Disclaimer: Victorious and all related characters do not belong to me.
Summary: Alternate reality. Just because Beck Oliver has a head full of hair and all of his teeth doesn't mean he's every girl's ultimate dreamboat, right? Or maybe it's just that being a princess (even if it is of the Underworld) meant that Jade has a higher dating standard than most. A sequel to Saving Sikowitz.
AN: Thanks for all those who read, reviewed and favorited not only Chapter 1 but Saving Sikowitz as well. I already personally thanked those who were logged when they left me a note, so that leaves my fabulous anons. Thank you anons and/or guest reviewers! Special thanks also to spyroulina (yes, you were one of the people who kicked my ass into gear in writing this fic. Thanks for your kind, sweet words. And I get my ideas from reading, watching and awesome reviewers like you!).
Of course, none of these would have been possible if not for Bria (boughtthedream), who is my go-to gal for all things mythology, and Lari (tsttoain), who never fails to tell me that I'm not a failure. Love you, girls!
The Curious Case of Beckley Oliver
"What are you doing?"
Beck Oliver jumped in surprise at the sudden appearance of the Princess of the Underworld. The sponge he was holding fell down with a wet splat.
With as much dignity as he could muster, Beck bent down to retrieve his fallen implement. "I'm training." He replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"It looks to me like you are merely cleaning my father's carriage."
Technically, he was.
Earlier that day, Beck had received summons from the Lord of the Underworld heralded by the minion, Sinjin. Beck was summarily told that something came up and that he must begin his training immediately.
Sinjin escorted Beck to the Underworld where he saw for the first time Hades' undead army. He was expecting that the head of the King's guards would train him, only to have his hopes dashed when he was given the task of washing the royal carriage.
Not that he was going to admit it.
"To the untrained eye," he told Jade in a condescending manner that he knew she disliked. "That's what I may doing. In reality, though, this is the first stage to my training."
Jade looked doubtful.
"You know, wax on, wax off?"
Jade looked confused.
"You know, like the Karate Kid? No?" Beck sighed. "Never mind. So what is happening?" He asked, motioning to the frenzied actuations of the intimidating guardians of the Underworld who were surrounding them.
"Father has received summons from Olympus." Jade replied.
"Olympus." Beck whistled. Despite the weirdness that is Hollywood Arts, sometimes he still couldn't believe that he was actually rubbing shoulders with some of the gods and goddesses he only read about in the history books.
"The summons demanded the presence of all the Triumvirate."
With a single look, Jade communicated her contempt of the kind of education Beck had been receiving at Hollywood Arts.
"Yes, the Triumvirate: Zeus, Poseidon and my father." She replied. "Naturally, my father wants to show everyone in Olympus how magnificent he is. Humans had all but destroyed the earth and are starting to explore the oceans, but the Underworld is untouchable."
"Ah. So everyone was too busy for the preparations, so your dad needed me to clean his car. Perfect."
"You should be thankful that your task is limited to the carriage. Be wary of the day he asks you to saddle his prized steeds."
Before Beck could ask Jade what she meant, a loud, obnoxious voice interrupted them.
"What is the Heiress to Hades' throne doing? Is she really slumming it?"
Jade groaned, long and loud.
Beck turned to the interloper.
It was a boy about their age, long and lean, with a head full of brown hair that desperately needed a haircut.
Then Beck suppressed a laugh at what the guy was wearing. "A toga?"
A murderous glare was sent Beck's way before the newcomer turned back to Jade. "Why is your father's carriage washer interrupting his betters' conversation?" He demanded.
Jade rolled her eyes. "He's not my father's carriage washer." She paused as she eyed Beck's frayed jeans and damp tank top. "Well, he's not just my father's carriage washer. He's also," she paused as she attempted to search for a word to describe the tanned boy by her side. Then she shrugged. "He's also my champion."
"Your champion?" The other boy snorted. "A mere commoner is your champion?"
Jade's eyes hardened. "You better be careful with what you say." She said. "He was chosen by Hades himself. Any insult on him is an insult upon my lord."
Beck's grin widened at Jade's unexpected defense of his person. "Yeah, what she said."
