Guys I have had the day from absolutely crazy cuckoo land. So. I'm at work, I started at 5pm, and the Christmas dinner party I'm attending is full of cokeheads who keep going into the toilets for five seconds at a time and come out sniffing, someone OVERDOSES, my co-worker has to do CPR, then they get the defibrillator because my mans DIES, then the ambulance arrives and takes him, the dinner is a mess, I sat with the guy I like while he smoked for a while, then we cleared the room at 1am, nicked all the sweets from the table and some fool who left a box of Heroes behind, my boss ordered McDonalds, we pulled some Christmas crackers, I found a clip on moustache, wore it for a while, until some drunk guys came up to us in the corridor and one of them found it so funny he HUGGED me, the other FISTBUMPED me, upstairs one friend got an £80 tip, another got sworn at, another got insulted, then around 4am when we all finished (illegal shift as I'm under 18), my boss poured us all pints of cider (again, illegal) and we had an impromptu therapy session sat in a chair circle in the hall, then my- slightly handsy- boss gave me a lift home and I'm pretty sure he was tipsy because I was deffo a little tipsy (do I have to mention illegal again), which meant I just babbled to him nonstop for 20 minutes and told him about the fucking terrifying bout of sleep paralysis I had the night before, where I woke up, couldn't move, and heard tiny footsteps SPRINTING round and round my bed, then stopping at my head, which I COULD NOT MOVE,,, scary shit yall, woke up and cried :( either way, home at 5am what a night.

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Chapter 57

Jason IV

Jason grabbed the nearest kid by the scruff of his neck, and shoved him into the crowd rushing to get back to the dining pavilion, where kids of Hecate were putting up shiny blue barriers with intense looks of concentration on their faces.

He stepped up on a rock nearby, peering through the trees and around the cabins to see if anyone was being left behind. The only other person he could see was Percy. He was facing away from him, and slowly walking towards the field. Jason could see his hands shaking. He frowned sympathetically- Percy hadn't been doing so good since he came back, and Jason guessed he was scared. He hopped down and rushed over to him.

"Percy, bro, we gotta go!" he urged, "It's not safe here."

Percy just stared at something across the field. Jason turned his head. Oh wow. There were a lot of monsters poking their heads out of smoke-filled forest. The army hissed and bayed from the trees; they weren't attacking just yet, and Jason wasn't going to stick around to find out why. He flung an arm around Percy's shoulders, and half dragged him away. Percy shook him off with a scowl, but seemed to very unwillingly relent. He followed Jason through the barrier, though Jason could see him turning back to look with every other step.

In the pavilion, everyone was shouting and panicking. It took both Reyna and Annabeth bellowing at the top of their lungs to get quiet: "Shut up!" they shouted.

A tense silence fell, but soon questions were being fired at them. Some kids still had wet blood dripping from their hands. Annabeth and Reyna stood on the same table, Chiron stood right next to them, and they both looked irritably overwhelmed.

"Why are they dead?"

"What's going on?"

"You've brought them right to our doorstep!" That one got another wave of angry mutters.

"What exactly is going on?"

"Look, we know just as much as you do!" Annabeth wasn't having any of it. "Did anyone see anything at all?"

Jason looked around. Everyone was mumbling; no one had any ideas. The Hecate kids were straining to maintain a barrier, but it held nevertheless. That made him think for a second.

"What if they're shooting arrows at us?" he shouted, hoping that the contribution of an actual theory would shut people up.

It did, and soon people were raising their shields up defensively.

"I didn't see any arrows!" Clarisse shouted.

"Me neither!" said a freckly boy in confident confirmation, Jason thought his name was Will?

"They could be invisible?" Hazel offered. "Arrows can be enchanted to be unseen, can't they?"

But Chiron was shaking his head in a way that made Jason's heart sink. He breathed in and out to calm his racing heart, looking around for Piper in the crowd, nearly knocking over the kid next to him, a son of Mercury Jason knew from New Rome, Tyler. A heavy pendant hung around his neck. Jason spotted Piper stood by a column; she looked worried, and Jason wanted nothing more than to go over to her and hold her.

"Those weren't arrow wounds, my dear." Chiron said, the rare grey hairs on his head looking more prominent than ever.

"Those were knives." Reyna said definitively.

"Maybe the monsters themselves were invisible?" Leo shrugged.

Suddenly everyone seemed a lot more aware of each other. Jason felt Percy stiffen next to him, then turn his head as if he was searching for someone, or something. People waved their hands in empty spaces, yanking them back as if they'd put their hands in fire. Jason waggled his foot in the gap between him and Leo. They shrugged at each other.

And then Jason was knocked to the side slightly, shoved into Leo, who fell into Frank's armpit with an 'oof'. He span around to see the crowd parting like the sea, and Percy and Tyler clearly in the middle of it.

Percy was gripping the collar of Tyler's shirt, shoving him backwards. He pinned him up against a stone pillar with a loud thump, practically snarling in his face. His other hand curled around the pendant Tyler wore. He seemed to be hissing at him; Tyler's face was white as snow.

"Hey, hey, hey-!" Jason weaved his way through, putting a hand on Percy's shoulder. "Let him go! What are you doing?"

"It's him!" Percy snapped, and the tips of Tyler's trainers scraped the floor as he was lifted into the air slightly.

