... Ugh... Hey Guys?
So, I haven't uploaded in what feels like forever, but I swear its for good reason! Rest assured, I've actually had a reason!
I've been working open to close at work for the past month or so. 8-10, if you were wondering what that might be. And its not like, everyday, but its still a lot. If I'm not opening, I'm closing. I don't really have any extra time to go to D and D, much less write.
And, uh, I'm not just writing this story. I've been writing several stories since New Years, and I hope to start posting another before I leave on my religious excursion.
Guys... I'm thinking two more chapters, but then I won't be updating for two years. No exceptions, no other reason that I could. Maybe I could try to write ahead...? I could try, I suppose. Then I could have a friend possibly update again? It depends if I can write that much before the end of May. I'll try.
Disclaimer: I'm not Rick. I'm not Marvel. I doubt they'd even sue.
He was voted 'most likely not to accidentally squash the bug' in the group. A strange title, seeing as Zeus himself probably crushed the opposition like they were bugs on a regular basis. Jason asked himself, daily, how he hadn't ended up like his dad. He wasn't… uh... 'self assured' like his dad. He wasn't really all that power-hungry… and Zeus wouldn't be caught dead in glasses, he supposed.
But then again, why did Piper not act like all the other Aphrodite girls? Why did she shy away from the limelight, while everyone else seemed to claw their way to it?
Jason had two possible answers:
He had once had that kind of power and spotlight when he was Praetor, and Piper was constantly in the limelight because of her father. They'd had it- they knew the ugly side, and were against it.
As corny as it sounded (he was just getting cornier, wasn't he?), when he'd ended up at Camp Halfblood all those years ago… priorities changed. Love changed him.
Yep. He was married to an Aphrodite girl.
But his theories were just gaining more weight, at least to him- especially when it came to opposites. Nico's dreary, Underworld attitude became fun-loving when Will was there to 'brighten' his day. Annabeth had been a stubborn, thick headed individual (which became evident when Percy left), but with Percy's loose, go-with-the-flow attitude, she relaxed.
And true love always beat power. Every single time.
So, anyways, after the incident on the beach, there had been a lot of debating. They weren't going to throw Percy into the ocean, they weren't going to leave him shrunken… and that was basically all they had established. Thalia raised Hell, Jason intervened, and they all went to bed cranky.
Things got worse when they couldn't find Hope. They'd searched everywhere, but even after an entire day of searching the area they couldn't find her. They'd all split up, running through the three different towns the island had and countless backroads. They'd had to look into the glass and tell Percy that his sister was missing.
Percy hadn't so much as moved. Jason wasn't sure what that could mean, and it scared him.
What they had found were the return tickets to Ketchikan, and the tickets from the airport there to San Francisco. Piper had argued that they couldn't- that she wouldn't leave until they had found Hope, but Thalia had overruled her. Thalia believed Percy wouldn't have kept her in Alaska without an escape route- he was smarter than that.
Jason had backed Piper, everyone else had backed Thalia. So began the failing trust that seemed to be enveloping the group.
"I messed up." Piper said for the hundredth time since they'd boarded their ferry. She was leaning over the railing, as if she was about to be sick. She certainly looked like she was about to be sick. Jason stood beside her, half an eye on her and half an eye on the jar at their feet.
He'd been rather quiet lately, which… could you really blame him? The fact that a god had given her a magical jar that could've killed Percy- the fact that she used it -was reason to question his wife, right? She had been the one throwing her full support at Percy, and then she's the one to stop him?
Jason didn't know how to take it. All he knew was that he'd back his wife, because she would do the same for him. Everytime.
So he reached around her and grabbed onto her shoulder, pulling her closer until she was tucked against his side. She put her head on his shoulder, sniffling.
This was the thing that Thalia needed to see and understand- Piper sometimes cried. She sometimes really became self-conscious and frustrated at herself. Hollywood did that to her, in his opinion- she'd been adrift and confused because she didn't understand why her dad was attending parties rather than watching movies with her.
Thalia took that as a sign of weakness- having another person who's opinion mattered (beyond Artemis). If Jason really thought about it, Thalia seemed a bit more Roman in that sense- she was always so quick to eliminate weakness in herself. And if it hurt her, she considered it a weakness.
Jason watched as his wife quietly cried, staring out over the water and not meeting his eye. He knew she blamed herself- For Percy's capture, for Hope's disappearance… even for Percy leaving in the first place. It was something they would all probably feel. It was something that hurt Thalia- a weakness.
"I shouldn't have used charmspeak on him." She whispered. Her hands gripped the railing forcefully. "Why did I use charmspeak on him? And why didn't he tell us he was deaf?" She asked. Jason knew not to answer. She was asking herself, not him. He let the water and wind pass by, pretending not to hear. In reality, he was storing away every question, intent on giving her his answer when she'd be able to listen to it.
"I can't believe that happened. But why did he try to leave us? Why can't he just see what we were offering him?" She said, murmuring and burying herself further into his shoulder. A particularly powerful gust had her hair fanning all over Jason's face. He tried to move it away without seeming uncomfortable. If Piper thought he was uncomfortable, she'd think it was her and back away. Jason didn't want that.
