Author's Note: So I was in the UK for six months, and I picked up this book called 'Starcrossed.' I'm sure all you UK fantasy readers have read it. If not, READ IT NOW. Right now. Go on, it won't bite.
Anyway, those of you who have read it – Claire is a descendant of Zeus, and is of the House of Rome. I was thinking that her special power could be shape shifting, because there was that one myth where Zeus changed into a peacock to get Hera to marry him. So Claire's specialty would be shape shifting. I wanted to add another Scion character, too. Her name is Briseis. I know, I know, but I couldn't resist! So Briseis is a descendant of Poseidon, and she is of the House of Athens. Since she's descended from Poseidon she can obviously control water. Any one who's ever seen 'Avatar: The Last Airbender', Briseis is like Katara when it comes to water. And she can heal with water the same way Katara can.
Fic will be less than 10 chapters, so I'm making each one long. Hope you all don't mind!
Disclaimer: I do not own Starcrossed. That honor goes to the talented Ms. Josephine Angelini!
Key – Bold are quotes from book
"Lennie!" echoed two voices from across the boat. Helen Atreus Hamilton turned to face her two best friends, grateful for the reason to turn away from the staring tourists. Helen was a Scion, a descendant of the demigods – children of the gods. Descended from Helen of Troy, the half-sister of Aphrodite, Helen was gifted with the face of the first owner of the cestus, a mythical object that had prevented her from harm many times over. Of course, Helen was as ignorant of that fact as she was of the trouble that was soon headed her way.
"Hey, Lennie, how's the rash?" Claire Aoki asked as soon as she was within earshot.
"Forget the rash, how's the infection, Lennie? It won't stop you from having any 'fun' tonight, will it?" Briseis Lune winked at her friend slyly.
Helen laughed out loud at this. The three girls were not virgins, as Briseis knew very well seeing as each girl was aware of the status of her friends' virginity. Briseis also knew that the tourists were not so discreetly listening to the conversation between the three stunning girls, and so was using any chance she had to get them to turn away and mind their own business. Her plan worked. The staring tourists turned away in disgust, although a few teenaged boys were still watching them with lust filled eyes. Briseis and Helen grimaced, disgusted, and Claire turned to the boys, and snapped at them.
"Mind your own business, you little perverts!"
The chastised boys looked away immediately, and flushed red. Helen tactfully changed the subject.
"You guys got your shopping done as well, then?" Looking at the bags pooled by her friends' feet.
"Uh-huh." Briseis nodded. Her face lit up. "Jerry!" She exclaimed, catching sight of her friend's father.
Jerry Hamilton was Helen's father, and was not aware of Helen's, Claire's, or Briseis' Scion heritage. He was aware however, that it had been very important to Daphne that Helen received her last name as her middle name. He'd done so obligingly. He'd been happy to do so, because it meant that Daphne was leaving Helen with him. Before she'd walked out the door, Daphne had turned to Jerry, and told him that she wanted him to move on, and that he had her blessing to be with any woman who would be good to her daughter. At the moment, Jerry was happily dating Kate Rogers who was fond of Helen, and luckily for him his daughter adored Kate.
Jerry smiled at Briseis. "Bri! Giggles!" Genuinely happy to see his daughter's friends, Jerry gave warm hugs to the two girls who'd been over at his house every day for almost fifteen years.
"Sire of my BFF!" Claire responded affectionately. "Not that it isn't nice to see you, but I have top secret, high clearance stuff to discuss with your progeny. I'd tell you…"
"But then you'd have to kill me", Jerry finished, sagely nodding his head. "I'll leave the three of you to it, then."
So saying, Jerry sauntered over to the concession stand to buy himself a sugary soda while his daughter wasn't looking, and Kate wasn't there to stop him. Claire rummaged through Helen's bag, looking at her friend's clothes. She nodded approvingly. "It's nice to see that my good sense of fashion has rubbed off on you, Lennie."
Briseis was rummaging through the bottom of Helen's bag when she gave out a shriek of delight. She pulled out a pair of lime green lacy boy shorts, and some thongs Helen had bought. "You bought some sexy underwear!" she exclaimed happily.
Helen flushed and grabbed the underwear from her friend and shoved it to the bottom of her bag. "I don't think Australia heard you, Briseis. You want to say that louder so they can hear?" She said sarcastically.
Briseis opened her mouth. "You bought some se- Ow!" Briseis interrupted herself with a yelp of pain when Helen stomped on her instep. Claire snickered at her friends. She jumped when one of Briseis' flailing arms hit her.
