Chapter 6 – Olympian Interference
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, or any of the Mythology that I am about to mangle to suit my own twisted purposes. Frankly, if you recognize, I don’t own it. This work may not be sold or used for profit in any way shape or form for that very reason. Please don’t sue me because I don’t have anything worth taking…
Author’s Note: I wanted to thank everyone again for all the wonderful feedback I’ve been getting. It’s great to know that the work I’m putting into this is appreciated. I fully intend to keep up the pace I’ve set of an update every 4 or 5 days, but there is a problem. My original beta reader is completely slammed between university and work and he doesn’t know anything about Smallville anyway. At any rate, if anyone is interested in helping me beta the story so I can keep up my update pace, EMAIL ME. Thanks again and here’s the update.
-== Chapter Six – Olympian Interference ==-
The Messenger smiled knowingly as the young Aesir and the cute blonde girl parted ways on the steps of the school. He didn’t need to be able to see the strands of fate to recognize the marks of destiny surrounding the girl. Like it or not, she was fated to play a major role in the lives of some of the most powerful beings on Earth, two very special young men who were not nearly as different from one another as they imagined. Her life probably wasn’t going to be any easier thanks to Xander’s presence, but neither would it be as lonely.
“Hmmm,” he mused aloud. “I should see if Eros would mind giving those two a nudge in the right direction… maybe make their path a little easier.”
“Don’t you dare,” a husky, feminine voice commanded from behind him. “I already have plans for those two, Hermes, and if you and Eros start meddling, you’ll ruin everything.”
The God called Hermes looked behind himself to find the very definition of divine, female beauty and the very pinnacle of sexual appeal standing there. “Hey Aphrodite,” he said with a smile. “Are you here to check up on Xander or just planning some meddling of your own?”
“Why, both of course,” the Goddess of Love replied with a sly grin. “Though nothing quite as transparent as what you and Eros would have done. It’ll take more than a little unbridled lust to get those two together and keep them that way.”
“Yeah,” Hermes replied with a leer, “but it would be fun to watch.”
Aphrodite eyed the messenger God for a moment, considering his words. “Alright, so it would be rather entertaining,” she smiled sexily as she pictured the possible outcome. “It wouldn’t work though. Xander’s not a mortal, he’s an Aesir tainted with a bit of mortal blood. He’s as immune to Eros’s arrows as we are.”
“I doubt he’d need one, ‘Dite,” the God pointed out. “He’s still a teenage boy. If she threw herself at him, he’d be hard pressed to overcome his hormones and resist her advances.”
“I think you’re underestimating the boy,” another, hard-edged male voice said as the tall, muscular man it belonged to walked up and joined them. “Xander is a Warrior-God. He’s more resistant to the temptations of the flesh than people give him credit for.”
“Ares!” the Goddess exclaimed. “What in the name of Zeus are you doing here?”
“There’s a battle brewing, Aphrodite,” the God of War answered with a smirk. “A test of our young cousin’s burgeoning abilities and a chance to see this mortal Kal-El in action. How could I possibly resist?” His smirk widened. “That old wind-bag Rao always insisted that his children would have powers to rival one of us under the yellow sun, I guess we’ll finally see if he was right.”
Hermes snorted derisively. “Rao was forgotten long before his world died and I’m betting he was way off. If it ever came down to a fight between Kal-El and Xander, my money would be on Xander.”
“You’re on!” Ares declared, having counted the now dead Kryptonian deity among his few friends. “But we’ll need a catalyst to start that fight. The boys are hardly the sort to throw-down just to satisfy our curiosity.”
“I think I know just the thing,” Hermes snapped his fingers and the three deities suddenly stood around a particularly large chunk of one of the meteors that had hit Smallville. The green of the alien ore glinted in the noonday sunlight. “Stain the stone with a bit of your blood Ares,” the messenger said with a grin, “and instead of poisoning Kal-El, it’ll merely unleash the baser elements of his personality. Eventually, he’ll come in contact with it and we’ll get our fight.”
Aphrodite rolled her eyes as the two Gods schemed. “You could wait decades before he found it,” she pointed out. In the meantime, Ares produced a powerful magical knife from thin air and drew it down across his palm, spilling a small measure of his blood on the stone. With a brilliant flash, the green stone changed into a ruby red, crystalline substance.
“She’s right you know,” Ares pointed out as the cut on his hand closed. “They might never find this bit of changed stone.”
“Watch and marvel at my ingenuity,” Hermes replied. “I’m not the God of Thieves for nothing, you know.”
