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Eight very long days had passed since any of the six Avengers had been sent on a mission for SHIELD. No catastrophes, no villain sighting, not even any gas station robberies had taken place in the giant metropolis that they called home. At first, they had all enjoyed sleeping late and doing nothing, but then the days had started growing longer and lloonnggeerr aanndd lllooonnngggeeerrr (Tony was positive that they now contained 36 hours instead of 24). Let's face it: they were bored. Very bored. Maybe even on the verge of insanity bored.

That evening, they were all pretending to be interested in the delicious three cheese ziti marinara that Steve had made them when Bruce of all people pointed out the sad truth.

"Guys, we have to do something or we're all going to go insane. Look at us; we're not even interested in Steve's cooking, for crying out loud!"

"You are wrong, Doctor," Thor said through half-chewed pasta. "I am enjoying myself immensely!"

"Hooray. One of us hasn't died of boredom yet. Congratulations, Thor, you've proven that the sad Asgardian culture is good for something besides making socially awkward superheroes," stated Tony, holding up his sarcasm sign.

"I don't under- oh. Thank you, Man of Iron. I understand now."

"My pleasure, pretty princess."

All of them could hear the clock ticking.

"Well…" Steve drummed his fingers on the table as he tried to think of something to do.
"Ooh, I know! How about we play a board game?"

"Yeah! Let's play Clue!"

Everybody groaned. For some reason, Tony was a Clue master. Not one of them could remember the last time he had lost (unless you counted the 'Killer Miss Scarlet' incident, which had involved Natasha and a ceiling fan that had left the ceiling, but I won't go there). Tony took the hint and pouted into his ziti.

"We could… play a video game?" suggested Clint hopefully.

"That sounds like a great idea," Bruce said, "except the only fun game Tony has in his hoard is Rock Band, which we can't play."

"Why not?"

"Because a certain thunder god smashed his guitar after watching the character do the same."

"You told me to do what I saw on the picture box. The trapped man with the spiky hair smashed his guitar against the stage, so I simply did the same."

"I don't care about you boys and your stupid band, which stinks, by the way," Natasha interrupted. "Clint and I are going to do something that's actually interesting."

"We are, Tash?"

"Yes, we are," she replied, grabbing his hand and dragging him out of his chair. "We're going to make dessert, since somebody ate all of my orange creamsicles."

"If you had written your name on them, I wouldn't have touched them. But you put them in the middle of the freezer unlabeled and unprotected. And what's this 'we' stuff? I don't cook."

"Not even when we're making double fudge brownies and my favorite little birdie gets to help clean the bowls?"

Clint was suddenly very interested in being led to the kitchen. "Out of my way, woman!" he cried, giving Natasha's rear a playful slap. "This tough job needs a tough man to get it done!"

In return, the 'tough man' got punched in the ribs and made a noise that didn't sound tough at all. In fact, it sounded more like the noise a middle-school boy makes during a fight against his eleventh-grade neighbor. Tony, Bruce, Steve, and Thor all chuckled.

"So… Now what do we do?" asked Thor. He had devoured the last of the ziti and was finally suffering from the boredom that had fallen over his comrades.

Sighing, Bruce answered, "I guess we do the same thing that we always do on boring nights. We all pretend that we're reading and can't put our books down."

"Oh, joy. Another fantastic night. Bruce, for being a Science Bro, you stink at coming up with good ideas."

"What do you guys have against reading?" inquired Steve.

"At least we can look forward to Lady Natasha's brownies," Thor said wistfully.

    ~~~~~


A long hour had passed. Tony was alternately taking apart and rebuilding his cell phone, as well as watching Steve doodle on each page corner of his book. Bruce had fallen asleep reading a lecture on gamma radiation, and Thor was teary-eyed behind a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (his favorite character had just died). Clint and Natasha had made the entire tower smell like brownies; they were still in the kitchen, giggling about something. Nobody could decide which sounded weirder, Clint giggling or Natasha giggling. Maybe both.

Steve flipped through his book, making the drawings become an animation of him throwing his shield. Then he tossed it onto the coffee table and walked towards the door.

"I'm going to work out with the punching bags again," the captain announced. "I don't want to be bothered." With that he went past the elevator and started running up the stairs. Tony rolled his eyes.

"Only a ninety-year-old man would run up four flights of stairs before working out. Would you do that, Thor?"

"I would not, Man of Iron," the Asgardian sniffled from behind his book. "I would only do it to save the life of a house elf or to eat some brownies. Speaking of which, have Lady Natasha and Eye of the Hawk finished?"

"You're hopeless, Thor. Steve's metabolism is four times faster than everybody else's, yet you're the one who eats four times more than normal. Something doesn't add up. But you do have a point; those brownies should be done by now. Let's go get some."

Quietly, so as not to disturb Bruce (because the other guy doesn't like being woken up), Tony and Thor went to the kitchen. They heard indistinct bits of conversation and paused; Clint sounded angry, and he could be dangerous when he was angry. Nevertheless, they pushed open the door and entered the kitchen.

Natasha was sitting on the counter by the sink and smirking. Clint was elbow-deep in a sinkful of dirty bowls, spoons, and measuring cups, a towel hanging out of the side of his belt.

"I need to see my reflection, birdbrain," Natasha was saying in response to her boyfriend's scrubbing job. "Look at this 'clean' bowl; you missed a pretty big spot near the edge. Wash them all again." She picked up the dishes drying in the drainer and dunked them all back into the sink.

Huffing, Clint said, "Remind me why you aren't doing this?"

"Because you messed up the first batch of brownies by using too many eggs. Besides, you also licked all of the mixing bowls. I'm not going to coat my hands in your spit."

"You certainly don't mind getting some on your lips every night. You- oh, what do you two want?"

"We came to get some brownies," answered Thor.

"We came to see you doing women's work," Tony chuckled as he whipped out his phone. "Smile and say 'cheese.' This is going on Facebook."

The picture was taken before Clint could snatch the device, so he did the next best thing. He splashed dishwater on it, unfortunately drenching Natasha in the process. She hopped off of the counter and glared at him.

"Now you've done it, you idiot! Take this!"

She picked up a bowl that he had filled with water to soak and poured it over his head. He shook the water out of his eyes and grabbed the sink's spray nozzle.

"Oh, yeah? Right back at ya, Tash! Ha, ha, ha!"

Thor and Tony ran away before they got soaked. After they left, the splash fight continued for another two minutes, when Natasha's iPod died. It was one of the first fights Clint had ever won. They sat down against the cabinets and laughed uncontrollably for exactly 47 seconds. Then they both got devilish grins on their faces and prepared for that evening's entertainment, courtesy of Barton and Romanoff, partners in crime.

    ~~~~~


Steve tiptoed down the stairs. When he reached the door to the living room, he stopped to check his equipment. Weapon? Check. Ammo? Check. Cover up story? …Well, he could work on that later.

He peeked into the living room. Bruce was still snoozing on the sofa. Tony and Thor were making complete and utter fools of themselves by playing Just Dance 3 (doing a duet, as a matter of fact). The super soldier cocked his gun, took aim, and fired. As soon as he pulled the trigger, he knew that it was a good shot.

An orange dart sped through the air and stuck to Bruce's glasses. He woke up with a jerk, startled to find that 1) he had fallen asleep and 2) he had been shot. After plucking the dart off of his glasses, Dr. Banner decided that the brownies smelled really good and that he wanted one. So he got up and went to the kitchen.

Big mistake.

As he opened the door, he was greeted with two loaded Super Soakers in his face. Clint and Natasha were both wearing bathing suits and Grinchy grins.

"Good, our first victim!" chuckled the archer.

"It's nothing personal, Banner," Natasha explained, brandishing her weapon. "We just thought that things were too quiet around here. Hyaa!"

She and Clint squirted Bruce with ice cold water before running into the living room to do the same to Tony and Thor. Steve popped out of the stairwell with two extra Nerf guns and tossed them to the dancers. Bruce grabbed an extra water gun, loaded it with ice water, and joined the fray.

It was Clint, Natasha, and Bruce with Super Soakers versus Steve, Tony, and Thor with Nerf guns. They battled for almost an hour, shooting each other with suction tip darts and ice cold water. They had to take breaks to reload, which quickly turned into somebody hiding while everybody on the other team attacked mercilessly. Eventually, other weapons such as footballs and pillows were added to the team arsenals.  When the Avengers were finally done, they had trashed an entire floor of the tower.

"Well, that was fun," Clint observed, shaking his head and sending water droplets flying everywhere.

"Indeed, Eye of the Hawk," laughed Thor. We learned that Dr. Banner is lethal with a football."

Bruce blushed, twirling said football in his hands. "Not as lethal as Natasha is with her pillows."

"Can't argue with that," she agreed. "Now what do we do?"

Steve looked around the remains of their living room. "Should we clean this up?"

"Nah, I'll get Dummy to do it. I say we eat those brownies the lovebirds made. Anyone care to join me?"

Everybody followed Tony to the kitchen and argued over who would get the corners (Clint ended up with half of them). Steve brought out the milk and searched the freezer for vanilla ice cream. He couldn't find any, much to Tony's dismay.

"How can we go through that much ice cream? JARVIS! Who finished off my vanilla?"

"I believe you did, sir," the computer responded politely. "My security footage shows you in the kitchen last night at 2:17."

"Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. What else do we have, Capsicle?" Tony asked hungrily.
"We have… refrozen rainbow sherbet."

"Yuck."

"How about three spoonfuls of Dippin Dots?"

"Those things are disgusting," objected Bruce. "All we have left are the banana ones."

"Okay, what about an ice cream sandwich?"

"Perfect!" cried Tony. "Toss it here!"

Steve did as he was told, but Clint intercepted the treat before it got to Tony, who tackled him. The two began to wrestle, but JARVIS ordered all six of the Avengers out of the kitchen before they broke something.

All in all, it was just a normal night at Avengers Tower.
:iconsoccergirl676:
Edit: I illustrated part of this! [link]

This story idea popped into my head when I was reading various other fanfics (the most notable being by :iconfrequenttardisflyer:) about what the Avengers do in their spare time. One sleepless night later, I've written this. I won't tell you too much, but I will say that Clint and Natasha flirt, Tony and Thor dance, Bruce falls asleep, and Steve runs up four flights of stairs.

Thanks for looking!
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"Whos idea was this again?" Steve asked, as he and the rest of the group walked through the parking lot and closer to their destination, each of them carrying totebags on their shoulders. It was a clear, bright summer day, and was one of the only days where Director Fury let the Avengers forget about their duties, and go enjoy themselves. It was mildly hot out, and the sun beating down on on the earth below made the heat index rise, making it feel much hotter then it actually was. And of all days, this was the day which the air conditioning inside the Avengers tower broke down. Tony had instructed JARVIS to fix it immiditely, but the estimated time needed for the repair was a good 3 hours. Nobody could stand the heat. The temperature inside was hotter then outside! So, everyone suggested ideas of what they could do for the time being to keep themselves cool.