"What's him?" Jason asked in exasperation and confusion- what the schist was he doing?

Tyler began to flail, kicking his legs out, but Percy wasn't letting him go.

"Percy!" Chiron cried. "Put him down this instant!"

"No!" Percy slammed him into the pillar again, "It's him! He killed them!"

Jason gestured to Frank, who was watching with wide eyes, and they both regretfully stepped forwards, wrenching the kid out of his grip and pinning his arms to his sides. Percy lunged once more for the kid, but they held his arms tightly, and Percy didn't seem to want to fight them enough to break free.

Tyler trembled where he had fallen, soldiers and campers around him helping him up. They gave the restrained son of Poseidon a wide berth from where he was now glaring daggers at him.

"Percy! Hey, look at me! Look at me." Jason waved a hand in front of Percy's face, "Man, what was that? What do you mean he killed them?"

Jason wanted to help Percy, he really did. Tyler looked scared out of his wits, but Jason wanted to believe that even if Percy's anger was misdirected, that he at least had a reason for it, rather than just blaming the nearest demigod.

"Let go of me." Percy snapped, and he and Frank backed off a little, but Frank still rested a hand on Percy's shoulder.

"Percy-?" Chiron seemed to be waiting for an explanation.

Percy held up Tyler's pendant in his hand. The string had snapped from where Percy had ripped it off him, but other than that it was intact.

"Hey!" Tyler's voice piped up, "My mum gave me that!"

"Liar." Percy hissed at him, and Jason readied himself to intercept the pair, but Percy just held it up in the air. "I've seen this before," he said, "It turns you invisible."

Jason raised his eyebrows. Right.

"You sure, Perce?" he tried, "Tyler wasn't invisible when he was wearing it."

"No, I know that!" Percy cut him off impatiently, and Jason was starting to wonder if the guy had more anger issues than he had let on, "You have to activate it somehow. I- I just don't know how."

Jason couldn't help it; he caught Piper's eye, and she raised her eyebrows too.

"Look, man, we've all had some crazy days recently, you know, tensions are running high-"

"I'm not making this up!" Percy shouted, looking like he wanted nothing more than to beat the living daylights out of Tyler, who was surrounded by demigods, and wincing as they caught the bruises forming on his arms.

"Calm down, Percy." Chiron said, "We believe that you believe this. We'll sort this out."

He looked a little worried about Percy's mental state, but then again, Jason thought, so did everyone. Annabeth had stepped down from the table, and came over to Percy. She murmured something to him that Jason couldn't catch, and he nodded, clear relief on his face. Annabeth beckoned a girl over to them, a daughter of Hecate, he presumed, as she was helping to hold the barrier.

The girl- Lou Ellen, he heard- joined them in the middle.

Annabeth held out the pendant in one hand.

"Can you tell if there is magic in this?" she asked her.

"I'll have a go." Lou Ellen replied, holding out her hands, where Annabeth put the necklace.

Jason glanced over to Tyler, who had stepped out of the shade of the pillar and was watching the interaction closely. Jason furrowed his brow. He thought it might be down to the light or something, but… didn't Tyler have blue eyes? The same blue eyes as his father Mercury?

Because right now, his eyes were a dark shade of brown.

Lou Ellen gasped as Jason moved slowly closer to the boy.

"This is definitely magical." she said.

"It's enchanted for protection." Tyler protested, pointing a finger towards Percy, who had a vindictive curl of his lip creeping across his face, "He's making this up to blame me! How do we know he didn't do it?"

Jason was moving before he even realised what he had seen.

He grabbed Tyler's wrist, shoving his sleeve down with his other hand. Everyone around them gasped.

His veins were black under his skin.

"And I swear you had blue eyes!" Jason accused him, receiving nods in agreement from the other demigods around him, some looking on in horror, those who had helped him now backing away.

"I've always had brown eyes!" Tyler seemed perplexed at the turn of events, but while Jason was a little unsure, he knew he was lying.

"Your veins?" he shook the boys wrist limply in his face.

"That's literally just dirt." Tyler snatched back his arm.

"Right." Jason said with a tight smile. "Naturally."

They locked eyes in a stare off; Tyler was good- his lip wobbled, his eyes were moist and blinking, he had his arms crossed defensively. It was too good. Too polished. He ran a hand through his blonde hair. If Jason's father wasn't the God of Justice, he'd almost be convinced. Instead, he nodded, accepting Tyler's unspoken challenge. Short of bashing his sword into his nose, Jason didn't know how he was going to prove it. And then he did.

"Frank, let Percy go." he said, without breaking eye contact.

Ah. There was a flicker of something in his face there.

Sure enough, Percy joined him at his side quietly. There was no desperation to be believed in him anymore, just a vicious glint in his eyes at being proved right.

"You two are crazy, you know that?" Tyler took a step back, shaking his brown hair. "Why would I go around killing demigods?"

"Because you're working for Gaia." Percy said, his rough voice making him just a little more intimidating.

"No, I'm not!"

"You're lying."

"No! I'm not!"

"Your heart skips a beat every time you lie, you know that?" Percy hissed at him, and Jason didn't even realise that they had been advancing on him until he heard Tyler's back hit the stone pavilion pillar.

