In this chapter (and in my ending notes) I'll explain a few of the things already stated in the story more clearly. Nothing too major, just a few things I've re-read that don't seem clear. Things like Harry's stealing from and grudge against the Dursleys, his twin brother, and stuff like that which have only been mentioned in passing within the story. If you see anything else that needs an in-depth explanation or such, let me know in a REVIEW.
NOW THEN, ON WITH THE SHOW!
Chapter 7: Happy Quest-Day, Harry!
"A quest you say, Chiron?" Harry asked incredulously. He stared at the quadruped form of Chiron, who stood along the deck of the Big House.
Alongside Harry were a few of the older campers he had come to see as his family, even though the only blood they shared was that of incestual Gods. Still, they were his half-cousins and they also made for great friends.
Right beside him was Gus Gaskin, who had an arm slung around one scowling Mike Kayon's shoulder. Harry was still a bit bleary on exactly what sort of relationship the two shared, as their interaction with one another left him with ambiguous perceptions at best. Still, whatever they had was between them. It was, after all, their business and if they made each other happy, then Harry was happy for them.
Next to the ambiguously paired duo was Shelley Morison, the leader of the Athena Cabin. Harry found that the girl was very smart, if not just a bit bookish as she pushed her taped glasses up on her nose. While the girl rarely wore the spectacles because they made her look like a "nerd", whatever that may be, Harry found her startling perceptive when she had them on her face. In fact, Harry was under the impression that the girl was the smartest person at the entire camp.
Standing beside Shelley was Timothy "Tim" Archer, who stood as straight as a fresh military recruit, as Martin Fisher would put it before Tim would punch him in the arm. Tim always gave Harry the feeling that the blond would rather enjoy being the son of Ares more so than Apollo, but never voiced such thoughts. Tim loved his brothers and sisters deeply, and Harry was sure that the inflexible blond would take great offense to any comments suggesting otherwise.
Standing off to the side was a camper Harry only vaguely noticed from around Camp Half-Blood. It was Terrance Daley, an unclaimed camper who stayed with the Hermes campers. The boy was only a few years older than Harry, but he seemed to hold an effeminate grace to his features as he stood to the side with a lethargic elegance.
Terrance stood with Grover Underwood, who did not want to be present in the row when Dionysus, or Mr. D as he insisted on being called, came in with his blood-shot red eyes trained on whomever dared disturb his regular afternoon "non-sober dream" nap.
Harry himself liked to thing that while the others hadn't changed much, he believed he had improved greatly so in the right direction. While his growth spurt over the month had been noticed by all, he liked the growth inside himself more so than just his new-found height. No longer was he the quiet meek boy that had come into the camp staring at everything around him with wide doe-like eyes and a sense of stunned wonder. Now, he was rather easygoing with all his camp experiences being taken in stride. He took more to silence out of thoughtfulness rather than timid and shy behavior from a month ago. Martin and the twins called this new sort of quietness "brooding", whatever that may have been, but he liked the times where he could reflect on just how peaceful things were within the borders of the camp.
Most of his days, Harry took to tending the fields rather than training and playing out in the sun the way other campers did with youthful abandon. He enjoyed walking through the growing vegetation, feeling the plants' satisfaction as they soaked up sunlight from the sky above and nutrients from the soil below.
Whenever Harry took one of his nightly strolls, as he did not require much sleep for one Godly reason or another, he felt like the world around him melted away. It was as though he were the only one on the planet and that all the world was his moonlit garden. Mike told him that if he spent any more time in the fields, he'd grow a literal green thumb by time spring came again. Dawson said he would grow roots and be stuck there permanently. Gus had even jokingly told them that he had seen Harry walking the fields stark-naked one night, but Harry was quite sure he had not; as he was sure he'd remember the chilling breeze from doing any such thing.
At least… he thought he would remember so…
Harry had also started to, when returning from his nightly walks, staying up in his cabin on Saturdays. He would spend the night curled up reading through one of the many tomes on the bookcase within his side of the cabin whilst he enjoyed the quiet snores of his sleeping cabin members. Most of the books were on trivia facts, the history of witchcraft, and even some on potion making.
Perhaps that was why, after trying to create one of the concoctions within his dusty cauldron that sat in the corner of his side of the cabin, the others stayed up on Saturday nights to watch him. They would be up until one in the morning whilst singing songs like "The Witching Hour", "Come Hither" and "Bubble Cauldron". That might have also been the reason why some of the other campers began calling Harry the "The Witchy One" and steered clear of him with wide eyes and talismans around their necks.
Probably, but probably more so from Martin blowing things out of proportion with his game show antics…
Harry had also began wearing his glasses regularly throughout the daytime, especially when Christine said they made him look scholarly, whatever that meant, but Harry was sure it was a compliment from the way Christine screeched her high-pitched girlish squeal.
