Disclaimer: Nope, just a fanfiction writer. I would be a man, if I owned it, wouldn't I? So nope.
Story: Kronos somehow changed Percy from male to female. But there was another catch; 'she's' no longer a demigod. Not one of them, Percy can't stay in the camp and is forced out. There's still those pesky gender identity issues too…
Set after Sea of Monsters and (semi)AU from then on.
Spoilers: All books.
Warnings: Cursing and violence for now…hm, just in case since I'm usually writing it, bit of crazy humor, perverted humor, morbid or sarcastic humor, and maybe some sexual situations…
Luctor et Emergo
Chapter One: Diis Volentibus (Gods Willing)
Luke's sword slashed the deckchair in half, metal pipes and all. Percy crawled towards the swimming pool, knowing he'd never make it with the way he was close to blacking out. Luke was gradually coming towards him, and with the way he looked he knew Percy couldn't either. His thigh was in so much pain, he couldn't focus on anything but it.
Luke smiled slowly, moving his sword upwards as he examined it, seeing the red tinge at the edge in detached curiosity.
"Lord Kronos has asked me to send a message," the blond said casually, lowering Backbiter as he came to a stop next to Percy.
He grabbed Percy's hair, yanking his head up. Percy cried out in pain, but Luke ignored it and surprisingly sheathed his sword, opting instead with a crystal vial filled with an unknown golden substance. He shoved it to Percy's mouth, the top clanking harshly against his teeth.
"Bottom's up," and then Luke was forcefully tossing the liquid down his throat. "Good luck to you, Percy," he gave a strange sad smile.
Percy gagged a little, surprised at the abrupt move, but it was too late to stop or spit it out by the time he regained his bearings. Everything was unclear after that. He remembered barely something about the bear man advancing on Annabeth and Grover and then an arrow erupting in his mouth. Then a bunch of centaurs appeared, all looking ready for partying than battle.
The last thing he heard was one of them yelling, "Come get some!"
When he regained consciousness, Chiron was looking him over and the first things he heard were:
"Dude!" said a party pony as he unloaded his gear. "Did you see that bear guy? He was all like: 'Whoa, I have an arrow in my mouth!'"
The centaur with the googly-eye glasses laughed. "That was awesome! Head slam!"
The two centaurs charged at each other full-force and knocked heads, then went staggering off in different directions with crazy grins on their faces.
Chiron sighed. He set Annabeth and Grover down on a picnic blanket next to Percy. "I really wish my cousins wouldn't slam their heads together. They don't have the brain cells to spare."
"I feel like my brain cells got scrambled," Percy said dazedly, slowly sitting up.
Chiron assisted him and they started discussing how Chiron got to them, before he was dismissing the other two and he was looking at Percy. They talked at length about the prophecy that Percy had coerced out of Annabeth, and the sinking feeling grew in his stomach.
They quickly returned to camp, where Clarisse put the Golden Fleece on Thalia's tree. There was a bunch of cheering and stuff, but Percy's head was still fuzzy. He didn't mention it to anyone and was just glad to be treated like a regular camper for once, especially after the fact they had snuck out of camp. If the others had noticed them, they would have had to expel them, so it was as good a thank you as anything.
Later that night, as they were roasting s'mores and listening to the Stoll brothers tell a ghost story about an evil king who was eaten alive by demonic breakfast pastries, Clarisse shoved him from behind and whispered in his ear, "Just because you were cool one time, Jackson, don't think you're off the hook with Ares. I'm still waiting for the right opportunity to pulverize you."
He gave her a grudging smile.
"What?" she demanded.
"Nothing," he said. "Just good to be home."
The chariot races were still going on, and he and Annabeth were training like crazy, both wanting to win. Chores were to be split and all that, but there was just this persistent headache that wouldn't go away. It was like a pounding in his skull, that with each pang of pain, his head felt like it was ready to be cracked wide open. He'd let Tyson take him to the infirmary, but nothing was diagnosed. Chiron himself was mystified about it, especially after Percy confided in him about the vial's substance Luke had forced down his throat. No one else had seen and he didn't want to cause a stir and panic over it, but he didn't want to let it go in case it was important, restricting the information to just Chiron.
"This is very worrying, but with nothing more to go on, we'll just have to keep an eye out. Watch out for any changes and update me about it. I will see what I can find out in the meantime," Chiron's eyebrows furrowed.
The night before the races, Percy stayed up late. He was with the horses, giving them a final brush through. His headache had mysteriously gone away and he pondered about it, but before he could go any further with his thoughts, he was interrupted and ended up having a nervous but casual talk with Hermes.
