Note: This is a PG-13 story, therefore, people under thirteen shouln't read it.
The police department really could be such a b**ch.
Stella sighed as she looked through the case file. They had really screwed her over this time, giving them such an important, complicated case just two weeks before Christmas. The others would certainly not be happy. They’d be distracted. Busy. Annoyed.
And with several death threats on their heads.
Setting the folder not-so-carefully on the desk in front of her, Stella looked outside of the window. Snow was beginning to fall, and the sky was a light grey. She could hear talking and laughter coming from the living room.
Standing and picking up the case file, she sighed, and walked out the office door into the main room. On the couch sat Malcolm and Annie, who had apparently been watching tv but had become too involved with each other to really pay attention to it. Rachel, who’s hair and jacket were covered in snowflakes, was standing in the kitchen, setting a bag on the table. She was talking to Arcana, who was standing by the fridge, looking inside and trying to find something to eat.
“Hey, Stella,” Rachel greeted her as she took off her Hunters jacket. She had obviously just arrived at Base. Arcana said a quick hi, not looking up from the fridge. “You know where Cole-” Her eyes narrowed suddenly. “What is that.”
Stella glanced down. “Um-”
“That’s a file,” Rachel said angrily, stepping towards her and grabbing it. She quickly looked through it, eyes widening in horror with every page turn. “You can’t be serious!”
“What?” Arcana looked up, voice slightly muffled as she took a bite of blueberry bagel.
“We have a quest,” Rachel growled, rising the folder angrily. “And it’s about those freaking violent and painfully slow murders that have been going on.”
“What?” Annie echoed Arcana suddenly. Malcolm and Annie were looking at them, annoyance on both of their faces. “We have that case? Now? When it’s almost Christmas?”
“The government hates us,” Malcolm muttered, eyes narrowed.
“Oh, hell no,” Arcana snapped, shaking the bagel for emphasis. “I am not doing that. I have vacation rights.” She took an angry bite of the bagel.
“I don’t like it either, guys,” Stella said, scowling. “But there’s no way we’re getting out of it. So the quicker we solve it, the faster we can enjoy the holidays.”
“We can’t give this to someone else?” Rachel asked, a little desperate sounding. “Seriously? It’s Christmas, for gods’ sake. I have things to do! Important things! I mean, not to say this isn’t important, it’s completely important that these people are caught, but seriously?”
Stella shook her head. “I’m sorry, but I don’t think they’re going to let us skip this one. We might be able to get a little help from someone, but other then that, we’re on our own.”
Rachel scowled and sat down at the table, angrily grabbing one of the several pieces of fudge off a plate. Arcana sat next to her, spreading cream cheese onto her food.
“This sucks,” Annie muttered, turning back to the television. “Yup,” Malcolm scowled.
“Definitely screws our rights to hell,” Arcana agreed.
“I’m filing a complaint,” said Rachel, glaring at the table.
Stella sighed, staring at the file, annoyed. She still had to tell the others.
“You know, you could actually get off your a** and help us, you know.”
“I am helping. You don’t have to be standing to help. And I was the one who carried that thing in here.”
“You helped carry it in, ‘Noch. Helped.”
“You didn’t help at all, Hughes.”
“I directed you. Directed! If it hadn’t been for me, you’d be cleaning pine needles off the floor right now, instead of watching freaking Mythbusters.”
Arcana sighed loudly as she hung one of the Christmas bulbs, annoyed. “Both of stop arguing. Lucian, go away. You’re not helping. The least you could do is try to work on the case.”
“Isn’t that what we’re all supposed to be doing?” Matt muttered, leaning against the wall, spinning one of the decorative candy canes in his hand. “You know, so we can get the hell on with our vacation.”
“Isn’t much of a vacation so far, now is it?” Rachel said irritably, scowling at him. “No, no, we got assigned this suicide wish of an investigation, and right at Christmas!” She sighed. “I had plans. Plans! This place was going to be a freaking winter wonderland when I was done with it! But noooo, this had to happen.” She sniffed indignantly. “Now someone hand me the garland. We need more in that corner.”
