Chapter 1: Prologue
Poseidon Jackson couldn't believe had stupid this was. He just wanted to cross the wall. There was nothing but a field and some woods on the other side. It didn't even belong to anyone, there was no reason for it to be guarded. And yet here was Chiron, stubbornly guarding the gap in the wall and insisting that it was the entrance to another world. Poseidon didn't think it would be to hard to get past the old man. He was like, a thousand years old.
"Poseidon Jackson, what are you doing out here? Not going to try and get through the wall are you?" Chiron frowned.
Poseidon rolled his eyes. "Oh come on Chiron, just let me past."
The old man looked pretty offended at that. "I've spent my life guarding this portal and you want me to just let you past!"
"Well, yeah." He answered. He turned the old man so he could see through the gap. "Look, do you see anything otherworldly? No, because it's a field. Do you see anything magical or non-human? No. And do you know why? Because it's a field!"
Chiron scowled at him. "If it is, as you claim, just a field, than why do you want to get through so badly?"
"Go home Poseidon."
"Alright." He sighed. "I gave it my best, but it seems there's no getting past you."
The old man nodded, pleased. "Good night, Poseidon. Give my best to your father." He started a wide circle back to his chair.
Poseidon ran past him and jumped through the gap. He ran as fast as he could toward the trees on the other side of the field. He could hear Chiron yelling behind him for a while, but the sound faded after he crossed the tree line.
Poseidon was stunned when he found the marketplace. He'd been walking for at least half an hour and was about to turn back when he'd heard the chatter of it and gone to investigate. He was now wandering through the market gawking at the wares for sale. Eyeballs, miniature animals- which moved!- and all kinds of charms. He decided to get something to remind him of this trip. The only problem was finding something that wasn't so obviously magical.
He was still trying to find something when he saw her. She was tending to a stall that sold charms and glass flowers. She had brown hair, blue eyes, and was the most beautiful person he'd ever seen.
He walked towards her. Before he got to her another woman appeared in front of him, scowling. Poseidon thought she might have once been pretty, but the scowl seemed a permanent feature, her brown eyes were cold, and her brown hair was matted. She looked him up and down, snorted in what he was pretty sure was disgust, and turned to the first woman.
"I'm going for a drink. Mind the stall." She swept away without another word.
The first woman smiled at him. Poseidon thought his heart would burst at the sight. "See something you like?"
He stepped closer. "Yes." He cleared his throat and quickly looked over the things on the table. He saw a flash of gold. "I mean, um, these the, uh, lightening bolts. H-how much are they?"
Her smile widened. He was sure she'd seen right through him. "Well, they might be the color of your eyes or all your memories before you were five. I can check if you'd like." He thought that was a rather odd price list. "You shouldn't buy one of them though." She held up a small silver trident. "You should get this instead. It'll bring you luck."
"A-and how much is that one?" He asked nervously. He didn't want to give up his smile or the ability to say the letter 't' or something like that.
"This one costs a kiss." She smirked and tapped her cheek.
He sighed in relief. He was totally willing to give her a kiss. He leaned forward. She turned her head at the last second so he met her lips instead of her cheek. He didn't know how long the kiss lasted, only that she pulled away too soon.
"Is she gone?" She whispered.
It took a couple seconds for his mind to catch up. When it did, he nodded. She pulled him behind the stall. He blinked when he saw a thin chain that wrapped around her ankle and attached to the yellow wagon she'd been pulling him toward. He picked it up with a frown.
She turned and sighed when she saw what he was holding. She sat on the wagon's steps and kept her voice low. "I'm a princess. That witch you saw earlier is holding me captive. Can you free me?"
It sounded ridiculous, and yet for some reason he believed her. He pulled out a small knife he always kept with him and cut away a section of the chain. He tucked the section away and frowned when the chain mended itself.
She smiled sadly. "The chain is magic. I'll only be free when she dies."
"If I can't free you then what do you want from me?" He asked in confusion.
Her smile returned and she pulled him into the wagon.
Nine months later Poseidon was laying in bed trying to sleep. As he did every night, he pulled out the trident charm and thought of the market and the mysterious woman he'd met there.
A knock at his front door brought him out of his thoughts. He stood and went downstairs to answer it. Chiron was waiting on his porch with a large basket in his hands.
"Someone left this at the wall for you." Chiron handed him the basket. "Says his name is Perseus."
Poseidon stared in shock at the newborn baby sleeping in the basket. Blankets surrounded him and a letter was clutched in his tiny fist. Poseidon knew without a doubt that this was his son. He looked up and Chiron, who shot him a knowing look before turning and walking away. Poseidon closed the door and carried the basket upstairs with him. He had a lot to think about.
Chapter 2: 18 Years Later
Poseidon Jackson's voice pierced the night, "Did you grab the flowers?"
"Yes, Dad." A teen's voice called back.
Percy Jackson rushed out of the house with a bouquet of small, white flowers. Tonight was the night. Tonight he was going to tell Drew how he felt. He tried to think of exactly how to say it as he walked to her house. How are you supposed to tell someone they're your true love anyway? Do you just say it or should you arrange a grand romantic gesture first? He hoped flowers were enough of one. It was all he had at the moment.
When he reached her house he tossed a couple pebbles at her window, so she knew he was here. While waiting for her to answer him he tried to fix his shirt.
"Bryce?" The window opened and Drew poked her head out. Dark curls framed her face as she looked down.
"No. It's- uh- Percy." he answered sheepishly.
She looked a little disappointed. Percy's heart dropped. "Did I forget something at the shop?" she asked with a sigh.
"N-no. I-I just, uh-"
A dark brown cane smacked the bouquet out of his hand. He looked over to see Bryce Lawrence smirking at him and holding a dozen red roses. He was an inch or so taller than Percy and had more muscle on him. Percy also knew that he was arrogant and sadistic. He didn't get why Drew was even a little interested in him.
"Were those for Drew?" he sneered, "How pathetic. Though I suppose to a shop boy like you they must have seemed extravagant."
Percy caught sight of a relatively long, straight stick. He grabbed it and brandished it at Bryce. His "fighting stance" felt awkward, like he would fall over if pushed the wrong way. Bryce pulled a thin blade out of his cane. In a heartbeat Percy was on the ground, his stick somewhere on the other side of the road.
"Bryce, be kind to the poor boy." Drew called. He smirked down at Percy and walked to the door. "Are you alright?"
He gave her a huge dopey smile. She really did care about him. "Yeah, I'm fine."
Drew giggled and went back inside.
The next morning didn't start well. He had to run to work and still ended up being late. His father had tried to talk to him, to find out how the night before had gone. Percy lied. He couldn't tell his dad that he had failed so miserably. So he said it went well and ran out the door before he could be asked any more questions.
From there the day got a little better, and then worse.
He had been in the middle of helping a customer when Drew swept into the shop. She walked to the front of a rather long line without so much as a glance at the other people waiting.
"Hello Percy." she smiled sweetly at him.
"D-Drew." he stammered, "HI. H-how, er, do you need anything?"
"Sack of flour." she answered, "A pound of sugar, a dozen eggs, six ounces of blackberry tea, a sack of potatoes. Oh and some chocolate please."
He piled everything on the counter. "Here you are." He tried for a charming smile.
"Listen I wanted to say sorry for last night. Bryce was really rude."
Percy's smile became even more love struck. 'She's so considerate.'
"It's- uh- it's fine." he cleared his throat. "C-could I see you. Tonight, I mean."
She smiled again. "No." His heart sank. "But you may walk me home."
He was about to leap forward and scream 'yes,' when he realized that that would probably cost him his job.
"Now? Like right this second?"
"Yes. Is that a problem?"
'Screw the job.' he thought.
"No. No problem." He grabbed the heavier things from the counter. "Let's go."
"Dad, I lost my job." Percy told his reflection. No, that sounded wrong. "Father, I lost my job I'm so sorry." No. That was too meek. He did think calling him 'father' was a safe bet. "Father-"
"You got fired. So I heard."
Percy spun around. Poseidon was leaning against the door frame with a disappointed frown on his lips. Still, Percy thought- hoped- he could see a little amusement in his eyes.
"I'm so sorry. I just screwed up, and-"
"Calm down, son." Poseidon sat at the table and motioned for Percy to do the same. "Tell me what happened."
So he did. Both what happened that day to get him fired and how the night before actually went.
"Percy. I understand how you feel about Drew, but I want you to really think about what you're doing for her. Is she really worth giving up so much for?"
Percy didn't hesitate. "Absolutely. I love her, Dad. She's worth everything."
Poseidon sighed. "Then I guess you shouldn't give up on her. But I want you to promise that you won't let courting her take over your life. You're still young and you may come to regret it if you do."
"Don't worry, Dad." Percy grinned. "I have a plan."
Chapter 3: Wooing Drew
Percy went back to Drew's house the night after the talk with his father. She scowled at him when she saw him standing below his window.
"Percy! I specifically told you-"
"I know." he interrupted, "You told me not to come, but I have a surprise for you."
She rolled her eyes and went back inside.
Percy's shoulders slumped. Maybe he should have waited until tomorrow to do this. She had asked him not to come tonight after all. He bowed his head and started to walk away. He would have to clean everything up and try again another night.
An arm slipped through his before he could get too far away from the house. Startled, Percy looked over to see Drew.
"My birthday's not for another week, you know." she said with a smile.
Percy grinned in reply. Maybe tonight would go well after all.
He'd set everything up in a field near the wall (not anywhere close Chiron of course, the old man wouldn't help the romance).
A blanket lay on the grass surrounded by candles. In the center of the blanket was a bucket filled with ice and a bottle of champagne with two glasses beside it. Percy had been pretty happy with it when he'd first set it up, but now he was worried that it wasn't enough.
Drew gasped when she saw everything, "Percy, this is beautiful. Did you do all this yourself?"
He smiled sheepishly in response, "Yeah. It really wasn't all that hard."
She grinned and sat on the blanket beside the glasses. He dropped next to her and poured the champagne.
After taking a sip, her eyes widened, "This is fantastic!"
"You really like it?"
She nodded. A small frown touched her lips, "This must have cost everything you had saved, and I heard about your job."
He shrugged, "It's not a big deal. I always thought of it as a temporary job, now I won't have to worry about it. I can travel, see the world. I can get another job later."
She giggled, "You sound like Bryce. Did you know, he's going all the way to France just to get me a ring?"
"All the way to France." he snorted, "Wait, a ring? He's- Are you going to say yes?"
She rolled her eyes, "Honestly, it's not like I can say no. Not after he went all the way to France."
He scoffed, "France isn't that far. I'd go much farther for you."
