A/N: Same style/world—which means it's AU—of Day of the Jewel Garden since you all liked it so much. Reviews are loved but not needed for my utmost survival. Some characters from The Lost Hero are used, with minor spoilers. Bianca just essentially took Percy's place regarding what happened in TLO, as this is set after the last book. Lots of fluff 'n' stuff, with a super dose of cheese. It probably sucks. You have been warned. Thanks to The Midnight Doe for beta-ing. :D
P.S: Dedicated to Shrrgnien and Xed Alpha. Enjoy, you two. ;)
Title translation: You Are the World to Me.
You are the World to Me
· A Oneshot ·
I. You left a hole where my heart should be.
Hana Reed is with her siblings, who have all gathered around the campfire for the sing-along and sharing of s'mores. It's been five days after the ending of the war and saving of Olympus by Bianca di Angelo, and the demigods found helping the Titan Kronos have been taken to Camp Half-Blood for rehabilitation—because according to the great heroine, they've been brainwashed; they didn't know what they were doing; they were naïve.
She believes, personally, that they knew exactly what they were doing—and were willing to do it again. But she doesn't mind for the most part. Some of them are hot. Her cabin's head counselor, Silena Beauregard, was dead from drakon poison. Now, it was Drew. She was a snob, but she was the oldest. Rules were rules, after all.
Bianca di Angelo is cuddling with Lee Fletcher, and Hana feels a small smile tugging at her lips at their cuteness. Who would've thought—the daughter of the death god and the son of the sun god? Her gaze travels to the Athena log, where Annabeth Chase is sitting alone at the far side of the bench, hugging herself and not even mouthing along to the kids of Apollo's sing-along. She's staring blankly into the bright orange flames. Its color is dimmed only slightly by her melancholy.
Hana shakes her head sadly. Poor girl, she thinks, never got over Percy's death.
Percy Jackson had died when camp was invaded by Luke Castellan's monster army during the Second Titan War, just a year earlier. Then Bianca had made a choice that saved Olympus and demanded the gods to claim all their children, and here they were now.
And then she turns around—where the outcasts, the traitors, are staying. They didn't have a log and judging by the look on some of their faces, they didn't want one. But almost immediately, her eyes are drawn to a pair of dark brown ones. They're like Bianca's eyes—so dark they're almost black.
She elbows her half-sister, Lacy. "Who's that?" she hisses, jerking her head towards the boy who seems to blend into the shadows better than the di Angelo siblings. Lacy gives her a braces-filled grin and shrugs.
"I don't know. If he were my age, I'd say he's cute. But Drew's probably going to go after him once she finds out that he exists. Go talk to him before she can get her claws around him! He can be your rite of passage."
Hana smirks. "You flatter me, Lacy." Her rite of passage? She hasn't had a chance for that yet . . .
But she gets up anyway and walks over to the boy, who's glaring at her as if he knew what she was thinking. Okay, she thinks. He just needs to get a healthy dose of flirtation. I can handle this.
"Hey," she says with a smile. He raises an eyebrow, then looks away, clearly ignoring her. She takes the advantage to give him a rating. He was relatively well-built—mussed black hair, dark brown eyes that were almost black, and she could see his abs through his shirt from the firelight. There was also some stubble leftover on his jaw, and he was taller than her. Age-wise, he seemed, at most, two years older than her grand total of fifteen. Total, 8.7/10.
"Are you going to check me out the whole time or will we have an actual conversation?" His dry voice rouses her from her thoughts. She blinks, smirking. Okay. Maybe he wasn't ignoring her after all.
"An actual conversation would be okay, but checking you out definitely isn't in the Field of Punishment for me anytime soon." He laughs, but his face is still hard—the laugh sounds forced. She stares at him curiously. "You don't want to be here."
"Is it that obvious? Lord Kronos is better than the gods." Hana smacks a hand around his mouth, looking around wildly. Thunder rumbles lightly overhead despite her slim efforts.
"Don't say things like that!" she whispers. "You'll get struck down by Zeus." His eyes darken, turning almost black, and he pulls away from her touch as if burned.
"That would be better than standing here talking to you." She scowls at his cruel words, embarrassed tendrils of red drifting up her cheeks. He still has the stony expression, as if he didn't have any time in his life he would have heard of the world smile.
She crosses her arms, making one of her 'I'm PO-ed' poses. He mimics her which just makes her narrow her eyes. "Then why are you still here, smartass? You could just walk away."
He is up in her face almost instantly, warm breath fanning over her face. "You don't understand anything, you naïve littlegirl. If you knew anything it wouldn't be me walking away—it'd be you running as fast as you could."
Before she could give a retort back, he disappeared into the darkness—like, literally. She must've been hallucinating, but wisps of shadows curled around him like a cocoon until he wasn't there anymore.
