Confused as to why Returning Home is starting over from Chapter 1? See my profile!
For the purposes of this story, Gwen never retired.
As promised, the re-written chapter one, updated even sooner than intended, yes your welcome.
Jason nervously clutched the hilt of Juno's gladius. The wind tugged at his toga, the one he had made out of a bed sheet from the extra bunk. He hoped that Terminus recognized him and didn't blast the Argo II out of the sky. The faint sounds of horns blowing could be heard, and he knew that the camp was going on high alert.
"You alright up there man?"
Jason glanced down at Leo, who was currently trying to turn the Argo away from the city with his WII remotes.
"I'm good, though you seriously need to get this thing away from the city, trust me when I tell you that the Romans will not appreciate a war ship in the middle of the town square."
Leo waved the remotes, hit a few buttons on the dash and tugged at some levers. "I'm working on it; this baby isn't easy to turn."
Slowly, the Argo II began to tip left. Ahead, through the clouds, Jason could just make out the bare and slightly charred grounds of the Field of Mars. A fort, half finished, was the only building on the acres of land outside the camp. He remembered the war games, most of which his cohort won, and couldn't help but wonder if the Fifth was still doing well in the games without him.
His memories had begun to come back right after they left Camp Half-Blood, and he was ninety percent sure he had all of them back. Now that he knew who Gwen, Dakota, Bobby and Hazel were he couldn't wait for the Argo II to land. With the memories of his friends, had also come the memories of his enemies. He wasn't looking forward to a reunion with Octavian, or all of his little spies. Hopefully the augur hadn't been too much of a pain in the ass while he was gone.
Piper called out directions to Leo, who began the complicated process of making the Argo II descend. Annabeth made her way over to the mast and raised the white flag he and Piper had made out of some extra bed sheets. They had made the flag extra big, to ensure that the legion would see it and not kill them.
As the ship began to descend through the clouds, the wind picked up. The bed sheet flag of truce snapped in the wind, almost as long as the ship itself. Leo was pulling at levers and hitting buttons frantically, while tapping out some code with his feet on the re-engineered Dance Revolution pad.
"Oh my gods."
Leo stopped his epileptic dance routine and called out above the wind to Piper. "What, are we on a collision course with a mountain or something?"
Jason looked down at Leo. "Just land the ship, everything is fine."
Leo shrugged and went back to completing his dance. Annabeth raced across the lower deck to Piper. Once she saw what had made Piper cry out, she glanced up at him with a grim expression. Jason gave her a reassuring smile; at least, he hoped it was reassuring. Below, at the edge of the Field of Mars, in front of the camp wall, was the Twelfth Legion. Two hundred and fifty demigods stood in formation, at attention, shields and pillums glinting in the sun. As they got closer, Jason saw the impenetrable line of demigods shift. Even from this distance, he could hear the clank of locking shields. He prayed to the gods that he and Piper had made the flag of truce big enough.
Reyna watched as the Greek warship became visible through the clouds. Though she trusted Percy, it was hard to believe anyone arriving in that could be peaceful. The ship was huge and its hull, which was covered and reinforced with celestial bronze shields, glinted dully in the sun. The bow of the ship was a huge and menacing bronze dragon head, which looked like it could breathe fire. As she made her way to the Field of Mars, were the legion had begun to gather, she caught a glimpse of the ship's flag. It looked like someone had stitched a bunch of bed sheets together, but the makeshift flag got the message across.
She raised her hand and signaled for the scouts to stop blowing the horns. There was no need to raise the alarm; everyone could see the ship descending through the clouds. The legionnaires, who had already fallen into formation, were talking loudly and pointing at the approaching warship.
"Twelfth Legion, to formation, stand at attention!"
Her voice carried easily across the Field of Mars in the silence left by the horns and the talking stopped immediately. She surveyed the legion as Percy made his way over to her. A wide smile lit up his face and she envied his excitement. Jacob and the eagle's honor guard took their position to the side of her and with a quick glance at Percy, she addressed the legion.
