Actions

Work Header

The Light Before We Land

Chapter Text

 

"I'm coming!" Percy Jackson yelled in a panic, rushing from the kitchen and then to the nearest table to wait on.

At 16, her life had been a normal and sometimes boring mess. She was dyslexic, had ADHD, had a loving mother but a horrible stepfather, and most of all…she had no idea what her purpose in life was.

She had always thought she was meant to do great things, be something other than what she was now. But then, she decided those were just that. Thoughts. She already had big goals, goals she was striving to reach like by working as a waitress at the bar restaurant Grunner's.

From 8 am to 3 pm everyday, she attended Yancy Academy. Then from 4 pm to 7 pm, she worked at Grunner's, waiting and glad to be gone before happy hour –not to say there weren't some occasional rowdy or jerky people at the time she worked. It was lucky her boarding school allowed her to work though.

Afterwards, just recently she got an internship at Halter and Geriam's Law Firm, which would be perfect experience, especially since she wanted to be the District Attorney of New York. That was her dream, her goal in life. And what she thought she'd decided would be her purpose in life. And which she also was now starting, right after work.

She finished quickly with her last customers, letting another girl take over and said goodbye to Lucas Wright, her boss. She hurriedly got out of her uniform and drove her bike to the law firm, intent on making a good impression and to work hard.

Meeting the man she was going to work directly under, she readied herself for the long hours. 7:15 to 11, she would slave in that firm and prove herself.

And that was her life…until a month later.

"Grover, I'm trying to work here," Percy rolled her eyes, hunched over her desk.

"I don't see why you have to," Grover grumbled. "That's work outside of school."

"I'm taking college classes to speed up my education," Percy explained patiently.

"But…why bother? You know, what with your dyslexia and stuff," he mumbled.

She stared at him. It sounded as if he expected her to give up because she was dyslexic, which coupled with ADHD didn't help anyone much less her. Which was why she color coded everything, had a planner, organized whatever she could with help, and took special classes when she was younger to help deal with her dyslexia. And learned Braille while she was at it…

"Because I want a lot of things, Grover, but being a failure isn't one of them," was the only thing she could reply with.

She tiredly turned back to her college papers and continued to work on them.

"…It's just…you're always so busy," her best friend pouted. "I don't know how you do it. You go to school everyday, and then depending on which day it is, you're either at the pool as part of the swim team, part of the martial arts dojo and team, or part of the concert ensemble. That's not counting how you have time for your internship and your work at Grunner's."

"But I always make time for you," she smiled, looking at him pointedly.

"I should have all of your time," he said cheekily.

They both laughed.

"I just…don't like it when others tell me I can't do something. I want to prove them wrong," she shrugged. "Just because I'm dyslexic or have ADHD, it's not going to cripple me or make me give up. I'll just work harder."

He looked at her in admiration and she slightly slapped his arm.

"Hey now, don't get all gooey eyed on me."

Grover grinned at her unapologetically so she just sighed in exasperation. He grabbed an apple off from her desk and started munching on it.

"What are you learning in martial arts anyway? I mean, why put yourself through the torture?"

"I'm learning Chinese Kempo. Very effective with kicks," she grinned wickedly. He shivered and she laughed at him. "I was 5 when this weird huge man was wearing a mask that made him look like a cyclops and he was cornering me. I screamed and he got scared away or something, but other people were there too so that might be it. My mom started making me go to some kind of school to defend myself and I chose to learn Kempo. Helps with my ADHD."

"Hehe…cyclops…mask…" Grover kept laughing nervously and she stared at him weirdly. "Hehehe! So, uh, you've been learning it since?"

"Yeah, I'm a sixth degree black belt in it. If I keep at it, I'll progress to 7th degree this summer," Percy stated nonchalantly, making Grover laugh more nervously, though for different reasons than earlier.

"Stop wooorrrking," Grover complained. "Serenade me!"

Percy laughed and mock-reluctantly pulled away from her work to grab her guitar.

"Flute, please?" he gave her a pleading wide-eyed puppy look that she immediately caved in to.

She rummaged around their coed room for her flute and then began playing a simple melody for him, not seeing her friend oddly swaying and his eyes rolling upwards heavenly as her own closed to focus on the music. When she finished, she opened her eyes to see her friend peacefully sleeping, a wide smile on his face. Blinking in surprise, she laughed lightly and put her flute away, looking idly out the window as she sat on the sill.

She blinked again, this time unsurely as she saw a wrinkled woman glaring at her with red eyes. When she moved to get a better look and blinked again, sure her eyes were fooling her since the woman wasn't there the next second.

Hesitantly, she went back to her work and thought she should sleep early that night to get more rest. It must be the lack of sleep…

The school year was coming to an end. All of her activities were off-season, so she was only doing the customary last days of class, her internship, and her work. Which made Grover happy, because that meant more time spent with him.

It was raining heavily that day and that evening. Her only ride was her motorcycle and she'd promised her mom she wouldn't ride it in the rain. So that left her to walk from her work to the coed dorm she was staying in. Thunder boomed around her and lightning flashed brightly. She shivered from the cold and used one hand to pull her coat tighter around her as the other held her umbrella closer to her head.

"Now, now. Look what I've caught. A little fish in the rain," the old woman she saw before cackled.

Percy warily stopped and stared at her. At least she was sure now that she hadn't been seeing things.

"Hello…I'm sorry, ma'am, but I have to go home," Percy clutched onto her bag, ready to throw it at the old woman if she had to. Which was a little weird considering, it was an old woman. Why on earth would she have to defend herself against an old woman?

"You won't be going home, honey," and then the old woman transformed into some kind of monster. Her eyes glowed like burning coal, she grew leathery wings, and she had claws and fangs.

"Wh-what are you?" Percy cried out, stumbling backwards in fright and surprise.

"Alecto. And you will be dinner for your punishment," she hissed.

Percy turned and ran.

Only to see the old woman suddenly in front of her. Percy gasped and faltered, taking steps back and eyes darting around her for an exit. Her heart was pounding and her breathing was coming in quick and harsh gasps. Then suddenly, her heart began pounding differently, slowly in a halting way, instead of fast and panicked.

The rain around her seemed like it was slowing down, until the raindrops were suspended in midair all around her. Everything was silent except for the pounding of her heart; the caustic weather seemed frozen –as if time was stopped. And then a boom and lightning was crashing down around and on her, just as she felt the water of rain sliding and clinging onto her skin, forming something like a shield around her body and protecting her. And the lightning was incredibly traveling through the water shield, sparking angrily.

She looked up and saw that she hadn't noticed that all this time Alecto was flying towards her, and like everything else seemed to be in slow motion. She threw out her arms and thrust her hands in the direction of the monstrous woman. Water from the shield around her body flung away and towards Alecto, lightning still attached to the numerous droplets.

Alecto screeched in pain, clutching at her face where the majority of the "lightning water" had hit. In anger, Alecto ran towards Percy half-blindly, just when another flash of lightning rapidly came from the sky and struck Percy. She instinctively held her hands above her head, the lightning struck it and she automatically clutched at it, feeling herself somehow holding lightning itself. And then Alecto was upon her, and she grasped the monster's arm that was about to strike her, the lightning previously circling her body conducting through her and then transferring to Alecto. While the monster screamed and twisted in pain, Percy took the lightning that she still clutched in her hand and slammed it into the monster, Alecto giving a final scream as she dissipated into dust.

Percy blinked and shuddered, before her eyes rolled into her head and she collapsed in a dead faint, lying on the wet pavement in a disarray of sprawled limbs and splayed hair.

"This isn't good. Zeus will be angry. No one, no one has been able to do what she has."

"B-but Poseidon is the God of Storms too, right? It has to explain this!"

"Grover, she was able to protect herself from the lightning and even control it to a degree. Zeus will be more than unhappy at this turn of events. No one has ever infringed on his territory before."

"But –!"

"Take her and bring her back to the dorm. When she wakes up, make sure you convince her that she didn't see Alecto."

"Yes, Chiron. I'll do my best."

And so the two carried her back to the dorms, where Grover alone took her up to their room and nervously awaited for Percy to wake up. And when she did, she groaned and slowly opened her eyes, before she shot up straight in her bed in a panic.

"Grover?! How'd I get here? Where is that monster?"

Grover inwardly prepared himself, "Monster? Oh man, you really need to take a break, Percy. You're way too stressed out if you're starting to dream about monsters."

Percy frowned at him, moving sluggishly as she swung her legs off her bed and she sat up to face him.

"Grover…I can trust you, right?"

Grover nodded vigorously.

Percy took a big breath before taking her water bottle from her dresser and uncapping it. She began pouring it into her hand, and Grover started to yell out until he stopped short, watching wide-eyed as the water slowly began forming into a sphere.

"I know it wasn't an illusion or a dream," she stated quietly. She directed the water over the water bottle and opened up her hand more, pouring it back. "I've known since I was little that I could control water for some reason. My mother told me to try to forget about it, and to never do it in front of people. That it was best if I kept the ability to myself. I did, but I couldn't forget about it. It made me happy and warm…protected somehow. So I practiced my ability a lot and learned there were things I could do with it. Tonight…I think I learned something else about it, something that helped keep me safe and connected to lightning. I don't understand it…but I figure it's like those psychic kids, right? Maybe something to do with that. But then tonight, there was that monster and now I'm confused, Grover."

Grover gulped, "I don't know what to say…"

Percy looked at him earnestly, "You don't think I'm a freak, do you Grover? I –"

"No, no! It's just a lot to take in, Percy. Um, I might have to just slow down right now…"

Percy stayed quiet, so Grover forced himself to think straight.

"So, what else can you do?"

Her face lit up and Grover calmed down immediately, content his friend was happy and not panicked anymore.

With a bright smile, Percy began telling him.

"Well, I know I can breathe underwater. And unless I want them too, my clothes can't get wet. I can control water, though I had to practice a lot to be able to control it to the degree I can now. When I'm hurt, water can heal me. When I learned that, I experimented a little and learned that I can use water to heal others. I don't have many experience using it on other people, but I've healed plenty of animals and my mom lets me practice on her."

And Grover was pretty sure that she would be able to do more once she learned who she really was…

"And just recently, I think I can form some sort of shield around my body using water. The rain from today did that and it helped protect me from that monster thing. And from the lightning! In fact, it even helped me control the lightning a little."

Oh, this was bad. He didn't know how on earth this could turn out to be any more worse.

"We should talk to Mr. Brunner," he blurted out.

Never mind. He knew how it could get worse. Him opening his big mouth.

"You know…he…he's your favorite teacher, right? And he's always tried to help you, so…maybe he can help you. Or try to help you. Or just figure something out."

'That was horrible, idiot. Think, think, think!'

"Um, I guess," she muttered dejectedly.

"Well, hey! School's almost done and at least you won't have as much work to do, right? And you won't have to worry about crazy monsters or powers getting crazy or people finding out about your powers, right?"

"Right."

Grover sighed, looking at her dolefully starting to lie back down, pulling the covers over her as she turned and faced the wall on her side.

"I won't tell anyone. You can trust me."

There was quiet. And then…

"Thanks, Grover."

And there was a happier note in her voice that made him happy to know she wasn't upset with him.


She revved up the bike and Grover tightened his arms around her in fear, already anticipating something bad happening even though they hadn't even left yet. Then they were heading off, with Grover being dropped off at the subway station. He reluctantly got off and thought to follow after her quietly, but waited until she had already left to start. The three old ladies sitting calmly to the side at the station bothered him, especially since they were knitting and Percy had noticed them. When one of them snipped the cord just as Percy left, Grover felt like having a heart attack.

She headed home, bag slung over her shoulder and kept to her side, reaching her home as fast as she could. Not that she was happy about it, but she didn't want to leave her mom alone with Gabe Ugliano any longer than she had to.

"Sweet cheeks! You're home!" Gabe greeted her in a sugary voice, moving his cards around and not looking at her. "Hey, do me a favor. Make me a Sex on the Beach."

Eddie, the super of the building, blanched.

"Gabe, she's like, 15. She's underage."

"Nah, it's cool. She's been my bartender since I've moved in with them. And she's 16, Eddie. Hurry it up, sweet cheeks!"

Percy fought the urge to sneer, but didn't bother stopping herself from scowling. She went to the kitchen to make the drink reluctantly, but remembered her mother's plea to try to get along with Gabe. And she did, doing stupid things like making his alcoholic drinks. And though she did them, didn't mean she had to like it. Or him.

"You got money?" Gabe asked, taking his drink from her.

"No."

"Yeah, you do, sweet cheeks. You've been working and all, right?" Bastard. He could always sniff out money.

She gritted her teeth, clenching her hand that wanted to deck him.

"It's for my college fund."

Her mom worked hard to make money for their bills and for any expenses they needed, and for Gabe's "leisure activities." But that meant that her goal of going to college and then law school so she could become District Attorney would be near impossible without Percy working whatever job she could to earn that money.

"You're a pretty girl. You probably earn a lotta tips, sweet cheeks. Spare some for your daddy."

'I'd rather rot in Hell than ever call you or let you be my 'daddy,'' she wanted to say. And what was worse, was Gabe was actually a bit right. Biased, certain customers tended to give her larger tips because of her pretty face. Not that she complained. She needed that money. She would go to school and get her dream job, damned if she was trying.

Percy grudgingly fished out her wallet and took out a roll of twenties she had been planning on putting into her bank account, about to take a couple out for him when Gabe just snatched the whole thing out of her hand.

"Thanks, sweet cheeks! Alright! Now the game's on!"

Her face flamed up and her nostril's flared up in indignation, and she opened mouth to protest when she forced herself to calm and slink away unhappily.

'Please, sweetheart. Deal with Gabe for now.'

"Fuck," she muttered. She'd almost gotten too angry. She'd seen the sink rattling for a second before she realized she couldn't get angry in front of them, if not for the promise she made to her mother to keep peace.

At least he hadn't gone all creepy on her with all the other guys there. 'Smelly Gabe' had immediately turned to 'Slimy Gabe' by the time a week had passed since she first met him. The slimy feeling she got being in his presence and when he looked at her still persisted to this day.

"Um, Percy," Eddie, surprisingly, caught up to her, looking nervous and anxious.

Turning to him in surprise, she waited for him to continue.

"Look, here," he thrust a wad of dollars at her. "We both know Gabe's an asshole," he muttered. "So don't tell him I gave this to you, okay?"

He turned and hurriedly walked from her, she gawking at him in confusion. She glanced at the money, eyes widening as she flipped through the bills. This was more than double the amount she'd given Gabe, two 50's and even a 100 stuck in there.

She put it in her pocket and hoped she could get to the bank sometime soon for a quick deposit.

Her mom came home soon, the poker game still going on and Percy having had to make a vodka martini and then a request from Gabe to make up a drink specialty herself.

"Hey, sweetheart. Oh, you have to tell me all about school and how you've been," Sally Jackson greeted her daughter tiredly, but extremely happy.

"Mom!" Percy beamed.

They went to her room and chattered all about Percy's school, her progress from it to her powers to her work, activities, and internship.

"Baby girl, how about we take off to Montauk for three nights? Just you and me. A girl's vacation," her mother smiled at her.

She perked up and excitedly grinned at her mom, "Same cabin?"

"Same one."

"When do we get to leave?!" Percy could barely sit still.

"As soon as I'm ready, sweetheart. Let me make some special dip for Gabe for the whole weekend and then it's just you and me, no problems."

Percy nodded and waited anxiously.

It wasn't long until Sally was driving them to Montauk, and then they were at the cabin. Once there, they cleaned up the place, cleaned themselves, and then opened all the windows, breathing in the fresh air. They started munching on blue food.

"Percy, baby, I know something's bothering you," Sally prodded.

An image of the old lady and that night flashed in her mind. Percy forced herself not to flinch and formed a smile on her face.

"Mom, it's nothing. I'm just worried about the same stuff as I always do."

Sally nodded, not believing her but willing to leave it alone for now.

"Do you want me to tell you about your father?"

Montauk was the only place Percy allowed herself to hear and long for her father. Anywhere else, she avoided the mention of him and forced down the resentment she felt building everyday.

So Sally told her how handsome he was, how she had his dark hair and his eyes. He was tall and powerful, but gentle. Kind.

"I wish he could see you. He would be so proud."

Percy leaned into her mother, inhaling her sweet scent.

"How old was I when he had to leave?"

Sally winced, "Sweetheart, your dad was only with me for one summer, right here in this beach, this cabin. He never saw you. He knew I was pregnant, but had to leave before you were born."

Percy thought she'd remembered seeing his smile, a warm glow. Knowing otherwise now, the one thing that had kept her from completely disregarding her father was gone and she stood up abruptly.

"I'm tired, Mom. I'm going to bed early," she stated stoically.

She walked away from her mother, leaving her to stare at her back in confusion and worry.

'Not dead. Lost at sea, Mom said. I hope he stays lost at sea.'

That night, thunder and lightning boomed overhead, but there was no rain. There was loud banging on the door though.

Both she and her mother anxiously walked towards the door, and Percy, with a burst of bravado, swung the door open to reveal Grover standing there, looking panicked and terrified, his pants gone and hooves instead of feet.

"Grover, what are you doing here?!" Percy screamed in surprise.

"No time! We have to leave now!"

"Sweetheart, what's going on? You told me nothing happened while you were in school!" her mother interrupted.

"Nothing –"

"Its coming! We have to go!" Grover screamed.

"What's coming?" Percy asked desperately, but her mother grabbed a hold of her arm and forced her to her room.

"Pack quickly!"

She hurried to follow her mother's order. Then they were running out the door and to Gabe's car, revving it up and then driving out of there as fast as they could. They were driving crazily, thunder and lightning playing up the drama of the scene. Sally was weaving through the road in a snake-like pattern, trying to confuse whatever was following them.

"What is following us?" Percy hissed.

"Sweetheart, everything will be explained once we get to the place you're supposed to be."

Suddenly, Percy had flashbacks of all the strange events in her life. The almost attack on her when she was five from the Cyclops man. When she was stalked by who she thought was the same man in the third grade on the playground, who went away growling when the teachers threatened to call the police. Being in preschool and being accidentally put down in a cot that a snake had slithered into, strangling it with her tiny hands. Every school she'd gone to, something unsafe and creepy had always managed to happen, which scared and freaked out the people around her, forcing her to move frequently. Luckily, while strange things had happened to her at Yancy, this time she had managed to keep them low key and she didn't have to move.

"I love you, baby, you know that. I tried to keep you close to me. They told me it was a mistake, but I wanted to be selfish and hold onto you. But there's another option, Percy. Somewhere your father wanted to send you, a summer camp. But I couldn't do it. Because it might've meant saying goodbye to you for good, and I didn't want that. I'm sorry, Percy."

"A summer camp? He didn't even stick around long enough to see me being born. Why would he talk to you about sending me to a summer camp? And if it was so important, why didn't you mention it before?" Okay, out of everything she could've picked to talk about, she went for picking at her dad. Not a very good choice, but it was already said…

"Percy…don't say that about your father. He wanted to see you being born. He wanted to be around you," she didn't answer Percy's questions, but what her mother had said made her cringe in apology for her mom, even if it didn't ease the resentment towards her father. And she saw that if she asked any more questions, particularly like those ones, her mother looked close to crying.

She hated making her mother cry.

The next day, the storm was even worse. Grover had fallen asleep and was leaning heavily against the door, twitching and muttering about food. Her mother was wide-awake and refusing to take a nap, while Percy took over driving. Percy herself felt high-strung and the first thing on her mind was that she wanted answers.

"Percy, I need you to tell me what happened in school," her mother demanded quietly.

She looked worriedly at her mother up through the front mirror, but talked about the old lady she had fought with and of the odd old ladies she saw knitting at the subway station.

"There are things I can't tell you, things you'll better understand once you get to camp," her mother sighed.

"Things like why Grover has hooves and the two of you seem to know each other?" Percy scowled. "Like how all my life, monsters –"

Sally sighed again, but Grover interrupted, having woken up. He'd explained his presence, that he had been sent to watch over her but he really was her friend. That he was a satyrfor goodness' sakes and that the ladies at the subway station and the lady she'd fought were just as much a myth as he was.

"The less you knew, the fewer monsters you'd attract," Grover muttered softly. "We put Mist over the humans' eyes. We'd hope you'd think the Kindly One was a hallucination. But it was no good. You'd started to realize what you were…perhaps before we even knew about your existence, before we'd ever entered your life…"

"I don't understand," Percy muttered in frustration.

And then there was a bellowing noise behind them, closer than it had been before.

"There's too much to explain now, Percy. When we get to the summer camp I told you about, you'll find out everything you need to know. We just have to get you to safety."

"Safety?! From what? Who would be chasing me?"

"You don't want to know," Grover grumbled.

"Please, just another mile. One more mile," Sally pleaded under breath.

"Both of you are acting like this is my death!" Percy snapped, looking back and forth between the two and glaring at them.

"Maybe because it is," Grover grumbled again, looking agitated and worried.

"Percy! Just focus on the road! Oh, I should have kept driving!"

Percy pursed her lips, "Grover, you better continue that thought or else I'll slow down."

And then the satyr winced before explaining the old ladies at the station were the Fates and that they only appear when someone's going to die. Like her.

Her thoughts went off rail when something violently crashed into their car, causing the car to jolt forward several spaces.

"Its here!" Grover screamed, freaking out.

It crashed again into their car and Percy cursed, ignoring her mother's oddly placed reprimand.

"Now's not the time, Mom!" she gunned the engine and veered to the left and then sped faster, imitating the snake-line pattern her mother had insisted on driving with earlier.

Percy tried speeding up even more, but then whatever it was caught up again and hit them, causing their car to crash and flip over. Disoriented, it took Percy a second to refocus. She groaned and looked behind her to see her mother coming to while Grover was knocked out, strangely muttering about food.

"Percy…" Sally called out in a hoarse voice. "You need to get out. You have to leave us."

"What? Leave you behind? Are you crazy? I can't do that, Mom!" Percy screeched.

"Its hearing and sight is horrible. It moves around using its smell. You can do it, Percy. It's right over that hill, the place you have to go," Sally hissed out through her pain, ignoring her daughter's protests. "Go. Go now!"

"No! Not without you!"

So she unbuckled her mother and her friend, and took them out of the car one by one. Her mother forced herself to move, helping her to carry Grover closer to the hill, and nearer to a huge pine tree at its crest. They were midway when lightning struck the car, making it explode into pieces and Percy stared at it with wide eyes.

Then a horrible roar echoed to their side and her head snapped to the right to see a huge monstrous thing, with horns on top of its head and lumbering around like a bull.

"Percy, Percy," her mother tugged at her desperately. "That's the property line, at that tree. I want you to keep running until you see a big farmhouse in the valley, and don't stop until you reach the door. Run, don't look back, yell for help. Get over that hill now!"

"No!" she snapped back. She was not going to leave her mother there.

"I can't cross the line," Sally grew more panicked. "Besides, he wants you not us."

Percy glanced at the body builder type half man and half bull thing.

"We're going. Now. At the count of three," and Percy yanked her mother up by her arm and shouldered Grover, grunting at the weight. And then they were fleeing. At first, the bull man continued to lumber around, looking for them. And then it raised its nostrils into the air and sniffed several times. Grunting and growling, it turned to their direction and began heading full-throttle towards them.

"That…that thing looks like –"

"Pasiphae's son. Don't say his name. Names have power, sweetheart," Sally muttered distractedly, trying to keep up with her daughter's fast pace. "He'll charge, but he can't change directions once he starts. At the last minute, dodge directly to the side."

Percy didn't question it.

The Minotaur, she was sure that was what it was, charged at them and they dodge at just the right time, Grover shifting away from her and her mother grabbing onto him. The Minotaur paused before grunting and turning to her mother's direction, charging again. Her mother tried to dodge once more, Grover safely to the side, but the Minotaur had learned its lesson and had easily found her. Angrily, it grabbed onto her mother and held her up.

Sally looked at her, smiling painfully.

"Go."

And then the Minotaur wrapped its hands around her throat and tightened, her mother disappearing into bright light. Percy felt everything slowing down again and she stared, feeling the tears prickling at her eyes but unable to let them fall.

Then she started feeling angry, incredibly angry. So angry that red blinded her vision and she stood up from where she had unconsciously fallen to her knees in grief.

"It may not be raining, but water is practically in everything," she hissed out.

She thrust out her hand and the earth followed her lead, leaping from the ground and circling around the Minotaur, tree roots tightening around it as well to cut skin.

Percy closed her hand into a fist, the earth and roots following their lead and crushing the Minotaur.

Started 3/10/10 –Completed 3/19/10

Chapter Text

Percy groaned, wearily opening her eyes. It was bright and early. Quiet too. Looking around, she saw she was sitting up in a deck chair on some huge patio, looking across a meadow and green hills at a distance.

Then the events of the recent past caught up to her and she nearly lurched forward in pain, remembering her mother's pained eyes and her pleas. And her death…

"Percy?" Grover's voice.

She looked and saw hooves and a goat bottom half.

"Not a dream," she murmured to herself.

"I thought you might like this…it was cracked off when you –when you, um, buried Pasiphae's son?" Grover said it questioningly, as if he were still processing it or still wasn't sure what quite had happened.

He handed her one of the Minotaur's huge horns, she taking it blankly.

"I'm sorry! It's my fault –" she cut off Grover.

"No…no. It wasn't your fault," 'It was mine' "So don't think or say that again."

"Well, here," Grover said awkwardly, handing her a glass of what looked like apple juice. She tasted it and started in surprise. It tasted like the blue chocolate chip cookies her mother made for her. "And it was the least I could do, but I managed to grab the bags you and your mother brought along. They were outside of the car before it exploded so they survived."

"Thanks, Grover," she mumbled, shouldering her bag and grabbing her mom's.

"Come on. You'll have to see Mr. D and Chiron."

She reluctantly left her comfortable seat and followed after Grover, her misery and grief still bubbling under the surface. Soon enough, they'd reached two men playing cards at a table, a girl a little younger than Percy sitting on the railing and watching.

Percy tilted her head to the side and observed, "Mr. Brunner."

The two men looked up, 'Mr. Brunner' smiling. The girl looked at her curious, but said nothing.

"Chiron, my dear. I'm afraid that was just a pseudonym."

"I see," she murmured.

"Well, look's like it's four for pinochle! Come on you two, pull a seat and grab some cards," Chiron cheerfully invited them over. "Percy, this is Annabeth. She helped nurse you back to health. Annabeth, would you mind checking on Percy's bunk? She's in Cabin Eleven for now."

Annabeth left and Grover and Percy sat down at the table, cards handed to them. Percy didn't know how to play the game, but Gabe had occasionally obnoxiously insisted she sit in a couple of games of poker and play, so she decided to do what she did when she first started out –fake that she knew what she was doing, lose if she had to, while she learned how to play the game through trial and error. She adopted the poker face she carefully crafted with Gabe and his group, smiling cheerfully and eyes bright and wide in childish excitement.

After a couple of rounds, losing and betting, she finally got the hang of pinochle and won the next round.

"Oh, good one, Percy. Played before?" Chiron asked.

"No. I just learned now," she lightened her poker face just a bit.

She was stared at. She shrugged and explained, and then went back to looking at her new cards, ignoring their stares.

"So…Grover flinching and cowering before Mr. D is a satyr, Mr. D smells like wine, likes wine I gather from that glass he's staring at longingly, Chiron as in Greek Chiron…Greek mythology, huh?" she listed nonchalantly. "And I assume Mr. D is a son of Zeus and one of the gods…Dionysus?"

"Oh! You remembered! You have been paying attention then?" Chiron excitedly asked. "But how did you know?"

"The Minotaur is real, there are a bunch of satyrs like Grover running around, Grover is repeatedly cowering and groveling before Mr. D making Mr. D someone important and especially to Grover's kind, Mr. D's obvious love of wine, and the fact my eyes are strangely seeing a body of a horse from you instead of a wheelchair. Either I need to get my eyes checked or I need to suppose myths are real in the meantime." Percy was wondering how stranger things could get.

"Ah, I'd forgotten I'd forgone the wheelchair today. I apologize."

"Mm, now where am I and what's going on? Better yet, tell me I'm here."

"Percy, did your mother tell you nothing?" Chiron asked gently.

She closed off her expression, "Nothing of importance to you or to the situation. What was said was for me. That is nonnegotiable." Okay, a bit rebellious and angry, but she lost her mother and she wanted answers, answers that she believed might have caused her mother her life.

Mr. D roared in laughter, "Cheeky little brat, aren't you? Throwing around names –names have power, young lady! And such disrespect! Why, you could be turned into a little rat if I had my say so."

Percy stared at him steadily, causing Chiron and Grover to grow nervous.

"You're a god. And yet here you are," she said quietly. "From the myths, one of the 12 doesn't usually do things like this unless Zeus is punishing them, ala Poseidon and Apollo." She shifted in her seat, leaning forward and resting her chin on her clasped hands as she stared at the wine god more intensely. "You are the God of Wine, and yet you have so little in your glass and you're not refilling, not even drinking at all from it. Am I to guess that you have been restricted from wine and stuck in this place for some time?"

Grover winced and whimpered, while Chiron cringed. Dionysus' face grew red and his lips pulled back in a snarl. She ignored all that and rummaged through her bag, grabbing bottle after bottle and thumping it onto the table.

'Figures Slimy Gabe would dump that crap into my bag to stash it from Mom,' she inwardly sneered.

"I'm guessing again that Zeus isn't allowing you to use your powers to get yourself wine or maybe his order is restricted to just wine, depending on his wording? Maybe it's both. So I'll make you a deal. I'll make you a drink every now and then, and I get to be left alone. I don't want to be favored. I don't want to be picked on. I just want to be left alone, and I want my answers without any smart aleck comments."

Dionysus' lips pulled back again, this time in a harsh smile.

"I want to see if you can make a worthwhile drink first."

Percy shrugged and grabbed his glass, taking a sip and cringing from the strong taste. But she gulped it down until there was only less than a third left and held it out to him.

"Ice. Crushed."

In amusement, he waved his hand and humored her, and then she went back to the drink, adding a bit of other alcohol in it.

"Sweet or sour?" she asked without looking up.

"Sweet," he drawled. "I don't understand how you mortals can stand so much of that harsh stuff. It's not that good. In my days, it was all about the sweetness of wine, not that I don't patron the sour stuff every now and then…Light on the vodka, sweetheart."

She ignored him.

Finished, she stoically handed his drink and Grover and Chiron waited with bated breath. Dionysus took the drink with a smirk, and took a sip. His eyebrows lifted lightly and he set down the glass a moment later. Then he was reluctantly leaning forward.

"Alright, this is Camp Half-Blood. It's a summer camp for brats like you, half-god and half-mortal. That means one of your parents is a god, who went and shacked up with a human. That means you're a demigod. Seeing as your mother is human, that means your father is either Apollo, Hermes, Hephaestus, or Ares. You could even be one of my brats, if your skill with drinks is any indication," his smirk widened.

"You're right. I'm here as punishment. Father does love to punish me. First it was Prohibition. Madness, I tell you! I have no idea what Father was thinking. And now it's this blasted camp, because I decided there was this lovely nymph I couldn't resist. Too bad she was off limits and got me into this mess…"

"Okay then…but why was the Minotaur chasing me?" she asked, her lips set in a neutral line and her eyes hooded.

Dionysus and Chiron shared a look, while Grover munched on the Diet Coke can and averted his eyes.

"Monsters from Hades can smell you, Perseas Jackson. It's a bit…intoxicating to them. And they come after your smell and are attracted to your power. They attack you, intent on your death. Usually, your kind is sent here at 12 years of age…that's when their smell becomes harder to mask and becomes too strong for monsters not to notice. Lucky for you, your mother married your stepfather to help hide you. His repulsive smell masked yours, and helped you hide for a long time. It is a wonder though…how you could have survived to 16 on that alone, when your smell would have gotten even stronger and there is no guarantee even your stepfather's scent could mask it anymore…Most at 12, don't even last then. It's always at 12…they die, child. And yet here you are, alive and 16," Dionysus ended in a murmur.

"Something I should tuck away to remember to ask later?" Percy asked sarcastically, frowning.

"Well, Chiron, you can answer the rest of her questions. I want to take a nap before the sing-along tonight. Grover, come along. I want to talk to you. Cabin Eleven, brat. And mind your manners, at least."

The god and satyr moved away, Grover glancing back nervously.

"Will Grover be okay?" she turned her attention to Chiron.

Chiron coughed uneasily at the intensity of her focus, recognizing the uncharacteristic retreat from the wine god.

"He will be. Ah, he's not really all that angry, just hates it here. Can't wait to be able to get back to Olympus, you see?" and then he began explaining about Western civilization, the gods following it, and then stood up on all four of his legs, starting to lead her around in a tour.

She ignored the campers pointing and talking about her, choosing instead to focus on what Chiron was saying and hauling her and her mother's bag, and the huge Minotaur horn. She also noted something vaguely moving around the Attic of a big four-story building, but decided to not say anything about it. It was something else to remember and ask about later…

Preferably Mr. D as he seemed to be the easiest of the two to get answers out of, what with blackmail and bribing and all…

She listened to him closely, but she let her mind wander. There was that field of strawberries she'd have to look into later, personally because she liked strawberries and maybe she could make a strawberry daiquiri. Maybe she could make that to help her bribe the god into giving her more answers she knew she wouldn't normally get.

And so Chiron continued to explain everything from the layout to training to Capture the Flag, and all the time she remembered that if Olympus is real then so would the Underworld.

After various more information, they came across the blond girl again. Annabeth, Percy recalled her name was.

"And this is where we stop. Percy, I'll leave you in Annabeth's hands. Annabeth, please show her where Cabin Eleven is."

When the centaur had left, Percy and Annabeth stood in front of each other, measuring each other up.

"You're…a lot older than the usual newbies," Annabeth started out slowly. "The oldest that comes in new are usually 14. And you got to fight Pasiphae's son, which everyone in the camp would kill for a chance to do the same."

"Your priorities are completely out of order," Percy snapped. "I would rather have my mother here with me than have to fight the thing again. Just get me to Cabin Eleven."

The blond girl turned red and started walking.

"I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound inconsiderate of your mother. How was she…like?" Annabeth asked quietly.

Percy bit back the pang of pain in her heart, almost making her lip bleed.

"She was beautiful, kind…before Grover…I didn't have anyone else in the world, and it was just her and me. She used to make blue food a lot, because my stepfather told her there was no such thing and she stubbornly used any opportunity to prove him wrong. She had a rebellious streak, just like I do. I probably get it from her…and her home-made blue chocolate chip cookies were my favorite," Percy said wistfully.

"I went to school everyday for her, even when I wanted to give up because it was so hard. I worked hard and tried to overcome my dyslexia and ADHD mostly for her. I worked to help her out and to ease the burden of taking care of me. I had high dreams so she could be proud of me, and I worked hard to try to achieve those dreams for her. What am I going to do now?" she muttered that last part to herself, though Annabeth heard, however she kept quiet.

"She sounds nice…my…my mother is Athena. I don't see her much, but…I saw her once. It was one of the most happiest moments in my life, if not the most," Annabeth confessed.

Percy gave her a small smile that she returned.

After that, they started chatting a bit more comfortably and Annabeth helped Percy learn more about the camp and trying to help her settle in.

"Well, well. If it isn't the newbie," a voice sneered.

Annabeth stiffened up and they both slowly turned around to see a mean-looking girl with stringy brown hair, a XXL t-shirt hanging on her, and a big camo jacket over that.

"Clarisse," Annabeth struggled to keep her face neutral and not to glare.

"Miss Princess," Clarisse mocked.

"Perseas Jackson, meet Clarisse, Daughter of Ares."

Percy easily blanked her face, used to it after practicing that type of poker face for awhile before deciding on the other one. Her eyes casually glanced between the two and the growing group of onlookers, as well as what seemed to be Clarisse's posse behind her.

She sighed in frustration, and then focused really hard at the ground underneath Clarisse and her group's feet. After a few seconds of intense concentration, the ground leaped up to Clarisse and the others' ankles, locking them to their place. Some of them unbalanced, landing on their hands and knees, with their feet still buried.

"Huh, Annabeth. You still haven't shown me Cabin Eleven. We should get going now," Percy said nonchalantly, as if they hadn't just been confronted by Clarisse and Percy hadn't just humiliated the Ares cabin.

"Why, you!" with a burst of anger, Clarisse had escaped and was running full speed towards Percy, knocking her into the bathroom door behind her and into the bathroom itself.

Both of them fell to the ground, but Clarisse quickly got off of Percy and yanked her up. Percy felt her anger rise up, and she wrenched Clarisse's hands from her collar and grabbed her throat, slamming her against the wall and holding her several inches off the ground.

"I dare you to touch me again," Percy hissed, unaware that her sea-green eyes were bright and eerily slightly glowing warningly, or that the toilets and sinks around them had burst and water was angrily bubbling upwards in small geysers.

Clarisse instinctively cringed back and stared at her in unwanted terror, swearing she could see flashes of lightning crackling in Percy's eyes and hear the roaring of waves and a monstrous storm in her ears.

"Percy!" Annabeth screamed from the doorway, tentatively walking more inside.

Percy snapped her head to the side to face her, turning that terrible gaze on Annabeth, who unconsciously took a couple steps back.

"Percy, calm down. Please," she pleaded, watching her new friend take several breaths and then close her eyes. All of a sudden the mini-geysers around them disappeared as the water fell back down, and Percy opened her hand, letting Clarisse fall to the ground. When she opened her eyes again, they were normal and Annabeth relaxed, not noticing that she had even tensed up in the first place.

"Sorry," whether she muttered that to Clarisse or to Annabeth wasn't clear, but she swept passed the fallen girl and grabbed Annabeth's hand, striding away from the bathroom and ignoring the crowded people around outside, who were whispering and wondering as they couldn't see what had happened inside and the noises were muffled. The most they could hear were the deafening rush of water and barely audible voices.

Annabeth snapped out of her daze and tightened her grip on Percy's hand, moving forward to lead them.

"I'm sorry. I hadn't meant for that to happen. My temper is usually so controlled. Nothing makes me that angry unless it's my stepdad…or…Annabeth, I don't like my dad really much. My real dad. My Olympian dad, I suppose. And this place…this whole place is connected to him. It just makes me so angry…and since this whole place is connected to him somehow, it's like everything is setting me off…"

Annabeth tightened her hand again comfortingly.

Finally, they reached the cabins and were in front of number eleven in no time.

"This is Cabin Eleven, Percy. The Hermes cabin. And since he's also the patron god of travelers, all demigods who are unclaimed or undetermined stay here," she explained.

"What am I?"

"Undetermined. Your…father hasn't claimed you yet."

"Who says he will?" Percy's voice was tinged with bitterness.

Annabeth cringed, but didn't say anything. She just led the new demigod into the cabin.

"Regular or undetermined?" Someone called out.

"Undetermined," Annabeth announced, though there was an odd note in her voice that hinted she wasn't so sure.

There were a bunch of groans and two brothers who looked similar popped up closer.

"That's too bad," the older one stated with a grin.

"We would have loved to have kept you here," the younger grinned just as much.

"Now, now. Travis, Connor, stop messing with the new girl," a new voice entered.

A young man a little older than Percy walked up, blond hair disheveled and mischievous blue eyes shining at her. He was very handsome, despite of the thick white scar running from just underneath his right eye to his jaw.

"I'm Luke," he introduced himself. "I'll be your counselor for now, until you're claimed and probably moved, unless you turn out to be Hermes'. Then you're stuck with this lot. Don't worry. I'll take care of you while you're with us."

"You better, Luke," Annabeth warned, narrowing her eyes at him. Though, Percy could have sworn there was a light blush on her face as she looked at him, and there was a different tone to her voice. "This is Perseas Jackson. I'll leave you with her."

"I will," Luke promised. "Hey, I'll help you get set up, Perseas."

"Percy," she quickly cut in. "Just Percy."

"Alright, 'Just Percy'," Luke teased. "Let's get you some stuff in the meanwhile."

They split with Annabeth and Luke led Percy to the camp store. He told Percy to wait outside and then a minute later came back with some stuff for her.

"I stole a sleeping bag and some toiletries for you," he grinned, holding them up for her to see.

"Uh, thanks." She wasn't quite sure if he was kidding or not.

They walked around a bit in comfortable silence, stopping near the lake. They sat down on a log and watched over the calm waters.

"You ever meet your dad?" she blurted out.

He blinked at her before grimacing.

"Once," he said bitterly. Though she was surprised an easygoing guy like him could sound so bitter, she understood. And so she didn't say anything when he didn't elaborate.

"Dads suck," she stated in a matter-of-fact voice.

His lips twitched upward, "Olympian parents suck."

They both snickered and grinned at each other, before leaning comfortably against one another and staring over the lake once more.

"Hermes, the winged-foot messenger guy. Somehow, I'm just not getting the picture." She couldn't stop smiling.

"Oh? And what don't you see?"

"I'm trying to picture a guy who looks like you with wings on his feet and flapping around in the air. And then after that ridiculous picture, I end up picturing you with wings on your feet and tumbling around in the air."

"Wait a second, I'm not even flying in the air like him?! I'm tumbling around?! Is that even possible?"

"I think so."

They both started laughing uproariously again.

"Well, that's him. The 'winged-footed messenger guy,'" Percy stuck her tongue at him, but he just kept grinning. "God of messengers, medicine, travelers, merchants, thieves. The on-road people of the world," Luke threw out his hands dramatically.

"Meaning anyone who uses the roads," Percy said wryly.

"Yep. Hence, you and Cabin Eleven, and you enjoying our hospitality. Hermes isn't picky about who he sponsors," Luke's grin started to twist bitterly again.

"Psh! I'm not just anyone! I'm Percy Jackson, Wondergirl extraordinaire!" she declared, winking at him.

Luke laughed again, and she was happy to see him less cynical.

"That's right," he murmured in agreement. "We're extended family, after all. We take care of each other."

He leaned a little more on her, tiredly turning his head to rest it against her chest and the top of his head buried just right under her chin. She blushed, but smiled softly, inwardly feeling warm.

She'd never had an older brother before. Grover for all intents and purposes, despite her finding out he was actually 28, had been more of a younger brother she'd loved taking cared of.

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad there after all.

"It's almost dinnertime," Luke muttered, reluctantly moving away from her. "I'll have to go back and gather up Cabin Eleven, since I'm their counselor. You can go straight to the mess hall. Unless you want to walk back with me?"

"I'll just stay with you," and she walked back, feeling much better than she had since she'd woken up in that place.

They got to the cabin just as the sound of a conch shell was blown, and Luke ordered everyone to fall in. Seeing everyone line up in order of seniority, she slipped to the back. Once they'd march to the pavilion, she inwardly winced at the overcrowded-ness of the Hermes' table and figured she'd have to sit at the edge at the very end.

"Hey, Percy, just sit on my lap," Luke said, tugging her sleeve to pull her closer to him.

"What?"

He rolled his eyes, "Plenty of the others are doing the same. It's just too crowded here to be comfortable at all. At least you'd be more comfortable on my lap than sitting on the edge."

He was right. There were some kids sitting on some of the older teens' laps. But they were kids.

"I'm not a kid," she muttered.

Luke huffed and did a sharp tug, making her tumble into him.

"You want to be somewhat comfortable, right? And not worrying every few seconds about falling off your seat?"

She sighed but nodded, so he directed her to his lap, squeezing her between him and someone to his left, before promptly plopping her onto his lap.

"You know, your dad's been busy," she pouted.

Luke lightly laughed, "I suppose so. But quite a lot of this bunch isn't even his."

"Consider them adoptees."

He laughed again and she could feel the shaking of his body behind her back. She fought back a blush of embarrassment. This was a really awkward situation. But then again, it really didn't have to be…he was just a guy, a friend, and starting to be like her older brother…so no, not awkward at all. Right.

A bunch of food was brought out and Percy didn't hesitate in piling on the food on her plate, garnering more than a few stares from people. Luke snickered into her ear.

"Glad to know you like food."

"Like?" she scoffed. "I love it. Now move. You aren't stealing a scrap."

He stole a grape anyway. She glowered and glared at him, but turned back to her meal when she noticed that people were getting up and heading toward the fire in the middle of the pavilion.

"Ohh, dessert!"

"Not quite," Luke grinned in amusement. "Come on."

Heading over there, she realized that people were taking the best portions of their meal and putting it into the fire.

"Burnt offerings for the gods. They like the smell."

She stared at him.

"Huh. Why am I not surprised? I'm just going to accept this and move on…"

When everyone had gone, she ended up being the last. Luke had tossed in a juicy cluster of red grapes, murmuring Hermes. She blinked and wondered what god she should say. Unable to decide, she shrugged and tossed in a cluster of grapes as well.

"Zeus, as King of the Gods, may your reign be everlasting," she murmured. Shrugging again, she tossed in some strawberries too. "For Hera, please take care of my mother, wherever she is." Deciding what the hell, she cut half of her pot roast and put that in the fire too. "For Athena and Hermes, because you're Annabeth's mom and Luke's dad and they're both really awesome. And Hermes for letting me shack up in your cabin for awhile…or forever, depending." Getting a mischievous smile, she rummaged through her bag she'd managed to retrieve before getting to the mess hall. Taking out the prepared drink she'd made for Dionysus, she grinned and opened the water bottle it was in and poured a little into the fire. "For Dionysus. 'Cause he's an asshole."

Silence. Mr. D twitched and was torn between scowling and enjoying the divine smell.

Percy was going to turn and leave, when she hesitated and turned back to the fire. Making up her mind, she tossed in the entire brisket off her plate.

"For Hades…if my mother really is with you, please take good care of her…and when I die, please take care of my soul."

'You must be so lonely down there…especially if Persephone isn't there with you…' She didn't know why that crossed her mind. She shook her head to clear it.

She bowed and took her plate with her, leaving to go back to her seat, and leaving complete silence in her wake.

"Mmhm, nice exit. Actually, good way to come out with a bang," Luke smirked, leaning back so she could slip in more easily. "And yet, your plate is still more than half full. Huh, you must have a lot of energy."

"Yup, fast metabolism," Percy said cheerfully, already starting to dig in.

"And I am amazed."

"Shut up, you."

Dinnertime finished and it was time for the sing-along. Except she didn't want to go. Her good mood had vanished and she was frowning down at her plate.

"Hey, you comin' to the sing-along?" Luke asked her worriedly.

"Nah, I'm just going to sit here awhile. I'll catch you later, Luke," she gave a weak smile before staring down at the now empty table, before her gaze turned to the burning fire.

Luke hesitantly nodded, waited until she moved over and then slipped off the bench, looking back at her anxiously until he was out the door.

"Can I be arrogant to assume that was my drink earlier?" Dionysus' familiar drawl echoed behind her.

"I want answers," she stated, without even turning to look at him.

"Isn't that what you always want?" he sighed in boredom, traveling to move to sit on the other side of the table.

She held up the strawberry daiquiri water bottle and looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh, alright," the god huffed.

"Good. Margarita glass?"

"Ohh, you do so know how make a drink," Dionysus crooned, eyes rolling upwards at the smell before waving his hand and making a Margarita glass appear.

She opened the water bottle, squeezed in a little more lime, and then closed it before shaking twice. Then she poured it into the glass and sprayed the top edge with something before putting on white rocks on the edge, letting it stick. After that, she took out a drink umbrella she crudely made with a leaf and a toothpick she managed to snag, plopping it into the drink and over the side of the edge.

"Ah, wonderful presentation. Now to sample," he took the offered drink and sniffed appreciatively before taking a sip. Nodding in acceptance, he waved a hand, gesturing for her to continue.

"What is in the Attic of the Big House?" she immediately asked.

He mumbled a Greek curse.

"You saw something then?"

"Something moved passed the window, making the curtain flutter. I know something's up there."

Dionysus took another sip, scoffing.

"The Oracle of Delphi. Or formerly of Delphi. She said something that upset Hades, and he cursed her to stay in her body, even when it's rotted. She's consulted when one of the kids are granted a Quest."

Percy nodded, "Why is it so surprising that I'm still alive at my age?"

"I told you that most of these kids die at the age of 12. No one's known to have survived as long as you have without coming here. But you survived all 16 years of your life, without being able to be trained to protect yourself. Not that it would matter. Your scent's powerful, brat. Your scent would have overpowered your stepfather's long ago, maybe even before you turned 12. It's because you're powerful. More powerful than expected actually," Dionysus narrowed his eyes at her. "And you have the feel of a god's blessing…not your father's…the feel is too distant to be a close relative of yours…"

"You should have been dead at 12," the god stated bluntly. "With your power, it's no surprise your scent is the way it is, and probably has been for the longest time. The only reason why you're alive is mostly because of that god's blessing."

Percy grimaced, "There were still some monsters that did end up coming after me though. I fought them off."

"Fought them off? How'd you do that without any training?" he guffawed.

She blinked, "I'm a sixth degree black belt in Kempo and I have a basic understanding of anatomy so I know which areas are more fragile or prone to damage."

Dionysus echoed her blink and stared at her.

She shrugged, "Just because my stepfather masked my scent and whichever god blessed me, doesn't mean I wasn't hassled with monsters throughout my childhood. I suppose I was just buggered with the normal amount of monsters that come after my kind, with Slimy Gabe and the blessing cutting down the amount of monsters I should of have had normally with my, uh…scent.

"I mean, it's not like I didn't know they were monsters or something. But my mother told me early on to just not question it. So I tried to take them out or run away, and then I moved on and didn't look back. There were plenty of monsters in my childhood…I just didn't bother to look too closely into it. And anyone who asked, I just said they were guys with monster masks on. I didn't want to look crazy, you know."

Dionysus continued staring before he snorted and sipped at his drink, huffing and rolling his eyes.

"Don't get so high and mighty, brat."

She sniffed, "Of course, Mr. D. And you'll be there to help cut me down to size when I get too arrogant, won't you?"

"Humbug," she refrained from laughing, "Next question, brat."

Percy threateningly pulled his drink away and he snatched it back and held it out of her reach, closing his mouth with an audible click.

"Summer Solstice? Why is it important? What's going to happen then? Why is everyone pointing and staring at me?"

"That's too many questions at once," he grumbled.

"I have a feeling they're all connected. So talk. Please, sir."

Sighing dramatically, he winced and looked uncomfortable.

"How did you hear about the Summer Solstice?"

"I overheard Annabeth say something about it when I was going in and out of consciousness."

Looking unhappy, Dionysus reluctantly began speaking.

"Summer and winter solstices are when we hold the gods' annual meetings. Something was stolen and has to be returned by this Summer Solstice, or else things will get…unpleasant."

"You didn't answer my question fully!" Percy protested but an actual warning glare from the god silenced her and made her back down.

"Anymore on the subject is closed. Next question and make it good. I want to go to sleep soon," he scowled.

Percy squared her shoulders and narrowed her eyes at him.

"Do you know who my father is?"

Dionysus, once again, stared at her. He sighed.

"No."

"But you have an idea."

"…Yes. There are some very strong hints as to who your father may be, but until you are claimed nothing is for certain," he said it like it was final, but his face showed that he didn't really believe that –that he didn't need a confirmation to know who her father was, he just knew without her being claimed.

"Goodnight, Mr. D," she said stiffly.

Soon enough, she was alone in the mess hall once more, sitting impassively in the loneliness of the substantial emptiness encompassing all around her.

Started 3/19/10 –Completed 3/30/10

Chapter Text

"You're missin' out on the sing-along," a surprising voice interrupted her reverie.

She turned around to see Clarisse awkwardly standing near the girls' bathroom entrance; trying and failing to look like she hadn't have been eavesdropping.

"I was, uh, just passing through," the other girl forced a nonchalant shrug. "Had to go to the bathroom after the feast."

Percy stared blankly at her.

Clarisse huffed and sneered, "So what's your problem? Think you're too good for the rest of us, too good to sing with a bunch of losers?"

Percy rolled her eyes, feeling tension seep out of her.

"No," she said sarcastically. "I'm here moping about my singing capability."

The brunette, though, instead of being angry like Percy expected, actually had her lips twitch upwards.

"Look, Jackson, we've all…got mommy/daddy issues. So, uh, you're not alone or anything," Clarisse uncomfortably murmured.

"I'm sure all of you do…but I'm probably a bit pathological on that subject," Percy admitted sincerely, acknowledging the other's own sincerity by being truthful.

The bigger girl shrugged, "Whoever your dad is," though Percy could see even she seemed to have an idea as to who that was, "just…give 'im a chance. He's a god, he's got things to do and…uh, stuff." Still, an undertone told Percy that a part of Clarisse didn't care for that Olympian god excuse, but it seemed the rest of her did.

Percy sighed.

Smiling wryly, she shook her head at Clarisse, "Thanks for the words and all, but I don't think I can just let go that easily. Still, frenemies?"

Clarisse blinked, "What?"

Laughing, Percy grinned. "Look it up or ask someone. So?"

The Daughter of Ares sniffed, "Yeah, whatever. Even if I don't know what the hell that is."

"Night, Clarisse," Percy smirked. "See you tomorrow."

Abruptly getting up, she walked around Clarisse and left the mess hall and headed to the Hermes cabin, ignoring the merriment gathered all the way away at the camp fire, where the sing along was being held. She could hear the loud singing even from where she was, choosing instead to slip inside her temporary home and take a shower.

It was what she always did. A shower in the morning and one at night. While her morning shower was usually to help get ready for the day, hygiene and to help wake up and all, she took a shower at night too to help wash away all the stress and tension of the day –of which was sorely needed for that day. Percy was nothing but stressed out from that day, since waking up and finding out answers. Water always calmed her, and night showers always were the same.

Finishing up and feeling now comfortable and relaxed as well as comforted, as always when near water, Percy got dressed in her underwear and just pulled a large pale yellow long-sleeved sweater that fell just over her hips, not thinking anything of it as she usually dressed like this to sleep in. She was just putting her hair up in ox horns, when she changed her mind and decided she should start dressing a little more conservatively when going to asleep, especially if she was going to have Luke walk in on her frequently.

Awkward silence ensued.

"Um…I got a little worried and thought you might like some company," Luke muttered, lightly blushing.

Percy laughed hesitantly, "Yeah, um. That would be nice. I was just getting ready for bed."

"Oh…so, um, you don't have a lot of room," Luke pointed out lamely.

She shrugged, "It's okay. This place is crowded and I'll take whatever space I can get. I don't mind at all; at least I have a space to sleep at."

Luke cleared his throat nervously. "Well…there's a bigger space next to my bed, if you want to move there…"

She bit her lower lip, "If it's alright."

"It's fine," Luke assured her, still a little tense.

"Well…okay then."

They went to their bed and sleeping bag respectively, after Percy had dragged her stuff over, going to sleep and turning off the light. However, though their eyes were close, even after the rest of the cabin filtered in late that night, the two were still wide-awake.

Percy woke up early the next morning, getting ready before anyone else and then leaving the cabin. She walked to the front of the camp, going passed the border and stopping. She turned in a circle, looking at everything tiredly, before stopping and gazing up at the sky.

Some time later, she was surprised by Luke.

"You know, breakfast is getting on. Aren't you hungry?"

She shook her head, still staring at the sky.

So Luke walked over and stood next to her, turning his gaze to the sky as well.

"This is where my mother was killed," Percy murmured softly.

He reached over and grabbed her hand, holding it tightly, and she hesitated before leaning against him.

"Let me steal you something to eat and I'll show you a place only I know of," Luke said softly. "Wait for me at the strawberry fields. I'll meet you there after I snag us some food."

"Okay," she said quietly, still feeling out of it.

They walked together until they were between the volleyball courts and the Art and Crafts center, where he continued straight on to the mess hall and she went left to the fields. She passed by the Big House and shuddered, briefly reminded of the thing hiding in the Attic. In the fields, she gazed around nonchalantly, picking a strawberry and biting into it.