A few moments later they watched as a mortal man walked into the clearing and drew up short, staring in near awe at the meteoric gemstones that gleamed in the sun. The three Olympians stood invisibly by, watching this turn of events. “This man works for a jewelry company that manufactures class rings for the local high schools. The company will decide to cut costs and use that,” he pointed at the meteor, “for the next batch of rings they manufacture for Smallville High. Next year, Kal-El will buy one of those rings…”
“He’ll be exposed to the stone,” Aphrodite filled in with a grin. “Not a bad little plan, Hermes. It’s rather devious of you, really.”
“I’ve had plenty of practice staying out of trouble,” the Messenger replied. “Besides, I still owe Thor for that time he got me drunk and beat me in a foot-race around Asgard. I figure one good trick deserves another.”
“Did you deliver our gift to Xander yet?” Aphrodite asked suddenly.
“Nah, there’ve been mortals around him all morning,” he replied, “I should be able to catch him alone on the farm later.”
“You know…you could just slip him a piece of the tainted meteor along with his gift,” Ares suggested.
“And have Xander pissed off at me for the next millennia or so?” There was an almost outraged look on the messenger’s face as he protested. “I don’t think so. This way, no one will ever know we were even involved.”
* * * * *
As the truck pulled back onto the Kent Farm, Xander couldn’t shake the bizarre feeling that someone was talking about him. He finally shrugged it off when he got out of the truck and saw his uncle’s face. “What’s wrong, Uncle Jonathan?” he asked, his other concerns immediately forgotten.
“A lawyer from Wolfram and Hart came looking for you this morning, Xander,” his uncle replied, unhappily. “He said he’d take legal action against us if you didn’t talk to him.” Jonathan paused for a moment to let what he said sink in before he continued, “He threatened to have you and Clark taken away from us…”
Xander clenched his jaw, rage boiling up inside of him. The skies above Smallville rapidly darkened as thick, black clouds seemed to appear from nowhere. “What did you tell them?” he asked, his voice tight as he struggled to control his outrage over someone daring to threaten his family.
“He’s coming back to talk to you shortly, Xander,” Jonathan answered, clearly as unhappy with the situation as his nephew felt. “I don’t like dealing with these people, but I just don’t see where we have a choice at this point.”
“You’re right, we don’t,” the teen said. “As long as they have a reason to bother you, they’ll push, manipulate and threaten you to get their way.” He swallowed hard. “I should just go. They’re only interested in you because of me. If I leave they won’t have any reason to bother you.”
“You’ll do no such thing,” his aunt countered. “You’re part of this family, Xander, and I won’t let you run away because of some unscrupulous attorneys. We’ll find another way.”
“Your aunt’s right,” his uncle confirmed with a tight smile. “Mr. McDonald will be here in about an hour…”
“McDonald?” the Aesir exclaimed, his words punctuated by an ominous clap of thunder. “Lindsey McDonald?”
Jonathan stared at the storm that was rapidly building overhead. He’d seen sudden changes in the weather his whole life, but this was like nothing he had ever experienced before. “Yeah, he said that you were his client,” the farmer replied distractedly. “We should get inside. It’s not good to get caught out in the open during a storm.” The wind began to pick up as he spoke, emphasizing the potential dangers.
Xander closed his eyes, his entire body on the verge of trembling with the effort he was putting into trying to rein in his emotions. He slowly let out a deep breath he didn’t even realized he was holding.
“Where’s Clark?” he heard his aunt ask.
“Pete came over and they went out riding their dirt bikes,” his uncle’s concern over the sudden storm was clear in his voice, driving a spike of fear into Xander and cracking through his building anger.
He envisioned a wall going up around his emotions, thin at first, but there none the less. The growing winds quickly calmed as the weak mental construct slowed the effects of his emotions on the weather. He’d let the news his uncle had given him shock him too deeply and destroy the shields he had built.
“I need a few minutes alone,” Xander said, his voice slightly strained by the effort of keeping his powers in check. “I think I’ll be okay in the loft. Looks like the storm is gonna blow right past us.” Using his own prediction to focus his concentration, he willed the growing storm to obey.
As Jonathan looked back to the sky, he could already see lighter clouds rolling in behind the dark ones. “Huh,” he said simply, surprised by the fact that his nephew was right. He hadn’t even seen Xander look at the sky. “Alright Xander but if the wind picks up or the storm breaks, get in the house where it’s safe, okay?”
“Sure thing, Uncle Jonathan,” he replied with a forced smile before quickly heading into the barn. Once alone, he began to work at reinforcing the mental walls keeping his emotions from affecting his powers.
“You know,” an unfamiliar voice with a slightly Mediterranean accent said, breaking through his concentration. “If you weren’t wearing Mjolnir around your neck, your emotions wouldn’t have nearly as much effect.”
