I Don't Own Naruto or Percy Jackson and the Olympians!
Reading: A Father's Love – Chapter 11
Thea toyed with the edge of the page, pondering the implications of exposing Naruto's other self to these different Olympians. She wondered if they'd react similarly to her own family. Judging on the darkened and paranoid expressions on her father's counterpart, she would assume so.
Clearing her throat, she read.
Naruto had always been able to make Aphrodite feel and safe and relaxed – it was one of the reasons she loved him so much.
Once again, Naruto's face flushed red, making Dite coo as she snuggled closer to him.
He had a warm and loving aura that was not unlike Rhea and Hestia but was much more affectionate and passionate; it wasn't familial, but romantic. His blue eyes, as innocent and vibrant as diamonds, would melt her heart with their fervent gaze, and his soft kisses made her shiver in ecstasy.
Naruto groaned and turned to make sure his baby girls couldn't see or hear what was happening. His hands were sweating and felt as if there was a Rasengan churning around in his chest. If the book delved into such thought of Aphrodite, he could only imagine in horror of how it would reflect his own thoughts.
"You're adorable, honey," whispered Dite softly against her lover's ear. "But it's true; you do make me shiver in ecstasy~"
Thea sighed along with many others as Dite's not so silent whispers echoed around the quiet room. She took some pity for her burning husband, even though she also found him cute with his blush. "Please be quiet, Dite. The sooner we finish this book the sooner we can go home."
Dite winked, "I'm rather enjoying myself!" Then shrugged, "But I guess if you want to go home sooner to our bedroom, I'll be quiet."
Thea suppressed her anger with a few deep breaths before she continued.
Everything about Naruto would make Aphrodite's heart flutter and assure her that he was the one man destined to her for eternity.
But the man standing in front of her didn't have a single one of those attributes.
Rhea hummed, "Yes, he does seem very different."
"This one looks less of a wimp," japed Ares with a sneer.
The promise of Ares' punishment by Aphrodite was the only thing to prevent Thea to lunge at her idiotic brother with a spear.
"I'll ask again," his voice was icy and cold, nothing like the warm and affectionate tone she was used to, "Who are you?" The goddess pulled her hand back and stepped away slightly, "I have no memory of anyone with such an unorthodox name."
"Geez, he suddenly turned rude," muttered Demeter.
Naruto lost his blush and leaned forward to observe the scene. He had no idea Aphrodite had met his other self so soon and couldn't help but wonder.
Aphrodite bit her lip, "You don't remember me at all?"
"No recollection whatsoever, but it is interesting to find someone in this place who could sneak up behind me." His expression was stoic and his body language suggested doubt and alertness, as if he was staring down at an enemy. "The other people who appear in this place usually show themselves in front of me; never do they try to surprise me."
"What other people?" asked the Goddess of Love, not really interested in any other people, but was trying to keep the conversation progressing so she would have more time to think.
Naruto crossed his arms, his flak jacket wrapped tightly across his chest as his white Haori blew in the wind.
"I have to say, though; that is a good look," added Aphrodite, poking her chin as she stared at the image. "There is a majestic feel to it."
"Right?!" Dite winked at her counterpart, "Looks hot!"
If Naruto hadn't been so focused, his blush would have returned.
"The random fragments of old memories, haunting me in this void of an existence." He exhaled softly and narrowed his eyes, "Though you are the first one who acts so causelessly." Aphrodite was confused as he continued, "Aren't you supposed to chatter on about some random subject as if we'd just run into each other on the streets?"
'This…this is Naruto's mindscape, the place where his deepest memories are stored.' Aphrodite had overheard Dionysus and Apollo discussing such terms when they decided to inflict a new form of madness onto the world.
"This is quite peculiar," spoke Apollo in one of his rare moments of seriousness. "A human's mindscape should be no larger than a room, but this one..." He gave Naruto a stare, "I can't say I've ever seen something like this."
With a burp, Dionysus chimed in, "Probably means this guy isn't human." Many of the Gods looked at Naruto, who ignored them all. "A mindscape can grow with a long life. And it is obvious that this is another mind entirely. This is interesting; I've not seen this sort of schizophrenia before."
Zeus turned back to the image. 'Of course, he isn't human. No human can stop a blast from my Master Bolt.'
'This man and his fragments must be Naruto's lost memories from before his accident when he was sixteen.'
"No way was he only sixteen." Dionysus finished his diet coke with another burp, "I'd say at least sixteen hundred."
Athena looked at her counterpart's lover and wondered. 'If he really is not human, perhaps he is somehow immortal? Maybe that's why she has no problem being with him?'
"So?" asked the man with a raised eyebrow.
'How come this never happened when I tried to reach into his consciousness before?' Aphrodite frowned as she looked up at her lover, 'Is this realm only accessible during dreams?' She decided to fish for more information. "Do you remember the people who appeared before you?"
The man leaned back against the railing of the building, as if he was intrigued. "Well, there was the man with red eyes with strange black patterns, the woman with pink hair and green eyes, the man with one eye covered, and the woman with blank white eyes."
Naruto felt a small sting in his head at the mention of those people. 'Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi.' He shook his head, 'I remember a lot about Kakashi, but I still can't recall anything about Sasuke and Sakura.'
Aphrodite nodded along as he spoke, "They usually just appear next to me and start talking, as if we'd been having a conversation for a long time." He rubbed his head and closed his eyes, "They are merely parts of my lost memories, coming back in flashes, like haunting apparitions." He opened and stared at Aphrodite with his cold blue eyes, "In fact, you are the only one who had remained intact so long."
"I am not an apparition; I am real." Aphrodite stepped closer to the man and felt a little hurt when he appeared to tense up, "I am a part of your new memories, your new life."