Ending on a final note about immortal families being eternally messy, Percy was about to apologize one last time about Luke when he suddenly felt very hot. He rapidly began to sweat and the god noticed the change in his companion immediately.
"Percy, your eyes are dilating. Are you alright?" the god moved towards him, but he shook his head, giving a pained smile.
"No, no. I'm fine. That's the conch shell, I have to get to bed. I'm sorry about Luke again, Lord Hermes," Percy bit out, trying to get away quickly and not bring any more attention to his current condition, wanting instead to find somewhere to curl up in peace.
"I don't think so," Hermes frowned. "You don't look too well."
Percy took a deep breath, his eyesight continuing its odd dance of being in and out of focus, blurry at best and blacked out at worse.
"Can you do me a favor, Lord Hermes?" Percy asked, the idea coming to him. "Lord Apollo is also the god of medicine, right?"
"As am I in part," Hermes nodded.
"Can you ask him what a purplyish crystal vial with a golden substance inside might be?" If anyone would know, it would be him, right? At least, Percy thought so. Maybe either god would know what was wrong.
"I'll bring it up with him," he said softly, watching the paling demigod worriedly. "Are you sure you don't need any help? Or maybe I can help you along to the infirmary?"
"Nah, really –I'm fine. I gotta go. Curfew and all, yeah? See you, Lord Hermes," Percy grinned slightly, feeling his throat closing up and his chest squeezing alarmingly.
He turned and then suddenly his slow overpowering state was interrupted with an explosion of pain, and he fell to his hands and knees. He felt warm hands reach to grab him and help him up, when he involuntarily jerked out of Hermes' hands and fell completely to the floor, his body shaking in uncontrollable spasms.
"Hold on, Percy! I'll get you help," but he could barely make out those words.
His body shut down and he closed his eyes.
He didn't wake up for a long time. He missed the chariot race, which Annabeth and Tyson forced themselves to go through for him, winning it. Amongst the whispers and speculations of the camp, a shared worry about what was wrong with him echoed about in a strange melancholy. He stayed in the infirmary, suffering a high and almost unbreakable fever that was relentless in plaguing him. He constantly sweated and tossed and turned in his bed, crying out and mumbling at intervals.
Instead of Tyson going to stay with their father for the rest of the summer, Poseidon had come to keep watch over his eldest mortal son, worry etching itself on his features. The two of them kept to the infirmary, only allowing others to visit in turns. Hermes regularly came for checkups and had also brought Apollo along since the beginning, informing him of what he knew of the situation and Chiron filling in what little details he knew, which was mostly only to how Percy had come about the vial and its substance.
Guilt ran through Hermes when he'd heard that, as he had helped bring Percy into contact with Luke in the first place and it was his favor that had gotten Percy into such trouble. He relayed more details that Percy had told him, about the colors of both vial and liquid, and of the material of the vial itself.
Apollo had paled and told them that he had an idea, splitting his time between researching it and looking after Percy.
Then something happened. One night, Percy started muttering even more than usual, stiffening up in his bed. Poseidon got off his chair to check on him, with Tyson echoing him, when Percy's eyes shot open with a wild look to them, and the demigod tore out of his bed, running haphazardly out of the infirmary and into the night. They followed after him, seeing others slowly gathering up and moving up the hill, where Percy outpaced them all and stopped by Thalia's tree, leaving them behind him.
Annabeth was kneeling by someone lying on the ground, though she wasn't too close, and everyone wondered what was going on. They were even more amazed to see Percy dazedly standing near the two, having been confined to the infirmary for quite awhile.
"Percy, come back here," Chiron hesitantly moved to grab the dazed boy, who was watching the downed figures with unseeing eyes.
That startled Annabeth and she looked up, only for Percy to roughly grab her and push her away, kneeling himself beside the unknown girl.
"Thalia," his hoarse voice croaked to the amazement of others.
Nobody else came close.
Percy stared, almost as if his mind had left everyone else, all who were distanced from the two anyways. Annabeth trekked closer to Chiron and Grover, watching warily with everyone. Poseidon patiently waited, though he wanted just as much to pull his son away or even to just reach out to his son.
He put his hand on her forehead. Her skin was cold, but his fingertips tingled as if they were burning. Her eyes snapped opened, revealing startling electric blue irises.
"It's okay. You're safe," he murmured, but his eyes were unfocused.
The girl stared at him in bewilderment, shivering and wild-eyed. "Who –"
"I'm Percy," he said. "You're safe now."
"Strangest dream ..."
"No," he assured her. "You're okay. Things will be alright."
His held out his hand upright and she glanced at it hesitantly.
"I am Perseus," he intoned vacantly. "Son of Poseidon, Thalia, Daughter of Zeus."
