Author's Note – This is the result of pondering just what babysitting a goddess could be like. Especially one who has a knack for getting into mischief.
The Goddess's Puppy
Adrian Douet scowled, causing his dark eyes to narrow into annoyed slits. She'd jumped again, just as he had been closing in on her. The four-year-old immortal was most likely enjoying her game of hide-and-seek, yet her father was fast losing what little temper he had.
"Found you," he growled as he once again located his daughter's energy. She was in, of all places, the Greek Underworld, and Adrian, having located her, was fast on her heels.
The twenty-six year old had been left in charge of the young Andraya whilst her mother – Harmony Torrens – had taken the day off to hang out with Adrian's twin sister Alisha, and their friend Jaid Halifax. Adrian had assured his partner that he would be able to take care of Andraya on his own, yet the young man had been fast to regret this assurance when, not ten minutes after Harmony had disappeared, their daughter had decided that she too was going to leave home for the day.
From one world to the next, the young goddess had used her fledgling powers to will herself across not only the Higher Realm, but the Lower Realm as well. Indeed, it would seem that the four year old actually preferred the Lower Realm; a fact that didn't come as any surprise to her father. Adrian had known right from the start that Andraya was a Lower Realm goddess, and arriving before the gates of the Greek Underworld, he strode off across the familiar landscape in search of his delinquent daughter.
A high-pitched shriek made his dark hair stand on end and his blood run cold, as he recognised the voice of his daughter. Sprinting across the cavernous landscape, a strange shape loomed up before him, and Adrian once again heard a shrill cry come from Andraya. Skidding to a halt, the Dark god gasped as he beheld the giant form of Cerberus; the three headed guard dog of Hades.
"Andy!" Adrian cried out as he spotted the little girl lying on the snout of the middle head, reaching towards the yellow eyes with her tiny hands. The right side head loomed over the girl, its teeth catching her clothes and hoisting her up into the air, causing her to shriek once more. The left side head moved in as the middle one pulled back, and a giant pink tongue slobbered all over the little girl, who could be heard laughing, oblivious to the danger that she was in.
"Cerberus!" Adrian yelled up at the giant black dog, and all three heads spun around to stare down at the young god. "Put her down, now! That's an order!"
A three-fold growl resonated around the cavern, yet the dog grudgingly lowered Andraya, letting go of her clothes as her feet hit the floor.
"Daddy!" she called as she ran over to Adrian, her skin and clothes slick with dog saliva. "Look! I found a puppy!" she said with a delighted grin. Her hazel eyes were sparkling with excitement, and her slightly wavy brown hair – which had been tied up in two pigtails on either side of her head – was a stiff mess due to the dog drool.
"That's nice, but how about we leave the puppy and go home?" Adrian asked, reaching down to pick up his daughter's hand, yet Andraya was only interested in one thing.
"What's the puppy's name, daddy?"
"Huh?" Adrian asked, noticing how his daughter's eyes had once more strayed towards the three-headed dog.
"He has to have a name, and you should know it, right? 'Cause you know everything!" Andraya said, turning her best grin onto her father, who fell for it instantly.
"His name's Cerberus," he answered before thinking, and Andraya's eyes lit up as she turned and ran back towards the giant guard dog.
"Cerbus!" she shouted, trying her best to pronounce the difficult name. Three sets of ears pricked up, and a dull thumping sound vibrated around the area. It took Adrian a moment to work out that it was the sound of the dog's tail hitting the floor.
"Andy!" the young immortal barked as he strode towards her, and yet he was too late. The middle head already had a grip on her clothes, and as it lifted her up, the other two turned their yellow eyes onto Adrian, growling at him to stay back.
"Do you really think that I'm just gonna stand here and let you eat my daughter?" he yelled, summoning a ball of blue-black energy into his right hand, and fixing his dark eyes onto the giant dog.
Andraya meanwhile, was oblivious to her father, and had somehow managed to once again scramble up onto the snout of the middle head, inching her way towards its ears.
