A/N This is, obviously, my very first story. Although this isn't the most original spin on a PJO fic, I hope you'll keep an open mind and read it anyways.
Disclaimer: I don't own any subject matter relating to the original stories. That honor remains with Rick Riordan. I do, however, own this particular take on this overused plot line, so no infringement please! Also, the readings from the textbook are actually from a textbook. That's not mine either.
Percy was in his English class, where they were just now going over the Greek myths in literature. Of course, he'd been excited for this course since he'd first seen it on the syllabus he'd gotten at the beginning of the year. He figured it was something he'd have no problem Acing.
One thing he hadn't accounted for, however, was that they'd be recounting myths thoroughly, beginning to end, and he'd have to relive some memories he'd rather have kept to himself.
Unfortunately for him, he didn't have Paul as his English teacher this year; therefore Paul hadn't been able to watch out for Percy in his readings like he would have if Percy had been one of his students. Paul wasn't even aware that Percy's current English teacher, Dr. Boring, was covering Greek mythology at all.
So it was because of this, that on the Thursday Dr. Boring decided to start teaching his class the 'lore' that was Percy's life, Percy ended up having a severe panic attack—in front of thirty of his teenaged peers, no less.
Dr. Boring passed out the thin textbooks that had cartoon caricatures of various Greek personas, such as Pandora, the Minotaur, and, of course, Hercules.
Percy sneered at the cover, recognizing the awful interpretation of Zeus' son immediately. Dr. Boring seemed to mistake it for disinterest, and stared accusingly at the young hero.
"Not looking forward to this unit, Jackson?"
Percy shook his head. "I just don't care for Hercules, is all."
Dr. Boring rolled his eyes and continued passing the books out. He assumed that the boy was merely saying that to appease him, to avoid any sort of trouble he 'likely' deserved. After teaching for nearly twenty years, he'd lost all respect—if there ever had been any—for the fickle, petty teenagers he taught.
He walked back to the front of the class and cleared his throat, perching on the edge of his desk and licking his index finger as to maneuver throughout the book more easily. He flipped to the first page and instructed his class to do the same. "Tyler," he said, calling on one of Percy's mortal friends. "Begin reading, if you will."
"First there was Chaos, and from Chaos, Gaea, or mother earth, emerged. She soon had her son Uranus, who instantly showered her with fertility and impregnated her with the Hekatonknieres [hundred-handed giants], Cyclops, and Titans. Uranus and Gaea were also the parents of all the seas, mountains, and natural features of the world."
Percy stiffened in his seat when his friend mentioned Gaea, remembering all of the cruel things he'd endured because of her. He clenched his hands into tight fists, gripping the sides of his textbook until he almost tore it in half.
Dr. Boring was famous for upholding his name, and it was a rarity that the kids in his classes weren't bored to tears, but every year, it seemed, they held onto his—or, rather, the students—every word when it came to the Greeks.
And, of course, this meant that all thirty-one students were paying attention.
Dr. Boring called on more and more students to read about the Olympian Creation, until they got to the part where the Olympians revolted against the Titans, and eventually won. That was when Percy was called on to read. Somehow, despite his dyslexia and his growing trepidation, he managed to only mess up a few times, a particularly impressive feat for him.
"The Olympians were not completely triumphant, however, because the Giants took over where the Titans left off. The Giants proved to be fierce foes; for they were prophesized not to lose as long as only gods fought them. Zeus solved this by summoning his son Heracles, who was mortal at the time. Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Ares, Artemis and Apollo slew most of the giants, and all looked clear for the Olympians."
Percy broke out in a cold sweat, remembering battling the Giants. It didn't bother him so much that Hercules was awarded with credit of defeating the giants instead of Dionysus—he was not a fan of either of them. He was bothered by the fact that he was relieving his worst nightmares…and in the middle of his class, no less.
Dr. Boring looked up at Percy, wanting revenge for Percy's less than excited attitude earlier. He only meant to cause him distress in his disadvantages for reading, horrible as it might have been. He had no idea, though, that his actions would end up causing Percy a world of grief he'd rather have not shown anyone.
"Read the next paragraph, as well, Jackson."
"By now, Gaea had a change of heart, and she was somewhat perturbed that her children, the Titans and Giants, had been either punished or killed by the new generation of gods. As a final attempt for vengeance, she summoned her terrible son Typhon to challenge the newly-acquired power of Zeus and the Olympians. Typhon was so horrid, with his thunderous voice, serpentine body, and one-to-two-hundred heads, that the rest of the Olympians fled. With some hardship, Zeus crushed the monster under Mount Etna, which still heaves with his convulsions."
