I had just finished helping out the rest of the gang with dishes when I decided I needed to do a family check-in. I may have made the active choice not to return to them so that I could take care of my new family, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t worry about my blood family. I would check on them periodically, and the check-ins had become more frequent since the Titans were locked away. I needed to be sure they were all okay and recovering from that ordeal.
Retreating to my room, I was thankful that Jude was hanging out with everyone else downstairs. It gave me the privacy I needed to use my powers. I fell into a crossed-legged position on my bed, allowing my eyes and head to fall while I steadied my breathing. It didn’t take long for my sight to be taken out of my body.
First up was the older brother who annoyed me the most; Eros. He was a little shit, but his wife was on the verge of popping out twins. I guess that made me feel like I really needed to keep track of him.
My vision sped half-way across the world to the building at the foot of Mount Olympus. It looked like it was a beautiful night, and I almost missed home. I landed in the lounge, as it had many times before. Eros was there with his arm around Clio. The poor girl looked like she was ready to burst, but they looked happy. So happy that I almost didn’t notice who they were talking to.
The dark-haired individual in ripped leather and denim was Eris. I knew them well—they were another war god—so wherever Dad, Phobos, Deimos, and I went, they weren’t that far away.
It was the other dark-haired individual that made my heart stop. Her long hair tumbled over the shoulders of the tight dress she wore. No one fit the description of hell in high heels better than she did, and she knew it if that taunting, condescending smirk on her face was any indication.
It was Atë. The traitor. She was out of Tartarus!
“What the fuck?!”
I didn’t bother to go through my normal process of teleportation. I didn’t stop to leave the Revolt House, saying that I was running errands, only to get to the nearest public restroom to make the trip. I just teleported straight out of my shared room to just outside of the God complex. The only thing I took the time to grab was the one thing I would never be caught without, the first sword that dad ever gave me. She was beaten, bruised, dented, and rusted with age, but she was mine. I had ended many tyrannies with her, and I was going to add one more to the list tonight. Or I was going to die trying.
I didn’t bother to entertain a conversation with the front desk receptionist. I pushed straight past her, making a beeline for the lounge. I knew right where it was, and I knew my other brother, Dinlas, was the head of security. Even if he got called in, he wouldn’t do anything to stop me.
I didn’t stop until I had finally reached the lounge. To my relief, everyone was still where they were when I left my vision. Eros, Clio, and Eris were all safe, and the traitor hadn’t made her escape. My loud entrance caught everyone’s attention. There was happy surprise written all over Eros’ and Clio’s faces. Eris and Atë, on the other hand, saw the rabid look on my face and knew exactly why I was there. Apparently, it was terribly amusing for them.
“What is she doing here?” I demanded. How could they let her out of Tartarus, let alone into this building?
“Who?” Eros asked. “Clio? Eris? Though it’s them, not she. Get with the times, Tia.” Why did he always have to make jokes at times like these? I would never know how Clio put up with him. Even she could understand the gravity of the situation. She started biting her lip nervously to prove it.
“Hello, cupcake. Looking for me?” Atë taunted.
“Oh, yes,” Eris hissed in glee. “It looks like Ada has big plans.”
I flourished my blade, saying, “Thank you for making my job so easy.”
“Your job?” Atë asked, unbothered. “Are you an executioner now?” For her, I would absolutely take on that role.
“Tia, what are you doing?” Eros asked with an eye roll.
“Something delightfully stupid,” Eris answered.
“Ummm,” Clio piped up, holding up her hand defensively. “As much as I like your sword, could we put it away?” She pointed to her stomach. “Still pregnant and pointy things are…” A shudder was all she did to finish her sentence.
Before I could do anything else, two sets of meaty arms linked through mine. The two male towers had olive skin that rippled from their flexing biceps. It was good to know that, even though I was the short one in the family, I could still give Phobos and Deimos a run for their money with just my sheer strength. They were gritting their teeth and digging their feet into the ground, trying desperately to hold me back. “Adrestia! Stop!” Phobos begged.
“Get off me!” I demanded, fighting their grip as hard as I could.
“No!” Deimos refused. “This is insane!”
“What’s insane is letting the traitor walk free!”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t seem to recall what I did to you,” Ate challenged.
That set me off. “You nearly killed all of us! That’s what you did!”
“Adrestia.” I didn’t realize Persephone had entered the room until she called to me. She was standing in front of Clio, who was holding a pillow in front of her bump, worry written all over her face. “Listen to them, please.” They had truly all gone insane. It had to be her fault. She did something to all of them.
“She should’ve been executed!” I railed, trying to talk any sense into them that I could. “And if no one else will do it, I will!” I started fighting their grip on me harder. I needed to escape. I had to end this. It was the only way I could get my family back and make sure they were safe.
“Oh, that’s fucking rich!” Atë barked like an amused hyena. “You think I’m the first traitor, as you call it?”
“Adrestia,” Eris spoke up with seriousness in their voice. That alone was a rare occasion. “This isn’t your call to make. Now be an adult and calm the fuck down!” And just like that, they were back.
“Calm down?! Why should I?! She will grab the next opportunity to kill us all and none of your care!” Why couldn’t any of them understand?
That was when the unthinkable truly happened. Eros, my own brother and one who took a great bit of the brunt of Atë’s actions, stepped in front of her, becoming her shield. With a sigh, he said, “You want her, Tia? Go through me first.”
The world stilled for me in that moment, and it had nothing to do with the fact that Persephone swept all the glasses out of the bar cabinet to get our attention. It was the sting of betrayal that got to me. “How could you?” I asked, my voice the quietest it had been since I had arrived. “Eros, you and Din nearly died because of her actions. How can you defend her?”
“Because it’s not that simple.” He went back to his wife’s side, comforting her through this situation that was clearly stressing her out. “Because she’s family. Just like you, Tia.”
He was really comparing Ate to me and trying to put us on the same level. “She is not family!” I screamed. I didn’t know how much more of this insanity I could take.
“Yes, she is!” Eros snapped back.
“Family doesn’t do what she did!”
Persephone screamed in desperation, “Shut up! Stop arguing! You sound like chickens in a henhouse! Yelling accomplishes nothing!” Didn’t stop her from doing it too, though, did it? She turned her harsh, motherly gaze to me. “You can be a fool, but do not be a fool where your brother’s wife and children can be harmed.”
I looked to the side. Clio was holding her stomach, looking uncomfortable. Eros was by her side, providing what comfort he could. “Why don’t we go see Eileithyia, hm?”
Clio nodded. “That’s a good idea,” she groaned out.
Arm in arm, my brother and sister-in-law left the lounge, brushing right past me. “If you want actual answers instead of blanket accusations, little sister, come see me.” That statement and a little glance in my direction was all the acknowledgment he gave me.
Could everyone hear my brain snapping into pieces as my world fell apart? It felt like they could. How could they not? It was so loud. Like shattering glass. I couldn’t hear anything that anyone was saying, whether they were speaking to me or not. My heartbeat and the ringing in my ears were just too loud. I couldn’t stand any more. My legs gave out, leaving Phobos and Deimos as my only means of support. They gently lowered me to my knees. The moment they released my arms, I tore my hands through my hair. I was desperate for something—anything solid—to hold on to in that moment. I felt like I was coming apart at the seams. “Why…am I…the only one?” It’s all I could think to say. It’s all that my body and brain would allow me to say.
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