Eventually, though, Piper backed away from him anyways. She had her arms wrapped around herself and an expression of that made Jason feel pure heartbreak. She quietly excused herself to go to the snackbar and asked if he wanted anything. "I'd like to come with you, actually." He said.
She gave him a watery smile, motioning for him to follow her. He pulled the string backpack further up on his shoulder, careful not to jostle it too much. After all, he was carrying a potentially angry, bug-sized son of Poseidon. Should they see each other after he was free ('When we free him' Jason reminded himself), Jason would rather Percy remember how well they treated him.
Piper and him both got salads, which he knew would make Piper feel less in turmoil than she was currently in. They found a table right next to one of the many windows that overlooked the sea, and Jason gingerly put the backpack under his seat, making sure Percy was fine (as fine as he could be stuck in a jar). Piper noticed, biting her lip. "You should take him out and put him on the window sill or something. I'd be sick of looking at the same inside of a sack." She suggested.
Jason hesitated, immediately going back to eating and trying not to look too obvious when observing his wife. She had gone back to eating as well, trying to look casual as well. He frowned into his food, trying to pick a crouton out of the lettuce. Currently, his wife's health was his greatest concern. Jason took extra care in moving the jar to the window. Piper smiled.
A few people in the room gave them strange looks, but ultimately paid the two of them no mind. With the Mist, there was no telling what the mortals saw. Jason figured that Percy probably looked like a really weird bug, or maybe a goldfish (a really angry goldfish). Either way, when Piper started paying closer attention to the jar and less on her salad, Jason grabbed a hold of her hand. Maybe it was time to speak his mind.
"You know, when it comes right down to it, I probably would've done the same thing." He said, and Piper immediately went stone-faced, looking away from her husband. Having none of that, he kept talking, tugging on her wrist. "Really though. It wasn't the worst thing you could've done."
She snorted, her kaleidoscope flashing humorlessly. "Yeah, right. Jason, I trapped one of our best friends in a jar-"
"And I shot him across the ocean." Jason countered, faking pride. "I think mine had a bit more… umph to it, you know?" He said. Her lips twitched, but she immediately looked away. Jason sighed. When Piper wanted to be in a bad mood, she was very careful around him. His job was to keep her happy. He kept his grip on her wrist firm. "Hey. Keep talking to me."
"I don't want to." She admitted, looking out over the water. "I just want to fix this- I want to get him out of the jar. Before we make it back to Camp Jupiter." She said, biting her lip. "What if the gods come looking for us, and they find Percy like this?" She asked.
Jason didn't want to think about it. Percy's odds of surviving were dropped exponentially if he didn't get out of the jar. But the only way to open the jar might very well be god… and if Poseidon made it, what if only Poseidon could open it?
Jason heard very little from the gods, even though he worked hard to keep them all happy. It was hard, considering that the few minor gods he spoke to were so opinionated- they wanted to be more than recognized by the mortals, they wanted other gods to know who they were. To be envied. It wasn't his job to do that, of course, but still…
The major gods were different. They were already on top- and they wanted to keep it that way. They talked even less to mortals, and with all the recurring bouts of silences ordered by Zeus, it was becoming too much. Jason didn't have to really talk to them (they were already well represented enough), but he still took their input into account when they had opinions on how the minor gods and goddesses should be treated.
But never Poseidon.
Poseidon had seemed withdrawn, by godly standards. Jason had heard plenty of grumblings from other gods and goddesses about how reclusive the god had become. He'd even had to help his wife, Amphitrite (a job he'd absolutely hated at the time) with an alter that might be made somewhere along the beach at Camp Halfblood. Even she'd muttered a few things about her husband acting strange.
At the time, Jason had immediately gone to the idea he might be with another mortal woman, but together with other gods grumbling about him… what if it was more? His suspicions were being aroused now, and he looked at Percy, stuck in a glass jar and helpless. "But why isn't he dead?" Jason asked no one in particular.
Piper, of course, heard him. "Hmm?" She asked, frowning. Jason looked at his wife, confused.
"Poseidon gave you the jar, and told you it would capture Percy and then you were supposed to throw it into the ocean. Why? Why not make something that would just kill Percy instead?" He asked. Piper blinked, dropping her fork and giving her husband a weird look.
"Maybe he knew I wouldn't ever do that. You know I wouldn't ever do that to anyone." She said, as if seeking an answer for herself. Jason grasped her hand, suddenly on 'reassuring husband mode'.
"Of course you wouldn't. Especially Percy. But Poseidon could've easily lied about it, too. He could've manipulated you and made you accidentally kill Percy." He said, a million thoughts going through his mind. "But why only capture him, instead?" Jason asked himself, leaning back in his chair.
Piper sat across from him, and judging by the look of horror on her face she was imagining a different scenario playing out on that beach a few hours ago. "Oh gods, I could've killed him." She said.
"But you didn't. You wouldn't have- Poseidon would have. But why not just kill Percy and be done with it? That's what the gods would've wanted, right? Percy gone before he even starts his quest." Jason asked. The answer was on the tip of his tongue, he knew… he just couldn't figure it out. He had to grasp at it.
