Disclaimer: I do not own PJO or HOO! If so I would consider myself the greatest author of all time, and that is obviously not true . Rights to Rick Riordan.
Malcolm nodded his head in understanding, keeping eye contact with the fuming Clarisse. He'd learned from experience - don't ignore her, no matter how loud and nonsensical her speeches became.
All of the counselors of Camp Half-Blood - minus the most important ones that left on the Argo 2 or were missing - sat around the famed ping-pong table discussing war plans. An excessive supply of soda (they found Dionysus's hidden emergency stash), donuts and miscellaneous metal cans for the satyrs littered the table.
"I agree Clarisse. It is our home, and we do have to protect it. The Romans are right across the road, camping out, waiting to strike - it was only a matter of time before they found us. But, I hate to say it, right now there is more at stake than Camp Half Blood," Malcolm nearly choked up as he said this. But he had to. He wanted revenge on the Romans more than anyone, being a child of Athena, but based on the discussion's he'd had with Annabeth..."The most important thing right now, is uniting the two camps. And if we engage in all out war, that's not going to happen."
Thalia stood up and caught everyone's attention. "Malcolm has a very good point guys. Last we heard from the seven, they were heading to the Atlantic Ocean. They warned us about the Romans. But remember, they were traveling with two Romans. Uniting the two camps is obviously still very important." Thalia sat down and nodded back to Malcolm.
They'd been having similarly depressing conversations like this for the past week. The seven were missing in action somewhere in Rome, they hadn't heard from them for almost two weeks. The gods still remained silent and Olympus was still closed. And now, a legion of Roman demigods had set up a war camp just across the street.
Reyna and Octavian bowed to the thrones of the gods. In the middle of a war council a flash of light had consumed them and transported them to Olympus.
Octavian was practically kissing the gods' feet. After a proper show of submission, Reyna stood up and started to speak, to ask what in the world they were doing in the presence of the gods. But her speech was interrupted by another "flash of light." In its place, to their right, a ping-pong table surrounded by over twenty demigods and satyrs appeared.
A blonde haired, gray eyed boy, obviously a leader, spoke to his peers. Surprisingly, none of the demigods seemed to notice the change in scenery, they continued talking as if nothing had happened. Every one of them seemed completely absorbed with whatever the blonde boy was saying.
"Clarisse, I'm going to assume that, since you haven't tried to kill me yet, you partially agree with me and Thalia. We do have a legion of Roman's outside our camp, we do need to protect Camp Halfblood, but uniting the two camps is still of the utmost importance, and 'all out war' won't accomplish this." The Clarisse girl nodded her head, obviously biting her tongue and using all her willpower to control her anger.
Thalia, another leader apparently, continued before the Clarisse girl could explode, "Malcolm's right. I don't know how, but we need to unite the two camps...it's what Annabeth would have done. We know that the whole reason for this prophecy, this quest, is to unite Greeks and Romans. So we need to make every effort to unite the two camps, even if it means...not fighting as hard when the Romans strike."
Reyna watched this discussion with interest. It seemed very similar to their own senate debates or war councils, except more casual and democratic. Reyna stood shocked when they finished - she could not believe that the Greeks would sacrifice so much for the almost lost cause of uniting the camps.
By the time Thalia had finished reasoning, Octavian appeared ready to explode. But before he could do something stupid, Malcolm and Thalia, and all the other demigods, finally noticed that they were in Olympus.
Thalia stood rooted in place, her face tight with rage. She didn't even attempt to acknowledge Jupiter, she simply looked at Diana, as if that would help her contain her anger.
Malcolm strode forward, away from the crowded ping-pong table. He walked past the two lone Romans, Reyna and Octavian. Reyna could tell that he had noticed them, hidden in the shadows, but he continued on as if he could've cared less.
He produced a curt, barely perceptible bow to Jupiter, "King Zeus," he said. The tall, handsome boy then ignored the powerful god completely. He turned to a goddess. As Reyna had never seen her before, she assumed that she was Athena or Minerva. And something seemed to click in Reyna's mind - Malcolm looked a lot like Annabeth. Reyna contained her disgust as she realized the handsome leader was yet another Greek child of the 'maiden' goddess.
"Athena," Malcolm spat into the quiet throne room. Reyna shook her head at his brashness. "I speak for all of Camp Half Blood - we helped you in the last war and hardly asked for anything in return. We asked for one favor, for you to claim your children at age 13 and you did not even do that - Leo and Piper are perfect examples of your negligence." Reyna watched as the blonde haired, gray eyed boy exploded with rage. "Athena, mother, why is Olympus closed at a time when we need you most? Where are the Seven? Where are our leaders, Percy, Annabeth?"
Malcolm walked even closer to the composed goddess. Athena, not Minerva, wore a mask of indifference as she listened to her son. "Where is Annabeth? Your favorite daughter? That you would desert her when she needed you most..." Suddenly Athena stood forward and slapped Malcolm across the face.
"You do not speak to me like that!"