About twenty minutes passed by before she saw Luke again, who was jogging towards her with a wide grin and holding up a picnic basket.

She coughed and hastily wiped her fingers on her shorts. She hadn't been anxiously chowing down on strawberries. No, absolutely not.

"So, I got us some croissants, butter to go with them, blueberry muffins, and a slice of strawberry shortcake that they're going to serve at lunch and that I stole for us to share right now," Luke's grin widened and she laughed. "I kind of figure you like strawberries."

She huffed, "And how do you figure that?"

"You smell like strawberries."

Percy blushed, "What?" she started sniffing her hair and then her wrist, his turn in laughing.

"Might have to do with your strawberry shampoo."

She pouted, "I forgot about that…"

"It smells good," he winked at her. "Come on. Let me show you what I wanted to show you, before you turn into a strawberry yourself!"

He took her hand again and began leading her into the forest and then they reached an odd small cabin near the edge of the border.

"I've been building it since I got here," he explained. "It's my place to get away from everything."

Inside, she looked around in awe, seeing a whole wall of CDs to the side and the place decked out in electronics.

"I thought we couldn't use tech here?"

Luke chuckled, "We can't. But Olympus tech is different. I stole this from my dad."

Percy's eyes widened and she stared at him. He sat down on a crate and patted another one next to him, indicating she should sit there. When she'd settled down comfortably, he shrugged and smiled wryly at her.

"I actually met my dad twice. Once when I was really young…and another time not too long ago. A couple years back, I went on a Quest and my dad gave me a pair of his flying shoes to use. Let's just say things didn't go so well. It's how I got this scar, you see?" he pointed at the scar on his face, dragging a finger from the top to the bottom near his jaw.

She nodded solemnly, listening to him attentively. He noticed and gave her an appreciative and grateful smile.

"Hermes, actually, thought up the Quest. He wanted me to steal a golden apple from the Garden of Hesperides and return it to Olympus. That's it," Luke angrily got up and began pacing, and she watched quietly. "After all the training I've done, that's the best he can come up with? All the gods know how to do is replay their pasts! Hercules had already done it, and I didn't want to. I wanted to do something that no one else had done before; I wanted to stand out and I wanted –"

"Him to appreciate you," she finished for him softly and he whirled around in surprise, staring at her. She just stared back unwaveringly.

"Y-yeah," his voice cracked. "That's…exactly the biggest part of it. You…you really get me."

She gave him a small smile.

"When I was six, there was a little girl with red ribbons in her hair all the time. She told her daddy they were her tiaras and that made her a princess. Then her daddy would be her prince to come save her all the time. I asked that little girl where she got those ribbons and she gave me one of hers. Every day since…until I was old enough to realize what an idiot I was…I tied my hair back with that red ribbon and waited for my father to come back from the sea for me. Because I was supposed to be his princess. And when my mother and I used to vacation a lot in Montauk, I used to sit by the water and just wait. My mother always told me he was lost at sea, so I waited. I waited for him to find his way and come back to me. And when I wasn't in Montauk and we were home in New York, I sat at the doorstep of our apartment everyday. I didn't make any friends and wasted my entire childhood waiting."

He looked at her blankly before going to sit back down next to her, his quickly becoming familiar weight comfortably settling against her and she leaned back.

"Everyone at camp feels something like this deep down, even if a little bit. They either bury it so deep and hide it from everyone else so no one can know, or they actually love their Olympian parent more than they can feel that hurt," Luke sighed.

"It shows more if you're older," she remarked. "Then we're a little more cynical and resentful."

"Especially the two of us."

"Especially us," she looked at him with an eye roll. "But we're also a little more open and honest about how we feel about our godly parents."

Luke's lip curled slightly, "You are. People don't question me or how I feel. It's kind of suffocating sometimes, when all I want to do is scream how much I hate Hermes."

"Hate? Strong word there." At his look she shrugged. "Then again, I don't know how I feel about my father. Whoever he is. Though really, you might be right. I think I would hate him too."

He shook his head, taking a croissant out of the basket and breaking a piece off, offering it to her. She tried to take it when he smirked and pulled it away. Narrowing her eyes at him, she saw him offering it again and got the hint, sighing as she opened her mouth and let him hand feed her.

"So yeah, went on the Quest halfheartedly, dragon gave me this scar for my half-assed efforts, I come back and am surrounded by pity. Did I tell you how much I hate pity?" he got another croissant, but started buttering it up first.

"No. But you don't have to. I get it. I hate it too."

"You really do get me."

They shared another laugh at that, and Luke began to break off another piece while Percy resigned herself to letting Luke feed her.

"You better eat some too," she muttered.

"I will. If you put music on for us," he bartered smugly.

After some navigation and instructions, she took the computer and began a song she liked from ACDC.

"What's your favorite artist?" she asked as she scrolled down and began making up a playlist.

"John Lennon," Luke told her.

"Huh. I like him. And the Beatles. And a lot of stuff. You have a crazy mix of songs in your library. It's a lot like mine too. Another thing we have in common, I suppose."

"…Yeah. But it's nice though."

She paused in her scrolling, turning in the computer chair to face him.

"Yeah. It is nice," she agreed. "So you stole all this before going on the Quest or something?"

Luke laughed, "Oh no. I didn't really have time to do much of anything before that. No, I stole all this when all of us here went on a field trip to Olympus. The gods were in their annual Winter Solstice meeting, so I snuck into my dad's home and stole his stuff."

"Ah. Were they like stuck in that meeting or something?"

The blond shrugged, "Dunno. I think they all leave a couple times at some point, and there was a time they all left together to meet us. I left early, wasn't feeling good."

"Good enough to steal his stuff first," Percy chortled.

Luke pouted, "Eh…that stuff's fair game. Sort of. Anyways, I was back here before the others. After that trip, the weather kind of got all wacky, like the gods were fighting. I don't know what was going on, though I hear rumors something was stolen. Not 'I stole my dad's stuff' gag kind of thing, but the 'seriously bad things are going to happen unless it's returned' stolen."

"Ah, I see. Epic."

"Epic," he nodded in agreement.

They broke out into laughter again, with Percy stumbling from the chair to sit back next to him, leaning heavily as both of them had trouble stopping.

After TNT, the next song played was Rolling Stone's Paint it Black.

"Hey! Great song. Other than Lennon, I like the Stones. Paint it Black is my favorite too," Luke commented, grinning. "How about you? Do you have any favorite artist or band?"

Percy scrunched up her nose adorably, and Luke refrained from laughing again and reaching over to tweak it.

"No, I don't think so. It's like I'll have someone or a band as a favorite one moment, and the next someone else takes their place. It's just that I get into a fanatical craze with each one, though it's probably more to do with the specific song I like from them. But you're right, Paint it Black is awesome."

They snacked through the food, songs going from the Beatles, to Blink 182, Duran Duran, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Santana. They were just listening to Augustana'sBoston when they reached the strawberry shortcake.

"Open wide," Luke snickered.

They'd moved from the crates to the floor, leaning against their previous seats. They were singing along to the song raucously, sharing the shortcake until there was none left.

"In the light of the sun, is there anyone? Oh, it has begun," she sung first.

"Oh dear, you look so lost, eyes are red and tears are shed. This world you must've crossed…" Luke started in after.

"You said…" Percy began for a second, before both of them began singing the chorus together.

"You don't know me, you don't even care. She said, you don't know me, you don't wear my chains…"

Finishing singing that, the next song played and Luke's demeanor darkened. Percy thought that maybe she shouldn't have put that song on the playlist, and regretted it even more the moment Luke opened his mouth and started gruffly singing the chorus.

"I hate everything about you, why do I love you?" Percy flinched, watching him.

Next time, she'd stay away from Three Days Grace.

The next song wasn't better, from Staind. Especially as Luke glared heavily in front of him, gods know what he was imagining, singing with his voice slightly going high-pitched with emotion in the beginning. Especially since the song could practically be an anthem for the kids at camp, and she knew related to herself as well.

"To my mother, to my father! It's you son or it's daughter. Are my screams loud enough for you to hear me? Should I turn this up for you?"

She automatically gave herself three strikes and two thumbs down.

When Everclear's Wonderful came on, she cringed. Maybe…maybe that talk they were having about their dads seeped into head, and as she was picking songs…it all just started to creep up on her and she was picking those angry songs without even wanting to do so.

"I'm sorry, Luke. I didn't mean to pick those songs. I just…" she shrugged.

He shook his head, "Nah, don't matter. I'll forgive you if you sing along with me to this…and we'll just brood together."

She snorted, "Brooding? We're a cheerful bunch, aren't we."

"Ah, sarcasm! Such a rarity around here."

But the both of them did brood and sing together.

"'Cause when it gets too sad, I think thoughts that I know are bad
I close my eyes and I count to ten
Hope its over when I open them
I want the things that I had before
Like a Star Wars poster on my bedroom door
I wish I could count to ten
Make everything wonderful again
I hope my mom
And I hope my dad
Would figure out why they get so mad
I hear them scream
I hear them fight
They say bad words that make me wanna cry
I close my eyes when I go to bed
And I dream of angels that make me smile
I feel better when I hear them say everything will be wonderful someday.

"Promises mean everything
When're little and the world is so big
I just don't understand
How you can smile with all those tears in yours eyes
And tell me everything is wonderful now.

"Please don't tell me everything is wonderful now.

"I go to school and I run and play
I tell the kids that it's all okay
I laugh a lot so my friends won't know
When the bells rings, I just don't wanna go
I go to my room and I close my eyes
I make believe that I have a new life
I don't believe you when you say
Everything will be wonderful someday," and they kept singing to the end.

After the song, Luke got up and shut off the player, grabbing his guitar and turning to her with a grin.

"Grinning now. Bipolar much?" her lips twisted into a sarcastic smile.

"No, just plagued with mood swings," he winked at her.

Then he began strumming the guitar he'd so proudly proclaimed was once owned by Jimi Hendrix and that he'd stole, singing softly to her.

"I know a girl,
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change

"I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

"Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

"Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left, cleaning up the mess he made

"Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

"Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong and boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without warmth from
A woman's good, good heart

"On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

"Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too
So mothers, be good to your daughters too
So mothers, be good to your daughters too."

By the end of the song, Percy was very touched and would admit only to him that she'd had tears in her eyes.

"Didn't know you played guitar," she said softly.

He smiled back just as softly, "Hermes and his kids have a rep for being jacks of all trades. Guess you could say I'm the epitome of that."

She didn't doubt that for a second.


Poseidon strode around Olympus unhappily. His brother was not only accusing him of stealing that stupid Lightning Bolt, but had now found out about his daughter. While Poseidon hadn't said anything, Zeus was suspicious and probably, regardless if Poseidon didn't admit to it or not, had already assumed the identity of Perseas.

His daughter…

He had had no idea he had a daughter. He knew Sally had been pregnant, but it had been too early to tell of the gender when he'd left. And when Poseidon had visited the baby so long ago, she only had a little bit of hair and he hadn't taken the time to find out if the baby had been a boy or a girl. He had only wanted to see and hold his child for a little while before anyone could find out, and didn't think of anything but spending time with the child. He'd just…assumed he'd had a son.

And now, here she was. And in the thick of things.

Just what he'd wanted, he thought bitterly to himself.

Still, he didn't know how he felt about her though. He cared for her, as he did all his children, but it was different this time around. She was different, especially if that rumor about her deflecting Zeus' lightning (the first time his bastard of a brother tried to kill his daughter) was true. And she was most probably the child of prophecy, something he'd never wanted for her. Perseas was also the first in a long while where the Fates had intervened on her behalf against the gods. Because none of them, not even Poseidon himself, was able to look in on her. In fact, they could only see her a smattering of instances, just fragmented blurry pieces that didn't make sense to them most of the time. Not like any of it made sense to them at all…

He had no clue what he should feel for her, especially after that brief moment he'd glimpse at the Montauk cabin, and he knew at that moment his daughter didn't like him. He hadn't even needed the slight whisper of her thoughts, thoughts that wished he'd stay lost at sea forever…

The rest of the gods kept badgering him about her, asking the same thing. Was she his daughter? He kept his silence, but he knew he couldn't keep it forever. In fact, he had wanted to claim her right away, particularly after the Minotaur had been defeated (he was very proud of her for that, and in awe of what she'd done), but something –he had a feeling it was those stupid Fates –was getting in his way.

That only added to his irritation, but he swore that he'd claim her soon. He can't let this go on and she had a right to know. She had a right to know just which god exactly she should hate.

As the sea god thought to himself, back at Camp Half-Blood Luke and Percy had separated for curfew check. She went to go sleep as he went around doing his job of checking in on the other cabins, paired with Annabeth. The harpies would soon follow after, to comb over for a second check for anything or anyone they'd miss.

"Where've you been all day?" Annabeth cocked an eyebrow at him.

He shrugged, "Nowhere really. Just around."

"With Percy?"

His face lightly colored, "Yeah, so?"

"Nothing. It's just you guys clicked so well…it was like an instant connection between the two of you," she muttered.

"Is little Annabeth jealous?" he teased, grinning at her.

She huffed, "Of course not. It's just that she didn't get along with me as quickly as she did you…"

He glanced at her in surprise, "Huh. I would have thought you would have been jealous of her, but I guess you're really jealous of me."

Annabeth's face colored, "Shut up, Luke! I am not!"

"Ohoho! Your little crush on me seems to have transferred on Percy!"

She sputtered, glaring at him. "That's not true," she hissed, but there was a little confusion in her eyes.

"Come on, kiddo," he winked. "It's alright though," his demeanor gentled. "You're young. Emotions can get complicated and you're not sure of what you want at this age. It's alright to have crushes."

She awkwardly shrugged at him, feeling uncertain and not wanting to talk about her feelings.

"Seriously though, Annabeth…this makes us rivals, you know?"

She sniffed, "Like she would ever like you."

Luke laughed, "Green might just suit you."

They finished up their curfew check in bickering and jabs.

The next morning, Luke forced himself to get up early, knowing that by then that Percy did so. And he was right, seeing her already having taken a shower, and muttering to herself as she rummaged through her bag in only a towel. Given that, his blush was hard to hide and he was glad everyone was asleep.

"Morning," he greeted, forcing nonchalance.

She jumped and nearly dropped her bag, and he ignored the movements of her body as she did so. She glared heavily at him.

"Don't do that!"

He held up his hands, grinning, "Sorry, couldn't help it. You were so concentrated on what you were doing. Which, by the way, what are you doing?"

She grimaced, "On further examination, I realized I have no change of clothes because my idiot stepfather took out everything to stuff his alcohol in here. That sleepwear I always use, my shorts and shirt yesterday, and the clothes I came here with were all I had."

"Ah."

The clothes she came to Camp Half-Blood with were practically demolished, yesterday clothes were completely dirty and filled with blueberry, butter, and dessert stains from their outing…don't ask…

And her sleepwear was out of the question. Definitely. There was no way in Tartarus he'd let her out in it anyway.

"Hm, well, I do have my school uniform with me."

School uniform.

School uniform.

Schoolgirl uniform.

"No!" he practically shouted. He clamped his mouth shut and glanced around him warily before turning back to a surprised Percy. "Just…no. Trust me on this."

That would be as bad as her sleepwear, maybe. There would be no end to Travis and Connor's comments at least. And he was going to ignore saying anything about his own reaction if she did wear that outfit.

"Okay, so does the camp store have anything I could wear?" Percy asked in amusement.

His face twitched, "Ngh. Sorry, but we don't sell any clothes here. Any clothes the campers get are from outside when they go out, or from catalogues they buy from. Or they make 'em."

She blinked, "Even the orange Camp Half-Blood shirts?"

"Yeah. Kind of an initiation rite or something. One of the few." He got an idea and started rummaging through his drawer, "You could use one of my old camp shirts that I grew out of."

He found one and tossed it to her, blinking and admiring the fluid movement in which she caught it and then yanked it on in one smooth move, taking her towel off after it was done.

"What?" she raised her eyebrows at his staring.

"Wow…that was just…really smooth…"

She shrugged, and he ignored remembering that she didn't have underwear on yet and that her skin was still kind of damp and clinging the shirt to her. And also that his shirt was hanging down like her sweater from her sleepwear, only just slightly longer. Slightly.

He handed her some old jeans too and she frowned.

"You're kind of like taller than me, Luke," she said dryly. "And these aren't the jeans that you could fold up at the end either."

He frowned too and studied it, before finding some scissors and cutting a large piece off both leg sleeves to her amusement.

She put it on after putting on some underwear he had to turn around for, and cinched it with the belt he handed her next, wincing when he saw that he'd cut it to mid-thigh. He wasn't going to be the only male admiring her nice legs, but at least right then he was.

"Thanks!" she beamed happily at him. "Hey, you don't think you'd have a pair of shoes I could use too? Mine are torn up from Minotaur incident, and I've been still using them," she held up a pair of pathetic sneakers.

He blanched and stole them from her, tossing them out.

"Actually, I do," and he reached under his bed and grabbed the Converse-looking shoes, handing them to her a second after. "These are the flying shoes I used for my Quest. You can have them, and they'll fit to your size."

Her eyes widened, "Are you sure?"

"Yeah. Besides, I stole an extra pair from him," he told her, grinning.

She laughed, stealing some socks from him without saying anything. His lips twitched up. "Okay. But…Converse?" she looked at it more closely. "Actually not really?"

Luke laughed as well, and shook his head. "No, my dad got into the Converse craze. He really liked them so much he made his own version of them for himself. There's only three of them. You have this one, I have the other, and he probably has the last one."

And when Percy walked around that day, people stared. Everyone pretty much recognized the clothes as Luke's (never mind that she looked really good in them), but it was also a statement. Not that Luke had meant it that way (or maybe he did, he wasn't sure…), but apparently it was him staking his claim on her or that he was stating interest.

Well, at least they had the decency not to ask her about it to her face. That included being for his own good as well.

The rest of the month passed by peacefully, and Luke and Percy continued growing closer and easily speaking to each other, though he was sure that it wasn't the kind of closeness he was wishing for. Annabeth had taken to trying to make sure Percy and she hung out in each of the activities Percy went to, and Luke just gave her a knowing smile.

Percy seemed to be settling in quite nicely (and was continuing to wear Luke's clothes, occasionally stealing ones he was still using from his current wardrobe). She was learning Ancient Greek easily enough from Annabeth, learned she absolutely sucked at archery and that would probably never change, was okay in foot racing but was quickly bored from it, was fond and enjoyed canoeing, and seemed to love and excel at wrestling. Her martial arts training seemed to be the main factor in this, though as it was wrestling she had a few slipups since the style was different and there was more grappling than actual fighting –well, combative movements at least. But the fact was, no one beat her at hand to hand.

She also knew that everyone was watching her closely in these activities, trying to determine who her father was. Like Dionysus and Annabeth, it was like they already knew who it was…and yet they seem to be looking closely and hoping…for something. Whatever it was, she wanted to know and soon.

No blackmail would work on Mr. D, seeing as how she'd already asked that question and he hadn't really answered her. So she needed to find out from another source.

"Hey, Percy. Welcome to your first sword-fighting lesson," Luke murmured into her ear, appearing suddenly beside her. She refrained from jumping. "So, I've already paired up everyone else. Since it's your first lesson, I'll be your partner."

Percy glanced over at the other pairs, sweatdropping when she saw some of them mouthing good luck's at her and looking like they were praying for her.

She pouted, "Do I want to know?"

Luke rolled his eyes, "No. Now come on."

"Luke!"

He sighed, "Oh, alright. Everyone likes to say I'm the best swordsman in three hundred years. It's just hearsay…"

She snorted, "Yeah, right. Don't be so modest. But seriously…that is kind of cool." Her eyes twinkled and she gave him an impressed smile. He blushed, but he turned away to hide it.

After Luke showed her the basics, she realized she kind of had a knack for it. Not as good as Luke, she knew, but she certainly wasn't bad.

"You know what…I think you could become an excellent swordswoman," Luke grinned, just as impressed as she had been earlier.

"Not as good as you," she tossed him a look.

"Maybe not," he shrugged, "But you could give me a run for my money."

"Or we could just be a pair," she noted. "No one can beat me at hand to hand, no one can beat you at sword-fighting. Together, we'd be a force to be reckoned with, yeah?"

His face lit up at that, "You're right! We could become unstoppable. In one of the skirmishes later on, we'd have to test that theory. I'm great at hand to hand, but certainly not to your level."

"And vice versa," she agreed. "I seem to be great at sword-fighting, but not to your level."

"We'd cover our weaknesses," they shared a conspiratorial grin that made the others in the distance watch them warily.

"In the meantime…we could practice on our own together on it, just to get a grasp," Percy suggested uncertainly.

Luke nodded, "Sounds good. And I could give you more practice on sword fighting to get you on a level that might even compete with me, eh? Though you'd have to promise to teach me your fighting style. Disciplined hand to hand isn't all that practiced around here, which is probably why no one has yet to beat you at hand to hand and why I'm only 'great' at it." He winked at her.

She mock-sneered, faking arrogance.

"And stay only great at it compared to me."

They tried not to burst into laughter, as they were prone to do when with each other.

But she sighed, "I can't seem to fit with any of these swords though. None of them seem right in my hand."

"You'll find something," he comforted. "Or we could get one of the Hephaestus kids to make you a sword."

She nodded, but inwardly she felt like there was a sword already made for her out there. Just not one of the swords on the racks.

He showed her a disarming trick that he had taught the others in the group earlier in the week and that they were still practicing, and then they started to spar, with her pulling off the trick in the first try.

"That was brilliant, Percy! Let's see if you can do that again!" Luke said in excitement.

She was only able to pull it off two more times, of the five times they tried it again, so she just shrugged and smiled at him apologetically.

"Well, at least you can do it," he conceded, smiling back. "And I bet with practice you can get better."

Percy nodded distractedly, looking down at the ground. Her hair shadowed her face, worrying him.

"Percy?"

"Luke, I know I can trust you to tell me the truth," she said seriously. "And I'm not trying to use that to force you to tell me anything or whatever. I'm just stating that as something that's true and that I truly believe. So you can say you can't tell me if you can't. But don't lie to me, or give me a half-assed answer," she added as an afterthought, remembering Dionysus.

"Go and shoot, Percy," Luke said nervously.

She took a deep breath and stared at him from under the shadows of her hair.

"Do you know who my father is?"

It was quiet between the two. Then Luke winced and started to pull her even farther away from the group, moving to sit on the benches.

"I can't say for a fact, because you haven't been claimed…but it's kind of freakin' obvious, sweetheart," Luke murmured.

She tensed up, but inwardly felt touched at the endearment he'd called her.

"Percy, you're really powerful. More powerful than can be expected from any normal demigod. I mean…what you did to Pasiphae's son…you actually buried him alive so easily. The rumors of what you did to Clarisse. No one but you, Clarisse, and Annabeth actually knows what happened, but people put what they could together after the fact from any evidence they could glean. The toilets and sinks were practically demolished, water was everywhere, and not a hint of water on you while the other two were sort of wet."

She stayed quiet.

"That kind of a power for a demigod can only mean one thing," Luke continued softly. "You're probably a child of one of the Big Three, which is unheard of after their pact. The one I told you about a while ago? They swore never to have mortal children. I told you about Thalia, Zeus' daughter and the first proof the oath was broken. You're most probably the second, sweetheart."

She flinched before she started to think of it. The characteristics of the things she could do…the main things of the powers she'd exhibited…

"Poseidon."

Luke sighed, "Water and earth. And storms when you figure those out."

He noticed her second flinch.

"We'll talk about that later. Percy, are you –"

She abruptly stood up and angrily strode away without another word.


Luke didn't see Percy until that night, where she was already in her sleeping bag. As everyone else started getting ready for bed, he studied her and frowned to himself. On a closer look, he realized she wasn't sleeping at all. Her body in the sleeping bag was too tense and if he looked closely, her hand next to her face was clutching her pillow too tightly.

So he waited until everyone was asleep before going over to her and shaking her shoulder. She opened her eyes wearily, her eyes dark and still a bit furious.

"Percy, let's go for a swim."

And without waiting for her agreement, he grabbed her and pulled her into his arms, carrying her out bridal style. She let out a squeak and looked at him indignantly, but at least the quiet anger had left for the moment.

"Hey, hey, hey! You can't just take me like this!" she protested vehemently.

"Yeah, I can. Besides, didn't you tell me water soothes you? Swimming will help you relax."

"Not when it's connected to Poseidon," she grumbled, pouting in his arms. "And besides, we're not dressed for it."

"We could go skinny dipping –" at her look, he grinned and continued, "Or you could swim in my shirt and I'll swim in my boxers. Easy."

"Whatever. We're we going? I thought we'd go to the lake, since it's close by."

Luke shook his head, "Exactly. Too close. We could get caught there. I was thinking of going to Fireworks Beach. It's much farther away, but we have a less likely chance of getting caught."

She agreed reluctantly, but only after he promised to let her down so she could walk by herself. They walked side by side comfortably, occasionally talking about something irrelevant and telling each other more stories from their childhoods.

When they finally reached there, he took off his shirt first and tossed it to her before turning around to give her privacy as he shoved off his own pants. After they were both done, instead of going straight into the water, they sat at the edge, dipping their feet into the water as they sat together and looked up at the dark sky filled with stars.

Instead of going straight to the problem, Luke delayed, knowing it would relieve and relax Percy for them to just talk like they usually do.

"So Wondergirl," he teased, making her blush, "How's the hero life treating you?"

Instead of the returning teasing though, Percy was frowning.

"I don't want to be a hero," she muttered to herself.

"Hey, I was just teasing you," he nudged her shoulder lightly with his. "You said you were Wondergirl extraordinaire, eh? So what lives are you saving out there and all? I bet you'll save plenty when you become DA."

But still, she wasn't smiling.

He turned slightly and gathered her into his arms, holding onto her and swaying slightly. He tucked her head under his chin, letting her wrap her arms around his waist.

"But really, Percy…you actually are living a hero's life now, no kidding aside. And people might expect and think you're destined for it, that you should be a hero. Maybe you don't want to be, but you know at the least you are a reluctant hero."

"Does that make me an anti-hero?" she mumbled against his neck, her breath warming his skin and making him want to shiver. "But at least you'll be a regular hero."

"Yeah," he hmmed, tightening his hold once. "But that's enough of that. Why don't we just jump into the water and start swimming? Take your mind off things?"

And as they started swimming, they both ignored how easily the water responded to Percy. When they splashed water at each other, and Percy noticed how eagerly the water came at Luke, she would frown and he would just splash back even harder or tackle her into the water.

The next day, after breakfast and Luke's morning class he had to teach, he met with Percy at Thalia's tree, one of the other places the two of them frequented together.

"What are you up to?"

She shrugged at him, rummaging through her bag.

"I'm looking to see what I can toss or what I want to keep. This bag is kind of useless and torn up now, so I'm going to throw it away. Oh, this stupid thing," she blinked, holding up a silver wristwatch that looked expensive. "My mom bought this for Slimy Gabe for an anniversary gift this year. I heard him talking about pawning it because he needed some cash to pay off his debt. So I stole it. Useless bastard didn't deserve it anyway. You want it?"

He blinked, "What? Why would you give it to me then?"

"Well…it's not going to fit me, it's way too large on my wrist, even if I took some of the links off. It'll look better on you. Besides, I'd rather you have it than Slimy Gabe. I'll be happy if you kept it," she smiled sincerely, and unable to resist that look he accepted the gift.

"I guess that's tit for tat then," he chuckled. "You gave me a wristwatch and I wanted to give you this pocket watch," it was her turn to blink as he held up an equally silver and expensive looking pocket watch. It had a simple design, with a caduceus embossed on the front and tiny diamonds embedded around the rim. "My dad gave this to my mom to give to me when I was older. One of the few things that proved he cared a little…or at least in the beginning."

She didn't hesitate, taking it and clipping it to her pants, roping it around a loop first before letting it hang down. Then she kissed his cheek and nonchalantly looped an arm around one of his, leading them to the base of the tree and plopping down.

"Now I feel bad," she sighed dramatically. "I gave you a watch that was supposed to be for a slimy jerk, and you give me a watch that's closer to you. Your gift is so much more meaningful."

He rolled his eyes and pinched her cheeks, pulling them.

"Your gift is just as meaningful and I appreciate it all the same," he let go as she swatted his hands away from her cheeks. She pouted and rubbed them vigorously pouting at him. He stuck his tongue out.

"Cue laughing," she grinned.

He couldn't help laughing and she joined him.

That night, they stayed up again. Technically, they were developing the habit of staying up with each other every night, but they slept fine and woke up early as usual so it didn't really bother them. Especially when they got to talking.

This time, as everyone else was asleep, both of them were sitting on Luke's bed, chatting about things they wanted to do. They faced each other, legs bent and both of them leaning forward so they could hear each other's whispering. Somehow, Luke ended up suggesting traveling the world together.

Her eyebrows shot up.

"That would take a long time."

He nodded, "But don't forget, my dad's the god of the roads. Traveling is kind of his thing. So I could take you anywhere and cut down on the time."

A smile played on her lips, "Okay, where would our first stop be?"

He looked thoughtful, "We'd have to tour all of the States first. Then maybe Europe. Then Asia. We'd definitely have to go to Paris, Rome, and Tokyo specifically."

"I'd like to go to Venice," she couldn't help the smile going full blast. "Maybe see all the World Wonders…and Whistler, Canada."

"That's the spirit! We'll just have to plan a bit more and organize it, and who knows…maybe we can leave after your senior year next summer."

She started to feel excited and it showed on her face.

"You promise?"

"Promise."

A month and two weeks had passed since her arrival, and her first Capture the Flag was finally upon her. That Friday, she got to fight in the Hermes cabin, alongside Annabeth's against the Ares cabin. And she and Luke would get to really test their teamwork, now that they had almost perfected it in practice, in their own private practices, and in their small skirmishes held sometimes among all cabins or just one cabin, including their own.

But the day before Capture the Flag, Luke told her there was something he wanted to show her. So she followed him to Zeus' Fist, and he led her into a crack between two of the largest boulders. He went first and then she'd tumbled into a pit, Luke catching her from her fall.

"Woah, where are we?" she squinted in the darkness, trying to see. She couldn't even see Luke's face and she knew his face was next to hers, feeling his breath warm her cheek.

And then she felt him move slightly and his lips touched hers.

It was a little weird, considering she'd always thought of him as an older brother…but there were also times where sometimes her heart would beat rapidly around him or her face would heat up…just like it was doing then. Her arms automatically reached up and hooked around his neck, pulling him closer and she closed her mind to thoughts.

This was Luke and he was her friend. Friends sometimes kissed to experiment and try out things. It didn't have to mean anything. They could be friends and be comfortable doing other stuff, because they were comfortable with each other and trusted each other so much.

So no, she didn't mind her first kiss being stolen by who had rapidly and easily become her best friend and confidante and practically brother.

That sounded so wrong.

Luke pulled away, putting her down gently to stand by him, rummaging through the bag he brought and taking out a jar of Greek fire. The green light illuminated the corridor.

"This is a corridor, but it'll probably change if we come back again. This place likes to move around a lot. But if you ever need any privacy, or if you just want to get away and be by yourself, you can come here. All you have to do is look for this symbol, press it, and then an exit will let you out. Never go too far, especially since this place likes to play tricks on your mind," he warned.

She nodded, knowing her face was still red, and wished they were in total darkness again to hide it. She felt unusually shy and timid.

He noticed and just shuffled closer, casually tossing an arm around her shoulders and she leaned back against him. He touched the symbol and led them back out, carelessly hanging onto each other as they walked out in easy camaraderie.

She anxiously sat on Luke's lap that dinner, wondering if she was going to do well for her first Capture the Flag. For Capture the Flag was finally here. She went to the bathroom at last minute, trying to steel her nerves, when she came back and saw a twitching Mr. D.

"You know it's been awhile since I've gotten a drink…any answers you need? Any bribery you got?"

She blinked, "Nope. I'm okay. See you."

She left him behind, and he cursed in Ancient Greek, glaring at the ceiling.

The opening ceremony came and went, and she found out that they were also allied with the Apollo cabin, while Ares had allied with everyone else.

And time for her and Luke to test their little experiment. At first, the plan had been for Percy to stand guard by the creek and draw Clarisse and the rest of the Ares cabin, while Luke went around the flank to steal the flag. Which would have totally worked. But then Luke and Percy didn't get a chance to do their jobs, when they were practically stockpiled with enemy after enemy.

Percy sighed, sheathing her sword.

Luke sighed, taking his out.

And then he'd grabbed her arm, propelling her through the air as he held onto her, letting her kick the circle of opponents away. She landed on both feet after the move and then ducked, and he reciprocated by swiping his sword in a sideways arc just above her head, taking out three more.

This was generally how it started and kept going, until they thinned down the numbers considerably and the rest warily stopped coming at them to fight them, focusing on everyone else instead. That was when Percy ran and headed to the creek, looking like she was the one supposed to be guarding team blue's flag and was rushing back to keep it safe, drawing the Ares cabin like originally intended.

She weaved through the trees, finally managing to reach the creek and whirling around to face her new opponents.

Clarisse and her gang breathed heavily, glaring at her as they slowed down.

"Okay, you got me. Whatcha gonna do?" Percy asked innocently, smirking.

Clarisse cursed in Ancient Greek, before straightening up and holding out her dangerous looking spear threateningly.

"Okay, Jackson. No more games. We're gonna get you, take you out, and make the other team lose one of their biggest players."

Percy laughed and summoned some water from the creek behind her, splashing them with it and watching with interest as they sputtered indignantly.

"Nyah! Is that all you have to say?" she teased.

Clarisse roared, "Ohhh, that's it! I'm going to get you!"

She launched forward, and Percy sidestepped, leaving the Daughter of Ares to fall into the creek. One by one, each of them tried to get at her, and she just ended up kicking or tossing them into the creek.

Soaked and irritated, the entire Ares cabin stood or struggled to get up in the creek, glaring heatedly at her.

She stuck her tongue out playfully, and threw out a victory sign at them.

Clarisse's right eye twitched, "Percy. I. Am. Going. To. Get. You."

Percy just smirked and winked at her, making Clarisse even more exasperated. Then a loud roar sounded, causing everyone there to freeze. A huge hellhound burst into the clearing and charged straight at Percy, who dodged at the last second, causing the hellhound to miss and slam into the ground. The Ares kids clambered out of the water and warily gathered together, watching the hellhound with panicked eyes. But it ignored them and charged a second time at Percy.

"Percy!" Clarisse screamed, tossing her electrical spear at her.

She caught it, and used it to bat the hellhound away. It roared and staggered back, tingles of electricity having burnt its side at the same time as the force of the hit caused it to propel back. Its eyes glared menacingly at her. The hellhound began readying for another charge, when that was when the Ares cabin moved forward and attacked it. It howled before flinging them off and bucking wildly, causing them to be thrown off and hit the ground away harshly. No irrevocable damage was caused, but they were certainly dazed.

Taking the opportunity handed to it, the hellhound hurtled towards Percy again. It tackled her onto her back, and Percy used the spear to keep its jaws away, blocking its mouth with it. After a minute of struggling with the hellhound, the Ares kids unsure how to come in without making it worse for her, the spear snapped and the hellhound rushed forward, snapping its jaws at her.

It bit her shoulder, near her collar and too near her neck, and she screamed in horrible pain, sight blacking out for a second before she thrashed around in its grip. Her other arm was occupied with repeatedly punching the hellhound, trying to get it off her. It let go for a second and she was almost relieved, until he clamped down again on her arm, lower, and practically mangling it.

There was a lot of blood, a lot of her blood, staining everywhere. She hadn't noticed in her pain, but as soon as the beast had first bit her, the Ares cabin had charged forward and had attacked the hellhound, but the monster stubbornly held on.

"Percy, Percy, guess what? We won!" Luke screamed, running excitedly with the others into the clearing, his face paling upon seeing the scene. The rest of the others were screaming in horror and fright. Seeing the archers, particularly the Apollo cabin, getting ready to shoot, the Ares cabin scrambled back just as a volley of arrows hit the hellhound.

And yet it just howled in pain before stubbornly turning back to Percy and biting her arm near her wrist, yanking harshly and making Percy feel like it was trying to tear her arm off.

Luke snapped out of his horror-struck daze and ran forward in a suicidal gesture, leaping on the hellhound's back and stabbing it repeatedly through the neck. Finally dead and starting to turn into golden dust, Luke yanked the monster away from Percy, who kept going in and out of consciousness from the pain. There was a large pool of blood underneath her, nearly encompassing the entire ground beneath her body.

"Hey, hey! Come on, you have to stay awake, Percy," Luke murmured, gently hauling her into his arms, uncaring of the blood staining his skin and clothes, even as he kneeled in her blood.

"Water," she gasped. "Get me into the water."

"What?"

She shook her head slightly, "Water always helps me. Please, Luke. The water."

Slowly pulling her more securely into his arms, he grabbed her and tried to quickly head to the deeper part of the creek without jostling her around too much. Then he was hesitantly putting her into the water, letting her submerged a little, before with what little strength she had, she surprisingly forced him to let go and let her sink in fully.

Panicking, Luke dove down and grabbed her, surprised (knowing that he really shouldn't after several of their talks about her possible and yet likely dad) to see her wounds easily healing before his eyes, even though they were serious and life threatening. He wasn't sure if her blood still needed to be replenished, but she started swimming up so he swam to her and grabbed her, pulling them to the surface.

They burst through the water, and he held onto her, both suddenly aware of the strange quiet around them. The two looked over to the others, seeing them gaping up, so they looked up as well and saw the eerie green glow of the large holographic trident proudly displacing itself in the air above Percy's head.

The campers started to kneel and Chiron solemnly announced the news.

"It is determined. Poseidon. Earthshaker, Stormbringer, Father of Horses. Hail, Perseas Jackson, Daughter of the Sea God."

Started 4/2/10 –Completed 5/31/10

Omake!

They burst through the water, and he held onto her, both suddenly aware of the strange quiet around them. The two looked over to the others, seeing them gaping up, so they looked up as well and saw the strangest thing.

Percy sweatdropped and cringed, while Luke gaped.

There was a mega-sized green trident in the air, with green and blue fireworks exploding in the background, forming shapes of seashells, whales, fishes…sharks…octopuses…jellyfishes…all in the sky.

That was not to mention the cacophony of chaotic lights blinking around the trident and practically screaming, "I'm here! See me!" There was also the fact that Beethoven's 9th was playing loudly in the background, sounding like it was on surround sound, blasting deafeningly and sounding like it was everywhere.

Or the miniature neon sign above an irritated and twitching Percy, blinking lights around the sign, proclaiming "Poseidon's Daughter" in big bold capital letters…alternating between neon blue and neon green.

In Olympus…

The eleven Olympian gods, minus Dionysus (who was in camp cackling and rolling on the ground hysterically laughing) and Hades (who brooded alone in the Underworld…supposedly…and shouldn't know of the events but somehow did…), alternately gaped and awkwardly glanced around. Someone coughed uncomfortably in the background.

"Um…Uncle," Apollo sweatdropped. "I think you went a little overboard."

"Overboard?" Poseidon screeched. "Do you know how long I've had to wait to finally claim her? Godsdammit, why did I have to wait this Zeus forsaken long? So you're damn right I'm going to go all out!"

Everyone nervously forced their thrones away from the agitated sea god.

Which was kind of hard to do considering the thrones had originally been stuck to the ground.

Started 5/31/10 –Completed 5/31/10

Chapter Text

"She came to that camp too early," one woman whispered, gazing at an image of a girl with sightless eyes.

"But things are progressing just like we'd wanted, if at a different pace," another woman answered her.

"Perhaps…it is best things are working out this way," the last woman murmured.

"…It will end the way we have seen it no matter what, so it will not matter," the first woman stated with a note of finality.

The other two hummed in agreement.

"Perseas Jackson will soon completely follow the path we have laid out for her."

As the Fates watched, Poseidon sat in agitation in the throne room, the other gods watching him.

"You have broken the oath," Zeus' voice rumbled angrily.

Poseidon inwardly clenched his teeth. That stupid hypocrite…

"Are you not going to answer for your transgression?"

Stubborn, the sea god sniffed and ignored his brother. Instead, he turned to his side and gazed off to the ceiling in boredom. Before Zeus could burst out in anger, Apollo stepped in.

"Finally claimed your daughter, huh Uncle?"

Poseidon frowned, "Finally is correct. I've been previously blocked by the Fates to claim her at any other time. I cannot see her, I cannot hear her words or her thoughts…in fact, I have a hard time getting a lock on her at all. I…don't even know what she looks like."

That drew quiet in the room.

"I must confess, I tried to look in on her," Aphrodite admitted. "I wanted to find a little bit about the girl, since such a big fuss is being kicked about her. Specifically, I wanted to look at her love life and I wanted to see her looks. I couldn't find anything. Neither past, present, or even a hint of the future about the girl."

Athena stiffened, but spoke as well, "I tried to look in on my children's thoughts and regards towards Poseidon's daughter. I couldn't glean anything. It was almost as if anything about her was locked away in their minds…"

"This is most disturbing," Hera called out softly. "If such lengths are being done for her…perhaps she is the one of the prophecy?"

"It could not be anyone else," Athena declared.

Poseidon glared at her, "I refuse that statement. My daughter shall have no part of it and I will not allow any of you to convince her otherwise."

"But if she is destined for it, then none of us has any say about the matter at all," Artemis interjected softly.

The room grew quiet once again.

"She's a wild card and that makes her unpredictable and dangerous," Athena broke through their thoughts. "She must be dealt with quickly."

"We cannot make an immediate decision without knowing the facts," Artemis countered. "We will be hasty in our decision if we chose to act now. Should we not allow her a chance to prove herself? I will not approve of acting against a maiden based on what she can do opposed to what she has done."

"So we are to wait until something has happened? By then it will be too late," Athena argued.

"And if we charge her now, we will be unfair," Hermes sided with Artemis, ending the debate as he gazed around the group. He caught Poseidon sending him a tiny grateful smile and he gave a discreet nod back.

"Very well. We will withhold judgment for now," Zeus reluctantly agreed. "But I shall be watching the Lightning Thief closely."

"Neither I or my daughter has stolen that blasted Bolt of yours!" Poseidon hissed, scowling.

That night and for the day after, the weather was completely stormy.

At the same time as the gods were arguing, Percy was in the Big House staring down Dionysus. Immediately after being claimed, she'd been moved to Cabin Three and the Stoll brothers had helped her moved what little stuff she had over, dramatically crying and moaning the entire way. They were the only part that had her smiling.

"I don't want to stay in Cabin Three. Can't I just stay in the Hermes cabin?" she frowned at the wine god.

"Nope, brat. You're Barnacle Beard's daughter, so you go to his cabin," Mr. D yawned.

"…Not even for a drink?" she tried.

He looked really tempted before sighing regretfully, almost pouting.

"Thought you didn't want to be favored? Eh, no can do. Unfortunately," he eyed the drink in her hand that she'd pulled seemingly out of nowhere. "Rules are rules, so you have to stay there."

"Fine, whatever," she shrugged, though inwardly she felt like vomiting. "See you tomorrow then."

"Wait a sec, can't I still have the drink?"

Ignoring him, Percy turned on her heel and strode out, heading straight to her new cabin. Inside, she turned in a circle and gazed at her new quarters. Then she disappeared through a door and skipped her own claiming party, with curfew being ignored for the night.

And because she was absent, Luke immediately noticed. The party was still going strong even with the threatening weather outside of camp, but there wasn't a single sign of her. So he went looking for her, thinking she might already be in her cabin.

Of course, the door would be locked…so he got out one of the credit cards he had in his wallet and fiddled with the lock and the door, jamming the card in the tiny space and jiggling it a little. Unlocking the door, he crept in and called out for her. No answer. Frowning, he closed the door behind him and came inside a little more, searching. He heard water running and thought she was probably in her cabin's showers.

He hesitated, thinking maybe he should leave her to her shower, but then remembered that Percy had just been claimed and that she hadn't been all that happy about her father beforehand. She didn't look all that happy after being claimed either…

Well, he'll just have to take that chance that he was intruding or that he was most probably going to walk in on her…

Oh, he just hoped she wasn't going to outright kill him without an explanation.

He headed for the doors marked showers, and then had to choose between the male showers and the female showers. Anyone else would have gone straight to the female showers, but if he knew her and she didn't want to be bothered, she'd be somewhere that people didn't expect her to be, even if it wouldn't matter because the sound of the shower would have outed her. So he chose the male showers instead and didn't regret it when he saw her balled up figure sitting on the floor of the last stall at the end of his far right, the water showering over her clothed form.

Hesitantly coming closer, he stood in front of her, feeling water splash on him as he watched her gaze blankly at the floor, now haphazardly leaning back against the wall with her arms thrown lazily across her stomach and her legs bent almost as if she wanted to tuck them into her but gave up halfway. He went to sit on the other side of where her gaze had landed on the floor, gently but tightly wrapping his arms around her waist and ignoring the water pounding hard on him and soaking him to the bone. He laid his chin on her shoulder and just held her close.

"'M tired," she mumbled.

He hmmed, "Do you want me to hum something for you?"

"Please."

He adjusted them into a more comfortable position, sitting up more against the coral wall before he lifted her up slightly and tucked her now balled up form onto his lap, putting his chin back on her head this time and holding her loosely as he semi-rocked her to sleep. He hummed Goo Goo Doll's Iris until she fell asleep, before stretching up slightly and turning off the water, going back to his position after and nodding off himself.

Early morning came, when the first rays of the sun were just creeping into the cabin, though outside camp the weather was still overcast. Luke and Percy hadn't noticed yet, still in the shower stall, but they woke up around that time. Luke woke up first before shaking her shoulder a bit, standing up unsteadily. Then he picked her up after he'd steadied himself, and stumbled into the interior of the cabin.

"Wake up for a sec, Percy," he yawned. "Change into pajamas or something. You're not wet, but you'd still want to be comfortable."

"You're wet," she muttered, not opening her eyes.

"Yeah, I guess I'll have to sneak back to the Hermes cabin and change clothes," Luke moaned.

"…I have some of your t-shirts here."

"Pants?"

"…There is those jeans I stole last week. They should be clean now."

Luke hid his grin, letting Percy slip away from him and groggily look for said clothing. She tossed them over to him and got out her long-sleeved sweater, taking off her clothes and slipping it on. Luke turned away to give her privacy and did the same for his clothes, putting on the new ones hurriedly after. When he'd turned back, Percy was already lying on her bed, eyes closed and attempting to go back to sleep. He smiled and lay on the bed behind her, snaking his arms back around her waist and comfortably burying his face into her hair, smelling the familiar scent of strawberries and a bit of the ocean.

"Won't the others miss you?"

He was surprised she was still up, but he'd answered quickly.

"I don't think so. One, it's still a couple hours away from everyone usually waking up. Two, the party, supposed to be your party I might add, lasted late into the morning and I'm pretty sure Travis and Connor spiked the drinks."

"Mm, good thing I did miss my own party."

"Good for you. I didn't. I missed you and I ended up drinking two cups of the punch, which was the most heavily concentrated with alcohol than the other drinks. And this was after I found out all the drinks were spiked. I avoided drinking afterwards. But I still have a headache."

"You didn't notice anything weird tasting about the punch beforehand?" she asked in amusement.

"…No. I was kind of busy focusing on looking for you than actually noticing anything," Luke admitted.

She snickered, "Ah, poor baby. Do you want me to take care of you?"

"That would be nice?" he smiled into her hair.

"I'm too lazy to turn around and kiss the booboo better," she teased. "But I'll just stretch my arm and –" she reached over slightly behind her and touched his head, focusing a bit.

"…My headache is gone…what did you do?" Luke blinked in surprise, moving back a little.

"Se~cret!" she sing songed.

"You're mean."

She snickered again before quieting.

"Hey, Luke," she said, breaking out of the silence once more. "It's just…being claimed just makes it…real. I know you told me already that Poseidon was probably my father…but before we could always excuse it as speculation and guesses. Being claimed makes it…concrete. There's no denying it now."

"Oh, sweetheart," he murmured. "I know after being claimed, there's no going back now. It's now definite and the absolute truth. But you don't have to be alone."

"You remember when you actually said you hated Hermes? I don't think I've ever hated him before; I've always been a bit angry and resentful, sometimes even bitter, about my father…but I think…I think I do hate Poseidon," she said blankly, eyes opened completely and staring out expressionlessly.

Luke sighed and threaded his fingers through her hair, trying to soothe her.

"Go back to sleep, sweetheart. I'll wake you up later. Just rest."


"Hermes, can you hold on for a second," Poseidon hesitantly pulled the messenger god back.

"What can I do for you, Uncle?" Hermes gave him a cheeky grin.

Poseidon almost scowled, but instead shook his head.

"You…you're able to travel to the mortal world unquestionably, right?" the sea god asked hesitantly.

Hermes faltered, tensing. "Yeah…for the most part."

The other god swallowed, "If you could do me a favor and travel to the camp…I'd like a picture of my daughter."

Hermes blinked before grinning, "Yeah. I can do that. I'll be back later after I deliver some stuff, so I don't look suspicious. See ya, Uncle!"

Poseidon twitched at the name, but nodded thankfully at him.

Hermes disappeared and he was left to wait anxiously.

And while Poseidon was left back in Olympus, Hermes quickly delivered a couple of things before he snuck into the camp and disguised himself as a camper, hiding his mini-camera on his collar.

He searched around, trying to avoid asking anyone but not being able not to because he didn't know what she looked like. He finally saw one of his sons, Travis if he recalled the name, and ended up asking him. Hermes was directed in a general direction where it was isolated at that time of day, but caught a break when he saw a lone girl lying peacefully under a tree in the strawberry fields, looking like she was trying to take a nap.

"Hey there!" he called out cheerily.

One eye peeked open lazily, observing him, before she smiled and gave a small wave, going back to putting her arms behind her head and closing her eyes.

He hesitantly came closer and sat down next to her.

"Mind if I come sit next to you?" he asked nonchalantly.

"Do you always do before you ask?" but the smile on her lips made him relax and say she was just teasing.

"Yep, pretty much!"

She laughed heartily and sat up, looking at him. She held out her hand, "Hey, I'm Percy."

He scrambled for a name in his head, picking one at random.

"Harold," he announced in a playful tone, grabbing her hand and kissing the back of it.

"You know, you look like you're in the Hermes cabin," she noted.

"I do, do I?" he laughed nervously, inwardly panicking. How'd she figure that?

"Yeah, you have all their features –sharp noses, upturned eyebrows, and of course the mischievous smile," she listed off, and he was halfway between amazed she'd noticed that or even the resemblance, and between still being wary about being caught. She was a little too observant for her own good, this one…

She plucked a strawberry and then another, handing one to him before she took a bite and happily munched on hers. He echoed her, a lot less enthusiastic and more busy watching her. He almost forgot that he had to take a picture of her.

He licked his lips uncertainly before focusing on his task.

"Knock, knock."

Percy burst out laughing, "You're kidding."

"Isn't that what I'm doing?" he asked innocently.

Shaking her head, she grinned. "Okay, fine. Who's there?"

"Harold, Son of Hermes and no pun intended! Here with a message and stealin' his dad's job!"

Giggling, Percy asked, "So what's the message?"

Hermes grabbed a strawberry and threw it into the air, catching it with his mouth. He swallowed it whole after spitting the leaf out, giving her a large cheesy grin.

She burst out laughing, before eventually settling. Her eyes softened wonderfully and she smiled gently at him, and for the strangest reason, his face flushed and his heart in his chest started beating fast. But he had gotten his picture and he had delivered a message, silent though it was. The message that Poseidon had wanted to see his daughter…

"Cute, Harold. But what kind of message is that?"

"A silent one," he winked. "I gotta go, but it was nice meeting you!"

He jumped up quickly and started trotting away, leaving an amused but confused Daughter of Poseidon behind. He had to leave before he was caught, and because he was very tempted to just stay with her for a little while longer and ignore his duties.

But one thought remained in his mind, lingering in the days after.

Percy Jackson was really pretty.

He really hadn't expected that, and was caught off guard. More so that he was actually utterly captivated by her. When he'd developed Poseidon's picture, he tucked away a copy for himself into the folds of his work shirt and set out to deliver the original to the sea god.

And still the thought lingered.

He hadn't expected her to be so pretty.

As the messenger god waded through his thoughts repeatedly, his son in the meanwhile was entertaining the subject of his thoughts.

"Who's that for?" Percy popped up beside him suddenly, startling him.

Luke glanced at the ring he had just finished putting the finishing touches on. It was a thin white-gold band, with faint etchings of waves going around and glittering green slightly because of the shavings of emerald he'd embedded into the etchings. He had three pearls and he used one to embed in the middle, having carefully engraved the symbol of the trident into the pearl and also embedding emerald shavings into it. He took half of his second pearl and had made several smaller balls out of it, embedding the tiny pearls at the end of each wave.

He coughed nervously, "Uh…I've actually been working on this awhile now and finally finished…but it's…supposed to be for you. Do you like it?"

Her eyes widened and she tentatively took it.

She examined it shyly, catching sight of the words engraved on the inside of the ring. Part of it was in Greek and part of it was English, but it was plain font and easy for her to read thankfully.

"'To my rara avis. Στις σπάνιες τρόπο ζωής μας: Bonnie and Clyde.' The Greek says…'To our rare way of life'…but Bonnie and Clyde?" she raised an eyebrow at him and he coughed again.

"I was, uh, going to erase that entire thing and put something else, but you kind of caught me finishing it up…"

She shook her head, "No, no. I like it. Just explain."

He shrugged in embarrassment, "Rara avis means a rare person or thing. You're not really ordinary, you know."

She echoed his grin and matched the twinkle in his eye.

"Yeah, I guess I do know. At least I do now," she teased, genuinely touched though.

"The Greek should also be self-explanatory," he smirked. "But you know the story of Bonnie and Clyde, don't you?"

Percy nodded, "Did a history report on them freshman year of high school."

"It's your Bonnie to my Clyde," he murmured, and she understood immediately.

"That make me your gun moll, Clyde?" an easy smile played on her lips as she imitated a Southern accent.

His eyes lit up. "I guess it sure does, Bonnie," he just as flawlessly followed her lead.

"I hope you know I ain't smokin' though," she continued. "But Bonnie and Clyde, huh? Together 'til the end, and inseparable even in death. Does that mean we're gonna go down together?"

"Notoriously so. Because we'll be notorious," Luke's eyes glittered mischievously, leaning closely.

"Infamous," she answered back softly, unconsciously leaning closer to him as well.

"We'll be legends," Luke's smirk turned just a bit wicked and she felt like she was ready to follow him wherever he went…almost as if she really was Bonnie. "We'll be larger than life."

"Not that I mind the idea of constantly being by each other's side, but I ain't fancying bein' gunned down and ambushed," Percy waggled her eyebrows, starting to look slightly incredulous.

"Then we just don't go down like them," he said surely.

"Sure we ain't gonna be doomed to that end?"

"I'll make sure of it," he leaned just a bit closer, almost face to face to her. "So how 'bout that ring? Do ya want it, Bonnie?"

Okay, by then she had finally noticed just exactly how close her brother figure was and felt her face starting to heat up and the usual confusion enter her.

"A-ah, yeah. I'd love it," Percy muttered, losing the Southern accent.

Luke wasn't moving away and had in fact inched just a little bit closer, grabbing her left hand and slowly sliding the ring onto her ring finger. Her face flushed completely red at that.

"So hey, I was wondering –" Charles Beckendorf burst through the empty, except for the couple, camp forge. "Ahaha, my bad. I wasn't interrupting anything, was I?" the Hephaestus camper chuckled nervously, looking like he wanted to bolt.

