The winds and lightening twisted across the cloudless sky, dancing a furious tango. A deep rumble echoed through the Earth, a mournful lament that froze the bone to the marrow. The vast and dark seas beat against the weathered cliff, roaring in pain. Alone, each was frightening, yet together they sang in quiet harmony. Together there seemed to be a balance unseen by mortal eyes, a natural tune to the world.
Rachel Elizabeth Dare took in a deep breath, blinking the salt water from her eyes. She drew her robe tighter around her body, her flaming red hair whipping around her head wildly. Her piercing green eyes scanned the night for…well she wasn't sure what she was looking for. She wasn't even sure where she was, but she knew it was important and that she was safe. She took a cautious step forward, the warm sand squishing between her toes. It felt good and helped to calm her nerves. Her heart was dancing in her chest, but she couldn't place her anxiety.
She had come to accept that she was not a normal girl a long time ago. She wasn't a half-blood like her friends, but she wasn't completely mortal either. Somehow, Rachel had managed to harbor the spirit of Delphi within her own body, giving her the power of prophecy. She enjoyed it, the ability to be useful to Percy and the others, but these were the things she hated. Sometimes she felt so out of control of her body and mind; she hated not knowing what she was doing or where she was. Like now, she just had a feeling it was right, but that didn't make it any better.
She stopped at the edge of the beach and scanned the horizon. The waves calmed and gently lapped at her ankles. Rachel smiled, looking into the dark depths. She could see Percy smiling brightly up at her and then the image shifted, showing him deep in slumber. She felt her chest swell looking at him. While she didn't feel romantically for him, she still loved him in a protective sister kind of way. The boy had been through Hell, literally, and seldom found peaceful sleep. It pained her sometimes to see the circles under his eyes, but she knew better than to address them.
A flash of light caught her eye and Rachel tilted her head towards the sky. The winds had ceased some, though lightening still streaked across the clouds. She could see Jason, leaning against his headboard reading from an old book, his brows scrunched together in concentration. Her lips stretched wider than the Cheshire cat and she chuckled. The ex-Roman had been beating himself to try and "learn" to be "Greek" ever since defeating Gaea. His blonde hair hung loosely and unruly around his angular face. The light danced in his blue eyes, the shadows dancing across the planes of his well muscled chest. Rachel felt her cheeks flame in embarrassment. Jason was certainly handsome, a great temptation to any girl, but she knew in her gut there weren't any romantic feelings there.
She shook her head and turned away from the scene bashfully. She hated being able to see the demigods during their most private moments; it made her feel like a spy. She heard muttering behind her and turned slowly. The sand had begun to sink in, opening up into the Hades cabin. Her gut clenched. The darkness did nothing to obscure her vision of the sleeping boy. His obsidian black hair hung in his face; his chest rose and fell gently; his pale hands clenched the bed sheets tightly as if anchoring him to the world. His lips were muttering around a word, one she'd heard time and time again. "Percy…" he crooned softly. Rachel was accustomed to this particular scene, considering she tuned into it nightly. She hated to pry, but Percy had made her promise to watch over the quiet child of Hades, and she had complied. Nico Di Angelo kept to himself and appeared to recoil from affection, but she knew the truth-she always knew. The boy was scared to get close to anyone, especially Percy Jackson. His affections were strong, but he was scared of rejection. Percy was with Annabeth, but Rachel could see that what had once been there was gone. Whether Percy admitted it or not, he was attracted to Nico as well. She wasn't sure what to do, and honestly didn't want to interfere, but her instincts told her that the time was nearly at hand.
Rachel snapped to attention, her nerves on high alert. The sea had stilled as if frozen, the Earth was eerily silent, and not a cloud dotted the sky. The sand was still warm beneath her feet, but her skin felt as if she'd been standing naked on ice. Her heart hammered against her ribcage and she glanced around. Something was approaching quickly from the east. She squinted, trying to make out the form. As her visitor drew closer she realized it was a woman. Her alabaster skin was flawless and seemed to glow, giving it a slight bronze tint; her thick raven hair whipped around her as she glided across the sand towards her; her eyes danced between colors, never settling on one specific shade; her blood red lips were set in a small smirk. Rachel gulped, feeling the power wash over her.
"Hecate." she whispered when the goddess paused before her. The woman's smiled only widened and took a quick bow.
