Leo sits at the edge of the campfire, watching the rows and rows of people stopping to talk and laugh and cry with each other as they celebrate the end of another war, and wonders how Camp Half-Blood ever survived without Percy Jackson.
Even now, from what he can see, everybody wants to talk to Percy. He's shaking hands, hugging people left and right, even signing autographs for some of the little kids (to humor them, Leo is sure), but he looks like what he really wants to do is grab Annabeth and get the hell out of there.
So when Percy finally manages to extricate himself from Lacey's death grip and breaks free of the crowd, Leo pats the seat beside him as an invitation.
Percy takes it.
"Hey, man," he says. "Why aren't you partying? The Apollo guys cranked up the music. I'm sure Piper's sisters would totally love your dance moves."
Leo laughs. "Nah, man, I'm not exactly in a party mood at the moment, you know?"
Nodding seriously, Percy answers, "Yeah. The war might be over, but we still lost a ton of people." He follows this with a glance at the neat row of shrouds suspended behind the campfire, each one representing a god, with the names of those who died printed under their parent's symbol.
There are too many names there for Leo's liking.
"So..." He isn't really sure what to say. "Can I get an autograph?"
Percy laughs. "Oh, gods. The little kids are treating me like I'm Zeus himself. I don't want to be Zeus, of course, but you have to humor the little ones. I had to draw the line at bowing, though."
At this, Leo cracks up. "Yes! Bow to me, peasants! BOW, I SAY!"
Shaking his head, the son of Poseidon turns back to watch the scene down below. Several campers file past to say hello, but only five people actually stop to sit down. Nobody says anything; they watch as Clarisse chases the Stolls in circles around the fire because they've stolen Maimer from her, and Leo's pretty sure that soon there's going to be punching involved—and it definitely will not be pretty.
Will Solace stands up suddenly and claps his hands to get everybody's attention. "Hey! HEY!"
It clearly isn't working, so Will looks pleadingly to Percy for help. Shrugging, he sticks two fingers in his mouth and lets loose the be-all-and-end-all of taxi whistles. Everyone shuts up immediately and looks over at Percy.
"YO! PEOPLE! LET THE BOY SPEAK!"
"So eloquent, Percy," Annabeth mutters.
"Please shut up."
Will continues. "My siblings and I have something we want to sing for you. Go ahead and join in if you know the words."
As the song starts, Leo catches hold of Piper's hand on his left. Percy wraps an arm around Annabeth. Jason kisses Piper's cheek; Hazel and Frank lock hands on Annabeth's other side. They all lean into each other, seven demigods who saved the world from destruction, and for the first time, Leo knows what it feels like to have a family that loves him.