“I Need a Hero” -Bonnie Tyler
Disclaimer: This is fiction. All the characters and events portrayed here are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely accidental and unintentional. I as the author reserves all rights. A big thanks goes out to Cathy who proofed and generally make this readable. Any remaining errors, or mistakes are mine! Enjoy
“Where have all the good men gone, and where are all the gods? Where's the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?”
“I Need a Hero” -Bonnie Tyler
The pounding of feet behind me was not a good thing. I broke out into an outright run for my life. My book bag and long hair flew, as I took the corner so fast I had to grab hold of the stop sign to keep from careening out into the street.
Never the biggest boy in my class, nor very athletic, the thick humid air of the summer afternoon burned my lungs before I had covered even half the block of my neighborhood’s old brownstones. Not daring to look back, from the corner of my eye I caught a beefy hand reaching for me.
A tearing jerk ripped my book bag away, sending me spinning out of control into the old brick wall, bouncing off it, and stars danced in my vision as I rolled to a stop. Ouch. My heart pounded in my chest as I wheezed for breath.
“I am so dead,” I thought, as the coffee colored face of Malcolm X Burns loomed over me. Yeah, he was named after just who you think. You would have to go a long way to find someone more bigoted and just plain mean than MXB. Worse, in the eyes of our school, the brute could do no wrong since he had single handily sent our high school football team to the State conference.
That didn’t make me feel one damn bit better as he reached down for me, cracking his knuckles. In one of those silly timeout moments, I could only look up at the gathering clouds above us, threatening an afternoon thunderstorm.
“Where have all the good men gone, and where are all the gods? Where's the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed? I need a hero.” I plaintively misquoted from that old song by Bonnie Tyler, as Malcolm’s monster-sized hand palmed my face, pulling me up off the ground.
Now you might wonder why a teen like me would be thinking about an old song at a time like this. It was all because of a class assignment. We were studying myths and legends. Our assignment was to find incidents and examples of them in modern culture. Me, I picked that old song from the 80’s. It was rather fun, researching the Hercules’ myths and mentioning how the tragic Greek hero turned up in modern culture. From that campy TV series with that Kevin guy to that song I had just mentioned.
” “Herakles, son of Zeus, hero who ascended Olympus, thou are dearly needed right now."I whispered.
Stars flashed in my eyes again as MXB slammed me against the old masonry so hard flecks rained down on us. My own private nickname for him was Moronic eXperimental Bully. However, none of this would have happened if not for that frakking, damn them to hell, do-gooder.
From my very first step into kindergarten, I got outed as a girly boy, a sissy. Needless to say, I hated that title with a passion. Absolutely, I had no intentions of spending the next 13 years as a victim. I may not have been very big, but I showed everyone that I fought dirty and had no idea what a fair fight was about. Yeah, I got in trouble, but from that time on, most learned you left the crazy kid alone. I was just more trouble than I was worth.
Mostly that is, because I was still picked on, but I had drawn that line and everyone knew exactly where it was. Of course being thought a little psycho didn’t make me a lot of friends. So being enterprising, I found my own in the library by way of Heinlein, Clarke, and Lackey. Later on I added to those by making my own stories and characters when I ran out of the sort of stuff I liked to read.
I kicked out at the big Neanderthal, right between the goal posts and slammed my head forward in a head butt.
A second later, I dazedly cursed myself because not only was he wearing a frigging cup, but I should’ve known his brainpan was filled with rocks after damn near knocking myself unconscious.
The big ape, just looked at me crossways, and smiled. Holding me with an arm as thick as, not my leg, but my whole frakking torso, he threw me down. I rolled limply among the contents of my torn opened book bag, scattering papers and books as the strengthening storm’s wind picked up.
Frakking do-gooders! I always knew somewhere along the line, something had gotten seriously screwed up. Here I was a girl, but I was stuck in a boy’s body. Talk about a completely screwed up situation. My parents had no idea what to do with me running around in my sister’s dresses. They dragged me off to this quack who, I quickly figured out, needed a shit load more therapy than I ever did. At least I knew what was going on in my head, while this ass was about as clueless as they came.
I clammed up, but fast and spun out a fairy tale about how I was jealous of all the attention my sister got. I just wanted my share. The idiot bought it, and from the moment I my feet got back inside my house, I was Double O Jane. I made damn certain that I was never ever caught again. No secret agent could have done better covering up traces of my activities.
Hitting the computer, I found out the real scoop on what I was going though, and not that never-never-land psycho-babble that quack was spamming my parent’s bank account with. Despite the medical warnings, I very carefully started self-medicating with puberty blockers as well as developing The Plan.
It was a simple plan. Save every damn penny I could while I still lived on my parent’s dime. I also fell into a nice little racket of personal computer fixer. A lot of kids are computer savvy nowadays, but a hell of a lot of adults barely make half-ass users. They are always downloading crap they shouldn’t, or not paying attention to proper protection. That is where I come in.