(Looking back on it, she concludes that he's definitely rite of passage material, but so much more than a simple rite of passage person.)
II. Just so you know, there's a place in my heart that only you can fill.
The next day, in the Nyx cabin, Brock Sullivan is groaning and his face is buried in his hands. Did you have to be such an ass to the pretty girl? The voice of his immortal sister Eris taunted him. When it came to romance, she was almost as softhearted as Aphrodite—but her consequences of her favorite Robin Hood and Marians were much more fatal that the Love Goddess's. He growls at her unwelcome visit to his mind and lies back onto the bed. He couldn't be having this conversation—could he?
It was necessary, he says in response to her question.
You're a douchebag. She snorts. And you have the added bonus of your father's intelligence.
Really. He smiles, not offended that she mentioned him even though he never knew his father. There's a knock at the door. He calls, "Come in," and Janice appears with a wide smile.
Janice Rochester was the only claimed daughter of Eris, the goddess of discord and his immortal sister. Everything about her is screaming "Eris child!" to the world—her black hair, glinting, diamond-like gray eyes and deep tanned skin. But she's very cheerful and one of the outcasts of Camp, just like him, and overall she makes good company.
"Hey!" she said, sprawling out on the bunk across from him, drawing circles into the black covers. "How are you, Sullivan?" she winked. "Meet any cute girls?"
"One. Daughter of Aphrodite. At the campfire yesterday. She was annoying and I melted out on her."
Janice's mouth dropped. "You rude bastard!" Brock shrugged, leaning against the stonewall of his cabin with his arms crossed across his chest. Then,
". . . Well, if you're not going to go after her, can I? What was her name?"
Brock smirks. "I think she's straight, Janice. She was all over me. But her name?" Janice's face falls. He shifts uncomfortably with the next part he needed to address—if he skips it, Janice would know and hound him like a hawk. "Well. I never asked."
At this, she grins again. "You're an even ruder bastard than I thought! You are going to march over to the Aphrodite cabin, seek her out, find her name, and proceed to ask her on a date."
Brock blinks owlishly. "Say what?"
"You heard me." Her voice was smug. Jesus Christ, what's wrong with these girls? They're like addicted to matchmaking. It's goddamn annoying. "And you'll enjoy it too." She grabs his arm, pulls him up—with effort—and pushes him out the door. "Aphrodite cabin is five cabins left of Nyx. I'll be watching!" She singsongs and sits down on the railing of Nyx's porch, pale gray eyes watching him dangerously.
"Bitch," Brock mutters, but heads to the Aphrodite cabin anyway.
(But, looking back on it, he eventually goes to thank Janice personally.)
Hana is more than surprised when there's a knock at the cabin door. Only she and her brother Mitchell are there—Mitchell reading a book and Hana daydreaming, absently drawing in her notebook random faces.
She wanted to be an artist, you see. As great and publicized as any other Van Gogh, Picasso, or da Vinci.
Mitchell stares at her curiously. "You have a visitor?" he asks slyly with a wink. Hana rolls her eyes.
"No, of course not." The one who I hoped would be my rite of passage totally ditched me and disappeared into thin air. She gets up to answer the door and shrieks when she sees who it is, slamming the door in the visitor's face.
Speak of the Devil and he shall appear.
Mitchell's amused by this. "Do you want me to answer it?" he prods. Hana shakes her head, scolding herself, and slowly opens the door again.
"Oh hey there. Are you going to shut the door in my face again?" It's her rite of passage. Hana shakes her head again and steps outside, closing the door firmly behind her. The boy glares over his shoulder, as if he doesn't want to do this, and sticks out his hand. "I believe . . . we got onto the wrong foot yesterday. I'm Brock Sullivan, son of Nyx, and you are . . ."
She shakes his hand, in a daze. "Hana Reed, daughter of Aphrodite."
"Great. Good to know. Uh." He glares over his shoulder again and turns back to her with a resigned sigh. "My bitch of a friend Janice thinks we should get together to find out more of each other. I swear she's more of a romantic than Aphrodite herself. So . . ." he rubs the back of his neck, "gods, this is awkward. I guess I'm asking if you want to go on a get-together with me."
"You mean, like a date?"
"If you want to call it that," he mutters darkly. Hana squeals and nods. "Um. Fantastic. Meet me at Thalia's tree after patrols, okay?"
She nods again, mute again. Maybe she will have her rite of passage after all . . .
(Looking back on it, she thinks the way her mind worked was ridiculous.)
Hana climbs up the top of the hill in the dead of night, where Brock is waiting. He puts a hand over her mouth and raises a finger to his lips, nodding over by the Zeus cabin where the harpies are sniffing around for after-curfew demigods to munch on. She grins, nods, and unexpectedly he wraps his arms around her.
