Disclaimer: I do not own Rick Riordan, the Percy Jackson books, characters, series, movies, or anything else you may recognize.
Goodbye For Now
Once someone found a Hermes shroud for Luke's body, the Fates came to take him away, but stopped to show me my entire life. I saw myself in my twenties, standing at a wedding altar, middle-aged with little blonde-haired and black-haired children running around, as an old man, and then my tombstone. It sent a shiver down my spine.
I watched Hermes whisper a proper goodbye to his son, and heard him use the word 'hero'. That was good. At least everyone realized how huge a sacrifice Luke had made for us in the end.
I thought about the lines of the Great Prophecy and both Rachel and Andee had been right. I wasn't the hero in the end – it had been Luke.
Annabeth was crying while Apollo healed her fully. He then moved to his daughter, giving her a tight hug and whispering something to her. She nodded and gave him a kiss on the cheek before he walked away with his Ray-Bans on.
The hours went by in a blur. The only thing I seemed to remember was the promise I'd made to my mother, so Zeus made the top of the building glow blue for me.
Grover and I helped Andee care for all the wounded, greeting all of our friends who had survived. There was a lot of hugging involved. The Cyclopes helped Thalia up from the statue and she was on crutches for the time being, but was otherwise unscathed.
The Stolls assured me they didn't loot too much during the war. My parents were fine and Valkyrie sent word to Andee, letting her know that she was fine and that the baby was taking it's time and probably wouldn't be born for another few days. Mrs. O'Leary got Chiron out of the pile of rubble and back to camp, where we heard he was going really well considering his injuries. Nico and Hades got a hero's welcome on Olympus for fighting with us. Ares was so proud of Clarisse, ruffling her hair and pounding her on the back as he called her the best warrior he'd ever seen. Hephaestus was a little mad about his throne, but told me it was a pretty bang-up job for the most part. Hera sniffed as she passed Andee and me, and Andee made a rude (and unrepeatable) remark. Dionysus was still wrapping in bandages, and kind of thanked me for Pollux still being alive. I wasn't really sure if it was a real thank you because he loaded quite a few insults in there.
"So many nature spirits died," Grover said sadly, looking around.
"You did such a good job rallying them all and fighting. We'll come back from this – we'll clean up parks, plant some trees, and all of ours friends will be reincarnated into a better world," I told Grover comfortingly.
"I'm so proud to be your friend, Percy," Grover said.
Tyson ran over and gathered me in a bone-crushing hug. "You are not dead! I am not dead either! Yay! We chained Typhon! It was fun!"
I was glad Tyson could be so happy about it. I was even happier that he had survived.
My dad approached me. "I am so proud of you, son. So proud that I can even forgive you for sitting on my throne," my dad said, giving me a hug. It was kind of weird to hug my dad because he had never shown this kind of closeness with me before. I liked it, though. It was nice. My dad continued to go on and on about how proud he was that I saved Olympus and so on.
Zeus shouted and the council all sat in their thrones. "Are you too proud of your son to join us in council, brother?"
My dad winked at me before going over to his throne. Zeus started a long rambling speech about the bravery of the gods. Andee appeared next to me about halfway through, slipping her hand in mine. I hugged her close, kissing her forehead. We had survived against all odds. We were finally going to get to be normal teenagers and go on normal teenager dates.
Zeus eventually stopped talking about the gods, even though my dad kept making it clear that without him it would've been impossible to beat Typhon. Then they started calling demigods forward one by one, giving them different gifts. Weapons, titles, all sorts of things.
Artemis stood and spoke for Thalia, telling her how proud she has made her and that all the Hunters who perished will achieve Elysium. Artemis and Hades had a brief argument before he gave in and guaranteed that he'd streamline their applications. Thalia thanked them and stepped back.
Zeus called Tyson forward and appointed him a general in the armies of Olympus for his bravery in the war and for leading the Cyclopes. Now whenever the gods required, he would lead the other Cyclopes into the war. He was also rewarded with a new stick (his weapon of choice). Tyson was ecstatic.
Grover was called up by Dionysus who made the shortest speech of all before appointing him as a member of the Council of the Cloven Elders. Grover fainted, and Dionysus told us to tell him he was no longer an outcast when he woke up. The nature spirits dragged him off.
Athena talked about Annabeth's strengths, wits and courage used to defend the city and their seats of power. Since Olympus was trashed, they appointed Annabeth in charge of designing the improvements. Annabeth looked like she was about to go into shock, especially when Athena told her she could design it however she wanted to. Apollo, Aphrodite and Ares all started saying that they needed to have really good statues. So Annabeth was made the official architect of Olympus. Pretty impressive, and I knew that it was one of her wildest dreams coming true.