Luke and Percy stared over at him, frozen and faces looking shocked. He was still holding her hand and had just finished putting the ring in place, and the two of them were still really close together.

Percy coughed in embarrassment and pulled away first, straightening up as she quickly backed slightly away from Luke. Luke frowned, but sighed inwardly and straightened up himself.

"No, no. Not interrupting at all. We were just finishing up. Percy, are you coming with me?" he smiled gently at her, wondering if she was freaked out or something by her reaction.

Still blushing, she nodded and grabbed his hand unthinkingly, hurrying out and not noticing Luke's pleased expression on his slightly reddened face. They escaped in a hurry, unable to slow down in fear of being confronted by someone else.

"Well, that was something," Luke remarked.

Percy chuckled, agreeing. Looking back, that had been a little amusing, even if awkward.

"God –"

"Gods," Luke smirked at her.

"Gods," she rolled her eyes. "This is all freakin' off the wall stuff. I feel like I'd just dropped down a rabbit hole and entered a Wonderland. A Greek Wonderland, full of swords and monsters of course."

Luke laughed outright, "How has your stay been then, Alice?"

"Quite fine, White Rabbit," she stuck her tongue out at him.

He blinked at her. "White Rabbit?"

Embarrassed, she shrugged her shoulders. "You know, Alice follows the White Rabbit through Wonderland. You've been sort of my personal guide through this whole thing…I really appreciate it though."

"No problem," he smiled gently at her. "I'm glad to be your White Rabbit."

Percy snickered, "Hey, do you think people will start getting not just confused but frustrated with us and all of our inside comments and jokes? We have so many of them that everyone probably won't get them and we'll just give them headaches."

"I think that's brilliant."

They laughed their way to her cabin.

"So where were you before you found me?" Luke asked curiously.

"Oh…I was in the strawberry fields just relaxing. I met one of your siblings there. His name's Harold."

Luke froze. He knew every single camper in the Hermes cabin and none of them was named Harold. He stopped himself from gritting his teeth and forced out a smile for her.

"Why don't you tell me about it?"

And as he listened, he became even more certain about who 'Harold' actually was. Looks like his father finally deigned to visit, and it's not even to one of his kids. What the hell did he want with Percy?

He frowned and made a note to try to not let Percy out of his sight for now on. Instead, he took her hand and led her the rest of the way to Cabin Three, hoping to push the thought of Hermes meeting Percy out of his mind.


Percy sat bored at the trunk of Thalia's tree, waiting to meet Luke. He said he had something special planned, whatever it was. Still, why ever would Silena dress her in this baby blue sundress, she wouldn't know. As it was, first thing in the morning, Silena of the Aphrodite cabin grabbed a hold of her, and before she knew it, she was forced into the sundress and had sandals fitted onto her feet before being shoved in this direction with orders to wait for Luke.

"Hello, Alice," Luke stood in front of her, smiling softly as he was dressed in a very gentlemanly manner. He even had a top hat that he held in his arm!

A smile twitched at her lips before she gave up and let herself smile just as softly back.

"Hello, White Rabbit."

"Welcome to –"

"Wonderland," she finished.

They laughed lightly together, before Luke held out his hand for her to take. She shook her head at him, but took it anyways, letting him lead her off.

"Where to, Cheese Boy?" she snarked.

"Picnic on Zeus' Fist," he announced.

"That'll be a tight fit, won't it?"

He shrugged, "We'll fit if we squeeze close together."

She hmmed, accepting his answer. Once there, Luke got on first before reaching down and helping her up. They sat close together, chatting aimlessly and teasingly feeding each other food they'd brought. To Percy, it seemed like their usual hang out routine, if a bit more intimate than usual. Especially when Luke was extra affectionate with her today, but he had always been affectionate with her so she brushed it off.

Leaning on her, Luke lamented on how the trees blocked out most of the sun from their area.

"Yeah, but it's kind of nice in a way, don't you think? It's still bright around us, and the trees provide some pretty scenery. It's a nice balance between a little sun, breeze, and some cover."

He echoed her satisfied smile, nuzzling her jaw. She rolled her eyes but let him, her own fingers reaching up to gently rub the back of his head and even kind of holding him there. And when he started lightly brushing his lips against the column of her throat, she said nothing of it and just began humming a song she remembered her mother used to sing to her.

"Somewhere over the rainbow…skies are blue," he murmured the lyrics aloud.

She laughed softly. "My mother used to sing me that when I was little. Sometimes, she still does. Did."

Her smile faltered, but Luke just calmly planted small kisses around her throat and then along her jaw line. She sighed contentedly.

"You know, if we go on that trip we wanted, we should make a map and start planning."

"Good idea," he jumped down before pulling her after him, clasping their hands together as he led them somewhere.

"We should do it in our cabin, keep the map there and all too."

Their cabin, not his cabin.

Percy's smile widened.

Suddenly, Luke stopped. "Before we do that, there's something I want to do with you first."

"Oh?" she raised an eyebrow, curious as to what he had planned with the two of them in the middle of the forest.

"Do you trust me?" he asked her seriously, staring intensely.

"Of course."

Then he moved behind her, pulling her back to his chest as he whispered into her ear.

"Close your eyes," his breath lightly tickled her ear.

Her face turned red, but she did close her eyes. Luke's embrace tightened around her, and then she felt him carelessly jumped themselves an inch to the air…and then she heard him murmur, "Maia."

The next thing she could feel them doing was their feet pushing off onto something and then using momentum to run, and all of a sudden she had the sensation of being vertical and the wind rushing against her face. Her sundress was being blown back, but with Luke directly behind her, it wasn't totally flying away on her. They were pushing off again on what she guessed was a tree, with nothing else in the forest she figured would also let them do this (whatever it was Luke was doing for them), but instead of running higher again she felt the two of them suspended in the air. Sighing happily, she flung her arms wide, as if to embrace the broad space she just knew was in front of her.

"Open your eyes," Luke told her gently. "And don't look anywhere but up."

Her eyes opened and a smile unconsciously crossed her lips, as she stared in awe at bright blue skies and wisps of clouds.

"Don't look anywhere but up."

If she just stared at the sky, it felt as if she was in the sky.

"You are Poseidon's daughter, and the seas are your home. But I think you also love the sky," Luke spoke softly to her knowingly.

Two tears escaped her eyes as she reached up and tried to grasp the sky with a hand, failing and watching her hand solemnly, and yet still feeling indescribably happy and just exhilarated. She was breathless and longing.

"Water is peace, tranquil…serene. The sky is freedom," she breathed out, before she closed her eyes again and cried, turning halfway in his hold to cry in his chest and grasping his front.

'I want freedom.'

"Do you trust me, Percy?"

"Idiot, you already asked me that," but a smile was already tugging on her lips.

"Humor me," she felt his lips brush against her forehead.

She loved it when he did that.

"Of course," she murmured.

"Fall with me," he spoke simply.

"Fall," she told him.

And then they were dropping at blinding speeds, her eyes opening to catch the colors blue, green, and brown blurring together until they were nearly indistinguishable. In amazement, they stopped almost five inches from the ground, and some of her hair slipped forward and hung above the forest floor. When they uprighted and their feet lightly touched onto the ground, Luke deactivated their matching winged shoes that she saw was part of the magic that just happened. She looked at Luke, the other part that made the magic, and grinned freely.

They were supposed to go to their cabin, but…

"Tag! You're it!" she tapped his shoulder and began running away in the forest.

Maybe this was why the nymphs were always running from the gods. Maybe they enjoyed the wind blowing against them, feeling free as they ran with wild abandon and no destination. Nothing to hold them back…

She saw a beautiful field of flowers and slipped out of her sandals and kept running. Throwing her arms out, she whirled in circles and laughed without restraint. Luke caught up and ran towards her, grinning as he caught her in his arms and hoisted her up, holding her into the air as he swung her around. She kept laughing joyfully, throwing her arms out again and enjoying the freeing moment. Then she put her arms around Luke's neck, and rubbed her face affectionately against his soft hair. They fell back, Luke on his back and her on top of him, and they both went into low chuckles, slowly going down from their high.

She rolled off of him and stopped until she was on her back and almost perpendicular to him. Both of their arms were spread out and Luke took that opportunity to slowly reach over and tentatively touch his fingers to hers.

Percy was never going to forget this, never forget how liberated she was in the air, the feeling of pure happiness as she just ran without care and just lived in the moment. And it was all because of Luke.

As they looked at each other, Percy just smiled wordlessly, a smile that was mixed with joy and sorrow.

Luke just squeezed her fingers reassuringly.

'Thank you.'

'Your welcome.'


Luke pushed her in their sword lessons, which had become one on one, and he hadn't been afraid to bruise her up. Annabeth was acting quite peculiarly around her, a mixture of scowling and for some reason her face turned red whenever Percy was near. Hm, Annabeth might be a little jealous that Luke was spending so much time with Percy…she might have to tell Annabeth herself that nothing was going on, so the other girl wouldn't have to worry.

She found an article in the imported newspapers about her and her mother's disappearance lying about on the ground near the camp store, and angrily tore it up after deciphering it. It was bullshit and she hated it especially because of Slimy (and Smelly) Gabe's obvious faked sorrow and worry. She almost incinerated it, determined to find any source of fire, after she read him calling her his 'darling sweetheart.'

Luke had to promise her a batch of strawberries and melted chocolate that night, sleeping over as he had come to ever since she had first moved into Cabin Three.

"You have your own bed and cabin. Why are you sleeping here?"

"Aw, come on! Wouldn't you miss me? Besides, I like it here. Nice and quiet…and a lot of space!"

"Then why don't you give your bed at the Hermes cabin to someone else?"

"Hell no. I like having two beds."

A smile tugged at her lips as she remembered that conversation, remembering she had also tossed a book at Luke's head, who had nimbly dodged with a mischievous grin at her.

"Hey, Percy. Haven't seen you in a while," Grover knocked on her open door, giving her a shy smile.

"Grover!" Percy leaped up from her bed and ran towards him, hugging onto him tightly. "I missed you! Where have you been?"

Grover cleared his throat nervously, "Actually, it's part of the reason why I'm here now…um, particularly seeing you. Mr. D wants to see you."

Confused, she followed her friend and they ended up at the Big House, where Mr. D sat at the pinochle table. Grover left her nervously.

"Bad weather again," Percy said blandly, opening the conversation.

Dionysus yawned and waved towards the new miniature bar to the side. She rolled her eyes and went to it.

"It'll pass, unlike the one you made not too long ago," he said in a bored tone.

"What?" she asked sharply, hands pausing as she looked over to him.

He waved her off, "Nothing, nothing. Forget I said anything."

Still suspicious, she relented for now.

"Everyone's tense too, even though they're pretending to go about normally," Percy muttered to herself.

"Let's get down to business."

Percy froze, unused to hearing Dionysus so serious. Swallowing, she hurried up before sitting herself at the table and pushing his drink towards him. He took a large gulp of it and she raised an eyebrow at him in question.

"Chiron will be back. Won this round, you see?" Dionysus pointed to the set of winning cards to his left, continuing their small talk for the moment.

"Mr. D?"

He sighed, "You have a Quest, brat. And not just any Quest…you must retrieve Zeus' lightning bolt."

Percy grimaced, "My father and Zeus have been fighting over it, haven't they? It's been stolen."

He looked questioningly at her.

She twitched, "I've been having dreams. I haven't told anyone about them…but…"

Unknown emotions flashed through his eyes, but she couldn't discern them. But then he pulled on his best poker face and now she couldn't read him at all.

"How did you feel about the hellhound, girl?"

"Terrified. I thought it was going to kill me," she pursed her lips, remembering the incident.

"Yes, yes. That one was particularly stubborn. You were lucky aid came when it did," he muttered. "There will be more on this Quest. Worse. Hellhounds are nothing to sneer at, of course. And the one that tried to kill you was very strange in its determination, and seems like the most horrific case of hellhound attack than ever previously recorded. But by worse, I mean…"

"The Furies," she clenched her hand.

"Yes…like them."

"I don't understand. Why is Zeus accusing my father of stealing it?"

Here, it was Dionysus who grimaced. But he patiently, strangely enough, explained how Zeus had come to not trust her father after a certain uprising and golden net, and how he thought Poseidon had been using her as the one to steal it and why. He explained about the Winter Solstice, the gods having their usual argument, especially Zeus versus Poseidon.

"They've been threatening war since then, arguing back and forth for months. You are the last straw. Zeus wants his Bolt back by the Summer Solstice, and Poseidon wants an apology by the same date. June 21st, if you have not retrieved the Bolt, there will be full-fledged war between the gods."

Percy gulped and looked at him wide-eyed. She could hear the rain hitting camp, Dionysus' assurance falling through with the proof outside the window. People outside scattered.

"Zeus is punishing the whole camp because of me," Percy stated softly, looking outside the window blankly.

"You will be the first to feel his wrath."

"He's crazy," she muttered.

"Stick with paranoid," Dionysus told her wryly. "Man's got a temper, if you know what I mean. I wouldn't be calling just anyone crazy."

"What am I supposed to do?" It was a rhetorical question, but the wine god answered.

"Go meet the Oracle for your Quest. That's all you can do."

"Before I meet the Oracle, can't I refuse this Quest? I don't see why it has to be me. Anyone else is free to go and take my place, as far as I'm concerned," she frowned, stubbornly refusing to just accept her fate.

The god briefly looked at her in surprise before he once again wiped his face of emotion.

"Normally demigods have the option to accept or decline a Quest…however, in your case, it's quite different. You have no choice in the matter," he stated firmly.

"When do I ever have a choice?" she said bitterly under her breath.

"I could turn you into a dolphin or incinerate you?" he offered.

"Tempting, but no thanks," Percy sighed.

"Oracle's in the Attic. Go up the stairs, and the door will be right in front of you."

With one last glance, Percy made the first steps to her doom. Well, to her it was…

The Attic was a slightly cold, dusty place, with things stacked everywhere and just generally cluttered. She spotted silver bracelets that said they were made by the Amazons, the bracelets themselves made of a magically indestructible metal called Amazonian. She pocketed those and kept going, attention wandering as she gazed around her. She found a pair of broad swords that she liked, taking the sheaths and securing them at her back. Those could really help her out during sword lessons, especially since she hadn't found a balanced sword that fit her yet and these were near perfect enough in the meantime. Then she kept grabbing and pocketing stuff, until she realized she was becoming a kleptomaniac and that Luke was having too much of an influence on her. What a bad influence, that boy…

So after putting everything but the broad swords and the bracelets back, she kept going. Hey! She was heading to what was essentially her execution, she might as well go prepared.

She took a turn and almost stumbled back when she came face to face with the mummified Oracle, staring with glassy white slits that seemed to stare through her.

It was time for her audience with the Oracle.

When she wandered back down the Attic broodingly, Dionysus was gone and Chiron was waiting in his place with Grover. The centaur gave her a calming smile, but it did nothing to soothe her nerves.

"Mr. D's gone to an emergency meeting in Olympus, so I'm here to help with the rest. Percy, may I ask what the Oracle said?"

"No," she answered shortly, and both of the others were taken aback.

Chiron smiled fretfully, "Percy, we need to know what the prophecy is in order to help get your bearings and help you start out."

She stared listlessly at the ground, very unhappy about this turn of events.

"I already know what my Quest is. Dionysus, the bastard, told me already. He also said that I had no choice, and there is no 'if', 'or' or 'maybe' about any of it. Damn thing's about the Bolt, even if Dionysus didn't practically charge me with the whole responsibility himself. The Oracle was just an unneeded reassurance," she grumbled. "You don't have to ask me about the prophecy to make sure what my Quest is. I like to keep all my cards to myself, so I'd like to keep the prophecy quiet, if you'd please."

Chiron and Grover glanced at each other, having not known what the wine god had said specifically to Percy. They hadn't known that it was already a sure thing that the Lightning Bolt really would be Percy's responsibility, or that she would have no choice in the matter.

"Alright, Percy. Just know that the Oracle's words usually have a double meaning, and it's best not to dwell on them. Now, do you know who would gain the most by Zeus and Poseidon fighting?"

Percy traveled to a chair and plopped down on it, massaging her head.

"Nice clue, Mr. D," she muttered under her breath. "Furies? Haha…Hades?" she said the name a little louder, directing it to the centaur.

"Yes, the one and only. He has been unsatisfied from his lot, ever since his brothers had forced him to take the Underworld. Hated them for forcing him into an oath to no longer have children, though they have now broken the Oath themselves. The Furies obey only him, and the hellhound can only be summoned from the Fields of Punishment. All clues point to the Lord of the Dead."

"Right. Go west, go to the Underworld, face Hades, get the Bolt, come back and reveal the truth. Whoop de do," Percy pinched the bridge of her nose. But a part of her, one she wouldn't tell them about, was a little eager to get to the Underworld. The place had been lingering in the back of her mind ever since she learned the truth of her heritage, always wondering if there was a chance she could get her mother out…

"Blah, blah. There's also rules about everything, am I correct?" Percy continued twitching. "And they can't just go around accusing each other all the time, right? It would be total chaos otherwise."

Chiron coughed. If only Percy knew…

"Um, yes," Chiron hid his grimace. "Anyways, you're right. Suspecting and knowing are two different things, and we cannot just tell them that Hades has stolen the Bolt without proof. And the gods themselves cannot do so, because gods cannot cross into each other's territories without invitation. Heroes, on the other hand, have privileges. It's why the gods always operate through humans. If a hero is bold and strong enough, they can go anywhere, challenge anyone. No god can be held responsible for a hero's actions."

"Horrible, horrible hypocrisy," she sneered, though not at Chiron. "'No god can be held responsible for a hero's actions.' Then Poseidon should be exempt and there shouldn't be a war in the first place. Technically, in their eyes, I 'stole' the Bolt, correct? It should be an execution, not that I'm quite happy about that, not a war.

"Second point, 'suspecting and knowing are two different things.' I'm innocent until proven guilty. All anyone has done is suspect me. They don't know me, or anything about me –especially the gods. They have no proof what so ever that I have stolen the Lightning Bolt, other than circumspect and insubstantial evidence, including that I'm Poseidon's daughter and I was in New York when it happened. Coincidental proof that would never hold up anywhere. They have no proof on Poseidon either, so my being his daughter is a moot point, as is New York since I've lived here for years.

"And lastly, gods operating through humans? Isn't there yet another ancient law that states that gods cannot interfere in the affairs of humans? They're mixing it up a little. They're practically making their issues human issues, and making it human affairs anyway. And I can see a whole other slew of things that makes gods operating through us complete and utter hypocrisy, as well as selfish and self-serving."

The two others didn't hold back on their gapes. This girl had just fearlessly and unrepentantly insulted and tore apart the gods and their authority.

"I don't give a flip about my dad, but he is still my dad and family. So I'll go on this stupid Quest for him, even if I am being used," she finished bitterly.

"I was only just saying that it was no accident that Poseidon claimed you now. It's a risky gamble, Percy. You must understand, he's in a desperate situation. He needs you."

"And I'm far passed the time where I need him. Can we hurry it up and get this over with, so I can get the hell out of here and do the Quest already?" she snapped irritably.

Chiron sighed, "Very well. I have a sword that is perfect for you –"

"No need! I found two cool broad swords!" Percy was suddenly cheerful, remembering her loot. "I found 'em in the Attic."

Grover sweatdropped while Chiron's mouth opened and closed a couple of times.

"Percy…"

"Hey, they're not being used! It'll be a waste to just let them rust up there," she pouted.

To avoid being even more disoriented and bewildered as he already was, Chiron just pushed it aside.

"Regardless, it will be a good sword to have by your side, as back up if you choose. Especially since it will always return to you, no matter what." Chiron handed her a ballpoint pen. "It has a long and tragic history, this sword. It's name is Anaklumos."

"Riptide," she murmured. Then her eyes narrowed. "Both names sound ocean-y."

Chiron nervously folded his hands in his lap, "It is a gift from your father. I've kept it safe all these years, not knowing who I was supposed to give it to until now."

She scoffed, but didn't say anything, about to put it away in her pocket when it transformed into a silver circlet.

Percy stared at it.

"I liked you better as a pen."

It stayed a circlet.

"Turn back."

Somehow, it seemed to glint in a stubborn way.

"Come on! Transform back! There's no way in hell I'm going to wear a circlet!" she shouted at it.

It turned into a flowery jade and bronze hair comb.

"You're being a smartass, aren't you?" Percy glared at it.

It turned to gold.

"I don't want anything too girly or something that'll get in the way!"

She gritted her teeth, snatching it up and holding it to her eye level as she scowled.

"Don't you dare be smart with me, object!" she hissed.

It turned back to a circlet, only this time in light rainbow colors.

She sighed, hanging her head in defeat as the circlet was still held in her hand, somehow exuding triumph.

"Okay, can you at least transform into something handy?"

The circlet began just being shiny in response.

"I'll be happy with the hair comb," she mumbled.

It turned back to the flowery gold hair comb. She twitched.

"Jade and bronze please," she looked at it reproachfully.

It did so dutifully, even becoming a different design, and she sighed petulantly afterwards. At least it wasn't gaudy, obtrusive, or likely to attract too much attention to her during her Quest. She studied the new design with fading irritation, finding it had become two small wings, a circle made to be like the sun connecting the wings in the middle, with rays on all sides, and a long sword cutting down the middle and serving as the main pick to put in her hair. It was silver and bronze now, so at least she didn't have to worry about jade breaking or whatever.

Putting it reluctantly in her hair, she stared back at the two who were gaping at her and staring at her uncertainly respectively.

"Were you just…arguing with the sword?" Grover asked unsurely.

"So? It's sentient, I tell you!" she snapped defensively.

"Um…okay."

Chiron cleared his throat, "What's left is for you to choose two people to come with you on this Quest and find transportation to get you to the Underworld, which is in Los Angeles by the way."

"Grover," she said immediately. "Searcher's license and all –that is, if you're okay with coming?" she smiled reassuringly at her longtime friend.

He gave her a shaky thumbs up.

"And Luke," she said immediately after, causing it to go silent as everyone stared at her. "What?" she scrunched up her eyebrows in confusion.

Annabeth suddenly appeared, snatching a hat off her head.

"Wait! I was supposed to go on this Quest! I mean, uh…I…volunteered," she mumbled at the end, finishing lamely.

She was stared at in turn, with Chiron and Grover beginning to fidget after and Percy still staring at the younger girl. Annabeth flushed red. Well, why wouldn't Percy take Luke? She was closer to him, knew him better…there was no good answer as to why Percy wouldn't, shouldn't take Luke.

"Luke is a good choice," Chiron winced. "But um…Annabeth would be better at strategy and…and she is capable of becoming invisible, as you just witnessed…and she is very logical…" even to his own ears, his argument sounded weak.

"Okay, whatever," Percy reluctantly conceded, still staring at the group. She shrugged it off. "Fine, when do we leave?"

"In a week," Chiron exhaled in relief. "We're trying to set up a safe transport, and it'll be a week before we can make that happen. After that, you'll have a week to get to Los Angeles, get the Bolt, and return it to Olympus."

Percy nodded sharply. "Okay, we're done here, right? I'm going to go."

She left without another word, seeking out Luke. He was, funnily enough, in her cabin, puttering around and cleaning. She leaned against the doorway, watching with a smirk.

"Hey, hunny. Is lunch ready?" she said sarcastically.

"Shut up. I'll let it burn," he snarked.

She chuckled and walked towards him.

"I'm being serious," he huffed. "I have chicken in the oven."

"Gods, I forgot my cabin actually has a kitchen in it," she hmmed, smelling the chicken now that she wasn't focused on teasing Luke. "Nice. Want me to tell you about my day?"

"Sure," he said hesitantly, seeing her now irritable mood.

She retold the recent events, pouting even more the second time she remembered being cornered into not bringing Luke.

"Mmhm," Luke nodded, sitting at the kitchen table and putting a pillow at his feet, signaling for her to come sit there. He took the hair comb out of her hair and untied it, starting to brush through it first with his fingers and then with a brush he'd put aside. "Maybe it's a good thing I'm not coming."

She sighed, but conceded. He didn't elaborate, but he didn't need to. She trusted his word, so she'd accept it.

"I want to come though. Las Vegas is on the way," he grinned at that, winking at her. "Steal a drink for me?"

She rolled her eyes, "Maybe."

"Oh, hey. You remember when we were talking about heroes and antiheroes?" he changed the subject.

"Huh?"

"I made you a costume," his grin turned crazily. "Well, the Aphrodite cabin helped out and mostly did it, but I designed it. I'll bring it later so you can wear it on your Quest."

"Really?" her lips twitched into an easy smile. "I kind of started sketching you in something, but it's silly."

"Oh, I'd like to see!" Luke's face lit up, and she couldn't ignore that. Shyly, she fetched her sketchbook and showed it to him, and he smiled at it. "Hey, I look like a Roman general! Nice."

"What does mine look like?" she asked curiously.

Luke blushed, "It's kind of game characterish, I suppose."

"I think it'll look great on me," she smiled at him reassuringly. "I promise I'll wear it on the Quest."

"The chicken! I'll be right back!" he stumbled away from her and grabbed something to protect his hands from the hot pan.

"Hey, Luke," she called out softly.

"Yeah?" he answered back; still facing the chicken as he checked it.

"I got you something," she placed the simple band on the table.

Luke turned around and his eyes widened.

"You made me a ring. I thought I'd return the favor," she murmured.

The ring was simple, made of white-gold like hers. She had taken the leftover pearl from Luke without him knowing, and had added it to the middle, engraving a caduceus in the middle of the pearl. There were two long wings set on either side of the pearl, stretching all the way around the band to meet on the other side. She had put sapphire shavings into the etchings, except on the caduceus she had made sure to make the sapphire shavings completely solid, instead of making the slight coloring glittering, like on the wings and her own ring.

"'Let's keep falling,'" Luke read the engraving inside, tenderly holding onto the ring as he examined it with a small smile. "Matching rings. I love it."

"Do you want it, Luke?" she echoed his words from some time ago.

"Are you kidding me? Of course!" and he slid it immediately on his left ring finger, drawing a blush from her. "And now…lunch!"

They began eating Luke's prepared lunch with a bit of chatter, neither really noticing how domestic the whole scene seemed.

"Hey, I was looking through one of Silena's Bebe catalogues and I found a pretty silver chain bracelet that reminded me of you. It has a black ribbon threaded through the main silver chain, a bunch of smaller chains with it, and a small watch and a small black strawberry ornament attached. You know…your White Rabbit giving you a watch so you'll never be late," he winked at her, taking it from his pocket and dangling it next to his face.

She blushed prettily, "Don't I have your pocket watch to do that?"

"No way. Knowing you, you would never wear it because you'd be afraid to get it scratched up. So I got you this," Luke took her wrist and put the bracelet around it. "It's cute and it completely matches you."

"Aw, man. Luke, I'm losing at this gift game," she pouted. "I'm never going to catch up to you with all the gifts you keep giving me."

"Give up. You'll never win. I'm just awesome like that!" Luke began to purposely laugh obnoxiously.

Percy stuck out her tongue at him.

"You. Suck."

"So we have a week," Luke turned solemn, his smile turning a little more sad.

She became a little wary, unsure of Luke's mood change.

"We should stay here, just the two of us. One week, we won't leave," he murmured. "Stay here with me, Percy. Just…let's just stay here together and keep everyone out."

Percy stared at him, wondering what was going through his head and why the strange request. But seeing Luke so serious and almost desperate under the surface…well, she couldn't say no to him like that.

"Alright. Sounds fun. How are we going to eat if we just stay in here though? Bathroom and bed, I get. Food'll run out," she pointed out.

"I stocked up earlier so we're good for a week," he reassured her.

And that was the start of their week together.

They didn't come out that entire week, Luke insisting they stay together in her cabin and refusing to go out or let anyone else in. It was like they were in their own little world. Before, the others had always seen their interactions with each other as just that, except in the metaphorical sense. Now that the two were holing themselves up with just each other for company, the suggestion became literal.

They alternated and sometimes cooked together, they cleaned together, they whispered and made plans in the dark of the night…

Sometimes, they would just sit in front of her fireplace and quietly enjoy each other's presence. Sometimes, Luke would have his head on her lap and she would play with soft strands of blond hair as they stared at the fire. Sometimes, it would be the other way around.

And still, Percy didn't know what was wrong with Luke or why he was acting this way.

"So how are we going to sleep?" Luke asked cheerily.

"You sleep on your bed, I sleep on mine. What's difficult about that?"

"But I want to sleep with you."

Percy coughed embarrassed, "As much as it is very comforting sleeping in the same bed as you, the beds are small and hardly fit us both."

"We've managed."

"But for a week?"

Luke sighed, "Okay, okay. I got this."

The beds there actually had wheels, unlike all the other beds in camp, so Luke quickly wheeled his over next to hers. They both tentatively laid on it, scooting closer to each other in the middle, when suddenly the beds moved apart and the two of them fell onto the ground. They burst out laughing, nursing bruised elbows and hips, and foreheads where they had knocked heads on the way down.

"Ah, geez. Wheeled beds would be awesome in any other cabin, but they're just a nuisance here. Imagine if we had tried to have sex in the middle of those two beds –"

"Luke!" she threw a pillow at his head as he chortled.

"I got another idea," Luke's laughter slowed down as he got up and then helped her up.

One by one, he took the two mattresses off their frame, moved the frames aside, and then placed them side by side on the floor.

He looked at her fondly, "So how about it."

She just plopped down onto the bed and felt Luke moved to lie down behind her, easily slipping his arms around her waist and pulling him to his chest. She hid her smile in her arm and just mentally shook her head.

She remembered that, from the beginning of their week. And really…she didn't care about why Luke was acting the way he was, if only because they were having a comfortable and happy time the way they were.

"Don't go," Luke's voice spoke quietly.

She turned to him in surprise.

"Just don't go on that Quest, Percy," his voice sounded suspiciously like he was on the verge of tears. "Don't go looking for Zeus' Bolt."

"Why?" she asked in confusion.

"Because I'll lose you if you go. I'll lose you and you'll be gone from me forever," his voice broke.

She lifted his downed head and saw that he was actually crying. Confused and a bit panicked, she pulled him to her and held him close, shushing and whispering comforting words.

"I won't leave you, Luke. I won't. You won't lose me, I promise," she murmured.

She wished they could stay in their little world forever, if only for Luke's sake. And a part for herself as well.


It was time to go, and underneath that happy smile, Percy could see how upset and distraught Luke still was. She was concerned and she still hadn't found out what was bothering him. If she could, she would've locked him up and interrogated him until he confessed what was going on.

"Say cheese, Percy," Luke murmured, standing in front of her as she stood next to Thalia's tree.

Instead, she just turned and gave a reassuring smile that she knew he needed –if the slight relaxing of his shoulders and softening of his eyes meant much.

He smiled back at her as well, taking the picture.

It was going to be a long week and Quest.

Started 2/26/10 –Completed 8/26/10

Chapter Text

"Clutch, Annabeth," Percy ordered, not even looking up from the book she was reading.

"Where's Argus?" Grover groaned.

The car continued to jerk every few minutes.

"If you're going to teach Annabeth how to drive, at least look up from your book!" Grover snapped at the distracted demigod.

Percy hmmed, flipping a page.

"See that stop sign in the middle of this nowhere? You still have to stop, even though no one's around," Percy told Annabeth, still reading. "And Argus is busy filming as an extra in a B horror movie."

Grover and Annabeth gaped at her.

"Annabeth, eyes back on the road."

The blond girl flustered for a bit, hunching closer to the wheel and peered out of the windshield with narrowed and concentrated eyes.

"I can't believe they gave us shift," Percy huffed, turning another page. "How would they know if I or Grover knew stick shift? Probably not thinking at all, like usual. They're just lucky I know how to drive shift too. It would be so much easier for you to learn how to drive automatic, Annabeth."

Grover whimpered.

Rolling her eyes, she marked her page and finally put down her book, choosing to focus all her attention on directing Annabeth on her first driving lesson. Annabeth was even more happier at this, as not only was she learning to drive (and 12 at that!), but also because Percy was the one teaching her.

"What are you reading anyway?" Grover grumbled, getting carsick, although Annabeth was getting much better now that Percy was personally directing her. Not that Percy hadn't caught the other girl's mistakes before, but catching them and preventing them was two different things.

"The Marriage of Alchemy by Nicolas Flamel, offspring of Hecate and a demigod Son of Athena," Percy moved the wheel back to its rightful place when Annabeth had jerked the wheel harshly to the right from Percy's announcement.

"Why are you reading that!"

"Why not?" Percy asked, genuinely curious, catching the wheel again and redirecting it properly.

Annabeth blushed, "Well…alchemy is more along Hecate's children, who are more gifted with magic. Not everyone can do magic, you know, and alchemy is more reserved along that line. I don't see what use it would be to you."

Percy shrugged, "Interesting stuff though. You're Athena's kid and all, aren't you supposed to want to learn everything even if you can't do it?"

Annabeth started sputtering, but Grover cut in with a wry grin on his face.

"Percy, say no more. We're about to go mad with you here."

"You're not British."

"Shut up, Percy."

Percy shut up with a smug grin, and concentrated on teaching Annabeth how to drive. It was only half an hour later that their car sputtered, just like Annabeth, and started to die. All three of them stared incredulously at the gas tank, seeing the blinking ticker.

"Are you kidding me?" Percy twitched.

Annabeth scowled, "What was that one week for if they weren't getting us good transportation?"

Grover sighed, "I'm not sure what happened, but it looks like we're going to have to start walking."

Grumbling to themselves, they got out, unpacked their stuff, and began their trek the rest of the way. Somewhere along the highway, they caught a lucky break when someone stopped and they hitched a ride to the Greyhound Station near where Percy and her mother had lived. She gazed in that direction solemnly.

Playing with her suspenders, she soon quit that and started fiddling with the leather pants they were attached to. Still irritated and fidgety, she abandoned that to toy with her gloves and arm warmers, fingers brushing against the Amazonian bracelets that had turned invisible on her wrists. Her agitation was rising, though she didn't know why, so she focused her energy on rummaging through her backpack. The ring Luke had given her flashed from the light of the sun as she looked through her bag, firmly planted on her left ring finger, and the bracelet he'd given was around her right wrist, clanging around a bit against other stuff in her bag. She paused at the wrapped pocket watch, and caressed it quickly before moving on.

Her hand grasped the hilt of one of the broadswords briefly, and she was about to take them out and sling it across her back when –

"I don't know why you had to bring those," Grover mumbled.

She blinked and took out Riptide, and pointed the pointy end at him, the hair pick transforming as she let the edge graze Grover's head.

"Boo. Surprise."

Grover had jumped away as soon as it was pointing at him, and was now pouting at her from a foot away.

"Alright, alright! I get it!"

Percy hummed a tune, still nervous as she put Riptide back into her braided hair.

"Why are you nervous?" Annabeth snapped. "You're making us nervous with you!"

"Something's not right," Percy murmured, gazing somewhere off.

Both of the others froze, staring at her.

"W-what do you mean, something's not right?" Grover asked weakly.

"I'm getting a bad feeling," Percy frowned.

That made the other two hover closer to her, gazing about them worriedly, and just waiting for something to jump out of the shadows and attack them. Percy was tense, but alert as her eyes darted around, ignoring the two next to her shaking with nerves and repeatedly coming closer as time ticked on.

"Stop being jumpy!" she scowled at them. "I don't want to be jumpy and make a mistake! Relax and be aware of your surroundings, so you don't fly off the handle. I don't have time or patience to watch out for you every second of the day."

Percy winced and relaxed her scowl, turning away from them and wincing inwardly at her harshness. Still, Percy had been fidgeting but the way the two were acting looked more likely to lead into premature acting on their part, not redirecting their energy to calm down and keep busy. She had to remember the two weren't exactly used to the outside world and repeatedly fighting off monsters, no matter how many years they spent in the outside world when they were younger or scouting. Grover wasn't the type to fight, and Annabeth was young when any fighting against monsters was done.

The younger you were the less likely monsters were to find you until you turn 12, and then you were mostly helped by a satyr to get to Camp Half-Blood. That's how it was, they'd explained to her. The only reason Annabeth got caught up in any monster fighting was because she ran away, and even then it was mostly Luke and Thalia who'd fought them off, and even then they didn't have the finesse of fighting they would have learned at camp. Then there's only so much experience you could get in the camp and it's not enough against the real things, especially since there hadn't been a Quest since Luke's last failed one years ago.

Percy had the misfortune of fighting monsters almost every day, even despite a god's supposed blessing, and not even Gabe's smell could cover her up.

The blessing had only helped until she turned 12, where monsters sought her out by weeks or even months and weren't as aggressive as they could have been. Then after she turned 12, they started coming sporadically and without warning just days after the other. Four years of that, and Percy had learned to sufficiently defend herself without camp, and much better if she could say so herself.

Monster after monster, day after day, and she got used to it even though she knew now that it wasn't normal to have so many after you like that.

Guess it was a curse of being a child of one of the Big Three. It was a bit similar to Thalia after all.

The Greyhound bus came into view and Percy handed out the tickets they'd just bought. They piled into the bus and sat at the back, but Percy got a hold of her broadswords and surreptitiously slid them across her lap, hands gripping the hilts tightly as she cross them into an x.

"Percy?" Grover's eyes were wide.

"Annabeth, take out your dagger and get ready to put on your cap. Grover, sniff the air."

Both of them did as Percy ordered, and Grover winced.

"Something's up."

A few seconds later, an old lady entered the bus. Two more followed after her, and all three demigods tensed.

"Di immortales! All three of them!" Grover moaned under his breath.

Percy didn't even wait for the Furies to start forward. She darted ahead and twisted, ramming the back of the swords against two of the Furies' faces. Then she bent slightly and tried to follow up by slicing them in half, one of them getting away cleanly and the other was just clipped. She had to back away when the last of the Furies dashed forward, and she cursed the small space they were fighting in.

"Annabeth, dagger now!"

Percy ducked and Annabeth's dagger flew over head to stab the third Fury dead on in the neck, and she burst into a shower of gold dust. Annabeth had somehow snuck to the front and jerked the wheel, the bus careening into a tunnel before toppling to the side. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover immediately got out, but before they could get far, a fire whip lashed out above their heads, stopping them.

"Where is it, Perseas Jackson? Where is it?"

"Where is what?" Percy snapped, ducking to the side as the fire whip cracked again, right where she had just been.

"Don't play dumb," Alecto hissed.

Percy rolled her eyes and tossed her bag to Grover, having grabbed an ordinary and unassuming plastic water bottle.

Grover squinted his eyes, reading the label.

"Fi…ji…Water?"

"This is no time to quench your thirst, Percy!" Annabeth screeched in panic.

Percy sighed and ignored the other two, uncapping her water bottle and waving a hand over the opening and drawing out some of the water. She jerked her wrist in a cracking motion, and the water moved into a whip and diverted Alecto's fire whip to the side. When the fire whip came back again, Percy moved her arm and cracked her opposite water whip to lash out against it. Quickly, before Alecto had a chance to move again, Percy cracked the whip one last time, diagonally cutting across Alecto, and the Fury screeched before disintegrating into gold dust.

She looked off to the side to see Annabeth and Grover holding off the last Fury but were beginning to tire. A tick formed at her temple and she inwardly cursed the Fates. And whoever was out to get her. Blasted puppet masters in this world…

Inspired by a TV show, she moved her foot and the land began rumbling from the direction of her foot to where the Fury was, the ground emerging and tossing the Fury into the air.

"Annabeth! Angriff! Feuer!" Percy yelled.

Annabeth automatically threw her dagger and it hit the Fury head on, causing it to burst into gold dust.

"Percy…did you just yell out at Annabeth in German?" Grover sweatdropped.

Percy shrugged, "Yeah, so what?"

Both of them sighed in exasperation.

"What did you say anyway?" Annabeth twitched.

"You mean you didn't know? You responded like you did."

"…"

"Ah, well I said 'Attack!' 'Fire!' Which you did. With your dagger."

"…"

"Alright!" Percy cheered up. "We should go. Like right now. Before the others come to their senses and get us."

Annabeth and Grover's heads snapped to the side, finally noticing the gathering audience in panic. They grabbed one of Percy's arms each and hightailed it out of there, keeping their bags on hand and ignoring the lightning that struck the bus and made it explode.

"Man, he really is out to get me," Percy commented with a huff. "Uncle Zeus should take a chill pill."

Both of her companions reached over and pinched her.

"Ouch! Hey! What was that for?" she pouted.

"Don't say their names, and especially don't say Zeus' name like that or say he needs to take a 'chill pill,'" Annabeth hissed.

Percy rolled her eyes. "You would think they wouldn't mind, maybe even get a high or an orgasm every time someone mentions their name. 'Names have power,'" she mocked. "Then they should be happy their names keep getting mentioned. Give them a power boost or something."

Grover shifted his eyes everywhere and Annabeth grimaced.

"I can't believe you said that. The images are burning my mind," Annabeth cringed.

"This isn't a magic dueling card game," Grover sighed.

Percy just hmmed and ignored them.

"This Greek gods thing? Awesome," Percy nodded knowledgeably.

"And why's that?" Annabeth asked, even though it sounded like a rhetorical question and Grover was shaking his head 'no' at her.

"Because when your life gets shitty, you know who to blame," Percy responded cheerily. "Everyone else sees bad luck, us half-bloods know better. Someone up there really hates you and is trying to make you miserable."

The others accepted it as just another Percy moment and tried to move on. Annabeth and Percy began talking about Annabeth's life before camp and how much she was glad to be on this Quest because she's never really been able to go outside of camp before. Grover was playing a tune on his reed pipes.

"Are you playing Hilary Duff?" Percy scrunched up her eyebrows.

Grover blinked innocently, "Yeah, why?"

Percy bit her lip, "Not that I don't like some songs from her, but…what a waste of my teachings! We need to get some Rolling Stones into you, Grover."

Annabeth laughed at Grover's sheepish expression.


Poseidon once again gazed at the picture of his daughter. He didn't have many daughters, and definitely none that were half-bloods. Most of them had never really been human like Perseas, fragile and flesh and blood, even with the blood of a god running through her veins. He tried again to look upon her, but as always all he got were blurry and distorted images and sounds, never as clear as the photo in his hands.

She was so pretty.

He knew he'd loved her, as he'd loved all his children (usually), but looking upon her visage now…she seemed much more delicate and an instinctive urge to protect her rose in him. Although, he did have more than an inkling in his head that she was very capable of taking care of herself –that didn't change how he felt however.

But despite the need to protect her and the obvious love for a child, he had no idea what to think about her. She quite obviously, from the brief moments something came through when he'd check on her, despised him. He definitely wasn't sure what to think about that. He remembered that before now, with this whole stolen Bolt stuff going on, he hadn't even known he had a girl. And now she was caught up in this 'Lightning Thief' business, and whether or not a war would be started rested on her behalf. Not to mention his innocence depended on her…

He wasn't sure about her at all.

Still, he remembered the first time he saw her, right when Hermes handed him that photo. Speaking of the other god, he'd been acting funny ever since delivering Percy's picture to him, maybe even before then…

Poseidon felt extraordinarily keen and impatient as he saw Hermes approach, wondering what his daughter looked like and anticipation built up in him quickly.

What  did  she look like? Did she have his eyes? Sally's hair? Did she have her nose or his?

Most of all, he was just happy and eager to finally be able to see what she looked like at all. After all this time, he was finally getting to see his daughter.

Strangely, Hermes shyly handed him the photo and he almost snatched it from the other god's hands. Gazing at it for the first time, unknowingly a tender look crossed his face and his thumb gently smooth across the image of his daughter. Hermes slipped away, unconsciously touching his own hidden copy reassuringly.

And while Poseidon gazed at the photo of his only demigod daughter, Hermes in turn was actually looking at the same photo as well. The Olympian fields he calmly sat in were filled with gentle breezes and he felt at peace as he looked at the photo in his hands intensely.

The photo was suddenly plucked out of his hands.

"Now what are you looking at, dearest brother?" Aphrodite smirked, amused and curious at what had Hermes captured so. She glanced at the photo and did a double take in surprise. "Now who's this girl? Isn't she a beauty. Too bad she's not one of mine. Who's her Olympian parent? Or is this one of your new daughters?"

He grimaced at that, the thought of her as one of his own not sitting well with him.

"No. She's…Poseidon's..." he reluctantly revealed.

The Goddess of Love's eyes widened and her face showed her shock, but she quickly morphed it to one that told everyone she was quickly scheming and it was most likely to do with her profession. Somehow, that didn't sit well with him either.

"Aphrodite, there you are. Have you seen my sister? Last I check, she was hiding from you," Apollo asked, giving her a million-watt smile. Ares trailed behind him grumpily, having been looking for Aphrodite as well.

Aphrodite giggled, "No, no. I haven't seen Arty dear. No, but you can tell her that I'll be preoccupied for a while." That came out as a purr and Hermes narrowed his eyes at her.

"Leave her alone. You haven't even met her yet," Hermes snapped, snatching the photo from her hands.

"Met who?" Ares frowned.

"Poseidon's girl," Aphrodite's smirk widened, just as Apollo snuck beside Hermes and once again the photo was plucked out of his hands, the sun god cockily flinging an arm onto Hermes' shoulder as he leaned on the other man and crossed a leg behind his other. Apollo's cocky smile slowly faded away as he looked at the photo, examining the girl intensely.

"Oh, isn't she gorgeous? A real shame she isn't one of mine. I have so many plans for her. I'm going to have so much fun with this girl!" Aphrodite cooed and became lost in her plans and her own babbling.

Ares glanced at her and then at his brothers, before he sidled over to the other two gods and echoed Apollo's position on Hermes' other side, straining his neck over Hermes' shoulder to gaze at the girl also. She was pretty, he could admit to that. Very pretty, he admitted. Their uncle didn't have the same gorgeous shade of sea-green eyes she did, though it was obvious she'd inherited it from him. She didn't get his tan skin, so it must've been her mother's genetics. Her long dark hair was her father's, though it being soft and silky probably had more to do with her mother.

The three were so busy staring at the photo that they hadn't noticed when Aphrodite stopped her planning and had noticed their intense concentration on that one photo. She frowned gently and she narrowed her eyes, a twinge of annoyance and even a slight jealousy entered her. Then her expression looked torn, one side scheming and the other throwing a tantrum. But then her face fluttered into a closed, blank expression and she put on an insipid smile –even as her mind was racing with ideas and rants a mile a minute.

Meanwhile…

"I don't get why we're supposed to hate each other," Percy whined. "You don't act like you hate me."

Annabeth coughed embarrassedly. Still, she tried to explain about Percy's dad with Medusa in Athena's temple and about Athens. Percy just blinked at her.

"So? What's that got to do with us?"

Grover just shook his head as Annabeth gave an unsure smile.

"We've been walking awhile. We should take a stop soon," Percy commented a little after.

"Why don't we stop there?" Grover pointed out the place first, and Percy and Annabeth squinted their eyes at the red neon sign.

"That…is totally killer on the dyslexic eyes," Percy proclaimed.

Annabeth hummed an agreement.

"It says 'Aunty Em's Garden Gnome Emporium,'" Grover translated for them.

"Damn. I was hoping for fast-food," Percy pouted. "I'm hungry."

The other two rolled their eyes.

They entered hesitantly, on guard for anything suspicious, when a Middle Eastern (she assumed so) woman came out and smiled at them from underneath her dark veil. And then she caught sight of Percy; she tensed and actually hissed. Not human-hiss, but hiss hiss. Like snake-hiss.

The woman burst into a snake-like form, the torso of a beautiful woman with a head full of snakes, and the bottom half a long serpent's body that she used to propel herself quickly forward. Annabeth and Grover were thrown to the sides as she headed straight to a shocked and panicked Percy, grabbing the Daughter of Poseidon by her neck in a vice grip and violently slammed her against the wall. The force of the impact jarred her, and her neck whipped first back brutally against the wall, actually causing a huge dent the size of her head and fractures around it, and then it whipped forward.

"My grudge against you stands far more personal than even my grudge against the Gray-Eyed One, Daughter of Poseidon," Medusa purred into her ear.

She craned her neck away desperately, yelling out to the others.

"Grover, check on Annabeth! Then get out of here!" she screeched before she brought her knees up to her chest and then kicked out with both legs, slamming her feet against Medusa angrily.

Medusa was forced away and Percy stumbled to her feet. Forcing herself to gain her bearings quickly, she started to scramble away, running in blind panic around the building and cursing the hedges that she quickly realized were meant to be a maze.

"Use the reflection on one of your broadswords to look out for her!" she heard Annabeth's voice off in the distance.

While pissed off she was still there, Percy was grateful for the advice. With her head in a tizzy and unable to get a moment to think, she hadn't been able to think of that. She grabbed one of her broadswords from her back, where she'd slung it after the Furies incident, and immediately started using it to look behind and around her.

"Do you know what your father did to me?" Medusa hissed, and it sounded nearby.

She whirled around and tried to catch even just a glimpse with the broadsword, noticing she'd made it to the front again with the fountain she now saw was full of drachma.

"He took me to Athena's temple, High Priestess as I was there, and raped me," and all of a sudden the hissing was right next to her ear, and Medusa was next to her frozen figure. "Athena turned me into this monster, but he –Poseidon was the one who took and took from me, and then left me to deal with the consequences. I alone was punished."

"N-no, no!" Percy choked out, already feeling tears sliding down her face.

"Yesss! He took me and I became the monster! But it is he who is the monster!"

"That's a lie!" Percy hissed, eerily similar to Medusa.

She didn't understand why she was defending Poseidon so much, especially with how much she detested him, but her father to be one of those men –she wanted him to have at least one saving grace.

"Why do you want to help the gods? Why go on this Quest, Poseidon's brat? You will go to the Underworld, and then what? In the end, you will only be one of their many pawns, toiling for their amusement and selfish gain. Beware the gods, girl! They care for no one but themselves. I will grant you a mercy that they wouldn't, turn you into a statue and less pain, less pain."

Percy stopped struggling, limp in Medusa's grasp and triumph for the monster seemed to be at hand. Then Percy's head lifted and though her eyes were close, a sneer managed to make her anger known.

"Go to hell," 'Tartarus,' her mind supplied, but she ignored it and focused.

A second later, water crashed into Medusa. But it didn't stop at force; it washed over and suddenly began freezing Medusa and her serpent body. Percy jerked herself back and turned around, holding up the broadsword to see what was happening. Medusa's eyes were scrunched closed, probably from the force of the initial attack, so Percy turned and watched stoically as Medusa finished freezing over. Blinking several times dazedly, her hand was unconsciously reaching out and she'd gently touched the ice statue. But that was enough for Medusa to tip over and crash into a million pieces on the floor.

Then Annabeth and Grover finally crashed through the area and they gaped at the scene. Percy stared back numbly.

"I…I didn't mean to do that."

Started 9/15/10 –Completed 10/5/10

Chapter Text

"I-it's okay, Percy. It was an accident. A-and she was trying to kill you," Annabeth's voice shook, still staring at the frozen pieces that had been Medusa.

"A lucky accident," Grover said in awe, staring as well.

Percy flinched, "Let's look around quickly and see if we can find anything that could help us, before we hightail it out of here."

"Percy…that's not how your father…that's not how the story goes," Annabeth forced out. "It could've been something else, a misunderstanding. Or she was lying! Don't take her words at face value."

Percy's face darkened, "Whatever."

The Daughter of Poseidon stalked off, leaving the two behind. Annabeth deflated, wincing at the last few minutes.

"Well…she has a point. You know the story, but you weren't there. Medusa was an actual participant," Grover hesitantly pointed out.

Annabeth just groaned. Percy came back suddenly, waving what looked like a bill and holding a medium-sized box under her armpit.

"Found the Underworld's address," her voice took a sarcastic tone. She shoved the bill into her pocket and suddenly kneeled down, starting to painstakingly gather each piece of the frozen Medusa, shoving them into the box. She angrily scribbled the address to Olympus on the box after she was finished, and started filling out a delivery slip from the Hermes Overnight Express, pouring a couple drachmas into the attached coin bags.

"They're not going to like that," Grover winced.

"I don't want to hear it," she snapped at them.

Annabeth hesitated before…"Impertinent to the end," she snarked.

Percy shut her mouth and blinked. Then she slowly began to chuckle, shaking her head. Annabeth inwardly sighed in relief and the mood was slightly lightened.

"Let's go, maybe catch a cab or something. I took whatever money she had in the cash register," she added as an afterthought.

The two stared at her, disbelieving once more.

Percy shrugged, "She tried to kill us, so she owes us. Plus, spoils of war and all. Right of conquest."

They camped a little ways away, after Percy had persuaded them to raid the place for food as well. She also knicked some blankets to keep them warm, citing that it wasn't like Medusa could use them. She also blamed the stealing on Luke, though the others just snorted at her.

Annabeth went to sleep as Percy took first watch, but Grover didn't go to sleep yet.

"We'll get this done, Grover. Don't worry. Soon enough, you'll be on your search for Pan," Percy reassured him.

"I know," Grover blushed. "We'll get through this. We have to, you're here after all."

She stuck her tongue out at him before smirking and nodding sagely.

"Too true. Still, don't be too buzzed. Things'll settle and this Quest will end in no time."

Grover was quiet before shrugging. Then he waved around him.

"It's not just that," Grover stated softly. "Look around us. There's garbage everywhere. This…this just makes us sad. Even the sky. You can't see it, it's so polluted."

"You would be an environmentalist," Percy stretched out her legs, crossing her arms behind her head and leaning on it.

Grover snorted and glared. "Of course you would say that. Only humans wouldn't –"

"Finish that sentence and I'll slap you upside the head," Percy looked at him. "Judging one or so many for all is called generalization. In a nice way," she looked at him meaningfully.

"Or have you forgotten about the others who do try to keep the world clean or trying to protect it? Historically, noticeably from the age of Hippies to human environmentalists now, we have a record of people who do care. And people are learning to become eco-conscious. Humans are here to stay, Grover, and we have made stuff that can be harmful, but the only way to stop it all completely is probably a mass genocide of the human race," she said derisively. "The inventions we have made are already here, there's no point in lamenting on them going away and hoping the world will reverse itself if they do. They're here, humans are here, and the only thing to do is look forward and try to find a balance between man-made and nature. What we have made cannot be unmade, what we have done cannot be completely undone. Like I said, a balance would be better to achieve. Complete nature can't be done, just like a completely man-made environment would be harmful. One without the other now would cause too radical a change and create a serious imbalance."

"…You being philosophical is weird."

"And yet I do it often."

"Still weird."

Percy rolled her eyes, "Just go to sleep, Grover. I'll wake you up for your shift…And don't worry about the trash around here. Guaranteed, after we're gone, someone's going to clean up the mess."

Grover frowned, saying unbelievingly, "How would you know that?"

"Around Medusa's office, there's a cleaning schedule for the forest by humans in a nearby recycling center. They go around and make a sweep once a week. Tomorrow's sweep day."

Grover groaned and slapped his hand to his face.

"I should've known…"

But Percy didn't wake any of the others up to switch shifts. She stayed up, contemplating what had been happening and growing more frustrated by the minute. She didn't know what, but something else was afoot here. Hell, why would Alecto scream something about an it at her? That was too obvious a clue to ignore, subtle and small as it was. She knew Annabeth had caught onto that as well, and had probably shared it with Grover while she had been searching Medusa's office. And from the stories she remembered, the Furies were a little too 'fluffy' dealing with them than she thought they would have.

Not like she really cared. She really was just doing this to get her mother back.

She frowned, thinking about her life now and when she'd had her mother. Unhappily, she thought on her father before trying to dismiss him from her mind. It didn't work that well. She hummed, trying to distract herself, but then she realized what song she was humming.

"…When you begin to realize, you know you got your daddy's eyes," she sang softly, glaring in front of her.

"You really don't like your father, don't you?" Annabeth asked quietly.