"Tony and Clints." Natasha said, answering the captains question. "Well... mostly Clint's idea."

The place that everyone was at, the place that Clint had talked everyone into coming to, was none other then Magic Waters water park. Clint had seen an advertisement on television and practically begged everyone to go. He talked to Tony first, and he surprisingly agreed without any second thought. The heat can do that to people. It makes them desperate, makes them want to do anything to experiance the cooling sensation of an ice cold drink or the feeling of jumping off the highdive into a pool. The wind rushing past you as you jump, brushing against your face and blowing through you hair, and then the cold splash of water at the end, which sends all knowledge of the heat away. Even bruce, who didn't care much for water parks, agreed to go along.

The group consisted of; Tony, Pepper, Clint, Natasha, Steve, Bruce, Thor, and Loki.

Thor and Loki had not been introduced to many Midgardian activities, so they were both rather curious as to what this "Water Park" was.

"What is special about this water which gives it the name "Magic"?" Thor asked Clint.

The archer gave the god a weird look, but then replied, "Nothing's "Special" about the water, it's just called that because it makes it sound more interesting. Plus, water parks are just... awesome!"

Pepper overheard the guys talking and cut in, adding her thoughts. "If tony agreed to come, there has to be some sort of sorcery going on." She Joked. They all laughed, not only because it was funny, but because it was entirely true.

"So brother," Thor turned to Loki, who had been pretty quite on the ride to the park. "Are you excited?"

"Not sure if that would be the word for it." Loki replied. "I am highly curious though."

"Alright!" They all heard Tony say as they got to the enterence. "Everyone head in, I'm paying the admission and locker fees."

Many reactions came from the members of the group. Clint rushed passed everyone and ran off to the locker room to change into his swimwear, all the while he was yelling joyfully like a little kid. Natasha laughed at him and her and Pepper walked off to the womens locker room. Thor and Loki stood there for a few moments looking around at the rides which could be seen from the enterance. They didn't know what to think of it, but Tony, Steve and Bruce came up behind them, and made them snap out of their daze.

"Come on you two." Tony said after he finished paying all the enterence fees. "We better find Clint before he gets himself into trouble."

The guys walked on, and found the locker room. They walked inside, and quickly found that Clint had already put his stuff away in a locker and changed into his purple swim trunks.

"YO! Hurry it up! We haven't got all day!" Clint said to them all.

"Actually Clint - " Bruce tried to correct the archer, but his efforts proved pointless.

"Less talky! More dressy!" Clint inturupted Bruce. While he talked he used exagurated hand motions and clapped his hands together, clearly showing his impaitence. "Come on! Chop Chop!" Clint walked out of the locker room, leaving the others to change.

They all did... becuase they certainly didn't want to keep Clint waiting any longer.

Each of them wore different colored swim trunks. Tony had a pair of red ones with two yellow stripes running down each side of them. And, being the genius-billionaire-playboy he was, they were monogramed with the name Ironman on the backside. Thor had red shorts with single silver stripes around the bottoms. Loki's shorts were green with golden stripes. Steve worn shorts which bared the colors of the american flag, and Bruce worn a pair of black shorts with purple stripes. Once they were all changed, they walked out of the locker room, and Clint practically ran over to them.

"FINALLY!" He said in an unsessisary loud voice. "You guys take too long!"

"Whatever Birdseed." Tony replied to him. "We still have to wait for the girls."

In the womens locker room, Pepper and Natasha had changed into their swimsuits, placing their regular clothes into two neighboring lockers. Both the girls worn two peice wuits. Natsha's suit was mostly black with red stitching which created a subtle floral pattern. It also had two red srings in the front of the top which she tied into a bow. The top have two straps which wrapped around her neck, and tied in the bcak. Peppers suit had a swirly tie-dyed pattern using many shades of light blues and greens.

"How long do you think we could stay in here before Clint starts having a fit?" Pepper asked.

"Two minutes at most." Natasha answered. "He's rather overexcited to be here."

"Tony won't admit it, but he's pretty overjoyed too."

The both of them laughed. When they were finished changing they walked out of the locker room and looked around for the guys. It took only a few seconds before Natasha and Pepper heard a "wolf wistle" from behind. They turned around, finding the guys all standing in a group, and they both walked over towards them.

Clint stared at Natasha as she walked, while he couldn't help but think that she looked damn HOT.

"Ooo, Nat! That suit looks real nice." He complimented her.

Natsha laughed. "Save it. We're here to relax and enjoy ourselves. Not to flirt."

The group began walking around the park, Clint leading the way, and trying to decide which ride to go on first. There were so many choices; Typhoon terror, the Splash Blaster, the Tsumani Bay wave pool, and so much more! Clint didn't know where to start! As they walked they approched a very large set of stairs which lead high above the park to the top a large waterslide. Clint had recognized this ride from the commercial he saw.

"The Double Dare Drop Slide." Clint said looking up at the very tall structure which towered over everything else in the park. The group watched as two people went zooming down the two side by side slides in no more the 5 seconds flat. "Climb up to the top, and ready yourself as the floor drops out from beneath you. You're sent flying down a seven story drop and come to a rest at the end of the runway in less then 5 seconds. It's said to be the steepest, fastest water slide in the country."

"You aren't actually considering going on that are you?" Bruce said to Clint.

"Of course! It's the newest addition to the park and it's the most popular ride!" Replied Clint. "In fact, that's what we are all going to do first!"

"Oh no! I'm not going on that thing." Bruce argued. "You can forget it."

"Oh come on, Brucey!" Tony said. "Have a little fun! We ain't in the lab, we're at a water park!"

"Yeah," Steve added. "Get out of that science mindset and enjoy yourself."

The rest of the group gave more words of encouragement to Bruce, but the scientist held his ground and continued to refuse to go on the ride. It took nearly ten minutes and much more persuading, but eventually, Bruce reluctatly agreed to go. Well... more like Tony forced him to.

The group walked on, and started going up the stairs which lead to the top of the Double Dare Drop. Bruce looked up at the structure with an unamused look on his face. Clint lead the group, running up the stairs. His energy today was almost unending, and he was at the top before everyone else was even half way. He waited, with what little paitence he had, for his comrads to catch up with him. While walking up the stairs, everyone, with the excption of bruce, looked around and saw all the other rides. The whole park could been seen from where they were. Bruce, rather then sight seeing, kept his eyes fixed on the steps in front of him. He walked slower then the rest of the group and was the last one to arrive at the top. Now being up close and personal with the ride, the excitement of the majority of the group members grew even higher then before.

Clint and Natasha went first. They walked up the last couple of steps and approched the ride operator who was waiting there. She told them to stand inside one of the tubes which had the platforms that drop out from under your feet.

"Alright," The operator said to the two assassins. "I want you to fold your arms across your chest," She demonstrated the instructions, folding her arms in an x shape. "And watch the light on the wall of the tube. When the light turns green the floor will drop."

Clint and Natasha nodded at her instructions.

"You ready?!" Clint asked.

"But of course." Natasha replied.

"Meet ya at the bottom!"

"Alright!" The ride operator said. "Have fun!"

The two crossed their arms, and readied themselves for the drop. There was a light on the wall which had three lights. Right now it was red. The anticipation and excitement Clint already had grew even more as the seconds passed. Natasha took in a deep breath preparing herself for the drop which was about to come. The rest of the group looked on as the two waited for the moment to arrive. Bruce grew even more weary of this ride as the tension quickly grew within these few seconds. Suddenly, a beep could be heard and inside the tubes, and the light turned green. A split second after that, the floor of both the tubes swiftly moved out from under the two occupants feet and they were sent speeding down the seven story drop, their only protection being the rush of hundreds of gallons of water.

If either of them made any noise, the rest of the group wasn't able to hear it, as they both were out of the sound range so fast. As soon as it started, it was over and Clint and Natasha were both at the end of the slide runway in a matter of only 4.8 seconds. Once at the end, Clint stood up, stepping out of the slide.

"WOO! Yeah!" He yelled joyously. "That was awesome!" He then walked over to Natasha, helping her to stand up, and brushing a few loose hair strands out of her face. "Wanna go again?" He asked her.

Natasha laughed at him. "Haha, one step at a time. Maybe later."

Back at the top of the ride, the operator called for the next two people.

"How about the two gods go next?" Tony said turning towards Thor and Loki. "You up for it Reindeer games?"

"If you insist, Stark." Loki replied.

"What about you, Pikachu?"

Thor was confused at Tony's odd nickname for him, but he ignored it, and happily agreed to go next. The two brothers walked up to the ride operator, and were given the same directions as were told to Clint and Natasha. The operator waited for the signal from the other ride supervisor at the bottom, which would let her know it was okay for them to go. The signal was made, and the lights inside the tubes started changing colours. The two gods both took deep breaths in preperation, while the red light turned to yellow. Bruce's anxioty grew higher as he realized that his turn was quickly approching. He knew for fact that Tony wasn't going to let him back out of this...

The light turned green and the gods of mischief and thunder were dropped and sent rushing down the water slide. The drop was so unexpected and intense, that both of the gods were overwhelmed; so much that even if they wanted to scream they wouldn't have been able to. The water spashed against their faces, and if they opened their mouths, water would surely find it's way in. They both reached the bottom of the slide, coming to a stop at the end of the runway. They stood up, regaining themselves from the experiance they just had. To them, it seemed to have lasted longer then it actually had.

Clint and Natasha were waiting at the bottom, the former having his arm draped over Natasha's shoulders. They both walked towards the two Gods, who had now regained their composure.

"Woah! That was only 4.3 seconds!" Clint said looking at the timer which was near the exit. Along with the time, it also recorded exactly how fast the brothers were going as they were on the slide. "So? Was it awesome or what!?"

"It was certainly an experience unlike any other." Thor answered with a laugh, while he moved a few stands of hair out of his face. "What about you, brother? Did you find amusment in it?"

"Actually, yes. Perhaps this place will be more enjoyable then I had imagined." Loki replied with a smile.

"That's the spirit!" Clint said.



"Alright, Bruce!" Tony said, back at the top of the drop slide. "You go next!"

"Uh no... I'd rather not."

"Bruce." Tony replied with an unamused, serious look. "Don't be scared of it."

"I - I'm not scared!" Bruce argued. "I just don't see how being dropped down 7 stories is even remotely considered fun."

"No, Your scared." Tony insisted. "I can tell."

"I'm not afraid of it..." Bruce said, quieter this time. He may have said he wasn't afraid, but inside... he actually was.

"Would it make you feel better if I went down with you?" Tony didn't wait for Bruce to reply, but turned around and faced Pepper. "Pepper, do you mind going down with Stars-and-stripes?"

"Sure." Pepper replied. Stars-and-Stripes, Steve agreed as well, and he and Pepper went and took their turn on the slide. Once again, the same instructions for a safe ride were given, now getting a bit tedious and repetitive to listen to... It was the policy though. Everyone had to hear those same rules. Pepper felt a bit bad for the ride operator, because she had to repeat the same thing over and over again. It cetainly didn't seem like an exciting job.