Someone in the neighborhood starts having computer problems, and I come over and straighten it out. Usually it is something pretty damn simple, that Ad-Aware, and a delete of several hundred little problems that had mushroomed into one big frigging mess, fixes the whole thing. Occasionally, it is something more, but rarely more than I could handle. When it did, I didn’t try and snow anyone. That earned me a nice rep for being honest, and more business. More business put more money aside for The Plan.
What was the Plan‘s final objective? The moment I hit 18, I was going to get my plumbing remodeled. Everything was on schedule, even with the economic crash that all the morons were carefully not calling a depression. A rose by any other name and a sack of shit by any other label still stinks.
I rasped as MXB kicked me in ribs. Maybe I had been too smart for my own good. I had everything figured, but that damn moron brought in by the school system. A kid, sort of like me, had gotten herself killed by a fellow student. She was either sloppy, or had parents more on the up and up far more than my clueless progenitors. Well, in short, the fat asses on the school board were trying to protect themselves from lawsuits, and got this frakking do-gooder to advise them on gender issues.
The bitch was to make sure that gender variant children were treated fairly. Just my luck, that, some damn how, she locked on me like a frakking smart missile. Went all crazy with what bathrooms I was using, and sensitivity awareness shit for the staff.
The problem was that everyone was so used to me, they never noticed that I had stopped developing like the rest of the testosterone over-dosed knuckle draggers. Running deep stealth, I was all but invisible until she blew the whistle.
As soon as the bitch opened her mouth all hell cut loose. I got sent for blood tests which, of course, identified the blockers I was using. Then it was off to the damn shrink again because this time they had proof I had snowed the stupid bastard the first time. Just how many times do you have to tell a moron that you are not gay? No, it’s not a trick question, but I sure as hell wish it was!
Looking upwards, I saw swirling lights and these really weird shadows in the black storm clouds above me. Wow, either I had gotten hit in the head harder than I thought or that is the strangest damn lightning I have ever seen.
Looking around, I saw a few cars pass by, but wouldn’t you know it, not a one stopped. Like I said, MXB was gold around here, while I was just the frakking freak. He picked me up and threw me against the wall again. With a twist, he dragged me into the nearby alley.
Hey, how about that! He was not a total moron after all, since he could now finish beating my brains out with a little privacy. I tried boxing his ears, but I couldn't quite reach him. With a shrug, he threw me into the trashcans and other muck I didn't want to think about too much, hidden out of sight in the gloom.
A sad truth here. Two hundred and fifty pounds of football player trumps anything, even a psycho less than half his weight, could throw. His posse, who finally caught up with us, just stood around grinning, watching the freak get pounded. It was not as if he needed the help.
After my carefully crafted veil got torn away, MXB and the rest of the muscle bound jocks zeroed in on me faster than a skinhead at a bar mitzvah. Even still, I had almost made it. The last school day for the year was over and I had bee lined for home and safety. Just that close, Chief!
I can tell you this. I still don’t know how that bitch, discovered me, but if I ever get the chance to thank her, she will need reconstructive surgery!
I didn’t try moving. I was certain that he had broken at least one rib and I was in enough pain without adding to it. Must be losing it, because up though that narrow crevice between buildings, I could see those weird clouds circling with even more of those lights and flashes now. Was a tornado forming? I hoped so because I could sure use some relief down here!
I heard one of MXB’s posse, say something about the faggot has had enough. I guess some sort of argument broke out, but since I really couldn’t move, watching the sky was a reasonable distraction, while waiting for him to finish killing me.
Then Crack, Boom! The lightning bolt burned afterimages into my eyes as it nailed the mouth of the alley! The stench of ozone and burning jocks briefly overcame the odor of the heap of garbage my body was decorating.
Blinking my eyes, I had to fight to focus on the impossible sight.
Jocks lay all about twitching from being too damn close to the lightning strike. MXB was struggling to stand and still smoldering. What should not be there was this dude who stood even taller than the 6’ 4” of my tormentor. I mean this guy was huge. My jock tormentor was big for a high school footballer, but this dude was like pro-wrestler gigantic. Even more impossible was the golden lion skin and the club he carried. Okay, anyone else would call it a fence post, but in his hand it looked positively tiny.
“Fear not fair maiden, I will protect you!” The mirage rumbled from a chest like a V12.
“Jesus! Who writes this guy’s dialogue,” I muttered trying not to cough because of the pain.
Mirage or not, Mr. Impossible, who could not possibly be wearing the Nemean lion skin, strolled pass the fallen jocks.
MXB looked as if he saw the same illusion. “What the frakk!”
The big curly brown haired guy spoke, “Watch your tongue cur! Mayhap, you need a lesson in how to treat the gentler sex.”
The jock spat back, “Just who the frakk are you supposed to be? You frakking stupid or something? That’s a freakin’ sissy faggot. I’m doin’ the hood a favor!” He said, with hate dripping from his voice.
I could now see that Mr. Impossible had a beard, as he smiled unpleasantly. “Then a lesson it is!”
MXB, the terror I’d lived with for all ten of my school years, went down like clubbed seal pup.
As much as I would love to see the jock get some of what he’d been dishing out, I didn’t want him dead. My frakking life was complicated enough as it is. Grasping, I said, “Don’t kill him.”
