So, this chapter has been written for months, gathering dust on my desktop as I tried to figure out where the hell I'm going with this story. I've spent the time trying to put together something like a plan about the future chapters, so I don't, you know, forget anything but it has proved to be harder than I thought, because usually the ideas come to me when I start writing the chapters, which means there is no way of planning ahead. I did manage to make some vague outlines though, note down the important events, which helpfully will help.
I'll be probably changing the summary of Daughter of Broken Vows as well, because honestly, I've disliked it for a while and it's high time I did something about it.
Also, if anyone reads my other stories as well, I'll probably update Saints and Sinners (A fem!Harry/Tom Riddle fanfic, for those who do not know) tonight and Iris tomorrow. I can't make any promises about A Drop In The Ocean but I'll try to finish its next chapter as well and have it uploaded before the end of the week.
And most importantly, I'll be posting a new Percy Jackson fanfiction tonight! Yay! It will be called The Darkest Hour and will feature fem!Percy/Zeus in a world after the Titans won the war. If you are curious about it and the pairing, feel free to check it out (Just a warning - it will be rated M).
Daughter of Broken Vows
Way Too Many Visitors
"Jackson! Table Five are waiting for their coffees!" My boss' angry voice echoed in my ears, making me roll my eyes and hurry up wiping the table I was currently cleaning. Yes, you heard right, I was cleaning tables. Yes, I was working as a waitress in a normal, perfectly mundane diner, spending most of my days wiping tables and taking orders from ungrateful people who were A) Too busy to cook at home or B) Too lazy to be bothered to do it. Not what you imagine when you think of the daughter of Poseidon and Artemis, is it?
But as much as she kept denying it, Sally needed the help. Even with Gabe out of our life for good (how wonderful these words sound put together) and not having to pay for his beer and poker parties, my mom still had to work two jobs to provide for us, which I refused to allow.
So I got myself a job. And while the boss was an annoying little fucker and the clients were just as bad, the tips were more than enough to keep me somewhat satisfied. Apparently it paid to be a pretty girl when most of the patrons were men.
Why don't I send you to my Uncle? I bet I could talk him into finding you a nice spot in soul-woven cloak. Maybe even in his underwear, if you're lucky.
Gods, the man was irritating! From day one at the job when I had refused his advances (pervert!) he had decided I was the most terrible, offending creature to have graced this earth. In fact he would have probably fired me soon after if I wasn't actually good at my job and well-liked by the patrons (and yes, I did manage not to tell them what I thought of them within hearing range.).
Dropping the rag I had used in the sink, I shared a long-suffering look with Maggie, the other girl on shift, before grabbing the serving tray and making my way towards table five.
"Good morning, Mr. Thomas," The smile fixed itself on my face despite my previous bad mood. Mr Thomas was an elderly man who came in the diner every single morning to have breakfast and read his newspaper. He was always kind to me and always left a big tip, saying how I would need the money more than him.
"Good morning, my girl!" Mr. Thomas replied smilingly, eyes twinkling behind his glasses. He was just the grandfather I've wanted as a kid, always having a story and a smile ready for when you were feeling down. Unfortunately, with my luck, one of my grandfathers had eaten his children at birth and the other one thought I was blight on this Earth. "How are you today?"
"Considering I've got three more hours of work left – not so great!" I told him, glancing down at my watch and prompting a chuckle out of him. "The usual, I suppose?"
The next two hours passed the same way, the only difference being when beautiful young girl, probably around my age, entered and headed straight for the table Mr. Thomas sat at. I could not help but glance at them as I served the other patrons, eyebrows rising when I found them in what seemed to be a heated argument. I would have thought she was his granddaughter or something if I didn't know for a fact that Mr. Thomas had no children.
Worried about my friend, I headed in their direction, fixing a polite though fake smile onto my face. Gods, why didn't anyone told me that being polite is so exhausting?