Jason gave Percy a side glance. He presumed Percy was lying to try to and scare him into letting something slip, and it was kind of working. Tyler's glance was flicking from side to side, looking to appeal to anyone who met his eye. Jason thought Chiron might step in, but he was talking to Annabeth in low tones, clearly uneasy at their interrogation but unwilling to step in, as there was a good chance it was Tyler doing it. No one else seemed to want to come inbetween him and Percy.

Jason stepped in; he couldn't help feeling sorry for the kid- he truly believed he was guilty, but Percy looked ten seconds away from knocking his front teeth out, and they wouldn't get any information that way.

"Look, man." Jason started. "Just tell us the truth. It's going to come out one way or another- at least this way no one else gets hurt. This is your last chance."

Percy sent him a look, a 'are you seriously playing Good Cop right now?' look, and Jason ignored him. It worked.

The kid dropped all pretence.

"Fine. Whatever." he shrugged, and the brown veins crept up his face like a magician had whipped a tablecloth off of him, revealing his true self underneath. "Yeah, of course I'm with Gaia. I'm not an idiot."

Jason blinked. That was quick. Everyone backed off, some taking out weapons defensively. Percy rested his hand on the hilt of the sword strapped to his back. Juno's gladius hung close to Jason's hand, but he held off; Tyler wasn't a fighter. That was clear to see. He had a lean body, muscles gained from evading and training rather than questing and fighting. He was seventeen, and this was likely the first time he had ever left New Rome. Ah. Jason remembered a key bit of information too late.

"You're friends with Octavian." he recalled.

Tyler nodded. "He introduced us. I didn't believe, not truly, until I met her, but now I know. There's no way you can win. This only ends bloody. Just join the rest of us, it's the only way you're gonna survive this."

Jason shook his head; the kid was completely brainwashed. "You're wrong."

"No, I'm not." Tyler said, almost disappointedly. "You just don't understand. But you will. You all will."

His assertion was met with a variety of murderous glares and cold disbelief.

Tyler sighed. "Good thing I carry the spare." he said, and he pulled out another stone pendant before they could stop him, threw it about his neck, and vanished.

This time, both Jason and Percy took out their swords, and Frank held his spear tightly in both hands. Jason could feel the air rippling around where he presumed Tyler was, but it quickly faded, as he guessed he had run away in the opposite direction.

"We're sitting ducks here." Leo said, fiddling with a hammer in his hand nervously. Jason turned his back to him slightly, in order to defend him better.

"He's the one killing people." Jason said.

"No." Annabeth said, stood back up on the table again. He saw her chest rise and fall steadily as her gaze swept the room like a missile launch system. "The deaths were too quick and too far away from each other. He said 'us'."

'Us', Jason thought.

He joined her in her scans, his head whipping from side to side. The tension in the air was so thick it probably could have stopped any arrow mid-air.

His eyes landed on a stone pendant around the neck of a pretty girl stood a little further away from Hazel, who was yet to notice. Then he saw another, worn by a rough looking guy with a large spear. They both had dark eyes, and when they smiled at him, the same way a predator smiles at its food, darkness rushed through the veins of their faces.

"There!" Jason yelled.

"Over here!" Annabeth cried at the same time.

The pair he was watching touched their necklaces and vanished, just like Tyler.

Along with about a dozen other kids.

The panic was back full time, and they all had to bellow over the hubbub until a general plan was met. Jason lifted his sword in the air.

"On me!" he shouted, before taking off.

Everyone followed him, thank the Gods, and Jason hurried towards his cabin. As one of the biggest, Cabin One would hold everyone until they could figure out what to do. Leo was right- having the whole armies out there was like stringing them all up from the trees and painting targets on their chests. He just needed to get them all safe and accounted for, and at least in one building, anyone seen acting suspicious would get their lights punched out by the nearest kid of Mars. He felt like he was herding sheep. Chiron had ridden ahead, and was at the door when Jason arrived. He prayed his dad wouldn't smite them all for being in his cabin. They funnelled in there, single file, leaving no spaces for any unwanted guests.

Piper found him, and they gripped hands tightly.

"It's gonna be okay." she told him.

"You too." he said, which didn't make sense, but she squeezed his hand; she understood the sentiment.

Her eyes widened suddenly. "Jason!" she said.

"What?" he said, looking around.

"No, no, I have a plan!"

Jason relaxed as much as he could considering the circumstances. "Okay, what is it?"

Piper let go of his hand, and took a step closer to the cabin, where only the stragglers were being ushered in.

"If anyone is invisible here, reveal yourselves right now, and hand whatever makes you invisible over to me!" she commanded.

Tyler popped out of nowhere, strolling over to Piper with a smile, and handing over his pendant. She smiled back at him, then hit him in the head with Katoptris twice, and he dropped like a sack of potatoes.

"Genius." Jason murmured, picking Tyler up by his armpits and dragging him into the cabin.

They passed through the polished bronze doors that shimmered like holograms, with lightning bolts streaked down them. The dome-shaped ceiling was decorated with moving mosaics of a cloudy sky and thunderbolts. The familiar rumble of thunder that always echoed around the cabin did not help settle the mood of the demigods crowded in it. It was a good thing there was no furniture in there- everyone was squished in enough as it was, crammed into the alcoves around the golden eagle statues and even pressed up against the rather intimidating statue of Jupiter in the middle. Those people didn't look too happy.

