A/N This isn't new; actually, it's from my old story "On the Olympians and Persephone," which has now been deleted. It just stopped being a priority. However, call me conceited, but I thought this was too good to delete, so I'm republishing this and the Hestia fic as oneshots. Sankks,
Siblings, and Other Stuff
A pair of twins were in a bright red car, driving down a semi-country road. Not the car of the sun, for it wouldn't have been able to drive on regular roads without starting a forest fire or creating a new desert, but a regular car. And you wouldn't have been able to tell they were twins just by looking, because they not only looked completely different, but they were different ages, too. The sun god was his typical blond self, and about eighteen years old, while the goddess looked only about twelve or thirteen and had her long, dark, thick hair in a ponytail to keep it out of her face.
"Where are we going, brother?" she asked.
"To a place I'm sure you've never been before," her brother replied.
Artemis, the goddess of the Hunt and the moon, sat back in her seat with a scowl on her face and her arms crossed. She hated it when she had to spend time with her twin—he was obnoxious, annoying, irritating, aggravating, nettlesome, bothersome, vexing, wearying, troublesome, problematic...
Artemis didn't realize she'd accidentally said all of these things aloud.
"Sis, where in Hades did you learn so many words that all mean the same thing?" Apollo asked.
Artemis rolled her eyes. "A thesaurus. Really, brother, you are utterly dense."
"Who would read a thesaurus in their spare time?"
"First, no one said it was during anyone's spare time, and second, you dared me to read it."
Apollo's eyes widened. "Oh! Right," he said. "I remember that. Back during the fifties. And you actually did it."
"Yes, and it was when people still wrote in eight-point-type."
Apollo nodded. "I bet I could have done that."
"Please, brother. We both know that you would have walked away after seeing the first page." Artemis gave him a curious look. "Have you ever even looked at a thesaurus?"
Apollo laughed. "Of course I have!" he said lightly.
"Oh, really? Then recite several words that mean the same thing," his sister challenged. Apollo furrowed his brow as he tried to remember exactly what he'd read. Then he recited:
"Incredible, great, astounding, out-of-this-world, wonderful, excellent, super, amazing, exceptional, superb, aces, fantastic, incredible, awesome," he announced with much pride. His twin groaned.
"I should have known you would look up 'fabulous,'" she said.
Apollo raised an eyebrow. "How'd you know I looked up 'fabulous?'"
She gave him a look. "You are always wanting of words to describe yourself, not to mention I read the thesaurus."
They drove on in silence for a while. At the time Artemis was certain that this was the best part of the trip: not having to listen to Apollo go on and on about girls, himself, and girls who fell for himself. Artemis didn't think she'd be able to take that, and luckily, Apollo refrained.
Why he did was beyond her understanding. It would have been just like Apollo to take this opportunity and annoy her to Hades, where she would rather put up with Demeter and her obsession with cereal than listen.
Her brother pulled into a parking lot in front of a long, low building. There was a neon sign—lit even in the early afternoon (it was just after lunch)—that read Bowl America. Artemis felt her heart sink even lower than it had in the car trip.
"We're going bowling, brother?"
Apollo was already getting out of the car while Artemis simply sat there almost in shock. She really should have been used to it by then, though.
"Of course," the sun god replied. "It's a typical bonding pastime, and you've never been, not to mention that there's always girls who are looking for a guy like me to impress them. It was a choice location."
"Bowling, brother," Artemis said. "And of course you choose because of the courting choices you'll have. I wish we didn't have to do this."
Apollo shrugged. "Just be glad I'm dragging my little sister along for the ride."
"I am not your little sister!"
"You are right now. I'm eighteen, but you're still stuck in your tweens."
"Ugh!" But Artemis got out of the car and followed Apollo across the parking lot and inside.
Artemis decided immediately that she did not like the bowling alley. It was filthy, for starters, and there was the unappetizing scent of fast food that had been sitting around, not to mention the way it... came out from all of the people stupid enough to eat the unhealthy abomination. And the arcade in the back wasn't too appealing, either. If people came to bowl, then what was the arcade for? There were scarcely any games, the ones that actually worked cheated you, and there were the germs from all of the sick people who had wiped their noses and then touched everything in sight. And the bowling shoes... gods, please! Artemis thought. She wasn't a germophobe in the least, but she still didn't like it one bit.
Apollo was fine, though. He acted as if this was something he did everyday, which, for all his sister knew, he did. He knew immediately what to do and where, and got them a lane far in the back. Artemis was grateful, for though everyone else was perfectly fine with it, she didn't want them to see the Huntress playing a game of striking down pins.
The shoes were worse than they seemed. They felt odd, they were made of a material that wasn't good for moving, and someone else had worn them... anyone else!
The sun god explained the rules of the game while they selected balls to use. Artemis disregarded weight—she was a goddess, so that sort of thing didn't matter—and chose a silver one with a sort of mercury pattern that seemed at least slightly dignified for the goddess of the moon. Apollo picked up a bright red one, tested its weight, and decided on it.
Apollo set up the game, picking himself to go first, as usual, and stood up to throw the ball. Artemis watched carefully for though she would never admit it to him, Apollo was bound to do it right and to see was to learn, for good or for worse.
Apollo managed all of the pins but the two on either side. Artemis vaguely remembered that it was called a "split," and that it was extremely hard to get out of.
Apollo waited for his ball to come back (he was very particular) and then threw it at the pins again. It veered to the left of where he wanted it to go and fell down the middle. Then it was Artemis' turn.
