Disclaimer: I don't own PJO or HoO! If I did, then this wouldn't be fanfiction, wouldn't it? I'm sorry for all the disclaimers, but I'm not in the mood for a lawsuit.
BTW, this is replacing Homeward Bound: Awakening, as I don't like it. It's basically an alternate Caesar, who actually has a decent personality unlike his previous incarnation.
Also, I love The House of Hades cover! The American cover is awesome! Annabeth's finally on a cover! And she's present on the British one too! Yay! :D The British one isn't half bad, unlike usual. I wonder who the guy on the British cover is though? A Giant? A God? And since they're in Tartarus, a Titan?
This chapter basically explains the past of my character, and if he was canon, why he didn't appear in the books.
Review Question: Let's say there's a famous Theater somewhere, known for movie premiers. The walls are blue, the lights are blue, the food and drink are blue, mostly everything inside and outside are a shade blue. What color is the Red Carpet? ;)
He was walking through a dark field, which seemed to stretch on for eternity. No light. Little noise. The only flora being the black grass and poplar trees. It was like hell. Was it? He couldn't remember. Time didn't flow, yet it did. The whole concept confused him.
All he could do was walk… He was devoid of all emotion… Of all memories. All he knew is that he was dead.
One time, perhaps a few minutes ago… maybe a few years… he saw someone. It wasn't just anyone. They were alive. It was a boy, who had dark attire, hair as dark as night and olive skin. He was talking to a spirit, who'd caught his eye a few times. Not for her looks, but she seemed to radiate power… and the living boy who now communicated with her radiated much more of the same power. Together, they left. The other spirits unleashed an uproar of jealousy. He didn't care. He couldn't even remember his darned name! For all he knew, his life was a living hell, and considering that he seemed to be in hell right now, he was potentially better off here. Or was he lying to himself…
What seemed like seconds later, though it could've been millennia, he saw the other spirits acted up. As if filled with much more power. But they also seemed to try and make their posture more formal. He found himself doing the same, energy now flowing through him.
He saw the source. Another living person had appeared. He had albino white skin, eyes as black as obsidian, and shoulder-length hair that looked like a curtain of pure darkness. It was he who was doing this. His clothes seemed to have faces trying to escape from the terrifying fabric. Was he a god? He remembered something in ancient history. Why was his memory creeping back? There was some sort of death god… Pluto or something? No. His mind corrected. Hades. But he was sure it was a guy called Pluto. His mind was at war with itself over the name, until something raced through his mind.
The man stared at him. It filled him with new information about himself. He was called Caesar, he was a Son of Venus, and he died at the age of fifteen. And he was sure that it wasn't a good thing if the lord of the underworld was closing in on you.
He felt a cold sensation in his pocket. He had a pocket? He hadn't noticed that… his ghostly hand wondered into it, and he felt a piece of paper. As soon as he touched it, a memory sketched itself into his brain.
The whole camp-Camp Jupiter-was marching up Mount Tamalpais-the area that hosted the new location of the Titan's base-Mount Othrys. The pouring rain lashed at their faces, as if the sky itself was fighting against the demigod army.
They were led by the praetors-Jason and Reyna. The two of them were only a few months older then Caesar, who was fifteen at the time. They were thoroughly pushing themselves, worrying the whole camp.
Caesar was walking beside two of his friends, Gwen and Dakota. The latter wasn't on one of his usual Kool-Aid sugar rushes, which was quite a rare occasion. But Caesar couldn't blame him. Everyone in the camp was making their best effort-because if they didn't, they'd all die.
"So," Gwen started. Even her usual optimistic voice was laced with worry. "Do you think Jason's okay? He's been pushing himself way too far."
"Gwen, stop worrying. We've known Jason for long enough. He's a tough shell to crack. Isn't that right, Caesar?" Dakota replied. His blue eyes were lacking the usual drunken look, and he looked… normal.
"Yeah. But apparently Octavian said that someone close to a child of Jupiter would die. And since we're fresh out of children of the sky god besides Jason, I don't think it's comforting." Caesar stated, distracted and anxious.
He then saw Jason say something to Reyna, and then fell back to the fifth cohort's ranks.
"Hey." He said, the blond son of Jupiter's voice filled with obvious nervousness. Apparently not even one of the praetors of Camp Jupiter was safe from the clutches of fear.
"So… what's the plan?" Caesar asked. He'd been curious about it ever since he learnt of the attack on the Titan's base.
"It's pretty simple; we just storm in, and bust any monsters or titans that stand in our way." Jason revealed.
"Seems like a decent plan!" Gwen smiled, trying to lift the mood.
"So, why are you back here?" Dakota wondered aloud.
