Do you ever think that conner prayed to his dad like "i need to get to cali asap, to smooch a son of aphrodite, any help??" And then bam he gets to be at mitchell's side in like less than an hour
“I can’t believe you’re doing this.”
Connor clenched his jaw, focusing on the task before him. “You’ve done it.”
Travis leaned against the doorway, the screen door between the balcony and the inside of their apartment separating them. He raised an eyebrow as he stared down at his younger brother. “Katie was in the hospital for appendicitis. It was an emergency.”
Connor clicked his lighter once again - it was his favorite, a gold and black metal one he’d pickpocketed in Time Square - but it was running low. He’d need to acquire a new one soon.
Connor’s tongue poked out between his teeth as he concentrated. He shifted the black stones into a position to let them breathe better.
“This is an emergency.”
“Really,” Travis’s voice was colored with disbelief, “this is an emergency?”
Connor finally broke his focus, throwing his hands to the air. “It is, okay! It’s really important that I get there, and there’s no last minute flights out there. This is my only option, okay?”
Travis observed him for a long moment before sighing, sliding the screen door back. He rolled his sleeves up, closing the door behind him, and peered over Connor’s shoulder.
“What are you burning?”
Connor nearly fell with relief at his brother’s help. Prayer was stronger when it was together. “Some prime cut from the butcher’s shop, I know he likes it.”
“Did you get -”
“Some Reese’s Cups, yeah.”
Both boys nodded at each other, satisfied. It was a good offering.
Travis used a metal rod to poke at the charcoal, waving at his face to keep the smoke from it. The small grill they kept on their baloney was hardly used to something other than the best bits at the beginning of meals - it would hardly hold the expensive cut of meat Connor had picked up.
Travis tended to the fire as Connor began to peel the plastic back from the meat, the shiny wrappers from the chocolate. Their father, as the entire cabin knew by now, had a certain weakness for the peanut butter cups.
Travis gestured for him to toss in the offerings once the fire was decent, and Connor followed the instruction without question. He wiped his hands off, some of the chocolate already having melted to his fingertips, and grabbed Travis’s extended hand.
And they prayed.
They - Connor in particular - prayed hard, hand-in-hand, chocolate and meat blackening in front of them, filling the hopeful air with burning fragrance.
“Really,” a new voice rang out, and Connor’s breath caught. “This is an emergency?”
Their father stood in front of them, their small balcony having hardly enough room to fit them all. His arms were crossed, his eyebrow raised, and was giving him the same judgement filled eyes his older brother had turning on him.
Connor threw his hands up, Travis’s own falling from his grip, but couldn’t deny the bubble of relief building inside of him. He gave Connor an amused smirk as the younger boy declared, “It is an emergency!”
“Son,” Hermes rolled his eyes, turning to walk in the apartment. The screen gave him no resistance as he passed through it. “You called me for this?”
Connor huffed out a breath, him and Travis both following him in, actually pulling back the screen door this time. Travis - the smart one of them - remembered to cover the fire, lest burning down their apartment building.
Hermes was surveying their living space as they came in, inspecting a mold spot with a slightly interested look.
“I think this might be a new species you’ve formed here.” He remarked.
“Nah, that’s just an old PBJ.”
“Where’re George and Martha?” Travis asked, perking up. He had a certain fondness for them.
Hermes turned towards their small kitchen, peering into their fridge, opening the cabins. Nosy.
Hermes waved his question off, “Taking a spa day - apparently the stress is getting to them.” His voice was amused as he explained this, reaching out a hand to poke at something in one of their cabinets. The old bag of bread probably. Connor was hoping to base his science fair project off of it.
Travis looked pleased. George and Martha deserved it, honestly.
Hermes finally looked to be finished looking through their apartment, only a single quick look thrown to their mother’s empty room. She would be in…Miami, right now. Or at least in the air above it.
Hermes turned back to him, “You prayed for my precise, what do you need?” Hermes asked, despite already knowing. He probably needed to them ask clearly - godly magic was tricky like that.
