I Don't Own Naruto or Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Reading: A Father's Love - Chapter 2
Annabeth smiled as she held the book, feeling the leather cover with her fingers with a familiar fondness."Pass the black paint brush, Annie." She had a smile on her face as she read; it was a way for her to experience the life of the other Annabeth and it was a little dream come true.
Thalia sighed happily, "I like that nickname; it's really sweet."
Annabeth nodded and happily handed her dad the small brush before she excitedly knelt down next to him, her eyes gleaming with joy. She was starting at the new Empire State Building Model she had bought on her field trip, and it was starting to come to form. It would go perfectly with the model of the Statue of Liberty and the Capitol Building she had in her room.
Percy chuckled and gently wrap his arm around Annabeth's waist as she read, "This Annabeth isn't too different from you."
"Yeah," said the blonde girl with a smile. "She's lucky, though; I've always wanted to have those models in my room." She could still remember hoping for her father to get her an Empire State Building model for her birthday many years back, but he never got it for her. It was almost a surprise that he managed to remember her birthday; her stepmom and half-brothers certainly didn't care at all.
Naruto smiled and slightly shook his head at his daughter's antics. Ever since she could read Annabeth had been obsessed with architecture and iconic buildings. He wasn't surprised at all when she spent almost all her allowance on the Empire State Building model.
"Yep, just like our Annabeth!" chirped Rachel with a smile, making Annabeth give a small smile.
Lacy had chirped that she would have spent the money on chocolates or dolls instead, but if seeing Annabeth skip and hop into the car with the model box in her hands meant anything, Naruto knew she felt satisfied with her purchase.
Percy smiled again and kissed Annabeth on her cheek, "That's adorable."
Lacy giggled and snuggled deeper against her mother, "Yeah, I would have preferred the candy and dolls."
Athena smiled at her daughter, who was smiling as she read. The Goddess knew better than everyone when it came to her little girl's childhood; she was the one who watched over her as little Annabeth ran away from home and guided her to her friends; she was the one who soothed her dreams and guide her thoughts. Athena knew Annabeth had always wanted a complete family and the love of her father, and even if she couldn't have all that in this world, reading about her counterpart offered a small but definite solace. As small as it was, Athena was still happy for her favorite daughter.
"I think this part is beige."
The eldest Namikaze daughter nodded with a smile and opened the beige paint. "Yep, it's the most prominent color."
"Yep, mostly beige," muttered Annabeth as she read.
For the past four hours, the father and daughter had been working to assemble the model and now could finally paint it. Annabeth didn't trust herself to paint the small delicate details, so Naruto was tasked with the job. After working with so many small and fragile candies, he was quite well suited for the task.
Annabeth smiled fondly, but sounded a little sad, "That sounds really fun…"
Percy couldn't help but be reminded of the time he and Annabeth sailed through the island of the Sirens. The vision Annabeth had was of a complete family, and her counterpart had exactly that; she had a loving father and little sister. He knew perfectly that a simple night of building models with her dad was something Annabeth had always wanted but never got. It made him a little angry thinking about it.
All he could do was to pull her closer and offer her his affections.
"Be careful, dad…" mumbled Annabeth softly as she leaned in closer to see if her dad was doing it right.
Naruto furrowed his brows in concentration and nodded back. "I know – I'm almost there."
Percy mentally made a note to buy some models so he and Annabeth could build them together in her cabin – as long as Athena allowed him to enter, that is. Unknown to Percy, Athena was thinking of doing the same thing – some mother and daughter bonding time.
Lacy sat on the sofa behind her daddy and big sister watching How To Train Your Dragon on TV, happily munching on the candy her daddy brought home for the week.
Lacy smiled and closed her eyes, trying to imagine herself in such a loving and cozy home.
Drew rolled her eyes, "I see the other you is also obsessed with that kiddy movie." Aphrodite smiled and pecked Drew's head, "I swear; she's watched that movie over one hundred times."
Normally he wouldn't allow her to eat so much in one night, but he was so focused with building the model he didn't notice. Lacy just silently grinned and enjoyed her wide selection of candy. It was a very good day for Lacy – not only could she enjoy all her candy, her teacher was absent from school the whole morning and their whole class got a free day for fun! Best-Day-Ever!
Travis and Connor high-fived, "I love it when that happens!"
Lacy hummed as she continued to imagine herself in the other dimension, 'It's almost as if she's a normal girl, not a demigod.'
Looking down at the box of candies and chocolates, Lacy wondered which she should try next. 'Try the Calisson, Lacy, it's really good!' Lacy looked around when she heard a strange voice speak to her; it sounded to be a woman and was very melodic and sweet.
Lacy's eyes snapped open as she looked up at her mother, "Is that you, mommy?"
Aphrodite looked just as surprised as her daughters and slowly nodded. "I think so; it does sound like it's me."
Zeus frowned and shook his head, "You know that's against the laws, Aphrodite."
"Hey, it's the other me who did it." Aphrodite scoffed and returned to cuddling with her daughters, giving the God of the Sky the cold shoulder. "And it's a really stupid law; if a mother wants to talk to her children, some stupid law isn't going to stop her!" She pulled Lacy and Drew closer, making the girls smiled and cuddle closer to their mother.
Hera actually smiled at the Love Goddess, "I couldn't agree more."
Zeus merely grumbled, making his brother chuckle.
Confused, Lacy looked down at the box of candies and found one that had a label that looked like it spelled Calisson – she couldn't really read well at her age, unlike her sister – and popped it in her mouth. 'That's my cute girl! It's really good, isn't it?'
