A PJO oneshot
Note: The Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus characters belong to Rick Riordan, not to me. My 1st Rachollo—because I love Apollo, and I love Rachel with him. -w- So it's only appropriate that I write them. Read, review, and enjoy!
i. she bets he picked her just for being an "interesting" mortal
He's infuriating, even if only a little bit. It's not as though others with the gift of Clear Sight don't exist. After all, Percy's mom can kind of see through the Mist. Rachel can definitely see through all of it, but she's not sure that that's the reason she could handle hosting the Oracle.
Lord Apollo is a bit scatterbrained, sure. But he knows what he's doing. He's an artist of many forms, and cleverness actually is one of his crafts. Rachel didn't tell the others, but the real reason she stormed Camp Half-Blood and met with the Oracle of Delphi was not due to her feeling it was "right" and that she could do it, could become the camp's next seer.
She swears she heard Phoebus Apollo breathe in her hear and whisper the idea to her in her dreams. So, naturally, she listened.
And now she's compromised with her dad to attend Clarion, but she has such an uneasy feeling in her gut. She prays to the gods that she won't have any visions during her school days.
"Just channel them through your art again," Apollo says, appearing beside her while she's resting after reciting the Great Prophecy again.
She pulls a face. "I bet you picked me just to be amused, didn't you?" she snorts.
Apollo strokes his chin, for once looking like a god worthy of respect instead of like any other surfer dude. "Well, you're not wrong, per se…" He shrugs and pulls something from his pocket. He drops it into her hand.
"A drachma?" She's definitely befuddled.
He grins. "A bet's a bet, right?"
ii. he bets she likes not being a demigod
He's watching her. He's planning for her.
She really is something else, this Rachel Elizabeth Dare. She's met the Percy Jackson boy a few times and yet refuses to be scared by all she's seen. She's even wished for Percy to tell her more about the gods and their children. She constantly inserts herself into demigod business.
If he didn't have these plans for her, Apollo would be tempted to take her away as his own…
Alas, that just won't do. He's got plans for her.
But, also, he sees a hint of fear in those burning emerald eyes. Yes, Rachel may like her new friends, but she doesn't envy them. She doesn't like what her father does for a living, no, but dealing with the family name isn't so bad compared to having to learn to defend herself with some Celestial Bronze weapon. She wants to know of this new world, but she doesn't really want a part of it, whether or not they all survive the Titan War.
For that, he apologizes.
Coincidentally, one of the drachma Percy had given her for emergencies falls from her purse as she walks home. Apollo materializes and picks it up. It's almost as though she's unconsciously telling him that he's right about her, in more ways than one.
iii. she bets that he's more protective than he lets on
She's just given her first prophecy—and, of course, it's a big deal.
She doesn't remember saying those words, but now that she knows them, she's terribly worried. So, this is what being an oracle (no, the Oracle!) means. It means dooming the people who've become your friends.
At the edge of Camp Half-Blood's territory, where normal mortals start to get confused by the Mist, someone kicks a pebble while Rachel debates heading home. As expected, Apollo appears.
"You've got a nasty habit of checking up on me," she grumbles as he nears her. "Careful now—the Apollo cabin will cry favoritism if they find out."
Rachel dares to look at him, and her heart sinks. Normally, Lord Apollo is such a carefree guy, someone who always smiles. But he isn't smiling today. In the colored light of dusk, she can see a frown that mimics her own. She hates to think that she's the one who put it there.
"We can't have that," she says as he comes and towers over her, his blue eyes sad. "If you frown…well, I guess it really is like the sun disappearing." Rachel tries to chuckle, but all she can muster is a wet laugh.
The next thing she knows, warmth and sunshine flood her as he wraps his arms around her for comfort. He still frowns, but the effect of his touch on her is instantaneous. "I'm sorry, but I can't do anything about the prophecy," he states.
And though he sounds as though he's given up, Rachel feels as though he'd be willing to do anything to change that fact. His words and embrace have worked their magic: Her tears begin to dry. (When she later checks her pocket, she finds an extra drachma.)
iv. he bets that she'd leave if she weren't the Oracle
They're preparing for another war. They're preparing for an invasion.
Apollo knows that few of the gods are in any condition to help the demigods fight Gaea. Most of them are incapacitated, torn by their separate aspects. Never before has Apollo been so relieved to be the same god to both Greeks and Romans.
Though he shouldn't, he briefly leaves Olympus to see her. It's one temptation he has a hard time resisting.
All the while he's observed her the past few days, she's been exhausted. Her friends got word to Camp Half-Blood, so they're preparing for the Romans' arrival.