The giant stood there a moment, bouncing his fence post in his hand as if he was thinking it over. “Tis’ a lesson I promised him, not a death.”
He then walked over to me, kneeling. I could see anger darkening his features as he accessed how bad I was hurt. Glancing over at where MXB slumped against the wall, I could see him reconsidering his decision.
I grabbed his hand. “Please don’t, but would you mind calling an ambulance. A fleeting look at the all the still smoking electrocuted jocks made me amend that. Weakly I added, “Better make those plural, ambulances.”
The man, who definitely couldn’t be who he looked to be, said softly, “Do not worry comely one. I will not let you come to harm.”
He stood and took a couple steps away from me deeper into the alley. “Hey Hercules! I’ve got a problem down here that’s not in the manual!” Mr. Impossible shouted up into the storm.
Another Crack Boom! Rang out as lightning struck twice. Deafen and blind by the near strike, I blinked trying to see.
Standing there next to my savior, who thankfully wasn’t who I had feared, was another giant who stood even taller. He had to be almost 7 feet tall. I swear, even his damn muscles had muscles, but unlike Mr. 'I’m running around in animal skins,' this dude dressed like the worst attired Pro-wrestler you ever saw. Gaudy does not even begin to cover it. Oh, my violated eyeballs!
His bearded brown haired head surveyed the carnage in the alley, “Nice job! Wow, you did a real number on them coming down so close. Personally, I would have come down behind them and wracked them all with my club. However, nice backhand when you nailed the leader. Not bad for your first job of heroing.” He said, bouncing on his toes, full of “That’s my boy” vibe.
I wanted to puke.
All the while, Junior tried to get his attention. “Hey, Hey, Hey!”
Blinking, Mr. Muscle-bound senior, looked down, “Yeah?”
Junior Mr. Muscle-bound pointed at me bleeding in the corner. “What about her? She got hurt bad before I could get here.”
The guy, who could not possibly be Hercules, walked over to get a closer look at me. “Hey, she sure is banged up good.”
Getting a little fed up, Junior demanded, “Well, do something! You’re a Greek god, right? Heal her!”
Muscle-bound senior replied, “No can do. I am the god of heroes, not healing. It’s out of my providence. Maybe you should call an ambulance.”
Junior yelled back, “I don’t have any pockets! My cell phone disappeared when you dressed me like Captain Caveman. What’s the use of being a hero if the person you’re supposed to save dies anyways?” He said agitatedly waving his arms.
Senior rubbed his bearded chin. “Well, I guess it’s not much of a job if the fair maiden can’t reward you properly. That’s half the fun of this hero stuff anyways. It is your first gig, so I guess I should help.” He said winking at me.
“Asclepius!” He yelled up at the heavens. “I need you!”
Yet another lightning bolt cracked and boomed into the alley! Thrice now, I‘ve been deafen and blinded. I knew that name because of the paper I wrote. The mortal son of Apollo and the only other hero besides Herc … oh never mind, to ascend to Olympus, the home of the gods.
He, unlike the two muscle-bound dopes, who I named Senior and Junior, was dressed just as you expected from a doctor; the long white jacket, stethoscope around his neck and a black medical bag in hand. What wasn’t normal was the staff with the snakes wrapped around it, he had in his other. In case I was misunderstood, I do mean live snakes, ick!
Looking at all the bodies littering the alley, the doctor gave a long suffering sigh. “What is it with you two?” He said, tapping his staff. The snakes slithered right off of it, on their way to the twitching jocks.
Turning back to Junior, he raised an eyebrow at the lion skin and club. “I can’t say if that is an improvement over his or not.” He inclined his head at Senior’s colorful professional wrestlers’ costume.
Dropping the corny speech, Junior shot back, “Hey, they were in the way!” Pointing at MXB with the, 8’ long if it was an inch, fence post, he explained, “He was beating the crap out of her, while they covered for him. I just let him know, that was no way to treat a girl.” He said, with that apex predator smile again.
The doc knelt next to me opening his bag. “I have never seen anyone who can get in as much trouble as you two do, over women.” He said, stuffing a thermometer under my tongue, as he picked up my wrist as if to check my pulse.
I rolled my eyes. Someone was going to be really disappointed when they figured out I only partially deserved that pronoun. What can I say? I was working on it! Besides what was the frakking deal with the temperature thing and the pulse? Hello? I have just the shit kicked out of me! Here I am bleeding to death on top a pile of frakking crap, and he wants to take my damn pulse? Of course I could not say a frakking thing with that thing under my tongue, even if it didn’t hurt to merely breathe.
Senior looked down at Junior dressed in his lion skin, and shrugged, “Hey! That’s a classic! Besides it worked just fine for me back in the old days. Even today it is still proof against blades, and it’s good against bullets too!”
Junior still carrying his fencepost blushed, “Do I really have to dress like this. It is a little drafty.”
Senior pointed a finger at me. “It’s her fault. I really didn’t have a choice.”
“When she prayed to me for help, that was the image she had in mind. Besides, what was wrong with this costume? I had it ready in case I got called for help from gymnasia or the palaestrae. I think it’s perfect! The wrestlers today are so colorful!”