Connor let out a breath. “I need you to get me to California. San Francisco, to be precise. I can call an Uber once I’m there just - I need to get there.”
Hermes raised an eyebrow, “And this has to do with Aphrodite’s boy?”
Connor nodded, a bit desperately. “Mitchell. He won some kind of archery award and he was - he was just sad last time we talked that no one could make it to the ceremony for him because Sebastian’s parents are out of town, and Seb himself is sick and -” Connor cut himself off, staring at his hands. “I want to be there for him.”
There was a beat of silence as Hermes stared at him.
“This isn’t an emergency.” Hermes told him, flipping out his phone, hundreds of notifications already flooding the screen.
Connor sighed, “It’s not in the most traditional sense,” he allowed his father, “but it’s really important. To me.”
There was a long moment of silence as Hermes was turned towards his phone. He gave Travis a desperate look, who shrugged.
Connor tried again, “Please, dad. I - I wouldn’t be asking if this was something I could do on my own.”
The silence fell over them again. Connor began to deflate.
“It’s done,” Hermes suddenly announced, attaching a black block to his phone - something like a square reader but bigger - in a quick, smooth movement. He waited a few moments before a long ticket began printing itself. He ripped the paper off, holding out to Connor.
Connor stumbled forward to take it, staring down at it. “What - what is it?”
“Your tickets,” Hermes focused back on his smartphone, sliding through a few apps. “Simply write your destination - be descriptive, we don’t need another Paris, Texas incident - on the front, black or blue pen, no pencil it confuses the magic - and light it on fire. Use one half to get there, the other half to get home.” Hermes gave him a stern look, “I expect you to be in school by Wednesday.”
“We have school on Monday and Tuesday.” Connor told him, a bit numb.
“I know,” Hermes shrugged, sliding his phone back into his pocket. “You’re young. You’re not going to miss anything life changing by missing a few days of school.”
Connor stumbled forward again, this time throwing his arms around the taller man’s shoulders. Hermes tensed, unsure for a moment, before relaxing, his hand coming up to pat his back.
Hermes had been trying, since the war. Since Luke.
It was ridiculous how grateful Connor could feel about that.
“Thanks, dad.” He muttered into his father’s suit, probably wrinkling the no doubt expensive fabric. Silk, maybe. Armani, definitely.
Hermes was nodding as Connor pulled away, his own eyes probably red. Hermes cleared his throat, still nodding, and pulled out his phone. Connor looked back, and Travis was grinning proudly.
“I have to be going,” Hermes told them, tapping out something on his phone. He gave them another look, “Don’t get into trouble you can’t get out of, you two. I can only manipulate so many police records before your mother gets suspicious.”
Travis finger-gunned at the older man, “No promises.”
“Thanks, dad.” Connor swallowed against the tightening of his throat.
He held up his hand in a quick gesture of goodbye, and that was it.
And, in moment to the next, he was gone. There was no theatrical display of smoke or light, just a slight shifting of air as mass that was previously occupied began empty, and the air adjusted accordingly so.
Travis clasped his hand over his shoulder, “Gonna surprise him?”
Connor was already nodding - they both had a probably worrying love for surprises. Travis accepted this, grinning, and headed towards the kitchen. Outside, the fire had burnt out the moment Hermes had disappeared.
“Oh, sweet.” Travis grinned, bending down to look closer inside their fridge. “Dad got us groceries.”
“Hot cheetos?” Connor asked hopefully, staring down at the ticket in his hands.
“Like, five bags. Oh, and my favorite pringles. Nice.”
“Nice,” He agreed, holding the ticket to his chest for another moment.
Looks like he had to pack.
Hermes does the exact thing my mother does when she visits my brother and I - meaning, opening every single cabinet, looking in the fridge, opening all the drawers. Idk mom. Idk. also i live with a gross adult boy. he’s disgusting and the moldy bag of bread is a nightmare i have weekly.
Also I just really want Hermes to be a good dad ok. ok. let me have this.
Mitchell cried when he saw his boyfriend in the front row, nearly taking the whole thing up with the filled chairs of gifts beside him. it was cute as hell.