A/N: Fairly short, yes. But, this is only the prologue. The actual first chapter will be much longer. I decided to write this up, so many of you will not have to wait very long for at least, you know, something. As I still do not know if I am receiving the files off of my laptop any time soon, I figured I might as well go on and post something in relation to the story. Confusing topics in this will be discussed and explained later on, but questions are always welcomed.
For any new readers, if there are any, I would highly suggest that Thalia Grace & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief be read before viewing this.
Anyway, please feel free to review and provide feedback. I hope you all enjoy.
Disclaimer: I didn't own the Lightning Thief, and I do not own the Sea of Monsters, either. All credit to PJO goes to Rick Riordan.
Black ink dictated most of the olive-skinned wrist. The dark-haired girl eyed her reflection tempestuously, finding herself unable to adapt to her recently received brand. The form of a majestic, landing eagle rested just above the inside of her wrist, about the size of a vertical index card. Her slightly calloused fingers ran the short length of it, and she bit her lip to keep from wincing. The raven-haired demigoddess was infuriated, to word it simply. Her nostrils flared as her mind recalled earlier events.
She had been calmly walking the streets of Boston, merely sightseeing, when the bane of her existence decided to pop in for a rather insufferable visit. Hera, Queen of the Gods and wife of Zeus, had rambled off about something or other before gripping onto her wrist without restraint and marking her. To make matters severely worse, the teenager's father had show up shortly afterwards to apologize for the inconvenience, and to give her a long talk about her recent "turning of age." Of course, she hadn't even aged at all.
Long story short, Thalia Grace was having the worse "birthday" fathomable.
The punk daughter of Zeus had always been a fan of tattoos, and had planned on getting some when she was of age; however, Hera branding her with the symbol of her father wasn't exactly what she had been hoping for. She had just turned sixteen, and she had already gotten a tattoo, so to speak. Why did she even need one? What was Hera's demented purpose for plaguing her with a permanent image? Her aunt was going to murder her.
Unfortunately, due to her Brooklyn apartment being spontaneously torched by some freak occurrence, Thalia had found herself homeless shortly after summer had ended. Rather than mooch off her father again, she attempted to earn her own money and save up to buy a place of her own. But, because teenage girls were usually turned to Child Services when they were found living on their own, she had been forced to relent in her efforts to provide for herself.
Luckily, after weeks of searching, she managed to locate close relatives. Her mother's sister, Amy Grace, dwelled in a homely neighborhood in East Boston, and had been more than willing to take her in when she learned of her misfortunes. Amy was like that—considerate of others. The daughter of Zeus didn't see how the angelic woman could be related to someone like her mother.
Thalia had never been close with any of her relatives. As a child, she had been kept away from her family members, with the exception of her favorite aunt. When her mother had announced to her parents that she was pregnant with an illegitimate child, everyone but Amy had disowned her. The brunette didn't remember ever meeting her grandparents, but her mom used to rant about how adorable her grandfather's accent was.
Thalia's grandparents, Seamus and Abigail Grace, had left the area of Ceanannas Mór, Ireland and settled down in East Boston. Most of the daughter of Zeus' family continued to live in the city, although none of them were nearly as friendly as Amy. Thankfully, the demigoddess never had to run into her other relatives. Her aunt distanced herself from the family, just as her mother had done.
To her credit, Amy wasn't a train wreck like everyone else in the Grace family. She was definitely the most stable sibling. The blonde generously raised her five children, and had never been involved in any illegal activity. The woman had a clean slate, figurtively speaking. Even though this fact should've soothed Thalia and set her at ease, she couldn't help but feel suspcious. No one was so selflessly charitable. No one could be that pure-hearted. Her adventures while on the run had proved that time and time again.
Thalia sighed, turning the sink faucet on. The water was chilling, but she could care less. If she was stuck walking around with a shoddy tattoo on her arm, there was no way she would do so with blood pouring from it like some kind of twisted waterfall. She might as well make herself presentable. Her aunt and cousins had suddenly decided to take her out to eat on her birthday.
"You only turn sixteen once, Thalia!" Amy had exclaimed.
Unfortunately for her, she hadn't even turned sixteen yet.
Although every droplet cooled the plain of her arm, the mark continued to burn. After rinsing all of the crimson substance off, she gingerly grabbed a rag from the medicine cabinet and dried her arm. The demigoddess was more anxious than a whore in church. Her hands were shaking pathetically. She hadn't celebrated a birthday since…since Jason had turned two. The party had been miniscule, only involving the two of them. Their mother had been out dancing in some sleazy club and left them to their own devices.
