A/N: I've edited this chapter for any mistakes (that I obviously missed last year, when I was writing this), but I have not changed anything that affects the plot of the story.
Rain pelted the leather-clad figure, drenching her even further. She began to sprint across the weathered road, one of her headphones tumbling out of her ear in the process. With a growl, she progressed to the sidewalk, not stopping to place the headphone back in her ear.
Having been the captain of a couple of track teams, she made it to the other side of the road quickly and safely, avoiding the oncoming traffic rush. Thalia Grace hated rainy days. She didn't find the weather soothing, like her mother did. It reminded her too much of her father. Unpredictable, gloomy, troublesome.
The words applied to her as well. She hated that. She was too much like her father. Stubborn, disobedient, prideful, temperamental, arrogant. Thalia snorted. The words hardly began to describe her. Temperamental. What a laugh. Her mother was a raging, abuse alcoholic and her father pouted like a bitch when he didn't get his way.
She crossed over yet another crowded road, traveling along the cracked sidewalk, headed in the direction of a small, worn dinner. As she neared the door, she dug into the pocket of her tight acid wash jeans, searching around for spare change.
A frown rose to her face as her hand came up with nothing but a drachma and a few strands of lint. "Damn it," she snarled, clenching her jaw tightly. She had forgotten to bring what little mortal money she had stashed away in her wooden dresser back in her Brooklyn apartment.
"Language, my daughter," a man's soothing voice sounded from behind her.
Thalia released a sigh. "Why are you here?"
"We need to talk." As he spoke, Thalia swiveled around to study him.
Neatly trimmed beard, curly black hair, a face as stern as a freshly mined diamond. He looked just as she remembered him. He wore his casual blue pinstripe suit, and his charcoal dress shoes shined like they had just been cleaned.
Thalia shrugged, meeting his expecting gaze. "Buy me a cheeseburger?"
"So, this Son of Poseidon," Thalia paused to take a sip of her vanilla peppermint shake. "He stole your master bolt?"
Zeus grimaced, picking at the mortal fries with distaste. "Well, you know how I am, daughter—"
"Thalia, don't interrupt me." He sighed, running a hand through his perfectly styled hair. "It's not for certain. But my nephew is the only candidate that is clear to me. My brother and I got into…quite an argument at the last Council."
"A big enough argument that he'd get his son to steal your master bolt?" Thalia asked. "That's outrageous."
"We argued over the demigod visitation law that was passed nearly twelve years ago. He claimed I was being unfair. That I only passed the law to appease Hera," Thalia's mouth curled in disgust at the mention of his wife, "when in actuality, I thought it best that the Gods focus more on their duties, rather than their children."
"He wanted to see his son." Thalia frowned. "What's so wrong about that?"
"Thalia." the God of the Sky extended his hand to cup her left cheek affectionately. He hated the way she suspiciously flinched from the touch. "I understand where he is speaking from. I undoubtedly miss spending time with you, but if I allow myself such a luxury, the other Gods will discover your existence. I cannot permit that to happen."
"You made the law to throw them off?" Thalia wanted to laugh in her father's face, but thought better of it when his eyebrows rose at the hint of irritation in her voice.
"I made the law because it was necessary," Zeus argued, being sure to keep his voice low when he noticed the waitresses gathering behind the counter to watch them with wary eyes.
He studied her with a strange gleam in his stormy blue eyes. His daughter was significantly tall for her age. No surprise there: her mother was nearly 6'1, and he himself (in his mortal form) was a striking 6'7. She looked to be around five-feet-ten or so, and at her youthful age of fifteen, she was already taller than any of her sisters had been.
Her cropped black hair was spiked, a look he wasn't exactly fond of. It wasn't the shortness of his daughter's hair that irked him. It was the mutilation she inflicted upon it nearly every day. He preferred the unruly, curly black strands of hair that had adorned her head as a young child.
Her lively cyan eyes, peering into his from over the large pile of plates (his daughter could eat), were identical to his own. She resembled her father in numerous ways, a fact that made him that much prouder of her. No other child looked almost exactly like him. Her strong jaw and chin, her sharp nose, her big cerulean eyes, her thick and naturally arched black eyebrows. The only parts of her face that failed to resemble him in some way were her high cheekbones and the light train of freckles that speckled her nose and cheeks.
His daughter was beautiful—that was no secret. He was thankful that she lacked his arrogance, unlike her older siblings Helen and Heracles.
Her face was marred by a faint scar that ran through her left eyebrow, leaving the skin in that spot hairless. Zeus remembered the night she had obtained the scar, and he quickly repressed the thought.
Zeus cleared his throat. "I did not wish my brothers to discover you and inflict any pain upon you."
"Hades kind of already has." She sneered, finishing off the last of her shake.
"He does not know I saved you and slowed your growth. He believes you to be a pine tree. Everyone does," he reasoned, cautiously lowering his mouth to the straw that wavered in front of his face. He begrudgingly took a sip and scowled.
"It's a shake. It isn't plotting to kill you and steal your throne."
Zeus rolled his eyes. "Right. So, where was I?"
"Hades. Pine tree. Everyone," she supplied, not missing a beat.
"Oh, yes. None of them know of you. If they knew—"
"They'd kill me, right? We've been through this before."
"You will be the child of the prophecy. The day of your eighteenth birthday, you will make a decision that will either destroy or save Olympus. My brothers, along with several other Olympians, do not approve of my offspring controlling the prophecy. Children of mine…they tend to be cocky, too sure of themselves, and uncontrollably power-hungry."
He paused for a moment, gauging his daughter's reaction. She appeared to be paying close attention to every word that exited his mouth. He continued, "I do not believe you to be this way. You are confident, but not to the point of letting your pride control you and your motives. You crave power, but you know when to turn away. I have faith in you, Thalia."
Her eyes met his slowly, and she leaned closer to him, placing her elbows on the table separating them. She spent long minutes studying him, looking for any falseness in his cobalt hues. She saw none.
"What must I do to return your lightning bolt, father?"