Warning: Contains spoilers to The Lost Hero regarding Thalia.
Now that the spoiler warning is out of the way, welcome. ^_^ After finishing The Lost Hero (finally), I have to say that the most intense part (other than all of the small mentions of Percy, which I must admit- made me bite my lip every time) was the revelation of Thalia's relationship with Jason.
The story behind Thalia and Jason, among a few other things, was the inspiration of this one-shot. I really hope you read and enjoy.
Last thing, thanks to Miz636 for Beta-ing and encouraging this.
Thunder shook the sky louder, and the pitch black darkness of the night enveloped the world.
Thalia knew the eerie flip to the universe meant that Zeus was walking the earth. Mom would be in her dressing room right now scribbling on three layers of bright red lipstick, waiting for the god to come deliver his next gift to her whether it be a glowing white pearl necklace or a new diamond sequenced scarf.
Thalia didn't sit around once she heard the god's footsteps leading to the bedroom where her mother would be waiting for Zeus to please her. The ceiling creaked.
"Hey." Thalia pulled away a blanket to reveal Jason sitting in the corner of a dark room, hugging his knees.
He peeked out from behind his hands. "Did it stop?"
Thalia breathed slowly, reaching out her hand for Jason to take as she gathered her little brother into her arms. "There's nothing to be scared of," Thalia whispered in his ear. "It's just a storm. It can't hurt you."
Jason shivered into her chest, and Thalia held him the way she always did when the night sky turned into a whirlpool of darkness above their roof.
"Did she give you anything to eat?" Thalia broke the silence, looking into her little brother's frightened eyes.
As Jason shook his head quietly, anger towards her mother sparked in Thalia. He was hungry.
Thalia smiled slowly, burying the anger as she looked back at the cute and innocent frown on Jason's face. "It's alright," Thalia said, picking him up into her arms as she stood. "We'll eat together."
The ceiling creaked louder, and Thalia set Jason down on the dining room table.
She put together the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich she could in a hurry and watched Jason chew each bite as if his mouth was numb. Thalia wondered when the last time he really ate was. She remembered her mother's slurred and drunken words from the night before when she had promised Thalia that Jason had eaten dinner. Anger flicked through Thalia again.
Jason was too little to help himself. Thalia knew that she was his only security. She lived for him. She was all he had now, and Thalia knew it.
Thalia opened the door slowly, fearing what would be waiting for her this time as she stepped inside the quiet corridor.
Thalia and her mother both knew that if she hadn't forced Thalia onto the school bus this morning, there would be no way that Thalia would have gone. No, she wouldn't leave Jason. That was the last thing she ever wanted to do, even it was just for a few hours while she was at school.
The first sight as she entered the home didn't surprise her. Her mother lay passed out on the couch with a cracked glass in her hands and two empty bottles of alcohol by her feet. Her blouse slipped past her shoulders, barely covering her, and her normally dark hair was now bleach blond. Crumbled up tabloids lay on the floor with her mother's face on the front cover. Thalia could almost picture what the next tabloid's headline would read, announcing something cheesy like how the "Daring Actress Has Once Again Completely Shocked the Public by Dying Her Hair." There was just no stopping to her stupid stunts.
Thalia considered calling a doctor. She didn't know how badly her mother was knocked out or if she needed to go to the hospital.
As she unsurely picked up the telephone, a small whimpering sound from upstairs came to Thalia's ears.
The thought of Jason made her drop everything to run up the stairs.
She found Jason hiding underneath her bed. Tears were welled in his eyes when she finally got him to come out. She didn't know how long she held Jason until he stopped crying enough to speak.
"Tell me what happened." Thalia touched his face, wiping away the tears.
"She - she crazy," he choked out quietly in his toddler words. "I do nothing."
"I know you didn't do anything. It's not your fault," Thalia told him softly, "What did she do to you?"
Jason put a hand to his right cheek, and he didn't have to speak for Thalia to know that Mom had hit him. A strange kind of pull tugged at Thalia's heart, and she closed her eyes tightly, refusing to let the anger of her emotion take over.
"She yell at me," Jason told her innocently, and Thalia knew these were the things Jason was too young to understand no matter how badly Thalia wanted to explain it to him. All Thalia could do was hold him as she tried to make out his words in between his hiccups from crying. "She said daddy didn' want us and he left. She said - she said the name Jason is bad."