Aphrodite's mouth watered as she smiled, "Oh, they are really good!" Lacy smiled and continued to imagine, "Naruto really has good taste; he brings home the real good stuff for the girls." The Love Goddess looked over at Annabeth with a kind smile, "You're missing out on some really great candy, Annabeth!"
Annabeth merely smiled at the Goddess before she continued.
Lacy couldn't help but nod with a big grin. "It's really good!"
'The Carambar is good too, though is very chewy.'
Drew smiled at the mention of her favorite candy, "Mmm, those are heavenly~"
"True, but they get stuck in your teeth."
Lacy happily listened to the strange voice and unwrapped the traditional French candy, "Cream bar?"
"Aww, that's so cute! It's Carambar!"
She whispered to herself before she threw it in her mouth. It really was chewy, but it tasted great and she grinned at the taste, swaying from side to side in joy.
'It's Carambar, baby. Oh you are so cute!'
"I know, right!" Aphrodite squealed and kissed Lacy's head.
"Lacy," said Naruto with a stern tone as he turned to see all the candy wrappers on the couch.
"Busted!" cried Connor.
"What did I say about eating so much candy in one night?" Lacy looked like a deer caught by headlights and just stared at her daddy with a cute and sheepish smile, hoping to not get in trouble. "And what did I tell you to do with all the wrappers?"
"You told me to not eat so much in one night and to throw the wrappers in the trash…" mumbled Lacy softly.
"That's right, so give me the box and throw out the wrappers." Lacy pouted and handed the box over and started to gather all the wrappers.
"Good; he doesn't spoil his children." Hera nodded approvingly at the words, knowing full well how spoiling a child could turn out very bad – Ares was a perfect example.
Naruto smiled and kissed the top of her head, "That's my good girl."
Lacy smiled back and ran over to the trash can to dump all the wrappers inside, but she heard the voice again. 'Ahh my sweet and handsome Naruto, he's such a cute and loving father! Oh I miss him so much~'
"Whoa…" started Apollo as he scratched the back of his head. "You're actually missing one of your human lovers, Dite?"
"I guess I am…" mumbled Aphrodite softly, trying to figure what her other self was doing. She had to agree that Naruto was a very handsome, cute and loving man, and she would definitely have a child with him if he existed in their world, but to actually miss him after so long…that was something she wasn't sure of. It had been at least a few millennia since she had visited a mortal again after leaving – that being Adonis.
Artemis scoffed and rolled her eyes, already starting to lose interest, 'As if that airhead could remember all her men.'
But suddenly, the phone rang and Lacy raced to answer it.
"Hello!" she cried with a happy grin.
Many demigods smiled as the plasma screen showed a little Lacy answering the phone with a big cheerful smile. She was adorable and the scene was just too cute to ignore; even Artemis and her hunters smiled at the sight.
Naruto rolled his eyes playfully at his princess and took the phone away. "Sorry about that; this is the Namikaze residence."
"Hello Mr. Namikaze, this is Principal Hawkwood."
Naruto smiled and nodded to himself. "Ahh yes, how are you doing Mr. Hawkwood?"
"Not too well I'm afraid; for some reason Ms. Turner did not turn up to class today and we still cannot find her anywhere, so Lacy's class will be taught be a substitute until we find Ms. Turner." Naruto winced a little at the subject and just nodded to himself. "I just wanted to call all parents and assure you that this is an isolated incident and the substitute teacher will be just as good as Ms. Turner."
Thalia smirked and crossed her arms, "That won't be very hard; any teacher is better than that monster."
Annabeth nodded before she continued.
"Well I have no problem with it, but I do thank you for taking the time to call us."
"Of course, Mr. Namikaze, have a good night."
"Good night to you as well, Mr. Hawkwood." Naruto sighed as he placed the phone down, his mood souring with worry. 'Anyone would be better than having a monster as a teacher, but I seriously hope that this was an isolated incident.'
Annabeth frowned, 'It will never be an isolated incident as long as Lacy and I are with him.'
"Who was that, daddy?"
Naruto sat down on the sofa and lifted Lacy onto his lap. "That was the principal of your school," he said, attracting Annabeth's attention. "He said Ms. Turner is missing and they can't find her, so you will have a substitute teacher for the next few days."
Lacy shrugged and nodded, "Okay, but is Ms. Turner going to be back soon?"
"I don't know, princess."
Annabeth hopped onto the sofa and hugged her knees to her chest, looking cozy, "It's a little weird that your teacher would just disappear like that." She had a thoughtful expression on her face that looked exactly like Athena would when the Goddess tried to deduce a situation, and it made Naruto feel a little nervous.
Aphrodite giggled, "Well you sure left a good impression, Professor Athena." The Wisdom Goddess glared at her silently, "All he remembers is you trying to solve problems."
"Maybe she is sick and went to the hospital or something."
Lacy pouted and looked sad. "I hope not; I really like Ms. Turner."
'Well, Ms. Turner only likes demigods as food.'
The older sister shrugged, "Maybe the substitute will be even better."
Naruto forced a smile and kissed Lacy's hair. "Annie is right, princess; maybe you'll really like your new teacher."
Thalia smiled, "I guarantee she'd be better!"
"I hope so…"
Annabeth tugged her dad's arm and point at her model, "Come on dad, we have to finish painting."
Annabeth smiled again at the description; the other her was vastly more lucky.
Naruto just chuckled and nodded. "Okay, okay."
Olympus – Main Hearth
"Finally; it mentions us!" exclaimed Apollo.
Demeter smiled and nodded, "I wonder who it will mention!"
