When Poseidon crept into Percy's bedroom to lay his eyes on his new son for the very first time, the god wasn't sure what to think. This son's birth was average. He was the average weight, average size, average everything. The sea god wasn't sure how the boy could possibly grow up to be the child of the prophecy.
When Poseidon put his hand on Percy's wrinkled little head, there wasn't any spark or sensational feeling, just the feel of a baby waking up beneath his palm. The only time Poseidon felt anything more than mild confusion and slight disappointment was when the boy opened his eyes. It wasn't because they were the exact same color as the god's (which they were), or because there was a deep source of power behind the sea green orbs (which there was), but because Percy didn't cry, didn't laugh, he stared. There wasn't a hint of curiosity, confusion, or happiness in his eyes, he simply stared.
It wasn't normal for Poseidon to feel unsettled by his children, but there was something about the way Percy looked at him that made the god feel...different. The sea god tried smiling down at the boy, but Percy only stared. Not in awe, fear, or love, he only gazed at his father. The god of the sea crept out of his son's bedroom, still not knowing what to think.
"Well, that was...sweet."
Poseidon tensed. Normally he would cringe to hear that voice, now he was horrified. Not now, he begged. Definitely not now.
He subtly gripped his trident a little harder. Even if Percy was a bit...different, Poseidon would not let him get hurt. She wouldn't normally hurt one of his children when they were so young, but this one could raze Olympus.
"I wonder how long."
The god didn't know what she was referring to. It didn't matter if Poseidon knew her for thousands of years, he could never really understand this woman. The sea god turned to face her.
"Why are you here, Athena?"
Stormy grey met sea green. "You should really learn to be more subtle when you sneak into the mortal world. You're lucky it was only me and Artemis that noticed. If anyone else...well, you know how they can't keep a secret." Her head tilted a bit to the side. "Sally's a very sweet woman. For her sake, I wished you two had never met, Uncle."
Poseidon sighed and rubbed his face. Athena wished that for every woman he fell in love with. "Why are you here?" he asked warily.
"I could kill your child right now," she stated, not threateningly.
His lips pressed into a thin line. "I could destroy the residents of Cabin 6."
She smiled a little wryly. "But I would be preventing the prophecy. No one would blame me. Could you still say the same thing? Have a better reason than a petty act of revenge?"
The sea god's shoulders slumped a little. "No. No, I suppose I couldn't."
Her eyes sparkled like they always did whenever she won. "May I see him?" she said, a slight taunting lilt to her voice.
Poseidon's eyes flashed, and he slammed his trident on the ground hard. The earth rumbled and the waves crashed violently onto the sand, getting closer and closer to the wisdom goddess.
"I take it that's a no."
"No," Poseidon cleared coolly.
The wisdom goddess studied the older god's face. It took all of Poseidon's willpower to not blast her where she stood when her eyes danced with taunting mirth. "I don't need to see him. Your face says enough. Besides," she said, lips tilting up, "I've already visited my new cousin."
The sea god clenched his teeth. "Then why ask for my permission now?"
Her smirk only widened and Poseidon got the feeling that just loved pushing his buttons. "He's not nearly as strong as Theseus was," she said. From the way she spoke she could've been saying "Do a better job next time."
Poseidon looked back through the window to gaze at his son. Percy was still awake, still watching him with the same look in his eyes. The god shifted a little uncomfortably.
"Good night, Uncle," the goddess continued, already walking away.
Poseidon blinked. "You won't kill him?"
She paused. "Like I said, out of all your brood, he's a less impressive spawn." Athena turned back to look the sea god in the eye. "He won't last long. He will fail...worse than Orion, who was killed in your own realm, and worse than Theseus, who was killed by his own people." She tilted he head. "You should go back to your little underwater kingdom before Amphitrite discovers your...activities. She's not nearly as vengeful as Hera, but she still has quite a temper."
Athena and Poseidon stared at each other, the latter's tongue feeling dry. "It would have been better for your son if he had never been born. A hero's fate is always, always tragic."
The sea god left Montauk with a sinking feeling in his gut and still not knowing what to think.
Triton leaned against the wall, watching his father bury his face into his hands. The prince pursed his lips before swiping through the oneway Iris-message. He faced his father and began clapping slowly.
"Congratulations. Really. You meet a pretty girl, get her pregnant, she gives you a son, and you leave them to deal with that monster of a mortal. Brilliant, Father, truly, I don't know how you will ever outdo yourself after this," he seethed, furious by what he saw.
The water around Triton was starting to boil, and Poseidon sighed, face still in his hands. His son was angry, that much was obvious. But the sea god couldn't tell whether it was because Triton felt that he had been replaced by a mortal again or because he couldn't believe the state he left the Jacksons in. Either way, the younger god was furious with him.
"You're not even going to answer me?"