They had obviously not noticed my approach, so I cleared my throat to attract their attention. "May I help you?"
The girl, probably a year or two younger than me, glared in my direction before turning back towards the old man. "So that's why you're here?" She gestured at me. "Olympus' newest curiosity?" Ice washed over me at the mention of the Greek world, my hand shooting automatically towards Riptide which was in his hair-clip form.
Mr. Thomas or whatever his real name was saw the movement. "Now, my dear, there is no need for that." He said soothingly. "We don't mean you any harm." From the way the girl was glaring at me I was pretty sure she meant me some harm.
"Who are you?" I asked tersely, not letting my arm drop. "And what do you want from me?"
"I am Geras, the minor god old age and this here" He waved towards the fuming girl. "- is Hebe, the personification of youth. We are just two insignificant deities, who were curious to see the first goddess born in a thousand years."
"Who are you calling insignificant, you senile old goat!" The girl, Hebe, snapped before launching into a tirade about her significance, leaving me to glance between the two of them, like at a tennis match. They could have probably argued for hours by the look of it, had I the patience not to interrupt. Which of course I didn't have.
"Do you always argue like an old married couple? Or is the show especially for me?"
Hebe paused mid sentence, turning her angry eyes towards me.
"As if I would marry him!" The goddess exclaimed in disgust, turning her nose up. "My husband is the greatest hero who'd ever lived!"
Andre, don't you dare make her angrier- "Batman?" The screech she gave was pure gold. I was actually surprised the other patrons ignored the noise coming from this table, though the two minor deities occupying it might have had something to do with that.
"Hercules, you idiot!" She cried out, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "You know what? I'm out of here. I have bigger problems to deal with." I watched her dissolve into thin air, leaving me gaping at the place she had previously occupied. After meeting her I finally understood why people used the word 'teenagers' with that long-suffering tone. What a bitch!
"I apologize for her," Geras spoke up, "Being the goddess of youth, Hebe is eternally stuck at this age with all its quirks and difficulties." Being a teenager forever? Now I could partly understand her moodiness – no one wanted to spend eternity constantly ridden by hormones and angst.
Glancing behind me to make sure my boss was truly ignoring us I dropped the tray on the table and sat on the newly vacated chair. "Why are you really here?" I asked, not believing the tale of their curiosity. Obviously they had no plans to attack me or something like that, but I still felt a sense of betrayal at the fact that Mr. Thomas was in fact a god rather than a regular, kind old man. It seemed that even here, with the most mundane job one could imagine I could not tear myself away from the mythological world.
Geras sighed, deflating a bit under my scrutiny. While I might have felt bad for talking to an elder person that way I knew enough about gods not to let appearances deceive me. Geras might be a minor deity, practically powerless when compared to the Olympian or some of the greater Greek monsters, but he still had the power to smite me or turn me into something really unpleasant.
"I was not lying when I said we were simply curious, Andronika Jackson. It has been millennia since a godly child has been born, especially from two major gods. Not to mention that Artemis has never begot a child before." He met my eyes. "You are the new mystery of our world Andre and I could bet we would not be the only ones wanting to meet you, nor we would be the most powerful. Not with such a great destiny in front of you."
Cold washed over me, like someone had poured a bucket of ice water on my head. Whether Geras had meant the words to sound so ominous or not, they made me more nervous than I wanted to admit. "What destiny?" I asked but the minor god was looking over my shoulder, frowning at what seemed to be empty air. "Geras?"
"I'm sorry, my dear, but I have to go." I could only watch as he left a couple of notes on the table (much more than he had to) and disappeared into nothingness just like Hebe had done before. Confused and slightly frightened – after all what could cause a god to make such a hasty exit - I looked around not seeing anything out of the ordinary. That was of course until a much darker aura than the one exuded by the two minor deities filled the air, chairs scrapping as the mortals all stood on their feet.
