I found this siting in my drafts half finished and decided to quickly slap an ending on it and send it out into the world. Here you go.
(Note: ‘Kadar’ is my fanon name for Mitchell — it’s not canon!)
Mitchell couldn’t stop staring. It was rude, he knew, but he’d never seen one of his siblings look so… buff. It was like the two concepts should never intersect, and yet there was Mike Kahale, son of Venus, lugging around arms larger than most Ares’ kid’s and commanding so much respect that Mitchell couldn’t believe they shared a mother. More or less.
The thing was, people in his cabin weren’t just respected. You were either confident, or torn to shreds by the verbal abuse from the other cabins. If you wanted to be respected, you had to go on Piper McLean levels of badass quests, and nothing short of it. And since that was a standard set only two days ago, there hasn’t been much time to attempt to live up to it. If he was being honest with himself (and Mitchell had decided it was time he finally was), he never expected to be respected outside of his cabin. And even then, respect was shaky at best.
Alright. He’d wait until Mike was finished talking to those other two campers, and then he’d introduce himself. Definitely. Mike would be leaving for New Rome soon, so it had to be today. There was no backing out. Mitchell took a deep breath to calm himself and took a couple of resolute step forward to wait his turn.
He hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but, well.
"Still, I can’t believe you’re a child of Venus. It doesn’t suit you at all,” the boy smirked. “You’re welcome to join the Ares Cabin for Capture the Flag, if you’d like an actually competent team.”
Mike raised an eyebrow. “The Aphrodite Cabin isn’t competent?”
"Not at all!" The Ares girl snorted. "You should have seen them in the battle of Manhattan — totally disorganized. Only their leader did anything at all, and that was just to fix the damaged she caused as a spy."
Mitchell’s breath caught in his throat, and he began to see red. No. Not here. His cabin wouldn’t be discredited in front of his new brother. He would not let Mike be ashamed of his heritage.
“If I remember correctly,” Mitchell said through gritted teeth, stepping forward into their conversation. He could feel his appearance shifting, but there wasn’t much he could do about it when he was trembling with rage like this. “If it wasn’t for that spy, the Ares Cabin wouldn’t have even shown up for the battle. And, you know, when OUR camp leader disobeyed orders, we still fought. Monsters and demigods alike, right on the front lines. And when everyone was in danger of overdosing on Ambrosia and Nectar, it was the Aphrodite Cabin that helped the Apollo Cabin stitch people up. Were you vital to winning the war? Yes, absolutely. But we were too. And don’t you dare erase that. Don’t pretend that Selina and Piper and Mike here are the exceptions, because they’re not. We’re all children of the same goddess, and just because you can’t accept the fact some of us exist complexly outside the boundaries of your narrow perception of us doesn’t give you the right to erase our heritage.”
Mitchell felt a hand cover half of his shoulder and his knees almost buckled under the strength. Mike Kahale said in his low voice, “Thank you. You voiced doubts I wasn’t sure how to put into words.” He looked to the children of Ares. “An army is only as strong as it’s weakest members. If you perceive the Aphrodite Cabin as weak, it should have been your duty to make sure they became strong. Petty rivalry amongst comrades will achieve nothing against a true enemy. And if, after you have done that, you still believe yourselves to be of better parentage, remember that it was a child of Venus that founded the original Rome. And think carefully about the implications of insulting a child of Venus in front of a member of the legion.”
That shut up those Ares kids real quick. They mumbled a quick apology and some excuse about needing to go somewhere, and Mitchell felt a surge of pride. It wasn’t a common feeling for him, so he savored it while it lasted.
Then Mike turned to him and said, “I don’t think I caught your name…?”
"Oh! I’m Mitchell. Mitchell Kadar, son of Aphrodite." Mitchell started to offer his hand for Mike to shake, but quickly thought better of it and pulled back. “Actually, it’s not a good idea to shake my hand right now. Powers-related thing. Sorry.”
"You have powers aside from…" Mike gestured at Mitchell’s appearance.
"Oh, uh, yeah," Mitchell said, awkwardly shuffling his feet. "Empathy powers. Syncs my emotions with other people and vice-versa. This," Mitchell gestured to his face. "I don’t really have much control over. It’s linked with my emotions and what other people want to see."
Mike raised his eyebrows, but an amused twinkle was in his eye. “Should I be flattered, then?”
Mitchell blinked. “Why?”
Mike pointed at Mitchell, and then at himself.
Mitchell had turned into a shorter, less buff, version of Mike Kahale.
Mitchell could feel his face flushing with color, probably turning his version of Mike’s hair pink in the process. “Oh my gods, I’m so sorry,” Mitchell said, the words tumbling out of his mouth as he tried to hide his face in his hands. “I was just so mad and wanted to prove them wrong and you’re the most intimidating guy I’ve ever seen AND you’re a child of Aphrodite like me so I must have just done it without thinking—”
"I’m not mad," Mike said, cutting Mitchell off. "I’m honored. But really, thank you. I’m not good at dealing with people all that well. I wasn’t sure how to express myself until you spoke out. It was… cool.”
Mitchell stared at him. “R-Really?”
Mike nodded. “A lot of people are too intimidated to talk to me, actually. It can make it hard to make friends.”
"You should come over to Cabin 10 for a while!" Mitchell said, feeling his appearance settle into something more comfortable. "If there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s interpersonal relationships. I’m sure someone will be able to figure out something to help you.”
"Of course! Just follow me~"
(As it turned out, the big, strong, Mike Kahale discovered a very passionate love for nail polish that day. And putting him in the same room with Drew resulted in an entire arsenal of concealed weapons disguised as hair pins, various jewelry, and shoe heels. Cabin 10 was quite a formidable force when the next Capture the Flag game rolled around.)