It wasn’t a lie. Hearing Tia’s voice had brought back a surge of emotions and regret that I had all but forgotten about. This place, though. This place was something else to me entirely. It was a symbol of my freedom.
“You’re going to be fine, Kia. You’re as strong as she is and just as powerful, even if you don’t believe it. Together, you’re going to find Skiron and set everything back to normal. Hopefully, he can fix these crazy weather patterns across the globe.”
I let out a long breath as I remembered the politics of family. Why could we never just get to the point? As I pushed all the air out of my lungs, I looked at her face for the first time and saw Hestia. Her sweet face was full of hope and love. Memories of playing in her kitchen flooded my mind. That soft voice yelling at us to stop getting underfoot as she cooked was never angry. This was the one person in the family that always made me feel loved and wanted.
I was torn between the letter in my hands and the letter in my pocket. How much longer could I prolong the inevitable? It was better to let everyone down now before making promises I could not keep. No one needed me. Not my team. Not my family.
But it would be rude to just leave Hestia high and dry. She deserved a face-to-face explanation, just like my team did.
Oh, this was going to hurt.
I laughed more in an attempt to lighten the mood than because I found her brand of honesty humorous. I needed her help, after all. “I’m back for good this time, and I’m going to make amends for my absence. I’ve been an ass to my family, and I want to change that.”
After being away from my mind for about sixteen hours, the Revolt House was slogging its way back into my thoughts. It was nice to forget about it for a night and just enjoy the return of my mother and Hestia, making new friends, and reconnecting with old ones. But forgetting problems did not lead to solutions, and the problems would persist until a solution was forced upon us or found.
No, I was not alone anymore. “No, I am not alone,” I repeated out loud as I forced my eyes open. I started to count backward from ten, trying to settle my mind. Flashes of my life started appearing, even though I didn’t want to see them.
“Sweetheart. Even if it does not matter whether or not this world knows your name, I already know that you are someone that people are going to talk about for generations to come. You know why?” I shook my head. “Because you love just as hard as you fight. And you fight hard for those you love. And those are the people who go down in history.”
I completely ignored the question as I charged into the room and threw my arms around her, clinging to her like I did when I was so much younger and a lot less independent. “I’ve missed you so much,” I muffled into her shoulder, trying so hard to hold back the tears.
Maybe Zeus was right, and it was time for us to show ourselves again, prove that we exist and that there was a better way to do things. There are ways to resolve disagreements without bloodshed. Being that some of my fellow Olympian’s sole existence was war or had wrapped their identity so tightly around such acts, it might not be possible. But, it was still a worthy goal.
“It wouldn’t have been a violation of my oath to lie with no man, but be with a woman,” I mumbled to myself as I narrowed my eyes at the flames in my hearth. My three-headed fire feline lept out and started to rub its heads across my calves. I petted him as I watched the logs burn.
I wanted Phobos to yell back at me. Like Dionysos always said, our family was the most normal it could be when we were yelling and railing and fighting. It was when we all went silent that something was truly wrong. And when Phobos gave a hard glare but didn’t say a word, I knew that I had fucked up.
That’s how I found my brand of inner peace. I would go for a run when I was frustrated, and I wouldn’t stop until all the anger was gone. By the time that happened, I was often in a new place. This time, my meditation led me to the catalyst of my current nightmares. I stared up at the warehouse with its broken windows and exposed brick exterior.