Title: The Greater Good

Characters: Ethan and Katie.

Summary: "Goodbye, Ethan," she murmurs, that fire still in her foolish eyes, a hard set to her jaw and a defiance in the shape of her stance. Katie is a fighter, and she doesn't even know it. Ethan/Katie one-shot.

Notes: This is another of my PJO weird pairings, in preparation for the Mark of Athena, coming out soon! I love this idea, and I hope you do too. Enjoy!

He is oblivious. She is obsessed. That's the only word for it - nothing else symbolises and sums up her infatuation in one word.

Katie giggles uncontrollably (and uncharacteristically) when he walks past her strawberries. He gives her a weird look and a shy smile, then walks away, shaking his head. She watches as he still remains blissfully unaware. Nothing fazes Ethan Nakamura anyway.

There was a time, once, when Ethan was perfectly... normal. He's broken now; damaged goods turned the wrong way up, patched up and held together, but only barely.

He's still beautiful though, even in pieces, and Katie would know.

After all, it is nice stealing glances, but it isn't enough.

She walks over to the battle grounds, and picks up a lightweight sword, testing the weight in her hand and sighing. She's never going to be a fighter, it seems.

Katie isn't very good at being a lover, though, either.

"Do you want some help with that?" Him. His voice. His hand on her wrist. Him. Katie splutters some reply, and Ethan gives her another easy grin.

Give, give, give. And she is taking, taking, taking. But he's taking too, because he is taking her breath away by force, without her consent, and she's not giving it to him; he is taking it. Taking, taking, taking.

He holds her hand and moves them sideways, imitating his movements. Katie looks up at him and bats her eyelashes. He concentrates on the sword in her hand.

"Try moving it like this-" Ethan wraps his arms around her and she sinks into him. He is oblivious. She is obsessed.

The camp fire is glowing pink. It's like it knows how Ethan feels. He smiles at this, and looks at her from where she's standing, her back faced towards him.

"Why can't you give it back?" She whispers. There is an intake of breath behind her, timed perfectly by Ethan, and she spins around on her heels. With a garden clipper in her hands, she squints against the sunlight.

His blue eyes find hers. The brown blink back at him. Katie blushes. He blinks. The fire roars even louder than before.

"And what should I give back?" Ethan asks coolly, leaning against one of the benches, watching her like she used to watch him, when he was oblivious and she was obsessed. He looks past her and to the gates of the Camp behind her.

"Don't do this," Katie begs, but Ethan doesn't hear her. He is too intent on staring out of the borders, wishing he could be free. "Please..."

It is one word too much.

"Don't you dare beg for me to stay," he warns, but she just stares bitterly. Ethan watches her face like he's trying to memorize it - maybe he is. He can't remember.

Her brown hair is tumbling down her back, messy and free, with a green flower tied into a few of the strands haphazardly. Her foolish brown eyes watch him, squinting in the sunlight.

She is both ugly and beautiful, plain and stunning, in that moment; she is Katie.

"What's happened to you?" She asks, leaning forward as if to stroke his cheek. She pulls her hand away at the last second, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. "You've changed."

Katie says it as though it's a revelation - it isn't. Ethan knows he has changed; he has chosen the right side. He had to change. He couldn't be Ethan Nakamura in Kronos' ranks. He would have to be another son of Nemesis.

Ethan Nakamura loves Katie. That son of Nemesis? He can't afford to.

"Of course I've changed," he says. He knows he's changed for the better. Well, at least he knows he's been changed for good.

"Goodbye, Ethan," she murmurs, that fire still in her foolish eyes, a hard set to her jaw and a defiance in the shape of her stance. Katie is a fighter, and she doesn't even know it.

"Good luck, Katie." And Ethan is gone, as simple as that, tears in his dark eyes and thoughts of a lone daughter of Demeter in his head.

Once again, their roles have been reversed; she is oblivious, and he - well, he's obsessed.

"Katie," Drew acknowledges. Neither of the girls have spoken much to each other; granted, neither have really tried that hard either.

"Drew." Katie nods back from where she sits at the border of Camp Half Blood, looking out at the world that is so cruel and dangerous for her, for them all. It doesn't seem fair that their safety is confined to these walls, this camp.

And even that safety wi starting to be compromised.

"The strawberries are doing well. Do you-"

"Drew," Katie interrupts, not looking away from the trees outside the camp. "Don't."

"Right," she drawls, looking down at the ground, her pink nail polish shining against the dying grass. "Darling, you're sixteen." Katie raises an eyebrow, leaning back and tilting her head towards the sun. "You're sixteen, and you're in love."

"And your point is, Drew?" She replies, losing her patience, and wishing for all the world that Ethan could be here, that Ethan would come home.

Not some daughter of Aphrodite sent to do another's dirty work.

"You're sixteen and falling apart," Drew whispers, and she sounds so heartbroken that Katie looks at her. Her mascara is running and her eye shadow is smudged; her foundation looks patchy and her lipgloss seems out of place.

She doesn't look like just some daughter of Aphrodite; she doesn't even look like Drew.

"Honey, I've been there. And sure, it hurts, but you've gotta get over it, otherwise it'll tear you apart. And no boy is worth that."

"What's with all the wisdom?"

Drew gives a hollow laugh. "There's a war coming and I think that half of my siblings are going to die. But Hades, I'm Drew, aren't I? I can't tell them that. I can't show I care. I just have to put on my Prada sunglasses and pretend like I don't give a fuck. And it fucking well hurts, doesn't it, Katie?"

Katie nods.

"Good," Drew answers. "Good. Good luck, darling. I'll see you around."

And like that, she's gone, and Katie can only guess what she means, can only fill in the blanks with a twisted imagination and an inbred curiosity.

"Is that you?" A girl asks suddenly, and Ethan spins around. She blinks, as if drinking him in and processing his new scars. "It is." Katie then sees the bodies at his feet. She looks up again, horror inscribed on her once young, untouched face. "You... you monster!"

That hits a nerve. Ethan has spent months, months, convincing himself that this is for the greater good. He isn't a monster. Is he?

So she runs.

She runs away from him, her brown hair flying behind her, her feet almost silent against the dust and debris of ruined Manhattan.

He starts to run. He can't face the girl he loved (the girl he still loves) and the girl who has never even seen suffering before this Titan war. Katie wasn't even mentioned in the quests of heroes until she lead her cabin almost to victory. So close.

You know... Ethan could've been happy. They both could've. He could've been loved. But he threw all that away.

"Katie! Wait, no, Katie!"

But she doesn't stop, and he watches her go, his sword hanging limply at his side.

He remembers what his mother, of all people, had once told him. "It's your destiny. It's for the greater good." But Hades, when has the greater good meant anything at all?