Title: Saving Sikowitz
Word Count: more or less 6,000
Disclaimer: Victorious and all related characters do not belong to me.
Summary: Welcome to an Alternate Reality where Hollywood Arts is a school where the special and the extraordinary send their offspring to learn about controlling their abilities and blending in with humans.
Author's Notes: I regret nothing!
Cat Valentine loved Hollywood Arts. Loved it, loved it, loved it!
Her kind wasn't supposed to go to school at all. She was supposed to be running wild and free, untethered by anyone or anything.
But Cat Valentine was a changeling.
She loved structures and schedules and limitations. She loved to be told what to do.
So when she was offered by the Guardian Helen to go to Hollywood Arts, a prestigious school for extraordinarily gifted children, Cat grabbed the opportunity with both hands and held on to it with all her might.
That was two years ago. And she never regretted her decision.
And the thing she loved most about Hollywood Arts?
The people she met and the friends she made.
One of her friends was a vampire named Robbie Shapiro.
She was a little wary of Robbie at first because he drank blood a lot and Cat's been warned that her kind had the sweetest blood imaginable. But Robbie was a sweetheart. And he was a weird vampire. He only drank blood from a mug because a bleeding wound made him feel nauseous.
(One time, a fight broke out between two werewolves. One them injured his arm and started bleeding heavily. All the vampires in the school got really excited at the smell of blood. Every vamp, that is, except Robbie, who squirmed and passed out.)
And speaking of werewolves, her favorite was Andre Harris. He was so nice, always calling her Little Red and singing songs and humming to himself. Even as a wolf, Andre was so fun! He liked chasing his tail and having his tummy rubbed and running after cars and playing fetch.
Cat had lots and lots of fun with Andre.
Then there was the pretty and fun siren, who had the ability to make everything she touched shine. Tori Vega was nice and happy and peppy. And she had a killer voice (literally and figuratively). Of course, Tori's frustrated that she was not allowed to sing in public, especially in a public where there were boys and bodies of water, because something bad happened to her listeners, like being lured to their doom. Cat, not being a boy and being what she was, loved listening to Tori, who was very happy that she found an audience, even if it was an audience of one.
(Tori's sister, Trina Vega, had the opposite problem. Whenever she sang, she didn't lure men in, she scared them away! Maybe like Cat, Trina's a changeling, too.)
And then there was Beck Oliver, the immortal with kind eyes. No one knew what is it exactly he did, only that he was supposed to live forever. Come to think of it, no one knows how his exact age either, but all the girls in Hollywood Arts still loved him and followed him around and touched his hair and asked him out. But Beck would just smile and shrug and laugh. He loved flirting back, but rarely asked anyone out. Maybe because he's super old and he felt weird going out on dates with babies. But what he's doing in a high school when he could be out exploring the world, no one really knew.
The best thing about Beck, in Cat's opinion, was when he let her play with his hair. Beck's hair was thick and shiny and smooth. Cat loved to braid Beck's hair and put ribbons and flowers in it.
Yes, Cat Valentine loved Hollywood Arts, that's why she was running as fast as she can that morning, because she didn't want to be late. (And sometimes, Cat just needed to run and run and run and run.)
Skin gleaming with sweat, Cat stretched out her long, pale legs, as her red mane flew. Powerful flanks ate up the distance and she was but a white blur to the humans she passed by.
Until finally, a huge white horse with a golden horn on top of its head neighed in triumph as it arrived at the school steps just as the warning bell rang.
And slowly, the horse, nay, the unicorn, shifted until it became a petite young girl with red-velvety hair and a huge smile on her face.
Cat Valentine was finally home.
Robbie the Vampire adjusted his glasses as he opened the door to his first class. He was one of the last ones to enter and saw that his friend, Cat Valentine, was already inside, beaming her usual large smile.
It was Cat's favorite class, Improv. It was taught by a man known only as Sikowitz, a wizard of old who had a penchant for coconuts (which was rumored to be the source of his power). Improv taught them how to blend in so that they would be able to move freely in the human world. This was important because humans, while weak and helpless individually, numbered in the millions and tended to band together to protect their own. (And personally, Robbie thought that human technology was the bees' knees.)
Robbie sat down beside Cat.
