He-hey. How long's it been? A week? Haha...ah...I Was Sick So Nothing Was Accomplished: A Novel
I didn't edit this one because I just finished it, like, now. And I can't say expect any more fanfiction too soon, because after this I'm boycotting the Internet for eight days. I've already seen spoilers and just :T
On the bright side, House of Hades in eight days :D
As a final note, just oh-my-holy-gods-on-Olympus you guys! You're fantastic!I have so many wonderful readers, you make me perfectly, utterly, incandescently happy! Everyone who reviewed, fave'd, even just followed, those of you that don't have accounts but still read and dropped guest reviews, even the people that didn't do anything but just read - I love you all. You're the reason I write. If I didn't give a PM back to anyone this time, it's because I was sick (ehe) but rest assured I still rolled around like a fangirl bcause of you. I think I fell of my bed once. And dropped my laptop. And made people on the bus stare at me. I hope this last chapter doesn't disappoint, I hope you continue to read my stories in the future, and I hope all of you continue to spread the Leyna love!
Things were a lot different when you were under the influence of a mad goddess, Reyna mused as she followed Khione along the many hallways in the warehouse. For example, if Reyna had been her normal self she would have already started a mental map of the hallways, trying to deduce the best escape route possible. But under the influence, she merely observed the decorations. Maybe this was what it felt like to be stoned, Reyna thought idly. She resolved to start stricter regulations involving cannabis in New Rome, because of anyone tried to go on the battlefield like this, they'd be slaughtered.
Reyna giggled at the thought of going onto the battlefield in her given state. Khione, upon hearing the noise, turned around with her eyebrows raised. "Something funny?"
Shaking her head, Reyna suppressed her laughter. "Nothing at all."
Khione gave her an appraising look, but turned back.
Reyna slipped a little. Khione caught her arms, steadying her. Reyna blinked; just a second ago, Khione had been in front of her. How did she move so fast?
Reyna looked down at her feet, wondering why she slipped. A layer of ice had grown over her shoes.
"Dear me," Khione tutted. "Here, let me help." She circled her arms around Reyna's waist, guiding her slowly. Reyna sighed. Khione was so close, she could feel the waves of cold emanating off her. Leo would be jealous, she thought giddily.
Then she stopped. Thinking about Leo made her feel funny. Why was that again? Reyna couldn't remember.
"Oh yes," she said aloud. "He's dead."
Khione looked at her. "What was that, dear?"
"Leo's dead, isn't he?" Reyna asked blankly.
"Yes," Khione agreed. A triumphant smile pulled at her lips. "He's dead."
Reyna sighed. A feeling of heavy sadness was starting to overcome her. Khione leaned in closer, whispering in her ear. "Forget about him. We're almost here."
Reyna blinked, and all thought of Leo vanished from her mind. "Where?"
"My throne room." They reached a pair of double doors, with frost edging along the cracks. Khione waved her hand, and the doors creaked open, revealing a room made entirely of white cinderblock. It was quite large by room standards, and was decorated with only two things. A white iron garden chair sat at the back of the room, and in a far corner a white railing edged a spiral staircase. Frost covered everything, making it glitter.
"Do you like it?" Khione asked.
"Very minimalist," Reyna said lightly. "That doesn't look like much of a throne, however."
For a second, Khione's face went dark. The room dropped several degrees. "I meant, compliment it," Khione growled in Reyna's ear.
Growling didn't have quite the same effect as whispering, but it was still effect enough. "Lovely enough," Reyna said, feeling a little dizzy. "What's down the staircase?"
"Allow me to show you," Khione led Reyna to the edge of the staircase. They both peered down. Reyna squinted her eyes.
It was a gigantic room full of books. Stacked from wall to wall, inch for inch; glossy soft cover books. Reyna tried to focus her eyes on one of the covers. She recognized the vampire book Hylla had shown her.
"Every existing copy of 'Kiss of a Fallen,'" Khione said. "Isn't it beautiful? Perfectly placed for someone to destroy them all and stop me." She turned to Reyna. "Except you won't, will you?"
Reyna shook her head. "No," she agreed placidly. "I won't."
