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Percy: Heights are my New Best Friends

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Percy — Height

Percy (12) - Travis (12) - Connor (11)

Early June


Having a cabin to himself is lonely.

Eating is even lonelier because then he can see how alone he is.

It sometimes makes him wish his cabin would magically fly into the ocean so he can stay at Hermes cabin again.

Then his table creaks and two people sit across from him.

Travis and Connor...from Hermes? Yeah, from Hermes.

They're identical, right down to the crooked grins they have.

"Hi, Percy," one said.

"Hey, Perce," said the other.

"Hi, Travis, Connor."

From the other side of the pavilion, he could see Annabeth giving him a look. She turns away when Percy stares back.

"We're gonna go try out the climbing wall. Wanna join?" Travis or Connor said and Percy is quick to finish his lunch.

"Do you feel sorry for them?" Annabeth asks him the next time they meet, those words being the first thing said when she stops him from entering his cabin and drags him to the bridge above the creek.

He can't think fast like her so he asks, "Feel sorry for who?"

"Travis and Connor."

"No. Why?"

And Annabeth turns away, hands clasped behind her back. "It's hard for them to make friends."

Really? He would have guessed the opposite. "Why?"

"They don't trust people easily." Annabeth scuffs the wood with her shoes. She turns back to face him.

"But they trust you."

And Percy felt there was an unspoken message then.

Don't break their trust.

After a few days hanging out with the brothers, Percy comes to realize there's a problem.

No, it's not how whenever they seem to get into trouble with Clarisse, they expect him to protect them. It's not how they whine about their cabin being too full and how Percy is so lucky to have so much room without listening to him how it's not that great. It's not how they wake him up in the middle of the night to go stargazing when in reality they were testing a prank and needed a test dummy.

It's about how he can't tell them apart.

Whenever they're out together, he would always say "Travis and Connor."

Never just "Travis" or just "Connor."

And let him ask you: do you have any idea how difficult it is to address a group when you're trying to talk to an individual?

Well, neither does Percy until he has to.

Most times he's careful enough to say both names. Other times, he wasn't so careful.

Like now.

They're grinning at him. They usually smile like that when they're about to pull a prank or when someone is about to fall into their prank.

"What did you say, Percy?" one asks.

"What did you call me?"

They caught on to him. They caught on he doesn't really know which brother is which.

"Haha, what do you mean?"

But he still tries to fake his way out. Maybe he's wrong. Maybe they're still clueless.

"We mean, just a second ago, when I was talking about how much I love strawberries. You agreed, then turn to my brother and said a name. Which name did you say?"

Father, please help me.

"Connor, of course," he says as confidently as he can.

Connor and Travis look at him for a long time.

Sweat trailed down Percy's head.

Then the brothers shrugged and went back to talking about their favorite food.

And Percy let out a silent sigh, willing his heart to be still.

He can't play this game anymore.

He needs to find something to tell them apart.

Annabeth says one is more argumentative (they both are), Luke says one has a sharper glint in their eyes (what?), Chiron says one is a better at hustling (he doesn't know what that is), and Clarisse flat out don't care.

Just call them whatever, Prissy.

All are unhelpful and highly impractical in Percy's opinion.

What he has is the best there is.

See, Connor is shorter. Just a little bit shorter, but shorter nonetheless.

Although it's hard to tell when they're not back to back, it's nothing a little shove and nudge till they are back to back can't fix.

Sure, they might roll their eyes and Connor might poke fun and Travis can't stop laughing, but at least he knows who's who at all times.

You can fake stubbornness and powers, but you can't fake how tall you are.

"What are you going to do when we're not together for you to measure?" Connor asks one day with a sly grin, standing on his tippy toes to throw him off.

And Percy smiles in response, "That's never going to happen. You're always together, right?"