Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Mercedes moved down the white marble hallway towards the dusky night sky. The marble flooring and columns were heavily laced with gold… the same color that matched the color of the dress that wrapped itself around her body and hung to the floor to brush her sandaled feet as she walked. Her hair hung loose, in soft waves to her shoulders, and it seemed to float around her head. The golden gown hugged her full figure and sparkled, but she didn't feel uncomfortable, instead she felt both beautiful and powerful. For some reason she had the tune House of the Rising Sun stuck in her mind. All around her stood statues, art and pottery, stunning to the eye, breathtaking to behold.
A figure stood in the open archway which led outside, but his features were hidden in shadows. His arm and hand were outstretched to her, and she hurried her steps to reach him more quickly. Finally she was there and she reached out, her hand slipping into his effortlessly. His hand burned hot, but didn't hurt, instead feeling pleasant, more than pleasant, it felt both right and exciting. Now she could look into his face and see Pollo staring back down at her with a look of soft wonder in his gaze. His bronzed body was clad in a golden chest plate and golden kirtle made from individual plates of the rare metal. His feet were shod in sandals similar to her own.
"My precious one," he said softly. "It is time for us to paint the sky with the colors of the sunrise. It is time for day to begin and night to sleep."
"Then we should go," she told him simply, not for one minute thinking any of this strange.
He took her hand and led her out into the dusk, towards a gilded chariot. The chariot was attached to four pure white horses. They were both stunning and terrifying at the same time as their manes, tails and hooves seemed to be made of pure flame, waving in the non existent breeze and eating the oxygen that breathed around them. Their heads twisted and turned as if to look at Mercedes and they looked at her from eyes that flickered with fire and light.
"They have waited so long for you. So very long. Now they are ready to bring the dawn," he told her near her ear, causing her to shiver slightly.
The two stepped onto the chariot and a smaller man approached. "The reins, My Lord Apollo, My Lady Mercy," he bowed to them both as he handed Pollo the reins.
The god Apollo looked at his beloved and smiled, "Too long have I been without you. A new day truly starts now that you are with me." With a flick of his wrist, Pollo set the fiery beasts to their paces and Mercedes held on as they streaked across the sky, spilling the bright colors of the oncoming sun onto the land.
Artie knew he was dreaming because he was walking. He wore strange pants, perhaps made out of leather, but not tight or anything, and his shirt was loose and comfortable. He walked slowly, at a nice pace, looking around as he did, down a pale marble hall. The place felt familiar to him, and instead of cold, the way it looked like it should feel, it was warm and welcoming. He entered the main hall and even though the two shining thrones were inhabited his eyes skipped over them and to the side where the beautiful Phoebe stood with silver pitcher in hand.
Her dress the color of green stems just bursting from the ground after winter; just that bright, fresh green, and it made her eyes sparkle. She moved forward, towards the thrones, filling the occupant's cups with whatever was in the pitcher before moving back to where she was. She set the pitcher on a small crystal table and then moved towards him. "You came to me, Arthur," she murmured before wrapping her arms around his waist.
Artie's arms wound around her on their own, one hand sliding into her raven tresses. "I've couldn't not," he responded, and while not completely understanding what he was saying, he knew it was true.
She leaned back laughing, and took his hands in hers. "Come… come with me," she begged and pulled him with her easily to where her pitcher stood on its crystal table.
He hadn't seen it before but beside the pitcher there stood a crystal goblet, and this she picked up with both hands and placed in both of his. He took it automatically. Next she picked up her pitcher and looked over her shoulder towards the thrones hesitantly. Artie looked over, seeing Zenobios and Helena both nodding towards their daughter. When he looked back at her she was again smiling, this time softly.
"I am the Cup-Bearer. Drink, and be well," she told him as she poured liquid from the pitcher into the crystal goblet.
Artie couldn't break his gaze away from hers. He lifted the goblet to his lips and began to swallow the sweet drink. "What was that?" he whispered.
"Where are we?"
"We are home," she told him.
Artie started to feel a strange tingling in his neck, and it spread all the way down beginning a low burn as it hit his lower back and tail bone. It didn't hurt, but it wasn't the most comfortable. "What's happening to me?"
She didn't answer, instead lifting up on her toes and melding her lips to his in a searing kiss. Artie felt the goblet slip from his grasp as her kiss became intoxicating, but he never heard it hit the ground. He never heard it crash and splinter. All he knew was that if this was 'home' then home felt like Heaven.