Percy's eyes bulged as he skimmed over the words, and he started shaking. His peers looked at him, shocked that this anomaly, this brazen kid they all wanted desperately to know, was seemingly on the verge of tears.
Some whispered in the back of the room:
"Is something wrong with Percy?"
"I think he's crying!"
"What's up with Jackson?"
Percy got lost in his memories then, a blackout similar to the ones his dear friend Hazel Levesque often experienced before she and Frank had mentally ventured through her death. He wasn't aware of what was happening, however, much unlike Hazel, who had. He actually thought he was living in the present when he went to these moments. Percy had enough horrid memories over his five years of demigod awareness, and he seemed to jump from one to another.
He remembered the burning, the awful pain of the lava as it singed his hair and melted his skin. The building, building, building of the sea within him, growing until he let out a guttural scream, scarier than the Panic Grover had caused during the Battle of the Labyrinth. He recalled flying through the sky, faster than a comet, incandescently lighting up the midday firmament, until he passed out, eventually waking on Ogygia, where he experienced a loss unknown to him, one that meant little to nothing compared to how he'd felt at the prospect of losing Annabeth merely months prior to his time.
He flashed to another memory, where he'd watched Typhon march across the continental United States, destroying whole towns and leaving carnage in his wake. He remembered watching his father and his brother take him down, a moment where he'd finally held the upper hand against Kronos, though it had been terrifying to observe.
Next, he was beating Polybotes, and he threw the boundary god Terminus at him, therefore killing him. That hadn't been near as bad as his next fight with the giants, Ephialtes and Otis, where Nico had nearly been dead and he was beyond worried for Annabeth. Jason and he had ended up dueling with them in the Coliseum, only winning because Bacchus had a pinecone.
Then there was Gaea, his worst memory of all. When Annabeth and he had been in Tartarus, where it was dark and cold, and every monster they'd ever beaten had been waiting in the infinite shadows, her voice spoke to him more than it ever had on Earth, on her.
He remembered the awful torture of the fire in his throat, knowing it was the only way but hating it the entire time, hating that Annabeth had to feel what he had to. He remembered the curses, hearing Annabeth call out to him blindly, scared more than he'd ever seen her before.
The torment they'd caused her….
Percy knew Annabeth was stronger than anyone alive, but she was not as accustomed to physical pain as he was. She not only cried, she wept; deep broken sobs that erupted from her chest. He could still feel it in his heart the way she'd called for him, how she'd needed him then more than ever and how he was useless as to help her.
He wanted to die because knowing she was in pain—and he couldn't help her—was worse than anything he'd ever known before in his life. He would never forget Tartarus and all the pain they had had to suffer through down there.
When they'd escaped, when the war was over, he'd looked back on his last night there. Generally, they were nightmares, ones only Annabeth could comfort him from, but there was also something rather pleasing of them, too. He'd kept his promise, he'd kept them together, at whatever cost, no matter how much. He'd realized only after how much he'd paid to keep her safe. Annabeth had been almost scared of Percy, he knew, but he couldn't control himself. He would never regret what he had done to get them out of there, but he hated how it had changed her view of him.
All of his recollections of his times spent enduring for the Olympians were painful. They left an empty spot in his heart, a void that was only filled when he was with the one he loved. Due to her absence, he'd been growing more and more depressed, suffering though his PTSD alone. He knew that on the opposite coast, she was dealing with the same things, which only added to his grief.
During his blackout, tears had been streaming down his face. He'd been clawing at his desk angrily, tearing up his nails and causing his cuticles to bleed. He was screaming about Annabeth, a girl no one at his school knew of. He was begging unknown forces to free her, to kill him instead.
When he first started yelling, there were a few snickers while everyone thought he was making a joke. Then, once they realized that something serious was happening, they could do nothing but sit and stare as if it were a train wreck.
Percy wasn't a popular boy, and though PTSD was normal—expected, even—for someone who had been through as much as he had, his classmates were not accustomed to it. They'd never actually seen anyone, much less a guy that they knew and secretly revered, freak out. They had never witnessed the horrifying agony of Percy Jackson.
Dr. Boring was also too stunned to act appropriately in the situation at hand. He began by yelling at Percy, but when he realized that he wasn't being heard, he went over to him and started violently shaking him. Still getting no reaction, Dr. Boring himself had gone into a slight panic, never before having seen a student behave in that way. He was almost tempted to call the police, the psych ward, someone who knew how to handle the crazies. Instead, he called a different classroom.
"Paul," he called into the phone, his eyes wide as he watched Percy fall sideways out of his chair and start convulsing on the floor in sporadic tangents where he'd start growling viciously.