She is still working, talking with Ella the harpy about strategies for the camp when she senses him. Ella either leaves because she senses him, too, or because Rachel asks for a break. There, in the Big House, Rachel is given her first moment of solitude in days. She sighs.
"I hope I'm not interrupting," he mumbles.
Instead of being playful or even choosing to chide him, she sighs again. She is so worn out, so worn down. "I want…" Whatever she wants, he doesn't learn, as she refuses to finish that thought. But it must've been something bad for her face to flush deeply enough to match her lovely locks.
Apollo doesn't need the power of prophecy to know what's on her mind. She's his Oracle; he must know her, inside and out. "You don't want to be here." He swallows and—huh. When was the last time anyone made his mouth go dry?
Rachel closes her eyes and sits so still; for a moment, she's like a healthier version of the previous Oracle. "I do and I don't," she finally confirms. "My friends mean everything to me."
He drops his eyes to the floor. "And if it weren't for them, you wouldn't even be here," he remarks, and it's too late that he realizes his tone sounds blaming.
Rightly so, she takes offense. Her stunning eyes fly open and she glares at him. She grabs something off the table and throws it. The drachma has enough force behind it to scrape his cheek, and he winces. She doesn't show him her look of shame at what she's just done.
He doesn't need to see it. He knows she was sorry as soon as she threw the coin. He knows he'd never demand an apology of her, not from her. But he also knows that she's hurting.
He returns to Olympus, and it is as though he never left.
v. she bets that he cares more about the camp than he's willing to confess
"My hands are, as always, tied."
"I cannot do much."
She stops him before it can continue. "Don't even go there. You've already messed up your haiku by starting with seven syllables instead of five."
He grins his usual grin, and she looks away. She hates to admit it, but she almost smiled back. How could she? How could she smile now, after Annabeth told her that Percy went missing?
Still, she knows the sun god is trying to cheer her up. It's rather flattering. "Thanks," Rachel says, ever mindful of her manners. She continues to paint her toenails various designs and colors, because it's helping her to think, to focus. (Especially with handsome Lord Apollo resting against her windowsill, the sight of which makes her feel enough like a normal teenager that she nearly wishes her dad were home to see the god and turn all parental and try to chase him out.) She glances at him. "May I ask you a question?"
"Shoot," Apollo says with a chuckle, as though that joke is still the funniest thing ever since he's the god of archery.
Rachel rolls her eyes, ignoring him. "You're always around to tell me that you can't do anything. But that's a lie. I bet you stick around simply to remind yourself that you're doing all you possibly can." Surely there's a question somewhere in there…
For a fraction of a second, his face falters, and she wonders if she stumped him for being on the mark. Maybe red suns appear when Apollo blushes…? "What makes you say that?"
She smiles easily. It's nice to see him a tad flustered, because then he's not so full of himself and he's sweet. Just like any other boy. "Because," she begins, "you have the power of prophecy. Though you can't tell us directly what things mean, you found a way of getting prophecies directly to us mortals, through your Oracle. You wouldn't have asked for the power to grant a seer if you didn't care." She rolls her head to one side. "And you wouldn't have let Camp Half-Blood keep the Oracle if you didn't care what happened to the camp."
"I should remind you that I guided Paris' arrow to kill Achilles, and Achilles was a Greek," he states.
She shrugs. "The gods say it themselves—the times have changed and it's a new age now."
He snorts, trying to hide the fact that he's pleased with her analysis of him. He tosses her a drachma, which lands by her feet on her bed.
"What's this for?"
"For keeping me entertained," he fibs as he leaves through the window.
vi. he bets that she likes the arts more now because he can be her inspiration
Rachel spends less and less time at school now that Camp Half-Blood knows about Camp Jupiter. Lucky for her, school vacation is right around the corner.
And yet, Apollo likes it when her art keeps her mind and hands busy. With the amount of passion she has, especially when painting, she blazes like a goddess herself. It's a stunning sight, and Apollo is glad that Artemis considers it a waste of time to nitpick his every action, because he'd never live it down if his twin saw how slack-jawed he goes around his fair, redheaded mortal.
But who could blame him? Both Rachel and her canvases are alluring.
Ever since she became the Oracle, she and her art have had a kind of charge in them. She was sharp before, and now she is so bright and full of energy that sometimes it hurts him to look at her. Her art encompassed a variety of subjects before, and now it consists mostly of nature and nary an image is painted without the sun in all its glory—without him in all his glory.
On a night when she rests, having successfully painted the setting sun in a panoramic manner hovering over the wide sea, he hovers over her like that sun gazing at the water. "You find me inspiring, don't you?" he muses quietly, mostly to himself.