Percy was startled. She hadn't even notice her waking up or even when had the other girl gotten up and sat near her. She frowned even more to herself, mentally berating herself at her inattentiveness.

"No," she answered shortly, then winced. "Sorry, I hadn't meant to snap at you."

Annabeth just nodded to that. "I just don't understand. How can you dislike your father that much? You haven't even met him."

Percy sighed. "That's exactly why."

The blonde still looked confused, so Percy reluctantly elaborated.

"I haven't met him. He hasn't been there for me in my life and I don't know him. He's so far removed from me that I don't care about him and I don't want anything to do with him."

"But…he's a god," Annabeth struggled to understand.

"Consider this," Percy began quietly. "Your mother has raised you all your life, all by herself, struggling with whatever low income you have and trying to support you and live alright in the world. She even marries some asshole that the both of you know is a sleazy bastard, just to help protect you and hide your scent. Remember the stress of being a single mom with all the other injustices in life, then a jerk husband who doesn't do shit, and still loving that man who left you behind with a child to deal with that kind of life.

"Then you remember your own feelings of abandonment, rejection, and inadequacies. All your life, you've been waiting and longing for daddy, only for daddy to be alive all along and living quite fine. Okay, he's a god. But nothing at all, all these years, as well as how many years of pain for your kind mother and suffering those feelings? Those feelings, experiences, and memories don't just go away, Annabeth. They're there and it's how you feel, no matter whatever excuses or reasons there are. It's not something you can forget. You've felt these things and they've left an imprint on you. And abandonment is abandonment, no matter what or who. He left."

Annabeth looked at her sadly, "I…don't know. I guess it's because I was unhappy with my dad and he didn't really care for me. That's why I'm so attached to my mother, and never felt any resentment towards her."

Percy smiled wryly, "I guess it's easier when you're younger. As the years go by, you kind of lose that hope and forgiveness. Still, when we get back from the Quest, you and I need to talk about your dad. I don't think that's all there is to it, and I don't think you quite understand how your father feels."

"Okay," she mumbled. "I should say the same to you though."

Percy grimaced, "In the end, the situations may look alike but they're different. Whatever it is, at least your father was there, or at least tried his best to be there."

Annabeth nodded, starting to get lost in thought.

The Daughter of Poseidon looked away.

"Maybe I'm just an angry girl," Percy shrugged noncommittally, giving a weary smile.

"Or maybe you just can't help the way you feel," Annabeth supplied wisely.

She gave the other girl a grateful smile before motioning back to Annabeth's previous spot.

"Go back to sleep. I can't, so one of us might as well be able to. I'll just catch up on some sleep later."

Annabeth hesitated but she gave an encouraging smile, so she lay back down over there and soon enough had gone back to sleep. Percy took in a deep breath, moving to stare up at the sky.

"You know you got your daddy's eyes," she sung under her breath.

She took another shuddering breath before she hunched over her knees and clutched at her hair, almost painfully gripping her hair. She willed herself not to cry, but a few traitorous tears managed to sneak out.

"Shit. I really, really hate you, you know?" Percy said, gritting her teeth and willing those words to reach someone who she never wanted to know.

Why was she the one feeling miserable when he was the one who deserved every bit of her resentment and anger?

It just wasn't fair.

"I'll never ever forgive you," she continued her monologue to a man who wasn't even there. But she wanted him to know it and even if he wasn't there, she was going to say her piece. "You left behind my mother and gave her a burden of raising troubled me. She sacrificed her happiness so that I could be happy. You never cared and you never helped her. You left us behind and I felt like an idiot all these years, believing in you and hoping you'd come back. Well, now I wish you wouldn't. You have no right to insert yourself back into our lives, so stay out just like you've been doing these past years."

"You have such pretty eyes, baby. You have your father's eyes."

Percy swallowed harshly. Eyes that everyone thought were so pretty and they'd adored, she absolutely hated.

"You know you got your daddy's eyes," she sung one last time, before falling silent and staying that way for the rest of the time before it was time to leave.


The gods were having another meeting, and things were still tense between Poseidon and Zeus and everyone was suffering for it. Hermes frowned, feeling his messenger bag get heavy. He rummaged through it, and felt a package. Taking it out, he blinked at it before realizing that he had everyone staring at him.

"What?"

"You usually have your packages directed to Iris while we're meeting. Why would she send it to you?" Athena furrowed her eyebrows.

Hermes shrugged. "Maybe it's something only I can deliver or…" he trailed off, seeing the address. "It's addressed to us. All of us."

"What?" Hera asked in confusion, leaning forward curiously.

"It says 'The Gods, Mount Olympus, 600th Floor, Empire State Building, New York, NY. With Best Wishes, Percy Jackson,'" Hermes read aloud.

"Hey, Uncle P! Your daughter sent us something," Apollo exclaimed excitedly.

Hermes opened it up and dumped it out onto the floor for them all to see. Everyone stared.

"The nerve of her!" Athena screeched.

Apollo whistled, "Man, she's got some firepower."

Ares laughed raucously. "I like her style."

But Poseidon and Zeus only stared, awe and anxiety filling them, with grudging awe on Zeus' part.

"Impertinent, or she could just be a pissed off maiden," Artemis stated in amusement.

"Or both," Apollo chirped up cheerfully.

"She's powerful alright," Zeus murmured. "And she has so much control over her powers already…"

Poseidon only looked away as the others fidgeted nervously.

"The prophecy, Brother," Zeus uttered.

Poseidon winced and just shook his head, refusing to answer.

Amusement and indignation started fading from the others, to be replaced by anxiety filling all of them.

For the frozen remains of Medusa lay scattered all over their floor.

While they continued to muse over the unexpected 'present', the one who sent it to them was busy waking up the other two traveling with her. She and Annabeth went scavenging for food back at Medusa's place, and they came back to see Grover with an unnatural pink poodle on his lap.

"What. The. Hell?"

"Tartarus," Annabeth corrected, also staring.

Grover beamed at them. "This is Gladiola. He's our ticket west."

Percy snorted, "Are you sure it's a he?"

Annabeth elbowed her while Grover glowered. The poodle let out a whining sound.

"There, there. Hi! I'm sure you're a he," Annabeth tried to soothe the dog.

The poodle barked slightly menacingly.

Percy snickered, "Looks like it still likes me better."

"I wouldn't know why," Annabeth said sarcastically.

Percy was still skeptical, but went along with it since Grover seemed so sure and because they had nothing else to go on. They went ahead and returned the poodle, got the reward, and were now…currently arguing.

"What do you mean we're only going to use the money to get to Denver?" Annabeth yelled. "With the reward money and the money you took from Medusa, we have enough for a full trip to LA."

Grover snorted, "She's frugal, I tell you. It was the same back at Yancy! Stop being stingy with the money, Percy!"

Percy just stared at the other two stoically.

"No dice."

The other two erupted into another round of yelling and Percy just turned a deaf ear to it.

"Besides," she drawled. "With our luck, a whole trip to LA will end badly. Something or other will come after us and we'll have to abandon our ride. Again. And had wasted money. I hate wasted money."

She gave them a look.

"Spent money should be spent well."

They reluctantly agreed, going along with her. So they trekked it to the Amtrak station and bought three tickets to Denver. Hilariously, Percy caught a glimpse of several front page newspapers about the Greyhound incident.

Apparently, she was now a FBI or CIA undercover agent that had stopped three terrorists wearing elderly masks. Both agencies were denying any connection, though the denials looked 'suspicious' according to the reporters.

"The Mist must like you," Annabeth looked at her weirdly.

"Hm?" Percy tilted her head in confusion.

"Most of the time? The Mist makes it look like we're the terrorists."

Percy just shrugged and smiled angelically. Both Grover and Annabeth snorted. She started reading the article again in amusement.

16 year old Percy Jackson was an up and coming future law student, already a dedicated student at the prestigious Yancy Academy, working diligently as a waitress at the restaurant bar Grunner's, and recently interning at the renowned  Halter and Geriam's Law Firm. And now, it could be that her recent disappearance is the work of being recruited into the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Central Intelligence Agency.

Not too long ago, Percy Jackson and her mother Sally Jackson disappeared after driving on a mother-daughter trip. All that was found was Gabe Ugliano's, Jackson's stepfather, car –smoldering and demolished off to the side of the road. It is now speculated that terrorists were involved somehow and that Sally Jackson is now in Witness Protection or has been offered some kind of security while her daughter is tracking down the terrorists and bringing them to justice. Whether or not Jackson was recruited prior or after the attack is not known.

As to the terrorist attack on the Greyhound bus, which was the last sighting of Jackson, several eyewitnesses have come forward and offered their testimonies.

Roger Jensen, 34, had this to say:

"It's brilliant! She came out of nowhere as these three elderly ladies came onto the bus, threatening and all, and she immediately went at them. She was doing these kick-ass moves and she had these two matching pair of guns that she was shooting expertly at the terrorists. Never missed! Bet she's a crack shot. Anyways, after the fight while the bus was going, the bus somehow careened sideways or something and we hit gravel. Outside of the bus, they were still going at it and the elderly ladies' masks all came off. The last two terrorists were taken out then, while the first had been while the bus driving. I think she had two accomplices with her, or they're people she was supposed to protect. They were helping her fight them off."

Jackson is an accomplished martial artist in Chinese Kempo, 6 th  degree black belt. If she is found, she could apply for 7 th  degree.

For more of Jackson's accomplishments, turn to page 4. Includes interviews with her Grunner's boss, Lucas Wright, on her steadfast workmanship and easy-going personality, and with her employer at Halter and Geriam's, distinguished lawyer Felix Geriam, on her diligence and determination.

Percy cracked up laughing again, spooking her two companions. Still chuckling, she whipped out Riptide from her hair and carefully placed it on the edge of the window of the train.

"Say, you think the Mist will let me keep the CIA/FBI front for a bit? I kind of like being some kind of super spy," she talked to it.

It glinted.

"Nice. So, what are the odds that something'll come up during our trip?"

And so continued Percy's conversation with Riptide. Grover and Annabeth just looked at her oddly before deciding to ignore her for the remainder of their time on the train. After finishing her talk with Riptide and unable to sit still, Percy got up to look for an empty space. She began to practice a series of forms when she caught sight of a few children shyly watching her behind some seats.

"Hi! I'm Percy," she greeted them with a big smile.

They returned it and silently pointed at her.

"What am I doing?" Percy pointed at herself. "I'm doing some forms for Chinese Kempo. That's a type of Chinese martial arts and the forms are called taolu."

She demonstrated a few of the solo forms and the kids clapped enthusiastically.

"Are you really an FBI agent?" one of the kids asked.

"Or CIA?"

She laughed, "Well, if I was one, wouldn't that be classified?"

Percy spent the rest of the daytime showing them and teaching them a few forms, before she had to go to the bathroom. When she came back, she heard some of the parents scolding their kids.

"So this is where all of you have been! We've been so worried, looking for you. We didn't know where you were and you were gone for so long!"

"But Ma! We met the Percy Jackson. And she was teaching us some martial arts!"

"Yeah, yeah! She went to the bathroom just now."

There was an exasperated sigh.

"Kids, you know better than to make up excuses –"

She emerged and coughed to bring attention to her, her embarrassment doubling even further as the group of parents stared at her dumbfounded.

"So, um, sorry for keeping the kids away. I was just practicing and they wanted to watch. Yeah…um, okay. I'll see y'all…Bye!"

After her escape, she made her way back to her seat, grinning as she saw her two friends already fast asleep. Settling down, she decided to sleep as well, watching out the window as her eyes grew heavy.

She saw a group of centaurs hunting for food and a large lion that undeniably was a Nemean lion running around as its fur glinted gold by the evening light.

Percy was definitely not going to skip sleep anymore. Sleep deprivation made her trip too much.

Her eyes closed and she dreamt again.

That evil voice was back. She stood in front of a gaping pit and spirits of the dead tried to pull her back. But she stared blankly at the chasm, feeling a pull. That voice offered her a trade…her mother…

When she woke up, she blearily opened her eyes to see both of her friends wide awake. They were quietly chatting about the layaway stop coming up. Percy licked her dry lips, trying to get her bearings.

"Annabeth, what do you think of Hades?" she interrupted.

Annabeth looked surprised before her expression turned cold and she glared angrily at the ground.

"He's deceitful, heartless, and greedy," she spat out.

Percy wanted to say she was wrong, that she had a feeling he was different than that, but she knew Annabeth had good reason to think like that so she just shut her mouth. Instead, she waited with them until they reached the St. Louis Amtrak station for the layover stop.

"We have three hours," Percy commented.

"Can we go to the Gateway Arch?" Annabeth asked.

They agreed to the sightseeing, knowing Annabeth's love for architecture and of her dreams and ambition to be an architect. They traveled through the museum and Percy listened with half an ear to Annabeth spouting lots of facts about the Arch, the other trained on hearing out trouble. Grover chomped on some jelly beans and gave the blue ones to Percy, who was nervously fiddling with a newly bought water bottle. She wished she hadn't left the other one with her bag back on the train…

They rode up the small elevator with a huge woman and her Chihuahua, but the small space was upping her nervousness. Something in the air, too, was making her hair stand on end.

They stayed awhile on the observation deck, letting Annabeth go wild and talk about things she could've done to make it better, but Percy was warily keeping an eye on the woman and her dog. Something about the pair was making her anxious. When it was time to go, Percy had to wait back while Annabeth and Grover were stuck in the elevator to go down. She waited with the park ranger, the lady and her dog, and a family of three.

"Pretty place, isn't it?" she said blandly, looking directly at the lady.

The Chihuahua growled menacingly. It was much worse than Gladiola's growl.

"Yes, it's a magnificent place. A work of art, really," the park ranger beamed happily.

Percy just placed a hand cautiously on his arm. "Sir? Is there an emergency exit here?"

The lady's forked tongue flicked out. She inwardly groaned.

"It is gorgeous," the lady looked ready to sprung, so Percy grabbed the park ranger and shoved him towards the family.

"Take 'em and get to the emergency exit!" Percy screamed.

They huddled away, but not before the lady transformed into a horrible monster just as her Chihuahua grew bigger and turned into the Chimera. The group took a moment to be paralyzed with fear and to stare, before Percy screeched at them to get a move on.

"Bugger it all," and Percy dodged to avoid the serpent tail that had shot towards her.

The park ranger and the family had reached the emergency exit and were now trying to pry it apart, but they were having no such luck. Percy cursed and darted over there, adrenaline giving her the boost to break the lock and kick the door open. She quickly ran away to draw the monsters' attention to her far away from them.

"Silly demigod! You should be honored at my presence. Rare is it that Lord Zeus allows me to test new demigods. Remember this, girl! I am Echidna, Mother of all Monsters!"

Percy didn't even have time to come up with a smart aleck comment before the serpent tail caught her in the middle and she flew back and hit a wall, creating cracks. She was still clutching the water bottle in her hand and she started to brainstorm something. She just needed to distract Echidna and her little pet…

"Seeking water, hm?" Echidna hissed.

Percy blinked and looked behind her, noticing she had moved near the window. Outside of the window was the Mississippi. She calculated that into her plan.

"Why don't you try to go through the window? You are Poseidon's daughter, yes? What do you fear?"

She snorted and edged a little away from the window.

"You have no faith. You do not trust the gods. I do not blame you, little coward. Just die, faithless one."

Percy laughed hollowly, "Coward? No. But you're right. I don't trust them. And I am faithless. They're real, so what? I have no belief or faith in them."

Echidna burst out into amused laughter, so Percy quickly turned her attention to the Chimera.

"Hey, Sonny. Dinner's ready," she snarled, gesturing to herself.

The Chimera roared and leaped towards her. She dropped the water bottle and did a half flip, landing on her hands and using the momentum to have her feet catch the Chimera and kick it over and then behind her towards the window. The window broke and the Chimera yelped as it fell through the air. Percy didn't keep watching to see what happened to it, turning back to the rapidly angering Echidna.

She speedily scooped up the water bottle and finished up charging it with electricity from her body. There was no lightning this time, but human bodies conducted their own type of electricity designed to send signals from the brain in the form of electrical impulses. And that was exactly what she was using to charge the water in the water bottle, heating up the plastic with the charge that it would become explosive.

She ignored the zap! Riptide sent at her, wanting to be used.

"Not now!" she hissed under her breath at it.

Echidna began to stomp towards her, so she finished any last adjustments.

"Frankly, I'm tempted to tell the gods to go to hell…but apparently it doesn't exist," Percy sneered.

And then she tossed the water bottle at Echidna as she jumped backwards out of the window, watching for a moment as it exploded upon impact and hearing the screams as she fell to the waters below.

Started 10/26/10 (?) –Completed 11/16/10

Chapter Text

Percy had practiced jumping into water a lot back at any pools or lakes she had swum in back home, just for the sole purpose of something like this, of learning how to soften the blow of impacting water. She had gotten so good at it she didn't even feel the impact at all anymore.

That didn't factor in huge height.

That's why Percy screamed as she flailed around, flying through the air and about to hit water hard. In the vestiges of her mind, the parts that weren't panicking, she focused intensely on thoughts of water being soft and like a cushion. Still, with the slight distraction she was having coupled with the large amount of height distance, and she hit the water with the barest of flinches and it at least felt more like a slap than a bone-breaking fall. Usually, hitting the water softly and staying dry was instinctive, but when you're falling from the top of a building, priorities shift a bit…

At least she was still dry.

Unfortunately, the water looked nauseating. Thanking that her powers allowed her not to suffer for swimming in this kind of water, she looked around and promised inwardly that she would be a little more kinder and appreciative to Grover about his environmentalist habits, and even start recycling consistently.

She started to swim up when saw a woman and her eyes widened. The woman looked like her mother.

"Brave Perseas, go to Santa Monica. You must go there before you go to the Underworld!"

Percy heard it, but she was much more focused on the woman herself, staring blankly at her.

"Please, Perseas. Know that your father truly loves you, believe in it. It is your father's will for you to go there. If you do nothing else, do this! And Perseas…do…not…trust…the gifts…" her voice started breaking up near the end and she looked like she was fading away.

"Your father believes in you…" the woman's voice faded into a whisper as she too disappeared.

'But I don't believe in him,' she wanted to scream back, but the woman had already gone.

She swam upwards and broke through the surface. She walked onto dry land, noticing the huge commotion around the Gateway Arch, and winced. Then she heard the news report and didn't know whether to laugh out loud or groan.

"We're here now, with Channel 7 News. We were advised this wasn't a terrorist attack, but we've reached the survivors and they say different."

"Hey, hey! That girl, Percy Jackson, was there! She saved my life!" the park ranger waved at the camera wildly.

"Ours too!" the boy with the family chirped up.

"There it is, folks. If Percy Jackson was there, how could it not be a terrorist attack for her to save us from? We'll be right–wait a second! This is just in! Apparently, the mother of the family caught in the attack was thought to be hysterical and in shock…is now being given credence to her story! It seems that the female terrorist 'transformed' into a monstrous snake lady while her Chihuahua turned into the mythological Chimera…and the police are now saying that it is possible the terrorists devised these disguises as scare tactics and that the Chimera might have been an automated creation also to help create a scare. Can you tell us more about the attack, sir?"

The park ranger nodded enthusiastically, "Sure. We saw it all." And he began retelling the entire event, completely true, and Percy did groan this time.

"I thought they'd gone through that damn emergency exit when I told them too," she twitched.

There were a lot of exclamations and worried shouts about her having fell from the building, and now there was a search being organized to see if they could locate her, dead or alive. Panicking, she began darting around people and was about to make it to the shadows of a building when she was tackled by two smaller bodies into an alley.

"We thought you'd died!" a familiar voice blubbered into her ear.

"What happened?" Annabeth squeezed onto her tighter.

"Can't…breathe…" she wheezed out.

They reluctantly let go of her, looking sheepish.

"I, uh, sort of fell," this time it was Percy's turn to be sheepish.

"What! Percy, are you suicidal? That's six hundred and thirty feet, you-you-you Seaweed Brain!" Annabeth screeched.

Percy shrugged and then tiredly explained everything.

"I know you don't like your dad, but you don't ignore a summons from a god," Annabeth said quietly.

"Yeah, we'll have to get you to Santa Monica," Grover pushed.

"Whatever, I get it," Percy waved them off in irritation. "Now, we need to get a move on. If we don't make it back to the station, we're going to be stranded here."

They ran hurriedly back, but Percy kept glancing at her bracelet watch and knew they were going to be at least ten minutes late.

"The train is –!"

'Gone,' her mind supplied for Annabeth.

Except, twelve minutes later and the train was actually still there.

"She'll be here," a child's voice told someone excitedly. "You saw the news, didn't ya? She had to save the day! It'll take her some time to get here!"

"One more minute then," an older man's voice reluctantly agreed.

A cacophony of young voices cheered while a group of older people let out relieved sighs. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover looked at each other before nervously rushing. They reached the train and entered to see the kids and their parents from earlier anxiously waiting and then staring upon their arrival.

"We held up the train and made sure to make them wait for you!" one of the kids said cheerfully.

"Uh, thank you," Percy gave an apprehensive smile.

The three of them tentatively scooted in and searched for their seats, ending up falling straight to sleep in exhaustion. The next morning, Annabeth and Grover woke up to Percy's voice singing. Only, she wasn't there with them. And her voice? Sounded like it was coming from the intercom.

Eyes bugging out, the two raced to the front of the train, seeing Percy with the drivers, singing along to a song on the radio and broadcasting it to the entire train. The drivers were just focusing on the train's controls, bodies slightly swaying and heads moving to the music.

"Juliet says 'Hey, it's Romeo! You nearly gimme a heart attack.' He's underneath the window; she's singing 'Hey la, my boyfriend's back! You shouldn't come around here singing up at people like that.' Anyway, what you gonna do about it?"

Annabeth and Grover could only watch incredulously as Percy took over the music selection, deciding it was best to just get some breakfast and then deal with Percy.

"Juliet! The dice was loaded from the start. And I bet and you exploded in my heart~!"

They made it to Denver in the afternoon, Percy bidding the drivers and a lot of the passengers near them goodbye as they left.

"See ya! Sorry, you'll have to go back to easy listening!"

"So we have to contact Chiron about that message you got from that river spirit," Annabeth started dragging the still waving Percy away. "We'll have to find a car wash or something."

"Huh? What for?" Percy finally paid attention.

"So we can IM camp," Annabeth explained while still directing Percy around. "And before you start, that's Iris-Messaging. There we are!"

They'd located an empty do-it-yourself car wash and they started scrounging around for change. Percy just rolled her eyes and kicked it, causing the machine to malfunction and water to come spraying out.

"That could have not worked, you know," Annabeth poked her harshly.

"I'm Percy Jackson," Percy retorted, as if that explained everything.

They ignored her and just stole a drachma from her bag, tossing it into the spraying water after asking Iris to accept their offering.

"Half-Blood Hill," Annabeth called out and soon enough Luke appeared.

Percy immediately brightened up, "Hey la, my boyfriend's back~!"

Luke laughed, "The Killers, eh?"

The two didn't even notice Annabeth and Grover slipping away, Annabeth nibbling her lips as she stared at the two, looking confused and upset and her face turning red. Grover had to pull her away as they went scouting around the area.

She blushed lightly, realizing the line she used to greet him was a little off. Luke just grinned widely, pleased. But she did miss this, such an easy camaraderie and closeness with him.

Percy and Luke just slipped as effortlessly into an easy talk as always, moving back into their own world from the moment they first saw each other through the Iris Message and even though they were miles apart. They chatted and caught each other up on each other's end, though Luke seemed to be keeping a lot of things out. While she told him about her recent nightmares, she also noticed just how worn down Luke looked. He had bags under his eyes, his bright blue eyes dulled while his skin had become paler than usual, making the white scar on his face actually stark against it. He was slumping as if a huge burden was on his shoulders and his clothes looked rumpled.

"Hey, sugar," she put on a southern accent to try to cheer him up. "What's wrong?"

His lips quirked up appreciatively. "Nothin'…Bonnie."

She laughed and he seemed a little brighter at that moment.

"Say…you haven't met any gods yet, have you?" Luke asked anxiously.

She blinked. "No, I haven't. Lots of monsters though, like I told you. Why?"

"No reason," he frowned to himself. He turned back to her with a small smile that didn't match the serious look on his face. "Hey, Percy. How do you see me?"

Percy stared at him confused. "I don't understand…"

"I mean, how do you see me?" Luke reiterated with an intense look to his eyes.

She swallowed harshly, suddenly feeling uncomfortable and confused again. And that was weird. Confuse, yes she's been confused with Luke. But uncomfortable…she didn't think she had ever been so uncomfortable with Luke.

"You're…you're like an older brother to me," she answered uncertainly.

"Are you sure about that?" Luke shot back challengingly.

Percy nearly gaped.

"Uh –"

"Am I really just a brother?"

And then Luke waved through the connection, breaking it, and the last thing she saw was a pleading look on his face before his face turned stoic.

He left Percy standing there quietly, stewing in her thoughts with her head hung low, trying to understand what had just happened. She was shocked and growing more in confusion as time passed.

"Hey, Percy. So what's up?" Grover came back, bringing along a quiet Annabeth.

Percy gave him a strained smile, retelling the tense state back at camp and how it was shaping up to be like the Trojan War all over again, with Aphrodite, Ares, and Apollo backing Poseidon and Athena backing Zeus.

"I'm with you, Percy," Annabeth announced suddenly.

She turned red as Percy looked at her and turned her confusion to the blonde demigod, before deciding to give a small smile in thanks. She used her powers to quickly get all three of them cleaned and fresh, using the water still spraying and slowly dying down.

"Let's go get something to eat, guys. I'm starving," her voice was oddly quiet and worrying the others.

They walked until they found a nice looking diner and had settled themselves into a booth when a waiter came by, smiling widely.

"Hi, what can I get ya?" he asked, looking straight at Percy.

Annabeth rolled her eyes while Grover glared at him. Still, Annabeth looked ready to pass out from hunger and Grover didn't look any better, so Percy hurried up and asked for menus. A loud rumble interrupted them and shook the building.

The coolest motorcycle Percy had ever seen rode up to the curb. She could swear she was going to start drooling at any moment. And the guy walking to the diner from the bike was equally badass. She doubted any guy on earth would want to pick a fight with him. He was handsome in a rugged way, and his clothing made him look even more rough and intimidating. Except she was too busy eyeing his wraparound sunglasses and black leather duster. She steadfastly ignored the weapons he had.

The moment he stepped into the diner, a hot and dry wind blew through the place. People rose as if hypnotized, but he only waved his hand dismissively. Everyone went back to what they were doing, while she just snorted in amusement and turned back to the dazed waiter, ignoring the newcomer. That seemed to make the obviously-a-god amused himself.

"Ah! Yes, I will bring a menu to you now, if you'd like."

"No need," the biker strolled closer, slipping into the booth next to Percy and pressing in close, making her turn red and try to squish closer to the window. The booth was obviously not made for him. "Three cheeseburgers and chocolate milkshakes, and it's on me."

"Four cheeseburgers," Percy interrupted.

He gave her a smirk, "I'm not eartin', darlin'."

Percy shrugged, "You're paying, right? I'm hungry. The fourth cheeseburger's for me."

He burst out laughing raucously, earning him a few apprehensive stares from other patrons while the waiter scuttled away in fear.

"And an extra water included for me!" she yelled after the waiter. Turning back to the god, she spoke bluntly. "We're not talking, whatever you want, until food gets here and I'm done eating."

And then she turned to look out the window, yawning every once in a while. Annabeth and Grover looked horrified, having recognized who it was they were sitting with a few seconds after he'd introduced himself into their table.

"Do you know who I am, little girl?" he asked amusedly.

"Yeah, you're Clarisse's dad. She looks a little like you. Ares, God of War, Bloodlust, etc. etc. Anyways, I am tired. Since there's a god here to take care of monsters, I'm gonna take a nap."

She laid her head on the table and was immediately fast asleep. And that was that.

Ares gaped at her in wonder while the other two uncomfortably looked everywhere but at the sleeping girl and god. So they waited in awkward silence for the food to arrive.

The god didn't know whether to laugh or to twitch in irritation, so he settled for being amused and allowing her impertinence. Then again, he knew coming to meet her that he would be facing some major attitude.

"Ah, Lord Ares, she isn't usually – " Annabeth started, but he held up his hand.

"Don't bother finishing that lie," he said wryly. "She sent us Medusa's iced statue. There is no way she isn't that flippant on a regular basis. But s'okay, I kinda like it. Would've been better if she knew who was boss, but considering it looks like she sent Medusa to us as a 'fuck you,' I'm pretty sure she knows and she don't care."

He wondered what would happen if he turned on his powers and made the girl even angrier than she usually was.

Food came their way, heaped with their cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes (and Percy's water), along with stuff they didn't order like fries and onion rings. Percy's head rose up and she started sniffing the air, eyes snapping open as she woke immediately to the smell.

Their food was brought to them and distributed, and Percy was just about to bite into her food when they all noticed that the waiter was still there, staring at Percy with a lovestruck look on his face.

"Beat it, idiot," Ares drawled.

The waiter shot him a reproachful look, so Ares huffed and handed him a few drachmas.

"We don't accept –" the waiter started mulishly, glaring at the god, when Percy intervened, closing the waiter's hand around the drachmas and giving him a sugary smile.

"Hey, sugar," she started in a southern accent she usually reserved only for Luke. "Why don't you take this twenty," she slipped a twenty into hand, "for yourself, and go out back and pretend ya never saw me and mine? Can you do that, hunny?"

The waiter gave her a goofy smile, "Yes, ma'am."

He lingered a little before disappearing out of their way, and before anyone could get a word in edgewise, Percy was already digging into her food, chomping away like a rabid animal.

"Slow down, Percy! The food's not going to go away," Annabeth said in alarm, watching her friend in growing horror.

She paused, took a sip of her water, then glared.

"I. Am. Hungry. When I said I was starving, I'm starving. I'm eating, girl, and if you don't want me to eat your burger too, eat it. Now."

Then Percy went back to her food, devouring the first and starting in on her second. At that threat, Annabeth started to eat away at her food while Grover took out the meat and tossed it towards the human garbage disposal's way. It was quickly eaten.

She finished ravishing her food, drank the rest of her water, and then started enjoying her chocolate shake, turning to stare straight at Ares.

"Okay, I'm fed and sated. What do you want?" she asked brusquely.

Ares snickered, "Alright, alright. I'll get to the point. I heard you were in town and I need you to do me a favor. I need you to pick up my shield at a water park nearby. I left it behind while I was on a…" his voice faltered. "Outing. An outing…with a friend."

She somehow felt doubtful of that, if his hesitation seemed to be anything to go by.

"And if you go and do this for me, I'll arrange a ride for you guys west. And something about your mother," Percy perked up at that, like Ares knew she would, and he was glad he wouldn't need much more prompting or information to give than that.

"Okay," Percy agreed. "But I want your leather duster."

"What?" Ares actually gaped.

She shrugged, "I want your jacket. Add that to the deal or it's a no deal."

"No way," he said.

Percy sighed, "Well, if you're going to be like that, then I don't have time to be going out and retrieving shields…"

"Why you…listen here, I can make you see things that'll make you cringe," Ares' lips pulled back in a snarl. "You'll wish you were blind, girl. I could even kill you or turn you into a rodent."

She snorted, "And I still wouldn't be getting your shield, especially if I were dead. And the Bolt will stay missing and war between gods would commence. But you'd like that, wouldn't you?"

Percy started looking at him appraisingly and he started to get a little nervous.

"Yeah? Well, I could just make your little friends do it for me."

"And they would rather die alongside me, right guys?"

Annabeth and Grover didn't know who was scarier, with both Ares and Percy glaring at them darkly. They just squeaked in response.

"'Sides, no offense guys, but there's no guarantee they could make it through whatever dangerous trap we're going into, because it is so obviously a trap," she said dryly. "And I apparently have a tendency to be suicidal, so I make the better choice for whatever crazy scheme you want us to do."

"You're not going to ask any more questions about this if I agree?" Ares questioned her.

"Nah. Also, I have a feeling I'm not going to like the answers I receive, so I might as well go into this blindly. Just tell us where to go and send us off."

"Not so fast," Ares made her pause. "I'll give you my leather duster, but I'm keepin' your friends here as collateral. You said you'd go alone, didn't you?"

She hid her grimace and forced a nonchalant shrug.

"Alright, let's get this over with. But," she held up a hand. "I'm taking your bike."

Ares yelled a curse in Ancient Greek. "Over my dead immortal body, you little brat!"

"Relax," she rolled her eyes. "I meant just to the place. It's not like I'm going to take it forever. You're going to stay here with them anyways; you're not going anywhere, so you're not going to need that bike and I need to get there somehow."

Ares grumbled a bit, but let her ride his bike over there, telling her quickly the address. She was right anyway, and she was a cute girl…He coughed and cleared his head of that, lest Aphrodite notice something wrong or Poseidon finds out and decides to drown him in his sleep…

"Keys?" she held out her hand in boredom, though the twitch it made looked odd.

He handed it over.

"Jacket?" she looked expectantly at him.

He snorted, "Nuh uh. Not until you come back with the shield."

She pouted, but agreed. Then, without warning, she sped out with a loud squeal and they didn't even see the motorcycle leaving before it shot off and left dust in its wake.

"Damn you, Percy! Trading us just for a damn motorcycle!" Annabeth twitched.

Grover just sighed and started munching on some lettuce, turning meek when Ares stared at him.

To be fair, Ares was strangely not at all irritated throughout that encounter. In fact, he was highly amused. Even though he had seemed like it at times, he was actually very entertained and pleased with her. Especially up to the time where she ran off eagerly with his bike…

"Technically, she traded you for the leather jacket. She just looked more eager for the bike."


She stared at the deserted water park blandly. She headed straight to the Tunnel of Love and snorted to herself. The Tunnel of Love isn't just a place to bring your 'friend'. Girlfriend, more like. And if she remembered right from the myths, especially involving a certain golden net and the humiliation in front of every god and goddess, then that girlfriend should be Aphrodite.

Unless Artemis finally decided to break her vow or Athena suddenly changed her mind on how much of a big muscled idiot Ares is supposed to be.

Somehow, she had a feeling that the others wouldn't be Ares' type as well as there was no way Hera would cheat on Zeus, much less with her own son. Or he with her.

Though, wasn't Aphrodite married to Hephaestus?

Apparently, fidelity doesn't run in the family. Another point against the gods. She tsked to herself, idly making her way to her destination.

Being in front of the Tunnel of Love was drastically different from thinking about it. The monstrosity made her want to gag, especially when it was coupled with pink monstrosity. Don't get her wrong, she didn't mind pink every now and then, but this was hot pink. She hated hot pink.

The beginning of the ride was a huge pool and at the bottom of it was obviously Ares' shield inside of a disgustingly designed two-seater boat. While she stared in disturbed fascination at it, she didn't even notice she had tripped a wire as she cautiously trailed closer to the edge.

"Huh. That is one ugly piece of crap."

Shrugging to herself, she took a couple steps back before she ran and jumped off the edge of the pool, propelling through the air towards the two-seater. In mid air, just above the boat, Percy used the water molecules of the air to sort of slow down her fall, knowing that if she had been Zeus' daughter this act would probably have been a lot easier to do much less the control needed. As a daughter of Zeus, she could probably have flown through the air much more easily and with much less control and focus needed.

But this way worked too.

She landed softly onto the seats, the tip of her toes touching lightly onto them before she landed fully.

She touched her flying shoes briefly in apology. "Sorry, I'll promise to remember you next time. If I didn't wear you all the time, I would've remembered you fly."

She hopped off of it and into the boat itself, sitting down on the seat as she stared at the bronze.

"Trip wire. Should've known," she twitched. "To trip or not to trip? That is the question. Ah, might as well –there's no other way to it."

She promptly disengaged the trip wire with her foot, watching as the mirrors around the rim of the pool opened up to reveal what looked like spiders scuttling out of them, just as the ugly Cupids above were shooting arrows at each other and a net was starting to form above her. The Cupid heads popped open to reveal cameras and light shone down on her.

"Live to Olympus one minute…59 seconds…58…

"Mother-effing –!" she cursed several more times and probably would have fit the description of a sailor, and not just because of her inclination towards waters. With a huff, she settled more down on her seat and looked around. Something caught her eye and then she looked towards the entrance of the tunnel. Pulling out Riptide, she gave it shotgun right next to her, letting it transform into a sword as she plunged it into the seat.

"Alright, you can be my date through the Tunnel of Love, Riptide. It would be sorry if I went through there all alone," Percy spoke to it. She turned to the shield. "Oh? You want to be my date too? Well, since you belong to Ares, I'll call you Ares Jr. Junior for short, eh?"

Percy closed her eyes, remembering something she'd read and abided by at times.

"Circle of Affinity…Wood feeds Fire; Fire creates Earth; Earth bears Metal; Metal carries Water; Water nourishes Wood."

'Boat equals wood against the fire of adversity, this boat in the midst of this trap. This trap in this earthen setting, equaling earth. Pipes in the earth are metal. Pipes carry water. Water flows out and carries this boat.'

She strapped herself in and then snapped her fingers, and a few moments later, water came bursting through the pipes behind the mirrors, washing away the spiders and…short-circuiting them? Anyways, it washed over her and the boat, and she started going around in circles. She controlled the boat a bit, aiming into the tunnel. She idly flicked a spider off her shoulder, vaguely noting it was metallic and must've been a robot of some kind.

"Secure yourself, men! We're heading into the Battlefield of Love," Percy told her 'companions' just as they entered the tunnel. She had the urge to start singing Pat Benatar'sBattlefield of Love. "Hey now! No arguing over me, Junior, Riptide. Fine! Be that way. I'm just going to ignore you and read my book."

She produced her book from out of nowhere and began to read, muttering under her breath and yet somehow able to echo through the chamber.

"Bravo, bravo, bravissimo, Hephaestus…"

She kept reading on, not even noticing as the boat was rapidly sped through the tunnel, though she was humming the Titanic theme at the same time. When the exit came into view, she put away her book and examined the exit quickly coming towards her.

"Circle of Enmity," she muttered, "equals chaos. Wood absorbs Water," she noted the water spilling into the boat, and willed it away, keeping her ride dry. Still, water was running against the boat too, so that counted. "Water rusts Metal," and she frowned, using the force of the water to bend the top of the locked-up fence blocking her way. It was considerably bent when she was done. "Metal breaks up Earth," she sunk in the fence a little into the earth, using both her powers over earth and water combined, making the fence even shorter than before.

Now she just needed to get over that fence.

She took Riptide out of its spot and put on Ares' shield, posing dramatically at the front of the boat as she stared the fence down.

Thrusting Riptide forward, she said solemnly, "To battle."

Then she just transformed Riptide back and replaced it into her hair, threw Ares' shield over the fence and let it slide through the water, skimming to a stop, and then thrust her hands under her, earth shooting up and into the boat, propelling her and the boat into the air.

"Earth smothers Fire."

She sprung from the boat, using it as a sort of diving board, flipping over the fence elegantly like a gymnast over a pole. She landed on top of Ares' shield, balancing to not fall off, and strengthening the water underneath it so it didn't sink under her weight. She looked back in time to see the boat crash into the fence.

"Fire burns Wood."

She blinked as she looked down, noticing a soggy silk scarf inside of the shield.

"Huh, I didn't even notice you. Good thing you were tucked in here, weren't you?" she picked it up. "Ah, you're all wet." She used her power to dry it up, folding it and then tucking it into her pocket. "I know just the person to help deliver you back to your owner."

She plopped down onto the shield and let her legs dangle into the water, though she wasn't getting wet, and used her powers to steer her to land.

"Thrill Ride of Love indeed," she snorted. Then she was back to humming Titanic again.

Percy reached the edge, turning back to see that the cameras were still rolling and pointing at her. She gave them the V sign and a cheesy grin.

"Dattebayo!"

Once Percy had reached the motorcycle, she was thinking of how to ride the motorcycle without the shield getting in the way. Too bad it couldn't shrink or something. Suddenly, it transformed into an armband and she looked down at it, seeing words.

"This is Sparta!"

One second…and then she burst out laughing, unable to stop for a long time. She moved it over to see if there was anything else on it and saw more words.

"'Remember this day, men, for it will be yours for all time,'" she read.

She shook her head and kicked back the stand, starting up the motorcycle.

"This is Sparta indeed," she murmured in amusement.

She drove back to the diner.

Ares was waiting for her in the parking lot, with Annabeth and Grover huddling behind him. She skidded to a stop in front of him just in spite and he winced.

"Watch the bike, girly girl," he said gruffly.

"Well, since I was nearly skewered by metal spiders," Annabeth squeaked at that, strangely enough. "And videoed for all to see in Olympus, as well as ignored by my inanimate dates," she was stared at for that one. "I'm gonna do whatever the hell I want."

"Tartarus," all three corrected her.

"Whatever," Percy waved them off. "Anyways, your shield and your 'friend's' scarf," she said the last part sarcastically, her stare boring into him uncomfortably.

He coughed in response, taking the shield and grabbing the scarf, his hand brushing against hers. An electric shock hit them both at the same time, and she took her hand away as if stung, looking at him incredulously.

"Did you feel that?" she asked in confusion.

"Ah, yeah," he mumbled dazedly.

"Is that like some freaky god thing?" Percy asked rudely.

He rolled his eyes, "No. Is that some freaky you thing?"

She snorted, "Please. That didn't sound nearly as snarky coming from you, or sound good as a retort."

"Yeah, yeah. Keys?" but he noted that she was blushing, and her eyelashes were fluttering adorably as her eyes peeked at him from under them. Her lips were slightly parted and he had trouble focusing away from that, especially when she licked them.

She frowned, hand physically looking like it wanted to refuse. But then in one fell swoop of a move, she thrust her hand at him and practically threw the keys at him.

"Take off your jacket," she snapped.

Ares blinked before grinning.

"I know a great hotel nearby –"

"What?" Percy interrupted, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion.

His grin dropped and he looked at her uncertainly before wincing.

"I read your signals all wrong, didn't I."

She coughed and her blush deepened, realizing what he was talking about.

"Uh, um, your jacket. You know? It's mine now."

He jerked off his leather duster, handing it to her, pausing slightly and unsure about touching her again. He gave it, and there wasn't another shock from where their hands brushed against each other. She put it on and she grinned when it shrunk to her size.

"Awesome!" Percy cheered. "Now, you owe us dinner. After that shenanigan, and since I retrieved that scarf for your little girlfriend even though you didn't ask for it, a little extra payment can go a long way, eh?"

Ares snorted, "Are you kidding me? Go buy your own meal."

"Aw, come on! I'm hungry," Percy whined. She gave him a pout combined with her very own version of the puppy eyes and knew he'd caved. "Excellent! Spartans!" she directed to Annabeth and Grover, who had stood by and gaped at the entire exchange. "Ready your appetites to eat hearty…For tonight, we dine in hell!"

"Since when were we Spartans?" Annabeth muttered under breath, trudging after her with Grover at her side.

Ares stopped short, staring at Percy's back. She turned and winked at him before she kept walking. A big, goofy grin crossed his face, though he didn't realize it.

"Damn straight! Give them nothing! But take from them everything!"

Percy chortled, "Eat all the food!"

"Devour it!"

Ares caught up to her and they kicked the diner's door open theatrically.

"For this is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die!" they both yelled, gesturing to the entirety of the diner.

"Dude," a random diner spoke up. "Are they quoting 300?"

Started 11/16/10 –Completed 11/21/10

Chapter Text

"Mother-effing –!"

Hephaestus didn't know whether to smack his hand against his forehead, laugh, or growl. That big muscled idiot actually got one over him, and managed to do it with a surprisingly good plan and medium. Using Perseas Jackson, the big contention at the moment with all the gods, to help him retrieve his shield back and also get a full-length feature of the female demigod, putting her in the spotlight, had actually been very ingenious.

The gods had been in yet another meeting, with Ares suspiciously missing. Hephaestus had smugly deduced the idiot had gone to retrieve his shield and had probably gotten caught in his trap. That Aphrodite was still here wasn't such a big deal, and he was fine with just humiliating Ares this time.

But then the first wire had been tripped and the throne room was suddenly being broadcasted with Perseas Jackson walking into the Tunnel of Love, examining the ride with a disturbed look on her face.

He agreed though. That ride was hideous.

But then she'd walked back and then ran forward, surprising the gods and nearly making Poseidon loose his cool as she jumped into the air. Zeus had looked like he didn't know whether to be impressed or furious that she'd dared to be in the air, his territory. That she wasn't high enough to grant his fury was the only reason he hadn't immediately been angry.

Apollo had whistled, "Crazy but awesome."

It had looked like she was somehow able to use the air to help her slow her descent, compounding on Apollo's words and Zeus' feelings. Poseidon merely twitched.

"She…doesn't mean to be in the air," he had mumbled, but everyone had just cast him an incredulous look before turning back to the live broadcast.

When she had touched her shoes, it brought them to attention to the gods, especially Hermes.

"Those are my shoes…" he had furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. He had seemed to finally understand when he spoke again. "Those are the pair I gave to Luke. He probably gave them to her."

Aphrodite was continuing to laugh uproariously in entertainment and amusement, just like she'd started to as soon as the broadcast hit them. She was clearly enjoying the show, even more intrigued at the girl, and probably also at the fact that Hephaestus had been outsmarted by Ares and at the fact he was about to be shown up by this girl.

She could only guess at it, he assumed, but he knew that she was probably right and Poseidon's kid just had that something that said she wouldn't be beaten down.

When she had tripped the wire, there had been two loudest reactions.

"She para-quoted Shakespeare!" Apollo had beamed, remembering one of his favorite past sons.

"What kind of plan was that?" Athena had screeched, twitching at the girl's nonchalant choice to trip the wire just to do so.

Poseidon had just groaned, even more so when Hephaestus' trap began.

Which brought them back to the present.

"I do not want my daughter broadcasted to all of Olympus like some freakshow on display!" the sea god yelled.

The others glanced at him warily, though a little disbelief had leaked into their gazes. After all, Poseidon's daughter had already proven she was anything but ordinary, and that she was essentially a 'freak' amongst demigods. A lot of them liked the girl, but it was obvious and agreed upon that she was more than insanely unusual.

Hephaestus shrugged. "I can't change or cut the broadcast now," he said gruffly. "I had it made to prevent it from happening."

Poseidon just grumbled.

Reminded of her cursing, Apollo snickered.

"I don't know whose temper she inherited, Dad's or Uncle P's, but she sure does have a colorful vocabulary."

The two mentioned gods glowered at him.

"It would make sense for her to be Poseidon's. Their temper is evenly matched," Athena sneered. "With such an obvious lack of skill for planning, idiotic impulses, and an explosive temper, there is no doubt that she's his spawn."

Before Poseidon could angrily retort, they were interrupted by Aphrodite's chortling. They turned back to the broadcast to see Perseas had just transformed Riptide back into a sword.

"Alright, you can be my date through the Tunnel of Love, Riptide. It would be sorry if I went through there all alone," and if that wasn't enough, "Oh? You want to be my date too? Well, since you belong to Ares, I'll call you Ares Jr. Junior for short, eh?"

"Is she…talking to Anaklusmos?" Poseidon asked in disbelief.

"Oh my Hades!" Aphrodite continued her incessant giggling. "She is so amusing! I absolutely adore her! And she named Ares' shield!" she shrieked and her laughter grew at that.

Jealousies et al aside, she still very much liked the girl and was very entertained by her.

Hephaestus grew wary of his wife and decided that he should keep an eye on her. Not only because it would get on her nerves, but it would keep her from meddling and causing trouble –more than she or all of them could handle. That and because he didn't want to deal with Poseidon. The man was starting to become unhinged the more people pestered him about his daughter and the more he kept hearing about her exploits. Well, exploits they were privy to –which wasn't much.

Stupid Fates and their meddling.

"She was glancing around the area," Artemis murmured, interrupting them. She had her eyes narrowed and was observing closely. "She is planning something, Athena."

"Well, it's too impromptu," the wisdom goddess muttered. "Too much like Ares' rash style."

Artemis quirked an eyebrow at her. "Planning is planning, and improvisation is the best kind of planning in these kind of situations. If you had not noticed, this is probably set up by Ares and he probably sent her off without any real warning. Any prior planning would be useless, as it won't account for what she will actually face. She is observing her advantage and disadvantage, but subtly. She is seeing her surroundings and what she will have to deal with with a nicely crafted poker face," she declared. "Or were you expecting her to come up with a plan that would probably not matter since anything now would negate her plan in some way no matter what? Hence improvisation is much better. Did you think her all knowing, Athena? I know she is highly witty and coldly logical, but I doubt she is omniscient."

Athena turned red and refused to comment back, but Poseidon was very smug and looking at Artemis gratefully. Apollo looked at his sister in awe.

"Circle of Affinity…Wood feeds Fire; Fire creates Earth; Earth bears Metal; Metal carries Water; Water nourishes Wood."

All of them were confused at her words to herself, eyebrows moving up in their confusion. Their eyebrows only climbed higher when they heard her mind's thoughts, the broadcast only capable of doing so when it was showing a demigod, and they understood what she was thinking of. Even more so when they actually witnessed her follow through, water bursting into the ride. Artemis shot a smug look at Athena.

And when she said 'Battlefield of Love', after another fit of laughing, Aphrodite started singing the actual song by Pat Benatar. Athena shot her a withering glare and she stopped reluctantly, shooting back an indulgent smile that Athena scoffed at.

Both Aphrodite and Apollo snickered at her conversation with Junior and Riptide, while the rest (most notably Poseidon) merely sighed. They were all suitably impressed when she navigated through the pool easily and then into the tunnel, though Apollo wondered at how she could read so calmly and almost like everything wasn't happening.

And also that, "Where the Tartarus did she pull that book from out of anyways?"

"Bravo, bravo, bravissimo, Hephaestus…"

Hephaestus lightly blushed, but sat back pleased.

"Phantom of the Opera," Athena idly murmured. She was stared at and she turned red, glaring at them. "Knowledge can be learned everywhere, including media," she growled.

Then Perseas started humming Titanic and Apollo cheered. Suddenly, the song started playing in the throne room and everyone glared at him. He shrugged and looked back at them innocently, "What?"

When they refused to let up on their glares, he sighed and turned it off.

"Besides, she's not even humming the actual song. She's humming Death of Titanic from the orchestral tracks," Apollo sighed happily.

And when she practically took down the fence, having had no problem or care through the rapid ride, calmly reading her book without qualm or panic, they only sweatdropped and watched in interest and wonder. As Perseas Jackson confronted the fence, solemnly wearing sword and shield proudly and fiercely, they looked on in amazement. Though, only Apollo, Aphrodite, and Artemis noted in amusement that Perseas was only being dramatic, until the next move and then everyone realized that…

Athena actually gaped, wondering what in the world was the girl thinking.

"Why are you putting away your sword, girl? You need it to cut through the fence and the shield to protect yourself from the debris!" Athena yelled at the screen, freaking out and startling the others.

Perseas promptly used her powers to conquer the fence.

"Why in the world would the girl use her powers to lower the fence, if not to propel herself over it?" Artemis asked sarcastically, sending over a teasing smirk.

Athena just turned away, inwardly applauding the way the girl had leaped and propelled herself over the fence, landing precariously and smoothly on Ares' shield.

And when she found Aphrodite's scarf, the goddess squealed and clapped happily.

"Oh, she has my scarf! And she dried it for me, how sweet!"

Perseas reached the edge and turned back to them, staring straight into the cameras and straight at them.

With a V sign and a cheesy grin, she greeted them goodbye.

"Dattebayo!"

Then she turned and started walking away, the frame freezing after she'd made it a little while away.

"Naruto," Athena muttered, not acknowledging the stares, though there was a telltale blush on her face.

Artemis and Aphrodite hid their chuckles, but Apollo outright laughed –that is, until he looked closer further on the still image of the girl walking away.

"Hey…isn't that Ares' bike?" he blinked in shock.

Astonished, Artemis tried not to gape as well.

"How'd she manage that?"

As they continued there, Ares was once again treating the demigods to a meal, at Percy's insistence.

"Next time, I'm aiming for your shades," Percy told him pointedly, eying the aforementioned wraparound sunglasses he had.

He sniffed haughtily. "Not a chance in Tartarus."

She pouted, still eying them.

"Can't go around having people stare at these babies, can I?" Ares snorted, lifting his shades to reveal empty sockets with just fire in them.

Percy scoffed.

"Am I supposed to be impressed? Psh, those are probably fake. Faker."

Ares growled, slamming his shades back on and then flicked her nose.

"Say that again, punk. I dare you."

Percy didn't try her luck, but she did have a smirk on her face. Annabeth and Grover just nibbled at their food, watching the two with wide eyes.

"Hey, I was wonderin' earlier, asked these two, if you sent over snake bitch as a 'fuck you' to us gods," Ares leaned back comfortably.

She snorted disdainfully. "Actually, I sent Medusa over more as a 'go to hell', but 'fuck you' works. I was tempted to write 'go to hell' on the box too," Percy mumbled.

Ares snickered, "I would have loved to have seen you do that. It was a field day over in the throne room when you sent Medusa over."

"I try," Percy said wryly. "Now my mom?"

"Right. Anyways, she disappeared in a shower of gold, right? Metamorphosis, not death, girl. She was taken from the Minotaur before she could be."

Percy frowned, "As a hostage? There's no real reason to do that unless you want to control someone by having leverage over them."

"And someone wants leverage over you," Ares drawled.

She blinked, "Why?"

He rolled his eyes, "Impressed as I am that I didn't have to explain the whole hostage thing to you, you can figure the rest out on your own. You're already halfway, girl."

"Call me girl one more time and I will snatch both your shades and bike," she glowered at him, though she was tempted to do so anyway, especially since she did like the stuff.

"Okay, fine. Percy."

She twitched in annoyance.

"I got a little extra for you," Ares shoved a pink backpack towards her.

She immediately started rummaging through it insolently, noting fresh clothes for all of them, twenty bucks to add, a pouch full of golden drachmas, and a bag of Double Stuf Oreos.

"Double Stuf Oreos, yuuumm," Percy sniffed them through the plastic, after she'd snatched them from the backpack. "Hey, you didn't include milk to go with them! You can't eat Oreos without milk to dip 'em in."

Ares laughed, "Go buy some yourself. We're in a diner."

She pouted, raising her hand and getting the lovestruck waiter back, promptly ordering a canister of milk. The waiter quickly left to do as asked, not questioning where he would get a canister and the others at the table wondering how he'd be able to pull that off and how the heck was Percy able to get it.

"This bag…can you change it in something other than…pink?" Percy asked in disdain.

"Sure, what color you like?" he humored her.

"Green, blue, dark shades preferably…or if it has to be something along that shade, dark red like scarlet or something. Just not pink." He made it dark red and she shrugged. "Alright then, it'll do."

The waiter came back with a large metal canister of milk and they didn't ask. Percy happily added it into the bag.

"Time to go, kiddies," he jerked his chin outside. He led them out and pointed at an eighteen-wheeler parked across the street. "That's your ride. Straight journey to LA, with a stop to Vegas. It's a free ride, so don't complain," he added, seeing Percy open her mouth and rightly guessing she was about to. She pouted. Again.

He spun his shield like pizza dough, transforming it into a bullet proof vest. She pouted even more at that.

"Are you serious? I could have totally used that," Percy eyed the newly transformed shield into a bullet proof vest sulkily and yet appreciatively.

Ares shrugged, teasing, "Armband's cooler on you." He slung one leg over his bike and straddled it, revving the engine. "I'll catch a copy of your act later," Ares told her. "You probably look good on TV."

"I better get ground-breaking ratings," Percy mock-arrogantly replied.

He mock-saluted her back, before driving off.