"Yes, Richard?" his colleague hesitantly answered from the other end of the phone. Paul and he had gotten into many disagreements over their shared years at Goode, ones Paul generally won. He was afraid Richard had called simply to dispute his suggestion on longer breaks in between classes.
"Your son—stepson—Percy, he's…he's…I don't actually know what's happening to him, Paul, but something is terribly wrong."
Dr. Boring could hear Paul curse slightly under his breath before shouting at the students to stay where they were and to not move. He rolled his eyes at the naivety of his coworker, despite the situation. He could always find fault in Mr. Blofis.
Generally, it was his stepson, but it was always something.
Moments later, Paul burst through his door, his usual blazer missing and his tie loosened. A slight sheen of sweat adorned his hairline, and the fluorescents bounced off his skin brightly. His salt-and-pepper hair stuck up abnormally, another flaw Richard found. He mentally compared himself to Paul, and found that he, Dr. Boring, came out on top.
Paul raced to Percy's side, whispering to him, though it didn't seem to do much good. His eyes moved around the classroom until they landed on Tyler. He called him over, and Tyler jumped up and came to assist his favorite teacher he'd ever had in whatever way he could.
"What do you need me to do, Mr. Blofis?"
"Help me take him to the front office. He needs to go home."
Some wise kid in the back of the room muttered asylum, trying not to be heard by anyone other than his friends, but Paul heard him anyways. He turned to him, a threatening look in his eyes. "Andrews," he barked madly. "You have detention with me every day after school next week."
Vick Andrews slumped down in his seat, glaring angrily at the desk in front of him.
Together, Paul and Tyler managed to haul Percy—who was still hollering out—up and out of the classroom.
Tyler was afraid of Paul's wrath if he were to be upset once more, but he braved his possible fate anyways. "Mr. Blofis?"
"Yes?" Paul asked distracted.
Paul clenched his jaw, and Tyler feared he'd be joining Vick in detention next week, until Paul sighed sadly.
"It's not my story to tell, Tyler, and although if Percy wants to tell you someday, then he can, but I highly doubt he will. It's very personal. It relates to what happened to him last year when he was gone."
Tyler remembered all too well what his sophomore year had been like. He and Percy had become friends halfway through their freshman year, shortly after Tyler moved to Manhattan. Tyler had feared rejection from everyone, especially someone as intimidating as Percy Jackson was, but he found out shortly thereafter that Percy was a lot more than that.
He was actually quite obtuse about things, and didn't understand girls very well. He didn't know why girls seemed to like him, nor did he understand why people thought he was untouchable. He said, with a twinkle in his eyes that Tyler still to that day didn't understand, that he was just like everyone else. Tyler didn't believe him, of course, but he'd assented to his testament nonetheless.
Last year, Percy and he had joined the swim team together, and Percy had been made captain. They were both excited to share an activity together, something that they both seemed to like, though Tyler suspected Percy had a deep bond with the water that he simply couldn't understand.
Four months into the school year, Percy had just stopped showing up to school. Paul was gone for a week before he returned, his eyes ringed red and his face showing an age and a sorrow no one had understood. Everyone assumed Percy had run away, or been kicked out of school again (they all knew his history with school), though no one knew why. Paul eventually revealed that Percy had been an exchange student studying abroad in Greece, trying to find ties with his ancestral background.
Few people bought the heritage story, but, then again, they had no choice but to believe it. There was no proof suggesting otherwise, and they had no reason to doubt Mr. Blofis. He was, after all, Percy's stepdad.
Tyler had taken it understandably hard. Percy was his only friend at Goode, and when he disappeared, Tyler had no one. He'd been friends with Percy's other friend, an odd girl by the name of Rachel Elizabeth Dare, but she'd transferred out to a girls finishing school in New Hampshire. It wasn't until the year was nearly over that Tyler had bonded with a small group of people that had equally admired Percy, although from a distance.
When Percy had walked through the doors the first day of school, everyone in the hallways literally stopped what they had been doing to stare at him. He was back, and he was no longer the somewhat scrawny kid they remembered. He was lean and tan, with messy hair and unexplained scars. His eyes shown and his teeth were almost white enough to blind you. Tyler finally understood what a man-crush was, because although he didn't lust after Percy in the slightest, he wanted to be like him in every way. He could see that nearly all the other guys felt the same way, too, and the girls did lust after him, and they lusted hard.