"We will allow the Greeks to land. Percy has assured me that they mean us no harm, but if they are not peaceful, be prepared to fight."
Percy leaned toward her and whispered anxiously in her ear. "Reyna, I told you, my friends are aboard that ship, they aren't going to hurt us."
Reyna held out her hand, a probatio raced forward and placed a small imperial gold telescope in her palm. She looked through the device and then handed it to Percy. Once he had it trained on ship she leaned toward him.
"Do you know her?"
Percy frowned and handed the telescope back to the probatio, who then raced back into formation. The girl she and Percy had seen through the scope was standing along the rail, looking out at the camp. She had choppy brown hair and a dagger strapped to her waist.
Reyna couldn't stand the silence. "Well?"
"I don't know her," Percy ran a hand through his hair and gripped Riptide, which was still in pen form.
Reyna took a deep breath and rested her hand on the hilt of her gladius. "Ready!"
Behind her, the legion locked shields and raised their pillums as one. The clank of armor and weapons echoed across the deathly silent field. She prayed to the gods that Percy was right, that the Greeks meant them no harm. If the Doors of Death were to be closed, both camps would have to work together and attacking Camp Jupiter wasn't the best way to win the support of New Rome.
The warship glided carefully through the air toward the Field of Mars and came to a jarring and ungraceful landing. The ship hit the ground and the bounced back into the air, only to come crashing down again. It slid a few feet in the loose dirt and Reyna could feel the legion's anxiety as the dragon head bow skidded toward them.
"Hold the line!"
The centurions took up her command and she could just imagine the startled expressions on the legionnaire's faces as the warship came to a shuttering halt. Jason, who she had caught a glimpse of, was no longer standing on the upper deck. He must have been knocked down, just as the girl near the rail had been. After a few tense moments, a short, dark haired boy lowered a rope ladder over the railing. She was no daughter of Vulcan, but the ladder was pretty low tech. compared to the rest of the warship. The dark haired boy was the first to descend, followed by the girl with the choppy hair. Once the girl was halfway down the ladder, Jason appeared at the rail and began to follow her down. Gasps and whispers broke out amongst the legion, mostly from the Fifth Cohort, and the centurions called for silence.
Reyna's chest felt tight and she couldn't tear her eyes away from the Son of Jupiter. Jason Grace looked exactly the same, though his hair was a bit longer and he wore an orange shirt instead of a purple one. His expression, the way he held himself and the intensity of his electric blue gaze remained unchanged. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Percy glance at her, a small smile turning up the corner of his mouth. She prayed to the gods that she didn't look star struck or longing and quickly tried to seem unaffected by the appearance of her old friend. The last person to climb down the ladder was a girl in an orange shirt and jean shorts, a dagger hanging from a belt at her waist. She had long, curly blond hair with a streak of grey running through it that matched her eyes.
"Annabeth." Percy's statement was only a breath, but Reyna heard it and couldn't help but smile. She glanced at Percy, but he didn't look at her, his sea green eyes fixated on his girlfriend.
"Octavian," That got Percy's attention, he gave her a look that screamed are-you-out-of-your-mind, but she ignored it, "Gwen, you will accompany us to speak with the Greeks. Centurions, you will have your cohorts stand ready."
Without a backward glance, Reyna strode forward. Gwen walked next to Percy and Octavian took up a position beside Reyna, who wished, once again, that Camp Jupiter had a different augur. Octavian had a death grip on a plush horse, his already pail hands ghost white. As they approached, she couldn't help but smile as Jason stared Octavian down, his expression murderous. At least Jason remembered that Octavian was a certifiable lunatic who could not be trusted. They came to a stop a few feet from the Greeks, and she hoped that Percy wouldn't do something foolish, like rush forward and kiss his girlfriend.
Composing herself and resisting the urge to smack the sneer from Octavian's face, Reyna turned her attention to the short, dark haired boy, the one from the message. "I assume that you are the leader of this diplomatic party?"
