Brave Things

Chapter 1/Prologue:

The king walked along the cool sand, listening to the whisper of the waves as they tried to tickle his ankles. How he hated that view; a half hidden scene of a gorgeous dawn. Yes, half; his constant reason to brood.

"What brings you here stranger?" A deep singsong voice inquired. Celio looked up at the pale figure standing amongst the waves.

"Vatten." Celio looked up, looking a bit drearier than he intended.

"I see some of the overworld gossip was true. What the hell happened?" Vatten shrugged, making the water ripple around him a moment.

" Regina happened." Celio grumbled, tossing a shell into the water idly.

"Oh. I was wondering when she was going to get back at you for being…you. Seems she got you good." Vatten smiled, forming a chair out of the waves and settling himself into it as Celio glared death at him.

"I'm glad Hades finally got a woman. I should pay him a visit sometime, nay? I-"

"What DO you want from me Vatten? Can't a man brood in peace?" Celio hissed, digging his toes into the sand.

"Nope. Anyway, there is vulnerability; that is what worries you right? Because it's going to take centuries for your eye to grow back, along with your full power. Would you like it to come faster? I can let you borrow a bit of my power to help stimulate your own…" Vatten looked at the sky behind him, knowing he had Celio's attention.

"For a price of course."

Celio scowled, but still allowed the spark of hope to be lit in his heart. "Name it."

"Oh bah. Let's see, what do I want. I've got women…riches…power…. just give me the latest thing born in the overworld. Those reborn brats make great lackeys." The king of the middleworld grinned, holding out a dagger made of shell and diamond. "Here cut your palm open with this so we can shake on it."

Taking one last wary look, Celio took the dagger and set it against his right palm. You'd think he'd had enough of making deals with devils; but he was a desperate man. Digging the blade into his palm, Celio took his brother's hand and shook it.

"Great. Bring my payment here by sunset. Then your promised power will be yours." Vatten smirked at Celio a bit, then vanished into the waking waves.

Celio began to make his way back to the palace.

Surely what he asked was a small price to pay….

It is here our story begins…

"Okay, no peeking!" Tim ran in the nursing room, bouncing up and down, practically dragging Celio with her. "Okay on the count of three open your eyes…one…two…THREE"

Chuckling, Celio let his hand drop away from his face-

Only to draw back in horror.

"Celio; what is the matter with you? This is your son." Regina scowled icily holding the little babe in her arms a bit tighter.

Walking up to the child, he took the child in his arms and held the babe gently. "My son. What have I done? Damn it all, he must have known!" Celio choked, looking at the babe's sleeping face. Regina paled.

"What have you done?" Regina whispered venomously. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?"

"Regi please! I didn't know! I was walking along the beach to clear my head…and then Vatten came to me and offered to help me get my powers back…sooner. So of course I said yes! I knew he wanted something…shit. He told me he already had everything he wanted…that all he wanted was the latest thing born here. I thought it was that silly low rank angel th-that was born here latest! Regina …why didn't you tell me you were pregnant?" Celio shook with the weight of the situation. His first born son to his wife…

He had sold.

"Celio…Damn it. You should have known the price for that would be high. When do you have to pay?" Regina sighed, trying to resign herself to her fate.

"Sunset tonight. At the westernlands. Listen, there must be something-" Celio tried, but Regina cut him short.

"I will take him. I will try and lighten this." Regi tried to stifle her tears and think about what she could do to save her child.

Vatten waited by the shore for a broken man who had just lost his son. While Hades was dangerous and cantankerous, and Celio was pompous and selfish; Vatten was dark and capricious. At times he could be very personable- other times as cruel as death itself; a temperament like the waves of the sea.

A beautiful woman with reddish brown hair and golden tan skin approached him instead.

"Regina?" Vatten looked around to see if Celio was nearby. He was not.

"Regi, don't tell me you're defending another one of his little tarts-"

"It is my son-" Regina yelled, her voice echoing across the empty sands. "It is my son that you have taken!" Regina finished quietly, revealing the small baby boy in her arms. Vatten almost forgot what he was going to say.

"Regina, he's beautiful." Vatten smiled and the waters surrounding him grew peaceful, swirling gently.

"Vatten, please; have mercy. Have mercy! I have never in my life wanted a child so badly…" Regina pleaded, holding the child close.

"You may raise the child; under a few conditions though. You will have to stay in my realm, and live as a human. Meaning the majority of your powers will be gone until the boy is grown and ready for me to take." Vettan relented, pausing to look at the startled look on Regi's face.

"Take home, not take like that. Sheesh."

Regi let go of the breath she was holding.

"Thank you."

"Don't thank me just yet."

"Neighbors? Oh! Mrs. Norrington moved?" a curious woman asked her husband as the moving truck came to a halt at their neighbor's home.

"Dear, she's been gone for two years." Harold, the husband, muttered, still trying to fix the godforsaken toaster.

"Oh Fran, you're always so behind. Hurry up and bag those cookies you made so we have an excuse to go over there. Hurry up!" Nancy, the- other neighbor busted in the front door noisily, throwing Fran's freshly made chocolate chip cookies on a tray and then grabbing Fran.