Near the center of the floating paradise of Olympus was the main hearth, the origin of fire of the gods. The tongues of the vibrant red flames licked the bottom of the sky as the gods dined and chatted around it almost every day. It was the one place where harmony will always be kept. It was the place for familial bonding – family dinners, reunions and even weddings. The Goddess of the Hearth, Lady Hestia would almost always be seen tending its flames, and many of the Olympians would sit along the warm glow and chat with the sweet and friendly Goddess.
"I love that hearth," said Demeter with a smile, recalling the many hours she and Hera had spent there just chatting the time away with their amazing older sister. "Let's go there after this!"
Hera smiled and nodded, "That sounds great." It had been a while since she had a nice conversation with her favorite sister, and she was starting to miss it.
Hestia nodded happily, "Sure, I'll prepare some hot tea for us." She smiled over at the younger Goddesses, "Would any of you like to join us?"
Artemis smiled at her favorite aunt and nodded, "I would love to, Aunt Hestia."
"I as well," replied Athena with a smile; she would like to ask her aunt about having a family later, privately.
Aphrodite grinned and nodded, "You know I'm always down for a girls' night!"
"Aww, so we can't come?" whined Apollo with Hermes.
Hestia giggled, "You boys can come tomorrow."
"Hestia…" whined a pouting Aphrodite as she sat on one of the many silver kneeling mats around the hearth. "What should I do?"
Artemis sighed, "You're once again bothering Aunt Hestia with your annoying problems."
"There is nothing wrong with consulting with a friend!"
Hestia smiled and nodded at the Love Goddess.
The Goddess of the Hearth, with her curly black hair tucked into a simple brown scarf wrapped around her head, looked over at the most beautiful woman in the heavens with her warm and comforting red eyes. She had a slightly sheepish smile on her pretty face and lightly shrugged, "I'm sorry, but I honestly don't know."
Another Goddess sitting on the other side of Hestia sighed in exasperation. "Don't come bother Aunt Hestia with all your weird problems, Aphrodite." The Goddess lightly glared over at the Goddess of Love with her silvery eyes as she warmed her hands near the hearth. "Unlike you, we don't have the time for dealing with mortal men."
"Yeah, exactly!" Artemis shook her head with a sigh; her aunt was a Virgin Goddess, so what would she know about problem with men.
"Have some sympathy, Artemis!" Aphrodite pouted as she rested head on her hands. "This is really bothering me."
A beautiful blonde Goddess sat across from the other three and rubbed her temples. "What are you droning on about again?"
Demeter grinned at the image on the screen, "It's me!"
Artemis sighed and decided to answer, "Well, Aunt Demeter, Aphrodite apparently really misses this mortal she had a relationship with a few years ago and wants to go visit him; but she can't come up with a good enough explanation that will make him understand why she left him all alone with their daughter."
"Hold it!" Ares exclaimed as he looked over at his lover, "You mean you want to go visit this little human?" Aphrodite remained silent as she though over the situation herself, "Don't tell me this is going to be like Adonis all over again!"
Hades frowned at the mention of the one man his wife had cheated on him with…if he had his way, that puny human would be having the most painful afterlife in the field of punishment.
"I hope the other me kills that little sucker!"
"Shut up, Ares!" suddenly cried Aphrodite, her power flaring heavily, making the God of War recoil in shock. "You're so damn annoying; just zip your lip before I do it for you!"
Ares reluctantly sat back down, his eyes dangerously melting through his sunglasses.
The entire chamber was silent; Lacy and Drew stared at their mother in shock and rubbed her hands to calm her down. No one had really seen her so angry before, especially towards Ares, so they were all a little shocked. The power Aphrodite unleashed was very powerful, perhaps just as powerful as Demeter, Hestia or Hera.
"Go on, sweetie, read."
Annabeth didn't need to be told twice.
Demeter sighed again. "Which mortal are you talking about? I can't even keep track of all your men."
"His name is Naruto Namikaze…" muttered Aphrodite as she poked the flames with a small stick. "He owns a cute little candy store in New York and is just the sweetest and cutest father, ever!" she said, finishing on a high note.
Lacy nodded; her other's dad was really sweet.
The name of the man seemed to attract the attention of the final Goddess of the group, who sat next to Demeter looking a little bored. Her beautiful face suddenly took on a calculative expression as she narrowed her intimidating grey eyes at Aphrodite.
Demeter smirked at her niece, "Ohh, feeling a little jealous, Athena?"
"Oh!" exclaimed Demeter with a look of enlightenment. "Isn't that the mortal who Athena had a child with first and then you came along and seduced him?"
Aphrodite smiled and nodded. "Yep, that's him."
"I still can't believe Naruto actually had a child with you." Athena stared into the hearth and ignored the looks the other goddesses gave her. "He was a talented and intelligent man with a great mind for warfare, not just some pretty man who you can play around with."
"That sounds like jealousy to me," teased Aphrodite, feeling better now that her stupid lover had stopped talking.
"Clearly I am just angry that you distracted Naruto from using his intellect; if you didn't interfere he would have become far more than just an owner of a candy store." Athena frowned and crossed her arms, looking away from the Love Goddess as if she was beneath her. "He could have been a great strategist if he had his focus."
"Whatever, honey; you're just frustrated since you can sleep with Naruto."
"Oh shut up you pile of foam!"
"I did not play around with him; we had a loving and happy relationship!"
Annabeth read on so her mother and Aphrodite wouldn't start fighting, but she froze when she read the last sentence.
