tagSci-Fi & FantasyHow to Date a Superhero Ch. 05

How to Date a Superhero Ch. 05

byfrozenhero1©

To the west of Olympus, well beyond the fringes of the city, sat the Hall of Artemis at the edge of a dense wood. Unlike much of the other stone and marble architecture Mega-Girl had seen in the city, the hall was constructed mainly of wood. The building was simple but long, flanked all around by subordinate structures like a stable, hound pens, and what Mega-Girl guessed to be servant's cabins. A pair of men in green clothing and brown leathers, both armed with bow and blade alike, seemed to be keeping guard.

Mega-Girl approached from a distance on foot, flanked by the brothers Apollo and Hermes. Mega-Girl was in costume, sans her mask. Apollo was dressed in his armors of gold and leather, his spear and the bow of Minerva at his back. Hermes was dressed simply in a belted tunic and sandals, a walking stick clutched in one hand.

"Who are they?" Mega-Girl asked, pointing vaguely towards the guards.

"Two of our sister's rangers," Hermes answered, "The finest hunters in all of Olympus."

Apollo paused to assess the holding, his companions stopping with him.

"No doubt they have spotted us," Hermes said to his brother, "No point in contemplating a stealthier approach."

"Are these guys going to be a problem?" Mega-Girl wondered.

Hermes started, "They shouldn't be-"

"Something isn't right," Apollo growled in his baritone voice, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. He began to reach over a shoulder for his spear.

"Don't," warned a female voice from behind the companions.

All three of them turned to see a woman approaching, a drawn bow aimed directly towards them.

"Artemis," Hermes smiled disarmingly, trying to put the woman at ease.

She ignored the curly-haired messenger-god and leveled a gaze towards Apollo, "Your senses are as keen as ever, brother. My approach was silent." Artemis spoke English, but with a heavy Mediterranean accent.

"Ever have I shared an affinity with mine twin," Apollo replied, seemingly unbothered by the bow aimed directly at him.

Mega-Girl was amazed by the sight of the goddess as her appearance was truly stunning. Her long blonde hair shared the same hue as Apollo's, but was far curlier. They looked alike, sharing the same prominent cheek bones and square brows, but Artemis was truly a specimen of feminine beauty who made Mega-Girl feel plain and ordinary in comparison. She was tall, like her twin, with a toned and muscled body. A leather corset hugged her waist and pushed her otherwise-modest cleavage into two bulging mounds of enticing flesh. Leather pants seemed painted on her long legs beneath a hint of bared navel. Soft boots adorned her feet, a quiver of arrows hung loosely at her back, and a short blade was sheathed upon her right thigh.

"Who is the girl?" Artemis asked, suddenly pointing her notched arrow towards Mega-Girl.

Apollo stepped into the path of the weapon, between the two women, "A mortal. She is with me."

Artemis frowned at how quickly Apollo stepped to protect Mega-Girl, "You're fucking her, aren't you? She dresses like a clown."

"No need to be rude," Hermes prompted, "Her name is Penelope. Quite an amazing young woman, really."

Artemis snorted, a sound reminiscent to Apollo's often gruff attitude.

"I'm also arrow-proof," Mega-Girl claimed in a cocky voice, stepping from behind Apollo to stand at his side, "So why don't you point that stupid thing somewhere els-"

"Oh no," Hermes groaned as Artemis loosed her bow. Moving with blinding speed he caught the arrow in mid-air by its shaft, stopping it only inches from Mega-Girl's chest.

Mega-Girl's eyes widened. She had never seen Hermes in action; to her senses it seemed he simply disappeared from where he was standing and reappeared with the arrow in his hand.

"Contact poison on the arrowhead," he whispered to her, "Possibly even deadly to your considerable stamina."

Mega-Girl swallowed and was happy not to put her stamina to the test.

"Lay down thy weapon!" Apollo bellowed angrily, "And harm Penelope at your own peril. Though you are mine sister, Artemis, I will not hesitate in smiting thee should another arrow find its way to thy bow."

Mega-Girl glanced at Apollo and wanted to tell him she could defend herself, but quickly realized she may be in over her head dealing with gods who were thousands of years her senior.

Hermes broke the arrow he was holding in half and dropped it to the ground, stepping on the arrowhead to push it into the dirt, "We come in peace, sister. In fact, we seek your aid. I beg you, be our host and hear our plea."

"Apollo abandoned me. I haven't seen him in centuries," Artemis spat towards Hermes, "And now you bring him here with one of his mortal cows seeking my succor?"

