How fragile is life? How good is it to keep a secret from someone, even when you don't want to break their heart. Who will be the hero- even with his last breath? (A/A, J/T)
Disclaimer: I don't own Class of the Titans
Pairings: Jay/Theresa, Archie/Atlanta
Warnings: A real heart-jerker and it makes me come very close to crying when I re-read it. Character death, blood and I entirely destroy the prophecy without care...
Authors Note: Yet another little one-shot I thought up when I ran into a bit of a 'wall' with 'Demons Within Me'. I guess you could say it's a bit like a little series of Archie/Atlanta one-shots I'm slowly doing (if you add 'Quiet Time' to the list as well) and I hope you guys like it as much as I do. I like writing with plain emotion. Also, I realize that I completely ruin the point of the prophecy in this story, but this one-shot is meant to tug at the heart-strings, not be plot-line correct. I hope you enjoy.
This story starts off near the end of a battle with Cronus and the giants. Unfortunately, our heroes aren't winning. Jay is at Agnon's feet, while Cronus is nearby. The others are all over...
The giant loomed over Jay, spear in hand. Cronus laughed hysterically.
"Is this the true prophecy? These BRATS would defeat me?"
The seven heroes lay scattered on the ground, beaten and bloody. Some nursing their wounds as best they could with their fatigue-limited mobility, others lying and watching, just watching with sad, lost eyes. There was no hope for them now.
"No, Cronus! We WILL stop you!" Jay cried, struggling to his feet, but his voice was dead and hoarse from shouting instructions from the earlier battle.
Seeing their leader up helped inspire some life back into the other six. They forced themselves to their feet, looking more like war-wary veterans than young teenage kids still trying to get through high school. This was the best they'd be able to do now, there was no fight left in their limbs, 'the Seven' were defeated...
"Kill him, Agnon!" Cronus ordered, grinning terribly as the terrible ember of murder glowed fiercely in his poppy-red eyes. Years seemed to shave off the god as he waited to hear the agonized scream of his rival, the stupid mortal, Jay.
The giant smiled in a dark and twisted way and raised his spear, he'd had enough of these stupid mortals forever. He couldn't wait to kill this one, and he'd save the moment for all eternity. Agnon looked down upon Jay like how a cat stares down the mouse before it springs.
'Do Something!' Archie tried to scream.
But he knew it was useless, they all did, Jay especially. No one could prevent Jay's death; all they could do was watch.
Jay and Archie had never been the best of friends (considering Archie was always nit-picking Jay's decisions and leadership skills), well, Archie had only gotten along really well with Atlanta. But everyone loved Jay- Theresa especially.
Jay and Theresa had something special, something more than what he and Atlanta would ever have, even if he could muster himself enough to finally TELL her. Those two were made to be together. Theresa was Jay's playful and social side, and Jay was Theresa's serious, down-to-business side. They completed each other. As for him and Atlanta, they were basically the same side of the same coin. Any 'real' relationship between them would never work out.
Archie's heart was nearly wrenched from his chest as he saw Jay lower his sword, leaving himself open for death, but his leader turned his head to look at Theresa and mouthed:
'I. Love. You.'
Theresa's eyes welled with tears as she nodded and responded:
'I. Love. You. Too."
They smiled sadly at each other, wanting to rush together into each other's arms and hold each other until the shadow's passed. But they'd never be together again...
No, someone- HE had to do something. Archie couldn't let Jay die, for Theresa's sake, for everyone's sake. Besides, only a blow to the heel could kill Achilles, right?
'But you're not Achilles' a voice, his own, popped up in his head, trying to save himself from the fate he was deciding.
'Achilles was a great hero, he fought many glorious battles and was immortal. You're not, you're no hero,' it continued.
What made a hero? Did they have to be immortal? Did they have to be specially talented or gifted? Did they need to needlessly sacrifice themselves for the sake of a stranger or a loved one?
Archie realized the answer as he broke into a run towards Jay.
A hero was someone who stayed strong and fought their enemies. But not fighting just gangs, criminals or evil tyrants, a hero fought for what they believed in. It didn't matter of it was right or wrong, if they believed, it was true.
And Archie believed that Jay and Theresa would get to hold each other one last time. He believed he would keep his secret form Atlanta forever, she'd stay his best friend and they'd never get more than that. But he'd never break her heart...
Jay stiffened as he heard Agnon bring the spear down, he left his chest exposed so that the death would be quick and relatively painless. He didn't want to die. Hot tears fell down his face as he thought of what he was giving up so easily. Theresa. The world. Theresa. His friends. Theresa...
Theresa was everything to him now. While he cried, death was coming slower and slower, like time had slowed down, he remembered holding her in his arms. Rocking back and forth slowly as they stood under the umbrella in the light rain.
'I'm sorry Theresa,' he thought.
Then, suddenly, there was a thudding of feet beside him and something- or someone- slammed into him shoulder first and knocked him flying.
This was it, he must be dead, but unlike most people, Jay knew what it felt like to be dead. And he felt very, very alive.
As Archie pushed Jay aside, all he could think was that he believed he was right. He'd felt a strange lightness and burst of strength as he'd run towards obvious death. He'd seen Jay crying, but not because he was a coward, but because he was scared, distressed, heart-broken and lonely. And yet, no emotion came to Archie as he hovered in the air, like lost in a calming lullaby...
And then the spear struck him through the chest.
Atlanta felt the spear in herself as she watched it impale Archie. Her best friend, no, closer. She felt her metaphorical heart tear out and shatter on the ground, staining the barren dirt with unused love. The love she'd denied from herself, from everyone, but especially form Archie...
