Sliding into my booth at Nox, my smile is wicked as I survey the crowd at the nightclub, already imagining what kind of mischief I could get in tonight. With so many possibilities present, I’m having trouble picking just one.
The lights around me dim as Nyx slides into the booth next to me, kissing my cheek in greeting. I try not to shift uncomfortably by her open display of affection. If it were anyone else, I would have made a sarcastic quip about it, but I know Nyx doesn’t do it to make me uncomfortable. She does it because she loves me.
In a completely platonic way. Get your mind out of the gutter.
“What trouble are you thinking about tonight?” she asks, her mouth stretching into a radiant smile.
“I am not planning anything…” I trail off, sending her a broad wink.
Her laugh is deep and throaty, and I can feel her happiness through the heart link I’ve developed since my return home. She snuck into my heart, which I really shouldn’t be surprised by. Since she and Dinlas got together, both of their hearts have caused me more peace than pain. Even my father was coming to terms with his loss. Which makes me wonder…
Why am I still here?
The reason I came home seemed to have solved itself. Without someone else’s heartache to focus on, I have far too much free time on my hands. Which is, honestly, when I’m at my most dangerous. I’m completely unpredictable when I’m bored. Mostly because I will do anything to distract myself from my own turmoil. The Titans are providing a momentary distraction, but they won’t be enough to stop me from doing something truly terrible. Especially not with my memories of Attie returning, mischief calls to mischief.
Then there’s Clio. What am I going to do about Clio? Fuck, I need a distraction. I can feel the need to cause trouble stirring inside me more and more, even as I sit next to Nyxie. For most, introspection is a way to understand themselves on a deeper level. For me? It’s dangerous.
There’s a sudden commotion in the middle of the dance floor, drawing my attention. Mortals back away hurriedly from a flash of light. I send an arched eyebrow at Nyx, indicating the commotion. Together, we stand to investigate.
Ask and you shall receive.
Mortals part to allow us to approach, and I unhook my bow from my quiver, nocking an arrow in preparation. The lights flicker, then dim as Nyx also prepares to fight.
In the center of the dance floor, laying on the floor catching her breath with great gasping inhalations, is a young blonde woman, covered in blood. Burn marks singe most of her clothes.
Mortals escape through the exits, streaming out onto the streets outside. The club empties within a few minutes.
Nyx moves closer to the blonde, using her foot to push the injured woman onto her back, exposing her face to us. She’s younger than I thought, barely an adult, and grievously injured. The wounds on her body are seeping blood, and the burns on her side are still smoking. I slowly lower my bow when I see her face, my eyebrows shooting up with surprise at how much she looks like my mother.
Another sibling? As if I don’t have enough trouble with the ones I have already.
Then she opens her eyes, connecting with mine, before they drift close again. I drop immediately to my knees beside her, my bow falling from my suddenly lax grip. I grasp the sides of her face, forcing her to look at me directly. She pulls her drooping eyelids up slowly, again revealing her eyes to me. They’re a stunning kaleidoscope of colors, every part of the rainbow packed within them, so clear and bright, they almost seem to glow. When they connect with mine, it’s like I’ve been shot through the heart.
Because I know those eyes.
Those are her eyes.
What are they doing on this girl who looks so much like my mother?
She passes out from her injuries a moment later. Lowering her head to the floor, I move to pick her up, lifting her easily into my arms, teleporting directly to my apartments at the GC. Laying her gently on my bed, I brush back a lock of hair from her face.
Who are you?
Nyx appears at my side, gazing down at the girl with her starry eyes. When I realize what Nyx has clutched in her hand, I pale even more.
My bow. I left my bow; I’ve never done that – not once – since the moment it was first placed in my hands. Silently, Nyx holds it out, thankfully not commenting as I take the weapon from her, hooking it back onto my quiver.
“Who is she?” Nyx whispers, sitting on the side of the bed, taking the opportunity to assess the girl’s injuries. Claw marks trail down her left side, seeping blood onto my sheets. Her clothes are dark with burn marks; it looks like she had crawled from the deepest depths of Tartarus.
Which is mostly empty right now, thank you, Attie.
“I-I don’t know. I’ve never seen her before,” I croak, rooted to the spot, only able to stare at the girl.
Nyx glances at me, her eyebrows shooting up when she sees how shaken I am. Standing, she cuts the view of the girl, allowing me the opportunity to regain some of my senses.