"Wow, that dimension is really weird." Hermes scratched his head, a little confused, "The Aphrodite over there seems a little different compared to ours; the one we know never describes her flings as loving and happy, or as a relationship."
"Yeah, I don't like it," grumbled Ares under his breath, shivering at the glare his lover sent him.
The Love Goddess gave Athena a peeved looked and just huffed. "Just because you decided to have a brain-child with Naruto doesn't mean he doesn't like sex." Artemis looked increasingly annoyed as Hestia felt a little out of place. "You should have seen how he was in bed, Athena; you really missed out on something good!"
Aphrodite crossed her arms and smirked, "Damn! He's gorgeous, sweet, loving, cute, an amazing father to two demigoddesses, owns a candy store and he's great in the bedroom!" She grinned and nodded, "He sure is the perfect package!" Ares frowned again, this time along with Hephaestus. "I can totally see why my other would like him so much!"
Athena scoffed, "Disgusting."
Regardless of how sweet Lacy thought this story was, she agreed. She really didn't want to listen to her mother saying how good her father was in bed; it felt very weird and awkward.
"Enough!" Athena glared at Aphrodite, making the latter flinch.
Artemis shook her head and sighed, "Can the two of you not argue over some boy?"
"I know, right!" exclaimed Artemis, agreeing with her counterpart.
"He is not just some boy!" cried Aphrodite as Athena carelessly nodded along.
"Wow, the two of you agreed on something," muttered Hera.
"You may think that all men are evil creatures that only hurt and demean women, but Naruto is not like that at all!" She turned back to the flames and started poking it again, "You should see how sweet and loving he is to my cute little Lacy."
"So adorable!" cooed Aphrodite sternly. "He's already better than all the fathers of my children in this dimension!"
Athena sighed and nodded along, "Unfortunately, it's the same for me."
Annabeth frowned and nodded before she continued.
"Okay then, let us see."
Athena looked over at Demeter, "I beg your pardon, Aunt Demeter?"
Demeter pointed to the hearth as she looked at Aphrodite, "Just show us how sweet and caring you think he is."
Thalia grinned and rubbed her hands in anticipation, "This is going to be good!"
Annabeth smiled at her best friend and nodded, "I agree!"
"Okay!" Aphrodite turned to Hestia and grinned. "Sorry Hestia, but I'll just borrow your hearth for a few minutes!"
With a wave of her hands, the flames of the hearth flickered before forming into the live image of the scene inside Naruto Namikaze's home.
Apollo sat up on his throne and grinned, "Here we go!"
"A little bit to the right." Annabeth sat on her bed as her dad placed the finished Empire State Building model on the shelf she kept all her model – right next to the Statue of Liberty. "There! That's perfect!" She grinned happily and clapped her hands together, marveling at how perfect her shelf now was, "Thanks, dad!"
The plasma screen showed the finished result of the other Annabeth's shelve with Naruto standing next to it, and it made this Annabeth smile. It really did look perfect – almost. It looked exactly as she would have made it herself – from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building then to the Capitol Building. The other Annabeth was really exactly like her, except a lot happier at that age.
Naruto smiled with a sigh, standing back up and rubbing the small of his back. "You're welcome, sweetie." He sat down on the bed next to his little princess and stared at the shelf, "Is it complete now, or do you need some more models?"
"It still needs more," said Annabeth, making Thalia and Percy smile at her fondly.
"Oh I still need the Parthenon in Nashville."
The dad smiled at his daughter and ruffled her hair, "The Parthenon, huh?"
"Yes, that will complete the shelf!"
Demeter smiled, "The olive really doesn't fall far from the tree."
Athena smiled proudly at her daughter, making her smile.
Annabeth grinned and nodded. "Yep, it's an exact replica of the original Parthenon in Greece!" Naruto smiled and nodded along. "They had it in the museum today too, but I only had enough money today to buy one, so I got this one."
"Well, if you get three A's on this semester's report card, I'll go and buy you the model." Annabeth's eyes widened and gleamed, making Naruto chuckle. "And you know what, if you get straight A's, that means six A's, I'll bring you to the Nashville Parthenon in person!"
"That is certainly the best way to motivate Annabeth." Rachel grinned as she smiled over at her friend, "She'd study till she drops if it means going to the Parthenon!"
Percy chuckled and nodded, "Yes, she definitely will."
Annabeth just playfully shoved her boyfriend and continued to read, now with a happy smile.
Annabeth as stunned, "R-Really?"
Naruto simply nodded, "Really."
"Wow, thank you, dad!" Annabeth lunged at her dad and wrapped her arms around his neck, making him laugh and hug her back. "I'm going to study really hard and make sure we're going to go Nashville!"
"See, right in character!" exclaimed the Oracle.
Annabeth's smile brightened, "I've always wanted to go to Nashville!"
Thalia smirked, "Take notes, Kelp Head; I think she's hinting a possible honeymoon destination."
"No, I'm not, Thals!" cried Annabeth as red as a tomato, "Oh my gods, shut up!"
Thalia laughed as she pointed at Annabeth's and Percy's glowing faces, accompanied by the laughter of almost everyone in the room. It was hilarious to tease the best couple in camp; but seriously, everyone knew that they would eventually get married and will bed up going to Nashville for their honeymoon.
Thus, Percy mentally took a note.
The dad held his daughter closer as he placed her back down on the bed, slightly brushing her hair to the side before kissing her forehead. "You are so much like your mother, it amazes me."
Now that attracted Athena's undivided attention.
Annabeth's eyes widened a little; she had never really heard her dad mention her mother before. "You both have the same love for architecture and the same expression on your face when you're happy."
