I sat on the corner of my large oak desk in my York office and looked at the three whiteboards across from me. Ever since the Titans escaped Tarturus, there have been more questions than answers. We have all been doing our part to apprehend those responsible and put the escapees back where they belong. The hard part was trying to minimize the havoc that they were causing in the mortal realm.The poor dears just are not equipped to deal with Titans. Along with their jailbreak, so many insane things have happened. So we have found ourselves struggling and stretched thin, but we were hanging on. Nike and I have worked together to help put things back in order. We have found the spy and dealt with him. We also put away Coeus, but there were still so many left and so much we still needed to do.

I brought my attention back to the whiteboards. I had each Titan who escaped, that I knew of, on the boards. Each was labeled with a picture and their name. Then there were those who were captured and returned to their prisons. Those that were considered to still be “running at large” had big red lettering, indicating that they still needed to be found and dealt with. I rubbed my eyes. I would need a stiff drink before it was all over.

My cellphone was sitting on the desk next to me and rang loudly. The abrupt break in my concentration made me jump. Big tough Athena jumping over her phone ringing; thankfully none of my family members were here to see it or the jokes would never stop. Thinking of my family teasing me brought a smile to my face. I chuckled as I answered the call, “Wisdom and War Private Investigations, this is Athena.” I didn’t recognize the voice at the other end of the line. It was deep and gruff.

“I hear you have been looking for me, little one. Perhaps it’s time you found me. I would hurry if I were you…”

The line went dead. I pulled the phone and looked at the caller ID. What in the hell? The call came from my house in York. That couldn’t be right. I looked at the ID again. It was my home number. Either someone was playing a sick joke or they had a death wish. My home was my sanctuary and I did not like unexpected visitors. To make matters worse, I had mortal neighbors, and the menacing call might mean they would also be in danger.

I wasn’t far from my home and could easily drive there. Usually I would, as I am not fond of teleporting and scaring the bejeezus out of my neighbors. It seemed to cause them distress to have someone just pop in. The whole here-one-second gone-the-next thing didn’t bode well with them. You also had to contend with the issue of popping in where someone else was standing. In my younger days I landed on my fair share of mortals and their property alike. Thankfully, I wasn’t a young Goddess anymore and had gotten a better handle on the whole teleportation thing.

I closed my eyes and prepared for what I might find, then I teleported to my driveway in front of my condo. Everything outside was peaceful. Oddly there was no foot traffic: no moms walking their strollers, no joggers in their ridiculous little outfits, or even dogs out in their yards. It was eerily silent. I listened for a moment…nothing. I teleported to my back deck and silently walked to the overlooking window. I couldn’t see anyone in my home. I guess that would make things too easy…just creep up and bam, there’s the bad guy. Why couldn’t it ever be that simple? Looking at my app, I could see that my alarm was not armed. I knew I armed it before leaving. It’s like second nature. I would need to change security companies or install security similar to what was just put in the God Complex.

I slowly turned the back door knob so I could enter quietly. I’d just slip in and see, then…BOOM! The back door exploded into fire and threw me off my porch and into the backyard. All the air was knocked out of my lungs and I broke something upon impact. Everything hurt and the world went fuzzy. The ringing in my ears was deafening. I cursed myself for not being more careful, but how could I have expected my door to be rigged with explosives? Slowly, I opened my eyes. Thankfully, it was a piece of yard furniture that I broke and not a part of me. Damn, that hurt. I laid there on my back, on top of the remnants of what was once my beautiful patio set. I could hear sirens blaring in the distance. They were coming closer. I was so glad the cavalry was coming to my aid. I guess late was better than never.

Standing, I felt a sharp pain in my left side. Looking down, I could see why. There was a piece of the furniture, like a second little arm, just protruding from my body. I slowly felt to see if it went all the way through. Of course it had…why wouldn’t it? This seemed to be my luck lately. I knew according to mortal rules, I wasn’t supposed to remove it. I was supposed to wrap it in place and wait for help. Thankfully, I am not mortal and will not die from this wound.

Okay, that was enough stalling. You can’t very well investigate with metal sticking out of both sides of your body. I took a deep breath and wrapped my hands around the front of the metal rod. One…two…three…yank. I pulled as hard as I could. The metal slid out, bringing a surge of blood with it. FUCK! I fell to one knee for a moment, panting as sweat poured from my face. Someone was going to bleed for this. I waited for a few moments as I felt the wound start to close up and heal. Thank the Gods it wasn’t an enchanted relic or something that could cause lasting damage. I stood up and looked at the metal rod that I was still holding. Dropping it to the ground, I turned my attention to my condo. The entire back of the second floor was missing. What in the actual fuck?

The sirens were almost here. This would be interesting. I supposed I should check out the rest of the damage. I was too weak from blood loss to teleport, so I had to resort to walking. Well, okay, it was more of a hobble, since my side still hurt like hell. On a side note, my clothes were ruined. It looked like I would have to go shopping for clothes when I went to replace the stuff that the blast incinerated.