"You just wait", Claire warned her friend. "You'll get it later."
"Bring it on, Giggles." Briseis taunted her.
Claire narrowed her eyes, and opened her mouth to retort, but then she looked around at where they are, and the three beat a hasty retreat from what they called the "pervert area" back to safe ground. They all hated that area, but Helen was particularly sensitive about it; it reminded her of this guy that had followed her around one summer, until the day he just disappeared off the ferry. Instead of feeling relieved when she realized he wasn't coming back, Helen felt like she had done something wrong. She had never brought it up with Claire and Briseis, but there had been a bright flash and a horrible smell of burned hair. Then the guy was just gone. It still made her queasy to think about it, but Helen played along, as if it was all a big joke. She forced a laugh and let Claire and Briseis drag her to another part of the ferry. The ferry reached the harbor, and waving their goodbyes, the three separated with promises to see one another at work tomorrow.
Kate Rogers walked into the News Store the next morning only to find her three favorite employees already there and hard at work. Helen was in the storeroom filling flour barrels, arranging the goods in easy to locate and reach spots, and trying to drink a bottle of water at the same time. Claire was in the kitchen starting to bake some croissants, preparing coffee, and attempting to reach the sugar at the top shelf. Briseis was in the book area, helping to re-stock the shelves, and trying unsuccessfully to not read the merchandise. Kate sighed. Walking over to the kitchen she got the sugar down for Claire. Then she walked over to the stockroom, and took the flour from Helen's hand to let her get a drink of water. Finally she walked over to Briseis, and noticed that the rest of the books were stacked aside for the one in Briseis' hand. Kate took a bookmark from her apron pocket, took the book from Briseis' hand, and tucked the bookmark in the page she was on.
Briseis looked up ready to protest. "When you go on break", Kate promised.
Briseis pouted, but nodded and got back to work. The four worked steadily for the next three hours, serving customers, stocking the storeroom, recommending books, music, and baking. When the morning rush was over, Kate collapsed in her chair with a sigh. Briseis took the 'Closed for lunch' sign and hung it on the door. It was with weary sighs of relief that each girl collapsed into worn armchairs in the staff room. Each person made themselves comfortable, and Briseis was well into her book, when Kate asked the three girls if they'd heard there was a new family moving into the large house in 'Sconset.
Claire shook her head. "I didn't know that, did you Bri, Len?"
Helen shook her head. Claire waited for a reply from Briseis but the brunette was deeply absorbed in her book. Helen threw a throw pillow at her friend's head. The pillow knocked Bri's head from her concentration. "What!"
"The family moving into the big house in 'Sconset, did you know about them?"
Briseis shook her head in denial. "Must be a big family to fit in a house that size."
Kate rejoined the conversation at that. "From what I've heard, it's two families that are moving in. A husband and wife with their two children, and then the husband's brother with his three children; apparently the brother is a widow, and won't be joining the family until a later point. I think that three of the children are in your year; one is only fourteen so she's a freshman, and the oldest boy is a senior. You'll all be at the same school. Try to make them feel welcome." She suggested.
"We will", three voices chorused together.
"Good", Kate settled back, satisfied. "We don't want the Delos family to think we're barbaric heathens. All right, I'm getting back to work." She heaved herself out of her chair, and went back to the kitchen.
"Did you hear that?" Claire asked lightly, trying to distract Briseis from her suddenly pensive thoughts.
"There are, like, two boys that are going to be in our grade, and one in the year above."
"And let me guess", Helen said deadpan. "You did a tarot reading and saw that all three boys are going to fall madly in love with you, and then they'll tragically fight to the death."
Claire kicked Helen in the shin. "No, dummy. There's one for each of us."
"One for each of us? That's uncharacteristically low drama of you." Helen teased. "It's too straightforward. I don't buy it. But how about this? We'll each fall in love with the same boy, or the wrong boy – whichever one doesn't love us back – and then we'll fight each other to the death."
"Whatever are you babbling on about?" Claire asked sweetly as she inspected her nails, feigning incomprehension.
"God, Claire, you're so predictable." Briseis laughed, joining in on the teasing. "Every year you dust off those tarot cards you bought in Salem that time on the field trip and you always predict that something amazing is going to happen. But every year the only thing that amazes us is that you haven't slipped into a boredom coma by winter break."
"Why do you fight it?" Claire protested. "You know eventually something spectacular is going to happen to us.We three are way too fabulous to be ordinary."
