Characters: Persephone "Seph" Leigh Thrace, Kara Thrace, Lee Adama
Summary: One sunny day with the Thrace-Adama family on Earth. (Prompts were family picnic and pilot!smoochies... which are both in there but the story sorta took on a life of its own.)
A/N: Set in the "No Haven for this Heart" universe (Click on tag at the bottom of the entry for the full story). This is a MUCH MUCH belated birthday present for scifishipper and a HUGE thank you to her helping, particularly with the psychological aspects for that story. Thanks so much to callmeonetrack for betaing this for me!!
Momma comes to wake me up before the sun’s awake. Her breath tickles my ear when she whispers, “Come on. Before your Dad wakes up.” Momma holds my hand as we walk into the woods where I’m not allowed to go on my own, even though I’m not afraid of anything.
We’re going to our place—no one else knows about it. Not Daddy, not Grandpa, not Hera or Uncle Helo or Aunt Sharon. No one. Just me and Momma. We walk for what feels like forever and the woods get lighter and lighter, and then I hear water.
Momma walks ahead of me, climbing up the rocks above the swimming hole and doesn’t let go of my hand until we reach the top. She tells me to wait and jumps in first. The water makes a huge splash all around. I count the seconds until she comes up for air.
One… two… three… four…
Momma comes up laughing. She holds her hands up to me and tells me to jump. I tiptoe over to the edge and look down. It’s really high up, not that I’m afraid. I’m not afraid of anything, just like Momma.
“I’ve got you,” she says. So I jump. The water rushes towards me and maybe I’m a little scared, so I close my eyes. But Momma catches me, just like she promised.
I’m learning how to swim. Hera says I look like a hurt duck in the water, so Momma and I practice until the sun starts to come up into the sky. My teeth chatter as we walk back, and we’re almost home when Momma starts to look like she’s gonna barf.
And then she does. Right by the house.
Daddy’s awake and sees and comes running outside. He puts his arm around her shoulder. “Are you okay?”
Momma wipes her mouth. “I’m fine,” she says. She doesn’t look fine to me.
And then she barfs again.
Daddy and I go shopping in the village while Momma is at the doc. The village is always all full of people. I never used to have to hold hands with Daddy when we went there but these days he makes me. He says I can walk around by myself when I’m older. I keep getting older, but I’m never old enough.
Daddy tries to hurry, but I scuff my feet through the dirt as we walk.
“You certainly ran fast enough to go see Hera,” he says, shaking his head.
Earlier, we saw Hera and her mommy and daddy in town. Hera’s older than me, she’s eight—well, almost—and she likes to get me in trouble. Like one time she took me to this creepy guy’s house in the woods and we threw rocks at the window. It broke. We both tried to run away, but I tripped and fell, and Hera left me behind. The creepy guy said he knew my mom and walked me home. I never saw Momma that mad before.
After that I wasn’t allowed to go walking alone anymore.
“How come Hera and her mommy and daddy all have the same last name?”
“Well, that’s one way they show that they’re a family. They share a name and that means they belong together.”
I think about what he said, and I squeeze Daddy’s hand tighter. “What about us?”
“What do you mean?”
“Hera and her mommy and daddy all have the same last name. But you and Grandpa have a different last name from me and Momma. So are we not a family because we don’t share a name?”
Daddy stops and looks at me. He looks confused. After a moment, he kneels down and puts his hands on my shoulders. “Of course we’re a family. You’re my little girl, and nothing is ever going to change that.”
“So how come I have Momma’s last name and you don’t?”
Daddy’s quiet for a moment. He sighs and pushes a piece of hair away from my face. “It’s… it’s complicated. Maybe we’ll tell you when you’re older.” I frown because I’m never old enough. “But, we do share a name. Persephone Leigh Thrace. See, you’ve got a piece of my name. It’s not the same as Hera’s family, but it doesn’t make us any less of one.” He stands back up. “And tonight, we’re going to see Grandpa and have a family picnic by his cabin if we can get all the supplies we need.”
Momma meets up with us after we buy supplies to bring to Grandpa’s house. We hike and hike until we get to his cabin and he comes outside and gives us all hugs. He asks Momma what she hears and she says something about rain, which doesn’t make sense because it’s sunny outside.