"I guess my life's not so boring anymore," Percy mused. "I used to think it was, with the exception of a couple of monsters to keep me company."

"And now we go to LA," Annabeth interrupted her, wigged out by the whole thing. Deciding it was best to just move on as if nothing had happened, she grabbed a hold of Percy and marched her to the waiting eighteen-wheeler, with Grover walking behind them in a daze.

And then it was fifteen minutes later.

"Human Zoo Transport? A Human Zoo Transport!" Annabeth yelled out in frustration. "You have got to be kidding me!"

Percy shrugged, "It is free."

"Frugal," Grover accused again, miserable as well.

Percy hmmed, going back to chatting to the zebra as she had been doing since she got there.

"Look at this place….disgusting," Grover muttered. "Humane, should be inhumane…"

"Can you actually understand the zebra?" Annabeth cut in, seeing as Grover was lost ranting to himself.

Percy blinked. "Sure. Like Brit English."

"…What?"

By then, Grover's attention was on her as well.

"See, Americans and British people both speak English, yeah?" she started out. "Only American English is a bastardized version of British English, 'cause they came first and all and we sort of mangled the hell out of some words to make it our own. And Brits are proper and prudish."

They stared at her.

"When are you not insulting?" Annabeth snorted.

"Am I really? I never noticed," Percy replied back dreamily, staring up. "Anyways, like I said. Americans and British both speak English, but their Englishes can be different, especially in words and terms. Brit 'bloody' can mean 'fucking' or 'fuck' and Brit 'pissed' means getting or are drunk, while we think 'pissed' as angry or taking a piss in the bathroom. Yeah? Zeb and I speak the language of horse, but since he's not really a horse, he speaks a different variation of Horse. Therefore, like US and UK speak English but different English, so I and Zeb speak Horse but different Horse. And like the US and UK have a special relationship, so do Zeb and I, because of our likeness and yet differences. But since it's different, meanings and translations kind of get lost and it's kind of hit and miss sometimes."

"Did that make any sense to you?" Annabeth whispered to Grover.

Grover shrugged, "I stopped listening when she started talking about pissing. There's only so much I can take or try to understand of her when she's like this."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. My expiration date ended with her interaction with Ares."

Percy twitched and threw balled up hay at them. It hit them squarely at the back of their heads, solid because of how balled up they were (which made no sense on how the hay was able to do that).

"Anyways, am I imagining it or the end that I caught…was she really comparing herself and a zebra with Nations?" Grover muttered back, scuttling away from the agitated girl.

"Apparently so."

Percy muttered to 'Zeb', "They don't appreciate my logic."

"Logic that borders on insanity," Annabeth sniped good-naturedly.

"Or logic that's explained in the oddest of ways," Grover added helpfully.

Percy huffed and ignored them, preferring to return to her conversation with the zebra. Grover decided to do the same, turning to the antelope and speaking to it in a series of goat bleats. Annabeth stared at her companions, before hesitantly turning to the lion.

"Uh, hi."

It gave a loud roar.

Annabeth cringed back.

"Mufasa!" Percy yelled, exaggerating fa and the sa.

Annabeth blinked and Grover shook his head, bleating to the antelope.

"Don't be mean to Annabeth, Mufasa," Percy reprimanded, exaggerating the two sounds again.

"You understand Lion too?" Annabeth asked in confusion.

"Nope," Percy replied cheerily. "You can talk to Zeb though, while I talk to Mufasa. Zeb's a Pacifist," she said matter-of-factly.

Annabeth sighed and went along with it, switching places. She stared at the zebra.

"Hi, Zeb."

It blinked back.

She just sighed again and watched as Grover calmed down the antelope and Percy had what looked like a one-sided conversation with the albino lion.

They took care of the animals as much as they could, cleaning them up from their cages, getting rid of a balloon on the antelope's horn, switching their foods correctly, and whatever else they were able to do. And then Percy fell asleep.

She was in a straight jacket in a classroom, taking a test. A girl who she thought had to be Thalia Grace, Daughter of Zeus, calmly sat next to her, glaring at her desk. Percy opened her mouth to ask what was going on, but instead what came out was, "You picked a bad time to turn into a pine tree. You missed Green Day's best album, American Idiot."

Thalia tilted her head to the side in curiosity.

"What songs are on it?"

Percy started chattering about it, all the while working herself out of her straight jacket.

The punk-styled girl looked at her amusedly, referring to her Houdini act. "You'll have to teach me that."

"That and all the music you missed," Percy promised. "Luke'll be happy to see you. Where are we anyway?"

"In a dream," Thalia said nonchalantly.

Percy froze, "…Oh. I should've figured that out."

Thalia shook her head with a sad smile, before smirking.

"One of us has to get out of here. Looks like you're free."

Percy opened her mouth to reply, but the dream melted away and changed into something else. She was in front of that dark pit again, and the evil voice was back.

"Percy Jackson. Yes, the exchange went well, I see…and she suspects nothing?"

"Nothing, my lord. She is as…ignorant…as the rest."

The voice seemed really familiar, as if she should know it. The person also seemed hesitant in answering, especially when it came to her. And oddly, there was an undertone of worry and guilt that she caught and knew the evil voice somehow didn't.

"Deception upon deception…excellent…"

"Truly, my lord, you are well-named the Crooked One," the voice flattered, but she continued to be the only one catching the undertones, this time of anxiety –as if he didn't want to be talking to the 'Crooked One' or by his next words, she instinctively felt that he didn't want her to be included into all this. "But was it necessary? I could have brought you what I stole directly –"

"You? You have already shown your limits. You would have failed me completely had I not intervened."

"But, my lord –"

The next parts was filled with scorn from the evil voice, and the undertone of remorse from the other, before Percy was dragged into it and then brought to their full attention, making the evil voice fill with disdain and mocking while she could literally feel the tension and panic from the other.

The last thing she heard before she woke up was "Hail, the conquering hero!" as an image of her in cascading regal black robes and a thorny crown sat on her head, with a reflection of chaos surrounding her, burning buildings and bodies all around her figure, with acrid smoke reaching high into the sky and the smell of decay filling her nostrils and mocking laughter echoing in her ears.

"Percy, wake up. The truck's stopped," Annabeth told her in panic.

Percy groggily got up, turning to her companions.

"Annabeth, go invisible. Grover, you and I are hiding over there. They'll open the door, Annabeth can create a distraction for them to want to go outside and when the time comes, we're bustin' out."

Grover looked expectantly at her, and even Annabeth seemed to be hinting at something. She sighed in defeat and nodded.

"Alright, alright. We have enough time to play activists," though she wouldn't be able to beat the jerks hauling illegal animals around, like she'd wanted. "Zeb goes first. I'll free him, let the jerks chase him out in distraction and then free the other two. The jerks look slow, so Zeb'll be faster than them. Got that, Zeb? Okay? Okay…Man, as much as I want to save these animals, something is bugging me and wanting me to leave Vegas right now," Percy grumbled to herself.

She wanted to save the animals, she really did. A bigger part of her was screaming 'Run! Deathtrap in here, somewhere!'

Damn it all.

That dream didn't help either. But she let the plan go on as they'd agreed on, with Grover's goat blessings, and with a quiet "Bye!" to Zeb and an added, "Cause some anarchy now that you're free!"

"I thought Zeb was a Pacifist," Annabeth poked her.

"He was. Until all this. He decided on an opinionated change to an anarchist."

Then it was the antelope's turn and then the lion's.

"Bye, Mufasa! I'll miss you!" Percy waved enthusiastically.

"If you're going to insist on that name, stop saying it like that!"

"It needs the exaggerations," Percy told Annabeth solemnly.

"This isn't Disney or the Lion King! And you aren't Scar or the hyenas!"

The Daughter of Poseidon just shrugged and hauled herself out of the truck, walking away normally like she hadn't just climbed out of a truck, looked raggedy with hay stuck in her hair, and wild animals hadn't come from that direction.

Annabeth groaned, "Why am I getting the feeling this will be added to her FBI/CIA cover? I can just see it now. 'Percy Jackson frees wild animals from evil jailers!'"

Grover had already left her behind to catch up to Percy. She groaned again.

"Why me?"


"Peace, little servant. Our six months have bought us much. Zeus's anger has grown. Poseidon has played his most desperate card. Now we shall use it against him. Shortly you shall have the reward you wish, and your revenge. As soon as both items are delivered into my hands ... but wait. She is here."

"What? You summoned her, my lord?"

"No. Blast her father's blood—she is too changeable, too unpredictable. The girl brought herself hither."

"Impossible!"

"For a weakling such as you, perhaps…So ... you wish to dream of your Quest, young half-blood? Then I will oblige."

Percy shivered, remembering the end of her dream. The scene of bedlam was playing in a loop in her head, the last words haunting her.

"Hail, the conquering hero!"

" –ercy, Percy!"

Percy blinked and saw her friends staring at her in concern.

"We've been calling you for the last few minutes. Are you okay?" Grover asked worriedly.

She gave them a forced smile. "Yeah, I'm good. Sorry, I was just spacing in my thoughts for awhile there."

"Anyways, let's go in there to rest," Annabeth hesitantly changed the subject, gesturing to the Vegas establishment they'd stopped in front of. Looking around, it looked like a dead end and they must've taken a wrong turn somewhere.

"The Lotus Hotel and Casino," Percy murmured, observing the place with its chrome doors, wide open and spilling outside air conditioning that smelled like lotus blossoms.

It looked very inviting.

"I would like to get a sandwich and a glass of lemonade," Annabeth sighed, eyes fluttering close, going inside.

"I wanna get out of the sun," Grover moaned, following her lead.

"I do want to get out of the heat and I am hungry," Percy hesitated, still watching the entrance.

A doorman appeared, waving at her. She wanted to be on her guard, but the guy looked so normal and friendly. She walked a little closer, right next to him, but didn't go in.

"You look tired, Miss. Why don't you come in and sit awhile?"

Percy paused, really thinking about it, but the doorman held out a plate of delicious looking appetizers.

"At least try our Lotus Flower dish. It'll keep you satisfied for a long time," he smiled.

'What was the harm,' she thought, reaching out and plucking one of them from the plate.

She bit into it and immediately started feeling strange. But it tasted so good…

She didn't even notice when she'd gobbled up the rest of the dish and blinked, looking around for it.

"Want another one?" the man was still smiling, maybe a little wider than it was before.

"Yeah, sure," she took another one. "You know…I think I will go inside."

She finished off the second one and grabbed a third one as she walked inside slowly. She blinked and gaped. The whole lobby was a giant game room, with a black Maserati in display at the front. She could smell food, gourmet food. There was enough thrill rides that would make even her adrenaline junkie self satisfied. On the far side, the lobby opened up into real casino gambling, with slot machines, poker, roulette, black jack 21 tables scattered around. The place was packed with people of all ages, but no one seemed to ever be waiting in line.

This was paradise.

"Hi! Welcome to the Lotus Hotel and Casino. Here's your room key," a bellhop appeared next to her, handing her a green plastic credit card to go with the room key. "And that's your LotusCash card. It's good for everything. All's taken cared of, so don't worry and just head up to the top floor, room 4001."

That she took both without question should have seemed strange, but she didn't think anything of it and continued to the glass elevator. She rode up, finishing the third Lotus Flower, and found her room, gaping at that as well, before dropping the bag Ares gave her onto the bed and wondering where she could find a place to buy a bathing suit around here. What she needed right now was a pool. She just wanted to swim and relax, and not worry about anything.

Whatever it was she was supposed to be worrying about.

She shrugged it off and looked through the room out of habit, a weird one she had of looking through places she was staying in. She claimed paranoia, but her mother had always said she just wanted to savor and experience the newness of a place.

With luck, she found a one piece bathing suit in the closet that she immediately put on. She grabbed a towel and hightailed it down, skipping the pool in the lobby and finding a more private pool more inside of the building. It was big but empty, which she understood since everyone else was swimming in the lobby pool. She took a deep breath and then dived into the pool, swimming until she reached the other side and then back. She did a few more laps before she heard clapping and realized she wasn't alone any more.

"Nice swimming. I'm a fair swimmer, but not as good as you, I'm sure."

Percy looked up at him, studying him from her spot in the pool. He was really muscular, but it wasn't freakishly so that she could have suspected steroids. He had short dark hair and brown eyes, though she could have sworn they glinted red for a second. She put it off from the dim lighting. The guy was also really tall, at about 6'2", and was a rugged sort of handsome.

He seemed so familiar though.

"Ambrose. Ambrose Sera," he introduced himself.

"Percy Jackson." Usually by now she was suspicious and wary. Odd that she wasn't…

She was all sorts of relax and content though. Nice feeling, it was…

"Mmm," she mumbled happily.

"Water volleyball?" he held up a soft yellow ball.

Percy's eyes lit up, "Now you're talking my language!"

He slipped into the pool, heading to the other side, and they began playing. She didn't notice how much time passed because she was enjoying herself, and she didn't even question it when afterwards, he helped her out and they left the pool together.

"Let's check out the games," he suggested.

"In our swimsuits?" she snickered. "I'm in a one piece and you're wearing swimsuit briefs."

"Robes are calling our names, babe," he filched two from the locker room closet. He tossed one of them to her and she made a face.

"Call me 'babe' again and I'll make sure you never have babies."

He held up his hands, already in the robe.

"Gotcha."

It wasn't that odd, she thought, playing games wet and in a robe. Sure, everyone else was wearing either formal clothing like suits, tuxedos, dresses (mostly the adults) or brand sheik or just casual wear (mostly the kids and teens). She guessed she and Ambrose stood out, holding plastic guns and enthusiastically killing off zombies in House of the Dead II, in only robes and still completely wet from their time in the pool.

They'll dry off anyway.

"Hey, hey! Look, they have Tekken! Let's go!" she grabbed Ambrose's hand and started dragging him towards the fighting game. "Street Fighter's so much better," she mumbled, rapidly pressing buttons.

Ambrose scoffed when his character was thrown back.

"Favorite 360 game?"

"Meh, Call of Duty. And Soul Caliber IV," she gave a sharp grin at that.

He snickered, "You only like that game because you get to be a Jedi."

"And swing around a laser sword."

"Go lightsabers."

"Wii, though, DJ Hero 2 hands down," she said smugly.

"Music lover," he sneered, sticking out his tongue a second later.

"Hey now, don't be mocking DJ Jackson! I like shooting games and fighting games, but you gotta love the groove," she poked at him, pouting when her character was finally KO'ed. "Crap, you're good. I've never had someone actually beat me at these kinds of games…"

"Barely beat you," he grumbled. "And you beat me the first time, DJ Jackson. The groove, my ass…"

"Never mind that, there's laser tag!"

"Tag team or solo?" he grinned at her.

"Team up then solo," she grinned back.

Suffice to say, they were a nightmare together against the other team, systematically taking out each player and then turning on each other in the final round. Of course, best out of three was hard when it was those two. That's why when Percy won, she took great care in gloating boisterously and holding it over the other's head.

"Ahahaha, you lose!"

"Okay, those are your last words," Ambrose finally got tired of her prancing around.

She 'eeped' and ran away, dodging between other people as she sped from the rapidly catching up Ambrose. She finally saw Annabeth, looking completely absorbed in some architect game and Grover enjoying some reverse hunter thing, with deer shooting rednecks, a little ways away.

"Annabeth! How's it going?" she asked the blonde girl, who was currently constructing a tower to add to her model.

"Great! Percy, when you'd get here?" she asked, not looking away from her game.

"Dunno," Percy shrugged. "Been to any other games?"

"Yeah, they've got some great trivia games and stuff. Grover's gone more game to game than I have, but he really likes that one," Annabeth told her.

"Nice –" and Percy was promptly scooped up, squealing as Ambrose carried her away in a run.

The breeze carried from the speeding pair blew Annabeth's hair into her face, though she ignored the strands and kept playing.

"Huh."

With Ambrose and Percy, they made it to the VR section, ignoring the VR laser tag (the actual one they were in was much more fun) and opting for the VR sharpshooter games. They eventually stuck to a FBI sharpshooter one, before moving on and trying the artificial ski slope. They kept cracking up into giggles every time they tried going down, only to end up fumbling over or unable to even get going. Then Percy would go and start shrieking, laughing at the same time when she couldn't stop herself, ending up throwing herself onto the ground to stop her descent.

Ambrose wouldn't stop laughing at her for a full five minutes.

He didn't do much better, actually worse, than her. She laughed even longer. They tried the snowboards once, but they couldn't even start going down. They went back to skiing one more time and ended up in a tangle of limbs at the bottom, laughing like a bunch of lunatics at their misfortune. She told herself that she'd ski and snowboard more seriously in the future, but right now she was just having fun like a crazy loon.

They left soon after, finally feeling the cold of skiing in robes and swimsuits.

They went to the climbing wall, trying to race each other. On the third time, with both having won once, Percy's foot slipped near the top and she accidently let go.

"Percy!"

She winced and kicked back at the wall with her other foot, twirling into a spin and neatly landing on her feet on the mat below like a gymnast.

Hm, maybe she should go into gymnastics…

"You alright?" Ambrose reached her.

"Yeah, I'm good. I'm itching to try that indoor bungee-jumping though," she eyed the bridge. "Too bad they don't have indoor sky diving. I always wanted to try that too."

He chortled, grabbing her hand and led her towards the bridge.

"Let's get going."

But once there, she was actually starting to feel a little nervous. She eyed the ground anxiously and Ambrose could feel her tense.

"Hey, what's up?"

"I'd feel much better if there was actual water down there," she muttered, glancing down.

"I got you," he declared, holding her close.

They jumped off and she held onto him tightly as she screamed. He, oppositely, let out loud 'whoops' as he held onto her comfortingly. Afterwards, though having enjoyed it, Percy didn't want to go a second time so they headed off to the games again.

"Oh, oh! DDR!" Percy pointed at the game.

He groaned, "No. No way."

"Please," she gave him the puppy eyes.

"Oh, alright," he grumbled, letting her lead him to the dance game.

She played the first time, dragging him in to play the second time by himself, and then he resigned himself and they played together the third time. He did alright, if he could say so himself…

"Slide, then I'm going to take a nice long and hot shower," she told him.

"Fine by me. Mind if I wait in your room?"

She shrugged and then led him to the waterslide entrance. They grabbed a two-person tube, placing it at the beginning of the slide.

"They should have people tell them about safety rules around here," Percy huffed, though she might've ranted more about it if she was feeling a little less like her senses were dulled. "Heavier person in the back."

Ambrose slid in the back and she sat herself in the front, blushing as she leaned back against him and he had his legs on either side of her. When he reached forward to grab the handles, she could feel his muscles flex at the action, and when his chest plastered flush against her back. She didn't see him equally blushing either though, and he was glad that she couldn't turn around and see him.

He pushed them off and then they were sliding down rapidly.

With a splash, they ended up into the pool, laughing as they resurfaced.

They tiredly got out and trudged to the elevator, getting in and sitting down on the floor, leaning on each other as they slowly calmed down from all the fun they were having. Water was dripping all around them, but they didn't care. Finally, it reached her floor and they got out, he following her to her room.

"Nice room," he commented.

"And a great view to match," she said, opening up the blinds to show the balcony that had a perfect view of the Strip.

"How about the hot tub instead of a shower?" he eyed it.

"I say good choice," she replied back cheekily.

They trailed into the balcony, where he fixed up the hot tub as she examined the skeet-shooting machine. She turned it on and gripped the shotgun, aiming into the sky. The first clay pigeon shot into the Las Vegas skyline and she took fire. She missed as the shotgun jerked up and shot above her aimed target.

Strong arms wrapped around her, holding onto her arms and adjusting her grip. Ambrose was right behind her, his tall figure once again flushed against her, with water from the pool still clinging to them and sliding their skin against each other's easily. His large hands held her smaller ones on the shotgun, and she could feel his breath against her ear.

"You have to account for the recoil," he murmured into her ear and she shivered.

The next clay pigeon shot into the sky and he moved his arms, hers following, and they pulled the trigger together. It was a perfect shot.

"I don't have shooting experience," she admitted, blinking lethargically.

"Hot tub's ready," he pulled at her gently and she followed him into it.

They sat side by side, with Percy's head thrown back and eyes closed, their arms both on the edge with their elbows brushing against each other. But after that odd and strangely intimate encounter, Percy's entire body was tense and she couldn't find it in herself to relax. He noticed, but didn't say or do anything, just quietly watching her.

"Let's have dinner together," he told her some time later.

"Sure. Where though?"

"Let's go to one of the fancy restaurants down there," he suggested.

She nodded, "Okay. I still want that shower though, to get the chlorine out. I'll just make it short. You want it after me?"

"Nah. I won't need it. Trust me."

She looked at him incredulously, but shrugged. She gingerly got up from the hot tub and headed inside, wondering if there was a nice dress she could use. She checked the closet and found a pretty black mini dress. Grabbing that, she went inside the bathroom and took that long awaited shower.

When she finished, she got out and saw he was lying down on her bed, arms crossed behind his head as he had his eyes closed. He was already dressed in a suit, which had her raising her eyebrows.

Lying on her front next to him, she poked his cheek.

"This is my bed," she told him.

He rolled onto his side and threw an arm around her, lips dangerously close to her neck. She could feel them brushing against it every time he exhaled, the accompanying breath making her gulp.

Besides, what was it with guys and her neck anyway?

Hiding her strange reaction, she tossed his arm off of her and lightly slapped his shoulder.

"Come on! We'll be late for dinner."

He slowly got up and swept her onto her feet, holding out an arm for her to take and then leading her out.

"The classic black dress," he murmured. "Never can go wrong with black."

She blushed prettily.

He headed towards a seafood restaurant, where they were immediately seated.

"What can I get you two for drinks?" a waiter came and handed them menus.

He just had water, but Percy took her time.

"I…I promised a friend I would…I would steal a drink for him," Percy furrowed her eyebrows. Odd…her memory wasn't clear… "I'm not going to steal one exactly, so I'll just order one. I'll have a strawberry margarita."

The waiter hesitated, but then his smile brightened and he nodded, leaving. If Percy was in her right state of mind, she would questioned not only that reaction, but why didn't he even ask her for a license or easily gave in to her order for an alcoholic drink?

"A little young to be drinking, huh?" he stressed, looking like he was hinting at something.

She blinked at him.

He sighed, before grinning. "So you're paying, right?"

"What? No way! You're the guy!"

"But you owe me two meals –"

"What?"

He coughed, "Never mind…"

"Yeah, yeah. I'll pay. I got the card any way. I'm V. I. P," she puffed out her chest and dramatically flicked her hair over her shoulder.

Ambrose laughed at her and she pouted.

"They have a club in here somewhere. I'll agree to dance to that," he smirked.

"Excellent! But first…food," she nearly started drooling at the dishes nearby.

He laughed at her again.


He led her to the dance floor, the hype music turning to something slower and more sensual. She recognized this song, but she couldn't quite recall the name or the band. The guitar intro in the beginning led off and people started swaying to the easy beat. Ambrose moved closer and she started slow dancing with him, his hands drifting to her waist, his thumbs moving in circles and rubbing the silky fabric of her mini dress against her skin with the friction. She moved her arms up and lazily clasped them around his neck, before looking up and catching a look at his eyes. They were dark, and she knew this time there was the slightest tint of red, and had a look of desire in them that caught her off guard, and in the dark lighting of the club, his face looked nearly yearning with a hint of lust.

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night

A waiter drifted by, holding a plate of those delicious Lotus Flower appetizers. She grabbed a hold of one, before Ambrose took it from her.

"Darlin', these are your colitas," he ate it himself and she watched with her eyes drifting to a close and giving an involuntary sultry look, not noticing when she licked her lips. He did and he smirked. "Don't want your 'head to grow heavy and your sight to grow dim', do you?" he hinted again to her. "They won't affect me though."

She just sighed longingly.

There she stood in the doorway
I heard the mission bell

He turned her around, pulling her back against the front of his body, and she flushed red at the move. She strangely didn't protest, instead grabbing his arms and pulling them tighter around her, pushing back against him as she tilted her head. His lips trailed down her bared neck, suckling lightly, and she gasped when she felt his tongue dip out and give a small lick.

It was like when Luke kissed her neck affectionately, but not at all like it…

Luke…Luke…

She frowned.

And I was thinking to myself,
'This could be heaven or this could be hell'

He gripped her hips tightly and yanked her back, thrusting forwards at the same time. Then one hand slid down the length of her body, ending on her bare thigh, squeezing it before moving slightly back up under her short dress and the tips of his fingers teasingly brushing against the juncture between her thigh and the apex between her legs. She swallowed harshly, feeling his other hand clutching her shoulder as his arm crossed against her chest and helped hold her against him. His thumb twitched against her clitoris on top of her dress and she automatically squeezed her legs together, throwing her back against him as her breath left her. That arm across her chest kept her steady.

Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place, such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (any time of year), you can find it here

She furrowed her eyebrows. Hotel California, Hotel California…why did that seem significant to her? For some reason, the song seemed to be important and like she was missing out on something.

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

"Keep dancing, Percy," he breathed into her ear, still swaying with her. "You want to dance to forget all your worries, but if you keep dancing you'll remember. You just need to think."

She turned around in his arms, feeling their sweat cling together. She brought one leg up and wrapped it around his waist, pushing them closer and hitting his groin to hers. Indolently, she came closer and her own tongue flicked out and tasted his sweat. He licked his lips and brought a hand to the back of her head, smashing his lips onto hers.

Her knees buckled and he pulled her closer to him, putting her weight on him. His tongue slipped into her mouth, exploring the caverns with brief caresses before tangling with hers. She pushed her tongue against his, at the same time as he thrust against her.

"I bet you have a lot of pretty boys around yourself," he said gruffly, pulling away and leaving her breathless. "I ain't no pretty boy, girl."

She just whimpered and lent up, tilting her head towards him.

So I called up the captain,
'Please bring me my wine'
He said, 'We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine'
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

"Think of the date, Percy. The date." Funny, Ambrose's voice sounded far away itself…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place, such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise), bring your alibis

"What's your alibi, Percy? You're a smart girl…Come on, think…"

His voice…she was having a hard time hearing and thinking. Her eyesight was getting blurry and she couldn't understand why.

She felt more than saw his lips brushing against hers again.

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device'
And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
The stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast

Prisoners, prisoners, prisoners….

'Can't kill the beast, can't kill it…steely knives…'

Hellhound…

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
'Relax,' said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave~

Percy's eyes snapped open, she didn't even know they'd been closed, and she felt a breeze as she did so. Suddenly, she was by herself, surrounded by other people clapping as the song finished. She couldn't remember anything after she'd eaten that first Lotus Flower dish and had no idea where she was or what she had been doing.

"You can never leave," she whispered.

'You can…you can never leave.'

She exhaled harshly and ran out of the club, scrambling back to the lobby. She immediately located Annabeth and Grover, Annabeth complaining about her masterpiece and Grover yelling about humans ("Silly nasty polluting humans!) dying as she took them away, but she ignored them in favor of dragging them with her. She saw the black Maserati again and headed straight to it, shoving her friends into the back and getting into the driver's seat. She found the keys in the glove compartment and ignored the dark red backpack Ares had given her for some reason appearing next to her on the passenger seat.

Shoving the key into the ignition, she turned on the car and revved the engine, squealing out of the place as she burst the car through the door. After a moment of just driving and getting away, all silent, Annabeth shakily spoke.

"W-what happened?"

"You check in and never leave," Percy chuckled darkly.

Started 11/26/10 –Completed 11/29/10

Chapter Text

"Annabeth, do you remember anything?"

The Daughter of Athena shook her head, "Not much. Probably because I didn't do much. As soon as Grover and I got in, they gave us these cards and we kind of just drifted to the games. Once I reached that architect sim game, I pretty much stuck to that and did nothing."

"Same here," Grover mumbled.

Percy inhaled sharply, telling them how she ate the flower and then remembered nothing until she "woke up" in the middle of a club in the hotel, with no idea what was going on or how'd she gotten there.

"Maybe…maybe because it was harder for you to be lured in, they gave you the Lotus Flower to eat. Grover and I just had to smell the air conditioning and then see the games and everything else that looked inviting, and then we were hooked," Annabeth suggested.

"Well, at least we're out. I have to get gas for this thing if I'm driving all the way to Santa Monica. That's a 300 mile trip, so I'll head to a gas station right before I get on the ramp to I-515 North," Percy told them, still feeling edgy and tense.

"…Sooo, Percy, why are you wearing a mini dress?" Grover asked. Annabeth nodded.

Percy freaked out. "I don't know! I told you all of a sudden I woke up wearing this in a club! I have no clue what happened from the time I ate that Lotus Flower dish to waking up then!" And she continued on, working herself into a rant.

Grover shook his head. "Don't worry about it," he told Annabeth. "She gets like that sometimes. Like back in Yancy, exam time is the worst. She's fine with big tests and whatever, but when it's exam time at the end of the year, for some reason she starts freaking out. The only other thing that works her up like this is competitions. There are some other stuff, but those are rarer and not all the time. Like withholding food, but she doesn't panic all the time about it. It's just weird occasions when for some reason she does."

"So she gets OCD about things?"

"Yup."

"I have a phobia of spiders," she offered to Percy, who had finally stopped ranting.

Percy blinked. "Oh, so that's why you didn't like the mention of metal spiders with sharp pointy ends to their limbs and would have bit and scratch like hell if I'd let them."

Annabeth shivered and glared, "Yeah."

"Ah."

"Gas station to your right," Grover interrupted, and Percy immediately pulled into it.

She parked and then addressed the others. "You guys can go out, stretch your legs, whatever."

They nodded and left and Percy breathed out a sigh of relief. The whole time, she felt like the car was pressing in on her and she felt like she couldn't breathe. Not knowing what had happened had grated on her, and she was antsy about what she couldn't remember.

She grabbed Ares' backpack, with the first thing in view was the leather duster she'd gotten from Ares folded up neatly on top of everything. She took that out and saw everything else, plus her clothing that she'd been wearing the entire time on her Quest. She got those out in relief, before freezing. There was a new addition that she knew hadn't been there before.

She shakily reached in and grabbed the red wraparound shades, holding them tightly in her hand.

Percy dazedly leaned back in her seat, staring at it.

Well, she was definitely not going to tell the other two that Ares apparently had had a hand in helping her and getting them out. What was she going to say? How was she going to explain Ares' involvement anyway? Especially since she couldn't remember anything.

She shoved the shades back into the bag before deciding to rummage through it and see if there was anything else she missed and might give her more of an explanation. She found a piece of paper and eagerly dug it out, before reading it and turning incredulous.

Checked in on you, saw you in hotel. Helped you out, so you owe me. Wanted to just spend some time with you, so didn't get you out quickly –still left you a lot of time before deadline. –Ares :)

She started laughing hysterically, wondering what in the hell was wrong with that man. The scribbled note had her staring in disbelief at the audaciousness, and the sheer simplicity and vagueness (with such a lack of details)of the note had her frustrated and blinking in shock at his nonchalance and casual wording. That he was so blasé about it all had her irritated.

Mostly, she was just in disbelief that he wrote such a simple note that was so blunt and yet told her nothing.

"Are you kidding me? What kind of note was that! It's s-so stupid! Checked in on me…why would he need to check in me? And can't you help out of the goodness of your heart! And spending time with me, what in the –…and being so careless about a deadline! He may not care, but I do care about it! It's my deadline! You don't mess around with deadlines!" she ranted.

And that smiley face

She had spent a whole minute just staring at that again, unable to believe its presence or wonder what would possess him to draw a smiley face after his name.

And she couldn't get over how the note was so freakin' careless, offhand, carefree, laid-back, cavalier, and ooh! She could just go on.

The candid note just had her reeling, so she settled for giggling in a constant state of disbelief and rolling her eyes in amazement. But she went back to ogling the smiley face. Thatshe couldn't get over. It was just…seeing the smiley face there was just so funny and weird and just outrageous, especially accompanying such a lackadaisical, dumb note.

"What an incomplete, fragmented, choppy note," she muttered.

The smiley face…

"ARGH!" she yanked at her hair, stomping out of the car and heading to the gas pump.

She huffed as she set up the gas, hesitating before she took her LotusCash card and swiped it, blinking when it worked. Then she went back into the car to wait, crossing her arms sulkily.

"Stupid note, stupid Ares, and stupid dress."

She grabbed her leather pants, yanked that on, and then started to pull off her dress. With that off, she grabbed her shirt and put it on, pulling the suspenders up. She put the rest of her outfit on, before glancing up. She blinked.

The guy in the car opposite her was staring back dazedly.

Just then, Grover and Annabeth came back and the gas tank was finally filled. She hurriedly got out and returned the pump, before driving away with a red face and not explaining anything to the others.

When that was being done, Poseidon was eagerly waiting for news of his daughter, staring once again at his photo of her. Any day now, he would be getting news of her whenever she reached the Santa Monica Pier. He just had to wait and be patient.

"Are you staring at that photo again?" a woman asked him in disdain.

He frowned, "She's my daughter, Amphitrite. I would like to be able to see her whenever I could, so a photo will have to do."

She rolled her eyes, gesturing to one of his subjects.

"He would like a word with you on a section of the palace that needs reconstruction," she said coldly.

Poseidon sighed and nodded, following him. She sneered before catching sight of the photo laying face down on Poseidon's throne. She picked it up and frowned, narrowing her eyes at the photo.

"Tch, so this is his brat."

She held it delicately in both of her hands before ripping it in half.

"Oops," she smirked.

She turned and left the pieces behind. Unknown to her, her son had been watching curiously. He swam closer, picking up the pieces and putting them together, looking at it. He scowled at it, but the more he stared at the delicate features of his half-sister and examined her soft smile or the light in her eyes, he felt odd. His lips involuntarily twitched slightly upwards.

"Triton!"

Startled, he dropped the pieces of the photo and saw his angry father.

"I didn't do it," he correctly guessed the start of his father's fury. "Mom did. I was just looking at it."

Poseidon calmed slowly, sighing. "Perhaps I should not have stared at it so often. I should go see Hermes to see if he can conjure another copy," he said dejectedly.

His father walked away and Triton bent down and picked up the pieces again. He swam to his room and found godly tape that he used to tape the two pieces together. Too bad godly powers didn't work on Hermes products, for Olympus copyright reasons. He safely tucked the photo in his desk, before swimming back out for his sword lesson.

Poseidon, meanwhile, had teleported to Olympus to find Hermes.

The messenger god was in the "bachelor pad" he, Apollo, and Ares had made for themselves to hang out in as the three unmarried Olympian gods. Right now, he and Apollo were ganging up on Ares.

"Dude, we so don't know why we let you in here," Apollo snickered. "Can you really even be a bachelor with us? Aphrodite is your girlfriend, married to ol' Hephaestus or not."

Ares grunted, "She's not my girlfriend…"

Hermes' eyebrows rose, "You never had a problem with her being called that before. In fact, I thought she really was…"

The war god's face flushed red and he was about to retort back defensively when they were interrupted with the woman herself, leading in Poseidon.

"Here they are, Poseidon," Aphrodite gave a sly smile.

"Hermes," Poseidon gave a strained smile. "I was wondering if you had another copy of my daughter's photo. The one I had…met an unfortunate end because of Amphitrite," he grimaced.

Hermes hesitated, "I'll…look."

Aphrodite's eyes glinted and she laughed superficially, "Don't be silly, Hermes. Don't you have that copy with you?"

He glared at her, before turning and giving a strained smile to Poseidon as he handed him the photo, reluctantly taking it out and giving it over.

"Ah, yes. Must have slipped my mind," he gritted his teeth.

"Thank you…only," Poseidon's grateful smile froze. "What are you doing with a second copy of the photo of my daughter and carrying it around?"

Hermes refrained from swallowing, looking nervously at the sea god.

"A-Apollo warned me that I might need to have a second copy, so I had it just in case," he didn't look at Apollo as he answered.

Apollo's eyes slightly widened, but he put his face to normal and gave a bright grin to Poseidon.

"Yeah, that's right," he lied.

Poseidon accepted that and left with Aphrodite following with a pout.

"So the God of Truth lies again," Ares drawled.

Apollo glared at him, "I'm not exactly bound to tell the truth myself, though I know when I'm being lied to." He turned to Hermes, staring intensely, "Now tell me what's up."

Hermes grimaced, "I can't exactly tell Poseidon I've been carrying it around, much less that I had a copy of his daughter's photo for myself. You've seen how he's slowly becoming extremely protective of her, even if he's not fully aware of it. He'd kill me."

As the two talked, Ares stayed quiet. He twitched anxiously, hoping no one would find out about his little outing to Vegas, and that he'd taken some liberties when it came to the Daughter of Poseidon. He wiped his hands on his pants, licking his lips tensely. He would be in trouble with more than just Aphrodite if that came out, not to mention Aphrodite would make that girl's life hell –and he didn't want that at all.

So what if he decided to check in on her? Good thing that he did, or else she would have been stuck in that hotel forever, or at least be in there way too long that her deadline would pass. And so what if he decided to spend some time with her first, inappropriately taking advantage of her slightly intoxicated and for the moment easily susceptible nature? He made sure not to be too invasive and had controlled himself, which was quite unlike himself to do so.

There was no way in Tartarus he wanted that little tidbit out, or else he knew there would be some consequences.


"Make sure your fingers are positioned correctly," Percy told Grover, driving while instructing him on how to play his reed pipes.

"I still don't know how you manage to teach Grover how to play. Last I remember, he couldn't play a thing in tune, and everyone had agreed he was hopeless," Annabeth told her.

Percy shrugged, "He just needed to know the basics."

"And a whole lot more," Grover rolled his eyes. "She taught me most of what I know of playing back at Yancy, and I know enough to learn the songs she teaches me. I taught myself a few songs too, but eh…you know how that turned out…"

He glanced at her as she started muttering under her breath about Hilary Duff and something about the "classics".

"At least I can now play my satyr songs acceptably," he told Annabeth.

"You should teach me how to play those," Percy cut in.

Grover brightened up, "Sure! Hey, I can play now, and you can learn by ear. You're good at hearing notes and learning them that way, right?"

Percy nodded and he started to play. By the time they'd finished the basics of satyr songs, they'd finally reached the Santa Monica Pier. Once there, she immediately walked into the filthy waters, ignoring the frantic calls from her friends, and quickly encountered a mako shark that bid her to hang onto it. Soon enough, she was speeding down to come face to face with the river spirit she'd met back at the Arch.

Once again, she stared at the Nereid, who watched her calmly back.

"You have done well, Perseas Jackson," she murmured.

She stayed quiet.

"You have come far, and for that I thank you. We all know how you detest your father and the gods. But you must heed his help for this time," she warned her urgently.

Percy gave her an acknowledging nod.

"I have seen your kind before, back when I used to stay on Montauk beach," Percy gazed at her in calm interest. "You and others like you…"

"We have watched you for many years. There has not been a child of Poseidon for a long time, much less a daughter, Perseas."

Percy didn't answer, merely stared.

"I will cut to the point, as I know you do not wish to dawdle and waste time," the Nereid reluctantly started. "You need these pearls, for they will return you to any body of water you wish to go to. We know you go to the Underworld and not many come back. There are heroes who have –"

"And who have special talents," Percy interrupted, still disturbingly calm. "I do not have a specific talent that will get me out."

The Nereid nodded, "And we –Poseidon –gift you and your friends these pearls for a safe return. You only need to crush them at your feet and think of the body of water you wish to go to."

She handed them to Percy, who slowly accepted them, gazing down at the precious pearls with an odd look on her face.

"Remember to not trust the gifts," the Nereid reminded her.

"I'll try to remember that," Percy replied stoically, not looking up.

The Nereid hesitated, but Percy spoke up once more.

"If he's so interested in me, why isn't he here?" Percy sneered, finally looking up with a dangerous and cool gaze.

Alarmed, the Nereid was about to answer when Percy kicked upwards and started swimming up without giving her time to reply.

As soon as she reached land, she reiterated everything back to her friends, before handing them a pearl each.

"Take one and don't argue," Percy ordered. "Crush them at your feet when I tell you to, and don't argue then either."

The two looked mutinous, but Percy shut them down with a look.

"Annabeth, I want you to tell me again what we will come across in the Underworld and all the gossip you can about it and the people there."

Turns out, there was a lot of interesting stuff to be told. But there were some information that she'd picked out that she knew was extremely useful. That's why she drove to Sparky's Pet Grooming at 9221 W Olympic Blvd in Beverly Hills, on the way to their destination in West Hollywood. After she was done there, she took another stop in Beverly Hills nearby, pausing at Emporio Armani Boutique at 9533 Brighton Way.

"Hello, may I have some assistance here?" she called out.

A well-dressed and cared for man appeared, smiling at her patronizingly, though his eyes did rove up and down her body. She arched an eyebrow at him.

"I'm looking for a nice suit for a friend of mine," she gave a sharp smile. "Can you help me?"

"Can you pay?" he purred, smirking.

"Do you ask all your customers if they can?"

He echoed the arched eyebrow, "You're a little too young to be able to afford these suits, sweetheart."

"We'll see about that," she said haughtily, narrowing her eyes with a reflected smirk. "Though I guess I'm not too young to be ogled at."

He gave a half-shrug, "Like all merchandise, look but don't touch."

"And yet most merchandise do get touched. How else are they tested and eventually bought?" she replied wryly.

"But expensive and more fragile pieces don't."

"Unless you're anal enough to really care."

He barked out a laugh, mockingly bowing and sweeping an arm around the store. She huffed and went forward first.

So he began to politely show her around, and she listened with half an ear, the other listening to the radio broadcast in the background.

"Hey! I gave the Percy Jackson a ride to the Greyhound station!"

"When exactly was this, sir?"

"You know –that Greyhound incident? I was the one who drove her and her charges to the Greyhound station, where they got on that bus. See, they were walking along the highway, and they hitched a ride from me."

"There it is, folks. Also, the Greyhound Station is reportedly near Percy Jackson's home. If anyone has any more information on this missing, allegedly undercover agent, please call this number. We need to find the truth and find this young woman, who may be way in over her head."

"How about that one?" Percy pointed out the suit that caught her eye, at the same time smirking in amusement from the broadcast.

The man shrugged, "It is a very fine piece. A micro-pinstripe, slim fit, single-breasted, two-button suit. It's a fair ensemble, pricing modestly at $1,395."

She whistled, "That's what you call modest, eh? Perfect. I'll take the marine."

His eyebrows rose in disbelief.

"I can pay for it," she assured him, though inwardly she wasn't sure even if she didn't show it.

He took the suit and brought it to the counter, her following and catching a glimpse of the front of the newspaper.

'Percy Jackson saves captive animals from illegal haulers!'

She hid her snicker in a cough, missing the odd look the man gave her. She handed over the LotusCard cash, hoping it would work here too, and nearly burst into grateful laughter when it worked and the man's eyes widened.

"Well…I guess I was wrong," he hid his wince.

"Lucky for you, I'm not usually anal about that stuff," she gave a triumphant smirk, collecting her purchase. "By the way, can you give me a head start before alerting the authorities?"

He blinked in confusion before she set off quickly, not wanting to stick around when he got back to the newspaper and realized he'd just served the 'Percy Jackson'.

In the car, she put the suit back into the dark scarlet bag and then remembered her own backpack that Annabeth's been carrying for her ever since she'd gone off to get Ares' shield. Her broadswords were safely in there, as well as everything else, but she put aside the swords so she could sling it across her back later. She drove to West Hollywood, with no luck on finding DOA Recording Studios.

"Alright, we're going to get out and split up and see if we can find directions. Annabeth, can you keep my backpack for a little longer and keep it safe?"

When Annabeth nodded, Percy parked and then they got out and split up. On the way around, she found a TV on display in a storefront, with her stepfather talking to Barbara Walters. She was enraged and nearly went in there to grab the TV and take her fury out on it when it cut to the news, and she saw another familiar face. This time it was the waiter who had served her at that diner.

"You served Percy Jackson, right?"

The waiter frowned and shook his head. "No, I have no idea what you're talking about."

The reporter stared. "We have multiple witnesses saying that Percy Jackson dined here and that you were her waiter. Are you saying differently, even with so many saying that you did?"

The waiter stubbornly shook his head again, "Sorry, I was serving a nice Southern belle." He clamped his mouth shut and turned away.

"I'm sorry, sir…but are you denying serving her? Even your boss has said you have; you even served her when your shift was over!" the reporter was clearly disbelieving.

"Don't listen to him, he's crazy. He doesn't know what he's talking about. And everyone is being delusional. I served no one yesterday," the waiter declared.

"But you were at work yesterday."

"Yes."

"Then how can you not be serving?" the reporter was starting to get frustrated.

"I was being lazy, like usual. I loitered around in the back," the waiter shrugged indifferently. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know a Percy Jackson."

"What about that 'nice Southern belle' you were talking about?"

"I don't know who you mean. I was slacking off yesterday. I didn't serve anyone."

"But you just said –!"

Percy walked away laughing, her anger cooled off. That good ol' waiter. She should've tipped him more.

After a fruitless search, a run in with idiot rich kids playing at being bad boys (whom she promptly beat up and left in a pile), she ran into a weird bed store, hearing familiar screams of help. She broke into the place-with-a-name-she-couldn't-decipher, and stared at the scene. Annabeth and Grover were being stretched on waterbeds with this tall guy leaning over them, muttering about making them fit, saying 'ergo' while snapping his fingers and more ropes sprung up to tie her friends to the beds. Silently, she snuck up behind him and stood behind him nonchalantly.

"Hey, semi-brother," she greeted.

Then she kicked him towards a bed and snapped her fingers, saying "Ergo!"

"Hey, hey! Who are you?" The gray-skinned giant of a man glared at her.

Percy blinked, "I don't care much for Greek heroes, 'cause they usually are too self-absorbed and egotistical for me, but I do know them and their methods. Didn't Theseus, our other semi-brother, like kill you the same way you took care of your victims? Like the Herculean way of violence-returned-violence or something? Because if so, I'm not going to feel sorry for this," she then used her broadswords and swung them crossly, cutting through him and making him disappear in a golden shower of dust.

Getting Annabeth and Grover out, she examined the place.

"Cool beds though," she commented.

Annabeth and Grover grabbed a cheek each and pulled sideways.

"Jerk! Could've got us out faster," Annabeth muttered.

"At least Crusty's gone," Grover sighed in relief.

"Ew. Who was crusty?" Percy blinked.

"What do mean –you know, Procrustes? The monster you just took cared of?" Grover asked incredulously.

"Who? I have no idea who you're talking about," Percy said blissfully.

"You called him your semi-brother –!"

"Oh, look, I think I may see some useful flyers," Percy interrupted, drifting away from them.

Grover mimicked strangling someone, twitching.

"Sometimes…I swear…"

Annabeth just sighed.

"Nice! I found a flyer for DOA! Horrible color though. Who does bright orange? Other than Naruto, I mean. And he's a fictional character," Percy snarked.

"We got an address?" Annabeth asked her when she came back holding the flyer.

"We got an address," Percy grinned. "And it's just a block away. Hi ho, let's go, my merry pirates!"

Percy led the way out, clutching also a stolen coin bag that had once belonged to Crusty's, though she did glance at the 'Million-hand massage' waterbed in interest.

"First Spartans, now we're pirates?" Annabeth grumbled.


Percy parked right in front of DOA Recording Studios, having Annabeth carry her backpack just in case, and carrying the dark red backpack herself. She made sure she'd transferred everything of hers into her own backpack, while keeping the stuff she'd just bought in Ares' backpack. All three of them entered the gloomy looking building, seeing a tall, elegant man with chocolate-colored skin, bleached-blond hair shaved military style, and wearing a silk Italian suit that matched his hair and tortoiseshell sunglasses to go with the ensemble.

Percy did the only sensible thing to do at that moment.

"Ohh, are those Dolce and Gabbana?"

"You noticed?" he grinned, shifting his shades. "These were on sale last Tuesday. Fabulous price, and I say –don't they look dashing on me?"

"Very," she nodded her head. "And the suit! More than fabulous. The black rose pinned to your lapel? A very nice touch."

"I know, right? Italian suits are just incredibly divine. And thanks, love. I try to be fashionable in this day and age."

Percy nodded agreeably again, "That accent of yours matches the style remarkably. Is it a British accent, sir?"

"Charon, love," he gave her another toothy grin. "Yes, it is. I've been trying to emulate the James Bond persona. I think I make a good Brit."

"Absolutely," Percy smiled. "A perfect James Bond. Too bad they haven't casted a Bond with your nationality and skin color, Charon. You would be a perfect cast then."

"Oh, wouldn't that be grand?" he sighed. "But Daniel Craig's been brilliant."

She echoed his sigh.

"Uh, Percy?" Annabeth interrupted uncertainly.

"A moment, Annabeth," Percy said silkily. "Let the grownups talk."

The blonde blinked while Grover just looked on in amusement.

"Now, Charon. We would like to get into the Underworld," she smiled sweetly.

"What a refreshing change. No screaming, no 'This is a mistake!', blah, blah, blah. How'd you little dead ones die, love?"

Percy sniffled, "It was tragic. Little Annabeth there was run over by a speeding zebra in Vegas, and Grover…dear Grover liked alcohol a little too much, even at that young age. Alcohol poisoning for him."

Grover twitched while Annabeth looked lost.

"And I?" Percy continued dramatically. "You wouldn't believe it."

"Try me," Charon leaned closer, looking suitably sympathetic and horrified.

"I…" Percy sobbed. "I was smothered to death by my evil stepdad Gabe Ugliano. He always did have it out for me," she hid her face.

"There, there," he leaned over his raised podium and patted her back. Then he tensed and moved back, staring at them intensely. "You're live ones, aren't you?" he took a sniff. "Godlings, too."

Percy quit her act and straightened, staring back coolly with a playful smile.

"Ah well. Let's cut to the chase, shall we? We need to get to the Underworld," Percy tugged Annabeth closer, ruffling through her bag for the bag of drachmas from Medusa and taking out another bag from the backpack she got from Ares. She opened one and took a single drachma out, watching as Charon's gaze watched the action closely. "I bet Hades doesn't pay you enough."

"No, not at all," he followed the drachma that Percy was rolling across her knuckles. "In fact, you have no idea. I have to sit here, babysit these wankers all day, especially having to listen to all their whinging. It's always the same thing –'Please don't let me be dead' or 'Please let me cross for free.' Bloody annoying for a 24/7 job. And no pay raise for three thousand years! How'd you like that? And these suits don't come cheap," he frowned, fingering the lapels of his suit, and glancing down with a look that said he was imagining himself in something even better.

Percy flipped the coin and caught it in her hand.

"I haven't seen a real gold drachma in years," he said breathily, eying her closed hand greedily.

She tilted her other hand and five drachmas spilled out from the open coin bag to clatter onto the ground. He moistened his lips.

"Drachmas," she corrected softly.

"Listen, love, you go down and you're probably not going to come back up. I don't wanna see such a lovely face have to go down so early," he said seriously.

"Oh, I know. But I don't plan on dying," she said confidently.

He sighed and held out his hand, but instead she smiled, eyes closed in a fox-like nature, and tilted her head.

"Do you really want these drachmas?" she asked.

He huffed, "'Course I do. I may like you and think you're a pretty little thing, but drachmas hold my heart, love."

"Not even…for this?" she dropped the coin bags onto the floor to easily whip out the brand new suit she'd bought just earlier.

A very audible suction of breath was heard.

"That's…that's…"

"Armani," she purred. "Brand new. Fresh off the new line."

"Suit," he didn't even hesitate.

She smugly tossed it to him and he snatched it midair, holding it to his face and rubbing against it affectionately, inhaling the brand new smell.

"Alright, I'll take the three of you. Ride's almost full anyways," he folded the suit carefully and tucked it away somewhere at his spot.

"Thank you, Charon. I'll make sure to mention a pay raise to Hades for you," Percy beamed happily at him.

She picked up the coin bags, leaving the five drachmas onto the ground so that some of the poor souls might be able to pass on. She caught up with the others in the elevator, before pausing. In great pain, she measured the coin bags, including the one she got from Crusty's, before throwing that one out of the elevator and into the lobby, deeming it the lesser of the three.

"There, no more 'whinging'," she told Charon. Then she poked Grover. "See? I'm not frugal."

"Whatever," Grover rolled his eyes. "That was the smallest bag."

Charon melodramatically held his hands to his heart.

"A girl after me own heart! Thanks, love."

"Can I have your shades?" Percy blinked, asking suddenly.

"Not a chance."

"Damn."

"We should go shopping together some time though."

Percy nodded sagely, "Definitely. Can I have the rose?"

"Eh, sure. Why not?" he took the black rose off his suit and handed it to her, and she was about to figure out where to pin it, when she sighed and realized, where she was going, anything breakable was hazard.

"Keep this safe, Spartan Pirate," Percy told Annabeth solemnly, putting it into her backpack.

Annabeth stuck out her tongue, having enough.

"Say hey, all those compliments earlier were just to flatter me, wasn't it?" Charon pouted.

"Yeah, mostly to butter you up. Doesn't mean I didn't mean them though," she shrugged.

Charon cheered up and entered the elevator. "Right. Now, no one get any ideas while I'm gone," he announced to the waiting room. "And if anyone moves the dial off my easy-listening station again, I'll make sure you're here for another thousand years. Understand?"

"I have two words for you, Charon," Percy started. "Lady. Gaga."

The doors closed on them.

Then Percy started chattering about Lady Gaga and all the other music he'd like, not even bothered when his clothes transformed into a Grim Reaper robe, or that his shades had disappeared to become empty sockets that was just dark, full of night, death and despair.

Annabeth and Grover (and other souls in the ride) very much did notice.

He, in turn, was listening intently.

The two were so enraptured in their discussion, they didn't even pay attention to when the elevator disappeared and changed into a wooden barge, going through the River Styx and so on. While the rest of the riders watched in trepidation, Percy and Charon were discussing the merits of Barry Manilow, switching from what he'd like to what he did and what Percy thought of it. It was an okay selection, just not broad enough…

"If you like Barry Manilow, you should like Lionel Richie!" Percy heatedly shouted.

Charon shrugged.

"You need an education on music," Percy vowed. "Next time I come here, you're going to be an educated man."

They reached shore, their boat hitting black sand. The dead disembarked, as well as Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and Charon started rowing away.

"Then come visit!" he yelled. "And don't forget to mention my pay raise!"

"I will! On both accounts!" she yelled back.

They started walking and Annabeth explained what she could, though Percy just stared in interest at the airport-like appearance of the Underworld. When they finally reached the place where the lines finally split into three separate ones, Cerberus came into view. It was a huge Rottweiler, and Percy nervously moved to the front of the group.

"Hey, boy."

It growled at her.

"Anyone have experience with dogs?" Percy muttered to the others.

Grover shook his head in fright, and Annabeth gave her a mournful look. Percy gazed seriously at her female friend for a second, before sighing and letting it go.

"Uh, Percy, can you think of something quick?" Grover squeaked. "It's about to eat us."

Percy turned sharply to the rapidly descending three-headed dog.

"Stop!" she ordered it.

In surprise at the order and hearing the tone, Cerberus stopped.

"Are you a good boy, Cerberus? I think you are. Wouldn't you like these treats?" Percy took out the bag of treats she'd bought earlier.

Cerberus stood still, tail wagging behind it and creating quakes.

"Sit," it sat and Percy threw three large scoops of treats into the air in each heads' direction. She repeated the action until the bag was completely empty. "I don't have any more treats, Cerberus, but I have something else for each of you. I got you a pretty collar to put around your necks," Percy grabbed the three black leather collars from the dark red bag, the dog bone tags jingled as she pulled the collars out.

Cerberus lay low to the ground, paws in front of him as he stared obediently. She took time to pet and scratch each head as she put a collar on each of them, affectionately speaking endearments.

"Good boy," she spoke when she finished.