Khione let her go and spun away, laughing. Reyna tried to follow, but her fingers had frozen to the metal rail. "I love this!" Khione cried as she spun. Snowflakes danced up around the hem of her dress.
Reyna finally pulled her fingers off the rail. "What do you love?" She asked, because it felt like Khione wanted her to.
"This!" Khione stopped spinning, pointing at Reyna. "You could destroy my entire empire! But you won't! Because I told you to!"
"Why does that make you happy?" Reyna asked. Khione sighed, walking back over to Reyna. She pulled her away from the railing, and led her towards the garden chair.
"My entire life," she began to explain, "I have never been in a position of true power. I watch others as they reign. My father; the Olympians. Doesn't it only make sense, then, that I would relish seeing others powerless?"
Reyna felt something. An odd, bubbling sensation in her gut. She placed a hand on her stomach.
"That's why I love my ice statues," Khione sighed, sitting down in her chair. Her gown fluttered as she sat. "I completely take the power away from them."
Without thinking, Reyna sank to her knees. She had begun to shake violently. She raised her hands. Where her fingers had been blue before, now they were nearly black.
"I lost all my precious statues," Khione continued on mournfully. "They're in my father's palace, which I have been banned from. But," she leaned forward on her elbows, reaching out one hand to tilt Reyna's chin. She forced their eyes to meet. "I'd like to start a new collection."
Reyna shivered. All of a sudden, she could feel the cold washing through her, in a way she hadn't before. "What's happening?"
Khione acted like she hadn't heard. "I think the one Leo Valdez cares for will be the perfect starter piece."
"You've been freezing me this whole time." It wasn't a question. Reyna's lips could barely move, could barely form the question.
"And the only thing that's been keeping you from going under is my influence," Khione agreed. "But now that's starting to wear off. Welcome back, Reyna of New Rome. It's been fun." She leaned forward, whispering in Reyna's ear one last thing. "I think I'll like you better as a statue."
Reyna's vision began to darken around the edges. She gasped, lungs burning and freezing at the same time. She felt cold, nothing but cold, and pain, and-
Only the sound of that voice could have given Reyna the strength to look up. She heard Khione's infuriated scream, and the chair crashing to the ice as she stood up. But Reyna only paid attention to the brightly burning figure silhouetted in the doorway. She just barely managed to smile.
"Leo," she whispered, voice whistling.
Then she crashed to the ground like Khione's throne.
Leo had gotten out of the ice shortly after Khione and Reyna had left. He'd been melting it the whole time. He only wished Reyna hadn't panicked, and kept a cool head. If she'd bought more time, there wouldn't have been a problem.
Leo burst through the remaining layers with a small explosion of flames. His mind was somewhere between worry and anger; worry about Reyna and anger at Khione for taking her. He almost stormed out the door after them, when something else caught his eye – the jar on the table.
Reyna would murder him if he went after her without taking care of this first, Leo knew. He picked up the jar, trying to remember what Reyna had said. Scratching the symbol out nullified the magic? Something like that. Shrugging, Leo dug around in his tool belt, and pulled out a large, half-round file.
"That'll do, belt," he told it in a deep, mocking voice. Even if he was half joking, he knew the belt probably wouldn't give him anything else. It was just him and his fire now, and he couldn't do that with innocent girls in the building.
Picking up the jar, Leo began filing at the symbol. If someone in ancient Greece had tried to scratch this out with their fingernails, it probably would have taken a lot more effort. People in ancient Greece didn't have modern day tools, Leo thought gleefully as the symbol came off in less than ten scratches. This file was for shaving off metal, it was certainly doing a good job on clay.
The second the last line was erased, a dull buzz filled the cavern. Leo looked over the balcony to see the girls standing about, talking in low voices with their hands on their heads. "Hey!" Leo called, trying to get their attention. Nobody looked at him.
His eyebrow twitched in pure annoyance. He was so freaking tired of people not paying attention to him. So he lit both his arms on fire and started waving then. "HEY! Over here!"
That worked, Leo thought triumphantly as several hundred faces looked his way. A few pointed up to him and one shouted, "You aren't Damien Harkness!"
"Where are we?" Another shrieked, and soon a bubble of panic began welling up in the crowd.
