AN: This story is the third in a series. To fully understand the characters and situations in this story you should first read The First Legion and The Argonauts. To all of my faithful readers, thanks for being patient with me and enjoy! -dmac
The seven half-bloods stood side-by-side at mid ship in the pitch black clad in full battle armor with their weapons drawn listening to the footsteps approach them. The steps got louder and louder, and when the sound finally ceased, they knew whomever or whatever that was now onboard, was right in front of them. The flood light on the main mast suddenly illuminated, shining down onto the deck. The light was bright, and it took a few seconds for their eyes to adjust, but when they finally did, the seven heroes found themselves standing face-to-face with seven gods.
1. The Gods Speak…Finally
The silence was deafening. It took a few seconds, but once the seven half-bloods got over the startling sight of their godly parents standing only a few feet in front of them, they knelt down on one knee and bowed their heads to the gods. They stayed in that position for what seemed like an eternity without a word from the gods. Leo tilted his head slightly, peaking over at Jason who was kneeling right beside him.
"I guess they're still silent," Leo whispered, and Jason nudged him with his elbow to get him to shut-up.
The awkward silence finally ended when Jupiter stepped forward and said one word, "Rise."
They slowly lifted their heads and got to their feet. They stared at Jupiter, Poseidon, Mars, Athena, Apollo, Hephaestus, and Aphrodite who were all dressed in full battle armor. The gods stared at their children intently as the dreadful silence resumed once again.
A smile began to play across Poseidon's face as he noticed his son cutting his eyes toward the daughter of Athena who was standing to Percy's immediate right. Athena must have seen it, too because her eyes narrowed with annoyance causing Annabeth to blush. The redness across her face could be seen in spite of the cheek guards on the war helm she was wearing.
Apollo's appearance emulated that of a thirty year old man instead of his normal seventeen year old appearance, no doubt, for his daughters benefit. He playfully winked and smiled at Reyna, but she just rolled her eyes and looked away from her father.
Hephaestus looked down the row of demigods focusing on their helms which were all identical except in color. He recognized and admired the craftsmanship of the headgear, and when his gaze reached the end of the line where Leo stood, he gave his son a pleasing nod.
Dakota was standing at attention, not taking his eyes off his father. Dakota balled his right fist and placed it to his heart saluting his father, and Mars returned the gesture.
Aphrodite's eyes kaleidoscoped as they always did, but they were deeply focused on her daughter. Piper felt awkward being stared down by the mother she barely knew, and as much as Piper wanted to look away from the goddess, she didn't dare.
Jupiter stood only feet from his son, and Jason could feel the tingling resonance of electricity from his father throughout his body. Jason stood firm and confident in Jupiter's commanding presence, an impressive ostentation to say the least; like father, like son.
The demigods removed their war helms and tucked them under their arms, but the silence and stillness between the gods and demigods continued. The demigods' ADHD was beginning to get the best of them, though. They started to twitch nervously and lose their concentration to distractions such as the god's shining armor and weapons.
Poseidon made the first move to break the silence by stepping up to Percy and offering him his hand, "Son."
Percy shook his father's hand and nodded, "Dad. It's been a while."
Poseidon put his hand on Percy's shoulder and said, "It has."
Aphrodite smiled as she walked up to Piper placing her hands upon her daughter's cheeks, "Hello, my daughter."
"Hi, mom," Piper half smiled.
"Look at you…so beautiful," Aphrodite bragged, and Piper blushed.
Hephaestus shook Leo's hand and said proudly, "This is a fine vessel, son."
Leo's eyes lit up, "You like it?"
"Let me give you a tour," Leo said excitedly as he drug his father away to show him the rest of the ship.
Apollo strolled up to Reyna wearing a sly grin on his face, "How's my number one daughter?"
Reyna had an annoyed look upon her face as she bowed her head to her father, "My Lord."
"Reyna, I have asked you repeatedly to call me dad."
"Sorry, My Lord, if you will excuse me?" Reyna turned and walked away from Apollo.
Dakota watched Reyna walk away, and when he turned back around, Apollo was glaring at him.
Mars walked up in between Apollo and Dakota and clasped his son's forearm, "Dakota, my boy, ready for battle?"
"Always, sir," Dakota nodded.
"Hello, my child," Athena said as she approached Annabeth.
"Hello, mother," Annabeth nodded.
"I see you and Percy Jackson are still…close," Athena said as she cut her gaze toward Percy and Poseidon.
"Yeah," Annabeth said hesitantly. "We're still friends."
"Is that all it is?" Athena asked obviously knowing that wasn't all it was.
Annabeth blushed, "Um…"
"Cut the kids some slack, Athena," Poseidon grumbled as he and Percy walked closer to them.
"Oh, and you approve of this relationship between our children, do you, Poseidon?"
"It irritates you, so it's fine with me," Poseidon grinned, and Athena just rolled her eyes and turned back to Annabeth.
"Mom," Annabeth started. "I know you don't…"
Athena held up her hand and interrupted Annabeth, "I may not approve, but I trust you know what you're doing, and Percy has already been warned not to mess up."
Annabeth's eyes widened, and she turned to Percy, "He has?"
Percy gave Annabeth a quick nod and a look like don't ask.
"Father," Jason bowed his head to Jupiter.
"Son," Jupiter nodded. "I owe you a debt for rescuing my beloved wife from the giant Porphyrion last winter."
"It was my honor, My Lord."
"You did well, my son, but are you prepared to face him again?" Jupiter asked Jason.
"Yes, sir," Jason answered confidently.
The gods and demigods were introduced or reacquainted with one another. Some meetings were nice and polite, others were somewhat awkward, and some were down right unpleasant.