"Are you sick of Reyna's constant attempts at making Jeyna?" Caesar teased. As usual, he was very paranoid about what could go right and wrong, but Gwen had suggested using humor to get his mind off it.
Jason's electric blue eyes bore into Caesar's mahogany ones, sizing the younger demigod up.
"Your 'Son-of-Jupiter-Death-Stare-of-Doom' doesn't work on me, Jason Grace. I'm three months younger and at roughly 6'2" tall, I'm an inch bigger then you, and don't you forget it." Caesar stuck out his tongue. He then ruffled his spikey mud brown hair, a habit of his that annoyed Jason while causing most non-Venus girls to go all… girly.
"Anyway," Jason started, now looking at all three of them. "I'm back here to let off some steam."
"It's about Octavian's augury, isn't it?" Dakota muttered.
"Yeah… kind of. You three don't do anything rash, okay?" Jason told them.
The marching continued on for a bit, with Jason for some reason still walking with the three. Probably to spend time with three of the people closest to him, though the augury was probably a bunch of Minotaur faeces The majority of the other demigods were talking or fiddling with their armor or weapons. Caesar mostly just walked. He was born without the usual ADHD, and to add to that, also lacked dyslexia, which was a blessing and a curse. He was a lot more patient and could read English normally, yet he didn't take in his surroundings as quick as the others, and had to constantly train his reflexes.
Though once or twice, he'd look at the tattoo on his forearm. It was marked with nine stripes, soon to be ten, the standard SPQR and the form of a dove-the symbol of his mother, Venus, goddess of love and beauty. That made him wonder. You could leave after ten years in the legion. But what would Caesar do? He wasn't really college age… he decided to think of the future when it came.
Once, he looked down at a foggy San Francisco, and looked at where he thought Camp Jupiter was. He thought of New Rome, all the unwell campers left behind… His mind drifted to Terminus, the OCD boundary god who was eternally nagging Caesar about his hair or his black jeans or not tucking in his shirt. Caesar hated being told what to do with his appearance. He guessed it was a Venus thing. His eyes drifted to the city itself, and something clicked in his mind.
"That reminds me. Jason, is it okay if I have roughly a week off in September after this all blows over? My uncle found out that I go to a 'Military School' here in San Francisco, and apparently he moved here a while ago. I guess you can figure out the rest…" He nervously asked.
"Caesar, I can't just give people time off. It's a bad example." Jason frowned, as if feeling bad for not granting his request.
"I'd go during Christmas, as that's the preferred time to go away from camp… But apparently my cousin goes to some summer camp that's also on at Christmas or something, and he thinks I'm incapable of having fun without another teenager." Caesar explained.
"What if monsters chase you or something?"
"Caesar isn't a stranger to a sword. And I'm sure he could escape to camp fast enough." Gwen countered, which caused Caesar to feel touched. Why was she sticking up for him?
"Fine, but I'd have to ask Reyna." Jason partially gave in.
"Jason, you know that I don't think highly 'bout 'Queen Clinginess', right?" Caesar moaned.
"Doesn't stop you from saying 'Jeyna'." Jason smirked, thinking he had countered the son of love.
"That ship is for teasing. If you dare date Reyna and to add to that, one of my sisters, then I will make your hair neon pink for a week!" Caesar warned, countering the counter that Jason had tried to use, his voice dead serious.
"Why not Reyna? Do you like her, Caesar?" Dakota teased.
"No, because she bugs me like…. So much!" He argued back, not even blushing. He disliked the girl from day one-she treated all the Venus kids like they were garbage, and never took them serious.
"And why not one of your sisters?" Dakota continued, obviously trying to push Caesar's buttons. When Dakota got bored, he tended to do stuff like that.
Caesar wasn't exactly innocent about stuff like that, but on him, he thought it was cute. He just loved getting information on people. But not like Octavian. He'd never use information against the person, unless it was relatively harmless. Okay, he blackmailed once or twice, but never carried through with it.
"Because, have you seen what happens when you dump a Venus girl? Tears for days! They won't break up with Jason because they see him as the living example of perfect, and I know it wouldn't work out, because of personality clashes and…" Caesar started, though he was interrupted by Jason.
"That's enough, Love Boy. It's not my fault I'm apparently perfect, and I can't be bothered listening to one of your Son-of-Venus-Boring-As-Ashpodel-Love-Lectures."
The legionnaire stared at his superior, starting a hostile staring contest.
Dakota grinned like the Cheshire Cat, happy that his friend's attitude hadn't changed too much since he became praetor. "As nice as it is to have the old Jason back, I think Reyna's getting annoyed." He said, seeing Reyna glancing at them.