"This way." Annabeth called him, and he slowly dragged the body through the sat down crowds into the alcove at the far end.

"Annabeth, I don't see how-"

She pressed a tile and it sank like a button; Jason raised his eyebrows as a small marble room was revealed, like a secret washroom. There were a couple chairs in there, and Annabeth stacked all but one, leaving that in the middle of the room. Jason settled Tyler down in it, and Percy appeared with rope in his hands. They bound the demigod quickly and effectively; descendants of Mercury were known to be tricky.

"How did I never find this place?" Jason asked in amazement.

Annabeth shrugged, but she looked proud of herself. "I added little bits here and there all round the camp."

"Why?"

"Part strategy, part architecture, and part so I could finally beat one of my old friends at Hide and Seek," she smiled a little sadly at the room, "He never could find me here."

Jason grinned. "Brilliant." he said.

"There's still gotta be, what- a dozen out there?" Piper worried behind him. "I can keep doing Charmspeak, but I don't want to ask them to reveal themselves and suddenly be surrounded by ten of them."

"We'll all go." Annabeth said, closing the room behind them as they left and headed back outside.

Jason breathed in the smell of grass; being in his cabin was like being in a bank. When he came back here, he'd have to see what he could do about that.

Oh.

When he came back here. Not if. He'd been with the Romans for so long, that he'd never really considered any other way of living. But being introduced to the Greeks? Their carefree life? No rules, no order? It went against every godly instinct that ran through his veins, but maybe here was where he was supposed to be. With Piper. That was, if they survived the war, he thought grimly. He'd come to grips with his decision later.

Thalia joined them outside the cabin.

"They may be invisible, but their footprints aren't." she said, the silver circlet atop her head marking her as Artemis' Lieutenant. "If it moves, I can track it."

"You're hired." said Annabeth with a nod.

"What are you gonna do?" Piper asked her.

Annabeth took out her Yankees cap and vanished briefly before reappearing. "Two can play at their game." she said simply.

"I'll be able to feel where they are in the air." Jason added.

They all unconsciously turned to Percy, who was staring at something through the trees. He looked at them.

"Oh." he said, then searched the ground.

He found a small rock, and punted it hard. It sailed abnormally far, landing in the sea. A giant wave burst on the shore, sending spray for about a mile over them. Sea salt filled the air; Jason saw Annabeth shift a little uncomfortably, but Percy didn't seem to notice.

"Anything moves, I'll feel it." he said firmly, before curling the corner of his lips. "Let's go hunting."

Jason couldn't argue with that. They split into two groups, Percy and Annabeth taking off in one direction, the rest of them in the other.

As they wandered through the trees, they established a good rhythm. Thalia walked ahead, Aegis brandished to ward off those who would go near her. She was indeed an excellent tracker, and Jason was proud of who his sister had become. She would wave her hand when the tracks gave something away, Jason would check and confirm, Piper would get them to reveal themselves, and either she or Jason would knock them out. Jason would then float the bodies back through the forest to where he presumed Clarisse would sort them out. The rest of the seven were on guard duty, protecting everyone in the Jupiter Cabin.

Jason thought he saw Percy and Annabeth through the trees once, but the next time he looked, Annabeth had gone invisible and Percy had just simply vanished. He felt bad for not trusting Percy when he had accused Tyler- it wasn't that he didn't trust him per se, but even a blind kid could see he wasn't exactly level headed right now. At least when he was with Annabeth, she could bring him down; though he just wished he hadn't walked in on them- uh- calming down.

His face went red as they kept walking.

"What I don't get is why Gaia hasn't just swarmed the camp." Piper said in a low voice.

"Annabeth thinks it's the first wave." said Thalia.

Jason thought about how Gaia was using the demigods to do her work for her.

"Maybe demigods killing demigods is what she wants." he suggested, "She sends them in to kill the rest of us, so all she has to do is come in at the end and claim what she wants."

"For her, this is about controlling and remaking the world," Thalia added, "And if half her army is gone, who's gonna worship her?"

"I guess." Piper agreed, before disgust flitted across her face. "She's been asleep for what, a couple centuries? Millennium or two?"

"Yeah."

"Maybe she's just having fun."

They all scowled at that. Jason lifted a branch with his gladius, and moved through the trees. They weren't too far from the edge of the forest; they reached the field.

"I guess we can just ask her herself." Piper gulped.

Jason looked around. At the edge, the dust had swirled and solidified into the figure of a woman. Her robes were forest green, dappled with gold and white like sunlight shifting through branches. Her hair was as black as tilled soil, and her face was beautiful, but even with a dreamy smile on her lips she seemed cold and distant. Jason got the feeling she could watch demigods die or cities burn, and that smile wouldn't waver. Gaia's eyes were open, swirling in green and black, as deep as the crust of the earth.

"There's no more in this direction." Jason said, looking away. "We should head back."

"I could hit her from here." Thalia murmured next to him, pulling her bow taut, before she loosened it unwillingly. "Fine."

They headed back in the direction Percy and Annabeth went, going diagonally in the hopes that they'd run across them as they went back to Cabin One.

"If anyone is invisible, please remove whatever makes you invisible and hand it over to me." Piper said the phrase over and over.

