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Seven Seas of Rhye

Chapter Text

The Boy She Loves

. . .

His side of the bed is cool.

Annabeth rubs a heavy hand across her eyes to wipe away the sleep and casts a blurry glance around their bedroom.

Empty. Messy. Pink morning light hems the edges of the curtains and his wallet lays on the bed side table still.

The beach then, she figures and collapses back into the pillows. She stretches fully, a pleasant soreness in her limbs and joints popping just so, and then she steals his pillow, hugging it close to her body. 

Just a little more sleep.

. . .

The waves of the Long Island Sound crash into the shore with a calmness.

She stands there, her feet cold in the pale sand, in the same spot where… where he should have been, where he has been every morning before.

(Where he sits, shoulders broad, and his hair is swept and tousled by the ocean breeze. And after awhile, she’ll join him, and he’ll steal her cup of coffee with that smile of his and wrap an arm around her shoulder to pull her closer, a kiss pressed to her temple.)

But he’s not there. 

The only traces in the sand that lead from the porch are her own.

. . .

He’s not at the dining pavilion. 

Or in the strawberry fields.

Or in training. 

Or with Chiron. 

And when Malcolm asks her why Percy didn't show up to teach his class, the pebble of worry in her stomach turns to a stone.

. . .

“Have you seen Percy?” It’s the million dollar question, and not one that there seems to be in answer to.

Clarisse scoffs. “Why on earth would I know where your husband is—“

But she trails off, maybe as she notices the stress strung in Annabeth’s tone, or the way she twists her wedding band round and round and round her finger.

“No.” Her gaze is level. “I haven’t.”

. . .

 It’s when Sally Jackson confirms that he isn't at her apartment, the camp begins to search.

. . .

“Are you sure that he hasn't been called upon by Poseidon to—”

— He wouldn’t have left without saying anything.

“Did Rachel—“

— I can’t get a hold of her.

“Did you guys have a fight or —“

Will quickly backpedals at her murderous expression and holds up his hands as if to say my bad.

Travis speaks up. “Do you think this has to do with Olympus…?”

A hush falls over the counselor room, eyes falling to Chiron and his silence is answer enough.

. . .

At dinner, Annabeth makes an offering to her mother and to Poseidon. 

She’s not surprised when she doesn't receive an answer.

. . .

Annabeth tries to remember the night before.

She tries to remember a shift of the bed, a brush of his hand, footsteps against the floor, the click of a door being shut, anything that might have woken her.

Maybe, she remembers the gentle press of his lips against hers.

Or maybe its wishful thinking.

. . .

On the second night, she dreams of a goddess.

Her hair is a silky black and her dress shimmers like peacock feathers.

“Hera.” Annabeth spits and the goddess regards her distastefully. “How do I find him?”

Suddenly, the dreamscape melts into hues of clay reds and desert browns and Annabeth recognizes it immediately.

The Grand Canyon. A yellow school bus travels along a dusty road.

The goddess’s voice is like a serpents. “Find the boy with one shoe.”

. . .

And she does.

Chapter Text

. . .

Lightning, Forge, and Dove

. . .

Jason wakes in the back of a school bus. He doesn’t know who he is much less the boy with the impish grin nor the pretty girl who holds his hand so sweetly, despite what they insist.

His instincts, however, tell him a lot.

They are the ones that prompt him to flip the coin in his pocket for a golden sword.

The ones that recognize what the storm spirit is.

And the ones that urge him to go right over the edge of the canyon after that girl without a second thought.

They also tell him, that the blonde woman holding the pointed end of her dagger to his throat poses a much bigger threat than the storm spirit ever could.

There’s a waver — of anger? distress? — in her voice as she speaks. 

Where is he?”

. . .

“She’s been looking for one of our campers, who’s been missing three days,” Butch explains. “She’s going out of her mind with worry. She hoped he’d be here.”

“Who?”

“Her husband — A guy named Percy Jackson.” 

. . .

A daughter of Aphrodite.

A son of Hephaestus.

A son of Jupiter. (As Jason would say.) 

All claimed far older than they should have been.

The gods have ceased contact.

The Savior of Olympus is missing.

And Chiron, for the first time in her life, won’t tell her what he knows. (And how it stings like salt on a wound)

Annabeth doesn’t need to a prophecy to know that something terrible is on the horizon.

. . .

“She’s crazy.” Leo shrugs.

Piper pushes him off the bench.

“Well she is!” He hisses.

“Cut her some slack, Leo. Her husband’s missing.”