"Honest. I'd go to San Francisco and bring you back your weight in gold. Or... Africa! To get a diamond as big as your fist." She giggled and leaned closer. He ended up blurting out the next thing that popped into his head, too preoccupied with the thought that Drew was going to kiss him to think through what he was saying. "I'd, um, I'd go to Antarctica, kill a polar bear and bring you back its skin."
She pulled back, looking slightly offended, "A polar bear's skin?"
He winced, silently berating himself.
Drew pushed some of her hair back. A faint smile appeared on her face again. "You're funny, Percy. But, people like you, and people like me, we just don't-" she sighed.
Percy looked away, crushed.
"It's getting late." she sighed, "I should go."
"Wait." he couldn't let her leave now! Things had been going so well. Or at least they had, until his polar bear comment. "Let's at least finish the champagne."
"Oh alright." She held her glass out to be refilled.
The champagne was almost gone when they saw it. A shooting star shot across the sky, disappearing over the wall.
"Oh, look at that a shooting star! It's beautiful." Drew said.
'This is my chance.' Percy thought.
"Drew, for your hand in marriage I'd cross the wall and bring you back that shooting star."
She stared at him like he was an idiot, "You can't cross the wall. No one crosses the wall now you're just being stupid."
"I would." he answered quickly, "I'd do anything to be with you."
She thought about it for a minute. "My very own star." she mused, "You've got yourself a deal."
She held her glass up slightly. He moved to clink his with hers when she pulled away a bit. "You have exactly one week, or I'm marrying Bryce."
He grinned and tapped the rim of his glass to hers before they both took a sip.
Chapter 4: Meanwhile...
King Zeus was dying. He'd summoned his four surviving sons to his bedside for his last night on this earth.
"Where is Ares?" The old king mumbled.
"He's on his way father." Apollo assured him. Hercules and Octavian stood to his left.
Zeus nodded. It was silent for a minute or so before the doors slammed open and Ares swept through.
"So sorry I'm late. Had a run in with someone on the road."
Apollo rolled his eyes. Ares was always getting into fights with people who hadn't done anything wrong. It was one of the reasons he hoped his father wasn't going to let him be king. Ares was the reason half of their other brothers were dead. As far as he knew Octavian had only killed Hephaestus while Hercules had killed Dionysus. Ares was the reason his tow favorite brothers, Hermes and Luke, were dead. Apollo hated him for that. Almost as much as he hated the tradition that said he had to kill his brothers to rule.
Zeus's voice broke through his thoughts, "Now that we are all here, we may proceed. I must say this is a highly unusual situation. I had twelve brothers, you know-"
"And you killed them all before your father even felt poorly." Octavian broke in with a yawn, "We know, Father. You're strong and courageous."
Those were not the first attributes to come to Apollo's mind.
"Where's Sally? Where is your sister?" Zeus demanded.
Apollo felt a little sick. His baby sister, Sally, had gone missing years ago. Apollo and Hermes had searched for her before Ares killed him.
"No one has seen her in years, Father." Hercules reminded him.
"Ares?" He sounded vaguely disappointed, "Tradition states that only a male heir may assume the throne."
"Yeah. So why would I kill her when these punks are still alive?"
-Because you enjoy it.- Apollo thought.
"Go to the window," their father told him, "tell me what you see."
Ares smirked at his brothers and walked to the window. It was a tall, wide opening with nothing to stand between Ares and the thousand foot drop.
"I see the kingdom, Father. All of Olympus."
Ares looked back at them hopefully, "My kingdom?"
"Perhaps." Zeus answered, "Look up."
Ares did so and Zeus nodded at Octavian. Apollo looked away, as much as he hated Ares, he didn't want to see another brother die. They could all hear Ares's scream as he fell. Zeus laughed in delight.
(Third Person POV)
None of them saw Ares's ghost join those of their other brothers. Hephaestus, Dionysus, Hermes, and Luke watched in various states of amusement, satisfaction and curiosity.
"Dionysus, Hermes, Hephaestus, Luke! You're alive!" Ares exclaimed, stunned.
"Of course not you moron!" Luke snapped, "You're dead!"
"No need to be snappy with me, Luke." Ares sneered, "Or are you still upset about that whole murder thing? Honestly, that was, what, five years ago?"
"Fat lot of good it did you?" Luke grumbled. Hermes rubbed his arm soothingly while glaring at Ares.
"Oh, come on! If I hadn't one of the others would've."
"I was sixteen and you were far from merciful!"
"Enough, you two." Hephaestus sighed, "We're stuck like this until the new king is crowned, you can yell at each other later. Until then, shut up! I want to know what's happening."
The king was taking off his necklace. A thick, silver chain with a sapphire pendant. He lifted it and the jewel drained of color. "Only he of royal blood can restore the sapphire. He who does shall be crowned the new king of Olympus."
The necklace floated up as the king drew his last breath. The three princes moved towards it. Before any of them could grab it, it shot out the window and into the sky.
Jason didn't care about the royal succession of Olympus. Why should he? It wasn't like it would affect him at all. How wrong he was.
Because he hadn't been watching what was happening with the king, he didn't see the necklace flying towards him. He only saw it a second before it hit him. He felt a sharp pain on his upper lip and then he began to fall.
Chapter 5: The Witches
Gaea couldn't sleep. Those idiot brothers of hers snored. Loudly. She was sitting just outside the door of their rundown mansion when she saw it. A star shot across the sky and disappeared on the horizon. She grinned. If she could get to that star, she'd be young again. Young and beautiful. And all it would cost was the heart of one measly star. No one would miss it, there were still millions of them in the sky. Unfortunately, she'd need those two fools to help her get it. And then she'd have to share with them. She really should do something about that one of these days.
She ran inside. "Kronos, Porphyrion. Wake up!" They kept on snoring. She slapped each in turn. "Now!"
"What?" Kronos whined.
"A star has fallen," she announced. They stared at her blankly. She rolled her eyes and made a gesture with her hands. Both gasped and leapt to their feet.
The three pulled out an animal at random and gutted it.
"Let's see." Porphyrion muttered, "It looks like it landed one hundred mile west of here."
Gaea nodded and rushed to a cabinet. She scowled when she noticed it was empty. "Where are all our Iris candles?"
"You used the last one four hundred years ago. Has your brain decayed to much to remember?" Kronos sneered.
She glared at him. "I suppose one of us will have to go on foot."
"Shall we decide in the usual way?" Porphyrion drawled.
They closed their eyes and put a hand in the animal's guts. Gaea looked at her hand through her lashes and grabbed the creature's heart. When they opened their eyes and showed off what each of them had gotten her brothers were clearly upset.
"You'll need what's left of the last star then." Kronos grumbled.
They pulled out the box and untied the ribbons holding it closed. Gaea smirked as she took out the last little piece of heart and ate it. She felt power flood through her. Her skin smoothed out and her hair grew longer and thicker. Her eyes were clearer and her hearing better. She couldn't wait until she got the new star back here.
She ran to a mirror. Her dark hair fell in waves to the small of her back. Her pale skin was smooth and her brown eyes were brighter. She grinned at her reflection. She barely looked thirty.
"Yes, yes. You're actually pretty now. Stop drooling over yourself and go get our star." Kronos snapped impatiently.
She rolled her eyes. She snapped her fingers and a bag started packing up everything she'd need on her journey. "When I get back I want this place clean. We wouldn't want to make a poor impression on our guest, now would we? Besides, this place is disgusting. I refuse to live like this anymore."
Her brothers scowled.
"I mean it! I'll call if I need you for something." And with that she swept out of the house. It was time to find that star.
Chapter 6: Crossing the Wall
Percy tried to look confident as he walked towards the gap in the wall. He was sure he could get past Chiron then he would track down the star, bring it home and marry Drew. He was a little concerned as to how he would carry a giant lump of rock back to the wall, but he could figure something out.
"Poseidon Jackson, not again." Chiron sighed.
"Um, it's Percy, actually," he corrected. What had his father been doing at the wall. H'd have to remember to ask when he got home.
"Oh," Chiron frowned, "You do look a lot like your father."
Percy smiled a bit and stepped towards the gap. Chiron lifted his walking stick to bar his way.
"No one crosses the wall, you know that."
"Yeah, well I just thought-"
"You thought wrong. Go home."
Percy sighed. "Oh, alright. Goodbye Chiron."
Chiron nodded, "Goodnight, Percy. Give my best to your father."
When Chiron turned to chair Percy ran past towards the gap. He managed to get through before Chiron flipped over the wall and smacked him to the ground with his walking stick. Percy grunted as he hit the ground, stunned.
Chiron made a shooing motion with one hand, a small smirk on his face. "Off you go."
Percy sat at the kitchen table checking out the giant bruise forming on his stomach when his father walked in. Percy tugged his shirt down quickly. What was his father doing up? It wasn't even dawn yet!
"Percy? What happened?"
"N-Nothing. What're you doing up?"
Poseidon frowned. "I heard someone come stumbling into the house. I thought you'd just come back from you're date with Drew. Why are you hurt? Was it Bryce again?"
Percy sighed, "No. It was Chiron."
"What were you doing at the wall?"
"I could ask you the same thing."
Poseidon rubbed his temples. "I suppose it's about time I told you the truth. Come with me."
"Where?" Percy asked, standing.
"The attic. There's something for you up there. It's from your mother."
Percy followed his father upstairs, "My mother?"
"That's right. I've been waiting for the right time to tell you, now's a good a time as any."
Poseidon and Percy sat on a couple of old trunks in the attic as he told him about his mother and what had happened when Poseidon crossed the wall. He pulled out the trident charm and the piece of enchanted chain as he spoke. At his insistence, Percy slid both into his pockets. Finally, he took out the basket Percy had come to him in and the unopened package that was with it.
"Dad, I can't- Is she still alive?"
"I don't know. I hope she is."
Percy bit his lower lip as he took the package from his father.
"I've never opened it, it's addressed to you."
Percy traced his name. This was his mother's handwriting. He took a deep breath before opening it. Inside was a letter and a candle. The candle was striped with every color in the rainbow. Percy set it aside and read the letter.
'My dearest Perseus, How I wish I could be speaking to you in person. Had my mistress allowed it, I would have kept you in a heartbeat. I might have even considered raising you in secret, but if I had and she found you she wouldn't hesitate before killing you, and I can't take that chance.
My fondest wish is that someday we can meet. The fastest way to travel is by candle light. Light it and think of me. Only me.
I love you,
He picked up the candle again. "Got a light?"
Poseidon nodded and pulled a tinderbox from his pocket.
"See you later, Dad." Percy smiled at him and he lit the candle.
Jason groaned and sat up. His leg and upper lip throbbed painfully. The leg didn't seem to be bleeding, but when he touched his lip his fingers came away bloody. Glancing over he saw the necklace that had caused his fall. He slipped it around his neck. When he found the owner he was going to give them a piece of his mind.
