disclaimer: PJO and HoO belongs to Uncle Rick, I only own the invented characters and the plotline of this story. Enjoy!
Because a child of Venus isn't just like an Aphrodite's kid.
When Diego Bellavista first arrived to Camp Jupiter, he hadn't expected at all what he saw. Not just about the city, or that the place was huge - the 'kids' there gave him a grateful surprise.
He was one of the few demigods that knew both about the greeks and romans (one of the reasons he was so disappointed when he was told his godly parent was Venus, Aphrodite's roman counterpart) and had been near greeks almost his entire life, in school, his neighborhood... he grew up knowing that myths were true.
And also knowing he couldn't tell the truth about the gods' double-sided forms.
Still, he thought he may have been lucky and his godly parent would come for him sometime soon. After his mother's death, Argentina got awfully awkward to him, and as he noticed how most people of his age -or at least those he was close to- were greek demigods, the ADHD he was diagnosed with when he was younger started to give him more hope than hyper-attacks, even when he had no dyslexia and never understood greek, ancient nor modern. But he admired them, the stories, everything. He wanted to be just like his friends.
But it isn't easy for a 14-year-old child to become an orphan. His mother, Laura, had money enough during her life to give him a comfortable living state. He went to a nice private school, played rugby like a pro in a club, and had a large amount of girls kissing the ground he walked on; ok, maybe that's not related to his mother, but it's still true. He had what the girls in his school called 'a sdlkfdskcanIf*ckyousdkfj look' - eyes of time, those that change color depending on the weather; wavy short copper hair, and a smile (the second most beautiful her mother had ever seen) that had been crowned with a cute little dimple in the left side.
When she died, he felt that the ground had been taken from his feet. He felt nausea while in Buenos Aires, and could barely step in his own house. His mother had broken up with her last boyfriend about a year before the car accident, but the man had been assigned in her will as Diego's guardian, as well as the administrator of Laura's (Diego's) money until he reached the age of 18. At least they got along and he knew his almost stepfather was a nice man, who was never mainly interested in the Bellavista fortune, as he had his own. Diego knew wasn't that alone.
But he missed his mother, her lovely ways and graceful smile. He missed her hot cocoa with vanillas, and how she always woke him up with tango music, to which he would growl at and she would laugh and put on the radio. He wondered why the fates hated him so. He wondered why her.
Around a year after her death, he started to hang out more with the demigods. They liked him for some reason (mostly the girls) and he liked them back. Even when it wasn't a checked fact that he was or not a demigod, no one dared to challenge him on that. And whenever monsters atacked, he couldn't help but to think that it wasn't because of him. He had been surrounded by actual demigods, and if he could fight them it was because he could either see through the mist or some god wanted him to. Or years gave him practice.
At the time he lived with Tomás, his guardian, in his house with his ten-year-old twin daughters. None of them knew about Diego's father, or at least he thought so, until one day Tomás called him to his office.
He never did that, though. He would just talk to Diego in his room, the kitchen, or some other public space in the house. He thought it must've been a serious matter if he called him in private, so he hurried up the stairs.
Diego was shocked. There isn't other way to describe his reaction at what Tomás told him.
Now, let's take a pause in this story to make sure this: he was 15 then, orphan 24/7, and when he was younger he never dared to ask his mom about his father, since he did only once and her eyes got watery right away. He assured her not to worry, and never asked her again, but his curiosity only grew larger in him. So, he didn't know if he was a demigod. And, then, he only knew about the greek ones.
So when Tomás told him to sit down in the chair before his desk, Diego couldn't help but notice how sad, preoccupied and nervous he looked. He raised an eyebrow at this, but Tomás payed no attention. He knew it was the better to start soon.
"So, what happened? You look awful." Diego remembers he said in fluent river-plate-spanish accent, and then laughed to give it less importance. Tomás didn't laugh, so he started to worry.
We could resume it like this: Laura had told Tomás everything. Even what Diego didn't know.
She was 24 then, both her parents had died because of their elderly age, and she had no siblings. Still, she was succesful in her career, her parents left for her a large bank account that allowed her to get almost everything she wanted, and her friends kept her occupied whenever she felt like crying for any reason. She was charming, utterly gorgeous, and had a wonderful path in life.
In november, a few days before her 25th birthday, her company decided to celebrate a party because of the opening of some of their stores in the US. She had been chosen to inaugurate the one in New York, and she flew that very day to do so. They had another party there - bigger and classier. She was young, so why not to have fun? She knew it'd be an interesting night when she locked eyes with the most breathtaking guy she had ever seen.
You know how gods can change their appearance, right? Since Aphr- sorry, Venus- is the goddess of love, beauty, lust and attraction, she's the master at it. Of course, she can decide to be either a female or male. Seems like that night she decided for the last.
They started what could be called a relationship. Laura, as she came from a rather wealthy family, was instructed in quantity of languages, and was very wise and cultured. They spoke to each other in french, spended time together, and soon he told her how is real form was Venus, the roman goddess. Laura could've reacted in very many ways, though open-mindedly she just accepted it. But she knew about mythology and how the mortal parents of heroes ended up.
Yes, she was pregnant with his child then. She couldn't help to imagine a life with him, but knew that it'd only make the leaving harder for her. With a belly in its seventh month and not saying a word, she left to Argentina.
She had investigated about the matter, and demigods weren't that rare. She found a quite established community of them in Buenos Aires, surprisingly near the neighborhood she had grown up in. A friend of hers got an express ticket plane for her and the next day she was there, purchasing a house she thought would work for the child and her to live in. She was sad, but eventually let go every memory she held of him as he never tried to find her or bring her back.