"A new life?" he muttered rhetorically, "There is no such thing."
"Yes, there is!" cried the goddess loudly, "You have a life outside of this place, where you have your own little candy store, and your own home. You have two little daughters, Lacy and Annabeth, and you love them more than anything!" Tears started to well in her eyes as she continued to tell Naruto about his real life, "You are obsessed with ramen and would always take the girls to this place on 5th Avenue; you love to watch Disney movies with them; you always read them bedtime stories before bed and would sing lullabies for them if they can't sleep." She brushed the tears from her eyes, not caring if her makeup was ruined, "And you have me! I love you, Naruto, and you told me you love me too! We promised to share the rest of our lives together!"
"Ugh, I was so hysterical," muttered Dite as she rested her head on Naruto's shoulder.
Naruto smiled and reached for her hand. "You were worried."
The Hokage frowned at the woman's tears and started to lower his guard, "Regardless of what you say and even if such a life is true, I cannot perceive it." He sighed and turned around, facing his village with melancholy. "I am cursed to remain here, in this empty maze of a village, destined to only witness fragments of my old life as only glimpses."
Aphrodite sniffled and cleared her eyes as she looked out at the village herself. 'What is this?' she pondered as she stepped closer to the railings and peered down, 'Its…empty.'
It was as she said: the entire village – a place the size of Manhattan Island – was void of life. All the buildings looked new and fully operational, but were empty and blank. All the billboards and brand names above the stores were blank. She noticed that the several fountains around the village still had clean and clear water sprouting from them; the roads were perfectly clean, and the trees and grass around the village would make Demeter proud. It was a perfect little village, but there was no one living in it – besides Naruto that is. Then she looked up and saw some sort of mountain that looked like Mount Rushmore, but had seven faces. The strange thing was that the first six faces were blank – they were just round protrusions coming out of the mountain – and the seventh face was that of Naruto's. From his spiky hair and round face, everything was on the mark.
Apollo whistled, "Damn! I don't think my mindscape is as big as this."
Thea turned to Zeus, "Does this not look familiar to you?"
The King shook his head. "No, I've never seen such a place."
"Then that is another difference between our worlds. My father is fully aware of this place's existence." Thea flipped a page and disregarded Zeus' narrowed eyes. "Perhaps our universes aren't so much parallel, but only similar."
Athena nodded, "That much is obvious."
"This is my only reality." Naruto sounded…defeated. His voice was getting weaker and more depressed, "As much as I want the life you said I have, I am condemned to remain here."
"You do have a life like I said." Aphrodite reached for his hand and ignored the slight flinch he had when his laced her fingers together with his. "I'm right here, aren't I?"
Naruto looked down at the beautiful woman and felt oddly warm in her presence, his eyes losing some of its coldness.
Naruto grumbled a little at the intimacy.
The goddess reached up for his cheek again with his tears still welling in her eyes, "I am real, Naruto, and I'm not just going to disappear like the other people. I can come here anytime I want. You aren't alone in this place; I'll be here for you, I promise."
"Why would you do this for me?"
Aphrodite leaned up and gently kissed her lover softly on the cheek, "Because I love you, Naruto."
"Hey, what gives?" asked Naruto, almost pouting.
"Oh, come on!" Dite giggled and kissed his cheek, "It's still you!"
The goddess now understood that the blankness of the village was most likely due to the loss of Naruto's memories and if he would regain his past, his mindscape would regain its fullness. "And I want to help you."
The Hokage's hands slowly rested on her hips as she wrapped her arms around his neck, "You…You said your name is Aphrodite, right?"
Naruto almost glared at his other self for holding his wife's hips.
Dite sent him a sly look, "It's not like you mind when your clones touch me~" Immediately, Naruto's face burned red. "And they weren't only touching my hips!"
"Clones?" asked Aphrodite with a raised brow with many other listening in.
"Oh, you don't know yet!" Dite was bouncing giddily at her favorite chakra ability. "Naruto can make cl-"
"Shut up, Dite!" Thea was slightly golden as she glared at Dite. "I want to read!"
"Tch," Dite rolled her eyes, "You enjoy the clones even more than I do."
Before anyone could comment, Thea flared her power. "I'M READING!"
"That's right," she whispered softly and lovingly, "You better remember it."
"I will…" Suddenly, the entire village started to fade and shake. Aphrodite's eyes widened as Naruto stepped away, a soft and small smile on his face. "I look forward to seeing you again, Aphrodite. Perhaps with you, I will be able to shed light onto my past and regain my full consciousness." A bright light started to envelop everything and Naruto's image was becoming transparent, "Maybe then I would be able to remember my daughters, and you."
"You will, I promise."
Aphrodite allowed the light to fully consume the village and closed her eyes, using her power to leave the dream.
"Hmm, so it seems that the mindscape is only accessible for a short amount of time." Apollo looked over at Naruto with a raised brow. "Not to mention that the mindscape is a level on subconscious much deeper than dreams. The fact that Dite is able to phase into it means that either something is linking your mindscape to your consciousness, or something triggered an opening to appear."
"Agreed," muttered Athena, speaking for the first time in a while. "I'm assuming that this is no case of amnesia and something is prying open the barrier between levels of the subconscious."
Thea nodded, "You will find out soon enough."
Dite smirked, "There! You're back!"
Naruto's blushed returned and his hands shook.
The Goddess of Love's eyes snapped open and were met with a pair of azure blue eyes she was just looking at a few seconds ago, but this pair was filled with warmth and love. She refocused and found herself face to face to Naruto, the one she fell in love with. He had a smile on his face – the ones that would make her heart flutter and toes curl – and gently brushed her hair from her face and tucked the strands behind her ear.