"Not all the gods would've." Piper said, now following his train of thought. Jason snapped his fingers. That was the answer. Piper continued on. "Artemis didn't want him dead, or so Thalia said. Hermes, Aphrodite, Apollo… that's a third of the council already. But I thought Poseidon was with Zeus."
Jason shook his head. "Poseidon and Zeus barely ever got along well with one another when it came to kids. Why would Poseidon agree to hurt Percy?"
"Common goals." Piper said. "It's when all the gods ever got along- when they had to fight against something."
"But Zeus would want Percy dead-" Jason started.
"-So why would Poseidon want him alive?" Piper finished, wide eyed.
Jason shook his head. He didn't know why, but this was bigger than what they'd all been led to believe. The gods were hiding something. Something that involved killing off their two-time savior of Olympus. "I don't know what it is yet, but we need to-"
The boat shifted so suddenly, Jason was thrown out of the booth and across the room like a ragdoll. His breath was forced out of his lungs as he hit the snack bar. Hard. He heard voices around him, agitated and nervous echoes from other passengers, but he was too busy trying to get the spots out of his eyes. Piper was still in her seat, miraculously, her hands gripped tight to the table. Her face was chalk white.
Jason went to get back onto his feet, but as he put weight on his hand he slipped on something. Jason's eyes widened. The jar.
He practically dived for the container, his hands slipping around it and gripping it tightly against his chest with one hand as he stood up. His stomach rolled as the ship rocked again. Other people that had been thrown onto the floor were trying to stand as well. A few of them had green faces, and Jason didn't doubt his face was just as twisted. So much for having an iron stomach at sea.
He checked the glass and his eyes widened in astonishment. The glass had a spider web of cracks starting near the bottom of the jar and moving around the entire container. It must've flown across the room faster than he did! It looked like it should've been shattered, but even as he watched the glass started to mend itself. The hairline fractures began to disappear.
(Bug Percy was watching in fascination, but Jason couldn't see it all that well.)
The ship lurched forward again, still abruptly but not as badly as before. This time Jason stayed on his feet, shifting with it like when Piper had taught him how to balance on a surfboard. He made his way over the uneven floor towards his wife, who was already starting to stand. He gripped her arm tightly as the sound of water hitting the sides of the boat echoed around them. The sound was as throbbing as the engine.
"Are you okay?" He asked, then immediately felt his abdomen seize from inside of him. His eyes bugged out as he doubled over coughing. Piper supported him, even taking the jar from him when he almost dropped it.
"I should be asking you!" She said, helping him sit against the carpet and lean against the table booth they'd been sitting at. She set the jar down beside him, moving to keep him down and feel for injuries. His ribs felt like they were on fire. When she put her hand against it he gasped. She looked grim. "I think you cracked a rib." She said.
"I feel like I cracked the whole cage." He admitted, trying to sit up. The ship rocked again, and Piper nearly fell into him. He tried not to cry out as she reached past him to grab his backpack (how had that stayed put?) and pull out some ambrosia they'd taken from Percy's.
Other passengers in the room were starting to stand, disoriented and thrown off. The ship started to turn again, and the sun started to move across the room like a searchlight. A baby started crying somewhere, and someone started shouting, looking out of the window.
Piper nearly shoved the square into his mouth, and instantly Jason's mouth filled with happy memories. The pain started to numb, turning into a dull ache. The jar beside them started to shake, and inside Jason could hear the insistent tink tink as Percy tried to jump through it. Piper grabbed it quickly, holding it against her stomach.
"We need to find the others." Jason said, already starting to stand again. This time Piper simply nodded, but went under his arm to support him. He grabbed the backpack, putting it over his shoulder. They both started towards the door with the rest of the crowd.
Jason expected a monster, not a warzone.
Grover and Rachel had been in the observation deck at the top of the ship near the front when Piper and Jason had left them. Reyna, Thalia, and Nico had branched off to the outer deck somewhere, and most likely would already be engaging whatever enemy was tossing the ship around. Jason had wanted to search for Grover and Rachel because they were probably unarmed and hiding. No shame in that.
Piper pulled them towards the deck outside. No buts.
And judging by the way she dropped something at the same time he dropped the backpack, she was astonished as well.
There must've been dozens of them, churning up the water and keeping the ship from escape. Blues, purples, greens- flashing scales that seemed to change color the longer he looked at them. Sea serpents, taller than the boat was long, circled the ship, bearing mouths that had four sets of teeth. One of them let out a screech as loud as a sonic boom, almost making him fall.
Then the rocket slammed into the nearest serpent, and both the creature and the projectile were thrust under the water before either of them could even blink.
Whatever those bronze bullets were, they were going in on the monsters. It was, like, watching a meteor shower, but as close as you could ever get to one- they trailed fire as they slammed into the water, sometimes hitting a serpent and sometimes not. A few times, a serpent dodged the missile and hissed, boiling water pouring from it's mouth.
Just when Jason thought he might be able to speak, he heard what he initially thought were fireworks, and the cloudy sky above them was lit up as multiple, smaller rockets like the ones that killed the gryphons rained down in front of him. The explosions rocked the boat as it slammed into the monsters. Jason felt the heat against his skin as his entire view was taken up by flames.
When the flames died, though, nothing had changed. If anything, it looked like there were more monsters breaking the surface- the bullets didn't stop falling either. Small explosions went off above their heads, like artillery.
