A/N:- I know this is long overdue, but for this story, my brother is the one who has better ideas. And he still hasn't finished downloading Ms Office. So the latter half of this chapter had to be relayed by phone call.

Honestly, this chapter is really pushing the limits of the T-rating. I swear, one more word and this story would have to be moved to the M-rated section. You have been warned.

Disclaimer:- Nope, still haven't managed to get the rights to Leo. Only Maria is ours.


CHAPTER 8

DEMON OF THE PAST

BREAKOUT-TWENTY YEARS AFTER ESCAPING

Leo had known. Of course he had. He had known for decades that there was no escape but death. As long as she lived, she would always haunt him in real life as well as in his nightmares. So, when things got monotonous, obviously, it was Leo who the fates had decided to screw over once more. To top it off, an irresistible bait had been laid out for him, so there was no ignoring this problem either.

In ancient times, there was a law that stated that killing a goat was forbidden. First, you needed the animal's approval before you could kill it. The creature had to deliberately move towards a guillotine to signify it's willingness to die. Of course, there was a very delicious bait kept right before the guillotine.

Right now, Leo was feeling like an ancient goat. The task ahead of him demanded that he come face-to -face with one of his oldest nightmares, and he actually understood why. Unless he got over his childhood fears, his mental obstacles would always hold him back, although Leo was still unwilling to go through with it.

The bait was a son of Athena, whose father had been killed due to his position as chief scientific advisor to the president of America. He had been thrown into the foster system, and had been immediately adopted by a person Leo knew all to well. How she had avoided arrest for so long baffled him.

She was the woman who had adopted him when he was ten, and she, twenty-five. He hadn't been her first foster child either. It had been his worst foster home ever, and nothing else even came close.

Of course he knew Teresa Wilkins. Her face and name had been permanently burned into his memory, along with a full year's worth of torture. However, she had taught him a very important life lesson:- the words of an adult outweighed the words of a child by a comically vast amount. Unless there was solid evidence, adults would always have more power than kids. Not to mention that Teresa had been gifted with a perfect body, so when, if, words failed, a few hours in her bedroom, or anywhere else, really, always convinced the child services guys to ignore the kids they were supposed to be looking after.

The guy in charge of Leo had actually stuck around for a few months, and had joined Teresa in giving Leo hell, just so that he could do it with Teresa almost constantly, and everywhere, literally everywhere in the house to boot, which consequently led to Leo never needing sex-ed lessons ever. And when his in-charge had gotten a tad too drunk once, Teresa had forced him onto Leo, which had almost completely broken him.

Of course, Leo had tracked him down and mini-nuked his house. Revenge was very sweet indeed, and highly explosive, apparently. He had gone after his ex-in-charge, not Teresa, because he had been much more pissed at him. It had been his job to ensure that Leo was being raised in a proper environment. Instead, he had intentionally made it worse. He had actually covered for Teresa, and had given her plenty of new torture methods too.

Had he not run away, Leo would have probably been stuck there for several more years, or until he died, whichever came first.

Now, he had to go back to face the demon he ran away from two whole decades ago. Mere reluctance wasn't enough to describe what he was feeling. Anyone who knew Leo would know how utterly terrified he was just by looking at the speedometer of his car. He was going so slow that people were blowing their horns at him in the slow lane. The slow lane! It wasn't surprising though, seeing as how he was going at a pathetic twenty miles per hour.

"Creeeeeeaaak!" came Festus' voice over the radio. He really did not like going so slow.

"I know, Festus" Leo groaned "I want to go fast too, but whenever I think of what I'm about to do, I…. I just lose it. I know that I'm at least five times stronger than she can ever hope to be, but that old fear just keeps coming back." He raised his hand, only to see it shaking like a dead leaf in a hurricane.

"I'm a mess."