Demeter giggled, "You two are so sweet!"
Aphrodite nodded, "You are."
Dite smiled at winked at her fellow goddesses, but the latter's voice drew Naruto's concern. For him, Aphrodite sounds and looks the same as his wife, but he had never heard his wife speak in that tone. It was a forlorn whisper, almost aged and weary. He peeked up at Aphrodite through the corner of his eyes and felt a sting at the sight of her lonesome eyes.
Reluctantly, he tore his gaze away and squeeze Dite's hand tightly, hoping that his counterpart from this world would soon meet the loves of his life.
"Good morning," he said with a sweet smile before he leaned in to lightly kiss her lips.
Aphrodite found herself short of breath as she gasped, "Naruto?"
He chuckled and kissed her again, "Who were you expecting?"
"Naruto!" she lunged at her lover and kissed him as passionate as she could, pressing herself against his chest and pushing him fully onto his back. She straddled his waist and moaned into his mouth as their tongues enjoyed their usual wrestling match.
All sentimental thoughts were pushed out as Naruto groaned into his hands, hiding his face.
"Oh, don't be embarrassed! You're a great kisser!" Dite laughed as she hugged her husband's arm, "I love how you use your tongue!"
Thea sighed, "Please, just shut up."
She shuddered in delight as his hands roamed her body and moaned when they reached her ass; she loved how he gently massaged her cheeks as he rubbed his pelvis against her aching womanhood.
"You bet it was aching~"
"What's gotten into you?" he whispered as he slightly pulled away from the kiss, his lips still tickling hers. "Good dream?"
"Bad dream, horrible dream." She licked and sucked his lower lip and ran her hands over his muscular chest, "But it all turned out well."
Naruto chuckled and smothered her with short and deep kisses, "You're lucky the girls woke up so early today." He gasped for breath as he continued to enjoy his lover's lips, "They basically ran out of the room to get their stuff ready."
"Aww, so Athena ran away?" Demeter shook her head. "I was hoping for some good morning rituals."
"I did not run away." Thea turned to face the stares of her pseudo family. "I only left to avoid pointless confrontations. I had my own plans; I didn't need to play by Aphrodite's rules."
"Yeah, because you would have lost." Dite smirked at the twitch of Thea's eyes. "And don't talk like you don't have good morning rituals." Thea immediately turned golden, "I know about all those morning showers you two take together!"
Naruto yelled into his hands while Apollo and Hermes whistled and hooted at them. Lightning flickered around Zeus again and would have blasted someone if not for Rhea's soul piercing glare.
"I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" A golden spear flickered next to Dite.
"Hey, I'm just saying!" Dite raised her hands in surrender with a smirk, "You two could at least wake me up. I like to sleep in, but I'd appreciate the invite."
Thea resembled a block of gold as she struggled to move or speak, then turned to glare at her counterpart. "Don't look at me like that!"
Athena sighed and snapped her fingers, taking the book from Thea. "I'll read this chapter."
"Don't worry; I'm still invisible to them in these situations."
Aphrodite snapped her fingers and Naruto's silk pajamas disappeared from his body, leaving him as naked as the day he was born. "Did you see anyone else this morning, besides me and the girls?" Naruto just shook his head and continued to pull her nightie off; unlike her, he didn't have powers to make clothes disappear. 'I guess Athena left before Naruto could see her…'
"She's just being a wimp," muttered Dite.
Naruto calmed Thea while stroking her hand and turned to pleadingly look at Dite.
"We still have time before lunch," he muttered against her soft skin and resorted to kissing his way down to her breasts. "So, let's make up for our lost time last night."
Aphrodite giggled and rubbed herself against her lover's mighty sword, "That's the Naruto I know."
Ares scoffed, 'His sword is no match for my spear!'
Aphrodite played with her hair as she looked at Naruto, "Hmm, you're quite different in the bedroom than you are anywhere else." Once again, Naruto flushed red. "It seems that my other self has conditioned you very well."
Dite winked at Aphrodite, "You bet our sweet ass, I did."
"So…" started Artemis as she sat up on her bed, "Where were you last night, sister?"
"Uh oh, those are her interrogation eyes." Apollo sniggered with his arms crossed, winking at Athena and Thea, "You're in trouble~"
Artemis sighed, "Why am I even there?"
Athena, who was in her nightgown, looked like an Empousai caught by Artemis' hunters as she appeared in the bedroom. Apparently, since Mother Rhea's new home only had four bedrooms, Artemis decided to conjure a bed next to Athena's own. The Goddess of the Moon watched Zoe drive her chariot across the sky as she waited for her sister to come back, but she fell asleep before Athena came back. Her brother's chariot was already in the sky when Athena came back, looking fully rested and happy.
"Isn't she just glowing?" Dite winked at Thea as she hid behind Naruto's arm, "And only from snuggling! Imagine how gorgeous she looked after her first time!"
"You just wait," muttered Thea as she tried to suppress her anger, crossing her arms and closing her eyes. "As soon as we get home, you're dead."
"Are you going to punish me, Lady Athena?"
All the demigods blushed at the implication and Thea did everything she could to ignore the smirks and grins of her brothers' counterparts. She didn't budge, but the ground cracked beneath her growing anger.
"Please," whispered Naruto looking like a tomato, "Let's just get through this chapter."
Dite giggled, "Oh, the next few chapters are going to be so much worse for you two."
"Good morning, sister…"
In her usual silver silk pajamas, Artemis smiled at Athena as she moved over to her sister's bed, taking a seat next to the Wisdom Goddess. "Is there something you want to tell me, Athena?" Her smile grew as Athena's cheeks gained a golden tinge, "Like, are there still three Virgin Goddess?"
