family, really?

1.3K 59 7

"You okay?" The sun shone in Ciarda's eyes. A bright white light, but comforting in its scorch. He was hidden by the glare, but even so, that mischievous smile was unmissable. "Luke?" Ciarda scrunched her face up. Something was strange. Wrong. Was she supposed to be here? 

"God, did I knock you too hard on your ass?" Luke laughed. It was a sweet sound, like the smell of honeydew that wrapped around Demeter's cabin. The scent always reminded her of peace, along with the tomato vines that warped around the door. 

Luke's face was younger and unblemished. Luke was nine. She recognised his shirt, a deep blue that he didn't take off because it was a gift from Chiron, for coming first in his swordsman class. Luke had been at Camp for a few years, not as long as Clarisse and Ciarda obviously. 

He had to throw it away when he turned ten, due to a moth infestation in the Hermes cabin. He'd cried that night, and Ciarda had let him. She'd stroked his hair when he laid, weeping, in her lap. The two had homed near the cliffs, Ciarda's legs hanging off the edge, and whispered their secrets into the air. 

But Luke was wearing that shirt. How could he be wearing it? Ciarda stared at him in confusion when he pulled her to her feet in one strong tug. She looked down, baffled when she noticed the familiar Camp armour that was strapped to her. Her hands, as she pulled them up from her sides, she noticed, were less scarred than usual. The tissue was smooth and unmarred, if not a little babyish. 

Ciarda moved over silently to the lake. They'd been on the beach. Strong and bright sun beat onto her burnt shoulders. It would turn into a brutal tan in a few days. 

The lake was a mirror of Olympus; it stilled with no bother disturbing the perplexing calm. It was the perfect summer day. Dark eyes stared back at her in the water. It was Ciarda, but she was younger. Perhaps seven. 

"What happened?" She turned to Luke who trying not to laugh. His face was slightly red, sweat pulling from his hairline. "Maybe I did hit your head too hard. Chiron's going to kill me." He grabbed her hand, pulling her through the forest and back to Camp. 

"Don't tell him I shoved you, just say you fell," Luke was talking to her like her brothers did. However, he had shown her more brotherly love than anything Eros or Eurytion had ever done for her

As if then watching from a different body, she watched her younger self take out Luke's legs from under him, using her wooden sword. She'd yet to have gained her golden beauty on her twelfth birthday. "You're awful," Luke scrambled up, laughing. Leaves stuck in his dark hair, chasing Ciarda through the woods. Her childish giggle weaved against the trees. She was happy. 

Ciarda's bloodshot eyes burst open. She was breathing heavily and the pungent metallic taste of blood coated her tongue. Her throat was sticky and sore from coughing up dust. The relieved sighs of Percy, Grover and Annabeth were unmissable. "What?" She looked around in puzzlement. Weren't they at Camp Half-Blood? 

The desert sun shone in her eyes, temporarily blinding her. Her bleached eyelashes opened wider to see Percy leaning over her, his messy blonde curls falling in tumbles. He was smiling at her, an unnerving site to say the least. She couldn't say anything but just stare and blink. 

"Gods, you're alive," Annabeth, blinking away glossing eyes, let out a relieved string of laughs. Grover rushed a hand through his hair, sanding the brunette locks. 

"What the shit?" Ciarda huffed, using the back of her hand to wipe away as much of the blood from her mouth and face as possible. Recollections of Luke flashed in her mind. Where was her brother?

"Your father.." Percy helped her up with the pull of a powerful hand. Her memories floated back, the past hour refitting itself into her mind like a jigsaw. Luke's face swam away into the midst of her mind once more. 

Grover removed his backpack from his back and started on bandaging Ciarda up. Whilst she refused to hiss from the burn of antiseptic, Annabeth and Percy discussed what they were going to do about Ares. 

"He could help us and we do not have long. This could be our only chance. Like he said, we are really behind schedule. So, we have to think about this logically," Annabeth argued. Her knowing voice scolded Percy for the constant disagreement. 

"We have to think about this loyally. Did you just see what I saw or are we living on two different planets? Ciarda could have died because of him. He did that to one of his own, how do we know what he would do to us?" Percy fought back. 

He didn't care who phrased it as 'a father disciplining his daughter', the girl had nearly ended up in the Underworld a lot quicker than she planned. 

The pair bickered whilst Grover helped Ciarda stop her nosebleed. "You alright?" His dusted hands gently picked up hers. He was surprised when she didn't smack them off her. She seemed to be distant and thinking. Grover didn't feel it right to ask, but instead held onto her warm, calloused palms in hopes he could stop the quivering. 

Abruptly, Ciarda stood up. Her hands found their way comfortably into the hilt of her sword. It produced a blinding glare in the desert sun. 

She said nothing as she marched over to Percy and Annabeth. They were still disputing with each other. 

"We're going to question Ares about what he knows. We're not going to ask him for help." 

The pair stared at her horrified. Ciarda's hair was a mess, orange from the dust that had collected in it from hitting the floor. Her fringe stuck to her forehead in chunks. Blood stained her scarred cheeks. She was a nightmare sight. 

"Remember that a God only offers help when they want something for themself," Ciarda started walking toward the diner, finalising her decision. She didn't care if they didn't follow. Her vision had put forth someone who had previously hurt her but loved her. Taken care of her injuries, and showed her an emotional part of himself. They'd spilled their secrets, the worst thoughts they'd had, and they had still been there for one another.

 Luke was her true family, and whether he liked it or not, Ares was going to hear about it. 

Deciding not to argue against Ciarda's fragile mental state, the three began trekking behind her. Her sword sang delicately in her hand, singing the ballad of the girl who survived her father. 

𝐖𝐀𝐑 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐈𝐃𝐄𝐒  | percy jacksonWhere stories live. Discover now