Leo shot a fireball up into the air. They quieted. "No," he said, "I'm not Damien Whatever. And you've all been tricked by that book. You're in a warehouse in Utah, and I can help you get out!"
"Why should we trust you?" One of the older girls standing at the front crossed her arms. She looked a little smarter than the rest, with bright eyes that reminded him of Annabeth's.
"Because I'm a demigod," Leo said. Honestly, at this point, nothing normal would make sense.
The girl in front narrowed her eyes. She started at him for way too long, because Leo was getting restless and he had to go after Khione, not stand around waiting for these girls to come to their senses. But finally she nodded. "Lead the way."
Huffing a quiet "Finally," Leo turned and began walking toward the door. He kept one arm raised, gently burning, and heard the shuffle of footsteps behind him.
Luckily, Leo remembered the way out. And even more luckily, they didn't run into anything on their mass exodus.
Unluckily, anyone near Leo promptly began asking him how his hand was on fire and why he couldn't feel it. It was causing him irritation to no end. Now, normally Leo wouldn't be so annoyed at two dozen girls talking to him. Except that, well, these ones were screechy. And after talking to no one but Reyna for almost two whole days, it was kind of grating.
And on that note, he kept thinking about Reyna. He wasn't worried about her, exactly. It was hard to actually worry about someone like Reyna. She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. It was more Khione he was worried about. She had a bad habit of getting people to do things just because she told them to. Also, how was she still alive? She should've been burning in Tartarus, Leo thought sullenly.
They reached the side door. Leo stopped, and turned to the bright-eyed girl, who had been walking beside him the entire time. "All right, you're in charge. Get everyone as far away from here if you can."
"Aren't you coming?" She asked. Leo shook his head. "Well, why can't we just wait for you to come out?"
"Because this building might be exploding in the next ten minutes." Because I might 'accidently' set it on fire.
She studied his face again. She had a seriously unsettling look about her, Leo thought. Maybe, when this was all done, he'd get Jason to call his sister and suggest another Huntress.
Looking out at the crowd of sheep-like girls, Leo wondered in a little Huntress training wouldn't be good for all of them.
"All right," the girl called finally. She didn't take her eyes off Leo's face. "Follow me, everyone."
Leo watched as all the previously hypnotized girls filed off. Well, that was one thing he could scratch off their to-do list. As for everything else, there was a pretty simple solution.
As soon as the last girl left and the door closed, Leo turned and placed a burning hand on the wall.
He kept his hand on the wall as he walked forward, leaving a streak of melting metal in his wake. It wouldn't be too long before the wires caught and something blew up, he thought with grim satisfaction. When he was done with this place, there wouldn't be anything left standing.
As he stormed forward, he noticed something on the ground. Quickly, he extinguished the fire. Frost was glittering on the ground. It was already starting to melt, but he could still make out sets of footprints.
Two sets of footprints.
Blood rushed to Leo's head. If there were two sets of frozen footprints, it could only mean one thing. Khione was the only person capable of leaving a trail like that. Anyone else would have to be freezing. Khione was freezing Reyna.
Leo broke out into a run, nearly melting the frost as he came near it. He tried to keep his temperature in check, but as the footprints disappeared behind a door covered in a sheet in ice, he gave up and nearly combusted.
He tried to kick the door, but it wouldn't budge. So he placed both hands on it, pushing all his strength into just burning it down.
It exploded suddenly. There must have been wiring in the door as well, Leo thought blankly as a wall of flames swept across him. The door didn't even come off its hinges, merely hung to the side. But the entire hallway behind him was now completely on fire.
Then his eyes settled on the room in front of him, and his stomach dropped twenty metres.
Reyna was on her knees. She looked terrible; her skin was bluish-purple and mottled. Her braid had nearly frozen over, stiff with ice crystals. Her Roman armour was coated in ice, and her eyes were unfocused and hazy.
And Khione was leaning over her, one hand on her throat, the skin there nearly blackened. She was seconds away from freezing her completely.
Khione turned to him, a shriek tearing from her throat with audible strain. She flew at Leo, but he was faster. He slammed into her, both of them tumbling into the wall.
The sound of something crashing made him turned, and he saw Reyna fall to the floor, eyes closed. In that second of distraction, Khione flung him across the room. He collided with a railing, nearly falling off. Quickly he glanced down, then did a double take.