Speaking of the Beloved One's daughter, Harry glanced down the lineup to see Christine twirling a lock of her blond hair in hand as she gave Chiron her most bored expression. Beside her was Samson Hicks, who tried every so often to put an arm on her shoulder only to end up elbowed in the ribs by the surprisingly strong girl. Next to Samson was Dawson Creek, who looked as carefree and hyperactive as always whilst squirming in place. Harry shook his head. Seriously, the guy could be so casual one moment, and then the next he could be bouncing off of walls like a little kid hyped up on sugar.
Unfortunately for them, hearing about a quest was one of those triggers to have the leader of the Apollo cabin fidgeting like Harry did whenever Marlene Winston was taking a really long time in the cabin bathroom as the only female member of his lodge, Hades cabin.
"Yes, Harry. A quest, and only four of you are to be chosen to accompany the ones to receive the prophecy from the Oracle." Chiron responded with a nod. Harry glanced back to him from the corner of his eye. Harry was told many times over the last month that his casual sidelong glances were a cross between him looking horribly annoyed with the person his gaze settled upon, and extremely bored with their very existence. Though he never understood how that was possible, his friends liked to categorize everything about him based upon his parentage.
Said "sideway glances" were put in the 'Hades' column of his characteristics.
"Only four?" Dawson whined, squirming in place even more fervently.
"Then why did you summon us all?" Tim asked, crossing his arms and pivoting his hip to one side as he broke his martial stance.
"Actually, I wasn't summoned here." Harry voiced causally, even though Gus still gave an exaggerated shiver. Another of his growths after being in the camp was the way his voice had matured, if only a little, over the month. His voice was quite clear and rich, like that of a natural public speaker. Harry saw that he rarely had to raise his voice in order to be heard over others. Even in the insipid and noisy chatter of the food pavilion, with his table being far from the staff table, he could still speak at causal volume to both Chiron and Dionysus whilst also quieting the loud buzz of the open rotunda. Harry had figured this out one evening by asking the two men which produce needed to be shipped out of the camp for the following week. Immediately the other campers shut their mouths and looked at him like children in the presence of their parent talking with other important adults.
"Harry, man, you need to stop channeling your dad! It's way creepy!" Gus cried out dramatically. Mike sighed, smacking the Hermes' boy at the side of his head.
"You were going to be summoned," Chiron admitted as though nothing had transpired between the time of Harry's question and his answer. "I had just been about to send Castor Martinez to collect you."
"Oh… Well then…" Harry shifted his weight on his feet a little. He felt a little foolish for breathing a sigh of relief. Though he had grown away from Chiron and Mr. D after his father's stern visit a month ago, Harry still hoped not to disappoint or offend either adult with his presumption. It would have been very embarrassing for him to stand there only for Chiron to inquire as to why he was still there.
"Aww, Shy Harry is so cute!" Christine squealed, going into a small frenzy. Harry snapped his head up, an embarrassed look on his face while his cheeks blazed hotly. "So, so cute! You're like a little schoolboy caught doing extra Math homework."
"Enough," Harry said with a shake of his head, hoping to shake away the fire in his face as well.
"So Chiron, who is the quest for?" Shelley asked, straightening her glasses again. Harry had long since figured out that this was a nervous habit the older girl had, but didn't bring it up to her since it took away from the girl biting her nails; the other nervous habit.
"The quest is more of a request, actually… Eh, hmm…" Chiron said, clearing his throat with a pause.
"Aaannnddd…?" Dawson drawled lengthily. He lifted a blonde eyebrow to stare at Chiron when the man had trailed off.
"Yes, well, we had better wait for—" Chiron said, but then the door behind them all slammed out with an annoyed God stalking in like a wild boar.
"Don't bother waiting." Dionysius, or Mr. D as he was to be called, growled. In his grip he clutched a half-empty Pepsi can. "I'm already here. Let's just get this farce over with already…"
"Farce?" Samson echoed in confusion. Mr. D wasted no time in nodding.
"Yes, Lady Hera and Ares have both lost items." Mr. D explained, rubbing his temples, "Lady Hera lost her favorite chalice somewhere in New York City. Ares lost his filthy biker's jacket while riding through Long Island."
"That's the quest? Just some lost junk?" Terrance scowled in disbelief from where he stood at the side. Samson glared at him hard, stepping out of line.
"Watch your mouth, Fairy Boy. My dad's leather jacket is the most bad-ass thing in all of existence. The thing catches fire!" Samson said, as though random combustion was an awesome experience not to be missed.
"I still don't see how that's any constellation…" Terrance grumbled with his arms folded.
"Those items hold incredible power," Dionysus informed them all, rubbing his temples even more furiously, "If a mortal were to stumble upon either of them accidentally… Well, let's just say the results would be quite ugly."
"How ugly we talkin'?" Dawson asked as he stepped forth next to Samson.
"Think giant cow pie ugly… multiplied by a hundred." Mr. D answered as the others gulped whilst Harry tilted his head to the side in bewilderment to the phrase. He found that there were plenty of sayings and phrases that went casually over his head, but he was learning them more easily as time wore on.