Jason was about to comment on the state of which they were in when a monstrous head breached right beside them, scales scraping against the railing and excess water falling off the creature's hide. It was even more hideous up close, it's head flattened like a hammerhead shark. It's teeth, all four sets, were bared angrily, and bits of… leftovers hung from it's mouth.
Oh, and it's three milky eyes were pointed directly at them. Jason cursed his luck, already getting ready to blast wind at it when he heard an unbearable whistling from above him.
"Duck!" Piper yelled, throwing herself and Jason back into the boat. Jason didn't have time to so much as gasp in pain before he heard the terrible noise of metal crashing and tearing against metal. When Jason finally looked up again, he saw another bullet right where they had been standing- and judging by the whirring noise that had been intentional.
Before Jason could even curse, the bullet opened just like it had before. Those rows of holes- barrels, he'd assume -all lit up as dozens of those tiny missiles started to fire. They bombarded the sea serpent in a barrage of explosions, propelling the creature out of the water and through the air. As it flew, it dissolved into boiling water, steam hissing as it hit the ocean.
Jason and Piper crawled forward, on hands and knees, until they could just barely see out onto the deck. Farther along the deck, more of those bronze bullets had implanted themselves in the hull, all firing rapidly at the creatures.
"WE NEED TO FIND THE OTHERS. NOW!" Piper screamed. Jason's ears were ringing horribly, but he nodded in agreement. Jason stood on wobbly legs, already beginning to make his way to the deck again.
They took each step slow, carefully maneuvering around the bullets- turrets -as they fired relentlessly into the ocean. Salty sea water sprayed out of the ocean in torrents, dousing him and his wife. He put her between himself and the wall, trying not to let her get too wet.
He didn't know what side effects of how too much water could affect his baby, but no doubt in his mind there would be. He commanded the wind to circulate around them, to block off the worst of it, but it didn't provide much protection. He held Piper's hand as they moved forward, inching their way to the front of the ship.
At one point, Piper had to stop him before a giant, scaly tail obliterated one of the turrets in front of them. Another minute passed and the ship lurched sideways, almost making him slam against his wife.
"WHERE DO YOU THINK THEY ARE?" Piper yelled/asked. Jason could only shake his head, escorting his wife further forward. No matter the situation, he wanted to be at the front of the ship. Maybe there he could… direct the ship… Or something.
He needed a big open deck, like the one on the Argo II all those years ago. Unobstructed views and a sense of where he was- he needed to see what he was against, and be able to formulate a plan to stop whatever was threatening him and his friends.
But this wasn't the Argo II. This was a slow-moving, bulky commercial vessel that Jason couldn't figure out how it was still floating above the surface. The bullets turned turrets were helping, sure- but they were also breaching the hull of the ship. With all the dead monsters that had turned to boiling water, adding the smoke from the turrets, visibility was almost gone as well.
Jason was starting to panic, but then his wife was squeezing his hand and he squeezed back, setting his jaw into a firm and set line. His empty fist tightened on nothing, shaking with rage and desperation. He was going to keep this ship from sinking. Even if it was the last thing he did.
Jason pulled Piper closer to his side, taking a deep breath and focusing on the air around him. The wind spirits were skittish, unwilling to help while danger was so close at hand. He couldn't force them to help him, like he'd done with the venti. He needed to calm them. He needed to calm himself down.
'It's fine. Piper is safe, and I'll keep her safe.' He repeated to himself, a mantra to keep himself moving. As his own head cleared, the wind around him became calmer. Still beyond panicked, but they were looking for something to follow. A leader. Direction.
Jason pointed his fist ahead of him, his blood pumping. The wind responded to the movement, carving a path out of the smoke and steaming air. His steps became more sure, less haphazard. Piper was right beside him, looking out for any danger that he might miss.
"Stop." Piper said, just as a large section of scaly creature whipped out of the water and in front of their faces. After it passed, Piper squeezed his hand again and they started again. Eventually, they reached a staircase leading to the deck above, and Jason guided his wife ahead of him, still keeping the wind circulating.
They repeated the process twice, and as intended ended up on the front observation deck at the tip of the ship. This section was actually closed off to passengers, but that didn't seem to apply to the other demigods already there.
Thalia looked so calm, Jason might've wondered if she'd defended a ship from sea monsters before if he wasn't focused on joining the battle. Her bow was in her hand, the carved wood somehow not straining as she shot arrow after arrow into any monster that tried to pick a fight. They were above the steam now, and the turret fire was much less pronounced, but even so each monster towered above the ship, flinching as each arrow hit their mark.
Grover and Rachel were there as well, beside Thalia. Jason didn't know what they were saying, but it like a really heated argument had erupted during the fight. Thalia didn't look amused.
Reyna was next to Nico, talking to the son of Hades in hushed tones, whom himself was simply standing there with his sword drawn. Jason was starting to wonder if any of them might be able to do any fighting when the ship pitched beneath him again. A dozen monsters were screeching directly above his head, and it was any wonder why his hearing was still intact.
Reyna spotted him first, beckoning them over. "There you are! Grace, you need to get into this game before someone gets hurt!" She said, crossing her arms. Nico trailed behind her, looking much less cheerful than usual. Jason gulped.
