It wasn't old news that Sally Jackson didn't have a family to call her own before she had met Poseidon. Her grandparents were long gone before her birth and her own parents departed from this world not long after she was born. From then on she lived with her Great Uncle Rich, a sickly man to busy with his work to really take care of her, to play with her or even pay attention.
So, she'd busy herself outside, wandering through the grassy fields when they visited his summer home and playing in the park around the corner from his apartment building when the apartment grew silent aside from the never-ending sound of her uncle's pen scratching the surface of his great big desk.
He could spend hours reading his books, write in his journals and endlessly do work that he took home from the office but he couldn't even spend a second to pay attention to her when she asked for anything.
If this is what a family was like, Sally didn't want it. She wanted her own version, one that would love her and pay attention to her.
Maybe that's why she grew fascinated with the worlds she found within books, a way to escape; lush jungles, dark forests and tall mountains filled her seemingly endless days. A trip to the library offered a whole other world about animals, mythology and romance.
And as she grew so did her imagination, sometimes she even thought her imagination spilled into the waking world, seeing cyclopes in a newsstand, a teenager wearing an orange shirt wielding a set of daggers in central park or even a pack of huntresses led by a 12-year-old crossing the freeway during rush hour.
She aspired to be a writer and set about her dreams, knowing her family, the money she inherited and the money her uncle had would put her through college.
But life wasn't a fairy tale and when her uncle grew sicker, her hope for a life filled with endless books and novels written in her name started to die.
Uncle Rich got diagnosed with cancer and the money quickly started to dry up as she tried every new treatment on the market to try and save him and when that didn't work and the money dried up, she dropped out of high school to help make his last few months as comfortable as they could be.
He may not have been the family she wanted or even needed, but he was the only family she had and that meant something. Remembering all those myths and legends of Rhea, Titaness of motherhood, and how fiercely she loved her family reminded Sally of her own... or lack thereof.
Later on in her life, when she had finally scraped up enough money to take a vacation to Montauk, she met him.
A living myth straight out of the legends she read as a child and with an awed look on her face as they first met, a whirlwind romance began for the two of them that ended soon after she found out about Percy, their child.
And if that didn't make her giddy, she didn't know what did. Too bad she was so excited at the prospect of their impending child that she didn't notice her lovers' expression falter.
Sure, she would be mad at him for forgetting to tell her how having Percy was technically illegal and could result in her precious baby boys death later on but for now, she was content with her fairy tale.
Moonlight streamed through the blinds of their apartment, hitting Sally's face as she stared at the blinking red numbers of her alarm clock that seemed to mock her. 2:45 AM. She had gone to bed at 10:00 pm and for the last 4 hours sleep has eluded her, forcing her in and out of brief dozing periods as the baby that stirs in her stomach continues to kick her.
'Almost like he's swimming..' She thinks as a smile graces her lips at the thought.
Sally lets a sigh escape her as she sits up, noting the other empty half of her bed and looks out towards the window in her bedroom to see her lover looking out at the moon with a pensive look on his face.
She gets up quietly and makes her way towards him, her hands coming to rest on her extended bump as she settles down beside him, slipper-clad feet scuffling along the floorboards of the bedroom.
"The baby's kicking again," she remarks quietly.
"It's too bad he never kicks when I try to feel."
"Well, whose fault is that? Mister-having-this-baby-is-a-crime-but-i-didn't-want-to-tell-you? It's not my fault that they're just as upset as their mommy is." she shoots back. "And what do you mean by 'he'? We don't know the sex yet."
"Call it a hunch..." he went silent. "I said I was sorry."
"And I forgave you, albeit after a brief screaming match, why? This was months ago...now you're gonna tell me you're hiding something else? Wait... are you?"
"I didn't want to tell you because I wish it didn't exist," he admits.
"...there's another law."
"And...well it basically states tha-"
"Oh for gods sakes Poseidon spit it out already, the baby and I want McDonald's!"
An amused smile graced his face and he took a deep breath before he told her, "I'm not allowed to help raise the baby." He then stared at her, big vulnerable green eyes gazing down at her, waiting for her reaction. Waiting for the screaming, the kicking, the pandora's box that's about to be unleashed...all hell would break loose then Hades would blame him and then it'll be WWII all over again! Oh gods, why is it always hi-
"I said okay."
Did he say that out loud?