"Wow, that is ugly… and nasty, too." Chiron nodded wisely to Gus's words while Harry finally caught on to what the phrase referred to, and gave a disgusted shudder.
"Indeed, but I'm afraid we'll have to keep the out-goers to a low number as to not arouse any… suspicions…" Chiron drawled while he stroked his beard. Gus and Dawson were chuckling about something that had to do with Chiron's choice in words, but Mike and Christine quickly silenced them with a smack to the head for each.
"So that's why you only want four of us," Shelly commented, "Two go after the chalice, two go after the jacket, and we all meet up somewhere before heading back here."
"Precisely!" Chiron beamed, but then his bright smile fell as he glanced over the assembled party, "However, it is also to keep you all safe against the various monsters that lurk within the large city. The foul beasts are strong and numerous, so keeping your numbers small will be of great advantage to you when fleeing with the items in tow."
"Are you suggesting we run from battle with our tails between our legs and the stuff under arm?" Samson sneered, and despite himself, Harry agreed with the gruff militant teen's indignation.
While Harry was no fan of Samson Hicks, still slightly standoffish around the warrior after one of their last intimate encounters involved the brutish teen with his foot stamping Tim Archer into unconsciousness, Harry was also just waiting for the chance to get at any monster he could. The raven-haired boy still hated the evil beasts from how they had hunted after him before he got to the camp. Plus, his experience against Python, the snake that attacked him at the time, had not colored his favor any better when dealing with the vulgar beings.
Yes, Harry full-heartedly agreed that should he come across any monster, he would not run. Harry would not hesitate. He would hunt them just as they had hunted him that day. He would slay them with the utmost prejudice and zero remorse. However, Harry did not give voice to these thoughts. For one, he was never really one to speak out of turn unless it was important. And secondly, Chiron hadn't even picked those that would soon be going on the quest to reclaim the lost Godly possessions.
"Chiron, you still didn't answer my question." Shelley spoke coolly, her gaze steady on Chiron's expression. Harry did not blink in confusion, even though he felt like it. He must have missed out on some of the conversation as he had not even heard Shelley ask a question, nor did he see Chiron avoid said query.
"You shall meet them soon enough," Chiron replied equally as smooth while Shelley adjusted her glasses again and crossed her arms.
"So, Har, what are you gonna do if you get picked, huh?" Gus asked while Mike scowled beside the son of Hermes. Call him crazy, but Mike didn't think it such a brilliant idea for the eight year-old son of Hades to even be considered for a quest after only a month's experience at the Half-Blood camp life.
Really, you could call him crazy. He wouldn't give a damn, because he would still be right all the same.
"I will help however I can. It would be prudent that the quest end as quickly as possible. There is still much work to be done here at the camp." Harry uttered, his eyes blinking slowly. His emerald gaze was settled on Gus and Mike.
"That's such a sly Athenian answer… You're no fun, man." Gus whined with a little pout of his lips. Shelley turned, quirking a brown brow at the son of Hermes.
"What was that, Gassy Gus?" Shelley asked sweetly while Gus twitched and Mike stifled a laugh by pretending to clear his throat.
"Low blow, Sea Shell… Low blow…" Gus groaned as Shelley smiled at him.
"Whatever you say, little Gasser!" the bespectacled girl chirped smugly.
Samson had turned from the entire interaction with the air of an annoyed warrior surrounded by slackers. Terrance stayed where he was, picking up a conversation with Grover while scratching jut behind the young satyr's growing horns and being overly personal toward him. Grover didn't seem to mind much, however, as Terrance seemed to be a close friend of his. Harry, on the other hand, had never seen Terrance have much bonding time with Grover before, though was glad Grover was making friends.
"Don't mind Terrance," Dawson said, making Harry realize that the leader of Apollo cabin was standing right behind him. Harry turned slowly to Dawson, a dark brow arched high as he gazed up at the taller male. "He's just one of those people that are too close to others for comfort. He does that to a lot of the people he talks to. Patting their shoulder. Offering a drink. Even sometimes drawing their baths and talking to them while they bathe."
"That sounds very…" Harry trailed off lamely as Tim scowled, turning to their conversation.
"Stalker-like? Creepy? Flat-out weird and crazy? Yeah, that's what I thought." Tim filled in, "But he's an okay guy. He couldn't hurt a fly. In fact, he's more like a nymph serving at the camp than actual camper. Just be sure to let him know your personal boundaries beforehand if he ever gets too close to you."
"I'll keep that in mind…" Harry muttered, his and the leading son of Apollo with their gaze settled on how fondly Terrance scratched at the fur atop Grover's head like one would stroke the head of a loving pet. Grover seemed to like the action as he continued his animated conversation with the effeminate male.
"Ah! Here they come now!" Chiron cried out. He looked up from his game of cards with Dawson, Mr. D, Gus and Shelley.
