Chapter 21: Bird Feeder And Rogues
“So.” Hecate winked as I walked through the door. “How was it?”
I rolled my eyes and watched as Ares went back into the forest to take his post. “It was good.”
“What did you guys talk about?” She asked as I placed her meal on the table. “And thank you for the sushi.”
“Just kind of this and that.” I said. “He talked a little about his past and I didn’t say a lot of mine.”
“Are you going to ever tell him?” She asked as she opened up the box and sniffed the food.
“Probably not.” I laughed shaking my head as I reached to fix the zipper on my boot.
“He is a king. With his resources, it’s only a matter of time before he finds out you know.” Hecate pointed out before taking a bite.
I nodded with a laugh. “Then we’ll talk about it then.”
“Why don’t you want to tell him?”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged and walked over to the cabinets. “You’ve seen him. The minute I tell him what happened, he’s going to hunt down everyone from my pack and probably kill them.”
“Do you really believe that?” I asked giving her a pointed look.
“No.” She sighed. “But honesty is always the best way to go. Especially if you want things to work out between you two. You have to communicate.”
“Well, technically I’m not lying to him. I’m just withholding information.”
“That’s the same thing.” She laughed. “Where are you going?”
“I noticed the bird feeders were empty.” I explained when I took the birdfeed bag off the shelf. “I was going to go refill them.”
“Can I come with?” She asked.
“Of course.” I smiled with a nod.
“Sweet.” She said as she placed the box of sushi on the table and walked out the front door with me.
“Where are you going?” A male voice asked.
Hecate and I both screamed and turned around to see Jason.
“What the hell!” Hecate yelled as she clutched her chest. “I think you just gave me a heart attack.”
“Me too.” I panted as I glared at Jason.
“Way to go.” Achilles laughed as Jason’s face turned a slight shade of red.
“I’m really sorry my Queen. I didn’t mean too.” Jason apologized and picked up the bag off the ground.
“It’s okay.” I said waving him off. “And you can just call me Athena. It’s still weird hearing people call me Queen.”
“Noted.” He smiled and handed the bag back to me.
I smiled in thanks and took the bag from him.
“So I thought you guys were supposed to be hiding.” I mumbled as I opened the bag and filled the feeders.
Jason and Achilles looked at each other and back at me.
“Just wanted to come and say hi.” Jason smiled
“Uh huh.” I said as I placed the bag on the ground.
“What?” Achilles asked. “We can’t come and say hi?”
“No, you can.” Hecate said as she crossed her arms. “But let’s stop lying.”
“W-We aren’t lying.” Achilles said.
“For being royals, you guys are terrible at this.” Hecate laughed.
“And you guys are stuttering your words.” I pointed out.
“How about we can all talk to each other over a cup of hot cocoa?” Jason said as he ushered us towards the house.
“Wait a minute.” Hecate said, spinning out of his arms. “Why are you guys trying to get us inside so quickly?”
“We can talk about that over some hot cocoa. Come on.” Jason smiled.
“Hecate. Please.” Jason groaned.
“It’s cold out.” Achilles added. “That’s why we want you guys to get inside.”
“Yeah!” Jason nodded. “And the King would have my head if you got sick under my watch.”
“Hecate’s right.” I laughed. “You guys are terrible liars.”
Hecate opened her mouth, but a growl cut her off.
“What was that?” I asked.
“Nothing.” Jason said as another growl ripple through the air. “That was just my stomach.”
“Cut the bull shit.” Hecate said.
“Rogues are at the south border.” Achilles sighed. “The King wanted you guys to go nowhere near it.”
“That’s at the edge of my land.”
“You guys need to get inside.” Jason said sternly.
“No way. This is my land.” Hecate said. “So I’m going to protect it.”
“Athena.” Jason started.
“And I’m going if she’s going.” I interrupted before they could say anything else.
“Athena. I don’t think-” Achilles started, but I cut him off.
“I’m going.” I demanded. “And that’s an order.”
Jason and Achilles looked at each other, before turning to me.
“Fine.” Jason growled. “But you stay close to me the entire time and no buts.”
“Deal.” I smiled.
“The King is going to kill us.” Achilles said.
“Yeah but I’m not going to go against an order from the Queen.” Jason stated.
“Now that that’s settled.” Hecate said before ripping a bird feeder from the ground. “Let’s go.”
Oh, come on! I just filled that.
“What are you doing?” I asked groaning.
“My shotgun is inside and by how close these rogues are, I don’t have any time to run inside and grab it.” She explained as we made our way away from the house. “And you guys have claws and teeth. I don’t have anything. So let’s go wolfies.”
