Here's my Battle of the Fandom entry for Round 2. Theme being: Artemis' perception of Percy in Titan's Curse or Last Olympian. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters portrayed in the story.
Full of Surprises
She saved the boy from a wicked taste of Zoë's sharp hand and she didn't know why. Clearly his concern for the girl was fabricated by romance, so that couldn't be it. And he'd just insulted her, after all...
But for some reason she had hope for the boy.
Very little could surprise the immortal, but clearly she wasn't at her sharpest.
She'd been surprised by Atlas in the state of California – a rookie move, so to speak- and had been even further surprised by the gross cruelty of dragging a girl barely out of childhood but far in adulthood into the situation to force his burden on her shoulders.
Another additional surprise:
He had run away from camp- something that Chiron, Dionysus and the harpies didn't appreciate at all. Something that most demigods would never dream of- the half-blood equivalent of letting go of a life ring while lost at sea. Maybe not the best metaphor given the context… but true.
He hadn't come on the grimly prophecised quest for her sake, that was certain. She had been nothing but unpleasant to him and was unapologetic about it. Zoë wasn't even acknowledging her unpleasantness but classifying it as the proper behaviour to take with boys, she knew her well enough to know. Maybe he cared for Bianca, having been there when she'd been rescued. He definitely had a powerful though definitely rocky and uneasy relationship with the daughter of Zeus. He may have come for the satyr's sake…
But looking at him move and look around and scramble… No, he wasn't there for any of the aforementioned. No god could make him fight that way. He was there completely and undeniably for the sake of Annabeth Chase. Still a rather rash and big leap to take. Aphrodite must be pouring her heart and soul into his particular case much to Artemis' regret.
He surprised her again.
In the middle of the fight he pulled away and turned towards her.
"The sky," he said. "Give it to me."
His concern for her… was intriguing.
His concern for Zoë, on the other hand, was clearly far from Aphrodite's domain. But there was the same bright look in his eyes as he watched her, crumpled and suffering on the mountain floor. Anger at seeing another person hurt was part of that look, and the fiery need to avenge and prevent further damage was part of the brightness.
Maybe that was why she had had hope.
"It's my fault," Thalia said. She was pushing back tears as best as she could. "You were right about Luke, about heroes, men- everything."
"Perhaps not all men," Zoë murmured. Her eyes drifted towards the son of Poseidon. She smiled. At him. It was weak but in a dying moment, weakness was strength.
That too was surprising. Actually, after knowing Zoë for as many years as she'd known the girl's nightmares and anguishes and pain… It was shocking. And very, very telling.
Too telling to be ignored, as a matter of fact.
Anger rose in her belly.
She knew that ichor boiled fast and that this may be a prime example of such, but she didn't care. The idea that everything she'd watched these heroes do, every bit of their character that had come to the light… the idea that it could be whipped clean and brushed aside infuriated her.
"If we destroy heroes who do us a great favour, then we are no better than the Titans," she told the council. They looked down on her- she was younger and shorter and frailer in her build, at least on the outside. But she didn't care. She was used to it. She had always found a way to tower over the rest as a girl. "If this is Olympian justice, I will have none of it."
"Calm down, sis," Apollo said. "Jeez, you need to lighten up."
"Don't call me sis! I will reward them."
"Well," Zeus responded. His voice rumbled like thunder. "Perhaps. But the monster at least must be destroyed. We have agreement on that?"
Most of the council nodded at his words.
Percy Jackson was the one to talk, ever a surprise. "Bessie? You want to destroy Bessie?"
The Ophiotaurus mooed.
"You have named the Ophiotaurus Bessie?" Poseidon asked his son with a frown. Artemis didn't know why he was surprised.
"Dad," he said. "He's just a sea creature. A really nice sea creature. You can't destroy him."
It was like the boy had hit all the right buttons, Poseidon shifted on his throne and she could tell that he was uncomfortable, she knew how to read signs, and that he agreed with his son. Good Fates, he was his father's son.
However the sea god played the devil's advocate.