It sat on its haunches, tail wagging again as well as its tongue lolling out happily.

"I got you one last thing," Percy said. "Actually, three things since it's for the three of you," she pulled out three carefully wrapped things out of a box from the bag. "How about some extra rare boneless steak, guys?"

One by one, she tossed the steaks, each head coming after theirs. She immediately ushered the others under Cerberus and then to the metal detector. She hesitated, looking back at it as she heard it moan pitifully. It was staring back at her dolefully, all three heads whimpering. It had clearly done a 180 to look at her, looking expectant at her as it waited for her to come back.

She winced, heartstrings being pulled.

"Oh, Cerberus," she murmured. "I'll come back soon. I promise. I already told Charon I'd come back, and I promise that I'll definitely make time for you, sweetie. I'll even bring some more snacks, even some steak. Would you like that?"

It let out a mournful wail.

"Cerberus, love," she said tenderly. "You're such a good boy," she finished sadly.

Then she grabbed a hold of the others' hands as they ran and sped out of there, even as the alarms blared behind them. Once they hid to escape the ghouls, Grover spoke out.

"That was really close."

Annabeth sniffled and Percy glanced at her curiously. The blonde mouthed 'I'll tell you later' and she nodded.

"He just needed some attention. Everyone needs a little attention every now and then," she muttered. Involuntarily, her mind wandered to Poseidon at that, and she bit her lip angrily. But then she heard the painful keening of Cerberus from a distance and she winced. She was really tempted to go back and just spend some time with the dog.

They started on their way to Hades' palace, which was like a dark beauty of an architectural masterpiece. They quickly passed through Persephone's Garden, though Percy was very tempted to try a pomegranate if it weren't for the fact she knew she would never be able to leave if she did. The smell was very tempting though…

Annabeth had to help her keep a tight grip on Grover from trying to grab the biggest piece he could and sampling it, though the blonde had to keep an eye on Percy as well.

They traversed through quickly, and it seemed like no time had passed as they stood in front of the doors that no doubt hosted Hades inside. The doors opened without anyone prompting and they shakily entered.

Percy tensed. Hades was the third god she'd met, but he was the first who struck her as godlike.

He was imposing. If it wasn't the fact he was at least ten feet, it was the black silk robes. If it wasn't those, it was the crown of braided gold. His skin was albino white, his hair shoulder-length and jet black. He wasn't bulked up like Ares, but he radiated power. He lounged on his throne of fused human bones, looking lithe, graceful, and dangerous as a panther. He looked like any of the charismatic leaders of old, whether they were influential dictators like Caesar to controversial leaders like Napolean Bonaparte. Even Adolf Hitler held a resemblance –the man was evil but he had the magnetizing charisma and was a powerful speaker…

It was the intense eyes. Mesmerizing and forceful. The kind of eyes of a man who wasn't just part of a battle, but led it –they were ones of leaders and commanders.

She felt insignificant and foolish. She felt like she didn't know anything, that he knew more than she. If anything, he should be the one giving orders. He should be her master…

"Stop it," her voice cracked.

He gave a dangerous smile.

"Are you ordering me around, little niece?" At first glance, his voice was oily. Listening back to it in her head, she recanted and thought it was more velvety, edged with danger as much as it had with his smile. It was a smooth voice, heavily tinted with an oppressing power.

Probably because of whom she was.

It was with a dazed thought that she thought that if it had been any other normal situation, she'd probably like to fall asleep listening to Hades' voice (when it wasn't veiled with power meant to oppress her of course).

"I would cut to the chase, but I'm…intrigued. You have a god's blessing on you," Hades murmured.

Percy blinked, remembering that.

"Not just any god…but my wife's. Now why would Persephone bless you?" the Lord of the Dead tilted his head to the side in curiosity, and Percy could feel the two besides her fidgeting. She herself was getting antsy, and the new information she'd learned didn't help.

"I…don't know?" she answered hesitantly.

"If my wife gives you her blessings, there must be something special about you," Hades conceded. "That alone tells me you could not have stolen it."

"Stolen it?" her voice was weak again. Not only was she confused, for once she was truly lost. And not sure what to do. For that matter, what in the world was going on and why were she and the others not god toast yet?

"My Helm, little niece," his voice turned frosty, narrowing his eyes and starting to concentrate, "is missing. But if you did not steal it, who has?"

"I –" Percy squeaked as Hades suddenly appeared beside her, shrinking to be as tall as Ares was, though he still towered over her. He gently picked up the backpack Ares gave her with his thumb and index finger, face completely stoic as he slid it off of her. He dropped it to the ground and waved a hand jerkily from one side to the next, the backpack zipping open. And then she heard it.

The unmistakable sound of crackling.

She blankly looked down and saw the light blaring out of the bag, crackling lightning unrestrained in its movements as it thrashed. She could only count on the backpack being a godly item as to why it wasn't breaking apart on the seams, as well as it protecting whatever else was in the backpack.

"Pretty little liar," he purred. "I should've known. Zeus' Lightning Bolt. I guess you are the Lightning Thief, little niece."

Wincing, she did the only thing she could think of. She tossed Annabeth and Grover as far as she could out the doors, screaming at them.

"Get back to Camp!"

Before they could protest or barge back in, the doors slammed shut in their faces, leaving her alone with Hades in the room. But when she turned to face him, he immediately backhanded her and she flew to the side. She hit the floor hard, skidding some ways away. She staggered up, but the moment she looked up, Hades was in her face. It was like slow motion, just a moment of eye to eye contact and then time sped back to normal, he lashing out with a kick to her stomach that had her crashing into the wall.

How many times has that happened on this Quest?

She fell to the ground with a thud and groaned. Looking up, she saw Hades speeding towards her, and she grimaced. But she was not going to just sit there idly. The pearl she had slid out and she scrambled to grab a hold of it. He slammed his foot on her hand and she screamed.

She forced herself up, and in a split second dodged to the right, evading the jab Hades aimed at her midsection. Narrowing her eyes, she did a handstand and caught him at his chin with a foot. But he twisted and immediately twirled into a kick that hit the back of her knees.

She almost crumpled, but instead she ignored the pain and uprighted herself. Again, he didn't give her any time for a pause, but she crossed her arms in front of her face to block his downwards kick. She winced at the pressure, but held up. After that, it was just a series of blocks, jabs, and kicks and a combination hereafter. It hurt to block, but she'd rather not have a direct hit, if the holes, broken debris, and whatnot around was a sign of her uncle's strength.

And he was just toying with her. She could tell. She wouldn't be here still, if he was being serious.

Backed into a wall, in frustration, she slammed her fist into the ground, startled when the ground cracked and a fissure started from where her fist was and then started to rapidly come faster towards Hades. The god nimbly jumped back and avoided the large explosion in the ground where he had been. Unfortunately that move had exhausted Percy unexpectedly, so she sort of just stood there in a daze. Hades gained back the advantage and suddenly appeared in front of her. Before she could do anything, his hand closed around her throat and had slammed her back against the wall.

She felt debris hit her and she coughed up at the dust. Tired and in pain, and still feeling lost, she just lay limp in his grasp, hanging in his grip against the wall.

"Well, my pretty little liar?" he asked silkily.

Percy blinked slowly, staring at him.

"You have such sad eyes," she murmured dazedly. "I always thought you would be so lonely."

Hades stared at her intensely, his hand slowly letting go of her. She slid to the ground.

He scoffed, the pearl appearing in his hand. "Take that pearl of yours and leave." He tossed the pearl at her and turned to leave, heading to his throne.

What? Why? What had happened?

"Wha –?"

"I said leave," he said shortly.

Warily, she took the pearl. But she didn't go just yet. She watched her uncle closely, seeing him staring off to the side indifferently as he sat on his throne in a deceptively languid pose. His face was a blank slate, but his lips were pulled into a stern frown.

"I'll," her voice cracked. "I'll find your Helm for you, Uncle," she promised.

He didn't think anyone would help him, or give him any sort of justice. She could just tell. He set out after her himself, without saying anything to anyone about his missing Helm or anything at all. And of course he couldn't allow anyone to know his most powerful weapon was missing.

And she realized, getting through the Underworld, succeeding in this Quest…it had been all too easy. He wanted her to come here. He wanted to make her suffer and face punishment at his own hand.

"I didn't do it," she quietly said, standing up. "And I'll prove it. When I do, I'll come back to visit you, and I'll keep you company while Persephone is away."

She dropped the pearl at her feet and stomped on it.


Strangely, she was thinking of Santa Monica when she crushed the pearl. It was what came to mind, remembering how she got the pearls. She had meant to go to Camp with the others, but incoherently her mind just blacked out and then started to remember the Santa Monica visit in brief glimpses.

She cursed when she realized that was where she was, resurfacing above the waters. She swam to shore and glared, seeing the current bane of her existence already there waiting, missing his shades and looking odd with dark brown eyes tinted red. Without his shades and leather duster, he almost looked like an ordinary guy. If it wasn't for the huge motorcycle he was straddling, the aluminum bat against his shoulder, and his usual intimidating aura, height and build.

"You…" but the first thing to come to mind to start yelling at him for was not what she'd intended to say. "Could you have written a more stupid note?" she twitched.

He coughed, "Well, uh, I was sort of in a hurry to not be caught missing. Sorry."

She shook her head, bringing herself out of it.

"Anyways, glad to see you alive," he said, actually looking genuinely pleased. "I was worried you might not make it."

"And I'm hoping you won't," she growled, taking out Riptide and transforming it into a sword. Her broadswords had fallen off sometime during her battle with Hades, so she was finally going to use Riptide. It burned welcomingly, seemingly excited to finally be in use and ready for action.

"I don't even want to hear what you say, and I'm pretty sure I know already what you're going to say. I don't care how much of a fight you want between the three idiots who rule the world, I'm going to kick your ass to them and back here," she snarled.

He held up his hands, the action bringing the bat to swing lazily downwards and only held onto by a thumb.

"Come on, give me a break. It wasn't all me either. You know, gods can't steal other gods' shit and stuff. Before I met you, the whole plan was for you to die in the Underworld, Daddy Dearest gets pissed at Corpse Breath, who would've had the Lightning Bolt so Zeus gets pissed at him. Then there's still this little thing Hades is searching for," Ares took out a ski mask that turned into the Helm of Darkness.

"And he'll be mad at both Poseidon and Zeus because he doesn't know who took it," she clenched her hands tighter around Riptide. "How convenient."

"Would have been," he grimaced, "until you actually entered the picture. With you actually in the game, opinions and decisions are changin' a bit, darlin'."

She pursed her lips, glaring heatedly.

"You got me nervous there for a moment, back at the diner," he shrugged, but in contrast his voice was strangely soft. "You're a little too observant for your own good."

"If I'd stayed on that inkling a little longer, I might've figured this all out sooner."

"I was afraid of you doing that back then, though I was relieved when you didn't. Got to say, you looked good in my jacket," he lazily smiled.

She growled, "It's mine now."

He waved it off, "Of course, sure. Hope it ain't in that backpack though, 'cause then it might as well be toast. That backpack is actually the Bolt's sheath. I messed with it a little, to have a kind of delayed reaction with the Bolt returning until you reached Hades."

"And if I die along the way, it wouldn't be a loss, would it? You still had the Bolt," she grinned viciously, eyes lighting up eerily, and unknowingly almost like when Clarisse had faced her wrath the first time.

Ares shifted uneasily, "Not quite. You see, you're a lot more important to us than we first thought. And I, uh, don't get to tease and mess around with a pretty little thing like you, if you'd died –"

"Stop fucking around and joking!" she screamed and her gaze was slowly becoming just as eerie as it had with Clarisse that time. He could even hear faint echoes of waves and storms now.

"You really want to get into this, don't you?" he asked quietly.

"Is there any other way to do this?" she grinned maliciously, eyes glaring with that terrible gaze.

He looked at her and sighed, transforming his bat into a sword.

"Traditional, if you please. You sound as bloodthirsty as I usually am," he remarked.

"The situation warrants it. Now get the hell off your bike."

He easily swung a leg off and started to stride towards her. She didn't wait. She rushed through the waters, running through the shallow end, still feeling the aches and pains of her latest labors. She wondered why she was healing so slowly.

The next minute was sort of a blur. He was moving so slowly towards her, as if he didn't think she would be much of an opponent and like he was reluctant to even fight her. She didn't rightly care, so she just sort of darted to the side in a way that looked awkward, before doing a weird twist before thrusting out her sword in a downwards arc.

"Even a god king can bleed," she said quietly.

Ares stared at her in shock, then glanced down at his bleeding ankle. The quote made his lips slightly twist up sardonically.

She straightened up and watched him solemnly.

"I guess I should be taking you seriously, shouldn't I?"

She just held out her sword and moved into a basic stance.

After that, he was taking her completely seriously. There was no taking advantage of his ego, no trying to outsmart him. This was Ares in his element, calculating, brute force, and skill.

Athena wasn't true war; she was plans and battle strategy that won you a war.

Ares was complete war itself, from every angle.

Because in war, is there really time to think? Plans of the big picture obviously are followed, but in battle there are no real rules, no strict pattern everyone must follow through. There is react, survive, and the skills learned to help you. There is adrenaline. There is will. And there is finding a way to live.

He never stepped into the water. He knew she was the one in control in it and that if he stepped into her territory, she would use it against him. She never stepped outside of the shallow waters onto land, because she'd lose whatever little advantage she had with the water.

He led the pace and had control of the fight from the very beginning. It frustrated her, though she forced herself not to be time and again. He was a god and the god of war; she shouldn't be so surprised or frustrated about this. It was to be expected. She had to focus on finding whatever little opening she can, one that might even give her a lucky break and win this thing.

Without either one willing to escape having the waters as a boundary, it looked like they were dancing in and out, making a weaving sort of fight that was almost beautiful.

There was no way to goad him and anger him, using his pride and ego against him, when he was a driving force against her and she had to use all her focus on defending and striking against him. She had luck in catching him off guard and getting him every now and then, but he was able to predict her and match her. He wasn't making it easy on her, and he wasn't letting her off easy. With both working as hard as they were, it was turning out to be more of a stalemate than either expected it to be, though the odds of the battle leaned against her at times.

Then he had an opening and she knew it would hit her straight in the heart. He thrust out with his sword, but she saw the minute hesitation on his face, disbelievingly watching as he then became determined and his wrist twisted and moved the sword away from her heart and to her shoulder, puncturing and going all the way through. She staggered at the force and bit back a scream, but her glare became full force once again. While it wasn't that terrible gaze, the anger and confusion in her eyes was enough for Ares to take an uncertain step back.

She roared and pulled the sword through her even more, surprising Ares and unbalancing him towards her. She tackled him into the ground, leaving her water and pummeling him with her other hand, as the one attached to her injured shoulder lay limp at her side.

"Asshole! Why the hell didn't you follow through? You had the hit! Why didn't you take it?" she screamed at him, hitting his face repeatedly, before tiredly collapsing against him.

"You know that feeling you have? When you know you're about to do something incredibly stupid? I actually listened to that feeling this time," Ares chuckled weakly.

She hit him across his face again, though her strength waned and it was a weak hit.

"Idiot. You had the Bolt. Why the hell did you have to drag me into this mess? With firepower like that, you had all the power in the world. Why bother with Hades? With me?" she muttered.

She cursed herself. She could at least have the strength to push herself off of him, but it was like she was deadweight. And Ares was just letting her stay on him. It compounded on her anger and confusion.

"Why didn't I?" he muttered dazedly. Then he shook his head.

"You said you weren't the only one in this," she blinked, trying to remember. "You caught the thief. Something convinced you to let him go…tell me!" she ordered, a mad gleam entering her eyes and a renewed energy entered her. "Tell me so I can understand those dreams!" she didn't even know why she suddenly blurted that out.

His face turned stoic and he stared at her calculatingly.

"I met you and I fought off those dreams. You forget about them too," he declared.

He somehow slipped away from under her, standing from a ways away. She shakily pulled herself up, kneeling on the sand as she stared blankly at the ground.

"You have already proven yourself, little hero. And until you learn to acknowledge and believe in your skill and strength, every time you raise your blade in battle, every time you hope for success, you will feel my curse. Your fate is sealed, Perseas."

His form glowed and he revealed his divine form, and then soon after he disappeared.

Percy kneeled there expressionlessly and unmoving.

Started 11/30/10 –Completed 12/5/10

Chapter Text

Tiredly, she finally pulled herself up and glanced ahead. The Helm of Darkness was laid neatly in front of her, without a care. Her hand numbly grabbed it and picked it up, she staring at the Helm with a blank gaze.

The fluttering of wings alerted her to the fact she wasn't alone She looked away from the Helm to see Alecto and the other two Furies, and she exchanged a solemn glance with her. A quiet understanding pass through them both, and Percy just handed the Helm to the Fury, who took off with the others without a word.

Completely numb, she trudged all the way to town. It was just her luck that the first people she saw recognized her. She pleaded with them not to bring her to a hospital, but they did insist in bringing her to a hotel. She had only just gotten into the room when police were already knocking on her door. She tiredly let them in and stared as they fidgeted in front of her.

"I'm Officer Rogan," the younger one waved slightly, a slight blush on his face, accompanied by a shy smile and an awed look.

"And I'm Officer Dereks," the older looking one smiled at her grimly. "We're hoping you could answer some questions and we could escort you to a hospital."

"No hospital," she answered shortly.

They looked hesitant.

"Well…is there anywhere you'd like us to take you?" Officer Dereks reluctantly asked.

"I'd like to be taken back to New York…back home, Officers," she said tiredly. Not bothering to even hide her exhaustion, she leaned back on the couch and let her limbs lay askew on it as she blinked slowly at them, feeling her eyes grow heavier with each blink. She was torn between wanting to pass out and never waking up again, or crying her eyes out and curling up in bed in a ball.

"Alright, but we'd still like to get you to the station and have those questions answered. It might even be easier on you in the long run, if you were to just issue a press statement," he suggested. His partner stayed quiet, letting him handle it.

Percy nodded unenthusiastically, agreeing to it. They got up and she followed suit.

"Would you like me to carry that for you?" Officer Rogan blurted out, turning red as he pointed at the thrice-damned backpack.

She glared slightly at it, snatching it from its spot and clutching it to her chest. She looked at him apologetically.

"I'm sorry, that's classified," she said automatically.

Their eyes lighted up in interest and they glanced at the backpack with more attention than they had previously. Officer Rogan nodded knowingly, eagerly looking at her.

"Right, part of the reason you were on the run for so long and be on your mission?"

"Yeah, sure," 'Let's go with that.'

Then again, that was actually accurate. She bit back a bitter laugh and let them lead the way. At the station, she answered the questions as vaguely as she could, most of the time answering with a "Classified." Out of her exhausted and deadened state, she mustered up a bit of amusement that they were actually accepting and buying that answer, without question or any more prodding. Frankly, she was surprised they even believed her, considering she looked like a mess and like she'd gone to hell and back (which wasn't all that far off). But if they were going to take it at face value, she wasn't going to complain.

Then the press was called in for her and she made similar statements, and also answers once she let them ask questions. She put on a teary-eyed, exhausted federal agent look on her face, asking for a way to be sent home, and they ate that up, reporters and police officers eagerly donating money, some even with dopey-eyed, silly grinning red faces. Good for her, there was more than enough for a ticket to New York, with left over she could save.

Maybe she could concede a little to Grover about that frugal business…

She was escorted to the airport, where she was loaded into a private plane and flown off. She hardly cared that she was in the air and in danger of being blasted from the sky by Zeus. She had the Lightning Bolt, and if he was so desperate to get her that he didn't care about it, then he wasn't going to get his Bolt back after all. She can't exactly deliver it dead. And there's that matter of fighting two gods, one of them one of the Big Three and the other an expert at fighting. She was tired, aching, in pain, and miserable. She really didn't give a flip about anything after what she'd gone through, and after fighting two gods she thought she deserved a break.

She kept clutching onto that stupid backpack, slumping in her seat. Well, at least she was alone…with her and just the pilots, she had time to think to herself without any interruptions. Reluctantly opening the backpack, she searched through it to see what had survived. The extra clothing they never got to use was destroyed, but luckily she'd moved that dress and the money and coin bags to her own backpack. Other than that, the Double Stuf Oreos and the canister of milk had also somehow survived.

Huh. That must've been some canister that waiter was able to get his hands on. And the Oreos must be the godly version of Twinkies –able to survive an apocalypse.

Finally opening the packet of Oreos, warm from the heat of the Bolt that she was currently ignoring, she started eating it with the milk, ignoring also the tears that dripped down her face and the occasional sniffle that escaped her. She threw the bag away from her, letting it fall to the ground, glaring at it briefly before turning back to her Oreos.

"Don't trust the gifts," she muttered angrily.

As she was traveling to New York, back in Camp Half-Blood, Annabeth was having a rest. After being taken back in pearl-like spheres, she and Grover had made it back to camp with a rushed explanation to Chiron, who had ushered them both to the infirmary. She knew something had gotten out to the rest of the camp, but she had just curled up on a bed and passed out. She remembered just how troubled Percy was on the way to the Underworld, remembering the last time the teen had actually been cheery. Barring her time with Charon, the last time had been when they were leaving Santa Monica, and even then Percy had been off.

"Livin' easy, livin' free~!" Percy sung, turning up the radio.

"Percy?"

"Yeah, Grover?"

"What are you doing?"

"Ah, come on! This is the perfect song to listen to right now. We're headin' to hell, guys! We're on the highway to hell~!" Percy sung the last part. "Seriously, this is a great road song. Period. I was going to put it throughout our whole trip, but I didn't have a copy of the song to put on, or a player. I played it briefly on the Amtrak train though," Percy added thoughtfully.

Grover started mumbling, before grinning resignedly. Annabeth grinned as well, but she looked more closely at her female friend, noticing that Percy's smile was a little strained.

Something must've happened down in the waters, and it didn't look too good.

She was worried now, wondering what had happened after they'd been forced out. But she'd have to wait. Along…with…everyone…else…

What the Tartarus?

She had woken up to the most stupidest thing ever. It matched Percy's insane stupidity (though she was being biased, seeing as Percy's stupidity was just really insane logic that worked out but usually just drove her crazy), so it would equally make sense that it was about Percy.

"Will…what is everyone arguing about?" she asked the Son of Apollo to be sure.

Will shrugged and gave her a sheepish smile.

"We're arguing about who's going to make Percy's shroud," he hesitantly said.

There was a long pause.

"You have no idea if she's dead!" she screeched.

Will winced, "Yeah, but…it's the Underworld. And she was going up against Hades himself."

She fumed and gave him the evil eye, "She's not dead. And if you guys continue, Imma get off this bed and kick your asses."

"Um…everyone is making a separate shroud themselves for her. Malcolm is heading the Athena cabin's, on your behalf."

Annabeth cursed, before backtracking. Percy was rubbing off on her.

Poseidon, unfortunately, was even more incensed. He had, in a quiet and controlled voice, lectured his wife about destroying things that didn't belong to her. Then, in silent gloating/revenge kind of way, he whipped out his new copy and blatantly began to stare at it, rubbing it in her face. She had fumed for a moment, before stomping off and leaving him be. He then called on the Nereid that had gone to see his daughter, wishing to know of anything she might have to say of Perseas and wanting to know why she hadn't come to report already.

The Nereid came slowly, eyes already averted from him. A sinking feeling grew in his stomach and he already knew that things hadn't gone as well as he'd wanted. He bid her to speak and the Nereid reluctantly narrated her meeting with his daughter. He dazedly dismissed her, sitting on his throne as despair slowly snuck up on him.

Would he ever be able to reach out to his daughter?

He moped to himself, unknowing that at that very moment, his daughter was heading straight for Olympus just as Zeus summoned him for another impromptu meeting.

Back with her, she'd just arrived at the airport. The waiting reporters already there had her blanching and looking around for an escape. They hadn't caught sight of her yet, so she just grabbed the backpack and slunk around in the shadows, hailing a cab quickly and setting the destination to the Empire State Building. She got out of the cab and walked into the lobby, seeing the guard at the front desk. She walked to stand in front of him, impatiently rapping her knuckles sharply against the desk to get his attention.

He looked up slowly from his book, giving her a bored look.

"Six hundredth floor," she ordered harshly.

He yawned, "No such floor, Miss."

In a blink of an eye, she had appeared behind the desk, clutched his collar and slammed him against the wall. She felt a pang of vindictiveness at being the one to slam someone else against the wall this time.

Tightening her grip, she pushed him harder against the wall and glared eerily at him.

"I don't have the time or patience to deal with you right now. Get me to the six hundredth floor now," she glared.

He swallowed in fear, his hand scrambling in his pocket before hurriedly whipping out a key card.

"H-here. Insert this into the security slot. Make sure no one else is in the elevator with you," he choked out.

She grabbed the key card and let him go, letting him slide harmlessly against the wall to the ground. She turned on her heel sharply and headed to the nearest elevator. Inside, she did as the guard told her to, the card disappearing and a red button appearing in its place, 600 embossed on it.

She waited in quiet anguish. Not only did she fail in bringing back her mom, she had been lied to, betrayed, toyed with, and a whole number of things that made her bite back her words and opt for torturing herself silently. She didn't even get to bring up Charon's pay raise or Cerberus. She was also still in pain from the double beating from two separate gods; she should've taken advantage of that hotel room and shower while she had the chance…

The elevator finally stopped and she stepped through.

Without further ado, she walked through the roads of Olympus with determination, not bothering to move her focus from her task –not even to glance around at the splendor around her, or to notice and reciprocate the curious and even awed glances of those around her that noticed her walk.

She did vaguely note in the back of her mind that Hades' palace was a near replica of Olympus, if only in black and bronze than the white and silver of this place. Her heart squeezed painfully and once again she mentally reached out for her uncle, even as she quietly cursed him.

She went through the central courtyard and finally made it to the throne room. Two gods were already seated, looking briefly surprised to see her before becoming stoic and revealing nothing to her. It was easy to guess who they were and she merely blinked at them, coming closer as they waited for her to approach. She knew she looked in disarray, walking through Olympus like she'd gone through chaos, even as she walked with purpose. Even now, before them, her appearance did nothing but show the trouble she'd been through, though she stood there proudly and in defiance.

She didn't bow or greet either of them. She stood there in disrespect, looking them both in the eye grimly. The one whose air crackled and smelled of ozone narrowed his eyes at her.

"You dare stand there in insolence? Do you know what we can do to you, impertinent girl?" his voice rumbled.

Her lips tightened slightly into a purse, but she didn't show any other reaction, maintaining her indifferent exterior.

"Then why don't you?" she challenged. "I stand here and say nothing in defense. Do what you will, I say nothing against it."

Zeus blinked in shock then turning again stoic, but already he'd already shown his confusion and hesitation.

Clearly, they were not used to someone not crumbling in fear and begging forgiveness and groveling in reverence. They had not expected someone to just accept their fate, unlike all others before who had succumbed to fear and weakness.

Percy stood there in resignation and refusal.

"I have destroyed and transformed others into rodents for lesser acts of disobedience," Zeus quietly spoke. "And yet, for once, why bother with one such as you who does not even care? There is no point in punishing an indifferent person when nothing will change. You will not repent."

"No, I wouldn't," she answered just as quietly, but in a firm voice. "And I'll stand here regardless."

While she didn't know, they knew she was important and weren't sure what would happen without her. But at the same time, when they were punishing others for their slights, the sufferers had always been afraid and recanted. To punish one who wasn't and wouldn't was unheard of for them, and would be pointless. The whole point was that the person caredabout what happened to them. And that's why Zeus chose to surprisingly back down.

Still, her eyes were frightening like voids, dark and unrevealing, gazing at them apathetically.

"Perseas, look at me."

Her gaze moved from Zeus to her father, who looked at her with almost a strange, frightening intensity she hadn't expected. In fact, she thought he would be the one with the indifferent gaze. And yet, as she looked at him…as their eyes connected…it wasn't what she saw at all. For sure, she could tell he wasn't sure if he was happy about her, happy to have her as a daughter or not…but there was this odd softness to his gaze that had her faltering.

And even more telling, though he didn't know what to think of her, suddenly she knew she was quite sure what she thought of him. All this time, feelings had warred within her, thoughts haunting her…but here in the now, she suddenly understood herself and what she felt.

"Speak, Perseas, and know we know you will speak only the truth," her father murmured.

So she began speaking about the tale as she understood, taking out the Lightning Bolt and tossing it to Zeus rudely, who caught it with only a glance of disapproval. She unflinchingly added in her dreams and Ares' comments that supported her suspicion about an outside source.

"So Hades is at fault after all," Zeus growled.

She scoffed, sneering. "You are as proud and impulsive as your son," she insulted. His hand clenched around his Bolt, it crackling in warning. She looked back disdainfully. "Stop flying off the handle and accusing everyone without proof. Lord Hades isn't at fault. Not only are there extenuating circumstances that remove him as suspect, but the feeling I got from this presence was evil…and old…older than you," she scrunched up her eyebrows, trying to make sense of that.

But they also didn't miss her actually addressing Hades as Lord and of defending him from being suspect and of the implication that he wasn't evil.

The two gods had a quick but intense discussion in Ancient Greek, that she was only able to discern one word. Father.

'Kronos is involved somehow,' but she said nothing out loud or revealed anything on her face.

Their discussion came to an abrupt halt after Poseidon looked like he'd made some sort of suggestion and Zeus cut him off. When her father made to argue, the sky god held up a hand angrily.

"That's enough," Zeus frowned. "There is nothing more to be said. I must leave to purify the thunderbolt in the waters of Lemnos."

He rose, turning to face her. His face showed his inner struggle, but in the end it softened just the slightest.

"You have done me a great service. Few heroes could have accomplished as much. To show you my thanks, I shall spare your life. I do not trust you, Perseas Jackson. I do not like what your arrival means for the future of Olympus. But for the sake of peace in the family, I shall let you live."

Percy inclined her head towards him slightly, showing her first acknowledgement since she'd arrived.

Uncomfortably, Zeus cleared his throat. "Do not presume to fly again. Do not let me find you here when I return. Otherwise you shall taste this bolt. And it shall be your last sensation."

"Then it is a good thing I'm not hungry," she answered wryly.

His lips twitched, but then he fixed it in a scowl and disappeared in a blinding flash of lightning, thunder booming in the palace.

And then it was just her and Poseidon left.

She didn't bother speaking about her suspicions of Kronos, knowing that if it was him, that it would do her no good to bring it up. It looked like a closed matter on their end, especially of Zeus' adamancy, and it was no longer her business, and what was to be said she already knew and could already work out what Kronos' part had been in her Quest. It looked like a failed resurrection anyway. She washed her hands of this.

"Your uncle," Poseidon sighed, a small tentative smile on his lips as he transformed into the size of a regular man, "has always had a flair for dramatic exits. I think he would've done well as the god of theater."

Obviously, he was trying to break the ice over the uncomfortable atmosphere that had descended upon Zeus' departure.

Her gaze was unsympathetic as she appraised him uninterestedly. Still, she stayed silent.

"Obedience does not come naturally to you, does it? I must take some blame for that, I suppose. The sea does not like to be restrained," he laughed awkwardly.

"I thought…when I would meet you, I would hate you," she interrupted. Her voice was soft, echoing in the chamber.

He froze, his eyes widening and his breath stilling in his chest.

"But I feel…nothing. I feel absolutely nothing towards you. You don't mean anything to me."

She turned her back to him, walking away as indifferent as she'd come.

"I won't bother you again," she called out without a backwards look, her voice fading away as she left her father behind.

Poseidon stood alone, struck into stillness and a sudden bout of loneliness as her departure left behind a haunting silence, a hush suffocating him as much as not even the eavesdropping gods and goddess dared to break.


Even though she had been aloof in the throne room and as she walked passed all those who'd turned and kneeled towards her, faces filled with gratitude and respect, in the elevator, alone and once again miserable, she broke down and cried herself out, just like she'd been wanting to. She let everything in the past few days catch up to her and just cried it out.

She'd composed herself once she'd reached the lobby, face back to its normal stoicism.

Hailing a cab, she headed back to Half-Blood Hill in quiet contemplation, smiling softly as she realized she'd get to see Luke again.

Of course, when she entered camp, she wasn't expecting to see a funeral pyre being built for her, with eight different shrouds surrounding it. Each shroud had one thing in common –an emerald trident in the middle. That was where the similarities ended.

The Athena shroud for her was a gray background of silk cloth, with embroidered owls flying around the trident in a complicated pattern. The Dionysus one was actually very elegant, with an embroidered grapevine entangled around a graceful wooden arch from one side of the trident to the other, and white strawberries on a thin vine making the border. The Demeter shroud was easily the prettiest, with a rose vine entwined around the trident, and real flowers sewn around the border.

The others were just odd.

The Hermes one looked like kids had a war on it, with splashes of paint and food stains, hand and foot prints with paint, dirt, and other questionable substances, and out of placed drawn rainbows here and there with smiley faces, all around the trident. The Apollo one easily stood out, actually shining somehow. The background was a gold that flashed with the light, and shone so brightly she could barely see the emerald trident. The Aphrodite one was just a blown up picture of her in her sundress she wore with Luke that one day, smiling to the camera. It looked like a pop teen idol poster, especially with the added glossy sheen. The trident was just a small little sketch at the top of the poster, like it was an afterthought. Of the 'odd ones out', the Hephaestus one was the most normal, with a dark scarlet background that she would've thought the Ares' kids would have chosen, a metal frame as the border and making the shroud look like it was in a picture frame. Even though, the shroud already had spots of it burning.

The Ares cabin's shroud was easily her favorite, even if it was one of the odd ones.

There was that classic scarlet color again, with cheesy little mini tridents all over. But the best part of it? Her being drawn as an action hero, complete with Terminator leather clothing and sunglasses and motorcycle (though she swore they probably modeled it after their dad's stuff, after they got the idea to copy the Terminator). She knew they probably had one of the Apollo kids draw it, knowing none of them had an ounce of artistic ability in them.

The creepiest part of it all though…was the lifelike copy of her on the unfinished pyre, probably an automaton made by the Hephaestus cabin and aesthetically completed by the Aphrodite cabin, to look like her.

There was nothing else for it than to…

"I'M NOT DEAD, YOU MORONS!"

The campers still working jumped, whirling around to see her. They gaped before they burst into excited chatter, with no one being coherent to Percy's ears.

"Alright, shut up and talk one at a time!" she snapped, becoming overwhelmed.

Everyone shut up and she waited. Then she saw Clarisse elbowing her way through to her, a large grin on the bigger girl's face. Inwardly, her blood boiled, but she calmed herself down.

Clarisse was not Ares. Ares had told her himself that he didn't fight his kids' fight, back at the diner, so the same could be said for Clarisse. She was not her father.

She relaxed her shoulders and gave a smaller smile back at the brunette, who clapped her hard several times on her back, while roughly putting on a laurel wreath onto Percy's head.

"You're alive, Kelp Brain! Great! Too bad though, all that hard work on the shrouds and all –especially the Ares cabin! What a waste, what a waste. On second thought, shame you didn't die," Clarisse said cheekily. "Eh, we could just burn them anyways."

Percy snorted, "Meh, sounds good. I bet it'll be fun. Where's Annabeth and Grover? And Luke?"

"Infirmary. Probably passed out from all the screaming they did about us making your shrouds. Your boy toy's MIA around camp. It's been hard to pin him down since you left."

Percy frowned, "What did you call him?"

Clarisse waved it off, hurriedly dismissing it. "Nothing, nothing. Go find him. The other two are probably still comatose."

Her frown deepened, but since she wanted to see Luke and that she started to worry about him after hearing Clarisse's comments, she ignored the other girl and made her way through the crowd and decided to start looking for the missing man.

She bit her lip. A gut feeling told her to look somewhere odd. Something told her he might be in her cabin and she followed it, though she wondered why Luke would be in there. And yet, once she'd entered it, she knew immediately that he was there. The place was too clean, especially for it to be supposedly empty since she was gone. Even if Luke did a massive clean spree right before she came, he would have no idea when or even if she was coming.

She walked across her walkway, placing the laurel wreath onto the table on the way, quietly opening the door to where the beds were and stared at the limp figure draped across the still joined beds.

He…he hadn't been sleeping here the entire time, had he?

Had Luke even gone back to the Hermes cabin at all? What had been happening to him since she'd left for her Quest? For a moment, she felt slightly guilty at the thought that maybe she should've taken Luke instead of Annabeth after all, but then she thought that Annabeth would understand if she saw Luke now.

She gently kneeled down behind him, one slender hand touching his shoulder lightly.

"Luke? I'm home," she said softly, gently shaking him.

He mumbled something, but didn't make any other move.

She kissed his cheek tenderly, worriedly telling him, "Hey, sweetie. I'll be right back, I promise. I'm just going to check in with Mr. D and Chiron and then I'll be all yours. You just sit tight and you can tell me what's going on."

She reluctantly left, wanting to just stay but opting for herself to hurry with her report on the Quest and then come back as fast as she could. At the Big House, she saw both Chiron and Dionysus already waiting for her.

"About time, brat. Took you awhile," Dionysus yawned.

She just rolled her eyes in amusement, while Chiron twitched, looking agitated for once as he glared witheringly at the wine god. He gave her a relieved smile though.

"Thank the gods you're okay and made it back, Perseas," Chiron greeted her.

Percy gave him a reassuring smile back.

"I should turn you into a rodent for all the trouble you caused the camp by faking your death," Dionysus sniffed haughtily, even with already knowing that she was alive because she'd made it to tell the story to Zeus, and he had eavesdropped on the event. Not that he was going to say anything. Better to make the camp run around like chickens with their heads cut off, and because it was fun messing with her. And he knew she hadn't fake her death, like he said –Percy Baiting was fun.

"I didn't fake my death," she twitched. "What is up with all of you wanting to turn me into a rat?" Percy asked irritably.

"I did offer to turn you into a dolphin once," Dionysus perked up.

"You wanted to turn me into a rat when we first met."

Dionysus just shrugged.

She rolled her eyes again before focusing on Chiron.

"One more thing before I start reporting. There was one thing that kept coming back to bother me…When you were preparing the car for us, why shift?" Percy's stare was starting to become uncomfortable.

Chiron fidgeted while Dionysus looked on in amusement. "Well, we hadn't really thought of that."

"Thought so."

"Erm…Percy?"

"You know, what the hell was that one week for when you gave us a shift and freakin' no gas?" Percy yelled at them.

Chiron winced. "…A super armored demigod car?"

Percy stomped over to him and pinched his arm hard.

"Ouch!"

"That was for the crappy car that barely got us started on our Quest," she scowled heavily at him.

Then she quickly but efficiently began recounting her journey, minus certain details no one needed to know like she'd left out with Zeus. Chiron nodded, leaving to deal with the other campers and clear up what had happened, though she was sure that the Stoll Brothers eavesdropping outside the window would do a better job and wouldn't leave out anything like the centaur was sure to do.

"Hey…Cabin Twelve didn't do so bad on their shroud, eh?" Dionysus coughed to get her attention.

"Cabin Twelve is your cabin," she deadpanned.

"Yeah. But my sons did an excellent job on your shroud."

"I did like the shroud," Percy admitted, though she was narrowing her eyes at him, wondering what he was up to.

"And you know, helped a bit. I mean, it was all their work and everything, but the strawberries were my idea and I provided the materials," he stared at her.

"…Yes?"

"Sooo…drink?"

She snorted and shook her head.

After she was finished there, with Dionysus off to Olympus early for the Summer Solstice meeting, she went back to her cabin and saw Luke running around, fixing up things.

"Percy! I thought I heard you earlier. Oh gods! I'm sorry, I kind of forgot to tidy up today –" he started rambling.

She smiled genuinely for what seemed like the first time in a long time, going over to him and holding a finger to his lips, quieting him.

"Hey now, none of that. I missed you and you weren't there to greet me when I came back," she teased.

"I'm really sorry –"

She cut him off again by placing her whole hand against his mouth, stepping back slightly to scrutinize him. He actually looked a little worse than he had when she last saw him. His hair was disheveled and his clothes were crumpled and messy. His beautiful blue eyes she'd always loved on him weren't just dulled now, they were paired with exhaustion and looked even almost lifeless –except for the spark that had lit up when he'd seen her. The bags under his eyes were darker and he looked almost like a ghost with how pale his skin was.

"Don't be sorry, Luke," she said firmly, reaching out that hand to cradle the side of his face. "You've taken care of our place, but you haven't been taking care of yourself."

"O-our place," Luke hesitatingly smiled. He moved his head and nuzzled his face against her hand, his lips placing a soft kiss there.

She started, his words from before flashing back to her, and she pulled her hand away while taking a step back. He started before grasping her hand and holding it in place, keeping it on his face as he looked pleadingly at her.

"Don't mind my words from before now. Please, Percy, don't let what I said bother you. Don't pull away from me."

Percy winced, but one glance from his pleading face made her cave. She kept her hand there, but didn't move any closer. He frowned and stepped closer himself, wrapping his arms around her as he buried his face into her neck and just stayed there without another word.

After awhile, Percy broke the silence.

"Hey, why don't you take a shower, take care of yourself while I fix up breakfast? You can even use my shower, okay? I'll just go by the camp store while you shower."

Luke suddenly panicked, latching tighter onto her.

"No! You can't go. Please stay, don't leave. Stay here with me."

She caressed his head briefly, "Luke, I'm just going to go to the store. I promise I'll be right back."

"No…Don't go. I don't want you to go. Just stay here," he mumbled.

She sighed, "How will I cook?"

"I bought fresh food every day for me to eat," he shrugged, still holding onto her.

"Luke," she paused. "Did you stay in my cabin the entire time I was gone?"

He didn't answer her, but she could hear his reply anyway.

She sighed again, "Okay. Go take a shower and I'll start breakfast."

"Will you stay here?"

"Yes."

"I mean, just stay here with me for awhile. Like before you went to your Quest?" he looked at her imploringly.

She hesitated, but then gave him a small smile. "Sure, why not? How long do you plan on kidnapping me then?"

Luke shrugged again, not answering her joke. Her smile faltered for a second before it came back stronger.

"It's okay then. We'll stay here all of today, tomorrow, and then we'll come out the day before the Summer Solstice so we don't look like we're dead with the world," she teased.

"Okay," his voice came out small.

Her smile turned a little sad and she brought him closer and held him.

"Go on. I'll be here."

Just a few minutes later, Luke was finishing up in the shower as fast as he could so he could be back with her, coming out while still looking tired though he was also looking marginally better than he had. Toasted bagels with cream cheese was on a platter on the table, coupled with a bowl of cut up fruit and toast with strawberry jam.

"Just strawberry jam?" he asked in amusement, coming towards her and picking up a glass of orange juice. He took a sip as he put an arm around her shoulder, with her leaning into him as she took a bite of her toast.

"I'm biased. What do you expect?"

He went and sat on the other side from her, piling food onto his own plate. They ate in comfortable silence for a while before they began any talk.

She winced from pain at her lingering injuries. "Man, I'm so exhausted. And I'm still in pain. Stupid ass of a god."

"You mean Hades?" Luke's lips twitched.

Percy snorted. "No, Ares, but him too. Jerk was behind the mess, for the most part. Good thing I got to swipe his jacket and shades off of him."

While she talked, she didn't noticed Luke stiffening up.

"You met him when you got the Bolt back, right?" he confirmed in a quiet voice.

"Nah. I met him a little after that Iris-Message to you. He had Hades' Helm too, that jerk," she muttered that last part.

His hand was clenching forcefully onto his drink so tightly that it began to crack and then break. Juice splattered everywhere just as the glass shattered into pieces, with some of them digging into his hand. Percy cried out, rushing to him and holding onto his bleeding hand gently.

"Fuck, Luke, what the hell?" she asked in panic, examining his hand.

"Sorry," he averted his eyes. "Can you heal it?"

She hesitated. "Luke…don't tell anyone, but since my fight with Hades, I think my powers have been shortcuiting."

Luke looked at her in surprise, "Really? What happened?"

She told him in detail what had happened from the time in Santa Monica to her fight with Ares, and he looked as confused as she felt.

"Weird. Try healing it and see what happens," he suggested.

She did, but she couldn't heal it fully. In frustration, she slammed her fist onto the table, unexpectedly shattering it like Luke had broken the glass.

"What happened?" Luke blinked, looking at the mess on the floor.

Percy stared, "I don't know. My…my powers have been weird since coming here, especially since the Minotaur incident….no, since Alecto," she furrowed her eyebrows. He looked at her, silently asking for an explanation. So she told him about first meeting Alecto, the weird control she had over the lightning, and how she'd entered camp with her hyrdro powers becoming more heightened as she discovered her other powers.

"Odd…I think you may need an anchor though," Luke hmmed. "You take a shower yourself, Percy. Then go take a nap. I'll wait in bed for you, and rest with you."

She gave him a grateful smile, though she insisted on bandaging his hand first.

Later at night, she woke up alone. Confused, she got up to see Luke in front of the fireplace, gazing at it with an unreadable look. He was knocking back a bottle of something, though she had a feeling that it was alcohol. Where he got it, she didn't know. And she was definitely sure it wasn't part of the batch that Slimy Gabe left behind for her.

Knocking on her cabin door interrupted her thoughts, and she hesitantly went to go see to the person before confronting Luke.

"Who is it?"

"Percy? It's Annabeth. What's going on? No one's seen you since you've arrived in the early morning and I haven't gotten a chance to see you either. I didn't even know you were back safely already," she could hear Annabeth's upset voice through the door.

"Sorry, Annabeth. I, uh, came to check on Luke and had a feeling he was in my cabin. I've been in here the whole time with him, because he doesn't seem alright right now. I think I'll be in here with him for awhile too. We'll be out the day before the Summer Solstice, okay? Just…Luke is having a hard time right now, and I'm going to take care of him and try to find out what's wrong."

It was quiet on the other side, but then she heard a frustrated sigh.

"Okay. I'll see you then. I'll tell the others too, and we'll have the burial shroud burning when you're out," Annabeth said wryly.

Percy waited until she could hear her footsteps fade away, before turning to Luke who hadn't moved from his position or even looked at her or at the door when there had been knocking. She crept closer and quietly sat next to him, taking the bottle from his hands and putting it aside before she then held both of his hands in hers.

"Hey, come on. Tell me what's wrong?"

Luke surprised her by turning towards her quickly and throwing himself at her, clutching her close to him.

"Make a promise," he mumbled.

"Alright, if it'll help," Percy soothed.

"I want several promises," Luke tightened his grip on her.

"That's fine, sweetheart."

Luke laid his forehead onto her shoulder.

"I'm scared, Percy."

"Of what?" she asked quietly, hoping not to startle him and stop him from answering.

"Of myself…I just don't care anymore. I stopped caring about everything. I haven't cared about anything for a long time, until you. You're the only thing, person I care about, Percy."

Percy didn't know what to say to that, so she just started brushing her hand through his hair in comfort.

"You're so, so beautiful," he murmured into her ear. He moved back and stared at her soulfully. "You're absolutely perfect."

"Luke, you know I'm not per –"

He cut her off, "But I'm a freak. I'm the one who has everything wrong with him. I don't deserve you, but I need you so much. Can't you see that? Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Aghast, she gripped his face and stared into his eyes.

"You are not a freak. Luke, what are you saying –"

"Thank you for loving me," he said solemnly, cutting her off a second time. "You love me so perfectly. You do everything so perfectly to me."

Percy froze. Again, she was at a loss for words. She didn't know what to say in response to him. She didn't know how to comfort him, how to make him feel better, how to do anything for him. She was unsure of what to do by then.

"Promise me. Promise me you'll never abandon me. Where everyone else abandons me, don't you abandon me too," his eyes started to hold a wild look to them and his voice took on a desperate tone. "Promise me!"

"I-I promise!" Percy blurted out, startled.

"Promise on the River Styx," Luke said seriously.

She stared at him.

"Promise."

"I promise on the River Styx," Percy murmured, looking at Luke like she'd never seen him before.

"That you'll never give up on me, no matter what happens."

"I promise on the River Styx," she breathed out, feeling worried and becoming upset.

"Promise me that you'll never hate me, no matter what I do. To anyone, even the gods," he spat out.

She hesitated, not knowing why he would ask that. But the way he was looking at her right then prompted a confused affirmative from her.

"And promise me," here he hesitated. "That you'll love me until the day I die."

They just stared at each other in silence after that. Percy didn't know how to answer him. What was he asking of her? Hell, she didn't love him like that, right? But…there are different types of love. And she did love him in some way, she realized.

"I promise…on the River Styx," her voice cracked at the end, but he just slumped onto her, quieting.

"Luke, I don't understand. What's wrong? Why are you acting like this?"

She was shocked when he bolted away from her, gripping onto her arms painfully and the hint of desperation became full blown and the wild look came back even worse than it had been.

"Because, Percy! I need you to save me. I need you to save my soul!"

She gaped at him, but stopped thinking and just reacted, pulling him into her arms and made comforting noises and whispered soothing words. She let him continue clutching onto her, even when it started to hurt.

The next day was a little better, though Luke continued to be quiet and sometimes he stared off into space. There were times when he just needed to seek her out and wanted her presence or needed her to hold him. But she still couldn't get him to say what was wrong.

Then came the day where they were to come out of the cabin. There was a huge celebration planned, and Percy was amused. She could see Luke seemed antsy though and particularly sullen, but she tried not to bring it up.

She brought Luke with her as all the shrouds were showed off and she took pictures of them and with them. She snuck the Ares cabin one away, deciding to keep that one for herself. They presented her with another laurel wreath, along with the others, though she was the only one with shrouds considering she was the only one considered going to be dead when they saw Annabeth and Grover come back and what had happened to her.

Continuing camp tradition, they all had a big feast that was held in their honor, and then Percy led a procession to the bonfire, with Luke hovering close to her (which kind of did break tradition…) and Annabeth and Grover taking position behind. She then set about burning all of them, and was completely happy to set fire on that automaton version of herself. If it worked, she didn't want to know.

She got her own leather necklace, complete with a pitch black bead with a shimmering sea-green trident in the center, to represent her first summer there. However, Luke had pulled her aside and handed her his own necklace.

"I want you to put on beads for me for now own," he gave her a painful smile.

She blinked and gave him a reassuring smile, even if hesitant, accepting it and entwining it around her wrist like a bracelet. When he was about to leave, she quickly grabbed a hold of his shoulder.

"Hey…sometimes, you're a little distant. I was just wondering…are you upset at me or something? Um, like are you resenting all the attention I'm getting?"

He looked surprised for a moment before giving her a genuine smile that only slightly calmed her.

"No, Percy. Sorry, I've just been out of it."

And that was that.

The party continued until midnight, where they were all ushered into their cabins to sleep. They were all gone and asleep for half an hour, when Percy was alone, somberly staring at the skies.

"Percy."

She turned to see Luke standing off to the side, staring at her grimly. He was dressed up, wearing black slacks, a dress shirt, and his hair neatly combed. She could see the watch she gave him attached on his right wrist, and the edge of something poking out of his pocket.

"Come take a walk with me," was all he said, before he started walking away.

She hesitated, but her worry for him was starting to come back again so she followed after him. They stopped by the creek where she'd faced down that hellhound and she shivered.

"Luke, why are we here? What's going on?" she felt frustrated, especially by how redundant she felt she was being.

Luke turned to her, giving her a sad smile.

"I love you. I completely and utterly love you," he confessed.

Shocked, she was frozen while Luke took the chance to come closer and pull her to him, grabbing her face and kissing her. Still shocked and frozen, she let him kiss her until intense pain erupted in her side. She gasped as she moved her head back, feeling her knees buckle, collapsing against Luke as she dimly registered the steel edge of what seemed like a knife digging into her side.

She breathed heavily, tears coming out of her eyes as she was trying to work out what had just happened.

Luke supported her as she nearly fell back, the cold metal of the ring she gave him digging into the area between her shoulders and where his left hand cradled her to him, her knees bending under her as she kept gasping. He leaned over her, his lips trembling as he stared at her with dead eyes.

"If I can't have you…no one can. Especially the gods."

He kissed her lips lightly one more time, before letting her gently down, walking away into the darkness and leaving her to die there. Her figure shook, feeling pain at her side but also it creeping from it to everywhere else, even as she smelled the acrid smell of smoke and ash. She continued gasping and shaking, feeling her body shut down and the cold encase her.


"She's here! I found her!"

"Quick! Get her to the infirmary, she's dying!"

She was in and out of consciousness. She could hear screaming and yelling, ones of pain and others of panic and outrage. She was jostled as she was carried in a hurry out of the woods, but she couldn't feel anything. Her entire body felt cold and numb. Again, the acrid smell of smoke. It assaulted her senses and made her vaguely want to throw up.

"Help! Somebody help!"

"Over here!"

She was on a bed now. She felt something being put to her lips and liquid being poured into her mouth. Someone cursing. Screams of pain in the background. Crashes.

"It's not working!"

"Damn it, she's dying anyway! Pour the whole thing down her throat and on the wound!"

She blacked out again.

When she next woke up, she didn't know how long she had been out. Looking at the clock on the wall, she remembering it had been around 12:30 to 1 when she'd been with Luke. It was now 7 am, a couple hours later.

"Percy, are you okay?" she heard the teary voice of Annabeth.

But the Daughter of Poseidon only stared back blankly.

"What happened?" Grover asked with wide eyes.

Her mouth opened but nothing came out. She tried over and over, but instead tears started pouring out and she started to sob, laying back down and turning her head into her pillow to cry as she ignored them. It was like that for the rest of the day, no one able to reach her. And then Chiron met her.

"Percy, I don't really want to ask this of you, especially in the position you're in, but I don't think anyone else will be able to gain access to the gods. Especially with this meeting, and I think the gods would preferably want to hear what had happened from you. Do you…do you think you can travel to the Empire State Building and report to the gods?"

The pain in her side won't go away. Her body was still numb at the same time. Her mind felt blank and she felt lost.

"I'll be fine," she answered stoically.

He hesitated but then nodded, handing over some papers.

"We didn't mean to read it, but it was from Luke and we thought he might've left a clue as to why he had done this. We only skimmed it and read what pertained to his reasons, leaving all the personal comments only for you in privacy."

She took them and began reading, Chiron leaving her behind. She swallowed down the lump in her throat and got off the bed, not waiting for anyone to release her or deem her healthy enough to leave. She walked out, seeing the chaos that Luke left behind him, with Percy none the wiser. All the cabins had been more or less burned down, and demigods were scattered everywhere, either crying on each other or by themselves. Some huddled in groups, some crying out in pain, and many in various stages of bandaging or trying to help clean up.

Her cabin was the only one left intact.

She trudged to it, going inside. She robotically collected her things and then left without another word, seeking out Argus. No one else knew she had already left.

When she made it to the Empire State Building, she continued on in her blank state, entering and giving a dead stare to the guard. He shivered and handed over the key card, and she went to the elevator. It wasn't long until she made it all the way to the throne room in her daze, not noticing anything else.

The gathered gods all stared at her.

"Why are you here?" Zeus' voice rumbled in disapproval through the room.

She stared blankly at him. Then she opened her mouth and began telling what had happened at camp, who had been behind it, and what Luke's role had really been through this whole thing. All the while, the growing horror that came from her words encompassed everyone.

"This is most unfortunate," Hera spoke out. "And now, Zeus, we have definite proof of Father's involvement. And with Hermes' child gone, we cannot be sure of a total prevention of his rising this time."

At the mention of Hermes, Percy looked up and scanned the gods' faces, seeing the god with familiar features. He looked in shock, having been unsettled and moving accordingly when he heard what his son had done. He looked deep in thought and pain flashed through his features.

"Idiots," her mouth opened on its own accord, blurting that out.

The room stilled and eyes pierced through her. She felt anger building up in her and she began to just rant.