Grandpa cooks outside over an open fire and tells stories about wars and heroes. The smell makes Momma sick again.
We have to leave before it gets too dark, and Daddy carries me home on his shoulders. When he drops me in my bed, he smiles and says I’m getting almost too big for that. But I’m still never big enough.
I lie in bed listening to noises outside my window for a long time. I can’t sleep. I think about families, and Momma being sick, and the creepy man in the woods. Momma and Daddy are still up. I can hear them talking outside, and then I hear a loud yelling sound, like maybe Daddy’s hurt or scared or something.
I almost fall out of bed because I try to get up so fast. I run out into the front room and onto the porch, and I see Daddy hugging Momma so tight and then he kisses her, which is kind of yucky. But no one looks hurt, they look happy.
They don’t notice me for a moment because they’re so busy looking at each other, but then Momma looks at me over Daddy’s shoulder. “Seph,” she says, “What are you doing up?”
“Can’t sleep,” I say.
Momma comes over and scoops me up into her arms. She kisses me on the forehead and sits down on the porch swing with me in her lap. She looks at me with this funny look on her face. She’s smiling real big, but she still looks like crying and Momma never looks like crying.
“Are you okay, Momma?” I ask. “Did the doc say you’re okay?”
“Doc says I’m a hundred percent healthy, nothing to worry about.”
Daddy sits down next to us and starts stroking my hair and I start to get sleepy again. “Seph, your mom and I wanted to ask you something.”
“What do you think about being a big sister?” he asks.
I blink. “But I’m not a sister.”
“Well, you’re going to be,” Momma says. “In a couple months, there’s gonna be another nugget waking us all up every night.”
“Kara!” Daddy says.
“What? That wasn’t your favorite part of raising this one right here?” Momma laughs.
“When’s the baby gonna get here?” I ask, jumping up, suddenly a little less sleepy. “Where is it coming from? What’s it’s name gonna be? Where are we gonna keep it?” I wonder where the baby is gonna sleep because we only have two bedrooms. I guess that means the baby and I are gonna have to share a room. I hope it doesn’t smell too bad. I’ve heard Momma complain about how much she hated changing my stinky diapers when I was that little.
“Relax,” Daddy says, moving me to his lap. “We have time. The baby’s not going to be here for a few more months.”
“And I think your Dad and I are going to be able to take care of her or him just fine,” Momma says. “After all, you didn’t turn out so bad.” She smiles and kisses me on the forehead.
“Daddy says I’m his little angel,” I say.
“Yeah? Well, don’t let it go to your head, okay?” She stands up and takes me from Daddy, and gives me a huge, huge hug. “Come on, let’s get you back into bed.”
I yawn. I don’t want to, but I do. I wanna stay up and talk about the baby some more, but Momma carries me back into the house and tucks me back into bed. She’s about to go when a scary thought suddenly pops into my head.
“You’re not gonna love the new baby more than you love me, are you?”
Momma looks at me like I just said something really dumb. She holds my hand and leans real close. “Seph, no one can ever replace you, okay? I’d go through Hades itself for you.”
“Like Demeter?” I say.
“Yes. Just like Demeter.”
“Can you tell me the story?”
In school, my teacher said that when Hades took Persephone, Demeter became so sad that she stopped doing what she had to do and all the plants and flowers died. And then Persephone ate a pomegranate seed in the underworld so she had to go back every single year. It always made me sad that Persephone had to go back to that scary place again and again and again because of one little seed.
Momma’s version of the story is better. In Momma’s version, Demeter goes down to the Underworld and takes Persephone back from Hades. Of course you can’t kill a god. Gods are immortal. But Demeter hurt him really badly and warned him never to come near her daughter again.
Also, I just like the story because that’s where my name comes from.
“Okay. Just one story. One day, Persephone was picking wildflowers in a field when the God of the Underworld came and snatched her away.”
I’ve heard the story a bazillion times already, so it doesn’t matter that I start to get sleepy at the very beginning. Even if I fall asleep while Momma’s telling it, I know it’s going to have a happy ending.