Categories > Cartoons > Class of the Titans

War Photography

by xanthophiliac 11 Reviews

This is a photograph of Jay. What you can't see and what he doesn't know is that ...

Category: Class of the Titans - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters:  - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2006/04/18 - Updated: 2006/04/18 - 1705 words - Complete

Author's Notes: This is probably very different from what most 'Class of the Titans' fanfiction will probably be like. I've always found the over-the-top tragedy of many Greek myths, poems, and plays to be quite funny, and I thought it would be interesting to write an Alternative Universe (AU) post-Season I story that shared the characteristic bleakness of the ancient Greeks. The official episode summary for Episode 1.26: Time After Time was used as a springboard. The last episode counting as canon here is Episode 1.17: Eye for an Eye. Neil was written-out because he just didn't work in this story. Yes, there is Jay/Theresa and Archie/Atlanta, but it isn't fluff.

Trust me, this gets so angsty and melodramatic that it descends into self-parody and humour.

Disclaimer: 'Class of the Titans' and all related characters are property of Studio B Productions, Nelvana, and Teletoon. The inspiration behind using 'This is a photograph of' repetitively was from a short story published in my university's newspaper. I did not actually read the story, I just noticed that phrase by chance and was extremely inspired by it. However, that small phrase the only thing borrowed, writing-wise. This story, plot and other distinguishable style choices included, belongs to the author. It is also a work of fanfiction, and no profit is generated from it.

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War Photography

(1)

This is a photograph of Jay. Theresa had decided that they spend their third summer after the second Titanomachy up north at one of the lakeside cottages her father owned. It'd be a chance for the two of them to spend some time together, she'd insisted, smiling as she did his packing while he sat and watched. He knew what she'd actually intended was for him to get his mind off of certain events, and that wasn't going to occur while they were still choked by scraps of reminders in New Olympia. They had forgotten to pack a camera with the rest of their equipment, so they bought a disposable one en route to the grounds. Theresa had taken this photograph with that camera.

The quality is poor, but you can see Jay standing with one foot on the stern of the sailboat they're about to take out on the lake, noon-hour sunlight illuminating his silhouette in pulses. He has the look of a Greek statue hunched over deep in thought, but if you were there, you would have seen that his eyes were just as blank, and that perhaps he was hunching from exhaustion. That glint of gold almost hidden by his life-preserver is his xiphos. He no longer needs it after the gods sent Cronus back to Tartarus. He pretends he keeps it at home, but Theresa knows he's always felt safer with it on him, even though it's been three years since he's last used it.

What you don't see and what he doesn't know is that twelve minutes after this photograph was taken, a gybe out on the lake went wrong and Jay didn't dodge the boom swinging towards him fast enough. Theresa called her father to transport them to a hospital, but the emergency doctor told her he was already gone at the moment of impact due to head injuries. Theresa wondered why the gods didn't arrive as a convenient deus ex machina when it would have been most useful.

The medical reports said it was an accident, but Theresa didn't believe something like that could be an accident, not with what she knew and had seen years ago. She told her father later that she knew it was going to happen, that she saw it coming and didn't warn Jay in time.

Her father told her that it was just stress, just like the doctor said.

(2)

This is a photograph of Herry. Herry had gone back home to the farm after the war had ended. He'd invited the others to go with him, but they'd all chosen to move-on in their seperate ways instead. Sometimes, when he remembered and found the right words, he'd write letters to the others. He'd especially liked writing to Jay and Atlanta, since the three of them had arrived together before they were joined by the other four. Sometimes, he'd even start a letter to Odie before he remembered. His grandmother had found the old camera in a box of old trinkets they'd meant to sort together. She'd loved photographing her grandson and the family dog when she could remember how to use the camera properly.

The picture is black-and-white with faded edges, but you can see Herry sleeping on an armchair by the window. This is the first time he's been able to sleep this soundly, long enough for the photograph to be taken. Herry is much too big for the armchair and has been since he was twelve, and the seat worn smooth by use sags under his weight like the burden of the sky on Atlas' shoulders. The sunlight casts his face in sharp white, facial features slightly shadowed like a temple's bas reliefs.