"Yes, of course there is!"
"Meh, not anymore." Dite winked at Hestia and Artemis, "Since Athena already broke her vow, I wonder when the two of you will meet someone and finally grow up."
Hestia sighed, "We've been over this."
"Never going to happen," grunted Artemis.
Rhea gave her daughter and granddaughter a small pout, "I wish it would happen."
Artemis couldn't but laugh at her sister's expression, "Oh I know, I'm just teasing you, sister." Athena scowled and turned away from the huntress, but Artemis just bumped her shoulders, "Come on, it's been a very long time since we've had such a relaxing weekend and I want to bond with my sister." Athena smiled at her sister and nodded.
Demeter smiled, "You two were always such cute sisters."
"So, do I need to shoot anybody later?"
"Have my other self ever tried to shoot you?" asked Artemis with a raised brow.
Naruto awkwardly shook his head, "Never, Lady Artemis."
"No, not at all," replied Athena flatly.
"But you did in fact spend the night over at his place?"
"Yes," whispered Athena with a blush, "But only because Aphrodite was going to seduce Naruto and I had to be there to stop her." She smiled softly at the memory of the previous night, "It was a good thing that when we teleported to Naruto's bedroom, Annabeth and Lacy were sharing his bed, so it was easy to stop the pile of foam." Artemis smiled at the smile on her sister's face, "It was quite a sight; the girls must have gotten scared and decided to sleep in their dad's room."
"I really like the girls," muttered the Huntress with a yawn, "If they ever want eternal life, I would gladly accept them into my hunt."
Naruto grimaced at the thought of his little girls hunting wild beasts and monsters. He had heard Artemis mention it before, and it did intrigue him. The partial immortality was a very attractive incentive, not to mention the side benefit of swearing off all boys.
Thea read the expressions of her husband like an open book, "You still have time to think about it."
"No way in Tartarus," firmly stated Dite as Aphrodite smirked at her. "No daughter of mine will ever go sniffing deer poop with those eternal prudes!" Artemis and her hunters scowled at the Goddess of Love as she continued. "And can't you see how cute Annabeth and Percy will be?!"
Annabeth and Percy blushed as the attention was turned to them.
Thea scoffed, "No daughter of mine will stoop as low as dating a squid-spawn." Poseidon scoffed, but chose to ignore his rival's counterpart, lest he reap his mother's wrath.
Dite smirked, "It's not like you can do anything about it."
"If you dare mess with my daughter's love life-"
"She's my daughter, too!" Dite held onto Annie's hand. Naruto bowed apologetically at the stares as his wives continued. "You know I love her, and I would never play with her life." She winked at the grown-up Percy and Annabeth, "I'll make sure they have a very loving and intimate marriage."
As the grown Percabeth blushed, Naruto interjected, "We'll leave this conversation until Annie is at least eighteen!" He stared pleadingly at Athena, "Please read…"
Athena smirked, "Maybe, but nonetheless, I feel good about this."
Artemis' smile vanished at the reminder, "You aren't seriously thinking about having a husband, are you?"
"Yes I am."
Thea smiled and leaned against Naruto, choosing to ignore the slight hitch in her counterpart's voice when she saw.
"Athena, need I remind you that Aunt Hestia, you and I all swore on the River Stix to never wed and to remain maidens forever." Athena sighed as her sister continued, "If you keep forcing this, you may bring upon yourself some serious consequences."
"Artemis, you've seen Father break his vow twice in the last decade and Barnacle Beard broke his vow by siring Percy Jackson, and what has happened to them?"
Zeus and Poseidon simultaneously cleared their throats and found the ceiling to be quite interesting.
"Don't worry, they will get their comeuppance soon enough," stated Rhea as the Kings gulped.
Artemis sighed in defeat and shrugged, "Nothing, nothing bad ever happened to them." Athena smirked and crossed her arms, "And I understand that breaking such vows might affect the people around me, but I will make sure that Naruto and the girls won't get hurt at all."
"What are you going to do with Father?" Artemis gave Athena a knowing stare, "He is perhaps even more protective than Naruto when it comes to his daughters, and he'd likely smite Naruto into a pile of ashes before you could even finish telling him you want to marry him."
"He didn't, by the way," added Dite with a giggle.
Thea scoffed, "But not for the lack of trying."
Zeus gave Naruto a side glance, wondering what power in the world would allow someone to nullify a blast from his Masterbolt. Not even the Titans or Giants could escape his attacks without harm, but the young man did exactly that with ease.
Athena nodded with a frown, "I know, but there are ways around it." She bit her lips and rested against the wall of her room, "I'll get grandmother and Aunt Hestia to come with me when I tell him; I'll try to get Lady Hera to help me as well since she's wanted to us to get married for thousands of years already."
The Queen nodded along, "That is true; I would be willing to help."
"Hera!" exclaimed the King at his wife.
Raising her brow, Hera looked at her husband, "I've been trying to find Athena a husband for millennia, and I don't know how many times I've tried to convince Aphrodite to give her marriage a try." Her looked at Aphrodite and Athena, "If I ever get this chance in our world, you bet I will take it."
Dite grinned, "Thank you, Hera. You were a great help in our world."
The Queen smirked, "You're very welcome, dear."
Artemis nodded in agreement, but then Athena gave her a look, "You're coming with me as well."
"Why me?!" exclaimed the goddess, "I don't want to be there when Father blasts the man."
Artemis sighed, "Why even bother. I know you'll eventually make me go along with you."
Thea smiled at her favorite sister, "Thank you, sister."