It had been over an hour since they had been assembled, and Harry had to decline the game of cards since he always lost when playing against Dionysus. For some reason, Mr. D always seemed to have just the right cards to best him. But when accused of cheating, grounded Wine God would get angry at the accusation. This would all be right before he threatened to turn Harry into something silly, like a dolphin or a dried raisin.
Looking up from the latest novel of his perusing, Harry snapped his book shut. He saw that two people were approaching the Big House in a hurried and annoyed fashion.
Two identical people.
Two twin girls.
Harry had only met one set of twins his entire life, and that were the Roads brothers, Pester and Jester Roads. The two were pranksters and smart-alecky prats that would make their mischievous father, the Messenger God, Hermes, very proud. That was not to say the two weren't smart or brave or helpful. They looked out for Harry, and were two of his greatest friends along with Mike, Gus, Martin, and Dawson. Shelley was more of a concerned older camper than a friend, and Tim acted as more of a stern commanding officer or big brother agent. Just like how Christine was more of a typical older sister, or at least as typical as Harry could gleam from how other campers interacted with her.
The first of the female twins had curly golden blonde hair and was dressed in a flowing white sundress. It making her appear like a princess from one of Harry's novels. She was of average height and incredibly captivating with her radiant beauty. Her eyes were an intense shade of cerulean blue, almost as though her parents had stolen a piece of the clearest skies to use for her eyes. Her skin was an even light tan, and Harry found her smile whiter and straighter than any he had seen before. Around her arm was a golden bracelet she wore, which gleamed off the light as Harry inspected it.
This girl was introduced to them as Amber Steward, and her bright smile lit up the area as she curtsied to them in greeting.
The second girl in the pair of twins was such a stark contrast to her sister that when she came trudging up the path to the Big House, Harry almost blinked in surprise. While her sister was flowing, golden and bright, this twin was gloomy, silver and dark. She had short dark hair and the same cerulean blue eyes seemed so shaded on her in comparison to her sister. She wore dark styled clothes, and was a shade paler than her sister, Amber. Around her forehead and holding two long bangs in order to frame her face was a silver circlet on her head, looking almost like a tiara she wore begrudgingly, following with some silver skull earrings the girl was fingering nonchalantly. Her smile was just as perfect as her sister's, but this girl did not seem to flaunt it at all. In fact, she seemed to hide her smile with a forever present scowl on her face.
This darkly dressed girl was named Chelsea Steward, and her severe scowl increased as she shot them all a glare for daring to look at her in contrast to her sister.
"These two young ladies have been assigned to us from where they were interning up on high Mount Olympus. While they will be spending the next two months with us here at camp, I felt that you all could benefit from their insider knowledge in order to locate the chalice and jacket more effectively." Chiron stated while clasping the two girls by the shoulders. The brighter of the two, Amber, smiled up at Chiron as though the man were her overbearing father. Chelsea, however, did not smile. She in turn crossed her arms and scowled even further like the man was her overbearing father.
Harry delicately arched an eyebrow at the scene set before him and his friends. These twins were not at all like Pester and Jester. They were so different. As different as night and day.
"Let's just get this over with, shall we?" Dionysus was in a rather bad mood this morning, Harry observed while the cranky man rubbed his temples. He must have woken up especially sober this morning, "Bathwater Boy," he pointed at Terrance, "Goth Girl," he jabbed a finger at Chelsea, who stared up at him angrily, "Beach Boy," his finger turned to Dawson, "and Brain Girl" here his finger jabbed toward Shelley, "will go to recovery Lady Hera's chalice with Corpse Breath Junior."
Before anyone could interrupt, Mr. D was back to pointing his stubby finger at people, starting this time with Samson, "Meanwhile, Army Brat," then he turned to Christine, "Valley Girl," and then he was pointing at Gus, "Gas Pass," and lastly he jabbed his thumb at Mike and pointed his opposite hand at Amber, who had his arms folded over his chest scowling, "along with the Dark Knight and Glinda the Good Witch here with go reclaim Ares' filthy jacket from whatever dive he left it in."
Samson looked like he wanted to say something, but even he wasn't stupid enough to start a brawl with a grumpy and abstemious Wine God. Even Chiron did not look to argue when Mr. D stalked away from the Big House with grumbling under his breath and the grass growing under his feet, but no grape vines. Chiron gave the group of campers a small smile and left them there on the porch, patting each before he slipped off to follow Dionysus while humming classical music from what reached Harry's ears.
Harry sighed as he raked a hand through his dark locks. Oh well, he gazed at his fellow questers, they knew what to do and what was expected of them.
"Okay, I guess we should all go get packed…" Shelley said, though it took them all a minute to compose themselves from Mr. D's attitude and Chiron's unusually awkward support of said moodiness.
They each shambled off to their respective cabins at their own pace, but the silent deal was made that they would meet up before the hour was up in order to be on their way.
All of them except Harry, who followed after Dionysus and Chiron as he was supposed to have a Greek history lesson with them anyway.