Xander’s eyes snapped open, revealing a youngish looking man with long black hair pulled back into a ponytail and a goatee without a mustache. His eyes were partially hidden behind a pair of glasses with small, round, rose-colored lenses and his features reminded the teen slightly of the proprietor of a Greek restaurant he’d visited once. The man wore a pair of faded, blue denim, cargo pants with a pair of sandals in a style that hadn’t been commonly worn in centuries. His black t-shirt had the words ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’ emblazoned across it in white letters.
An easy grin seemed quite at home on the man’s face as he added, “Just a suggestion.”
“Who are you?” the Aesir demanded.
“Oh! I’m sorry, where are my manners,” the man said, offering Xander his hand in a friendly gesture. “Hermes of Olympus, at your service.”
The teen’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped open, “Hermes? The messenger of the Gods?”
“One and the same,” his unexpected guest declared as he strolled over and flopped down on the couch in the loft. “I’m also the God of shepherds, travel, oratory, literature, athletics and thieves among other things… though that’s neither here nor there.”
“Okay, so not to be rude or anything, but why are you here?” Xander asked in a dubious tone of voice.
“I’m working of course,” the Olympian replied, appearing completely un-phased by the question. “I’m here to bring you a message and a gift from your cousins in Olympus.”
“Cousins?” the Aesir repeated in a confused tone.
“Yeah, didn’t Odin tell you?” On seeing the teen’s blank look, the Greek God continued his explanation. “Thor’s mother wasn’t actually a giant. She was one of Zeus’s sisters. She became a giant in the myths because the Norse people knew nothing of the Olympians and it was a convenient explanation.” Hermes smiled broadly. “You’re part of two of the oldest and most dysfunctional families in all of creation, kid. Welcome to the nut-house!”
“I’m…what? How is that possible?” Xander seemed on the verge of a mental collapse as he tried to process this newest revelation.
“Nobody ever told you the story of how this world came to be?” the messenger asked, a surprised look on his face. “Wow, I would’ve thought Odin or one of the other Aesir would have shared it with you.” Hermes shrugged, “Okay kid, sit down and listen. Consider this a brief history of everything. “This dimension was originally ruled over by the Old Ones, a pantheon of demonic Immortals. Over the span of a few million years, they mostly killed one another off and gave rise to a second group of Immortals, the Titans. The Titans weren’t really an improvement, but they drove out the last of the Old Ones and their demonic servants. When the last of the Old Ones left, the mortal races were born.”
Xander listened intently, recognizing elements from the story Giles told of the beginning as well as pieces from several different culture’s mythology. Suddenly, he began to understand why so many creation myths from the ancient world shared common elements. It was because they were based, at least in part, on what Hermes was telling him.
“The Titans gave birth to the other Immortal Races, the Aesir, the Vanir, the Olympians, the Giants, and dozens of others. Every true Immortal that still exists descended from the Titans,” the Olympian continued. “The Titans were tyrants, enslaving or destroying every race they encountered, including their children. We rose against them and slew every last one of the Titans. In the process, entire mortal civilizations, whole worlds, were destroyed. The Aesir called the war Ragnarok. Afterwards, everything changed. New mortal races were born, humans and others, and they carried a spark of the destroyed Titans within them, a soul.”
Hermes paused briefly, smiling, “The Age of the Gods began. The souls within mortal creatures were immortal and caused their faith to have power. Magick was born of it as were the so-called True Gods, beings of great power born of and sustained by mortal worship. The Immortal races were also revered as Gods, a title we keep to this day since mortals still remember our faiths, even if we aren’t widely worshipped anymore.”
“So all of the pantheons of Immortals are the same race?” Xander asked, still slightly confused.
“No…and yes,” came the cryptic reply. “Physically, we all look very human and share similar physiology, allowing us to interbreed. But our powers and abilities are very different. Thor got the best of both worlds, a mix of Olympian and Aesir powers that made him a very formidable adversary.”
“Why didn’t Yve explain any of this?” the Thunder God asked. “And does this mean I’m not really one of the Aesir?”
“Yve was a Valkyrie. Valkyries began their lives as mortal women and later became demigods at Odin’s whim. Odds are, she only knew the mythology of her people, her mortal tribe,” the Messenger God answered. “The Aesir are warriors by nature, teaching the Valkyries the underlying truths of reality wouldn’t be a very high priority. Thor chose to be counted among the Aesir and not the Olympians, but was welcome as family among both groups.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this,” Xander lamented.
