Hey guys! I'm finally done with the first chapter! It would have been up earlier today, but there was an unfortunate bug issue that had to be dealt with (so gross). It starts off right as SoN ended – and yes, I am aware that I went from third to first person. I think this may be a bit rushed...I don't know. It's so hard to judge your own work! Either way, I am still slightly proud of this. It's 12 pages long in Word and more than 5000 words! Hehee I told you my chapters would be longer! Anyways, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Percy Jackson – that would be Rick Riordan.
CH.1 Greeks and Romans
He threw one arm around Hazel and one arm around Frank.
"Come on," he said. "Let me introduce you to my other family."
The day was warm and the sun was shining brilliantly across the crystal blue sky. There was not a cloud seen in the atmosphere. I was positively giddy with anticipation and excitement. I'm pretty sure I had a ridiculous smile spread across my face as I led Hazel and Frank towards the huge warship descending into the Roman borders.
It's been so long since I'd seen my friends and fellow warriors. It's been so long since I'd seen Grover, my best friend, who also happened to be a Satyr. I missed the way he would play Hilary Duff on his reed pipes – Wow, never thought in a million years I'd actually miss those stupid pipes - and bleat like a goat every time I snuck up on him. I missed Thalia and her silver jacket – though I would never dream of telling her that – and I couldn't wait to see Chiron.
These past few months, though I hardly remember the majority of it thanks to Hera and her making me take a little nap for eight freaking months, I had been confused and disoriented. You can also thank Hera for that - she wiped my memory clean as if she had only been erasing pencil marks on paper. I had no idea where I was or who I was. Yeah, I knew my name, but what's in a name? I chuckled. Now that my memories had finally returned to their owner, I could remember all the old details of my life, one of which included a certain girl with blonde princess curls reading that scene out loud from Romeo and Juliet. Man did it feel good not to have a splitting headache every time I chanced upon a memory.
Despite my spell of amnesia, I had always remembered that girl with the blonde princess curls. Not only had I awakened with my name, but I had awakened with hers as well. Even if I didn't know my exact relation with her until later, I knew she was someone important. It was she who had kept me attached to my mortal life when I bore the Curse of Achilles, and she who pushed me to get to this camp. She was my best friend, my girlfriend, my partner in crime.
She was my Annabeth.
And she was on that ship – I just knew it.
My nose filled with the acrid scent of soot while I jogged as quickly as I could to catch up with Reyna, the senators scampering behind her, without tripping over my purple bed sheet. I would have preferred to reunite with Camp Half-Blood in something other than a toga – anything other than a toga – but there wasn't the time to change. I winced slightly as I glanced at the numerous black patches all around the camp from the fires that had only recently been put out. The scorched earth and the caustic smell were the only evidence of the blazes caused from the battle.
As for the battle itself…well, there were still remnants of broken buildings strewn across the courtyard and around the camp, but for the most part the debris had been piled up on the sides of the paths so as to allow the demigods a way to move from one place to another.
This should make a wonderful first impression on Camp Half-Blood, I thought as I trained my eyes on the warship that was now close enough so I could see the shapes of tiny bodies running about on board. Amongst all the confusion, I tried to make out the grey eyes or the blonde hair that were Annabeth's, but all I could make out clearly was the gigantic dragon's head on the front of the ship.
My breath caught slightly and I was suddenly reminded of a hundred razor-sharp teeth and a game of capture the flag a while back. It could just be my imagination, but I swear that's the same automaton's head – the bronze dragon's head - that we dragged through the woods and that nearly bit me to pieces. The sunlight glinted off the bronze and gold scales while the ruby eyes, though dark, seemed to stare right at me. Yeah – that's the same dragon alright. What in Hades is it doing on a ship?
I don't know about you, but if I were going to a previously unknown 'enemy' camp on a magical flying boat to find the seven demigods of the new prophesy about saving the world, I would not want the head of a crazy, hay-wire, killer dragon on the mast of my boat…
"Is that a dragon head?" Frank questioned, seeming just as confused I was. He was squinting at the sky with his pudgy hands held over his eyes as he struggled to match my fast strides. As I had been stuck inside my head, I hadn't even noticed that I'd left Frank and Hazel rushing to keep up. I slowed down a bit so they could join me.
