Disclaimer: I do not own Percy Jackson. Besides; I think our world is the fake one. It seems too boring to be real.

So... I think a few of you might have maybe noticed my absence? Yeah... sorry about that... I've been in the hospital repeatedly and, honestly, my mental toughness has been grit to the barebones. I didn't want to submit a crap chapter, because I felt like that'd be disrespectful and a waste of your time, but at the same time, nothing at all isn't good either. It's a lose-lose.

Still though, guess I'll submit this now and fix it when I begin to heal. I'm sorry. I'm just... very, very weak. So here. Thank you so deeply for all the support, however, it means a lot.

Chapter 5
On the Road

Thalia Grace

Three days have passed, and the amount of words exchanged between Percy Jackson and I amount to about... ten. We haven't greeted each other in the morning, haven't spoken during meals, and we certainly haven't made eye-contact. I once believed that a break like this would be the greatest moment among my life- there would be no fighting; only peace.

I now realize how wrong I was to think that.

It's been nothing short of miserable. I have no one to confide in, no one to talk to, no one to explode at (I feel guilty about that) and last of all, no one to relate to. Without Jackson... things seem less... survivable.

Now that we sit on a bus, speeding toward Las Vegas, I really, really regret blowing up at him. Because, honestly, what he did wasn't even that bad. I just... lost control.


Percy, his face dazed with the remnants of sleep and his eyes clouded with fatigue, looked at me, slightly confused. I could see general unaware in his eyes, but I chose to ignore it- this time, I'd have my rage settled undisturbed.

Before he even got the chance to talk, I exploded again.

"I SAID SLEEP IN THE BED; NOT USE ME AS YOUR 'TEDDY BEAR'!" I could see Percy's face contort into confusion, but never once did his eyes flash with recognition. He'd been blissfully unaware of what he was doing- but I didn't care.

"I... what?" Percy mumbled quietly. The question seemed more to himself as he seemed to be talking with his unconscious side, but I took it as a moment to 'enlighten' him.

"You," I said, poking him painfully in the chest. I could feel pangs of electricity emitting from my fingers as I prodded him directly in his shirtless chest, but for some reason, I didn't care about hurting him. My pride was wounded- I couldn't let it go unavenged.

"Used me. As. A TEDDY BEAR!" I yelled the last part, in hopes of him recognizing his error. He didn't.

In fact, he just seemed more confused. "I don't know... I didn't?"

I leered at him. "You didn't? No? Then explain to my why I woke up with you snuggling into my side and holding onto me like I was your helpless girl?"

His face, formerly confused, took on the look of someone insulted one too many times. His eyes morphed from confused and dazed to alert and angered. I could practically see the ocean's anger and wounded pride inside his sea-green orbs.

"Look, I don't know what you're talking about, but I can confidently say you're overreacting."

I glowered. "Then I guess you can confidently say you're an idiot, too?"

"I just woke up," he scoffed to himself. "I don't need this now. Come find me when you've calmed down." His bitterness and anger seeped through each word as he stood up and threw a shirt on angrily. Before I had the chance to do anything, he was already walking out of our hotel room and had slammed to door behind him.

I had eventually chased after him, yelled at him some more, and we'd both practically taken a vow of silence regarding each other. Looking back, I realize that chasing him and further berating him when he'd obviously gone through measures to avoid confrontation like that probably wasn't my best idea. Nor was it my nicest idea.

Then, as I looked back farther, insulting him pride was also a mistake. Even though I wasn't my father and he wasn't Poseidon, we had both taken on the personality of our fathers, respectively. I had some mild paranoia and some pride issues- along with major compulsive blaming issues. Percy took in pride issues; that was all I could visibly see. There was probably more under the surface- there always was.

So, with my insulting remarks toward his pride and all probably didn't do very well with his mood. And to think, the whole scenario began because I woke up to him holding me against his chest.

Worse yet; I was obviously enjoying it, because I'd wrapped my arms tightly around his torso.

I had yelled at him, even though it was my fault just as much as his. I yelled because I was... scared.

You heard right; I, Thalia Grace, daughter of Zeus and survivor of multiple godly attacks, was afraid of being physically close to the son of Poseidon. It wasn't because of our differing fathers, or our odd relationship- it was because he was Percy and I was Thalia. And I didn't want to get attached to him, because everyone that gets close, leaves.

I stared outside as the trees zoomed by and the sky seemed to chase us. I watched as the suns rays avoided our bus, almost as if Apollo knew of our location and didn't want to bless us with the sunlight. Everything seemed far more depressing at the moment, and I was almost tempted to just curl up and merge with the seats of the bus.

This was all my fault.

"Why do I have to be so difficult...?" I mumbled to myself. I placed my head into my hands and sighed softly in a futile effort to clear my head. As I expected, nothing got better, even as I covered my eyes.

"Sometimes, things must be at their worst before they can get better." I heard the voice, but I didn't bother looking up. If there was anyone there, they surely weren't talking to a hormonal, homeless-looking teenage girl who was mumbling to herself.

