumped onto the manticore's back. "Get out of the line of fire!"
A battle broke out. "Fire!" Zoë commanded.
Zari let her arrow loose, piercing the monster's neck. Combined with the impact of all the other arrows, the manticore tumbled off the cliff, the blonde girl still on his back.
One boy, most likely Percy Jackson, she realised, scrambled to the edge of the cliff. "Annabeth!" He shouted desperately. Annabeth. With a slight jolt of shock, she realised who these two older girls were. Thalia and Annabeth, the two young girls, twelve and seven respectively, that they had met six years ago approximately. Thalia had turned down the offer to join the Hunt, deciding to leave with Annabeth and Luke. Zari spared a glance discreetly, searching for him, before realising what she'd heard Lady Artemis say just over a year ago.
"Luke Castellan, son of Hermes, has joined the Titan Kronos in the hopes of raising him, and bringing an end to the gods."
Startled out of her thoughts, she looked up as the crack of gunfire rang out from a muggle helicopter. The Hunters scattered, but Artemis simply thrust out her hand.
"Mortals are not allowed to witness my hunt."
The helicopter dissolved into a flock of ravens. They started towards the demigods, and Zoë surveyed them, her gaze stopping on one girl. "You," she said resentfully. Zari placed a calming hand on her shoulder. Zoë threw her a grateful glance, before continuing. "Four half-bloods and a satyr, my lady."
"Yes," Lady Artemis said. "Some of Chiron's campers, no doubt."
As Zoë, the goddess, and non-hunters started conversing, Zari let her thoughts drift off. Something wasn't right. Something was going to happen, something bad. She didn't know how, but she could tell. She'd learnt to trust her instincts.
Zari snapped out of her reverie as Sophie put her hand on the other girl's shoulder. "C'mon. We're setting up camp." Zari smiled at her friend, warmth radiating through her shoulder and back until Sophie lifted her hand and Zari was left with a sudden coldness.
Artemis spoke up. "Azari," she said. "Stay with these two." She indicated to the satyr, Jackson and Thalia. Zari nodded, throwing one last look at Sophie's retreating back. Returning her focus to the demigods, Zari realised they were arguing.
"…might still be here! Did you think of that?" Thalia was saying angrily. She wiped a tear and stormed off, just as the other boy and the satyr came up to him.
Zari walked up to Jackson, handing the satyr a medical pack with a word.
"It's green!" the younger boy cried - Nico, Zari recalled, undetermined - happily, observing a wound in Jackson's shoulder. She waited silently as the satyr fixed him up.
"This way." Zari lead them towards the tent, determined not to be too welcoming.
As if sensing her thoughts, Jackson spoke up for the first time. "Why do you all hate us?"
"Many of us joined Lady Artemis as a result of cruelty from males. Broken hearts."
"So Lady Artemis, she's like ... a rebound?"
"No," Zari replied, her anger truly sparking at the boy. "She and our sisters are comfort. Eternal family." she shot him a glare as they reached the Head Tent, and pulled back the flaps.
"My lady," she announced, drawing on the same haughty, superior tone that some of the older girls used. It tended to put off any unwanted questions. "The males."
"Thank you, Azari. You can stay," she added at Zari's hesitance to leave.
"Thank you, milady."
Zari sat on her left, while Zoë sat on her right. Lady Artemis was explaining to Nico's sister, Bianca di Angelo, the benefits of becoming a hunter while Jackson tried to convince her to go to Chiron's camp, with Nico. Finally, the girl turned to the two hunters.
"Is it worth it?" She asked. Zari nodded, and Zoë said, "It is."
"I'm one of the youngest. I've only been a hunter for ten years," Zari added, with a glance at Lady Artemis. "And it's the first time I ever felt like I had a family." Lady Artemis and Zoë smiled warmly at her.
"I'll do it," Bianca said. "What do I have to do?"
"Repeat this oath," Zoë instructed. "I pledge myself to the goddess Artemis,"
"I ... I pledge myself to the goddess Artemis," Bianca repeated.
"I turn my back on the company of men, accept eternal maidenhood and join the Hunt."