Down on the ground, the energy that was in his hand dissipated as Adrian realised that he couldn't throw it at Cerberus for fear of harming his daughter. Whilst the guard dog had her, he was powerless to attack.
Oblivious to her father's dilemma, Andraya succeeded in reaching the ears, and soon found herself sliding down a long black neck on her stomach, before coming to a stop on the back of the beast. Climbing onto all fours, she tried to stand up, but lost her balance and ended up on her back instead. Trying once more, she stayed on her knees this time and crawled her way towards where she could see the tail of Cerberus thumping up and down. The dog was resting in a position similar to that of the Egyptian Sphinx, yet his back was still a good five meters high.
She had almost reached the tail when a set of teeth once again latched onto her clothes, gingerly picking her up and swinging her through the air. It was the left side head this time, and as she swung around, Cerberus rolled onto his side, depositing Andraya in amongst his two massive front paws.
"Andy," Adrian hissed as he noticed that the dog was curling up to sleep. "Andy, c'mere," he tried again, yet it seemed that Andraya too was curling up to go to sleep, nestled between paws and cheek. It had been a long day for the four-year-old girl, and all of the excitement had finally caught up with her.
Uttering a curse under his breath, Adrian waited until he was certain that Cerberus was asleep, before he cautiously made his way towards his daughter. Regarding the immortal beast with a sense of foreboding, Adrian reached out and gripped Andraya as best he could, before lifting her away from Cerberus. Careful not to make any sudden movements, he carried the sleeping girl away from the beast before he turned back for one last look.
"Why do I get the feeling that this is gonna be a regular occurrence?" he muttered, before with a sigh, he disappeared from the Greek Underworld. Arriving back home, Adrian was instantly greeted by a stern-looking Harmony.
"And just where have you been?" she asked, before turning her aqua coloured eyes onto her daughter. "Look at her, she's filthy! And what's that all over her? Slime?" she asked, and Adrian grimaced.
"Actually, it's dog drool," he answered, and Harmony's anger melted into puzzlement.
"Dog drool? But where in the world did she find a dog? She didn't go to the Mortal Realm, did she? 'Cause last time I checked, immortals didn't keep pets," Harmony said, and Adrian shifted his daughter's weight in his arms before answering.
"Yeah, well she sort of ended up at the gates of Hades," he said, and Harmony quirked an eyebrow at him. "Playing with Cerberus," he added with a wince, anticipating the response of the young goddess before him.
"Why the hell would you take her to play with Cerberus?" she snapped, and when Andraya gave a slight groan in her sleep, Harmony's voice lowered. "I told you to watch her for a few hours, not take her to play with a giant three-headed dog."
"I didn't take her; she took herself," Adrian said in his defence. "And if it helps any, Cerberus made no move to harm her. Actually, I think he liked her," he added, thinking back to how the guard dog had acted with the little girl. If it hadn't been for the fact that Cerberus was a monstrous beast with three heads, it would have looked like a child having a good romp with her pet. And the way the dog had lifted her up; so gently with his teeth that could easily crush bone. There was no doubt about it – the dog liked his daughter.
"Great. That's just great," Harmony muttered, before sliding Andraya into her own arms, and grimacing as the drool-covered clothes made contact. "She can't keep him, Adrian. I'm not having a three-headed dog as a pet."
"Yeah, I don't think that's gonna be a problem," Adrian assured her. "Cerberus won't be following her home. I'm more worried about Andy following after Cerberus," he said as Harmony strode towards the bathroom.
"At any rate, your daughter's absolutely filthy," she snapped over her shoulder, stopping Adrian in his tracks.
"Why is it that she's only ever my daughter when something goes wrong?" he asked, yet Harmony never gave him an answer. With a sigh, Adrian went to change out of his drool-covered clothes, muttering under his breath as he did so. "Next time I'll send her in to deal with the giant mutt. See how she likes it."
Indeed, there soon was a next time. And for Andraya and Cerberus, there were many more 'next times' after that.