"Really?" whispered Annabeth.
Hestia smiled and nodded, "You really do."
Annabeth smiled and nodded, a little happy because of it.
Naruto nodded. "Yeah, you have your mother's eyes. And every time you're really happy or excited, you get that little twinkle in your eyes and your lips would just slowly twitch up." The dad chuckled and wrapped one arm around Annabeth's shoulders. "And of course, when you're mad, both of you scare me to death," he finished with another chuckle.
"Wow, he really misses you, Athena." Demeter sighed as she looked at the new image on the plasma screen, one that showed Naruto's slightly depressed face as he spoke to his daughter. "Just look at his face; he looks so sad and lonely. I bet he thinks of you all the time!"
Athena couldn't help but feel her cheek heat up at her aunt's words, "I'm sure the other me made the right choice." She turned away from the others, but couldn't help but look at the screen. Naruto really did look lonely and sad, and it was all her other's fault. "It is better to leave him earlier on; lingering around is just being more cruel."
Annabeth bit her lip and nodded; as usual, her mother's logic was correct.
As young as she was, Annabeth could hear the pride and the hint of sadness in her dad's voice. She turned to give her dad a kiss on his cheek and hugged him tightly around his neck. Naruto was a little surprised at the sudden hug, but gladly hugged his little girl back, feeling the love and warmth she gave him.
Annabeth felt a lump in her throat and almost sobbed.
"I love you, dad."
"I love you too, princess."
Percy wrapped an arm around Annabeth's shoulder as her voice slightly broke; he wanted to show her that everything was perfectly fine. Many people sympathetically looked at their camp's female leader, but no one understood her more than Lacy. The younger girl knew exactly what Annabeth was feeling; she too would want to hear her father say those three words to her, but also like Annabeth, she knew it was not likely.
After almost a full minute, Naruto pulled away and kissed Annabeth on her forehead. "Okay, it's time to go to bed, sweetie." His daughter smiled and nodded as he lifted the covers and tucked her in, kissing her again on the forehead. "And I mean sleep, not reading any books under the covers."
Annabeth chuckled as she sniffed, her tears welling in her eyes. "I guess I do that there too…"
"You wouldn't be Annabeth if you didn't," said Thalia, reaching over to hold her best friend's hand.
Annabeth rolled her eyes and smiled. "I know, dad."
Naruto nodded and smiled again, "Goodnight, Annie."
"Here…" whispered Percy as he gently took the book from the love of his life. "I'll read it."
Annabeth smiled softly and nodded, handing the book to her love and settled to resting her head on his shoulder. She just wanted to enjoy the story, a story where she had a real father who loved her beyond words. There was no better place to listen to the story than being next to Percy, no there was no better voice to hearing from than her most precious person's.
Poseidon smiled at his son, happy that he had found someone he could be so passionate to; it was truly rare for a demigod.
Olympus – Main Hearth
Hestia smiled at the screen as it showed her hearth with all the Goddesses sitting around it.
Hestia smiled at the scene she just witnessed in the fire and couldn't help but feel a surge of warmth inside her heart. Aphrodite was right; this Naruto was quite the sweet and loving father – astronomically more than what she could say about her own father.
Hades scoffed, "Understatement of the millennium."
The other original six Olympians nodded; Naruto was infinitely better than Kronos as a father. It wasn't even a fair comparison; it'd be like saying the Master Bolt was more deadly than a potato gun – completely in different leagues. If Kronos was even half as good a father as Naruto, it would still be the third age.
Annabeth looked very happy and loved in the scene, which were usually rare expressions to see on a demigod's face.
Nico scoffed softly, "I'll say…"
Hades frowned when he caught what his son said.
"See? Tell me that wasn't adorable, even though it wasn't with my Lacy."
Athena genuinely smiled and nodded, 'That was really sweet; he really is an outstanding father.'
Athena nodded with a happy smile on her face. 'He is really sweet and loving. I can't believe he still remembers all those small details about me.'
Demeter giggled again, "Finally starting to see how he misses you, Athena?"
Athena merely ignored her aunt and looked away, though she still had a small blush on her face.
"He is a good father," said Artemis with an approving nod. "I have seen many terrible fathers while gathering my Hunters and it's refreshing and a relief to see that such fathers really do exist."
"So true…" muttered Artemis darkly as she remembered the men she had killed because they were terrible fathers.
The hunters all nodded, all remembering the days when they discovered girls being abused by their own fathers and how their mistress had mercilessly shot them down like animals. The man in the book was a true example of what a father should be like, and as much as some hunters didn't want to admit, if their fathers were as good as Naruto, they probably wouldn't have joined the hunt.
"I agree," said Demeter but she then turned to Athena, "though he still thinks of you a lot, Athena." The Wisdom Goddess closed her eyes and sighed, but the slightest hint of red made its way to her cheeks. "He still remembers how you smile and how you look when you're angry." Demeter smiled and nudged her niece, "Maybe you should visit him sometime; he sounds like he still loves you."
"My other me agrees with me!" Demeter nodded gladly to herself, "She must eat just as much cereal as me!"
"He is a good man and a good father." That was all Athena said, looking regal and composed.
Aphrodite scoffed, "Really? That's all you had to say after seeing such a beautiful scene?"
"Be quiet, you idiot!"
Aphrodite huffed and crossed her arms, "Just keep watching; I bet he remembers me a lot more!" She gave Athena a slight glare, "After all, I made sure to give him a very nice parting gift our last night together."
Aphrodite grinned saucily, "I bet it did~"
Lacy groaned, "Mommy…"
Athena glared back, but Artemis just sighed, "Just keep watching."