Malcolm acted as if the painful welt on his face didn't burn into his skin. He continued speaking, "Then explain why you suddenly summon us to Olympus," he seethed.
Before he could continued a bright light appeared and, in its place, appeared six demigods surrounding another ping-pong table. Reyna recognized Jason, Hazel, Frank, Piper and Leo...and Nico?
"Tartarus is not the same as the Underworld, Nico!" Jason shouted oblivious to the transport to Olympus. "Just because they've been to the underworld a couple times -"
"I am not an idiot Jason Grace, I know that. I've been to Tartarus and I live in the Underworld, of course I know that. I'm just trying to convince you that both Percy and Annabeth will be fine," Nico replied with a deathly calm air about him, not flinching or reacting to the angry son of Jupiter.
"Jason, we need to act positive...we have to ok?" Leo said quietly, without his normal cheerfulness.
An exhausted looking Piper spoke up, "Leo's right everyone, we've done amazing this week. We've finally reached the House of Hades, now we need to keep going alright? We can do this." She sat up straighter, blinked a few times then cleared her throat, "Guys, I think we're on Olympus."
Reyna turned away from the disheveled Seven...that were no longer Seven. She looked at the son of Athena to gauge his reaction. Malcolm watched the group with a guarded expression that slowly began to crumble. He looked at his mother, Athena, devastated. "No...it can't be. Where is she? Where's Annabeth?" The demigods from the Argo 2 turned to him, none of them willing to talk.
A sudden movement broke the silence and stillness of the throne room. Thalia ran across the short stretch of land to embrace Jason. Reyna bristled. Really Jason? she thought, Piper AND Thalia? He hugged her back, shaken and weak in her arms. Reyna watched as Piper just sent them a tight smile. OH. Thalia Grace...his sister. Reyna chided herself for being so foolish and emotional.
She turned back to the issue at hand. What had happened? What had happened to the Seven? And why was everyone on Olympus?
Malcolm gaped at his mother. Annabeth was gone; Percy was gone...was that why Athena had summoned them to Olympus? He cursed a few times under his breath, trying to block the tears that felt like pouring out of his eyes. Annabeth, why Annabeth?
Athena finally spoke after having a silent conversation with the impassive, bored looking Zeus. "Greek and Roman Demigods..." she announced.
At the word Roman Malcolm turned towards the counselor table. In Greek he signaled to Thalia, Connor, Travis and Butch. They quickly disarmed Clarisse and sat on either side of her.
Malcolm glanced back at the two Romans in the corner. The girl looked him up and down while the scrawny boy just seemed...really pissed off. Malcolm just ignored them both and turned to his mother, who nodded at him with approval.
"Every thousand years, the gods of Olympus can summon a council in Olympus. This particular council is referred to as The Favor: Every thousand years, the gods can summon twenty-five figures to Olympus...from anywhere on earth. And for a set amount of time, on Olympus, time is frozen."
Athena sighed as she noticed the confused faces before her, "It's a sort of war council. Since we defeated Kronos, we have this…reward or this ability to stall time on Olympus in order to make war plans, rescue demigods in dangerous situations…It has come to our attention that this is the most appropriate time to use The Favor in this millennium."
Athena turned away from Malcolm and looked at what was left of the Seven. "We can rescue three more."
Piper stepped forward, her face tear stained and puffy. "I speak for the entire gathering of demigods and some of the gods. I request that the gods rescue Percy and Annabeth from Tartarus using the Favor."
A roaring filled the throne room as the counselors of Camp Half Blood began to shout. Zeus turned to Athena, "So this is why you proposed The Favor! To rescue your daughter?" He stared at her, probably trying to decide whether or not he was tricked.
After a time of yelling, the demigods just stood in shock – the terror of Tartarus filled the air.
Poseidon moved for the first time. "Athena and I agreed," murmuring filled the throne room at this dubious statement. "Yes, we agreed that now was the best time to use The Favor. A message from the fates informed us about our children." He looked at daughter of Aphrodite and nodded at her in approval. "We will rescue my son and his girlfriend. And we can summon one more."
Leo shuffled out of his chair. "Lady Athena can we summon inanimate objects?"
Athena huffed at this and mumbled something about "odd Hephaestus children."
Ignoring the goddess Leo continued, "I propose that we summon the Argo 2. There is an item on my ship that would help unite the two camps."
At this Athena's eyes widened. "She did it?" Malcolm stared at his mother..."She retrieved the Athena Parthenos?"
Leo nodded his head. "I'd say that it might actually be useful to summon my ship." He stared at the Wisdom goddess, daring her to say no. Malcolm could tell that Leo was very proud at himself for being so clever – Malcolm could also tell that Leo really just wanted his ship where he could see it.
After Athena and Poseidon glared at Zeus for a moment, the king of the gods sighed and closed his eyes. A rumbling filled the throne room and soon two demigods lay on the floor beside the towering Argo 2.