The strange urge to say those words had now turned into screaming inside, a hollow feeling erupting inside of him at them. He gave her a cracked smile that she returned with an unsure and confused one.
Her hand tentatively reached his, the tips of her fingers first touching his and then the rest of her hand lay flat against it. And the moment her hand touched his, it was ironic that pain erupted in him like lightning and he fell back from her as he started writhing on the ground and screaming in agony.
It was such a predictable thing to know he'd blacked out again.
Next he woke, he was alone, having woken up on his side in his bed in the infirmary. He blinked in disarray, wondering also at the heavier feeling on his chest and the feeling of something missing downwards. He licked his dry lips as he swallowed heavily, one hand reaching down as the other reached out. It would look highly wrong to anyone, if they were to walk in, but the moment Percy's hands touched his chest and his new genitals, he didn't care about how wrong the picture looked but only about how messed up the situation was and how did this happen.
'She' choked out a cry and rubbed her arm against her eyes, trying not to burst into tears.
She didn't fall back to sleep, but she stayed there unmoving after she realized what had happened to her. Her hands didn't stray to the new additions to her body again, but stayed firmly clasped in front of her like in a prayer position. Her side started to feel numb for how long she laid on it, but she neither cared nor had any energy to move.
Percy had somehow turned into a girl.
That was all she could think and care about at that moment. It didn't matter that she was alone, that somehow Thalia Grace had come back to life, or that Luke had once again gotten the upper hand through not only the Golden Fleece…but whatever he had done to her.
Her…what a strange notion…
"Percy? Are you awake?" Annabeth! Percy sat up quickly, seeing the blonde girl enter the room hesitantly. She gave her a huge smile, but Annabeth didn't reciprocate. Instead, the Daughter of Athena's lips trembled and her eyes looked suspiciously wet.
"Annabeth? What's going on? Why am I a girl and why do you look like you're about to cry?"
Annabeth sat down next to her, taking a moment to compose herself before speaking.
"Percy, they haven't told us everything that's going on…but we do know some stuff. Like…how you're not a demigod."
Percy stared at her, unable to process that.
"Oh, Percy, please don't make me repeat that again," Annabeth closed her eyes. "The fact is, y-you're not one of us anymore."
"And?" her voice cracked.
"You can't be here, Percy," Annabeth winced. "You're mortal now, so you belong out there."
"You're kicking me out?" Percy asked in disbelief. "What…how can you…after everything, you're just going to come in here and tell me that?"
"Don't you think this is hard on me too?" Annabeth screamed suddenly. "I lo –" She stopped herself, shaking her head. "You'll have to leave soon. To help you adjust and give you some closure, Chiron said that you can stay for the rest of the summer."
Percy reached out, touching her hand gently. But when Annabeth jerked her hand back, it felt like Percy had been stabbed. She couldn't breathe again, and this time it had nothing to do with any vials and liquids –except for the blood pounding through her veins and heart, and the tears that silently trekked down her face.
"I really like you, Annabeth," Percy confessed, licking her newly soft lips. She had the urge to bite down on them harshly and make them bleed. "Finish that sentence. Tell me you care for me too. Please, Annabeth, tell me you return my feelings."
"I do care for you, but it's not the same," Annabeth rubbed her eyes.
"How can it not be?" Percy exploded. "Just because I'm a girl now, you don't love me anymore? Wouldn't you love me anyway, no matter what? Whatever happens?"
"It's just not the same," Annabeth insisted. "I still have feelings for you, but I can't look at you and feel the way I did when you were a boy. I tried, I swear I tried. But even feeling the same way I do towards you, they feel less intense, muted. I'm not even attracted to you anymore. And you're mortal, Percy. You don't belong in my world."
"You mean our world," Percy bit out.
"Not anymore," Annabeth gazed at her with a teary but firm gaze.
"And what if this gets reversed? This can't be forever," she persisted. "I'll change back. Won't you even have faith or believe in that?"
"It's permanent," Annabeth said stoically. "Both your change into a mortal and a female. You can't be changed back and you never will," she ended in a whisper.
She stood abruptly and walked out, leaving Percy to sit in bed in shock, feeling herself trembling from the pain of a broken heart and abandonment than physical pain.
She didn't even notice the five people who came into the room some time later, even though four were gods and one was a centaur. She just kept her blank gaze firmly staring at the wall in front of her. Apollo started to check on her, his warm hands coming into contact with her skin.
"Hello, Percy," his bright grin faltered when she didn't respond. "I'm Apollo. How are you?"
She still didn't reply to him, so he cleared his throat awkwardly and rubbed the back of his neck in discomfort.