She picked up her silver-mercury ball and stood ready. She waited for the pins to come back up. Steady, Artemis, she thought. She waited until she had a clear shot and the target was nearly as big as Dionysus' vineyard. Then she ran and threw the ball.
It got a strike on the first go. Artemis felt strangely proud of herself, and went back to her seat smirking. Apollo rolled his eyes, but she could see that he was surprised.
"Beat that, brother," she said.
"Beginner's luck," he replied, "I'll beat it with more ease than it takes to lay on a hammock."
"I'm sure you will, brother."
Apollo ignored the remark and grabbed his bright red bowling ball. He tried to imitate what Artemis had done but failed because—truthfully—he had no idea what Artemis had done. He managed to hit the pins, but because he wasn't really focused (he was more intent on how the Hades Artemis had managed to beat him) it hit the right side of the pins instead of the center. On his next turn, he tried to get the left side, and managed to do so, getting himself a spare.
Apollo took his seat next to Artemis, clearly frustrated. Artemis wasn't surprised at his temper. Rather, she was having fun with it. After all, this was his choice.
Artemis went and took her turn. She got yet another strike. She began to believe that it wasn't just beginner's luck, but rather a bit of talent. She took care not to let it go to her head, though. Artemis was a firm believer of "pride comes before a fall."
Apollo actually managed a strike the next time, but he didn't have as many points as Artemis did. She was very proud of herself.
Apollo was not happy. It was their seventh round already and Artemis had gotten nothing but strikes. He angrily wondered how she was so good at it, and on her first time, too! It was practically impossible! Even the gods didn't alter their prowess when it came to games. It was considered cheating, and really only Hermes and Eris did that. Even Ares played fair.
Could it just be talent, then? There were some people like that... but no. All of those people were mortals, not Olympians.
Apollo knew he shouldn't begrudge his elder twin her sudden prowess at bowling, because it was supposed to be fun and supposed to be friendly, but the Olympian (as in Olympics) inside of him wanted to fight and win. And to do that he had to get better, and soon, because it was his turn.
Artemis was coming back to her seat to observe Apollo's next move. He took a completely different position—backwards. Artemis asked what he thought he was doing, but Apollo ignored her and shot it from behind him. It worked.
Neither knew quite what he had done, but whatever it was, it had done the job, for Apollo got a strike. The crowd of people who had gathered around to watch cheered. Some, anyway. Others were on Artemis' side, and booed. Apollo just enjoyed the attention.
Artemis stepped up, and got an effortless strike. There was a teenage girl nearby taking notes and a boy with a camera. They both had on hats that said "—MIDDLE SCHOOL." They were probably the school newspaper. Artemis shook her head. It was only bowling. A simple game. No need to make a big deal out of it.
And it continued on like that. Artemis would get continuous strikes, but Apollo would get anything at random. The crowd's excitement grew.
Then came the final round. Artemis and Apollo were tied, and it was Apollo's turn. If he got a strike, and then another turn, then it would be over.
He stepped up, feeling the pressure of everyone—the crowd, his sister, himself—and held the ball at eye level. He carefully aimed, and threw the ball.
He got a strike.
The crowd cheered, but Apollo still had an extra turn, since it was the final round. He retrieved his ball as it came up from the dispenser, and stepped up again.
-The crowd hushed-
-Artemis rolled her eyes-
-Apollo enjoyed the attention, and threw the ball-
It went to the far left, fell in the trench, and didn't hit anything.
The crowd sighed and booed, but fell silent again when Artemis came up. Apollo had sat back down, seething with rage and disappointment.
Artemis took a glance back at him when she got her silver-mercury ball. She could tell that it was the first time he'd lost a match before. It would be good for him.
Oh, no, she thought. Here it comes.
But was it really kind to beat him when he had never stood a chance? Artemis could tell that no matter what, she would best him at this game, because the gods were unchanging, no matter what Perseus Jackson believed about them. It wasn't the way of the Hunters to take down the weak when they were defenseless. That wasn't honorable, that was bullying.
But if Artemis won, she could win respect from her brother in this field of sportsmanship. She could prove that she was better than Apollo, and keep the sibling rivalry going. And it would feel so good to rub it in his vain, obnoxious face! It would feel so good...
But that wasn't the way of the Hunters, and it wasn't the way of the Huntress.
Artemis threw the ball into the trench, and continued to do so, until she had used all three turns.
There was a loud gasp in the crowd. Everyone began talking at once: "Why did she do that?" "She could have won!" "She was on a role!" "Was that an accident?" and so on.
Artemis walked back to her younger brother. It felt strange to think of him that way, especially when he looked so much older.
He was practically in a state of shock. "Why'd you do that? You could have won!"
"Please, brother. You never stood a chance. It's not the Hunters' way to defeat those who never stand a chance."
Apollo nodded. "I'm going to have to look in on your policies and see if there's anything else that can help me out." He stood up. "I guess that's it, then."
"Finally!" Artemis sat down to take off the shoes immediately. She did not want to wear them any longer than she absolutely had to. They could go to Tartarus for all she cared.
She and Apollo returned the shoes to the front desk and walked out into the mid-afternoon air. It was still overcast outside, since the sun was down on the earth going bowling with his sister, the moon.
Apollo put his arm around Artemis. She didn't pull away. "You know what's funny?" he asked.
"Your face?" she retorted.
"Ha ha—no. It's that no matter how big a feud we're in the middle of, after we spend a day together we're actually really close."
"I suppose that is kind of strange."
They were silent for a few more minutes. Then Artemis said:
"I hate you, brother."
Apollo simply patted her back. "I hate you too."