Calypso looked at Leo through the eye of her mind. She really didn't want Leo to do this alone. She was standing in the gravity room, and had left the kids to spar underground. It had been three months since Susan and Rick had shown up, and the four were getting along pretty well. Leo had left nearly an hour ago, right after he had used the gravity room to calm his nerves. Calypso sighed and turned up the gravity to eighty Gs. The gravity almost tore her clothes off, but Calypso ignored it and began doing pull-ups. Leo was doing his job, and it was about time she got back to doing hers.

Festus had finally convinced Leo to punch it, after reminding him that there was another kid who had been in her clutches for over a month now. Leo pressed the accelerator all the way down, and the car leapt forward, rapidly reducing the 1,000 mile distance between Leo and his destination.


In the sparring chamber several feet below the ground, Sunny, Susan, and Rick were trading blows. Maria had gone for a bathroom break. Susan and Rick had the advantage while attacking due to the fact that their powers allowing them to form weapons out of thin air. Sunny lacked such an ability, but she had been training for far longer than the other two, and was used to twice the amount of gravity that they could handle.

Sunny ducked under a wild swing from Rick's sword. It was made out of ice, and was hollow in order to prevent any accidental decapitations. The most it would do was give a nasty bruise and a few cuts, nothing that a little ambrosia and nectar couldn't fix. Sunny promptly swept Rick's legs out from under him, and simultaneously blocked a slash from Susan's ice claws, sustaining only a few minor cuts. Sunny elbowed Susan in the gut, and avoided Rick's sword, allowing it to crash into the side of Susan's head instead. Another advantage that Rick and Susan had while fighting was that their powers were of a highly similar origin, and were only slightly affected by each other's powers, allowing them to attack freely without worrying about getting injured by friendly fire. Susan only felt a sharp sting for an instant as Rick's sword shattered.

Susan's fist immediately buried itself in Sunny's gut, sending the smaller girl flying. Susan and Rick charged without hesitation, and just like that, the fight was over.

Light exploded from Sunny's body like an overpowered flash grenade, blinding her opponents, allowing her to take them both down in one hit each.

"Damn it!" Susan groaned "Why do I always fall for that trick?"

"Hey, you guys can make ice swords while I'm stuck with being a walking flash grenade." Sunny retorted. She saw Rick frowning , and asked "What's wrong, Rick?"

"Is it just me, or is Maria taking an awfully long bathroom break?" he asked, and all three demigods fell silent.


Leo slowed down as he approached Dallas. The trip had taken less than three hours. He drove towards the address displayed by the GPS. He had gotten the address with ease that defied belief. Which was a fancy way of saying that he had Googled Teresa Wilkins. Over several decades of fostering kids, she had undoubtedly collected plenty of money provided by child services. (Of course, she had barely used any of it.) She had bought a larger house with it, so it seemed. Her new house was nowhere close to a Hollywood star-level mansion, but it wasn't an ordinary house either.

Within minutes, the GPS beeped, and Leo stopped the car on the side of the road opposite to Teresa's house. He pressed a purple button on the dashboard, entering surveillance mode. Panels flipped over and screens came to life. They displayed thermal scans, radar, energy readings, and even a magic detector. Obviously, the largest source was located in the car itself. But there was another source of magic, negligible when compared to the first, yet far beyond that of an ordinary human.

Bingo.

Leo initiated a scan of the house, just as another car drove up Teresa's driveway. Neither the car nor its occupant showed gave off any abnormal readings on the scanners, but Leo was able to identify the symbol on the man's suit as he got out of the car.

Child services.

By the time the man had locked his car, Leo's scans had revealed the demigod's location and status. Apparently, he had been tied to a chair in the dining room. He had a few fractured ribs, but nothing that couldn't be healed with a bit of ambrosia. Leo's surveillance system couldn't detect skin damage, but it was more than likely that the kid was covered head-to-toe with bruises. Unfortunately, Leo was making that assumption based on his own history.

Leo diverted his attention to the man who had now walked up to the door. He rang the bell twice, and the door was opened by a woman that Leo had never wanted to see. Two decades had unfortunately done little to no damage to her looks. She might have been a psychopath, but even Leo had to appreciate the intense workout that she did to maintain her perfect physique. In fact, Leo had based his own training regimen off hers. He activated the ranged microphone, and a voice that had haunted him for two-thirds of his life came alive over the speakers.