"There's no going about this, so I'll just explain it to you straight," Apollo turned solemn, and she could see that it wasn't a normal thing by everyone else's reactions. "The substance forced on you is called Dimidium Nex, which is Latin for 'Half Death'. Our Roman children created it with the sole purpose of changing a demigod into a mortal. What happens is that the concoction targets the demigod's DNA. Gods don't have DNA, but demigods do. Each demigod has a separate 'demigod-DNA' sequence. The potion changes it by changing the part that makes you a 'demigod'."
"I still look like Poseidon," she countered quietly.
"Ah, well…the potion goes after just the 'demigod' part in that sequence, things that make you a demigod by nature. I assume it leaves the physical, genetics, inherited traits from your godly parent alone –so you still have say Uncle P's temper."
Both Percy and Poseidon glared at him and he held up his hands.
"Sounds too complicated for the time," she muttered.
"You'd be surprised at the things they could do," Apollo answered wryly.
"That still doesn't explain why I'm a girl," Percy frowned, going back to the matter at hand.
Apollo winced, though he eyed her appreciatively. "Well, at least you're a pretty one."
She gave him a bland stare and he grinned awkwardly, pink flush staying on his face.
"I'm guessing it had something to do with what happened before. The night you ran off to see Thalia, the potion was close to completion. Your transformation was happening slowly and that night it was about to be finished. However, the moment it just about was almost complete, you touched Thalia and the potion recognized a secondary change it needed before completion."
"I touched plenty of people before then, so why did I change into a girl now?"
"It's because that you touched Thalia right at the moment when the potion was about to be completed. The touch served as a medium for the potion to recognize something else being introduced to the rest of your modifications, with the potion reacting to the difference in Thalia to you and absorbing the difference to your transformation. A few hours after you touched Thalia, your body began making the final alterations and for the past few days your body has been adjusting to the changes."
"But then wouldn't I be able to be a demigod, since she is, and the change be reverted?" Percy tried to find something to help her.
He gave an apologetic smile, "Not quite. The potion was meant to change you from a demigod, so the potion would fight against it. Kind of like white blood cells attacking an intruder, and getting immunity. The only other thing to change was what the potion recognized as different in Thalia from you –your gender. So it latched onto that and altered that about you as well."
Percy slumped over in resignation.
Apollo's smile turned sad. "I'm sorry, Percy. It was nice meeting you. I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world."
He left and it was an awkward silence. Chiron uncomfortably cleared his throat.
"I don't really want to say this right now, but there's never going to be a good time to say it. Percy, you won't be able to stay here. The wards won't allow it, at least not long term. You wouldn't want to stay here anyway. The others…they'll most likely treat you differently, some even negatively. And you would feel like an outsider because of it, even more so when you're here and you're around things that you can't participate or be a part of anymore. I don't want you to feel like an outcast. Still…you're still welcome to stay here for as long as you need, until summer's end, if you want," Chiron looked at her sadly.
Percy nodded unhappily.
"Try to visit, won't you? I would like to see you and know how you are," the centaur clapped a comforting hand on hers for a moment before disappearing out the door.
Dionysus quickly followed after, though he stopped at the door and hesitated. He sighed and reluctantly turned to face her, his hand on the doorway clenching firmly.
"I wish you luck, Percy Jackson," he surprisingly said her name, his tone neutral. He turned to leave once more, though he tensed and said one more thing without turning back, his voice turning regretful. "And now you've seen the life of a hero."
He left without another word.
Percy was left alone with her father, and also a silent Hermes who blended into the shadows and stayed unnoticeable.
She didn't want to look at him. She didn't want to know how upset he was. Did he even want to look at her? Did he even still consider her one of his children? Or did he rather never see her again and just forget she ever existed?
Her hands were grasping onto the sheets so tightly, she was nearly making a hole. But then Poseidon's hands lightly touched hers and her hands relaxed slightly.
"This doesn't change anything, Percy," Poseidon's voice rumbled comfortingly. "No matter what, you will always be one of mine. You are still a Child of Poseidon."
Oh, she couldn't help it. After everything, this piece of good news and the only thing to make her happy, just piled up as another emotional event onto all the others and she burst into tears. Her father gathered her up and held her.
"It's alright, Percy. I will never regret claiming you and you will always be claimed by me. I am very proud of you," he soothed. "Shush now. I have something for you that I had made."
Percy tried to calm herself quickly, slowly moving away to easily see what her father had. He held up a pretty strip of black satin, with an even prettier Greek trident and alpha and omega signs attached to either side of it sewn into the middle of the strip, made of an odd slightly dark green shimmering material. Two tiny white pearls dangled from where they were attached from the bottom of the alpha and omega signs.