"Well, what's he's supposed to do? He's weaponless!" Piper screamed, clearly angrier than Jason himself.
Before anyone could say anything else, Jason saw a monstrous tail rising just off to his left, trailing hot water that doused the demigods as they spoke. It felt like minutes before it started it's descent, but when it did Jason channeled all the wind that he could and pointed it straight at the tail.
The tail turned sideways mid-air, thrown off by the wind blowing back against it's left fin but not it's right. It cracked against the deck off to his left, bending at a funny angle as it did. Judging by the much shriller, high-pitched screech that accompanied it, Jason guessed he'd just made a monster stub a fin.
"We need to get off the ship! Everyone's evacuating off of the left side of the ship!" Reyna said, pointing towards the nearest shore that Jason could see. He could also just vaguely see the orange blur of life jackets and boats already being lowered. "But you and Thalia are the only ones that can get close enough to these things!"
Piper was immediately on the defensive. "We aren't leaving him here! We just need to think for a change!" She said.
Jason shook his head. Both Grover and Rachel were making their way towards them, constantly trying to keep their balance as the ship rocked back and forth under the onslaught of sea monsters. He could only imagine one big enough swell, one false step, and someone going overboard. Piper going overboard.
"She's not wrong." Jason said, grasping his wife's arm. "Go with them. Just until you reach land. Once I know you're there, I'll be right beside you again." He promised. Piper's eyes widened. Reyna nodded, already taking her cue to leave, Mrs. Grace in tow. She was too busy blinking at him disbelievingly to struggle against Reyna.
As Grover and Rachel turned to leave, Jason grabbed Grover's arm. He gave the satyr his most serious glare. "You told me you'd keep her safe. I'm holding you to that."
Grover's mouth was set in a grime but determined line. He nodded affirmatively, already keeping pace with Reyna. All that was left was Nico.
The son of Hades didn't say anything at first. Half-soaked, his pale skin and dark demeanor stood out against the cloudy, tense sky. His hand was gripped tightly to his sword, until he offered it to Jason.
Jason looked at the blade in near disbelief, shaking his head. "Nico-"
He shoved the sword grip into Jason's hand, the leather freezing cold against his skin. "If you lose this, I'm gonna be pissed. And you'll be dead, so keep it safe."
Jason looked down at the blade, testing the weight. The whole world seemed to dull around him, losing focus. It was almost… Relaxing. Peaceful, but depressing. He gave the son of Hades a small smirk that left as quickly as it had arrived. "I was going to say, I don't work with anything less than gold-"
Nico didn't even stay for anything after that. He left Jason standing on the deck, freezing. Thalia was still at the front of the ship, firing arrow after arrow into the beasts. Jason wasn't sure how she still seemed to have a near-full quiver.
'It's about time I do something.' He thought to himself, holding the Stygian Iron sword up. He called outwards, towards the storm, and flew upwards as he did. A bolt of lightning struck the metal, lighting up like a phosphorous flare. Jason stared at it for a second, intrigued.
Then, he pointed the blade at the nearest sea monster and went to work.
'This is getting tedious.'
Percy was sweaty, tired, and smelled like whatever this jar once held for his father (probably tartar sauce). He'd had no time to sleep, each jostled movement on Jason's part felt like an earthquake, and they'd put him in the sunlight! Like it wasn't hot enough already in a glass jar!
He was lucky he'd been wearing his breastplate at the time in undershirt form. It kept him cool, gave him his helmet to use, and ropes.
He'd need at least the last two if he was going to get out of this jar.
Percy had been paying close attention to this particular trap, seeing as he'd been stuck in it for nearly a day. He'd tried jumping at it with no effect, even when using his hydro-wire to try and propel himself into it. He'd assumed it was magically sealed, so he couldn't unscrew it, either.
But it could potentially be penetrated. When the jar had gone flying across the room, Jason had seen the spider web of cracks, but what he hadn't seen was Percy cracking the inside as well. You know, using his head.
Percy just needed to hit a spot on the inside of the jar while something had to slam against the exact same spot on the outside. The jar was made to work against a force trying to break in, not out. Potentially, if Percy could weaken the outside enough, he could then bust out from the inside- free.
Looking outside the jar, Percy wasn't sure he'd use the term 'free'. Not when it looked like his father had sent gods know how many sea monsters to collect him. He'd have to fight all of them, break his way through every obstacle, and then somehow avoid his father sensing his presence as he made his way back over the ocean.
His automatons were doing their job, which was always interesting to watch- laying waste to monsters that threatened to hurt demigods. It almost thrilling to watch them work like they were supposed to. After all, they were only in beta currently. Jason and company had been the first test run.
Percy, who had been contemplating and planning his escape moments ago, paused. He wasn't free. Not by a long shot. He might never be.
He tightened his hand into a fist, wrapping around the loose wire that sprouted from behind his back and gripping it like a lifeline. The past few months were starting to weigh down on him. The Avengers finding out what he was, the government figuring out Theseus existed, the gods and demigods learning he was alive- everything aspect of his old life was forcing down one wall, and the complications of his new life was breaking down another.
He wasn't sure that he could handle both. Not at the same time, at least.