"Looks like it," I said.
We walked in silence the rest of the way. I guess they could tell that I was a little too distracted for conversation. My pace quickened the closer we got to the throng of people gathered under the huge boat. I was three-quarters of the way through the crowd when the entire camp shook and trembled as if an earthquake had struck right where we stood. The ship has landed. I bent my knees to absorb the impact and thankfully kept my balance – though many of the Romans were not so lucky.
Now with renewed vigor, I pushed my way through the remainder of the people, earning myself some dirty looks that I, of course, completely ignored. Reyna was at the front of the procession, nearest to the boat, so I joined her and stood by her side, anxiously waiting for my friends to get off. It seemed like forever, what with the eerie silence and my impatience. C'mon!
Then a ramp was lowered and a guy – the same guy from the video scroll thing – showed himself at the top. The entire area was dead silent for a few long moments, all eyes locked on him. "Uh...hi! I'm Leo," he called out. When no one made any indication that they had heard him, he shifted awkwardly and looked back over his shoulder for a moment. When he looked forward again, he continued hesitantly. "I'm Leo," he repeated, "supreme commander of this ship, the Argo II, and this is Camp Half-Blood!" The short boy yelled out enthusiastically to the sea of faces. When no one said anything still, he shuffled his feet, his smile faltering a bit and said "Don't worry – we come in peace!" Still no reaction, besides the many calculating looks probably analyzing the best way to take down a ship that size.
I knew that I should probably say something, but for some reason I just couldn't form any words. Since I was basically speechless, Reyna took over and called back, "Welcome Greeks! This is Camp Jupiter!" she gestured with her arms spread wide before her. "Know that we have only allowed you to land because we were promised by one of your own that you would not cause us harm." An outbreak of chatter was heard behind Leo when Reyna informed them of my promise.
Oh boy. Threats from the get-go huh?
"We were told that one our own is currently on that ship of yours." There were exciting murmurs and loud whispering throughout the Romans as this was said. "Is Jason Grace, son of Jupiter, among your passengers?"
The Romans abruptly quieted down as they eagerly awaited the answer. Leo smiled broadly and gestured for someone to show themself. "He sure is! Now, is a demigod by the name of Perseus Jackson, son of Poseidon, in your camp?"
I made a face as this kid used my full name. "He is!" I replied, loud enough so my voice could be heard over the now very noisy group behind me. I looked at Reyna and she nodded for me to go ahead. Slowly, as if I were scared the ground might cave in on me (which was technically possible considering it happened to me before back in Alaska), I stepped forward and raised my chin.
As I stepped forward, Leo and this tall guy with short blonde hair, who I assumed to be Jason based on the overwhelming shrieks of joy from behind me and the fact that he was also wearing a purple toga, started walking down the ramp, a hoard of other demigods following. "Percy!" I heard someone yell. I scanned the crown and my heart stopped beating for a moment. A slender girl wearing an orange Camp Half-Blood t-shirt and jean shorts was at the front of the group, right behind Leo and Jason. She had beautiful golden blonde hair that cascaded down her back in wild curls.
It was Annabeth.
And her grey eyes were staring right into mine.
A broad grin broke out on my face and I began walking towards her and the others. A look from Reyna, however, made me halt. We had to be careful about this. It's not every day history is made, and no matter how hard it was to restrain myself, I waited for Reyna and the others to catch up. Annabeth and I shared a look. I don't know if it was just me and the fact that I haven't seen her in months or not, but she looked even more beautiful than ever.
Our gazes held as the parties we walked with closed the seemingly too long distance between us. She looked as if she was happy…but sad at the same time. Almost as if she wasn't sure which emotion to feel. I hope nothing happened while I was away…A million stupid thoughts dashed through my head – most including Annabeth dumping me for leaving. It wasn't my fault. I knew this. I also knew that I was psyching myself out. Abruptly, I slammed walls around my panic, confining it into a tiny room where it wouldn't bother me.