The dark haired Greek just stared at her. He didn't say anything, didn't open his mouth, didn't move, and didn't even blink. He just stared at her. Reyna arched an eyebrow and tipped her head, waiting for the Greek to do something. The girl next to him, the one Reyna had seen at the rail earlier, jabbed him in the side with her elbow.
"Leo, say something." She hissed.
The boy, Leo, shook his head and ran a hand through his thick black curls. "Uh, ya, I'm uh," he looked back at the warship, "the supreme captain, not the repair boy, of the Argo II and the fearless leader of the Camp Half-Blood, Prophecy of Seven, diplomatic, war party."
At the mention of war, Gwen and Octavian tensed. Octavian dropped the horse and lifted his gladius slightly out of its sheath. Gwen raised her shield, hand resting on her hilt. The Greeks also tensed, the girl with the choppy brown hair pulled out her knife, Jason rested his hand on the hilt of his gladius and Percy's girlfriend had a death grip on her dagger.
"Why doesn't everyone just relax," The girl with the choppy hair smiled at Octavian, who sheathed his gladius, a dreamy look upon his face, "we just want to talk, no need to be hostile."
Reyna narrowed her eyes, she had spent enough time on Circe's island to be able to recognize and withstand a Charmspeaker. Her memories of Charmspeakers were not pleasant and she was not thrilled that a Greek had the ability to manipulate others. She glanced over her shoulder, at the legion, and whistled, long and low. Aurum and Argentum burst through the ranks and raced across the Field of Mars, towards her. Octavian edged away from her as Aurum pressed against her right leg. Her dogs' hated liars and Aurum had a special dislike for Octavian, something the augur was very aware of.
"I suggest you watch what you say Charmspeaker," The girl with the choppy brown hair opened her mouth in surprise and Reyna couldn't help but smirk, "my dogs don't like liars, or people who try to manipulate others with magic."
Leo crouched down and reached out to pet Argentum, who snapped at his outstretched hand. "Wow, these are amazing," he looked up at her and Reyna was taken aback by the adoration in his gaze, "how did you build them, did you use a regular forge or one of the new models?"
Reyna furrowed her brow and wrapped her hand around Argentum's muzzle; the greyhound was two seconds away from ripping the Greek's arm off. The girl with the choppy hair pulled Leo to his feet and away from Argentum. She turned her attention to Percy's girlfriend, who had been watching them with intelligent grey eyes the second she stepped off the ladder.
"Perhaps I should be addressing you."
Percy's girlfriend matched her stare, her hand still on the hilt of her dagger. "I'm Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena."
Octavian pulled his knife, which was as thin and sharp as a razor blade, from the folds of his toga. Beside her, Percy uncapped Riptide, shifting to face the augur. Reyna glared at him and so did Annabeth, as Octavian picked up the plush toy at his feet and gutted it.
"We must be wary of this one," Octavian sifted through the horse's stuffing, "darkness and danger surrounds her, she will cause nothing but problems."
For once, Reyna was glad Percy didn't understand Latin.
"Perhaps we should…" Octavian flicked the tip of the knife at Annabeth and gave Reyna a pointed look. Jason gripped the hilt of his gladius.
Reyna took the knife from Octavian's hand, which the augur only realized after she pointed it at him. "They come under a flag of truce. If you start a needless war I will skin you alive with this knife."
Octavian clenched his jaw and took the knife from her hand when she offered it to him. With a sigh, she ignored Percy's questioning stare and focused on Annabeth.
"I am sorry for the displays of hostility, but your appearance in a warship is a bit misleading." Reyna gestured at Gwen, "This is Gwen, daughter of Apollo, senator of New Rome and centurion of the Fifth Cohort," she tipped her head to Octavian, "and this is Octavian, legacy of Apollo, senator of New Rome, centurion of the Frist Cohort and augur of Camp Jupiter."
"I'm Leo Valdez," the dark haired Greek ignored Annabeth's furious glare, "son of Hephaestus, but you probably knew that from the message I sent. This is Piper Mclean," the girl with the choppy brown hair was glaring at him too, "daughter of Aphrodite and you obviously already know Jason."