"We're Father's favorite daughters, so if we were both there, it would make things a lot easier."
Zeus muttered a curse under his breath; wondering if his daughters really had him wrapped around their fingers.
Artemis sighed, "Fine, but you owe me."
Athena smiled, "Don't worry, if I see any intelligent maidens at the Universities, I'll send him straight over to you." The Wisdom Goddess couldn't help but feel at peace inside her grandmother's home, sitting in bed, shoulder to shoulder, with her favorite sister, talking about the plans for the future – it almost made her feel like a normal human.
Rhea smiled, "You girls can come have a sleepover anytime you want."
Athena smiled at her grandmother, "I'll take you up on that, grandmother." She gave her counterpart a look, who immediately understood.
"A girls' night does sound fun." Aphrodite chirped as she smiled at her counterpart, "It would give us all a chance to actually talk."
Dite smirked, "Sounds great!"
"Come on, I think grandmother and Aunt Hestia are awake already." Artemis slipped out of bed and rubbed her eyes, "If I'm right about what I smell, Aunt Hestia is cooking some pancakes downstairs, and I really want some."
"Come to mother's home later, Artemis," said Hestia with a wink to her niece. "I'll make you all the pancakes you can eat!"
Artemis blushed, but nodded. "Thank you, Aunt Hestia."
The Goddess of Wisdom laughed and stood up as well, "You are such a child, sometimes."
"Nope, that's all Apollo."
"Tch," scoffed Apollo, "Says the girl who is drooling over pancakes."
Artemis knew when she faced defeat and chose to remain silent.
The morning had been gone like a blur for Aphrodite. Even after a couple of hours of passionate and ecstatic love-making, she couldn't take her mind off Naruto's mindscape.
Aphrodite smirked, "Only a couple of hours?"
"Yeah," muttered Dite with pursed lips, "I had an off morning." Naruto groaned and once again hid his face in his hands. "It usually lasts at least four hours, which is why I like to sleep in." She ignored the blushes of the demigods and scandalous glares of Thea. "That's only if it's just the two of us, though. If Thea was there-"
"Shut up!" cried a golden Thea, looking more and more like her statue.
Dite smirked and winked at Thea. "All night~"
"I-I'm really going to kill you!"
Dite turned back to her counterpart and ignored Thea, "One time, it took the entire weekend! You know, with dozens of clones and all." She winked at Rhea, "Thanks for babysitting, by the way, Rhea."
Rhea laughed as she brushed off Dite's appreciation.
Naruto could no longer take it and covered Dite's mouth. "Sorry, honey, but please stop talking!"
Athena wasted no time and resumed reading.
She didn't know nearly as much as Apollo or Dionysus, but she knew enough to deduce that what she saw wasn't normal. As she recalled Apollo saying how an average mortal's mindscape shouldn't be bigger than an average house, and it was easy for him and Dionysus to inflict a new mental disease. Naruto's mindscape was an entire village, and it perhaps extends to the gigantic forest she noticed behind the mountain. She had to accept the fact that her lover was no ordinary human; he was something more than human.
Athena paused to ask, "What exactly are you?"
"I'm technically human."
"We should just read on," added Thea. "Everything will be explained in the book."
"What are you thinking so hard about?" asked Naruto, standing next to her inside their bathroom with a toothbrush in his hand.
"Nothing much, just wondering about us."
"Oh yeah?" he asked as he rinsed his mouth, "Everything good, I hope."
Aphrodite smiled and kissed his cheek, "Better than good, much better than good."
He chuckled and kissed her forehead, "That's good."
The Goddess dressed herself normally and let her mind wander back to the dream. The Naruto inside the dream had said something about being Hokage; she had heard that term somewhere before. It sounded familiar, but she couldn't recall where or when she had heard it – it might have been centuries ago. It was also strange than the Naruto inside the dream looked a little older than the one she fell in love with, but he wasn't supposed to remember anything since his sixteenth year. There were far too many questions and she seriously needed to consult with someone.
'I don't want Athena to get any closer to Naruto, but I guess I don't have a choice now; she is the best person to talk to in these situations.'
"Ah, is this where Athena starts to make her move?" Demeter smirked and shook her head at Dite, "You gave her an opening, Aphrodite."
"Yeah, but it's fine." Dite grinned and rested her head on Thea's shoulder, "She makes everything more entertaining."
Thea nudged her off her shoulder, "I'll sew your mouth shut, foamy."
"Sorry, what did you say?"
Naruto chuckled again before kissing her cheek, "I said I heard the doorbell, so let's hurry up and get down stairs." He fixed his black shirt and laced his fingers with Aphrodite, pulling her softly with a smile, "Come on."
'His hands feel the same…' she thought as she smiled back at her lover with a nod.
Trick-o-Treating had always been a very nice experience; watching his girls ran around their neighborhood, ringing on doorbells with their adorable costumes were moments to remember. His camera would usually be overloaded with pictures and his home would sometimes end up with even more candy than his store – his girls were just that cute.
Naruto smiled down at Annie and Lace, both of whom had no idea what as going on. The girls smiled up at their dad and snuggled closer to him, happily napping against him.
But as fun and exciting were the Halloweens of the previous years, trick-o-treating with Rhea, the Mother of the Gods, Artemis, the Goddess of the Moon and Hunt, Hestia, the Goddess of the Hearth, Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and Battle Strategy, and Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Lust made the experience all the more exhilarating.
Rhea smiled, "It really does look like fun."
The Big Three didn't like the smile on their mother's face.
"Trick-o-Treat!" cried their group with Annabeth, Lacy and Percy standing in front.
"Oh, you're all so cute!" Rhea gushed at the sight of her three grandchildren.
