At the training pad, Leo stood, fidgeting slightly while Nightwing and Artemis circled him. They weren't attacking, merely observing his body and assessing his strengths and weaknesses.
The former Robin noted that while Leo was scrawny with loose-fitting clothes, he did have a fair amount of muscle. No doubt, it was probably through all his years of lifting heavy machinery. Meanwhile, the archer made a more interesting discovery. She noticed several faint scars on his face and arms, indicating that he had gotten involved in a few street fights.
Her eyes also narrowed slightly when she spotted faint scars on his wrists, which he unconsciously tried to hide. She made a mental note to speak to Black Canary about counselling sessions for him.
After the inspection, the older heroes conferred between themselves, while Leo brought out a chunk of metal and began fiddling again.
Nightwing said, "He's pretty scrawny, but underneath all that, he has a good build probably because of his heritage as the son of Hephaestus. I daresay, Leo is deceptively strong."
Artemis also chipped in, "If I had to hazard a guess, he would do well in close combat, especially as a scrapper. Leo's a lot shorter than the others, but he can try to use that to his advantage. I can't put my finger on it, but I think he grew up on the streets. Trust me, the streets in every city is tough, and it is pretty much survival of the fittest. My only concern is that he is unnaturally thin."
Just then they were interrupted by Annabeth who had been talking to Percy on the couch. The blonde smacked her forehead in frustration, "DI IMMORTALES! I'M AN IDIOT!"
She rushed outside to the beach and spotted a nearby and convenient small waterfall. After creating a rainbow, Annabeth fished out a drachma from her pocket and chanted, "O Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow, accept my offering. Show me Harley and Festus at Camp."
The misty surface shimmered and Harley's face came into view. He perked up, "Hi Annabeth! I've got the materials, I was just about to take off with Festus."
She half-screamed, "NO! Stay where you are! We're all coming to you! I can't believe I forgot! A whole bunch of demigods in one place is asking for trouble! I need you to do me a favour though. Ask Chiron to grant the superheroes permission to enter the camp."
He gave a thumbs up, "Gotcha!"
As she returned, Nightwing looked up at her with confusion etched on his face. He asked, "What's up? You suddenly rushed off like that?"
She grabbed his arm, "We have to leave here right now!"
Now he was confused, "Come on! This is a safe place for our headquarters."
Percy also rushed up, "No, Wise Girl's right! We're not safe here from monsters. Since me, Jason, Nico, Hazel and Thalia are children of the Big 3 gods, add to that, dozens of other demigods, its practically a beacon for monsters saying 'Here I am, please eat me now'. We have to head to our base, which has protective wards."
That was when he got the message, "Okay, let's go! I'll tell Batman first. By the way Annabeth, why did you rush off like that?"
"I had to Iris-Message Harley and tell him to stay at the camp. The Goddess of the Rainbows, Iris, usually allows us to video message someone else. It only works long as we give her a drachma as an offering. We call it Iris-Messaging."
Before long, everyone was ready to leave and Batman agreed to the move, informing them that he would be in touch via Iris Messages to Chiron. Percy gave a sharp whistle, and three Pegasi came swooping in led by the jet black Pegasus that Percy rode on during the Minotaur attack.
Impulse whooped, "Dibs on the black one!"
However, when he hopped onto its back, the black pegasus bucked him off immediately and nickered. Percy sent him an apologetic smile, "Sorry bro, Blackjack says he's off-limits to anyone except me or Annabeth."
Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle stared, "You can understand him?"
"Yep! Poseidon also created horses. So I can understand them."
Then, the ocean bubbled and another horse emerged from the waves. Lagoon Boy's eyes shone, "A hippocampus! I thought they were extinct! Even King Orin has never seen one in the flesh!"
Percy laughed and pet the hippocampus, "Hey Rainbow! I need your help. Hey Kaldur, Garth, Tula, La'gaan. I suggest you guys take the lead with the Pegasi and with Rainbow, they respond better to people of the sea."
With that, Kaldur hopped on Guido and Reyna sat behind him. Garth and Tula took Porkpie, while Lagoon Boy and one of the demigods decided to ride on Rainbow.
Then, Nico took out a dog whistle and blew. Immediately, a tank-sized mastiff bounded out of the shadows. Her appearance startled some of the superheroes, but they relaxed when she pounced on Percy and gave him a slobbery lick, and did the same for Nico.
Percy groaned, "Come on! Mrs. O' Leary! You know that doesn't wash off easily!"
Nico simply chuckled, "Meet Mrs. O' Leary, the only friendly hellhound in the Underworld. She used to belong to the legendary architect, Daedalus, but he gifted her to us before he passed on."
Just as they prepared to depart, Hazel, Frank, Jason and Thalia approached Leo, "Hey Leo, do you have them?"
He got the message immediately. The Latino dug into his toolbelt and fished out a pill bottle and grinned impishly, "Never leave without them!"
The two girls took a pill each and swallowed. Before long, Thalia slumped into Jason's arms, and Hazel into Frank's. Conner was confused, "What's that all about?".
As he and Frank dragged the unconscious duo, Jason called out, "Ironically, my sister is not overly fond of heights. Meanwhile Hazel has a tendency to get motion sickness. So our best option usually is to knock them out."
