Author's Note: Whew! It's finally done! I still suffering from a serious case of writers block, so if there are any issues with this chapter, do tell me so that I can fix them. ^_^
"Owww..." Ath24 whined as he rubbed the swelling, red welt on his forehead. He knew that it was best to leave it alone to reduce the chance of anymore irritation, but the throbbing ache was too much for the child to ignore. "She didn't have to flick that hard." he muttered to himself.
After a few minutes of siting down like M13 told him to, he grew restless and began to pace around the training center. It was then that he noticed how exhausted he felt; his feet dragged on the large, blue mat and his eyelids were beginning to feel heavy. The only things that were keeping him up now were his stress and the present M13 had promised to give him. He had never gotten a present before, except for the little trinkets H2 had given him.
Ath24 remembered all of the times that H2 would ask him if he wanted a specific gift. He would then bribe one of the Generation Hephaestus children to make a little toy out of the things he swiped, and give it back to Ath24 as a gift.
The boy's train of thought was interrupted when a familiar soprano voice snarled behind him, "I thought I told you to stay put!"
The child turned around slowly to see M13 standing behind him and tapping her foot. The boy held his hands up as he backed away from M13's icy glare. "Hey, easy! I got bored that's all..." His eyes shifted around the room, trying to find a good place to run in case M13 was planning to flick his forehead again.
Then, she burst into a fit of giggles. Bewildered, Ath24 backed away from her slowly. "...M13, are you okay?"
Once she was able to calm herself, she looked up at him. "Oh wow! You should've seen your face! Priceless!"
Ath24 noticed that her voice had changed; it wasn't exactly like it had gotten deeper. The way that she said it made her sound like a child that had just gotten away with something...
He squinted up at M13, and cocked his head. "Wait a minute..." He stepped closer to her. "Who are you?"
M13 cleared her throat and said in a boy's voice, "Well, I guess the joke's over now." Her eyes slowly faded from a bright hazel color to a dull, dark brown. Her skin tone began to darken, and her hair lost its frizzy texture. A few moments later, a short, dark, slightly chubby boy stood where M13 used to be. The child held his hand out to shake Ath24's. "Heya! Name's Generation Proteus 18, but you can call me Snitch."
Ath24 shook the enthusiastic boy's hand warily. "Uh, okay. Hi... Snitch. Nice to meet you, I guess."
Snitch glared at him playfully. "What do you mean 'I guess'? Look, I didn't mean to freak you out that badly. I just couldn't resist!" He began to chuckle again.
Ath24 stared at the laughing kid for a few moments, and smiled. It was rare to find someone in P.H.O.B.I.A.S. that knew how to have some fun. "It's alright, I should've figured it out sooner." He brushed his light, blond hair away from his eyes. "I'm Generation Athena 24. Just called me Ath24, though."
Pro18's eyes widened. "You're that Athena kid?! Awesome! You were the one who lead that riot!"
"Yep, that's me."
Pro18's eyes sparkled with excitement. "Man, you're a hero, you know that?! You were the first person to ever stand up to the guards and Joan like that!" Then he frowned. "But wait a sec, didn't you have red hair before?"
"Hm?" Ath24 plucked a few strands of his hair out and examined it. While the majority of his hair was yellow, the roots were a deep crimson colour. "Oh yeah, I almost forgot it was red originally. See, I dyed it when me and my friends were in New York."
Snitch grinned as his glossy, black hair slowly turned red.
"Show-off." Ath24 murmured.
"Haha, thanks. I try!" Snitch said in Ath24's melodic voice. Then his skin lost its dark hue and his eyes flickered to an emerald green. Snitch smirked, and crossed his arms over his chest once he completed the transformation. "Hey, I look like you know!"
"Like I said before," Ath24 pointed at his red-headed clone. "Show-off."
After a moment of silence, the two children burst into a fit of giggles. For the very first time in weeks, Ath24 felt the dread and worry leave him in one big exhale, making the gap that had formed in his chest when he had lost his friends ache a little less.