His perfectly good glare is wasted since she doesn't spare him a glance. She just glowers icily at nothing and everything... just like the day before.  It’s still strange for him to see her this way, all glamorous with perfect hair and flawless skin and twinkly eyes. 

He had watched her rub mud over her face this morning. 

It didn't stick, apparently.

He follows her line of sight to… Jason. Not a shocker. The guy seems to be doing some sort of practice with his sword — going through forms? — and that’s still strange to see too.

Not Jason, his friend, who would let Leo copy off his answers during a test and helped fill Mr. Cravat’s car with whipped cream, but Jason, the warrior. 

Jason, the demigod.

Leo’s hesitant, but still, he asks, “He really doesn't remember us?”

“There’s nothing for him to remember.” She scowls. “He was never even there.”

. . .

A prophecy is foretold. 

Children of lightning, forge, and dove to free the goddess Hera.

They don't send teenagers out on quests anymore, but the fates could not have been more clear.

(And nothing said about the son of the sea.)

. . .

The head counselor of the cabin of love is, in no surprise, lovely. — Tallish, with blown out blonde hair and dimpled cheeks. College-aged.

Lacy, she introduced herself. And somehow the only phrase Piper can think of is sweeter than an apple pie.

“Here are some clothes and some toiletries and feel free to take your time in the bathroom! We blocked off a full hour for you. Oh, and after I could totally braid your hair after if you wanted! Wouldn't that be fun?”

“Uhhhh…” 

“Oops.” Lacy smacks a perfectly manicured hand to her forehead. “I’m sorry. I’m getting ahead of myself. Do you have any questions? I know it can be so overwhelming. Did you even know your mom was a goddess—”

Lacy.” Mitchell interjects and the rest of the cabin snickers.

Piper makes an effort to not look gobsmacked. “No… I think I just want to take a shower right now.“

“No worries!” Her teeth are blindingly white against cherry red lips. “Enjoy your shower and we’ll get you packed for your quest tomorrow.”

. . .

“It’s because of the last counselor.” Mitchell says to her, later, when the only two bunk lights that remain on are his and her own.

“What?”

“Lacy,” He nods pointedly at the sleeping form, a wave of blonde hair spilling from beneath the covers. “Why she’s so… overly nice. Well, its actually the last two counselors, I suppose.”

Piper raises a prompting brow.

“Our last counselor was Drew and she was… well she honestly was just awful. Really liked the power and wanted to put us all down. She had this obsession about the rite of passage.”

There’s a groan and then Lacy pulls the cover down from her face, shooting a tired look at Mitchell. “I wasn't going to tell her this until after she got back.”

“She might as well know now.”

“Know what?”

They both glance to her, then to each other, then back again.

“The rite of passage for an Aphrodite child.” Lacy sighs. “You get someone to fall in love with you, then you break their heart.”

“That’s terrible—“

Mitchell lifts his hand. “That’s not the point right now. Drew was obsessed about it, she was convinced that that’s why the counselor before her — Silena — died. Silena fell in love and stayed in love. Never broke anyone’s heart but her own.”

“Do…” Piper swallows the uncertainty in her voice. “Do you guys really think that? That Silena died because she didn’t—”

No.” Lacy emphasizes. “I think that Silena died because it was a war and Drew was a sixteen year old girl that suddenly became the head counselor of the cabin and was in over her head and didn't want anyone else to die.”

“You give her too much credit.” Mitchell shakes his head. “You’ve forgotten how mean she was.”

Piper gets the distinct feeling that this isn't the first time they’ve had this argument. “And where is Drew now? Does she live in the Isles?”

. . .

“Take this trail and you’ll get to the Isles.” Annabeth points at a path, opposite the cabins, bearing right of the lake. “They’re houses. Where demigods can live safely once they reach adulthood.” 

. . .

“No.” Lacy’s eyes fall to the floor. “She ran away from camp when she was eighteen. No one has heard from her since.”

. . .

And here’s the thing every half-blood knows about living in the mortal world:

It’s not a matter of if a monster will get you, it’s a matter of when.

. . .

“Your hair is pretty.” The words tumble from Jason’s lips before his mind can catch up to his mouth.

“Oh.” Piper’s cheeks are pink as she tucks a stray lock behind her ear. The plait is thick down her back — a deep, rich brown that shines warmly in the sun. “My uh… my sister convinced me to let her braid it.”

A sky of uncertainty hangs between them. He feels there are words to be said — words that hang off the edge of his tongue but disappear as soon as he tries to speak them.

“We…” It’s dialogue to the script he doesn't have. “We should get going soon.”

. . .

Leo arrives at the big house on the mechanical, flying dragon. 

Naturally.