Finally, the two groups were close enough to talk. Reyna and I stepped forward, as did the blonde kid.
"Jason." A small smile broke out on her face as she said it. She reached forward with her hand and Jason immediately grasped it in a warriors grip. I couldn't help but notice how Reyna seemed livelier. She was still the daughter of Bellona, but her eyes held no anger in them for once, her posture more relaxed than usual.
"Reyna," Jason greeted. He shot a glance behind him towards a girl with a choppy braid and a white Hello Kitty tank top. "These are some of the campers from Camp Half Blood. They are not our enemies."
Reyna nodded as if she had never been worried. She let go of Jason's hand and he turned towards me. I looked curiously at Jason, and he looked calculatingly at me. He seemed to be about 15 or 16, and had a small scar on his lip. I was pretty sure I'd never seen this kid before in my life, but for some reason he looked oddly familiar to me…I couldn't place my finger on it.
"Hey," I said, sticking my hand out towards him. "Jason, right?"
He briefly looked at my hand before grabbing it. This guy had a firm grip. "Yeah, and you're Percy."
It wasn't a question, but I answered anyways. "Yup."
Throughout the short introduction, I would feel the stares of hundreds of demigods boring into me.
"Greeks and Romans! Gather round!" It was Reyna. She had turned around and spread her arms wide – as if to bring everyone in quicker.
"Greeks and Romans!" Reyna repeated, addressing the now eerily silent crowd. "What Percy told us was the truth – Jason has returned to us at long last!"
Camp Jupiter let lose a short roar of approval before calming down again.
"He has deemed them trustworthy."
Silently, I thanked the Gods. It's not like I didn't expect this to happen; I knew Camp Jupiter would find my friends trustworthy. It's just that we were in a camp that was supposed to be our natural enemies…I was just unaware of how worried I would feel until I heard those words. I wasn't the only one, for a huge sigh of relief seemed to be released from almost every Camp Half-Blood camper.
Again, I glanced at Annabeth. She was staring intently at Reyna, listening to her talk. It tortured me to be so close to her – only a few feet away – and be unable to go up to her. I hate politics.
As I had been staring intently at Annabeth, I had completely missed what Reyna had said. I hoped it wasn't anything too important. I did manage to catch the ending of her speech, though.
"Camp Jupiter! These demigods will be considered our guests. Treat them with respect." Her voice was stern – hinting that punishments would ensue should her orders not be taken seriously. "Centurions, I want you and your Cohorts to help show the new arrivals around…"
Everyone started talking as Reyna was done speaking to everyone. I tuned out as she began assigning certain sections of the Greeks with each Cohort. I turned towards Annabeth and immediately started making my way over to her. We had been pushed apart when the campers all gathered, but I could see her pushing through the crowd.
I started out slow, but my excitement washed over me and I started to gain speed with every step. Pretty soon, I was running as fast as I could through the packed area, hitching up my toga as I did – which I know looked quite comical, but I didn't care. Annabeth was sprinting towards me as I was towards her. Almost there...
And then we slammed into each other. She tackled me with a hug while I put my arms around her and laughed a laugh that almost sounded delirious. She squeezed me so hard it almost hurt. I was squeezing her just as tight. Oh Annabeth…
I buried my face into her soft hair and took a shaky breath. She was real; she was here - in my arms. "Oh Annabeth…" I repeated out loud. A shiver racked her athletic frame as the words left my mouth. "You remember…" was her response, whispered so quietly that I wouldn't have been able to hear had I not been so close to her.
"Of course I do Wise Girl. I remember everything. You're not one someone easily forgets." I hugged her body closer to mine, if that was even possible. "Oh Gods Percy I missed you so much!" Annabeth mumbled against my neck, her voice quavering slightly.
