A/N: This is the first of the stories that I have planned and most likely the darkest so be aware of the Hurt/Comfort. I do want to hear from all of you about what you think of it and get your desires of what you want to see so please review and pm me about it.
Now this is Percy/Hestia and is A/U so hopefully you all like it. There isn't any bashing of characters except some self bashing of Percy so not trying to step on any toes. And please give it a try.
A Man Without a Hearth
Aquaphobia is not something that a man like him should have. He was born to be in water, born to the king of the seas himself but this man fears what he is drenched in now. The water dripping off of his unkempt void black and ghostly gray hair and beard. His wild green eyes have lost their color, formerly a color reminiscent of the sea, now a gray-green that leaves nothing of wonder, only pity.
The man was soaked because he was screaming again; this was a normal thing and was the reason he couldn't stay in the same place twice. And honestly the water from the trash can was the better of two options that the other man could have used to wake him up, seeing as it was still early enough for there to be embers glowing in the can used for the fire last night. But both have been used on the aquaphobiac and he would have preferred the burning bits of paper and wood that might warm him instead of the very substance that mocked him from the day he emerged from the pit.
The water was followed now by a foot, "You just cheated me of my beauty rest punk." The grungy man growled. "Why don't you just go to the next overpass and leave us be freak."
No fight responded to it, and why would there be. The man he just kicked hasn't spoken a word for the last 7 years, commonly known amongst their kind as the 'hopeless' one.
The hopeless one just shuffled away, his eyes looking as lost as always and just leaving in silence like he usually would and avoiding the crowds of onlookers the best he could. This was what he expected to find in this city just like the others, he had been kicked out of every major city's homeless community from Miami to Seattle so why would Portland be different. He knew that there was water here, and plenty of it and it frightened him, the rain always threatening to drown him again. But he had to make sure that he was never found again, but he was literally running from Fate.
You are needed again Perseus. Go home to the Hearth.
The voices continued like that for the last 7 years now and the only thing he could do is continue on with his numb life. Nothing left.
He had tried to end it too, stabbing himself in the chest a few time to only feel a little tingle have the wound heal. He tried the spot that used to be his mortal point only to feel the same tingle. When in Los Angeles he walked into a gang territory and attempted to get shot a few times, and he did. But there is a reason that if he ever went to California again that someone that saw him would run away screaming something about a ghost.
Once when he felt daring he jumped into a fire, another time he laid down on a railroad track and even another time climbed a lightning rod in the middle of a tornado in Kansas only to be hit by lightning, knocked out and to wake up with a nice little note that said Not Yet.
They were mocking him, the fates. He had lived a life that they wanted that left him with nothing and broken, no family, no life; only fear and depression. And he couldn't stop any of it because they weren't done destroying him yet. Obviously he had more to give if they wouldn't let him finish it. Not even allowing him to commit suicide and receiving eternal punishment was good enough for the Fates, no they needed him to suffer more and that is why he wouldn't listen when the three sisters tried to get him to go back to the ones he let down. No he wouldn't… couldn't face any of them again. Not after the war, not the deaths.
And all of this started because he had to save her, had to be brave for her and had to take it all. He wasn't bitter about it, no he would do it again because that is who he was, he blamed the bitch that he killed for the troubles he want through not the girl that he saved so many times. But he couldn't live through all the pain, the fear and the utter torture that the pit offered him. No, he died when he fell that day and he knew it, the only ones denying it were the fates and the hopeful. But Percy had no hope, not since Tartarus.
The looks he received were dangerous, not anger but pity and sadness. It was dangerous because the only thing he felt was regret and a sadness that would never be fixed. His eyes had dimed since the pit, his gray strip of hair on his head had spread to make his hair a salt and pepper look that reminded him of one of the people he lost, it was similar to his high school english teacher, his step-father and mother had been killed before he could comeback and see them after he was taken to the roman camp. No goodbye or even a hello. He was ripped away from his life for a good purpose only for his life to be ripped away from him because he couldn't do enough.
"Hey Perce!" The small Latino elf called out to him.
"Leo." Percy responded with a smile, not his smile but one that could be used to fool those that didn't want to look far enough.
"Annabeth and I got Fest' fitted for some naval excursions and we were wondering if you wanted to help with testing, Aquaman?" Leo didn't notice the flinch that Percy made, and just like everyone else he didn't seem to notice that Percy hadn't even used his water powers in the month and a half that they had been back from Greece; since he turned down immortality for a second time because he knew that he couldn't live anymore, even though he told everyone else to take it and surprised them all when using his end of the war wish to get the demigods better lives and ensuring peace.
"Nah man, you and Annabeth have been working all week on this and I know that with the Daedalus laptop and that Archimedes ball of yours that it is all working great. I'm just going for a walk so I'll see you at dinner alright?" Percy was walking away before he got a response. He was headed for the forest away from the creek; hopefully he could clear his head there.