After a few moments of nothing but the bus's engine and the quiet words exchanged between nearby passengers, I gave up on trying to hear anything- or, rather, anyone.

That didn't stop a young feminine voice from speaking again. "Don't feel hopeless. Not yet."

This time, I looked up. My eyes settled on a young girl- no older than 12- who was sitting on the seat in front of me. Her warm red eyes were peeking over the leather seat and her face seemed innocent. But I wasn't drawn in by her face- I was drawn to her eyes. They seemed so... familiar. They gave me the warm and cozy feeling that something like a fireplace or warm log cabin would give me in the winter time.

Even then, however, I felt suspicious of the girl. I mean, what kind of young girl just randomly talks cryptic?

"What?" I asked. I sounded a bit stupid, but worse things had happened than sounding dumb.

She giggled. "You know what I said."

Great; a creepy little girl to go with this hellish day.

"Yeah..." I said slowly. "But what do you mean?"

I could feel her warm red eyes analyzing my face and even deeper than the skin. She was practically analyzing my soul. She spoke, her giggly-tone gone, replaced with the tone of someone who'd seen the evils of the world.

"What do you think I mean?"

I had a dozen answers I could have given. They could have been sarcastic, smart-assed, asinine, serious, joking, angry... there was no limit to the amount of answers I could have given this girl; but for some reason, I felt the need to be honest with her. Maybe I was going a bit crazy, but I felt like I needed someone to talk to, and since Percy was mad at me, she would have to do.

So, I began. "I think you mean there's still hope for my life? And even though I'm sure you could never imagine it, you mean to tell me that I can still 'fix' everything wrong, right?"

"Exactly!" She beamed. I sighed; poor, naive little girl.

"Well, that's not how this is going to work..." I mumbled. I wanted to bury my head back in my hands, but I had engaged myself in this conversation and was now inclined to finish it. "Not everything can be fixed with a magic wand like you see in those movies."

"Why not?"

"Because this isn't a movie."

"No... it's not. But it's not set in stone, either."

This little girl, for how old she appeared, was sage. I don't think I've ever carried on a conversation with a kid this old, only to have her dissect my depression and make me seem foolish for being upset.

"How do you know?" I asked quietly. The bus seemed to have gone silent, but I knew it was just us two in this conversation- no one else.

She gave me a small smile. "I always know. Hope never relents; and those that hope, will always find a way to fix something."

"You really think you know what I've been through, don't you?"

To my surprise, the girl didn't answer- or even attempt to answer. She just completely changed topic, like I hadn't even asked a question.

"Do you trust?"

I scoffed. If she'd asked me anything else at this point, I probably wouldn't have given a single rational answer- she was just that cryptic. But, somehow, she knew exactly which questions to ask because I found myself answering it truthfully. Even more, I found myself thinking back on all that had happened- my mother and her death, my dad and his siblings trying to murder me, my friends betraying me... I knew no one could be relied on.


She gave me a weak smile. "Nobody?"

I almost immediately answered with a strong 'no', but something clicked in my head. I did trust someone.

One person.

"Only one."

That seemed the light up the girl's eyes, as they seemed to glow a brighter, warmer red the second I finished speaking.

"I am not that one, am I?"

It was my turn to not answer- partially because I didn't want to hurt the girl's feelings and have her start to bawl, but also because I didn't quite hear her. My eyes were now centered on the one person I trusted. He was sleeping peacefully, despite the racket that was going on beside him as a girl and her boyfriend fought loudly- which had probably been the reason for the bus going silent.

"You have a rough road ahead, daughter of Zeus. Not everyone is your enemy- but they will become such if you continue to treat everyone as one. Rest; you will need it."

Before I even had a moment to question how this girl knew my parentage, or what she knew about our mission, I felt my eyes grow heavy. A thick blanket of fatigue coated my body and I seemed to begin to lose coherence as I slid against the wall of the bus; completely and utterly defenseless.

The last thing I heard before I completely passed out was, "Do you trust anyone, daughter of Zeus?"

"No one but him..."

The first thing I noticed was that the sky was pissed. I'm talking lightning bolts flying from everywhere, thunder so loud the ground seemed to tremble beneath my feet, and rain so hard that I felt like I was in the midst of a rock war. The second thing I noticed was that I was in the heart of a large city- buildings towered above me in every direction.

I took in only one look before I realized I was standing in Las Vegas- but definitely not present day Vegas. It was far less futuristic than I knew it to be, seeing as how my mother once took me to Vegas for one of her gambling trips. This was Vegas, but in the past.

"Come, children. We must not be slackers."

That voice. My eyebrows furrowed and I began to search my brain for the owner of that voice, because there was one thing I knew- I knew that voice. I turned behind me to see a man in a simple black suit walking with two children in tow- a boy about 5 years old and a girl about 7. They both had olive-tinted skin and were wearing older looking clothes.