I chuckled but it came out sounding more like a gasp for air. I moved back slightly so I could finally see the face that I have been deprived of for neigh on a year. I moved one of my hands from her waist and placed it gently on her cheek. Her soft skin…her piercing grey eyes…her sweet pink lips…they made me want to weep for joy. There were tear tracks running down her face from the silent tears she'd shed. I'm proud to admit that I was able to keep mine at bay. My eyes locked with hers and I whispered the only words that would come out: "I missed you too."
Suddenly, a beautiful grin showed itself on her face and I couldn't take it. I brought her face to mine and pushed my lips against hers.
Dimly, I was aware that the campers from Camp Half-Blood were crowded around us - a similar band of the campers from Camp Jupiter around Jason. Vaguely, I realized that Annabeth and I were making a scene. Honestly though, I didn't give two tin cans. Her lips were so soft against mine. The moment they touched, I felt as if all was right in the world again. I felt as if I'd never left New York and I'd never left Annabeth, like it was all just some crazy weird demigod dream. It felt as though she was a drink of cool water and I a dying man who'd been denied too long the refreshment that would sate his thirst. I greedily drank as much as I could.
And I would've continued drinking till my heart's content had I not become conscious of the many "Awwwees!" squealed from the Aphrodite cabin and the "Get a room!" growled by someone who sounded like Clarisse. I sighed and broke away from a chuckling Annabeth - who was totally blushing might I add - to face my friends.
Orange shirts surrounded me. I saw some of the Aphrodite cabin members with their goo-goo eyes and the Athena cabin smiling with their intelligent – though not nearly as dazzling – grey eyes like Annabeth's. Some of the Ares campers where there as well, rolling their eyes and scoffing at the show of affection. Throughout the campers I could recognize a few from the Hermes and Demeter and Apollo cabin – there seemed to be some kids from every God and Goddess here.
Unsure what to say, I opted for simplicity.
"Hey guys. What's new?"
All of Camp Half-Blood swarmed me, giving me pats on the back and asking me questions and speaking all at once. I was flustered, to say the least. But I didn't mind much – it felt so good to be back amongst familiar faces. I grabbed Annabeth's hand so we wouldn't be separated; we had just been reunited – I wasn't planning on letting her outta my sight for a while, if ever.
"Peeerrrrcccyy!" a familiar voice bleated. Grover! I turned to the side and saw my best friend make his way through the pack of campers. "G-man!" I yelled as he pulled me into a hug. "Percy! I knew you weren't dead! I couldn't feel you through the empathy link though! I'm so glad you're alive!" I could barely make out what Grover was saying as he shot out each word like I would suddenly disappear before he could finish. Understandable, I guess. "Grover! Calm down! Obviously I'm not dead," I smiled and gestured towards myself with the one hand that wasn't intertwined with my girlfriends.
Grover smiled. "Well, yeah. I know that now."
Rolling my eyes, I asked "How are you?" It felt like such a formal question to ask…but I didn't really have any other way of putting it.
"Oh – you know; the usual. Busy with the council. Busy with making our world a better place. Busy trying to find you. You know, you've caused us a great deal of trouble Percy."
"Since when does he not?" Annabeth put in, squeezing my hand affectionately.
"Ha ha ha. Next time, I'll make sure I leave you two a memo when a God decides to kidnap me in the middle of the night to whisk me off to the other side of the country."
Annabeth punched me in the arm. "Ow," I said, rubbing the spot that would surely start to bruise. Annabeth frowned. I wondered at that for a moment when a question popped in my head. Looking around the mass of demigods, I couldn't spot the half white stallion, half man I was searching for. "Did Chiron come with you guys?" I asked, turning back towards Grover and Annabeth.
"No, he's back in New York." Annabeth answered. "Someone had to stay behind and look after the remaining campers. Zeus knows what Dionysus would have done to them had he been left in charge." I shuddered just thinking about it.
Even though I understood the necessity of him staying behind, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. Chiron was like an uncle to me. A really really old uncle. Who was a Centaur. But still – an uncle all the same. Then another question came to me.