Thalia took a while to warm up to people, even if they were related by blood. She wasn't completely comfortable around her cousins, and she didn't want to sabotage their positive opinions of her. Because she was their eldest cousin alive, they all looked up to her and expected her to be some kind of saint.
Hurriedly, she grabbed her tube of spiking gel from the counter and squirted some of the substance into the palm of her hand. After rubbing her hands together, she ran them through her unruly black hair. Thankfully, with Amy to supervise her, she received regular haircuts. When her hair looked halfway decent, she opened the door to the bathroom and leaned her head out.
"Connie!" she yelled, calling her twelve-year-old cousin. "Where are the gauzes?"
A pretty blue-eyed blonde appeared in the hallway and slowly walked over to the door. Attempting to stick her head in, and frowning when she found herself pushed back by Thalia, she groaned aloud. "Come on, Thals. Let me in."
"Nope," the daughter of Zeus answered briskly. "Gauzes?" She raised a dark brow expectantly.
"I'll be right back," the blonde grumbled, spinning sassily on her heel and strutting into another room.
Connie and Calliope, the toddler of the family, were Thalia's favorites of her cousins, even though she wouldn't dare admit it aloud. Calliope, who also shared the name of a Muse (which the brunette found kind of strange), was nearing her third birthday. She had grown on the daughter of Zeus more so than anyone else in the two-storey house. All the little girl had to do was bat those long, golden eyelashes and Thalia would sell her soul.
The blonde appeared in the doorway again. She handed Thalia a first-aid kit, not even noticing the tattoo the older girl was hardly trying to hide.
"Here," she said, smiling a little. Her teeth were near perfect, aligned straight and gleaming blindingly. "Are you okay? Did you hurt yourself?"
The geniune concern was enough to make the taller girl grin.
"Yeah," she lied easily. Even though it churned her stomach to lie to her cousin, she didn't trust any of them enough to reveal the truth. "Basketball incident," she supplied. "I'm fine, though."
"Basketball?" Connie asked. Eventually, she rolled her eyes. "Oh, yeah. Silly me. I forgot for a second there. You played with Cory, didn't you?"
Cory was the eldest of Amy's children, a strapping fourteen years of age. Thalia wasn't particularly close with him, but he was the only kid in the house that shared similar interests with her. He didn't listen to punk rock music or anything, but he enjoyed playing sports.
"Bet you won," Con boasted. "I was rooting for you. I mean, how can you not win? You're like 6 '5."
"I'm exactly 6," Thalia argued, slightly defensive. It wasn't her fault she was freakishly tall for her age. Amy and her children were all of average height—the lucky bastards. Smirking, she ran a hand through her hair once more. "But, yes. I won, of course. Now, get out of here."
Connie frowned, but shut the bathroom door and headed off to her respective bedroom. Thalia roomed with Calliope, and she couldn't have been happier with the arrangement. She wasn't bothered when the toddler woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. The brunette, having previous experience, was usually able to get the kid back to bed.
The daughter of Zeus reached into the first-aid kit and pulled out a roll of sterile adhesive gauze. Wrapping some firmly around the mark on her wrist, she tore it from the roll and secured it to her skin with medical tape. Satisfied that she wasn't able to make out anything beneath the bandage, she placed the gauze back into the kit and locked it shut.
She leaned down and tucked the kit in the cabinet beneath the sink, knowing that Amy didn't really care where it was placed. Taking one last look at her reflection, she fixed the hem of her faded band tee and stuffed her hands into the pockets of her leather pants. Amy had kindly bought her new clothes. Thalia, unwilling to freeload off of the woman, worked off her fees by doing chores around the house and booked a part-time job at some diner up the street.
Exiting the bathroom, she nearly ran into her cousin Rayanne. The grunge-obsessed preteen had the audacity to shoot her the infamous one-finger salute, and Thalia scoffed. The dirty-blonde thought she was hardcore, and it was frankly becoming obnoxious. Rayanne wasn't usually very rude to her (at least, not directly), but it didn't take her by surprise whenever the young girl behaved inappropriately.
"Get ready, birthday girl," Rayanne said, smacking her gum grotesquely. "Mom is waiting in the car, so I suggest you hurry."
Before the daughter of Zeus could dare respond, the preteen shoved earphones into her ears and blared her music obscenely before walking away. Rolling her blue eyes, Thalia made the short journey to her room and tossed on her black leather jacket. She rarely ever wore the jacket her father had given her months ago. There was no use for it as of late. Strangely, she hadn't encountered any monsters. Besides, the brown flight jacket didn't match anything she owned.
Thalia walked over to Calliope's small bed and shook the little girl awake. "Callie," she said, laughing. "Your ma got you up an hour ago. You're supposed to be ready by now."
