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The Choice of Destiny

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The small boy ran through the woods, praying his little legs would carry him faster than the monster could catch up to him.

The multi-headed creature bounded after him, mockingly calling out for the child to slow down, to stop and say hello. The boy had been running from monsters like that thing for the past six months, since he had been kicked onto the street, and even sometimes before that. It had been thirty-six hours since the boy had last eaten, and thirteen hours since he'd had something to drink. The effects of his starvation were starting to take their tole on him; his vision was blurring and his muscles felt weak, making avoiding trees in the dark as he ran very difficult.

Just as the boy was loosing hope that he would ever get away from this latest monster, he caught sight of a fire a little ways away. Gaining a sudden burst of energy, the boy ran faster, becoming close enough to see two people, a man and a woman, sitting on elegant looking chairs next to the flames, furniture that was out of place in the woods.

He opened his mouth to call out for help but found he couldn't; he had rarely used his voice in the last six months except for screaming. The boy refused to give up, deciding that if he couldn't call out to them, he'd barrel straight into them.

He came within a foot of the couple when the woman noticed the child. He grunted as he used his remaining strength to leap over the fire, falling roughly to the forest floor and scraping his knee as he landed.

He turned quickly to try and croak out a plea for help when he saw a surprising sight. The man that had only a moment ago been sitting by the fire was twenty feet away, his hand raised towards the creature that had been hunting the boy. Right before the child's eyes the monster let out a cry of pain and then dissolved into dust.

The boy's eyes widened and he began to panic, thinking the man was something much worse than the creature. He scrambled to his feet and turned to run, only for two strong arms to wrap around his midsection, effectively trapping him. He struggled against the embrace, his fear evident.

"Be calm, you are in no danger," a gentle voice said. A warmth radiated from the being behind him, from the one who had spoken. Slowly the boy's struggling slowed, until he was still. The arms loosened their hold on him and he turned to look into the face of the woman, who was gazing at him worriedly.

"Who-who are you?" the boy stuttered out.

The woman smiled kindly. "My name is Demeter. You have nothing to fear any more, my son-in-law took care of that beast."

The boy looked warily over at the man, who was staring at him with a sense of curious detachment. "Thank you for saving me," he managed to croak out. The man smiled slightly and nodded his welcome, looking into the child's eyes.

Suddenly a look of realization crossed the man's face and he scowled angrily, taking a few steps towards the woman and the boy she held close. "He is a son of Poseidon; I can see the sea in his eyes and smell it on his being. Of course both of my brothers broke the oath they forced me into." His tone was bitter.

Demeter looked at her son-in-law disapprovingly. "I am sorry for the wrongdoings of your siblings, but this child has done nothing to you He is innocent. Please, Hades, do not take your anger at Poseidon out on this boy."

The man huffed, annoyed, but nodded. "Very well, Demeter, I will leave the boy alone...for now."

The boy twitched nervously in the woman's arms, having watched the conversation with curiosity and fear. These people clearly were the family of his father, a man he'd never had the displeasure to meet. The boy turned to look at the woman that held him gently, feeling no threat from her.

"Who are you, dear child? Why are you out in the middle of the woods in the dead of night?"

The boy cleared his throat, determined to speak clearly. "I'm Percy," he said. His expression quickly turned from shy to one of anger. "And I'm out here because six months ago my stepfather killed my mother."

Power rolled off the boy in waves and Hades watched, shocked. He had never seen so much power in a demigod   especially in one so young.

Hades stared at the boy curiously. The child was extremely skinny, his ribs visible under his ratty t-shirt. Old scars and new cuts marred his skin from head to toe. Hades's attention was drawn to a large scar that began at the top of his neck and ran until it went under his shirt collar, no longer visible. Hades also saw deep cuts circling both of his wrists; most likely from being bound.

Becoming even more interested in the boy after examining him, Hades delved into Percy's memories to try and understand what had happened to a child so young to give him so many scars. But the more the Lord of the Dead saw, the more furious he became. What he saw made he want to murder someone, starting with his arrogant brother for leaving this child to such a fate.

Hades looked at his mother-in-law, who had clearly looked into the boy's memories as well. A silent understanding seemed to pass between the two of them and Demeter nodded.

Hades stepped towards Percy, who tensed as if readying himself for a fight. Hades rose his hand to the boy's forehead. "Sleep," he commanded soothingly.

Percy felt unconsciousness pulling at him but he fought it, too afraid to go to sleep in the care of people he didn't know. Hades admired the boy's strength, surprised yet again by his strong power. Hades increased the spell and, finally, the eight-year-old child slumped in Demeter's arms.

"This boy is immensely powerful," Hades remarked. "Stronger than any demigod I've encountered, especially at such a young age."

Demeter nodded in agreement. "What on Earth will we do with him? If I take him to Olympus or Camp Half-Blood Zeus will surely kill the boy right away..." She looked at her son-in-law hopefully.

Hades scoffed as he understood her meaning. "Are you serious? You wish for me to take in the boy? He is a son of Poseidon! Let him raise his son!"

