XV. That, Children
I munched on a bar of dark chocolate as I read Anna Karenina, even though I didn’t respect Leo Tolstoy as much as I should’ve. Actually, I take that back. He does not deserve to be respected.
“Morgana!” Tori screamed. “There is someone at the door for you!”
I took the last bite of my chocolate and screamed back something along the lines of: “Cawong!”
“Hey,” I could hear her say to the person. “Do sit down. I have heard so much about you.”
I looked at myself. I was wearing a university hoodie and some jeans, and I looked halfway decent. I put my hair up into a ponytail and then walked out to see the last person I was expecting.
His hair was grey, and they matched his eyes, which were staring at me with curious amusement. Unlike Apollo with the grey suits, he wore jeans and a loose black shirt. He was sitting on the sofa, accompanied by a very daintily dressed Tori.
I could feel my cheeks burst into flames. He was there looking all handsome and I was… well, I looked halfway decent.
“Well, enjoy yourself sweetheart,” Tori smiled evilly, looking between Zeus and I. “I want all the tea afterward,” she winked, and then walked out of our dorm room, shutting the door behind her less-than-gently. Bloody idiot.
I just gaped at her retreating figure. She left me. Alone. With my betrothed. Who just happened to be the King of Olympus.
“Hi,” I said, awkwardly, smiling, as I wrung my hands on my lap. Great going, Morgana! That was bloody brilliant.
“Sorry to disturb you on a Saturday, but I had to tell you before… someone else did.” Good god, his voice.
“It’s no problem,” I replied, regaining my senses.
There was a pregnant pause.
“Sorry, I just didn’t imagine this would be this…”
“Awkward?” I finished, running my hands through my hair and taking out my hairtie. “Tell me about it.”
He laughed. His laugh made me feel tingly and nice. “Well, I divorced Hera, and your mother divorced Hephaestus. A lot of other couples who weren’t happy with each other divorced.”
“I’m so sorry,” I said. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah,” he replied, smiling at me. “I’m perfect.”
I blushed, tucking my hair behind my ear and averting my eyes. “So, what brought it on?” I asked. “Why was there an Olympus-wide Divorce Fest?”
I laughed. “Your daughter? What did she do?”
“She revealed the plan of the Neo-Council,” he replied, and I froze.
“How,” I began, and then stopped. “What happened?”
“Well, she explained why women were better for Olympus, and there was a Council vote. The motion has passed. The men are going to be replaced,” he explained.
“I… I don’t know… It was that easy?” I spluttered.
“Not really. The whole day yesterday was a debate, and only one ’o’clock this morning was the motion finally passed,” he said. “It was anything but easy. But, if you’re going to be Queen, I think it’s worth it.”
“But,” I protested. “You don’t even know me.”
“No,” he agreed. “I don’t know you as much as I should. However, I know enough to know you’re going to be great.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Oh, but I do,” he replied. “Seventh grade, you led an experiment on relationship and leadership psychology. Tenth grade, for your personal project, you researched about Alpha types and Type A people.”
“How… how did you…?”
“How did I know?” he asked. “Well, I do my research. You already know a lot about me, probably, so… it’s only fair.”
“Well, all the legends made you quite an asshole, no offense,” I said, wincing. “You seem quite… normal? Nice?”
“Well, I’m flattered you find me nice, and I hope I can stick to those standards,” he said. “But anyway, I meant to say, you’ll be a better Queen than I ever was.”
“You were King, not Queen,” I pointed out.
“How much of a difference does it really make?”
“Apparently a lot since Olympus is going to be fully female now,” I deadpanned.
We laughed. “Apollo was right. You are more intelligent than Athena.” He stopped short. “Don’t tell her I said that.”
“Got it,” I said, smiling. “Thank you, though.”
“I only speak truth,” he replied. “I came to inform you that the coronation is tomorrow at Olympus, and you’re probably going to have to leave school to perform your duties.”
“Is that why you’re… weatherman?” I asked, and then winced. Great job, Morgana. You should have taken that tone out of your voice.
“I’m no weatherman,” he said. “It’s just the standard response by people because they don’t know how to say I’m… well, unemployed.”
“Well, women have larger prefrontal cortexes and they’re generally better at multitasking, so I may not be able to be in school, but I’m sure I can finish my assignments remotely. If I ever get stressed, I’ll just stop,” I said.
“Come on, Morgana,” he replied. My name… sounded nice, too nice on his lips. Unlike Apollo, he didn’t sound soft and fearful, but decisive and assertive. I wanted to kiss him.
“Come on what?” I asked, my voice up by half an octave.
“You aren’t going to quit even if you are stressed,” he replied, and I couldn’t exactly disagree with him. He wasn’t wrong.
“Well, it’s the thought that counts?” I replied and giggled uncomfortably.
“So, tell me about you,” he said, while I stood up.