Jason caught her arm, and Thalia nocked an arrow as two sets of footsteps came steadily through the trees. Jason hoped it was Percy and Annabeth, but two sets of invisible footprints made their way over to them. Jason readied himself.

A girl popped into view, with short pink hair and a piggy nose. She handed over her necklace with a smile. The other pair of footsteps stopped, and Annabeth handed over her Yankees cap.

"Uh-" Jason deliberated. "Annabeth?"

Annabeth's smile flickered. She looked at Piper, then at the cap in her hand.

Both girls blinked, then looked at each other. Annabeth raised an eyebrow. Piggy squeaked and sprinted off in the opposite direction. Jason moved to go after her, but Thalia was quicker, her arrow bolting through the air and spearing straight through the girl's ankle.

She fell with a howl, and Jason was quick to bend down and knock her out with the pommel of his sword.

"Did you have to shoot her?" Jason frowned.

"They might not even be doing this voluntarily." Annabeth added, taking back her hat from Piper with a red face and a smile.

Thalia frowned too. "I hadn't thought about that." she admitted, before looking over the girl's body. "She'll be fine with some nectar. It was a clean through and through."

"Where's Percy?" Piper asked Annabeth, but the girl shrugged, looking a little worried.

"We were together, but I said we'd cover more ground if we split up, but then I couldn't find him again once I got to the other side."

"There might be trouble at the cabin." Jason said. "How have you been doing?"

"Good." Annabeth assured. "Knocked out a couple, dragged them back and gave them to Clarisse."

"How are things back there?"

"Crowded, for one." Annabeth said. "Maybe Percy went back there. If not, then he might be looking for me, and he'd know that I'd go back there."

"Let's go then." Thalia lead the way, now tracking a completely different demigod.

They made it further through the woods before Jason realised that the birds weren't singing anymore. In fact, this whole section of the woods was deathly quiet. He span his sword in his hand nervously.

They found the bodies a little bit ahead of them.

They had the dark eyes and veins that marked them as enemies, but the blood was new. They'd both been run through, one lying flat on his back, with his hands resting over a dry red line across his stomach, as if he was holding in his guts when he died. The other was a little further away. He looked like he'd crawled part of the way, then got a wound through his back.

"Jeez." said Thalia, whistling. "What happened here?"

"Something found them before we did." Jason closed the guys' eyes.

"Someone." Piper said.

They all looked at each other, then kept moving. Jason furrowed his eyebrows together. No- he wouldn't. He wasn't like that. He wouldn't do this.

The sound of choking had them pick up the pace.

Jason jumped over a tree log, sinking into a crouch by a thick tree trunk. The girl laid against it, her hands slippery with red and pressed shakily against her slick neck. Her black eyes found Jason's. She couldn't be older than fourteen. One of her hands left her neck, and trembled as it stretched out towards him. Jason held her hand firmly, his gaze travelling from the black streaks on her skin up to her own gaze. She opened her mouth as if to speak, eyes flicking from side to side as if she was expecting something to burst out of the bushes. Jason held her hand quietly as the last bit of life drained out of her neck, and her eyes slowly turned to cold, unmoving glass. He placed her hand on her stomach.

Thalia watched them from atop a stump. Annabeth stared resolutely ahead. Jason didn't try to catch her eye. He clenched his teeth together.

"It might be a monster." Piper muttered, but Jason doubted it.

They crept through the trees. Intrusive thoughts or not, if it really was something else, they couldn't afford to be caught off guard. Jason wiped his hands off on nearby leaves. He caught Piper watching Katoptris in her hands, pale, then lift her head so she couldn't see it anymore.

"What did you see?" he asked her quietly.

"Nothing good." she replied, and though the morning sun was getting warmer and warmer the higher it got in the sky, she shivered. "But it might not come true. There were some things that certain- people- don't have at the moment."

Annabeth grabbed his elbow and pulled him to the ground before he even heard the branches snapping. They all ducked down behind a fallen log.

It was a confident walk, not even trying to hide its presence in the forest.

Jason closed his eyes as the noise travelled through the trees. He shook his head. For the love of the Gods'-

Percy's hands were steady, calmly spinning his sword between his fingers, black hair ruffled and messy. His green eyes weren't even searching the area around him. He just seemed focused on doing cool tricks with his sword. The water spray that previously clung to the dead leaves on the floor and the trees like dew floated up into the air, mimicking his movements. His tattoos were barely visible underneath the layer of dark red that dripped off his muscled arms.

None of them seemed willing to move. He couldn't even feel Annabeth breathing next to him. Jason questioned himself as to why he was hiding from his friend, but then he took another glance at… well, everything, and bit his lip tiredly. What was he doing?

A twig cracked behind them.

Percy whipped around, and threw his sword so fast and so hard that Jason heard the thump of a body being thrown to the ground behind him before he even realised Percy had noticed them there.

A girl had been creeping up on them, he saw, as they all turned around. Percy's sword, Adamas, had severed the string of her necklace, destroying her invisibility, sunk deep into her chest above her collarbone. She died before Jason had even known she was there. He'd been too focused on what was going on to notice the ripples in the air, and the creek nearby was loud with water rushing.

He stood up, and looked over her body. He didn't know her. She must have been Greek.