"Hi! Hi! Hi!" she greeted, enthusiastically waving her hands.
"Hi." Robbie greeted back with a smile. He couldn't help but breathe in her scent, innocent, sweet and young. He felt his stomach grumble. This was the reason why he always ate first before meeting Cat. She was, in a word, delicious.
Then, there was an explosion accompanied by a puff of smoke and Sikowitz suddenly appeared on stage. No one so much as batted an eyelash, as it was the teacher's usual way of entering the room.
"Good morning, my little monsters! Today, we'll be talking about irate villagers and how to avoid them by pretending to be one of them." Sikowitz announced, rubbing his hands gleefully. He then held out a hand wherein a coconut magically appeared. "Now, let's see. Cat! Robbie! Andre! You'll be the irate villagers. Tori! You're the monster they'll be hunting."
But before the students could get up the stage, the whiteboard in front suddenly darkened, then swirled. A sure sign that a portal was opening.
"Uh, Sikowitz," Beck called out.
"Pipe down," he told Beck. "You'll be joining the next exercise. Just not this one, to give others a chance."
"It's not that." Robbie said. "Turn around!"
"What?" gaping in shock, Sikowitz could only stare at the swirling board.
"Hello, Erwin," a disembodied voice called out. "Don't tell me you have already forgotten about me."
"Run!" Sikowitz suddenly yelled as he ran for the door. But he quickly found out that it was locked.
"Sikowitz's first name is Erwin?" Andre asked in shock.
Suddenly, a face popped out of the portal. He then slowly pulled himself into the room, body part by body part.
He looked like an ordinary man, with thinning red hair, round face and average body. He was dressed in a salmon-colored polo shirt, gray slacks and shiny black leather shoes.
"It's time to pay the piper, Sikowitz." the stranger said.
"No!" Sikowitz cried out, trying to transport himself out of the room using his magic, to no avail.
The students, on the other hand, were frozen in place. It was as if invisible bands had wrapped around their bodies, holding them into place.
The man grabbed Sikowitz by the arms and started pulling. The man must be stronger than he looked because although Sikowitz was bigger (and a wizard to boot), the stranger was able to drag him into the portal.
"Wait!" Cat cried out. "Where are you taking him?"
"To the underworld." the stranger explained. "We had a deal, you see. I give him powers beyond his imaginings, and in exchange, he takes my place in the Underworld."
"Nooooo! It had only been ten years! You promised me a hundred years of power!" Sikowitz cried out.
"I lied!" and with that pronouncement, the stranger laughed and was able to successfully pull Sikowitz into the board-turned-portal. After sucking in the struggling duo, the board returned to its normal state.
And as if an invisible fist was released, the entire classroom began talking at once.
"I'll call Helen!" Tori cried out as she ran out the doors (which had magically unlocked themselves).
"We gotta do something!" Cat cried. "We gotta save Sikowitz!"
The Guardians of Hollywood Arts gathered the students into the school gym.
"The most important thing is for everyone to calm down," Guardian Helen was saying from the makeshift stage. "We are doing everything we can to stop another portal from opening here again."
"But that doesn't help Sikowitz at all!" Cat sobbed from the bleachers.
Hesitantly, Andre patted the girl's back. "There, there."
"Guardian Lane is trying to contact the Ruler of the Underworld to verify what had just happened." Helen continued.
Cat cried harder.
"If only there was some way we could get Sikowitz back." Tori muttered to herself.
Robbie, who was playing with his PearPad, said, "Maybe there is."
"What do you mean?" Beck asked, curious.
"Apparently, there's an entrance to the Underworld right here in Hollywood," Robbie said. "It's right by the Y."
"What Y?" Andre asked.
"The Y in the Hollywood sign." Robbie replied.
"Isn't it illegal to walk to the signage?" Tori asked. "I don't wanna be arrested."
At this point, Cat had stopped crying and started listening to her friends' conversation.
"It's illegal for humans," Beck grinned. "But we're not humans, are we?"
Cat grabbed Tori's and Andre's hands. "We can go to the underworld and rescue Sikowitz?" she asked. "Let's do that! I wanna do that!"
"Robbie, does it say how we can open the Underworld from the Y?" Andre asked.
"Wait. Searching." Robbie tapped on his PearPad. "Well, the easiest way is to die."