"Percy, the monster's power is considerable. If the Titans were to steal it, or-"
"You can't," the boy insisted. He turned right to Zeus- a gutsy move on behalf of any son of Poseidon, especially one born illicitly whose life importance had just been openly debated minutes prior. But he didn't look even concerned, only bright-eyed. "Controlling the prophiecies never works. Isn't that true? Besides, Bes- the Ophiotaurus is innocent. Killing something like that is wrong. It's just as wrong as… as Kronos eating his children, just because of something they might do."
His consideration for Zeus' past was striking and rewarded by the King's consideration and finally by the protection of the Ophiotaurus.
Thunder boomed and it took a lot of concentration to keep her from wincing. So soon after battle, her instincts were too sharp for comfort. Thunder was mentally transferred into a bomb or a blast or a fallen building in her mind. But no, it was just Zeus' oath to grand Perseus Jackson's reasonable request.
"From now on, I want you to properly recognize the children of the gods. All the children… of all the gods."
Artemis sat up straighter. This didn't concern her of course, but she was excited to see how this would go over.
"Percy," the boy's father said. "What exactly do you mean?"
"Kronos couldn't have risen if it hadn't been for a lot of demigods who felt abandoned by their parents. They felt angry,"
Maisie Ndayimiriji. Fourteen years old forever since she'd joined the hunt. Had blinded a demigod in the eye when he'd picked on her about being unclaimed. Ran away from Camp Half-Blood and to Artemis' camp where she had a cousin.
Eve Johnson- a girl with impeccable southern manners, a finely tuned ear and an even more gorgeous voice. Deserter of the hunt. The hunters had reportedly spotted her amongst Kronos' legions during the fight earlier in the day.
"-and unloved, and they had a good reason."
For some reason Zeus thought that he had the history and right to be offended by this.
"You dare accuse-"
"No more undetermined children. I want you to promise to claim your children- all your demigod children- by the time they turn thirteen. They won't be left out in the world on their own at the mercy of monsters."
Tatianna Mikhailnova Tereshkova- sixteen years old since the 1950's, had lost a sister during the long and turbulent journey from the Soviet Union to America where they'd hoped to find Camp. Annually wept on the 27th of March, her sister's birthday- to this day.
"I want them claimed and brought to camp so they can be trained right, and survive."
"Now, wait just a moment," Apollo said. She could have shot her brother for his interruption, but the boy did a good enough job at not letting himself get interrupted.
"And the minor gods," he said. "Nemesis, Hecate, Morpheus, Janus, Hebe- they all deserve a general amnesty and a place at Camp Half-Blood. Their children shouldn't be ignored. Calypso and the other peaceful Titan-kind should be pardoned too. And Hades-"
"Are you calling me a minor god?" The god bellowed back. She could have shot him too.
"No, my lord," the boy said quickly. "But your children shouldn't be left out."
Ruby LeMay, still a child, kicked out by her mother at the age of nine when she started seeing ghosts. The poor girl never found a place to stay although she floated around all places godly and spent several months camping on the banks of the Styx.
"They should have a cabin at camp. Nico has proven that."
Bianca di Angelo, a ghost aged twelve, in the Underworld for having died in the service of the council.
"No unclaimed demigods will be crammed into the Hermes cabin anymore, wondering who their parents are. They'll have their own cabins for all the gods. And no more pact of the Big Three. That didn't work anyways. You've got to stop trying to get rid of powerful demigods. We're going to train them and accept them instead. All children of the gods will be welcome and treated with respect. That is my wish."
Artemis was ready to grant it to the hero and offer him three more.
"The son of Poseidon may know," Zeus suggested. They were having an emergency meeting. Dionysus had let it slip that demigod nightmares were skyrocketing- and not out of PTSD, but by some other factor- something Zeus seemed to very afraid of. Artemis could and had reported the same phenomenon among the ranks of her hunters.
"Check on him," Athena said sounding completely uninterested, though Artemis knew for a fact that she was studying the source of nightmares in her spare time. It was incredible what bias could do, even to a goddess.
Then again, she thought to herself. Were you not very much the same?