To his astonishment, Rachel rolls over and looks up at him. The cheeky little…! She'd been awake the whole time. "You make it a habit of breaking and entering a maiden's room, don't you?" she quips, a hint of a smirk tugging at her sunset-dark lips. Apollo tears his eyes away.
"You didn't answer my question," he says.
"You didn't answer mine," she retorts.
He places a drachma by her head on her pillow, and it's all he can do not to caress her cheek or brush her hair out of her face.
vii. she bets that she'll never be anything besides the Oracle to him
Once upon a time, she called Percy a distraction. At the time, she knew she was the only one who could become the Oracle. At the time, Apollo was healing the wounded, so he was around for her initiation.
But that was at the end of one war. Now another has ended, and Rachel wonders if she's useful anymore. For crying out loud, Percy and the others defeated Gaea! What's next—a retaliation by Ouranos on his wife's behalf?!
So, unless there's danger, there's not really a need for the Oracle, is there? Do they really need her to give out little prophecies for quests anymore, even?
Is she allowed to be a normal girl again?
The thought makes her laugh darkly. First off, she's not much of a "girl" anymore. Secondly, she was never entirely normal to begin with. However, she's as female as any other girl on the planet. She's in love.
Rachel knows she is, and she understands that she probably has been for some time. But she also knows that a lot of things separate them, and those things can't be changed.
He picks her up in his chariot (that ugly old van she's come to love) on his way to visit Camp Half-Blood, which is changing now because of all the Greeks learned of Camp Jupiter. Halfway there, in the sky, he decides to amaze her and shift the vehicle's appearance and form to that of a true chariot, and she must wrap her arms around his waist to stay alive, to stay in the chariot, and to stay beside him.
"Hang on, dearest Oracle," he jokes with a laugh as they descend towards the strawberry fields.
Exactly. She's the Oracle. With thoughts of her hopeless love nestling in her heart, she slips a drachma from his jeans pocket, because she was right. She always is.
viii. he bets that she's not willing to make his "list"
Once upon a time, she called Percy a distraction. At the time, Apollo knew she was the only one who could become the Oracle. At the time, he was healing the wounded, so he was around for her initiation.
But that was at the end of one war. Now another has ended, and Apollo wonders if there's any point for Rachel to stay the Oracle. Surely, there's no greater danger than Gaea, and that blasted woman was defeated!
So without any more danger, is Rachel allowed to be a normal girl again?
He snorts sarcastically. One, she's not much of a "girl" anymore. Two, she's never been quite normal—it was one of the reasons why she made an excellent Oracle. Three…he's in love. With her. He's sure of it.
He's been sure of it since a few years ago, when she threw the drachma at him and he knew that he would never need an apology from her. You don't ask for apologies from the one you love—you forgive them before they even open their mouth.
Apollo collects her in his chariot on his way to visit the reforming Greek camp. He decides to dazzle her by changing the van into its real, chariot self, and a guilty part of him relishes the feel of her slender arms wrapping around him so that she doesn't fall (which, of course, he'd never let happen).
"Hang on, dearest Oracle," he jokes with a laugh as they descend towards the strawberry fields.
Her grip on him tenses and then loosens. He knows she takes a coin from his pocket, and he knows why. He's the god of prophecy—he always knows why; but this time he'd like to think he knows why because he knows her so well, too well, because he loves her so much.
But he can't handle that blame. He doesn't want her to think that he'd never see her as anything save as the Oracle.
So he lands, and the chariot disappears, and he doesn't even care (okay, maybe he does, a bit) if anyone's around. He grabs her arm and pulls her in front of him…and he kisses her.
Now, it's not breaking the heavenly decrees if all he does is kiss her. She's his Oracle. He's allowed to touch her in almost any way he pleases…and that's what gets him. She knows that the Oracle must be a maiden and she doesn't want to be sullied. But even she loses herself to the moment and kisses him back with just as much fervor, with as much energy as his sun.
Then she breaks away, realization clear in her viridian eyes.
"You know what it means," he states solemnly. "It's not just giving up being the Oracle. It means being the lover of a god. It means mothering another demigod child of mine. I swear, you'd be my last—but I can't do anything about all those who've come before you." The hundreds before her, he knows, and he can't admit that maybe she wouldn't be his last and only true love.
Her face crumples and she returns the coin before she runs off.
Apollo doesn't want the drachma. He wants nothing material, and he wants none of his powers, certainly the power to heal.
Because he knows he'll never be able to heal her broken heart.
ix. she bets that even he gets angry with the prophecies
The chosen seven demigods have left California. But she doesn't know this yet.