"Is there any other way?" Andre said, trying to hold on to his patience. "Without the dying?"
"We could find the Acheron River, cross it, get past the three-headed dog and then walk our way into the Underworld." Robbie replied.
"You make it sound so easy." Tori said doubtfully.
But Cat had already started bouncing up and down. "Does that mean we could save Sikowitz?"
"I guess it does," Beck shrugged.
"Let's do it now! Come on!" without waiting for an answer, Cat got up and started tugging Beck's arm. "Let's go! Hurry up!"
"Okay. We're here at the Y," Tori declared. "Now what?"
Using preternatural speed of werewolves, vampires and unicorns, the teenagers made it to the Hollywood sign in record time, leaving behind humans scratching their heads over what tripped off their motion detectors and electric fences.
"I guess we'll look for the way to Acheron River," Beck stated as he hopped down from Cat the unicorn's back. He held up a hand to assist Tori down.
Cat neighed started poking around using her horn.
But after fifteen minutes of running around looking for an entrance, a frustrated Andre groaned, "This is hopeless! Maybe the Internet was wrong!"
"The Internet is never wrong!" Robbie gasped, scandalized.
"We'll never get Sikowitz back!" Cat cried out as she shifted from unicorn to little girl.
"Guys, come on," Tori tried to comfort her friends. "If finding the entrance to the underworld was easy, then everyone who has a dead relative will go there. So we just have to try harder."
Hours later, the night had fallen, without any results. They had searched the entire sign, from H to D, in vain.
Cat started crying.
"Cat," Tori sighed. "Don't be like that."
"Yeah, Lil' Red. Maybe this was the wrong entrance. We'll try again tomorrow." Andre said.
"Promise?" Cat asked.
"Yeah. Now, let's go home before our parents freak out," Andre said.
But as they were making their way down from the sign, their way was blocked by a girl about their age.
She was pretty and pale, wearing a white, flowing gown which covered her entire body save for her arms. Cat found that weird. It wasn't prom season yet, so maybe she came from a party?
Her thick, dark hair flowed down her back and she was wearing a crown of dark flowers. She didn't wear any jewelries, but she didn't need to. Her sparkling blue eyes and her pouty red lips more than made up for her lack of adornments.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" the mysterious girl demanded.
"Who are you?" Tori asked back.
The girl let out a short groan and rolled her eyes. "Just move it then. You're in my way."
"Wait. We're in your way?" Beck, who had perked up at the sight of the pretty girl, asked. "On your way where?"
The girl frowned. "None of your business."
"Do you live around here?" Robbie tried to fish for information.
"Which part of none of your business did you not understand?" the girl asked.
"Hello, mysterious girl," Cat interjected. "Maybe you could help us. We're looking for our teacher, Mr. Sikowitz who was dragged down into Hades against his will."
"Cat!" Tori tried to stop her from saying too much.
The girl stared at Cat. "A unicorn? I haven't seen one in a while."
Cat squealed. "You know about me?" she clapped her hands in excitement. "I'm Cat!"
"You're sacrificing a unicorn for the soul you're about to save? That must be some pretty important teacher. I'm impressed." the girl stated.
"WHAT?" Cat cried as she tried to hide behind Andre. "I'm not the sacrifice!"
The girl moved closer to them. "If you're not the sacrifice then who is?" she turned to Beck and Tori. "I see a werewolf and a vampire. I don't know what the other two are, but they're not exactly human."
"Okay," Tori said, holding on to Beck's arm for comfort. "Officially freaked out now."
"We're not sacrificing anybody," Beck said firmly.
"Too bad." the girl shrugged. "Sacrificing the unicorn would have gotten you ten souls, minimum."
Cat let out a painful squeal.
Andre moved in front of Cat, further shielding her from the weird girl's view.
"You mean to tell me that you're going to the Underworld without bringing anything?" the girl asked.
"We brought food!" Robbie said defensively. "Because we know you're not supposed to eat anything down there."
"You're doomed." the girl said as she began walking forward.
"Wait," Beck grabbed the girl as she passed by him.
"Never touch me!" the girl shook off Beck's grip.
"Sorry," Beck raised his hands in mock surrender. "But you seem to know a lot about the Underworld. Help us?" he gave his best puppy dog look.