“Sure you will, just give it a few centuries,” the Olympian winked at him. “But, on to business.” The Greek God stood up and put on a serious expression. “In the name of King Zeus and Queen Hera of Olympus, Xander Thorson is hereby acknowledged as a citizen of both Asgard and Olympus. As the heir of Thor Odinson, you are granted title to all of Thor’s holdings within the city of Olympus and are to be considered Thor in all regards.” Hermes smiled suddenly. “Sorry, Olympian formalities are a bit pompous. That’s Zeus’s way of saying that Thor’s palace in Olympus and all of its contents are yours. You’re welcome in Olympus anytime. Though, if you’re to be considered Thor is all regards, you should really talk to Athena sometime soon.”
“Why’s that?” the teen asked, puzzled by the comment.
“Just trust me on it,” Hermes said with a wicked grin. “Look her up the next time you’re in Olympus, or if she gets impatient, she’ll come see you.”
Somehow the mischievous glint in the other God’s eyes did little to reassure him. “You know that I haven’t got the faintest clue how to travel to Asgard, let alone Olympus, right?”
“Don’t worry about it, cousin,” the Messenger replied with a chuckle. “You have to crawl before you can walk, or in this case fly before you can teleport. It’ll all come in its own good time. And now I present a gift from your Olympian family.” He presented his hands with a flourish and a dark, ornate box appeared on them.
Xander cautiously took the box and was surprised by the weight. It was made of some kind of metal but was warm to the touch. The box was about a foot wide, half as deep, and only a few inches tall. The top had a stylized warhammer imprinted on it. Recognizing it as Mjolnir, he glanced from the box to his Olympian cousin. Hermes’s face was utterly impassive, giving away nothing as he patiently waited for the Aesir to open the box. Taking a deep breath, the teen opened the metal container. Inside, on a velvet cushion, laid a strange pair of metal plates the same size and shape as the back of Xander’s hands. Each plate had two leather straps attached to it.
“The hands of Thor, one of Hephaestus’s greatest creations,” the Olympian announced, drawing a skeptical look from Xander. Hermes took the box from him and set it firmly on empty air before taking one of the metal plates from the box. “These are gauntlets of a sort,” he explained, showing Xander how to put them on. One leather strap, which was attached firmly to the plate at both ends, slid over the palm of his hand and held the plate against the back of his hand. The second strap was then buckled tightly around his wrist to secure the plate in place.
“By themselves, the gauntlets are powerful, Xander. They were made for you and you alone. While wearing them, you are granted the power to injure or kill any foe you face: mortal, demon, immortal or even a True God,” his voice was low, almost reverent as he helped strap the second gauntlet in place. “These level the field, making no one immune to your powers, but it will be up to you to actually best your opponent through strength, skill or guile.”
“Wow,” Xander said, mere words falling short of expressing his awe at the magnitude of this gift. Even now he could feel the power of the gauntlets, a faint warmth spreading out through his hands.
“That’s not all though,” Hermes said simply. “Take up Mjolnir.”
The Aesir willed his hammer into his hand and it appeared instantly. Power surged through his body, energizing him. For the first time since he’d claimed Thor’s legacy, he could actually feel Mjolnir increasing his powers the way Yve had said it would.
“The Valkyrie was mistaken, Xander,” the Olympian explained. “Mjolnir could not recognize you as its true master because of the remaining trace of your mortal blood. The same blood that meant you could not kill a true Immortal. As such, the hammer could not boost your powers as it was meant to, instead merely serving to focus what power you did have.” He smiled grimly. “The gauntlets overcome that limitation and allow you to access the full power of your hammer.”
“This is incredible, Hermes,” Xander said with a triumphant grin. “I can feel the hammer increasing my power…it’s amazing!”
“Be careful,” the Greek God warned. “The hammer may boost your powers immensely, but it does not improve your control over your abilities. If your emotions get away from you, you could spawn a storm capable of destroying entire cities.”
The teen’s eyes went wide and a surge of fear welled up inside of him for an instant before he clamped down on his emotions. He kept them from spilling over into the world around him with no more effort than usual.
“Very good,” Hermes complimented. “Your emotions are no different whether your powers are boosted by the hammer or not. The very same mental shields you’ve been building can still keep your powers in check.” He walked over to the window and looked down as the sound of a car pulling into the drive reached Xander. “Now just a couple of other things… The gauntlets can only be seen by those you tell about them or other immortals: demigods, Gods, greater demons, those kinds of people. Also, only you can remove them, no one else can take them from you.”
Xander willed the hammer back into a necklace and shivered slightly as the power boost faded. “Thanks,” he said, giving the Messenger God a genuine smile.
“You’re welcome, cousin,” the man replied with a serious expression. “Be very careful, the Wolf, Ram, and Hart cannot be trusted, even under the best of circumstances.” A sudden, wicked grin spread over his face. “I’ll give the Lady Athena your regards.”
Before the Aesir could reply, Hermes vanished.