He had just managed to stand when a light crashed into him and sent him to the ground again. The light faded to reveal a boy of about eighteen or so. He had messy black hair and bright green eyes. He looked incredibly confused when he saw Jason.
"You're not my mother."
Jason glared at him. "No, I'm not now get off me!"
The boy scrambled off quickly. "Sorry, sorry, I- uh- Are you okay? You're bleeding."
Jason rolled his eyes. "I know."
"Oh- um-" he scratched the back of his neck and looked around muttering to himself.
-Fantastic. I can't even be knocked over by someone helpful.- Jason thought bitterly.
"Excuse me, sorry, but have you seen a fallen star anywhere?" The boy said suddenly.
"Yeah. We're in a crater, this must be where it fell."
"You're right, this is where it fell. Or, if you want to be really specific, up there is where this weird necklace came and knocked it out of the sky when it was minding it's own business." He tapped the necklace then pointed to where he'd woken up, "And right there is where it landed, and here," he gestured to where he was sitting, "This is where it got hit by a magical, flying MORON!"
The boy stared at him in shock. "You're the star?"
"Oh," he moved close enough to touch and slipped a hand into his pocket, "That's incredible. And, can I just say, I really am sorry."
"For what?" Jason asked suspiciously.
"For this." A thin silver chain was wrapped around his wrist. "This means you have to come with me. See, you're going to be a birthday gift for Drew, my one true love."
"But of course! Nothing says romance like the gift of a kidnapped, injured person," he shook his head, "I'm not going anywhere with you." He turned away.
The boy frowned. "Yes, you are. You should probably get some rest, we've got a long walk tomorrow."
He laid down, chain still in hand, and closed his eyes.
Jason started trying to get the chain off his wrist. There was no knot he could see so he tried to tear it off with his teeth. Or at least loosen it so he could slip it off his wrist. An hour later he still had no luck.
"Can you please just go to sleep?" The boy sighed.
"I'm a star, moron. I don't sleep at night. There are better things to do, you know, coming out, shining. That sort of thing."
"My name's Percy, not moron. And you can forget about coming out and shining for now. So, unless you have some magical ability to sleep while you're walking, you might want to get some rest."
"I told you, I'm not going with you."
"Fine." Percy snapped, "Sit here in a crater. I mean, I was going to put you back in the sky after you met Drew, but since you won't be coming with me..."
"How could you put me back in the sky?"
"I find the fastest way to travel is by candlelight." He held up a rainbow colored candle.
Jason's eyes widened. "You've got an Iris candle."
"Yeah, I've got an Idris candle."
"That's what I said!"
"You said Idris."
Percy shook his head. "The point is, I was going to give what's left of it to you."
He hesitated. "That's barely got one use left."
"The be happy I'm not using it now to get us back to the wall!"
"Fine! I'll come with you."
Percy grinned. "Well, then. We should probably get going. We've only got a week, after all."
Chapter 7: Goats and Frustration
Ethan sighed as he attached the goat's lead. He was just selling it, but his mother seemed to think this meant he needed a two hour lecture on how to do it. Honestly, he done this before.
"Don't get any less than ten drachma for him!" His mother called.
He rolled his eyes. "Yes mother."
She continued to call out bits of "advice" for him from the house. Couldn't she at least come out to talk to him? This was ridiculous.
"Ten drachma for your goat, boy." A woman's voice said.
Ethan spun around. A beautiful woman stood a few feet away. Dark brown hair fell to her waist and amusement shone in her grass green eyes. It took him a full minute to notice the small, black chariot behind her, and another couple seconds to form a response.
"Oh! Um, he's a bit too small to pull your cart."
She glanced back at it thoughtfully before turning back to him with a smile. It wasn't nearly as warm and pretty as he'd thought it would be. "I suppose you're right."
Before he could run, she reached out and touched his forehead. She was soon towering over him. Looking to the side he could see the old goat he'd been going to sell was now his height. He bleated in horror as he realized what happened. The woman was a witch, and he'd been turned into a goat. As she hitched the two of them to the chariot he couldn't help but wish that he'd never pointed out that the goat was too small.
Gaea was feeling pretty good about today. She'd gotten two goats to pull her chariot and tormented a mother and son while doing it. She was a little concerned though. After transforming the boy into a goat the skin of her left hand became old and wrinkly. She scowled at the liver spots as she whipped the goats. It would all go away once she got that star. And with the goats she would be able to find it that much faster. Now, if only she had a warm meal.
Half an hour later she smelled meat cooking. A grin appeared on her face. Things were really working out for her today.
A woman sat at a small fire cooking up some sort of animal, a bright yellow wagon behind her. She looked up as Gaea approached.
"Who goes there? What do you want with me? A poor old-"
"Enough. I only wish to share your meal." Gaea snapped rolling her eyes. "If it makes you feel better I can swear on the sisterhood to which we both belong that I mean you no harm."
The woman smiled. "Alright then. Name's Circe. Let me get you a seat." She snapped her fingers.
A blue bird flew down and transformed into a pretty, brown haired woman in a blue dress. She looked to be in her late thirties or early forties. She set a stool in front of Gaea.
"Anything else?" She was scowling at Circe.
She turned and walked back towards the wagon. Circe snapped her fingers and she turned back into the bird.
"So, heads or tails?" Circe asked as Gaea sat.
Circe cut the creature in half and gave her the half she'd asked for.
Circe waited until she'd eaten a few bites before speaking. "What are you doing way out here then?"
"I seek a fallen star." She answered. The words spilled out if er before she could stop them. "It fell not far from here. Once I find it I shall take my knife and cut its heart from its chest. And then the glory of our youth," she frowned as she realized what she'd been saying, "shall be restored."
"A fallen star eh? I could do to lose a few years. Whereabouts did you-"
"Sunleaves!" Gaea cried, outraged, "You dare feed me sunleaves! This is one mistake you shall not easily recover from Circe."
"How did you-" she trailed off, eyes wide in fear. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry my lady. I shall not seek the star. I promise!"
"Oh, you can seek all you wish." She gathered her magic, "You shall not see the star, touch it, smell, or hear it. You shall not perceive it even if it stands before you."
She frowned when her other hand became wrinkled and covered in liver spots. "Pray we do not meet again, Circe." Then, just to be spiteful, she took Circe's memory of their meeting.
Jason was exhausted. He was pretty sure his leg was broken and while his lip wasn't bleeding anymore it throbbed. To top it all off, it was midday. He tended to stay up later than most of his siblings, but even he never stayed up this late. He just wanted sleep. But could he have it? No, that infuriating human, Percy, insisted that they keep going.
"How do you even know we're going the right way? And don't say 'I just do' because that's ridiculous."
"I do though!" Percy said, "I don't know what it is, maybe it's my love for Drew guiding me home."
Jason snorted. Loudly.
"Look, the wall is to the north. And see, up in the sky even now you can see the evening star... That's weird."
Jason walked past him and sat at the base of a tree. "You're hilarious. Really, my sides are splitting."
"That was you? What are you doing?"
"Yes that was me." Jason sighed, "And I'm sitting down. I'm tired."
"No, come on Jase, we said we'd stop at the next town to eat and rest."
Jason glared at him, "First, I told you, it's Jason. I hate nicknames. Second, it's midday. I never stay up this late. I'm exhausted, Percy. Either let me rest here or carry me because I can't walk anymore."
Percy ran his hands through his hair. "Alright. You stay here. I'll go ahead and get supplies." He walked around the tree.
"What are you doing?"
The end of the chain Percy usually held fused with the part now wrapped around the tree. Jason knew there was no way he was leaving. "I just want to make sure that you don't run away. I'll be back as soon as I can."
Jason started to protest. It wasn't like he was an animal. Besides, where could he run to? His leg was broken and Percy was his only sure fire way of getting home. Before he could say any of this though, Percy had already jogged away. Jason sighed. Might as well get some sleep while he waited. He really couldn't go anywhere now.
Chapter 8: The Inn
Gaea snarled in frustration before calling on her brothers.
"Gaea! You know, you really should be more careful about how much magic you use. You're starting to show." Kronos said.
She rolled her eyes and held her arms up, "A goat and a small enchantment. Hardly extravagant."
Porphyrion scowled at her, "Why are you calling us anyway? Can't you just use you're runes to find it?"
"I've been trying! They led me this far but now they're just telling me nonsense." Gaea glared at them, "Unfortunately, that means I need you're help."
Kronos and Porphyrion grabbed dragged out what Gaea thought was a snake and gutted it. They prodded at the things gut for a minute before turning back to her.
"First of, the star is male. Second, he is coming to you, have patience and set a trap where you are." Kronos told her.
"Be careful, sister. Misery has drained him, he's barely shining now. Any trap you set should compensate for that. Get him glowing before you take his heart." Porphyrion added.
Gaea nodded and cut the connection. She smiled when she thought of the best trap. Drawing on her power, she transformed her chariot into an inn, complete with a roaring fire, running water, and a stable. Next, she turned her two goats into humans. She now had the setting and two helpers. A white haired man, to play the innkeeper, and a dark haired boy, who looked both relieved and wary to be human again. She frowned. The star was male. Perhaps having the suggestion of someone to share his bed would help him glow. She smiled and turned the boy into a girl. He looked horrified when she was done. She ushered them both into their inn.
"You are Billy the innkeeper, I'm your wife and you are our daughter," she said pointing to each of them in turn, "Now, I want you both to look over the place. Make sure everything is perfect. I want to be ready for our guest."
It was fully dark and Jason had been awake for over an hour now. Percy was nowhere in sight.
Jason turned when he heard a twig snap off to his right. "Percy? Is that you?" No answer. "Look, if this is some kind of joke or something, it's not funny."
A unicorn trotted out onto the path. Jason grinned and held a hand out to it. It came closer, its horn touched the chain binding Jason to the tree. It snapped. Jason laughed before standing. The unicorn knelt so he could climb on its back. As soon as he was settled they were off. He didn't know where they were going, but he was sure it would be better than staying here alone.
Percy felt kind of guilty. He'd been gone for so long and Jason was all on his own. Still, it wasn't exactly his fault. The closest town was hours away and if he hadn't been so stubborn they would still be there resting, with a hot meal instead of the bread, cheese, and dried meat he'd been able to get.
He frowned when he got to where he'd left the star. There was no one in sight. Had he gone to the wrong place?
"Jason? Jason, where are you?" He looked around. He was about to shrug it off as him getting lost when he saw a piece of the chain he'd used on the ground by the tree. He blinked in surprise. There was no way Jason could've gotten it off himself. Someone must have taken him. It was too dark for Percy to try and find any tracks. He groaned and sat down. He hoped Jason had found someone else to help him. It looked like Percy would be going home empty handed.