Annabeth watches the three —

Watches Leo’s exuberance, his face split by a wild smile and arms motioning widely in a gesture that clearly says come on in, the water’s fine!

Watches Piper’s awe, torn between incredulous laughter and shaking her head no, no, no.

And watches Jason, whose head falls back towards the sky as if asking for spiritual guidance… which he might just be. 

. . .

For a moment, she’s reminded of the pair of twelve years old that bickered all the way up and down half-blood hill, ready to save the world.

Chapter Text

Hera’s Design

. . .

She captures Percy on canvas.

The strokes of paint are angry and imprecise, and he’s cast as the glow of color against a background of charcoal shadows.

His face is hard — blue-green eyes that are icy and cutting and a jaw that’s severe.

(Poseidon’s regal features)

A laurel of gold rests upon his head as if it were a crown.

Rachel adds the final color. — A purple, rich and royal, in long, loose lines that drape from his left shoulder and down to the edge of the canvas. The perspective frames him from his chest up, but it’s clear that he wears a toga

. . .

“Bold of you to assume that I won’t push you off this dragon.”

“I’d like to see you try, Beauty Queen.”

Her eyes flash with intensity, growing as dark as the clouds around them, and Leo matches her glare.

But he’s the first one break, his lips curling into a smile he can no longer contain, and she snorts as they collapse into laughter.

Jason grins at the two of them but even Leo can tell he’s distracted at the way the he stares off into the storm-ready clouds... as if searching for something a million miles away.

. . .

  “Nothing.” Grover rubs his forehead with the heel of his palm to stave off a migraine. He inhales deeply. “I’ve been trying to get through but somethings blocking the link. Like a brick wall.”

Annabeth releases a shuddering breath. “But he’s still alive then.”

“I wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t.” He manages a grim smile.

They lapse into silence, thinking, then she says, “Do you have anyone stationed near San Marino?”

Grover’s eyes grow round. “As in Los Angeles? Beryl Grace’s San Marino?”

Jason’s words are on repeat in Annabeth mind. There are very few coincidences in their world, and the fact that the boy who can’t remember anything, remembers Thalia Grace… she couldn't have asked for a clearer sign.

“Just tell them to keep a look out in the area, there’s a possibility Percy could be there. Maybe. I don’t…”

She trails off but Grover nods, simply. “I will.”

. . .

Grover disappears with a shine of sunlight, but while the rainbow is still there, she flips in another gold coin.

(The seventh drachma in seven days.)

“Show me Perseus Jackson.”

The mist shimmers like static.

“I’m sorry. The person you are trying to reach cannot be contacted at this—“

Annabeth breaks the spray with an angry slash of her hand, blinking back the sting of tears.

. . .

Arizona to New York to Quebéc to Michigan.

Piper thinks this has to be to worst road trip ever. (Leo thinks they should make T-shirts.)

And Jason… well Jason, just wants answers.

She tries not to keep comparing Jason to what she knows (knew?), but still, it’s like there are two Jason’s in her head. Old Jason and New Jason.

Old Jason who she told everything to and dances with on the roof of the auditorium and not real, not real, not real.

Sometimes she forgets, sincerely, and instinctively goes to grab his hand and only to remember last second.

New Jason is contemplative. Sincere. Funny. 

Not her boyfriend.

(And someone she can easily keep right on being in love with.)

It’s better this way, she decides finally. It’ll be easier for her when she has to betray them both in the end.

. . .

“…He says everything in their Latin names. I’m starting to think that…”

That there’s a Roman Camp and the very knowledge of the existence of them endangers us?

Annabeth doesn't finish her thought, her eyebrows furrowing, and Nico manages to keep the panic out of his voice.

“Di immortals. When was the last time you slept Annabeth?” Deflect. Deflect. Deflect. “Really. You can’t keep burning the candle at both ends. You’re dead on your feat.”

His awful pun is enough to crack a weak smile from her and she touches the dark circles framing her eyes gingerly. “I don’t need sleep, Nico. I need to find him.”

“And we will.” He lays a steadying hand on her shoulder. “Really.”

She chews on her lip, as if contemplating, then says, “When you're searching — Try Los Angeles. Thalia used to live there and… well, I have a hunch.”

Shit. Shit. Shit.

. . .

There is something that’s particularly awful about third wheeling a couple a second time. — Even more so if you consider the first time apparently didn't even happen.

Jason and Piper. 

And Leo.

How it was, and how it will be again.

Piper doesn't it see it. Jason doesn't see it. But its hand writing on the wall — the way their cheeks burn whenever they get too close and yet how comfortably comfortable they are around each other.

