"Well, most of the time, if we're young, we still have to have classes. You know, English, Maths, Science..."
Chloe groaned next to Emily, who chuckled slightly. She didn't mind education, although it amused her that her friend had thought they'd get away with it here. It seemed like such a school like place. Emily had been in University, still was, except that she was sure by now she had been removed from her course. She had been due to start back in a couple of weeks, but she imagined that now...
"... Everyone who is old enough, or old enough and doesn't want to learn more, can spend these hours helping with research, finding others who are descendants, training their skills; but everyone has to take part in some form of activity. We can't just sit around. Of course, when you're not in lessons, you're still expected to do the other activities."
"It's like a school!" Chloe groaned.
"No duh." Alex grinned. "But it's fun actually. Better than being in an actual school."
"Except for the alarms." Chloe groaned again. "It just kept going off this morning until I got up."
"Not a morning person?" Emily asked.
"I prefer night time," Emily offered. "But I don't seem to have a problem with mornings either. I guess that has something to do with time."
"Ah yes, Kronos." A guy called James spoke up, grinning at her. He had blonde and wavy hair that was swept to the side in a casual manner. "You know, I used to help Cathy with that."
"Help who with what?" I asked.
"Cathy; she's off on business at the moment. She's a descendant of Kronos too. You're practically cousins." He grinned again. "I could help you find and control the source of your abilities. If you want." He shrugged.
"Um... yeah. Wow. That'd... that'd be good."
"Cool." He grinned. "Come on then blondie."
Emily scoffed and stood with him.
"Blondie? You're blonder than me."
"I'll come up with a better nickname when I know you better." He grinned and gestured for her to follow him. Emily waved at Chloe who gave her a 'have fun with the cute guy' look and followed James out of the room. "So do you know which line you come from yet?"
"Nope." She replied, letting the word pop from her mouth with a strong 'p'. He chuckled.
"Well we'd probably better figure that one out first. Come on, library, then outside."
They found the book Emily had been studying the night before and began to trace her lineage. As time crawled by, and Emily understood the irony, she played twenty questions with James.
"What's the most outrageous thing you've ever done?" He asked, looking at the page which talked about Hades. Emily laughed and shook her head. "You're backing out?"
"It can't be that bad. Also, pretty sure you're not a descendant of Hades."
"Well that's good news, I think. So what about Hestia?"
"Boring." He grinned. "And stop changing the subject."
"Fine. Most outrageous thing I've ever done was," She bit her lip, "having an affair with a professor." He stared at her for a minute, and then flicked over the page. "Hey, what about Hestia?! You didn't even look-"
"-She was the virginal goddess of the hearth and home. No way I'm going to believe that now." He said and then threw her a sly grin. She shoved him and laughed.
"Alright, your turn. Most outrageous thing you've ever done."
"You can't copy my questions."
"I won't... after this one."
He chuckled and rolled his eyes.
"Nope. Choose another."
"Fine." She huffed. "Who are you descended from?"
He laughed again.
"Now that one you should really guess."
"Because generally people here make it a game to guess, if they don't already know. But since you're new, and didn't know... I am descended from Aphrodite."
"Aphrodite? As in...?"
"Yes." He smiled.
"Wow. Okay so what's your power?"
"Not your turn." He grinned again. "Let's look at Poseidon." He flicked the page over and began tracing the lines. "This professor..."
"... why did it end?"
Emily looked at him in surprise. He was looking at the page patiently, tracing lines.
"Among other things...I found out about the marriage."
"You didn't know?"
"Isn't it my turn?" She tried, forcing a joking grin to her face. He looked at her with a calm face, as if he expected nothing, but wanted an answer anyway. "No I didn't know. And I found out when I was very ill so-"
"- Go on."
"No." She suddenly felt like she was back there in all that uncertainty and pain.
"Alright then. Your turn." He turned back to the page.
"What's your power?"
"It's complicated. I can manipulate emotions... but it's more scientific. I can make someone happy, sad... I can make heart muscles contract a little faster like they do when a person is experiencing pleasure... I can send signals through nerves to make the brain believe in things that aren't... but in a nutshell... emotions."
"So how would you use that... I mean, Gabby was telling us about how to manipulate the use of the powers for different situations..." She saw his face falling before she could finish the sentence. He looked as though he were in pain, and Emily was reminded of her grandfather, telling her stories of the war. "Sorry... it was your turn." She quickly changed the subject and pretended to be looking at the page when he glanced at her. She saw a small smile lift his lips.
"What is the single most important object in your life?" She could tell he''d reverted to normal questions to take them away from the direction they had been going. But the question made her sad all the same.
"This." She replied, touching the silver locket that hung around her neck. "My grandmother gave it to me before... it has my mum and her in it... their pictures."
He nodded and his hand brushed hers lightly, a small comforting pat before he returned to the book. A, what she could only describe as warm, feeling spread up her fingers from where he'd patted and she stared at him.
"Did you just...?"
His eyes flicked to hers.
"I'm sorry. Sometimes it just happens when someone is particularly sad or... Sorry." He looked down and turned the page again. "What about Hera?"
"Wasn't she Zeus' wife or something?"
"Yes. Here... we'll follow the line." They poured over the book for another few minutes before Emily decided on a question.
"Why did you want to help me?"
"I told you, I helped Cathy; she is a descendant of Poseidon. She needed help; most people descended from Ouranos do; we have strong powers. I mean, in a way we're all descended from the same Gods and Goddesses but some find their lineage in Roman Gods, others in Greek... and the further down the line from the origin you get, in terms of how close your power is to the original, the less power you have. That's why Gabby and Mr. Sydney are so powerful."
"Oh. So, taking me under your wing kind of thing?"
"Yes," he chuckled. "But also..." he paused and frowned. "You have a lot of emotion... I could feel it when you got here. I thought perhaps you might like someone to talk to, someone who understood." Then he laughed. "That or I just think you're cute."
"You think I'm what...?"
"Got it!" He jabbed his finger at the page. "Look! You are a descendent of Hera, goddess of women, marriage, sky and starry heavens etc... but I mean with your powers, you're so close to Kronos..."
"Excuse me." Emily held up a hand to pause him. "You think I'm cute?"
"You just found your lineage and that is what you focus on?"
"No, that's not what I mean. I mean, descendant of Aphrodite, can control emotion and can apparently feel it radiating from people like we're some kind of radio broadcast on our emotions," James sniggered, "and the word you use is cute?"
"I never said that. I offered it as an alternative to the potentially awkward bonding moment that was happening."
"Yes because the word cute is far less awkward."
"What have you got against the word cute?"
"Cute is for bunnies and kittens."
"Thought I saw you sniffling. Do you want a carrot before we go outside?"
"You're impossible." She shoved him and laughed.
"I think we might have the start of a beautiful friendship here," He grinned. "That is, a cute friendship." He made a run for it, Emily chasing after him and threatening to freeze him in time.