The sea god closed his eyes. "I had no idea-"
"Of course you didn't," Triton snapped. "You don't realize that every time you-you 'fall in love' with a mortal, you create someone, something; a tragedy doomed from the very beginning. And this particular son's tragedy has begun very early. He can't even experience the joys of being a naïve, innocent, utterly useless child."
The prince watched in grim satisfaction as a tear rolled down the older god's tan, weathered cheek. Poseidon grit his teeth and his arms trembled from barely suppressed rage at Gabe Ugliano.
Triton lost his patience. "You stupid old man! Can't you say anything? Do anything?"
"I..." He couldn't speak passed the lump in his throat so he only shook his head mournfully, eyes lowering to the marble floors. Poseidon wished to blast the vile man that Sally and Percy were living with to bits. But his lover had him swear on his son's life not to interfere.
"Then you have failed," Triton said, pouring contempt into each word. "You have failed to keep your oath. You have failed to remain faithful to your wife. And now you can't even claim to have succeeded as a father... You can't say that about any of your sons."
The sea god remembered Athena's words. Orion...killed in your own realm... Theseus...killed by his own people.
Poseidon squeezed his eyes shut and repeated in his head, I'm so sorry, Percy. I've done this to you, I've punished you to a hero's fate by siring you. This is completely my fault, and you have to pay the price for my sins. I'm so sorry, my son.
Triton's double tails quickly propelled him away. And he left his father alone in his throne room, thinking over the last time he saw his son and wishing he had felt more than just confusion and disappointment. The god of the sea wished he hadn't been so wary of his son's stare. Poseidon wished he had held Percy then because no matter how much he wished for it, he couldn't comfort his son now.
Poseidon started, jerking out of his throne to see his wife. She floated in from of him, holding out a familiar 3 foot-long celestial bronze sword. It was a double edge blade, each wickedly sharp, a leather wrapped grip, and flat hilt riveted with gold studs.
"Give it to Chiron," Amphitrite ordered, her face blank. "He will give to the boy, if he survives."
Poseidon took the sword and ran his hands across the blade. "Anaklusmos. The current that takes one by surprise, and before you know it, you have been swept out to see."
Her lips curled back into a sneer at the grateful look in her king's eyes. "Don't mistake my kindness for acceptance. It would have been best if your wrongdoing had never been born."
Poseidon exhaled as Percy walked away from the throne room. He felt like an utter failure. The sea god couldn't even say he was sorry without hurting his son in the process. And worse, Poseidon still didn't know what to think of the boy.
A deep chuckling snapped the god out of his thoughts. "I see you've inherited father's parenting abilities after all, brother."
Poseidon glared down at the floor. "How long have you been here, Zeus? I thought you had to 'go personally to purify the thunderbolt in the waters of Lemnos, to remove the human taint from its metal.'"
The god's eyes danced between electric blue and rainy grey. "I also said that unless Perseus was gone by the time I returned, I would kill him."
The older brother decided that Zeus had been having too much father-daughter bonding time with Athena. "Do you honestly presume I would allow that?"
"After seeing the state of your relationship, yes."
Poseidon grit his teeth. "You are not one to talk, brother." Neither statements were insults, just cold, hard facts and both gods knew it.
"No," was all Zeus could say.
For the first time in hundreds of years, the two brothers sat together in silence. Poseidon could only see the face of young boy that looked so much like him, desperately trying to hide the tears welling in his eyes. The eyes that hadn't lost their unusual glimmer since he was a baby. The sea god could only hear his son's voice crack as he said, "I don't mind, Father." And the second eldest god still didn't know what to think.
"Vouching for your son publicly was a bold move. Saving the Orphiotaurus was even bolder."
Poseidon sipped his nectar and watched his niece's face. "You're making a bold move speaking to me when you recently tried to kill my son. And Thalia Grace," he added.
"I wasn't trying to kill them, I was-"
"Merely pointing out the risk," he quoted evenly. "For you, each action has the same result. What's wrong, Lady Athena? Are you afraid you were mistaken to assume that he wouldn't last long? That you, the great goddess of wisdom, must admit you were wrong?"
Athena's eyes flashed dangerously, and even though she was just in a button up shirt and cropped jeans, Poseidon thought that she looked ready for war. "Listen to me, you little sea urchin," she hissed, and Poseidon swore he could see ice dripping off each word. "Your son is a risk. Look at yourself; he has you bending over backwards to his every whim. God of the sea or not, you knew it was too dangerous to allow the Orphiataurus to live. But all he had to do was look at you with those infuriating eyes, and you gave in.
"This son - this upstart, in particular, is your weakness. You would let Atlantis be destroyed for him. He is a chink in your armor right over your heart, Poseidon. Fix it." Athena glided away, the crowd parting for her without hesitation, and in his eternal life, Poseidon had never felt more conflicted.