In less than half an hour, the girls and Percy's bags were filled with all kinds of chocolate and candy – sweets not worthy of the tastes of demigods according to Aphrodite, but sweets nonetheless. In between the houses, the kids had already started trading chocolates with each other, with Percy taking all the milk-duds since Annabeth didn't like them.
"See, Annie already has Percy trained!" Dite ruffled Annie hair, "She'll be fine!"
Thea refused to acknowledge Dite and turned away, not seeing the grown Annabeth smiled and snuggle closer to Percy.
But not only the kids were having fun: Lady Artemis, in her awesome Katniss Everdeen costume, was very popular to every house they visited and received even more candy than the girls. The goddess ignored the giggles of her sister, aunt and grandmother and continued to snack of her candy – they weren't as good as Hestia's cookies, but were still okay to snack on. She was seriously enjoying Halloween, and was determined to take all her hunters to trick-o-treat the next year.
Thalia smiled, "That would be really fun, Lady Artemis!" The other hunters all nodded along, "I haven't gone trick-o-treating in years!"
Artemis smiled at her surrogate children. "We'll go this year."
Naruto, dressed as Ryu from street fighter – Athena and Aphrodite, along with Annabeth and Lacy, had finally decided on one costume – stood behind his daughters with a happy smile.
"Come on; let's go over to that cul de sac." Annabeth and Lacy grabbed hold of their dad's hands and pulled him along, making him smile at how adorable they looked in their costumes. "Not so fast; wait for Percy."
Rhea, Hestia, Sally and Artemis stood together, opening small packages of sweets from the Huntress' bag. But off to the side, Athena stood silently, looking at Aphrodite, who was oddly quiet as she stood across from her. It wasn't like Aphrodite to be so distant from the main event, especially since Naruto and Lacy were having so much fun. She noticed the Goddess of Love looking over at her apprehensively, as if she wanted to say something but couldn't.
"Okay," whispered Athena softly, away from the ears of the others, "What's wrong with you tonight."
"You ask me that way too much," muttered Dite.
Thea scoffed, "Because there is always something wrong with you."
Aphrodite glanced ahead at Naruto, who was running around with the kids, and bit her lips. She frowned and pulled Athena further to the side, trying to not appear too conspicuous – despite it being quite eye-catching with two gorgeous ladies wearing princess and Lady Liberty costumes. Athena was growing increasingly intrigued, and willfully followed her rival, wondering what was wrong with her lovesick head.
"What is it?"
Aphrodite sighed exasperatedly, "I…I infiltrated Naruto's dream last night and I saw something very strange." Athena's annoyance vanished and paid full attention, "I thought I was only going to see some normal dream, or hoping to see a sex dream with me, but I…I ended up in his mindscape."
"His mindscape?" asked Athena as her mind quickly recalled the discussion she had with Apollo regarding the complex subject. "What kind of dream was it? Normal dreams shouldn't stretch so deep into one's consciousness, and one's mindscape is the deepest part of the mind."
"Exactly," muttered Apollo.
"It…It was a village."
"A village?" asked Athena as she glanced over at the man she loved.
"I can't explain it too well," spoke the Love Goddess in hushed tones as she kept glancing over at the others, "So come with me tonight and infiltrate his dream."
"Why didn't you two tell me about this?" asked Naruto with a small frown.
Dite pouted, "I was worried about you and I wanted to make sure that it was nothing dangerous before telling you about it."
Thea nodded, "I did not want to trigger any dangerous reactions from you. It was only an assumption at that point, but it was the most cautious choice. In retrospect, it was not dangerous, but it was still better for us to get a better understanding of the situation before rushing you into it." She turned to Naruto and held his hand, "I'm sorry we hid this from you."
Naruto sighed, "It's fine, I guess."
"Hold on, why are you acting so nervous?"
"For the sake of Olympus, Athena, just come with me!" Aphrodite sighed and bit her lips, "Naruto's mindscape isn't normal; I remember Dionysus and Apollo saying how a normal mindscape shouldn't be bigger than a normal house, but Naruto's is the size of a small city!" Athena grew concerned and stepped closer to her rival, "It's not only that – there is another Naruto inside his head! He says he's some kind of Hokage and is the leader of this village; he seems to suffer from amnesia as well and can't remember anything from his life, even Annabeth and Lacy!"
Athena frowned and crossed her arms, "There shouldn't be another consciousness in the mindscape…" She closed her eyes in thought, "And I assume you're saying that this has something to do with his amnesia and accident ten years ago." Aphrodite nodded with a small hum, "This is certainly very odd."
"He-He acts very different from the Naruto we love; it's his eyes…they look cold and defeated." Aphrodite tugged on Athena's sleeve and looked into her concerned grey eyes, "He is nothing like the Naruto we know, but I can tell that he is the same person; his hands feel the same, his face is the same, and his voice is just as it sounds. It's just that…he doesn't seem like a normal modern human; he reminds me of an ancient hero, not unlike Perseus or Odysseus."
"Hmm, that is interesting. So, he has the gaze of a hero." Rhea smirked.
The Wisdom Goddess pursed her lips, "So he looks like a warrior?"
"Yeah, he has the eyes of a predator and seemed strong, like some sort of…god."
Most of the Olympians felt uneasy at that.
"Alright, we have to go check this out." Athena nodded and patted the worried goddess' arm, "We'll both go into his dream tonight."
"Hey, what are you two whispering about?" asked Rhea as she called over at the younger immortals. "Come back over here; the kids are already at the next block." She smiled and started to pull the two Goddesses by the hand. "And Arty is short on candy already, so we need to get more!"
Athena nodded, "Coming, grandmother."