The stars started talking to Percy as soon as he fell asleep.
'Help our brother, Percy. He is in grave danger. A unicorn came to help him, but now they are walking into a trap. No star is safe in Olympus. Four centuries ago, another of our kind fell. Witches found her, cared for her, and once her heart was once more aglow, they cut it from her chest and ate it. You must protect our brother. A carriage is coming, you must be on it, no matter what. Run!'
Percy's eyes snapped open. He scrambled to his feet and ran towards the road. He could hear the carriage racing towards him. He could only think of one way to make sure it stopped. Once he was close enough, he flung himself at it.
The man driving the carriage jumped off and walked towards him, drawing a short sword as he did.
"If Octavian thinks he can send a boy to do a man's job, then-"
"Wait, wait, please." Percy started to stand, but was stopped by the man's blade at his throat, "I-I don't know anyone called Octavian, I just need a lift."
The man scowled, "You'll have to find another one. I'm on a mission of the utmost importance." He started to walk away.
"Maybe I can help!" Percy followed him to the front of the carriage, "Please, maybe you'll need another set of hands. What if providence sent me to you just as it sent you to me?"
The man stared at him for a moment before sighing, "Fine, get on. You'd better not slow me down."
Percy grinned, "Yes sir!"
Jason was really glad there was an inn so close by. It had started raining and his leg was throbbing. He dismounted very carefully and knocked on the door. A woman opened it.
"Dear me, come inside, poor dear, out of this wretched rain!"
"Th-thank you," he chattered. It was freezing out there.
"Poor thing." The woman crooned, "You're positively soaking, come warm yourself by the fire, I'll have my husband draw you a bath. How would you like it? Warm, hot, or boil-a-lobster?"
"I-I, um, don't know."
"Then I'll choose for you. Here, have seat dear. Would you like something to eat?"
He blinked. In all his years of watching he'd seen few this kind. "Something small, if it's not too much trouble. Do you have a stable or something? My friend probably wants to get out of the rain too."
He thought he saw a flash of something unpleasant in her eyes, but it was gone too fast for him to be sure. "I'll send my daughter to take care of it."
Half an hour later, Jason was lying in a tub of warm water with a small plate of some kind of fruit next to him. He hadn't been able to relax like this since he'd fallen. It was nice.
"Feeling better, dear?" The woman traced patterns on the water of his bath.
"Much better. Less... troubled, I suppose."
"And your leg? Does it still hurt?"
Jason blinked down at it, stunned. The pain was gone! "No, it feels fine. That's amazing."
"It's wonderful, the things that can be cured by a nice bath."
He grinned and nodded.
"Come, it's getting late. I'm sure you're tired."
The woman's daughter, a quiet girl with long, dark hair and dark brown eyes, held a towel out for him, blushing as she looked away.
Once he was upstairs the woman gave him a robe to wear.
"Now, I may be a simple innkeeper's wife, but I've been told that I have a healer's hands. I'd love to give you a massage." she said as she pulled the blankets down for him.
"A massage. I take it you've never had one before." He shook his head. "Well, lay down, on your back. It'll help you drift off."
"I do have trouble sleeping at night." He mused aloud. He lay down as she'd told him.
"Close your eyes. You'll fall asleep faster that way."
He did so. Someone banging on the door made him open them again.
The woman frowned. "I'll be right back. I just have to take care of this customer."
He smiled at her and she swept out of the room.
Apollo was not in a good mood. It was cold, he was soaked, he was hungry, and he was still in slight mourning for his brother. Octavian had poisoned Hercules yesterday. Apollo always allowed himself twenty four hours to mourn each of his brothers. Those he was closest too, like Luke and Hermes, had gotten longer before he'd managed to shove his grief away. Ares was the exception, he'd mourned him for twelve hours before moving on. He'd really hated Ares. After all, he had been the reason Apollo had had to mourn Hermes and Luke. He couldn't mourn for Hercules like he had for the others since he couldn't let Octavian get ahold of the stone before he did. Octavian would let this barbaric form of succession continue, Apollo wanted to stop it.
He was rather pleased he'd let Percy come with him. The boy was good company and he'd helped distract Apollo from how cold, tired, and hungry he was. They'd found an inn, but so far no one had answered when he knocked.
"Maybe we should keep going." Percy called over the sound of the rain, "Find someplace else."
"One more try." Apollo insisted. He banged on the door again. A second later someone (finally) answered. It was white haired man that Apollo guessed was the innkeeper. "Finally. Do you have any free rooms? We need a place to stay tonight. And perhaps you could help my friend stable the horses?"
The man didn't speak, he just stepped aside to let Apollo in, then went outside to help Percy. Apollo smiled when he saw the fire. It grew to a grin when he noticed the filled tub and plate of fruit. Surely, the innkeeper wouldn't mind if he helped himself. He would pay extra if needed, but right now there was little he wanted more than to be in that tub.
He undressed quickly and climbed in, a pleased groan pulling from his lips. The water was still warm and the fruit was delicious. A couple minutes into his soak a young man with blond hair appeared. He was dressed only in a fluffy, white robe and looked faintly confused.
"Ah, you must be the innkeeper's son. No wonder it took so long to answer the door, you must've all been sleeping. Normally I'm accustomed to better service, but you're awake now, and that's all that counts."
A woman entered the room, holding a tray with a single cup on it. "I'm the mistress of this house and I'd appreciate it if you didn't bother the other guests."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
She forced a smile, "Wine?"
He hesitated, "No. Until my brother is dead I've vowed to only drink my own wine. However, my friend in the stables might be glad of a drop."
She nodded primly and handed the tray to a pretty girl he hadn't noticed before.
"Your finest room, perhaps."
She gave a small half bow and walked away.
Apollo turned his attention back to the boy. "Sorry, about calling you the innkeeper's son. I didn't think there would be anyone else here, it's so remote."
The boy smiled nervously, "Don't, uh, don't worry about it."
Apollo watched the boy for another moment, there was something about him. Something important. He needed to figure it out.
The innkeeper had returned to the main building as Percy took care of the last of the horses. He'd just put it into its stall when a pretty, dark haired girl walked in with a cup of wine. She handed it too him in silence.
"Is this for me?"
"Thank you. Wow, that;s so kind." He grinned and lifted the cup, "What's your name?"
"Ethan." Her voice sounded like a man's. Then again the name also sounded like a man's.
He froze in shock as she left.
It took him a minute or two before he got over it. He was about to take a drink when a unicorn burst out of one of the stalls and charged him. He jumped into a hay pile, dropping the cup as he did. He turned to look at the unicorn, which pointed its hoof at the spilled drink. Percy paled when he saw it smoking. He had to warn Apollo.
Jason was getting really tired of this guy. Since he apologized he'd been talking almost nonstop. Most of the talking was bragging. About his carriage, his station (prince), his mastery of a bow. It was irritating.
The second he had an opportunity to get out of the "conversation," he jumped on it. "Well, that all must be very nice for you. If you'll excuse me..."
"Wait. That necklace. Come closer, let me see it." He held a hand out.
Jason took a step back, wary.
The man started to get angry, "You have no idea what you're messing with, boy. I am Prince Apollo, firstborn son of King Zeus of Olympus and I demand you give me that stone!"
The door burst open and Jason was stunned when Percy ran in yelling, "Prince Apollo, don't take anything they give you! They tried to poison-"
Before he could finish his warning the innkeeper's wife slit Apollo's throat. Jason stumbled over to Percy, shock replaced with fear. Green fire surrounded the two. Percy pushed Jason behind him.
"A golden, glowing heart of a star at peace is so much better than you're frightened little heart. Still, better than no heart at all." She walked towards them, odd, glass-like knife in hand.
Percy pulled something out of his pocket, "Hold me tight, and think of home."
Jason grabbed his arm as Percy thrust his hand and the Iris candle he was holding into the fire. Light surrounded them and Jason thought as hard as he could about his home in the sky.
Chapter 9: Pirates
Percy opened his eyes to find himself standing on a cloud in the middle of a storm. Jason let go of him as soon as he felt the rain.
"How did we end up here?" Percy had to yell to be heard over the rain, "We should be by the Wall."
"You didn't tell me that you were going to use the candle! I thought of my home and you thought of yours, so now we're halfway between the two!" Jason answered.
"You complete idiot! What did you think of your home for?"
"You just said 'home!' If you wanted me to think of your home you should have said!"
"Some crazy lady was about to cut out your heart, it's not like I had time for more specific instructions! Your welcome for saving your life, by the way."
Before Jason could say another word a net landed on them. In a matter of seconds they found themselves pulled up onto the deck of a ship. Percy had a hard time seeing who had caught them, but he did hear a boy's voice call out.
"Captain! It looks like we got a bonus. Couple of lightening marshals or something."
A woman's voice answered, "Lightening marshals? That's not what they look like to me. Who are you two?"
Percy wasn't sure how to answer. He wasn't sure he'd have been able to anyway. Delayed shock and the cold were making him numb. That woman had almost killed them both. They'd only escaped to end up on a freaking cloud and get picked up by a flying ship! And he'd only left home what, yesterday?
Jason didn't speak either. Percy didn't know what his excuse was, but he figured it was something similar.
The woman's voice rang out again, "Perhaps a night in our lovely brig will get them talking."
Percy instinctively grabbed Jason's hand as they were dragged away.
Percy and Jason spent the night tied back to back in the brig. Their clothes had only partially dried. Percy was a little worried about Jason getting sick. He was only dressed in a bathrobe after all.
"I was going to thank you, you know." Jason said softly.
"Thank you. For saving me. I meant to say it earlier and then, well."
"Don't worry about it. You would've done the same for me, right?"
"Right." It was silent for another couple of minutes. "Tell me more about the girl you came to get me for. Drew, wasn't it?"
"Yeah. Drew." He thought for a moment, he was a little shocked to realize that he couldn't think of a single thing to tell him. He'd already told Jason about Drew when they'd been walking before, and now he couldn't think of anything new to say. "She, um. I guess there's not really anything else to tell you."
"Why did she send you after me?"
"I told you. It- you were supposed to be a birthday gift. Sort of anyway."
"But why? Why go to all the trouble?"
Percy frowned, "To prove how much I love her. Think of it as a demonstration of devotion."
"Okay. Look, Percy, I don't know a whole lot about love, but I'm pretty sure it can't be bought like this."
"I'm not buying her love! I told you, demonstration-"
"Of devotion." Jason finished. Percy come almost hear him rolling his eyes. "If that's the case, then what has she done to prove her love for you?"
"She doesn't have to prove that she loves me." Percy scowled.
"No? I would think that it should go both ways, don't you? Especially since she said she'd marry someone else if you didn't meet her deadline. I'd've thought that if she was your true love, like you keep insisting, then she'd be willing to wait more than a week for you."