"Bye Jason. Enjoy Reyna's flirting!" Caesar smirked.
Jason tried another stare. He looked ready to fry the younger boy with lightning.
Before the two could have a little spat, Gwen chimed in.
"Bye! And don't worry about us-Octavian's probably taken up wishful thinking."
"Hopefully. See you later! Hopefully…" And with that last line, the fifteen year old blond went to join his fellow praetor.
"How do you do it, C? You're lucky that he hasn't sent a storm up your nostril!" Dakota wondered aloud.
"He messes with me, he gets the 'Barbie Girl' package for a month!" He chuckled back. It was good to take your mind off of possible death.
Dakota and Gwen just laughed at this statement, probably remembering the time Caesar had treated Octavian o it-but Caesar was pretty serious.
The marching continued for ages-Caesar had lost track of the time. However, the whole legion stopped. He knew why. It was finally time.
Caesar could see the fortress of the titans, standing tall and black as nightmare. They didn't know how much titans and monsters were in there-but hopefully enough for the Romans to defeat without too much to trouble.
"Legionnaires! This is our time to shine! We'll topple the Titan's throne, and end this war once and for all!" Jason shouted, which was met with the roar of the crowd.
"You'll attack in your separate cohorts. Centurions! Keep the death rate low! Senātus Populusque Rōmānus!" Reyna added on.
"Senātus Populusque Rōmānus!" The legion shouted back, determined not to fail.
Caesar remembered how the whole legion burst into the stronghold. They were like a flood that broke a dam-they just kept coming with unimaginable force. Tons of monsters tried to counter the Romans, yet they were for the most part failing. This continued for quite a while, and it was much easier than Caesar thought.
Then it happened. The first Roman death. Caesar knew the person. And he felt a pang of grief. It was one of his sisters-Carolina, who was in the first cohort. Something had impaled her through the heart, and it was at the end of the spear. It looked all… broken. The irony of killing a child of love by literally breaking their heart made Caesar want to be sick. One of the eagles flying around the fortress for medical help and stopping monsters getting a free meal from legionnaires flew down and picked her up. Caesar almost cried in relief-he couldn't look at her dead body without wanting to puke and cry.
Carolina was one of the two on sentry duty when Caesar made it to Camp Jupiter, along with her friend Gemma. Caesar was being chased by a rouge empousa, vampire-like woman who served Trivia, goddess of magic, and was about to be made into a Caesar salad. But Gemma, a daughter of Trivia, tried to reason with it. And when it still went after the poor six year old, Gemma used a binding spell and the two girls turned the vampire/donkey/robot hybrid into dust and confetti. Carolina was kind, and both she and Gemma vouched for him, to stop him getting bullied for being in the third, fourth or fifth cohort, yet Caesar decided to go to the fifth.
Everyone seemed to treat them bad, told him not to even bother with them-yet that made Caesar determined to find out about it. And to find out, he joined them. Best thing his curiosity made him do. But he wasn't thinking about that. Even when everyone made fun of him for joining the fifth, all the first and second cohorts making fun of him for being a son of Venus, who's only powers were the ability to change his pigment and the rare ability to alter clothing to another form, (rare doesn't equal good. The worst thing is that it only went one way with armor, so he could change it into clothes but not the other way.) Carolina comforted him. She was a beautiful girl, long blond hair, emerald green eyes, and she had so much to live for…
The fact one of she was the first to die-the fact she died at all-fuelled Caesar with rage. He wouldn't let another one of his brothers or sisters die-especially little Rose, who was only six, the age Caesar was when he joined the legion. He fought back tears, determined not to look weak. He brought out his gladius, and stabbed straight through the hag who dared end sweet Carolina's life. He stabbed so hard, the monster and gladius were shoved against hard dark marble. The sword shattered, causing Caesar to feel stupid. But the revenge was almost satisfying. Almost. But then he could feel his gloom creep up on him again.
But it wasn't just him. A fair amount of campers looked solemn. But his half brothers and sisters, probably including him, looked as if they watched 'Marley & Me' while chopping onions and having to watch their OTPs die in front of their eyes.
Then he saw Gemma. Solemn wasn't the word. She looked absolutely angry, depressed, sad-pretty much every negative emotion ever. She was bawling her eyes out. Caesar wanted to know if he looked like that.
He killed his fair share of them-mostly dracanae and hellhounds, but he was unnerved by the lack of titans and the gods who joined the dark side. He was curious as to where they were. For Jupiter's sake! The Romans were about to destroy their throne! Where were they? Taking a stroll in Central Park!?