Doc, there rolled his eyes as he took the thermometer out and examined it. “Well, that answers one question. She is a male.”
Mr. Muscle-bound Senior and Junior looked completely dumbfounded as I blushed again, even though hurt. Just great, this is my week to be outed by just everyone!
Leaning over to get a closer look Hercules senior asked, “Are sure Asclepius? I’m sure that it was a woman’s prayer that asked for help.”
The doc started rummaging in his bag for something. “It was. Rather, it was a prayer from the feminine soul hidden within the clay of this boy.”
The big guy asked surprised, “Really?”
Meanwhile Junior was giving me doubtful looks.
However, Senior gave me another sort of look, an appraising one that caused me to blush once again. It did not help at all that I remembered that his rep had him almost as bad as his old man. If it was alive, it was fair game for sex. Hell, I was not sure just what my orientation was. I saving that for after I got my remodeling work done down there.
I most certainly was not going to have anything to do with this muscle-bound idgit who kept his wife home pregnant, while he ran around screwing everything in sight! Of course, since this muscle-bound jerk could not possibly be that muscle-bound jerk despite what the available evidence kept suggesting, it was all a moot point anyways, right?
The Doc had found what he was looking for and started smearing some salve stuff on my hurts. I don't have a clue what it was but damn, did it do the job. After being bounced all over the sidewalk and alley I was all scraped and cut up. No pleasure feels quite as good as when serious pain is gone. I damn near swooned. By the time he had finished I was frakking covered in the stuff.
Very carefully, I did not think about how he had that much salve in that little bitty tube, nope, nothing supernatural here going on here. It was just a pair of pro wrestlers, and their doctor buddy, that just happened by to save me from MXB and crew. As relaxed as I was, it was not all that difficult to make myself believe my comforting lie.
Doc dabbed a bit of that stuff on my split lip and, despite being careful, I got a taste. Honey?
Reaching back into his bag, the doc replied, “Yes, really. It’s a medical condition.” He said, sighing. “So much we know now. If only we had known all of this back in the old days.
Leering, Senior asked, “Can you cure it?”
Junior interrupted still blinking trying to grok all the news, “Hmmm, Don’t you think you should ask her first, I mean him, oh, you know what I mean.” he said turned red, getting tongue tied with the pronouns.
The Doc looked up at Junior then down at me meeting my eyes. “I really don’t think that will be an issue.”
He might or might not be a Greek god, but the compassion in his dark eyes assured me that he was a doctor, a healer. My answer was in my eyes.
The doc hung his head. “Like you I cannot wave my hand and change her to as she should be. Gods we may be, but the two of us don't have the power of Zeus, or even that of which we once had long ago. The only way for me to cure her malady would have serious consequences.”
He held up a bottle of pills. “Extract of Ambrosia, the food of the gods. Zeus himself permits me to have these, because of our vulnerability in these latter days. However, to give One to a mortal without Zeus’s express permission risks his displeasure.” Sighing he put the bottle back in his bag.
I heard hisses and moans from the pile of jocks that represented most of my high school’s athletic program. Just what those snakes were doing over there I did not want to know, but at least the idiots still lived.
Old Senior gave Doc a pleading look. “Hey Asclepius! It’s the kid’s first hero job. Cut him break will you? How is she going to give him a maiden’s favor if she’s not a maiden?” He said winking at me.
Feeling lots better but weak, I stuck my tongue out at the moron. Even if I did have my plumbing in order, these panties weren’t dropping for no damn one!
Doc looked up at him. “You, above all others, should know better. There are those on Olympus that don’t like you very much. You know who I’m talking about.”
All the while, out of sight, the big dummy was motioning with his hands for Junior to dig into Doc’s bag. Jesus H. Christ! These are gods? I’d seen better from preschoolers!
Turning back to me, Doc winked as he examined me. “The salve has done its work and she’ll be fine in a few hours.
Behind his back, Junior dumb-ass finally got the idea, as he pointed a finger at himself, as Senior motioned for him to take that bottle of pills.
I couldn’t keep my eyes from rolling as Doc smiled down at me, obviously knowing what was going on. “She is in good health, and my salve will help keep her so. She has already begun the early stages of her transition, although I do hope she consults with a medical professional before taking any further steps.” He said, giving me a stern look.
Junior had just grabbed the pills, as Doc whipped back around, closing his bag. He tapped his staff again and his snakes came slithering back, coiling up its length. “You are lucky young lady. I do not make house calls for just anyone.” With that, a peal of thunder ranged my ears again as he disappeared.
The big guy grinned madly, asking Junior, “Did you get them?”
Junior held up the bottle uncertainly. “Yeah, but should we be doing this? You heard him say how we could get in a lot of trouble.”
I tried to pull my self up, but had to use the slick, garbage stained wall to help me. “Alright you two. This may come as news but this maiden ain’t putting out for no frakking one. You better think twice before you come anywhere near me with those pills. I admit they would solve a lot of my problems, but if you guys are for real, the other Greek gods are out here too. Zeus and Hera have a mean reputation for anyone who crosses them. You should know this better than anyone,” I accused Muscle-bound Senior.