"Look, you'll understand when you meet her."
Jason hummed thoughtfully, "Murdered by pirates, heart cut out and eaten, meet Drew, I can't quite decide which one I'd like to do most."
Percy sorted in response.
It was another hour or so before Captain Reyna started to question them.
"This is the part where you tell me who you are and what you're doing here."
"My name is Percy Jackson, and this is my friend, Jason."
"Only a friend?" Reyna smirked, "Such a waste. He is rather pretty, and my crew can get so lonely."
Jason swallowed. Percy's voice gained more confidence, "If you touch him-"
Reyna laughed, "Are you sure you're only friends? You're lucky I find your insolence amusing, though if you even attempt to talk back to me again, I will gut you. Are we clear?"
Percy swallowed, "Pl- please, we're only trying to get back home to Wall."
Reyna yanked him up and calmly started yanking his shirt off while yelling, "That was the last lie you'll ever tell, Mr. Jackson!" She gestured for him to take his pants off, he did as he was told, confused and really glad he was wearing an undershirt. She pulled a mannequin out and started dressing it in Percy's clothes. "And the greatest mistake you'll ever make!."
She lowered her voice to a whisper, "Run, fast as you can across the deck and into my cabin. Now." She turned and threw the mannequin out the window. Percy ran.
He slipped inside her cabin as the crew stared over the side of the ship. A couple seconds later he could hear Jason yelling, calling her a murderer and cursing her pretty convincingly. She pulled the door open and threw Jason inside. Percy ended up catching him.
"You okay?" he asked. Jason smiled and nodded.
"That went well." Reyna smiled at them. "Come this way, I've got some clothes for you both."
The dark haired captain pulled a lever to reveal a massive wardrobe. Dresses in varying sizes, colors and styles lined one wall. Trousers and shirts lined the other. She ushered the two boys inside and started picking out clothes for them to try.
"We're due to make port in a couple of hours. We have to make sure that they won't recognize you by then."
"How? I know it was dark when you had us tied up and everything, but-"
"Put those on and trust me. Lucky for you boys I learned a little magic before I became captain. By the time I'm done with you, your own mother wouldn't be able to tell." And with that she swept out of the room so they could get dressed.
Jason blushed when Percy started to take his shirt off.
"What are you doing?"
Percy frowned at him, "I'm getting dressed. I can't put on dry clothes with wet under things, Jason."
Jason continued to stare at him, face a bright red.
"Look, if it makes you that uncomfortable, close your eyes and I'll tell you when I'm done."
Jason frowned, but closed his eyes. "You'll do this for me too right?"
"I was actually going to go let Captain Reyna start working on me, so I won't even be in the room."
Reyna smiled when she saw him. "See? Just a change of clothes did wonders for you."
She rolled her eyes. "Come sit down. Your hair is awful."
Percy frowned. His father usually cut his hair for him. Which meant that it was very short. And not totally even. His father had never claimed to be a barber, okay?
"Why do you hide all this anyway?"
"All what? The clothes? The magic? The fact that I prefer helping people to killing them?"
She sighed and started running a brush through his hair. It got longer every time. "I'm a pirate, Percy. I have a reputation of ruthlessness to uphold. If people, even my own crew, knew about any of this then it would make my job much harder."
"But, your magic. Wouldn't that help your reputation?"
She actually laughed at that, "I don't have enough magic for that. Giving someone a makeover like this is about all I can do. If people thought I had magic they'd make me do something to prove it, or at least try to. The ability to make hair longer isn't exactly fearsome."
That was when Jason came out. Percy could see him in the mirror and his eyes widened. He looked great. His clothes weren't all that fancy, but the dark blue of his shirt made his eyes look more intense and the black pants hugged his legs just right.
Jason snorted when he saw Percy. His hair was down to his shoulders by now.
Reyna smiled, "Don't worry, it won't stay this long. I'm going to start cutting it now."
Percy sighed in relief.
Jason was running his fingers over the keys of a piano while Reyna worked on Percy. He'd seen people play instruments like these from his place in the sky. He'd loved the expressions on their faces as they played, sometimes he could even hear the music.
They didn't have instruments at home. Sometimes they would sing, but that was there only source of music. Still, they songs they sang. Every star knew them. And their harmonies were glorious. He found himself humming quietly. He missed home. The Iris candle was gone now. The last of it had been used to get here. Still, maybe the captain knew where they could get another one.
"Jason? Are you okay?" Percy's voice broke him out of his thoughts.
"I'm fine." He turned and felt himself blushing again. Percy was dressed in the clothes Reyna had picked. A white shirt, dark jacket and pants. His hair had been cut from the ridiculous should length it had been before and now it was just long enough to fall into his eyes. It was messy, but a good kind of messy. His skin was now an even tan and his eyes seemed to sparkle. In short, Jason had never seen him look better and he felt warm all of a sudden.
Percy shifted nervously. "Is something wrong?"
"No! No, you- um"
Reyna saved him from trying to find something to say, "Jason, we're making port, and I want you at my side until we get back to the ship, clear?"
"Good. Percy, be on the deck when we get back, but don't come up until you're absolutely sure we're gone."
She nodded and held a hand out to Jason. He was quick to take it. "Let's go sell some lightening."
Chapter 10: Merchant
Jason fidgeted with the hem of his shirt as he followed Captain Reyna into the merchant's shop. He couldn't get the image of Percy out of his head. He'd looked amazing and Jason figured that the captain was right to think that her crew wouldn't recognize him.
-Stop thinking about him! He's in love with that Drew girl. He definitely won't want you. You're not even human!- He thought to himself.
"Hey," Reyna frowned at him, "Calm down. Midas doesn't bite and Percy will be waiting when we get back to the ship."
"Oh! I'm, uh-"
"Thinking about Percy. I noticed. Just don't let anything slip to the crew about he really is." She winked at him and they went inside.
Two of the other crew members, Frank and Dakota, carried the box of lightening into the shop as Reyna talked to the merchant.
"I don't know, Captain. The last batch wasn't exactly the freshest."
She lifted an eyebrow and held a hand out behind her. Another crew member, Piper, handed her a canister, "Perhaps you'd like a sample?" She opened it and a bolt of lightening shot out and crashed into one of the shelves, breaking several expensive looking items. "Seems fresh to me."
Midas winced, "Tell you what, I'll give you one-sixty for it."
"Gentlemen, take it back to the ship," she started to turn away, "I'm sure Medea will give us a better price."
"Hold on!" Midas scowled, "One-seventy."
Reyna smirked, "I'll cut you a deal, Midas. Two hundred."
"For grade A lightening? I think I'm being very reasonable."
"Did I hear you say two hundred?"
"Not unless you're a ventriloquist. One-ninety."
Midas glared at her. "One-nine-five, final offer."
Reyna smiled, "Wonderful, and with sales tax that's two hundred."
He sighed, "Fine, bring it in."
Jason glanced around the spot from his place at Reyna's side, hoping to catch sight of an Iris candle.
Midas motioned Reyna over and Jason followed. "Just the captain, thank you." Jason frowned but moved back.
Reyna frowned as she stepped forward to speak to Midas. She wasn't a fan of his, but it was better than dealing with Medea or one of the merchants by the Wall. "What?"
"Have you heard the rumors?" He asked eagerly.
"People have been saying that there's a fallen star wondering around. We get our hands on one of them and we'd never have to work another day of our lives."
Reyna frowned at him. "What people? The people by the Wall? Circe and her like? They'll make up anything, you should know better."
"So, you haven't heard anything?" Midas looked disappointed.
She resisted the urge to look at Jason. "Of course I haven't heard. I don't listen to gossip mongers from the Wall. They're never right, so it's always a waste of time."
"What's a waste of time?" Circe walked out from the shadows between two shelves.
"Nothing. It's been far too long since I last saw you, Circe. How are things?" Reyna answered.
"Oh, near the same. Still in the clouds?"
"Of course. Though I have missed your company. Unfortunately, I can't stay and chat. I don't suppose I could give you a lift?"
Circe smiled, "For a price?"
"Naturally. I have to do business, you know."
She laughed, "I'll pass, thank you. It was nice seeing you, Captain."
Reyna tipped her hat to Circe, took her money from Midas and left, pleased to get away from that awful woman.
Jason had to keep himself from grinning when they reached the ship. Percy was on the deck, leaning against some barrels. "Hello, Captain Reyna."
The crew drew their weapons. "Stand down!" Reyna yelled. She walked over to Percy and clapped him on the shoulder, "This is my nephew, Percy Jackson. He will be traveling with us part way to Wall and is to be treated with respect."
The crew put their weapons away again.
"I have a gift for you. To keep you entertained on your journey." She motioned to one of the crew. One of the girls, Clarisse he thought, shoved him forward.
Percy caught and steadied him before noticing how the crew stared. "Oh!" He pulled Jason flush against him, "Grr."
The crew seemed appeased by that though Jason caught the first mate, Annabeth, rolling her eyes. Jason sighed. This was going to be a long trip.
Chapter 11: Confession
The next few days were very interesting. Jason stayed close to Percy for most of the trip and the crew was actually pretty nice to them. Reyna taught Percy and Jason how to sword fight (Percy was better though Jason would never admit it), she also taught Jason piano and dance, and showed Percy how to properly captain a ship. They ended up getting caught in another storm and Percy and Jason help catch some lightening (Jason was better at that one).
One night Reyna and Jason were dancing in front of the rest of the crew. A boy named Leo had brought out a phonograph and started playing a waltz for them. Jason was pretty embarrassed since Reyna "accidentally" taught him the girl's part.
"Jason, I know what you are." Reyna whispered to him as they danced.
Jason stumbled and she straightened him quickly.
"Don't worry, no one on this ship will harm you, though I cannot offer such protection once you leave. You need to control you're emotions, Jason. They make you glow and give you away."
"Of course I glow, Reyna." Jason whispered back, "I'm a star. And what do stars do best?"
Reyna smirked at him, "Well, it's certainly not the waltz."
Percy stepped up and tapped Reyna on the shoulder, "Mind if I cut in?"
"Be my guest," she slipped off the makeshift dance floor as Percy took Jason's hand.
Jason felt himself smile as they started to dance. Percy wasn't the best dancer, but Jason loved being this close to him. He laughed when they tripped over themselves. Percy tried spinning him, which led to Jason falling onto Percy's chest. The crew started leaving to go to bed before they stopped dancing. Jason didn't even notice when the music stopped. He didn't really care. He knew that he was starting to shine again, and that it was Percy's fault. By the time the two of them went to bed, it was nearing dawn. Jason fell asleep to the memory of Percy's around him as they danced, Jason's light making Percy look almost like a star himself.