What you can't see and what he doesn't know is that seven minutes after this photograph was taken, the phone rang. Theresa made a long distance call from the hospital on her father's cell phone about Jay's accident, and he hung-up before heard her warning not to come. She didn't have to read the next morning's newspaper to know there was a titanic traffic accident on the highway, each crumpled vehicle a smoking mosaic tile in the grainy aerial snapshot. A sentence on page O12 mentioned that what was probably a red pick-up truck before it caught fire was missing a body, or remains of any sort.

If Jay were there, he would have reminded Theresa that Zeus had snatched Heracles from his funeral pyre to make him a god after the fire burned away his mortal parts.

(3)

This is not a photograph of Odie.

What you see is a shapeless blur that may or may not be Odie. It must have been captured by the web camera wired to the laptop he'd received from Hermes at the beginning when it all started. But we don't and can't know for sure.

What you can't see and what he doesn't know is that a split second after this image was uploaded, he found himself being escorted by Hermes, messenger and psychopompous of the gods, to the gates of the Underworld. Odie didn't have change on him, but Hermes had two gold coins that he didn't mind lending to him from that time he won a bet against Apollo regarding the modern-day popularity of lyres.

Jay doesn't feel so guilty about that picture anymore, now that he can apologize to Odie himself in-spirit.

(4)

This is a photograph of Archie. He and Atlanta had decided to enroll in classes at the same university shortly after the second Titanomachy. Atlanta had immediately specialized in environmental studies. Archie had initially opted for classical studies to study Greek poetry, but he'd since changed his mind. He hadn't been sure of what to do, but as long as it had nothing to do with the Peloponnese, he was mildly satisfied. The two of them had often gone to the campus gym to work-out together, but Atlanta stopped enjoying the visits once she'd noticed how Archie was just there to vent his increasing irritability. This photograph had been taken with a digital camera for the athletics section of the university yearbook.

The picture is colourful and printed on glossy white paper, heavy stock. You can see that Archie looks nearly the same as always. He has the same stupid purple hair and that same stupid blue sweater Atlanta swears he never puts in the laundry. She wouldn't have any trouble tracking an animal wearing it, she sometimes tells him, much to his annoyance. There's a silver whistle around his neck, and a spark of sunlight flashes off the edge. His heel has weakened since the victory three years ago, so he supervises practices instead of competing himself. Even Atlanta, oblivious as she usually is, understands why he would be frustrated and snap at the athletes. She knows she'd feel the same way if she had to watch sprinters she could once out-run race and compete instead of her.

What you don't see and what he doesn't know is that seven hours later, he and Atlanta received an e-mail from Theresa about what happened to Jay and Herry earlier that week. They responded to the news by going on a night-time run together, but as Archie couldn't run as well anymore, Atlanta figured she'd jog ahead while he walked a short distance behind. They'd meet-up at the park in seven minutes. When Atlanta had already waited for an irritating twelve, she backtracked to the pier and saw that he'd slipped on his bad heel and fallen off the dock.

He still hadn't learned how to swim.

(5)

This is a photograph of Theresa. She is currently seeing a privately-hired psychiatrist three times a week, all expenses paid for by her father. It's only been two or so weeks since she's started therapy, but she must be getting better.

She doesn't see things before they happen anymore.

-----

Additional Author's Notes: Each of the character deaths mentioned, with the exception of Odie's (which is based on vague conjecture based on Episode 1.26's official summary) has some basis in mythology, if it wasn't evident -- Jason died when the talking plank of the Argo fell on his head; Heracles was actually slowly poisoned, but did have his son help him onto a flaming funeral pyre; Achilles obviously had the heel thing, and that was combined with Archie's water issue in the series. Also, my primary interest as a psychology major is traumatic stress, though I have spread a number of different symptoms across the characters, depending on which ones I thought matched them better.

And I know someone is wondering what a 'psychopompous' is. It's simply the guide of souls to the Underworld, and that's Hermes' job. Also, the repetition of certain numbers is not a mistake or a sign of a lack of numerical skills.

Further questions and constructive criticism are more than welcome, and even strongly encouraged.
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