Percy knew what he'd have to do. He just… wasn't sure he'd be able to do it. Not yet, anyways.
Percy let the grip on the hydro-wire loosen. He needed to be focusing. He needed to work through what was right in front of him, not focus on the unknowable future.
He did that a lot now, though.
Percy had been sweating horribly, but now he tapped the back of his breastplate. His helmet unfolded from his neck, reaching around and covering his head in the dome of glass he'd come to refer as 'the bubble'. As it finished, the dome became it's one-way glass that Percy had come to love and the lights starting up.
"Daedalus, wakey wakey. Time to join the party." He said, letting the HUD start up. There was a loud humming as the AI in question began to load himself back into the situation. No more than a second after speaking, Percy was met with deliberate silence.
Finally, he spoke. "Percy… why are you an inch tall and stuck in a jar?" He asked. When Percy didn't respond, there was a loud sigh from the other end of the line. "Nevermind… I assume you only wish to know how to remove yourself from said container?"
"Yes please." Percy said, already testing out the hydrowire. He grabbed each cord in a hand, flipping them around his container like whips, moving them with the water already inside of them. He closed his eyes, trying to connect better with his powers. He needed to be able to feel his way out of this one.
"I've scanned the container. The lid has half a dozen air holes, if you were unaware." Daedalus said, and Percy let the wires let out more slack, climbing higher and higher like vines until they reached the top of the jar. An explosion sent the container reeling, moving away from wherever it had been moments ago, and the crashing sent Percy flying in his container. When the shaking in his head subsided, he was still in the corner of his glass prison.
Percy stood on shaky legs, scowling as he rubbed the glass and padding that probably saved his neck from breaking. He looked upwards, his helmet displaying it's targeting system but not locking onto the lid- because it wasn't there. Percy blinked a few times in confusion until the boat pitched left and the glass jar started rolling. Percy was thrown off his feet and forced into an unwanted spin cycle as he started falling towards the edge of the boat.
The weightlessness wasn't something he hadn't experienced before, but it still left his stomach rolling as he started his fall towards the ocean. Percy quickly launched both hydro wires towards the lid of the jar, desperation perfecting his aim and hooking onto the lid. He didn't even have to say anything to make the ropes pull him upwards. He shot onto the lid, and quick as a flash he crawled over to the nearest air hole.
Percy wasn't surprised he hadn't seen any air holes before because even for insect sized Percy these were small. They weren't even large enough to accommodate his arm. Something about this experience was making everything slow down, and yet Percy could sense the ocean around him as he fell.
With one hydrowire still connected to the lid of the container, Percy fit his wrist outside of the jar and let his wire fly.
He was braced when the jar went from a straight plummet downwards to arcing and slamming against the metal siding of the ship. Percy's arm was actually pulled through the hole in the container up to the shoulder, and when the bone-jarring collision happened, his shoulder popped loudly out of it's socket.
Percy yelped loudly, his arm like fire as he hung from the wire. He bit back multiple curses as the glass that had previously been cracking started to re-form itself. His HUD was projecting a holographic recreation of his skeleton, zooming in and flashing red where his shoulder met his arm.
Percy bit back another curse as he dangled from his wire. The weight on his popped shoulder was starting to make him see spots, and there was no way he could maintain control if he didn't keep focused. He'd lose control long before he passed out.
"I'm injecting a nectar stimulant into your muscle." Daedelus said. There was a whirring deep inside of Percy's breastplate as the thousands of micro stimulates in the armor moved in tangent with one another. All stimulants and injectors were stored together in between microfiber layers of his armor, and with a simple command from Daedelus, the liquids pushed everything but nectar to his shoulder. The injector, a near hair-sized needle, (painfully) pushed the desired stimulant into his shoulder.
The relief was instantaneous, but Percy's vision was still blurring. With a great deal of effort, Percy took his free arm and pointed it downwards towards the bottom of the jar. His other wire fell down limply, but the three adhesive-tipped claws immediately gripped to the container like glue when they touched the bottom.
Percy felt like he was being torn apart, but he quickly spoke into his HUD before the ropes could do that. "Connect the wires to one another and eject the length." He said, and so it was done. Near his shoulder blades, the two wire storing units detached the wiring, but locked the ones already outside of his suit together at the same time. The weight was taken from Percy, and the jar was held taut while he was left hanging like an idiot from what looked like a rope up his sleeves.
Percy slid down the rope until he was at the bottom of the jar, then quickly detangled himself. He was breathing heavily, but his shoulder was in much better condition when he popped the joint back into place (again, painfully). He did a few experimental swings before feeling confident enough to use it again.
There was still a war going on outside, but in his own little bubble he could work unimpeded. These creatures weren't here to capture him, they were just supposed to sink the ship or something. Once he touched the water while in the jar, Percy would be captured. These creatures would leave, or maybe destroy the ship. Percy went to work quickly, suiting up.
His breastplate was already on, and he designed it very specifically. He pulled his gloves and gauntlets from his belt and put them on, connecting the remaining wires from his back to the gauntlets. He probably looked kind of funny, wearing a black chestplate without a shirt on underneath, gauntlets and gloves with wires connecting to them matched with blue jeans and tennis shoes. And that didn't even mention the fact he had a glass bowl on his head and was the size of an ant.