Dakota was sitting alone on the wheel deck step when Apollo made his way over to him.
"My Lord," Dakota nodded to Apollo.
Apollo folded his arms across his chest and glared at Dakota, "I know what you did to my daughter, punk."
"Apollo, I've done a lot of things to your daughter," Dakota said as he casually leaned back on his elbows. "Could you be more specific?"
Apollo's eyes narrowed, "You know what I'm talking about."
Dakota knew Apollo meant how he'd left Reyna and broke her heart, but Dakota knew exactly what to say to fire Apollo up.
"Oh, you must be talking about how I'd make her scream…over and over and over again," Dakota mused.
"Watch yourself, boy," Apollo snapped. "Or when this is all over, if you happen to survive, I'll kill you myself."
Apollo stormed away from Dakota as Leo and Hephaestus made their way over to Dakota apparently hearing every word between him and Apollo.
"Dude, he's gonna kill you," Leo said with concern.
Dakota shook his head, "No, he's not."
Leo raised his eyebrows, "I don't think he was joking."
"Why would he want to kill me?" Dakota asked.
"Um, I don't know. Maybe for doing his daughter," Leo answered with sarcasm.
Hephaestus cleared his throat, "I think I'll go say hi to Percy and Annabeth. Excuse me."
"My Lord," Dakota nodded to Hephaestus, and Leo smiled at his father as he left Dakota and Leo alone.
"Leo, if he was going to kill me for that, he would've done it a long time ago. I'm not scared of Apollo. This isn't the first time we've gotten into it over Reyna. He's not going to kill me because he's too afraid of what Reyna might do."
"What could Reyna possibly do to him?" Leo asked.
"Reyna's his favorite child, but she hates him, calls him a deadbeat dad and blames him for her mother's death," Dakota explained. "If he kills me, he'd be killing any chance at having a relationship with her, and he knows it."
"But still, you did his daughter…his fifteen year old daughter."
"Not fifteen, almost seventeen," Dakota corrected. "And I wasn't taking advantage of her. We'd been together for a long time. It wasn't just about the sex. She was the only girl I ever wanted since I was seven years old, and I loved her so much…more than anything. I still do."
"I forget that you and Reyna are a few years older than us," Leo said. "So, are you two gonna try to work things out?"
"If I can regain her trust, I think she might give me a chance," Dakota said.
Leo nodded as he stared off into space then he finally said, "I hope it works out for you, bro."
"You thinking about Hazel?" Dakota asked.
Leo turned to Dakota, "How could you tell?"
Dakota smiled, "You two are a good match. I'm glad she found you, Leo"
"Me, too." Leo smiled. "I don't know how I got so lucky."
"You love her?" Dakota asked.
Leo hesitated, "I-I think I do…no, I know I do."
"So, you and Annabeth, huh?" Poseidon asked Percy as they walked away from the crowd to have some privacy.
"Yeah," Percy nodded to his father trying not to smile.
"I never could've imagined that would work…a son of Poseidon and a daughter of Athena," Poseidon said.
"It can be hard sometimes," Percy admitted.
"Is she worth it?"
Percy couldn't hold back his smile any longer, "Every bit of it."
Poseidon smiled, "So, have you told her yet?"
"Told who what?" Percy asked.
"Annabeth that you love her," Poseidon clarified.
"Oh," Percy blushed slightly. "Yeah, I did."
"Good for you, Percy," Poseidon said placing his hand on Percy's shoulder. "I bet that was the best episode yet."
Percy raised an eyebrow, "Episode?"
"Oh, yeah, everyone on Olympus watches you two like you're some kind of soap opera. They even have a name for it. Oh, what do they call you two?" Poseidon thought for a second then snapped his fingers. "Percabeth! You know, like Brangelina and…"
"I get it," Percy interrupted. "That's disturbing."
"Oh," Poseidon exhaled. "My boy's growing up. You know, all this talk about love, it kinda makes you start thinking about the F-word."
Percy's eyes widened, "Pardon?"
"The future," Poseidon said. "What F-word did you think…oh…well, maybe that one, too."
"Dad!" Percy gasped and Poseidon just laughed.
"Are you alright, sweetie?" Aphrodite asked Piper with worry.
"I'm…I'm fine, mom, really," Piper said.
"Are you sure? You seem distracted."
"It's just…there's a lot going on, and I've just got to process it all," Piper admitted.
"No worries, my child. You'll do fine," Aphrodite assured her.
"Will everyone please gather round?" Athena announced from the wheel console of the Argo II.
Everyone gathered around the console where Athena had a small map rolled out. There were seven randomly highlighted areas on the map.
Annabeth and Dakota studied the map intently, and Annabeth asked, "Are these highlighted areas where the giants are?"
"That's right," Athena said. "Only seven of the twenty four giants were able to reform. They have gathered here in Phlegra because they know they are immortal here. Each giant has set up their own home base here within this ten square mile area. The Fates have strategically called upon the seven of us because we are the gods who defeated these particular giants in the first Gigantomachy. The seven of you were called because you are the most powerful of our children in this generation. Only our combined efforts will destroy the giants."
"So, each of us will be fighting alongside our parent?" Reyna asked.
"Correct," Athena nodded.
Reyna gritted her teeth and mumbled under her breath, "Fantastic."
"What's the game plan?" Jason asked.
"We shouldn't engage the giants until tomorrow when our power is at its greatest," Jupiter said.
"I agree," Mars nodded.
"They're right," Athena agreed. "But I suggest we get an idea of what we're up against before we engage them."
Annabeth and Dakota looked at each other and in unison said, "Let's scout 'em."
Disclaimer: I do not own PJO or HO.