He rolled his eyes, mocking me. “She’s a woman alright just listen to her. Nag, nag, nag. Just give her the pills, and I bet you she takes them. You can get your reward, and then we can get you ready for you next act of heroing.”
Junior seemed a bit slow, but understanding hit him as he finally worked out what reward the older was talking about, as he blushed red. He stammered, “Ah… didn’t rescue her for that. It was the right thing to do.
I could see that MXB finally had regained consciousness. He slunk out of the alley where the rest of his posse was slowly getting to their feet too. Seeing two giants now, I guess they decided to try and find someone else to beat up.
Dumb-ass Senior was still eye-rolling. “Kids today! You save the girl, and then she shows you how much she appreciates you rescuing her, with a little roll in the sack. What’s wrong with that? He asked innocently, holding his hand out to Junior for the bottle.
“Whoa buster!” I warned him. “I’m fifteen. One, five, you know 15 will get you twenty? That’s if I had the proper plumbing, which I don’t, and no, I am not going to take those pills because I have big enough problems as it is.”
Junior’s eyes budged out, “Fifteen! You’re only fifteen?” Shocked, He handed the bottle to the larger man.
Dryly, I pointed out to him, “I guess it is a little hard to tell with the blood and bad light, but hello? Didn’t you see the book bag outside? Look at me. I’ve been taking hormone blockers. I can pass for 12. Maybe you need to get your vision checked there, Mr. Junior Hero.”
I gave Senior a glance. “You I know about. Just stay away, okay? You want thanks? Okay, thank you both, and that Doctor guy too, but that’s all you’re getting, got it?”
Junior nodded sincerely, but Senior had a cagey glint in his eyes. I raised a hand to make my point more forcefully when he tossed a handful of something right at me. Damn it!
I was on the inhale, and sucked them down before I could spit them out. Coughing, and still weak, I fell to my knees.
“Hey,” yelled Junior, “What did you do that for?”
Senior dumb-ass just looked pleased with himself, but asked, “What did she mean by fifteen gets you twenty?”
While I coughed my guts out, Junior replied shell-shocked, “Statutory rape. Oh my Gawd, how many of those things did you give her, him I mean, damn it!
Though the tears running down my cheeks, I saw Senior’s confused expression. “Statues? You mean Galatea, Pygmalion’s wife? What has that to do with this?”
Then, remembering the rest of the question, the big idiot held up the empty bottle peering in. “All of them I think. That should do the job. You‘ll get your reward real soon now!” He said, with a big smile.
Junior exclaimed, “Didn’t you hear him say ‘give her one?’ Oh, Gawd, she’s overdosed. I’m going to jail. It’s not fair! I just wanted to be the hero!”
Meanwhile, I was trying to make myself gain control of this Fluster Cluck. Still half choking, I knew what I had to do. What goes in, must come out.
What I had not counted on was the damn things were magic!
My fingers were as far down my throat as I could get them, when I first felt the glimmers of warmth hit my stomach. Reminded of that time my older brother dared me to drink a shot of liquor from my progenitor’s locked cabinet, my hand flopped to my side, and all thought was lost as the warmness enveloped me.
From the transgender stories I was not supposed to have access to, it seemed that changes like what I was experiencing always had to feel the same as having sex. Then again, almost everything in those stories was about sex in one way or another. Since I had successfully brought my puberty and male development to grinding halt, I really didn't have a very good idea what sex was like anyways. As that warmth oozed though me, this was more like getting teeth chattering cold, and then entering a toasty heated room.
Although even my skin felt nice, and glowing, I could feel my insides moving around. It didn’t hurt. It was like having a mildly upset stomach my whole life, and then suddenly having everything just settle into place with a sense of incredible rightness.
A small, “oomph!” of surprise escaped me.
The wolf whistle told me that not only my insides had moved around.
Still lost in that wonderful warmth, languidly, I opened my eyes.
Junior amazed, mouthed, “Whoa!”
Herc Senior did not bother to hide his lewd leer. “What did I tell you? Boy, did she fill out!”
Curious I looked down at myself. My chest was no longer concave, but had a pair of proud beauties perched there. Another wave of warmth ran though me, but I knew this one had nothing to do with little pills or magic. It was simply good old fashioned happiness.
Way back when where I was first working on “The Plan,” and making arrangements for subterfuge to mail order hormone blockers, I had determined my future and fate. That didn’t mean I could ignore all of my classmates, and even my own two years younger sister, when she began, what was it Herc called it, ‘filling-out.’
I did the best I could to not let it get me down, promising myself that, come 18, I would have the best pair money could buy. I was a realist. My parents had already made clear they would rather have a son, than help me become the girl I knew I was. Their choice of shrink proved that. So screw them! That did not keep me from stuffing all manner of things under my shirts to give me that lovely profile I wanted so much.
Awareness that I had an audience kept me from cupping my new acquisitions. Folding my arms underneath my breasts with a gentle squeeze assured me they were all mine. By all rights, my clothes should have split from all of the new me. However, somehow they had stretched to cover everything. That was not saying much, since my bottom had gained curves just like my chest had. Between them, my torn t-shirt and jeans came far short in their attempt of legally covering me.