All she knows is that she's waiting to hear from Annabeth or Piper or any of the others—even Percy, who was supposed to be at Camp Jupiter.
She's sitting in the Big House, kind of hiding away from the others because she's got a bad feeling in her gut. Rachel ponders if she has that feeling because she's always had a great sixth sense, because she's the Oracle, or because the Oracle's powers like to heighten her anxiety.
Maybe it's because of all three.
She chews on her bottom lip and rubs her hands over her jeans, the anxiety getting to her. Absentmindedly she fingers one of the many holes she's poked in them, and she looks around, wishing she had a marker or a pen to draw on her jeans with—anything to make the time pass.
That's when she notices someone standing in the doorway. To any of the others, they'd probably see Will Solace. But while Will is a nice, good-looking guy…one just can't compare him with his father.
Even upset, Apollo shines.
He looks ready to say something, judging by the storm roiling in his eyes. But he remains quiet. His arms are crossed in front of his chest somewhat defiantly.
Her eyes speak to him: I'm sure everything will be fine.
Apollo grinds his teeth: You don't know what I do.
She nods: And I don't expect you to tell me. She musters a smile, for him: Hey, no news is good news, yeah? But there are no children of Apollo on this quest, so for him to worry enough to drop in…the camp will probably be attacked, she assumes.
He looks away, ashamed: I hate prophecies.
Rachel walks to him. She goes to touch his cheek, to turn his face back to her, but she can't. If he were anyone else, then maybe. But one doesn't just go around getting touchy-feely with a god. There are innumerable consequences to that. So she closes her eyes somberly and pauses for thought. Her stillness tells him: You can't hate prophecies. They're our best weapon.
He turns and leaves: Well, I do. A soft plink tells Rachel there's a coin left in his spot…
x. he bets that he'll trade drachma with her for as long as she lives
"I'm an aunt. Well, an honorary aunt. Actually, soon-to-be honorary aunt. I guess that's like a godmother."
He laughs. He doesn't even ask how she knew he was there. Maybe she has an Apollo-radar she's never told him about.
Rachel is as lovely as ever as she invites him to sit with her on the small balcony outside her dorm room. She's almost done with art graduate school, and he feels oddly proud. She's still the Oracle, but she's barely used her powers since Gaea's defeat not even ten years ago. Instead, she has focused on what makes her "Rachel Elizabeth Dare," and he treasures that, because he fell in love with R.E.D. and no one else. (He really could write volumes of poetry for her, with all the material her initials alone give him.)
"Don't even ask," she dismisses. "It's Percy and Annabeth's first kid, obviously. Due sometime at the end of May."
"Next month, I know." Apollo nods. "All the gods know Aphrodite's a little disappointed. She was hoping to mess with them a little longer, but ever since they earned Hera's trust in the last war and since they married, they have the goddess of marriage's protection. In the meantime, I heard Poseidon's whipping up a little something…"
Rachel eyes him warily. "…like what, exactly?"
He shrugs. "I cannot confess. He wants to keep it secret. So I've gone along."
She groans, but there's laughter in her eyes. "Oh, lordy… That one's truly atrocious…"
"I'll stop telling haikus when you stop being amused by them," he quips, a devilish glint in his eye.
She doesn't miss a beat, and she smirks back. "That sounds like a bet." She raises one daring eyebrow.
He holds his hand out, but—when she goes to place a drachma in his open palm—he takes her hand instead of the coin, and he tugs her fingers to him. "What I do bet is that we'll do this for as long as you live, Rachel." He pauses, some thoughts of the immortality-kind crossing his mind. There are other ways to keep her as his forever without trapping her in the Oracle's role. He grins. "Actually…why don't we keep this drachma going for a little while longer than that, yeah?"
She blushes, frozen by his implication that he wants her to live forever, so he seizes the chance and kisses her, wanting to kiss her mortality away.
(Because "Rachel, sun-kissed goddess of drachma" has a nice ring to it.)
*ASDFGHJKL* Yup. Loved it. Loved them. Must write more of them sometime. -w- Don't ya think? ;D But wow… The non-linear timeline suited this idea with the bets… In the end, the net result was only one drachma passed back and forth—gosh, they're so sweet and cute and angsty and mature (Apollo, mature?! In what universe…? XD) And yes, vii and viii were the same scene but told from both of their POVs… Poor Apollo… Poor Rachel…! I think he should go with his idea from x. :] Yeah? And I couldn't resist the Percabeth mention—too cute to pass up. :3 …man. Can't believe this is only my 5th PJO fic—and my 499th fic overall! :') Yay! More PJO to come! -w-
Thank you very much for reading, and please don't favorite without reviewing, thanks.