The girl crossed her arms. "What's in it for me?"
The friends looked at each other.
"Can we interest you in a bag of food?" Robbie ventured.
The girl stepped towards Robbie who whimpered and stepped back.
"Just gimme the bag." the girl growled as she grabbed the backpack from Robbie. She rummaged inside and brought out a bar of chocolate. She sniffed it and took a bite.
"Whoa!" Tori's eyes widened. "Um, you're supposed to take off the wrap—never mind!" she said when the girl threw the bar away and glared at Tori.
Next, the girl brought out a thermos. She sniffed again, but just as she was about to take another bite, it was snatched out of her hands by Beck.
"Hey!" the girl protested.
"Let me help." Beck said as he unscrewed the top. "Tell me this isn't blood, Robbie." he whispered to the vampire.
"It's not blood," Robbie confirmed.
"Good." Beck poured the liquid into the top and handed it to the girl. A bittersweet aroma filled the air. "Here."
Glaring at Beck, the girl took the cup and sniffed it suspiciously. She took a sip and her eyes widened. She downed the drink in one gulp. "More!" she said as she handed back the cup to Beck.
"Sure," Beck grinned. "But first, tell us your name." he poured more coffee into the cup, but holding it just out of the girl's reach.
"Beck!" Andre hissed, not really surprised at his friend's audacity when it comes to pretty girls.
"It's Jade," she said as she snatched the cup back from Beck. "What is this brew?"
"Hey, Jade." Beck grinned. "The name's Beck."
"Dude!" Andre cried out. "I don't think this is the right time."
Beck shrugged. "It's coffee," he said as he handed the thermos to Jade.
"If I help you and you succeed in your journey, will you tell me where to get more of this?" Jade asked as she poured the last of the coffee into her cup and threw away the thermos.
"Well, you can just get them from—" Robbie began, but his mouth was covered by Andre before he can finish.
"Sure," Tori said. "We'll tell you where to get the coffee."
"And would you consider it successful if only one of you makes it out alive?" Jade continued.
A resounding "No!" was her answer.
"If that's the case, then I would insist that the unicorn and the vampire stay behind." Jade said before draining her latest cup of coffee.
"I don't wanna stay behind!" Cat cried out. "I wanna save Sikowitz!"
"Yeah," Tori interjected. "Why does she have to stay behind?"
"Do any of you have any idea how sweet a unicorn's blood is?" Jade asked. "Just ask the vampire here. And there's more than a few bloodsuckers in the underworld who would kill their own mothers for a drop of unicorn blood."
"Eep!" Cat, once again, tried to find solace behind Andre.
"Why does Robbie have to stay, too?" Andre asked.
At Jade's puzzled frown, Andre motioned to Robbie. "Robbie's the vampire. I'm Andre the werewolf, and that's Tori the siren."
"A siren? That's out of the water?" Jade asked Tori suspiciously.
"I'm half human," Tori told her.
"There is only one siren in history that turned her back on her heritage and walked the world of mortals." Jade looked at Tori in consideration. "Your mother is Holly?"
"You know my mom?" Tori asked in excitement.
"Who does not know of the siren who debased herself and her heritage because of love?" Jade scoffed.
"Oh." Tori frowned. How come her parents never told her about that?
"Back to me!" Robbie whined. "Why can't I come, too?"
"Because you're not alive." Jade said simply. "The underworld would identify you as one of its own and would refuse to release you. So unless you want to stay there for eternity, I strongly suggest you stay with the unicorn."
"I'll be keeping Cat company, then." Robbie nodded.
"That's what I thought." Jade said. "Although I feel that I must warn you. No ordinary mortal had succeeded in an attempts to bring out a soul from the underworld. Only heroes were able to do that."
"We're no mortals," Beck assured her. "We're ready and we'll succeed."
"We're ready, you said. We'll succeed, you said." Jade grumbled, sarcasm dripping from every letter. "But you don't have anything to pay Charon?"
(It had been ridiculously easy to reach the entrance of the underworld. All you have to do is walk straight into the Y.)
"All we have is fifty dollars!" Tori said, glancing nervously at Charon, the mysterious figure inside the boat that would allow then to cross Acheron River. He was dressed in a black robe with a hood that hid his face. All they could see of him was his thin, skeletal arms.