Helen shrugged. "I am perfectly happy with ordinary. In fact, I think I'd be devastated if you actually predicted right for a change."
Claire tilted her head to one side and stared at her. Helen un-tucked her hair from behind her ear to curtain off her face. She hated to be watched.
"I know you would. I just don't think ordinary's ever going to work out for you." Claire said thoughtfully.
The next day Helen was waiting at the door for Claire and Mrs. Aoki to pick her up for school by the time Jerry stumbled down the stairs. He looked at his daughter. "Morning, Len. Did you eat?" Helen nodded and pointed at the trashcan. Jerry opened it and saw a pear core. He sighed. "Lennie, we've talked about this. A pear or a fruit is not enough to eat in the morning."
"Hey, be thankful I actually eat anything, Dad. Bri just has a fruit smoothie in the morning."
"And Lynn Brant is all right with that?" Jerry asked incredulously.
Helen nodded. "Eating solid food this early in the morning makes Bri sick. She makes herself a fruit and yogurt smoothie, and her mom packs her a small lunch, usually just some granola and fruit. Bri's got a really small appetite. Oh, I've gotta run now, Dad – Claire's here. Love you!" she shouted over her shoulder running out to meet Claire and Mrs. Aoki.
She got in the backseat. "Thank you for the ride, Mrs. Aoki."
"Not a problem, Helen. We have to hurry and pick Briseis up now, or you girls will be late."
As it turned out, they weren't late. Claire, Briseis, and Helen walked through the door just as the bell rang. Mr. Hergeshimer frowned at the girls. "Punctual as usual, I see. I'm certain the three of you will be taking seats next to one another as always, but, first, a warning. Any exercise of that talent for which one of you earned the sobriquet 'Giggles' and I shall separate you."
Rolling their eyes, the three agreed, and took their usual seats in the back of the room.
"Bri." Zach Brant grabbed his sister's arm. "Mom's going in for her appointment after school. I know you have work, but can you be there?"
Briseis swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. "I'll try. Wait for me after school, okay?"
Zach nodded, and released her arm.
"What was that about?" Helen asked when Briseis joined them by the lockers.
"Mom's going in for her appointment after school today. Any chance I could have today off to be there?"
Helen nodded. "Oh, Bri, I am so sorry. Of course you can have today off; you don't even have to show up, okay? I'll clear it with Kate."
Lynn Brant was one of the few women who could take her husband's bastard daughter and raise her as her own. Before the Final Confrontation, Briseis' mother had met Zach's father. Jake Brant was married and his wife was two months pregnant with his son, but that hadn't deterred Jacqueline Lune. She'd recognized something in him that called to her, and she'd answered the call. She had seduced him, and then gone off to fight when her House had called her. Nine months later when Zach was two months old, Briseis had shown up in a carrier basket on the Brant's doorstep, with a note attached to her blanket.
'Please don't give her away. She has nowhere else. Her name is Briseis Dominique Lune. She must keep her last name. Please.
Lynn had seen Briseis, and she had fallen in love with her. She listened to her husband's tale, and she realized that something beyond her control, and beyond her husband's had taken place in order to bring the little girl before her into the world. Lynn was not one to believe in the supernatural, but looking at Briseis before her, she felt a tugging at her psyche. Something was telling her that this baby was going to be a part of something incredible, something she would never see. So she kept her. And she raised her as her own daughter. And when Briseis was eight years old, Lynn gave her the journal that had been in the basket with her.
Reading the journal, Briseis had discovered who and what she truly was. And after she had read her mother's journal that had been made for her, Jacqueline's daughter, Briseis had felt an invisible cord become known to her. She'd felt a little tugging on one end, and she'd sent a small tug back. Briseis had felt the person's joy reach her from across the cord, and she'd realized that the cord connected her to her birth mother. Over the years, Briseis and Jacqueline had figured out how to send short word messages to each other.
"Wrong?" Briseis felt through the cord at the minute.
"Lynn. Appointment. After school." She sent back.
Claire rested her hand on Briseis' shoulder for comfort.
By all means of nature, Greek mythology, and 'family history', Claire Aoki and Briseis Lune should not have been friends. Claire was House of Rome, and Briseis was House of Athens. As soon as they stepped within ten feet of each other, they should have felt that murderous rage, telling them to kill each other. They didn't, though, and while that puzzled the Aoki's, they accepted it. They never stopped researching, although, by this point in time, they weren't so sure that they wanted to know. They liked Briseis, they liked being able to answer any questions the girls had, and they liked the fact that Claire had a friend who was so good for her. And then when they had met Helen, they had liked her, too, despite the fact that she had absolutely no idea of her heritage. They protected her, and until it was time for Claire and Briseis to train her, they trained Claire and Briseis.
