Disclaimer: not mine. Thanks to KayCelestine for the quick beta.
Warnings: minor kissing. Technical spoilers for The Bronze Dragon and The Last Olympian.
Inspired by fic_inspiration on LiveJournal, even though the challenge was nearly five years old. Challenge: write five scenes that never happened to a character. Must have canonical basis--in this case, Beckengard.
Five Things that Never Happened to Charles Beckendorf
1. together, a life
He grinned that goofy grin of his, standing under the glaring heat of the sun in the middle of the field. He didn't know when the field grew here, but then again—he reminded himself—they weren't in the city anymore. They settled in the suburbs, just the way she wanted, because he was perfectly fine with compromise even if it took him somewhat out of his element.
Now, he watched the small figures scatter across it, running and shouting. Stubby legs carried them across surprisingly well-kept grass, though stumps and roots popped up here and there; one of them would trip, he was sure, because they were all looking upward in hopes of catching the ball, and when they did, it would be he who gathered them, little fists balled as tears welled in their eyes and ran down their cheeks, before he handed them off to Silena. She would kiss away the tears and make the booboos all better in no time, and then their faces would light up like sunshine and they would be back on their way scurrying across the field until they tripped again.
"Enjoying yourself, Charles?" He didn't know when it had become 'Charles' instead of 'Charlie', but he didn't mind it—when she said it, it sounded much more serious, but much more sophisticated as well. Sometimes he enjoyed feeling sophisticated.
"But of course," he responded, voice light in expected amusement. The corners of his eyes crinkled as he smiled, flashing brilliant pearly whites that he knew she had never been able to deny. Before Silena could move, he had her in his embrace, arms wrapped sideways around her so that his strong hands rested on her right hip.
She looked up at him, craning her neck to do so, but the familiar smile that he had grown so accustomed to during their marriage spread across her visage as well. He bent down a few inches to give her a kiss, but in the split second before their lips connected someone fell.
A child screaming bloody murder ensued.
He stood up straighter, arms retracting from where he placed them as he prepared to get the young one, but he still managed to shoot her a last, rolling smile before he did so.
Beckendorf had never thought it would happen. Even though the possibility was there, the fact of the matter was that he had never thought it would actually happen. In time, of course, but not so soon. Yes, there was a war going on—everyone at camp knew that, everyone at camp acknowledged it.
They just didn't acknowledge what it would mean.
When the first had died the previous summer, it had been a fact that was ignored. Half-bloods died sometimes, after all, when they went on quests. It was sad, but it happened. It was a fact of life.
Now, though, the fact of death was hanging tangibly over him, permeating every fiber of his being with the intense, soul-clutching sorrow it brought.
He sat at the top of the amphitheater, secluded from everyone else; the closest occupants were at least two rows ahead of him. Normally people would have asked him to sit next to them, and if he had refused a staff member probably would have ushered him up, as was usual at camp: Tonight they let him be.
Beckendorf watched as the hot pink fabric went up in flames, the warmth engulfing the body entombed with in. He wanted desperately to cry out, to tell them to stop, to grab some water and throw it as hard as possible toward the torch-like entity. He wanted to tell them she wasn't dead, merely sleeping: he wanted it to be true.
The entire camp sat, solemn in mourning, and watched as one bright color devoured another. Charles Beckendorf rose and walked away; he could not bear the pain.
3. knight, fully charged
Beckendorf was aware of just how stupid it was the moment it happened, but he couldn't help it: they had surrounded her, completely, and though she was a valuable half-blood, the White Knight section of his mind that said she was a girl kicked in first. He had stepped in front of her, a hand held out to the group of idiots from Ares' cabin who looked about to harass her. Before he got the chance to even try and kick Mark and Sherman some place they wouldn't have liked, Silena's voice floated into his ears, a honey-sweet that was made bitter by the steely undertones.
"What, pray tell, are you doing, Charlie?" He swallowed thickly at the delicate hostility, and turned.
"I was just—"
"Just what?" Her hands were on her hips, now, and the deep furrow of her perfectly sculpted eyebrows made him nearly take a step back in fear. Behind him, Beckendorf heard the snickers of the group of half-brothers, but he was too paralyzed to turn around and silence them.
"N-nothing." His voice shook when he said it, and Silena looked far more pleased than she should have. She stepped sideways before craning her neck around him, glaring at the other boys.
"Shoo," she commanded, and though he couldn't see them, Beckendorf knew they trudged off faster than normal. Then Silena turned back to him; he looked far more sheepish than normal.
"Sorry," he murmured, a hand rubbing the back of his neck as he averted his gaze. Finally she smiled, let the laughter flow like the bubbling water of a rolling brook. She stood on tiptoes and pressed their lips together, one of her hands twining around his neck and the other hand covering his own; when she pulled away, there was a sparkle in her eyes.