"The pendant is made of a special type of coral, made only in my kingdom, called Queen Coral. The emerald shine won't ever fade, and will always glitter like new. The pearls are the same type of pearls used on your first Quest. If ever you need to escape, snap one off and step on it. There are two if you need to double jump, just in case. After an hour of use, the pearls should reappear back in place," he explained and she loved the gift even more.
Yeah it was girly, but her father gave it to her and it was rather pretty…
And useful, very useful.
"And if you ever feel lonely or want to feel my presence, press the palm of your hand firmly against the pendant and then when you move or flick the pearls, they'll make a tinkling sound like bells," he demonstrated.
She smiled at that before frowning.
"Hey, I'm not a cat."
Poseidon grinned suddenly, "But I thought it was a cute idea."
"I'm not cute."
"I think you are! Come on, Percy. I've never really had a girl before, and you're so cute now!"
"Dad!" she twitched and punched his shoulder, not noticing the pout on her face, which just reinforced the 'cute' image in Poseidon's mind and supported his words. He couldn't help himself; he tackled her and hugged her tightly, rubbing his face against hers affectionately.
"You are cute!"
After a moment of that, with Percy struggling to get away, Poseidon turned to the last thing on his mind.
"Even though you're mortal now, I told you I still consider you mine. That won't ever change. So I'll try to visit you often, alright? I will see you once every month, no matter what. If the coming war starts taking more of my time, then I'll make sure to tell you and switch to at least keeping contact once every week."
Percy blushed, but was very happy about that.
"Oh, okay. Thanks a lot, I can't wait."
Poseidon patted her head with a soft smile, before hugging her once more and leaving her to rest. She thought she was finally alone, but someone cleared their throat and she looked up in surprise to remember that Hermes was still there.
"H-hey," her voice cracked and she uncomfortably watched him, not knowing what to say.
"I'm sorry," he apologized again. She opened her mouth, but he held up a hand. "No, Percy. This is my fault and I need to apologize. Thank you for what you did for me, but I'm sorry that this is what you got in return. I wish I hadn't pushed you into this and if I could, I would try to correct things and return things to what they should be. But I can't and you're stuck as a girl and even worse –not a demigod and being turned away."
She started feeling unhappy about things again, but he came closer and tentatively sat next to her.
"I just…I'm sorry," he said again, looking at her pleadingly. "I don't know what else to say. Everything else sounds worthless or useless, but I can't just sit here and say nothing."
"Hey now, you shouldn't feel too bad about it. I mean, you're a god. Aren't gods supposed to just…move on?" Percy weakly joked.
He looked at her and she winced, seeing how much this was upsetting him.
"Um, I don't know why you're so bothered by it, but it's okay. At least I still have my dad and I'm happy that he still likes me, and I'll just have to find a way to cope about all this." Though, she wasn't so sure she actually could. Not that she would say that to him, with the way he was strangely feeling bad about it.
He didn't answer her, looking like he was brooding to himself. She held back, but then decided to reach over and touch his shoulder. He sighed and turned to face her slightly.
"Apollo was right though," he smiled faintly. "You are pretty."
She found herself blushing, though she berated herself about it.
'He's a guy. I'm a guy. What am I getting all worked up over?'
"Have you ever been kissed before?" his voice cut into her thoughts.
Her blush became worse, though she frowned after a second and scoffed.
"No. Annabeth was supposed to be my first," her scowl lightened and she sort of just flopped back dejectedly on her bed, thinking about it.
A soft pair of lips covered hers and she blinked, realizing that Hermes was kissing her. Her. Oh…
She didn't even notice when her eyes fluttered close or when he'd moved over and was laying lightly on top of her; only that his lips were skillfully moving against hers and that she had no idea that this is what a kiss was like or that it could feel so good.
He reluctantly moved away and she blinked again, this time in a daze.
"That's really as best an apology or repayment I can give," he offered, smiling somewhere between sadly and contentment.
"Oh. It was…nice," she swallowed harshly, trying to gain her bearings.
"Nice?" he raised an eyebrow up in amusement.
"Fantastic," she blurted out, and then she shook her head, hitting his chest. "I'm a boy," she declared. "You don't kiss boys."
He blinked and looked at her. "Yeah. Sure. Though I probably would've kissed you when you were a boy too."
"Nothing, nothing. Anyways, I hope you don't mind me stealing your first kiss," he shrugged apologetically. "I hope it's okay. Or at least I'm the first man to kiss you."
"First and only," she huffed. "'Cause you know. I'm a boy and all."
"Right," he humored her.
And even though her head was screaming 'I'maboyI'maboyI'maboy!', she could still recall the feeling of his lips against hers and the sensation of having his body on top of hers and feeling his weight comfortably settled on her.