"Well… Ok." Leo sounded slightly defeated but didn't catch on to the underlying defeat that had been lacing Percy's voice since the 'victory'.
The screaming started earlier tonight and the restless campers who were still awake heard the torturous cries that came form the Poseidon cabin. Annabeth, Jason and Chiron were the first to make it in to see Percy in bed but with his back arched a good foot off the bed in pain, the scars and sweat very visible on his bare chest. All three had seen the marks before but the cries were new.
Annabeth sat on the bad quickly putting her hands on Percy's shoulders trying to wake him. Jason watched as his brother's face went from the pain and anguish that it was in it's sleep to wake up and bolt up in surprise before morphing the same mask he used for the last 3 months, one of sarcasm and humor.
Percy tried to play it off; Jason didn't believe it because he could feel some of the same emotions that Percy felt now, the defeat and the self-loathing that they both received from the war. Chiron had realization of what was happening, having seen it himself several times in his teaching, the war-torn emotions that Percy was currently fighting were a common place for those that had lost so much. And Annabeth knew Percy better than that; she knew that he hurt more than all of them because he was the one to carry the world on his shoulders so that no one else had to.
Percy wouldn't falter on his mask though, pushing them out of his cabin telling them to get their rest for activities tomorrow.
But when they left Percy couldn't go back to sleep; the marks that marred his skin were throbbing in remembrance. So Percy went over to the box he kept on his dresser pulling out the pictures that held most of his pain. There was the one of Piper kissing Jason on the cheek while they watched the sunset on the Argo 2 that Leo took as blackmail. Tyson and Clarisse posing with Percy, Grover and Annabeth with the fleece brought back the memories of the better days. Travis carrying Percy on his and Connors shoulders after capture the flag, and Reyna in a picture that was taken at the feast of Fortuna after the battle of New Rome. Nico was in a photo from his birthday all those years ago, blue frosting all over his face. Then finally a picture that Sally and Paul insisted on taking with Percy when they went to Montauk a week after the Battle of Manhattan with Annabeth.
These weren't the only ones that died in the war but three of them died protecting someone else, Piper taking an arrow for Jason that was laced in Centaur blood, Travis fought the Minotaur and two cyclops by himself so that Connor could carry Katie to the Apollo campers and Tyson in his innocence had joined Percy in a fight with Leon, the lion giant before they had any gods for help and held the maw of the giant open so that it didn't eat Percy. Clarisse fought harder than anyone else and was killed when she fought the giant bane of Ares to a stalemate with the help of Percy before he was distracted by Gaia herself and she was killed by a lucky shot. Reyna had been slain by that traitor Octavian while the Romans were heading to battle against the giants, it was Jason that finally caught the spy and with his rage ripped the head with the silver tongue right off the twig of a body.
It was Nico that found the doors of Death on the other side and after getting the pair out closed the door the only way they could be, sacrifice.
And then his parents had been the trigger for Percy's final rage, the one that ended the war. Gaia had kidnapped them and was using them to stop Percy from fighting, and had Percy been told that she had them he wouldn't have fought but Annabeth had intercepted the message and Sally told her not to let Percy know. Paul was able to stab Porphyrion with a fallen spear that made the giant crush him with his foot and Percy's mom was pierced through he chest with the monster's spear. And it was their blood that soaked into the earth and gave Gaia her body and fully awoke her.
It was because Percy saw their bodies that caused him to go into such a blinding rage that allowed him to summon so much power that he shook the earth below Gaia's feet knocking her largest son and herself to the ground only for Porphyrion to be beheaded by Percy and for Gaia to be fought by Percy to the point where he drove his sword through her heart and twisted it while she choked on the ichor that crept out of her mouth.
The Moirai had come and collected the body of Gaia that hadn't dissolved like all the rest, it was them that announced to the council of the god that Percy had fought her with such power and force in his aura that had forced her soul to fade out of her body, ending the threat of there ever being another war with Gaia again.
But all of this still burned Percy. His parents had been killed because he couldn't protect them, all of his friends died because he wasn't strong enough, some of them died because he left them alone for too long and he was angry, angry at himself because it was all his fault.
He killed them and he knew it. Some argued with him before and still the voices are telling him that he didn't but Percy knows that they lie to him. Just like saying he is needed, no one needs a murderer. And Percy was the worst kind, how many innocents died because of him and how many more trusted him and he killed them.
Some still call him a hero, not that he knows. But Percy knows better then all of them. He knows the truth, because Percy was the one to do it all, he lives with the weight on his shoulders so he knows that he did it.
Percy Jackson was no hero. No, Percy Jackson was a monster and now the monster supposed to die. Just like all those he killed before, Percy should be dead.
