The Only Exception

A/n: This is my first Percy Jackson piece and for some reason it's not about Percy. Weird. Anyway I hope you enjoy this. I hope my characters aren't too OC.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Here's the thing about promises and oaths. They're easy to make easy to make when you're sixteen years old, a little bit reckless and have just realized that the boy you're crushing on is head-over-heels, would die for her in love with someone else.

You're heartsick and hurt and when the admittedly hot god of the Sun asks you to take the place of his Oracle and be his virginal mouthpiece, all you can think of is how this means boys are off-limits and no boys means no hurting heart, and the word yes tumbles from your lips before you know what you've done.

And at first you enjoy it. For the first time in what seems like forever the things that you see and dream and paint have a purpose, have a home. You actually enjoy spewing at prophecies, destinies and quests at random times, if only to see how the people around you react. Although you're the first to admit that you could do without the glowing and the weird mist that surrounds you in those moments. It helps; this Oracle gig. You feel useful and wanted and like you're finally where you belong.

The golden girl glow fades fast though. Eventually you grow up and your broken heart finds that maybe it was only cracked and heals up nice and new. And you're ready to cut loose and act your age and try this love thing again. Except you can't. Promises were made and oaths sworn and Apollo would hate to have to fry you to a crisp because he's actually kind of fond of you.

And it blows. This whole virginal, pure vessel for life job is horrible once you realize that life is all you want. A life spent with someone besides your art supplies or your iPod. A life that includes foot-popping kisses and tender moments and declarations of loving each other forever. The emptiness drives you batty and the nights feel darker, deeper, even though you've seen worse than anything those shadows could offer.

The worst part though is seeing your best friends so happy, so blissful and so into one another. Percy and Annabeth spend hours staring at each other, holding hands, arguing, and generally being so damn cute that you want to puke. But you endure it because they're your friends and you love them and sometimes secretly think you're living through them.

It doesn't get easier, the loneliness. You just get better at hiding it from people, although sometimes you think Annabeth knows something is wrong. You smile brightly and paint often, although you hide the fact that the canvases often end up dark and depressing or just plain empty. And of course you still trek back to Camp Half-Blood every time they call and spout off a prophecy or two. You act like you don't mind being the third wheel to your friends dates or that it doesn't hurt that even some of the students at you elective artsy college treat you like a social pariah. Pretend not to notice how your own father has begun dropping hints about the lack of male company you keep.

You begin to think that you're truly going to lose your mind. End up like poor Luke Castellan's mother, wild-eyed and alone, waiting and waiting in vain for something that will never happen.

And the Percy shows up with Nico Di'Angelo in tow. And he's not little Nico, that scrawny, dorky kid you met eight years ago in the Labyrinth, nor is he the awkward slightly macabre teenager you nearly killed five years ago during that quest in Ireland. This is adult Nico; a Nico who appears to have grown very comfortable in his identity as a child of Hades. A self- assured and gorgeous in an almost delicate way Nico, whose smile sends your shadows and loneliness scurrying back into the pit they crawled out of.

You find that the two of you are alone together a lot. And while normally it would bother you, instead you find it nice. You talk and laugh and argue and find out all about one another but that's okay. Because he gets it. He understands how it feels to be on the outside, how it feels to be alone due to your lot in life and even though he doesn't ever say it out loud you begin to realize that being with you sends his shadows away too.

When it happens it's not a surprise. You've been dreaming about this moment for months now and it feels every bit as amazing in the waking world as it did then. His hands grip your hips gently, thumbs rubbing circles in your skin, while his mouth finds its home on yours. And that's what it feels like. Like coming home, like the piece of you that was missing has finally made its way back where it belongs. And it feels so damn good.

You pull away, tell yourself that you can't, tell him that you can't because you promised, you swore you wouldn't. Apollo will be so hurt if you betray his trust like this. But it's too late and you both know it. One kiss and you're done for. One more kiss and any resolve you may have had has left the building. Promises and oaths be damned, you're too far in to back out now.

It's risky, trying to have a secret relationship under the eyes and ears of the gods and demi-gods. You're positive that at any moment one you is going to slip up and expose the truth or that one day Aphrodite (because you can't hide love from its goddess) will get bored and decide to let the cat of the bag. But as days turn into weeks and weeks slowly bleed into months you begin to think it'll be okay. That maybe Apollo doesn't know that you and Nico spend hours kissing and touching. That maybe he doesn't know that the boy appears from the dark corners of your room every night and molds his body to yours just as sleep comes to claim you. That maybe just maybe you'll be okay.

You know of course that you're just fooling yourselves. That you're just telling each other these lies because the truth, the idea that they've already been found out is too much to face.

You don't dream of your discovery. Don't dream of the day Apollo calmly strolls into your art class and proceeds to drag you out as if everything was hunky dory. You didn't see the tag team of both him and Hades coming, Hades dragging a fiercely fighting Nico along with him.

When you arrive at Camp Half-Blood instead of Mt. Olympus or the Underworld you're a bit confused. And you can tell by the tense, almost rigid way Nico is standing that he's thinking of how he can get you both out of here before anything bad goes down.

And then you see her. She's small, barely reaches your shoulder. Eyes are bright, and so blue that you know she has to be something special. And she is. She's salvation, escape, and freedom packaged in the form of a twelve year old girl. She, Apollo explains to you in one of the worst limericks you have ever heard, is the new vessel for the spirit of the Oracle.

And it's then that you realize what's happening. He's letting you go. He's setting you free. And for a second you're so overwhelmed and so overcome that you consider turning down his offer. But you don't. You know he's never done this before, know that you're an exception to the rules, know that you're the first Oracle to be set free in such a manner. You know that this is a gift he's giving you. And you plan on taking it.

Her hands are steady as she takes yours. Eye's clear and inquisitive, not clouded up with poorly concealed tears and heartbreak like yours were so long ago. And then it happens. The world goes dark and cold and you feel the pull as the Oracle's spirit leave you. For a moment you think you feel ghostly lips press a kiss to your sweat soaked forehead but it passes too quickly for you to be sure.

The clairvoyance won't pass, Apollo tells you, nor will the random dreams or the ability to see the Mist. You're just no longer officially the Oracle. You're free, he tells you with a slightly wistful smile and a kiss goodbye. And behind him you can see Hades shoving Nico in your direction before he's just gone.

You still don't flaunt your relationship. Nico's not one for public displays of affection and you find that you prefer the quiet, stolen moments as opposed to anything else. You tell your friends though, even if you could do without Percy's rants about people keeping secrets and Annabeth's constant musings as to how she misread the signs between you two. It's nice to finally be able to having something a bit normal in your life.

And years later, when you make another promise and swear another oath, this time in front of an assembly of the gods and their demi-god children in gothic little church in up-state New York, with Nico's hands firmly gripping yours, you know that this time you'll keep your promise.

A/N: I hate this ending. I may go back and re-write but for now I just had to get this out of my mind and off my computer. Let me know what you think.