“Hey!” Jason, Achilles, and I said.
Hecate only smirked at us before running ahead. I growled and followed her.
But by the time we got there, the rogues were either dead or gone.
I stopped by a tree and saw a magnificent wolf. He was all gold, but he had a medium-sized, white moon on his forehead.
‘Ares’ wolf is the same as me. But the colors are switched.’ Artemis pointed out.
I watched as a confused look came across Ares’ face and his snout went into the air. His eyes went wide and he looked in every direction to find me.
“Ares!” I called out to him as my hands cupped around my mouth to help the sound echo.
His head shot to the left and he came bolting in my direction.
He jumped up, causing us both to fall down, and started to lick my cheek.
“That’s disgusting.” I groaned as I wiped my cheek to get his drool off.
Ares jumped off of me before running behind a tree. He came back out a couple of seconds later with some shorts on.
‘I like his tattoos.’ Artemis purred.
‘I want to get one.’ I confessed. ‘Do you think I would look bad with a tattoo?’
Artemis paused for a moment. ‘No I don’t think so. I think you could pull it off.’
“Athena?” Ares asked, waving a hand in front of my face.
“Sorry.” I said softly. “I was thinking about tattoos.”
“You should get one.” Ares smiled. “I think you would look good with one.”
“You think?” I asked excitedly.
He nodded his head with a grin and winked. “I definitely think so.”
“So how did you know where we were at?” Apollo asked.
“These idiots are really bad liars.” Hecate explained as she pointed her thumb back at Jason and Achilles.
“Hey!” The brothers yelled offended.
“She’s not wrong.” Janus teased.
“I really don’t like any of you.” Jason said with a huff as he crossed his arms over his chest.
Ares laughed, but then turned his attention toward me. “Athena, as much as I love seeing you, you should have stayed at Hecate’s house. You’re not properly trained to fight rogues yet. You could have gotten hurt.”
I sighed and looked down. “I’m sorry.”
I felt my chin being lifted up and I shivered as sparks erupted.
“Don’t apologize.” Ares smiled. “Once I teach you how to fight, then you can come with me when we have a rogue problem. I just want you to be safe.”
I smiled widely and flung myself at him for a hug. He caught me easily and kissed me on the forehead.
“Let’s go you two.” Hecate laughed. “Jason mentioned hot cocoa earlier and that’s all I’ve been thinking about.”
“I could really use some hot cocoa.” Ares said practically drooling as he wrapped his arm around me. “I haven’t had that in a long time. Probably years.”
“Really?” I asked as we made our descent to Hecate’s house.
Well I mean, I haven’t had it in years either, but I’m not going to tell him that.
Ares shook his head. “I remember my mom would make it for us all the time when we were kids. I just haven’t had the time to actually sit back and enjoy it I guess.”
“Well let’s go enjoy some.” I smiled, hoping to get his mind out of the painful memories.
Ares smiled down at me and squeezed my shoulder lightly before looking back at the path.
‘We really gotta stop bringing up his parents.’ Artemis sighed.
‘Yeah, tell me about it.’ I groaned. ‘Almost everything I say to him reminds him of his childhood and his parents. I feel terrible.’
We made it back to the house and the boys rushed through the door, into the kitchen.
“Sure guys, you rest. I’ll make everyone some cocoa.” Hecate said rolling her eyes and walking into the kitchen.
“Oh shit.” Apollo said as he jumped up to help. “I got it.”
Hecate smiled a thank you and sat down at the kitchen table. I sat down next to her, Ares sat to my right, while Janus sat across from Ares, and Jason and Achilles sat next to Janus.
“I could get used to this.” Apollo smiled as he sat down at the head of the table. “It’s like a little family.”
Everyone chuckled and Hecate’s smile grew wide. “I’ve always considered you guys my family.”
“I remember when we were younger; we would always come over here and swing.” Apollo reminisced.
“You had a swing?” I asked amazed. “Where is it?”
“Why don’t you ask Ares.” Hecate smirked.
Ares’ face grew red and he rubbed the back of his neck. “I didn’t mean too.”
“Did you break it?” I asked laughing.
“On accident.” He pointed out sternly.
“He wanted to help me mow the lawn, but he didn’t know how to reverse the lawnmower. Broke the swing set right in half.” Hecate explained as she thought back to the past. “Poor little guy cried for an hour.”
“Aw.” I cooed.
Ares rolled his eyes, but you could see a smile forming on his lips.
That’s how the rest of the night went.
The boys and Hecate would take turns telling stories from the past. It was nice to hear them all and watch Ares either laugh so hard he cried, or to watch his face redden in embarrassment. Both were quite amusing and fun to watch.