All he saw was books. One look at Khione's suddenly enraged face told him this was her entire stash. With a wicked grin, Leo sent a volley of fire down. In seconds the smell of burning paper and smoke overtook the room.
The room shook slightly, accompanied by a low but audible rumble. This was followed by an even louder rumble, and the room shaking so hard Leo stumbled. Khione looked around wildly.
"What have you done?" She screeched at him.
"Oh, nothing," Leo said savagely. "Just, you know, blown up your warehouse."
As Khione ran for the door, Leo knelt beside Reyna. She was still unconscious, and barely breathing. He swallowed. "Gods, I'm sorry," he muttered, clenching his fist. Leo had always believed his worst fear was watching someone burn alive. Now, he thought watching them freeze to death wasn't much better.
He placed his hand over Reyna's collarbone, where the ice was worst. It should have also been the place he felt her heart beating, but he didn't feel anything at all.
Leo closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. "Gods damn it."
Then he felt something fluttering under his hand. With a start, he opened his eyes, and nearly screamed at what he saw.
His hand, although not on fire, was glowing, like a million embers were under his skin. And the skin on Reyna's throat was rapidly gaining colour, reddening, almost blistering with the heat.
Leo snapped his hand back. Reyna was breathing. She was breathing again. Leo let out a whoop of victory, throwing his fist in the air.
A cold hand grabbed his wrist, tossing him backwards. He went flying, smashing into the back wall. Khione appeared in front of him, surrounded by a storm of snow, her nails digging into his shoulders.
"I will shatter you into a million pieces!" Khione howled, and Leo thought his ears were going to start bleeding from the sheer volume. "I will destroy you, Leo Valdez, and I-"
"Get outta my way!" Leo yelled in her face. He grabbed her arms, and let out all the anger he felt, and the desperation to get back to Reyna.
He exploded into flames, with a heat so intense Khione started melting. She tried to move away, but Leo grabbed her arms and didn't let go. It was like a snowstorm trying to fight a raging fire; futile. Khione melted into a puddle, but Leo wasn't done. He didn't stop until she began to evaporate, until every trace of the snow goddess was gone for good.
Leo sighed, for a second relieved. Khione was done. She wouldn't be back for a long, long time.
Then he realized that the building was burning down.
Another explosion rattled the room, and Leo stumbled. He ran over to Reyna, shaking her. "Hey," he said. "Come on, we gotta go." When she didn't move, he slung her arm over his shoulders and pulled her up.
Upon leaving the throne room, Leo realized it was a lot worse than he originally thought. Half the structure of the building had come down. The very air around them was burning, and if it hadn't been for Leo's immunity and Reyna's frozen state, both of them would have perished.
Leo pushed through the debris. He wasn't going in any specific direction or following any path, he just wanted to get out of the warehouse. Every time he thought they were getting close to a way out, something would fall or blow up, and they'd be forced to go a different way. And he was dragging Reyna, something his spindly muscles weren't really used to doing.
Finally he stopped. He shifted Reyna onto his back, grabbing her legs and praying she didn't choose now to wake up. The he started running.
Scipio had landed, and was waiting for them on the edges of the burning building. He skittered nervously, but stilled as Leo approached. With his legs about to give out, Leo heaved Reyna over Scipio's back, then clambered on himself. "Get us outta here," he told the pegasus, breathing heavily. Scipio whickered, and shot upwards.
Leo yelped, leaning forward and grabbing onto Scipio's neck. Reyna slid a little, and Leo shifted around to try and keep her unconscious body from falling off. In the distance, he saw a herd of people marching through the desert, and Leo felt a small surge of relief at the girls making it far away from the warehouse. When the fire hit the boiler room, no distance would be too far.
Then, Leo's stomach sank to the bottom of his feet. The boiler room.
Behind him, the warehouse let off one last explosion; one with so much force that Scipio tumbled in the sky and Leo blacked out instantly.
When Reyna awoke, her very first thought was that the sun shining on her face had never been such a lovely feeling, and she was never taking warmth for granted again.