Aphrodite remained silent and kept her eyes locked onto Naruto, who was being dragged along by the girls and Percy. She almost couldn't believe the sweet and loving man with the innocence of a boy could possess such a complex and warlike mindscape. The Lady of Doves could only hope that Athena would be able to explain the whole thing and prove that their love was just fine.
Lacy looked back and waved at Aphrodite with a bright grin, "Dite, come on!"
Aphrodite smiled at her daughter and ran ahead, "Coming, sweetie!"
"Alright, are you ready to do this?" asked Athena as she glanced over at Aphrodite.
The Goddess of Love nodded, "Yes, let's hurry this up."
It was painfully slow to wait for the end of the night but having fun with their girls made it easier. Nonetheless, Aphrodite was nervous about seeing Naruto's mindscape again; the more she thought about it the more she was afraid she'd lose her Naruto. She didn't want her lover to turn into the man she met in the dream – she wanted to help the man in the dream turn into his present self – but she had to dig until she understood his situation. In the end, she could only hope that Naruto wouldn't change from the loving and sweet man that it was – she was looking forward to her wedding.
Dite leaned against Naruto, "Thank goodness you didn't change."
Naruto smiled and kissed the top of her head.
The girls and Percy were exhausted by the end of the night, even with all the candy they ate. Sally went home with Percy basically asleep in the car and the girls passed out the moment they stepped into their rooms. Naruto was still going quite strong and wanted to clean up before heading to bed, but Aphrodite convinced him to turn in early with a little Charmspeak – she didn't want to use his powers on him, but it was a special situation. And after Athena made some excuse for the other immortals to turn in for the night as well, they both sneaked into Naruto's room.
Aphrodite nodded and climbed onto the right side of the bed, resting her head on Naruto's shoulder and snuggled close to his warm body. She kissed his cheek and rubbed her cheek against his shoulder, praying to Order and Chaos that he'd be okay in the end.
Athena slipped into the bed, just like the previous night, but since Annabeth wasn't there, she blushed harder when she rested on Naruto's shoulder.
Naruto chuckled and pulled Thea closer, kissing her blushing cheek.
His body felt warm and comfortable against hers, but she quickly regained her composure and focused on the task at hand.
"Okay, let's go."
The two goddesses simultaneously touched Naruto's forehead and dwelled into his dream…
"So, you really came back."
Athena narrowed her eyes at the image on the screen, seeing the harden eyes of a warrior.
As soon as Aphrodite opened her eyes she found herself standing on the same roof as before, and Naruto was looking over at her with his arms crossed and lips curled. His was still wearing the same flak jacket and long coat as before – it looked quite good on him – and it made him look quite intimidating. His silent and wary aura felt nothing like the Naruto Aphrodite had made love to just that morning, but she had faith that she could make this Naruto connect with the other one, hopefully making their memories return.
"Yes; hello again, Naruto."
"So now that you're back, can you tell me how you plan to help me?" His blond hair looked majestic as the wind blew softly between his tresses, making him appear more…godly. "Since I've met you I haven't regained any memories, but I could feel something special with you."
Naruto couldn't help but stare at his former self. It baffled him that they could be so different and could only imagine how horrid were those memories the Hokage sealed away to make him so morbid. There was no life in his eyes and he appeared void of emotion. Naruto was afraid of becoming like him.
Aphrodite gave a small smile, "Before that, can you tell me everything you remember of yourself?" The goddess looked around and couldn't find Athena anywhere, which really troubled her. "You said you were the Hokage, so what exactly is that?"
Naruto leaned against the steel railing and looked serious, "Hokage means Fire Shadow. In my village, everyone is taught a philosophy called the Will of Fire, the never ending faith that believes that love is the key to peace." Aphrodite's eyes widened at the mention of something that was purely her domain and personal philosophy. "It states that the entire village is like a large family unit and everyone with the Will of Fire loves, believes, cherishes, and fights to protect the village." Naruto smiled proudly as he spread his hands to rest on the railing, "As Hokage, the shadow of the fire illuminates the village, and it is my responsibility to protect the village, my loved ones, my family."
'I guess he's more like my Naruto than I thought…'
"I can remember that becoming Hokage had been a childhood dream of mine; even when I was a child I wanted to become the leader of my village."
Aphrodite smiled and nodded, "So what does it take to become Hokage?"
Naruto smiled and scratched the back of his head, much like modern-day Naruto would, "I really wish I remember more of it, but I can only remember being strongest as the requirement; being the strongest in the village."
Zeus nodded, "So you are considered strong in your own world."
Naruto nodded, "He was the strongest."
'He?' wondered many in the room.
The goddess giggled melodically, "So what, you're all fighters?"
"We're all known as-"
"Shinobi," said a sudden voice, "You're known as Shinobi."
Aphrodite's eyes widened as a tri-pronged kunai – some variant of a Japanese weapon she would see Ares and Apollo use at times – appeared in Naruto's hand in an instant as Athena suddenly stood a distance away from him on the roof. His eyes immediately turned icy cold and some sort of aura flared around him; it felt like some sort of magic, but much more potent and fiery.
"Who are you?"
Aphrodite stepped ahead, "She's Athena, another mother of your children!"
A golden helmet and spear manifested and Aphrodite watched in horror as Athena lunged at Naruto. The gleaming golden point of the spear almost punctured Naruto's jugular, but missed its mark when he side stepped – rather effortlessly from what she noticed – and was almost knocked from Athena's grasp when he slashed at it with his kunai.
"I am Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Battle Strategy!"
Ares smirked, "Finally, some action!"