"I'm not going," the little girl mumbled, burrying her head further in the pillow.
Thalia sighed, nearly relenting. But she was a child of Zeus, and they never went down without a fight. The brunette sat down on the edge of the bed and ran a soothing hand through the toddler's locks. The young girl groaned, but eventually lifted her head up.
"You ain't gonna trick me into going!" she exclaimed, her full ruby lips protruding in an adorable pout.
Thalia grinned crookedly. "Is that so?" she asked, pretending to be surprised. "Well, I guess I'll have to eat my birthday ice cream all by myself…"
Calliope sat up completely, her Disney princess night gown riding up with the motion. She crossed her pale arms over her chest. "No fair!"
"Yes fair," the daughter of Zeus mocked. "Only big girls who get out of bed get to have birthday ice cream. I really wish you could come to the dinner, Cal, but if you don't want to, I completely understand…"
"Stop doing that!" Calliope griped. "I'll go."
Thalia flashed a wolfish smile. "Glad to have ya on board, kid."
She stood from the bed, causing her back to crack. The toddler giggled, before roughly poking her spine. The daughter of Zeus spun around, taking the younger girl by surprise, and hefted her over a shoulder. Calliope fought against her hold, laughing excitedly and probably bruising her back with wild punches. Choosing not to show her pain, Thalia smacked the girl on the bottom and carried her over to the dresser.
"What do you want to wear?" she asked Calliope.
The blonde set a finger on her lip and appeared to be thinking deeply. "Um…" she mumbled. Her teal eyes caught sight of Thalia's outfit and she gasped, pointing at her older cousin. "Your clothes!"
The tall teenager chuckled, shaking her head. "I don't think so," she responded. "Your mother would kill me."
Ten minutes had passed in the time it took for the daughter of Zeus to help Calliope get ready, and Amy had begun to honk the horn of her Dodge Journey rather impatiently. The brunette ushered her younger cousin out of the bedroom, remembering to grab any cash she had and lock the doors behind them. The two of them rushed to the vehicle, where Thalia's aunt was sticking her head out of the window.
Her aunt was usually a compassionate individual, but she was easily frustrated when forced to wait on someone else.
"Get in already!" Amy called out. "You get to ride bitch seat tonight, Peter the Great," she added, making sure to use Thalia's nickname. Her cousins thought it was a hilarious nickname, and they joked that she would be as tall as he was infamous of being.
A fun fact about Grace women: they cursed like sailors.
She had the honor of "riding bitch seat," which meant that she would be sitting in between Calliope and the second youngest, Autumn. Autumn, a shy brunette, never really bothered Thalia; however, according to the rest of the family, she was prone to becoming obnoxious while traveling, and they usually pulled straws to gamble whom would wind up sitting next to her.
After strapping Calliope into her booster seat, Thalia walked around the other side of the vehicle for Autumn to let her in. Corey, who had gone over to a friend's, wasn't riding with them, so no one resulted to sitting in the trunk.
Once in the restaurant, they were eventually led to a table that could fit all of them. Calliope, refusing to sit in the "booger" chair—highchair in English—plopped herself down in Thalia's lap. It slightly irritated her, but she dealt with it and allowed the girl to wiggle her bony body every two seconds. Uncomfortable, the brunette reached across the table to pick up a menu.
It wasn't until they got back home that Thalia noticed the missed call on her cell phone. It wasn't a number she recognized, but she figured that she might as well call and find out who it could be and what they called for.
After tucking Calliope into bed, and informing her aunt that she had to make a call, she stepped out onto the front porch and sat down on the highest step. Digging her cell from the inside of her jacket, she quickly called the number and waited patiently as the line connected. It was a few moments before someone picked up.
"Hello?" a familiar voice inquired. His voice was great to hear after so long of a day.
Thalia felt a smile split her lips. "Hey, Percy. It's been a while."
She heard him chuckle over the line—a slightly deeper sound than it had been the summer before. Puberty, she reasoned.
After she had decided to stay at camp during the summer, they had grown impressively close. They had even went on that date they had proposed. Unfortunately, that had been the only date they had went on. They just hadn't made that sort of time for one another, and neither of them had asked the other out again.
Thalia kind of wished she had. She didn't want it to be some kind of quick summer item. But, she still didn't know if she desired an actual relationship with him, either. She had never been in a legitimate relationship before, and if she were honest with herself she would say that her fear was mostly due to her mother's flings. Why would she ever want to feel the way her mother felt? Relationships had sent her headfirst into gin and depression.