To see his best friend torn down in only a matter of moments, for no foreseeable reason, Tyler felt as if the world he'd come to know had been a huge lie. Percy was, in fact, not perfect. Something seriously wrong had happened to him in the last year, and while he agreed with Paul, sure that Percy was not going to be revealing the truth behind his disappearance, he wanted to help him. Tyler never imagined that he'd be helping Percy instead of the other way around.
It was a gift he hadn't been prepared to take.
They eventually reached the front office where Tyler helped Percy lay down on the bench while Paul called his wife.
Tyler sat beside Percy, watching him, worried. He couldn't understand most of what Percy was saying, and originally he thought it was because Percy was sobbing and muttering, but realized that it was because Percy was speaking a different language. Tyler hadn't known that Percy was bilingual. Tyler spoke Spanish fluently, a bonus of growing up with a Latino for a mother, but he'd never heard anything that sounded remotely similar to what Percy was saying.
*"Ανάθεμά σε, Γαία! Αφήστε μας ήσυχους!"
The only thing Tyler understood from the strange sentence was the name Gaea, the Mother Earth. He was muttering about things they'd learned in class? Was the rest of it just gibberish? Tyler considered the possibility that Percy had hit his head really hard when he fell to the ground, and maybe that was why he made no sense. Maybe he was just echoing words he'd heard in class, shortly before he'd had his panic attack.
Paul came over to him then, his face bleak and worn. He squatted on the ground next to Percy and pushed his hair back over his forehead, like a father would when comforting his small child. Tyler felt like he was intruding, but he didn't want to leave just yet, not until Mrs. Blofis showed up. He decided to broach his ponderings to Mr. Blofis, then.
"He mentioned something about Gaea," he said, watching as Paul's eyes widened. He wondered about that, but forged ahead. "We're studying Greek Mythology in English right now. I think he's just repeating things he's already heard."
Paul whispered, "Of course," under his breath before smiling slightly at Tyler. "Thank you for all of your help. I assume you want to stay here with Percy until Sally comes?"
Tyler nodded his head.
Paul sighed like he had expected as much. "Alright. Well, if you're going to be staying with him, I'll return to my own class. If you could just tell his mother about the Gaea thing when she gets here, I'd appreciate it."
He nodded again, though he found it an odd request to be making.
Mr. Blofis stood and headed for the door that would lead him back out to the hallway. He sent one more helpless look at his stepson before walking out.
Tyler waited for ten minutes until his best friend's mom hurried through the doors. The second she saw Percy lying on the bench, she got to her knees and stroked his cheeks comfortingly, wiping the trail of tears away. Percy quieted somewhat, likely recognizing his mother. Sally kissed him on his forehead before asking Tyler if he could help her get Percy into her car.
Once Mrs. Blofis had Percy securely strapped in in the backseat, she turned to Tyler with a sad but appreciative smile on her face, not unlike the one her husband had given him only fifteen minutes prior.
"Thank you so much, honey. Do you know what could have set him off?"
He remembered the promise he made to Mr. Blofis, and nodded his head at her. "He said the name Gaea. We're learning about her and all the Greek stuff in class right now. I think he just started saying things he'd heard Dr. Boring say during the lesson."
Sally looked through the back window, her face so impossibly sad. She covered her mouth with her hand and let out a little sob of her own. "Oh, my poor hero," she whispered, though Tyler heard her anyways. He filed that away for later.
"Have a good day, Mrs. Blofis," he said, backing away.
She waved at him before getting into the driver's seat and pulling out of the school parking lot and out onto the road.
Tyler walked back into the school, determined to figure out what had happened to Percy, and help him through it in any way that he possibly could.
That's what friends were for, after all.
A/N (part two) Thank you for reading. Or skimming. Or whatever you might have done after clicking on my story. I really appreciate it!
Just a heads up, Tyler is not a demigod, and all the campers will not be joining Goode suddenly in the middle of the school year. That's just weird, I think, for a dozen new kids to show up on the same day when they already know each other. Weird and unrealistic. However, because PoF is clearly labeled as Percabeth, Annabeth will be joining later on. Not too soon, because this is PERCY'S story, my version anyways, where he's dealing with his PTSD and struggling to hide his half-godhood from the people around him, all while having to repay a debt he owes an unknown third party.
* Damn you, Gaea! Leave us alone!
Quid pro quo, if you leave a review, I'm more likely to update. So, if you're into updates, drop me a helpful critique or suggestion and go on your merry way! (I'm not blackmailing you, by the way).
P.S. My signature is not only a morale booster, but also (partly) my actual name. If you're a weirdo and try to Google me, you won't find me. And, if you do, I won't admit to anything so you won't know either way. Just don't be creepy, and leave it alone!