Kurt found himself watching yet again as Azimio and Karofsky bullied him. He was used to these dreams by now. The two bigger boys seemed to take great pleasure in belittling and hurting him at every chance they got. He wished his dream self could help his memory self. That almost made him laugh, actually, he did begin to chuckle derisively. Even if he could help himself it wouldn't be much help.
"This is boring."
The voice startled him and Kurt jumped, bashed his head back against the wall and squealed.
Hermes who was leaning on the wall next to him began laughing robustly.
Kurt was not laughing. "While I'm so pleased to have amused you would you mind telling me what you're doing in my dream?"
Hermes cleared his throat and tried to stop giggling. "Sorry, sorry. I am, truly, I'm sorry. But honestly, why watch this again and again? You know the outcome, why not change it? It is your dream after all."
"What's the point? Change the dream, but it doesn't, or won't change the reality," Kurt said, turning his attention back to the scene playing out. "They slushie us, put us in dumpsters, put Artie in the portable toilet, shove us in lockers, give us wedgies and swirlies, and sometimes they even beat us up… I've tried dreaming a difference, it never changes the reality." Kurt looked over to find Hermes now watching him silently, a serious look on the normally laughing face.
"Maybe not those two, but you and your dreams did make a change," Hermes said. "Finn Hudson, Noah Puckerman, Matt Rutherford and Mike Chang, they were all with those two boys at one time, and now they stand with you." He waited a moment for the words to sink in, and then his head tilted down a little and a mischievous grin appeared. "Now, tell me… what would you do right now if you could do anything… with no repercussions?"
Puck had no frigging idea where he was. It was pitch black and he was outside; that's what he knew. Oh, and all he was wearing were these weird leather deck shorts. He wasn't even wearing shoes for fuck's sake. He had awoken to find himself in a forest and he began walking, moving towards a pale light in the distance. There were strange noises all around. Animal noises and bugs… and he could swear he heard female giggling and whispering coming out of no where. Finally he pushed some branches aside to come into a small clearing where a smooth pool of water glistened in the moon light. It was one of the prettiest things he'd ever seen. Slowly, he reached down to make sure his nuts were still attached.
He jumped a little as a figure broke the water's surface, its long hair flinging backwards. Puck's mouth dropped open to see Artemis in the water up to her chest, the dark water covering everything important. "Um," was all he could say. Her silvery hair was dark and wet, and droplets of water ran down her face and neck onto her cleavage.
"Hello, Noah," she said softly. "Oh, I hope you do not mind me calling you that. I know your friends normally call you Puck, but that name normally reminds me of the satyr from Shakespeare's A Midsomer Night's Dream."
"You can call me Noah," he said and found his voice hoarse. "Berry calls me Noah too."
She smiled. "I had noticed." Artemis swam towards the edge of the lake. "I have seen the soft space in your heart that you hold for her. I find it endearing."
Puck could feel his face burning and he shrugged. "We dated for like, a week. Berry, she's not so bad as everyone makes her, and everyone picks on her more than they should."
"Would you hand me that drying sheet?" she asked and pointed behind him.
He turned and found a large white towel. He could hear her leaving the water and as much as he wanted to turn around and see her, he didn't. Instead he passed the sheet to her over his shoulder. Within minutes he felt a small hand on his bicep. Puck turned to find her dressed in a short silver tunic, tied around the waist with thin silver cord.
"Where are we?" he asked her. Puck was quickly becoming confused.
"We are in a very special place," she told him, not exactly answering, instead beginning to walk away. She stopped and turned to him. "Walk with me?" she asked. He joined her and they began walking again. "The world is a changed place."
Puck hated hearing the sorrow in her voice. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be. It's not your fault." Artemis was quiet again for several minutes while they walked. "Noah, did you know the story of the Greek Goddess Artemis?"
"Not really. I figured you were named after her."
"Yes. She was goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and wild animals; she was the goddess of virginity, childbirth and young girls."
Puck knew what was coming. "I'm the father of Quinn's baby."
She laughed lightly. "I already knew that, and that does not bother me." Artemis stopped and took one of Puck's hands into her own and placed it upon her left breast, over her heart. "I am yours Noah, or I will be, but I am a virgin, I am different than any you have known. But once you have chosen me there will be no going back. You must sow your wild oats before you come to me. Do you understand?"
Sow his wild oats?... Ohhh, she meant he had to get any other chicks out of his system before he had a chance with her, which sort of freaked him out because honestly that made it sound like she was talking permanent, and hello, they were only in high school. Still… there was something about Artemis Pallas that called to him. There was something about the Pallas family that made him feel whole. "I understand."