The remaining non-fliers either boarded the Bioship and Supercycle, or went in the Argo II. Soon they were off towards Camp. As Leo steered, Annabeth and Percy joined him in the control room.
The blonde spoke up, "Hey Leo, I just thought you should know, after the war, Camp Halfblood and Camp Jupiter worked out a deal. With the help of Goddess Hecate, Camp Jupiter was transported to sit alongside our camp. So, we've pretty much expanded our base."
He grinned, "Awesome! So we're all one big happy family! How did you guys manage to pull it off?"
Percy spoke up, "After your 'heroic' sacrifice, all of the Romans were quite moved. So they unanimously agreed to form a permanent alliance."
His eyes widened, "Everyone agreed? I would have thought that the Teddy Bear Terminator would have been fully against it."
The couple burst out laughing and Percy clapped his back, not noticing a small wince, "HA! That's a good one! But back to the topic, he aimed an onager at you. However, his cape got caught up in it and he shot himself. I'm pretty sure he's dead."
Leo quipped, "In the words of the great Edna Mode, 'NO CAPES!'"
Annabeth snorted and gave him a high five.
As they approached the iconic strawberry fields, Impulse yelped, "Is that a freaking dragon!"
Percy grinned, "Yep! That's Peleus. His main job is to guard the Golden Fleece on the tree. The Fleece is the only thing that is keeping our borders up and keeping out monsters. Don't worry, he's pretty friendly, but he will attack any foes."
Just as they landed, a teenage girl with frizzy red hair ran over to meet everyone. She called out, "Hey guys! Chiron just got in touch with this Batman fellow via Iris Message. He'll be coordinating efforts from here. Also, a couple of Justice League members, Black Canary and Red Tornado will be here as well. They're staying in the Big House with me, Chiron and Mr. D."
The redhead then turned to the heroes, "Hi! I'm Rachel Dare. I'm a mortal, but I serve as the host for the Oracle of Delphi."
Percy and Annabeth approached and slung an arm around her. The son of Poseidon said, "She's also a badass fighter!"
Rachel blushed violently, "Come on Percy, Annabeth! I only distracted Kronos."
He rolled his eyes, "Dude! You're the Red-Headed Nightmare! How many people can say that they hit the Titan Lord of Time in the eye with a blue plastic hairbrush?"
Nightwing actually snickered at that, "Seriously!? That is cool!"
Her blush deepened even further.
Then Annabeth snapped out of it, "Oh right… I almost forgot. We need to prepare everyone. Leo! You and the Hephaestus kids need to build some weapons for the heroes!"
He beckoned for the heroes to follow him, "Let's go to forges! We'll get you guys sorted out. Also, a lot of you will probably need some armour."
Leo sprinted off, with Jason and Piper chasing him. The two had come to a mutual agreement to not let the Latino out of their sights, especially after the sacrificial stunt.
At the forge
The heroes gathered around as Leo, Nyssa, Jake Mason, Shane, Christopher, Heloise and several other campers prepared everything. Ms Martian subtly kept her distance from the heat.
The Hephaestus kids held a small conference between themselves before coming to a consensus. Jake beckoned Superboy over and asked him to hold out his hands.
Confused, the Kryptonian clone obeyed, only for Mason to take a tape measure and wrap it around the clone's wrist. The demigod repeated the action for Superboy's palm and each finger and wrote in a small handbook.
As he did this, Christopher fired up one of the forges and placed a cauldron on the flame. The gang got to work, and before long, Superboy was sporting a pair of Celestial Bronze gauntlets with sharp spikes on the knuckles. He pounded his fists together and grinned, "Nice!"
Nyssa called Supergirl and repeated the measuring process. The only difference was that Nyssa created Stygian Iron brass knuckles. With this, Supergirl smirked, "I love it!"
Then, Leo approached the Atlanteans, "Hey, so I was wondering, how do your powers work?"
Kaldur replied, "Garth, and myself can create hard water constructs, like swords and shields. Tula has her Atlantean sorcery, and same for La'gaan. I can generate my weapons from my tattoos."
The Atlantean demonstrated, and the Latino's eyes lit up. He grabbed Jake and began explaining something. When he returned, he said, "Okay so I ran this idea with Jake. I was thinking that I can probably inject some liquid Celestial Bronze into your body, where the tattoos are."
Leo's eyes turned serious, "I don't know if it will hurt, but I'm hoping that when you create your sword and shield, it has Celestial Bronze lacing the edges. Honestly, I've never done this before, so it's a risk that I have to take. Are you still up for it, or should we come up with a Plan B?"
Kaldur shrugged, "Let's go for it. What do we have to lose anyway."
Leo fished out a syringe and carefully extracted some liquid Celestial Bronze. He then proceeded to inject it slowly into Aqualad's arm, right where the tattoos are located. Needless to say, Kaldur didn't even wince.
After a few minutes, the hero summoned his water sword and shield. A broad impish grin plastered itself on Leo's face, as the sword now had its blade edge lined with the liquid metal. Even the shield had Celestial Bronze lining the border. Leo pumped a fist, "YES! IT WORKED!"