That said, Tomás told Diego not to say a word about the roman demigods nor gods to his greeks friends, as he stated it was dangerous and could easily lead to war. He also told him about Camp Jupiter, and how soon they would be going there, for his own sake. Tomás started to 'train' him -if we mean it as a synonim of putting him in a militar school for months, to which Diego surprisingly agreed, saying it was a good idea to work a little harder so he could keep up with all the other children at camp- and write his reference letter, swearing to himself he would make Diego get to at least the third cohort. Yes again, Tomás knew a lot of the matter too.
As to Diego, he had a lot of information to digest. His mother had taken Venus' gender shift with ease, but he was almost disgusted. 'How?' was all his mind could think of. But that was nothing in comparison to... He couldn't believe it! He'd met lots of Aphrodite children, and he just couldn't see how he fitted there. It wasn't all looks, it was also personality, and he was no Barbie's Ken.
Time flew, he'd be 16 in just months, and he was standing in the airport by himself, frightened. Tomás said they'd have to go different ways, and Diego had to find his own. How? He had no idea.
Apparently Lupa liked his strength, because he made it through the Wolf House easily, going after each challenge he had been presented to. Soon he was in Camp Jupiter and, to his surprise, in the second cohort. Tomás did a great job and Diego felt like he owned him more than one.
A girl in his cohort, which held around 20-something children, volunteered to show him the place. It took some days as it was enormous, but it didn't take long for him to become familiar with its locations, including New Rome. He liked the place, he felt that he needed the discipline. At least while he was occupied, he didn't think much about his parentage.
He knew who his 'father' was, yet he wasn't claimed. That didn't stop the girls to chase him around, though. He was the only son of Venus enabled unless they wanted to chase the nine-year-old one- and even his sisters eyed him ever so often. Then came his surprise.
Are you familiar to the Aphrodite girls? Diego is, and he can count with one hand how many of them he likes. They don't raise a single finger for anything, fearing they'll break a nail. 'Sorry for you and you expensive manicure, but if you didn't know you're a demigod and you're SUPPOSED TO FIGHT.' that's what he felt like saying whenever he came across one of them, though a few were nice enough not to look like bratz wannabes to him.
And when it comes to Aphrodite boys, he hates them. Are they his alter-egos? He shivers whenever he thinks about it.
Related to this was his biggest Camp Jupiter's surprise. He knew how the gods' roman counterparts were more disciplined, militaristic and warlike, but he honestly didn't expect it to happen with his siblings. He thought he was a rare exception, but nope.
When he met Charlotte Beauyeux, his resolution weakened. She was an old Venus legacy, just-turned-sixteen light-eyed beauty. And the best swordswoman at camp. She was in the fourth cohort (her parents' letter was bad enough, but not bad enough) and he was absolutely wonderstruck at her. She was strong, but she was also funny, enchanting, beautiful... and many other adjectives that made Diego want to drool. And she was smart - smart enough to leave him speechless whenever they talked about anything. The entire camp knew he was crazy about her before he did.
But what caught his eye was that, aside her gorgeous looks, you could never know she's related to Venus. Even his sisters, who were brave enough to have made it through the Wolf House alive and were really good fighters, had Venus-ish characteristics. Lottie did not. Well, she was a seductress, but it was in her nature. She didn't try, she was no charmspeaker, and her only smile stole Diego's attention. She didn't dress to call for the spotlight, and didn't run around flirting with every boy who came across her (as his sisters do). She was herself, and according to the goddess herself, that's what real beauty is about.
Diego is 21 now. He's about to leave camp and go to New Rome, where he plans to pursue college and probably get a job. His left forearm has a tattoo that says SPQR with a dove above, and under the words it has six bold lines, like a bar code. Tonight, Camp Jupiter celebrates before their praetor leaves for college. It'll also be new year, and Diego plans to spend the last day of the XX century the best he can.
Before he reaches the fourth cohort, Charlotte steps out of it, three bags in each hand as she tries to walk down the short stairs without tripping over. She's just placed one on the grass floor and Diego's already there, taking the other one away from her reach -he's at least five inches taller than her- and holding it up in the aire, laughing as she tries to catch it unsuccessfully. She pouts, and narrows her eyes, and jumps again, and threatens her boyfriend with screaming if he doesn't put it down, but all he asks for before he does so is a kiss. She tries to look mad when she gives in, but soon the fake-coughing pedestrians remember them that they are outside of her cohort, both breathing heavily as they were kissing passionately - thus making a scene for minutes. Charlotte blushes and Diego cannot keep himself from pulling behind her ear a wild strand of hair that escaped her ponytail. Her cheeks get more flushed and she chuckles, trying to break apart from him to finish her duty. He offers to help her and both of them get ready to start.
They have been together for a while now, years. Charlotte started college around three months ago, and he couldn't wait to finish his last tasks at camp to follow her (even though she usually helped the younger children at camp, so they did see each other often). He did, though, just in time. His stuff was now packed and all that kept him there was the New Year Party. He was so looking forward to see the fireworks with her, as ever since they started to date, they never had the chance to. They were both excited and he planned the night to be perfect.
He's nervous, that's obvious. She pretends to be specially interested in thread of her blouse that got out, but she's just as anxious as he is. As a legacy, she's good at sensing future, and something's got her nearly dancing on her tiptoes.
MWAHAHAHAHAH. I had originally planned this to be a one-shot (still do), but, oh well... what do you guys think? PLEASE, R&R!
P.S.: Points to those that guess the meaning of their surnames ;)