"Yes," Octavian sniffed, "we unfortunately do."
Reyna glanced at Octavian out of the corner of her eye. "You were not given permission to speak."
Octavian mumbled an apology and Aurum growled at him. Percy broke the tension and smiled at the Greeks. "I'm Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, originally a member of Camp Half-Blood," Reyna didn't miss the surprised and relieved expression that flashed across Annabeth's face, Percy glanced hesitantly at Reyna and she nodded at him to continue, "a senator of New Rome and one of the praetors of Camp Jupiter."
"I'm Reyna," she glanced at Jason in surprise when he repeated her name, but the Son of Jupiter seemed to be lost in thought, "daughter of Bellona, a senator of New Rome, destroyer of the Titan Krios and praetor of the Twelfth Legion Fulminata."
"Thank you for receiving us peacefully," Annabeth glanced at Octavian who just glared at her, "we wish to discuss with you a prophecy we have received from our Oracle."
"Yes, the Prophecy of Seven," Reyna ignored Leo and Piper's surprised expressions, "we've known about this prophecy for centuries, but please, let us discuss this in Senate."
Reyna ignored Leo and let Percy explain. She turned away from the Greeks and faced the legion. The fact that she had her back to the 'enemy' visibly put the legion at ease.
"Centurions, you are to report to the Senate House immediately. First Cohort," the First Cohort stood at attention, "you will board the Greek's ship and preform a thorough search, and you are not to touch or remove anything. If you should find that there are more Greeks aboard, arrest them and escort them to the Senate House. Twelfth Legion, you are dismissed to your duties."
The First Cohort marched forward toward the warship. The rest of the legion broke formation and filed through the gates of Camp Jupiter. Gwen and the rest of the centurions escorted the Greeks and Jason across the Field of Mars, toward the road to the city. Besides the members of the First, who were slowly climbing up the rope ladder, only Percy and Octavian remained. Reyna was glad Percy had enough sense to remain behind and not follow his girlfriend; the Son of Neptune could be intelligent when he wished to be.
"So, do you want me to go-"
"Yes," Reyna knew Octavian wouldn't appreciate the fact that she had cut him off, but she honestly didn't care at the moment, she had bigger things to worry about, "find out as much as you can, and then join us in the Senate House. You may miss the introductions, but nothing important."
Octavian nodded and made his way quickly to the road. Once his sandals hit the paving stones, he was running. Reyna watched him go, the bed sheet flag above the Argo II snapping in the wind. Aurum and Argentum whined, their ruby eyes sad.
Reyna turned and looked at Percy. Excitement and sympathy swirled within his sea green eyes. She looked away and watched as the last member of the First Cohort, Danny, a boy no more than eleven years old, climbed up the ladder.
"Let's get this meeting over with."
Percy placed a hand on her shoulder, but she shook it off and made her way across the Field of Mars, Aurum and Argentum on her heels.
"A warship!" Terminus shook his marble head in disgust. Reyna watched in amusement as Percy tried to give Julia Riptide, but the sword just kept reappearing in his pocket. "I can't believe the audacity of those Greeks! What type of diplomatic party arrives in a warship?"
Reyna shrugged and allowed Terminus to ramble on. After a few more attempts from Julia to get ahold of Riptide, Terminus snapped.
"Oh for the love of Jupiter, forget the sword Julia. I'm sure Mr. Jackson knows better than to use it within my city." Terminus glared down at Percy who smiled and assured the god he wouldn't uncap the pen inside the Pomerian line.
Reyna started to hand Julia her various knives and daggers. She told Percy to go on ahead; already a crowd had formed outside the Senate House. Percy said goodbye to Terminus and made his way down the road. Terminus watched him go, and then turned to face her.
"So, these Greeks."
Reyna looked up at Terminus. "I trust Percy, Terminus, and he assured me that his friends are peaceful. Personally, I don't believe they are much of a threat."
Terminus frowned. "That daughter of Minerva worries me."
"She's Percy's girlfriend, from what I've been told he trusts her the most."