"Charon does not accept paper money. He wants to be paid in coins." Jade told them.
"Why?" Andre asked.
Charon gurgled his reply.
"Because," Jade translated. "He said doesn't want the time to come that he'd be expected to accept checks or credit cards for his next passengers. Then he said a particularly bad word that has no English translation." she frowned. "Checks and credit cards? I don't know what those are, but he loathes them."
"Wait." Andre said. "Would he accept gold and silver?" he asked as he removed his necklace.
Beck did the same, along with his rings and bracelets.
"I only have my feather earring," Tori said, but she removed it nonetheless.
All the jewelry collected were handed to Jade who looked at it doubtfully. Jade turned to Charon and spoke in the same language he was speaking. Then, Jade approached him and handed to loot to him. "It must be your lucky day. All aboard." Jade called out.
Once Beck, Tori and Andre were situated inside the boat, Beck held out a hand to help Jade go in.
"I don't think so." Jade told them. "I'll see you on the other side. Be careful of Cerberus, though."
The boat ride could only be described as long and tiresome. Charon was eerily silent. Once, they were ashore, however, he immediately turned around and left them.
"Wait!" Tori cried out. "How are we gonna get back?"
"We'll just cross that bridge when we get there, Tori." Andre told her.
And they haven't walked a few steps when they encountered a sleeping three-headed dog. It was black and huge. Its smallest head was as tall as Beck and five times as large.
"That must be Cerberus," Andre gulped.
Cerberus was large and intimidating, and would discourage all but the most persistent person. However, directly behind the dog was a huge gate, which would surely lead to the underworld.
"What was the plan with the dog again?" Tori asked in a whisper.
"We had a plan?" Beck asked.
"Music!" Andre suddenly piped up. "I remember that music can soothe the wild beasts."
"Plan: try not to wake the dog." Beck said. "But if he does, Tori, you start singing."
"I get to sing?" Tori was excited. She loves to sing! "But what about you? I don't want to lure you to your doom!"
Beck and Andre looked at each other. They had never heard Tori sang before but heard rumors of its effect.
"We'll cover our ears." Andre told Tori.
"I'm immortal," Beck shrugged. "If I'm lured to my doom, I would just bounce right back."
"Okay, if I start singing, cover your ears and whatever you do, do not go into the water!" Tori reminded the boys.
"Got it!" Andre said.
The three of them then made their was towards the gate, as quiet as they could.
But the sleeping Cerberus started sniffing. Then one of the head's eyes popped open. It let out a whine before it became instantly alert. It gave out a loud growl that awoken the two other heads.
And then, it spotted Tori, Beck and Andre.
"Tori! Sing!" Andre called out.
And Tori started belting out the lyrics to My Best Friend's Brother.
"A pop song, really?" Andre asked before he was captivated by Tori's voice.
"That's really pretty," Beck whispered as he moved closer to Tori.
"I know. She's really pretty," Andre agreed, touching the ends of Tori's hair.
Cerberus, on the other hand, let out a whine, before it lied down and closed all sets of eyes.
"Tori, I think I'm in love with you," Beck whispered.
"No, Tori! I love you more," Andre said.
Tori stopped singing. "Is this really the time?" she snapped, outraged that her performance was interrupted.
Enraged that the music stopped, Cerberus' heads snapped up. It barked in warning before lunging at the teenagers.
"Why did you stop singing?" Andre screamed as he grabbed Tori's wrist to drag her to safety.
"Because the two of you were irritating!" Tori snapped back as she started to run as fast as her feet would carry her. "I was signing and instead of listening, the two of you were yapping and yapping! That was so rude!"
"We'll table this discussion for later." Beck told the bickering duo.
But the dog was too fast.
Just as Cerberus' huge jaws were reaching down to snap at them (it was symmetrical, really. There were three heads and three of them), a commanding voice boomed, "Cerbie, heel!"
The dog let out an annoyed whine but obediently sat on its butt.
"Jade! You saved us!" Beck called out as he saw the girl walk from the gate to the dog.
"You still owe me coffee," Jade shrugged as she scratched the dog on its leg. The dog's butt started wiggling. "Well, what are you waiting for? Go through the gate."
Without any further prodding, the trio ran inside and were awed by the large, old mansion that sprawled before them.