They repeated the same process with Garth/Tempest, and it worked like a charm. With the difficult cases and experiments out of the way, the Hephaestus kids got to work on the others. Soon, Nightwing had his dual escrima sticks tipped with Imperial Gold. Robin's staff was also encased in Stygian Iron, while Cassie got a Celestial Bronze sword.
The entire Bat family also received several new batarangs made of Imperial Gold or Celestial Bronze. Nyssa even managed to fill a few of the explosive ones with shrapnel. Arsenal, Arrowette and Artemis also received a lot of Celestial Bronze arrows.
Blue Beetle managed to get his scarab to scan and interface all three metals. So, it wasn't necessary to create weapons for him. However, Beast Boy received a set of Imperial Gold claws. Finally, Guardian became the owner of an Imperial Gold shield.
Then, Leo set about creating another weapon. A confused Nyssa and Jake also helped him out, "Uh… Leo. Who's this one for?"
He chuckled sheepishly, "This one's for me. Flaming hammers can only do so much damage. Hey hermana y hermano, you two familiar with Mortal Kombat? Especially the character, Scorpion? I was creating something along those lines."
Jake nodded, clearly impressed. Gradually, the heroes dispersed, except for Batgirl to help the demigods, as she was a bit of a tech nerd as well. Nyssa joked that had she been a demigod, she could see her as a Hephaestus child. In the end, Leo walked out of the forge wearing a pair of gauntlets and headed to the practice arena.
The Latino stood in front of a dummy and raised his fists. A moment later, he attacked, landing a few punches and creating a few combos. He then kicked it up a notch by setting his hands on fire and resuming the assault.
Leo slowly circled around the dummy, still punching and kicking, before he back-flipped himself away and a chain attached to a hook, shot out from his gauntlet and struck the dummy in the chest. He yelled out, "GET OVER HERE!", and yanked the dummy towards him, only for him to kick it away.
With the routine over, his sibling cheered and hooted. Wrapped in Christopher's playful headlock, Leo grinned, "I always wanted to say those words!"
Jason approached him slow-clapping, "That was awesome! Didn't know you had it in you. Want to spar later? No gauntlets, cause that's cheating!"
"You're on, Archangel!"
"Archangel? What happened to-"
Leo shrugged, "That name's taken. I'm still going to call you Sparky though. Percy's new nickname is Namor."
The two of them walked back to the cabins, just taking in the scenery.
They snickered as they spotted Rocket and Bumblebee pestering Piper to get an autograph from her father. A short distance away from that scene, Frank and Beast Boy were bonding over their animal shape-shifting powers. They were even hanging out with Carter and Sadie Kane, who could shape-shift into a hawk and a kite respectively.
Near the Poseidon cabin, Annabeth and Percy were catching up with the former's cousin, Magnus, and his boyfriend (girlfriend?), Alex.
Outside the Hermes Cabin, they spotted the Stoll brothers with Blue Beetle and Static. The two friends even spied some fake spiders in the arms of the demigods.
Jason snorted, "10 drachmas says that Annabeth's going to kill them. Don't worry, if she suspects you, I'll be your alibi."
Leo grinned and shot back, "20 says that the entire cabin will kill them. Heck, I love pranking too but for the sake of my health, Annabeth's off limits. That chica can murder you with just a look, she's scary."
After a moment's silence, Jason spoke up, "Six months man… You were missing for six months. We searched nearly everywhere for you. Many gave up after a month. But me, Pipes, Frank, Hazel, Percy, Annabeth, Nico, your siblings and even Reyna, kept searching. My sister and Lady Artemis also got the Hunters to join in. We were actually in the middle of one of our searches when Chiron came to us about this alliance with the Justice League."
"Sorry about that man, I had a promise to keep. The prophecy said, 'An oath to keep with a final breath'. I swore on the Styx that I would find Calypso. Took me nearly forever to get to her island, but it was worth it."
Soon, they reached the dining pavilion and sat down, watching the resident pranksters. Then, Piper squeezed in between them and wrapped an arm around her boyfriend and her best friend. Even Calypso joined the trio, sitting next to Leo, "So what are we looking at?"
Leo flashed his unofficial big sister a signature grin, "Blue Beetle and Static are about to learn of an unspoken rule in the camp, 'No pranking the children of Athena, especially Annabeth'. Like I told Sparky earlier, I love a good prank, but Annabeth and her siblings are off limits."
As he watched the grey-eyed girl head into the cabin, Leo fished out a large tub of popcorn, with the other three sharing it. Not a moment too soon, there were multiple piercing screams from the Athena camp.
A fuming Annabeth stormed up to Leo, before Jason blocked her path, "I can vouch for Leo. He was at the forge earlier, and later on, he and I walked here together."
Leo also chipped in, "Come on Annie! I love pranks, but I'm not dumb enough to cross you!"
She calmed down a little and then her stormy grey eyes gained a calculating look, "It was the Stolls, wasn't it? Leo? Care to help me and my siblings get revenge? O caramel! My favourite!"
He flashed her an evil smile, "Annabeth Chase… It would be my genuine pleasure."