"Bruce," Tony started, as Pepper and Steve waited for the lights on the tube wall to turn green. "Really, why are you scared?"

"I'm said I'm not scared."

"You're not a good liar you know." Stark could obviously see how tense Banner was. The longer he was up here the more his eyes fluttered around with fear, quickly glancing and analyzing not only every detail of the ride itself, but the surroundings too. Bruce was restless, sometimes shifting his weight from one foot to the other, and never staying absolutly still. "Now come on, tell me what's frightening you."

Bruce did not say anything for a few moments after Tony finished speaking, but when he did, he spoke nearly in a whisper. "...It's the height..."

"You have acrophobia?" Stark said slightly surprised.

Bruce sighed. "Yes..."

"Well the easiest way to overcome a fear is to confront it hands on. You know, grab it by the horns!"

Bruce considered Tony's words. They were true, and Bruce truthfully wanted to be rid of this hidering fear. Although he never knew exactly how this fear of heights came about, he has never been able to get rid of it. Bruce had an easier time controling "the other guy" then he did dealing with his phobia.

"Next!"

Bruce and Tony had not realized that while they were talking, Pepper and Steve were both sent down the ride, and were now below them at the bottom. Tony looked over the rail, and waved to Pepper. She waved back, and gave Tony a thumbs up, telling him that she liked the ride.

Tony walked up to the ride, but Bruce stayed put. Tony looked back, when he noticed he wasn't following, and then walked back over to him.

"Come on." Tony walked behind Bruce and pushed him towards the ride. It was not an agressive push, but more like a light encouraging one. "You can do it. It'll be over before you know it."

Knowing that it was far to late to turn around and run, Bruce took in a deep breath and walked forward. Tony walked into one of the tubes, and a few moments later Bruce did the same. They heard their instructions and promptly crosses their arms over thier chest. They were told to watch the lights and get ready. Bruce closed his eyes, not wanting to look at the lights. He'd rather not know when the drop was coming. That way we wouldn't be able to bail out of the tube at the last second. He shut his eyes tight and clenched his hands into fists, his nails almost penatrating the skin. He heard but one short beep before the floor move quickly out from under his feet, and then he felt himself being pulled down by the force of gravity. He kept his eyes shut while be went down. The rushing water was cold, and slashed against his face, and even though he was wearing his glasses, he could feel the drops hitting him in the eyes.

Like Tony had previously said, it was over before Bruce even knew it, and he found himself gasping for air when he realized he was at the end of the runway. He stood up, his legs a bit shaky. He took his glasses off, rubbing his eyes a bit.

Sounds of cheers and applause were heard. Bruce placed his glasses back on his face, ignoring the water drops that now spotted the lenses. The rest of the Avengers were standing there, smiles decorating their faces.

"Way to go, Bruce!" Clint cheered. "You got the fastest time of anyone! Only 4.2 seconds!"

"See, Brucey!" Tony said. "What did I tell ya?"

A grin formed on Bruces' face. That wasn't as bad as he thought. "Thanks, Tony. I own you one."

Now that the doctor had lightened up, and the worse part was all over and done with, the group let him choose what they would go to next.

"How about the wave pool?" Bruce suggested.

Everyone happily agreed. Clint was still the most enthusiastic of everyone, and quick bolted off, running like a loon towards the Tsunami Bay.

"We better follow him." Steve said.

At the wave pool the Avengers found Clint already out in the far end of the wavepool lounging on a large blue inner tube. At this moment in time the waves were not on, so the water was reletively calm, aside from the splashing of the the playful children and their parents. Natasha had a great idea, and she began walking into the water. She made sure that Clint didn't see her, and made her way towards him. Once she was in the deeper side of the pool she swam under the water, and continued getting closer to Clint. She approched the inner tube, quietly surfacing behind it, and, in one swift motion, she tipped the tube over, and flipped the archer into the water.

Clint flailed his arms, and came to the surface of the water gasping for air at the sudden surprise sneak attack. He turned in the water, indentifing his attacker. Natasha looked back at Clint with a wide smirk on her face. She laughed quietly.

"You know this means war, right?" Clint said.

"Ha ha. Bring it on!"

The two assassins spent much of their time trying to dunk each other under the water, all the while they would laugh and smile like excited little kids. As for the rest of the group they all were waiting in anticipation for the waves to be turned on. Every 15 minutes or so, the generators in the water would create waves that grow to over six feet!

Soon enough a loud short noise was made, sounding like a ship's horn. A few moments after that the generators were activated, and the vibrations started the waves. They were small at first, but quickly grew larger, and much more powerful. While most people chose to stay in the middle of the pool, the Avenger guys were daring each other to see how far they could go against the waves. The closer they got to the generators, the stronger the current was, and the harder it was to stay in one spot.

"Ha, Losers!" Clint shouted making an "l" on his forehead with his fingers. He was at around the 12 foot deep part of the pool, while everyone else was at the 10 foot mark. Clint's yell caught the attention of one of the life guards around the deck of the pool, who promtly stood up, blowing his wistle. He called out to Clint saying that he had to stay behind the 10 foot line, and continued to yell at him for not reading and compling to the posted rules. Clint would have shot a snarky comment back at the life guard, but doing so would surely get him, and possibaly the others all kicked out of the wave pool. And he certainly didn't want that to happen. The archer grumbled to himself, but the swam back over to his friend, behind the 10 foot line.

The Avengers continued having their fun. Pepper and Tony both lounged together on a double innertube. Periodically, Pepper would splash Tony, and then they would both engage in a splash battle. Tony didn't play fair though. He flipped himself and the tube over, dumping Pepper into the water. Clint, Steve, and Bruce were have a "contest" of sorts to see who had better balance. Each of them had a single inner tube, and they had to stand on it, seeing how long they could stay in that position before they fell into the water. With the waves, this was certainly no easy task. They all did fairly well, but Steve ended up being the victor of the three. The captain then asked Thor and Loki if they wanted to participate. The two gods agreed and another contest began. This time, however surprising it may have seemed, Steve fell off first, and in the end, Loki was the last one standing.

"Dude you cheated!" Clint accused Loki.

The God of mischief gave the archer a very unamused look. "How did I possibly cheat at a game as simplistic as that? I was standing there. I just have far superior balence is all."

"You're just mad you didn't win, Clint." Natasha said with a laugh.

When the waves were shut off, the water slowly reverted back to its calm state. The Avengers then all agreed to move onto something else.

"Who wants to choose the next ride?" Tony asked the group.

"We need to go on Typhoon Terror!" Clint shouted, his excitment still not having reduced since his arrival.

"You had your turn!" Tony said back. He then looked at Natasha. "How about you?"

"I think I'm with Clint on this one." She replied, winking at the archer.

With that settled the group moved on towards the next ride, Clint once again, running ahead of them.

For this ride you have to carry a large, four-person inner tube to the top. The inner-tubes were yellow with a blue stripe around the outside. The Avengers approched them. Clint soon found out that the inner-tubes were much heavier then he thought. When he tried to lift it, he was surprised by the weight of it, and only ended up dropping it back to the ground. The rest of the group laughed at him as they walked closer.

They split into two smaller groups. One group had Clint, Natasha, Steve and Thor, while the other had Tony, Pepper, Bruce and Loki. Two of the heavy inner tubes were needed, so they all helped carry them both up the stairs to the top of the ride. Tony's group was the ones going first. They walked forward up the last couple of steps, and placed the innertube into the large opening at the start of the water ride. The ride attendent held the inner tube in place, while she instructed everyone to get in, with their feet faceing the center of the inner tube. Tony helped pepper in first, and then sat down in his spot. Bruce and Loki took the remaining two places, and, once everyone was settled in, the attendent let go of the inner tube letting it slowly start heading for the ride.

For the first few seconds everything was calm, slow, and peaceful even. Then, suddenly there is a drop which sent the inner tube and its occupants speeding down through a waterfall and into a large funnel shaped tunnel. This curved funnel rocked the inner tube back and forth, up and down the walls walls before it sent them spinning out the opening at the bottom, and down the rest of the slide. By this time, everyone was soaking wet, and was bewildered by all the splashing water, and shear speed as the inner tube worked its way through sharp turns and twisting curves. After a few more twists and turns, the group came to a stop with a huge splash into the pool at the bottom. They all got out of the inner tube. When Loki tried to get out of it, he tripped and fell face first into the pool of water they were standing in, further soaking himself even more then he already was.

Back at the top of the ride, the attendent motioned forward the other four Avengers. They approched her, letting the inner tube drop into the starting position. The attendent once again held onto it, and told everyone to get in while placing their feet into the center. Thor, Steve and Natasha got in with no problem. The inner tube though had started to drift, so the attendent stood infront of it to prevent it from going down before everyone was ready. Clint got in, and due to the current and everyone moving around, the attendent had no time before the inner tube started down the ride. she tried to get out of the way, but was a split second too late. She was pushed down with them into the ride. Shouts and screams of "OH MY GOD!!" came from the four group members. Thor and Steve grabbed the attendent, pulling her onto the center of the innertube, and tried to keep her on, to stop her from getting hurt. The ride dropped into the funnel, splashing and shaking the innertube violently. The attendent had her eyes closed tightly as she tried to hold on.

"We are so sorry!" Thor said to the attendent. Steve uttered many apologizes to her as well.

The ride dropped out of the funnel through another waterfall, and started going through the winding curves. There were more splashes of water, and still the attendent kept her eyes shut. The sheer surprise of what had just happened, made her somewhat lose sense of time. She didn't know how long she was on there, where they were on the ride, how much farther it was to the end, or anything really. The inner tube rounded the corner of the last curve, splashing into the pool at the end. Steve and Thor helped the attendent stand up. All four members of the group said various apologizes to her.

"No, No. It's fine!" The attendent replied, with a laugh, after realizing that it was all over now. "I'm good!"

"Are you sure?" Steve asked her.

"Yeah!" She laughed again while giving a thumbs up. "It's all good!" The attendent began walking back to the stairs to return to her post at the top of the ride. While she had never expected anything remotely like this to happen, she couldn't help but laugh. This was certainly a story to tell to the other employees.

"Oh God!" Clint shouted. "I feel so bad for her!! Oh my god! It's my fault ain't it?!"

"No it is not your fault." Thor replied to the archer to try to calm him down. "It could have very well happened to anyone."

The event put a damper on Clint's mood a bit, but he decided to look on the bright side; They made her day more exciting then anyone elses!

Steve was quick to suggest that they should continue on. He pointed to a ride which, from a distance looked like some type of rollor coster, but actually was a very large water ride. The Splash Blaster. The group walked to the enterence of the ride, having to zigzag between the bars which were placed to create the line. Surprisingly, there were very little people waiting to go on this ride. It didn't take long before the Avengers were all up at the front.

