Summers were always busy for Percy Jackson, full of quests and monsters and godly problems, but Percy didn't mind it. Well, he minded a little bit, but it wasn't that big of a deal. He was used to it by now.
This summer, however, Percy had nowhere he needed to be and nothing to keep him busy, which is how he found himself with a new job. Perseus Jackson, son of Poseidon, former praetor of New Rome, member of The Seven, was now Interim Head Babysitter of Camp Half-Blood.
Because of the gods' new initiative to claim all of their kids, Camp Half-Blood had received a lot of new campers in a very short time. For the first time in anyone's recent memory, the camp was surprisingly home to campers young enough to be in elementary school. Unsurprisingly, all of them were infinitely interested in Percy Jackson. Most of those kids were still floored by cheap magic tricks, so the first time they saw Percy step out of the lake completely dry, he may as well have been a god.
Every day so far that week, Percy found himself standing on the shore of Long Island Sound, surrounded by children. Since he now hosted camp activities at the beach to keep all of the young campers entertained, he was getting lots of practice with his powers.
"Percy, it's my turn!"
"Nuh uh! I asked first!"
"Watch me, Percy!"
"Can I go?"
After the admittedly bad idea of giving the kids weapons and telling them to run at him to practice attacking - fun in concept, awful in execution - Percy decided to whip up a lowkey water park for them. He created small, wide whirlpools for the kids to ride in, and he also shot geysers up into the air on which the kids would fly up before landing in the waves below. If Percy had still been only twelve, this kind of mental power would've been too much, but after all he'd been through, "Water World" was a no-brainer. He kept all his little tricks going simultaneously, able to keep an eye on the speed of the whirlpool while remembering to catch every little one that soared down from the top of a geyser. It was a bit tiring of course, but Percy wasn't having much of a problem anymore with using a lot of power at once. Truthfully, he'd never had a problem with using lots of power at once- it was just maintaining control that posed an issue.
Percy felt a small tug on the hem of his shirt.
"Percy?" a small blonde camper name Colby squeaked, one tiny hand still gripping Percy's orange tee.
"What's up?" Percy didn't take his eyes off of the water before him. He had both hands raised; his right hand continued to twirl at a constant pace while his left sporadically shot up into the air with each geyser blast, then flicked to create the wave that'd catch the small camper.
"C-Can I try?" Colby asked timidly. It took Percy a second to understand- his mind was already pretty occupied.
"You mean, you want a turn on the geyser? Sorry little dude, but there's a line." Indeed, at least four kids were waiting in the sand for their chance.
Colby shook his head no, but Percy didn't notice. He was too focused on the rides. "I…I want t-to try." He pointed at Percy's hands.
The son of Poseidon took the opportunity to glance down, and realization hit. "You want to control the water?"
Colby nodded vigorously, a smile spreading across his face.
Sorry buddy, but it's only a Poseidon thing, Percy almost said, but he thought better of it. Most, if not all of the children, hadn't been claimed yet. He hated talking about his dad in front of unclaimed campers. Every time, he felt like he was rubbing in the fact that he not only knew whom his godly parent was, but he'd even met Poseidon on numerous occasions. Heck, Colby's dad could be the god of the sea for all they knew, though the chance of that happening was next to none. Who's to say he couldn't have the chance to try it out anyway?
"Alright guys, 'Water World's' closing down," Percy announced, slowly lowering his hands. He was met with a chorus of "Aww"s as the whirlpool slowed to a stop, and the geysers sank back down into the ocean. The kids retreated onto the beach and ran off, ready to find something else to do, and Percy finally knelt down next to Colby.
"So, you want to control the water, huh?"
Colby eagerly nodded again.
Obviously Colby wouldn't be able to do anything with the water, but Colby didn't know that.
Percy smiled, then sidestepped behind Colby- still squatting down- and reached around to hold Colby's hands from behind, his chest on the small demigod's back. "First, take a deep breath. Smell the salt in the air, and imagine that the ocean is a part of you." Percy felt Colby take a deep breath, and he could nearly feel the excitement and anxiety radiating off of the boy.
"You're still pretty young, Colby, so we aren't going to be making any tsunamis or hurricanes today." Colby laughed. "Instead, I want to see you drag a small stream from the ocean into your hand."
Colby took a deep breath of determination. "Okay, I'm ready."
"Now, close your eyes."
Colby did as he was told, which meant it was Percy's turn to make some magic. Sea green eyes focused intently on the small waves lapping near their feet, Percy willed a small stream to stay behind as the waves drew back.
"Keep 'em shut, Colby. You're almost there…"
The water trickled up to Colby's toes, and from there it spiraled up and pooled in Colby's outstretched hands. The tiny toddler gasped, and his big brown eyes flew open. This was the part that Percy loved the most when he hung out with the new recruits. Their surprise and astonishment made him feel like a superhero, and seeing them discover their own true talents was even better. He could watch them begin to believe in themselves and learn to love who they are, something that Percy himself struggled to do when he was younger.
Being the only son of Poseidon made him an outcast during his first years at camp, and even now he still sensed a sort of barrier between him and the rest of camp, save for people like Annabeth, Grover, and the rest of the Seven. Percy held an amount of power that hadn't been seen for centuries, and that scared people. If he was being honest, it even scared himself. After what he did to Misery in Tartarus, Percy realized just how much of a threat his power made him. If he was ever to lose control of himself…
He might hurt those he loves the most.
All the campers seemed to understand an unspoken fact about Percy Jackson. If he was ever to fight against Camp Half-Blood, there was a good possibility that he would win. He could take the lake and drown the safe haven, or create a hurricane strong enough to break the magical force field around Camp, or maybe-
No. Percy refused to consider that last option. There was one power that he was beginning to think he might have, but he was too afraid to try it out. That sort of power would cause him to lose the trust of the campers, and Percy valued his friends too much to lose them over a stupid trick. The sheer fact that he might be able to control-
Percy's concentration broke, and the water slipped through Colby's short, chubby fingers. Percy stood and saw Jason standing about twenty yards away.
"We're having a meeting in the Big House!" he called out, waving at Percy to come over.
"No, just The Seven."
Percy ushered Colby off to go join his friends before running over to Jason.
"What's going on?" he asked. Jason looked worried.
"It's Rachel and Chiron. They received a message from the gods last night."
Jason gulped nervously, and Percy's eyebrows furrowed as he pushed on, "What sort of message?"
"The monsters are all gathering in New York."
Percy waited for Jason to continue, but the son of Zeus didn't seem to want to.
"Apparently, they're after you."