This prompted Reyna to wonder why she was appreciating the warmth so much. Had she been cold before? And what was she doing outside? Her hands curled in the sand. Sand? So she was on a beach. That was nice. A beach trip sounded like the exact kind of thing she needed after her encounter with Khione-
Reyna shot up so fast, the blood rushed to her head and her vision blacked. Dizzily, she shook her head. "Leo!"
"Reyna!' She still couldn't see, but certainly felt the warm mass of a human body as it tackled her to the ground in the tightest hug of her entire life. "Holy Hephaestus, you scared me! I thought you weren't gonna wake up, and then I thought maybe-"
"Valdez!" Reyna choked. "Off! Get – off!" She smacked him several times in the shoulder. Finally he let go, and she could breathe again, not to mention see.
Then she saw Leo. His eyes were wide, worry and relief fighting for the dominant emotion on his face, and the biggest, brightest grin she had ever seen in her life graced his lips.
Reyna felt even warmer than before, like she was filled with hot chocolate all the way down to her toes. She relaxed, leaning back on her hands. "How are you still alive?"
Leo laughed, visibly relaxing was well. He crossed his legs in the sand, leaning his chin on his palm. "You really think a bunch of snow is enough to stop me?"
Reyna bit her lip. "I suppose I did panic a bit."
"Where are we?" Reyna asked, looking around. She saw Scipio, curled up with his head under his wing. "Did he bring us here?"
"Two heavy, blacked out demigods? Yeah." Leo followed her gaze. "That's one cool pegasus."
"Indeed he is," Reyna said softly. Then she glanced back at Leo. "You should meet my dogs."
Leo perked up. "Add that to my list of things that make you perfect," he said, with a goofy smile.
Reyna flushed. She remembered everything that Khione had said, and everything she'd come to realize when she thought Leo was gone. She had been dying to say them then, and now that she had the chance, it didn't seem like she'd ever have the courage.
So she did the next best thing. She turned, scooting beside him so their knees brushed. Leo looked surprised, but for once, didn't say anything. Reyna didn't either, and for a few minutes they sat in silence, listening to the lap of the waves on the shore.
"The Great Salt Lake," Leo said at length.
"That's where we are." Leo gestured to the sand underneath him. "That's lime."
Reyna realized that it was, indeed. She picked up a handful, letting it fall between her fingers. Then she remembered. "This is the place-"
"They aren't here," Leo interrupted. He didn't look at her, but hunched over a little. "Must've gone back when the doors closed."
Reyna looked around. Around a year ago, Jason had been here. That used to be the kind of thing that would set her on guard, or make her sad, or get lost in thoughts of how it might have gone if she'd been there as well.
This time, Reyna realized she didn't care.
She leaned into Leo, giving him a gentle nudge. It was enough for him to nearly fall over. That made her laugh, and laugh felt good. Leo pretended to pout, but soon he was laughing, too. And then they both started laughing so hard they woke Scipio up.
Leo fell back onto the lime, and Reyna followed. "How did you do it?" She asked, genuinely curious. "Save the day, I mean."
"I dunno." Leo looked a little sheepish. "I just sort of...burned the place down."
"But what about me? I think I was about to be frozen solid."
"I may have...sort of...burned that, too."
Reyna glanced down. Parts of her skin were still cherry red, and her collar had a few blisters. She was lucky she was wearing armour, too, because most of her clothes were singed. "Valdez!"
"I was either that or you become a Praetorsicle!" He laughed as Reyna picked at the charred fabric.
"Well, I guess I'm grateful for that," Reyna grudgingly admitted. "You got all the books, too?' She remembered something else. "The army! Did you-"
"Hakuna Matata, lady." Leo rolled his eyes, raising his hands in defense. "I got them out, too."
"By remembering what you said about the magic jar." He rolled onto his stomach. "Which reminds me, you still owe me an explanation. How do you know so much about magic? Is that just knowledge that comes with being cool, or are you secretly a witch, or-"
Reyna smacked a hand over his mouth to make him shut up. "I'll tell you. Okay?" Reyna glanced around. "But maybe not here."
She pulled herself to her feet. "Let's go to the city," she said. "I'm hungry. And I need some caffeine. Especially if I'm going to tell you my life story."