"You said he was looking after the remaining campers. How many came here with you?"
"Umm, not including me or the other three Satyrs, I would say at least…" Grover mumbled to himself, counting off imaginary people on his fingers. "60. I think."
"Around 5 people from each cabin came. They're sort of like ambassadors for their cabins back home." I looked at Annabeth as she said spoke.
"Is Clarisse one of them?"
"Yes. Why?" I probably had a weird look on my face.
"Nothing. I just hope that she doesn't start a fight."
I received blank stares in response to that. If anyone knows Clarisse like I do, they would know that expecting her to keep the peace was a rather futile prospect - especially in a camp full of our natural born enemies. Children of Ares tend to be a little short-tempered.
"Um, I kinda swore on my life that you guys would be on your best behavior -" I never finished my sentence because another fist smacked me in the arm, just below where the other hit landed.
"You idiot! Why do you always bargain away your life?"
I frowned as I gently rubbed the tender patch of skin. Did she know about the gorgon's blood? Oh gods I hope not…
"Percy," Reyna called from behind, "we will meet in the Senate house in 15 minutes. We need to discuss the issues at hand."
I met her eye and told her I would be there.
I couldn't wait for that discussion. There was so much to talk about; so much that had happened. Not only will this test our ability to coexist peacefully (well, more like our ability to not completely strangle one another), but it will launch the planning for the new prophecy. We all knew it was coming. No matter how much we wanted to put it off, it had to come sooner or later.
Mentally sighing, I turned towards Annabeth. She was shuffling her feet and brushing back her beautiful curly hair, the way she does when she's nervous. I grabbed both of her hands and brought her closer to me. "Hey, there are some friends that I want you to meet – Hazel and Frank." I didn't really know what else to do other than introduce her to my new friends. Hopefully some conversation will help ease the awkwardness that arose between us. It wasn't some major cloud, but I could definitely notice the slight distancing air that comes with long periods of separation. Anyways, I didn't give her the chance to respond as I was already guiding her towards the two demigods.
Frank's back was towards us, presumably talking to Hazel who I could just see from behind his bulk. He turned around as I approached and Hazel met my eyes. Despite the smile she placed on her face, I could tell something was wrong. I saw a sort of deep sadness within her eyes; a confusion. Knowing that the likely cause of her state was the uncanny resemblance between that Leo boy and Hazel's past companion Sammy, I tried to convey understanding. I'm not sure how well it came out, but she seemed to brighten up a bit.
"Annabeth, this is Frank Zhang; son of Mars." Frank's huge hand enveloped Annabeth's as they shook hands. "And this is Hazel Levesque. She's a daughter of Pluto."
"It's nice to finally meet you." Hazel said as she greeted Annabeth. "Percy's told us all about you."
Thanks for that, Hazel.
I rolled my eyes and felt my cheeks heat up slightly. Annabeth just giggled – Annabeth? Giggling? – and said, "Oh did he now?"
"Yes, yes." I said quickly. Then, to change the subject in the hopes of wiping the smirks off all of their faces, I said, "Did you know that Frank is also a descendant of Poseidon?" I must say it was pretty satisfying to see Annabeth's eyes go wide.
"Hazel! Frank! Come here for a sec!" I heard Dakota yell over the waterfall of noise.
"Alright!" Frank yelled, "Be right there!" He grabbed Hazel's hand and they started to make their way towards Dakota. Before he was totally hidden by the people, Frank turned slightly and said "Nice meeting you!" And then they were gone.
"I thought you said he was the son of Ares?" Annabeth said, puzzled.
"Mars, actually." It wasn't every day you get to correct a child of Athena.
"Whatever," she snapped, though I could tell she was amused. "But that's like impossible…isn't it?" She looked back where Frank had stood not moments before.
"Ehh…it's kind of hard to explain. He's not a son of Poseidon – just his great great great great grandfather or whatever was…" I was trying to make sense of what I was saying. "So, he's technically related to me, but as like my distant cousin or something." Or would it be brother?