Mega-Girl frowned at being a called a cow but held her tongue.

"You fled the mortal world," Apollo reminded her, "Not I."

"My heart was in ruins," Artemis replied coldly, "I needed my brother, the one person who knew me better than any other! You could have helped mend what Constantine broke, Apollo. Only you."

"Constantine?" Mega-Girl sounded surprised, "Are you talking about the once-emperor of the Roman Empire?"

Artemis' voice seethed with hate, "He chose another. A mortal cow like you."

"That's it!" Mega-Girl stepped forward angrily, "If you call me a cow one more time...!"

But Hermes stepped in her path. "Perhaps this was a mistake," he worried, looking to his brother.

"Enough!" growled Apollo, freeing the bow slung to his back. "I have brought you the bow of Minerva, a weapon you've long-coveted. Help us track a mortal sorceress and it is yours."

Artemis' gaze narrowed cautiously, "Why would you trade the bow for something as trivial as the location of a mortal?"

"She seeks the death of Penelope and cast a spell upon me to do her foul work," Apollo explained. "I would put my hand about her throat and ask her why."

Hermes glanced hopefully towards Artemis' contemplative expression.

"I swore never to return to that cursed plane," Artemis reminded.

"Oaths were meant to be broken," Apollo argued.

Artemis eyed Apollo's bow with coveting eyes, "Do you have something with her scent?"

"Aye," Apollo nodded, "A towel which she dried herself with after enjoying my shower."

Mega-Girl gave Apollo a jealous expression, "What was she doing in your shower?"

Artemis snorted, "Do not fool yourself, girl. My brother has always treated mortal women as conquests to be swiftly discarded. I doubt much has changed in recent centuries and I'm sure you'll become as meaningless as the rest."

Mega-Girl's fist balled at her side. She wanted nothing more than to throttle Artemis soundly, but Hermes once again wisely interjected himself into her path.

"Cease thy wagging tongue, sister." Apollo glared at her dangerously, "Will you aid us or not?"

"Father has closed all the conduits from here to the mortal plane," Artemis informed them, "It will be difficult for us to return."

"Ah," Hermes smiled brightly, "What sort of messenger would I be could I not deliver my messages? Leave our return to me."

=======

Travis was amazed at the mess Cyclone's storm had caused around campus as he walked through the central quad. There were fallen trees and branches everywhere, broken windows on all of the educational buildings, and downed power lines. City crews were already beginning clean-up but classes had been suspended giving Travis plenty of spare time to simply wander around and assess the amount of damage. It could have been worse, he imagined, if Cyclone hadn't been stopped by Lady Liberty, a heroine who normally operated in New York. The news had said she came to the aid of Gateway City after Mega-Girl didn't show up and the city's other heroes failed to stop Cyclone.

During the prior year and a half, whenever the city was threatened, Mega-Girl was there to save the day. Speculation on television and the internet was rampant about why she didn't stop Cyclone, including theories that she had gotten married and was on her honeymoon, or morbid predictions that she was dead. Only Travis and Jordan knew the truth of her other-dimensional whereabouts.

Travis tried not to think about Penny and started walking. It bothered him that she had traveled to Olympus with a man who had tried to kill her; what if he tried it again? Travis couldn't decide if it was the fear for her safety that bothered him so much, or jealousy. Not that he thought Penny would fall for a savage blowhard like Apollo... or would she? It was confusing to Travis because he wasn't sure he even had a right to be jealous; he was the one who dumped Penny, after all.

Further muddying the waters of Travis' feelings was the fact that Jordan kissed him during the storm, and the fact that he liked it so much. Jordan was easy to like, Travis decided. She was absolutely gorgeous, incredibly smart, and best of all she didn't run around in a spandex costume risking her life every day. But she was also Penny's roommate and closest friend. If he started dating Jordan after dumping Penny, it would be a hurtful betrayal. Travis wasn't sure betraying a girl who could bench-press his dormitory was a good idea.

Still, he couldn't stop thinking about that kiss.

=======

Artemis scowled, "Hermes, have you lost your mind?"

"Of course not," Hermes sounded offended, "In fact, I'm almost certainly the sanest person in this room."

Mega-Girl stood beside Apollo as the siblings bickered, more interested in the various stuffed creatures hanging on the walls within Artemis' hall. Some beasts she recognized as earthly, other creatures seemed straight out of legend. "Where did all this stuff come from?" she asked Apollo in a whispering tone meant only for him.

"Many hunts. Artemis is as skilled at slaying beasts as any I know," Apollo murmured in reply.