"Hey Bruce," Tony quietly whispered, "If your afraid of the height of this one, you can go now... I won't tell anyone."

Bruce gazed up at the structure. While it was only about half the size of the drop slide, but it still made his arcophobia rear its ugly head again. He really thought about walking away from this ride while he had the chance, but the more he thought about it, the more he said to himself, 'No! You can't keep running from your fear! Go on the ride and get over it!'

"Uh... No." Bruce replied. "It's alright."

"You sure?" Tony asked. "This is your last chance."

"I'm sure."

With that, Tony nodded.

The Splash Blaster is a ride in which two people sit in a two person raft, holding onto the handles on the sides, and get taken up by a convear belt to the top of the ride. At the top they then enter a pitch black tunnel and get sent speeding on down into the ride. Clint and Natasha volenteered within the group to go first.

They walked forward, the attendent informing them that Natasha had to sit in the front. Clint sat behind her, and once they were both settled in, the attented pressed a button which turned on the covare belt, and began taking the two occupants of the raft to the peak of the ride. The way up the ride was slow, and the rising anticipation in both Clint and Natasha was nearly off the charts.

"You can see everything from up here!" Clint stated.

"Don't be getting excited yet." Natasha replied. "We're almost at the top."

Their little raft soon reached the peak, and the attendent at the top platform waved.

"Enjoy!"

The raft quickly entered a very dark tunnel, curving sharply around the first turn, and gained speed. The two assassins let out a combonation of laughs filled with joy, and shouts dripping terror. The tunnels had many waterfalls which the raft ran through, and hills which had powerful water jets to propel the ride up and over the edge. At one point on the ride, there were several small hills right after each other, and the raft quickly went up and down then, sometimes even lifting off of the track a couple of inches. More sharp twists came, and splashed the two occupants who were already soaked. The ride then went around one more turn, and came to a stop at the same place it had started. Clint and Natasha got out of the raft.

"WOO!" Clint shouted. "I like this ride! ANOTHER!"

Natasha laughed. "Oh, Clint. I think you've been hanging around with Thor too much."

The other Avengers paitently waited their in line for their turn. They all had very different reactions to the whole experiance. Thor and Loki had not expected much of the ride to be so much sharp turns, and certainly had not have imagined that water jets would be pushing them up the hills. All in all though, they both admitted that they enjoyed it.

Tony and pepper thought the ride was very cool. Although, when Tony got out of the raft, his legs were shakey and Pepper had to catch him so he didn't fall.

"Hahaha. Where would you be without me?" Pepper joked.

"Haha. Very funny Ms. Potts."

Steve said that the ride was not what he expected it to be... It was much more! After being the saviors of the world, you would think that the Avengers would more the expect things like this, but it seemed that even the simple things caught them by surprise. They all have learned to expect the unexpected here. Nothing is as it seems! They had to be prepared for anything thrown their way. Bruce's Acrophobia still surfaced, but once the raft was inside the tunnels the doctor relaxed a bit. That is until the ride picked up speed, and ran through the sharp turns and various hills and drops.

The Avengers all kept taking turns choosing what to do next. They went on the smaller waterslides which were not as near as steep or fast as the Double Dare Drop, but were still fun all the same. Then there was Tony suggestion of the Lazy River. It was a nice change from all the thrilling rides. Laying back and relaxing while listening to the calm, water and watching the peaceful waterfalls was a very enjoyable experiance. They even went on some of the rides again!later in the, day the group grew hungry and retired to the snack shack to get something to eat. Tony took care of all the costs, and they all ate their food. Afterwards, Clint spotted the Ice cream stand, and everyone quickly agreed with his idea. Clint still had his uncontrolable energy and rushed off towards the stand. Everyone got and Ice cream cone, each of them choosing slightly different flavor-topping combonations.

When they finished eating they quickly noticed that it had gotten darker. The sun was setting below the west horizon line and the east side of the sky had started to turn black, the moon showing slightly through the thin clouds.

"Anyone have the time?" Steve asked.

Tony looked at the water-proof watch he was wearing and then answered, "8:30pm."

"Have we really been here all day?" Loki said.

"Seems so." Clint replied. "Time flies when you're having fun."

"The air conditioning system of the tower should certainly be fixed by now." Thor added.

"You guys want to head on back?" Asked Pepper.

The Avengers all nodded. They returned to their respective locker rooms, and changed back into their regular clothing. They packed up all their things, and all met near the entrence.

"Wait!" Clint said before everyone started walking. "We need to get a picture." He looked around and then ran up to the employee by the front enterence. "Excuse me, could you take our picture?" Clint pulled a small digital camera out of Natasha's tote bag, and gave it to the empolyee.

"Oh! Sure!" She agreed.

The Avengers all stood together infront of the huge Magic Water sign for their group photo. They situated themselves so that everyone would easily be seen in the picture.

"Alright, say Magic!"

"Magic!"

*Click*



Back at Stark Tower

In the tower, on the top floor noises could be heard from the main room. The noises sounded like music, laughing, giggling, and all around fun. The source of all these sounds resinated from a large group of people which occupied the room. There was people dancing, chit-chating, and enjoying the music. There was a bartender behind Tony's counter, who was serving various drinks, ranging from cocktails to shots to almost anything you can imagine. Three people stood in front of the large windows of this room, looking out over the skyline. These people were SHEILD Director, Nick Fury, and agents Hill and Coulson. Each of them held different drink in their hands which they periodically took a sip from.

"Haha." Fury laughed hartily. "This years celebration is going very well."

"It certainly is." Agent Hill replied. "Great idea choosing this as the location, Coulson. How did you ever trick all the Avengers into leaving?"

"Easy. I had someone hack into JARVIS's mainframe, and made him shut down the AC." Coulson replied. "Even though they may have super human abilities, they all still couldn't take the heat."

"Coulson, my man!" Fury said, clapping the Agent on his back. "You are a genius!"

The three SHIELD members shared a laugh and then high fived each other, smiling with accomplishment.

"Phil, you're the man!"
:iconlaplz: :iconlaplz: :iconlaplz: :iconlaplz: :iconlaplz:

OH MY GOD!!!


I got this Idea, and I HAD to write it!
This was just so hilarious to write, and I have WAY to much fin with this. This much fun should be illegal!

Pairings!!! yay!


Teehee! I sneaked in some little hints at pairings I like :D
Clint X Natasha
Pepper X Tony
AND!
A tiny bit of science bros! :aww

The ending was a bit rushed, but it works for what I wanted it to do.

Let me know what you all think ;)
I'd LOVE to heart YOUR opinions!!!!!
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Dr. Fury was a tough principal to impress. He played favorites, and anyone who didn't quite make his standards was humiliated in front of the entire school during assembly or graded harshly, so harshly that he or she flunked. He knew that his students resented him, and he used that to his advantage. One of his favorites was Tony Stark, because he was brilliant, but more importantly, rich and influential. While he wouldn't normally allow a student to get an extension on a grade, Tony could get away with it. But Tony wasn't sick, or stressed. He had an ulterior motive for putting off his paper. He didn't normally attend such plebeian events as parties, but the rumor was that the school's model student, Steve Rogers, was attending. He never went to any of those sort of functions, afraid that if he drank too much and made a mistake he would be kicked off of the football team and a promising career with college football and then the NFL would be over before it started. According to the rumor, he had been told to 'lighten up' instead of spending all of his time on athletics, which was not his most natural area. It would be good for his image to 'get a girlfriend and relax more', the team's captain, Phil Coulson, had supposedly been overheard saying. Tony thought that if the party could draw the most un-partying guy in the school out, then it had to be pretty good. And just because a paper was due the next day would not stop him from going.

~~

Foreign students were uncool. Everyone could agree to that. If you weren't an American, you had little to no chance of a social life. The foreign kids mostly stuck to themselves, but there were a few exceptions. Thor Odinson was one such exception. Nobody really bothered to wonder where he was from, they all assumed Sweden or something, with his fair good looks. He was also on the football team, made of all muscle. Nobody dared point out how weird his little brother, Loki, was, for fear of being Thor's next punching bag. Where Thor was strong, Loki was smart. He slipped unnoticed, flying mostly under the radar. The other exception to the uncoolness of the exchange students was Natasha Romanoff, who climbed her way up the social ladder with her looks and her aloofness. Nobody could understand why she was dating Clint, a guy who spent his time outside alone, slinking off for hours on weekends to do unknown things. But he was popular by association. If Tony had wanted friends, these, the two quarterbacks, the Scandinavian one's brother, the mysterious Russian girl and her equally mysterious boyfriend, would have been them. Tony made do with a freshman girl named Pepper who did everything he wanted and had a raging crush on him that she did a terrible job of hiding. His roommate, a quiet guy named Bruce, provided intellectually stimulating conversation when small talk got old. He had his tinkering and various gadgets to keep him busy, plus the stash of little white pills in his dresser. But tonight, he was going to party. He loved it even more than he would have liked to admit. He liked the scene, but hated the people. Maybe there would be some drinks or drunk girls to occupy him. He was looking through his closet when Bruce came into the dorm room and set his bag on his bed, looking frazzled.

"Whaddup, Brucey boy?" Tony was in high spirits, weirdly high.


"Nothing. English homework."


"But you're a genius or whatever."


"Science is easy. But I can't tell the difference between the subjunctive and the pluperfect tenses."



"Who can, really? But it's Friday. Wanna party?" This was greeted by a questioning stare from his roommate.



"Do I look like a partying guy?"



"How will you know unless you come?"



"You aren't drunk or something, are you?"



"High on life, kid."



"Kid? I'm a year older than you."



"Not the point! Come party! I'll find you someone to tutor you in English if you come!"



"You aren't gonna leave me alone until I say yes, are you?"



"NOPE! C'mon!" Tony chose a t-shirt at random, and walked out of the room, followed by a disgruntled Bruce. They walked across the campus, soon joined by Pepper and another underclassman, Maria Hill. Pepper seemed to always be right around the corner from him at all times.


"Are you going to Thor's party, Tony?"



"Yup."



"Bruce? You too?"



"Unfortunately."



"Join the club." Maria rolled her eyes. "Pepper's making me."



"You sillies! It'll be fun!"



"Did he just call us sillies?"



"Yup."


~~



There turned out to be quite a few kids who were being peer pressured into going. The party was being held at the house of a non-boarder who lived right off campus. His parents were somewhere else, nobody really knew or cared. The preppy teenagers gathered on the first floor, the drinking cheap beer and the girls trying to avoid roofies. Bruce snuck off to a spare bedroom, where he fumbled in the dark for a light switch. He startled to see a tall boy lying on the bed, staring at the wall.


"Oh uh, sorry, I'll just be on my way..."



"No, you don't have to leave. That party is dull. I'm Loki, Thor's brother."



"Yeah, you're in my world history class. Pretty advanced for a sophomore."



"Or maybe just pretty dumb for a senior."



"Uh, at this point I'm valedictorian." Bruce was taken aback.