"Hug me back," he grinds out, and she obeys, tentatively pulling him closer for a hug, grabbing onto her wrists. Suddenly, a cold feeling washes over her and she closes her eyes, trying hard not to shiver. Then Brock whispers, warm breath washing over her face, "you can open your eyes now."
She steps away from him and gasps, hands covering her mouth, her green eyes wide with awe and sparkling from the lights. In front of her is la Tour Eiffel in all its beautiful glory. "How did you do that?" she whispered, refusing to take her eyes off the majestic landmark of Paris. "How the hell did you manage to take me to Paris in less than ten seconds?"
"It's a gift that the Nyx children have. Like shadow traveling, only, Mom being the goddess of night and stuff, we don't get as tired as Hades' kids. I'm going to go with the presumption that you like it?"
She nods. "I love it. Let's start our date now!" He rolls his eyes at her words, but allows her to grab his hand and leads him to the Eiffel Tower. After staring in awe at the landmark, she whispers in his ear, "I don't suppose you could take us up to the top of the tower?"
Brock fights the smile, but hugs her and suddenly—they are at the highest point in Paris, looking out at the night scenery. Strumming guitars from wandering troubadours drifts up to them and she doesn't feel the least bit dizzy when she looks down upon the City of Light, far below them.
Brock leans against the railing next to her. "This is beautiful," she sighs. He shrugs.
"Yeah, well. I figured that girls would be a sucker if I took them to France—specifically Paris. Janice told me that it's the best thing next to nothing." Hana grins.
"Well, yeah. To me. I don't know how to thank you. But I'll think of something, I'm sure." She wraps her arms around his neck and kisses his cheek, running around the top of the tower to see the lovely city from different angles. Brock stays where he is, ignoring the laughing Eris, with a small smile on his face.
(All in all, he didn't think it was that bad. It could've been worse.)
When she meets Janice Rochester for the first time, Hana can't help but feel jealous on how easy Brock's relationship is with her. And they even do a little bit of flirting in her presence, even though Brock doesn't shower the daughter of Eris with fancy places and lets her buy teddy bears in Paris . . . right? Right?
Eventually, she confronts Janice at the Eris cabin, two cabins away from Nyx—right after Hecate's. "Hey, what are your feelings for Brock?" she asks casually, when they're alone. Janice smirks.
"Is that some jealousy your voice betrays to my ears?" she teases. "Or do my ears deceive me?"
"No, of course not," Hana banters, smiling. "I just want to know if you're like an item or something."
Janice starts laughing hysterically. "Sweets, I bat for the other team, so to speak. As awesome as Brock is, I will never accept him as anything more than a friend. Any other questions?"
Hana feels heat rise to her cheeks. "Oh. Okay then. That's all I wanted to know. Sorry for disturbing you." She stands up from the steps and walks away.
Janice calls, "Get him good! He deserves someone like you!" and she can't resist the smile.
(Because a little part of her is hoping it's true.)
III. The one who loves you will make you weep.
Things progress—slowly, but they do. He whisks her to extravagant cities and gorgeous sunsets and they get to know each other more. They grow closer, and Hana soon forgets why she wanted to hook up with him in the first place. Bianca and Lee once caught them, but they were out to sneak off too, so they kept that piece of information secret as long as the two wouldn't turn them in, and vice versa.
Today, they're out in Central Park, silently walking side-by-side in the freezing weather of Demeter's rage—winter. Brock, having nothing for protection from the vicious anger but a thin black jacket; Hana, a white fuzzy sweater that she can't help but shiver in. One taking a photo of the two would've caught that they were holding hands, although neither of them seem conscious of that fact.
Brock notices her subtle shudders and takes off his jacket, placing it around her shoulders even though he now has nothing to protect him from the chill. She smiles gratefully at him, but frowns at how he has nothing to wear. "You need it more than I do. You sure you want to give it away for today?" she asks, her eyes showing her concern.
He smiles at her worry. "Hana, I don't get cold," he explains patiently to her. "I've been in so many cold places in my life I'm practically immune to it."
She tries to put on a serious face, but fails and shrugs it on, sniffing the sleeves. His jacket smells like a mix of mint and aftershave. Not her first guess, but it's nice enough. He's amused by her antics, and her hand slips into his again without her even realizing it.
Suddenly, it starts to snow. Hana squeals, "I love the snow!" and starts dancing, breaking away from his grip to prance around like a monkey on crack, trying to catch the individual flakes on her tongue.
Then she looks at him, raises her arms to the heavens, and runs back to him. She hesitates—as if she doesn't know what to do—but then a steely look of determination enters the gleam of her eye and she grabs his face with her hands and pulls him down to steal a kiss.