"You weren't kidding yesterday when you told me she was pissed at you."

"Aye."

"What was that stuff about your 'mortal conquests' she was saying earlier? How many women have you slept with, exactly?"

Apollo glanced at her, "I have been alive for three thousand years, Penelope. Do you expect me to have kept count?"

"Sorry," Mega-Girl realized she was being unrealistically jealous. "But what about Lauren Smith? Did you sleep with her?"

"It matters little," Apollo dismissed the question.

"It matters to me!" Mega-Girl hissed.

Apollo growled defensively, "Why? T'was before we met."

"Because I'd like to know if the woman trying to kill me is one of your ex-girlfriends!"

Apollo snorted, "I do not keep 'girlfriends'. I am not a lovesick boy."

"Oh yeah?" Mega-Girl seethed, "Then what am I? Just another mortal conquest for you to discard as soon as you get bored?"

Artemis cleared her throat towards the bickering pair, "Do you two want to finish your lover's quarrel now? Or can we return to figuring out how to return to Earth?"

"By all means," Apollo gestured.

Mega-Girl crossed her arms over her chest angrily and glared some daggers towards Apollo, "Fine."

"Have you heard a word Hermes has said, Apollo? Our brother wants to steal uncle's trident!"

"Neptune won't know it's missing," Hermes argued, "Not before I have it back. There's nothing to fear. I've 'borrowed' it dozens of times"

"Why do we need a trident?" Mega-Girl wondered.

"It's a conduit," Hermes answered, "One of the few in Olympus our father wasn't able to close."

"It's madness," Artemis countered, "Neptune is even more vengeful than father. If he finds out you've been stealing his trident to travel the planes, he'd kill you, and then he'd kill us for riding along."

"He's not going to find out. I'll fetch the trident, use it to send the three of you back to Earth, and then return it before our uncle is any wiser." Hermes looked to Apollo, "He rarely carries it anymore. It simply sits in his underwater throne room."

Apollo shrugged indifferently, "I have no fear of Neptune."

"Sometimes you are an arrogant fool," Artemis accused her twin.

Apollo scowled, "I am a match for any in Olympus, Zeus or Neptune included! Our uncle may be mighty in his domain beneath the sea, but he would be the fool for challenging me in mine domain - everywhere else!"

Though he was perhaps the cockiest man she had ever met, Mega-Girl had to admit (at least to herself) that Apollo's confidence was a large part of what attracted her to him. It was like a tuning fork went off between her legs every time he talked like that. The feminist in her loathed that fact, but she couldn't deny it.

"We don't have any other choice," Hermes told them, "The only other conduit to Earth I know of is in Hades."

Artemis shuddered, unwilling to consider such a course.

"How long before you can spirit the trident back to thy estate?" Apollo asked.

Hermes considered, "Neptune's throne room is usually empty by evening. I could have it to Olympus shortly after dinner."

"We'll be waiting," Apollo promised.

=======

Jordan sat in front of her six computer screens scanning satellite images of Gateway City and watching a trio of live news feeds. She did so out of habit. As 'Harbinger' she was often Mega-Girl's eyes and ears, alerting her to situations within the city that required the attention of a superhero. The attack on the city by Cyclone a day prior was a painful reminder of how much Gateway City needed its greatest hero and Jordan hoped Mega-Girl would return soon.

"Just a minute," she called when a knock sounded from the door. Jordan quickly closed the satellite and news feeds and trotted toward the living room in her tight pink sweats and baby doll tee.

"Travis," she greeted after opening the door, not surprised to see him.

"Hey," he greeted, dressed in simple jeans and a buttoned shirt.

"Penny's not back yet," Jordan told him, standing in the doorway. Travis hadn't shaved and she found herself liking his two-day shadow of scruff, but had to remember that Penny had claim to the adorable boy in front of her.

"That's not why I'm here."

Jordan gave him an expectant look, a little icier than she had intended.

Travis lied instead of telling her that he couldn't stop thinking about the kiss they shared, "I just came to check on you. Things got a little intense yesterday and I wanted to make sure you were okay."

"That's sweet, Travis. But you could have just called."

"I don't have your cell number."

Jordan sighed, "And I probably shouldn't give it to you."

"Why?"

"Because you're Penny's boyfriend, okay?"

"We broke up," Travis reminded her.

"So? I'm still her roommate. I'm still her best friend. Do you really think she'd be cool with us hooking-up?"

Travis grinned, "You want to hook up with me?"

Jordan let out a frustrated growl and abandoned the doorway, "Don't do that!"

"Do what?" Travis followed her, closing the door behind him.