"Sorry, where are my manners? I just really don't wanna be here. These American parties aren't to my tastes."



"Not to mine either, and I was born here."



"Where I'm from, partying means extensive banquets and lavish garments. I don't understand what's so compelling about getting intoxicated and finding someone to get laid by."



"Agreed."



"Hope we're not interrupting anything?" Loki and Bruce looked up to see Natasha Romanoff and her bored-looking boyfriend, Clint


"Nope. Just being bored."



"Same here. I brought him along so he wouldn't be hanging out alone, but American parties suck." Loki and Bruce exchanged a glance.


"We were just saying the same thing."



"Nat, all parties suck." Clint plopped in the computer chair. Natasha sat on the bed, and Loki swung his feet around to touch the floor.



"Yeah, but it's Friday night. We could all use some getting off campus."



"I do get off campus."



"Socializing off campus, then."



"My brother said the same thing," Loki added.



"Anyone want a soda?" Natasha stood up.



"As long as it's not spiked."



"Be right back, then." Natasha came back a minute later, arms full of cans of Orange Crush. "Only thing that was sealed." She tossed one to each of the other kids.



"Can we join you guys? I'm bored, and Thor here is unimpressed by the alcohol."



"Sure. We're all bored too." Steve and Thor came into the room, sitting on the floor.



"Brother! I wondered where you went."



"Told you it wouldn't be fun."



"You're such a child."



"Want some soda?" Natasha didn't wait for an answer before tossing the blonds a can each. Thor struggled with the tab, and Bruce leaned over to help him.



"This where the party poopers are at?" Tony walked in the room, drinking vodka out of the bottle.


"Yep. Join the real fun." Clint rolled his eyes.



"What're you guys doing up here alone?"



"Nothing, really."



"Then let's play truth or dare!"



"What is that?" Loki looked intrigued.



"You go around the room, and you ask someone else 'Truth or dare?' and if they say truth you ask 'em a question which they have to answer truthfully. If they say dare, they have to do what you dare 'em to do."



"Sounds fun," said Clint, not sarcastically.



"ANOTHER!" Everyone looked at Thor, who was grinning wildly. He threw the soda can across the room. Natasha pushed the stack of cans nearer to him, exchanging a glance with Steve.



"I'll go first," the muscular blond offered. "Loki, truth or dare?"



"Does dare require me to get up?"



"Yes," supplied Tony.



"Then truth."



"Uh, I didn't think ahead this far...." Tony rolled his eyes. "Have you ever, uh, fondued with anyone?"



"Fondued?"



"Laid with!" translated Thor, excitedly.



"Uh, yeah. Back home, there was this guy..."



"Guy? That's hot," said Natasha, earning an elbowing from Clint.



"I go now!" Thor finished his second can of Crush. "Bruce! Dare or Truth?"



"Truth."



"Have you ever laid with anyone?"



"Is that all you guys are gonna come up with?" Tony snorted.



"No." Bruce was blushing.



"Anyways." Natasha took pity on him and cleared her throat. "Clint. Truth or dare?"


"Dare."



"Go steal us some girl's hat."



"What the hell, Nat? Nobody even wears hats. You're so weird." Clint shook his head.



"You have to, it's a dare."



Clint came back with a little black hipster beanie. "This work? It's my turn. Tony. Truth or dare?"



"Dare. No, truth. I don't really wanna get up...."



"Who is the person you miss the most back home?" There was a palpable silence.



"Nobody. My family is dead. I've got nobody."



"Neither do I." Natasha said after a hesitation.



"I don't either," said Steve.



"Me, too," admitted Bruce.



"Same here," said Clint.



"Nobody but Thor." Loki said.



"Not one but Loki. Our father is.....busy." Thor said.



"Wow. We've all got that in common." Tony said. He felt sorta bad that he had never bothered to ask Bruce.



"Nobody hears of this," hissed Natasha. Everyone murmured their agreement.



"Let's go back to campus or something," Clint said. "That music is hurting my head."



"Yeah, lemme grab Pepper and Maria," said Tony, and the group left behind the mass of partying kids.



"So, friends?" asked Thor.



"Sure."
Avengers boarding school AU. Bruce, Steve, Phil, Clint and Thor are fifth formers, Tony and Natasha are fourth formers, Maria and Loki are third formers like moi, and Pepper is the only lowly second former. Poor kid.

I DON'T EVEN KNOW :iconlazycryplz:



I need a life


very badly


<insert disclaimer here>
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The Graveyard Gift Shop

A pair of eyes peered out from underneath a mess of black hair and Martha had to repeat herself.

"You can't buy tarot cards," she said again. "Not unless you have a parent or guardian with you." The boy's obsidian eyes flickered and Martha wondered how old he was. Fourteen? Fifteen? Not stupid enough to try something untoward with a pack of cards, but, "it's company policy, I'm afraid."

"Okay," he said, and turned to look at the rest of the shop. It was more of a kiosk really, and Martha only worked there three days a week while her youngest daughter was in school and she finished her degree, but Martha was sure that this boy was the most 'graveyard' of all the teens who came to hang around Edinburgh's infamous actual graveyards. The kirkyard was another tourist attraction, hence the kiosk - a few famous Scots had been buried there, and of course there was the Greyfriars Bobby story for the kiddies - but mostly it attracted weirdoes who were into the occult.

This one felt different though. He seemed to blend into the shelves' shadows more than most visitors, and she'd hardly heard him come in. His hair didn't look Goth-black dyed either.

"Are you here on holiday?" she asked kindly, tucking a strand of red hair back into her bun. His accent wasn't local – but then where were his parents?

"Sort of," he replied, picking up a life-size silver skull and weighing it in his hand. "Needed a break." He smiled slightly, like he had an inside joke with himself.

"Well, would you like to take something back with you? Maybe for a girlfriend?"

"No, thank you." He secret-smiled again, putting the skull back on the shelf.

"A boyfriend?" He was quite young, but Martha had known about her Jamie since he borrowed her lipstick when he was two. Stereotypical, looking back, and her ex-husband hadn't liked it – but then that was one of the reasons why he was her ex-husband.

"No."

His voice seemed sadder this time.

"Ah," Martha said, "that young man got himself a girlfriend?" It had happened to Jamie loads of times. Those eyes blinked and Martha suspected she was right. "In that case, can I recommend this excellent notebook?"

"What?"

He met her gaze like he wasn't sure he'd heard her right. She leaned over a counter and dusted off a small black notebook. The shop had bought the product because of its colour – but it would fit in the pocket of the boy's aviator jacket and the kiosk even sold little pens.

"For your thoughts," she explained. "My Jamie used to say that he felt much better after writing everything down, because then the thoughts weren't crammed in his head but weren't out in public either. We have a discount at the moment."

It was only later that Martha realised that the cash the boy had given her wasn't exactly pounds sterling. She was almost sure the coins were pure gold, but the boss hadn't been convinced when she'd shown him.

As she walked home through the kirkyard that afternoon, the air seemed… clearer. The chill she sometimes thought she felt when she passed certain tombstones was gone. Taking the path for the main road, Martha noticed the boy, a good three hours after he'd been in the shop, huddled on a bench next to the church. He was writing furiously in his notebook but she thought she saw him look up a couple of times, mutter something and wave his hand – almost as if he were talking to the spirits the occult kids tried to invoke every visit. A McDonald's Happy Meal sat on the bench next to him and Martha could have sworn she saw a screech owl looking down from the church roof.

Screech owls were representative of the Underworld, weren't they? She must remember to ask her professor before she handed in her essay on mythological symbolism.

Author's note as published on FanFiction.net:

I haven't visited Edinburgh for a few years but when I was writing this I was sure that there was a little gift shop in the middle of either Greyfriars Kirkyard or Old Calton Cemetery. I have no idea why you'd stick a gift shop in the middle of consecrated ground, so this is an open apology to Scotland in defence of my memory.

The whole 'writing about Nico being sad' thing was inspired by the beautiful artwork of Viria and I think it's set maybe after Jason and Nico talk/argue in Africa. Or maybe Nico needs a break from Reyna after she's delivered the Athena Parthanos. I actually haven't a clue...

I also like this less and less the more I read it back, especially the end, so please let me know what you think!

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The Dark Divine Chapter 6
  
  Demeter was relaxed.

  Or at least she would have been had her nerves allowed her to. She was in one the most relaxing spa environments known to mortal or god. She was surrounded by lavender walls with a mural of the afternoon sky on the ceiling. Soothing, sweet music played above her head, the faint sound of a stream trickling could be heard in the background, all whilst nymphs wove small flowers into her thick hair.

  "Are you absolutely sure she arrived there okay?" Demeter asked one of the nymphs tending to her, for the thirtieth time that hour. Now the Oakson's Resort for Your Inner Goddess had seen stressed. They had seen frazzled, tensed, jittery and jumpy, but when they received the Goddess of Harvest she had been border lining hysterical.

  This was partially because she had been physically dragged here from her autumn gardening work, only hours after seeing Kore off with those mortal children, while being told that her daughter had been offered and accepted a place at a summer camp for six months, but still after the multiple explanations she was given as to where she was and where her daughter was, she should have at least calmed down enough to enjoy her seaweed wrap. A nymph named Tala answered her previous question still keeping her braiding fingers moving through Demeter's wild red mane.

  "Yes ma'am, remember Lord Zeus himself said he saw your daughter off personally to her summer camp." She replied patiently. Demeter drummed her fingers against the soft reclining chair as if tapping out her thoughts through Morse code. "I know, and that is what's suspicious about this whole thing. Zeus doesn't do anything 'personally'."  

  She paused resting her now manicured hands against the armrests. "And I've never even heard of this summer camp he spoke so highly of. Subere Camp for Young Goddesses, I wasn't even able to have Hermes do a decent background check on the place. My precious Kore could be running amok with some mortal hooligans and I won't even have anyone there to look after her." The goddess lamented and continued to tap her fingers on the cream colored armrest.  

  Tala looked confused as did most of her co-workers. "Pardon me, but isn't your daughter now of an age to be capable of taking care of herself? She has the powers of a goddess after all."

  Demeter sighed and leaned against the back of her chair shutting her eyes, her face looking as if she was about to crack any second. Knowing that her Kore may not even need her was even worse than if she would have been trapped in a cage full of angry centaurs. And if the time came when she used those unspeakable powers of hers, her baby would be gone forever.   

  "That's what I'm most afraid of."         
                             

  When Hades pushed open that large grey door Persephone was expecting the worst. Like a giant goddess-eating monster was going to jump out and devour her in one bite worst. But when it revealed nothing but and empty hallway that was an unflattering shade of gray as well she let out a small sigh of relief she hadn't realize she had been holding in. After relishing in the fact that she was still in one piece Hades welcoming statement finally sunk in.

  "I'm sorry, we're where?" Persephone asked, trying to stand and get her legs steady enough for proper use. She stood and concentrated mainly on not tripping as she crossed to the far corner of the room where Hades was waiting for her.  