"Thank you." Percy said, already moving to start the next part of his plan. He didn't have his pistols (no guns around Hope. No exceptions.), but it wasn't like they would penetrate the glass anyways. The wire that hung between the jar and the ship's hull vibrated loudly (for his small ears) and the ground beneath his feet swung dangerously. He brought his hand up to his helmet, adjusting sound to remove all the background noise. "Daedelus, I need a Bullet next to me."
"And when would you like it delivered?" The inventor said, and no amount of voice filters could remove the sarcasm that laced the few thousand-year-old highway builder's voice. Percy, satisfied with his hearing settings, began to measure angles with his HUD, trying to figure out where the best place to put his escape was. He marked the place where he would need the Bullet.
"Ten minutes ago, if you please." Percy replied dryly, taking a few steps back. He put his wrist upwards, aiming his wrist gauntlet towards the lid. He put his hand into a fist, shooting a length of hydrowire like a bullet from a gun. It latched onto the lid silently, and Percy gripped it in his hand while he rose off the ground, retracting the wire. Meanwhile, a jarring and muted explosion appeared right in front of him as one of his 'Bullets' impaled itself where he'd marked it to.
Percy was hanging precariously from his wire, swaying in the wind with the jar itself. Monsters and Bullets flashed by off to his left while lightning and thunder penetrated the filters in his helmet. Worry started to gnaw at the back of his mind. This was a lot of action, and Zeus wouldn't ignore it for long. He might not be able to appear, but Percy wasn't counting out monsters on his leash. His Bullets wouldn't be able to defend against such an overwhelming attack.
"Am I to assume the plan is to blow the jar apart?" Daedalus asked. Percy didn't respond. It was a stupid idea, and Daedalus knew it.
It was also his idea, and he didn't want anymore criticism.
"It's designed to keep anything from getting out, not anything getting in." Percy said, more so explaining to himself than Daedalus. "If I apply enough force to the outside, maybe I can crack it enough to get out." He said, already tapping instructions into his helmet.
"You realize that even if you crack the entire jar, you will need to smash your way out as well." He said. "If you smash into the glass even a moment too soon or late, you could be reduced to a liquid from the shock."
Percy, in fact, did know that. He remained silent, all his concentration focused on the angles and the math that might prevent himself from liquidizing. He did a few practice swings, watching the barrels of the Bullet staring him down. It was prepped and ready. All it was waiting for was his command. He pulled Riptide from the sheath in his neck, the familiar weight almost comforting.
"On my signal."
The world was already going to Tartarus when the explosion confirmed his suspicion that the boat was lost.
Up until the explosion that blew the entire right side of the ship to smithereens, Jason thought he'd been doing pretty good fighting off the endless waves of sea monsters. Stygian Iron, Jason thought, was a dangerous metal. When first meeting Nico, and being introduced to the weapon, he'd been scared. It radiated darkness and sucked heat away. It was so opposite of himself, Jason wasn't sure he'd want it around him. It worried him.
It was freezing his hand off.
Holding the weapon felt wrong- not just because it was lighter than what he was used to, but the grip was all wonky. Everything about it was setting off warning bells in his head, telling him to put it down and fistfight with the monsters instead. And it was freezing his hand off. The skin around his hand felt like it was going numb.
But it slayed.
Lightning absorbed into the blade like water in a sponge, reverberating along the metal and making it hum like a car engine. The light that was sucked from around him and kept the glare that usually hit his glasses away (which was admittedly nice). His gladius couldn't do anything like it before. Every scratch against a sea monster was a one hit kill, the creature seizing and smoking, fried instantly from the inside out.
Stygian Iron + Son of Zeus = Overpowered
While he was in the air, weaving between each monster and trying not to end up bitten in half, Thalia was still on the deck of the ship. She had her own hands full, and Jason trusted her to keep herself alive, but every now and then he would spare her a glance. Her arrows were bound to run out eventually, and it was unlikely that she'd be able to retrieve any of the ones she'd shot.
So when the heat of the fire onboard the ship was starting to become too hot for him to handle, Jason flew up as high as possible and tried to make sense of the sight below him.
The lifeboats were already almost to the shore, the waves and paddles pushing them to land in a frenzy to escape the carnage. Of course Jason couldn't pick out Piper from anyone else, but he sighed in relief when he realized none of the monsters had gone after them.
But his sister wasn't on any of the lifeboats. Thalia was on the ship still, and she had run out of arrows.
She had started at the front of the ship, just as he had, but now the deck where they had stood was jagged metal and smoke. It looked like the deck had been pried open with a can opener, almost. Jason could actually follow the carnage of where Thalia had been.
From the front deck, she'd climbed to the top of the… where do you steer the ship? Jason didn't know what it was called, but all the windows had been smashed and he was pretty sure a chunk of it had been taken out. The entire roof of the boot was nearly torn off as well, and from then moving to the back of the boat, it looked like the ship had huge bites taken from it.
Through the smoke, Jason could see her jumping around what was left of the deck, dodging the dozen or so creatures that were trying to snap her up. As far up as he was, it was easy to see that she was now carrying a spear and her shield. He winced at just the memory of it being pulled out last.