"It was nice," she mumbled. "I liked it. A lot," she reluctantly admitted. She thought on it some more and sighed, running her hands through her short hair. "No. You can have my first kiss. And you can be the first man to kiss me."
Well…since she was okay with it…
He leaned over and surprised her with another long kiss. He kissed her again for a third time before disappearing a little later after that, leaving her dazedly flopped against her bed.
"But I'm a boy," she whined.
Deciding to get the hell out of there and figure out what to do next, she slipped out of bed and redressed in her old clothes before she got out, not caring to see if she was cleared to go in the first place. She frowned once she was outside, seeing how oddly deserted the place was. She walked a little further and was surprised to be stopped by Clarisse.
"You. Should not. Be going out. Like that," the rougher girl growled, grabbing her arm and forcing her to follow after her.
"Like what?" Percy was bewildered.
"Have you looked at your chest?" Clarisse rolled her eyes.
"Uh…actually no. I kinda felt it earlier, so I know I have…some new stuff though," she started turning red.
"New stuff," the Daughter of Ares muttered, snorting. "Anyways, you're kinda short right now, so your breasts are slightly large for your frame."
"What does that mean?" Percy blinked.
"It means –you're my cup size, but since you're smaller your breasts are bigger on you than mine are on me," Clarisse twitched. "They might fit better on you when you start growing, but then again they might grow with you."
"So big breasts is a bad thing?"
"Tch! Depending on how you look at it. For one, if they're too big, especially for your frame, they'll kill your back. But no girl really wants to have really small breasts. Average is good, even if some pigs have an obsession with huge tits." Clarisse eyed her slightly enviously. "You actually have a good pair…On you they're big, though at least not like watermelons, but on me they're average or even leaning on small," the brunette slightly pouted about it.
Percy's face was fully red now.
"Ugh. I'd really prefer not to be talking about this at all, especially with you."
Clarisse gave her a nasty grin, with a look that said she was enjoying embarrassing and making Percy uncomfortable. She even looked ready to start cackling in enjoyment any second.
"Besides," the newly made mortal frowned. "What does…all that have anything to do with me going out…like, uh, 'that'? Whatever 'that' is."
"You're wearing your old camp shirt, which is too small to include your new 'additions.' Your tits are sticking out like a sore thumb, sweetheart," Clarisse's voice was layered with thick sarcasm.
Clarisse just snickered and dragged her the rest of the way to the Ares cabin. Once in there, Clarisse kicked everyone else out and forced her to sit in front of an out of place vanity set. She rummaged around in a dresser next to a bed, Percy assumed belonged to her, before coming back next to Percy and handing her an odd contraption. Percy's face immediately turned back to red, recognizing the bra from the occasional times she'd done laundry for her mom.
"W-what am I supposed to do with this?" Percy stuttered.
"What else? Wear it, duh!"
The smaller girl looked at the bra uneasily, before hesitantly taking off her shirt (very mindful and embarrassed that Clarisse was watching, even if it was to supervise Percy and criticize her handiwork) and slipping on the straps. Her hands awkwardly fumbled with the clasps, with her arms uncomfortably bending behind her. Clarisse came over and sighed, knocking her hands away and clasping it herself.
"You'll need to practice, so you won't have so much trouble," Clarisse mumbled as she finished. Then she moved away and looked to see how well the bra fit and she was right about the matching size.
"Uh, I guess," Percy fidgeted, feeling odd as she looked at herself in the mirror. Strangely, it was odder seeing herself in the bra than feeling herself wearing it.
"Hey, Clarisse! Wrestling matches in ten!" Mark and Sherman burst through the door.
The two boys stared.
Clarisse sighed again and face palmed at the idiocy of her brothers.
Percy stared back, her shocked face slowly turning red again, though this time more in anger with a mix of embarrassment.
The two boys continued to stare, though accompanied this time with dazed faces and dark blushes. Sherman might've even had the beginnings of a perverted nosebleed…
"Out. Now," Clarisse deadpanned, pointing at the door.
But Percy reacted before they could quietly agree, screeching as she started throwing anything within reach at Clarisse's half-brothers. Clarisse just grinned happily at the show of violence.
Afterwards, as Percy walked to her cabin –well used-to-be-hers – she started to feel self-conscious and wondering how she was going to adjust to her new life. As a girl and a mortal…
She clenched her jaw as she entered Cabin Three, her eyes directed to the ground so she didn't see that someone was already inside.
"Hello, Perseas," a lovely voice spoke.
"Perseus," Percy corrected with a frown, finally looking up.
Her eyes widened and she stared, seeing a beyond beautiful woman standing in the middle of her foyer.