"Are you sure about this man? I mean it has always been you two and I know that you two will get back together again. I can't compete with you."
"Leo, I am positive. You will make her happier than I ever did. You two actually have interests in common and you know that we haven't been the same since Tartarus. I want you to make her and yourself happy." 'And you won't have Athena watching your every move because of your father.' He added silently.
"But dude, you and Annabeth… Are you sure? I mean she likes me?" Leo asked hopefully.
"I know she does, besides we had our break up like 2 months ago, that is plenty of time to wait for it to cool down Fireboy."
"Okay if you say so…" Leo said looking for any sign of deception or regret in Percy's eyes, but as usual he couldn't read anything off of the son of Poseidon. "Well then, I have a date then with a beautiful daughter of Athena and a happy dragon, see you later Perce."
This was just another thing that Percy had started to do, he was trying to make everyone happy. Jason was currently in a 'close-friends' relationship with Lou-Ellen from Hecate cabin, he seemed to be doing better after Percy talked him out of blaming himself for Piper or Reyna's death, both of which would have hurt Jason if they knew he blamed himself. So even though Percy still took all the blame internally it was simple enough to get Jason to get over it. Katie and Connor were there to comfort each other but Percy gave them the final push by scheduling them together for almost everything. Chris had started to see Kinzie from the Amazon when they opened up a branch in New York so they could be better connected to Camp Olympus. Frank and Hazel were happy enough together and Leo had just been set up with Percy's ex because he knew that they were better for each other than for Annabeth to waste her time on a broken man.
Several of his friends still worried about Percy but he was too stubborn with his mask of joy to let them see that he was frozen on the inside. He was able to avoid water for the most part, never having anything but regular cherry coke to drink at dinner and juices for other meals, never going swimming and using clean wipes for showers instead of the stalls in the bathrooms. He even puts himself on flag duty during capture the flag so he wouldn't have to be near the creek.
But as long as his mask was up no one noticed Percy's pain, even Chiron was waning on his belief that Percy needed help, he was stubborn but not enough to go an entire year with a mask on, he must have been doing better.
But one person was strangely watching Percy throughout the year, Dionysus was no longer the camp councilor for the brats because one of them wanted to have a camp united and happy, but it was that brat that he worried would be the first to fall into his domain. Hearing that the boy had gone so far as knocking out that Anna-Marie girl and made it through the center of Tartarus with only his own wits and strength, which Perry had a surprising amount of both, would have strained his mind beyond what it could handle so surely he would have some problem, then losing his mother would have pushed him farther. The god of madness had felt the insanity encroaching on the boy while he singlehandedly fought mother earth but that was when the mask went up, when the boy stopped showing his emotions and cause many to worry.
Only one watched Percy with more interest than the god of wine, Hestia was watching the man that she would openly admit to be her favorite person ever. And she was worried because while he was sacrificing to her and his father she could see that he had started to sacrifice more and when he left there was still more on his plate. That and he had stopped praying all together, he used to pray just to talk to her and Poseidon but he wasn't doing any of it anymore and she was worrying about him.
It was a month later that the two gods found their worries to be true. He had started waning his contact with everyone inconspicuously before simply vanishing one day for no one to be able to find him. And it was seven years ago that this all happened.
It was seven years ago that Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, Hero of Olympus, Praetor of the twelfth legion, Terror of Monsters, Bane of Titans, Destroyer of Giants and Slayer of the earth itself vanished from the world.
His masked had long since burnt away, leaving the broken man to weather all storms, but when a time comes when he is needed again will there be anything left to help?
Percy had given up eating all together 5 years ago; his ribs were always evident through his ghostly pale skin. His shirt and jacket looked like they could have fit his father in his godly form, they were so large on his brittle frame. His beard; it was knotted and dirty from the lack of ever cleaning it, but then again so was everything about him. His hair met his shoulder blades and still seemed to be even parts of the blackest of blacks and a silvery gray from the unholy stresses this one body has endured. He wore some jeans that had long ago lost the left pant leg, showing off a leg riddle of scars that no one could decipher from where they originated but Percy knew the look of the claw and blade marks like the back of his hand because even to this day they still throb when ever Percy forgets to numb his entire body.
And to finish his look he had no shoes or socks to cover his feet, feet that were identical to each other from the grotesque amount of dirt on them to the one vertical scar that only Percy knew was from a scythe blade being stabbed into feet before he was allowed to leave Tartarus, scars that made walking a pain even though that is all he ever does.
These scars are from fighting almost as much as they are from the deal he struck up in Tartarus to ensure Annabeth's safety and their escape. A deal that changed him almost equal to the tortures that the nature of Tartarus showed him. His greatest fears were thrown at him only to later be matched by a grandfather that has anger problems.
Now all Percy had were scars, physical and mental. So to him he had nothing left.
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