Shadows of the Night
Two Jewish Demigods
Danielle Rodriguez didn’t remember much about her life before Camp Half-Blood. She had grown up in a small, Jewish household where the rules were strict and the ideas on religion were even stricter. She suspected it might have been to cover up the fact that her dad had slept with a Greek goddess, but she still, to this day, prided herself on being of both Jewish and Spanish descent. Though most of the campers at Camp Half-Blood followed Greek myths as their main religion, she’d still celebrate certain Jewish holidays, and, every once in a while, write to her father in Hebrew, though there was never any letters from him in return. Though most of the other campers enjoyed the sport of avoiding/bullying her due to the fact that she was the weakest link, when she had first arrived at camp a few of the Hepahsutes children had made her a menorah out of some spare parts they had lying around.
Luckily, in the summer of 1981, about a year after she had arrived at Camp Half-Blood in a blur of a monster attack and the traumatic death of her stepmother, another Jewish child arrived. Tiffany Brown was not the conventional type of Jewish Danielle was, though. You could tell by her very visibly flamboyant way of acting. Only thirteen, and she would already sneak ‘The Village Voice’ and other gay tabloids into camp. Of course, that was around the time Danielle started to get her infamous nightmares about her past experiences, and the other campers began bullied her for it. Tiffany was extremely protective of Danielle, even if the only thing that had in common was that they were both gay. Though Tiffany had much more to be tormented about, due to her very obvious homosexuality, she was stronger-willed than her friend, meaning she could protect the two against the rest of the campers.
In the end, that’s what bonded them close together the most. Danielle was a fearful, homosexual thirteen-year-old who was insecure and quiet, skinnier, more aged than the rest of the campers of whom they resided with. Tiffany was extremely camp, but they fit like a glove. Sometimes the two would sneak out into one another’s cabins to whisper their fears into each other’s hair while they clutched one another. It was a strange friendship, the kind of one that would earn them weird glances from the rest of the campers if they went walking together. Neither completely minded, though. That’s what made them so special. It’s probably what caught Hephaestus’ eye in the first place.
“I love you,” The words drifted from seventeen-year-old Danielle Rodriguez’s mouth as she stared at herself worriedly in the mirror. She shook her head rapidly, the unruly curls against the sides of her face shaking as he did so. “No, no, that’s too balant.” She pushed back the growing hair from out of her eyes, scanning the shared Athena cabin bathroom she was currently stood in.
“Hey, Tiffany, this might be a surprise, but I love you. In like...a love-love kinda way,” Danielle scratched the back of her neck, before cursing under her breath and letting her hand drop to her side. “Shit.” There was a light knock from the door of the darkened Athena cabin, and then bouncy footsteps. Recognizing them instantly, Danielle rushed out of the bathroom of the cabin to greet the red-haired child of Demeter who had entered without permission, as he usually did.
“Vick! Hi, wasn’t expecting you,” Danielle waved. Victor smiled kindly at her in response, red hair sticking in place from the excess amounts of gel he put into them staying put while he bounced from one foot to the next, one bare, his shirt following. He had purposely gotten a larger size of their Camp Half-Blood shirt so that it would hang off one. He flicked on the lightswitch beside her, lights whirring to life along the cabin, and tutted at the mess of books spread across the floor. Victor then turned back towards his good friend, who was waiting for him to speak.
“Tiff’s lookin’ for you,” He told her matter-of-factly. “She’s not in a good mood.” Danielle winced, as she bent down to scoop up some of the books and set them on the nearest bookshelf that was already slightly overflowing.
“Where’s she at?” Danielle asked coolly, attempting to cover up the fact that she had been practicing a love confession to her best friend in the mirror about a minute prior to this conversation.
“The infirmary,” He informed him, bouncing past to check his face for visible sweat in the mirror that hung outside the bathroom. Though none of the campers wanted to admit, they had put it up solely on the fact that Tiffany was in the Athena cabin so much they added it for her benefit. Danielle’s eyes widened in surprise, and she stumbled with her words for a moment before responding.
“What? Why?” She stammered. She pushed back the overgrown curls that were falling onto her forehead. “Did she get hurt?” Victor shook his head as he cracked open his satchel and retrieved his sunscreen, rubbing it around his face while watching his reflection in the mirror without a care in the world.
“Nah,” He replied distractedly. “She beat up a couple of Ares kids who were bashin’ you at archery.” A bullet of love shot through Danielle’s heart at the words. She was thankful for Victor’s oblivious nature, since if he were anyone else they would have noticed her reddening cheeks.
“Oh,” She squealed out, then cleared her throat, and attempted to try again. “I mean, oh. Okay. I’ll meet her down there, then.” She rushed out of the cabin, the wind ripping through her lungs as she did so. Tiffany beat up Ares kids for her. Ares kids. While Tiffany was strong and feisty, she wasn’t a match for the sheer muscle that was the Ares cabin. Of course, Tiffany was more intelligent, and sneaky, so that must have been the reason she avoided getting seriously hurt. Danielle slowed to a stop at the front of the infirmary, where Tiffany was waiting for her, arms crossed over her chest.
“Why did you tell me sooner those dudes were raggin’ on you, Dani?” Tiffany asked her, anger rippling through her words. Danielle took a cautious step back.
“I didn’t think it mattered that much,” Danielle mustered out. “I mean, there’s about three people in this camp who don’t. You, Chiron, and Victor. Even then he just barely tolerates me.” Tiffany huffed, and rolled her eyes.
“I don’t care,” She argued, and kicked at the grass childishly. “You shouldn’t put up with it.” Danielle sighed, and jammed her hands into her front pockets.
