Hey all! Welcome to the first multi-chapter, co-written story between Miz636 and Percabeth777! We've done one-shots together, but this is our first story with multiple chapters, and we have a lot in store for you! Before we get started, there are a few things we need to tell you.
First of all, this is Post-TLO but doesn't involve Heroes of Olympus. This happens before TLH, so none of that is included in this, except small mentions of Jason.
Second, Percabeth777 writes everything that's in Percy's point of view, while Miz636 writes in Thalia's.
Third, we've agreed to take turns in writing the review replies, but there will be times we might both want to reply to a specific review. If you happen to get two replies from this account, it's because we've both decided we wanted to reply to your awesome reviews. We'll be sure to label who wrote the reply at the end of every single one of them so that you'll know.
Go on, enjoy our story, and please review!
Disclaimer: We don't own Percy Jackson and the Olympians; it belongs to Rick Riordan.
"Hey, Percy!" a muffled voice shouted out from behind a crowd of students.
The sounds of slamming lockers and loud chatter filled the school hallways as school let out. I turned in the direction of the voice, seeing one of my friends raising a hand to me. I returned the gesture, suddenly reminded of the promises I had made for plans over the weekend.
Pulling my backpack over one shoulder, I made my way out the doors of Goode High School, down the steps, and into the city.
The sun beat down on the earth as I walked on the Manhattan pavement towards my apartment building. Home was right around the corner, and it was the only thing I needed after a long day of taking a lousy test at school.
Even in the heat, a cold shiver seemed to be crawling up my spine. For some reason, my mind seemed to flash back to the bitter images of the war that we had fought, right on the streets I was walking on, just a few weeks ago. It wasn't easy recovering from everything we had been through, but knowing that it was all over now was like a comforting Band-Aid right on top of the scar.
I took a deep breath, shaking my thoughts from the strange memory. Although I knew it was always at the back of my mind - all the pain, the deaths, the losses - I reminded myself that we had won. That was enough to bury the thoughts away, at least temporarily.
I felt goose bumps prick down the back of my neck like little needles as I felt cold eyes on me in the warm sun.
As I walked through a vacant alley, I told myself that, in just a few minutes, I'd be in an air conditioned room, plopped down on the couch.
"Perseus Jackson!" A firm voice seemed to echo through my head, and I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw what was in front of me.
Now, any guy can relate to the fact that it's a little nerve racking running into your girlfriend's parent in a random situation. But nothing could compare to the way my blood seemed to freeze in my veins when I saw Athena.
Athena's godly image shimmered in front of me through the mist. Her impatient and threatening glare seemed to subside slowly as I acknowledged the Iris Message.
"Lady Athena -" I stuttered, unsure of whether to bow or lower my gaze. It wasn't every day that the goddess who wasn't impressed with her daughter's choice for a boyfriend would take time to drop calls to demigods.
Athena's posture was stiffer than ever as she spoke. "You are needed at Olympus immediately," she informed me.
I blinked, still not fully recovered from my sudden encounter with the goddess. "You mean, like, right now?" I asked stupidly.
Athena barely let a flicker of irritation appear on her face as she calmly raised her hand, ignoring me. I thought she might have been ready to finally blow my head off once and for all, but instead, she put her fingers together. With one snap, the Iris Message seemed to blur. Wind began blowing, whisking in a roar of quiet whispers as it circled all around me. I didn't realize it when I was lifted off the ground and launched into the air, being carried all the way to Olympus through the wind.
I didn't remember anything else except feeling a harsh force as I crashed onto a floor, before everything was silent and still. I opened my eyes slowly, realizing I was millions of feet up above where I had been, in the home of the gods.
"Wind traveling," a familiar voice spoke. I looked up to see Annabeth smiling slightly. "One of my mother's specialties," she recalled.
I tried not to complain as the feeling starting coming back to my legs again. "Could have done better with the landing," I mumbled.
Annabeth reached forward, and I took her hand as she helped me up.