Terminus looked out to the Senate house. "She asks a lot of questions, too inquisitive for her own good if you ask me. She seems the most capable of the three, whoever trained her did a good job."
Reyna laughed. "Are you actually giving a Greek a compliment Terminus?"
Reyna expected Terminus to start yelling or glare at her, but the border god just looked at her thoughtfully. "She reminds me of you, though less disciplined."
Carefully, Reyna unbuckled her sword belt and handed the sheathed gladius to Julia. "You also forget that I have better training."
Terminus barked at Julia to be careful with the gladius and the little girl rested it gently on the base of the god's statue. Once Terminus was sure the gladius wouldn't fall, he smiled at Reyna.
"That goes without saying Praetor; of course a Roman demigod is better trained than a Greek."
The crowd outside the Senate House had grown. Reyna said goodbye to Julia and started to say the same to Terminus, but the god explained that he would be joining the meeting. A statue of Terminus stood right outside the Senate House, close to the praetor's chairs and the border god disappeared, probably reappearing in the other statue.
As Reyna approached the edge of the crowd, people began to call out to her. Some citizens asked her questions, while others wished her luck and a few even called out insults. Regardless of their opinions on her decision to allow the Greeks to land and speak in Senate, the crowd parted, allowing her to reach the Senate steps quickly and easily. When she mounted the steps, the packed Senate House rose to its feet, or hovered to its feet, it seemed as if all the Lares were present. As she made her way to her seat, talking ceased and the insults people were calling to Jason. Though the people of the Senate were not happy about the Greeks presence, they had been kind enough to provide them chairs. Leo, Piper, Jason and Annabeth, whose chair was the closet to Percy, sat near the open doors of the Senate House, their backs to the sneering citizens of New Rome.
Reyna took a seat, Aurum and Argentum sitting patiently in front of the carved arms. The Senate also took their seats, but one person remained standing. She motioned to the floor and Octavian edged his way out of the stands. Once he took the floor, Octavian took up a position to her left, a place where everyone, the Senators, the citizens and Terminus could see him.
"Praetors," Octavian nodded at her, but completely ignored Percy, "Senators and citizens of New Rome, I ask your pardon, I fear that I will have to break tradition and speak to you in English," Octavian gave the Greeks and Percy a cold smile, "some members of this meeting do not speak Latin."
Octavian walked to the center of the floor and raised his voice, ensuring that all the people gathered outside could hear. "Just a few moments ago, this ragtag war party-"
"They are not a war party Octavian." Percy's fist was clenched and he was staring daggers at Octavian from his seat.
The augur raised his eyebrows, clearly surprised at Percy's outburst. Reyna gave Percy a warning look, which thankfully he heeded and motioned for Octavian to continue. Octavian nodded at her, gave Percy a goading look and continued. It was clear from Percy's murderous expression and the scowls upon most of the Senator's faces that this was going to be a very long meeting.
Of all the Senate meetings he had attended, this was the longest. It seemed as if everyone had something to say. Jason couldn't believe how many people had turned out for this, the grounds around the Senate House were packed, and almost every citizen and camper was waiting outside. Honestly, if he didn't have to sit through this meeting, he wouldn't have. After the first couple of speakers, being called a traitor, a deserter, a Greek spy intent on destroying Camp Jupiter, got old. Leo looked as if he were about to jump up from his seat and start running around the Senate floor, the poor kid was twitching and shaking, not used to being still for so long. Piper looked bored out of her mind, as did half the Senate House and Jason sympathized with them. Annabeth was the only one who seemed to be following the meeting closely, or at least following the speeches that were important.
The only people who seemed to have anything positive to say about their arrival were Dakota and Gwen, and Percy Jackson, though Annabeth's boyfriend only spoke for a minute. Octavian had already taken the floor three times, or maybe four, Jason didn't really know, he never listened when the snake spoke. He was surprised that Reyna hadn't spoken yet. The praetor had remained in her chair, listening and watching the proceedings with an unreadable look upon her face. Though almost all of his memories were back, he still couldn't recall that much about her, except that she was strict, commanding, and usually tried to discredit Octavian at Senate meetings.