"Why hello, Mr. Peter Stuart. To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?" Teresa asked. She was wearing a blouse that showed off quite a bit of her midriff, as well as some shorts.

Leo shuddered and gripped the steering wheel so hard that the metal bent under his fingers. Teresa's voice was followed by an unknown male voice, but Leo realized the tone in which he spoke. Leo's in-charge had used the exact same tone with Teresa.

"Why, I am here on business purposes. I'm supposed to check on young Mr. Albert McGuffin who is staying with you." He said as he reduced the distance between them. Teresa was significantly taller than him, which gave him a perfect view of Teresa's assets, and he didn't even try to hide the fact that he was staring. Leo watched in revulsion as he watched a scene from twenty years ago replay itself in his mind, and it was more or less the same thing all over again. Teresa gave the man a look of innocence, and Leo could tell it was fake from a hundred feet away.

"I'm afraid he isn't doing so well, Mr. Stuart. He keeps misbehaving. I don't know what to do." Teresa said with impossible innocence, perfectly pulling off the helpless damsel in distress look, which was completely contrasted by the cruel and lustful look in her eyes and her extremely muscular physique, including a set of eight-pack abs that looked like they were made of iron.

"I am truly sorry, ma'am. You seem to be in need of consolation." The child services guy, Peter said, confirming hat type of person he was. When it came to Teresa, there were only two- those who believed her lies, and those who she 'convinced' to keep her secret.

"What kind of consolation are we talking about?" Teresa asked seductively, pulling down one of the shoulder straps of her blouse. Peter stepped closer hand his hands snaked around her waist, hiding them from Leo's view, but he had once been on the other side of the door, and he knew exactly what was happening, if Teresa's shorts slipping down a few inches was any indication.

"The kind that's immensely pleasurable. Why don't we go inside? I'll have a talk with Albert while we're at it." Peter said, and Teresa's shorts almost slipped off completely. She let out a giggle, which was extremely uncharacteristic for someone with her personality.

"He's in the kitchen, so why don't we got there first? But I'm afraid that Albert is a bit 'tied-up' at the moment." Teresa said, rubbing her hips against Peter's.

"Even better." Peter said as Teresa pulled him through the door before slamming it shut. And it was about time too, because Leo was disgusted enough. When he next saw Hades, he was so going to ask him to grant her immortality and then throw her into Tartarus.

Leo sighed and turned the surveillance systems off, and once again, the car interior appeared normal. Leo got out of the car and took a deep breath, before letting it out with a long whoosh. He walked up Teresa's driveway and towards the front door. Over the years, his mechanical ability as a demigod had evolved to such a degree that the complex security was deactivated before he even touched the door. It opened silently, and Leo walked in. He didn't need to know where the dining room was, the grunts and moans led him straight to it. He opened the door to the dining room, and made eye contact with the monster in human skin for the first time in two decades.

Teresa was far more muscular than he remembered. Her figure would have made both Aphrodite and Ares jealous. She was currently bent over the dining table with her shorts and underwear pulled down to her ankles, while Peter was right behind her, his hands under her blouse. His pants were also bunched up around his ankles.

"Who the fuck are you?!" Teresa screamed, pushing Peter off and yanking her shorts back up and striding towards Leo, before realizing that her blouse and bra weren't exactly doing their job. She furiously fixed her attire, nearly ripping the cloth apart.

Leo expertly masked his fear. Logically, he knew perfectly well that he could take on ten Teresa's at once without his weapons or his fire with one hand tied behind his back, but the old fear was still there. Standing in front of her, he once more felt like a ten year-old. He glanced around the room, and saw a boy who looked as if he was five strapped to a chair, gagged and bound. There were tears in his eyes, because of physical or psychological torture, but Leo guessed that it was probably both.