"Oh, for fuck's sake!" I twisted towards the entrance, just as the doors snapped open, pushed by an invisible hand and a dark haired, pale skinned man walked in. He was dressed in what looked like an expensive black Italian suit with a (Oh, the surprise!) black shirt underneath. He would have looked funny, sticking out like a sore thumb among the denim-clad, casually dressed patrons if his power did not steal the breath out of my lungs.
The only sound in the whole diner was the scrap of my chair as I stood up. "Uncle," While it was not a bow, I did bend at the waist a little. Honestly, I had much more respect for Hades than I did for most of the other gods, because while he had too accused me at first, he'd had the decency of hearing me out and had not swiped my warning away like Zeus had done. That did earn him points in my book.
The King of the Underworld, turned his onyx gaze towards me, face twisted as if he had just seen something unpleasant. "Andronika," He started slowly, throwing a distasteful glance towards the rest of the diner. "I'm surprised to find you at such establishment." The way he said it one would assume I was in a brothel or something. But then again when you thought about it, to the gods who probably used utensils of pure gold or something like that to eat, this ordinary mortal diner must look like a hovel.
"Well, some of us need work to get money," Especially when their adoptive mothers are too moral to use the unlimited Lotus card, even if it came from monsters which had tried to enslave their child. "I suppose there is a reason for your presence here?" That managed to wipe the distasteful look from his face, turning it into something much more serious, making me regret speaking up.
"Ah, yes, there is." I rolled my eyes at the distrustful look he sent to the mortals, who had finally sat down and resumed their chatter, absolutely oblivious of the powerful deity standing amongst them. Waving towards the now free table five, I waited until Hades sat himself down with the grace of a wild cat, before collapsing on the chair across him.
"So?" I asked, rubbing my temples harshly in hope to chase away the incoming headache.
"I have… information for you," The god drawled slowly, fiddling with his cufflinks, which had tiny skulls on them. Despite his pretended nonchalance, I could see him weighting his words carefully as he spoke. "In regards of what we spoke the last time we met." What we spoke of-? Oh. Oh! The fact that I had forgotten about Kronos was a testament to my exhaustion. But as soon as I even thought the name of the titan, I felt chills run up and down my spine. It was kind of ridiculous and scary at the same time how a single name could have such an effect even so far away from the source. Maybe I should start calling him You-Know-Who or something?
Did I just compare a thousands years old titan to Voldemort?
"What about it?" My question might have come out more snappish than I intended, because the god threw me a sharp look at the tone.
"Careful, godling." He warned me. "I'm extending you a great amount of trust in coming to speak to you about this. Do not betray it," A dark smirk which send a shudder through my body, bloomed on his mouth. "Or the consequences will be decidedly unpleasant for you." The promise of pain in his voice reminded me that this was not just any god but the Lord of the Underworld himself, the one who devised the cruelest punishments to those who had sinned. And judging by the screams I had heard coming from the Fields of Punishment – he could be very creative.
Before I could to something stupid – like promise my unwavering loyalty to him, he continued speaking. "I looked into the scorpion you encountered." Encountered? Well, that's one way of putting it, I suppose. "The truth is, the only place it could be found is Tartarus. Which means that someone has the means to descent into the pit and walk out safely." It obviously worried him, judging by the unsettled look on his face.
"Is that possible?" I found myself asking. "That someone," Luke, went unsaid. "Could just walk in and out of Tartarus unharmed?"
The look Hades threw me was an answer enough. Whatever was happening frightened him much more than he portrayed. And if something scared one of the most powerful gods, then it should terrify me.
"Since then, I've place some of my servants near the entrance of the pit under strict orders to report any movement they notice."
"And?" I asked eagerly, leaning forward in my seat. "Have they reported anything?"
"They were all found dead yesterday." He told me somberly and I fell back in my seat as if punched. That meant that someone had made it through the Underworld unnoticed, had destroyed all added security around Tartarus and had probably just walked in for whatever reason. That was bad. That was very, very bad. If someone could cross Hades' domain right under said god's nose, what's to say it couldn't be done to the other gods?