"Fuck!" Briseis screamed as she stormed onto the beach.
It was an hour after Lynn Brant's appointment. The doctors had told them that she didn't stand a good chance, but they would try anything the family wanted them to. Zach and Briseis hadn't wanted to tell Lynn because they knew she wouldn't take the treatments available that would extend their time with her. And they were right. She'd simply smiled softly, and said that if the Lord wanted her earlier than the agreed upon time, she would have to deal with that. Both her children had excused themselves from the room after that. Zach had gone off to the school's weight room, while Briseis had headed straight for the beach. She was the only one there – to be honest she was too consumed in grief and anger to notice anyone far off with her Scion eyesight – and so she didn't hesitate in stripping off her shirt, and diving into the ocean in just her bra and jean shorts. She dove beneath the raging waters, and stayed there. Beneath the cold and angry waves, she felt at home.
A strong arm yanked Briseis out from beneath the water. She came out shrieking at the person who had pulled her out.
"I was happy there! It was calm! Why the hell did you take me out?"
"Couldn't you see the storm brewing before you went in?" A boy's voice shouted back at her. "If you want to be happy beneath the waves, leave that for some other time when you're not likely to get hurt!"
"Let me go!" Briseis squirmed in her captor's arms.
"That's not going to get me to put you down." The boy's voice sounded amused. The amusement quickly faded. "I'm going to take you back to my place, okay? You're soaking wet, and you've got to be freezing."
Briseis felt herself being lowered after that. She turned to face the boy, and her breath caught in her throat. With thick blonde hair and bright, expressive blue eyes, Hector Delos was a handsome boy. And it wasn't fair to call him a boy when it was clear he was all man. Briseis felt something in him tugging at her, and something in her tugging back at him. She ignored it, and cleared her throat.
"That's okay. Really, I can just get my phone, and call – shit." She cursed as she remembered that she dove into the ocean while her phone was still in her pocket.
Hector lifted an eyebrow sardonically. "So that ride to my house…?"
"Will be gratefully accepted." Briseis sighed.
"Oh, don't sound so thankful. My poor heart can't handle it." Hector deadpanned.
"Yeah, yeah." Briseis rolled her eyes. "Wait. Where's my shirt?" She stopped as she and Hector were walking off the beach.
The wind picked up suddenly, throwing things around as if they were nothing, uprooting trees as though they were twigs. Hector cursed.
"We have to go now." He called to her over the wind.
"But my shirt!" Briseis yelled back.
Hector muttered something beneath his breath, and in one fluid motion yanked his shirt off, and pulled it down over Briseis' head.
"There! You're covered – now move your ass!" Hector bellowed.
As soon as both were in the giant SUV – which Briseis sighed and shook her head at – Hector floored the gas pedal. The storm made driving more difficult, so Briseis kept her mouth shut in an effort to allow Hector to concentrate more on the road, and less on the soaked and freezing girl in his passenger seat. Hector pulled up in front of his house, and hopped out. He held the front door open for Briseis as she walked inside in front of him, and instantly froze as the people in the room looked at her curiously.
"Why did you – oh. Hi, guys." Hector waved at the room. "This is – actually, I don't know her name. I was walking on the beach earlier, and I saw her dive in. Clearly, she didn't notice the storm coming so I grabbed her out of the water and brought her here."
"Why is she wearing your shirt?" Ariadne wondered.
"I took my own shirt off before I dove into the waves." Briseis answered for herself. "Hec-", Briseis stopped before she was about to say 'Hector', realizing that she wasn't supposed to know his name. "He gave me his shirt because I wasn't going anywhere in a bra and jean shorts. Thank you." She said to Hector.
He waved the thanks off.
Ariadne looked at Briseis. "I have some dry clothes that might fit if you'd like to come with me."
"Thank you", Briseis smiled, momentarily freezing Hector, a fact that did not go unnoticed by his family.
Upstairs Ariadne picked out a pair of skinny jeans for Briseis. "Here. These should fit you."
"Thank you for doing this." Briseis said her voice slightly muffled as she twisted out of Hector's now wet shirt, and slipped on the jeans.