The sun was setting behind the hills, and the Lares had left the Senate House to go and light the braziers around the camp, roads and Senate House. If Jason had to guess, he would say that they had been in the Senate House for at least four hours and no one seemed as if they were ready to leave. An hour or two later, darkness fell over New Rome. The braziers cast eerie shadows along the marble floor and highlighted the Senator's frowns and scowls. The crowd outside had thinned a little, and most of the people were sitting on the grass, half awake and barely listening to the meeting. Some of the Senators, those in the back rows were asleep and many others looked as if they were about to walk out. Even Terminus looked irritated and tired.
Piper had her head resting on his shoulder and Leo was leaning back in his chair, staring at the ceiling. Annabeth, who had been attentive through the whole meeting, looked like she wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed. Percy Jackson had his head in his hand and looked half awake, Argentum, who was lying in between Percy and Reyna's chair, occasionally looked up at him and growled whenever the Greek closed his eyes for too long. As the current Senator, a large man of about fifty, who spoke in broken English with a heavy Italian accent, made his way off the floor and back to his seat, Reyna stood. The Senate House came to life once again; those who had been asleep or close to it were wide awake and sitting up straight. The people sitting outside started to get to their feet, so that they could see and hear what was going on more easily. Leo tore his gaze away from the ceiling and looked forward, Piper sat up and Percy Jackson straightened.
Reyna swept the Senate House with her dark eyes and satisfied that no Senator wished to speak; she stepped off the diesis and took the floor. With here gladiator sandals, purple toga and Imperial golden armor, Reyna looked like she belonged in Ancient Rome. Reyna was truly a Roman; it was clear from her stature, expression and personality. Jason wished he could remember more about her, curse Juno and her tricks.
"My fellow Romans," Reyna's voice wasn't loud, like Larry's, but it carried easily to the back rows of the Senate House and to the people out on the lawn, "I have heard your concerns regarding these demigods, and I share them."
Annabeth shot Jason a frightened look. Of all the people at Camp Jupiter, Reyna was the one they needed to win over, otherwise the quest would fail.
"You have asked how we can trust these demigods," Reyna motioned to where Jason was sitting, and he noted how she didn't call them Greeks, but just demigods, "it is clear from our past that they could not be trusted, but that is the past."
Murmurs broke out amongst the Senators and Reyna waited for silence to fall. "I have seen the consequences associated with the Doors of Death being open, and we have all agreed that they need to be closed. A prophecy has been given to the Greek demigods, a prophecy we received long ago. It is time for this prophecy to unfold, seven demigods must answer the call and foes will bear arms to the Doors of Death. The Greek Oracle, our Augur and the gods have made it clear that it is time to set aside old rivalries. The past is the past; we must turn our attention to the future, a future that can only be secured if we work together with Camp Half-Blood."
Reyna paused and allowed her words to sink in. After a few seconds, she crossed the Senate floor and stood a few feet from them. She held his gaze and Jason wished for the hundredth time that night that he could remember everything about her.
"These demigods have been chosen by the gods, as have a few of our own legionnaires. Personally," Reyna turned to the Senators with a small smile, "I find you fears regarding these Greeks, this undersized son of Vulcan and startled daughter of Venus to be comical. If Camp Half-Blood wished to attack us, I would expect them to send a more formidable force."
The Senators laughed, as did the people outside. Piper glared at Reyna, while Leo simply stared at her. Reyna ignored Piper's glare and turned her attention to Annabeth, who met and held her gaze. Jason saw Percy lean forward slightly in his chair. The Senate House quieted, but Reyna didn't look away from Annabeth.
"As for this daughter of Minerva," Reyna glanced at Percy and then at the Senate, "I have heard nothing but praise. Percy Jackson, your duly chosen praetor, has assured me the Greeks mean us no harm, especially Annabeth Chase. I trust Percy and he trusts the daughter of Minerva with his life, something few people are able to do, thus I find very few reasons to be wary of her."