"Hello Rachel Dare. I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long." Her voice was as soft as velvet, yet sharp as daggers. It took all of her self control and then some not to turn and run. Hazel had described her ordeal with the goddess of magic and Rachel was not keen to experience one herself. But something bothered her about this meeting. The gods had never spoken to her or acknowledged her existence. Why was she here?
She startled and jumped when the witch gently cupped her cheek. Her flickering eyes bore into Rachel's. "I know you do not trust me," she whispered shrewdly, "but I am here to warn you. It is not a coincidence that you are here surrounded by the most powerful demigods alive. These are the sons of the strongest gods of Olympus. They have overcome a great enemy, but along the way they acquired even more deadly, ancient ones. They are in danger."
Rachel swallowed thickly, staring into the beautiful face. "In danger from whom? Why are you telling me this? The gods don't interfere."
Hecate smiled and dropped her hand. "Because dear child, if we had waited for the prophecy it would have been too late. At least now it will hasten and come to you. As for their enemy, I cannot tell you. Just be warned that the fates of these demigods are now in your hands. I am the goddess of choices, and you must make yours."
The goddess turned and began to walk away. Rachel panicked and reached out. She grasped her sleeve tightly in her fist. Hecate faced her, an elegant eyebrow raised. Rachel looked down, never feeling so small in all her life. "What choices are you talking about?"
Hecate tilted her head. "My dear, you already know. You have felt it clearly and I'm sure you understand. You can either choose to act or remain oblivious, but know this: one path can save them and the other will destroy them. A bond must be broken and another preserved. It's up to you how to proceed. Goodbye Rachel Elizabeth Dare."
Before she could respond, Hecate disappeared in a flash of light. Rachel gasped, her lungs expanding again. The sea, sky, and ground seemed to continue their harmonious song as if they had not been interrupted. She sunk to her knees and swallowed. Her chest suddenly felt heavy and tears leaked out of her eyes. She had never felt the magic of a god before, and it was too great for her to handle. She knew if had it not been for the spirit of Delphi residing within her, her mortal body would have withered away to nothing. Hecate was dangerous and had given her an ultimatum. She knew what had to be done. She just didn't know if she could do it. Oh gods what had she gotten in to?
Rachel's eyes snapped open. Outside the sun was just kissing the horizon, the world outside just waking. She looked at the clock and sighed heavily. It was only six in the morning and she knew she would not be sleeping anytime soon. Her head hurt, but Rachel knew that was just the aftermath of a stressful dream. A good jog and light breakfast would help her.
She slipped out of her bed and changed into loose fitting jogging pants and her orange camp half-blood t-shirt. She slipped into her sneakers and brushed her hair up into a ponytail. She paused to gaze at herself in the mirror. She had changed in the few years since she'd met Percy Jackson. Her face had lost some of its roundness, her cheekbones more definite. Her lips were fuller and more pink, her eyes more intelligent and striking. Her body certainly had more curves, and her hair fell to her waist. She was more woman now than a young girl. Rachel sighed and turned away from the mirror. She had never been just a girl.
She slipped out of her room and padded quietly down the stairs. Her quarters were set away from the other campers, much to her annoyance. Chiron assured her it was just protocol and for her protection. She wasn't a half-blood and it would be dangerous for her to be caught in their mischief. It bothered her more than she let on. She was not a fragile piece of glass to be kept hidden and observed. She was human and wanted to touch and feel like her friends. It was bad enough when her own father tried to shelter her from the world, she didn't need Chiron to do the same.
A few campers were out and about, but the camp was mostly quiet. Rachel waved to a group from the Ares cabin. They offered small grins and waved before continuing their quarrel. The campers went out their way to be kind to her, even if they would squabble with each other. Rachel wasn't sure if it was because of her mortality or that Delphi lived inside of her. Percy had once joked that it was because she had good aim with hairbrushes and they were terrified of her accuracy. He'd received a punch for that. She honestly didn't care why, as long as they were kind. It was hard being the outsider, the freak.
She started off at a leisurely pace, pushing only just enough to feel the burn in her thighs. Rachel wasn't a health nut or anything, but she found peace in a morning run. It seemed to cleanse her body and mind in ways that nothing else could. For once she was able to divert her energy and nerves into something else besides prophecies that could possibly kill her friends. She sucked in a deep breath and pumped her arms slightly faster. A few more campers had awoken and began their daily chores or headed to breakfast. Some waved and called out to her, but none joined her. That was fine, it was better when she was alone.