My dad introduced me by saying that a great hero such as me deserved a great reward. Zeus continued, saying I'd be given a gift from the gods, any gift I desired. Zeus seemed to think he knew exactly what I'd ask for and started rambling that they hadn't given this gift to a mortal in many years, but that if I wished it, I would be made immortal and serve as my father's lieutenant for all time.
I was totally confused. I didn't want to be a god. Especially when Area mentioned that he could smash me into a pulp whenever he wanted. Apollo approved of this gift as well, but I knew why. I looked over at Andee, but she was staring straight ahead trying to keep her face neutral.
"You're turning our generous gift down?"
"I'm really honored and all that, don't get me wrong, but…I've got a lot longer to live. A lot of things to do as a mortal. I would like a gift though, but you have to promise to grant my wish," I said. Andee looked at me now, obviously confused.
"If it is within our power," Zeus said diplomatically.
"It is. And it's not difficult at all, but you have to swear it on the River Styx."
"What? You don't trust us?"
"Someone once told me that you should always get a solemn oath," I said, glancing over at Hades.
"Guilty as charged," Hades said, smiling a little.
"Very well! In the name of the Olympian Council, we swear by the River Styx to grant your reasonable request so long as it is within our power."
I took a deep breath before continuing. "From now on, you have to claim all of your children before they turn thirteen. There was no way Kronos could have risen if there hadn't been so many demigods that felt abandoned by their parents. So no more undetermined children. They all have to be claimed and brought to camp so they can be trained properly and survive. And all of the minor gods deserve amnesty at Camp Half-Blood. No one's children should be ignored. Calypso and the other peaceful Titans should be pardoned too. And Hades shouldn't be left out – they should have a cabin for him at camp. And no more Big Three pact. It never worked, so it would be better if you stopped trying to get rid of powerful demigods."
It took a lot of discussion, but eventually Athena got the others to accept this because it was logical, strategic, and it was almost their downfall in the end. I felt like I was honoring so many demigods' memories this way. It was a way better gift than immortality.
"Andee le Fay," Zeus said. Apollo was standing beside him. Andee took a deep breath and glanced over at me for a few seconds before stepping forward. "A lot has happened to you in these past few weeks. The Council has taken a lot of time to decide whether you shall be rewarded or punished."
I stared at them like they were crazy. Why would they be punishing her? She helped save Olympus! She was on our side! She led the quest to find the key to defeating Kronos! Everyone else was freaking out. No one could wrap their minds around Andee getting punished. If it wasn't for Andee, half of our fighters would've been out for the count after the first battle.
Andee stayed perfectly still, her head bowed.
Apollo cleared his throat and everyone quieted down, still looking outraged. "Years ago, we decided against ending your life because you had gained enough control over your abilities so that you were no longer a threat to the mortals. You have now lost that control. Not at your own hand, but it is still a concern. You worked for the Titan Lord and fought against Olympus."
Tears started streaming down her face.
"At the end of the day," Zeus said, "we realize that none of this was by your own will but it must be taken into account, nonetheless. Our first thought was to grant you immortality. Control would no longer be an issue and it could prevent other…problems." Zeus looked directly at me. "The Council was against making you an immortal, particular members vouching that you are much more valuable to us as a hero." From the look on Zeus' face, I could tell he didn't want to make her immortal yet. "The next thing thought of was to reward you with the gift of control. Athena and Hephaestus have assured us that the charmed bracelets were made to near perfection and that there is little to no chance of malfunction. The Council has agreed that your fatal flaw is control and it will always be an issue, but it is also what keeps you human. So that is out of the question."
Apollo started again, sounding depressed. "The Council has decided to punish and reward you. Your punishment, for treason and lack of control onset by an outside party, is an undetermined sentence wearing the charmed bracelets. They will act as confinements, limiting what you can and cannot do until you learn how to control your abilities, new and old, to the ability you had before the war began. When the day comes that you can come before the Council and can prove your control, much like you did when you were ten years old, they may be removed."
Andee nodded, looking into their eyes now. This was unfair. The gods could help her and they weren't going to. They should be helping her because none of this was her fault, and she saved them.
"Your reward is your life, to be continued in any way you please."