"That's the underworld?" Tori asked. "Somehow, I was picturing it as more sinister."
"Some people live in it. Why not make it as homey as possible?" Andre joked.
Then, the three jerked in surprise when they heard the metal gates closing behind them.
"So do we start looking for Sikowitz?" Tori asked.
"No." Jade suddenly appeared in front of them.
"What? Weren't you just out there?" Andre scratched his head, surprised at the girl's sudden appearance.
But he was ignored by Jade. "You must first go to Hades. You don't visit a castle without paying your respects to the king. That would be rude."
"I don't like the sound of that." Tori whined.
"Suck it up." Jade rolled her eyes. "Now, you enter through that door and proceed straight ahead until you see the dining area. Hades is there. And whatever you do, do not, under any circumstance, open any of the doors, unless you want to join the poor souls inside."
"Straight until the dining area. Do not open any doors." Tori muttered to herself. "Got it." she beamed.
"Is she always this irritating?" Jade asked the boys.
The boys hemmed and hawed, trying not to answer the question, but afraid to ignore it at the same time lest they offend their guide.
Jade rolled her eyes. "Well, get going then. I don't have all night. I have a life, you know."
Following Jade's instructions, the trio made it to the dining hall. Dominating the room was a very long table loaded with enough food to feed an army.
Candelabras were placed intermittently on the wall, the room's only source of light.
"What do we have here?" a disembodied voice boomed. "Guests? What are children doing in my home?"
Something moved from the darkest corner of the room.
"Wait. Not just ordinary children, but children of the Other World's most illustrious heroes and legends." the voice continued. "Interesting."
The frightened teens were able to make out an outline of a man. Was this the fearsome Hades?
When the light shed out the man's features, they were surprised.
The man was distinguished looking, with old (and flat) brown eyes framed by thick eyebrows, a long nose and thin lips pursed in disapproval. His chiseled face was topped with thick, light brown hair. On his broad shoulders hang a navy three-piece suit that Tori saw businessmen wear. He was, in a word, ordinary looking and not how she imagined someone from the underworld would look like.
"Well?" the man prompted.
"You're Hades?" Andre asked in disbelief. "As in the Lord of the Underworld?"
"Yes." came the short reply.
"Somehow I imagined you to be taller. And more atrocious." Tori said.
"I could be." Hades replied with a smile that gave the teenagers chills. "I just thought this would be easier for you. You are, after all, children. But would you like me to show you my true form?"
"No." Beck replied quickly. "We're all good."
"Very well," Hades indicated to the table. "You caught me just in time for dinner. Why don't you join me?"
Gingerly, the trio sat themselves on the table.
"So what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" Hades asked as he took his own seat at the head of the table.
"We're here for our teacher, Erwin Sikowitz." Tori replied then suppressed a shudder when she saw a green bottle float at her side which proceeded to pour wine into the goblet nearest her.
"Ah, yes. The magician who bargained his soul for a few years of unimaginable power." Hades said as he carved out the turkey. Afterwards, he served large portions thereof to his guests.
"We're here to ask for him back." Andre said as he toyed with his food. The smell was overwhelmingly tempting, but he resisted, not wanting to live in the Underworld forever.
"And what will you give for me in exchange?" Hades asked.
The friends exchanged a look.
"Well, we figured he got cheated." Beck told Hades. "According to the agreement, he would give his soul for a hundred years of power but he only got ten. Technically, he's still got ninety years left."
"Yes!" Tori piped in. "It's not fair!"
Hades' eyes narrowed. "So you came her empty-handed to tell me that you find how I run my Kingdom and my people unfair?"
"Yes?" Andre replied, more of a question than an answer.
The eyes of Hades changed from brown to a burning red. His body also shifted so subtly such that the teenagers wouldn't be able to describe how he did change, but they knew that the ordinary looking man was gone, to be replaced by the Lord of the Underworld.
Tori felt her hair stood on end as her heart attempted to escape from her ribcage.
"Will you stop terrorizing my guests?" a new voice entered the conversation.
Beck perked up when he saw, from the other end of the table, Jade West slouched negligently on the chair, both of her feet up on the table. "Jade!"
Tori and Andre let out sighs of relief. Jade had helped them to get so far, surely she won't fail them now!