Jason was the first off the ship. Reyna and her crew hadn't been able to take them all the way to the Wall, but they were close enough. Jason found himself wishing that the trip would take longer. He didn't really want to leave Percy. Not anymore.
Reyna gave Percy a canister of lightening and whispered something in his ear before he left the ship. Jason waved goodbye as the ship took off.
"What did Reyna say to you?"
Percy blinked at him, startled, "What?"
Jason smiled fondly at him, "Just now, when you were leaving the ship, what did she tell you?"
"Oh! Uh, she said we, um, we might be able to trade the lightening for an, er, Iris candle."
Jason shook his head. He knew Percy was lying, but decided not to press.
A few minutes later he heard a wagon approaching from behind. Percy shoved Jason into some bushes on the side of the road, landing on top of him.
"Are you trying to break my leg again?" Jason hissed.
"Sorry, I just- I don't want anyone to see you." He smiled sheepishly.
"You know, we'll never make it in time if you-"
Percy cut him off with a finger to his lips, "Hush. We're making good time."
Jason found himself staring into Percy's eyes again, "Aren't you tempted?"
Percy frowned in confusion, his eyebrows scrunching together, "Tempted by what?"
"Eternal life. Don't you ever think about it? I mean, say it wasn't me. Just some star you didn't know."
He laughed softly, "Do you really think I'm capable of killing someone like that?"
Jason smiled back at him, "Still..."
"I think," Percy frowned again, "I think it would be lonely, all on your own, year after year. Maybe if you had someone to share it with, then it wouldn't be so bad."
If Jason hadn't been in love with him before, he was pretty sure that answer had sealed his fate. He was officially in love with Percy Jackson.
"Come on, let's keep moving." Percy jumped up and helped Jason to his feet.
They'd been walking for an hour when they saw the sign.
"The Wall-- 30 miles"
Jason frowned, "Thirty miles, how long will that take?"
"Uh, two days? Day and a half maybe? It'll be dark in another couple hours, so we might make another five today." He nodded, "We should get there the day after tomorrow."
"That's too late. Drew's birthday is tomorrow." Jason reminded him.
Percy looked a little surprised, "So it is. Well remembered."
They heard another carriage coming towards them. Percy pulled them off the path again. Jason caught sight of the driver.
"Percy! The driver, she's a friend of Reyna's."
"Are you sure?"
He nodded, "I saw them talking at Midas's shop. Maybe she'll give us a ride."
"Good plan, Jason. Let's go."
They both rushed out onto the road in front of the wagon. It rolled to a stop about 30 feet away.
"Excuse me, we-" Percy started. The woman cut him off.
"That's my charm! Eighteen years I've been looking for that. Give it to me now!" She got off the wagon and moved towards them.
Percy drew the sword Reyna gave him at the same time Jason spoke, "How dare you? That was a gift from his mother." He got the feeling Percy's sword stopped her more effectively than Jason's words.
"Oh, I'm sorry." She held her hands up.
"If it means that much to you, you can have it back in exchange. Do you happen to have an Iris candle?" Percy said.
"And can you give us safe passage to the Wall?" Jason added.
The woman ignored him, "An Iris candle? No, no. I don't deal in that kind of magic."
"Safe passage then? To the Wall." Percy answered.
She smiled, "For that charm I can get you as far as the marketplace a mile away from the wall. You'll have food and lodging on the way."
Percy sheathed his sword and gave the woman the charm. She grinned as she took it. Jason didn't like the look of it one bit.
"Do you have any idea what this charm does?" She asked.
"It's a good luck charm." Percy shrugged.
"In a way. It gives protection, the same kind of protection that would have stopped me from doing this." She reached out and touched Percy's nose.
Percy disappeared in a puff of smoke, in his place was a guinea pig. The woman bent and picked him up. Jason lunged towards her and tried to hit her. She had some kind of force field surrounding her, he kept bouncing off it.
"Don't worry. No harm will come to you." She carried him to the back of the wagon and went inside. Jason followed, snarling curses at her the whole time. She placed Percy in a cage and gave him a bit of carrot. "There, just as I said. Food and lodging."
Jason glared at her. She couldn't seem to see or hear him, but if he didn't get his Percy back, he would become her personal poltergeist. Jason sat next to Percy's cage as the wagon started moving again.
"Percy, if you can understand me, look at me now."
Percy turned and looked at the carrot hanging off to one side. Jason sighed and snapped off a piece for him.
"You make a cute guinea pig. I do prefer you as a human though. I think I should tell you something. I guess I can consider this a practice run, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to tell you for real." He took a deep breath, "Do you remember when I said I didn't know much about love? I was kind of lying. I mean I've been watching people fall in love for years. Humanity can be horrible. They can be greedy and selfish. They hurt people for no reason, and the wars you have, it's awful. I can't watch sometimes. But the way you can love. It's one of the most beautiful things in the universe.
"What I'm trying to say, Percy, is I think I'm in love with you. I don't want to have to leave and I really don't want you to marry Drew. You're so kind and funny and just, wonderful. She doesn't deserve you. If you feel the same about me that I do for you then I won't ask for anything in return. I don't care about gifts or demonstrations of devotion. All I'd want is you. Is that too much to ask? Your heart for mine."
Jason closed his eyes and rested his head against the cage. He doubted he'd ever tell Percy for real, but it was nice being able to tell him at all. He watched Percy run around his cage in silence for the rest of the trip. Percy would be with Drew soon. And Jason, well, Jason would try to find a way home. Maybe once he was in the sky again he would be able to forget him.
Octavian was staring down at his brother's corpse. Apollo's throat was cut, his body was in a copper tub in a field beside the crossroad. Why there was a tub randomly beside the crossroad didn't matter much to the prince. All that mattered was that he, Octavian, eighth son of King Zeus, was the last male heir. He was king. Octavian turned to the guards and servants he'd brought with him.
"My brother is dead! I am king of Olympus!"
They all bowed. Octavian started back towards his carriage, grinning. He froze, he still didn't have the stone. There couldn't be any doubt that he was the rightful king, and that meant he still needed to find that basted stone.
He cursed softly, "I need to find that stone."
"Does your brother not have it, my lord?" One of the guards asked.
Octavian glared at him, "Go check to make sure." He bowed and rushed to the tub to look.
A small, black chariot was lying upturned not far away. Octavian hadn't paid much notice to it before, but it had suddenly shifted. He drew his sword. A boy had been hiding beneath the chariot, Octavian dragged him out.
"Who are you? Do you know where my stone went?" He snarled.
"I'm n-no one, sir. Th-there was a b-boy. He was wearing a stone." He stammered.
"The boy the w-witch was after. This p-place was a trap for him, b-but he escaped."
The guard by the tub called out, "It's not here, sire."
Octavian grabbed a fistful of the boy's shirt, "This idiot's coming with us."
The wagon stopped suddenly. Jason stood and stretched, yawning, "Guess we're here, right Perce?"
The guinea pig was nibbling on his last bit of carrot. He squeaked and hid in the corner of the cage when Circe walked in. She pulled him out and left, Jason close behind her.
"The Wall is one mile that way," she pointed and set him on the ground, "You may want to wait a while though. The transformation can leave the mind a bit scrambled." She tapped his head and Percy returned to human form.
He drew his sword, "You-" He fell forward.
"Percy!" Jason managed to keep his face from hitting the cobblestones.
Circe laughed, "Don't say I didn't warn you."
Jason glared at her as she left, "Percy? Are you alright?"
"Drew?" He slurred.
Jason felt like someone was squeezing his heart. He covered up the pain by rolling his eyes and helping Percy to his feet, "Come on. There's an inn over there. You'll need a good night's rest if you want to present me to Drew tomorrow."
Percy stumbled after him.
Jason was lying in a bath, thinking. Percy still seemed as obsessed with Drew as ever. Which meant that Jason would have to ignore his feelings. He wouldn't confess to Percy. He'd find another Iris candle, go home, and forget him. He didn't think Percy would have much trouble forgetting him. He hated him, after all. Jason kept reminding himself that Percy was only being kind and protecting him so it was easier to get him back to Drew. His "true love."
"Excuse me," Percy's voice broke through his downward spiraling thoughts, "I think you're in my bath."
Jason blushed. He had arranged this bath for Percy, but it had just been so tempting. Not to mention the fact that Jason was naked and Percy was now looking at him. "Close your eyes!"
Percy laughed and turned so his back was to Jason, "There, better?"
Jason slipped a robe on. "Okay, you can look now."
Percy was smiling when he turned back around, "You know, you're pretty cute when you blush."
He looked away, blushing again. -Damn you, Percy. Stop making me love you.-
"Jason?" He met Percy's eyes, "Did you mean what you said? In the carriage?"
Jason's eyes widened, "You- you were a guinea pig! You wanted food! I-I told you to give me a sign. You-" He covered his face with his hands, "You weren't supposed to understand me."
"Which is why I didn't let you know I could," Percy gently pulled his hands from his face, "I wanted to know what'd you'd say if you thought no one would hear. It was definitely worth it."
"Don't worry, I won't get in the way. I'll leave, after you introduce me to Drew. You won't have to see me anymore, promise."
Percy scowled, "What if I want to keep seeing you? You wanna know what Captain Reyna said to me?" Jason nodded, "She told me to open my eyes and see that my real true love was right in front of me." Percy pulled Jason close, "She was right. I love you too, Jason."
Jason knew he was shining again. Percy loved him? He wrapped his arms around the other boy's neck and their lips met. Jason was almost certain he hadn't shone so brightly in years.
I know, I know. I don't post in forever and you get a tiny chapter when I finally do. Sorry about that. We're nearing the end here so the next chapter will be longer, and hopefully won't take as long for me to post.
Chapter 13: Confused
Apollo sighed. He and the other ghosts were sitting outside an inn not far from the Wall.
"This is it." He said, "Tomorrow morning Octavian will get here. He'll find the boy, get the stone, and be king. Forever."
Luke smiled at him, "At least we'll be free."
"But this stupid tradition won't be broken."
Hephaestus snorted, "If Octavian's king forever then it will be broken. Siblings won't kill each other for the crown, because Octavian will never give it up."
"He'll probably kill any children he ends up having." Hermes agreed.
Ares glared at them, "The kingdom isn't our problem anymore. We're dead, remember? Who cares what Octavian does? Not like it'll affect us at all."
"Ares," Apollo snarled, "How can you-"
Hercules's head popped out of the wall above them, "Guys, you've got to come watch this!"
Dionysus looked offended, "We're not going to spy on people."
"Pervert." Hephaestus called.
"Suit yourselves." Hercules sniffed. He slipped back into the building to watch people.
Percy smiled as he woke up. Jason was curled up against him, still sound asleep. The sun had just started coming up. Jason looked so peaceful while he slept, Percy didn't want to disturb him.