"I turn my back on the company of men, accept eternal maidenhood and join the Hunt."
"If Lady Artemis accepts thy pledge, then it is binding," Zoë added.
"I accept it." Zari watched as Artemis smiled warmly, and grinned at her new sister as well.
Everyone was waiting out in the snow for the sun to rise - or, more accurately, the sun god.
"He's always lazy in the winters," Artemis muttered as dawn finally came. Zari exchanged a glance with Bianca. She and the other girl had become fast friends due to their closeness in age, and Sophie was quickly warming up to her as well. Zari snuck a glance at her best friend, who was on her other side. The blonde girl's brow was furrowed. She didn't seem very optimistic about the approaching confrontation.
Judging from what they'd heard from the other Hunters, this meeting with Apollo wasn't going to be fun. She had only met him a few times, and he and Lady Artemis had bickered furiously each time.
Zari shielded her eyes as the sun god finally appeared in the distance, a speck growing closer until he parked a red convertible Maserati Spyder a few feet away from them. The snow surrounding it quickly melted. As he stepped out of the car, Zari heard Thalia mutter, "Wow. Apollo is hot."
"He's the sun god," Percy replied.
"That's not what I meant."
"Little sister!" Apollo called, cutting off the two teens.
"I'm not your 'little sister'! We're twins! And I'm older! I helped Mother give birth to you!"
He and Artemis started arguing about who was born first, Apollo playfully winding her up. This was an old argument.
Apollo eventually turned to Zari, raising an eyebrow. His eyes raked over her body assessingly, but it seemed as though he was trying to analyse her soul, rather than noticing her looks. Either way, it made her want to squirm out of his trapping gaze. "Azari Potter," he mused.
"I'm not a Potter; I never really was," she said sharply, slightly thrown that he knew who she was. He'd never paid any attention to her before. "What's it to you?" Immediately, she wanted to take it back. That was too rude for first impressions, especially towards an actual 'annoy-me-and-I'll-turn-you-into-a-pile-of-sheep-dung' god. Sophie tensed beside her and moved slightly closer.
However, the rest of the Hunters snickered, and, to her surprise (and slight relief), so did Apollo. "Got your mother's temper, you do!" he guffawed.
"I sincerely hope you are referring to Lady Artemis," she spoke quietly, but Zari's voice held all the conviction in the world. "She's more of a mother to me than Lily ever was. Again, I repeat, what's it to you?"
"Right," Apollo said, clapping his hands together, and ignoring her question. "Who wants to drive?"
She frowned, slightly tense at the reminder of her birth family for the first time in a decade.
"Don't worry about it," Sophie murmured, too low for the others to hear. "Dad does that sometimes. You know, god of prophecy and all. You probably just do something really awesome in, like, a century, on a hunt."
Zari flashed her a thankful smile, noting Sophie's flushed cheeks. Must be from the cold. "I hope that's all it is."
None of the Hunters volunteered to drive Apollo's school bus. He chose Thalia, being the daughter of the sky, saying Nico was too young, and Grover to furry. He completely skipped Percy, who looked rather put out, but unsurprised. Zari surmised he wasn't a favourite with the gods, barring his own father.
She and Zoë started loading the camp's bags into the minibus Apollo had regretfully changed his sports car to.
Apollo wandered over. "Want some help, sweethearts?" he asked. Zoë's eyes flashed, her hand creeping towards her bow, and Zari glowered. She was not anyone's sweetheart, least of all Apollo's.
"Apollo!" Lady Artemis shouted. "You do not attempt to flirt with my Hunters, and you do not call them 'sweetheart'!"
Apollo raised his hands in a sign of surrender. "Alright, sis. Calm down," and Zari had a sneaking suspicion that his flirtation was actually just to provoke his twin.
"Don't call me 'sis'!"
Eventually, they all boarded the slightly cramped and oddly sticky vehicle. Apart from the fact that they nearly set fire to England, everything went fine.
Okay, first chapter up. Thanks to The Golden Dragon Lord for the idea. I hope you like it! Review, please!