Leo sidestepped to avoid Teresa's hand which was aimed at his throat. He deftly slipped under her arm and into the dining room, where Peter had just finished pulling his pants back up. He discreetly set a finger on fire and quickly burned through Albert's gag and ropes. They fell away, and Albert took deep, pained gasps. Leo quickly tipped a bottle of nectar into his mouth. Albert choked, but within seconds, his breathing had stabilized, and the bruises and cuts were already disappearing, and his eyes widened in wonder.

"What the fuck are you doing?!" Teresa screamed once more. "Who the fuck do you think you are?!" Veins popped up all over her body, and her muscles flexed.

"Leo Valdez."

That stopped Teresa dead in her tracks. "What….. did you say?" she asked, her voice full of disbelief.

"My name… is Leo Valdez." Leo said, forcefully keeping his voice steady "It's been a while, Teresa Wilkins." He shot her the most intense glare he could muster in the face on one of his greatest nightmares. He could practically read the shock and confusion written all over her face as she tried to gather herself. She stared at him dumbfoundedly, but slowly, her confused look turned into a smirk.

"Well, would you look at what found its way back home." Teresa said mockingly, choosing to ignore the fact that Leo had walked in on her whole she was almost completely naked. But he had seen her doing it while she was completely naked several times over anyway, so it wasn't anything new.

"This is not my home!" Leo said furiously "And I'm not here for you. I'm here for him." He said, nodding his head towards Albert.

Teresa's smirk turned into a genuine look of bewilderment. "Why the fuck do you want the brat? He's no good in bed and certainly not in life." Leo's expression darkened Albert's backstory was giving him a sense of déjà vu. "Or maybe….. that's exactly why you want him. He's just like you, now that I think about it."

"Teresa, you know this guy?" Peter asked, and was immediately put on the receiving end of Leo's glare.

"Oh, no worries, he's just another worthless piece of trash I regret having given a loving home." Teresa said, smiling at Leo cruelly.

Peter was never the sharpest tool in the shed. In fact, he might as well have been the bluntest. He was visiting Teresa for the third time on 'Official Business' and had gotten to know Teresa extremely intimately. Asking what he did despite knowing how well built she was a testament to his stupidity.

"Wait, you fostered him? How old are you?" Peter asked in slight revulsion.

CRACK!

Teresa's fist went through the wooden table, sending splinters flying. "Shut up." Teresa growled, glaring at Peter. There was a deadly undertone in her voice, and Leo noted that Peter had literally wet his pants. Teresa gave him a look of disgust. "Get the fuck outta here."

Peter ran without hesitation, leaving wet footprints behind, and Leo heard a roar of an engine before the screeching of tires. Leo would never see him again.

Peter may have exited the picture, but Teresa most certainly had not.

"Poor little Leo Valdez." Teresa mocked "That brat you're after killed his own father, you know. Birds of a feather flock together, I suppose."

Leo tensed up. Over the years, his friends had convinced him that his mother's death wasn't his fault. But when Teresa said it…

Teresa's smug look changed to one of fury. "How dare you. How dare you stand in my presence, after what you have done!" she screamed "You murdered your own mother! Devil spawn indeed! I will punish you for your sins!"

Teresa leapt over the table and threw herself at Leo, who was too shaken to move. He could reason with himself that the workshop incident was just an accident under normal circumstances. However, including Teresa meant throwing the word normal out the window. Teresa had used the death of his mother as a psychological weapon against him for nearly a full year. Those memories were permanently buried in his mind, hidden behind several firewalls, but Teresa was the password.

Leo was struck in the chest by Teresa's shin, and he was thrown into the wall. Albert whimpered and shrunk into a corner, but Teresa was focused on Leo alone.

"You killed your own mother in cold blood! Have you no shame?!"

"It wasn't my fault!" Leo protested, but Teresa was causing age-old insecurities to resurface. This was why, in place of his normal conviction, Leo's protest sounded more like denial.