  "Well, technically we're in the garage attached to the Sorting Room, but it is still in the Underworld." Hades replied shoving his set of keys back into his pockets, even though there was a wall hook next to three other similar pairs. Seph's head peered cautiously around the room, as if something was about to jump out and scare the life out of her. "The Underworld has a parking garage?" Seph asked skeptically, eyeing the room. It did make sense, being that there were three different kinds of vehicles just on that level, but still it was the Underworld; darkest, most disliked place in existence. . .not exactly the typical place for a garage full of cars.

  "No, Princess we keep our vehicles in the dungeons next to the decomposing skeleton remains." Hades replied dryly and motioned for her to move forward into the opened door.

  "You don't have to be rude. It was an honest question." Seph replied bravely and took a step towards the equally dim room. The floor had slightly changed again, this time looking more like a train platform. But before she could even connect her foot to the floor she was instantly jerked back and against a very solid chest. A flash of white appeared the dark hallway that formed a 'T' to the garage door. It zoomed past her at a blinding speed and, had she been just another inch closer, would have taken off half of her face.

  "Gods, Persephone! After all of the extremes your mother goes through to protect you from danger she never bothered to teach you basic traffic rules?" Hades growled and kept his hold on her waist. She seemed even smaller right next to him, the top of her head barely reaching his nose.  

  Seph's heart went into a mild state of arrest from that almost mishap and was almost thankful that Hades had been there to pull her out of the way. Almost, but not quite. She jerked back and away from him suddenly realizing how close together they were. "What was that?!" She asked trying to regain what little serenity she had mustered up from her ride down and pointed at the once again dim opening in front of them.

  Hades looked down at his phone. "Must be the 3 o'clock, right on time as usual." He said vaguely and put his phone back into the inside pocket of his trench coat.

  Persephone was confused again. She had been in the Underworld for exactly five minutes and any previous knowledge of the place had been shot, well . . .to hell. According to her mother the Underworld was supposed to be dark, and sinister, full of fire and souls crying out in agony.

  Mother never really officially spoke to Seph about the Underworld, but from what Seph could pick up from her mother's conversations and the gods stories the Underworld was the most despicable place imaginable. So far she had seen a garage, while it was not exactly attractive, it wasn't anything terrifying, and a white blur that could have been anything from a train or an incredibly fast marshmallow.

  Where were the fiery pits that souls burned in?

  Where were the evil minions that tortured every living thing for the fun of it?

  Where were the rivers that souls were tossed in because they couldn't pay their way into the judgement of Hades?

  This made no sense to Seph whatsoever, and her natural need for knowing about things kicked into gear. "What happens at three o'clock?" She asked looking back at Hades who was still none too happy about her almost accident within the first five minutes of her stay.

  "New souls arrive every day at nine and three. They are sorted from ten to eleven and from five to six and then judgement begins at exactly seven o'clock." Hades replied academically, like a college professor before they've had their coffee. Looking back down at his phone for the time, he cursed silently when he saw it.

  This girl was seriously screwing up his schedule. He should have been back at his office fifteen minutes ago.

  Temporarily forgetting about the goddess behind him, Hades set off across the platform and into a long hallway. This was already proving to be a busy day for him. He had a meeting with the Fates right before it was time for the seven o'clock judging, and then there would be the paperwork to fill out from yesterday at the party, and gods only knows what Eris had gotten into while he was away.

  Hades was already halfway down the hallway before he realized that there was another person that should have been following him. He stopped and looked back to where Persephone was still hesitating at the platform. 'This whole playing host act was going to become very tiresome very quickly.' Hades thought to himself and shouted to where the spring goddess was looking both ways.

  "Are you coming Princess, or are planning on spending the next seven months in the garage?" Hades called back to her waving his hand impatiently, motioning for her to hurry along. Her head snapped to attention, and after hesitating again she gave a last glance both ways, and quickly skittered across the platform to the level Hades was on .

  Apart from the train tracks splitting the room they entered in half, it looked like a standard business office hallway. Three of Seph's small steps equaled about one of his long strides. Since her legs had returned to full working order she was able to focus more on her surroundings.

  About every ten feet or so hung a different painting with a small light in between each one. Hades was speed walking again so Seph couldn't really stay and admire them properly, but a few names caught her attention. Degas, Monet, Dali, they were all there.

  These were all after the age when the gods were a popular painting subject and the only reason she recognized them was from the art appreciation course she had taken at that mortal high school.

  A thought struck her and she quickened her pace so that she was right beside Hades, who was scrolling through something on his phone with that same tight expression on his face.

  "How did you get all of these?" Seph asked. "Shouldn't these all be in some mortal museums or something?"  

  Hades never even looked up from the screen and kept his insanely fast pace.  "It is clearly printed on the plaque underneath: A.D.; as in after death. These were all painted while they were waiting for reincarnation." He said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

  "You mean people can paint down here?" Seph inquired astonished.

  "Paint, read, play baseball, whatever keeps them quiet." Hades said irritably taking a sharp turn into a different hallway. His shiny black shoes moved with an unnatural grace almost like they were gliding across the floor. Seph in the other hand was doing an awkward mix between a jog and a hop just in order to keep up with him.  

  They took many turns through the winding hallways each one looking identical to the next with the exception of the paintings on the walls. Each one was different, but the same too. The individual techniques were there, as were the common subjects, but something was missing. It was like the life in them had been dimmed just like the lights in the hall. Wherever they were it was obviously built so that no could get in or out without the help of someone who lived here.

  Not that Seph really wanted to escape. Sure Hades wasn't exactly first choice of company... come to think of it he didn't even make the top twenty, but it was still time away from her mother's 'loving' grip.

  Seph felt a sick twist in her stomach. Waves of guilt and shame crashed over her like high tide at Palm Beach. Her mother had been the only reliable, partially accepting person in her entire life.
  
  What kind of heartless daughter was she?

  Seph was literally knocked from her thoughts when Hades stopped short in front of her. She flung her hand out to steady herself and incidently caught it on Hades arm. After righting herself, Persephone instantly retracted her hand like she had been burned. It was like Zeus had struck her hand with one of his bolts, every nerve was alive and tingling like crazy. Hoping that it was just a static electricity fluke, she backed up a few steps behind him. It wasn't a bad feeling, just new, alien.

  Hades showed no signs of feeling this, so Seph tried her best to brush it off and waited for him to explain why he had stopped. He turned to face her, with a serious expression on his face, completely emotionless.

  "We need to go into the Sorting room for a few minutes. Since you have shown quite a talent for slowing me down and stirring up trouble,  I'll make this simple for you. Do not speak to anyone, do not listen to anyone, and above all else do not touch anyone. The shades here feed off of life and light something you seem to have in spades." His eyes narrowed slightly like he was disgusted at the very thought. "They are not like those airheaded nymphs that work for your mother, and they will not be kind." He paused letting his warning sink in.

  "Am I understood?"

  Persephone nodded mainly because she didn't know what would happen if she said no. Hades gave her another firm look before unlocking yet another door that seemed to appear from nowhere. 'Where are all of these doors coming from?' Seph thought to herself.  Was she really so unobservant that she was missing entire doorways now?

  Seph took a deep breath, something that was becoming a regular thing with her now, and tried to clear her mind. This was what she had been preparing for this entire time, the horror, the tortured souls, the fiery pits of hell, it was all probably hidden behind that door.

  The door opened and let in the most light she had seen for the past thirty minutes, which still wasn't very much. Holding her hand to let her eyes adjust, Seph stepped through the door and gasped at what she saw. It was an airport or a train station or something. It had to be.

  The room seemed to go on forever but was still crowded. Transparent people were lined up staring wide eyed above, beside, and beneath them. The faint sound of music was being played from an unknown source and sounded suspiciously like Katy Perry. Hades was on the move again, and moved right in between the dozens of lines that parted like the Red Sea as they walked past. Translucent eyes followed them with an unwavering amazement, and Persephone felt like one of those mortal side shows at a carnival.

  From what she could tell the Underworld wasn't that different from a mortal train station. Furies with permanent scowls etched into their brows sat behind tall booths, each with their own letter of the alphabet labeled on the front, and directed the souls to one of two places. The massive body of souls all seemed to trickle out into two infinite lines; one leading to where the signs all pointed towards Charon's Ferry Service and the other lead to a rather large gray metal structure, that looked a bit like a metal detector at an airport. Seph hadn't realized her pace had slowed until Hades' baritone voice called back to her, "Try to keep up Princess, this is not the place to get lost in."   

  She quickly ran back to him and tried her best not to touch anything or anyone. There was something about these people that was unsettling. It was most likely because she could quite literally see through them, but something about their eyes, their entire demeanor in general really, was. . .lifeless. Like their was no point of doing anything, ever.

  "What are all these people doing down here?" Seph whispered, even though she already knew the answer.

  "I thought it should be quite obvious. These are all the mortals that died today." Hades replied, and stopped at the 'M' booth to sign a clipboard that a shade had handed to him.

  Seph almost felt sick. There were hundreds, no thousands of people around her, all waiting to get to the other side of the River Styx. Hades turned to face her.

  "I need to take care of something by the docks, do you think you can handle staying here for a few minutes?" Hades asked in a condescending tone. Instantly, Seph's fear faded a little and anger was inserted in its place. Hades seemed to have a talent for ticking her off.

  "Yes, I can handle it, I'm not a child you know." She snapped putting her hands on her hips for emphasis. Hades gave her a look showing how clearly unamused he was before walking past the gates that confined her and the souls here, and out of sight. Seph folded her arms across her chest still not pleased with Hades earlier insinuation about her capability. Honestly, she was a goddess for Psyche's sake, she could take care of herself, and contrary to popular belief, she did not need a babysitter.

  Minutes passed, and Seph watched with mild interest at the steady stream of souls being checked into the Underworld. 'Who knew dying included so much paperwork?' she thought to herself craning her neck to get a better look at the papers the soul of an elderly man was signing.

  Suddenly, Seph felt something like a cold chill go through her. A cold chill made of knives. She whipped around to see a soul of man looking at his hand in amazement. Right before he took another step forward in line the slight glow around the goddess of spring became too much of a curiosity for him and he reached out for her. The sensation of when his hand touched her perfect skin was indescribable. For a minute, it was like he was alive again, some of the color had even returned to his hand, and for an even shorter moment he could have sworn he felt his heartbeat. It was incredible, it was exhilarating, it was addicting. He must have it again.

  Without thinking twice he reached out for Persephone's perfect skin again. Seph was still in a small state of shock from the first touch and didn't even attempt to deflect his attack. Another sharp chill racked through her body as she stopped in her tracks. Not only was it painful, but it was exhausting, like she had just lifted a fifty pound dumbbell for three hours.   

  The other souls in line had been watching this display with as much interest a dead person could have. The braver ones cautiously stepped out of line to get closer. Then, the unenviable happened. An older woman, possibly fifty or so, reached out as well, and experienced the same blissful feeling as the soul before her.