The boy's glare at Beck darkened but the former's face immediately smoothed into a smarmy smile once he turned back to Jade. "Why don't you introduce the two of us, Jade?"
"Fine." Jade crossed her arms mutinously. "Beck, this is Ryder, Poseidon's progeny. Ryder, Beck."
(Apparently, Beck thought. Poseidon's progeny sported a pale set of legs beneath the toga.)
Ryder bristled and the atmosphere became charged. So much so that Beck clutched his wet sponge tightly and wished he had a weapon in his hand to protect Jade with.
"As usual, my Princess," the boy called Ryder muttered softly, dangerously. "You refuse to stand on formalities. Imagine introducing me to the boy, when it should be the other way around."
Immediately, Beck felt the air become more charged, more dangerous; but this time, the threat did not come from Ryder, but from Jade. He was reminded that whatever happened, Jade could (and would) take care of herself.
"There is no mistake, Ryder. I followed protocols. He is my champion and we are in the Underworld. It is but fitting that you be presented to Beck."
The energy swirled violently around the trio one more time before everything once again calmed down.
"Why are you here, anyway?" Jade demanded.
"We are summoned to Olympus. It is my turn to escort you to Mt. Olympus."
Jade looked thoughtful. "So the royal summons included us. Interesting."
Beck could almost see the wheels turning in the Princess' head.
She, however, did not comment on whatever she thought about the summons. Instead, she said, "As you can see, I no longer require an escort. I have a champion."
Ryder turned to Beck. "Well, champion," he used the word mockingly. "Why don't you return to your carriage washing?"
"Don't mind if I do," Beck replied easily, after all, he came out on top with his little power struggle with Ryder, all thanks to Jade.
"Do that." He said dismissively. He turned to Jade. "Doesn't it bother you that your champion is doing your father's manual labor?"
Jade turned to Beck who gave her a manic grin in return.
Beck broke eye contact to pick up a jug of water. He deliberately spilled some onto his tank top. "Oh," he said with a wicked grin. "Got wet. How clumsy of me. Maybe I should just remove my shirt." He placed down the jug before lifting up his top, revealing his washboard abs inch by delicious inch until he finally freed himself of the garment. He gave Jade a conspiratorial grin before casually returning to his task at hand.
Jade couldn't help but stare at the mouth-watering display in front of her. "Oddly enough, Ryder," she told her fellow god, but her attention was still at Beck, who was putting on a show for the girl's benefit. "I don't mind my champion washing my father's carriage. He could even do it everyday, with my permission."
Ryder growled before turning on his heel and walking out.
The Lord of the Underworld and his subjects definitely knew how to make an entrance.
The gods of Olympus had already assembled in front of the sprawling mansion that served as their home, waiting for the arrival of their brothers and sisters. At the center of the grandiose assembly was Zeus and his sister-bride Hera. Flanking them on either side were the twins Apollo and Artemis.
They didn't have to wait long until gods and goddess rose up from the sea, lead by Poseidon and his Queen, Amphitrite. Beside them was their firstborn, Triton, and the latter's own son, Ryder. Rounding them up were a handful of beautiful nymphs and a small contingent of water gods.
After the guests from the sea had settled, there was nothing else to do but wait for the the contingent from the Underworld.
A quarter of an hour later, a dark hole opened in the middle of the courtyard. From the great yawning black hole, out crawled the Underworld's undead army: tall, thin humanoid skeletons with black, rotting skin and empty eyes.
Most of those assembled took an automatic, involuntary step back.
Next came Hades' prized steeds: four humongous black skeletal horses pulling together an open carriage that proudly bore Hades himself.
Right behind Hades pranced a unicorn that stood out not only because of its white hide and red mane, but also because of its riders: the Underworld's princess riding sidesaddle and, behind her, her chosen champion, the mysterious being known only as Beckley Oliver.
When the unicorn drew to a stop beside Hades' carriage, Beck jumped down lightly, feeling slightly out of place in his Care Bears on Fire t-shirt, ripped jeans and combat boots.