Reyna moved away, back toward the middle of the floor. "I say we give these demigods the benefit of the doubt, if they are in fact our enemies, the legion will not find it difficult to detain the son of Vulcan and daughter of Venus. As for Annabeth Chase," Reyna cast a mocking smile at Annabeth and then nodded at the Senators, "let the daughter of wisdom and crafts attempt an attack, I am confident in my ability to defend the camp against the daughter of Minerva."
Many of the Senators laughed and the people on the lawn called out taunts in Latin. Annabeth looked furious and Percy was shaking his head. Jason had to admit, a fight between Annabeth and Reyna would be very interesting. A Lare in the back of the Senate House called down to Reyna and she turned, focusing on him. Jason straightened in his chair and held the daughter of Bellona's stare.
Reyna hesitated. Jason was staring right at her and she couldn't look away from him. Gods how she had missed him, missed those serious, electric blue eyes. After a few seconds, she tore her gaze away and looked out at the Senate and then the people on the lawn.
"No one can argue that the son of Jupiter has not benefitted Camp Jupiter. He was deemed worthy by Lupa and has spent twelve years of service with the legion, twelve years he spent going on quests, fighting and winning battles and ultimately defending and leading this camp against a force destined to destroy us all."
Reyna turned and glared at the Lare who had called out. "You ask were his allegiances lie, they lie here," Reyna gestured to the city and to the camp in the distance, "at his home," she motioned to the Senators and the people on the lawn, "with his friends, his family. Jason Grace is the son of Jupiter, a child of Rome, just as you and I are. Let anyone who questions his deeds and actions step forward and be heard."
No one moved, not even Octavian.
"I have served beside Jason for years, I have even had the privilege of leading Camp Jupiter with him, and I assure you, of all the demigods chosen for this quest, I trust Jason Grace the most."
Reyna cast a quick glance at Jason, but he had his head in his hands. "My friends," she let her gaze sweep the Senate House and the people outside, "you know me, you know that for the past four years I have done nothing but serve New Rome to the best of my abilities. You have entrusted me with the leadership of Camp Jupiter, thus putting your lives in my hands. I do not believe I have ever given anyone a reason to doubt my loyalty or the extremes I will go to protect my home, thus you can be sure that when I say these demigods from Camp Half-Blood and our long lost Saving Grace mean us no harm, I am certain they will do nothing but aid us in our quest to close the Doors of Death."
(This is happening while Reyna is speaking, right after she says "I trust Jason Grace the most.")
The memories hit him like a Cyclopes' club. Hundreds of thousands of images were flashing before his eyes, all of them involving Reyna. He tried to make sense of it all, but it was so overwhelming. Reyna laughing, Reyna standing opposite him on the Field of Mars, Reyna running through the rain, Reyna's gladius swinging at him, Reyna sitting in the Principia filling out paperwork, Reyna throwing jellybeans at him, Reyna screaming as he pushed her into the canoe lake, Reyna sitting by a fountain hand trailing in the water, Reyna glaring at him, Reyna calling his name, Reyna opening a box wrapped in bright paper, Reyna yelling, Reyna standing in front of the Senators, Reyna smiling, Reyna sitting on her bed in boxers and in an oversized blue t-shirt, Reyna reading, Reyna playing with Argentum and Aurum, Reyna brushing Scipio, Reyna laughing at him, Reyna kneeling in front of the statue of Bellona, Reyna outlined by the flames of a brazier, Reyna throwing food at him in the pavilion, Reyna fighting by his side, Reyna, Reyna, Reyna, Reyna.