"I was just messing with you," she admitted with another smile. Relief washed over him, until she added one last thing: "Well, mostly."
4. diamond split apart
Beckendorf knew he was supposed to be strong. He understood very well the role he was supposed to take, both in his own social group and within camp and society as a whole. The idea that he was a strong male leadership figure was not at all foreign to him. He had even come to embrace that position over the years.
Which was why he would not cry.
It was childish and silly; crying wouldn't change anything. Expressing emotion—expressing vulnerability—was what got people killed. It rarely, if ever, helped.
But now, it seemed almost as if he had no choice. His throat constricted, and he felt the burning behind his eyes that inevitably meant tears would begin flowing. He coughed once, then twice; the coughs were loud and obnoxious, and the only two other occupants of the cabin pretended they did not hear him, just as they had pretended not to hear Silena break up with him moments earlier. Beckendorf made a mental note to thank them later, when another wave of emotion swept over him—this time in memories:
The first time he had seen her, while he was taking a break outside the forges to cool off: he'd dropped the canteen he'd been drinking from and it spilled all over, creating a muddy puddle from the dust-fine dirt, as he spluttered in awe of her beauty. She had winked at him, given him a miraculous hair flip, and then walked off with her fantastic group of chittering half-sisters.
The time he'd made a fool of himself by sleep walking, shirtless, in the middle of the night; the way she'd winked, still perfectly awake and watching the stars at half past three in the morning, and offered more than one suggestive comment.
Her face when she'd come charging down the ant hill for him during that game of capture the flag. The expression of pride on her face as she'd kissed him on the cheek that first time after he'd deactivated the dragon. The way her fingers had felt—smooth and delicate, yet with calluses on the tips from the fighting she did do, paired with the burns from her hair straightener—twined with his for the very first time as they walked back to camp after that whole adventure. The charming grin she'd flashed him when he found out that she had basically set him up for the whole thing.
Watching the fireworks together, set apart and away from all other half-siblings and friends for the first real time. The way her hair fell, silky smooth, and tickled his shoulders. She way she laughed and teased him, telling him to "stop scowling so much, it'll give you wrinkles." The way her lips, soft and with a hint of gloss, melded with his; the way her voice went half an octave higher and came out in little breathy wisps after he kissed her senseless. The way she could do things with her hands he had never even considered; the way she taught him—the way he caught on.
The way she was the only one who ever called him by his first name.
That final recollection overpowered him. The lump in his throat welled forward, the emotions breaking loose like children from school at the end of the day. He choked for a second, spluttering, but finally let it happen.
5. love, united
Even coming back, his mind had reeled with all of the important things he needed to do first: get attended for injuries, call home, check up on his cabin. He was well aware of all of the main responsibilities that were supposed to be higher up on his priorities list. The fact of the matter was that his priorities weren't in a normal order, at least by half-blood standards, and though the rational side of his mind was screaming at him to at least be checked out by medical staff, the emotional side was screeching that he needed to see Silena.
Beckendorf was broken from his reverie by Percy, yelling something from the front of the Pegasus, though it was unintelligible over the wind rushing past his ears. He assumed it had to do with the fact that they had finally arrived back at camp, though, because he could see the familiar landscapes closing in and the flying horse had begun to swoop. Beckendorf leaned forward, following Percy's lead, and with what he was sure was mostly mental horse talk from the son of Poseidon, landed safely on the edge of the camp. Already Beckendorf could see campers running toward the hill in excitement, could hear the victorious roar that emanated throughout the camp after a job well done, but his only thought was Silena.
As he lead the Pegasus across the protective boundary, the first campers came running toward them. Some tackled Percy, but there was a whole montage of people on him as well, offering hugs and high fives and victorious pats on the back that would probably leave more bruises than the mission itself had. He did not get lost in the moment, however, eyes instead peeled for that flash of ebony that would tell him she was there.
It seemed far longer than he was sure it was, but when he finally saw her, he tore from the group around him. Silena's eyes widened in surprise as he approached, her perfect lips forming a misshapen 'o', but there was no time for her to question him: immediately, he was kissing her, one of his strong hands caressing her soft jaw line and one of them moving back to twine in her silky hair. He breathed in her scent, all honey and strawberries with that underlying musk of woman, felt her vibrate against him in pleasure, understood the body language. Beckendorf was aware of the blatant cheers behind him, of the cat calls and suggestive whistles his cabin mates were offering, but he did not care: It did not matter.
All that mattered was that he had made it back, alive.
Ending A/N: Reviews appreciated if you took the time to read. Thanks.