"Don't be so fucking charming and cute," Jordan flopped onto the couch, curling her legs beneath her.

"I don't get it," Travis remained standing, "What's so wrong about me having your number? I thought we were friends. It's not like I'm going to start sexting you or anything."

Jordan pushed a hand through her burgundy hair. "I could use some sexting," she joked dryly, "I haven't had that or any other kind of sex since last spring."

"Seriously?" Travis sounded surprised.

"Don't make fun," Jordan leveled a finger at him, "I'm a computer science major, remember? All the guys in my classes are complete video game nerds."

Travis grinned, "I wasn't going to tease you. I just can't believe a completely hot girl like you can't get a date whenever she wanted."

Jordan turned the tables on him, "So you think I'm hot?"

"Uh... I uh..."

Jordan waited for him to stop stammering.

Travis finally spit it out, "You're fucking gorgeous, all right? But I'm pretty sure you already know that."

Jordan narrowed her eyes, "What, so you think I'm conceited?"

"No! I just... fuck, Jordan. Just look in the mirror."

"I do, and I see the same girl every morning and wonder how a guy could ever pick someone like me over the world-famous and ultra-gorgeous Mega-Girl."

"That's not what I see," Travis spoke softly, "I see someone who's every bit as beautiful, someone who's ten times smarter than I am, and someone who has this amazing fierceness about her that's irresistibly adorable."

"You're doing it again," Jordan sighed.

"Sorry."

"Jesus," Jordan exhaled, giving in. "Just come over here and kiss me, would you?"

=======

Mega-Girl was packing her duffle bag on the bed she and Apollo had broken the evening prior, in preparation for Hermes' return, when Apollo entered the room. "Hey," she offered him a soft smile.

"Are you still angry with me?" he asked in his deep voice.

She shook her head, "No, not really. I wasn't being fair. You're three-thousand years old and I'm still a teenager. I had no right to be jealous because you've got more sexual history than I do. It's not your fault you're immortal."

Apollo leaned against a wall beside the doorway, "I did not sleep with Lauren Smith."

Mega-Girl stopped packing and looked at him.

"It was my intention to seduce her," he continued honestly, "But she spelled me before anything occurred."

"So you wanted to sleep with her," Mega-Girl said dryly, not comforted by his words.

"Aye. Artemis spoke the truth about me. I have bedded and discarded many women in my centuries. But none of them, Penelope, compare to thee."

She gave him a cautious glance, "Why, because you can feel it when I punch you?"

"Nay," Apollo shook his head and pushed from the wall to approach her, "Because thy spirit is courageous. You didn't back down from me during our battle, and you would have throttled Artemis today had Hermes not stopped thee. And we are gods! I told thee last night - thou art a lioness, Penelope. I would make thee mine and forsake all others, if you would have me."

Mega-Girl smiled demurely. "What are you saying?" she teased, "You want me to be your girlfriend and go steady?"

Apollo snorted with amusement at her jest and stepped behind her. His hands found her biceps and he kissed her shoulder through her skin-tight costume. "Aye," he whispered.

Goose-bumps rose on her skin around the shoulder and neck near to where he kissed her, "And you won't be with any other girls?"

"You have mine oath on it."

Mega-Girl couldn't help but tease him again, "You told your sister oaths were meant to be broken."

"Only after a few centuries," he replied.

She giggled, "This is crazy. You know that, right? We barely know each other."

"My brother Ares once told me the most intimate relationship two people can share is one born in battle. I know thee, Penelope. I know thy mettle. I want a lioness by my side."

Mega-Girl tilted her head when Apollo pushed her hair back and kissed the tender spot right behind her ear. "I love it when you call me that," she whispered, "I want to be your lioness."

Apollo nibbled at her earlobe, causing more goose-bumps.

"When will your brother be back?" she asked, wondering if there was time to make love.

"Soon," he answered, stepping back reluctantly, "Though Neptune's castle be far out to sea, the distance is nothing to Hermes."

Mega-Girl made a disappointed sigh and resumed packing her things, folding a spare costume, "Can I ask you something?"

"Anything," he agreed.

"Why do some of your relatives use their Roman names, but others use the Greek versions? Like Neptune, and Minerva - those are Roman. But Artemis and Hermes were the names Greeks used."

"We are neither Roman nor Greek; we are Olympians. My race was not born of Earth, but here. Though we are human like you, the children of Zeus and others were born with great abilities and powers far beyond that of most mortals. Because of this, the people of Earth worshiped us as gods after we discovered thy dimension."

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