Lucian tossed her a piece of gold, sparkling garland. “You know, you didn’t seem like the holiday obsessive type. And you founded the Organization. Shouldn’t you actually be working?”
Rachel rolled her eyes. “Now, what fun is that? I will later. The others are working on it right now, anyway. And this goes on the tree, it’s the red that we’re hanging up on the wall!”
“I thought that was the blue,” Arcana muttered, handing her the decoration.
“The blue is to be hung up in the hallway and in the lobby. Matt, you can do that.”
“What?” Matt narrowed his eyes. “No. I did not volunteer for this. I’m going to go help Stella.” Standing up, Matt walked away towards Stella’s office.
Rachel huffed. “Well, fine then. Go make out with Stella. It’s probably better for me to do it anyway.” Grabbing a box full of blue and silver decorations, Rachel walked out of the living room and outside.
“Obsessive,” Arcana sang, sitting down on the couch and grabbing the remote. “Let’s see what’s on....No, no, no...Hm....Oh! Jersey Shore.” Arcana grinned. “Let’s watch this.”
“No,” Lucian snapped, making a grab for the remote. “I am not watching this crap.”
Arcana smirked, standing up and holding the remote out of reach. “Ah, ah, ah, Lucian, isn’t it the lady who’s suppose to be allowed to pick what show we watch?”
“Give me the remote, b**ch, or-”
“I thought you guys were working! And why are you watching Jersey Shore?” Rachel had appeared in the doorway, shaking her head in disbelief. “I mean, God, I’d rather watch one of those stupid overplayed Disney Christmas specials than that. Change it. Now. I can’t work knowing that is being played in just the next room.” Walking swiftly towards them, she grabbed the remote and quickly changed the channel to the first option-Food Network.
“Now work,” She said sternly. “The sooner we get done with the case the better. Here’s some information they just dropped off,” Rachel dropped a thick looking file onto the coffee table, turned around, and walked outside.
Arcana scowled at the table. “Why do we have to work and she doesn’t?”
“B**ch,” Lucian muttered, pushing away the file with disdain. There was a silence.
“So,” Arcana said finally. “Want to watch Breaking Amish?”
It wasn’t that Rachel didn’t want to work on the case.
Well, okay, she didn’t want to. At all. How dare they give them such an important, dangerous mission right before Christmas, the best holiday in the entire universe? It was unfair and cruel, in her opinion.
But that wasn’t the point. Rachel had so much more important things to work on then this. Maybe it wasn’t important to other people. Maybe it was silly and childish and unneeded to try and decorate for the holidays.
But Rachel wasn’t other people, and other people weren’t her.
Rachel sighed as she looked down at the folder. Stella had forced her to start working on the case. It was her duty, of course, being a leader and this being such an important mission, but...
Her eyes drifted to the undecorated walls of her office, and the box of decorations that sat in the corner.
She looked back at the stack of papers, holding all the information they had on the investigation. The five murders of Olympian workers. Suspected to be work of an organization or gang. Specific pattern suspected, unknown. Ooh, a snowflake pattern might actually look really good next to that window. And a tree, right in that corner. That would look nice. They had some really pretty ornaments in that one corner shop, near Athena’s temple. Those could definitely work-
Rachel hissed in frustration, pushing the folder away, crossing her arms and glaring at the desk. She was never going to get any work done. Not with Christmas coming up so quickly, and Cole being here, and the shopping and the decorating and the baking and everything had to be perfect for Cole because last year it was anything but perfect and there was so much planning to do and-
Rachel looked up, startled, to see Cal standing in the doorway. “Yeah?” she asked, blinking.
“Stella wants you,” he said. “For the investigation.”
She sighed. Of course. “Got it,” She muttered, nodding. “Thanks.”
He nodded and walked back out. Rachel slumped in her chair for a moment, staring bitterly at the papers in front of her, before getting up and walking out into the hallway and over to Stella’s office.