Don’t get him wrong, he’s happy for them, he just… he just wishes someone looked at him that way. 

Piper laughs at something Jason said — several octaves too high — and Leo just shakes his head.

Dorks, he sighs to Festus and the dragon snorts in response.

. . .

“Jason?”

Her bow slips from her hands and clatters on the ground.

“…Thalia?”

. . .

“It was just after the war.” His sister explains. “I had gone back to my — our — mother’s house for the first time in years and she has a baby.”

Thalia snorts as if she still can’t believe it. Her eyes roll over to him, the same shade of electric blue. “You, Jason. And she swore up and down that you weren't Zeus’s… but I knew she was hiding something.”

She gestures to the other girls in the silvery get up. “I was leading the hunters and I couldn't abandon them… but I didn't trust her. I would station a girl at the house, to keep watch. And I would come back as often I could.”

“You were a cute babe.” A hunter says offhandedly then crinkles her nose. “For a boy.”

And it’s odd, to think that these twelve year olds knew him as a baby.

Jason’s head feels murky. “Why didn't you just take me to camp?”

“You don't understand, Jason.” She takes his hand in her own — cold and soft and definitely not the hands of someone in their thirties. “I had suspicions of our father. But I wasn't sure. And if I took you to camp as the son of Zeus? As another child that broke the oath of the big three and sired directly after the end of the war? Gods, it could have lead to another war. Believe me, it was safer there, with our mother under my watch and no one the wiser. Or, at least, I thought it was.”

Her face morphs into a cold fury and he can feel a current of electricity flow through their linked hands. Leo and Piper take a step back.

“But once, when I came home, she convinced me to go on a family trip. It was odd, she was acting odd.  I left you alone with her for a moment—“ Her voice breaks, the current breaks, and she covers her face with her other hand. 

“I thought you were dead.”

. . .

Illinois to Nebraska to Colorado to California.

They free a goddess and complete a quest.

There’s a moment, when Leo’s friends could have left him, (would have been the smart thing to do) but they didn’t. They stood up for him and it warms him more than fire ever could.

There’s a moment, when Piper talks someone back from near-death. She’s not a traitor and she saves her father all the same. She’s powerful, anyone could have told her, but she starts to see it for herself.

There’s a moment, when Jason starts to remember.

There’s another camp, another world. There are old friends. And there’s someone important. — A girl named Reyna.

. . .

Piper sits on the stone bench next to Jason, laurel wreaths in their hair and faces flushed from a night of celebration. The stars twinkle brightly against the night sky.

His face is contemplative — always contemplative — but seems lighter than it has since she’s known him.

Really known him.

And suddenly, it strikes her how unfair she’s been. How unfair she’s been to keep comparing him to someone who never even existed.

Not Old Jason. Not New Jason. 

Just Jason.

“Hey.” She says abruptly, breaking the silence, and sticks out her hand. “I’m Piper Mclean. Proud daughter of Aphrodite and Tristan Mclean. I like fantasy books and loud music and the color orange. It’s nice to meet you, person I have no preconceptions of.”

For a moment, Jason looks at her like she’s lost her mind. But then, because he gets it, gets her, his face breaks into a smile brighter than the stars around them and takes her hand within his own.

“I’m Jason. Jason Grace.”

. . .

In the Big House, Chiron let’s Piper call her dad.

Her eyes wander over his Hall of Fame as the phone rings — Hundreds upon hundreds of photos of demigods. They plaster the walls from ceiling to floor, spanning over what must be decades.

One photo catches her eye. A wedding. A blonde woman and dark haired man that stand embraced on a sunset painted beach. — The woman has his arms thrown around his shoulders, his neck, as if to pull him down for a kiss, his hands resting on her lower back. Even at the distance the photo was taken, Piper can see the pure, unadulterated joy of their smiles. 

Simply put, a beautiful couple. 

But there’s a familiarity of the woman that Piper can’t place and, like a flip of a switch, she realizes its Annabeth.

Annabeth, unrecognizably glowing and happy and carefree. Not the queen of ice and steel that walks in her place.

Which means the man must be her missing husband. Percy Jackson.

. . .

They have a council meeting in the Big House.

All of the dots are finally connected, questions answered.

“Percy Jackson is at the other camp.” Jason says. “He probably doesn't even remember who he is.”

And for the first time, Annabeth can’t keep back the wave of heartache. Holding her face in her hands, she softly begins to cry.

. . .

The camp begins to build the Argo II.

“Eight months.” Cabin 9 says. Annabeth scans over the blueprints.

“Seven.”

. . .

And Percy Jackson continues to sleep.