I was almost to the house when I heard the local PD pull up. As I turned the corner to the front of the house, I saw an officer knocking on the front door. I took off in a full sprint, doing my best to ignore the pain, yelling “STOP” like a mad woman at the officer. I moved as fast as possible to reach him, pushing my body to get to him in time.

I reached him just as he was turning the knob of the front door. I crashed into him and knocked him to the ground. I covered him with my body the best I could to shield him. I managed this just moments before the front of the house exploded. There must have been explosives rigged to both entrances. Thankfully, I was right; I would have looked like a lunatic, tackling the officer to the ground and covering him with my body if there hadn’t been a bomb. I waited for the flames and scraps of my condo to stop erupting before I removed myself from the officer. He just laid there, motionless, as we waited. Small pieces of debris littered the ground around us and rained down on my back. Luckily, this time I was not impaled by anything.

Slowly I stood and offered a hand to help him up. I looked at the other officers. Some were laying on the ground, shielding their ears and eyes. Others were hunkered down behind their patrol vehicles. The cars shielded them from the blast, although it was not the brightest idea since their gas tanks could have caused secondary explosions. No one appeared to be hurt.

The officer took my hand and allowed me to help him stand.

“Are you okay? Does anything feel broken?” I asked him. He winced, but looked to be relatively okay. At least as okay as you could be after being tackled by a Goddess and having something explode next to you.

“Yes, I think I am okay. Thank you, I don’t know…” His words trailed off as he looked at what used to be the entrance of my home.

I laid a hand on his shoulder. “Hey, you’re alive, that’s what matters. Just try and be more careful in the future.” I wasn’t trying to chastise the poor guy.

He managed a small smile and walked towards the ambulances that were pulling up.

“Ma’am, are you injured?” A deep, masculine voice came from behind me.

“No, I’m fine” I absently waved a hand towards the direction of the voice.

“Ma’am, you look like you’re bleeding. We need to get you checked out by the EMTs.” Feeling frustrated, I turned around. “I said I’m fine!” I all but yelled.

The man standing before me had a deeply concerned look on his face.

“Please come sit and let them look at you. Then we can figure out what happened.” He was talking softly to me, not demanding that I get looked at, but more pleading. Smart man. Apparently he knew headstrong when he saw it. I looked at him for the first time. I mean, really looked at him. He was very handsome: tall, with dark hair that was cut perfectly to suit his face. His jaw line was very masculine and framed his face. He had lush lips and bright green eyes. His olive skin was tanned and his clothes let you know that there were well-defined muscles underneath; usually mortals who were taller than me were too lanky. My breath caught for a moment. I’m rarely taken aback by mortals, but this one…damn.

“Fine, fine.” I walked over to him and let him help me to the ambulance. He slipped his arm around me carefully.

“Here, let me help you. It looks like you lost a lot of blood. Still, what you did for the officer…it was amazing. He is lucky.” His voice held a tone of admiration to it.

“Thank you,” I replied. Honestly, I was still shaken from the blast, or maybe it was this mortal, or maybe both. I let him help me sit.

“Someone get over here now!” he barked at the EMTs. I’m sure they knew who I was and that’s why they were not concerned. I stifled back a laugh. It’s been a long time since someone has tried to take care of me.

Not one, but two EMTs rushed over at his order. “Sorry, Captain, we were tending to the officers,” one explained.

“Are you hurt, Sir?” another asked.

“Do I look like I’m hurt? I need you to tend to this woman’s wounds,” he barked at them again as he motioned to me.

I removed my button up blouse, it was ruined anyway. Both blasts had made sure of that. I removed my tank top as well, since it had two large holes in it.  Underneath, I was wearing a sports bra.The EMTs didn’t miss a beat in checking out the healing wound. The captain blushed a little, but regained his composure. He tried to hide any lingering looks.

“She seems okay, Sir,” the EMT replied.

I looked at the captain and smiled. Standing, I offered him a hand.

“Hi, I’m Athena. It’s nice to meet you.”

His eyes widened as he looked from me, to my wound and to my outstretched hand and back again. I couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Are you okay, Sir? Do you need me to get the EMTs back over here?” 

I let the amusement show in my broad smile. He took a moment to regain his composure.

“You’re the Athena? Like the Goddess Athena?” he asked. 

Direct, I liked that.

“Yes, at your service. However, just Athena is fine.”

“I’m Captain Renard…Johnathan Renard…um Johnathan, I’m Johnathan.” 

I smiled again.

“It’s nice to meet you, Johnathan. Now shall we see what happened to my condo? I’d like to put on a new shirt too, if any survived the blast.” 

He looked at me for a moment and followed me to what was left of my home. It looks like I’d have to stay at the Complex until my home was rebuilt.

Athena (Rainbow Brubaker)
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