Thalia quieted her brother's sobs, holding him to her chest. "It's okay now," she told him, a million thoughts rushing through her brain. "I won't let her touch you again," she promised, and she meant it more than she knew. "Don't listen to Mom, okay? You'll always be Jason."
His wet blue eyes looked up at Thalia for a second, and something made Thalia smile. She whispered, "You just stick with me, alright?"
That was the last time Thalia ever went to school.
Thalia laughed, touching Jason's nose. "Stay in the lines," she told him as he ran a blue crayon across the entire page of the coloring book.
Underneath them, they could hear Mom screaming. She was screaming at him to stay, demanding things that even Thalia could understand were too difficult to grant.
"The world won't end if you stay. You can't leave me, not tonight. Not this time."
Thalia could barely hear Zeus speak, but the sky seemed to shake outside of their window.
Their mother was screaming louder now, and Thalia could here bottles shattering on the floor as her mother threw them off of the shelves downstairs. "You save all your love for her, don't you? For that… for that Hera of yours."
There was another crash.
"I need you, don't you understand that? You can't leave!" she shouted. "If you're going to abandon me with two children, the least you could do is grant me my requests. Take me to Olympus. I want to see your throne, the power you possess. Bless me with eternal beauty. Is that too much to ask for? After everything I've done - I've raised your children. I've waited for you."
"Why didn't you use green?" Thalia raised an eyebrow as Jason began filling in the tree a shade of red in the coloring book.
Jason pointed to the green crayon on the bed. He mumbled, "Broken."
"Then I think red looks just fine." Thalia smiled. Thalia had gotten so used to the fights that it hardly seemed like a disturbance to her anymore. It was a routine, and although Thalia knew she could handle hearing it, she felt helpless when she saw fear come to Jason's eyes.
Downstairs another large crash hit the floor followed by lighting striking the sky.
The red crayon in Jason's hand snapped in half as he pressed down too hard.
Her mother screamed, "It's all because of Hera, isn't it? She forbade you from giving me gifts, isn't that it? It's already bad enough that you named that child Jason because of her, and now you're leaving me? You can't do this, I'm more important - I need you to love me."
Thalia watched Jason's face closely. Although he picked up another crayon, trying to look busy, Thalia could see the tension drawing on his face.
"Come here," Thalia told him, grabbing her headphones. She put them on Jason's ears, blasting them on to her favorite Green Day song until she was sure Jason couldn't hear the noise below the floor anymore.
As the volume of the music killed the sound of Mom and Zeus arguing, Thalia felt at peace.
The sky struck lightning all night long, and her mother's screams cut through the hours of darkness, but Thalia felt safe; she knew she could keep Jason away from it.
Thalia gripped Jason's hand tighter, watching her mother closely as she led them to a strange location. They had never been here before. Stone decorated the steps, and the air was freezing as if it could have started snowing again any second. It was a weird place for a picnic, but Thalia tried to free her mind of those thoughts.
Ever since Zeus had left again, her mother had never acted like this - so calm and collected with her actions. A family vacation was the last thing Thalia expected, but she had a small hope stirring inside of her. She couldn't ignore her mother's hands shaking or the unusually pale composure of her face, but Thalia thought that her mother just might have been trying to make an effort for once. Maybe Mom was getting better.
She watched her mother take a shaky breath as she turned towards Thalia. "I forgot the picnic basket, Thal," she told Thalia as she handed her the car keys. "Do me a favor… it's in the back seat."
Jason gripped Thalia's hand tighter as he looked up at his sister's face.
Right then, something crossed Thalia's mind. Something worse than a bad feeling. Thalia suddenly felt like darkness drew over her heart and a harsh wind hit her from the back. But, it was only for a split second, and Thalia barely had time to notice it.
She smiled at Jason, squeezing his hand to let him know it was okay. She didn't want to leave him alone with her. Not when she was acting so different.
It would only take a few minutes, Thalia told herself as she let go of Jason's hand. His innocent blue eyes stared back into hers for a second as he watched her turn to leave.
That was the last she ever saw of her little brother's face when he was young.