After closing the door to Annabeth's room, Naruto heard some ruffling around in the room just across from it. With a smile on his face, he knocked a few times on the door before opening it. Very much unlike her older sister's room, Lacy's room was more messy and unorganized. There were dolls and stuffed animals all over the place and almost everything was pink.
Lacy smiled; her room looked really pretty!
Every time Naruto would step into the room he couldn't but wonder if Aphrodite had been tinkering with the room.
The Goddess giggled and shrugged, "I might have actually done that."
"Lacy, it's time to go to bed."
The little girl was sitting on her bed with her Barbie doll with a comb in her hand. "I'm not sleepy yet, daddy," she whined with a small pout, which would usually convince her daddy to let her stay up longer. "Can I just play with Lucy a little bit longer?"
Drew actually smiled at her baby sister, "Lacy playing with Lucy."
"Yep!" replied the girl with a grin.
Naruto sighed at the name Lacy gave to her doll and sat down on the bed. "No, you have school tomorrow and need to wake up early." He poked Lacy lightly on her forehead before kissing her hair, "You need to get your rest and be on your best behavior when you meet your new teacher."
Lacy pouted again, "It's just a substitute teacher…"
Travis and Conner smirked; they loved stealing from substitutes!
With a knowing smile, Naruto shrugged, "I don't know, whoever it is, they may turn out to be your new permanent teacher."
"But what about Ms. Turner?" she asked.
Naruto shrugged again, "I don't know, but there is a chance."
"I sure hope not…" mumbled Lacy softly.
The blond man stared at his youngest daughter with a loving smile, marveling at how adorable she looked. Unlike Annabeth and Athena, Lacy didn't look like Aphrodite. In Naruto's memory, Lacy's mother had long red hair and warm violet eyes, and their daughter had clearly inherited his traits – his blonde hair and blue eyes. But her attitude was certainly similar to her mother; she had the same love for sweets and had a bubbly personality that would light up the room.
"He is so sweet!" Aphrodite placed a hand on her cheek and smiled at the screen; Naruto was already appealing to her and she really wished that he had a counterpart in this world. "I already feel some love for him~"
Ares growled, 'This guy better die soon!'
"Daddy~" whined Lacy as she climbed under her blanket with a pout. "I'm not sleepy at all!"
"That's because you had so much sugar after dinner; you're too hyper to sleep." Naruto brushed his daughter's hair out of her face and smiled down at her. "If you keep eating so much candy I won't bring home so many boxes anymore."
Rachel laughed, "That threat must work like a charm."
Lacy nodded very seriously, "Of course; that's terrible!"
"No!" cried Lacy horrified at the prospect of no candy. "I promise I won't eat so much, but you still have to bring home the same big box!"
"Yeah!" exclaimed the girl's counterpart.
The dad chuckled and sighed, "Fine, but you promised." He extended his pinky and wiggled it, "Pinky-swear it."
Lacy giggled and wrapped her pinky around her father's. "Okay!"
"Aww, that's just adorable," chirped the Love Goddess; this story was seriously becoming her favorite of all time!
With a fond smile, Naruto leaned down and kissed Lacy's forehead. "Good. Now be a good girl and go to sleep."
"But I can't sleep!" Naruto sighed, but Lacy looked up at him with a smile. "Can you sing me the Hush lullaby?"
Aphrodite squealed and bounced up and down on her seat, "Is he going to sing?!"
"Women sure loves a man who can sing," muttered Apollo smugly. "I would know."
Artemis scoffed, "No, you don't."
All the while, Lacy stared over at Percy, hoping he'd read faster; she really wanted to know if her dad would sing to her. Her real dad had never once sang for her, and for once she wanted to hear a lullaby intended for her.
"Lacy, you're almost six years old."
Lacy pouted and clapped her hands together, "Please~ you used to sing it to me all the time."
"Fine…" Naruto patted Lacy's head and placed her arms back under her blanket and tucked her in, and she quickly turned to her side, looking at her daddy in joy. He turned around and turned off her lamp before he started to rhythmically pat her on the shoulder.
"He's going to sing!" cried Aphrodite.
Lacy smiled and closed her eyes, deciding to treasure this moment. As if answering her call, the plasma screen shifted scenes again, but this time, it was a video. Lacy opened her eyes and looked over at the screen, biting her lips as she felt tears well in her eyes. She had never seen so much love before; Naruto truly loved his daughters beyond words.
"Hush little baby, don't say a word~,
Daddy's gonna buy you a mockingbird~.
And if that mockingbird won't sing~,
Daddy's gonna buy you a diamond ring~.
"He has such a beautiful voice…" whispered Aphrodite as she stared at the screen, her heart beating faster with every passing second; she was seriously starting to feel something for Naruto, a man for whom she'd never met, but already felt familiar. "I love it."
Lacy nodded as she sniffed, wrapped her arms around her mother's as she watched the screen, imagining that Naruto was her real father and she was really loved by such a warm and sweet dad. The feeling was incredible.
'Daddy…' she spoke inwardly as she stared at Naruto, silently conveying her message.
And if that diamond ring turns brass~,
Daddy's gonna buy you a looking glass~.
And if that looking glass gets broke~,
Daddy's gonna buy you a billy goat~.
And if that billy goat won't pull~,
Daddy's gonna buy you a cart and bull~.
And if that cart and bull turn over~,
Daddy's gonna buy you a dog named Rover~.
And if that dog named Rover won't bark~,
Daddy's gonna buy you a horse and cart~.
And if that horse and cart fall down~,
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town~.