Brock reacts almost immediately, wrapping one arm around her and cupping her cheek with the other. Soft white snowflakes drift down from the sky to embrace their hair—their cheeks—their eyelashes—as they kiss for the first time. She's on Cloud Nine, he—he is right next to her, even though he doesn't know why.
When Hana pulls away for air, Brock kisses her again—and again, and again.
(And then a serious thought enters his mind; that maybe, just maybe, he's falling for the beautiful Aphrodite girl.)
Janice barges into his cabin the next morning. He doesn't even bother to say a greeting because she's ecstatic. "You kissed her!" she accuses gleefully, clapping her hands in delight. Brock groans and turns over, pulling a pillow over his head to drown her out. But Janice hits him with a pillow on the back anyway.
"Talk to me! It's all over her face—dude, I think she's in love with you or something. Can you believe that she originally planned for you to be her rite of passage?"
"Really." He's bored with her gushing already. "And what would the rite of passage be?"
"Oh. Well, for the Aphrodite kids, they think it's favorable in Aphrodite's eyes to lead a guy on, make him fall in love with them, and then break the guy's heart. But maybe she's like Silena—and you're her Charlie. That would be great, wouldn't it?" Janice sighed and sat down on the bunk across from him. "So, tell me all the juicy details. Was there tongue? How many times did you kiss her? Was it in the rain? Who started it?"
Everything after the word heart had been ignored. Brock feels himself go cold at her words about Aphrodite's rite of passage. "What did you say?" he growls, a deep scowl forming on his face. But he doesn't listen to that, and then around some point Janice realizes what she's just said and says, "Oh, shit!" before clapping her hands over her mouth.
Brock is already out of the cabin.
(He's mad at himself because he was afraid he was on the last step—about loving her, that is.)
IV. When you smiled you had my undivided attention. When you laughed you had my urge to laugh with you. When you cried you had my urge to hold you. When you said you loved me, you had my heart forever.
He didn't meet her at Thalia's tree that day. Nor the next, or the one after that. When she asks him about it in a whisper, he doesn't so much as look at her—but all with a tight jaw, as if he's mad at her for something. She's starting to think he's giving the cold shoulder to her—but she doesn't know why. Did she do something wrong?
Janice eventually bursts into her cabin, sobbing, and tells her the truth.
She's so sorry for telling, but she accidentally let it slip that Brock was originally her rite of passage and she kind of explained what it was without thinking about it . . .? Yeah, she's terribly sorry, so now Brock kind of wants to kill you but he can't because he's in love with you—oh, yes, he is, he's just in major denial—and he can't get you out of his head! You need to explain to him and stuff on how you love him too so that your romance isn't crushed by her idiocy.
Hana's shocked. The fact of Brock being her rite of passage didn't even cross her mind at all in the past months—had it really been that long? But she needs to explain everything to Brock. She was the new Silena Beauregard. Drew didn't know shit about Aphrodite and what she stood for.
She runs out the cabin, looking desperately around for Brock.
Dammit, where is he?
V. And it seems like yesterday, it was just a dream.
Brock scowls. He's insisted on using actual swords—he can't get hurt, anyway, he's that cocky. And he'd just have to go to some shade anyway, which he could go to in a few minutes from shadow traveling.
But her voice, which he hasn't heard in so long, takes him by surprise.
"Brock!" Hana calls. "You have to listen to me! Janice misinterpreted everything!" He ignores her, focusing on the skilled sword fighter he's practicing with, who's also ignoring her. "That was months ago, when I first met you. Are you just going to ignore me? Well, fine then! I don't care—but you need to know the truth. Before I actually talked to you and you took me to Paris and we kissed in Central Park! And now you're avoiding me for something I gave up because it's so stupid." She pauses and smiles when he stiffens, on the defensive now, and straining. She somehow knows that he's listening.
"We have something special, that much I know. And if you're just going to give me the cold shoulder for something I gave up a long time ago—well, that's throwing all these months away! What I'm trying to say, Brock, is that I don't love you, but I'm really goddamn close to it."
Brock stops completely, and then does a feint and a strike, disarming his opponent. "We're done here," he says and throws his sword in the ground. He turns to Hana, expression furious. Even though she's afraid, she inches closer until they're face-to-face.
He stares at her long and hard. "You meant what you said?" he whispers, hands coming up to cup her face. She nods, looking into his eyes fearlessly, her own glassy with unshed tears.
He kisses her in response.
(Eventually, they do fall in love with each other. And they don't regret a single thing. Except, maybe, how they met.)
Inhale, breathe steady, exhale, like you're ready if you're ready or not, for the end has just begun.