"Do the other gods know?" I asked numbly.
"As if I would tell them." Hades snarled, face twisting. "They would see it as nothing but a weakness on my part. The only reason I am telling you is because you were the first who brought it all to my attention."
They should be told! I wanted to yell at him. Your petty squabbling is a weakness and Kronos is already using it!
But I held my tongue back, only regarding the god before me with a glare. "What should I do then? What do you expect of me?"
Hades leaned forward over the table, holding my gaze, making me feel insignificant in his presence. "Find Luke Castellan and bring him before the Olympian council before he could do something terrible. Or at least figure out what he's doing." He told me. "For some reason the Fates have granted you almost limitless freedom. You could enter almost every god's domain and cross any boundary because none of us would dare harm you seriously. Use them and put a stop to this catastrophe before it occurs."
"And if I can't?"
"Then pray we are strong enough to withstand the storm."
Sally Jackson was happy. For the first time in a long while she was humming under her breath as she prepared dinner, the radio playing some old-timey tunes in the background as she moved around the kitchen, without having to rush in case Gabe got angry. The lack of shouting and laughter from the living room was a welcome reprieve and the apartment, which had once stank of stale beer and sweaty socks now smelled like air-freshener and the cake currently baking in the oven.
The woman sighed, glancing out of the window to the busy streets bellow. Life was good, once again. Her daughter in all by blood was home, a little changed perhaps, but overall the same and Gabe was out of their lives for good.
It had been a bit of a shock though, when a golden haired god had appeared at her door a couple of weeks ago, carrying a deeply sleeping, pale Andre. He had not stayed long, only enough to explain what had happened and deposit the girl on her bed, before rushing away in a flash of golden light, leaving Sally to fuss over her daughter. She had been worried, understandably, but when Andre woke up the next morning she had been back to normal, a little weaker perhaps, but just as mischievous as always.
She had healed completely since then, even going as far as to find a job, despite Sally's insistence they did not need the added income. Without Gabe spending most of their money away on beer and poker, Sally's salary was enough to provide for both of them if they did not make any extravagant purchases. Andre had absolutely refused to hear of it though, claiming she could not allow her mother to work at two places when she, herself, was old enough to get a job.
So she had started as a waitress at a nearby 24-hour diner. And while she did not complain openly, Sally knew that the boss treated her horribly, even if the tips she came back with were worth the effort. She was there even now, on her own birthday, though she had managed to convince her boss to give her an early shift so she could be home for dinner. Sally did not want to imagine how many night shifts Andre would have to take to make up for it.
A soft knock on the front door drew Sally out of her musing. Wiping her hands on a towel, she cautiously made her way in that direction, wondering who could it be when they were not expecting any guests. Gabe, was the first name which came to mind, but she waved it away quickly. Her ex-husband (she had gotten a divorce soon after the incident) was thoroughly terrified of Andre. He would never again dare to step a foot in the same vicinity her daughter was in.
Opening the old, creaky door (Gods, the really had to get to repainting it soon), Sally was faced with a young nervous looking woman, who looked so familiar the Sally actually did a double-take. "My Lady?"
While Sally had never had the honor of meeting Artemis, goddess of the hunt, it was impossible not to recognize the woman who had borne her adopted daughter. While Andre seemed to favor her father in appearance, that familiar curly rust-colored hair and the slightly upturned nose definitely came from her maternal side.
The goddess was dressed simply, in knee length black shorts and a silver T-shirt, but she radiated power the way Andre sometimes did when she was angry. Her eyes were the color of molten silver, unfathomable and cold, but they seemed oddly hesitant as they peered at and around Sally, obviously searching for someone.
"Is Andronica here?" The Olympian asked evenly and Sally would have believed her to be utterly calm, had her gaze not shifted anxiously to the empty apartment visible behind the mortal woman.