So hush baby, don't say a word~,
Mommy loves you and so do I~."
Aphrodite hugged Lacy close to her chest and kissed her tenderly on the head, "Mommy really does love you, my cute little Lacy."
Lacy buried her face into her mom's chest, "I-I love you too, mommy."
Finishing on a soft note, Naruto smiled and stopped his rhythmical patting. Lacy was actually asleep and had a tiny sweet smile on her face as she snuggled into her pillow. Naruto couldn't help but give a small chuckle at his little princess; it had been so long since he had sung her that lullaby and it still worked. Thinking back to a few years ago, Hush Little Baby was Lacy's favorite song, and it would put her to sleep every time, unlike Annabeth who never like any lullabies – he could still remember how Annabeth cried when he sang Itsy Bitsy Spider for her.
Athena smiled fondly at the words; despite the mention of spiders, it was really cute: her baby daughter crying from hearing Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Percy and many others chuckled, making Annabeth blush a little as she continued to rest on Percy's shoulder, holding his arm lovingly as he read.
Slowly standing up from the bed, Naruto leaned down and kissed Lacy on the cheek. "I love you, my little princess."
'I love you too, daddy.' Lacy almost sobbed as she thought those words inwardly.
"Damn, that's really mushy…" Hermes muttered as he finished watching the scene, not really knowing what to think. Most of the other males Gods were the same, except perhaps Zeus, who loved Athena and Artemis just as much.
Hestia and Hera had bright smiles as they watched Naruto sing for his daughter. After so many years of overlooking their shared domain of family, it was very pleasant to see such a great father, especially for a couple of young demigods. Both Goddesses couldn't remember the last time they saw two young demigods living so happily at home with their mortal parent; it was almost impossible. They really hoped that Naruto existed in their world as well.
Even Artemis had a small smile on her face as she watched; it reminded her of the very few times Zeus had sung lullabies for her. She was still a baby Goddess at the time, but she could still remember and feel the fatherly love the almighty Zeus had for his baby girl. It really felt nice.
'If you exist in this dimension, Naruto, I will come find you…' thought both Athena and Aphrodite at once, oblivious to each other's thoughts.
Olympus – Main Hearth
Hestia smiled again at the image in the flames; it had been a long time since she had seen such a heartwarming scene. As the Goddess of Family, she couldn't help but feel happy at seeing such strong bonds between father and daughters. It was impressive that even without a woman in his life he still did such a great job in raising his girls.
"Tell me about it," started Aphrodite with a small smile, "He's amazing."
Hestia couldn't name one male god who could have done what Naruto did.
"The truth has been spoken!" mockingly exclaimed Demeter as she shook her head at the male Gods, mainly at the second generation Olympian Gods, making Apollo, Hermes, Hephaestus, and Ares shift uncomfortably in their seats, all knowing that Naruto was a far better father than they ever had been.
Aphrodite had tears in her eyes as she hugged Hestia close. "OH HESTIA, I HAVE TO GO SEE HIM!"
"I don't think I've ever seen you so shook up over a mortal man, Aphrodite." Hera looked over at the Love Goddess with interest, "This man certainly is more important to you than many of your other lovers."
Aphrodite nodded softly, feeling confused and a little intimidated. "Yeah, I do seem to be reacting rather intensely in the book." She couldn't help but wonder if the Naruto and Aphrodite in the other dimension were going to meet up again, or if they would become more than just lovers. She had a feeling that the other her must feel something very special in Naruto, if not she wouldn't be so worked up. "Maybe he's more than just a fling."
Ares growled again as he glared at the screen, 'Where in Hades is the other me?! Come out and kill this douche bag already!'
Artemis sighed and rubbed her temples, "Aphrodite, Aunt Hestia is not a pillow you can hug because you're sad."
"As I keep saying," muttered the Huntress to herself.
"It's okay," replied Hestia before she lightly patted Aphrodite's shoulder. "And you shouldn't be sad, Aphrodite, you should be glad that your daughter has such a good father."
"But I miss Naruto~"
Aphrodite bit her lip and frowned. She was really wondering what Naruto meant to her counterpart; it would seem that she was really in love with him, deeply and painfully in love.
Demeter smiled as he turned to face her fellow goddesses. "I must admit that it was a very cute scene. If we watch again when the girls wake up in the morning and we see him feeding them cereal, I will admit that he is the sweetest mortal man I have ever seen."
"Oh, I'd bag him myself if he feeds the girls cereal; he'd be a real perfect package!" Hades rolled his eyes at Demeter, growing very tired of her constantly mention on cereal.
Aphrodite just ignored Demeter and dried her tears. "And the girls need a mother in their lives, every girl does!" The Goddess of Love conjured up a mirror in her hand and started to fix her make-up. "I mean, I can sense and measure the love Naruto has for the girls and it's very, very strong; but nonetheless the girls still need a mother. If only that stupid ancient law would disappear I could go down and at least spend a few days with them."
Zeus frowned, "The other you is treading on thin ice, Aphrodite."
The Love Goddess huffed, "She's right, thought. It's a stupid law and it's stopping my other from going to take care of little Lacy and Annabeth!"
Hera shrugged, "I would like to see the other Aphrodite try to go down and help Naruto with the girls; it would be very interesting to see how she would do as a real mother."
"I am a very awesome mom!"
Lacy and Drew smiled and hugged their mother close, "You are."
"Thank you, my babies!"
Artemis sighed again; she had a feeling that Aphrodite might actually want to show her daughter some love, but would actually want to spend another romantic night with this Naruto Namikaze even more.