A hellhound appeared out of the shadows and bore his fangs on Caesar's right hand. Blood came out quickly, so Caesar did all he could. He let his tongue fly with curses and then he speared the giant black dog in the face. It turned to dust. Caesar was sad, as hellhounds reminded him of an old Black Labrador he used to have, before it got put down. Before camp… It was one of the memories he had before camp. The rest of his average childhood was blocked out by pain and glory he obtained from years at Camp Jupiter.
It was seconds later that he realised he'd lost Dakota and Gwen. That wasn't good. Why did he daydream so much? The three had come up with a plan, to optimize survival chances and still do the legion proud.
Running through the dark ebony hallways, lit only by a mysterious green fire, Caesar tried to find them, introducing those who tried to stop him to his pilum. It was slow with his left, but he got the job done. He had strapped his shield to his right arm, so it wasn't completely useless. He then got out a bit of (heavily squashed) ambrosia, and put it in his mouth. The pain in the hand started to die, yet something told the dangerous brown-haired boy that his hand wasn't ready for use.
He started running again. He knew that they'd be fine with each other. But he was worried for someone? Was he worried for himself? He just kept on sprinting madly, trying not to dwell on it.
That was, but he literally ran into Reyna, who just showed a rogue centaur who was boss.
"Stop fooling around and get to work! You children of Venus are worthless!" She shouted at him.
So he just ran, determined to show the female praetor that he wasn't worthless. The tears down his tears were becoming stronger. Caesar wanted to impale her. She probably knew fine that Carolina's death, despite being in the middle of a war, had rocked the morale of all the Venus kids to the core. He could imagine that one Wizard of Oz song playing at her funeral. No, that was too far… She didn't deserve anything that bad, despite how bad she annoyed him. Caesar left it there. His judgement was being clouded by fury and panic.
Finally, he found his two friends fighting back-to-back against a bunch of dracanae. They were doing well, but those dracanae had particularly hard armor, making it much harder to harm them. As much as it caused his gut to feel like it had met Chuck Norris' fists, he made the snake ladies' armor turn into bright t-shirts, ranging from every color from red to violet.
"You guys alright!?" He shouted over the chaos.
"Nothing we can't handle! Thanks for the t-shirt trick! Saves us a lot of time!" Gwen shouted back. She then started to kill every monster in sight. It terrified Caesar. How could she be so happy yet so kill-y?
Caesar felt good knowing that one of his powers had helped his friends. They weren't useful the majority of the time.
Then Caesar realised something-he couldn't get to them without risking being speared. And he probably couldn't kill enough to make a safe passage. So much planning, just thrown away due to stupid snake ladies. Being a demigod sucked sometimes.
"Guys! I can't get to you! Change of plans! Stay the heck alive while I run around like a headless chicken killing things!" Caesar yelled loudly, so his friends could hear. The noise level was getting higher and higher.
"Okay! Just be careful!" Dakota yelled back, obviously not liking the change of plan.
He was expecting Gwen to say something, but she was 'In the Zone' with killing the now somewhat fashionable serpent ladies.
So he continued to run. Again. He speared any monsters that dared tried to halt his rampage, just trying to make himself useful.
Until… he ran into him.
Before flaying me alive for doing a cliché first chapter cliffhanger, hear me out. Chapter One was getting a bit… lengthy, and I didn't want to force too much into one chapter.
And sorry for putting a majority of this chapter into italics, I just wanted to draw a line between the present day and memories.
So who is this him? Is he a friend? A foe? One things for sure! Caesar's life is sure to never be the same!
And for those of you who didn't get it, Caesar's in the Fields of Asphodel. He wasn't really that heroic pre-death. I wasn't going to put him in Elysium either, as 1) I'm avoiding any unnecessary Gary-Stu-ness, and 2) A reason I will reveal in next chapter's ending note. And Fields of Punishment? He wasn't evil. Just maybe a bit… touchy.
And trust me, Caesar's not a self-insert. I absolutely hate self-inserts, unless done right. (and/or has a decent backstory if a demigod child of The Big Three. The only ones I find valid are Children of Neptune, presumably due to the fact I'm kinda OCD fiction-wise and I can't handle how all The Big Three have children in both forms except Poseidon. And the fact Poseidon doesn't have a girl child.) *obvious wink* but seriously, if I do put in a Daughter of Neptune, I'll try to give her a decent-ish backstory and something… interesting about her. MWAHAHAHAHAHA! You'll never know! Unless I decide to put her in and you still read it by then but still MWAHAHAHAHA!
The inspiration for Caesar's name comes from one of Vitellius' lines in 'The Son of Neptune';
'Back in Caesar's day-that's Julius Caesar, mind you-the fifth cohort was something!'