Hey everyone! This is it! The epilogue! And guys, it's probably the most poetic thing I've ever written...
I will save my spiel for afterward. For now, enjoy. :)
Love is a crazy thing.
It takes a long time to really understand, if it can ever really be understood at all. It's a long, hard road; a twisting, turning, rocky path with hills and valleys. It's good, bad, and everything in between. A light in the dark; a calm in a storm-or sometimes the storm itself. It's a mountain, a battle, something that can't ever really be truly defined. An amazing, intimate, integral part of life.
It's what I see when I look into the smiling faces of my children every day. At my sons, the strong young men they've become; at my daughter, the beautiful, graceful young lady she is growing up to be-so much like her mother in so many ways. The three of them, talented, powerful, warriors in and of themselves; easily the greatest kids in the world.
It's what I see when I look at my mother, who has always been there when I needed her, to pick me up, dry my tears, clean me off, and watch me go again. Who saw me grow up into who I am today, who supported me, loved me, and cared for me, and eventually, my children. And its what I see in Paul, who's the best father to me, husband to my mom, and grandpa to my children I could have ever asked for.
It's what I see at Camp Half-Blood every year, in the familiar grins between friends-practically family; in the stories exchanged, exaggerated for the kids; in every single smile, laugh, hug, and high five; in every stupid campfire song. In the family we all have there: Grover and Juniper with Jade, Aspen, and Ivory; Jason and Piper with Isabella and Caleb; Frank and Hazel with Emily and Tommy; Leo and Calypso with Esperanza and Genevieve. Chris and Clarisse with their two boys; Katie and Travis with their daughter; Conner, who finally got around to tying the knot and settling down. Reyna and Aaron; Will and Gwen. In Tyson, Rachel, Chiron. Even Nico, who visits every now and then with his own little family. It's everywhere, in everyone. There's no getting around it. And I wouldn't want to.
Most importantly, its what I see in the eyes of my wife, beautiful, powerful, perfect Annabeth. And it's a whole different kind of love entirely. It's a love that trusts, one that protects, and one that sacrifices. It's a love that goes to the ends of the earth; that travels through hell and back; one that grows and grows; one that endures. It's the kind that lasts forever.
It's the love I can only hope and pray my children find for themselves one day. The kind my mom finally found. The kind I found so long ago and have held so tightly onto everyday since.
It's the most powerful thing in the world, both complex and yet so simple. A current, a force, a wave that carries us through life. It is everything important and good and true. Everything worth living for and what makes life worth living. It is everything and nothing.
Love takes work. It's like climbing a mountain, and when you're a demigod, the mountain is higher than normal. But it's a promise; a commitment and a climb. It's one of those things that, when you get knocked down, you have to get back up and keep on pushing. And every time you get back up, you get a little closer to the top.
It's been a long, hard journey to get to where we are and we're not finished yet. Every day, we'll keep going, keep fighting, and keep loving. As long as we're together.
Every day, we'll keep climbing Mount Everest.
And there it is. Climbing Mount Everest is officially finished. Thank you so much for reading! And a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have stuck with this since the beginning, both of this story and of Long Road Ahead (for those of you who don't know, that is the sort of prequel and inspiration for this story that you should go check out if you haven't already), and every chapter in between!
This is the longest story I have ever written and it has been a great year! I've had so much fun writing this for you, I really have, and I am sad to see it end, just like I now most of you are, but all good things must come to an end, and it is time. And you have all been really great! Every single review, every PM, every follow and favorite, I appreciate them all so much. And I love you all!
Hopefully this was an adequate end for you guys. I know some of you were wondering about Nico and Leo, and some other things I haven't touched on so much, but the rest now I leave up to you and your brilliant imaginations. This epilogue was more of a vague overview of everything, which is how I think it should be. And honestly, there are just way too many characters at this point to get into detail about all of it.
I don't know what comes next. I don't have any more big stories planned at the moment, but that could always change. I do have plans to maybe make something more out of my Nine Months one-shot, so keep a look out for that and some other stuff I may do. I honestly don't know yet, but the possibilities are endless! You probably haven't seen the last of me. :)
Final Disclaimer: All rights to belong to Rick Riordan!
Thanks again everyone, for everything. It really has been great! Hope to see you soon! :)