("You're my champion," was Jade's careless reply when Beck asked her what one wears to Olympus to meet the gods. "It doesn't matter to me what you wear." So he decided to simply come as he was instead of uselessly agonizing over it. He did, however, insisted that they arrive in style, hence, the unicorn.)
Hades broke ranks and moved to the middle of the courtyard where two big, strapping men were already waiting. Beck assumed the men to be Zeus and Poseidon.
Beck reached offered a hand to assist Jade in disembarking from their ride. "Nice shoes," Beck murmured with a grin when Jade she jumped down, causing her long, black skirt to ride up and reveal a pair of combat boots that matched his.
Jade only had a chance to give Beck a conspiratorial grin (he was reminded to Ryder's comment earlier about her refusal to stand on formality) before they were approached by a god whose golden brown skin crisply stood out against his effervescent white toga (Jade later pointed him out as Hermes). He asked (very politely) for Hades' undead army to return to the Underworld for the time being and for them to come back only when it was time for the Lord of the Underworld to depart.
After the army left, Beck and Jade were ushered into a large, airy room inside the castle that housed the gods of Olympus to await instructions from Hades, who had ensconced himself into a little powwow with the Big Three.
"Why do I feel like a wayward child who's placed in timeout?" Beck asked after the novelty in being in an actual room in Mt. Olympus had worn off. After all, there was only so many times he could touch a chair where Actual! Gods! Had! Sat!
Before Jade could formulate an answer, the doors to the chamber had opened.
Beck, facing Jade, who in turn was facing the newly-opened door, saw the blood drain from her face. He whipped around to see who had entered the room.
A young god who appeared about their age (it was difficult to ascertain a god's age, Beck later realized, because of their immortality and forever youthful appearance) stood at the entrance. He was big, blond and muscular, wearing a tan vest and a loose pair of brown pants that looked to be made of animal hide, along with an easy smile.
The god bowed deeply. "Cousin," he greeted Jade.
Jade quickly recovered to reply with a regal nod. "Cameron."
The one called Cameron turned to Beck. "I heard you are Jade's chosen champion."
"I am." Beck replied easily. "Beck Oliver," he said, automatically extending a hand to shake.
Cameron looked amused for a moment as he stared at Beck's proffered hand. The god, eventually, took it in a firm grip. "Cameron. But save for my mother and Jade, I usually go by the name Moose."
"So," Beck began suspiciously. "The two of you are cousins?"
"We are." Jade affirmed. "Or if you prefer, aunt and nephew."
Moose laughed at Beck's incredulous face. "We gods of Olympus are an incestuous lot."
"My mother is my father's niece." Jade nodded.
"And as of late, my father and grandfather, Apollo and my lord Zeus," Moose clarified for Beck's benefit. "Have been pushing me to marry my cousin."
There was no question in Beck's mind who the cousin Moose's ascendant wanted him to marry.
However, at Moose's pronouncement, Jade looked up in shock. "But years ago, they were adamant for us not to marry."
"You wanted to marry him?" Beck asked incredulously.
"I was thirteen!" Jade replied defensively with a dark frown. "And why are you here, anyway?" The last part was snapped at Moose.
"Oh," the god grinned, unaffected by Jade's show of temper. "I have come to return your unicorn."
Before he could explain what he meant, however, the giant doors of the chamber once again opened to reveal a manically-grinning Ryder.
"Princess!" He greeted cordially while ignoring the two males inside. "Look at what I found outside looking for you."
"Hiiii!" A high-pitched giggle accompanied the entrance of a slim, tiny girl with a thatch of shocking red hair who surprised Jade with a sneaky hug attack. "I missed you! Why did you leave me by my lonesome?"
"You couldn't wait until we were about to leave before you returning her to us?" Jade demanded as she tried to peel off the newcomer's tight grip on her body.
The unicorn also known as Cat Valentine thought it was a fun new game Jade was playing so she tightened her grip even more, giggling even harder.
"Here, let me help," Beck told her, stepping closer.
At the same time, Moose stepped forward saying, "Allow me to assist you, Cousin."
Ryder, not to be left out, also moved closer to Jade to help her get free.