Demeter scowled. "You saw the same things I did in this child's memories. I think Poseidon has done enough. Plus, I doubt this boy will want anything to do with the man who left him to such a fate." Her expression softened. "Hades, I know you miss your children. Think of Percy as a possible chance to get them out of that horrid casino someday."

The man sighed, looking at the small child. In sleep, Percy no longer held his fearful expression or the tenseness of his body; he looked at peace, and Hades found himself glad the child wasn't in any pain at the moment.

"Persephone will never agree to it. She would run and tell her father the first chance she gets," he said.

Demeter smiled wryly. "Leave the convincing of my daughter to me, Hades. Actually, I think Persephone will actually enjoy raising a child that isn't one of your demigods."

Hades stared at the boy thoughtfully. "He is most likely the one of the prophecy."

Demeter nodded. "Don't you think a child raised by one of the Big Three has a better chance of defeating the king titan than if he were left on the street?" She smiled hopefully.

The man rubbed his forehead. "Very well. But I'm leaving it up to you to convince my wife not to turn the boy in. Seeing as she returns to the underworld in less than two months, I suggest you begin."

Demeter nodded, smiling in satisfaction. Hades faded into shadows, and Demeter held the boy tightly against her chest, disappearing in a flash of green light.

Hades found himself taking quite a liking to Percy. The child had only been in the underworld for two weeks, but he had quickly ditched his shyness. He was brave and stubborn, quick to get angry but somehow very levelheaded at the same time.

Actually, he reminded the Lord of the Dead of himself.

Demeter and Hades had done their best to explain everything to the young boy. Percy had taken everything in stride, happy to know why he could breathe underwater and talk to horses, and relieved to know he wasn't crazy for seeing monsters.

Hades took quite an amount of pleasure in Percy's opinion of his Poseidon. The little boy scowled whenever he was mentioned, wanting nothing to do with the man that left him and his mother to be tortured every day. Even when Demeter tried to explain the ancient law forbidding Poseidon from interfering in his child's life, Percy didn't want to hear it. He knew that if the Lord of the Seas had actually cared, he would have found a way to help. Percy only wished to never think of Poseidon as his father.

After hearing this statement, Hades's pleasure only grew. What better way to get back at that horrid brother of his than to adopt and raise his demigod son as his own?

He summoned Percy and asked the boy if he was okay with that, and the child jumped at the opportunity, wanting nothing more than to never live on the street again.

To make the adoption official, Hades claimed Percy as his son, making Percy a true son of Hades with all that entailed. Percy's eyes changed from sea green to the same blackness of his new father's, the only sign of his old eyes a circle of sea green around his irises. Hades smiled at the change, happy to have a physical claim over his adoptive son like all the other gods had with their children. Percy very much looked the part of a son of Hades, what with his scar-covered body and pale skin.

Demeter looked at Hades warily. "Hades, please tell me you are taking Percy in for him, and not for revenge against Poseidon."

Hades narrowed his eyes. "Demeter, you know as well as I that Poseidon could've killed that insolent man that tortured Percy and his mother any time he wanted to and the ancient law would not have been broken."

Demeter opened her mouth to protest but Hades continued speaking.

"Bending a rule is not breaking it, I have learned that over the many years of being who I am." Hades paused. "I won't lie and say that hurting Poseidon doesn't make this so much better, but I do this for the boy. You were correct when you said I missed my children. If Persephone can accept the boy then he will have a far better upbringing than he would in the mortal world."

Demeter nodded, satisfied with her son-in-laws's answer. "You do know that, when he founds out, Poseidon will fight you for the boy."

Hades scowled. "My brother lost all right to Perseus when he left him in that hellhole of a house with his stepfather."

Demeter sighed, knowing fighting Hades on this matter would be stupid and just leave both gods angry. Finally she smiled, knowing that Hades's anger on this topic meant he cared about the boy. Percy would be well taken care of.

"I am glad you decided to take the child in, Hades. I believe this is the right thing to do." The two gods shared a smile. "Now I must be off to speak with my daughter, but I will visit occasionally to check up on our little hero, if that is alright with you."

Hades nodded his head. "Of course, Demeter. You are welcome here."

The Goddess of the Harvest smiled and disappeared in a flash of green light.

Hades waved his hand and a shadow appeared in front of him, bringing the fury Alecto into the throne room.

She bowed low. "My lord, what may I do for you?" she rasped.

"I have a son now, Perseus Jackson. He is the demigod son of Poseidon but I have chosen to adopt him as my own. There are some things I would like you to set up for him."

Alecto looked shocked for a moment but quickly nodded. "Of course, my Lord. What is it I can do?"

"First, gather some of the greatest heroes   my son will be trained by no one but the best. Then, spread the word. The Underworld has a new prince."

"Of course, my Lord. Right away." Alecto bowed again and disappeared from the throne room.

Hades smiled to himself, leaning back in his throne. The time for the disrespect of his children was over. Perseus Jackson would change Olympus forever, he just knew it. When the time came, the Son of Hades would be the greatest demigod warrior to ever live   Hades would make sure of it.