"You should change it, now that you're a female," she said friendly, her lips twisting upwards somehow prettily.
Percy shook herself out of it, her face still red, though she looked shyly to the ground and then towards the unknown woman, not knowing how to respond.
"Come here, Percy. Let us get to know each other more intimately," she gestured for Percy to come closer, her face strangely genteel and fond towards her, even though Percy was sure she'd never met the other.
Percy hesitantly came closer, and then ended up being led to her room. A similar vanity set to the one in the Ares cabin had somehow appeared in there, set against the far wall. The striking woman sat her in front of it immediately.
"I hope you don't mind me putting this in here. I thought it would help me more easily," she said breezily, taking out an ornate brush from the vanity set.
"Help you do what exactly? And who are you?" Percy asked uneasily, eying the brush warily.
"Oh! I'd forgotten to introduce myself. I'm Aphrodite," the goddess introduced herself. "And…well, I'm going to fix your hair up a bit," she explained simply.
"What? But why?"
Aphrodite smiled sadly, "You know, Percy…I had such big plans for you. I knew immediately, from the first time I'd heard of you and from the first time I'd gotten a glimpse of you, that I would love you immediately and be quite fond of you. I knew I'd like you immediately…and I was right. Even like this, I see I still find myself quite fond. Back then, I had all these plans to mess with your love life, as I do with all my favorites…but I can't do that now. Never mind the mortal rule –I'm love! I practically interfere all the time. It's more...I can't stand to mess up your life more when you've already been dealt such a horrible hand."
"Why would you care so much? You don't even know me and gods aren't really supposed to care at all," Percy muttered.
She threaded a gentle hand through her hair, and Percy unconsciously leaned closer to her.
"Oh sweetheart…trust me, that doesn't really matter. I know quite clearly how much I feel for you, dearest Perseus. And the gods all have their favorites…much less the fact you underestimate just how precious you are to all the gods, even if some of them are a bit grouchy or non-vocal about it."
She didn't really believe that, but she didn't deny it to Aphrodite's face.
The goddess lightly picked up a strand of Percy's short hair and examined it.
"This will have to do…Fixing your hair is the least I can do," she said surely, as if she was speaking to herself.
Percy pouted, "Is there something wrong with my hair or something?"
"Hm? Oh no. It's just too short," Aphrodite said absentmindedly, already thinking. "I won't put it too long, as you've been a boy and aren't used to long hair…and you'll have trouble getting used to taking care of it anyway…but a little longer than it is now, so you don't look like a feminine boy or a lesbian…not that I don't like either one…in fact, I –"
"Aphrodite?" Percy interrupted.
"Oops, about to get off track and lose my train of thought," Aphrodite smiled apologetically.
"Um, Aphrodite, can I ask a question?"
When the goddess nodded, Percy trudged on.
"Part of my plans?" Aphrodite guessed correctly, smiling sadly. "Yes, sweetheart. She had been a big part of my plans for you. I had everything planned out and I thought I'd have the two of you have a happily ever after in the end, after all of it. Not that she would deserve you…" she frowned disapprovingly.
This was it. All she wanted to know…what would determine whether or not if she'd stay there a little longer, hoping to change the other's mind…if there was a change, even small…
"Does that mean that Annabeth and I will still get together? That she still loves me and somehow we'll still end up with each other? You're the goddess of love, so you would know, right? I mean –"
Aphrodite surprisingly hugged her from behind, softly burying her face into Percy's neck.
"I'm sorry, Percy. She isn't in denial of her feelings, or lying about them. They truly have changed. She did, once, truly feel very strongly for you, but it is as she said. The feelings have changed and they will not return. She isn't the end all and only for you, Percy. While the two of you could've truly lived happily together, she isn't your soul mate."
Percy couldn't help the slow falling of tears, staring at herself in the mirror. If she had never turned into a girl…
"Do you know who my soul mate actually is?" Percy asked halfheartedly.
"No, I actually don't. Soul mates are, contrary to belief, very rare. Well, to be found at least. What I mean is that everyone has a soul mate…but it's rare for a person to actually find theirs. I can know who are soul mates, but they have to meet first. It's up to them to meet and it's through the Strings of Fate that would lead to a meeting," Aphrodite explained patiently, humming happily at the thought of her trade.
She started to brush through Percy's short hair, and as the former demigod watched she saw that very slowly…the short strands of her hair started to grow.
"Your hair is so pretty," Percy murmured. "One day, I think I'd like to have long pretty hair like you."
"Thank you, Percy," another stroke and her hair grew a little bit longer.
Aphrodite smiled, but instead of the usual smugness on her face or pleased light in her eyes there was just sadness.