Percy stood confidently in the middle of the throne room yet again. His eyes had the same glimmer in them that they always had, his shoulders were back, and his face was cool and collected. The gods, however, had various degrees of humiliation at being told what to do by a child, anger, and shock. Shock that they, the all-powerful beings of the universe, were wrong.
The sea god walked through the ruins of Olympus with a headache brewing. His son had given up godhood for a girl, a daughter of Athena. Poseidon had honestly thought that his son would accept their generous gift, but Percy surprised him. He surprised all of them.
"From now on I want you to properly recognize the children of the gods. All the children...of all the gods."
The sea god caught sight of a beautiful woman surveying the remains of her temple. She delicately stepped over the debris and stared at the wreckage. Poseidon sidled up to her, and she smiled.
"Poseidon," she said happily. "It's been ages since we last spo-"
"Why," he grit out, "on all of Gaea, would you make my son give up immortality for a-a girl of all things? Why would you make him throw away immortality?"
Poseidon felt like he was falling from Olympus. He watched his son in confusion, not understanding why he had declined his reward. "I'm honored and everything. Don't get me wrong. It's just...I've got a lot of life left to live. I'd hate to peak in my sophomore year."
When his son glanced back at the daughter of Athena with a love-struck look in his eye, Poseidon felt like Zeus had struck him with his master bolt.
"He would've hated it," she said, waving her hand in dismissal. She locked eyes with the sea god and they shifted to a familiar bright blue. "Ancient rules and oaths for eternity? Percy, sweet boy by the way, can barely keep the camp rules."
Poseidon stifled a laugh. "Obedience does not come naturally to you, does it?"
Percy met his eyes a little sheepishly. "No...sir."
"He would've been stuck running errands and dealing with Triton and Amphitrite for eternity. He'd be like one of those little fish trapped in an aquarium." Poseidon flinched at that. "Darling, I doubt he'd enjoy that."
Humiliation and defiance flashed across Percy's face. "Tell me what to do," he said bravely, looking his half-brother on the eye.
Triton drew back slightly before smiling condescendingly at the other son. The older prince faced Poseidon. "I will see to the front lines, Father. Don't worry. I will not fail."
A sympathetic yet wry smile graced her sweet features. "And your son is very happy where he is, Poseidon." She tossed the sea god a drachma and winked.
Poseidon fiddled with the golden coin as the love goddess sashayed around the ruins. It had been years since he used a oneway Iris-message. The last time he used one was for Sally's wedding, and the memory left a bitter taste in the gods mouth. Paul Blowfish was a nice fellow, an improvement on the last mortal, and the sea god was glad that the man made Sally and Percy happy. But the thought of the mortal living with the Jacksons in place of Poseidon made the god jealous.
The sea god held the drachma in his palm. "Iris," he murmured. "My son, Camp Half-Blood...oneway." The coin disappeared and the image of Percy Jackson shimmered in front of him.
If Poseidon didn't know any better, he'd say that Medusa had petrified his son. He was unmoving, watching the funeral for his fallen friends and allies. Percy's jaw was set in grim acceptance and his attention was focused solely on the shrouds. His shoulders were sagged a little and his hands were clasped together. Then, eyes glimmering as always, he looked over the crowd of survivors, heroes. Percy's face smoothed, and he looked over Half-Blood Hill with calm air about him that made him seem so much older than 16.
The son of Poseidon stood and all eyes were on him. "Each and every one of these demigods was a true hero. They fought bravely to the end, and they are the reason we are here today. Their bravery and sacrifice will be told to the generations to come. And what they represented will live on in each of us. We will rebuild and we will thrive. We are the victors of the Titan War, and no one will tear us down."
Cheering erupted and the demigods held their weapons to the sky.
The sea god swiped through the Iris-message, having seen enough. In that moment, Poseidon finally understood his son. Percy Jackson was a hero, the greatest demigod of this generation, and the greatest of all of his sons. Orion could not compare to his half-brother's good heart, and Theseus could not compete with his power.
What Poseidon felt all those years ago when he looked down at his baby boy, and then now again, was pride. The constant glimmer in Percy's eyes that made demigods follow him and gods shrink back into their thrones was fearlessness.
The other gods were still nursing their wounded egos and recovering from the war. Aphrodite was most likely up to no good, and Athena would probably threaten to turn Poseidon's son into a cockroach if he didn't stay away from Annabeth. Zeus and Hades were bickering again somewhere via Iris-message, and Atlantis still needed to be rebuilt. But for now Poseidon was content.
Percy was not a failure. He wasn't a tragedy, he wasn't a wrongdoing, and he wasn't a chink in the sea god's defenses. Percy was Poseidon's favorite son, and the sea god couldn't feel prouder of him.
(Poseidon left Olympus thinking that Percy Jackson was one of a kind and none could compare.)
Thank you to everyone who read this story, followed, favorited, reviewed - you guys are awesome, and I really hope that you liked this last chapter.