Jason dived, sword awkwardly hanging in his grip as he did. The wind whistled around him, and he tore through the nearest sea monster as he passed it. It fell with a sickening screech, causing the ship to lurch as it crashed into the ship. 'Landing' was a bit of stretch, considering he was thrown off balance the moment his feet touched down.
"Good to see you, little brother." She said, jumping left as another head slammed into the deck beside her. The jarring movement shook his bones, and his teeth felt like they were chattering.
He stood quickly though, hefting the sword and moving it into a two-handed grip when he thought he would drop it. He brought it down onto the creature's neck, and the noise the blade made when it sliced through reminded him of when he'd get another strip on his forearm for years served. It made him wince in almost-sympathy.
"Tell me when the lifeboats are on the beach! I think I lost my glasses over the water!" He said, frowning. He must've just lost them, and that made him a bit mad. He hadn't had to replace his glasses for, like, two whole months. He didn't even receive any confirmation that she'd heard, but it didn't matter quite yet.
They fought, side by side and back to back. He did some flying sweeps every once in awhile, but generally he stayed on the boat, beside his sister. He was gritting his teeth, trying really hard not to drop Nico's sword. It might've just been him, but he was starting to feel a burning sensation. Never a good sign.
Just when he was starting to doubt he'd be able to hold it any longer, Thalia shouted off to his left. "They're all there! Everyones-!" Before she could even say anything else, Jason channeled his inner airbender and pushed as much wind away from himself as fast as it could go. The creatures all recoiled, probably not used to being dry. Those bullet things were, somehow, still falling out of the sky.
Holding the sword was too much. Jason looked at it, then at his pants, and he made the hardest decision he'd had to make in a long time.
Jason sheathed the sword into his front pocket and through his pants. The metal cut easily through the fabric, but his leg instantly got cold and he had to wince knowing he'd just ruined one of his favorite pairs of jeans. His hands felt better, kind of, which was good considering his next task.
Jason grabbed Thalia under her shoulders, her spear and shield clenched tightly in her hands as he took off, straining with the effort of picking up an immortal-fifteen year old with half frozen hands. She didn't squirm, luckily, because if she had he might've gotten a chunk of him bitten off as he flew between two winded sea monsters.
"I knew you were going to do that!" She screamed, retracting both her shield and spear back to their smaller, more manageable objects. Jason didn't speak, already struggling to fly them both to land. He could hear the roars of angry monsters, and somehow he doubled his speed. Thalia had gone limp in his grip.
As they approached the island, his blurry vision wasn't appreciated. He couldn't distinguish one person wearing an orange life vest. When they reached well past the beach, Jason and Thalia both tumbled onto the rough grass and mulch covered ground. Nico's sword pressed against the side of his leg, freezing.
Just as he was standing, Jason felt a fist crash into his shoulder. He looked over to see Thalia standing over him, pissed. She got right in his face, pointing an accusing finger up against his nose. "If you ever do that without my permission again, I will kill you." She said, teeth grinding together.
Before Jason could respond, he was tackled from behind. Knocked down and winded, his eyes half focused on the form of his wife as she straddled him, her finger now exactly where Thalia's had been. Her face was pinched up in anger. "If you ever stay behind to fight the monsters and send me to safety again, our child will never know his father, you hear me?" She screamed.
Jason blinked a few times, trying to comprehend the many threats being sent his way. Finally, he processed the one he deemed most important. "Wait, you'd seriously divorce me if I saved your life?"
Piper rolled her eyes. Everyone was crowded around them, along with a few random people that were resting against rocks, trees, etc. No one was paying them much attention, probably still in shock at the fact they'd just survived a boat sinking. "No, I'd kill you first." She said, standing and offering her hand.
Jason decided he could live with that, knowing she wouldn't be able to kill him (his snuggles were irreplaceable. Her own words). When he was standing, she began wiping all the mulch and gunk from his shirt and pants. She raised an eyebrow when she saw the hilt of Nico's sword, then grabbed it and pulled the sword out of his pants.
Nico walked forward, grabbing the weapon from Piper and inspecting it closely. Jason watched in befuddlement, his hands twitching as he looked at the weapon. How did Nico even carry that thing? Was he immune? Was Jason just allergic?
As Jason was debating getting an updated tetanus shot, Grover spoke. "Does anyone know where Percy is?"
Everyone froze. Jason looked between each and every person standing around him. Half of them had gaping mouths, and finally Piper let out a horrified gasp, her hand flying to her mouth.
"I- I dropped him." She said, her tone grave. Jason's eyes almost bulged out of his head. He remembered it, the moment they'd both seen the destruction. He'd heard the jar fall.
Thalia was the first to recover, though she looked too shocked to be angry. "What do you mean you dropped him?"
"On the lifeboat?" Grover asked quietly, hopeful. Piper shook her head, mouth still covered and tears falling freely down her face.
Jason and the rest of them looked past the trees, into the smoke and fire that shone off of the water. It looked horrible, all broken and sinking. Jason felt a lump forming in his throat.
Percy had been left on that ship. Those monsters had been sent to collect him… He might already be halfway to Poseidon.
Important stuff at the top, as usual! It does relate to this story!
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