Tartarus. Thalia stood next to Jason and watched as her father summoned Percy, Annabeth and the Argo 2 to Olympus. Jason, Piper, Leo and Nico looked as if they were ready to collapse, both physically and emotionally. Thalia stepped away from Jason as a light flashed and then she approached the two slumped figures on the ground. Percy and Annabeth.
She and all the other demigods surged toward the fallen demigods until Athena interrupted their stampede. "Stop! We don't know what condition they are in. Stand back." No one questioned the wisdom goddess. The demigods formed a circle around the sleeping figures and took a few giant steps back after Athena finished hollering. A wide ring of demigods surrounded the collapsed Tartarus victims.
Hypnos, the god of sleep, approached Athena. He yawned. "They're waking up...for some reason the transport put them to sleep. Probably because of the extreme change in altitude." Thalia rolled her eyes and attempted a light insincere smile at this - traveling from the depths of Tartarus to the Top of Mount Olympus would make them fall asleep? Very Percy-like
Athena and Poseidon approached the crumpled pair. And suddenly, without warning Percy shot up. He looked absolutely horrible. A deep, bleeding cut traveled down from the left side of his forehead, down passed his left eye to his chin. Amazingly, his eye didn't seem to be harmed...but his right eye was black and blue. A layer of caked mud covered him almost completely.
Percy scanned his surroundings. Riptide, already positioned in his hand, waved back and forth. Instead of looking relieved to be on Olympus, he wore a guarded, dangerous expression. Olympus was completely quiet, all attention focused on Percy.
"Wisegirl, wake-up. We-I fell asleep I think." He shook Annabeth, occasionally glancing at his audience. Percy's voice was hoarse and scratchy as if he'd just screamed for twenty-four hours straight, or maybe he'd just swallowed a bucket of nails.
Percy glared at all the people surrounding him as he shook the blonde haired mess at his feet. Thalia nearly choked at the sight of the distraught looking Annabeth. After Percy shook her a few more times she shuddered awake and stood up. She took one look at the people around her and cursed, "Oh Styx." Her eyes widened as she saw Athena and Poseidon approach them. Thalia narrowed her eyes at the sight of the two demigods...they looked like they were preparing to fight.
They stood back to back. Annabeth began to talk to Percy in swift Ancient Greek causing the two Roman's in the room to look at them in confusion. "I'll take left, you take right." Percy tightened his grip on Riptide.
Poseidon strode towards Percy in concern and, all of a sudden, Percy sprung into action. He flung Riptide and Poseidon blocked it with his Trident. They engaged in a tight fight where Poseidon remained in the defensive. The clang of swords echoed across the shocked silence of the throne room. Thalia looked surprised at the fierceness in Percy's eyes as he fought his father.
Athena slowly approached Annabeth who stood bruised and ready with her dagger in hand. She stared into the eyes of the wisdom goddess with a broiling hatred. "Get back! Leave us alone." Tears trailed down Thalia's face as she stared at her confused friend. The only one on Olympus that didn't seem surprised by these reactions was Nico.
Annabeth cursed Athena and threw her dagger straight at the goddess's heart. With only a goddess's swiftness Athena grabbed the knife out of the air and flung it to the ground. She stepped toward Annabeth and slapped her across the cheek.
For a few seconds the throne room echoed with the noise of that resounding slap and the clanging of metal as father fought son. After she cradled her burning cheek Annabeth looked into her mother's serious eyes and she...smiled. Finally, Annabeth's eyes lightened. Her gray eyes appeared to be almost happy. As if that single slap told her that everything was actually real.
Annabeth stared into her mother's steely eyes for a second longer. Thalia watched as the two wise women, mother and daughter, reached a silent understanding. Suddenly Annabeth ran towards the battle between Percy and Poseidon. Percy fought against the god of sea with an unmatched hatred, and he surprisingly held his own against a god, though Poseidon did his best to remain only on the defensive.
Annabeth shuffled to Percy. She glanced around at the surrounding demigods and put on the steely mask of indifference Thalia had seen her wear so many times. "Percy, its real!" she placed her hand on his shoulder.
"This is real?" He muttered, obviously shocked. His sword pushed forcefully against his father's trident, the two weapons forming a solid x. "How is this real?"
Annabeth placed her hand on his lower back, the place where his Achilles heel had been, Thalia thought.
"I - I honestly have no idea. But this IS real, Percy."
Percy made eye contact with his father and finally seemed to understand. He dropped Riptide and tumbled back. His eyes less fierce and far more shocked. "Why are we on Olympus?" He looked at Annabeth for an answer. But then, as if remembering something, he looked at his dad. "Um, sorry? So sorry. I don't know how to explain it but...Tartarus it messes with your mind so..." he chuckled nervously and looked back at Annabeth. "I. Am. So. Confused," he said in a very Percy- like way.
Poseidon laughed heavily, perhaps to relieve some of the obvious tension. Percy looked at his father and laughed as well. "Well that was a workout," the god of the sea said, grinning at his son. "But we're definitely trying this next to an ocean next time."
Percy chuckled, obviously trying (and failing) to lighten his own mood. He looked back at Annabeth, whose gray eyes still stormed in confusion.