Teresa's fist buried itself in Leo's gut, and Leo could tell that she was ridiculously strong, even by demigod standards. A seventeen year-old Percy wouldn't have stood a chance against her in a contest of strength. Of course, nowadays, Leo took blows dozens of times stronger than that on a daily basis, but coming from Teresa, his past memories overlapped with the present, causing the phantom pain to feel like a stick of dynamite going off in his face.

"You're a murderer!"

"Stop it!"

"You killed your own mother!" A solid slap sent Leo into another wall. "You're nothing more than a no-good bastard brat!" A high-kick sent him tumbling to the floor. Leo couldn't find it in himself to resist. His memories were clouding his vision.

"Stilettoed heels, crap." Leo thought.

Teresa raised her foot above Leo. "No one will ever love you!" Teresa shrieked, bringing her lethal footwear down on him, and he found himself lacking the will to block or dodge.

Luckily, someone else didn't.

A small figure burst through the door, and snapped the blade with her bare hand.

"You're wrong." The girl said, her voice unwavering.

Teresa stumbled backwards, thrown off balance. "Now who the fuck are you?!" she yelled. She had definitely not fostered this one.

"He has plenty of love." The girl continued "My Madre, my sisters, and my brother all love him, and so do I."

"The hell are you talking about? No one could possibly love a freak like that!"

"I don't care if he's a freak! I love him either way, because he's my PADRĒ!" the girl yelled with fury.

Teresa's expression changed once more, and this time, shock was evident on her face. "What the…?! Impossible! What kind of a bitch would even consider making a family with him? It's not …"

Teresa was interrupted by a chuckle from Leo, who was getting back on his feet.

"Heh. I'm a grown man, for crying out loud, but I still need my daughter to save me. Sheesh, I really need to get a grip." Leo drew himself up to his full height, although he still remained a full foot and half shorter than Teresa. "Thanks, Maria" he said, patting her on the head "leave the rest to me. I've got this."

Leo stepped towards Teresa, his mind finally clear. He saw her fist coming at him from a mile away, and raised his palm to casually catch the fist that had broken several of his bones in the past. Teresa barely had the time to widen her eyes before Leo kicked her feet out from under her and drove his elbow into her spine. Teresa's mouth opened in a silent shout, and she was hurled to the ground face-first, unconscious.

"That was… anticlimactic." Maria deadpanned.

"It was supposed to be." Leo said "Although, even though I am grateful for it, what are you doing here, Maria? And more importantly, how did you get here?" Maria blushed and avoided eye contact.

"Well, I might have gotten a little bored, and I might have accidentally skipped training, and I might have accidentally hidden in the trunk of the car."

Leo sighed "You really do take after me, don't you?" he said, ruffling her hair, causing her to giggle. He glanced around the room once more and found Albert in a corned, staring at him slack-jawed. Maria, meet Albert. Albert, meet my daughter, Maria."

"Hi!" Maria said enthusiastically, skipping over to where Albert was, offering him her hand.

"H-hi." Albert stuttered. He took Maria's hand, and she hoisted him off the floor with such ease that even she was surprised.

"You're really light, you know. Tia D told me that that's not good for your health." Maria said bluntly.

"She starved me for days on end." Albert mumbled, his eyes darting over to Teresa's unconscious figure for a second.

"I know how you feel." Leo said gently "Which is why we're getting you out of here."

Fear crept over Albert's face, and his eyes darted all over the room. "Where are you taking me?" he asked, his voice unsteady.

Leo raised an eyebrow. "Anywhere is better than here, right?" he asked pointedly. The son of Athena ran the question through his head once, before nodding. "In that case, come on! We've got a long way to go!"

"I call shotgun!" Maria said immediately, dragging Albert behind her, as he struggled to keep up with the overenergetic girl.

Albert was initially extremely intrigued about the car, but the moment Leo floored it, he wished that he had chosen to walk instead. The whole ride was spent with Leo dodging cars with mere inches to spare, Maria's cheering, and Albert screaming his head off.


Steam rose off the car as the water sprinklers activated, and Leo and Maria got out. Albert was still holding onto the seatbelts for dear life.