"The whole lot of you! This…this is all your fault. Why bother having children if you can't even take care of them? Irresponsible and selfish. If you can't take care of your kids, you shouldn't even be having any! Mortal people who act like you have their kids taken away all the time. All of you act like a bunch of children who can't keep their fucking hands to themselves and don't know the consequences of fucking around and taking responsibility when you fuck up. And who gets to deal with the cost of your actions then? Your kids! Idiots!" she screamed at them.

Pain erupted through her side. Once again her knees buckled and she fell onto them on the ground, breaking out into sobs once more, hands blindly reaching out for her side wound.

"She's in hysteria," she heard someone say. "I'll take her to our infirmary and find out what I can do for her."

"Wait, Brother. Watch her side, there is blood!" a softer and comforting voice reached her ears.

She was unable to see through her blurry eyes, tears blinding her vision, but she saw the outline of a man with light-colored hair. She felt a familiar shock when he first touched her to carry her, before being enveloped in warmth.

Back in a daze, she couldn't keep track of time, only knowing she was on a bed again and that man hovering over her as he tried to heal her. Whatever he did, he was able to help her for the most part. He left then and she was alone to lie in her misery. There was a period of blackness that she couldn't really remember anything, but the first time her eyes opened and were clear, she was still so exhausted and weary of everything. Swallowing down another bout of tears, she slipped out of bed and grabbed her bag.

When Apollo came back to check on her, she was gone and there was no sign of her.

Started 12/6/10 –Completed 12/21/10
End the Lightning Thief Arc 3/10/10 -12/21/10

Chapter Text

He watched her walk away, eyes darkening as he felt an unknown emotion inside of him, growing and growing until it felt like it was consuming him. Frowning, he shook his head and forced it clear, walking into the woods and to their cabin.

Distracting himself, he began to dazedly put pins on the map he and Percy had laid out in their cabin, using red pins for the immediate places they wanted to go to. Most of them were on the States map, where they had planned to start their trip before going on to Asia and then Europe.

'Do you really think she'll love you?'

His hand paused above the map, holding the pin right above where he was about to push it into.

'Idiot boy. You'll slave over a girl who'll leave you once she finds out the truth.'

He swallowed harshly and looked to his side, seeing the ghostly figure of a tall man with dark hair the shade of blue skies of nighttime. His gold eyes bored into Luke, making him shiver and clench his hand, not even realizing the point of the pin pushing into his skin and puncturing it.

'Besides, what does a bratty, indecisive mortal like you have to offer her?' The man laughed mockingly, the hollow sound echoing in the small room. A girl started forming beside the man, the similarly ghostly visage wrapping its arms around his, slowly growing corporeal.

Percy standing there next to Kronos, looking absolutely at home with the Titan, made him almost double over in pain. Then she leaned up and the Titan kissed her intensely, burning the image in his mind as he automatically started filling up with jealousy. His hand opened, the pin falling to the floor and making an almost inaudible tik! as it made contact. The red trail of blood flowed from his palm, dripping from the tips of his fingers as it wrapped around them, and accumulated onto the wooden floor and staining it scarlet.

He stumbled over to them, rushing through the ghostly images, and rummaged through the chest behind them. He found what he was looking for, grasping the hilt of Backbiter and pulling it out, staring at it angrily.

He grasped it firmly and rushed out of the cabin, running through the woods almost like he'd lost all sense of himself, finding the creek where he thought he'd almost lost Percy to his unknowing summoning of the hellhound. With his bare hands, he started to dig a large hole in the ground, throwing Backbiter into it carelessly. Almost possessed, he threw dirt back into the hole, desperate not to see the sword again.

Luke closed his eyes, shaking as he remembered the first time he saw Percy.

He stepped into the room, looking for Chiron, when he saw someone he had never met instead, his heart strangely stilling. She was a pretty little thing, with long dark hair and soft features. Her eyes were closed as she lay on the couch, a bowl of ambrosia and a cup of nectar on a table next to her.

"Oh, Luke! Is there something I can do for you?" Chiron interrupted his observations.

Luke blinked, phasing out of his daze.

"Um, the Hermes cabin was wondering if we could make some bunk beds so that we'll have less campers without beds."

Chiron hmmed, "I'll run it by Mr. D, though I don't see why not. Wait! Can you do me a favor, Luke? I need someone to look over Perseas for awhile, seeing as we haven't located Annabeth yet, for the job."

"I don't mind," Luke agreed without hesitation, his voice distracted as he was already seating himself at her side without glancing at Chiron again.

Chiron left him with her, and he tentatively grabbed a rag and wet it, wiping her face before folding it and leaving it on her forehead. He gently took care of her, and even when Annabeth was brought in to take over, he stayed awhile, just watching.

Until the moment she woke up, even though Annabeth was assigned to watch over her, Luke switched places with the blonde girl more often than not, taking care of the sleeping beauty that for some reason he had an odd pull to that he couldn't explain.

He staggered up and fled back into camp, searching out Percy's cabin. He stayed there, ignoring the others who came looking for him and just falling into a deep sleep after haphazardly wrapping up his bleeding hand. He had no desire to wake up or do anything, and for some reason kept going back to sleep and only waking at short intervals before going back. He slept the whole day away, and that night, the nightmares came back worse than ever.

He woke up, realizing that not only did he sleep in late but also that it didn't feel like he'd slept at all. Forcing himself up, he made himself clean himself up a little and then trekked reluctantly to the infirmary to get his hand looked at.

"Luke, what are you doing here?" Lee greeted him politely enough.

Luke held up his hand tiredly, showing his bloodied makeshift bandages.

"Ah. Come over here then, and we'll get that looked at."

Luke sat on a bed and Lee started looking at it, strangely handling him roughly.

"Heard you've been gone since Percy left? Where've you been?" Lee asked, voice neutral.

Luke ruffled his hair with his other hand, face screwing into a grimace.

"Just…around."

"Around, huh? Missing Percy already and hiding out?" But Lee's smile was frozen and didn't seem that nice anymore. "But you would know, wouldn't you? You actually got to be near her all the time and got to spend time with her. At least she actually noticed you and became attached. You had the chance that everyone didn't."

Luke stiffened up, clenching his jaw as he narrowed his eyes at the Son of Apollo.

"I didn't know you were so inclined towards her."

"You would if you weren't so busy wrapping her around your finger," Lee said bitterly.

"If she didn't notice you before, she won't notice you now," Luke surprisingly bit out cruelly.

Lee stared at him before his face screwed up in anger.

"Watch it, Castellan. You have all the confidence now that you have her in the bag, but she can just as easily slip through your fingers when you're not looking," he sneered.

Luke bristled and nearly launched himself off the bed and at the other demigod, before he forced himself into an icy calm and smiled coldly.

"You just think too much of yourself."

And then the blond abruptly left Lee behind and angrily stormed back to Percy's cabin. With the curtains drawn and no light being let inside of the house, it was rather dark, in more ways than one. Luke sat on the bed, hair overshadowing his face as he glared at the wall in front of him.

'Fool boy,' a dark whisper into his ear. 'What weakness you show. The others show such disrespect and all you do is speak and then run away. All bark but no bite,' the bodiless voice mocked.

Luke shuddered, a shiver going through his body.

The whispers. The godsdamned whispers. It was always those damn whispers, seeping into his head, breathing into his ear, murmuring things that he didn't want to hear but couldn't help listening to. He was fucking tired of those whispers…

'You can be tired of me all you want, boy. But I'll always be here and I'll always know your thoughts and desires. You can't escape me, even if you throw away a thousand swords.'

"Shut up," Luke muttered and tossed himself fully on the bed, taking a pillow and covering his head with it.

Kronos' voice had continuously haunted him ever since that damnable Quest, but it had never been as bad as it was now. Even worse, the Titan's haunting voice had quieted and almost seemed like it had disappeared when Percy had been around. Now with her gone, it seemed as if the haunting had come back worse than ever and it was driving Luke insane.

He wasn't even exaggerating about that.

His body, it seemed, was feeling drained. Mentally, he was exhausted fending off Kronos, and physically he seemed to echo his mental state. Percy had been his anchor. Without her, it seemed like it was all too easy for him to be dragged down into the abyss, where Kronos waited and crooned to him with his haunting voice.

It was so tempting just to give in.

The more aggravating part of it all, was this irrational fear that a god (or gods, whatever –he didn't know) would somehow tempt her away and win her from him. More so that it would be his father. He sneered at the thought but he felt it was plausible, especially given the unannounced and suspicious, sudden visit Hermes had made to Perseas all those days ago. Though he had no evidence, there was this deep-seated dread that caused him panic of Percy abandoning him in favor of the gods.

He didn't like the feeling, and he didn't like that thought.

It was that fear and the repeated and insistent doubts and thoughts along that vein that allowed Kronos to gain a firm foothold in his mind, and even now helped the Titan to win Luke over; helped bring Luke to pieces and aggravate him to the point of irrationality and being unreasonable. It was helping to make Luke gradually succumb to the Titan, and see things his way.

The days passed by in a hazy blur, with Luke strangely dazed and sometimes confused. Everything was in and out of focus, his body seemed to drag, and all the while he kept seeing Kronos and not-Percy scornfully watch him with mocking smiles (and despicable, wicked whispers in his ear).

One day, a loud knock brought him temporarily out of his odd half-coma. He lay completely still in the makeshift bed he shared with Percy, but listened carefully. He expected the visitor intruding on his solitude to give up and go away after he had ignored them and refused to get up and acknowledge them, but instead the person opened the cabin's door and he heard soft footsteps into the abode. He tensed up and forced himself to sharpen his awareness, body coiled and ready to attack whoever it was.

"Luke, are you in here?" he heard Silena call out hesitantly, and he forcefully relaxed himself.

"In here," his voice sounded hoarse.

Her quiet footsteps sounded and he idly counted them, until she was closer to where he was. The bedroom door was opened and light streamed into the room, though he had to blink rapidly to get used to it.

"Stop skulking in the dark," Silena snapped, entering further into the room and keeping the door opened, letting the light to continue to shine into Luke's current "stronghold." "Aren't you Kronos' second? Quit acting silly like this. Besides, Perseas would hate seeing you like this. Pull yourself together and at least get out once and awhile."

"I don't want to," he mumbled.

'It is your disposition. You choose to do whatever you want. Don't allow anyone to tell you what to do –not even this ally,' Kronos gave a quiet, dark laugh.

Luke inwardly grunted and forced himself to ignore Kronos. He further ignored not-Percy's sly grin and her affectionate nuzzling to the Titan. Instead, he chose to sit up and fake a smile, letting himself not hide his exhaustion to look real to Silena.

"You're right," Luke murmured. "I should be taking better care of myself. Percy would definitely freak out over me, if she saw what I was doing to myself."

'And what are you doing to yourself? Running away? Moping? Going crazy…'

"I should tidy things up, try not to let things go to waste or become a mess while she's gone," Luke refrained from gritting his teeth.

'Being a silly, little housewife will not win her over to you and keep her by your side.'

"After all, if I just let myself go and let everything go to hell, I will just cause her unnecessary worry," Luke concluded with finality in his voice.

'Silly boy. You're already worthless to her.'

"That's the spirit, Luke!" Silena beamed, looking relieved. "Like I said, pull yourself together. You have to keep calm and collected. If you keep on your path, you can get Perseas to side with us and everything will be just fine. You'll see."

"Yes…you're right…"

'Fool.'

And then Silena left, leaving Luke alone with his demons, and Kronos' dark, quiet laughs echoing throughout the isolated cabin.


Afterwards, Luke reluctantly (and rather subdued) went out periodically. He made his quick appearances wherever he could, to relax people, but mostly stuck to making daily shopping sprees. He was practically absent otherwise. However, it was much better than before, so no one could really complain.

But a gnawing feeling continuously bothered Luke, until he decided to do something about it one night. As everyone fell into a deep sleep, he snuck out and slipped into the Attic, seeking out the Oracle. He saw its mummified form lying still, and he approached it quietly.

"Wake up," he said harshly. "Wake up and tell me. Do I get to stay with her? Do I get Percy? Do I get to have her?"

He was surprised when green smoke came out of its mouth and that it had actually worked. He closed his eyes against the smoke, trying not to cough.

"You never had her."

Luke opened his eyes quickly, searching for the familiar voice. And then he saw that the Oracle had taken on the form of Percy and was watching him with knowing eyes. She looked more solid than Kronos' not-Percy, but he wasn't fooled and knew it still wasn't the real thing.

Oracle!Percy looked at him sadly.

"You will turn
A river of tears will flow
Your affections inevitably spurn

Thrice, immortality seeks to heal
Pain that bitterness and rejection caused
Fate has a seal

Her heart be mend
Where gods belong
It is Destiny you cannot bend."

A blind rage entered him and he had a terrible and an irresistible urge to thrash everything around him in a fury that nearly overcame him. He barely restrained himself, knowing such an action would alert others to his presence there and reveal his illicit visit to the Oracle. He ran from the Oracle and rushed back to Cabin Three, where he was still not free to take out his rage.

He would not let the gods take her from him. He would never allow it. He'd rather die than accept such a thing. He'd rather her dead.

He hated the gods with every fiber of his being. To lose Percy to the Olympians, especially his father, was completely unacceptable.

He calmed down, but it was a calm closer to a calm before the storm, head clearing as he began to think and eventually scheme. He gingerly sat himself on the makeshift bed and waited patiently for morning, wide awake in the darkness of the room.

Morning came, and Luke trekked out of the cabin, stoic and feeling empty inside. Everyone was still asleep, but he knew he had to be quick. He went to the familiar creek and searched out for the spot where he'd buried Backbiter, unfeeling and cold as he dug it out and retrieved it. He kept hardening his heart with each moment passing, and went back to the cabin.

And yet, he still clutched onto a thread of hope…hope that that prophecy he should never have heard was interpreted wrong in his head. That Percy was going to be his Bonnie right up to the end…

He was being foolish. Being hasty. Percy cared about him. There was no need for him to dive into the deep end just yet, and jump the gun. He'd been losing his head and not thinking straight. He had been so close to losing all sense of his self. Percy was by his side, and it would stay that way. He had no proof she would leave him or come to care for the gods, only his doubts and insecurities (and stupid, meaningless whispers from a Titan) and an incoherent prophecy that he really didn't have the real meaning to. He loved her and was willing to give it all up, forsake everything and let go of Kronos and his plans.

'Such a child~ When the time comes, you'll lay in pieces and realize the truth you refused to see staring you in the face.'

He shouldn't lack faith.

Keeping himself on that path and that mindset, he could feel himself attempting to be happier…lighter. Things could almost even seem normal. And that was how things were when he finally saw Percy again –real Percy (even though it was only through Iris-Messaging). Despite knowing he looked horrible and exhausted, he was happy to see her and completely and genuinely felt renewed and believing in the bond they shared. He felt rehabilitated and as good as new after talking with and seeing her.

He was talking with her as if she had never left and the two of them effortlessly slipped into an easy camaraderie that he'd had always cherished since the beginning. He was ecstatic to hear her quote a line from a song in greeting to him, one that allowed her to call him 'boyfriend.' That she did so easily and unconsciously had to mean something.

Even when questioning her about meeting any gods, he still held onto the feeling of bliss seeing her, even with his doubts creeping in at that moment. And then he left with his parting shot, asking her how she looked at him because he hoped that she would really think on it as she was away and hopefully come to realize that she might care and see him closer than she currently thought of.

So afterwards, curling on the makeshift bed and trying to ignore Kronos and not-Percy eerily watching him with unblinking eyes and matching mocking grins, he prayed to her that she would keep him from being dragged into the darkness.

'You really think you can keep away?'


It was exhausting continuously fighting and resisting Kronos. Exhausting to not listen to his haunting voice and wicked whispers. Exhausting to ignore his mocking, especially when he and not-Percy toyed with him and created images he didn't want to see but sometimes was forced to be unable to look away. And just exhausting to be fighting at all, and in keeping such a blind faith when he could feel the darkness threatening to swallow him.

It was at once both painful and a relief to have Percy back, in the flesh.

But then she mentioned meeting Hades and Ares, and why was there fucking fondness in her voice talking about them? Even if it was reluctant, he could hear it. That she met them at all, never mind the hint of care, made him think about the private prophecy of his and know that there was never any escaping it.

He looked towards the ghostly Kronos and not-Percy, and clenched his jaw as he signed his soul away.

'Fall, Puppet General. Fall from grace.'

He had wanted to be her anchor. But if he couldn't be, then he would make it so that she wouldn't even need one.

Luke knew it was selfish, but extracted promises from her that she would have to keep, if things weren't to go as he had planned. He also said his goodbyes, even though she wouldn't know it, until maybe later on. Even still, he also silently begged and looked for a second chance for her to save him, even while he started to pull away.

Then came the day where he realized it was all over and the little world he created with Percy would fall apart and finally shatter into a million, little irreparable pieces.

He gave his beads to Percy. He spoke to her, feeling a huge weight off of his shoulders, relaxed and relieved in a sorrowful and messed up way. He let himself be as real and honest with her right up to the end.

Everyone was finally asleep and the party was over. He had dressed himself in his best clothes, watching himself blankly in the mirror. There was a soft, nearly inaudible thump from one of the closets, where he had dumped a tied up Travis, who had seen him and become too suspicious and was asking too many damn questions. His face continuing to be blank, he began to put on the finishing touches.

He slipped on the watch Percy gave him, clasping it tightly to his wrist. He slid his hands down his collar and straightened it, moving onto his cuffs and tugging them down after he'd buttoned them. Running both hands through his hair, he tilted his head and smiled as blankly at himself in the mirror as he felt. And then he took his precious photo of Percy, the one he'd took right before she left for her Quest and when things had been easy and right, and tucked it safely into his pocket.

"My love is vengeance," he muttered, quoting the song that seemed from so long ago.

The bad man behind blue eyes.

"Percy."

"Come take a walk with me."


"Luke, why are we here? What's going on?"

"I love you. I completely and utterly love you."

One more kiss. The kiss of Judas. His hand gripping the knife. Resolved and sliding it with a determined decision into her side. Shocked gasps. Her beautiful sea green eyes looking at him in confusion and betrayal. Her head lolling back and her knees buckling as she collapsed against him. Her soft, slender body fitted against his (and it felt so right, and this was supposed to be how it was and whywasn'titfuckinginevitablethiswayg odsdammitall?). He dug in the knife in deeper, just as she'd stabbed him in the back, even though she didn't know it.

He wanted to haunt her in the same way Kronos had haunted him, and never let her go.

He ignored her tears, and ignored the way the ring she gave him pressed harshly against her back as he supported her weakened form, almost like a mocking reminder to the both of them.

"If I can't have you…no one can. Especially the gods."

He kissed her lips lightly one more time (just one more damn time), before letting her gently down, walking away into the darkness and leaving her to die there.

He looked back at her several times, though she would never know. Until he stopped and hesitated, almost turning to look back once more –until he firmed himself and forced himself to keep going without letting himself have that look, letting himself willingly fall into the darkness.

His hands were steady as he gripped the gasoline tub, uncaringly splashing it all over the cabins and replacing tub after tub until the camp was soaked and baptized in it. He finished up and stood in the middle of the entrance, observing his work.

He took out a match, lit it up, and flicked it indifferently towards the closest cabin to him.

It lit up the building and quickly spread until everything was on fire and a blaze matching inferno faced him.

Luke spun away from the camp, the flames illuminating his turned back against his ex-home in the backdrop of a created hell.

He walked away heartlessly, with no hesitation.

Started 12/27/10 – Completed 1/17/13

Chapter Text

Percy wasn't even sure how she'd gotten from Olympus to her old home, just entering the apartment building and then climbing what seemed like such a long way to her apartment. She braced herself to face Gabe, but he was thankfully not there.

She dropped off her things to her room, and scrunched up her nose at the crap Gabe had dumped into there. Grunting in annoyance, she found a change of clothes and then went to the bathroom, planning on taking a nice, long shower.

It was within minutes of her shower that she suddenly began crying, first starting to sniffle and then all out sob.

She was so tired and everything was so screwed up. She'd just been on some kind of disastrous road trip that had played on her emotions like marbles bouncing erratically in a jar, and played about like a puppet on strings.

Her mother had died just before she'd been shoved into that Quest.

She was still gone.

She'd finally met her father and she had felt so empty. Her father had always been a subject that was touchy and had usually set her off, but actually meeting him had done nothing for her because he had just seemed like a stranger.

Maybe part of it was that she'd already been all spent after the journey she'd went through and therefore didn't have anything left in her to feel for him, or she just couldn't muster up any feeling once she'd come face to face to him.

And maybe a part of it was that she really didn't feel anything for him.

Why should she?! He left her and her mother, her hard-working, sweet mother who suffered all these years and had to be single mom to a difficult child like Percy? Why would she waste any time or feelings on that man?

She was just so tired.

Percy sighed and rubbed furiously at her face, wiping off water and tears hidden. She got out and hurriedly dried herself off before putting on the clean change of clothes. She hesitantly peeked out, but didn't hear or see any sign of Gabe being there yet, so she ventured out more calmly.

However, there was frantic knocking on her door and she narrowed her eyes at it, warily walking towards the door before opening it quickly and ready to strike out if it was an enemy. To her relief and surprise, it was only Grover.

"Oh, thank the gods!" he cried out in reprieve. "We were all worried when you'd just disappeared like that, even though Chiron had hesitantly suggested you'd probably gone to report to the gods, like you'd been asked. You silly girl! He didn't mean right then! You were supposed to rest and heal first. Didn't you know? The knife that had stabbed you was laced with the poison of Medusa, which is why it's been taking so long and harder for you to heal. Your left side, where you got stabbed, should be stiff for awhile."

Percy stared for a bit, momentarily unnerving and worrying Grover, before she started crying again and threw herself at him. He awkwardly maneuvered the still crying girl in his arms into the apartment again, and found the nearest couch. He traveled over to there with difficulty, but once he'd managed it, he sat down and held her more securely.

"Percy?"

"I'm sorry, Grover. Everything just…is too much right now. Mom's still gone, I just met dad and you know how sensitive I am about him, and then the whole trip was just a rush and I don't how I kept it together. And I know I was really harsh on you and Annabeth at times, and I'm really sorry about that –"

Grover put a finger to her lips, hushing her rambling.

"Come on now, Percy. It's alright. Besides, most of the times, we deserved you being harsh on us, and it really helped us from panicking and keeping calm. You really grounded us, even though I know the whole time has been some sort of emotional rollercoaster for you, and that's not fair. It's been an emotional rollercoaster since your mother's death, and you haven't really had a break, have you? It's alright, Percy. You can break down in front of me. It'll be okay, and I'm here."

So she let herself seek his comfort.

He really got it though. He never mentioned it, but he'd felt and understood that Percy had been off the entire time on the Quest. He'd known her before camp –she'd always been much gentler and kinder, but during it she had rained down acid and been much more abrasive and confrontational than she was. He'd seen it, had recognized that Percy was acting like a cornered animal and running on survival mode. He'd let it go on because it was helping Percy to function and get through everything, and it helped her to keep him and Annabeth steady and cool-headed and refraining from "jumping the gun" at any situation (especially as inexperienced and unsure as he and Annabeth were).

But Percy had been kept from crumpling, only until everything was over and it was all collapsing at once in on her.

Maybe seeing her father had been the last straw. Or maybe it had been Luke, especially given how close Grover knew the two of them were. Whatever it was, Percy had had enough and couldn't take any more.

When Grover reluctantly pulled away, she could see in his face that he had to go. He only was able to be there to make sure she was there and okay, and after he'd have to report back. She understood. She gave him a sad smile and nodded, and gently kissed his cheek. She escorted him to the door and with one last look he left her behind. No words were needed.

Swallowing heavily, she went to find her backpack and began stuffing clothes into it. If she could help it, she would be gone before Gabe even noticed she had been there. She would never willing stay there with the likes of him.

After making sure that everything of importance was on her person, and that she had a sufficient amount of clothes she could change into, Percy glanced around the apartment one last time. It felt bittersweet. She hated it for the times she had in it, especially of Gabe being there and the way he had taken over…but then it was also the place where she'd grown up the most, where she had stayed with her mother…and there were still little traces of her mother throughout the apartment, little reminders that were her mother's touch.

She choked up and blinked back tears.

All the better for her to go on the run for real, live on the streets. She took a step out of the apartment and closed it, locking it to make it seem as if she was never there. Unless Gabe was even more of a perv than she thought (and looked through her drawers and closet), then he wouldn't be able to tell she had been there.

"Percy?"

Whirling around and feeling her heart beating rapidly and as if it was trying to slam its way out of her chest, she only calmed down when she saw it was only the supervisor of the apartment complex. He looked confused and astonished to see her, and she sheepishly rubbed the back of her head as she grinned halfheartedly at him.

"Hey, Ed…"

He grimaced. "Please don't call me that. Your stepdad calls me that. It's horrid. It's Edward or Eddie, Percy."

"Ah, right. Okay," she was able to bring up some amusement that apparently Eddie hated the nickname he'd been bestowed with by Smelly Gabe.

"It's good to see you, and that you look okay. Where's your mom though? And why are you skulking about your apartment?" Eddie asked, glancing around curiously.

She couldn't help bursting into tears and he became alarmed, rushing over and then putting an arm behind her shoulders and stomach as he gently led her off, looking around in panic. Once he'd reached a certain door, he scrambled for the keys in his pocket and they jingled as he took them out with one hand and struggled to unlock the door. Once he'd managed, he maneuvered her inside and led her to a nice dark blue couch that she easily sunk into.

Her tears were quieting and she was beginning to calm, unnerving him as her eyes focused in on him and she watched him intensely in silence.

"Uh, tea?" he smiled weakly at her.

Her lips weakly twitched up.

"Would be nice," she answered.

He excused himself and began dithering movements around his kitchen, and returned to see her distantly, curiously looking around the room.

"This…is your place," she murmured.

"Yeah…" he answered awkwardly. "You didn't seem like you wanted to be around your apartment and you were crying and I didn't really know what to do…"

He cut his rambling off short and looked to her with embarrassment. "I…I won't pry. I won't nag either. You can…stay here, if you'd like? Just don't do something crazy. Er, I'm not saying you are…but…don't go off…and have another adventure…or something…"

"…Thank…you…"

She gave him a soft smile before slipping off her shoes and bringing her legs up to curl underneath her as she leaned sideways onto the armrest, closing her eyes and quickly drifting off into sleep. He saw the signs of exhaustion on her face and sighed, leaving and returning with a blanket that he placed onto her. He tucked her in and then put away the untouched tea.

The night passed by quietly, and when he awoke, he cautiously moved out of his bedroom and peeked into his living room. His eyes widened, seeing no sign of her, and he anxiously searched his apartment for anything that could clue him in. He hadn't been imagining it, had he? Even the blanket was gone.

A yellow post-it on his fridge caught his eye, and he zeroed in on it. 'LAUNDRY ROOM' it said in unfamiliar but graceful handwriting, and he finally relaxed. He hesitantly traversed out of his apartment and towards the laundry room, and heard the sounds of machines already at work. It was way too early for it to be anyone else, or for anyone to even be there in the first place, so he poked his head into the room and immediately spotted Percy, who was sitting on one of the benches against the wall, elbows supported on her spread knees and her hunched over broodingly. She was dwarfed in a huge hoodie that made her look even smaller than she actually was.

"Mornin'," he called out and she slowly looked to see him, watching from underneath long eyelashes.

She gave him a half smile, before she turned back to watch the machines working with unreadable eyes. He quietly walked over and took a seat next to her, crossing his ankles and stretching his legs out as he leaned against the wall.

"Mom is…not here," she said vaguely, and he wondered dreadfully what she meant by that. "I would prefer to stay out of Gabe's way and never even see him again. I was just grabbing some stuff..."

"Well…my place is still open. So you still have a place to stay and don't need to do anymore Rambo stuff or whatever," he said nonchalantly, though inwardly he was tense and nervous.

"You mean that?"

"Sure. It's just a couch and all, but…you can have it," he shrugged.

He looked over surreptitiously to see her staring at him in wonder. He turned red and tried to refrain from fidgeting.

"You're…you're a really good guy," she said, starting to give a sincere full smile. "And…thanks for last time too. You know…for the money," she turned red this time, while his red face continued to grow darker.

"It-it's nothing," he stammered.

She gave him a quirky grin and then went back to watching the machines. He turned to do the same, and they sat there together in comfortable silence.

Aphrodite took a deep breath and watched the scene, silent and unseen.

"You'll do well," she murmured, and then held up the white shimmering bow in her hands, plucking back the sleek scarlet arrow already notched in.

She aimed and shot, and it hit the unsuspecting Percy with a jolt.

"Such quiet, patient adoration from afar…Always protective, always in the background and unnoticed, always looking over her and for her best interests…A reward for your patience and affectations, Edward Rolands. Take care and look over my new favorite well."

Aphrodite gave an enigmatic smile and then disappeared.

Percy felt like she'd gotten a headache from out of nowhere, wincing as her hand reached up to grasp her head.

"Are you okay?" Eddie asked her in concern.

"…Yeah. I think. It's just a headache," she looked up and stared straight into his eyes, losing her breath.

Immediately and confusingly, her face turned red, though not out of embarrassment. With a sinking feeling, she only briefly thought of what it was, before pushing the thoughts out of the way in panic. She tried to will away the telling blush, but it wasn't going away, at least not as fast as she'd wanted it to.

"Maybe a hunger headache?" he grinned freely at her. "How about we go out and get some breakfast?"

"That's…that's great!" she blurted out, and now her blush was somewhat from embarrassment now as well.

He held out a hand and looked expectantly at her and she hesitated, looking at it before tentatively reaching out and grasping it. His hand was warm and cradled hers soothingly, and then he was standing up and gently tugging at her hand. Still hesitant, she stood up and daringly curled her hand around his and held it.

Confused and blushing, he didn't say anything about it as he led the way out of there and out of the building, still holding hands.


She stared at the letter in her hand, confused and tensed. As soon as she arrived with Eddie back into his apartment after eating breakfast, she spotted the expensive, sleek black envelope on the side table next to the couch she slept on. She made sure to grab it and hide it from Eddie's view, only deeming it safe to open after he'd awkwardly told her he was going to go take a shower and that she was welcomed to it afterward.

It was a letter from Hades.

An invitation, in fact. It specifically requested –and the request did not truly sound like a request –that she would return back to the Underworld within at least two weeks, at her "convenience." It said nothing else, nothing about her mother, about the Quest, his helm…nothing.

She was tentative and angry and confused –

"Percy? You can take a shower now," she heard Eddie call out, and she hurriedly stuffed the stupid expensive letter behind the pillow of the couch.

"Uh, okay! Thanks!" She grabbed her backpack and rummaged around it for clothes she could wear, and by the time she was finished, she'd looked up to see Eddie standing in front of her, short hair still wet.

She couldn't stop the dumb blush from coming.

"Um…I'll just go," she muttered, holding up her clothes and trying to hurry passed him.

In the shower, she definitely noticed her left side was stiff, like Grover said it would be. Her injuries weren't healing as fast, and she could see numerous scratches and bruises on her body, that she knew would have healed instantly once she'd gotten into any body of water.

In the stark clearness of the water streaming down on her, she blankly saw them still visibly there and as fresh as ever.

Even and especially the knife wound to her side.

She flinched and looked away from it, refusing to acknowledge it any moment longer. She gently cleaned herself, trying to avoid any really painful spots. By the end of her shower, she'd accidentally stretched and had reopened the grievous knife wound and it was bleeding freely again.

"Fuck," she muttered as she looked down on it, and at the blood.

She got out of the shower and found a towel, drying herself carefully and wincing as some of her blood made a mess of the bathroom floor. Making sure she was dry enough, she pressed the towel to her side and tried to get dressed. She managed on her underwear and jeans, before realizing her shirt would just get bloody if she put it on. Hesitating, she finally made the decision to go out and find Eddie, who looked to be in the middle of setting up the kitchen table for lunch.

"So, uh, hey."

He looked up and his eyes widened, averting his eyes to the ground immediately as he panicked.

"W-what are you doing, Percy?! Where's your shirt? You shouldn't just walk in like that and –" he stopped talking and looked back up, eyes widening some more as he finally processed the blood and the wound she had that he definitely had seen.

"Um, yeah. Sorry. I bloodied your towel," she said hollowly.

After another pause, he shot up from the table abruptly and rushed over to her, pressing a hand over hers to help staunch the blood flow. He hurried her over to the table and sat her down, slowly moving her hand and the towel away from her side as he kneeled down to look closely at the wound. He hissed as he saw it, recoiling as he saw how bad it really was.

"What happened?" he asked.

When she stayed quiet, he looked up and saw her closed off face. He sighed.

"Right. No prying. Sorry," and he had her pressing the towel hard against her side again, before he left and returned quickly with a first aid kit, a box of sterile gloves, and a new towel. He set those aside on the table and got a bowl, filling it with water after. Back to her side, he kneeled down and took her hand away again, tossing the bloody towel to the side. He dipped the new towel in the bowl of water, and then began to cleanse the knife wound carefully and thoroughly. Using a dry part, he dapped at the wound and saw the bleeding had stopped enough. Washing his hands, he took the box of gloves after and put a pair on. Then he held out a heavy piece of gauze out to her, though she looked confused.

"For you to bite down on," he explained. "Sorry I don't have anything else," he said apologetically.

Then he took out a needle and put an accompanying thread through the hole. Once he'd set up, he got closer and gave her a glance. She nodded in acknowledgment and he carefully leaned closer and began to stitch the wound up with steady hands.

"Ma's a doc," he said, not looking up from his work. "She taught me basic survival stuff for just in case."

When he was done, she exhaled and leaned over, placing her forehead against his shoulder, while he tensed up.

"Thank you," she breathed against his neck.

He swallowed thickly. "You're…welcomed."

As she slowly moved away, he felt first her cheek brush against his…and then her lips in a brief, soft kiss.


It was a tense and uneasy atmosphere around Olympus. With a confirmation of Kronos' bid for ascension once more, everyone was wary and on watch. The Olympian gods were especially cagey and on guard.

Though Aphrodite had somehow managed to slip out, there were others who wanted to but couldn't.

Ares, in the temporary holding place he was in for his punishment, was one of them.

He hummed an obnoxious tune and stared in boredom at the wall, masking his restlessness and the deadened glaze in his eyes. Brown with a tint of red…like how he'd appeared toher

"Ares, are you done ruminating in your cell?" Hera asked sharply, and he looked over to see the mother goddess watching him irritably.

He gave her a careless smile.

Pursing her lips, she lifted her nose up in annoyance. "Then I suppose you don't want to hear your punishment?"

"Punishment? I thought rotting in this boring cell until Zeus finally decided to let me free was my punishment," he drawled.

"Don't be ridiculous," she snapped at him. "And stop trying to act like a rebel boy. There's no pretty girl around for you to impress with your stupid bad boy image."

Ares rolled his eyes, but at least managed to straighten and look like he was trying to pay attention.

"Your father has decided, since she is the one who you've most caused trouble to, it is to she who you will pay the reparations. As of within two weeks, you will be servant and protector to Perseas Jackson, until the next summer."

He perked up and really did sit straight up in attention, focusing closely to Hera. This was a punishment he would not mind…

"You should be grateful," she declared. "Your father wanted to send you over to Hades."

He shivered and looked at her warily.

"You are lucky that I had managed to convince him otherwise, and that I was able to bring this solution to his attention…and that he was actually most favorable of the idea."

Indeed, it was a much better alternative and helped him in so many ways in regard to Perseas.

"Thank you, Mother," he said, humble for once.

Meanwhile, the waters surrounding Poseidon's palace was like a watery grave. Everything was silent and still, and even the inhabitants in and around the palace knew not to disturb or bother Poseidon or the stillness and soundless atmosphere that was now ever present in Poseidon's domain.

The Sea King himself brooded on his throne, a vacant look on his face. Again and again, he mused over and recalled the meeting with his daughter.

He felt miserable.

His daughter did not hate him, but she felt nothing at all. He mattered not to her. To her, he didn't hold a single ounce of importance to her, not even enough to warrant hatred or even dislike. He was nonexistent to his precious pearl.

In the realization of her feelings (more like lack thereof) towards him, he had come to the sudden and explosive epiphany that his precious, only mortal daughter meant more to him than even his whole entire kingdom…a fact that he couldn't and wouldn't admit to the other gods.

So it had hurt.

It had truly and utterly hurt, exponentially so, when she had admitted such a thing to him, had spoken in such a way, had looked at him like so.

He had no idea how to fix it, if he even could.

Started 4/20/13 – Completed 5/15/13

Chapter Text

She finally remembered, as well as finally getting the time, to call her workplace and see about her waitressing job. She was extremely distressed to find out that Lucas had to replace her because of her long absence, but he'd promised that there would be an opening after summer break and that she could take her job back.

That made her feel at least a little better.

However, it must've been obvious how upset she was, as Eddie noted it straight away and questioned her about it.

She turned red in embarrassment and scratched the back of her head in awkwardness, though she told him about her problem.

"It's just…I really need this job. I've been saving up for college tuition, and financial aid can only do so much. I don't like the plan of student loans and having to pay them back, and I don't think that it would be a good idea anyway," Percy frowned, inwardly sighing.

"Try scholarships too," Eddie slid into a seat across from her, at the island counter. He took a bite of his apple and swallowed quickly. "There are plenty of those, especially with all the skills you have. And I'm sure there's a few around that are specifically for ADHD and dyslexics. Those cans help a lot."

She took that into account, though she'd have to hurry and research about them quick. She'd also have to start filling out forms quickly too, and even for college applications…

"As for a summer job, I got something, if you don't mind," Eddie suddenly brought up.

She turned startled eyes towards him, caught off guard by his offer.

"I clean up the building, mostly vacuum some areas, spray clean surfaces, maintain things. If you want to help, I'll pay you same as your waitressing job," Eddie shrugged awkwardly.

Percy grew even embarrassed, more so at the truth. "Er, well, my job didn't really pay so well –you know, waitressing and all…mostly I got really big tips that made the difference."

"Then I'll just pay as if I'm leaving you a big tip," he said, but then they both paused. He flinched at the unintentional implication. "That's not…That came out odd."

"It didn't have to come out odd," Percy muttered, turning red.

They both brushed it off, trying to ignore their equal gawkiness, as well as their previous inelegant slip up.

"I'm…going to go to the store. You're okay with beef stew for today?" he asked.

"Sounds good to me," she gave him a small smile.

"I'll be over at your apartment later tonight too," he informed her hesitantly. "Gabe's poker party. It's better I head over, before he comes stomping down and banging on my door…and might even accidentally see you."

Percy grimaced. "Yeah. Not good. Um…why didn't you ever kick him out of your building before?" she was just as hesitant asking.

Eddie's lips lifted up one side slightly. "I didn't want to kick you and your mother out too. See you in a bit, alright?" And then he was out of his home and she was left behind, staring at the door.

It was…kind of nice to know he'd cared enough about her and her mother, that he'd put up with Gabe for so long. How old was he again? He looked so young and even acted it sometimes, but then he also seemed so mature…

That's right. He was twenty four. Eight years older than her. Young to be in charge and own a building like this, and to be so set in life and security.

She remembered just moving in here as a small girl, at six, and how Eddie used to babysit her. In those earlier years, she vaguely remembered another older man used to be in charge of the building, before soon after Eddie had come to take over responsibility over it. When her mom was at work and Percy didn't want to be around Gabe, she remembered going over to this apartment and hanging around Eddie when she was younger. When her mother found out, her mother started to hesitantly ask for him to babysit her, not wanting to inconvenience anyone, but also preferring to not only keep her daughter safe and accompanied, but also that it was better asking than having her daughter just come over unannounced.

She grew older and busier and had other things preoccupying her as time went by, and soon enough she'd forgotten about those visits and those times around the older man.

Percy remembered how she used to have the hugest crush on him before, when she was younger. But then it seemed he'd never like her back and she gave up, and she started to focus more on her goals and dreams in life, leaving her little crush to just fade into the back of her mind.

But now she knew and acknowledged that there was a strange resurgence of those feelings now, and she felt hesitant about them…and in the back of her mind, a worry and trepidation that there was something strange going on.

She vigorously rubbed her face, feeling tired all of a sudden. Maybe she was just being paranoid…

Percy felt sleepy, and could feel her eyelids drooping. Smothering a yawn, she couldn't even get up from the counter to head to the couch. Settling for laying her head on her arms, her eyes closed and she drifted off to sleep.

"Treacherous."

"Poisonous."

"Enchanting."

Voices swirling, mixing…

It was all she could hear. And then she saw Poseidon and a human and  beautiful  Medusa on the shore of an unknown beach, laughing as they walked side by side. He looked at her with affectionate eyes, and she seemed utterly happy.

A soft kiss, a tender brush of fingers against a jaw line…

The scene changed and she saw Medusa smugly sitting in a chair in her room, brushing her hair as she observed herself in her mirror. The curtain to her room swayed and then a beautiful woman, with green skin and tiny horns on her head emerged through them.

"Amphitrite," Medusa greeted mockingly, leaving out a title. "Why have you come here?"

"To have your head," Amphritite hissed, and the water from the fountain Poseidon had gifted Medusa lifted and swirled around the Queen.

Medusa threw her head back and laughed. "I am Athena's Head Priestess. Her most  prized  priestess. You would not dare to attack me in her very temple, against I who have the favors of Lady Athena and Poseidon,  my  love."

"Watch me."

And the Queen headed towards her with a sharp shift in stance, thrusting her arm out and water following her movement. Medusa drew a sword from somewhere by her side, and smoothly ran forward, ducking from the water with a smirk. She was of Athena –of course, she knew how to fight, especially against this sea dweller.

The point of her sword had scratched against her throat when she felt her sword halt. A leather whip was wrapped around her blade and had kept it from going any farther.

Medusa noted two things –the point of her sword that was barely scratching against a throat…was not the throat of the Queen of the Sea, but the God of the Sea himself. And the whip's holder, behind her shoulder, was the goddess Athena herself.

"M-my Lady! Poseidon!" It wasn't supposed to be like this. "She…she attacked me!"

"To attack a goddess is blasphemy," Athena spoke solemnly. "To conspire against one is heresy."

"W-what are you talking about?! I told you! She attacked me!" Medusa screamed out.

Poseidon finally spoke then, grave eyes watching his lover. He took out a folded letter slowly and unfolded it.

"'To, my fool Queen. Your reign over the sea shall end soon. Find me and punish me for my impertinence, but I shall claim your crown. From Medusa, soon to be Queen of the Sea,'" he quietly read aloud.

"Your sisters have already confessed in helping you with this endeavor to conspire against Amphitrite," Athena yanked the whip back harshly, and the sword was taken out of her grip and clattered onto the floor. "I am ashamed at having not seen your true greedy and selfish desires. You, who are too ambitious for your own good, I had treasured and so had overlooked and said nothing of your relationship with Poseidon.

"But now, to see the letter you sent to Amphitrite to purposely provoke and goad her into coming to you, in which you would use the skills I have gifted and taught you to dispose of a goddess, I am humiliated and understood I have had no wisdom in regards to you."

Medusa sneered and glancing scornfully at the Queen, before looking to Poseidon and her gaze softening.

"But it is nothing but the truth. I am treasured over her, am I not, my Lord? Do you not love me? Would you not gift me with the title Queen of the Sea, and be by your side for eternity? What matters how she is disposed of? She will be gone soon, is that not true?"

Poseidon gazed at her sadly. "It is true I had not loved Amphitrite for the longest time," his gaze flickered to the stoic Queen. "But I still care for her. There are years of memories between us, and years of companionship, whether in love or of friendship, and I would never dispose of her so easily…or ever. She is not my love…but she is my friend. She is my Queen."

Medusa shrieked and madness seeped into her eyes, as she leapt forward, attempting to gouge out his eyes. She was stopped as Athena was suddenly right behind her, taking hold of the beautiful tresses that flowed behind Medusa's head like snake-like tendrils.

Athena gripped tightly and yanked, and then momentum allowed her to toss the beautiful mortal to the ground.

The wisdom goddess stared coldly down at her Head Priestess.

"Like a snake you are, lying in wait for the best time to strike…and so like a snake hiding the grass, concealed, and beguiling all as you pretend to be harmless. I shall grant your punishment immediately. To the world, I will show them your true inner beauty, to be displayed on your features for all to gaze upon in horror," Athena murmured. "Your sisters shall share your fate."

She chanted in an ancient language and Medusa was screaming and writhing on the ground as she transformed.

Poseidon looked on remorsefully, as the Queen looked emotionlessly and Athena still cold as ice.

The scene changed again and Percy saw Poseidon quietly polishing his trident in his throne room, head bowed over it. Athena walked into the throne room silently and gazed at the Sea God with an unreadable gaze.

"She was my responsibility. I should have seen through her," Athena said suddenly.

Poseidon paused, but didn't look up.

"I did love her."

"I know."

Poseidon sighed and finally looked up. "Why are you here, Athena?"

"It is as I said. I was responsible for her. You needn't have taken the blame," Athena frowned, averting her eyes.

"I did not wish for Amphitrite to be gossiped about and for her humiliation to be spread. I did not wish her involvement in this. And…as I said. I was the one in love with her. I was the bigger fool in this."

Athena swallowed harshly. "Still…I know if the truth were to be known…"

A god/goddess was supposed to have devoted servants in their temples. Their Head Priest/Priestess should be the perfect example, and the representation of servitude and loyalty. It would have caused a scandal for Athena to have punished and come into intense conflict with her own Head Priestess. For this to happen would be shameful and humiliating. It was her Head Priestess, not just any servant in her temple, who had deceived and dishonored her.

She would have been mocked extensively for the disgrace in her own temple, as well as having not even being able to foresee it and see through the mortal. And because a god or goddess should never harm one's own Head Priest/Priestess –they were the Head of the temple for a reason, supposed to be completely loyal and devoted to the very end. That one could become Head in a temple without being so, showed the lacking on the immortal.

Just her attacking her Head Priestess would have caused her dishonor.

But Poseidon took the blame, somehow spreading that he'd disgraced Athena by being with Medusa in her temple. Athena had consequently grown angry and punished Medusa as well as her sisters.

"Thank you," she whispered, and turned and started to walk away.

"I did not wish for you to be humiliated either," he muttered.

She froze before giving him an acknowledging nod, and then finally leaving him behind.

As Percy's dreams drifted into something less real and a little more comfortingly, Athena quietly thanked the minor god. Morpheus nodded but didn't say anything for a moment.

"I find it strange that you would request this, Lady Athena," he said finally.

Athena gazed out across the fields through the god's window.

"Poseidon may be my rival and I may even dislike him most times…but that I cannot let continue to be misrepresented. It is only right. She deserves to know the truth. And especially at a time like this, in which she is already at such odds with her father…It would not be right to continue to allow her to believe in such an act. It is a lie I could not allow her to believe in. Poseidon gave me a selfless favor…it was high time I returned it."

Morpheus hummed in understanding. "And it is done, milady. She will know the truth now."

Athena closed her eyes. She had know about this because her daughter had worried incessantly about it (from doubting the story told to her in camp, to what Medusa had told as the supposed truth, and especially about how Percy was taking it), and from her thoughts Athena had learned what had happened.

She had worried about the confrontation with Medusa on the part of her daughter, but that Medusa had gone in a blind rage after Percy had told her that the serpent-woman was insane and hungry for vengeance against a betrayal from the man she was still in love with, and feeling scorned and infuriated at the sight of the very representation of the man she was still lovesick with, as well as being a child of some other woman.

A woman scorned was dangerous woman indeed.

Athena had recalled the lies spouted from the monster's lips, and did not know whether Medusa (in her fury and madness) had convinced herself it was the truth after all these years (in anger against Poseidon, who was supposed to love her and yet did not side with her), or had just wanted to hurt the Daughter of Poseidon with disgusting lies painted about her father.

A niggling of guilt had entered Athena when she learned of this. It was partly because of her that a lie about the incident had spread, as to cover up for her and as she helped and allowed the lie to spread. That for an even worse lie to be told to the daughter of the man who had taken the blame needlessly and singlehandedly, it was not something Athena could swallow.

So she strove to correct this oversight somehow.

Athena could only hope she had succeeded, and that Percy would believe this godly dream sent from the gods.


When Percy awoke, she found herself on the couch and tears clinging to her eyes.

"You okay?" Eddie asked worriedly, when he walked in.

Percy gave him a small smile. "I…think I am. I just…I was kind of told some bad things about my father when I was…gone. And I realized that it might not really be true. I'm really angry and disconnected with him…but on this point, I'm just really, really happy that it probably wasn't a true thing."

Eddie smiled back and came over, kneeling in front of her. "I'm glad. Whatever it is, if you're happy it's not true, then I'm for you. Maybe one day you'll even give him a chance, huh?"

"Maybe," she muttered, not completely open to it.

Eddie ruffled her hair. "You were out like a light for a long time. I have the stew on the stove, just heat it up in a bowl, alright? I've got to go over and play poker."

"I hope you clean him out and take the pot home," Percy grumbled. "And I hope he becomes extremely dirt poor in the process."

Eddie burst out into laughter, shaking his head. "I'll try," he said wryly. "I'll be back."

When he was gone, Percy sighed and slouched on the couch, recalling the dream. She really, really hoped Poseidon had some kind of saving grace…

Meanwhile, another parent-child confrontation was occurring, this in present time. Aphrodite refused to look at her child, scowling extremely irritably at the mirror.

"Mother, I know you took my bow and one of my arrows. And I could probably accurately guess that you used it on Lord Poseidon's daughter," Eros accused.

Aphrodite didn't look like she was going to answer, before she suddenly slumped in her seat and looked uncharacteristically exhausted.

"Do you know why I always declare I will completely mess around with the love lives of my favorites?" she asked softly.

Nervously, Eros answered he didn't.

"I am the Goddess of Love. It shows how much I'm fond and care for them, and how invested I am in all of them," Aphrodite explained, still strangely subdued. "Love is my domain. To my favorites, the more I am involved in their life, the more I truly care and like them. Despite some grievances, I knew from the moment I found about her, without even a face or name to go with her existence, that I would really come to love Perseas Jackson and that she would undoubtedly be one of my favorites.

"And how could she not? She draws people and their love to her like moths to a flame. Romantic love, platonic, familial…all kinds of love, and I can feel my cheeks glow red and happiness fill me. Even without the creation of all the love and the love that's occurring due to her and filling me with power and contentedness, by principle alone…that she's making so much love appear, makes me happy and grateful, regardless of how it empowers me."

Eros stared at his mother. He had never seen her so wise or philosophical before. This side of her was different and unseen. He would have never guessed about her thoughts and feelings, especially in all this…

"I just want her to feel happy," Aphrodite murmured. "In return for the gift she keeps giving me. Edward was a good choice. He's kind and loyal, and he's watched over her for years. He truly likes her. And once upon a time, she had liked him back…before she let it dim and focused on so many other things, but feelings linger and you never forget that first one…I had hoped that I could add two more to help and heal her from the debacle of Luke Castellan…"

"And doesn't that add a whole other dimension of worry about interfering in this matter, Mother? She did swear that to that young man," Eros murmured. Considering the subject of the oath, it had been why they had caught wind of it and what it entailed.

Aphrodite lifted her head. "There are all sorts of love, Eros. You should know that, being my son. She had never truly loved him, not completely. She was never meant to be with him. Perhaps, if things had been normal and there were no gods to interfere, the seeds of feelings she did have could have grown and she could have truly fallen for him. But in the end, this is the reality and the life that has been made –and the two are, as cruelly as it is, a tragic pair and nothing more. So compatible and so close to true love…and yet never meant to be anything more in the end, and eventually made for a tragic end."

Eros winced and was about to open his mouth to speak again, when his mother started speaking once more.

"You don't understand the true devastation and hurt caused by Luke. She did truly love and care for him in her own way, and the betrayal and hurt caused by him damaged her a lot. Even if they were never meant to be, there was a connection there that cannot be overlooked. I want to give her a chance to experience real love from others, who would care more for her than themselves. I am not using the arrows to force anything, not really. I'm using those arrows. If nothing was there, they wouldn't have worked. The men feel freely. She, who is used to suppressing or neglecting her feelings, I'm only providing an arrow to force herself not to hide behind a mask, even if it means words or actions unused to her happen.

"It is manipulative in a way," Aphrodite conceded. "But using those arrows on her allows her to be clumsy and not in control, and see that it's alright for others to see her like that. For her to relax, to be unguarded. She is undeniably and extremely loyal to those who have earned it, but guards herself and loyalty zealously. In this way, she can see that such loyalty can be rewarded and she won't always be betrayed."

"Using the arrows on her does seem a little more practical," Eros agreed slowly. "She's so focused on so many things and she is wary of letting anyone close to her again, especially after him. The arrows don't create anything that is not already there. They just push them to the forefront and amplify them, so that they cannot be ignored and one will be prone to letting the feelings take over and run freely. But why three? Would that not be too much for her?"

Aphrodite gave him a small smile. "A handful. But hopefully a good distraction from Luke, and all the troubles and angers plaguing her recently. And…it'll be a good trade over the three gods pining over her currently."

Eros looked hesitant, but she cut him off.

"No, this whole thing doesn't have anything to do with me trying to keep her from Hermes, Apollo, and Ares," she revealed the gods she was talking about, though Eros had a clue it would be them. "I admit that I was…am a bit jealous that their attentions, especially Ares', will no longer be on me, but have been so focused on her. Two of them don't even know about their seedling feelings, although Ares already does. But that's truthfully meaningless in all this.

"She's one of my favorites. I wouldn't condemn her to the attentions of a god, much less three of them. You know how they are. How fickle we are with our affections. I do not want her to suffer through the love of a god and having to love one, only to end up heartbroken and alone…and with a child. I will be damned before I let that happen. Better these three mortals, than the gods that will just continue their patterns with their mortal lovers with her.

"And the truth is…I would choose over her over any petty dalliances with those three I tend to have. For all the love she unknowingly gives me, I would love her more than them in return."

Eros froze, staring at her in shock.

Aphrodite glared in frustration in front of her, before looking painfully away with closed eyes. The next time she opened her eyes, she was gazing at her reflection again.

"I wish I were a god rather than a goddess," she quietly admitted, sounding worn out. "Then I would not have to worry about finding the right love for Perseas, when I could just offer myself. I know I would not ever harm or leave her."

She bowed her head and Eros numbly could see tears dropping onto his mother's chiton.

"It would be so much easier," she whispered. "I am Love itself. I could give her more love than anyone else in this world."

He slowly walked over to her, before embracing her tightly. His mother was so sentimental. Truth be told, his mother usually never was taken seriously, due to her domain, which was completely unfair. Love, no matter, affected everyone and very powerful.

But everyone thought love was so silly and his mother so silly.

Seeing her now, Eros understood, more than ever before having helped in his mother's domain, that Aphrodite wasn't silly and thought love was stupid or a ridiculous matter. She was very serious about it and cared for it much more than most immortals cared or empathized for their domains, in a way that physically, emotionally, and mentally affected them. In a way, it even spiritually mattered to his mother.

They could laugh at her and her love all they wanted, but Aphrodite was much more than she seemed underneath it all.

"I will be back, Mother," he murmured.

There was arrows and a bow he needed to retrieve, if he were to help his mother.

"With all the troubles in the dark, I will hold all the lights on you. We give ourselves a shining star, all alone, all alone," Aphrodite sung mournfully, alone in her room.

On earth, her very ideal of a champion for her domain lay on the couch sleeping as the door to the apartment opened. Light streamed into the living room slightly as Eddie quietly slipped into it, trying not to make noise. He did his best to put things away and get ready for bed without making too much noise, hoping not to wake up Percy.

