AN: Because Chiron and Iris are meant to be together. Chiris fic for Lexi/Unsuspected because I love her 5ever. Songfic to Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. 50th fic! Review?

Before the Storm

And I don't want the world to see me,
Cause I don't think that they'd understand.
When everything's made to be broken,
I just want you to know who I am.

"Do you ever think it's pointless?"

You look over at her, eyebrows furrowing in confusion. "Can you clarify?"

The sunlight glints off her eyes – a bright pink today – as she tilts her head in your direction, but she only smiles sadly. Light doesn't bother her, you suppose. The perks of being a rainbow goddess.

"All this fighting. People dying, hurting… all for what? Glory? It seems so silly."

You heave a long, slow sigh. How many times you've thought the same…

"War is horrible," you state simply. Your hooves clop against the porch as you shift in discomfort. There has been far too much discussion of war in recent days. "But there are things—people, ideas—worth fighting for. If somebody threatened your family, would you fight for them? At least as much as you could?"

Her mouth puckers in a frown. You notice that her lower lip juts out, like a child's pout.

"I guess I would… if the situation was so bad that my help was required. But there is always hope."

Always hope.

The two of you sit in silence. Her bare feet tap on the wooden floor, making the swing sway back and forth rhythmically.

You think about how anyone can have hope—real, true, pure hope—in times like these. Perhaps you've been embittered by countless millennia of watching children die, but it has been a rather long time since he last felt such a purely good emotion.

She makes small rainbows dance across her hands.

And all I can taste is this moment,
And all I can breathe is your life,
And sooner or later it's over,
I just don't want to miss you tonight.

Rainbows, you know, are actually rather cold. Tiny droplets of water in the atmosphere, the sunlight warming them only infinitesimally.

So it surprises you that her hand is so warm. Goddesses usually reflect their area of influence.

The band of her kerykion ring—the minimized form of her symbol of power—presses against your hand, which is so much rougher than hers. Maybe you should try that organic something-or-other cream she had talked about… but soft hands make for bow blisters. Not worth the soft skin.

Right now she is animatedly discussing her new hobby, knitting. You love a good sweater, but you're not sure how you feel about bamboo-based, 100% unprocessed, pesticide-free, and some other strange-sounding characteristic sweaters. She always has been adventurous… though adventurous is not always better than safe and familiar.

"So, what color would you like?" she asks.

The question takes you off guard.

"Since when am I the intended recipient of one of your, er, prized sweaters?"

She rolls her eyes. They keep shifting between warm brown and a bright, deep blue, and sometimes the colors cannot decide which should dominate her iris (oh - well, yes, funny) and then the two colors mix and swirl. It should appear strange, but of course she makes the look beautiful.

Her laughter fills the air around you. The sun emerges from behind a cloud. A smile begins to form on your face, although it is guarded as ever.

"Well, you're the only one who would be willing to test one out," she explains. "Other than the other ROFLcopters, of course, and some of the nymphs, but you're the only one who would give an honest opinion."

You two continue your stroll, taking these few moments of peace.

Eventually she has to leave; a messenger goddess, no matter how minor, can only stay in place for so long. Like a flash of light throwing rainbows, and then—gone.

She smiles; her eyes settle on that warm brown.

"Send me an IM anytime," she reminds you. "I'm only somewhere over the rainbow."

You grin, proud of yourself for actually recognizing a reference to popular culture. (That is still popular culture, right? You remember the girl… Couldn't have been more than a few decades ago.)

You tell her that of course you will talk to her soon, and you would love to try that new hoof cream, and then she vanishes, mist in the wind, leaving behind the barest hint of a rainbow.

And I'd give up forever to touch you,
Cause I know that you feel me somehow.
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be.

Three shrouds burned today.

There was no singing at the campfire.

For what must be the billionth time this millennium, you wonder if all the carnage, all the loss, all the pain is necessary. Is there no way to win but fighting? In the past, there have been heroes who saved lives, saved cultures, saved the world without violence. Why none now? Is this brutal march to the end the only possibility?

A tentative knock at the door interrupts your thoughts. "Come in," you sigh. For all you know it could be Kronos himself, but your enemies are usually of the explode-the-door persuasion. You're not too worried.

A familiar figure, glowing around the edges, steps gracefully through the doorway.

You allow yourself a smile. "Iris. You know you don't have to knock. It's been a while, hasn't it?"

The goddess skips into your office, hiking boots clunking against the floor, and hops atop the desk in front of you. The door closes itself.

She reaches out for your hand. Hers is warm, comfortable.

The two of you sit in silence for a moment; Iris runs the tips of her fingers along your palm.

"So, tell me," she begins. "What's making you sad today? I haven't seen you like this in a while." Her free hand comes to rest on the side of your face, comforting.

You place your hand on top of hers, leaning into her palm and closing your eyes. You need sleep. "More deaths. Only one from the Richmond mission came back, and he said that everyone else was killed. Three in one day." There seems to be something blocking your throat. You've lost the ability to talk.

"Hey. It'll be okay. You'll see."

"How can you be so—so optimistic? We're in the middle of a war, we're outnumbered ten times over and losing campers—children are dying—by the day!" You throw your hands up in frustration. She stares at you, an odd hybrid of a grimace and a smile on her face. "And do you know what the worst part is? There is nothing I can do to help them. I'm already doing all I can. There's nothing else I can do but watch them die."

You're facing away from her now, clenching the edge of one of the big bookshelves, and your shoulders are tense and there's a burning in your eyes and there is no hope.

"Don't think like that," she says gently. As she touches your shoulder—"We'll pull through. We always do. All we can do right now is hope and have faith in our heroes. I've seen them; you train them well. They have enough courage to win against an army a hundred times their size. We will survive."

And so you survive.