Crossing the grounds to get to where Mr. D normally barricaded himself in his private quarters, Harry passed the volleyball pit where the kids from Apollo's cabin were playing an afternoon game against the satyrs and a few nymphs. Several of Demeter's children were walking around in the strawberry fields, making Harry scowl in their direction as they used their powers to rush the plants into growth.
He stopped only once to shout at them, but he always clashed with them like this. They always gave the air that they knew cultivation better than him, and he was just a stupid kid while they were the true farmers of the world. No one in Demeter's cabin liked him, and he didn't like them either. They were all arrogant toerags that needed to be knocked down a peg or two, but even when he grew better plants than them, they'd just sniff in annoyance and still carry on with thinking the world of their petty powers in tilling fields compared to his natural prowess in the arts of agriculture.
True, he sounded a bit high on his horse himself, but the results clearly supported that he had the right to be an arrogant toerag himself when he could plough circles around the Fertile One's children.
All in all, it seemed like everybody was going about their normal business, but Harry knew better. Already he could see how some of the older campers looked tense. They kept their eyes on the boarders and some were outright staring at him like they had when he first arrived at camp.
Already the gossip of a quest, an actual quest, was spreading around the camp like a wildfire of excitement and trepidation.
When Harry reached the little house settled some ways behind Dionysus' cabin, he did not even bother to knock. Knocking would have only annoyed Mr. D even more with it being a loud repetitive noise. Entering the small house, Harry found Dionysus sitting at the kitchen table. Now that he was actually paying attention, he saw that Mr. D was no longer wearing his frat boy t-shirts that read foul and obscene phrases. Instead, Dionysus was dressed in a zebra-striped safari shirt with a Coke can in front of him on the table. Chiron sat across the table in his fake wheel-chair. The two were apparently about to start up a game of cards.
"Deal me in," Harry said as he took a seat at the table. Neither Dionysus nor Chiron bothered to be surprised by his presence or his casual behavior.
"Well, well," Mr. D said without looking up, "Our little Death Breath comes around to visit. I'm surprised you're not packing for that farce of a quest."
"I have a history lesson before I go," Harry said, feeling that it was a feeble excuse to see the two, but in seeing them both together after so long a month, he felt rather novel about the whole experience and wanted a little more time with the two adults he had initially looked to like uncles. Well, Chiron as an uncle, and Dionysus as more of an annoyed older cousin, which now that Harry thought about it, he kind of was with the way they were related.
Chiron merely continued to act like Harry was a normal part of their day, thankfully not being the one to rub salt in Harry's emotional wounds like Mr. D just tried. Chiron was feigning interest in his pinochle cards as he finished dealing.
"If I had it my way," Dionysus was saying, "I would cause your molecules to erupt in flames for not visiting sooner, you cheeky little brat. A whole month has passed!"
"I was busy," yet another feeble excuse, and Dionysus could see that Harry would sit there and meet his crazed eyes with his own stubborn determination to avoid the subject.
Mr. D finally sighed and threw up his hands, "Fine! Be a little cowardly punk about it. See if I care!"
"It's not cowardice," Chiron finally broke into the conversation with an air of calm facilitation, "Harry dealt with something life-changing. He needed that time to see things clearly. Do you see things as they should be, Harry?"
"I do," and he truly did. It had taken a few weeks, but even Harry was not blind to the burning hatred he held for his relatives back on Privet Drive. He still felt it, but he knew now what it was. That did not mean he would give it up any time soon. They had truly been awful to him.
"Well, so long as it saves me a lot of trouble." Dionysus grumbled, "I still like the vaporization idea though."
"Spontaneous combustion is a form of harm, Dionysus," Chiron and Harry countered in unison before smiling at one another. They were the only two at camp allowed to refer to the God of Wine by his true name instead of Mr. D, but every so often Harry would swap between the two as he was a camper and needed to respect the rules of not invoking names without purpose. At least, every once and a while.
"Nonsense," Dionysus spoke with a small grin, patting Harry on the head, "Boy wouldn't feel a thing. In fact, it would do him a world of good! Nevertheless, I'll agree to restrain myself. However, if you miss one more of our lessons, I'm thinking of turning you into a dolphin instead. That way you can have a visit with our dear uncle under the sea."
"Mr. D—" Chiron warned, but both he and Harry were more amused with the thoroughly sober drunk than anything else. Harry still didn't know what his uncle Poseidon, God of the Seas, thought about him personally. In fact, no one seemed to mention Poseidon much so Harry had very little trivia to go on about the man, good or bad.
"Oh, all right," Dionysus relented, but then cast a look at Harry, "You say you've come around for your lesson. Well, where did we stop? I can't remember seeing as you avoided my residence like it contained the Black Plague."
"We went over all the Primordial Gods and Titans," Harry responded, still refusing to apologize for his childish behavior in growing apart from the two directors. He felt that he had nothing to apologize for, even with the small voice inside him saying that he had hurt their feelings. They had hurt his feelings as well, betrayed his trust by running to his father, "And we had discussed the history of the Three. I think we left off on the Olympians, the twelve as they are."