As I collected myself, my senses slowly began returning. I realized that Annabeth had a small smudge on her cheek and that stands of hair were falling out of her pony tail because she had been working so hard. Although she was staying in the Manhattan area, she seemed to spend more time up at Olympus redesigning it after the damages caused from the battle than she did down on earth with me. I hadn't seen her in a couple of days, and my first instinct was to hug her before I realized exactly what was going on around us. It was something much bigger than I had imagined.
In the distance of the enormous room, all twelve gods sat together, occupying their own thrones. A numbness was rising underneath my skin, sort of like a bad feeling.
"What's going on?" I whispered to Annabeth.
"They wouldn't tell me until you got here," Annabeth whispered back, equally as nervous. "I've been watching them argue for a while now, but I think Zeus and Poseidon finally agreed on something."
My eyes focused on my father and then all the other the powerful gods around him. Seeing Poseidon and Zeus on their thrones made me flash back to a moment not long ago after the war. The gods had offered me immortality, and I had turned them down. My stomach seemed to turn, knowing that something serious was going on. The only other time I had seen the gods all together aside from the after-war reunion was during the Council of the gods the winter solstice before our quest into the Labyrinth.
Feeling the presence of the all the gods in one place - Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Dionysus, Demeter, Hera, and Zeus - was uneasy as it was, but a thick tension could undoubtedly be felt in the air, making things even worse.
The gods hardly seemed to even realize that I had crash landed, courtesy of Athena, onto the floor just a second ago. Zeus was speaking when Annabeth motioned at me to follow her.
As we approached, the gods noticed us in the room for the first time.
"Stand," my father said as we kneeled in respect for the council of gods. "We're glad you two are here," Poseidon said gently, although the normal easiness on his face was absent.
Next to my dad, Zeus stirred on his throne. It was clear that he wasn't going to waste any time before he got to the point. Neither one of us knew what was coming when the lord of the sky spoke. The ground seemed to rumble as Zeus said, "We have a quest; a journey to save Olympus."
"To save Olympus?" Annabeth's said incredulously, her eyes wider than ever. "A quest – but-but we just fought a war! Olympus can't possibly be in danger again… it's impossible."
"I know, child," Athena said from her throne. "It has been quite an alarm to us all."
"But how?" Annabeth argued.
Zeus' eyes seemed to be piercing right through me. I couldn't have spoken even if I wanted to.
Poseidon sighed, gripping his trident as he leaned forward. "I don't believe there's any use in putting it off anymore. The problem is a minor god," he explained slowly, "a being daring enough to attempt threatening Olympus."
"How?" I asked, but my voice seemed to fade away in a whisper.
The other gods listened tensely as Poseidon continued, choosing his words carefully as he spoke. "This god is after a weapon, a tool powerful enough to embody the strongest of our godly weapons."
"It is a forbidden tool," Zeus added. "The secret could only have gotten out in the most unimaginable way possible. However, if this minor god continues to search through all the sites where Olympus previously once stood, it can be found."
The gods' words seemed to be passing right through me before I was able to grasp them. Finally, the thought of Olympus in danger processed through my brain, making me step forward. "What can we do about it?"
"We have a quest," Zeus repeated his very first words to us, his tone unchanged. "This journey to save Olympus can only be completed by the strongest. We ask you, Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase. Do you accept?"
I felt like my mind was clouded with a million thoughts roaming through it. Everything was happening way too fast. I could sense Annabeth's eyes on me as the attention of the room shifted to me. The gods had been speaking in limited words, barely telling us anything, and I suddenly felt a flicker of agitation.
It had barely only been a month since the war, and just when we thought we would get one normal school year, Olympus was being taken over. I felt myself angry at the fates, angry at the minor god for causing this.
I glanced over at Annabeth, whose eyes hadn't left my face. A determined look filled gray eyes, and I was suddenly reminded of what was truly going on. There were much bigger problems than not getting the normal life I wanted. Olympus was in danger.
Annabeth swallowed, her gaze still confident. A silent understanding seemed to pass between us, and after I felt like I had her consent, I found myself turning back towards the gods.