She screamed as he did. The pain of the spear was as killing in her as it was in him. She doubled over and threw up over the broken pieces of her heart lying on the ground. Other around her threw up or retched in the background, but they didn't matter. All that she could see now was Archie, the spear through his chest and stabbing through his back. Time slowed down as she picked up her feet to run. But she was so slow. For the first time in her life, Atlanta was too slow.
She could see the blood trickling down the shaft of the spear, already stained enough with gore, Archie's life, the life that was dribbling away...
She remembered giving him a hug, and though surprised, he hugged her back.
He placed a quick, sweet and loving kiss on her forehead when he thought she had fallen asleep on his shoulder during the movie, when she was really awake the whole time.
Jay was dead! She burrowed into his embrace and cried into his chest, letting him stand strong hold off reality for her while she overcame the shock.
Arachne was in her mind, blocking everything out, and then she heard his voice in the confusion. Waking up form her trance to see his face, so worried for her, and then she almost heard IT.
'I lo- really, really care about you!'
'I Love You Too!' She screamed silently.
She dropped to her knees and skidded to a halt beside Archie, Jay was already rolling him onto his back. No one really cared to notice that Agnon had taken the spear and left with Cronus.
"Archie! Archie wake up!" she screamed hysterically as she grabbed a bloodied piece of the front of his hoodie in a desperate attempt to shake him awake.
"Archie! Archie!" she couldn't stop. It was too much to bear to lose him now.
"Why'd you do that, Archie, why?" Jay cried.
He felt ashamed, scared, but he was alive now, so he was thankful. And yet, now his... his... teammate was slowly fading away in terrible agony. He was checking for a pulse as Atlanta screamed frantically again, trying to wake Archie up. He didn't even know how he was functioning so smoothly... but he hadn't been as attached to Archie as Atlanta was. It was horrendous, the raw emotion in her voice, it mad him want to throw up all over again, or even take Archie's place so that his own emotions would stop rising and falling in the same crazy waves hers were. He gagged slightly and turned away from Atlanta and Archie, coughing up some bloodied spittle which he spat away quickly.
Faintly, Archie moaned and his grey-blue eyes flickered open. They were glossy and far away, he wasn't able to focus on either of them because he wasn't strong enough to.
"Jay," he breathed painfully.
Jay leaned closer to Archie quickly, "I'm listening, I'm listening," he said quickly. Atlanta was lifting Archie up slightly so he could rest his head in her lap instead of on the hard ground.
"I-I did it for you and T-Theresa. You have e-each other and the w-world. I d-don't really have a-anyone to m-miss me," he stopped and took in a sharp breath, blood beginning to dribble from the corner of his mouth and onto Atlanta's shorts. She didn't care, Archie's blood was already pooled around them, still being pumped out through the hole in his body. She wanted it back inside of him, for the hole to seal up and for him to be alive and not getting whiter by the second.
"A-Archie..." Jay's voice broke.
"J-just love each o-other," Archie tried to smile but it lasted only a few seconds before replaced with a grimace of pain.
"I will," Jay nodded, feeling tears in the corners of his eyes again.
Like rain, three salty, warm tears fell onto Archie's forehead. He tried to move his head and eyes more so the could focus on Atlanta, but he didn't have enough strength.
"You jerk... you h-have no one?" W-what about me?" Atlanta trembled, trying to hold back the flood of tears that threatened to fall. Once it started, she knew she'd never be able to stop. Her breath was hitching terribly, some tears had already broke free and were still trailing down her face. Archie realized what he'd just said.
"I'm s-sorry, 'Lan. I j-just meant I h-have no one who l-loves me l-like how..." he trailed off and coughed up some more blood that speckled his chin and his hoodie with red dots.
"I LOVE YOU!" Atlanta screamed, breaking into a rush of tears, "t-that's why y-you c-can't die. Not now!"
Archie looked up at her, forcing himself to focus on her beautiful face.
"At-lanta..." he whispered slowly, tears beginning to form in his own eyes. A lone crystal drop ran down the length of his face, mixing with the blood and leaving a clear streak on his cheek.
He was able to move his hand, which was already lying up near Atlanta's knee, closer so that she could hold it, and she did hold it, firmly. He held the grip with all the strength that was slowly ebbing out of him with each beat of his ever-lonely heart.
"I-I did w-what was r-right," he said weakly.
They both knew the end was coming soon, all too soon.
"You were a hero," she replied softly, squeezing his hand. She could feel his hand growing colder, she could feel Archie drifting further and further away.
"I love you," she whispered, tears beginning again.
"I-I l-lo..." he never finished.
His eyes closed and his head lolled back. Archie's once firm and secure grip fell limp, his hand now like a foreign object. It couldn't have been the same hand that had clapped her on the shoulder with adjoining words of praise, or wrapped around her when she needed a sanctuary.
Atlanta screamed and buried her face in her hands, sobbing for all she had just lost. She had just lost her life, but not in the same sense that Archie had.
Jay and Theresa cried together, in each others arms. Herry pounded the ground with his fist and cursed to the heavens above. Odie was shivering and shaking his head in disbelief, hands clamped over his ears as he willed the nightmare to end. Neil was only able to stare, willing this to only be another cruel prank on him. But the tears on his face, staining the small amount of make-up he always wore, were real. His mirror had slipped from his hand and shattered on the ground, displaying hundreds of different angles of his horror-struck face. He dropped to his knees, cutting his pants and legs on the glass, but he didn't care. He had finally seen just how fragile life, the heart, were. No one would ever get a chance to hurt him like what had just happened between Archie and Atlanta, no one.
And far away, sitting by a pond in Elysian Fields, a hero sat. Waiting, he waited with words still on his pale lips.
Waiting to finish his sentence.
Hope you enjoyed it....