"Damn, girl!" Ariadne exclaimed as she saw Briseis' flat, toned tummy. "Why were you so against just the bra? If I looked like that, I'd just wear the bra everywhere, and screw the shirt!"
Briseis laughed as her head poked out the top of the soccer jersey Ariadne had tossed her.
"That's exactly what Claire and Lennie say. 'Course, when it's just us girls, I have no problem with just the bra either. However, if there is a very hot boy in front of you, and you are wearing just the bra and shorts, and look like a drowned rat, a shirt suddenly seems a necessary item to save yourself from embarrassment."
Ariadne smirked. "You think my brother is hot?"
Briseis froze. "What – no – I never said – yes." She admitted.
"Good." Ariadne laughed. "You'll be good for him. A challenge – something to work towards."
Briseis was still blushing when Ariadne dragged her back down the stairs.
Noel Delos got up from her chair and gently hugged Briseis. The girl froze, and then swallowed past a very large lump in her throat. Lynn had never hugged her like this. While she'd raised and loved her, she'd never hugged her like this woman in front of her was doing. And Briseis had never met Jacqueline in person, never had the chance to be hugged by her like this.
Noel pulled back. "Is there anyone we can call for you, dear?"
Briseis nodded. "Can you call the Aoki's for me, please? And maybe the Hamilton's, as well?"
Twenty minutes later, a loud screeching drew the attention and concern of all the Delos family members. Noel and Castor hurried to the door as the doorbell rang repeatedly. They could all hear the conversation outside.
"I'm never getting a ride with you again." One girl – Helen – declared.
"Oh, so you'll ride the bike in this weather?" Another girl – Claire – answered smartly.
"…Claire, they heard you the first time. You can take your finger off the bell!"
"Lennie, I am not removing my finger from this bell until the door opens and I know for a fact that Briseis is okay."
The people inside the house froze. The girl's name was Briseis. They turned to look at her. She waved cutely. Castor and Pandora looked at Ariadne then at Hector. Noel opened the door, and two things happened at once.
One, the Furies started moaning.
Two, Briseis streaked past the suddenly bloodthirsty Delos family and stood protectively in front of Helen in a way that wasn't obvious. She flung her arms around her, warning the Delos's that if they wanted to get to Helen they would have to hurt her to do so. And she knew that the Delos's would never hurt a 'civilian'. She also knew that as long as she distracted Helen, the girl wouldn't know the Furies were there.
"Bri, babe, it'll be okay." Helen rubbed Briseis' back. "There are options. Maybe there will be a miracle left."
"She didn't accept any of the options." Briseis whispered, her voice cracking painfully. "She didn't take any of them."
"Just get me out of here, Len. Please just get me out of here. Take me to a magical place tonight. Please."
"C'mon." Helen shepherded the broken girl to the car. "Thank you for looking after her", she called over her shoulder to the Delos's.
Claire got into the driver's seat, and the whole family heard the bickering begin anew.
"Claire, maybe I should drive."
"It's my family's car, Len. I'll drive it."
"I know it's your family's car – that's why I'm offering to drive it."
"I am perfectly alright to drive my own family's car!"
"I seem to remember you saying that with the last three cars before you crashed them!"
"Claire, let Lennie drive. Lennie, we're catching the ferry tonight, I don't care what your dad says. Just tell him you're with Claire and I, and that I am not able to be alone tonight."
"Fine." Claire grumbled.
The Delos's watched tensely as Claire jumped down from the driver's seat, and Helen switched places with her.
"How is she not affected?" Lucas groused.
That was the trigger. Helen's head snapped up as the Furies started to moan and cry, tears leaving salty tracks of blood down their cheeks. In the car, Claire and Briseis sighed as they saw the Furies seize control of their friend.
"She's the strongest I've ever seen, but not even Lennie can take on six people all by herself." Claire commented.
"Come on. Let's get her out of this situation."
"No, wait." Claire restrained Briseis. "Take a look at Lucas. It's as though he's battling off an urge to be near her. I don't think he'll let them hurt her."
"I see it, too. But he's still struggling with the need to kill her. Which can only mean one thing: the Prophecy is destined to happen in our generation."
"The Houses will unite. And Zeus will pick up the War right where it left off. Call it insane, but I get the feeling that the House of Thebes will be uniting itself with more than just House of Atreus."
"Let's hope not." Briseis said grimly. "For all our sakes."
And there, my lovelies, is the end of the first chapter. Enjoy! Review!