"No, she's out." Sally answered shortly, sympathy stirring in her chest when Artemis' face fell slightly. "But she should be home soon if you'd like to wait for her?" The goddess hesitated before nodding, letting Sally lead her past the front door and into the living room. "May I offer you some refreshments? Coffee?" The thought of having a cup of coffee in her living room with an Olympian goddess was laughable and obviously the immortal knew it as well, because she opened her mouth to refuse at first, before obviously rethinking her choice and agreeing.
When Sally returned to the living room carrying two coffees and a plate of cookies (thank the Gods she had worked as a waitress in high-school) she was surprised to find the table empty, though understanding dawned at her when she saw the goddess standing next to the bookshelf, intently staring at a framed photograph.
Sally quickly left the cups on the table and made her way towards Artemis, standing as close as she dared. The power exuding from the goddess made her hairs stand on end, but she ignored the feeling, peering instead at the photo still held in her hands.
It was of a six years old Andronika riding a pony, two cooper-colored ponytails peeking out from beneath the helmet. Her face was turned towards the camera, mouth stretched into a thousand watt smile, revealing two missing front teeth. Sally could still remember how excited her daughter had been afterwards, talking a hundred miles per hour, enthusing about talking horses. Of course, Sally had made her promise not to tell anyone that the horses spoke to her, in return offering to sign her up for riding lessons. Now, that made her happiness practically explosive.
"That's her sixth birthday." Sally voiced for Artemis' sake, feeling the goddess turn in her direction. "She had always wanted to ride a horse and I had just received a promotion at work to I took her to a nearby ranch." Sally smiled fondly at the memory. "One of the horses had hurt his hooves earlier in the day and refused to let anyone close enough to look. But when he saw Andre he just calmed down. She must have told him something because he let her pet him and then allowed the vet to look at his leg. The staff was so impressed with her affinity for the animals they offered to teach her to ride for free if she agreed to help with the horses."
"Did she agree?" Artemis asked voice hoarse. Sally took a moment to regard the woman- goddess – in front of her. Andre had glossed over the meeting with her mother and had refused to discuss it further, making out to be unimportant, despite the obvious effect it had on her. Sally had not pried further, though privately she had feared Artemis had not been exactly welcoming to her daughter.
But seeing the goddess in the flesh, the obvious longing in her eyes as she looked at the photo, Sally knew that was not the case. In fact, as the picture cleared in her mind, it was probably only Andre's stubbornness which caused her emotional turmoil.
"She did. She still goes sometimes to ride or just spent time with the horses." Glancing back towards the cups on the table, Sally smiled. "I have more photos if you want to see." The eager spark in the goddess' eyes was answer enough.
Honestly, thinking back, I should have probably expected it. I mean after a week without any immortal beings, I was bound to meet another one even if Hades' presence still subtly lingered around the diner after his visit, chasing away monsters and (hopefully!) gods.
But it was my birthday! I deserved some peace and quiet. But it seemed the Fates were once again conspiring against me.
Unlocking the door of our apartment, I lazily strolled inside, taking a moment to revel in the clean scent of the air. Gone was the stank of stale beer and cigarettes, replaced by a clean nature-y smell which reminded me of the pine woods at Camp Half-Blood.
I froze as soon as the thought crossed my mind. Slowly dropping my backpack on the floor next to the door, I unclasped Anaklusmos from my hair (After the episode with Luke I made sure to never be caught weaponless) as I carefully stepped into the living room.
Whatever I had expected to see there, though, was nothing compared to the sight which met my eyes. Sally and Artemis were sitting at the table, heads close together as they ruffled trough a thick book with faded pink covers I vaguely remembered was my baby book. Sally was telling some story to Artemis and judging by the smirk on the goddess face she was enjoying it immensely.
I could do nothing but gawk at them for a moment, more than enough time for them to notice my presence. I watched as the smile faded from Artemis' face and she quickly stood to her feet, now looking much more like the stern goddess I had encountered on Olympus. There was caution in the way she regarded me and a part of me felt bad for it, though there was a voice in the back of my head that quite enjoyed her hesitance.