Percy stared at him as he tried to decide what to do. He didn't really want to make Jason meet Drew. Looking back, he didn't think she deserved to meet Jason. But Percy's father would no doubt have spent the past week worrying about him. He hadn't exactly sent word. Percy decided to go on ahead. He would tell Drew off and bring his dad back here to meet Jason.
As he got dressed he realized he would probably need something to give to Drew. It was her birthday and he didn't want to be totally cruel. Percy grabbed a handkerchief and cut off a lock of Jason's hair. He kissed his cheek, made sure he had the lightening and his sword with him, and slipped out of the room.
When he got downstairs, he decided to leave a note for Jason with the innkeeper. He doubted he would get back before Jason woke up. The innkeeper was not happy to be woken.
"Sorry, but do you have a pen and paper? I need to leave a note for my friend."
"Ask me again at a more reasonable hour." He grumbled back.
Percy sighed, "I can't. I have to go. Look can you give him a message for me?"
The innkeeper scowled, but nodded. Percy gave him his message- he couldn't make it as personal as he'd wanted, but he was sure Jason would understand- and left.
Jason stretched, grinning. Judging by the light, he would guess that it was about mid-morning. "You know, that's the first time I've slept through the night."
He turned to face Percy. The bed beside him was empty. He sat up and looked around. There was no one in the room but him, "Percy?"
He got dressed quickly, ignoring the sinking feeling in his stomach and trying to tell himself that Percy had just gone to get breakfast. He hurried downstairs and found the innkeeper sipping tea.
"Excuse me, have you seen my friend?"
He nodded, "He left, absurdly early in the morning."
Jason's heart sank, "He left?"
"Yep. Said that to tell you he's gone to see Drew, and that he's sorry, but he found his true love and he wants to spend the rest of his life with... her. Yeah her."
Jason's heart shattered. "Are you sure?" he whispered.
"Thank you." He walked out of the inn. If Percy wanted Drew he had to prove that he'd found the star, Jason.
He felt totally numb as he walked through the marketplace. Nothing registered in his mind, nothing mattered to him anymore. Percy had left him. They'd spent the night together, and Percy tossed him aside. He wanted her.
Jason trudged past a familiar yellow wagon. He didn't process the brown haired woman calling out to him, telling him to wait.
Sally tried to get the star to stop. She hadn't heard his nae, but she knew he'd been the one her son was with when Circe found him. She also knew that he was going to the Wall, which would kill him if he stepped across it.
She tried to go after him, but that stupid chain stopped her. He didn't seem to hear her yelling at him, so she decided it was time to do something drastic. She'd been setting up the stall when she saw him, so she grabbed the tray of charms and put them back in the wagon. Circe was still sleeping, so she quietly closed the doors and barred them closed. She couldn't let her mistress stop her. Once that was done, she made she the horse was hitched to the wagon properly, got in the drivers seat, and flicked the reins.
Merchants and market goers scrambled out of the way as they barreled down the road. Sally ignored them. She had to stop that star.
Percy scooped up a pebble and was about to toss it at Drew's window, when he stopped himself. Why shouldn't he just knock? He dropped the stone, laughing at himself as he stepped up to the door and knocked.
A minute later, Drew opened the door. Percy wondered why he'd spent so long pining after this girl. Jason was far more extraordinary and wonderful. He found himself smiling just thinking about him.
"Percy?" Drew gasped, "What happened to you?"
"I found the star."
Her eyes widened, "You actually did it?" She started looking around eagerly, "Where is it then? Where's my star?"
Percy felt a flash of annoyance. Jason wasn't her star, he was Percy's.
"Is it beautiful?" She asked.
He reached into his coat pocket, "Oh yes, very beautiful."
He pulled out the handkerchief and handed it to her. She pouted.
"It's awfully small."
"This is just a little piece." He explained, "For your birthday."
"Well then, forget about the star." Her hand dropped to her side, "It's not the star I want. You know what I want, don't you Percy?"
Her arms wrapped around his neck.
"Yeah, I do."
She fell back, pulling them into a dip. Her eyes fluttered closed. Percy stared at her, amused. She was still a child. A spoiled little brat. How could he have ever wanted to give up Jason for her.
He smirked and whispered, "You want to grow up, and get over yourself." And then he dropped her.
She stared up at him in shock. Percy turned, he still needed to speak with his father before he could go back to Jason, and saw Bryce standing in the middle of the road. he looked just as stunned as Drew did.
"You must have a death wish." Bryce growled. He drew his thin blade out from his cane and took his stance.
Percy shrugged and pulled the sword Reyna had given him. It was longer and thicker that Bryce's, he was pretty sure that he would snap it in two on the first blow. Bryce paled.
"Ah." He put his sword away.
Percy laughed and sheathed his own weapon, "Don't worry, Bryce. I'm not here for her. Honestly, I wish you both the best. You're perfect for each other, really."
Drew spoke up behind him, "What would I want with this? It's just a measly handful of stardust."
She threw the handkerchief at him. He caught it, confused. He hadn't taken stardust with him, he'd taken Jason's hair. He opened the handkerchief, and sure enough, stardust fell to the ground.
"Jason." He breathed, "He can't cross the Wall."
Percy took off. There was no time to visit his father now. If Jason had followed him- and Percy was sure he would have- then he had to stop him before he reached the Wall.
Jason wondered why he wasn't crying. Usually, when someone had their heart broken they cried, right? But he wasn't. He didn't even feel like it really. He just felt numb. He passed the tree line, the Wall wasn't far now. He just had to keep moving. Keep walking until he found Percy. He wasn't really sure what would happen after tat, but he couldn't bring himself to care.
He'd was about to step through the gap in the Wall, when a hand grabbed his arm and yanked him back.
"Stop! Stop." The woman who'd grabbed him pulled him farther from the Wall. "If you cross the Wall you'll die."
Jason frowned, "What?"
Circe's wagon was behind the woman. They both looked when the door blasted out.
She turned back to him, speaking quickly, "If you set foot on human soil, you'll turn to rock."
She screamed as her feet where jerked out from under her. Circe was pulling on a chain attached to her ankle, cursing her and demanding to know where they were. The woman clawed at the ground as she was dragged back. Jason was stunned, he knew he should help, but couldn't move.
A black carriage pulled up, making Jason jump. The witch who'd tried to kill him opened the door. She looked much worse than Jason remembered. Her hair had almost completely fallen out, her skin was wrinkled, and liver spots covered her arms and neck.
"Not planning on entering Wall, were you?" She stepped out of the carriage and walked toward Jason. He stepped back. "If you truly wish to end your life, I'd be more than happy to assist you."
"Are you talking to me?" Circe demanded. The woman had gotten to her feet and Circe was holding her arm.
The witch laughed, "You again? Small world. And no, I was talking to the star."
Jason flinched as she reached out to touch the necklace he wore.
"What star?" Circe snapped, "My slave-girl's no star. If she was I'd have had her heart out years ago. Trust me."
"Trust you? Not a mistake I'd be likely to make again." Circe looked confused. "Tell me, Circe, heads or tails."
Green fire shot out of the witch's hands. Circe threw up her own, a force field protecting her. The "slave-girl" hand gotten away form Circe just in time. She wrapped and arm around Jason's shoulders and pulled him slowly back towards the wagon. Circe's force field failed. The green fire burned her head off. The headless body ran around for a moment before hitting the Wall and falling to the grass, where it burst into flames. The only thing left of her was the scorch mark her body had made on the grass. The witch had been laughing the whole time.
The chain around the woman's ankle snapped, freeing her. She smiled in relief.
"Time to go." The witch announced.
The woman held Jason protectively, "He's not going anywhere with you!"
The witch arched an eyebrow at them, "Oh, you can come too. We'll need someone to help clean up the mess." She flicked her wrist and the chain snapped up and wrapped around both their wrists. The witch held the door open for them, "You can either ride in the carriage, or be dragged behind it. Your choice."
Reluctantly, the two of them climbed into the carriage. As they started moving, the woman stroked his hair.
"I'm Sally, by the way. Don't think I said."
"Jason." He mumbled, "Not that it'll matter much soon."
Sally hugged him, "We'll figure a way out. I'm sure of it."
Jason nodded against her shoulder, but didn't really believe it. He was never going home, and he would never see Percy again. That was when the tears finally came.
Chapter 14: Shine
Chiron was walking away from the Wall, carrying his little stool. He looked up as Percy ran into the clearing.
"Be my guest," Chiron gestured to the gap. "I quit. All this time I thought i needed to stop people going in, really I should have been worried about what could come out."
Percy grabbed the old man's shoulders, "Tell me what happened."
"Oh, where to start?" Percy's heart felt like it had crawled into his throat as Chiron told him about the witches' fight and Jason being taken.
He let Chiron go and ran to the gap. The scorch mark Circe had left squashed any hope Percy had had that Chiron had misunderstood things. Circe's wagon still stood in the field, a white horse hitched to it. Percy ducked into the back of the wagon and grabbed the trident charm from his mother. He had a hunch that he'd need it. Then, he unhooked the animal and swung onto its back. He could see the tracks made by the carriage that took Jason and spurred the horse into a gallop. He couldn't waste any time, who knew how long the witch would keep him alive?
Jason had run out of tears by the time they reached the witch's home. Sally tried her best to comfort him. She told him about her brothers and growing up as a princess. She also told him that Percy was her son. Jason almost started crying again at the mention of his name, but held it together.
Sally smiled at him, "You'll see him again. I'm sure of it."
The carriage door swung open a second after it stopped. The witch grinned as she picked up the chain binding Jason and Sally together. She pulled them out of the carriage and into a mansion carved into the side of a cliff. The place was filled with animal cages. On the far side, a set of staircases ran up either side of a fountain. Two men were standing around, talking as they walked in.
"Gaea, you're back," one said. He wrinkled his nose. "You look awful."
She snorted, "Not for much longer."
"The star!" The other leered at him before turning to Sally, "And who's this?"
"A slave girl." Gaea answered, "To clean up."
Sally tried to keep a hold of Jason, but Gaea and the two men were stronger. They pulled the two apart and chained Sally to a cage filled with ferrets. They didn't bother keeping Jason chained, he didn't have enough energy to fight anyway. One of the men held his arm and led him one side of the staircase. The other two went up the side across the room and met them at the top where a marble table with leather straps was waiting. They pushed Jason onto the table and strapped him in. Once his arms and legs were bound they went to fetch "other preparations."
Jason turned his head to look at Sally. He felt really bad for her. She'd finally been freed of one witch, only to be trapped by three. Still, it was a little comforting to know that he would be able to see one more friendly face before he died.