Andee nodded slightly. "Thank you," she said quietly, before stepping back into the crowd. I started marching forward, ready to demand to know what they were thinking. They had been considering killing her? This wasn't her fault!
Andee stood in front of me, her hands pressing on my chest to stop me. "Andee, you can't just accept that. You fought just as hard as everyone else here. You shouldn't be punished. They can help your control and that's what they should be doing!"
"It's not that simple, Percy," Andee said. "I'm happy. Really. I get to stay with my family and my friends and with you. No immortality and no death. I'm happy with what they gave me, Percy. Having to wear a couple of bracelets? That's nothing compared to what they could have done." She paused, leaning into me. "I can get the control back. It will be hard, but I can do it. I've already done it once before. Besides, I get to live my life 'in any way I please'. That's my dad's and my grandpa's way of giving me their blessing to be with you."
I guess that part was pretty good. "Are you sure you're okay with this?"
"Yes, Percy. My mind is my own again. I still have all my powers and some I never even knew about, and I get to be with everyone I love and care about, including you. That is all I want in this world."
All of us demigods left Olympus and went back to camp to start our mourning and packing. Once the main funeral ceremonies were done, we all sat around the campfire, everyone looking really sad. Lee started strumming the guitar on his lap and Andee started singing. The song was sad, but at the same time, it was hopeful. We could go on. We had to celebrate the lives of everyone who passed, not just mourn. It didn't take long before everyone was up and dancing around the campfire, laughing and crying as we remembered everyone we had lost.
"Come on," Andee said in the middle of it all, taking me by the hand and leading me down to the beach until the dancing around the campfire seemed miles away. "With everything that happened today, you forgot something."
"What did I forget?" I asked in confusion.
Andee reached into her bag, pulled out a small white box and handed it to me. "I made this as soon as we got back to camp." I opened the box and found a completely blue cupcake inside with a little candle on top. Andee touched the wick and a small blue flame appeared. "Happy birthday, Percy."
"That's really sweet, thank you." I said, blowing out the candle, putting the box down and starting to peel off the wrapper. "You didn't have to do anything, you know."
"Yes, I very well did. You're my boyfriend and I needed to give you something for your birthday," Andee said. "That's how normal couples work, remember?"
"Oh yeah, I think I remember us saying something about going on normal-person dates," I said and she smiled. "Your birthday's tomorrow."
She cocked your head. "How did you know?"
"You said your mother died when you were born," I said. "And on the plaque at your grandparents' house, it said she died on August 19th. And we talked about having a big joint birthday party."
Andee smiled, obviously happy that I remembered. "I don't think we're going to be able to have that party this year."
"Probably not," I said with a laugh.
"You don't have to get my anything though, Perce. We really haven't had the time to remember these kinds of things," Andee said.
"How about instead I plan out a day of things for us to do? Just the two of us?" I asked.
"That sounds like the most perfect birthday to me," Andee said with a smile.
"Although," I added, "we may end up in my cabin for most of it." She gave me a scandalous look before taking the blue cupcake from me and smearing it across my face. "What was that for?"
"For being a goof."
"Well in that case, you're going to need a lot of blue icing on your face too," I said. She started backing away as I spread my arms out. "Come give me a birthday kiss!"
"Not happening," she said before taking off. I chased after her, being careful not to drop the cupcake. She let me catch her and I wrapped my arms around her and started kissing every inch of skin I could each. She eagerly responded back, which also helped get some of the icing off my face.
Camp ran late that year. We were all so busy getting the new cabins built and getting satyrs set up all over the country to look for and help demigods who didn't know what they were. During this time, Rachel officially took on the role of the Oracle and gave her first Prophecy not long after the ceremony was finished (Andee was a little jealous, but at the same time, relieved that she didn't have to deal with the pain that accompanied receiving full prophecies anymore).
Nine half-bloods shall answer the call
To storm or fire, the world must fall
An oath to keep with a final breath
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death
Of course we were all freaked out about it. But as Chiron reminded everyone, it might not happen for centuries. The Great Prophecy was first given during World War II, so we may never have to deal with this Prophecy. We hoped at least.
Valkyrie had her baby a few days before school started. She named him Dimitrios, but Andee called him Dimka for short and was informed that she would be on permanent babysitter duty when she wasn't at school or camp. Andee got her first camp bead and almost cried she was honored (it was adorable). Annabeth, Andee and I were all going to start our senior year in New York, at different schools, but together in a sense. We'd all be able to see each other whenever we wanted. We all had brief not-so-goodbyes before we started our next adventure.
And an adventure it would be.