Leo smiled. Then he tried to get up, and groaned, and fell back down. "Ugh, I can't get up."
"I'm such an old man, urgh."Leo rolled a few times, like a turtle. "You know, you're pretty heavy. Carrying you out of a burning building wasn't easy."
"That's probably because of the armour."
"Oh." Leo looked sheepish. Reyna pinched the bridge of her nose.
Then she held a hand down to help him up.
The sun was starting to sink by the time they got into Salt Lake City again. Leo was fresh out of change, but Reyna, in her miraculously wonderful ways, still managed to have a few coins in that armour somewhere. She bought them both a cup of coffee, and they wandered the streets of the city.
Reyna told him everything. Or, at least, what he assumed to be everything. About Circe's island, her days there, and her travels to Camp Jupiter after that. It seemed like parts of it were really hard to say, but when she was done, she looked ten pounds lighter.
"That's crazy. And that jar was definitely from the island?"
Reyna nodded. "I'd stake my life on it. Khione mentioned something about a magic black market." She worried her lip against her teeth. "I find that troubling. Circe had some powers I wouldn't want released on the world."
Leo was about to answer, but someone knocked into him. He stumbled, and small voice said "Sorry." A girl about his height walked past, arm-in-arm with a taller guy. Leo grumbled to himself. Couples. They never looked where they were going.
Something about the guy's voice seemed familiar, and Leo squinted. He had sunglasses on, and Leo couldn't really see his face; and he could barely make out the girl, her hair was the same colour as the guy's jacket...
The guy pointed into one of the shop windows. The girl giggled, clutching his arm tighter, and he looked down to poke her in the cheek. They were too far away to hear what they said, but he started making model faces in the window and the girl threw her head back and laughed.
"She got him," Leo mumbled. The tall guy, still making faces, was interrupted by the girl tugging on his scarf, and pulling him down for a kiss.
Reyna looked up from her musings. "Sorry?" She followed his gaze, and made a face. "Hm. I can't stand PDA."
Leo was still rather speechless. He kept staring at the two. The guy started walking away, and the girl turned back. For a second, Leo's eyes met the brightest pair of blue eyes he had ever met, and a small smile graced her face before she laced her arm back through her boyfriend's and turned the corner.
"My gods," Leo said, taking a sip of coffee. "She did it."
Reyna was still giving him an odd look. "Did you know them?"
Leo chose not to answer that.
The sun was setting, casting the city in an orange glow. Reyna looked up to where Scipio had begun circling overhead. "We should probably get back to camp."
Leo shook his head. "Yeah," he agreed. "Our separate camps."
Reyna nodded. "But I mean," she said quickly "We'll see each other around."
"Oh, yeah." Finished with his coffee, Leo tossed it into the nearest trash bin. "We'll run into each other on missions again."
They stood awkwardly. Leo started tapping his foot. Reyna opened her mouth to say something about five times, before finally blurting, "I'm going to check out that lead about the magic black market."
Leo raised his eyebrows. "Oh?"
She had started playing with her braid, bringing it over her shoulder and picking at it. "I wouldn't mind backup," she said quietly.
In that moment, Leo realized two things. One; that if Echo had the courage to try and make a narcissistic, self-centered jerk fall in love with her, then Leo could definitely win the heart of the girl who tried to kill him on seven different occasions.
Two; that he was going to kiss her right now, even if he got slapped.
He threw his arms around her. She kissed him back almost immediately, her half full coffee cup falling to the ground and spilling all over the sidewalk. Her arms snaked around his back, pulling him even closer.
The streetlamps all flickered on. Reyna broke away, but she didn't move her arms. She looked around in slight wonder. "Did you fix them to do that?"
"No," Leo said, "but I could. I could fix the streetlamps to go on, and all the fountains to start up, and all the stores could start playing that song from Dirty Dancing at the same time-"
"Shut up, Valdez," Reyna said, and kissed him again.
They walked down the street, heading to an open area where Scipio could land. "Dirty Dancing was my mother's favourite movie, you know."
"Mhm. She had a crush on Patrick Swayze."
"Of course she did. Even I had a crush on Patrick Swayze."
The first few stars started twinkling above them.
I shouldn't be telling you this but I just got an idea for a sequel so