"Wait, Nancy , my hair is a mess!" Fran said…well, frantically.

"Oh hush, I'm sure the nice 'ol newcomers won't mind unless they're trolls." Nancy sang as she hurried around the truck to eyeball the new people before approaching them.

A woman struggled with a box in the trunk of her car, and a little boy with rusty brown hair stood on the lawn, watching her. He looked about six. Just around her own daughter's age.

"Looks like you need some help!" Nancy called out, clearly startling the woman as her head banged on the top of the trunk.

"Oh…ah…Hi!" the woman turned around, revealing a gorgeous female with a darker shade of the boy's hair, in a blue sundress to match her twinkling eyes. The boy ran behind his mother, eyes covered by slightly tousled hair.

"Um…Hello! This is Nancy my neighbor and friend. I'm Fran your neighbor to your right. Um…we brought cookies- As a welcome treat!" Fran stuttered, mortified by her stained, bum-around t-shirt when this women with a model figure stood before her.

"Hello! I'm Regina . And this-" she gently pushed the boy out from behind her, and the boy quickly stuck in thumb into his mouth. "This is my son Hercules. I hope he can make some friends here. He's painfully shy. Com'on you. at least say 'Hello.'"

Hercules looked up for a moment and mumbled a short "Hi." Around his thumb.

"Wow, he's gunna be a heartbreaker. Look at those eyes!" Nancy gasped, tilting up the boys chin to get a better look. Fran nearly had a heart attack.

" NANCY ! You don't just grab other people's kids! I'm so sorry."

Hercules just stared, too frozen to do much of anything. His whole life it had just been him and his mother. Where did all these people come in?

"MOM! WHERE'S THE COOKIES! DAD SAID THE COOKIES WHERE ON THE TABLE! MOOOM!" a voice called from behind the moving truck.

"Here comes trouble." Fran sighed. Nancy turned from the boy and grinned.

"Make it double."

A girl with mousy brown hair stuck with twigs and leaves crawled out from under the truck, a silly grin on her face. Right behind her a boy with blond hair equally messed over with twigs and leaves who began talking loudly.

"Hey! New people! And MOM! Why do you have Ophie's cookies!?"

Regina fought the instinct to recoil. Must get along.

"Come here sweetie!" Nancy half dragged half pushed her son over to the other hesitant boy. "Hercules, this is my son Thomas. Thomas this is your new neighbor, Hercules and his mother Ms…" Nancy looked over at Regina for help.

"You can call me Ms. Regi." Regina smiled sweetly, looking over at her son a moment. " Would you like to play with Thomas and Ophie?"

"Sophie. For some odd reason Thomas doesn't pronounce the 'S.'" Fran corrected, then brightened. "Hey, why don't you come over my house for coffee while the kids play? I'll get our husbands to help unpack for you."

"Well, if you insist." Regi shrugged, and gave her son's hand a little squeeze. "Go on and play with them, honey. They'll show you around a bit, make you feel a bit better. Who knows? Maybe they'll become friends. And if you need me, I'll be right in that house over there alright?"

"Okay." Hercules said as if he was going to cry, letting his hand be ensnared in the little girl's hand.

"We're gunna have so much fun! I have to show you our stick house! Mommy says that…" Sophie went on and on, as Hercules looked down the street. It was humming with women out for a talks and husbands just getting home or out mowing their lawns. Suddenly, a car came racing from around the corner, full noisy teens with their music on too loud. The car was moving so fast Hercules was frozen to the spot as Sophie and Thomas ran back to the sidewalk where they started, thinking that he was behind them.

A scream and a crash was all Regi needed to hear before she bolted outside to make sure her son wasn't hurt.

A ruined car lay on its side, dazed teenagers crawling out it, as her son still stood in the street crying.

"Baby! What happened?" Regina started, rushing up to Hercules and carrying him out of the street as he sobbed.

"Mommy…I didn't mean to hurt them! I didn't mean to hurt them!" He cried. Sophie just stared and then pointed.

"Mom! Momma! He's amazing! He pushed that car outta the road like BAM! And then the car went flying in the air like SHOOOOM! Then it-it –it –it crashed into the lawn like BOOM!" Sophie couldn't even contain herself as she bounced all over her mother, getting carried away with the sound effects.

"Woa." Thomas just stared in shock as his mother hugged him and shook him about with her efforts to check if he was injured.

"What the hell just happened-" one of the teenagers started, but an angry goddess cut him short.

"I'll tell you what happened you little SHIT! You just hit my kid with a car! I'll have you all burned in HELL!" Regina roared, her eyes glowing, sending the teenagers running.

Nancy looked up at Regi just in time for the glow to fade.

"You didn't have to threaten them."

"I don't make threats. Only promises." Regi turned angrily and led her crying child back into their new home.

And so years passed, and the boy forgot what had transpired. His mother thought it best to leave him ignorant until her hand was forced, so he grew to be a normal human…

Or so he thought.