Looking up, I thought Junior’s eyes were going to pop out of his head, but Herc Senior’s leer had spread from ear to ear.
We were all so intent on me and my transformation, I guess we all missed those stormy clouds doing their weirdness thing again.
I saw Herc give a startled glance upwards, followed by a mouthed, “Oh shit!,” just before he disappeared.
The next thing I knew I was sprawled on a cool white marble floor. I found my hair was also longer now as their curly dark locks pooled around me. Looking around me I saw Herc Junior standing up with a real worried expression on his bearded face.
I stood up unsteadily. The circular room we were in had Greek columns with a checkerboard pattern floor. Junior was looking up at the ceiling and I followed his dazed stare and wished I had not. Up there all around us were these huge outsized thrones. In front of us, were two that were more massive than the others and worse one of them was occupied.
I have no idea just how damn big she was, but the throne she sat in gave me a real good idea who she was. Glancing around me at the room again, it hit me I had gotten it wrong, not a checkerboard, but chess.
Someone had been watching the Clash of the Titans, but considering the deep shit I thought we were in, I was not prepared to complain.
The almost blinding white business power suit, and expensive looking jewelry she wore, spoke of power.
Next to her, on one of the comparatively smaller thrones, was another woman dressed expensively, but her style spoke less of power, than it did of control. The owl carved in the high backed chair told me who she was.
Complete different was the next woman. Her flawless beauty was framed by clothing that yelled chic. She was beautiful, and she knew it. I really did not need to see the swan and dove above her throne, to identify her.
The next and last oversized giant up there was one I had already met. It was the Doctor, Asclepius. He was still dressed in his medical getup, and I swear he snucked me another wink.
Junior was looking notably pale and I couldn’t blame him one damn bit. Unless I had completely lost it, we were on trial by Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, and maybe Asclepius. He might be here as a witness, but I didn’t know for sure. I also did not know if it was a good or bad thing that so many of the others were missing. You know, Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, and most of the rest of the male Greek gods.
I did know that Hera hated Hercules' guts, and had tried to kill him any number of times while he was still a mortal. Worse, poor Junior was a follower of Hercules, and the big dufus had not even showed up to defend the poor sap. Particularly since he was the one responsible for both of us being in this frakking mess to begin with.
Just then, the Queen of the Gods decided it was time to get the ball rolling. “Henry son of Daryl and Mildred, you stole a tincture of precious Ambrosia from the person of the God Asclepius. What do you have to say for yourself before judgment is passed?” She asked, as her voice boomed at us from the giant.
Poor Henry, Junior, looked as if he was about to wet himself. Well shit! He had saved me from MXB. Knowing I was going to hate myself for this, I opened my mouth. “Excuse me Ma’am but may I say something in his defense?”
As all of those goddesses turned their attention to me, I was really regretting opening my big mouth. However that had never stopped me before. “He did take those pills from the Doctor’s bag, but he did so to help me.”
Looking at Asclepius, because I was afraid to point, I explained, “He said that I was suffering from a birth defect and that medicine could help cure me.”
“Hmmm Henry,” I said, remembering not to call him Junior. “He had saved me from a horrible beating that I believed would have ended in my death. Since I accidentally summoned him, Henry was only finishing his task of helping me, when he fed me those pills.”
There I did it. “Stupid, stupid, stupid girl,” I berated myself.
Hera did not look the least bit impressed, but it was Athena who spoke, “We had not reached you yet. Terrance, son of Peter and Mary, you tried to profane the Ambrosia, the most sacred property of the Gods of Olympus. You tried to void them from your body like common refuse.” She accused.
I was on trial too? Frakk! “Ma’am, hmmm,” I said, trying not to stutter as I tried to buy time for my brains to work. “That was not my intention. If it is true that one of those pills could fix the problem I’ve fought with my whole life, then it would have been a great blessing.”
“However, your stories and legends are still taught in the world today. I knew how valued Necter and Ambrosia were by your Pantheon. Bluntly, I have enough problems as it is without this, I said waving my hand. If I could have thrown up the pills quickly enough, no harm would had been done, or that is how I saw it, especially since they were thrown down my throat without my permission.
“Additionally, in the world today, when a Doctor tells you one pill, he means only one. Taking more than the prescribed modern medication is not only unwise, but damn dangerous.”
Finishing rather lamely, I said, “I think I swallowed the whole bottle.”
They must be taking turns because Aphrodite began speaking. “You say you suffered as a boy, since you are actually a girl. If so, what do you think of your new form?”
Biting my tongue to keep from making a smartass reply, I was going to say that I didn’t know, since I didn’t have a mirror, when the entire circular wall became covered with them.
For the first time I was able see just what that bottle of pills had done to me.
“I’m gorgeous!” leaped from my mouth before I could shut the damn thing. Unt Oh!
Languidly, the giant supermodel asked, “More so than I?”
Still in shock, I stared at my image. My skin was perfectly smooth and flawless. My once mousy, dull hair now had copper and gold highlights threaded though the brown that had gained untold depths.