“Yeah, Stella?” She said as she walked inside the room. “What did you-oh.”
Inside stood two people, both about nineteen years old. The first, a thin, blonde girl, stood in the corner, flipping through the pages inside of a folder. The second was a tall, handsome dark haired man who stood near the first. They both wore black clothes with a gold badge pinned onto the shirt.
Stella, who was sitting at her desk, looked up from a folder that was similar looking to the first.
"Hi, Rachel," She said. "This is Adrienne Cook," The blonde nodded to her, a small smile on her face. "And Logan King" The man gave a small wave, nodding.
"Oh," Rachel said. "Hi."
Logan extended his hand. “We’re helping the Organization with your investigation. I hope you don’t mind.” He smiled, and as Rachel shook his hand, she couldn’t help the feeling that this guy was creepy. Or different. Or something.
Maybe it was just the attractiveness. His eyes were quite amazing.
“So, you’re both from the police?” She asked. The girl, Adrienne, nodded.
“Yes,” she said. “They sent both of us to help-they would’ve sent more, but it’s busy this time of year.” She gave an apologetic smile. Rachel wasn’t surprised-even if the police department wasn’t busy, they were too damn lazy to send more than a little help, which was why it was usually the Organization, the Hunters, or Questers or some other group who ended up fixing everything.
“That’s fine,” Stella said. “Two is enough for the case-we have plenty of people here to help.” That was a lie. Rachel knew Stella was annoyed, and was simply acting. Even if the Organization was big enough to complete the mission, none of them wanted to work on it. Some even refused or slacked off, Rachel knew that-she was one of them. But Adrienne and Logan didn’t have to know that.
“We should get to work,” Stella continued. “Let’s go over the file quickly, and then I’ll call a meeting. We have work to do.”
Arthur didn’t know how many times he’d looked over that file.
He’d practically memorized it, to be honest. Five murders, three females and two males, all found dead with no obvious connections and no related obvious killing techniques, except they all had to do with one thing: power.
It was kind of obvious, really. Power and money-two very similar, very common motives that each victim had. But somehow the topic hadn’t come up once during the meeting, which had mostly revolved around suspects (which was none.)
Sometimes, Arthur really wondered about the police. Especially those on Olympus.
Arthur was sitting at the end of the table next to Kat, who was drawing on what was supposed to be her notes, and Malcolm, who kept texting someone on his phone. No one else was really paying attention, either, or at least as not as much as they should be. Even Stella, who had been working on the case more than anyone else, seemed bored. He sighed and looked over towards the door, wishing he had remembered to bring his own cell phone, which was currently sitting on the kitchen table. Sneaking out wasn’t an option-it had already been tried and failed on two occasions. Maybe he could just...
Arthur looked up, startled. The girl Adrienne was beaming at them while Logan stood in the background, flipping through one of the files. “Unfortunately, we must leave, but we’ll be back tomorrow! Thank you for having us!” She smiled. “Oh! And Stella? Rachel? Can we talk to you both for a moment?”
Stella nodded. “Of course.” She stood and turned towards the table. “Meeting dismissed.”
“That was boring.”
“Don’t remind me,” Stella said as they walked out of the room, case file in hand. “Why didn’t they just talk about that in the meeting?” Rachel muttered, glancing down at the papers. “It’s a lot more interesting than the stupid crap they were just going on about.”
“You weren’t even paying attention,” Stella said irritably. “No one was. You could at least try and look like you weren’t bored.”
“Oh, and you’re the greatest actor to ever walk this damn earth,” Rachel retorted. “Look, I’m sorry I haven’t been paying as much attention to the case as I should be. I will try to focus more. But you must admit, we didn’t exactly get the best mission, or the best help.” She scowled. “That girl gives me a headache. And what’s-his-face....I don’t know. He’s just....” She shook her head. “Nevermind. I’ll focus more.” As they walked into the room, Matt walked up to them. “Hey,” he greeted. “What did they want?”
