CHAPTER 1: Jason
Jason woke up on a cement floor with a searing pain on the back of his head. He reached back to feel the wound and found that it was sticky with blood. Over the past months he had become accustomed to bleeding, so the wooziness he felt was in no way associated with seeing the gore on his fingers. He had experienced his share of concussions, and this was a big one.
Uuuuuugggggg, came a groan from a few feet away, startling him back into reality. Reyna lay on the floor in a state similar to his own. Jason tried to sit up and help her but his head throbbed, forcing him to lie back down.
"J-Jason?" Reyna called to him. "Jason, are you okay? What happened?"
Memories of his quest flooded back to him. He, Reyna, and Calvin had been on a quest to find something. And they had succeeded in finding it, only to discover that their quest had been a trap. There had been monsters waiting to ambush them the whole time!
Another voice called his name, but it wasn't Reyna. It was a jarring voice that filled his entire head.
Jason, wake up, it said.
I am awake. But even as he thought these words he could feel the world around him fading yet again into memory.
When he truly awoke a pair of brown eyes and a mouthful of hot breath greeted him.
"Whoa, way too close, man," Jason said to his friend, Leo.
"Sorry, I just had to make sure you were still breathing. I think you've been working too hard, you always look so tired," he replied, backing off a bit to allow Jason room to breathe.
"Says the kid who is building a flying boat to the boy who slept for," he glanced at his clock for a moment and did some quick mental math, "ten hours straight. If anything it's you who needs a break, not me."
"Who said anything about a break? I just said you've been working too hard. Come on, you're already late for breakfast. Luckily, I know a guy who can hook you up with the best nuts and berries around," Leo said with a smirk.
"I think I'll pass. Does this guy happen to have a tail and sometimes doesn't wear pants?"
"You got it. Get dressed and I'll meet you at the Oracle cave in ten. Rachel called together a meeting involving one freaky Roman demigod, one awesome son of Hephaestus, and one iffy daughter of Aphrodite. Among some others." With that, Leo left Jason to his thoughts.
Jason took a lightning fast shower—since lightning fast was pretty average for a son of Jupiter— and put on the normal orange camp half blood t-shirt and pants with five minutes left before the meeting. It would only take him about a minute to get to Rachel's cave, so he ended up sitting on the edge of his bed and trying not to look into the eyes of his father's statue, towering above him.
No matter where he went in his cabin there was no escaping Jupiter's (or Zeus as the Camp Half Blood demigods called him) piercing glare. Jason could not bear to be analyzed by a statue any longer than required of him, and the silence of his cabin was making him think about things he didn't want to think about. Like how in his dream he could feel that he used to care about the girl he was with. Or how even as he cared for another girl now, there was an almost palpable hole that Piper couldn't totally fill until he found Reyna and knew that she was not hurting over losing him. But now was not the time to think about that.
Jason stood and left his cabin, thinking maybe he would find Piper before he went to Rachel's cave. The Aphrodite cabin was right on the way to his destination, but he would never go inside to see if she was there. The former head of the cabin, Drew, had once had a crush on Jason and after Piper made it clear that she didn't have a chance with him, her crush became a horrible grudge.
"Looking for Piper?" asked one of Piper's younger half sisters who was standing outside the cabin. She was scrawny and pale but undeniably a daughter of Aphrodite.
"Yeah, have you seen her?" Jason answered, trying not to stare at her eyes, which where exactly the same shape and strange color as Piper's.
"She left for Rachel's cave about five minutes ago. She didn't even do her hair before she left! Sometimes I wonder if she's really one of us. Not that I'm complaining; Piper is way better than Drew."
"Um, okay. Thanks for the help," Jason said, trying to hide how little he cared about whether or not Piper did her hair.
"No problem," she answered, though Jason had already turned and took a few paces toward the cave. Jason heard her mumble something that sounded like, "Rude Roman," which made him smirk.
Leo was standing at the mouth of Rachel's cave, and he was wearing a worried expression, which was unusual for him.
"What's going on?" Jason asked when he was within earshot of Leo even when he spoke quietly.
"Rachel. One minute, she was happy, saying she was having small visions of this Percy dude at the other camp. She said that if we got the boat working then maybe she should come with us so that she could help find him, which is why she called the meeting. I think she'd almost convinced Chiron when her eyes turned that funny green color when she prophesies. Except that she didn't say a word. She just collapsed and she hasn't gotten up since."
"Why isn't she in the infirmary?" Jason asked, pushing through the beaded door that blocked him from seeing inside. The scene that greeted him was hectic. Every kid in the cave was pacing around suggesting what could be done. Chiron was standing next to the couch that Rachel was laying on, looking calm but worried.
"Do you see this room? Everyone who knows what happened is freaking out. Imagine what would happen if the whole camp knew. Chiron said that everyone here needs to keep it hush-hush until they've decided what to do."
"I still think we should try a little ambrosia," said a daughter of Hecate.
"That would just kill her, dummy." Clarisse, the head of the Ares cabin rolled her eyes.
"Well let's see you come up with something better!"
"What do you think we're trying to do, here?"
They bickered on and on, which jump-stated four other arguments among the campers. All the noise seemed to make Leo antsy, because he pulled out some gadgets and started messing with them. Leo had always been much better with machines than people.
For the first time, Jason noticed the other two people sitting next Rachel's limp body, speaking to Chiron. Annabeth wore the same worried but calm expression as Chiron, but Piper seemed a little less calm and a little more anxious. Jason walked over to them and thought about putting his hand on Piper's shoulder, but he remembered Reyna's face and awkwardly pretended that he had lifted his hand to scratch his head.
"We have medics here that are perfectly capable of caring for mortals as well as demigods," Annabeth was saying, while absently searching through a first-aid kit for anything useful. "Just because we can't use nectar and ambrosia doesn't mean we have to take her to a hospital. Really, what doctor can compare with the skills of a child of Apollo? And what if she has a prophecy while at the hospital. Who knows what could happen? She's completely unstable."
"Annabeth, whether of not our demigods are capable of taking care of Rachel isn't really the question. We only have a few more months until the summer solstice and our campers aren't even close to being prepared for the up-coming search for Percy. There's the boat to finish, and the kids in the Apollo cabin are working on storing medical supplies as well as stocking the ship with crossbows and other archery. We're all busy, but a doctor could devote herself entirely to her," Chiron explained.
"You say this like you know of a doctor who would be up to the job," Piper said.
"Of course," Chiron smiled. "An old demigod I once taught would, I'm sure, be happy to take care of her.
"Anyone we know?" Jason asked, guessing that the answer would be a surprise, as always.
"Have you heard of Clara Barton?" asked Chiron.
"As in the Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross?" Annabeth inquired.
"And daughter of Apollo. It's a long story which followed another battle between the Roman and Greek demigods, but in the end the gods granted her immortality," Chiron explained.
Annabeth's face exploded into a rare grin. "I wish I was the lucky oracle."