The Hokage readied his kunai in his right hand, but his left palm was open and some sort of blue energy gathered together. It quickly formed into a perfect circle and looked like a miniature typhoon; it radiated power and grew into the size of a basketball.
Apollo whistled, "Damn, that looks dangerous."
"I've never seen such energy before. What is it?" asked Artemis.
"You'll find out", answered Thea.
Aphrodite looked over at her rival and yelled, "What are you doing, Athena?!"
Demeter nodded, "Yeah, what are you doing?"
Athena ignored the Love Goddess but smirked when she saw Naruto's attack. "You can use Chakra; I was right about you." She summoned Aegis as a shield and got into her battle-stance, "You are a Shinobi, a relic stretching back to the Age of Bronze Men."
"What?" asked Zeus, "The Bronze Men never had powers like that."
"They did in our world," answered Thea, "And the energy they harness is called chakra. It is a manifestation of physical and spiritual energy. Not unlike our own."
Rhea frowned, "I wonder what made our world so different."
"You act like an enemy, not like a wife."
"Which can be fun, right Thea?"
Despite the situation, Thea blushed, "Not the time, Dite!"
Athena stoically replied, "This is more interesting, isn't it?"
He smirked, "Rasengan!"
Aphrodite recoiled back as the ball of energy clashed against Athena's legendary shield. A shockwave almost pushed her off her feet and she could barely see Naruto and Athena struggling to stand their ground. The flooring of the roof cracked under the intense pressure of the clash and the entire building was shaking from the power. In the end, Athena forced Naruto back with her shield and made him jumped away, landing on the railing of the roof, crouching skillfully.
"Athena, stop!" Aphrodite ran up to the other goddess and grabbed onto her arm, "What in Hades' name are you doing?!"
Athena shrugged her off and sped over to Naruto. The Hokage quickly dashed towards Athena with his kunai and parried her spear lunge. The sounds of metal clashing against metal were heard and were getting faster and faster. Aphrodite's eyes couldn't even follow the movement of the two fighters and could only see the sparks coming from their weapons. Athena's spear looked extremely dangerous as it emitted a bright golden color, threatening to break Naruto's small kunai with every strike, but the Hokage was not relenting and was holding his ground.
"Damn, he's putting up a decent fight against an Olympian," muttered Percy.
Thea scoffed, "He wasn't even trying."
Many people's eyes widened at that.
It was at least a few minutes until the two finally decided to jump away from each other.
"STOP!" yelled Aphrodite, flaring her own power and lacing her voice with her strongest Charmspeak. "Drop your weapons and remain still!"
"Relax, Aphrodite, I am only testing my theory," muttered Athena as she stabbed her spear into the ground, shrinking her shield back into a bracelet. "And I was correct."
"What are you talking about?!"
Naruto stared at Athena with interest, "You've heard of Shinobi before?"
"Yes, it is a term used in today to describe Japanese assassins, but I still remember its original use." Athena narrowed her eyes at the man who looked exactly as the man she loved and frowned, "It is a term used to describe the warriors of the Age of Bronze, and I haven't used it in such a context for at least twenty millennia."
"You're a ninja?!" asked Percy with widened eyes. "That's awesome!"
Naruto chuckled and had a feeling that their own Percy would react like that.
Aphrodite ran over to Athena and held her arm, "Tell me what's going on!"
"You should remember, Aphrodite," muttered Athena as she glanced at the other goddess. "We were still very young back then, but you should remember the Bronze Age." Naruto narrowed his eyes as he played with his kunai in his hands, "The third creation of humankind, the existence that only lasted a short while because of constant wars and conflicts."
"That is the same as what happened here, but as far as we were concerned, they warred with spears and shields, not blast of energy." Apollo rubbed his chin in thought, "I wondered how we reacted to those types of war."
Ares grunted, "It sounds more interesting that the boring fucks we had here."
The Love Goddess bit her lips and nodded, she had heard Ares recalling the good old times many times – the Bronze Age, the third coming of man. After the perfect existence of the men made out of gold, Zeus created man from with Silver, which were failures in the eyes of the Gods. The Silver Men never grew to their full height and would suffer a long old age.
Then came the Bronze Age, the age of men made from Bronze. Ares had mentioned that these people were blessed by the Gods and had much more power than any other form of human – much more than the Men of Iron, the current breed of Humans.
Ares scratched his head, "I did?"
The Gods had hoped that these humans would be of more use, but they only became drunk in power, initiating war after war until all of them were destroyed. They had eliminated themselves through constant warfare and Aphrodite could scarcely remember hearing that their wars had poisoned the earth. Mother Gaea was furious and sent her own Champion to destroy what was left of the humans of the time; Gaea's Champion, a devastating monstrosity at the same level as Typhon, a gargantuan monster with enough power to destroy humankind and maybe even the Olympians.
The room was silent until Rhea broke it. "Mother had a Champion?"
"And it's as strong as Typhon?!"
Aphrodite had never seen the creature but have heard that it somehow disappeared after it had annihilated the Men of Bronze.
"I haven't seen a Shinobi since I was a young Goddess, but I still remember their power, the power the God bestowed upon them, called Chakra."
Zeus frowned, "So their power came from us?"
Naruto shook his head, "No, they came from Gaia."
Aphrodite looked over at Athena, "I thought all the Bronze Men were killed by Gaea?"
"I thought so too." Athena crossed her arms and stared down at the Hokage, "But apparently there is one right here, and he's the father of our children."
Annabeth shook her head at the rush of new information. "What does this mean?"
"It means we have to read faster," replied Athena as she quickly flipped to the next chapter.
As usual, I'm so sorry this took so long. I'm basically married to work at the moment, but I'll try to pump out more chapters when I can. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Anyway, thank you all!
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