"Kelly." Annabeth murmured next to him.

He had to do a double-take to confirm that Percy really was just casually stood next to him. Now he was closer, Jason could feel his faster breathing, see his rapidly heaving chest, eyes alight with adrenaline.

"Hey dude," Percy was speaking to him, "Is that all of them?"

"Is that- Percy, man, what are you doing?" Jason burst out.

Percy looked up, seemingly genuinely taken aback.

"What?" he asked, pulling his sword out with a sickening squelch.

"'What?' Why are you killing them all?" Thalia's voice was incredulous and disbelieving.

"Why wouldn't we?" Percy said, raising his eyebrows, "They're working for Gaia. What have you been doing with them?"

"Knocking them out?" Piper said slowly. "Sending them back to Cabin One?"

"What, where the rest of our people are?" Percy rolled his eyes. "Yeah, 'cause that can't go wrong."

Jason noticed Annabeth had stayed unusually quiet. He could see she loved percy and was desperately trying to find a way for it to be okay, but it didn't help when he was so casual about it. She looked up.

"It's a war." she said eventually, seeming to reach a conclusion, and Jason was surprised to see her not on his side, though less surprised to see her defending Percy; they were parts of each other- it would be fundamentally wrong to see them oppose each other. "Percy's… right. Friends of Gaia are our enemies."

Next to her, Percy grinned, and kissed her on the cheek. She placed a hand on his chest, on his abnormally clean shirt, and for a second, Jason thought she'd push him away, thought that she may even be unwillingly considering it, but she just patted him gently instead. Percy looked at the rest of them, and smiled, as if tiny rivers of blood weren't dribbling down his sword.

"We should probably head back. I think I got them all," he said, vaguely gesturing around him, "I'm not sure."

There was a scoff to Jason's right, and as soon as he saw his sister's raised eyebrows and disbelieving expression, he realised she was less supportive. A lot less supportive.

"You think you got them all? Percy- you literally can't just go around killing people. Annabeth even said herself, they might not be doing this voluntarily." she scowled at him, "What's wrong with you?"

Percy's smile cracked a little. He frowned.

"Thalia, I know what it seems like to you, but I know what I'm doing-!"

"Then that's worse!"

"Look, mind control or whatever or not, they're still killing people, so it's either they kill us or we kill them, and-!"

"That's not a rule! This isn't Tartarus, Percy-!"

A geyser erupted at her feet, knocking her back into the tree behind her, her face sopping wet, morphing from indignance to anger. She gave back as good as she got quickly, a bolt of electricity shooting from her outstretched hand, Percy barely dodging it, shards of bark raining down on them. Thalia stamped, and a blast of lightening came down from the sky, hitting her pop-up spear like a lightning rod and crackling about the tip of it. She held it up threateningly, a warning to Percy.

"That's enough!" Annabeth yelled, but Jason didn't think either listened.

The entire creek rose behind Percy, thousands of gallons of water just hanging there, perfectly, eerily still, like it had been frozen in time. Without the rushing of water in the background, only their panting breaths could be heard. There seemed to be something unnervingly similar to anger on Percy's face, and for a second, Jason felt his stance unwillingly change to defensive around the others.

But surprisingly, Percy lowered the creek first. The flowing water resumed, a little faster than before, as if it was trying to escape the static tension in the air. His expression was now intensely difficult to read. He was clearly trying to control his breathing though, and seemed to be reminding himself of something in his head. Jason didn't even realise he'd lifted his sword until Percy's stare flicked over to it for a beat.

"Thalia." he said measuredly. "We can't fight like we did when we were kids. People will get hurt."

Thalia observed him for a second, before nodding. Crackles of electricity wound round the silver circlet atop her head before sinking under her skin, the spear fizzling out in her hands. She too struggled to compose herself. In the middle, Piper and Annabeth were looking between the two like a tennis match. Jason lowered his sword. It was news to him that Thalia and Percy fought as children. It must have been the Poseidon/Zeus rivalry coming out, one that Jason tried to ignore as best he could. He knew they were good friends; he'd never considered that they hadn't got on before.

Annabeth opened her mouth, a scowl on her face, probably getting ready to yell at them when a scream rang out.

Then another.

And another.

In a split second, Thalia and Percy were side by side as they all sprinted towards it. Oh Gods, Jason thought, pushing his body through the air to move faster, overtaking the others.

"I thought you said you got all of them!" he heard Thalia shout behind him, seemingly abandoning her issues with Percy's 'methods' for the time being.

"I don't know how many I got!" Percy shouted back.

Jason burst into the U-shape of cabins, heading straight for his own.

In the grassy ground outside, stuck out various hands and legs. All skin was streaked with black veins. Jason sprinted faster, unsure if his feet were even touching the grass. It was as if the earth had swallowed them, only now they were all drowning in the mud. Gaia had clearly decided she didn't need them anymore.

Clarisse was up to the elbows in mud; whoever she had been holding on to was long gone. He saw some Hunters yanking with all their strength, but the force was dragging them in too. Hazel was outside tugging onto the arm of the only kid with his head above the surface; it was Tyler. Jason gripped his wrist and pulled. He didn't trust the kid as far as he could throw him, which was actually considerably far if he thought about it, but he didn't deserve to drown to death in mud,

The others dived in to help. He saw Annabeth and Thalia plunge their hands into the mud to try and pull a flailing kid out. Her foot caught Piper in the head, who slammed into the marble side of his cabin, and slumped.