"Beauty is subjective, you know. In a general idea, I am considered the most beautiful woman in the eyes of men…but even those in love will find their other half more beautiful. Men will see things different in the name of love, Percy."
Percy stayed quiet, just quietly watching their mirror-selves.
"There," Aphrodite hmmed approvingly, running her hands through Percy's hair and magically sticking it out without any products or visible outside help. "A cute little pixie cut hairstyle, Alice Cullen style. I've grown quite fond of it, though not for myself. I'm too attached to my long hair to attempt the style."
Percy smiled shyly, unused to having someone direct their attention to herself in this way, and just pampering her.
Aphrodite playfully, though somehow in a sad way, tapped Percy's nose.
"I'm a little too late on getting your first kiss, but since Annabeth wasn't it or won't kiss you at all, how about I get to be your first girl kiss? Your current love of your life won't kiss you, so I'd hope a kiss from the goddess of love herself would suffice instead."
Percy didn't protest and blushingly let the goddess tilt her head and softly kissed her.
She'd hoped that Annabeth was just confused or that she would've been able to change the other girl's mind. Now that she knew the truth, there just wasn't anything else for it. It had been the only thing for her there, but there was nothing really there. It was the only thing worth it for her to try staying in camp, and now she just wanted to leave.
So she met with Chiron and told him her plans, greeting and hugging the centaur lovingly goodbye before being driven off with Argus.
Home. It was odd. Her mom was a little put off at first, but she just put on a big smile and welcomed Percy as if she had been a girl this entire time. And she? Well, she sort of wandered around the apartment in boredom, waiting for her mom to come back from NYU.
It was just her and microwaveable food.
Until one day, her mom came home and saw Percy sitting miserably in front of the TV, watching reruns of Spongebob and eating a tub of chocolate fudge ice cream. Sally sighed and disappeared a moment, returning with two elegant and expensive-looking black letters. One was already opened.
Sally smiled sadly at her new daughter.
"I know you're unhappy, sweetie. I didn't know if I should tell you about these, but seeing how sad you are about everything, I decided that maybe they might help you. Your…Uncle Hades sent them. I read mine, telling me that I could send you to West Hollywood, where he could take care of everything and help you out. There's more, but he probably detailed it in your letter so you can read it there. I don't want to send you away, but if you think it'll help you and if you want to…then read what he has to say and then come talk to me about what you want to do."
Percy hesitantly grabbed her letter from her mother and slowly started to open it, Sally leaving her to her privacy.
If you are reading this, then I can assume your mother has thought it over and decided that my proposition might actually help you. You helped me once, but that means more than you would understand. I expect no one to help me, as all of our other Olympic relatives never do, but you –never even knowing myself and even as I held your mother hostage and accused you of ill –chose to help and honorably repay me in kindness that I am not used to. I am indebted to you in that, and unlike my brethren I will honor that kindness.
Returning your mother before doesn't count, seeing as it turned out she never needed to be taken and you were held responsible for something you never did. I apologize for that now and gave her back in good will then. But to repay you and, more importantly, show you my appreciation for your…consideration, I will not abandon you in your predicament. In fact, I will help you get used to it.
New York is a place that holds many memories and a place where you can never escape them and of the world you probably will never be a part of again. Perhaps, even, urges to see camp or just passing by the Empire State Building and wondering if you could go in and just see them, just hoping for something. You can escape that by moving to someplace far away, where the urges will be easier to ignore and where temptation isn't in sight and easy to reach, unlike if you were to stay in New York.
I can give you a new life.
You can move here to West Hollywood, where I can arrange everything. I can help you start over and begin anew. A place will be ready and set for you to move in and a school for you to enroll in. You will also be closer to me, where I can keep a close eye on you, where I am easily accessed to you, and can give any necessary protections you may need. In this set up, I will be able to watch over you and you will be able to reach me if you are ever in need. And though you are no longer a demigod, there are no reassurances that you won't get hurt, so the closer you are the surer I am that I will be able to keep you safe.
Whatever your choices, I am at your service.
A one-way ticket to West Hollywood fell out of the envelope and Percy stared at it. She swallowed nervously and picked it up, staring at it.
An hour later, Sally looked to see her daughter at the door. She smiled sadly, understanding.
"Let's make do with what time we have left together before you leave."
Percy clutched the ticket to her chest tighter.
Started 1/6/10 –Completed 1/29/11
A/n: Aha, I didn't want to post this so soon, but I wanted to put something out to show I wasn't dead or something. The Queen Coral isn't in the book, I made it. If you want to use it for some reason, go ahead, just credit. I'm working on chapters for my other PJO fics, so don't worry. It's just very slow-going right now.