"Yes, and you just did it again, stop going off to Lala land."
"'Okay'? That's it?"
"Well, what did you expect?"
"Kicking, screaming, vase throwing, pandora's box, hell breaking loose, WWIII, I don't know- something bad for me!"
"Do I look like your brother? And vase throwing, where did you get that idea?"
"Hades," he replies without thinking. Sally merely gives him an amused glance as she rolls her eyes at him.
"Anyways, yes, I said okay. Why is that such a big deal?"
"I-I...I don't really know, I just expected you to care more."
Sally's big blue eyes softened as she placed his hands around her stomach and grabbed his face in her own. She let their foreheads touch and closed her eyes and breathed deeply before she spoke, "Of course I care...but I care about you and your happiness over my own...you have a wife, who loves you more than the stars do shine and a family who admires you and loves you just as much as she. You deserve to be happy and I know you think you'll be happy with me, but you won't. You gave me a piece of yourself, even if only for this year and I'll always love you, but you were never really mine to keep in the first place...your heart has always belonged to Amphitrite, why do you think she never gets mad at you for your affairs? She knows it, I know it, and deep down, I think you know it too Poseidon...it's time to let me go."
The God of the Seven Seas stared at his lover, eyes softened and his heartstrings strung and pulled, "Sally..." he mummers. Poseidon opens his mouth to speak once more when he feels it, a tiny little kick from his lover's baby bump, the first one since their child started kicking months ago.
"It's almost as if he's-" he starts.
"Swimming, I know! Like father like son." Sally exclaims, a bright smile on her face.
A single tear slid down his cheeks as he looked down at her beaming smile and felt his unborn son's strong kicks before the flood gate burst like a dam and his tears started to pour down and for all his power over water he couldn't stop them and Poseidon wasn't sure he wanted too anyway. He bent down a placed a single kiss on her forehead before resting his head in the crook of her neck.
"Sally Jackson, you are by far the most gorgeous, selfless, pure soul I have ever met...it's like coming out of a fairy tale. You truly are a queen among men and if anyone isn't worthy of you, it is surely me. You may be right: saying my heart belongs to Amphitrite, but a piece will always belong to you...I swear this to the fates."
They stood there, enjoying each others presence and comfort before Sally interrupted.
"As nice as this is, your son demands McDonald's."
Poseidon lets out a deep chuckle and wipes the tears from his eyes before he looks down at her and beams, "Well, who am I to deny the Queen and her prince?"
Sally opened the door to her apartment, chest heaving, hair a mess and baby crying in the background as she desperately hoped the person behind the door wouldn't notice the bags under her eyes nor the puke stain over her shoulder.
Looking in front of her, she noticed a beautiful African American woman, with a sharp jawline and long black hair in two loose braids. A small, matronly smile graced her lips and wore tinted glasses the changed from orange to purple. She wore a modern, flowy batik dress with a fern pattern, greek style sandals and a brass peace symbol hung from her neck.
When Sally focused, she could see behind the woman's glasses were such a familiar pair of eyes that she had to blink but when she opened them again, they were gone, replaced with a pair of golden eyes, almost like feline predators... a lion. The woman, maybe late '50s, still held her youthful grace and appearance is her taut and wrinkle-free skin was anything to go by.
The woman smiled, sharp and elegant, gleaming white teeth that shined brighter than the sun and gained a knowing gleam in her eye as if she suddenly knew what Sally was thinking. She stepped in, arms full of bags and two fully grown lions following behind her faithfully, how Sally hadn't noticed them before she'd never know but she was too sleep deprived to really care all that much right now.
Closing her door shut and turning to face her now (un)invited guest, Sally watched as she placed the large bags on her kitchen counters and began taking the items out, mostly food but then baby toys and clothes soon followed by...was that a stroller? A jolly jumper? How deep did this bag go and where could she get one?
The lions, she noted, took residence upon her dainty little couches and seemed too comfortable for Sally to move them... if anything, she was jealous. She wished she could sleep but Percy wouldn't just stop crying, he only seemed to ever stop during bath time, go figure.
"Do I know you?" she asked the woman.
"No, but I know you, Sally Jackson!" the woman grinned.
"How did yo-?"
"Well, it's not every day my son proclaims one of his lovers to be a queen among men, you know? I thought you must have been pretty special and then I found out you gave me another grandson and I just knew I had to meet you!"