"Sparky!" he exclaimed joyously. "How I've missed you! So, hey. I just wanted to call and tell you happy birthday." Before she could say anything, he cut her off with another laugh. "Yes, I remember when you said your birthday was."
"So generous of you," she joked, sending him into laughter again with her horrible proper accent. "Thanks, Jackson. It means a lot. More than anything, it means I'm two years closer to destorying the world as we know it."
Percy snorted. "Bull! If I don't get there first. Your aging is still wacked up, remember?"
Thalia had told the son of Poseidon nearly everything about the conversation with her father. She had told him over the course of the summer, of course. She wasn't positive, but she could only assume that her aging was still rather deformed. According to her father, she hadn't even turned sixteen yet—she would next year. But, she had to celebrate her birthday. Amy and her children would get suspcious if she did not.
"Yeah," she admited with a shrug, even though she knew he couldn't see her. "So, anyway. Happy late birthday, I guess. I know we sort of celebrated it early while at camp, but I suppose I should tell you again." Guilt struck her. "After all, I didn't think to get in touch with you in August."
She could practically see him smile over the phone.
"It's cool, Thalia," he said casually. "So, there's something else I wanted to ask you."
"Are you planning to come to camp?"
"When, this summer?"
"No," he said. "Over the Spring Break. Camp Half-Blood is welcoming summer goers to stay for a few weeks. I've decided that I'm going."
His last sentence pretty much made up her mind.
"Of course," she said. "I just have to run it by Amy."
Thalia smirked. "Sorry, I should have explained first. Amy is my aunt. I'm living with her and her kids now."
"What happened to your apartment? And, I didn't know you had any blood-relative family."
"I didn't, either. My apartment was burned down." She scoffed bitterly. After the day's earlier events, she wouldn't doubt that Hera herself had caused it.
Percy cleared his throat. "I'm sorry to hear about that," he said sincerely. "You could have lived with my mother and I, you know."
"I couldn't have done that to you guys, Kelp Head."
"You wouldn't have been a burden to us, Thalia," he argued. "But, okay. I understand. Besides, maybe being around family will turn out to be a good thing for you."
The daughter of Zeus sighed. "Yeah, maybe." Glancing down at the layer of gauze, she scowled. "So, guess what the hell happened to me?"
Percy stifled another laugh. He had told her that she sounded strange whenever she cursed. "What would that be?"
"Hera marked me."
The anger was clear in her voice, and the son of Poseidon instantly sobered up. "What do you mean, she marked you? Like, with a Sharpie?"
"No," she remarked. "I mean, like literately marked me." She lowered her voice. "I have some kind of eagle thing printed on my arm now."
"We need to look into this." The concern was clear in his voice. Percy was nothing if not compassionate. "During the break, we need to consult Annabeth. She'll probably know what's up."
Thalia relaxed her angry brows, and firmly pressed her lips together. "Sounds good. I don't know why she did this, or what it's for. My father refused to tell me." She ran a hand through her hair, before remembering she gelled it. With a grimace, she wiped her hand off on the porch railing. "I'll show you it later."
"You can send me a picture of it, if you'd like," he offered. "This is my new cell phone. Just got it a few days ago."
"You finally got a cell?" she asked, a smile lighting up her face. "Sweet, man. What kind did you get?"
Before she could hear his answer, her cousin Rayanne stormed out onto the porch. "Who you talkin' to?" she demanded, sitting down next to Thalia. "Your boyfriend?"
The daughter of Zeus resisted the urge to snap at the other girl, knowing that she never meant to be so annoying. As she had never mentioned Percy around any of her family members, she knew her cousin was only teasing.
The son of Poseidon huffed indignantly, hearing someone else interrupt. It was enough to rouse a chuckle out of Thalia, but she quickly repressed it when Rayanne glanced over at her curiously. Sighing in irritation, the daughter of Zeus realized that her cousin wasn't walking away any time soon.
"Man, I have to go," she said, much to Percy's apparent disappointment. "I'll give you a call when I'm free, all right?"
"All right," Percy agreed, sighing. "Talk to you later, Thalia."
With a distinct click, the call was ended. Thalia stuffed the phone back in her jacket and turned an unresponsive gaze on Rayanne. The dirty blonde flashed a small smile. No matter how rude the younger girl acted, she treated Thalia a hero. She admired her older cousin's style, and was constantly trying to make time for the two of them to hang together.
Thalia appreciated the gesture, but she was beyond angry at everything that had transpired that long day.
"So," Rayanne began, watching as her older cousin stood from the step. "Who's Mister Dreamy?"
Thalia stormed back to the entrance and slung open to front door, effectively leaving the other girl to her own devices. The daughter of Zeus couldn't wait for Spring Break to come along.