"I'd be lying if I say I don't want to bang that man's brains out!"
"Shut up, Aphrodite!" cried Artemis outraged, "This is hardly the place or time!"
"There is nothing wrong with wanting to make love to such a great man!"
Hestia bit her lips and nodded. "I guess you're right; a family is really not complete without a mother."
Hera nodded, "I wholeheartedly agree with that."
"It's okay; I'll send them some of the best cereal in the world." Demeter smiled and nodded to herself. "I promise that your girls will grow very well with the help of my cereal."
Annabeth shivered; she had no desire to eat dried wheat
All the while, Athena was silent.
"Oh, that's never good," muttered Poseidon, getting a glare from Athena.
She sat beside her aunt with her grey eyes staring into the hearth, her mind running a million miles an hour in thought. Despite how much she hated Aphrodite's usually irrational behavior, but she couldn't help but agree. Athena clearly saw the love Naruto had for both his daughters and was very glad. He was one of the few fathers of her children that didn't feel overwhelmed for burdened when she dropped of their child to him; she would always remember how happy Naruto looked when he first held their daughter in his arms.
But Aphrodite and Hestia were correct. Both Annabeth and Lacy needed a mother, and as much as it annoyed her to say it, Naruto needed a woman in his life. She had always felt a little guilty about leaving Naruto by himself to raise their daughter, and having a woman in his life would make him and his daughters happy then she would give them her blessing.
Annabeth shook her head with a frown; stepmoms were never good for children.
Aphrodite sighed and made her mirror vanish. "Naruto should have a woman in his life."
Hestia patted Aphrodite's back and smiled. "It's okay, I'll be sure to watch over yours and Athena's daughter." Athena looked up at her aunt with surprise. "I'm not an Olympian so I have much more free time on my hands; I'll go check on the girls and make sure they're well."
Hestia smiled, "That would be fun."
Athena smiled and nodded. "Thank you, Aunt Hestia; that would be great."
Aphrodite also nodded, "You are the cool Aunt to most of our immortal children already, so I'm sure the girls will love you."
Aphrodite smiled and nodded, "Definitely; you'd be the best baby-sitter ever, Hestia, no doubt about it!"
"Thanks," replied the sweet Goddess with her usual kind smile. She smiled at Annabeth and Lacy and gave them both small winks, making them smile and giggle back at her respectively. "I've always liked taking care of children."
"Tia, come back to my place after this," said Demeter to her older sister. "I'll give you some top of the line cereal and oatmeal to bring to the mortal world."
Hestia just smiled at her sister, "Sure, sister."
"Can we go for ramen again tonight, daddy?"
Drew scrunched up her face, "How could you eat so much starch?"
Naruto sighed as he walked towards Goode Elementary, holding onto his daughters' hands as they headed towards the kindergarten building. "Not two nights in a row; maybe we'll go again this weekend."
Annabeth held open one of her many books with her free hand as she looked around. "Hey dad, I have to go meet Percy soon; he said he doesn't get some of the homework we got yesterday and needs my help before class."
Travis sniggered, "Some things really don't change at all!"
"Yep, Kelp Head is stupid here and there," teased Thalia as she sent her cousin a smirk.
"Ha. Ha." Percy gave them all a flat look and continued to read.
With a chuckle and slight worry, Naruto reluctantly nodded. "Sure, go look for Percy." He leaned down and kissed Annabeth's princess curls and hugged her slightly. "Be sure to be here at 3 o'clock sharp."
Annabeth rolled her eyes with a smile, "I know, dad." She playfully slapped Lacy's shoulder with a smile, "Bye, Lace!"
"Bye, bye, Annie."
Lacy and Annabeth both smiled at each other; it would be really cool if they were actually blood-related sisters.
Continuing his way to the kindergarten building, Naruto lifted Lacy into his arms. He was still a little worried about another monster posing as someone in the school and wanted to hold his little girl close.
Lacy sighed again at how lucky her counterpart was.
But when they arrived at the usual building, there was a large group of students along with their parents standing outside the building. Naruto heard some of the mothers talking about the new teacher and saying she looked sweet and beautiful.
"Is that who I think it is?" asked Apollo.
Zeus sighed, "I think so."
Naruto looked over at the door of the building and there was a new lady shaking the hands of the parents. He had to admit that she was really beautiful – not like Ms. Turner, who was alluring and sexy. The new lady was pretty in a sweet and loving way, and even from so far away he could see the incredible warmth in her eyes. She had long black curly hair and was wearing a simple white blouse with beige dress pants.
Hestia blushed a little, but remained calm, though Aphrodite certainly saw it and smirked. It seemed that Hestia liked the family man type, despite being a Virgin Goddess.
As the parents dropped of their children and left, the lady eventually came to shake Naruto's hand. "Hello there."
Naruto smiled and gladly shook her hand, "Hello; I'm Naruto Namikaze and this is my daughter, Lacy Namikaze."
The lady smiled and gently touched Lacy's cheek. "You're really cute, Lacy." Lacy giggled happily, making the lady smile wider before turning back to Naruto. "It's very nice to meet you, Mr. Namikaze; I'm Ms. Hess, Tia Hess."
"Great alias, sister~" teased Demeter with a smile.
Be quiet, sister; it's not that bad." Hestia blushed harder and looked away.
She smiled, making Naruto feel warm and comfortable, "I'm the new kindergarten teacher; we're going to have a very fun year together, Lacy."
"Okay, that's the end of the second chapter!" Percy set the book down and looked around, "Who wants to read next?"
Thalia smirked and snatched the book from her cousin, "I'll read it!"
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