"What are you doing?" Jade screeched, struggling to free herself. Being an only child who was left mostly alone to roam the dark, lonely halls of the Underworld, she was unused to human contact from her fellows. Resultantly, she felt claustrophobic because of Cat's tight embrace, worsened by the three well-intentioned boys surrounding her. "No, keep away. SINJIN!"
Sinjin suddenly appeared in the chamber. He only took a second to assess the situation. In the next heartbeat, five more Sinjins appeared.
Three Sinjins grabbed Beck, Moose and Ryder, respectively. The fourth Sinjin successfully peeled Cat off by waving something shiny at her. Sinjin number five ran to the windows and threw them open while the original Sinjin led his mistress to the open window.
Jade grabbed the windowsill as she took deep breaths of fresh air from outside. "Are you trying to kill me?" She demanded once she finally got herself under control.
"Only trying to help." Ryder held up both arms.
"I apologize, Cousin."
"Yeah, sorry, Jade."
"You smell funny." Cat laughingly told the Sinjin holding on to her.
"It's fire and brimstone," said Sinjin. "It's the newest thing in the Underworld. Chicks dig it."
Jade turned around and glared at the other girl. "Why are you whining?"
Cat pouted as she remembered her complaint. "I'm hungry. And lonely. And I don't like the smell of the horses at the stable."
"She's hungry." Jade motioned to Sinjin. "Fix it."
Sinjin patted his pockets before he reached into the back pocket of his jeans to bring out a bag.
Eyes wide in wonder, Cat accepted the bag from the minion. Her eyes widened even more after her first taste of the snack.
"What's it?" Cat asked reverently holding the bag close to her chest.
"It's bibble." Sinjin replied.
"What's bibble?" Beck asked.
"Food for the gods," Moose answered.
"My bibble!" Cat cried out when Beck tried to steal a piece of the food. She hunched protectively over the bag.
"Cat, go with Sinjin so that bad Beck won't be able to steal your food." Jade told her.
"Don't steal my bibble!" Cat fairly screamed as she moved away from Beck. Hesitantly, she reached for Sinjin's hand.
"Will that be all, my queen of darkness?" Sinjin asked, Cat's hand securely in his.
"That's all, Sinjin. You may leave us now."
With an elaborate bow, all six Sinjins and one Cat disappeared into thin air.
"Now," Jade said, glaring at the two gods in front of her. "Can anyone explain why the three of us are here, together, in Mt. Olympus?"
Automatically, Moose and Ryder both opened their mouths to start explaining. Beck couldn't blame them. When Jade got to be that way, one must giver her what she wanted, or else.
Before their explanation could commence, however, a loud bellow shook the rafters of the castle. A violent shaking of the earth followed it.
"I did not know that Mt. Olympus was also prone to earthquakes." Beck muttered as he ran towards Jade. He then grabbed her wrist and pulled her to the relative safety of a huge, sturdy table.
Ryder, baffled at Beck's reaction, shrugged and followed them underneath the table.
"It's earth-logic," Beck told Ryder when the latter quirked an eyebrow in question. "If there's an earthquake, one of the safest places you could be is underneath a table. Or below a doorpost."
"It's not an earthquake." Moose told him, calm and secure with the knowledge that nothing can bring down his home.
It took a solid five minutes before the shaking stopped.
"If it's not an earthquake," Beck said as he assisted Jade as she crawled out from the table.
"It's not an earthquake," Moose quickly repeated.
"We never have those here." Ryder seconded. "Back in Atlantis, maybe, but never here."
"If it's not an earthquake," Beck asked again. "What is it?"
"It is not this thing you call an earthquake." Jade affirmed. "It is my father."
"There's only two things that can make my father that angry." Jade mused. "Me, and a threat to his kingdom. Since I'm here with you three and behaving myself, it can only be the latter."
Ryder and Moose both stared at Jade in alarm as they helplessly watched her put the pieces of the puzzle together.
"And I think," she said slowly. "I know why we are here." She said, her face darkening in anger. "And If they think that me and my father would peacefully surrender to what they want, they have another think coming."
TO BE CONTINUED
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