Of all the images, two were perfectly clear. Reyna in full battle armor, braid lose, clothes torn and bloody, eyes gleaming with happiness as she grasped his hand while he was raised on a gold shield. He remembered that night, the night they stormed Mount Othrys, the night he was made praetor. The other memory that he was actually able to hold onto for more than a second made his chest ache. Reyna was sitting in her chair behind the large wooden table in the Principia, reading through some document. Jason had been sitting in his chair next to her, just staring at her. At one point, she glanced up from the document, caught his gaze and then quickly returned her eyes to the paper in her hands. A faint blush had spread across her cheeks and Jason remembered trying to hide a grin as he went back to finishing the shipment form in front of him. At that moment, or perhaps during one of the many moments they had had together in the weeks past, Jason decided that he was going to ask her out. Unfortunately, Juno decided to kidnap him that very night. For the first time in days, Jason wished he didn't have his memories back.
People in the Senate House and outside were nodding their heads in agreement. Reyna took a deep breath, a few more minutes and this Senate meeting would be over, and in favor of the Greeks. She made her way back to her chair, but paused before taking a seat.
"Like you, I was trained by Lupa. I know the teachings Rome was built upon, one of the most important being that words are but empty promises without the deeds to support them. Aut vincere aut mori, conquer or die, that is the way of Rome. We must, at the very least, give the demigods from Camp Half-Blood and Jason Grace a chance to conquer and ease our fears otherwise," Reyna looked out at the Senators trying to meet everyone's gaze, "we are not true Romans, but simply cowards hiding behind empty words."
She took a seat and scanned the Senate House. Everyone was nodding and conversing amongst themselves. A few people caught her eye, most giving her smiles and others, like Octavian, gave her dirty looks. After a few tense minutes, her hands were shaking, gods how she hated addressing the Senate, she glanced at Percy.
"You want to call it a night?"
Percy smiled at her. "After that speech, hell yes, unless of course you want to get back out there and win us some more support."
Reyna shook her head. "No, I'm not going back out there, I hate speaking at Senate meetings."
Percy laughed quietly. "I can tell, you're a little pale and look as if you want nothing more than to run down the steps and never come back."
"Shut up, public speaking is not my forte."
As she and Percy stood, the son of Neptune leaned toward her. "Seriously, that address was award worthy, you out talked Octavian and all of New Rome."
Reyna gave Percy a small smile and then looked out at the Senate. "This Senate Meeting is closed. In seven days, the Senate shall reconvene to discuss where it stands regarding the demigods from Camp Half-Blood and what Camp Jupiter will contribute to aid the chosen members of the quest to close the Doors of Death."
People began filing out of the seats in the Senate House and the crowd outside started to thin. Everyone was talking, still discussing the Greek demigods and Jason's return. The Senate House quickly emptied, but a few centurions and the Greek demigods, who were still staring at her and Percy, remained.
"Percy." Reyna whispered.
Percy paused as he stepped off the diesis and turned to look at her. She bit her lip, eyes focused on Jason, who still had his head in his hands. The daughter of Venus was leaning over him, a hand on his shoulder.
"What if…" She looked at Percy and tried to finish the sentence, but couldn't bring herself to ask the question, what if he doesn't remember?
Percy seemed to understand. He tipped his head to the Greeks and gave her a small smile. "Come on, you can't avoid it, better to just get it over with. Who knows, maybe he does remember."
She stepped down and walked next to Percy, toward the Greeks. Annabeth, who had been staring at Percy for the last few minutes, stood up. The last few stragglers left the Senate House and the only noise was the crackling of the braziers. Percy paused a few feet from his girlfriend. Reyna watched in amusement as he tried to say something, but failed.
"Do you," Annabeth's storm grey eyes were bright, and Reyna knew she was close to crying, "do you know who I am?"
Percy laughed a harsh, almost crazed sound. "Of course I know who you are Wise Girl."
And thats all you get! Oh cliffhangers, how I love them.
Can I just give myself a pat on the back? Was Reyna's speech not amazing, specifically the closing?
I know Piper doesn't do much in this chapter, we'll see her in the next one. Did everyone enjoy Leo?
So, once again if you've been reading this story and are confused as to why it's back to chapter 1, see my profile.
Up next, Percy/Annabeth reunion, some Jason/Reyna, Marcus and the introductions! (oh and Leo will be making a fool of himself, as usual)
*Sidenote: If my "epilectic dance routine" comment offended anyone, I'm sorry