I knew I would never have enough time to truly think through this decision. It was clear that Annabeth and I weren't going to get a chance to talk and maybe not even another second to continue thinking. I wanted to take a shake my head and say whoa, back up for a second. But the gods clearly demanded their answer now, and I had a feeling that they had already delayed news of this disaster as much as they could. Time was on the line as we stood right there on Olympus speaking, and the temperature in the air was rising.
Not knowing what I was getting us into, I did the only thing I knew was right. "We accept."
The room didn't feel any different. Zeus relaxed his glare on me, leaning back. "Very well, it has been decided then. Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, and Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, will take part in a quest to protect Olympus from the hands of a new enemy. It is your decision to choose who and how many can accompany you."
Further down the row of thrones, Ares was glaring at me. I could almost hear his voice in my head saying you'd better make the right decisions, punk. Aphrodite silently snapped her fingers in front of Ares face, and the flames in the gods eyes recoiled ever so slightly.
Hera was so stiff that I could have sworn she was frozen. The goddess' cold gaze clearly avoided looking at Annabeth. For the first time, I realized that the gods truly needed us now. We could be Olympus' last hope.
Lady Artemis rose, nodding once in our direction. "You have my huntresses at your aid if this effort may need them. Our services are with you."
Annabeth bowed in respect of the goddess. "Thank you, my lady."
There was suddenly an eerie silence to the room. Being pulled off of the earth after a day at school and accepting to save Mount Olympus from the wrath of a minor god wasn't exactly easy to take in. A strange itch was scratching at me.
"Just one question," I found myself saying.
Poseidon looked at me curiously. "What is it, child?"
"This minor god," I said slowly, "who is it?"
My father shared a look with Zeus before answering me. The name wasn't one I expected, and I was sure Annabeth shared my confusion as she frowned at the name.
I couldn't admit to knowing why Lady Artemis was called away, but it didn't really worry me that she had gone to Olympus so suddenly. She had done this quite often during the war for councils and the actual fights. Besides, she knew I could handle the Hunters on my own.
The sound of bickering broke my thoughts, and I sighed audibly, the sound quickly dissipating in my empty tent, where I had been laying on my sleeping bag and staring at the canvas above me.
Sitting up, I stood quickly and made my way out of my tent, headed towards where the familiar voices were coming from.
A group of girls stood around two others, almost blocking them from my view. Truthfully, though, I didn't need visual confirmation to know who I was about to be dealing with.
"What set them off this time?" I asked the Hunter next to where I had stopped on the outside of the circle, Janet, a girl who looked to be twelve. Green eyes met mine quickly, a startled look in them before Janet recognized me and relaxed slightly, turning back to face the two girls standing opposite each other.
"Kristen claimed she was better at everything compared to Elaine, especially with a bow," Janet explained quickly. "Elaine got upset and retorted, again. Then it just went downhill from there."
Sighing internally, unwilling to show my annoyance at the continued rivalry between the daughter of Athena and mortal who both had a talent with our wolves and hunting falcons, I said, "Thanks, Janet. Let me through, please."
The black-haired girl moved aside quickly, leaving a path just large enough for me to walk through to get to the fighting pair. The sight in front of me was quite familiar and also very old, even after just three months of it.
Gray eyes with a brown tinge to them were flared with anger as they locked onto brown eyes that appeared almost black. Elaine, a daughter of Athena who had already been a Hunter before I joined, was almost shaking with fury as she tried to control the urge to lunge at Kristen, who had only joined us three months ago as Lady Artemis had asked me to search for new Hunters for the upcoming battle that had already passed. Neither had gotten along very well, not even the first time they met, and it only got worse when Kristen showed an aptitude for our animals just as Elaine had for years.
"Elaine! Kristen!" I snapped, stepping forward with my arms outstretched to stand between them. "Stop your fighting right now!"
"Kristen started it this time, Thalia," Elaine stated as she crossed her arms over her chest and took a step back, gray eyes still flashing.
"So I've been told," I said coldly, turning my head from Elaine to Kristen, who took a step back at my fury, the glare in her dark eyes disappearing as she saw my look. "Kristen, my tent, now."
