Disclaimer:I do not own Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, or any of the associated characters.

Summary: "Someone must take the blame." Apollo could be a dramatic guy, but for once, he was deadly serious.


"CRIME" AND PUNISHMENT

"Someone must take the blame."

Only now, on the receiving end of my father's wrath, do I realise how terrible that oft-repeated phrase is.

Someone must take the blame, because Chaos forbid that the guy who listened to Gaia, stuck his head in the sand (again) and closed off Olympus actually take responsibility for his actions.

Yes, Rachel made a prophecy... Which the Romans had already known about for centuries. Yes, I was as susceptible to flattery as any deity. Yes, my legacy did some bad, stupid stuff, but I'd love to see anyone in our entire pantheon claim that they hadn't had at least one crazy kid in the past.

I'm the God of Prophecy, so I know stuff, even stuff I'd prefer not to. I know how and when my descendants will die, and can do nothing to stop it. I make mistakes, like anyone else, even if I'd never admit it out loud.

I knew that Hal would die helping two demigods, redemption for years of using his gift of prophecy to benefit himself and hurt others, and the fates promising to take it out on my non-prophecy-gifted children if I didn't reign Hal in. It figures that the final chance would be the one time he used his gift for a good, non-selfish reason.

I knew how Octavian would die, just as I knew that he would never, in his rational mind, willingly sacrifice himself.

I've watched my children run through war-zones to help the wounded, seen them work for days without proper rest when pioneering research on new cures, or surgeries that save a life. I've prodded my muses to inspire them in speeches that changed lives, in plays or poems or books that brought attention to overlooked plight.

Octavian did not have that selfless strength of character. Not even a bit of it.

He was obsessed with being powerful and the centre of attention, with having people admire and respect him, heedless of the fact that respect earned through fear and intimidation is no such thing. Octavian promised me worship, if I would bless his endeavours, when most Romans flock to Mars or Jupiter or Bellona.

The Greeks were always much more appreciative of the arts that I patronised.

Hermes knew his son's fate, and did everything he could to try and prevent it. I did not have the luxury of believing that I could save my legacy.

(I don't see anyone blaming Hermes for the Second Titan War, either, even though Luke did far more damage than Octavian.)

I told Octavian that he would be instrumental in Gaia's defeat, and that he would be long-remembered by both camps, and my heart broke as I let him fill in the details for himself.

By himself, Leo Valdez would not have been able to summon the necessary firepower to take down Gaia. For that, he needed either Celestial Bronze or Imperial Gold burning missiles... Fuelled by the sincere desire to see the target utterly obliterated.

Leo wanted to take Gaia down, but he was motivated by the desire to protect his friends and avenge his mother. Powerful emotions, but not as powerful as the blinding, obsessive hatred that Octavian nursed.

Octavian's emotion was the destructive kind, the rage that toppled empires, the exploitation that brought a nation to its knees.

The fury that drove Gaia's first children to destroy Ouranous.


I tried to tell the gods what I knew.

Of course I did. Despite my impulsiveness, I'm not stupid, but, as always seems to be the case when something is actually important, none of them listened.

"Apollo, what colour will I wear to the dance?" Pink. (and goddess of beauty or not, it makes you look tacky) "Apollo, will that hot chick believe me if I say I'm the king of the gods?" Yes. (but it's going to backfire horribly) "Apollo, will doing this start a war?" No. "What if I do this?" Yes. (and how you can enjoy it, when so many of your demigod children are soldiers, I will never understand)

Random, unimportant stuff like that, my divine family listens to.

When it comes to something that they don't want to hear, like a threat to our power, or Great-Grandmother waking up in a bad mood? Then it's all, "Oh, don't listen to him, Apollo's just being dramatic."

Not like the God of Freaking Prophecy would know when everything is about to go to Tartarus in a picnic basket, or anything.

Not like he also has kids who are in danger, and he might want to protect, just because none of them were counted among the Prophecy Seven.

Sometimes-resentful Kayla, still loyal to the end. Austin, with a sunny personality and a horrible sense of timing. Melody, only ten, but who had arrived at camp at the age of four, when her mother got cancer. Will, the best combat medic in either camp. Althea, my little pearl, with a voice as golden as her hair. Archer, who could out-shoot an Olympic-athlete (and whose mother hadn't been as hot with names as she was on the dance-floor).

On the Roman side Gwendolyn, kind and compassionate and optimistic. Poor, doomed Octavian, my daughter's only grandson. Ryan, still a year away from joining the legion, and so many more.


Worst of all, not one of my godly family stood up for me.

Ok, I hadn't expected Hera to step in for one of her husband's royal bastards, not when she was taking heat herself, and Ares doesn't do help, unless he can make the situation worse by lending a hand. I don't expect much of anything from Dionysus, either.

But Artemis, my own twin sister? Hestia, the family peacemaker? My Uncles, who oppose Father on principle every chance they get?

Hermes, my favourite brother who knows the turmoil and guilt of a misguided child? Or Hephaestus, who has suffered punishment for disobedience before? Demeter, who feels the pain of losing her child when Persephone descends to the Underworld every year?

Athena, the goddess of battle strategy and the sacrifices that come with a successful outcome? Eirene, the embodiment of Peace, whose only daughter had been killed by nature spirits acting on Gaia's orders, before she could try and persuade the Romans to call off their attack?

None of them said a word in my defence, and the betrayal of watching my twin silence the demigod who attempted to speak on my behalf pains me more than any punishment my Father could inflict.


Why?

We bicker as all siblings do, especially when annoying her is the only way she'll even give me the time of day.

Did I push her to far and not realise it? Does she hate me so much that she would take away my only chance of lenience?

Did she think she could do better, in her endless insistence to prove that girls are better than boys? Even Artemis couldn't charm Father into forgiveness before he handed down a punishment far worse than a century grounded at Camp Half-Blood.

Heck, with as awesome as my kids are I'd probably consider that a reward!

Being able to spend time with them, talk about their plans and ambitions, help Will with his archery (he got so much Healing talent that there wasn't room for much else, unless I wanted him to spontaneously combust), tell my daughters the best way to get rid of unwanted attention ( an arrow aimed at the privates usually works)...


I sit in my temple on Olympus, alone and afraid, trying to plan for my impending period of incapacitation, but it's hard to concentrate.

Hypnos owes me a favour, and I've pre-recorded a dream for my Greek and Roman kids. A combined Greco-Roman quest to take out Python should get things rolling in the direction of co-operation.

I left a subtle impulse that my Will is not going, unless he's had at least a month to recover from all that healing he's going to have to do. If he's his usual driven self, he'll work himself to the point where he just collapses on the Hades boy. If Will is really lucky, he'll collapse onto Nico's bed while the kid is in it.

The door opens, and Hermes delivers the summons to stand before the Olympian Council.

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A/N: Ok, so the two things I didn't like about the series ending were that we didn't find out what happened to Apollo, and we don't know if Leo and Calypso return to camp. I'm not great at writing Romance, so this is my lame attempt at fixing one of those issues.

I'm basing Apollo's thoughts on his kids off what Will says in the War Council, so hopefully it doesn't go too badly. Maybe I should do a sequel where Apollo's kids find out about him being blamed...

By the way, does anyone else think that it would be awesome if the Magnus Chase who is going to be the centre of the next series turns out to be Annabeth's cousin that she mentioned right before the battle?

Anyway, I'd love to know what you think, so take five seconds to leave a review.

Thanks,

Nat.