"These three are your friends?" Hades asked Jade in disbelief.
"I said guests, not friends," Jade replied, undaunted by the threat of unleashed violence in Hades.
"Jade," Beck hissed in warning. While grateful that Jade was coming to their rescue, he didn't want her to suffer because of their idiocy.
"So what do you want me to do?" Hades demanded. "You want me to break thousand of years of tradition and release their teacher to them without any sacrifices on their part?"
"Yes," Jade shrugged.
"No!" Hades growled. "Not while I am the Lord of this World."
Jade slowly removed her feet from the table and sat up properly. "Then maybe it's time for the current Lord to abdicate his throne to give way to fresher blood." she said, her eyes narrowed.
"You mean you? You couldn't even do any job here properly!" Hades laughed bitterly as he stood up and started pacing the length of the dining room.
"But that's why I stay here right? That's why you forbade me to go to with my mother to her family? So I could be prepared for the day that I sit on your throne," Jade told him.
Andre's eyes widened. Sit on Hades' throne? Just who was this girl?
"You tried ferrying souls through the Acheron River, but you're not even halfway to your destination when you push out your passengers," Hades carried on, as if he didn't hear Jade.
"They irritated me," Jade gave a closed-lipped smile as she leaned back on her chair, obviously delighting in Hades' frustration.
"I put you in charge of Cerberus and you turn him into your lap dog!" Hades continued. "I asked you to fetch the souls of the recently-departed, but you accidentally-on-purpose leave them on above-ground to haunt their enemies forever!"
"Fun times," Jade told him.
"And now you want to take over the throne?" Hades screamed in conclusion.
"Well," Jade smirked. "I don't want to take over the throne. But I will, if I have to. And I know my mother's family would only be glad to help. You know that regardless of the amount of time that had passed, they are still counting the days that they exact their revenge on you."
Beck, Tori and Andre could only stare at the duo's exchanges, helpless to do anything and not wanting to draw attention to themselves.
And like a frustrated father with a hopelessly rebellious teenaged daughter, Hades threw both hands in the air. "Fine. Do whatever you want." and he stalked back to his end of the table and—was Hades pouting?
"What just happened?" Tori asked, her nose wrinkled in confusion.
"Apparently, you just got your teacher back." Jade told Tori with a roll of her eyes.
"Oh, yey!" Tori clapped her hands. "So where is he?"
"For old time's sake, let's do this the traditional way." Jade told them. "You have to go back the way you come from without looking back. Your teacher will be following you. Can you do that? Because if you can't, even if you so much as peek behind you, his soul would be lost forever and not even I would be able to get him back."
"That sounds fair enough," Andre said as he stood up.
Tori did too.
But Beck lingered a bit. "Wait." he said as he approached Jade. "Will I see you again?"
"Of course you'll be seeing me again." Jade retorted. "You still owe me the coffee."
"My own daughter betrays me for the Upper World's brew?" Hades couldn't help but growl from his corner.
"Your daughter?" Andre and Tori chorused in disbelief.
Even Beck started at that. "You're his daughter? You're the daughter of the Lord of the Underworld?"
"Unfortunately," Jade sighed deeply. "Well, get going before I change my mind. You're beginning to give me a rash." and with that parting shot, Jade disappeared right from their very eyes.
Two weeks had passed since the rescue of Erwin Sikowitz and there was still no word from Jade.
But Beck was not losing hope. She said she would come to them (for the coffee, she said. But Beck chose to believe that the coffee was just an excuse. Like him, she wanted to see him again).
He knew he was brooding. And his hair was beginning to suffer from his benign neglect. But lately, all his thoughts were consumed with the girl who went toe-to-toe with the Lord of the Dead and came out victorious (even if he is her father).
So one day, while waiting for Sikowitz to arrive for their Improv class, Beck was toying with the idea of visiting her and bringing her coffee.
Sikowitz arrived at the room, none the worse for wear after his adventure in the Underworld. "Class!" he greeted them in his usual hyper fashion. "We have a new student today. Let's all make her feel welcome."
And a large, idiotic grin bloomed on Beck's face when the door opened and revealed their new classmate.
It was Jade, the daughter of Hades.
And all was right in Beck's perfect world again.
Jade was here.
Now if he could only make her his.