“I have for the past five years, Tiff, and while I appreciate you fighting them for me, I don’t need you to,” She told him, cheeks flushing. “We’re gonna get out of here soon, anyway. Does it really matter?” Tiffany, accepting defeat, folding slightly into herself, and dropped her arms.
“Yeah, I guess,” She let out a sigh. “I want to protect you. Like, all the time. And for some reason, I can’t. There’s too many of them.” Danielle rolled her eyes, and outstretched her arms.
“Come on. Forgive hug?” Danielle smiled at her, though she knew they’d be back at each other’s throats again within the hour. It was just the type of friendship they had. Tiffany hugged her tight, pale arms wrapping around her waist protectively, and Danielle attempted not to appear as though she were breathing in Tiffany’s scent. Because she totally wasn’t. Totally.
They were sat off the deck, as they usually ended up doing at night, their legs hanging off the side, the water rippling around them. The moon hung in the sky, too far to reach, and Danielle wondered whether or not Artemis was either taking care of it or if she had left it to one of the minor gods to take care of while she led the Huntresses around the world. The camp was silent, the rest of the kids asleep. All but them.
“Why are we out here again?” Danielle moved her feet so that the ripples were larger, watching as they spread out through the lake.
“Why are we anywhere?” Tiffany replied, furrowing her light eyebrows as she slid back onto her palms so that she was lying flat on the dock. “Why do we do anything?” In the darkness, Danielle rolled her eyes.
“Don’t get like that,” Danielle breathed through her nose, too resigned by her best friend’s seemingly routine existential crisis to actually get annoyed.
“I feel a connection to the constellations,” Tiffany cut her complaints off shortly. “It’s like...they’re my family. Or some kid shit like that.” Danielle watched her carefully.
“That’s not kid shit,” Danielle followed her in lying down onto the dock, heartbeat quickening considerably. “Maybe your mom is like, the goddess of the stars.” Tiffany snorted.
“I doubt it,” Tiffany replied snarkily. “I doubt my mom’s even a god.” Danielle bit her lip, and attempted to scoot closer without being obvious.
“Of course she is,” Danielle promised, turning over on her side so that she was facing her best friend. “You’re the coolest person I’ve ever met. How could your mom not be a goddess? And does it even matter? Within the next month or so we’ll be busting out of here.” Tiffany reached over and began to pick at some of the falling wood against the deck.
“We’ll have nowhere to go,” Tiffany murmured, almost to herself, her blond locks falling in front of her face as though it were light from Mount Olympus itself.
“Well…” Danielle drifted off as Tiffany flung herself around to face her best friend completely, an excited grin spreading across her face. “I have put down the first and last month’s rent on an apartment in New York City.”
“Dani!” Tiffany squealed in happiness, and flung her arms around the other girl, knocking them both flat onto the deck. “You’re amazing, oh my god. How did you manage to pull that off?” Danielle basked in the happiness that was radiating off her best friend, and with shaking hands, allowed her fingers to curl around the other’s waist.
“My dad, a bit of my saving money, and some stock money I’d pooled in a while back,” Danielle explained, allowing a smile to spread across her face. Softly, her tan fingers skimmed along the revealed spine of Tiffany’s pale back. Her best friend’s breath hitched slightly at the drifting touch, eyes falling shut and lips dropping open almost unnoticably. Danielle dropped her head back against the wooden desk, eyes closing as well. Slowly, she felt Tiffany’s thin, long fingers glide along one side of her cheek. Dani’s heart was practically beating out of her chest. Just when she felt Tiffany’s breath on her lips, her blond hair pooling around like a halo on her head, the dock was bumped roughly enough for her best friend to topple off of her.
“What the hell…” Tiffany drifted off, Danielle clambering to sit back onto her butt, the disappoint in her face clear while her best friend leaned over the side of the dock to grab whatever had hit one of the wooden poles. “It’s a bottle. With a message inside it.” Danielle let out a laugh.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Danielle snorted, and leaned over Tiffany’s shoulder as she uncorked the bottle and retrieved the folded up slip of paper inside of it.
“Addressed to Miss Tiffany Smith and her companion, Miss Danielle Rodriguez,” Tiffany read aloud, narrowing her eyes and tilting the letter up to be lit up by the moonlight. “Hephaestus, god of fire, metalworking, and sculpture, summons you both to Boston in order to assist in the demolition of Mimas.” Her lips quirked upwards in shock, and shoved the paper into Danielle’s hand to read the rest of it aloud.
“Mimas,” Danielle echoed, hands beginning to shake as she scanned over the piece of parchment. “He’s a giant. Giants can only be defeated by both a God and a demigod. Tiff, this is our way out!” Tiffany let out a squeal, and flung her arms around Danielle’s neck, who continued to speak, eyes clouding over.
“The Gods will totally give us some sort of payment. We could use that to get a leg up on starting a life,” Her lips stopped at the word together, barely halting herself from saying it, from reaching a hand up to pet Tiffany’s blonde, wispy hair. It was sticking up everywhere. “We might even be able to go college.” Tiffany pulled back, a wide set, excited grin on her face. It made Danielle’s heart beat that much faster.
“What are we waiting for, then?” Tiffany stood up on the dock, wiggling her white toes against the broken down boards, and outstretched a hand for Danielle to take to help herself up. After a moment, Danielle took it, pinking underneath the gaze of the moon. “We’ve got a giant to slay.”
i hope you guys enjoy the first chapter!! i'll try to make it as realistic to the time zone as i possibly can. as always, subscriptions, rates, and comments are very appriciated. :) - annie