The Athena cabin came into view. Annabeth stepped out, closing the door behind her. Her curly blonde hair was braided back into a sensible ponytail. She wore her camp shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Her storm gray eyes swept over her and she offered a small smile. Rachel returned the gesture and hurried along. As soon as she cleared the cabin her smile slipped away. Her thoughts returned to her dream, to what Hecate had said. Guilt pooled in her gut for what she must do. Her relationship with Annabeth was professional at best; they were far from being friends. She knew the blonde was still slightly jealous of her and was not pleased that the mortal was allowed to remain at camp, even though she'd gotten the guy. She saw the flash of annoyance in her eyes every time she was around them. Honestly, Rachel could do without the possessive teenage drama, but now she'd be right in the middle of it.
She paused to catch her breath and stretch. The sun had finally risen to the point where it cast warm rays over the camp. Raucous laughter swelled over the little valley from the pavilion. A girl, probably from Aphrodite cabin, shrieked in outrage. Rachel smiled at their antics. She could have told the poor thing that instead of watching out for Ares cabin she should have been watching Hermes. Oh well. More campers drifted by, some acknowledging her presence while others gave her a wide berth. She shrugged it off quite easily; some people didn't know how to handle someone as awesome as her.
Rachel wasn't worried about them however. Her sharp eyes landed on the three houses that had stood empty for years and years. The houses of the Big Three were now well kept and very much lived in. Jason stood just outside his door, running a hand through his blonde locks. Her cheeks heated as she recalled her embarrassing spying earlier. Oh stop it, you didn't mean to. He turned towards her and flashed his brilliant smile. She couldn't help but return it. Damn him. He approached and slung an arm over her shoulder.
"Hey Rach." He hugged her tightly until she pushed him off. She shot him a dark glare.
"I've told you at least 100 times not to call me that." She pouted slightly and began making her way towards the Hades cabin.
Jason laughed and jogged to catch up to her. "I only counted 99, but we'll go with whatever you say Ms. Eye-of-the-Future."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "I think it must be broken because I swear I saw you getting licked to death by Ms. O'Leary."
"Harsh. Can I get a more dignified death?" he asked as they reached the door. He leaned against the wall, his blue eyes studying her.
She snorted and knocked on the door. "Doesn't work that way Blondie." She laughed at his scowl and knocked again.
From behind the door they could hear shuffling and banging before the door was thrown open. Nico stood there in only pajama pants and black slippers. He rubbed at his chocolate eyes blearily, while mumbling under his breath. Rachel couldn't help but admire his budding physique. Saving the world certainly had its perks. His pale chest had started to take on a more chiseled look, abs growing in perfectly. His face was losing much of its babyish roundness; his jaw looked firmer as well. His arms were nicely toned, and if he wasn't wearing pants Rachel was sure his legs would be too.
Jason nudged her in the side, his shit eating grin making her blush furiously. He waggled his eyebrows and she mentally cursed him into oblivion. Nico did not seem amused. "Any particular reason you dickheads are banging on my door this early?" They had to suppress a laugh. While the son of Hades was normally scary and formidable, he was adorable when he just woke up. To prove their point, he stretched and yawned before his lips pouted. He blinked up at them through his long black lashes.
"Dude it's time to head down for breakfast. Don't wanna hit sword fighting on an empty stomach do you?" Jason nodded towards the pavilion.
"Do I get to use you as a target?" he griped, smirking. Jason feigned hurt. The two began to bicker and Rachel tuned them out. She felt something flutter by her and she turned towards Percy's cabin. She frowned. He was normally awake before Annabeth, and he hadn't passed her on the trail. A knot formed in her gut and she took a hesitant step towards his cabin. Instantly her knees buckled and she found herself on her side gasping for breath. Cold hands grabbed her, and sluggish voices called her name. But all Rachel could see was a shadow slipping into the walls of Percy's cabin.
Jason pulled her into a sitting position and forced her to look at him. "Rachel what's wrong? Is it a prophecy?"
Nico was peering at her over Jason's shoulders, his eyes wide with fear and confusion. She looked directly at him and forced herself to speak. "Percy…"
Hey people! This isn't my first tango with fan fictions, but it is my first for Percy Jackson. I really hope you enjoy it. It will be a slow burn, but totally worth the read. Leave reviews and let me know what you think so I know whether or not to continue. :)