“Honey, listen to me. Go get Dinlas. We’ll heal her, and then when she wakes up, she can answer our questions.” Nyx’s voice is soft, but commanding. Usually, I would have done the exact opposite of what she asked, but I…I can’t think clearly.
I can’t focus enough to pull out my phone and call my brother, so I pop directly into his bedroom.
Which, in hindsight, was a bad call.
Calli and Ao immediately lunge at me, pinning me to the ground with their sudden weight, preparing to defend my brother from the new threat. It takes a moment before they take the chance to smell me, recognizing my familiar scent. The wolves eventually recognize me, each licking my face before stepping off me. Without two massive wolves pressing on my chest, I bounce back to my feet.
“You can’t just show up here, Eros! My floor is not your fucking playground -” Dinlas growls, standing from his bed, where files were laid out around him. No doubt he was working from home. He breaks off suddenly when he catches sight of my face.
He’s immediately at my side, his brows draw in concern. “Are you okay?”
My voice cracks as I attempt to convey why I’m here. “I…I need your help.”
Dinlas’ response is immediate. “Anything, brother.”
I don’t say any more, grabbing his wrist, teleporting us both back to my room. He spies the girl lying on the bed, her injuries severe, and goes to her side without question.
I stand over his shoulder, watching as he places his hands on her wounds, using his powers to heal her.
Dinlas sends a curious glance at Nyx, raising a brow. “Who’s this?”
Nyx glances at me, waiting for me to respond, but I barely hear them, focusing on my brother healing the girl. When I don’t answer the question, Nyx sighs, answering Dinlas for me, “She just showed up in the middle of Nox. We didn’t even catch her name.”
Dinlas peers back over his shoulder, finding me hovering next to him, before looking back at Nyx. “Why is he so freaked?”
Again, I don’t answer, merely watching as the girl’s wounds close under my brother’s hands. Nyx shrugs, murmuring, “I have no idea, he just grabbed her and brought her here.”
When Dinlas finishes healing her major wounds, he steps to the side, allowing me to take his place. I’m still so lost, and with her eyes closed, I can finally convince myself that I imagined her eyes earlier. They must have been a trick of the light from the club, or I wished to see things that weren’t there.
Nyx and my brother move slightly away but hover close by. Without glancing away from the unconscious girl, I croak, “Don’t…don’t you think she looks like Miteras?”
Dinlas reappears at my side, gazing down at her. I don’t even have to look at him to know he’s assessing every feature. “Is that what has you so worked up, that we might have another sibling? It wouldn’t even register on my radar.”
I reach forward to brush a lock of hair out of her face. “It’s not that…”
Before I can explain to my brother, she wakes up suddenly, her eyes flash open, taking in both of us hovering over her. For the second time tonight, it feels like a sword is being thrust through my chest.
Because I wasn’t wrong before. I didn’t see things that weren’t there; it was not a trick of the light. Those are her eyes.
She immediately begins backing away from us, heading for the headboard, but I lunge forward, grabbing her face in my hands the same way I had at the club.
“Who are you?” I snap, all of the charm and finesse I’m famous for disappearing at the sight of those eyes. Those haunting, eerie, magnificent eyes.
“Sweetie, you’re scaring her,” Nyx comments, but again it doesn’t register. Nothing is going to register, not while those eyes are looking at me.
Her face is pale with fright, and she keeps trying to pull away from me, but I refuse to relinquish her.
She whimpers slightly at my hold, and Dinlas places a hand on my shoulder. “Eros, back off.”
At Dinlas’ harsh command, she stops struggling, her eyes freezing on my face. “E-Eros? You’re Eros?”
I finally release her face though my eyes remain locked on hers. “You know me?”
She scoots back from me farther, but her eyes are assessing my every feature, taking in the quiver and bow still strapped to my back. “It’s really you.”
To my surprise, she grabs my face exactly as I had hers a moment prior. This time, her gaze trailing over my entire form, with slightly shaking hands, she traces her thumbs along my cheeks, tears welling in her eyes.
“I can’t believe I made it, and you’re here. You’re really here,” she whispers, lunging forward to wrap her arms around my neck, her slight body shaking as she hugs me.
This is confusing.
I shoot a confused look at my brother, who’s equally as lost. Pulling away from her, I scan her face again, “Who are you? How do you know me?”
She takes a long drawn out exhale, the tears in her eyes drying. “My name is Hedone. I’m your daughter.”