“Come with me to our poor excuse for a kitchen. I can get you tea, coffee, or some ambrosia I have lying around. I have to warn you though, it will be extremely watered down, and we don’t have the best stuff at the moment,” I said. “We’ll talk then.”
“End of the month?” he asked, standing up.
“Yeah,” I sighed. “Follow me.”
We walked to the kitchen where I put the kettle on while he stood there, watching me. I put my hair up and rolled up the sleeves of my hoodie. “What would you like?”
“I’ll have some tea, thanks.”
“I have the nice peppermint tea, I have ginger, and I have the normal tea bags,” I explained. “Which would you like?”
“Which would you recommend?” he asked, smiling. He had a dimple…
“I’d say let’s have the peppermint,” I replied, after thinking for a bit and then taking out the jar.
“Peppermint it is,” he laughed. “Why do you have so much tea anyway? Most people prefer coffee.”
“At first, it was to annoy Nora,” I began, but then stopped to explain. “Remember Victoria, the one you met before? Yeah, her girlfriend.”
“Why did you want to annoy her anyway?”
“Because she thinks it’s okay to come into our dorm room and mess up the organisation of stuff!” I exclaimed, putting the tea into the hot water. “I mean, she is Victoria’s girlfriend and all, but we have a system.”
“And the tea prevents that?” he asked, amused.
“Yes, it does. As soon as she sees the tea she goes on a coffee-is-totes-better rant and then she recommends about a hundred nice coffeehouses to us and till then I can drag her away from the kitchen and into the hall,” I explained.
“That’s smart of you,” he smiled. “But that doesn’t explain why you have so much tea.”
“Well, it started off as a Nora repellent and ended up being something I enjoyed drinking. More relaxing than coffee, you know?”
“Yeah. Tea is better for anxiety,” he smiled.
I handed him his cup and said, “Okay, so I know this is really, really weird, but I just wanted to know because, well… it’s eating at me. You and Hera. What went wrong?”
He grinned. “Are you jealous or are you trying to figure out whether I’m a good person?”
“Neither? Both?” I replied, holding my hands up. “Guilty as charged. Although I hate the feeling, I’ve never felt it before.”
“Well, I am your destined,” he shrugged. “And to answer your question, Hera and I were just… we didn’t get along after the first few years and we couldn’t separate at the time because of her role as goddess of marriages, and so we sort of made a pact that we could each do whatever we wanted?”
“So you cheated on her?” I laughed. “Seriously, Zeus?”
“No, I didn’t cheat on her. She was just better at hiding it than I was,” he explained. “Cheating isn’t cheating if it’s mutual.”
“Oh, is that so?” I asked, glaring at him as I crossed my arms.
“If you’re silently asking if I’ll do it with you, I won’t. Not unless we make an agreement that we each can do whatever we want,” he said.
“Okay,” I sipped a bit of my tea. “So,” I drawled. “Tell me your Hogwarts house.”
“Your Hogwarts house?”
“Oh. Ohhhh… I’m a Ravenclaw,” he said. “You? Please don’t tell me you’re a—”
“Slytherin?” I scoffed. “Of course, I’m a Slytherin.”
“Well, Slytherin and Ravenclaw are…”
“The ultimate power couple?” I finished. “That’s the only answer I’m willing to accept.”
“I was going to say totally badass, but hey, that works too,” he said, and I smiled.
“I have a feeling we’re going to get along really well.”
“You know what, I agree.” He stopped, and I heard a vibration tone. “Sorry, I have to get that.”
“No issues. Duty calls,” I shrugged.
He picked up his phone and scowled.
“Αθήνα.” He pursed his lips. “είμαι στη μέση κάτι.” He rubbed his forehead. “Για την αγάπη του Δία, θέλεις μια μητριά καλύτερη από την Ήρα ή όχι?!”
Note to self: learn Greek.
“Denique, non vis mihi et omnibus Disputatio latine?” He snapped. “Latine loqui non possum.”
Note to self: learn Latin?
“Ладно, ты пересекаешь здесь предел, дорогая.”
Come on now, what language is this?
“Unaweza kukutana naye baadaye, sawa?”
No freaking way. He knows at least five languages. What the hell?! I know English, a little bit of Hindi, French and a little bit of Spanish.
“Bye, amica mea.”
“Umm… what was that?” I asked.
“Never get on the wrong side of the goddess of wisdom, even if she is your daughter,” was the cryptic explanation he gave. “Hey, I have to go. I just came to tell you I’m bringing you to Olympus. You cool with that?”
I smiled. “I’d never have it any other way.”
He came close to me and wrapped me in an embrace, and I kid you not, butterflies were fluttering in my stomach and my skin erupted with tingly warmth. My cheeks flushed. “Bye, έρωτας. See you tomorrow.”
“See you,” I replied breathlessly.
And that, children, is how I met your father for the first time. In my poor excuse for a dorm room. With peppermint tea that he finished every drop of. With a language-y conversation with your stepsister.
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