Hermes tapped his cadeuceus to the ground. The two snakes coiled around it protested but were ignored -as per usual- while an Iris Message link appeared.
The son of Poseidon was busy, walking in an old-fashioned building with… the daughter of Athena. Of course.
She held an armful of books and had his arm wrapped around her waist. They were arguing over something and finally she rolled her eyes. At least in her mother that was a sign of defeat, and Artemis assumed that it was a family trait since the boy smiled and took the pile of books from her arms. He even managed to open the door of the library with his elbow for her.
"Perhaps another demigod may have the time and liberty to answer the question," Athena said with a dry, stretched tone that clearly meant turn it off or so help me. Hermes seemed to consider taunting her for a minute but did the wise thing and listened to her wishes.
"At least he's being a gentleman," Poseidon said defensively.
"That he is," Artemis said.
That had most of the council looking at her with a worried look.
"Oh goodie. Another problem with the world," Ares said waving his hand in her general direction. "Can we reschedule another meeting for that, though?"
Like most of the people in the lobby, even the demigods reconnecting with their mortal parents or loved ones, Artemis wasn't focussing on her own business. Rather she was looking at a woman with brown hair, crinkled like she'd just undone a braid, and unusually bright and colourful eyes. Said woman was shaking her head and covering her mouth, as if that could change the world. Of course she'd gone through enough cruelty to know that the world was too cruel to be changed, but the devastation on her face made it clear that she was hoping that all the rules could just be broken this one time.
She wouldn't want to be the one telling Sally Jackson that no, they couldn't.
A goddess with black hair in a crown braid dressed in gold robes approached and said her name softly.
Sally spun around. The emotions scrawled across her face had changed so quickly, even the gods were taken back. Loss and devastating sorrow- uncontrollable anger. She ripped her arm from her husband's hand and balled up her fists.
"Don't talk to me," she told the goddess with a voice sharp as the blade of the knife that had killed Gaia. Sharp as the loss of her son. Her son- a wave in the sea, a grain of sand on the beach, a loss in the process of preservation and war. "You are the goddess of motherhood and family yet you don't understand at all the undeniable and unconditional responsibilities, sacrifices and love that come with those things. You have never put any of those things into practise and you have shamed every woman in history who has worked twice as hard to make them happen when the going got tough. You do not respect a mother's right to know where her child is, how he is, and if he is safe! You are a joke so big that I forgot to laugh, and if these children hadn't seen enough today I would slap you."
The hanging silence was so heavy it sunk within moments. Hera rose her hand- she was Juno now, unforgiving and rigid. The demigods armed themselves and Poseidon took a step forwards. However it was Artemis' course of action that reached the Queen first. She flinched and retrieved her hand, as if stung.
She turned to look at Artemis appalled.
"This woman speaks the truth and she has raised the finest hero the council has had the honour to see in centuries," Artemis said. Her heart beat quickly, as if the battles were still raging around her. "You will not punish her for either of those things, nor for her bravery. If you do, I can guarantee that the council will be plunged in war once more before you can even blink."
Poseidon put a hand on Hera's arm and she turned to see him. He nodded to show that he backed up what she said, and her posture loosened before she disappeared. Sally Jackson was shaking and her husband's touch didn't seem a comfort at all. Nothing would be for a while.
Artemis broke through the crowd.
"There is a taxi waiting outside the building," she told Sally and her husband. "Neither of you are in any shape to drive, but don't worry about the car you arrived here in. One of the demigods will escort you."
Thalia's brother nodded seconds before most of the prophecy children did.
"Thank you," Sally said so weakly it looked as if she'd merely mouthed the words.
"I am truly sorry about the cost of war," Artemis said.
Sally shook her head. Unsurprisingly, she didn't believe a word of what Artemis said.
The lobby cleared out pretty quickly after that. Poseidon was looking at Artemis with a puzzled and strange eye.
"You stood up for my son's memory," he said.
"Maybe I did," Artemis said.
The sea god shook his head. "You really are full of surprises, Artemis. Even after thousands of years."
And I wasn't the only one, the goddess thought. But she kept that to herself. She'd done enough.