Kristen took off quickly, slipping out of the circle of Hunters in the direction I had come from. Elaine was left smirking proudly at having won the fight, but I just turned my eyes to land on her, and her arms fell from her chest as she stepped back quickly, some fear in her eyes.
"The rest of you, get back to your tents or wherever you're supposed to be," I snapped, not once looking away from Elaine as I heard the others rush away, most to their tents and a few back to the watch they were supposed to be on.
"Elaine, you've been here longer than most of the Hunters since the war happened and we lost more of the eldest than ever before," I said, my anger evident but in check. "You know better than to be picking fights with Kristen! Just because you're upset that Juliet died doesn't mean you have a right to pick a fight on the only other girl who has a talent with our animals."
My tone had calmed more as I spoke of one of the Hunters who had died in the Battle of Manhattan. Juliet had appeared to be only thirteen, but I knew she and Elaine had been found together over a hundred years ago, best friends then and now. While Juliet had been mortal, Elaine had seen that she had clear sight and decided to use her training from Chiron to protect her, so Juliet's death only a month ago had hit her quite hard, and we all still felt the effects of it when she got upset. Still, it didn't give her a right to fight with Kristen like she had been since the war, which was a lot fiercer than the banter they had shared before it.
"I know, Thalia, and I'm sorry," Elaine said softly, tears coming to her eyes as she looked towards the ground. "It's just been so… hard since the war without Juliet, and…" Elaine broke off with a sob, and I stepped forward to hug her. No matter how upset I was with her, she was still my sister Hunter, and I would be there for her.
"I'm sorry I brought it up, but Juliet wouldn't want you to be doing this," I whispered in her ear as I rubbed her back. "We're all still hurting from the death among us, you among those hurting the most, but we can't keep fighting like this because of it. None of them would want it, and it isn't good for us. Soon enough you'll find your way again and be stronger for it, but for now, we're all here for you when you need us. Don't forget it, Elaine."
Elaine pulled away from me slowly and wiped away her tears with the back of her hand. Her eyes were slightly bloodshot and puffy, and there was a darkness in her gray-brown eyes that showed her pain, but I could tell Elaine would be okay for now.
"Thanks, Thalia," she said, her voice a little hoarse. "I'll remember that and try to stop." I just smiled sadly at her.
"Why don't you go see if Jessica would be willing to work on archery with you?" I suggested. "Maybe bring in a few of the others for a contest. I've got to go talk to Kristen."
"I'll do that," Elaine said, her lips twitching, and I knew I had done my job. "Don't be too hard on her, Thalia," Elaine added before turning and going back to camp.
Once I was alone, I looked up at the clouds above me, thinking even though I knew I had to go talk to Kristen soon.
Elaine's last words made sense. Kristen's younger sister Rebecca, who had been almost a younger clone of her, had been a Hunter who died in the war as well. Ever since then, Kristen had been trying to pick fights with the others as the pain got to be too much. Elaine, unfortunately, was hurting just as much and fought back almost every time, setting them off into larger fights.
While it didn't excuse Kristen just as it didn't excuse Elaine, I knew both were hurting more than almost any of my sisters. It meant I would have to talk with Kristen as I had Elaine just now, exactly as I had over the past few weeks to all of the Hunters. Hopefully it would help cut down the fights if I went a bit harder on Kristen until she broke down, letting out the pain and allowing someone to comfort her as no one had been allowed the chance to do.
Sighing deeply, I closed my eyes with the sun on my face, warming it.
It was so hard to deal with this at times. As second-in-command to Lady Artemis, her lieutenant, I hadn't had the chance since the Battle of Manhattan to truly get over the war, instead pushing aside my emotions to help my sisters get over their own pain.
I had lost so much during that battle – my sister Hunters, Luke… – yet I pretended I felt nothing. If I couldn't be strong, how could I ask my Hunters to be?
Shaking my head, I opened my eyes and turned back to the camp. I had to deal with Kristen, and that required control over myself.
Fiercely pushing aside all emotions, I took a deep breath and headed back to my tent, ready to tell off Kristen and then comfort her as she finally, truly broke down.