"Then I'll start this lesson with myself, as vain as that might sound," Dionysus waved a hand and the Coke can refilled itself. He chugged at it earnestly before letting out a small belch, "Right then, and let's start."
"As you already know, I am Dionysus, the Greek god of grape-harvest, wine, madness, and parties. What you might not know is that I am also the patron of ecstasy as well as theater." Chiron made a show of clearing his throat when Mr. D spoke of ecstasy, but Harry did not understand why, "My Roman counterpart is Bacchus."
Harry listened attentively while also playing cards against the two adults. It was a normal occurrence whenever Chiron was present during Harry's lesson in history and the Greek language.
"Now how to proceed… Hmm…" he pondered, but Harry already knew how he would. Dionysus would never tell Harry the secrets of the Gods, but would instead stick to the most common myths that held sparkles of the truth. It was Harry's 'homework' to decipher between myth and truth in these history lessons.
"I am often called by many as the "Twice Born" because of the two myths around my birth. The most common is that my mother was a mortal woman named Semele, who was a daughter of the King of Thebes, and my father was Lord Zeus." In that, Harry knew that the grain of truth was that Dionysus' mother was Semele and his father was in fact Zeus, King of the Gods. "This makes me the only Olympian to date with a mortal parent, and according to some traditions, the only one to have been born a demigod first. As with most of my father's acts of infidelity, Lady Hera became jealous when she found out that my dear mother was pregnant with little old me." Mr. D looked fairly nonchalant with the circumstances concerning his creation, but Harry guessed that time and Godhood would have that effect on someone.
"Anyways, she disguised herself as a nursemaid, and made my mother begin to doubt that it was truly Zeus. While in disguise; Hera convinced Semele to ask Lord Zeus to reveal his true form and, to make sure that he would do it, to swear on the River Styx, which as you know is sacred to we the Greek Gods and an unbreakable oath. Father tried to get around the promise, but in the end swore on the River Styx, and Semele asked to see his true form. Unable to go back on the promise, he did so, and she was burned to ashes. Lord Zeus managed to save me, the infant, by sewing me into his thigh until I was born a few months later as a full grown baby on Mount Pramnos in Ikaria."
"He was born a demigod, like Hercules and Perseus." Chiron supplied, to which Harry nodded before laying out his cards. He had won the hand.
"In my early life, Zeus sent me off with Hermes. Now pay close attention to this next part, because there are two versions of the story and only one is correct." Dionysus pinned Harry with a look, but Harry was not deterred, "In one version, Hermes takes me to King Athamas and his wife Ino, who was my aunt. He had them raise me as a girl to hide from Lady Hera's scorn."
"Okay…" Harry wasn't sure about that version.
"The second story is that I was taken to the rain nymphs of Nysa. They raised me through infancy and childhood, and in reward for their care, Zeus placed them as the Hyades in the stars." Dionysus picked up his newly dealt cards.
"I believe the second one more than the first." Harry said, but Dionysus grinned like a drunken old man.
"Nope, the first myth was true. The second was a ruse Hermes told Lady Hera." Dionysus said cheekily with a small chuckle, "When Lord Zeus heard what Lady Hera had been told, he had no choice but to continue on with the lie and so rewarded the rain nymphs, both to keep them quiet and to keep them safe from Lady Hera's questioning."
"Now then, when I grew up, I discovered the vine, and extracted the juice. I was struck with madness by Lady Hera at this point, and ended up wandering various parts of the world. Grandmother Rhea cured me, and taught me her religious rites, and I continued on with my wanderings, going through Asia teaching the mortals about cultivating the vine."
"And that's where your God-sake comes from?" Harry asked, but Chiron hushed him as Dionysus continued.
"I was told I was a very handsome young man, ever eager for challenges." Here the God of Madness seemed to have fond memories, "I still think that I was good at nothing in my human life but cultivating wine. The people in my village at the time would mock me. Foolish mortals, they treated me as one of their own… They knew not of my heritage, my father, or my future, and what I would one day become. They treated me as one of their own… Like everyone else in the world, like any other mortal…"
"Mr. D," Chiron again cleared his throat, breaking the somber and far-off gaze Dionysus was giving to the open air in front of himself. Dionysus blinked a few times, then straightened up.
"Right, onward. Later, when I was invited to Mount Olympus, it was Lady Hestia who graciously offered me her golden chair to prevent any conflict or embarrassment. Lady Hestia is a goddess known well for her warmth and kindness." The look he gave Harry made it known just how greatly he respected Hestia. Harry could still remember how Mr. D had praised her when they went over her in history. "It was shortly afterward that I rescued my mother from Hades, and she became a goddess on Mount Olympus, with the new name Thyone, presiding over the frenzy inspired by me, her son Dionysus."