Pain worse than she could ever describe struck in Thalia's chest after every heartbeat.
Every inch of her body felt numb, and her throat burned with every sob she swallowed.
Calling the police, endlessly violent arguments with Mom, cursing at the sky as loud as she could - nothing seemed to change one fact. The fact that Jason was gone.
She hugged her knees tighter to her chest, feeling cold tears soaking her clothes.
Her heart ached in a way she had never felt before. It was like a boulder had been dropped right on top of her chest, and she couldn't breathe anymore.
She had told her Jason was dead. Gone.
It was something Thalia couldn't bear. Jason had needed her; Thalia was the only one he had. And now he was just gone from the world like a memory. There was no trace of him left after Mom had packed away all his clothes, toys, furniture, and even gotten rid of the only few pictures of him. It was all gone as if Jason had never even been here.
Jason had been the last strand keeping Thalia tied down.
As Thalia Grace wiped her eyes clean, taking her last shaky breath of the night, she knew something. She was free. She was free, now, to leave. There was no more reason to stick around.
Free to do what she never dared herself to think of while Jason was around. Runaway.
The past was buried far underneath her, and Thalia knew she would never look back. It hurt too much.
It had been years, and she had a new life now. A new family.
She laid Annabeth down in their shelter, wrapping layers of clothing around her tightly so that the seven-year wouldn't be cold. For a second, as Annabeth shut her eyes, Thalia stood silently watching Annabeth's steady breathing get heavier as she feel into slumber.
It wasn't until lightning struck outside that Thalia realized someone's eyes were on her. Luke stood in the darkness, watching Thalia closely.
Once they had stepped outside of the shelter into the frigid air of the night so they wouldn't wake Annabeth, Thalia spoke. "What is it?"
"What's what?" Luke asked, staring in front of him.
"You were looking at me."
As they sat down on the ground, the stars peeking through the blackness overhead, Luke sighed. "You just - you really know how to take care of her. It's like you've done this before."
Thalia might have felt a strange chill tingling over her skin at Luke's words, but she hardly allowed herself to sink into them. She was too numb to even try remembering why his words could make her feel anything again.
Thalia smiled slowly. "She's so cute, Luke. She looks up to you more than she does to me, so you'd better start working harder to keep her happy."
Luke nodded slowly, and Thalia could tell he was thinking. When he spoke, his voice was nearly a whisper. "She's so defenseless, Thalia. We're the only ones she has. We're her security."
Those words were all it took to break the barrier Thalia had spent building all those years around herself. For the first time in years, Thalia remembered. The oxygen in her breath almost vanished as something struck her. Those words. Those were the words she had once told herself.
Pain came first in her throat as if something was scratching her. She remembered snippets of his cute face. Images of the pictures he had colored. His blue eyes. Jason.
Something stung at Thalia's eyes, and she realized that the same boulder she had felt on her chest for all those nights was still there.
Luke seemed to notice her face turn pale as he glanced over at Thalia. "You okay?"
It was the past now, and Thalia swallowed her pain. "Yeah. It's just that… you're right, Luke."
Her voice was steady, but Luke kept staring at her as if he could suddenly see all the hurt buried underneath her skin. "Thalia, there's something you're not telling me."
As she looked back at Luke, his face barely showing in the moonlight, she couldn't bring herself to speak. There was warmth in Luke's voice, and at that moment, she knew she could trust him with anything.
But, instead of letting herself go, Thalia did something that surprised her. She realized something. Luke and Annabeth were her new family, and the empty space in her heart caused by Jason's sudden disappearance was slowly filling itself again.
Inside her, there was a feeling stirring from deep within her stomach. The feeling of past slowly fading behind her. It was all fading away from her fingertips without giving her a chance to grasp on to any of it.
Thalia knew, though, that the boulder on her chest would always be there. Not even Luke could move it. He couldn't take away the hurt.
"I'm not hiding anything from you, I swear," Thalia said more steadily this time, allowing the lie to slip freely off her lips. Luke's eyes locked into hers in the darkness, and Thalia knew she would never be able to talk about it.
It was too painful.
I'm crossing my fingers that this could do Thalia and Jason some justice. I would really love to hear what you think.
Please review. It would mean so much to me.