  Seph was panicking now, but with not even enough energy to move her feet, she had lost the ability to scream as well. Souls were starting to swarm around her like sharks waiting for their opportune moment to strike. Her head was spinning, and her vision was starting to flicker. With a small touch to her neck Seph crumpled to the floor, wrapping her arms around her and trying to curl into herself or make herself disappear completely.

  Her last memory was the faint sound of her name being shouted by the most beautiful voice, before the darkness she had feared from the beginning finally consumed her.
So this is beyond late, and I have absolutely no excuse other than my classes are really really time consuming this year. My next chapter will be posted by Thanksgiving break (probably).
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"Oh not you again," Nico muttered. Couldn't he go anywhere in Europe without the West Wind stalking him?

It was one of the few peaceful moments of the 'return the Athena Parthenos' mission. In fact, a few days in, this was the first. Reyna and Coach Hedge were asleep and Nico was on watch for once, sitting at the mouth of the cave they were hiding in. They were somewhere in Northern Europe, a few shadow-travels from the big one back to the States.

Nico was watching the lights in the nearest city blink, far away across the expanse of tiny towns and rolling hills. The air was warm and for about five minutes he almost felt comfortable, just sitting in the shadows. Then he heard a tiny cough somewhere to the left and almost put his sword through Favonius' nose.

"Oh, don't try that," Favonius said, twirling that bleeping hoop. "I'm here to guide, remember." Yeah. Not summon his evil master who had forced Nico to face up to the…. thing.

"Still struggling with everything?" Favonius seemed genuinely sympathetic. Nico edged forward as to not wake the others, keeping his sword up. He didn't want this dude any closer than absolutely necessary. "Have you even talked about it?"

Jason had tried.

Part of Nico thought that maybe, if they hadn't got back, if they were far, far away, he might have opened up to Jason.

Maybe.

No he wouldn't. At the thought of actually admitting it, he thought he might vomit. His stomach twisted, and when he remembered Salona, it dropped.

"Well, at least you're not in denial anymore," Favonius said comfortably and sat down cross-legged - just sat, like they were mortals watching TV or something -
on the gravel. "Acceptance is the first step to understanding, as they say."

"Isn't it 'acceptance is the first step to recovery'?" Nico asked in spite of himself.

"'Recovery' implies an illness, don't you think?"

"It is an illness."

"Oh?" That basket of fruit had materialised, and Favonius tapped it absent-mindedly. "Do you mean your sexuality or the fact that you are in love with someone who can never love you back?"

Nico flinched.

He hadn't admitted that to anyone, least of all himself. Not in those words… not really. Salona had been the closest he'd come, ever, to vocalising his feelings – and even then he had spat out the words, disgusted with himself and using the past tense because if he pretended it wasn't a big deal, maybe it wouldn't be. He knew he couldn't lie to Cupid, so he gave him the least-painful version of the truth.

Nico thought that if he tried to reply, even to be flippant – which was really Percy's style rather than his, part of his brain noted – he might summon more of the undead. Everyone else had learned to control their powers, even Leo with his flammable fingers and Hazel with her gemstones, and Nico didn't want to be the odd one out in that area too. He was the son of one of the Big Three; he was supposed to own his abilities, not the other way round. If Bianca were here, maybe they could have learned together. She had always been the more composed of the two siblings, even when they were younger. He wouldn't have had to explain his feelings to her either, she would have just got it. Even if she were off with those Hunter girls, she maybe would have ruffled his hair and suggested that he turn his back on the company of men too. But she would have smiled in a way that made it okay.

Oh gods, it hurt. He wasn't sure which was worse – watching him plunge into Tartarus knowing what was in there, or watching him plunge in for her. Because he loved her so much he couldn't let her go. Or was it being around them that was worst? Watching them be so happy and natural and right… or was it the years that he had spent in the shadows, with every cell in his body wanting to go wherever he was… and then on the few occasions he did see him and they weren't trying to kill each other, he thought his heart might explode. How was he supposed to act? Was it obvious? No, he could not sit any closer. He shouldn't. It was wrong in every sense of the word.

Sometimes he thought he hated himself even more than he hated his feelings. On the rare days he actually tried to get to sleep, instead of staying awake as long as possible so he passed out, he wanted to crawl out of his own skin. Underneath all the love and anguish and unfairness of Percy was the knot in his gut that was his… his… abnormality. He was wrong. If it hadn't been Percy it might have been someone else and sometimes when his head was clear he didn't blame Percy or even Annabeth – he blamed whatever part of him the gods had cursed so that he could never fall in love in the right way.

Nico realised he was sitting down too, his back to the cave and his sword at his side. He wasn't sure if five seconds had passed or five minutes, if the thoughts and feelings had crashed into him or washed over him; but Favonius was watching him through his curls, waiting for him to speak first.

"The arrow Cupid shot at me. Does that mean I'll fall for somebody else, or…?"

It was the only thing Nico could think to say – the only thing that didn't involve feelings – and it had been in the back of his mind since Salona. Favonius considered Nico the same way a teacher might a student who's just asked a completely new question.

"I don't know," he admitted. "Cupid's arrows work however he wills them, although traditionally they make the recipient fall in love with someone new. He could be amplifying your current feelings… only time will tell, I'm afraid." He seemed genuinely sympathetic.

Nico traced a finger in the dirt, wondering what that meant. Would – could – he ever not feel how he did about Percy? Would he have to go through the same thing with someone else beautiful and unobservant and unattainable?

"How did you get over Hyacinthus?" he asked Favonius. The god looked like a twenty-first century twenty-something usually but for a moment his eyes darkened and he looked every bit his two-thousand-plus years.

"Time," he replied quietly. "I think of him every day, but it is no longer so painful. Now he is part of my soul – he made me who I am and I try to honour that. Maybe if I hadn't killed him I'd have found someone else anyway... we immortals do get bored." He sounded almost apologetic. "Besides," he added, "you can love more than one person at once. There are many types of love, as I'm sure you'll find."

Nico wasn't sure about any of that, but they sat quietly anyway. The ADHD part of Nico's brain noted that this was the first person he had ever known who knew what he was before they met and hadn't run away screaming, attempted an exorcism or pointed and laughed, which was what most of his not-monster-related nightmares were about.

"You know, I've been around for a long time," Favonius said after a while, "and I must say that this is the best time to be a queer demigod since Ancient Greece – ah, sorry," he added hastily when Nico's sword twitched in his hand. "I suppose that's still an insult where you come from."

It was. Nico had only heard it used once, when he and Bianca were very small and living in Washington, DC with their grandfather. Francesco di Angelo had been walking them through a park one day and two men had been sitting on a bench. One had a hand on the other's shoulder. "Goddamn queers," Francesco had sniffed, pulling the children away. It was the first and only time Nico ever heard him take the Lord's name in vain.

Gods, they could have been anyone. Brothers, friends, casual acquaintances. Jason did the whole manly-clap-on-the-shoulder thing to Leo all the time, and Piper forever had an arm round Hazel, guiding her below deck to throw up.

"Times have changed," he said, hopefully lightly. He didn't mention that he had absolutely no idea what 'queer' meant in modern terms. He searched for another question as a distraction. "Why… why did you come here tonight anyway?"

"I thought you might want someone to talk to. It can't have been easy, keeping these things to yourself all these years. You're Greek-Italian, after all… I know how natural it is to, ah, express yourselves."

Nico snorted through his nose. He had once been given detention at Westover Hall for knocking over a glass of water while trying to answer a teacher's question. He had been, what, nine? Not long afterwards, Percy, Annabeth and the other girl – Thalia – had arrived and everything had, well, changed.

He had tried to be brave. He had grown up on his own, lived in the Underworld, fought in the war, found Camp Jupiter, discovered the Doors of Death and stumbled through Tartarus. At first it might have been because he wanted Percy to notice him or for Hades to stop looking at him like his whole existence was a mistake. But maybe he did it because if he was busy then he couldn't feel things.

Learning to fight skeletons (and never quite winning because for them the game was never over), he had so envied the dead. They were shadows of the living, and even the worst of their troubles were ghosts in the afterlife. If he stabbed them, they pulled the broken bone from their frame and kept going as long as he wanted them to. If they stabbed him, he curled up in a ball for a week and hoped they hadn't hit anything vital.

Usually he pulled himself up, found another part of the Underworld or another mortal graveyard and did the whole thing again. Sometimes he fought monsters for real, or snuck into libraries to read up on the Greek myth he had just killed. But he never stayed anywhere for long if he could help it, especially where demigods were – where he was - involved.

Somewhere along the line, he had stopped talking with his hands so much.

Back in the cave, Reyna and Coach Hedge stirred and Nico stood up. The Athena Parthanos was such a powerful object that it was rare for them to go more than an hour without attracting monsters, but Nico supposed that Favonius' presence was enough to keep them at bay. Still, they had to get to New York soon. Gaia was waking and the Romans were about to destroy Camp Half-Blood – and as much as Nico hated the place, it did have the cooler of the two Hades monuments.

"You'd better go," Nico said quietly. Favonius stood too and dusted off his Bermudas. He did not want to explain what the West Wind was doing there if Reyna and Hedge found them.

"Well, Nico di Angelo," Favonius said. "I think I've talked more than you have." He sounded as though he had a pretty good idea of what those silences had meant, but he picked up his fruit basket like they had just been chatting about the weather. "Good luck on your quest."

"Thanks," Nico replied. "Good luck dealing with your crappy boss." Favonius smirked and dissolved into the air, leaving behind the scent of springtime.

The dead had it easy, but maybe the immortals had it worse. They could only watch mortals repeat their mistakes.

Maybe… maybe he wouldn't learn to play quoits any time soon.

Kind of a response to Cutting the Line from the other day - someone said Nico was out of character so I did this.


Comments would be lovely, please and thank you!