Harry was sure there was a lot more to that story of rescue from the Underworld than Dionysus was telling, especially as he gave a nervous glance at the floor, as though the ground would burst open at his feet and he's be plucked from the realm of the living.
"Now onto the tale which won me my beautiful wife, Ariadne. This was back when things were done differently, mind you…"
"Gus will you think for just one second," Mike sounded irritated as Harry approached his cabin, "The camp hasn't had a quest in three years, and before that it was several more years of nothing. Now all of a sudden the Queen of the Gods has her chalice missing on Earth, and we're expected to believe she just misplaced it here. Along with the not so suspicious arrival of twin girls from Hecate knows where!"
A chill wind swept past Harry and through the cabin as he heard Gus and several others inside give overly dramatic shudders.
"Okay," Gus said as Harry entered the cabin and began to pack, "So, I'll be careful."
"That's right," Mike said, but then sighed with a hand going through his hair. He was seated on his cabin bed while Gus was packing a knapsack for him, "But still that isn't the point. There is more going on here than we're being told. Probably even more than Chiron and Mr. D know as well."
"Gee," Gus uttered, feigning surprise. "And here I was thinking we'd be able to hit up the harbor and jack a yacht to party on for a few days."
The air chilled around Mike, who stood up from his bed. He stepped well into Gus's personal space, bringing himself nearly eye to eye with the slightly taller male. Harry noticed how their noses were almost touching, then went back to his packing as he felt he was intruding on something private.
"I'm worried about what this business could mean, Gus. I've been waiting a long time for a quest, but if any of this is more trouble than it's worth, I want assurance that you'll get serious about it. I'm the best person to keep you out of trouble, after all."
"Is that all that you keeps you here?" Gus asked with mirth in his tone, "Holding me back?"
"I also like your stupid face sometimes," Mike mumbled as his voice sounded muffled. Harry glanced up once, and saw that Mike had his face in Gus's shirt with the other male's around wrapped around his waist. Again he felt that he shouldn't have even looked.
"And that thing about the yacht?" Gus asked, as Mike laughed into him.
"Only if we have the time. Gods above know that we need to show Harry a good time away from the camp and fields." Mike said, taking his face out of Gus's shirt and looking back at the younger boy. Harry was putting away a few things, but Mike was sure Harry had heard everything so far.
"That's right!" Gus snapped his fingers and released Mike from his hold. Mike and Gus stood side by side as they both looked at Harry, "You've never been outside the camp with us!"
"I go to Central Park every now and then." Harry said, shrugging.
"Yeah, but the route there is pretty much vacant of monsters after what happened getting you here." Mike said while narrowing his dark eyes, "I don't know who might have done it, one God or another, but they've pretty much made it No Man's Land on the path that took you to the camp. Any monster that even tries to set foot or talon on that road is instantly vaporized."
Harry knew all of this already. He also had his own theories on who was protecting his route to his friends who worked at the park, but he didn't want to say anything until he was absolutely sure it was who he thought.
"Well, the harbor and miles out from the city are safe ground for us as well thanks to Poseidon's good mood in recent years." Gus shrugged while reaching over and holding Mike by the shoulder, "We don't get any trouble from sea monsters, but just don't go throwing any Coke cans or candy wrappers into the water, okay?"
"I'm sure I can remember that." Harry said with a smile.
"Great!" Gus raised both his hands high and clapped over his head. Mike suddenly smiled happily and the two departed from the cabin. "When you're finished playing with your bag, be sure to meet us at the Big House, Harry."
"Alright," Harry said absently, making his final decisions on what to take with him. The two quests should only last the day, but when things dealt with the Greek Gods, Harry was sure they were not nearly as simple as they seemed. Mike didn't think so, and Harry was never one to believe Mike the needlessly worrisome type.
Harry gazed down at the dark purple knapsack he had been given by Mike. It didn't take him long to pack. He decided to take with him only an extra change of clothes and a toothbrush. The twins had loaned him one hundred dollars in mortal money and twenty golden drachmas. The coins were as big as tea cookies and had images of various Greek gods stamped on one side and the Empire State Building on the other. The ancient mortal drachmas had been silver, Chiron once told him, but Olympians never used less than pure gold. The twins thought the coins might come in handy for non-mortal transactions.
"Oh, Harry!" Marlene caught him just as he was headed out the cabin doors, "Before you go. Here, have this!"
She handed him a canteen of nectar and a Ziploc bag full of ambrosia squares.
"I know you're smarter than most, so I don't think it really needs to be said how it's only for emergencies. Like if you or one of the others got seriously hurt… It never expires, and it'll cure almost any injury."
"Not to mention how it's lethal to normal people…" Harry muttered, but smiled at Marlene, who was only around a few years older than him.
"I didn't give you too much. It could make a half-blood very feverish. An overdose would burn you up, literally." She said with a sly wink.
"I'll do my best to not even need it." Harry held it high for a moment, then bid Marlene a goodbye. He had a thought to remind her that he had more than one Godly parent, but kept his tongue in check. She was being very nice, and he shouldn't ruin her kindness with his cheekiness.