"Piper!" he shouted.

"She's fine!" Reyna yelled, scooping her up and jogging towards the cabin, past Percy who was stood still, "Just knocked out!"

Jason's arms strained, and he glared.

"Percy!" he shouted, "Do something!"

"Remove the water!" Annabeth yelled.

He hesitated, but complied with a frown. The mud surrounding Tyler became dry and brittle. Jason willed the wind to blast them off, and he saw Hazel rip away the mud clinging to his clothes, tearing away his shirt too. Her face went a bit pink, but she continued, and together, they tore him out of the ground.

It instantly tried to swallow him again, and Jason floated him quickly. He pushed him towards the doors, and the others received him, taking him inside. Jason followed quickly. Everyone else was quiet; the other kids had sunk too quickly and too deeply for them to be rescued. It was a miracle on Hazels' behalf that she had fought the powers of the Primordial Goddess as long as she did, long enough to save at least one. Jason didn't know how to feel about that. He hadn't saved them when they were looking for them, but he hadn't killed them like Percy. Only now they were all dead but one.

He found Piper on a makeshift cot, Leo and Thalia sat either side of her.

"She's okay, right?" he asked desperately.

They nodded quickly. "She took a nasty blow but she'll be up and at 'em soon." Thalia reassured him.

"Jason!" Annabeth called from the other side of the cabin.

She beckoned him over into the secret room. Jason leant forwards and kissed Piper on the forehead.

"If anything changes at all-"

"We got you." Leo said.

"Thanks, guys." Jason got up, bumping into Hazel as she and Nico walked towards the door, Frank looking huge behind the two small children of Pluto. "Hey, where are you guys going?"

"Excavate the bodies." Hazel said sadly. "Gaia's not actively pulling them down anymore, we reckon we can get them out and, though they don't deserve it, give them a proper send off."

"Good idea." he said. "And- and I think there's a couple more- uh- bodies in the woods as well."

Nico caught his eye, and Jason saw the flicker of understanding. Of course. Out of anyone, Nico would understand Percy's actions.

"Do you-" -No, he caught himself, he couldn't just ask if Nico thought they deserved to die- "Do you think they'll go to Asphodel?" he asked, hoping that Nico somehow would and wouldn't catch his drift.

Nico evaluated his look. "Fields of punishment, probably." he shrugged.

So he probably did agree with Percy. Maybe it was a Tartarus thing. Maybe he shouldn't be so hard on Percy. He caught up to a waiting Annabeth, and went inside.

Tyler was tied to the chair in the middle. Chiron had someone crammed his horse body through the doorway, talking respectfully with Reyna. Jason didn't miss the glances they sent Percy's way. The blood on his arms had dried in streaks, curving around his biceps and forearms like flames. Clarisse shut the door once he and Annabeth came in. Tyler's head hung down, his breathing the steady and deep rhythm Jason knew to be unconsciousness.

"He definitely knows something about all of this." Clarisse growled. "You heard him in the pavilion."

"Gaia did trust him with the back-up pendant." Annabeth murmured.

Percy leant over and kissed the top of her head softly. She leant her head onto his chest.

"We should talk to him." Jason suggested. Chiron and Annabeth nodded.

"Yeah." Clarisse nodded vigorously. "'Talk to him.'" Reyna and Percy exchanged a look.

Tyler stirred, a groan escaping from his mouth. They turned to him, and Jason folded his arms over his chest. This wasn't going to be fun.

"So." Annabeth said, once Tyler had registered that he's not alone, his dark brown eyes flicking from person to person. "You're Gaia's first wave. Fancy telling us the next?"

"Go to Hades." Tyler mumbled.

"You're tied to a chair and your messiah just tried to kill you." Annabeth said, "Call me crazy, but somehow I'd think that maybe defending her wouldn't be the best course for you."

"You're crazy." Tyler shook his head. "She was right to do that. We all failed."

"So you think she was right to kill the rest of you?" Jason asked in amazement.

Tyler hesitated, but nodded.

"Damn right she was." Clarisse growled, stepping in front of him, her hand gripping her spear tightly. "The Ares cabin lost several good fighters in your little attack." The tip of her spear tilted up Tyler's head until he was facing her, the point digging into his chin.

Sweat beaded on his forehead. Jason waited to see if this would work, but Tyler remained quiet. It was clear he knew something.

"What's the second wave?" Clarisse shoved him, his chair wobbling precariously on two legs before slamming back down.

"Nothing you can stop." Tyler hissed.

"Oh, so there is a second wave." Jason confirmed, and Tyler shut his mouth quickly.

He kept blinking and shaking his head as they interrogated him further. All the questions blurred together in Jason's head.

"Let's talk numbers-"

"All the giants but one-"

"-titans are unlikely, but-"

Tyler just kept screwing his eyes shut and jerking his head from side to side, as if trying to shake something out. Jason frowned. What was he trying to do?

"Percy, stop." he heard Chiron order suddenly.

Jason looked around. Percy was just leaning against the wall, cracking his knuckles. He wasn't doing anything… was he?