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PERSEPHONE SAT IN HER ROOM, glancing at the window. There was not much to look at. Hades had put her room away from the others, toward the wastelands of the Underworld, the empty lands, where there was nothing much besides black ground and pillars of smoke. She knew that if her room were at the other end of the palace, she would see fire and destruction.
  Hades had said he would return in a day or two. That meant she still had a slight chance to get out. Not of the Underworld. She knew that was impossible. She wanted to at least see the gardens. If anything, they were still growing things, and they offered no ridicule or emotions.
  She stood, walking over to her door, opening it so there was only a small crack. The large, black dog outside of her door was sleeping soundly, even snoring slightly. The snore was deep and ragged, more like a growl with each inhale.
  Persephone slid out of her door, shutting the door softly. The dog did not stir.
  She continued her walk outside, and found it was colder now, even in spite of the fires burning at the borders of the garden.
  The jewels were flickering in the firelight, gleaming and sparkling. Persephone noticed a patch of dull jewels. They caught little light. She walked over to them, looking down at the pale pink crystals. She reached up hesitantly, and her fingertips brushed a gem lightly. She shivered at once. The gems were cold, but suddenly after her touch they lit up and started to gleam even brighter than the others.
  Hmm. Even though the crystals aren't living, I can still brighten them. I wonder why, wondered Persephone, admiring the gleaming colors. They were somewhat similar to her flowers back home, and right now these were all she had.
  Suddenly, from behind her, came a muffled groan.
  Persephone whipped around, looking for the source of the noise. She saw nothing, and began to turn back to the jewels, but then something appeared a few feet in front of her.
  She jumped slightly, her eyes roaming over the thing that stood in front of her.  
  It was black and skeletal, its bones clattering with every slightest movement. It was shaking and it seemed like its black, charred skin was dripping off.
  "H…help…" the creature sputtered. With its words black spittle came out of its mouth, dribbling down its chin and onto the black floor.
  "I have no power here," said Persephone, shaking her head. She turned slightly, and suddenly the poor, emaciated creature was in inches from her face. Instead of a feeling of guilt for the thing, it was a fear that rolled through Persephone's skin as the skeleton no longer had a look of pain, but instead had a look of… hunger.
  The thing opened its mouth at Persephone, but suddenly there was a loud screech and the skeletal creature was pulled away and tossed onto the floor.
  A Fury hovered over the knocked down creature, screeching and growling. The creature's mouth opened, and emitted a loud, guttural—but utterly human—scream as the Fury bit into it and twisted.
  Suddenly, the creature underneath it vanished. Persephone gasped, and tripped over her dress trying to run away.
  The Fury saw her escape attempt, and turned its attention toward her. It hissed, baring its dripping fangs. Persephone screamed as the Fury leapt toward her and landed on top of her.
  She struggled with it, but not for long. There was a sound of a whip contacting with skin, and the Fury hissed over her, but did not move. It instead bit down on Persephone's arm, and she felt a sharp, stinging pain start to course through her veins. Persephone screamed again, and the Fury was ripped away from her, its teeth finally leaving her arm.
  "Get away, Tisiphone!" shouted Hades, his voice filled with power and rage.
  The Fury snarled, and snapped its fangs at Persephone. She barely noticed, because of the pain in her arm. Her vision was spotted, and she couldn't move from the agony coursing through her.
  Hades stood in front of her, shielding her. He cracked the whip again, and it wrapped around the Fury's neck, pulling tightly. The Fury growled.
  "Now leave her alone. If you touch her again…" he left the threat open, hearing Persephone's distress. He released the Fury, and made the whip disappear.
  He bent down at Persephone's side. He saw her arm, and lifted her into his arms, carrying her inside.
  Hades did not say a word, but brought her into another bedroom. It seemed like a spare one, because of the emptiness in it, besides the bed and a desk.
  Hades set her on the bed, propping her up with multiple pillows. He went over to the desk, pulling out a roll of gauze, a bowl, and a rag.
  He gently took Persephone's arm, looking the bite over. There were multiple puncture marks, and where the teeth and lips of the Fury had touched, the skin was dark and irritated, almost like it was burned. But the inside of Persephone really did burn, feeling like her veins were on fire.
  "I need to heal this, but not with these. A Fury bite won't kill you, because you're immortal. But it will do its best. I need to draw the venom out," said Hades.
  "How?" asked Persephone, wincing.
  "By using my powers. I just need you to be still. And to trust me."
  She didn't know about doing that.
  Persephone did her best to still herself, closing her eyes and expecting pain. But as she opened her eyes, Hades was drawing out the black venom and it seemed like he was pulling it into himself. Persephone felt no pain, and she realized that Hades was taking in her pain as well.
  As he finished, Hades caught his breath, sighed, and reached for the bowl and rag. He filled the bowl with warm water, and cleaned the wound.
  "What was that that attacked me? Not the Fury. But there was this black skeleton thing. It looked human, almost," said Persephone.
  "A soul. That was why the Fury killed it," responded Hades. Persephone opened her mouth to ask another question, but it looked like Hades did not want to speak.
  "Why won't you speak to me?" asked Persephone. Hades looked up at her.
  "Think about what you did for a moment. Then think about your question," said Hades. Persephone sighed.
  "I know I disobeyed you. But if I have to spend the rest of my eternal existence here, I would have preferred a little freedom," explained Persephone.
  Hades began to wrap her wound, and nodded.
  "Very well. I'll give you some freedom," agreed Hades.
  Persephone paused. "What?"
  "Yes. You can go out during the day, but for your sake and mine, do not go near those areas I pulled you away from. The gardens are completely in your limits. I will make sure there will be nothing there to bother you, not even a wraith to guard the jewels. The garden is entirely yours. However, I ask you not to stray into the temple. If anything begins to give you trouble, let me know immediately."
  Persephone nodded. "Okay, I will. Thank… thank you, Hades." She was slightly shocked at her words. Never in her life had she thought she would thank the god of the Underworld. But he had saved her, and she couldn't ignore that.
  Hades' face softened, hearing her gratefulness. He set the bowl and rag aside and turned around, looking away from her, and walked to the door. Just as Persephone thought he would leave, he turned around slightly, but still did not look into her eyes.
  "You are welcome, Persephone. I won't let any more harm come to you, this I promise. Now, get some rest," he told her, and he walked out and shut the door behind him.
Here's the fifth part to my Hades and Persephone short story. Sorry for the lapse in submission. I'm trying to upload these in shorter amounts of time, but life gets pretty busy. Anyway, Part 6 will be coming soon. In the meantime, enjoy!

-WritingByCandlelight:)
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the was the kind of girl
that you watched from afar;

striking, but not beautiful.
dangerous, but not scary.
laskjsdlkfjh;djhf
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PERSEPHONE WALKED THE corridors of the castle, wringing her hands. She had made sure she looked like she hadn't been crying. The thought angered her. She felt fragile, like the flowers she used to care for.
    What had she done to deserve this? Why was she going through this punishment, this condemning trial?
    She was vulnerable.
    And she did not want to be.
    Stopping, she leaned against a wall, making sure there was no one there. She closed her eyes, leaning her head back.
    If you can hear me, Mother, Father, please come for me. I'm waiting for you. Please.
    Suddenly, she heard footsteps near her. She composed herself, swallowing as she saw it was Hades striding up to her.
    "Are you well?" he asked suddenly. Persephone nodded once.
    "Why shouldn't I be? Besides the fact of the whole…" she trailed off, assuming he knew exactly what she meant. He did.
    "As I have said before, do not hesitate if you need something. Anything you want, it is yours," said Hades.
    "Anything? Then let me go," asked Persephone.
    The corner of Hades' lip turned up into a small smile, and he shook his head lightly.
    "My dear Persephone, I cannot do that. Anything but that will I do for you," Hades responded.
    "Why?" demanded Persephone. "Is it because of your selfish need? Your vile, black heart? Does it need something besides hate and pain to sustain it? Is that why you took me from my own world, my home, just to satisfy your desires? You are the god of the dead and the damned. You know nothing of the living. You don't deserve to know and grow closer to the living."
    Hades did not lash out at Persephone as she had expected, but she did see his jaw clench, controlling himself.
    "I am leaving for the next day or so. In the meantime, I ask you not to leave the palace. The souls are more… restless… when I am gone. At least do this, Persephone, if you will do anything at all for me. I will return soon. I have business to attend to," said Hades, and he looked like he wanted to say something more, but he turned and briskly walked out.

HADES APPEARED IN the agreed spot, finding him already there.
    "Hello, brother," said Hades. His brother merely nodded once, acknowledging his presence but not embracing it.
    "Hades," responded Zeus. "You have been causing me a great amount of grief, as of late."
    "How so?" inquired Hades.
    "Well, for starters, Demeter has not stopped raging since the disappearance of Persephone. She has not realized it was you, brother, at least not yet. Even the mortals are crying out to me. They are starving; their crops no longer grow because of Demeter's grief and anger. You are causing great distress in both the mortal realm and Olympus, Hades. I hope you are aware of that."
    Hades nodded, sighing. Zeus continued.
    "I hope this was worth it. Demeter will soon find out. I have ordered the others that know to swear a vow of silence."
    Hades paused, listening to his words. "Who else knows?"
    "The daughters of Oceanus were there with Persephone, when you took her. They were gathering berries, in the distance. But they saw the earth break open, and your chariot. They told no one for a while, but their lips soon opened to the other gods," explained Zeus.
    Muttering a curse on all of them, Hades ran a hand through his hair.
    "Hades, is this all worth it? You can have any woman you wish, even mortal women. Why choose Persephone?" asked Zeus.
    He hesitated, thinking of an answer. Persephone had confronted him earlier, accusing him of greed and having a black heart. This might have been true, but his non-beating black heart was for her. It sometimes felt like it beat, when Persephone was around. And when she cried, it was like someone was twisting it in their hand. Hades had not felt this before. He had seen it with mortals, more than once, when he claimed a woman but not the man, but he had never felt it. He had rarely felt anything, really, until Persephone.
    As he thought of this, Zeus got his answer. "You love her. You truly, honestly love her. Hades, the god of the Underworld, the ruler of the damned and tortured souls, cast to his knees by a young, innocent goddess. How far you have fallen, brother, from the days of old."
    Hades nodded, knowing and acknowledging how he had changed. "It does not seem far for me. She has overridden everything I once was. My hate… it is like it is gone. I know I am now weak, Zeus. But I have never felt stronger."
    Zeus sighed, stepping back. "Then I leave you to continue what you have done. But be cautious, Hades. Do not take this too far," warned Zeus, and he vanished.
Here's Part 4 of my short story about Hades and Persephone. Now, I have some of Part 5 written, and it will be up soon ,I promise. I realize I've been slacking a little, but there's a lot of stuff I've been writing over my holiday break. But, nevertheless, I'll get Part 5 up soon, and hope you enjoy! :-)

-WritingByCandlelight:stupidme:

(I saw that emoticon and had to use it. I've been doing that a lot lately. Especially after finals. And during finals.)
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They covered you with roses. Finally.
I'm so happy I managed to get this done in time =)
Ages ago, I saw this contest: [link] and I knew I wanted to join ^^
It's run by :iconmode-de-vie: and :icondeath-by-romance: and I mean, what a *great* challange for me of many words, lol.
To write a story just using six words.

But the real reason I had time issue was the illustration part of the contest.
First I had to figure out what to write and then what to illustrate. -_-;

Thankfully, the story I finally settled on gave me a pretty obvious choice of illustration. ^^
The painting is a rushed one. Ignore the weird parts and go with the "pretty flower" way of thinking ^w^

I used some of :iconredheadstock:'s brushes that you can find here: [link]
Sooo, obviously I'm usually not a woman of few words... lol
Let me know what you think of this attempt ;)
I tried to write something that could be interpretted in more than one way.

Now I'm off again! See ya'll later :heart: If this comment makes no sense to you it's because I'm really stressed right now, lol.

Countdown one day left!! :heart:
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