"Andronika," She addressed me and I nodded in return, noticing Sally make a hasty exit, leaving me alone with my birth mother. Awkward silence stretched between the two of us, my eyes uncomfortably shifting between the standing goddess and the still opened baby book.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, perhaps sharper than I had intended, because the goddess winced at my tone.
"I-" Her voice broke and she had to clear her throat before continuing, in a much more neutral tone than before. "I wished to wish you a happy birthday." Ah, well that explained it. "And give you your gift, of course." My expression must have brightened slightly at the mention of gift (anyone who tells you they don't like presents is a liar and godly gifts tended to be hundred times better than normal ones) because Artemis smiled slightly, before extending her empty hands towards me. Wide-eyed, I watched as silver light enveloped her palm, forcing me to squint as I kept watching. Eventually, though it faded, leaving the goddess' hands not as empty as they had been.
I did not squeal. Anyone who claims the opposite is a complete and utter liar.
But the sight of the tiny blue-eyed, white furred puppy in her arms made me forget for a moment any animosity I had held for the goddess. Quickly but gently, I extracted the fur ball out of Artemis' hands and cuddled it against my chest, grinning as it started licking my face. "You know," I glanced up at the goddess as I spoke, still unable to completely wipe the smile from my face. "If you wanted to buy my acceptance, giving me a puppy is pretty decent effort. " Much to my surprise the remark was more teasing than an actual reproach and sensing this Artemis actually rolled her eyes.
"First, I'm not trying to buy your acceptance. And second this is not a puppy but a direwolf cub." The goddess said. "Direwolves have been companions to me and my hunters for ages. They are extremely loyal and smart, though could become especially dangerous if they are threatened. He will be a good companion for you." She finished thoughtfully, eyes a little sad.
I looked back down towards the cub, running my fingers through his purely white fur. "Thank you." I told her honestly. We stayed silently for a while, each regarding the other somewhat cautiously, wondering if someone would say anything more. While nowhere near what our relation should be, the gesture and my acceptance of it had been a small step towards healing the cracks in the bond between us, an olive branch if you will.
But still, I could not simply put sixteen years of hurt behind me in a single moment and Artemis seemed to have sensed that and accepter it, because she cleared her throat and straightened some invisible wrinkles on her clothes, gaze shifting towards Sally who had appeared again, leaning against the doorway to the kitchen.
"Well, I suppose I should go." The goddess said finally. "Thank you Sally for your hospitality and showing me the pictures," She turned back to look at me. "It was good to see you, Andronika. Your father asked me to apologize for his absence and send you his regards." A slight glow had started to emanate from her skin foreshadowing her teleportation, or whatever it was gods did, when, to my surprise, Sally interrupted.
"My Lady?" Fearless as always, my adopted mother approached the goddess, pressing the pink album in her hands. "You should take that. I have more pictures," She added when the goddess made to refuse, despite the longing looks she threw the book. "You and Poseidon, deserve to have them." Sally added quietly and I bit my lip. Looking at my mortal mother and Artemis stand side by sight, unable to look any more different from each other, I felt a flash of resentment rise in my chest once again. With gritted teeth, I squashed it back down, holding the puppy closer to my chest.
While Sally was a beautiful, she looked so painfully mortal when stood against the ethereal looking goddess of the moon. Where Sally's skin had been marked by age and strain, with worry lines marring her forehead, Artemis was all smoothness and youth untouched by the passage of the years.
Unable to look at them, knowing that I was the main reason for my adopted mom's prematurely aged appearance I shifted my gaze to the floor as bright silver light filed the air, indicating the goddess' departure.
Okay, that's it for now! Pretty long chapter. Don't forget to leave a review and check out my new Fem!Percy/Zeus fanfic!
Just A Drop In The Ocean