Walking over to the Big House, Harry felt as though he were forgetting something all this time. Maybe it was something, maybe it was nothing at all. However, the feeling would not leave him. It was ringing in his ears and making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. What could he have possibly forgotten? He didn't know, but he refused to turn back around and make himself late for the commencement of their quest; his first ever one, in fact.
Harry tried to beat down the feeling of forgetfulness by turning his thoughts to his father. His father was Ruler of the Underworld, King of the Undead, and master of the third realm onto which the universe was split. His father was very often aloof the few times that got to speak, saying little and meaning a lot. Although Harry knew without a doubt his father loved him greatly, he always got the impression that after the incident with the Dursleys' belongings, he was a disgrace in his father's eyes. His father had never looked at him the same since then, there was always some degree of guarded emotion in the God's eyes. Something within him that told Harry he was being watched. Not with love, but with some other feeling that made Harry want to tense up. He never did, because he knew his father loved him greatly.
And he just didn't want to be a failure in his dad's eyes…
Harry shook his head, stomping down his ponderings about his father as he turned his mind to his mothers. Persephone and Hecate were great. They had each blessed him with their gifts. But then, Harry thought as his shoulders sagged, they had not yet claimed him. Even as he felt their powers well within him, neither of his mothers saw fit to stand proud enough of him to claim him as their own.
Was he doing something wrong?
Or did they just see him as a failure like his father?
He could feel their love, like a warm blanket wrapped around his shoulders when he thought about them.
But why did they not announce to the universe the love Harry felt so deeply?
And what of his mysterious third mother? The one who he did not hear, nor did he see. The mother that had yet to reveal herself in his talents or to appear to him in some way, shape, or fashion. He had never laid eyes on Mother Hecate, but he knew she was with him by the cauldron and spellbooks within his cabin. He had only met Mother Persephone one time, but his third mother remained as anonymous as the colors of the wind.
And yet, if Harry looked deep enough inside himself… He knew that he felt her love reach out to him from wherever she was. If the love of his father and other two mothers was like a warm blanket, then his third mother's love felt like coming to a cozy home on a long winter's night. It was always there, and yet it went unnoticed until he took the time to appreciate it deep inside his heart.
And maybe that was what he had forgotten. The fact that his parents, no matter how they felt about him at the moment, loved him beyond a shadow of a doubt. He couldn't explain why or how he knew, but he did.
Within his heart, he knew their love to be pure and without end.
Harry gazed up at the Big House as he came to stop in front of it. This was what he needed. To take on a new endeavor and figure out his place in the world around him. He was a good camper, and a good cabin leader, but he needed to see about his worldly place beyond the boundaries of the camp's simple life and small dynamics. He needed proof of his life. Of his friends. Of his family. Of himself…
He was Harry James Potter, and he was about to take on the world for the first time.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARRY!"
Harry was frozen to the spot. As soon as he had opened the door to the Big House, a barrage of confetti and streamers had assaulted his vision and his person. Everyone was there. Every camper from the new ones to the eldest. From Chiron to even Dionysus were in attendance of this surprise party. They all grabbed Harry and dragged him into the party, jostling him with offerings of cake and punch, presents, and all manner of birthday rituals they carried from their parts of origin. Some of them like Samson and Shelley punched him in the arms several times, others like Christine and the girls from Aphrodite cabin gave him several kisses.
But all in all, Harry felt he couldn't fight down the smile on his face as everyone began to sing one universal birthday song to him.
"Happy birthday day to you! Happy birthday day to you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Harry! Happy birthday day to you!"
He was Harry James Potter… and he was loved beyond words…
A/N: Okay, so here I'll explain a little more in-depth about a few key points to this story.
Harry's Stealing: Harry is not a bad person, but he has been repressed a lot by the Dursleys. They didn't beat him, but they kept him so down that he never learned basic social concepts like stealing is wrong and don't instantly trust strangers. Whether this was done by them on purpose or not I'll allow everyone to decide individually in their own heads. He took what he felt at the time was rightfully his because of how awful the Dursleys treated him. Hades has, however, corrected his son.
Harry's Grudge: He has his father's genes, and his fatal flaw. Harry may recognize it, or maybe not, but he holds grudges more easily and stronger than others. It's a problem, and its one that will come to bite him in the coming chapters.
Harry's Twin: Harry's twin brother is a thing in this story. Not like most other stories where the twin is a jerk or just a Harry clone, but he's no saint either. Also, he knows about Harry, more than Harry knows about him. Let's just say that Sirius isn't the type to forget he has another godson. However, after Harry went to Camp Half-Blood… Yeah, that's one chapter you'll have to read to believe when Sirius discovers Harry's been whisked away by someone other than him. Oh boy, is he pissed!
If you have any suggestions for this story, then please feel free to leave them in a Review or a direct PM to me. Here's hoping you're enjoying the story!