"Let it go." Chiron's eyes flicked from Tyler to Percy, almost as if he was unsure of what was really even happening.

"Just as soon as he tells us the next wave." Percy shrugs.

"Percy!"

"What? I'm not even hurting him!"

Unless Jason was being really dumb, he had no idea what he was doing. A relieved glance at Reyna told him she didn't know either, and Clarisse looked equally unsure. Annabeth's sharp intake of breath told him she had just worked it out, her expression indecipherable as she looked at Percy.

"Okay!" Tyler snapped, but it was weak and strained, "Okay, just stop it!"

Percy raised an eyebrow, and it was only then that Jason saw his hands relax. He looked at Tyler. The boy shook his head again, and water streamed out of his eyes. At first Jason thought it was tears (and half of it might have been), but then he saw the moisture was also dripping from his forehead. His eyes had been filled with sweat. Percy had filled his eyes with sweat. Jason wrinkled his nose; that was… gross, for one, but also unnatural, in a way that unnerved him. He folded his arms a little tighter, watching Percy unsurely. He was right, in a way- he wasn't hurting him. But he had been doing… something, Jason mused, as he watched Tyler pant quietly.

"I'm not hearing answers." Clarisse said, poking him inbetween his bare shoulder blades with her spear- Lamer? That's what Jason had heard others call it. Odd.

"I-" Tyler looked to Jason for help, and that's when Jason realised that he truly was the good cop in this scenario.

"Just tell us, and I won't let them hurt you." he said firmly.

Clarisse snorted. Jason ignored her. Tyler still wasn't speaking.

Jason frowned quizzically as he saw the water halt on Tyler's face, like beads of ice stuck to his cheeks. Then they began to roll upwards back towards his eyes.

"Right, that's enough!" he called. "Meeting outside!"

Annabeth reached for Percy's hand, and he let go. Jason felt some of the tension in the room decrease. They met up on the other side of the door, Chiron standing inbetween them and the other demigods so they could avoid any eavesdroppers.

"We're wasting time." Reyna said straight away. "In the time it could take us to get information on the next wave, it could already have started.

"Give me five minutes alone with him." Clarisse said, and Jason raised his eyebrows; Frank's sister, huh?

"Give me four." Percy added.

They grinned at each other unnervingly, the way Jason imagined sharks would if they passed each other in an office corridor. Chiron looked perplexed at their interaction, and even Annabeth pulled a face.

"Look, we're not torturing him!" Jason said.

"Well we're not getting anything out of him!" Percy raised his voice.

"We should wait for Piper!" Annabeth snapped, cowing the two of them into silence, and though they didn't glare at each other, Jason could see a challenge in Percy's eyes.

"Well right now, she's likely concussed, and I'm not gonna wait for any more of my siblings to die just so you all can have clean hands." Clarisse said with a finality.

"That's not what I'm saying-"

Jason turned his head as he heard a yelp from behind the door. He frowned. "Did you hear that?" he said.

He met Reyna's eyes, and they ran back in.

"What the-" Jason stared in horror.

Tyler had a knife. Of course he did. Being a child of Mercury, he'd probably done some airport smuggling kind of tricks and brought it in without them noticing. Jason almost went to snatch it out of his hands, but there was a slight problem:

It was about an inch deep in his chest.

He panted, making eye contact with Jason. Jason shook his head with a warning. Tyler screwed up his face.

And he shoved it all the way in, then yanked it back out with a howl.

They all darted forwards, Percy's arm shooting into the air next to him, but a wound like that…

Jason's eyebrows knotted together. They all slowed down a little in confusion. Even Tyler re-opened his eyes, panting in pain but mouth open in bewilderment. He looked down at where he had stabbed himself. At the wound, that wasn't bleeding in the slightest. Jason stared at the knife; it was clean… he wasn't bleeding. He wasn't dying. The long knife, a solid six inches long, had gone into his torso and come out like stabbing a sponge. It just looked like he had a red line in the middle of his chest.

Then Jason noticed Percy's outstretched arm. The hand directly parallel to Tyler's chest.

They all looked at him.

Jason felt like ice was sliding down his spine, and even Reyna's usually stoic face had morphed into horror. Annabeth's mouth was open. She looked like the world had crashed around her. All Percy did was raise an eyebrow as he held Tyler's blood in place.

"You think it's gonna be that easy?" Percy asked him sarcastically.

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Yo yo yo fam it's 23:49 4th December 2019 as I write this. Little known fact, I was born on the 5th of December 2001 (at like 10pm?). Yall already KNOW what this means. That's right my lovely ladies. I am 18. In like t-minus 10. Account for the delay it'll take to post this and yeah I'm pretty much 18. Damn. Don't be rude, wish me a happy birthday. That's like 90% of my motivation to update so early, so I can wake up to people giving me at least 4000 nice reviews.

My dearest Anon 34726, I assure you I do not get thousands of reviews on every chapter, which means I definitely saw yours. Personally, I think that you are talented and amazing. Yeah what you gonna do now huh, tables have turned, your move pal.

Dicc. Star, it still won't let me post your full name but ily2

Time traveller: What year is it?

Kid: 2019

Time traveller: oh damn falling for you hasn't been completed yet

Both myself and the kid: O: IT GETS COMPLETED? ? ?