What really blew me away was my face. I had spent endless hours on Photoshop, looking for just the right look for me. All of that time of changing and altering my image, and I had not come close to the one staring back at me.
It was still me, but perfect. The long lashes, exactly arched brows, my fuller lips that naturally glowed with color, they were all an absolutely perfect feminine me.
Oh shit! Still in shock, I knew better than to even think about answering that one any other way but humbly. Better yet, with truth.
“Ma’am I’ve been the ugly duckling my entire life. To see, to be, this beautiful is overwhelming. However, you are beauty itself. All beautiful women are but a reflection of your own perfection. Other mortals like me may seek that ideal, but we are fated to always fall short.”
The goddess of love and beauty seemed content with that answer and left me with my mouth hanging open when she defended me! “I am content with the child’s answer. I am familiar with her condition for it was not unknown even in the Golden Age.
“However, the follower of the God of Heroes is guilty, although there are extenuating circumstances; I believe, is the legal term in vogue. Like Hercules did so often, he carried out his task with, excessive fervor.
Hera’s face puckered up at the mention of Herc’s name. Determined to find fault with someone, she questioned Asclepius. “This would not have happened if you had not answered His summons.”
The Doctor simply nodded. “That is true my lady, but the healing of the wounded is my province. She was badly injured, as well as having suffered her entire short life with her affliction.
“She is correct that one pill is all she should have taken, but we all know the dosage was not of her choosing. I see no wrong doing on her part. Indeed, not of young Henry here either. If my directions had been followed, we would be short only one pill of Ambrosia, and our young lady would be free to start her life anew.”
He shook his head. “Now however, we have a problem. By giving her the entire bottle, her very essence is being altered. In time perhaps, she shall be much like a demi-god herself. For example, like myself who, as a mortal, who had divine blood flowing in their veins.”
“I put it to you, my lady, that this is a matter that concerns all the Gods, not just us few.” He said.
Athena spoke up in favor. “I must agree, but as we all know since we are now free to travel the mortal realm once more, all are busy exploring or rebuilding their base of worshipers. I suggest we decide on a probation for Henry, until all can be convened.”
Meanwhile poor Junior had been trying to get a word in edge wise. Thinking quickly, I kept signaling him to keep his trap shut with a wave of my hand.
Hera did not seem to like that much either, but asked, “What do you suggest?”
Athena smiled, “I have observed that Henry seems willing to obey the one who summoned him. More, she has a practical nature. I say have him geased to obey her until we can get a full council.”
Hera objected. “She is even younger than Henry. What assurances have we that she will take such duties seriously?
Aphrodite smiled. “I can take care of that. Eros!” She called.
Suddenly another person stood in the gallery above us. However this one was a young man decked out as an extreme sports punk. His dyed hair and wrap around shades gave him that devilish look so many of the girls at my school went for.
He looked down at us and up at the Goddess of Love.
She nodded at us, “Have her fall in love with him. Mind you, no lust for she is in many ways a child in a woman’s body.”
A shy twist of her lips that almost could be a smile as she said, “That will come … later.”
The punk lowered his shades. “Oh, you’re no fun at all, but no problem.”
Pulling up a skate board from thin air, he leaped down at us. I cringed waiting to be smashed to pulp by the falling giant, but instead a sharp pain hit me in the ass. Twisting around, I saw Eros, now normal sized, skate away with a paintball pistol in his hand.
Twisting around, I saw a handsized bright pink paint splatter dead on my right cheek. That SOB! As if my torn clothing wasn’t messed up enough as it was, that ass had to add to it.
Then I saw Henry and I think my heart stopped. A river of feelings hit me. He saved me from dying, and even stole those tablets for me, risking the wrath of the gods themselves. Hey, and he’s cute too!
His expression was one that said he knew he was in trouble. That is, right before the skateboard punk shot him in the ass too. As he went all goo-goo eyed, it finally hit me.
Eros! Wait a minute! That’s the Greek version of Cupid, the little shrimp with the wings and bow.
Wiping the pink paint from my stinging keister on my torn jeans, I carefully avoided looking at Henry. All this was real new to me. Puberty had struck me like a thunderbolt, all at once.
Above us, Aphrodite said, “Now she has a vested interest in keeping him out of trouble. He will, of course, be willing to listen to her words.”
Athena nodded, “I believe this solution will work. She is still under age by her people’s standards. He has strong morals against taking advantage of her, while she has developed into a practical and independent person, older than her years because she has had to hide her true feelings and self.”
The goddess of Wisdom gave me a stern look, “Sometimes too independent for her own good. However, even with this romance, this should work until we can convene the council.”
Apparently Hera liked the idea of the big strong hero being tied to my apron strings. “Then we are finished.”
She addressed me and Henry, “I would advise you two to stay out of trouble.”
Then she looked Junior in the eye. “You had better be on your best behavior. I am watching. You and your mentor,” She said, leaving us with no doubts that Herc was still on her shit list.
As for myself I had no idea if Aphrodite being on my side was a good or bad thing. After all she had Eros shoot us in the ass.
Glancing up at Henry, my heart went thud, thud, and I had to force myself to look away. No lust she told the Punk. Go easy on her, just love she said.