"Rhea, yes, pleased to meet you, dear. Now, where is that darling grandson of mine?" The Titaness of Motherhood promptly sped out of the kitchen towards the source of crying and Sally knew if Poseidon was still here she'd be having words with him...
Sally followed her (sort of?) mother-in-law to Percy's nursery only to hear silence, precious precious silence. She entered the room and saw Rhea rocking the now sleeping Percy in her arms, tear stains still on his cheeks as he suckles on his thumb.
"All children of the sea are this way, his half-siblings certainly are. He may only half-god but his father's blood runs strong through his veins. He looks exactly like his father did the day he was born. He inherited my eyes, did you notice? Poseidon was my only child to get them and now this young one is my only grandchild too."
"If I may ask, where did you get your eyes from? 'Cause I've noticed they change to a lions but..." Rhea simply smiled as she stared down at her newest grandchild.
"It's fine. I get them from my mother, I was the only one."
"You mean Gae-"
"Gaea, yes. Mother had the most beautiful eyes. But I should warn you, they'll change."
"Oh, if he's truly inherited his father's eyes, my mother's eyes...they'll change. It was always there, just out of the corner of your eye...you noticed, didn't you? How they changed. When he was angry, happy, sad...even just when he was near a water source."
"I think I did...but I just thought it was a trick of the eye. I mean, when we first met, they looked like the waters at Montauk...then we went to Central Park and they changed to the murky blue of the pond...I assumed but I just didn't think..."
"I thought so too at first, it was like I was a little girl again looking into my mother's eyes again when I first looked into his and saw it...the little ones godly blood runs strong, what's his name?"
"Perseus. But Percy for short."
"Perseus..hmm...I like it. Wasn't that one of my other grandson's names, a son of Zeus's? What made you choose that? I hope not in order to appease him, my son doesn't need an ego boost."
"It's because Perseus was the only one who ever got a happy ending...and I want that for him, he deserves it all, my Percy. I may not ever have gotten the fairy tale life I dreamed about as a little girl, but if he could...well, I think that would be enough for me."
"I think that's a noble dream Sally Jackson and one I would be honoured to be a part of."
Percy had been so small when he first met her that it was a miracle he even remembered her then. But he could.
He couldn't remember much, but Percy knew she had the same gleaming green eyes that he had...that his father had. And he remembered her smile, a tender matronly smile that reminded him of his mother. She had a warm glow that seemed to exhume more love than the sun gives out heat.
He remembered the first time he met her. The Titaness of Motherhood. Queen Mother of Olympus. Mother of the Elder Gods. Favoured Daughter of Gaea. His grandmother.
Percy was young, only a babe, but there was never a moment without his grandmother, even after Smelly Gabe came into the picture, she was always there for him and his mom, going on vacations to Montauk, having sleepovers at her Upstate New York Apartment, visiting the Zoo, getting ice cream, helping him with his homework and babysitting him when his mom had long nights.
So maybe he didn't have the greatest family, but between the asshole gods, the clueless mortals, death-defying quests and countless monsters, Percy could always count on his Grandma Rhea and mom to be there for him, after all, they were the ones who raised him.
And that was all he ever needed.
Percy strode around camp, all of 12 years of age, as he took in the wonders of this safe haven alongside Chiron.
”Percy, didn’t you ever have any sort of hint towards this world? Any at all? Not all mothers, even great ones like Sally can keep it completely a secret?” The centur asked.
” No, I mean I don’t think so. Everything was pretty normal, no mention of Greek anything...well there’s my grandma I guess.”
”Grandmother? I thought Sally’s parents died long ago.”
”Oh, yeah, no it’s not Grandma Estelle, she did die and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t immortal nor secretly living in Canada. No, it’s Grandma Rhea.”
Chiron started, stunned as a glowing Lioness lit up above Percy’s head, the boy unknowing and not even noticing the centuars gobsmacked expression.
”Rhea? As in Poseidon’s mother?”
”oh...OH!” Percy exclaimed.
Chiron simply stared, dumbfounded at the (suspected) son of the sea.
“Hey, are you okay?”
”...just peachy.” Chiron rubbed his temples as he mummers.
He just knew when he met the boy he would be a giant pain in his ass, however, he hadn’t expected the problems to start before it was proclaimed that Poseidon was his father.
Oh well, like father, like son he supposed.