"Come on, Albert! The journey's over, and we've reached Leo's hideout!" Leo coaxed. Slowly, Albert removed all three of the rear seatbelts one by one, and shakily exited the car, whereupon he was completely blown away by the gigantic, incomplete framework of Festus. His jaw dropped.

"Whoa! What is that?!" Albert exclaimed.

"That is Festus…. Or what will one day be the body of Festus. He's my automaton dragon." Leo replied, gazing fondly upon the mass of metal and circuitry.

"Leo!" A voice called out, and Maria immediately dashed off and hid behind a mountain of scrap metal. "Are you alright?" Calypso asked, hurriedly entering the room.

Leo threw the pile of scrap behind which Maria was hidden an inconspicuous glance, before saying, in true Valdez flair: "Yep! Leo Valdez is at a usual 1,000% awesomeness as usual!"

"I can tell that you're lying, Leo." Calypso said comfortingly. Leo's smile lost some of it's brilliance, but was compensated by the dramatic rise in authenticity.

"No worries, sunshine. I moved past may past. I don't care about her enough to let her ruin my present and future. This is the life I have now, and I am not abandoning it for satisfying old grudges." Calypso almost smiled at that.

"Good to have you back, Leo," Calypso said warmly. "Do you need anything?" Leo looked down at Albert, who was clearly intimidated by Calypso's overwhelmingly intimidating figure. It wasn't just her height- she let off a natural aura that constantly sent off fight or flight signals in the bodies of everyone within several meters of her, especially because she wasn't forcefully concealing it. Her presence was a thousand times more terrifying than anything Teresa could ever have hoped to achieve.

"Well, I could most certainly use a nap after all that. And someone should probably give Albert a tour of the place," he said and turned towards Albert, who was white as sheet. "Don't worry about her, Albert, she's not going to hurt you."

"Who is she?" Albert asked meekly, still terrified.

"She's Calypso, my wife."

"No way. I don't believe you. No way can a guy like you get someone like her!" Albert said, momentarily forgetting that the subject of conversation was standing right there.

"Why doesn't anyone ever believe me?" Leo yelled, throwing his arms over his head. "And you're like, six years old! You're not even supposed to know stuff like this!"

"It's only natural to know stuff like this! Anyone can tell just by looking!"

"Well, you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover now, are you?" Calypso said, suddenly appearing behind Albert. The young demigod let out a shriek in surprise and once more hid behind Leo, who sighed.

"Just go with her. I promise she won't hurt you. I'll see you tomorrow morning."

"You're not having dinner?" Calypso asked.

"Nah, I don't really feel like eating. Besides, that stop at KFC on the way back was enough."

"If you say so, Leo. Come on, Albert. I'll introduce you to the rest of the kids. But first, we need to have a little talk regarding your mother….."

Calypso exited the lab, and Maria came out of hiding. "So, padre, whose kid is he?"

"Son of Athena. His dad was the scientific advisor to the president who was assassinated two months ago."

"Oh. That guy."

"Besides, aren't you forgetting something, hija?"

"What?"

"You should be convincing the others to cover for you before they tell your madre that you have been missing all day." Maria looked like a deer caught in headlights.

"Um…. I think I'll go do that. Right now." And with a burst of speed, Maria shot out of the room, leaving Leo in silence. He looked up at Festus' incomplete framework once more.

"Welp, it's been a long day, buddy. I think I'll take a break."

Festus said nothing as Leo walked out of the lab as well, turning off the lights, leaving the giant room in darkness. He took the stairs instead of the elevator, because for some reason, he felt much lighter and much stronger than before.

A huge weight had been removed from Leo's shoulders, a weight which when removed, had only made him stronger.


A/N:- Well, that's over. Seriously, I had to spend a full hour editing this so that the rating didn't get pushed into M. But it was worth it. Things are going smoothly, but all of us Leo fans know what that means.

Read and review! Review responses will be at the top of next chapter. PM us if you want to know anything, and we'll answer in a day or two.

Up next- The fastest demigod.

-Phoenix.