"That makes no sense, Seaweed Brain." Apparently I didn't do that good of a job explaining, I thought while in the back of my mind I remembered the day she had first dubbed me as Seaweed Brain.
"I dunno – I'll ask him later to explain it."
I glanced at the cloudless sky and felt the heat soak into my skin. Looking around, I saw that many of the Roman campers were showing the newcomers towards the city, leading them to the auditorium where we were all meeting. Reluctant as I was to be thrust into a political discussion bound to last hours, I figured it was time to start heading over there as well. I was the praetor now – probably not for long, now that Jason's back, but still – it would be best if I wasn't late. If I learned anything from my short time with them, it was that the Romans were strict about stuff like that.
"We should probably start heading to the Senate House. Follow me," Grabbing Annabeth's arm I gently ushered her forward. Together, we walked through the crowd and into the wreckage-filled streets of the camp. By the interested glances, I could tell that Annabeth was fascinated by the traditional architecture of the place, despite the many overturned columns and soot-stained surfaces.
During our walk, Annabeth and I talked about simple things like memories that we had together, and the unexpected situation we were in now. I got the feeling that she was giving me a test of some sort. I knew that she just wanted to make sure I really did remember my past – and her – so I didn't mind answering all the subtle questions.
"How do you always manage to find trouble?"
"Excuse me Wise Girl, but I don't find trouble; trouble finds me."
"Yea but you're such a Seaweed Brain that you practically invite them over!"
"Hey, that's not true…unless you count that time when I let Mrs. O'Leary come in my house-" I stopped abruptly. Annabeth looked over at me curiously when I didn't continue. "What's wrong?"
"I – have you – do you know-"
"Percy. What is it? Do I know what?"
She seemed to understand suddenly. "Your mom is fine – she's worried sick, but she's fine. Paul too."
A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. My mom was okay, and so was her boyfriend. For some reason though, I still felt…guilty? Yes, I felt guilty for leaving her and giving nothing but a short voice mail after eight months of nothing for her to go off of. I should have contacted her the moment I got back to camp, but with the battle and the ship and Gaea, I haven't had the time.
"Do you know if she got my message?"
"You sent her a message?" Annabeth looked down at the ground. "When?"
Ahh crap. She's upset. I could tell by the sound of her voice. "Well, I called her from a train station in Alaska. About…ahh." I pushed my hair back out of my eyes. Now that I think back, I can't really tell how many days Frank, Hazel and I were away. It all kind of blended together. "Probably two or three days ago."
"I'm sure she did. I was probably already on the ship when she got it."
She wouldn't look at me. I guess I should explain.
"Annabeth. I did try to contact you. Probably like a hundred times – even before I got my memory back." Her head raised and she slowed down.
"Well yea. Why wouldn't I? I tried Iris Messaging you but apparently the lines are down."
"Oh," was all she said, but I could tell by the sparkle in her eye that she was pleased.
"I did talk to you in a dream though," I just remembered. I wonder if she did too. I couldn't really tell if she did or not, but her head whipped towards mine and a thoughtful expression was on her face. "You were telling me to stay where I was, and that you were coming to find me?" I posed it as a question, wondering if it was something she knew about or just a dream.
A few seconds passed before she opened her mouth to answer
"Percy!" the senior Centurion of the Second Cohort interrupted. "Reyna and the others are waiting for you. Meeting starts in 2 minutes - you better get moving."
This time, I sighed out loud. We were at the entrance to the Senate House now, hundreds of demigods bustling to and fro in order to find a seat.
"Come on" I said, "Let's get over there before Reyna gets impatient." We made our way over to the center desk where the leader of Camp Jupiter stood with Jason, who I guess would technically be the other leader of the camp.
I looked at Reyna. "I am." After an encouraging nod from Annabeth, I reluctantly let go of her hand and she made her way over to one of the front seats – next to the Hello Kitty girl I saw earlier.
"Alright," She straightened her posture. Raising her voice, she looked to every corner of the room and said, "This meeting is now in session."