Stella handed him the file. “They saved the useful information for last.”
He glanced through it, eyes narrowed. “Why didn’t they talk about this at the presentation, instead of just repeating the same thing over and over again?”
“They probably want us to fail,” Rachel muttered. “Make us look bad and them better. They may be helping us, but if we don’t find whoever killed these people, the blame will go to us.”
Stella nodded. “Which is why all of us are going to start working on this mission, and we’re actually going to focus. We should at least try to get a halfway decent vacation.”
“So, you think we’ll be able to go Christmas shopping after this? I still need to get presents, and more decorations.”
“Oh, I hope so. I haven’t gotten all of my shopping done, but don’t you think it might be a little too overboard on the decorations?”
Snow had started to fall on Olympus, and the crowded street was starting to die down. Christmas lights were hanging throughout the block, decorating the different buildings that the three Heroes passed.
“I don’t think so,” Rachel said, casting an irritable glance at Arthur. “What’s got you in a bad mood, Scrooge? Don’t like Christmas?”
“It’s a holiday supposedly meant for Christians that surrounds the commercialism of stores and excuses for people to get expensive store bought gifts, therefore crushing the hearts of those with little spending money, and ruining the hopes and dreams of children everywhere.” Arthur replied.
Rachel scowled, suddenly very annoyed. “That is not true. While parts of Christmas are, unfortunately, like that, that’s not everything! And what do you mean, little spending money and the hopes and dreams-” “Guys!” Kat said suddenly, trying to take the attention away from the growing tension. “We’re here.”
They had arrived at a small, dirty alley that, though normally a boring, looked over place, had been turned into a crime scene-it was the place of the most recent attack. Yellow tape covered the area, and several cars sat in various areas around it, making it hard to walk through the crowded mess, though it was an unspoken relief they had not been called down before this-when the body was first discovered, the street had been so crowded no one could walk.
“Alright,” Rachel muttered as they walked into the alley. “Let’s get this over with.” Kat looked around the area. You could still see the blood stains on the ground, and shattered glass covered the ground. The place was a mess, but it had obviously been cleaned up; there was no body.
“Where’s the victim’s body?” Arthur asked, having the same thoughts as her.
“The morgue,” a voice said behind them. Standing there was Logan King, leaning against the side of one of the old, brick buildings. “They didn’t want any evidence to be affected by the weather. They most of the other stuff away, too.”
“So we’re here why, exactly?” Rachel questioned. “I have important things to do.” Logan gave a grim smile. “Don’t worry. We’re here to look for more evidence, seeing as the attack was only early this morning.”
The three quickly got to work, searching the area and quickly covering anything that could be used as evidence from the falling snow, which was beginning to pick up. However, it took nearly an hour before anything truly interesting showed up. It was Arthur who found the paper.
“Hey, guys, look at this,” he said, kneeling next to a pile of snow.
“What is it?” Asked Kat, walking over to him. “A piece of paper?”
“Yeah,” he muttered. “It’s got some blood on it. Some writing, too, but...I can’t make it out....It’s some kind of code.”
“What were you saying?” Rachel said, appearing behind them. “A code? You think it’s something to do with the investigation?”
“Might be,” he said. “Can’t know for sure. Zeus only knows all that goes on on Olympus-this could be anything. But...”
“You think it could mean something,” Kat offered. “I do to. It seems...special, for some reason. Let’s take it back to base.”
“I agree,” Rachel said, nodding. “Plus, the sooner we have an excuse to leave this place, the better. Let’s go-”
“Leaving so soon?” Logan came walking over. “Found something?” He looked at the paper, interested.
“We’re taking it back to base,” Arthur said, standing.
“Are you sure?” he asked. “It might be better if you gave it to me-”
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” Rachel cut in, a hint of coldness in her voice. “Thank you for all your help, but this is our investigation. You can send the other evidence to the base as well. Now, if you excuse us, we’ll be leaving now. Goodbye!”