“This was easy?” I asked silently.
Henry, the big lug, had just stood there the entire time, staring at you know who.
A flash bang later, we were back in the alley.
I blushed at Henry’s stare, really awkwardly saying, “You can stop that now.”
Just as clumsily, he replied looking away, “Hmmm … sorry.
Really noticing all he was dressed in was that lion skin. “Don’t you have anything else you can put on?”
His turn to blush, he stammered, “Uhg … this was how you summoned me. Until I go home, I’m kinda stuck like this.”
I closed my eyes. Damn it! Even blushing, he was just so damn cute! “Okay I don’t know how in the frakk we’re going to work this. I hope you know we’re really frakked because of you know who. I also hope you know what happened when Eros shot us in the ass.”
He replied, “Yeah, I know. What we’re feeling isn’t real. It’s just magic.”
I disagreed. “Oh it’s real all right! No matter if it was forced on us or not, we’re feeling this attraction. I’m sure as hell don’t want to know what the full effects of this are like, if this is going easy on us.”
Henry admitted, “I guess you’re right. We’ve just got to not let this get the better of us.”
“You got it,” I agreed. “First, treat this just like they said, as probation. No more heroing for you until we get this straightened out. Second, you see your mentor, you can tell him from me, ’Thanks a lot.’ Be sure to add a lot of sarcasm.
“You do realize, I have to go home and try to explain to my white bread family that I’m not only a girl, but a frakking demi-goddess, because a big dope poured a bottle of magic pills down my throat?”
I continued, “The only good news is that today was the last day of school for the summer.” Then, thinking about it more, I added, “And, if they make me go back to that idiot of a shrink, I can tell him that I’m hetero and definitely like boys.”
Biting my tongue as I said it, both of us blushed red again. Not trusting what I would say next, I urged him, “Go ahead and get out of here. It’s not that far to my house from here.”
Henry shook his head, “No.” He then began picking up my books and things that had blown all over the place.
I sighed. I thought he was supposed to do what I told him, but I did need the help picking up my stuff. Examining my book bag, it was a total loss. Stuffing the loose papers inside the books, we recovered what we could.
Finished, I told him again, “Okay. Now you can go.”
“No,” He said. “Not until we’re at least are in sight of your door. Those dudes might still be hanging around. I’m not taking any chances. Which way do we go?”
Rolling my eyes, I led the way. “One thing we learned is, although the gods seem familiar with the world today, they really don’t have that good of a grasp on it yet.”
Henry added, “I know, to my regret. I’m sorry about all of this. I’ve really screwed this up. I mean Hercules just appears in front of me telling me how he knows how I wanted to be a hero. I couldn’t say no.
“The next thing I know is I’m fighting those muscle bound creeps that were beating you up. Then the whole thing with those pills, and then it really hit the fan.”
He sighed. “I guess I’m going to have to be careful about listening to him.”
Doing my absolute best not to notice that a boy was walking me home and carrying my books, I stopped in my tracks. “Listen here Henry, until we get this thing settled no listening to him at all. If he has a problem, let him take it up with the three ladies. You know the ones, I’m talking about! Seeing how he took off, leaving you holding the bag, I don’t feel sorry for him at all. You got me?”
Looking very bashful, he nodded. “I understand. You know I always thought he would be different. The Twelve Labors and all the adventures he had. It was Hercules. He was the Man.”
Then he lowered his head, “Some man he was. He really let us down.” He said sadly.
I guess it sucks to find out your heroes have feet of clay, even the ones that are gods. “It’s probably more complicated than that, given how Hera was so pissed. For all we know he went hunting for Zeus to get help.
“The point is we don’t want to get in the middle of any arguments between them. Be respectful, and mind your P and Qs.” I advised.
Awkwardly again, I asked him, “This is my house. Now will you go?” I said holding out my arms for my books and stuff.
He turned red again. “Okay, but if you need the help, just call.”
Trying not to smile at him, I asked, “Should I pray to Herc again or will Shazam do?”
He grinned back, “Oh I think Shazam will do just fine.”
This time I utterly failed, and smiled back.
The big dope’s face lit up. Turning all pseudo knight on me again, he replied, “As you wish my lady!”
Ka-Boom! He was gone.
I ran inside, and threw my books down on the table. I do not have a boyfriend. I do not. I do not. Oh shit!
My Mom’s voice echoed from the kitchen. “Terry! Where have you been? You need to take out the trash.”
I took a deep breath. Oh boy, here we go. “Mom? A funny thing happened on the way back from school.” I said as I entered her abode.
She turned to me with a steaming casserole dish in her oven mittened hands.
Shatter! Crash, went the dish and dinner onto the floor.
“Ter, Terr, Terry?” She asked hesitantly in distress.
My eyes shut, I nodded. That could have gone better as I peeked out at the splattered mess of food all over the floor.
I took a deep breath. Compared to almost being beaten to death and facing three, all too human, but powerful goddesses this was nothing. Besides if it really got bad, I had a hero on speed dial, 742926.
I can do this. “Mom you see, it’s like this …”
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