The man that was with them, presumably their father, gave off a distinct aura of power that I could barely stand in the presence of. I caught a single glimpse of his eyes- dark, like coal, but filled with the pain and suffering of a thousand millennium. To me, he seemed fearsome and someone I could understand to avoid if found in a dark alley.

But at the same time, those eyes held a certain kindred warmth for the two children that tailed him so closely. They seemed to be afraid of the storm that was brewing overhead; afraid as if it was going to come down and strike them in a single instance. I almost snorted; my dad wasn't nice, but he wasn't someone who killed innocents, either.

Just as I was about to chase after the small family, they came to a stop in front of a large building with a bright neon sign that I could read, even with my dyslexia.

Lotus Hotel and Casino.

Probably not the first place I'd take my two young kids if I had any, but hey, what do I know?

I watched as the man spoke to the bellhop at the front- the two seemed to be sharing a rather deep conversation, as the man continuously glanced around to be sure no one was watching or spying in on them. I wondered, for a second, if he was trying to bribe the bellhop into letting his two kids come inside with him.

Then, to my surprise, the smiling bellhop nodded and held out his hand. The man took it, shook it once, and dropped some glinting gold coins into his open palm, before turning to his kids. He didn't appear to say anything- he merely knelt down and hugged the boy, before he turned and hugged the girl. I couldn't hear what he said, but I saw the girl nod once to him as she brushed away the tears that began to form in her eyes.

The bellhop, still smiling, took the two children inside and didn't look back- but that didn't stop the two kids from giving their father one last fleeting glance before they disappeared inside the bright lighted lobby of the casino/hotel.

I walked forward, unsure if the man would be able to see me- demigod dream or not, I wasn't sure what the extension of my presence was. I didn't know if I was a mere spectator in something important, or if I was a real person in a big decision that would actually impact my future.

Before I had the chance to find out, the sky rumbled deeply, as if angered by the departure of the two children. I saw the man's eyes grow even darker, before he began to grow in size. The suit he was wearing faded and was replaced by a Greek cloak that shimmered mysteriously. As I looked closer, I realized that it was the souls of the dead that were contained within the cloak. It wrapped around the man's body and a helm appeared on his head.

It only took me one second to realize that I was in the presence of Hades; Lord of the Underworld. I fought the urge to bow- and the even more prominent urge to scream at him and curse him to oblivion.

"WHAT?!" Hades roared. It was a good thing I was seemingly invisible, because I couldn't imagine facing that after hearing his voice. To think I wanted to chew him out... it seemed much easier when he was only about six foot. "HAVE YOU NOT TAKEN ENOUGH?!"

The thunder cracked once again, and the sky lit up in a bright flash- almost like a flashbang going off in the sky.

"Maria is dead because of you! DEAD! WHY MUST MY CHILDREN BE NEXT?!"

If it had been anyone other than Hades, I probably would have questioned his motive for yelling at the sky- in extension, my father. I would have questioned his sanity and his overall mental health, because to mortals, yelling at the sky was grounds for insane. For immortals or demigods, yelling at the sky was also insane, but only because of what would happen to you once you started.

"I did nothing to you... nothing to any of you. Yet you feel the need to break my spirit. To break what I created. Why?"

The thunder rumbled ominously, and I had the feeling like it wasn't a good remark made. It had a lot to do with the tone of the thunder- yes, thunder has tones- and then there was also the dark look that crossed Hades's face as his lip turned into a snarl.

"We shall see who has wronged whom. Prepare yourself, brother." I couldn't help but notice the utter contempt and bitterness held within the word. "Your precious oracle will naught be the same after this. Nothing will be."

The ground opened up, a massive crevice, and swallowed up Hades- and, by sheer luck, me as well. I fell down, down, down into the dark earth as I felt my spirit move into the underworld. Just as I was about to hit the bottom, I heard a voice in my ear whisper.

"Save them. You will not be the hero; but you will save them. Do as I couldn't..."


I jolted upward, my heart racing. My eyes were wide and my palms were sweaty. I barely took notice of the stationary bus; I was too jostled to even move at the moment. Percy, obviously slightly over the grudge between us, looked at me worriedly. For a second, I compared the warmth and openness of his deep sea-green eyes as compared to Hades dark and anguish-filled coal-like eyes.

There were almost no similarities.

"Woah," He said, taking notice of my state. "You okay?"

I didn't answer; that was all the answer I needed.

All I could think about was that dream and what it meant.

"Come on," Percy said as slung my arm over his broad shoulders. His warm skin did little to ease my own clammy skin. "We gotta get you some fresh air."

As he lifted me up and I numbly began walking, I realized why I was so shaken up. I realized what the dreamt meant on a deeper level.

It meant my father had murdered someone close to Hades- and he had attempted to murder Hades's children.

It meant my father was a murderer.

Ta-da! A fast-paced chapter that I have no idea how it looks. I'm so tired guys, I'm sorry... it's hard being tested and having blood drawn constantly. So please, accept my apologies.

Uhh, thank you to all who have reviewed and I'll try to be faster next time! Thank you all!