When at last he'd finished, Eddie stopped by Percy's prone figure, gazing down at her. He licked his lips hesitantly before he bent over her and slightly cupped her face, observing her pale countenance tenderly. He bent his face closer before he sighed and started to move back. A slender hand gripped his wrists, holding his hand to her face, and he looked back at her in surprise to see she was awake and watching him steadily.

Staring into each other's eyes, he hesitated before he leaned back down and kissed her, closing his eyes as he savored the kiss and that she was kissing him back.

Chapter Text

“Oh my Gods, Eddie,” Percy gaped, though he had looked at her oddly when she said ‘gods’ instead of commonly ‘God.’ “What happened to you?”

 Eddie was sporting a very obvious black eye that was also very cringe-worthy.

“…I got into a fight with a drunk Gabe?” he smiled sheepishly at her.

She rolled her eyes and ushered him towards a chair, getting a vegetable bag from the freezer and placing it against his eye.

“Why on earth would you do that?” she asked in amusement.

“He was saying some unfavorable things about you,” Eddie said quietly, looking away after.

Percy smiled a little. “You don’t have to be so chivalrous. I wasn’t even there.”

“Yeah, well, no woman should be talked about like that in any way, no matter what,” he said stubbornly. “Especially you. I wouldn’t be much of a guy, if I let a comment like that slide…especially since you and me…” his cheeks turned slightly red.

Percy bent and lightly kissed him with smiling lips.

“Okay,” she conceded. “Why don’t you just kick him out? I’m not living there, my mom is gone,” she once again said that, but without further elaboration. “You don’t have to worry about either of us now. So just kick him out.”

Eddie looked like he was ready to go and do just that, when Percy brought up dinner.

“I could make some kind of pasta,” he offered, smiling brightly at the enthusiasm Percy showed. “Chicken marsala, toasted garlic bread on the side?”

“Excellent! When will it be finished?” she asked eagerly.

He laughed at her. “Geez, Percy. I haven’t even started yet. What are you, some kind of black hole?”

“With me and my abhorrent eating habits, according to everyone? Most probably,” she smirked at him.

“You do have rather horrendous eating habits,” he agreed, dodging a smack to his shoulder she’d aimed at him. “Am I going to be able to eat any?” he teased.

“No. Not after teasing about my eating habits. I’ll hog it all to myself,” she said mock-pompously, and he burst out in laughter at her.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Laugh it up,” she smirked again. “I’ll help with the sauce, if you want, while you work on the chicken?”

“What can’t you do?” Eddie snarked, but was already in the process of getting ingredients and pots and pans out.

He was answered after they’d finished cooking. He had looked at the sauce, which looked absolutely perfect…but then he tasted it.

He cringed. Badly.

“What?” Percy looked at him.

“Er…” he can’t exactly just say anything.

“It sucks, doesn’t it?” Percy sighed. “I can cook it…but it’ll either be completely bland, unseasoned…or like I dropped a nuclear bomb on it.”

Eddie coughed politely.

“The things I’m good at are usually interconnected with each other,” Percy told him wryly. “If I’m good at something, chances are that something similar or related to it, I’ll be able to do. Or I work very hard on doing and learning something.”

“But cooking…or at least getting the taste…is beyond your capabilities…”

She pouted.

He chuckled and grabbed her hand, gently pulling her into his arms and swaying a bit. “Ah well. Can’t do everything, right?”

“I can try,” she said cheekily. “Besides, that’s what I’ve got you for –to cook for me!”

“Ah, the truth comes out at last. Woe is me.”

“Hey, at least I’m not starving to death.”

Needless to say, dinner went well for the both of them. They went to bed after they watched some TV with each other, and the next morning came bright and early.

Percy was tempted to, but didn’t curse Apollo.

Instead, she muttered some indistinct words and burrowed further under the covers.

“Hey, you’ve got some fanclubs.”

Percy slowly emerged from her hiding spot, staring at an amused Eddie in shock and with wide eyes.

“What?”

His lips twitched upwards. He waved the newspaper in his hands. “There’s a bunch of fanclubs about you. There’s a junior division, and apparently some kids that met you on a train are spearheading it. Well, them and their parents. The parents are helping out a lot. And some Park Ranger that won’t give out his name, and a guy name Roger Jensen are the founders. People call it the new ‘YMCA.’”

Percy turned a bright shade of red.

“It’s cute~”

She tossed a pillow from the couch at his head. He let it hit him, chuckling as he got up and sat next to her.

“So, I have errands I need to get around to doing around the city,” he started out. “I would bring you, but it’s just some legal matters I’ve got to deal with and it’ll be boring. I’ll probably be back around late afternoon?”

“Yeah, okay. I’ll be fine, don’t worry about me,” she reassured him.

He still looked hesitant. “Just call me, alright? You know my cell, so use the phone here to call me if you need anything.”

“I will. I promise,” she smiled at him for good effect, and he sighed.

He kissed her one more time, lips lingering for a moment, before he pulled back and gave her a rather adorable shy smile. When he left, she was still smiling softly to herself.

She felt so relaxed and content. She hadn’t really felt truly at home with herself for a long time. After her mother died, she felt like everything was converging on her and she was going to collapse at any moment, fighting back like a wild animal. With Luke, she felt like she was in a high and could never get down (or hadn’t wanted to, at the time).

Right now, she finally felt as if she had the chance to catch her breath and she could just be at peace with herself.

Eddie had been pretty awesome about all this, and instrumental to her “recovery.”

Doing some light stretches, Percy decided she’d do an undemanding paced jog to the park and then make her way back to here. She had only gone a quarter of the way, when she’d been joined by someone very unlikely.

She paused and swallowed hesitantly, gazing up at the imposing god.

“Lord Zeus,” she murmured.

He nodded at her. “Perseas Jackson.”

“To what honor do I owe for this visit?” she couldn’t help but say with a tinge of disrespect.

He gave her a stern look, but shook his head to himself. “You are…less confrontational than before.”

“I’m not…I’m not on a rollercoaster of a Quest with nonstop problems and emotions all over the place, and have actually had the time to deal with the fact my mother is gone,” Percy said, an undertone of bitterness in her voice.

“Yes, there is that,” Zeus commented quietly.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Percy interjected. “I wasn’t lying about how I felt before, and how angry I am at all of you. I’m just not usually that abrasive. And I’m still angry at the lot of you too. Ask all of your other kids, find out how they feel. You guys are gods; you’ve got powers –none of you can call or send a letter, at least once and awhile? You don’t know. And then the burden is on the mortal parent, and it’s just not fair. I’m trying. Now that I’ve had some time to cool my head and think more on everything, I’m trying to understand your side, but I just can’t. I’m trying to see your side, and I just don’t see it. I don’t understand.”

“…Neither do I,” he admitted. “But thank you for attempting trying to understand us gods. We are all fallible, despite our stubborn vehemence at being the opposite.”

Percy gave him a long look, considering silently to herself. “I wouldn’t think any of you would admit to such a thing, especially you.”

Zeus smiled slightly. “And I would not admit it ever to my children or my wife. None of us are role models in accepting things so easily.”

Percy gave a little smile at that. “No, I don’t think so either…Lord Zeus, what is it that you needed to tell me?”

“My more rebellious son, Ares. You are acquainted with him the most, yes?”

Percy scowled, but nodded. “Yes. More than familiar,” she spat out.

Zeus sighed. “You are who he has troubled the most. As part of his punishment, it has been agreed that he will be sent here to be your servant and protector until the next summer.”

“I don’t get a say in this?” she pouted instead of getting angry. She felt much too tired for that, and she supposed it wouldn’t be too bad –she could make that jerk pay and make his life hell for awhile.

“I freely give you permission to torment my son.”

“Fantastic! Looking forward to his indentured servitude,” Percy inwardly cackled, planning vengeance.

The two shared a quick grin, though she was surprised that he had.

They began to walk back, chatting idly about stuff. She was surprised and taken aback at the amiable conversation she was having with the King of the Gods, as well as that she was having a conversation with him at all.

It was only ruined when confronted by Gabe Ugliano as they were on track to Eddie’s apartment. Percy sighed inwardly to herself; she should have known, as there was no way that she would be able to go on this long and not run into this bastard sooner or later.

“So the bitch came back, eh?” Gabe sneered. “Who’s this? Your sugar daddy?”

Percy cringed. She opened her mouth to say something equally stinging, when she was interrupted by Zeus, who looked coldly at the man. She swallowed heavily in anxiety, as she could smell ozone practically coating the air, and the air around them becoming oppressive at the same time.

You are a pathetic excuse for a man,” Zeus’ voice rumbled threateningly. “You disgust me. You belong in the sewers, fool of a mortal!”

And before her eyes, Zeus pointed his finger and Gabe transformed into a rat. As she gaped, Zeus quickly snatched the rat up and used his power to transport it somewhere.

“He will not be bothering you anymore,” Zeus announced. “He shall be dealt with.”

Percy blinked.

“Er, hello?” Eddie quietly spoke, coming up from behind and walking over, looking confused between her and Zeus.

“Hey,” Percy smiled gently and kissed him quickly. “I’ll be right in. I just have to finish talking with my fellow secret agent.”

Hell, if she was going to keep that cover, she was going to milk it for all its worth.

Eddie nodded unsurely, giving a small smile over to Zeus and a bigger one to her, before he went inside to wait for her.

“Secret agent?” Zeus asked dryly.

“The Mist. I’m sticking with it. Besides, I’ve always wanted to be a female James Bond,” she grinned freely at that.

He nodded before glancing at the door. “Aphrodite,” he muttered, narrowing his eyes.

Ah, so that’s how it is. She was responsible for Percy’s returned feelings then. Percy had had a feeling something odd had been about, but she wasn’t really too bothered actually.

“If you wish, I shall seek her out and order her to stop this nonsense,” he began to frown. “I can make sure she does not bother you.”

Percy glanced at the door to Eddie’s apartment, and a soft smile grew on her face.

“No, I think it’s quite alright. I’m actually not that worried about it. Hell, let me see what she’s got to hit me with!” Percy laughed.

Zeus looked bewildered. “Are you sure? I can easily make her stop.”

Percy’s soft smile returned and she looked straight at Zeus. “Honestly, I’ve always only had my mother love me. I’ve never had anyone else, and I’ve been self-centered and focused on my goals to even see anyone else most times. It would be nice for once to have someone love me, and I can…I can go out and love and care for someone else for a change.”

She was just so tired of fighting.

“Very well, if that is what you want. Be warned that Aphrodite tends to go overboard with her favorites.”

Percy smiled wryly. “Favorite, huh? How’d I get to be one of her favorites?”

“I have no idea,” Zeus hmmed. “Anyway, Ares will be coming in two weeks. You have been forewarned.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yes. Of course. Thank you.”

Zeus hesitated, before he clasped a hand on her shoulder. “My brother…your father…He is not uncaring towards you. Try to overlook long-harbored ill feelings, won’t you? Give him a chance.”

Though her first reaction was to vehemently deny that, she took a deep breath and thought about it. She also remembered the dream about Medusa, Athena, Amphitrite, and her father. She breathed out slowly.

“I will…consider it very carefully,” she said finally. “I don’t know when or if I really can. But I will try.”

That earned her what she thought was a rare full smile from him.

“I will see you in the future, Perseas Jackson. May the Fates be with you.”

Percy snorted as she closed her eyes, as he teleported. As she’d gleaned from their talk, Zeus really was a movie junkie.

She walked into the apartment, still shaking her head. She caught sight of Eddie hauling a bouquet of flowers out nervously, holding it out with a huge blush and a small smile.

“So, um, this is probably cliché and common, but this is for you,” he grinned awkwardly.

“I love it,” she murmured, accepting it. “And who cares how cliché and common it is –it’s thoughtful and sincere,” she hugged him, maneuvering the flowers carefully out of the way. “Girls can complain all they want about the cliché of it and how guys always give flowers, but it’s a classy gift and it’s sweet when done right,” Percy said stubbornly, and further cuddled him to make her point.

He turned such a bright red that she inwardly laughed and also cooed at his adorableness.

Together, they spent the night on her couch, and she felt warm in his hold.


 

“It isn’t nice to just disappear like that.”

Percy turned around quickly, almost dropping the container of eggs she had in her hands. The cheerful sun god caught it before it could hit the ground and handed it back to her.

“Lord Apollo,” she blinked, surprised to see him and at having another immortal visit (especially so soon after the first one).

“Hey, Perseas! Mind if I call you Percy?” he grinned freely at her.

Still confused, she agreed and waited for him to tell her what he wanted to talk to her about.

“Like I said, you shouldn’t have just left like that,” he told her calmly, and took over pushing her cart. He was rather glad none of the others were there, seeing as they would be relentlessly commenting on his uncharacteristic behavior of that moment. “I hadn’t finished with my patient,” he gave her a kind smile.

He appreciated the slight blush on her face quietly.

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t…actually thinking,” she twitched. “I’m pretty sure I was just going out of my mind then,” she muttered under her breath.

“Well, it would be nice if I could finish overseeing ‘her,’” he hinted and she rubbed the back of her neck.

“Alright. Just let me finish with my shopping, okay?” she gave him a crooked grin that made his heart skip.

How odd.

“Great! Then I shall accompany you in the meantime,” he firmly took the cart and gave her a challenging look.

“Smug god,” she mocked, but it wasn’t meanly.

“Of course. Comes with the territory, don’t you think?” he winked.

She snorted. “Yeah, sure. Whatever.”

Percy hurried through the store and got what she needed, and afterwards the sun god even helped her carry her grocery bags back to Eddie’s apartment. Eddie had tried to kick out Gabe earlier, only to find him missing. She mentioned running into him the day before, and hadn’t seen him since, and Eddie (though he nor she didn’t care for the scumbag) had gone to the police to report his absence.

She was tempted telling Eddie that Gabe had been turned into a rat, like he had always really was, and thought he would have appreciated and laughed at the situation with her.

Too bad he was mortal.

In the apartment, she put away the groceries quickly and then turned to Apollo after she was done. He had her sit down, before getting up from his seat and going behind her.

“This’ll be quick,” he promised.

And then he had his hands on either side of her waist, pressed down gently and then went up. There was a point on her right side where she gasped, and he took note of it.

“That’s the side that was stabbed, wasn’t it?” he asked nonchalantly.

“Y-yeah.”

“I can speed up the healing there better now. It’ll be sore, but there won’t be a cut and you won’t be bleeding if you strain it,” he told her, his hands finally reaching her shoulders. “I’ve got a potion for you that’ll take away the rest of Medusa’s poison lingering in you, and it’ll get rid of any excess pain from it. You’ll just be naturally sore about everything, but the pain from the poison and that wound will be gone.”

“That would be much better than now,” she agreed, wincing when his hands got to her head.

“Hm, maybe just the slightest concussion,” he hummed in thought.

He started to work on her, and soon she began to feel almost as good as new. He handed her the potion, which she downed quickly and noted the sweet strawberry taste.

“Strawberry?” she quietly murmured, looking at the vial.

“I heard you liked strawberries,” Apollo interrupted her thoughts happily. “Did you like it?”

She cleared her throat in embarrassment. “Uh, yes. Thank you.”

He beamed at her. “Good, good. I have to go now, but I will most probably be seeing you again. Check on you and all, and maybe hang out. Cool, yeah?”

“Er, okay,” she was bewildered. “I mean, when you have time and all…Whatever. Should see your kids instead though.”

He grinned widely at her. “Planning to! Plus, I see them more than the others in the first place anyway. Maybe except Hermes though,” Apollo frowned to himself. “But that guy has even ‘adopted’ kids, if you know what I mean.”

“Not his fault,” she raised an eyebrow.

“I claim all mine,” he said proudly. “They’re all awesome. They have an awesome dad after all.”

She couldn’t help her lips twitching in amusement and looking at him incredulously. “You’re strange.”

“Why thank you,” Apollo grinned. “Now I’ve got to go. See you around, Percy!”

She automatically closed her eyes, and he teleported away.

While she set out to cook something really quick (and have Eddie season it when he came back), Apollo had gone back to his home. In fact, he nearly thought he was home free, when he saw Aphrodite glaring at him from her elegant perch on one of his kitchen chairs. She lifted her nose in disdain.

“You shouldn’t have gone there,” she pursed her lips.

Apollo smiled indulgently. “Oh? You keeping tabs on me now? Or rather on Uncle’s cute girl?”

Aphrodite didn’t rise to the bait. “You know more than I that we shouldn’t have any dealings personally with her, gathering what she means to the world and of the prophecy.”

“And you know that everyone is breaking that rule,” Apollo drawled, and Aphrodite was uneasy because he wasn’t acting like his usual self. “Hades, Ares gets a free pass at doing so.”

“He has no tact,” Aphrodite kept her face looking lofty. “He’ll irritate her all the time. Much as I care for Ares, I am not blind to his faults and that surely Perseas will be most aggravated with him, especially after the debacle he caused with the Lightning Bolt.”

Apollo shrugged. “That’s his score to settle. As for myself, I have no intention of leaving her well alone, and I don’t care for anyone else’s opinion about it. Especially yours.”

Aphrodite bristled. “Stay away from her,” she warned him. “Gods do not have the greatest record with mortals, even in these days. She is much too important.”

Apollo’s face blanked. “Are you warning me, Aphrodite?”

“Yes,” she spat out. “I’ll be damned before the likes of you could come near her.”

Apollo’s demeanor darkened and Aphrodite was unnerved. This side of Apollo had long disappeared, back in the old days. Seeing him like this now, made her more than wary of the other.

“Are you telling me what to do?” he purred, striding slowly closer.

“If it involves her,” she said coldly.

He leaned in dangerously. “I won’t be willing to listen to the likes of you, and I refuse to stand down and give up.

“She’s a bright girl. I would burn the world if I have to.”

Aphrodite seized up and stared at him. This part of Apollo had been gone. Why was he like this now? It was too like the time of Helen…When a face could launch a thousand ships to war, only this time it was Percy’s face threatening to do so, and on a godly level.

“You don’t know what you are doing.” And dear Fates, she had meant to warn him away from her, but for him to already realize his own feelings…

“Oh? I don’t? How are you so sure?” Apollo turned back to being cheerful, but it wasn’t at all like his usual persona these days.

He was damn tired of her and her ilk making a mockery of him and his tentative grasp on love. Daphne, Cassandra…always out of his hold…Even his mortal lovers were as quick as the wind, and he could never keep hold of them.

If she was so adamant he keep away from the girl, then why hadn’t she stopped such seedling feelings from forming in the first place? He was not stupid. He knew, from the moment he stayed with her, took care of her, and touched her, that an explosion of feelings had overcome him in his lucidity. He had been around far too long enough to recognize the symptoms, and he wouldn’t ignore them.

Even if Aphrodite (or her son) hadn’t been the cause of his feelings, her and those cursed arrows, she still should have tried harder to stop them from coming into being.

He could still close his eyes and picture, and just feel the light of her soul brushing against him…

Apollo could be sun to the world, but he had found his own sun.

“Don’t,” Aphrodite suddenly pleaded, and Apollo broke from his reverie to become nonplus at the odd change over the goddess. “You know how we are, so I beg you, Apollo. Stay away from her.”

Apollo pulled back, scrunching his eyebrows at the goddess before him.

“She has a mortal boyfriend,” Aphrodite said hurriedly. “Two more mortal options will be available to her soon enough. Just…let her experience normal love. Love that isn’t as binding and as obsessive as love from a god. I may not be able to stop you pursuing her later…but at least allow her to try to live her life and love her own. If nothing comes of any of them, then do as you will. But give her a chance without such binding promises you and the others will want from her. She will not be like your other mortal lovers,” she warned.

Apollo frowned. The others, huh. Predictably, just by the events so far, he could guess Ares. And as for like his other mortal lovers…by the sound of Aphrodite, it did not sound as if Percy would be like the others, and would not be someone he would be with and move on from. Or could move on from.

“I’ll keep back,” he reluctantly agreed. “But I won’t stay away from her. It’s only fair anyway. You don’t plan on staying away. Even Father has visited. And looks to keep visiting.”

Not totally happy about it, Aphrodite agreed as well.

“Don’t be like that then,” Aphrodite quietly told him.

He raised his eyebrows. “Like what?”

“This dark you. The one who raged through the Trojan War, who killed Zeus’ Cyclopes in revenge, who cursed Cassandra so horribly, even though you claimed to love her so,” Aphrodite murmured. “It would frighten her.”

Apollo awkwardly cleared his throat. “Yes, you are right. I would not want to frighten Perseas.”

He had indeed put that side of him away long ago. It should stay at rest.

He gave her a goofy smile and was back to the dorky Apollo of now. Aphrodite finally relaxed.

“A chance then,” he said amiably. “But I will still deign to visit her myself! If you and Father can, I don’t see why I can’t. Especially if stupid Ares is practically glued to her side as his so-called punishment.”

“That is as good as can be, I suppose,” Aphrodite sighed.

Things were changing and progressing too fast and out of her hands.

She feared that a higher force was driving things, and that soon enough she would have no more say in things to come.

Aphrodite feared for Percy then.

Started 8/27/13 – Completed 8/29/13

Chapter Text

She lay in her bed, staring out blankly. The coin rolled over her knuckles again and again. She got up and went to her bathroom, filling up the sink and dropping the drachma into the water. She stared a few moments into the waters, before she plunged her hand into the sink and fished out the drachma and strode back into her room and lay back in bed, rolling the coin on her knuckles again and staring at the bathroom door.

Percy did this several times through that night, as she had been doing for the past week.

Poseidon could only stare back wistfully through the waters, up to the other side where her indifferent face was mirrored, and just wait patiently for his daughter. He was just thankful that Iris seemed to know his daughter was thinking about contacting him, and connected them once Percy had dropped the drachma in so he could catch a glimpse of her. Even if most times it was quick and as soon as she took the drachma back, they disconnected.

It was better than nothing.

“Father,” he heard his eldest speak softly behind him. He turned slowly to acknowledge Triton, sighing quickly to himself. “I’ll be on the surface for awhile…I’ll probably be gone a month or two…”

Poseidon gave him a tired smile. “Of course, Triton. If that is what you wish. If you are going to mingle with the mortals, take care to not let on what you are, if you can. Contact me every once and awhile so I know you are alright.”

Triton rolled his eyes. “Of course, Father.”

And he would. Once he’d managed to stabilize a relationship with his new sister.

When morning dawned on New York City, Triton unsurely stood in front of his sister’s apartment. According to Iris, his source, she had moved back in after her…stepfather had practically been abducted by Zeus and tossed to the “wolves” in Olympus and was currently being “entertained.”

He knocked hesitantly and was taken aback to see the man at the door when it opened. This was her…boyfriend. Iris had shown him what he looked like.

“Hello,” he made sure his voice was steady. He held out his hand. “My name is Triton. Is this Perseas Jackson’s apartment?”

The other blinked at him and hesitantly took his hand, shaking it. “Er, yes. It is. May I help you?”

“I’m her brother on our father’s side,” Triton explained, trying not to rush his explanation. “I recently found out I had a sister and was hoping to meet her.”

The man’s eyes widened. “Oh! Would you hold on for a second?”

As Triton nodded, the door closed slightly and he heard –Eddie, he thought it was –speak to someone on the other side, before the door opened again to reveal his sister.

She was pretty –prettier than the photo laid credit to her. The sea-green eyes of their father shown fairly bright in on his sister’s face, and was framed and looked much better on her. She wasn’t all that tall, probably of average height and he was a good head taller than her.

Before she could speak, the door opened again and Eddie slipped out from behind her. He gave them a quick smile.

“I think I should leave you two to meet each other and get to know each other alone. It was really nice meeting you, Triton. I’ll see you later, Percy,” he shook Triton’s hand again, and then leaned over and kissed his sister’s lips briefly. It was chaste and tender, and Triton approved.

He decided he quite liked this mortal.

Soon enough, it was just brother and sister alone, and the air was quite awkward between.

“Um…would you like to come in?” she asked him.

“That would be nice,” he murmured, and entered into the abode once she’d opened the door to accommodate him.

“I don’t really have any godly treats lying around, so I hope at least water’s okay?” she furtively chanced a look at him.

“Water is good for me,” he nodded, and she retrieved a glass and filled it up, while he went and took a seat at the kitchen table.

She handed him the glass of water and grabbed a can of some sort of soda.

“Is there a particular reason you wanted to visit? Hopefully not to vaporize me, because I’m yet another illegitimate child of Daddy Dearest,” she asked bluntly.

“I wouldn’t say that,” a smile twitched at his lips. “But really, I just came by to see you. I was hoping…I was hoping to get to know you,” he said sincerely, deciding that just telling her the truth would be better.

She looked in bemusement at him. “But why? I would think you’d probably just hate me, like all of our other siblings.”

He shrugged. “I guess I just decided not to be a sulking jerk this time.”

His sister burst out into laughter and gifted him with a large smile that lit up her face.

“So, I told Father I would be gone for awhile –he doesn’t know where I am,” he reassured her after seeing the reticent look on her face. “But I was hoping I could stay with you for awhile, while we get to know each other.”

“Well, I got room,” she ran a hand through her hair. “I suppose it’s alright. The place has to be fixed up a bit, what with Gabe having lived here by himself and leaving everything a mess.”

“Ah. Him. He’s…preoccupied on Olympus,” Triton said blandly.

Percy coughed and looked awkward. “Oh. Um…I don’t think I want to know.”

“You don’t.”

And that was the end of that.


 

It was odd having her brother there with her. He was diligent in the “chores” she’d assigned to him, and hadn’t minded the work or that she’d asked him to do them. He got along with Eddie and the two liked watching football together. He asked her things about herself frequently, and never brought up their shared father.

She was very grateful about that.

Percy was going to go and check out the library and decided, as she watched Eddie and Triton earnestly debating the game that was on right then, that the two would be alright alone together. She shook her head and smiled as she watched them.

She let them know where she was going, and set off to the library. Outside the apartment building, she looked up at the sky and frowned. It looked like it was going to rain. She debated going back inside and getting an umbrella, but she didn’t want to waste any more time and thought she could reach the library before it began to rain.

In fact, she managed to get there just in time before the first of the raindrops hit the gray sidewalks. Entering inside, she found it actually empty and silent. Seeing no one, she headed to the History section to grab a book about the Founding Fathers, so she could finish her summer homework. Since she had some time to herself, she figured it would be alright to stay there awhile and read the book in one of the seating sections.

She found a book quickly and found the closest area to sit at, sitting on one end of a couch and practically curling into the arm. Deciding it was too quiet and since no one was there, she took out her phone and searched through her music, playing a solemn violin piece and putting it on repeat to keep the mood and so she didn’t have to bother going back to her phone. Setting it on top of the side table next to her, she started to read comfortably.

She was ten pages in when she saw someone walk into her area.

Looking above the top of the book, she saw a lovely-looking woman with dark hair and gray eyes (familiar gray too), sitting opposite her on the other couch. She had a book in her hands as well and seemed like she was intently reading.

But Percy knew that aura and she shivered, hands clenching around her own book.

“Should I blame the rain on Zeus?”

There was a pause there somehow, and Percy almost thought the other wasn’t going to say anything or even deny that she knew what she was talking about.

“No,” the other’s voice was gentle and soft, and yet also firm.

However, Percy felt like the other wasn’t quite telling the truth. She wouldn’t be surprised if all this was organized by them –the empty library, the rain that would force her to stay in there longer and seek shelter, an intimate setting and perfect for a confrontation with this unknown goddess…

“What do you want from me?” Percy murmured, but didn’t shirk away from the inevitable talk.

“Nothing, Perseas Jackson. Simply nothing.”

But Percy knew better than that and refused to believe that something wasn’t afoot, even if she couldn’t figure just what.

However, silence reigned and the two sat there opposite each other.

As Percy finished a good chunk of the book, she checked it out and was at the library’s entrance, when she was joined by the goddess.

“Do I get a name?” she asked wryly.

The other gave her a small smile and her gray eyes actually twinkled a bit.

“Why don’t you guess it?”

And then the other left first, leaving Percy behind. Percy sighed and walked through the doors, surprised to see Eddie and Triton waiting for her at the steps, underneath an umbrella. They waved at her when they saw her, and both of them trekked up and held the umbrella above her head.

“We saw it was raining and remembered you didn’t have an umbrella with you, so we came here with the car,” Eddie grinned at her.

“How long have you two been waiting here?” she asked in astonishment.

“Probably got here a few minutes after you,” Triton told her sheepishly.

“You two should have gone inside!” she scolded them, but fondly threaded her arms around one of theirs each as she settled between them.

They squished together underneath the umbrella and began the walk back to the apartment building.


 

Percy wasn’t very enthused to find Zeus at her door the next morning. Triton, conveniently, was hiding in his borrowed room, though she was quite sure it was useless and the two were well aware of each other’s presence.

“Didn’t we just see each other?” Percy asked dryly.

“Did we?” Zeus smirked. “Maybe, maybe not. It does not actually matter. There is a movie I want to see. Let us go!”

He grabbed her hand and was about to pull her out the door, when she stopped him.

“Wait a second! Don’t I get a say in this? You can’t just drag me out!”

Triton appeared closer to them and shoved her jacket at her, before shoving her out of the apartment and closing the door behind her.

“Bye, Uncle, Sister! Have fun!” his muffled voice said.

“Triton!” she screamed, before being dragged off by Zeus without further ado.

And that was how she found herself reluctantly accompanying Zeus to the movie theater, in line with him to get tickets for some action flick that had just come out.

“Don’t be grumpy,” Zeus said cheerfully. “I hear this movie is quite good. I’ve been looking forward to its release.”

“Don’t you have some godly powers that let you see it beforehand or something?” she raised an eyebrow at him.

“That’s no fun.”

Percy shook her head, but smiled.

Once they got the tickets, they went inside and Zeus led her to the concession stand.

“You can’t eat any of this, so there’s no point in getting something,” she poked his arm.

“I can’t, but you can. What do you want? Get whatever you want! It’s okay,” he told her. “And besides, I can smell it, while being next to you.”

She chuckled under her breath, but didn’t hesitate in ordering a large drink, a bucket of popcorn, and a packet of a random candy brand. They headed to their theater and found seats in the back, where upon they settled in and waited for the movie to start.

It was a rather strange and yet somehow normal experience, watching a movie with Zeus. And when the movie was over, she was amused to find that she had to listen to Zeus rave wildly about it. She didn’t say a word to him about it, or even contributed to the one-sided conversation, but it seemed he was more than fine going on and on by himself.

“I guess I was right about how much you like your movies,” Percy’s lips twitched.

Zeus laughed. “Yes, I suppose I do. We should do this again sometime.”

She rolled her eyes. “Or maybe visit your kids instead.”

“Ah, she’s currently a tree and the rest of them I see too much of in Olympus…”

Percy froze and mentally kicked herself, forgetting that Zeus didn’t currently have kids to visit, and that his one demigod kid was currently a tree. Geez, how could she have forgotten and let that slip out? Talk about being tactless…

She glanced over at him discreetly, seeing him smile sadly as he looked up at the sky and walked alongside her with his hands in his pockets. She scuffed her foot on the cement.

“Can you…can you tell me about Thalia?” she asked quietly.

His smile actually turned a little sadder.

“I wasn’t able to get to know her so much. But I did manage to know some things, and I’m very grateful and happy to know them,” he told her honestly.

And she quietly listened as he spoke of Thalia Grace with a sad love to his voice, and felt a little bit more understanding and empathy for the gods…


 

Percy was nowhere near her apartment building, she realized. After listening to Zeus, she hadn’t noticed, but he hadn’t led her back at all. Instead, she was in front of another building, in which she could see it proclaim some impressive outdoor activities.

“Where are we?” she asked in confusion.

“In San Francisco,” he said matter of fact.

She stared at him. That hadn’t been what she meant, but…

“What? But we were just in New York! How did we get here? Heck, I would have thought only that Hermes guy could do something like this.”

Zeus huffed. “I’m King of the Gods, you know. I can do things too,” he said mulishly, slightly pouting.

“Okay, fine,” she refrained from laughing at him. “Why are we in San Francisco and in front of this building?”

“Indoor skydiving!” Zeus proclaimed enthusiastically.

She stared at him again.

But…she thought she wasn’t exactly supposed to be in the skies…

“I heard you liked flying,” he commented softly, glancing at her with an indecipherable look. “I thought this place would be nice…”

Then again, technically she wasn’t in the skies…

When she was inside and actually “skydiving,” she couldn’t put into words how much she was enjoying it and the feeling of exhilaration she had. Even Zeus, who was Lord of the Skies, seemed to genuinely and extremely enjoy it. Then again, maybe because he was Lord of the Skies, he was enjoying it so much.

“That was great!” she exclaimed once it was over and they were leaving the building. “Thanks a lot, Zeu –er, Lord Zeus.”

He snorted. “Why don’t you just stick to Zeus, huh? It’s not like you care or bothered about it before, you brat.”

But she merely grinned at him and shrugged.

“Alright! I think some dinner for you before I drop you off to your home,” Zeus decided.

“Again, you can’t really eat.”

Zeus shrugged this time and she threw her hands up.

“Fine, what are you craving to smell?”

Zeus beamed at her. “I’ve been wanting to smell some McDonald’s. Maybe a Happy Meal, so I can get the toy?”

“You’re kidding, right?” she asked, looking at him and waiting for him to burst into laughter at her for taking him seriously.

But he only actually looked rather serious about that, so she decided to dazedly take it with a grain of salt.

“Okay…you can have the toy,” she muttered, still not sure about things.

Except after really ordering a Happy Meal and receiving it, Zeus did, indeed, ask for the toy again and happily got it from her. Percy just decided that gods were, by nature, insane, and further decided to just write the whole thing off.

She could just be weirded out later, when she was home and alone in her room.


 

By the time she was back in New York, Percy was alone and almost to her apartment building. Zeus had an emergency and she told him she wouldn’t mind walking the last block to her apartment building, so he had managed to drop her off around that point before he’d gone.

A man joined her on the way.

Slowing down, she stopped and turned to look at him, when her heart practically stopped. She almost thought that Luke was there with her then, only she realized he didn’t have blond hair and he was much taller and older than Luke.

He had curly black hair instead, but she knew those eyes and Luke had those eyes.

“You…you’re not him,” she muttered.

“No, I’m not,” he replied gently.

But Luke’s eyes…

He reached over and brushed a stray strand of hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear. And it was such a Luke thing to do in some way, maybe because it was this man with Luke’s features and she was imagining things and she was delusional and she was still messed up –

She flinched and he withdrew his hand.

Although, she missed the shock that happened when their skins touched, but he definitely didn’t. He frowned in thought about it.

She surprised him when her hands reached towards his face and cupped it between her soft hands, and she stared deep into his eyes almost desperately.

“But you have his eyes,” she breathed out.

‘He has my eyes,’ he wanted to say.

He was horrified to see that she was not only tearing up, but quickly starting to cry. Big tears rolled down her face as she started to sob, but she wouldn’t let go of his face.

“Why? You promised –you said –why –” and damn it all, she knew it wasn’t Luke, but all she could see was Luke’s eyes, and her vision was narrowed down to just them and she couldn’t see anything else. She wanted to say so much, but she couldn’t say anything passed ‘Why?’

But then large hands gripped hers, and her vision cleared and she realized and saw that it was really Hermes in front of her all along.

She burst into more tears and practically collapsed into his arms, and he held her up, holding her close.

“I’m sorry for him,” was all he could murmur to her.

And when she was done crying, she was left feeling awkward and pulling away from him quickly. But he’d been kind and he had comforted her, so she gave him a grateful, watery smile and leaned onto the tip of her toes as she kissed his cheek, surprising him.

“Thank you,” she said sincerely, and then she started to walk away and trying to keep herself together.

When she was at the apartment building, she didn’t feel like going to her apartment. Instead, she headed straight to Eddie’s, finding both him and Triton there. Triton took one look at her face and decided that it would be better for him to leave, and let Eddie take care of her. It wasn’t long until she found herself buried into his embrace, and letting loose another torrent of tears as she found comfort in his arms. Through her crying, she told him about Luke and then more about her father. He listened calmly and held her the entire time.

After awhile, she felt herself coming back to semi-normal, after getting it all out and Eddie fixing her up some tea and then making her a quick snack to eat. He just gave her a tender smile and brushed back her hair comfortingly, and she leaned against him for a time.

By the time she finally went to her apartment, she saw Triton was still up and looked at her guiltily from his spot in looking at the family albums her mother had compiled of the two of them. She stared tiredly at him for a moment, before she went over and sat down next to him. She took the photo album he currently had in his hands, and held it between them, starting from the beginning as she softly started to tell him the stories behind each photo. He listened attentively to her and she felt herself knit together a little bit more, finding herself after having felt so lost after that disastrous summer beginning.

After she was done with that photo album, before he could reach for another, she brought her knees to her chest and held them close, asking something from him that he’d never thought he’d hear from her.

“You know Poseidon well, don’t you? Tell me…about him. Please.”

And Triton haltering began to do so, as best he could. And if he tried to paint their father in as best a light as he could, then that was his business…


 

The drachma coin rolled over her knuckles again.

But this time, when she got up and filled the sink up and dropped the drachma, she called out Poseidon’s name and connected to his side completely. And Percy began to rant at him, letting it all out –everything she felt, all the anger that had built up for him the entire time, screaming at him for leaving her mother and making Sally have to go through so much trouble alone, and she kept going on until she was red in her face and threatening. But this time, she refused to cry.

And Poseidon didn’t care that his daughter was angry and screaming at him and seemed so hateful, because she was there. And she wasn’t indifferent like last time; she was full of passion, showing her anger and showing she did indeed care, because she wouldn’t be so angry and telling him all these things about what she felt and being all passionate about this if she didn’t care.

He was happy to finally have his daughter, no matter how she came to him.

Started 12/31/13 – Completed 1/1/14

Chapter Text

"Is it okay if I take a plane to Los Angeles?"

Zeus stared. "What was that?"

Percy patiently asked again, but still asked frankly. "I would like to fly to Los Angeles. The last time I headed there, it went a little crazy. A simple plane ride would be nice. So is it okay?"

Zeus gave her a strange look. "Why would you want to head there?"

She scrunched up her nose. "Lord Hades requested I come back to the Underworld 'within two weeks at my convenience', which is actually almost nearing two weeks already. Plus, the request didn't really sound like a request, and I'd probably be late getting there if I do anything but take a plane."

He wasn't exactly sure what his brother was planning, but it made him wary. However, he mentioned nothing about it, but nodded.

She stared at him in shock. "Really? I can?"

"Yes. You asked and so I will grant you permission," Zeus said neutrally.

Still in shock, she did end up giving him a tentative smile that relaxed the tenseness that had minutely grown in him.

"Now explain to me the concept of Monopoly," he practically demanded.

He ignored her eye roll, more so because of the fact she was still slightly smiling at him. For a while he listened, asking questions and debating on introducing the game so that maybe the others would attempt to engage in it for a meeting, instead of the usual arguments.

"I had a dream about your daughter once," she said suddenly, surprising him. "During the journey to Los Angeles, I ended up dreaming about her. We talked a lot. I liked her, or who I thought was her."

Zeus watched her closely. "I believe she would have liked you too."

But he didn't know what that meant, her dreaming of his daughter. A part of him hoped it really had been his daughter who had somehow contacted Percy, but he was still disbelieving.

When it was time for him to go, he offered a small smile to her. "I'll see you again sometime. In the meanwhile, a safe journey to you to Los Angeles and hopefully my brother is…amiable." He doubted it, but Hades had requested she come (which was odd in itself) and she seemed like she was agreeing to go, if her appeal for a plane ride to him was any indication. He left her behind and quickly made his way to Olympus, thinking to himself.

Since the end of Percy's Quest and her meeting with them, he and the others were now well on the same page that she was most probably the Child of Prophesy. Even, by miracle, his daughter came back or Hades actually had conceived more children, the fact the Fates had invested so much time and effort on her said something.

There was also, as of 24 hours ago, someone had managed to 'record' all of Percy's Quest and had relayed it to all of Olympus. No one knew who or how, but it was unheard of, and the only ones capable of such a thing without recording equipment of the godly kind would be the Fates.

And, having seen the 'footage', it was clear she was quite powerful in her own right (despite being just a demigod, or more so that she was turning out to be as magnanimous as their children of old, a lot like Hercules, Theseus, Perseus –her namesake –and all those who have made a legend out of themselves). That is, without saying, that they had also seen that Kronos seemed to have an interest in her that made them uneasy.

The approaching of her? It had started on behalf of Poseidon, who they had all heard of her…rejection of him at the end of her Quest, after she'd delivered his Lightning Bolt back. Though he was riled at her insolence, the niggling thought and feelings she'd brought about on behalf of their children and seeing her apathy at her own father had gripped hold of them (more so now, after seeing and hearing her thoughts of them and Poseidon during her journey). It made him quietly ache for Thalia and the wish he could have done more for her.

So he'd set off to check on Percy and show her that the gods were not as heartless and uncaring, especially towards their children, as she believed them to be. And after the first visit, he found he genuinely enjoyed her company when she wasn't being completely abrasive towards him (and the others). Though, as she said, she had finally found time to settle her emotions and grieve for her mother. Speaking of her mother, he hoped Hades' request had something to do with that…

Needless to say, he wasn't the only one approaching her, he knew. They weren't the best parents, but the drive to show her that they weren't uncaring came and hadn't gone –as well as, for once, a united support for Poseidon.

Then came the prophesy part of all this…Besides Poseidon and their unexpected need to show themselves better, they worried about alienating who they thought might've been the Child of Prophesy (at the time they weren't sure, even if they were now). It was the other half of why they were adamant on showing the best part of themselves to her and it was just bonus that he (and probably the others) had grown to like her and enjoy their time with her.

Speaking of a god spending time with her, while Zeus didn't know who of the others, he at least knew for sure that Ares would be by Percy's side soon, given his punishment. And remembering the footage of the Quest, he inwardly winced and was again glad that Poseidon had been too busy brooding in his underwater palace and hadn't seen any of the Quest for himself. He had a feeling that Ares wouldn't be intact enough to serve his punishment with Percy, had Poseidon seen any of her Quest regarding Ares' involvement (less to do with being behind the whole predicament, and more to do with the fact he'd spent unwarranted time with her in that casino and being too…casual with the Sea King's daughter). Tartarus, he doubted Hermes would escape unscathed, what with his child's actions…

"You have no faith. You do not trust the gods. I do not blame you, little coward. Just die, faithless one."

"Coward? No. But you're right. I don't trust them. And I am faithless. They're real, so what? I have no belief or faith in them."

Zeus took a deep breath and frowned at the ground as he sat heavily upon his throne.

"Then we shall make a believer out of you, Perseas," he murmured.


"Must we really go to the Underworld?" Triton asked in concern. He hid his grimace.

"You don't," she told him. "Lord Hades asked me to though, so I'm going. Besides, I made promises to visit Cerberus and Charon anyway; this just makes it easier for me to fulfill those promises."

"What about Eddie?" Triton asked, resigning himself to coming with her.

Percy hesitated. "Um…I was thinking of telling him. About me. Okay? Is that…is that okay?" she asked, doubt creeping into her voice.

Triton waved her off. "Sure. He is a trustworthy and likable mortal. I highly doubt he'd not believe you or be terrified or disgusted at the truth. Nor do I think he'd go yelling and revealing it to all else."

"Then I'll tell him later," she hmmed.

"Hey, you know…something about Eddie has been bugging me recently," Triton brought up. "He seems familiar. Just his looks –like I've seen him before."

Percy's eyebrows raised. "Really? How's that, you think?"

Triton hesitated. "Not exactly sure. I don't really hang around mortals, so the only way I can think of are other immortals."

Percy laughed. "What? You think he's an immortal or something?"

He made himself grin. "Of course not. I'm being silly perhaps." But he was still bothered by it.

On another topic… "Did you talk to Father again?" he asked tentatively.

While she didn't shut down, she frowned and wasn't altogether happy, even if she wasn't unhappy.

"No," she admitted. But she paused. "I have contacted him again. I just connect through IM though. I don't exactly say anything and he…doesn't either. He smiles at me sometimes though. They're…sad smiles…"

'Well done, Father. She seems to be breaking down slowly,' Triton thought in relief. He had his own grievances with their father, but he still loved Poseidon and knew he did his best for all his children.

"Talk to him sometime," Triton said, playing at being blasé. "Even if it's to tell him he's an idiot."

She cracked a smile at that and he grinned smugly to himself. Well, at least he has a good relationship with his sister!

"I'll get packing and finish up what you need. You go to Eddie and tell him the truth," he encouraged her, and after she sent him a grateful smile, she left him behind.

Triton sighed. He'd managed to do what he'd set out to do –forge an amiable, stable relationship with his sister. He'd stay awhile in the Underworld with her and then he'd head back home.

Maybe he could help out Poseidon even more, give him advice as to how to handle the wayward Sea Daughter.


Percy was worried on how Eddie was going to take the whole Greek Gods thing and her being a demigod, despite all the assurances her brother had given.

She was glad that she had met her brother and they were getting along really well at least. She hadn't expected that, what with all the things she'd known and had learned from the myths about Triton disliking any of his siblings.

She also had the feeling that he was trying to get her to forgive and get along with their dad.

While she knew she wasn't quite as…angry at him as she was, with that one night of ranting at him helping a lot, she still wasn't able to really let go of everything and allow herself to let him in. But she wasn't hateful or apathetic, so maybe this was better now?

"Percy! Wait up!" she heard Eddie say from behind her, and she turned around to see him jogging to catch up to her.

She felt herself already begin to smile and was fully smiling by the time he'd reached her and given her a quick kiss.

"Glad to see you. Were you heading up to my place?" he asked.

"Yeah, there was something I wanted to talk to you about," she said and he looked a little nervous.

"Talk about? Er, you wouldn't happen to be breaking up with me, are you?" he asked weakly.

She blinked. "What? Where'd you get that idea?" she asked as they began to walk again.

"Oh you know…whenever someone in a relationship wants to 'talk', it usually precedes a breakup," he said wryly, wincing.

She sniggered. "No, no. No breakup, I promise. There's just something I'd like you to know."

Curious now, he looked at her inquisitively. "Yeah? What's that?"

"I'll tell you in your apartment –"

Percy cut herself off and Eddie looked to see what had stopped her, only to find an imposing, robust man standing in front of Eddie's apartment, gray hair cut short to his head and with a square beard, and wearing an eye patch over his left eye. He turned towards them.

"Ah, it is about time," his voice rumbled.

Started 6/21/17 – Completed 6/21/17

Chapter Text

"Hello? Can I, uh, help you?" Eddie asked and Percy stayed behind. She felt uneasy, but she didn't feel threatened. Still, even if she were to take this man on, she had a feeling she wouldn't stand a chance anyway.

"It would be preferable to talk inside," the man gestured to Eddie's apartment, gaze calm but firm on them.

Percy took a huge breath, eying this stranger as she came a little bit closer to Eddie in case she needed to protect him if this did turn out to be an attack. Eddie looked at her and then at the man, before shrugging and heading to his door and unlocking it. He let the man in first, watching him closely as he waited for Percy to come near again, and then the two of them went inside together.

"I know this is abrupt and strange a visit, and my explanation even stranger, but Edward Roland, what I have to say pertains to you and is very important," he said seriously, and it raised the hair on the back Percy's neck.

"Who are you?" Eddie asked suspiciously, obviously ignoring the rest of what the man had to say. Percy wanted to know too, but something about what the other had said about Eddie made her tense up.

"My name is Odin."

Oh. Shit. She heard that right, right?

Odin glanced at her. "Your young lady, I believe, has the aura of a godling, so she would know and understand who I am."

Percy grimaced and looked to Eddie, who gawped and then looked towards her. "What I was going to tell you apparently is going to coincide with this. So I'll just give you a small bit of it now, and then we can go over more after Lord Odin talks to you about whatever he needs to. I'm a demigod –child of a regular mortal, my mother, and a godly parent. In my case, my father is the Greek God Poseidon."

"Is that so?" Odin said in interest. "I see. How interesting. I'm guessing that the future will be very…strained, won't it?"

"Most likely," Percy said honestly.

Odin nodded distractedly, before his focus sharpened again and he looked to Eddie.

"I talk of all this because it's important for you to know and become familiar with our world. While she is of the Greek pantheon, you come from the Norse. Young Edward, you are the mortal reincarnation of Balder, my son."

Percy's eyes went wide at that revelation, while Eddie stared blankly back at Odin. She didn't know if it was because he didn't understand who that was or because he didn't believe the Norse god, but he wasn't going into hysterics at least. Having been where he was and now that she was more understanding of this kind of world they were stuck in, she could at least help him navigate and transition into this world of gods and monsters better than her introduction.

"I-I'm sorry, but I really don't understand," Eddie finally said. "I don't know who this Balder is, and frankly this is really hard to believe to begin with. Is this a, uh, prank?" he asked in amusement, raising an eyebrow. He glanced at her, but she twitched and gave him an apologetic look, which made his amusement falter.

"This is not a prank," Odin frowned. "Balder died long ago, but I have found out recently that he has been reincarnated –you are him."

Percy tried to refrain from feeling faint and going into shock from all this, especially since Eddie himself looked like he was receiving the news poorly.

"You were to be resurrected after Ragnarok, so at first I did not understand –but I theorize that your 'resurrection' is the full granting of your powers and station as a god, along with your memories and immortality. As of right now, you are merely just a mortal human, with no previous knowledge of your life before or with any real power."

Well, that explains that. At least he had no real clue and hadn't been lying to her. On the other hand, she felt bad for him –if it had been hard for her to be thrust into the life of demigod, she couldn't imagine how it was to be told you were a god, former or not. And that was not including the fact just which god you were; she sort of knew Norse mythology (not as well as Greek mythology of course) and she could sort of recall Balder and his role in the world.

Yeah, it didn't seem like something anyone would easily accept.

"Lord Odin, I…appreciate you coming here to tell me all this," Eddie started hesitantly. "But why?"

Odin's face softened for a very brief moment. "You have always been Frigga and I's most beloved child. Your death has haunted and grieved us this whole time. To find out that you were, in a sense, alive again? Of course I wished to not just see, but meet you."

Percy smiled widely and nudged Eddie, who was embarrassed but smiling a little himself.

"T-that's nice," he murmured. "Um, will I be able to meet her?"

Odin looked at him regretfully. "Not anytime soon, I'm afraid. It is still very unsafe for you, more so now that you are mortal and without powers. You will have to continue on with your mortal life and be addressed by mortal name, and none of the other Norse gods and goddesses should find out. I do wish for you to come visit Hotel Valhalla sometime later on, though you will have to keep up the pretense of being Edward Roland and not allow anyone to come into the truth."

"I understand," Eddie agreed.

Odin nodded to them. "I must be going now. I will send word to you later on. Until then."

Instead of heading out the door, like the gods Percy had been reluctantly getting used to, Odin teleported away and both she and Eddie covered their eyes from the bright light.

"Was that real?" Eddie asked in a daze.

She sighed and grabbed onto him, directing him to the table and seating him down onto the chair.

"So…questions?" she asked anxiously.

"I don't…This is really new to me and I'm having a hard time believing and understanding it," Eddie admitted. "Can I just think on it some more and talk to you later on?"

She softened and gave him a reassuring smile, embracing him gently.

"I did have something that was bothering me," he admitted and she pulled away to look at him curiously. "If I, later on, become a god or whatever, I'd be immortal, right?"

She blinked. "Yeah, I guess so. That was what he implied, I think?"

"Even though you're a demigod, you're still mortal," he murmured and she straightened up, mind putting it together. They looked at each other unsteadily. "Who wants to live forever?" he asked mournfully.

She took a deep breath and leaned her forehead against his. She was mortal. Percy hadn't actually thought on that before, but it was the truth. And being mortal, she wasn't going to live as long as him. She was more breakable and susceptible to death. Eddie wouldn't later on.

"But, in the meantime, it sounds like you need to keep safe and hidden before Ragnarok," she said wryly, trying to ignore the fact that the apocalypse seemed like it was going to come one way or the other.

Eddie grunted, looking utterly surly. "I feel useless and weak now," he grumbled.

She waved him off, smirking. "I'm pretty sure that part of the reason you'll be going to, uh, Hotel Valhalla would be to train you up. Can't have you be a sitting duck after all!"

Eddie huffed and semi-tackled her, picking her up. She grinned widely, laughing even as she held onto him, but also letting him carry her to the couch.

"Hey, hey! You still have to pack!"

Eddie looked at her in confusion.

"Why do I have to pack?"

Percy looked up at him sheepishly from her position on the couch.


"Percy, stop that."

She twitched, ignoring Triton's exasperated look and Eddie's confused one. She didn't blame Eddie for being confused; it was probably a very confusing day. That and plus she kind of sprung this flight to LA on him.

"Maury is okay with maintaining the apartment complex?" she asked Eddie instead of her fidgeting.

"Look, I am a god," Triton rolled his eyes as he cut in. Eddie eyed him warily. "There is no need for you to be so anxious, Perseas. Besides, even if there were monsters, it's easily taken care of between the two of us. Especially me –you know, god and all," he ended sarcastically, but mostly egotistically.

Percy twitched again. "I had bad experiences, especially on that stupid Quest I was just on. Probably paranoia, but I don't want to be caught off guard. Also…,airport, Triton! And don't call me Perseas."

"Per-SAY-us," Triton exaggerated, wearing a deadpanned look.

"Aw, how cute," Eddie finally worked up enough calm to tease them. "Sibling fight."

Percy and Triton huffed loudly and glared at Eddie, before crossing their arms and looking to their sides away from each other, all at the same time. Eddie snickered.

"Seriously though, I'm in an airport," Percy muttered, eyes darting around.

"Uncle Zeus gave you permission," Triton reminded her.

"So? What if he changes his mind in midair? I don't want to die in an airplane," she said stubbornly.

"Well, good news, Father will avenge us and go to war with Uncle Zeus," he said cheerfully.

Eddie and Percy looked at him incredulously and he gave them a questioning look back.

"I don't even…" Percy muttered, hurrying her walking. "Ugh, please be a quick flight."

Moving through the airport and the process was surprisingly quick, but she didn't believe Triton when he brought up that it was probably Zeus who was helping them out. But soon enough, strangely, they were on an airplane and getting ready for takeoff.

"Right now, I'm just ready for Zeus to smite me out of the sky," she sat stiffly in her chair.

"He's not going to smite you," Triton said dismissively, most of his attention on picking up a tabloid and curiously examining it.

Percy's breath was starting to speed up though, and she knew she was starting to freak out and have a panic attack. However, she felt a hand grab one of hers and she looked to Eddie and saw him smiling sweetly at her. With the window cover up and letting in the sun, shining brightly behind him, she could totally see how he was supposed to be Balder.

"Don't worry. We're here for you," he told her softly and squeezed her hand. She slowly began to relax.

Then she felt her other hand being grabbed and she looked over to her brother. Even though he wasn't looking at her and seemed totally focused on reading the tabloid, he was gripping onto her hand and not letting go.

Slumping into her seat, she let out a huge sigh.

"Thanks, guys."

She squeezed both of their hands before closing her eyes, getting comfortable and easing into sleep.


They exited out of the plane and Percy (though she shouldn't be) was surprised at how quick and smooth their flight ended up being. Though she was still skeptical of Triton's claim, she did wonder if maybe Zeus did have something to do with it.

They were retrieving their luggage, before they were heading out of the terminal and discussing how they were going to get to the Underworld from there, when Percy heard a very familiar voice.

"Tesoro! Over here!"

Finding the owner of the voice, she laughed wildly and waved enthusiastically. Triton looked at her in bemusement, while Eddie tried to see where she was looking at.

"Charon! Come to pick us up?́́"

Looking suave in the new Italian Armani suit she'd gotten him, Charon lowered his tortoiseshell lens and smirked at her.

Started 7/8/17 – Completed 7/13/17