Percy had followed the trail to what looked kind of like an abandoned quarry with a mansion built into the side of one wall. He took a deep breath. Jason was in that building, possibly hurt, hopefully still alive, and Percy had to save him. No matter what.
When he got to the house he stopped to look through the window. Inside he could see Jason bound to a table--thankfully, still alive-- two women and two men. One of the women looked out of place, she was much younger and prettier than the others and her clothes weren't rags. The other woman he recognized from the inn. She was older, but it was definitely her.
"And just what is a boy like you doing here?" He felt a blade touch his throat.
Slowly, he turned to see a skinny man with blond hair and blue eyes holding a knife to his throat. Percy remembered the prince he'd met on the way to the inn. Apollo, his name had been. They shared a resemblance, maybe this was his brother?
"I could ask you the same thing." He almost smiled when he remembered the name, "Octavian."
His eyes narrowed, "How do you know my name?"
"I met your brother."
"He's dead. If you don't want to wind up like him, I suggest you start talking."
Percy sighed, he didn't have time to argue with this guy. The witches could kill Jason any second. "I'm here to save my friend. What about you?"
Octavian sneered, "I don't need to answer that."
"You sure about that?" They both looked down. Percy was holding his knife to Octavian's stomach.
The prince gave a short nod and pulled they both pulled their knives away and sheathed them, "Look, there's four of them and two of us. We'll have to work together."
"How do I know I can trust you?"
He rolled his eyes, but agreed to the plan Octavian put forward. He needed to get to Jason, fast, and Octavian was willing to help him. For some reason. He could deal with that later.
Octavian burst through the doors, yelling. He grabbed the nearest witch-- the young, out-of-place one-- and dragged her to the side. Percy slipped in after him and hid behind some of the animal cages, waiting for an opening.
The prince was blasted back when the shorter, golden eyed man shot a stream of fire at him.
The witch he'd dragged to the side was trying to sneak away. Percy stepped out of his hiding spot, sword held high, ready to strike.
"Perseus, Perseus." She gasped, "Please. Perseus, I'm your- I'm your mother. I'm your mother."
He froze and slowly lowered his arm, stunned. She stepped forward and hesitantly wrapped her arms around him.
"My baby boy. I'm so sorry. I'll explain everything, I promise, but you need to save your star friend first."
"You're my mother." He breathed.
She smiled, "Yes, I'm your mother."
He heard the man Octavian had been fighting scream, "You have to get out of here. Outside. Yeah, go outside, we'll come out once this is over and- and you can-"
His mother kissed his cheek and ran outside.
Percy saw the male witch Octavian had been fighting. He'd pinned him to the wall with a sword.
Octavian was in trouble. The female witch had a voodoo doll or something. He was covered in small fires and had an arm and a leg broken. Percy started moving toward him as stealthily as he could.
"Let's put out those flames, shall we?"
Jason had been absolutely sure he was going to die when the blond guy ran in. He'd killed one brother, Kronos, he thought he heard him called. Gaea was still standing over him with the other brother, Porphyrion, if he'd heard right. She stopped him from running into the fight and held up a clay doll.
She bent the doll's arm up suddenly. The man cried out in pain as his arm made the same movement. She did the same to his leg. As the man screamed, Gaea walked to the rail and held the doll over it.
"Let's put out those flames, shall we?"
She grinned and dropped the doll into the pool separating the sides of the staircase. The man's eyes went wide. He floated up, hair and limbs moving as though in water. Jason was surprised by how quickly he stopped moving. It was only a couple of minutes before his head lolled back and his eyes shut. His body fell to the floor a second later.
Octavian coughed as he appeared on a ledge to the side of the room. His brothers were sitting next to him, frowning.
"What are we supposed to do now?" Ares grunted.
"We learn to live with each other, so to speak," Hermes sighed, "Forever."
Luke shrugged, "Who knows? Maybe Sally will have a son. Then we'll just have to live with each other for a couple decades."
The others started grumbling in displeasure.
"Let's get on with it." Gaea turned back to Jason. He swallowed as she started sharpening a knife.
He heard something and turned his head. His heart swelled. Percy had stepped out from behind some of the cages, sword drawn.
"Percy." Jason breathed.
"Get him." Gaea hissed. Porphyrion ran down the steps. Fear shot through Jason. He'd just gotten Percy back, he couldn't watch him die.
As Porphyrion approached Percy cut the locks on some of the cages. Angry wolves and rodents attacked. They covered Porphyrion completely. He screamed as they tore at him. Jason closed his eyes until the screaming stopped.
Gaea scowled and went down herself. She smirked as she reached Percy.
"So what's it to be, hero? Frog, or tadpole?"
Green light burst from her fingertips and stopped about a foot from Percy. She glared and tried again. And just like before, the light stopped before it could touch him. Relief washed through Jason. Maybe Percy could win this.
Percy pulled a small, silver trident from inside his jacket. A small smiled touched his lips, "That all you got, lady?"
She held her hand out and gestured as though she was pulling something towards her. A large vase flew through the air, Percy dodged it the first time. Gaea made a pushing gesture and the vase broke across Percy's back. He fell and Jason cried out.
Percy grabbed the lightening from his back and shot it at Gaea. The first shot missed, but the second sent her into the pool.
She pulled the doll she'd used to control Octavian with from the water and used his body to attack Percy. Sword on sword. Percy cut a few ropes to send chandeliers crashing down. Two out of three missed. The last pinned Octavian's body. Percy had kept a hold of the rope and was pulled to the top of the stairs. He hurried to Jason's side.
Gaea had grabbed two knives and attacked. Percy held her off for a minute or two before she disarmed him. His back was pressed against the table Jason was still tied to. He laced his fingers with Jason's and closed his eyes, breathing heavily. Jason squeezed his hand, tears filled his eyes again. Fate was cruel, making him watch the man he loved die before having his own heart cut out? He just hoped that humans and stars had the same afterlife. Maybe they could be together there.
The witch let out a yell and brought the knife down. Jason closed his eyes, a pained cry escaping him. He didn't want to look. He didn't want to see Percy's death. Percy's hand tightened on his. Slowly, his eyes opened. Both of them were still alive. Gaea's knife had cut one of the straps holding Jason.
She threw her knives down, "Youth, beauty. It all seems so meaningless now. My brothers, the only things I cared about, gone. Go." She sobbed and turned away.
Percy turned and started undoing the straps, "We're gonna be okay." He whispered.
Jason nodded, a small smile on his face.
"Go!" Gaea screamed.
They ran down the stairs, hand in hand. Sally smiled at them through the window as they walked to the doors. They were almost there when Gaea's sobs turned into laughter. Sheets of metal slammed down over the doors and windows. They both froze. Then the glass from the windows burst in towards them. They moved back, closer to the fountain in an attempt to get away. The windows kept breaking. One set at a time, following them to the fountain. Percy pulled Jason close and huddled over him, trying to keep the glass away.
"I really should thank you, boy." Gaea said, she'd picked up one of the knives and started walking down the steps, "The star's heart was useless to me broken. And you got my idiot brothers out of the way. His heart will last me much longer now that I don't have to share."
Jason looked up at him, "Hold me tight, and close your eyes."
"What? Why?" Percy frowned.
Jason grinned, "What do stars do?" His arms wrapped around Percy's neck, "Shine."
He closed his eyes and ran his fingers through Percy's hair. He didn't think about Gaea, or the deaths. Just Percy. How wonderful it felt to be back in his arms, how soft his hair was, his smile, his eyes, his scent, and the fact that he had come for him. He hadn't stayed with Drew. He had come for him, and Jason didn't plan on letting him go again. Ever. He focused on making himself shine as brightly as he possibly could. Somewhere behind him, Gaea screamed.
Jason let his glow fade and pulled back a little. Sure enough, Gaea was gone. As was the strap that had still been around his wrist. He barely registered the fact that his necklace had fallen off. It didn't matter. They were safe.
"Why didn't you do that before?" Percy asked.
"A star can't shine with a broken heart." Jason answered, "I thought you left me for Drew."
Percy laughed, "Never. I love you, Jason. I went to tell Drew off. I'd actually meant to talk to my father too, but then I realized what would happen if you crossed the Wall and I ran off to stop you."
The doors swung open and Sally ran in. Jason kissed Percy once, quickly before going to meet her.
The ghosts applauded when Gaea was killed. They watched the star go to meet their sister. Percy scooped up the stone from Jason's broken necklace and started towards the other two.
The dead brothers moved closer when they noticed a change in the stone. It had gone from clear to a deep, sapphire blue. Percy frowned in confusion as he held it up.
"The last surviving, male heir of the Olympus bloodline." Sally grinned, "It's you, Perseus."
"Wait, if he's the new king then-" Octavian was cut off as light surrounded them, sending them off to their respective afterlives.
Chapter 15: Epilogue
Percy's coronation was a huge affair and pretty much everyone was invited. Even Drew and Bryce sat in the crowd, Drew was sulking and smacked Bryce's arm when she saw him smiling at a member of Reyna's crew.
Jason was seated at Percy's side, a smaller crown rested on his head, after all he was the king's fiance. The star grinned. His wedding to Percy would happen next week, then nothing would tear them apart again.
The crowd cheered as a crown was placed on Percy and he took his seat on the larger throne at Jason's side. Sally stood and handed Jason a black box.
"My gift to you." She kissed Percy's cheek, "Both of you."
Jason laughed when he opened it. An Iris candle was nestled in the white silk lining. He turned the box so Percy could see.
He smiled and took Jason's hand, "Do you want to use it tonight? The sky's going to be clear."
"Don't be stupid." He snapped the box closed, "You at least need to get a successor before we go."
Percy kissed him.
Percy and Jason adopted four kids, two girls and two boys. They did away with the tradition of male heirs killing each other for the throne and made a law stating that the current ruler was to pick the child most suited for the throne, male or female, and name them heir to the throne.
Twenty-five years after the coronation, Percy noticed something. He hadn't aged. He was forty-three and still looked like he was in his early to mid-twenties.
Jason laughed when he mentioned it. "Of course you're not aging. If you possess the heart of a star you live forever, remember? I gave you mine years ago." He shook his head, still smiling.
Percy rolled his eyes, "Those witches still aged, they just didn't die."
"That's because the hearts they had were taken. And pretty brutally at that. They were tainted by that." Jason wrapped his arms around Percy's neck and kissed him gently, "I gave you my heart, willingly and completely. Sorry love, but you'll stay at the prime of your life forever."
"I can live with that, so long as you stay with me."
"It's a deal."
Jason and Percy watched their children grown up and have kids of their own. Their oldest daughter took the throne when Percy retired. They kept an eye on her to be sure she could handle things then decided it was time.
They said their goodbyes and lit the Iris candle, taking their place in the sky. Together forever.