So here I am, faced with this..younger version of myself. Percy Jackson. My half-brother.
Ana's standing behind him, stars in her eyes. She's wigging out over the fact that she's got an uncle, I can tell. V is talking to some girl with glossy blonde curls. Her eyes are this weird, but striking grey color. She's sorta tall, or at least taller than Percy.
Soon, we all shuffle into the tiny kitchen, Chiron included. He doesn't stop staring at me. Really bud, there isn't a lot to me. Ana has a plate of something that's covered in saran wrap. She gives Percy a strange look. "Why are they blue?" Indeed, the cookies stacked on there are blue as the Cookie Monster's fur.
He smiles. "My mom has this thing about blue food. It's kinda her whole schtick." Vanessa nods and takes the plate from Ana. "I think these might be good with some coffee." She glares at Ana. "You're having milk, Missy. You're already wired enough without caffeine in your system." Ana sticks out he
"Ditto goes for me. I can't take the stuff." Percy interjects. "Annabeth, you want anything?" The steely eyed girl shakes her head. "Do you know what caffeine does to the human brain? I'd rather not jazz up my brain only to have it flop at exactly the wrong moment."
Well, that's one way of saying no.
"I take mine black." Chiron says. Vanessa nods and starts bustling around the kitchen. It's already such a tight squeeze that we're forced to file into the livingroom. All the pillows on the couch are mismatched and squished. The coffeetable is wobbly; I really have to get around to fixing it. Ana and Percy make themselves at home on the floor.
Annabeth prefers to stand. Can't blame her. I wouldn't want to sit next to me, either. Chiron lifts himself out of his wheelchair and plops down next to me.
"I still can't believe Poseidon neglected to tell me about you. Of course, you were born before the pact was made.." He mused. "Tell me, how old are you?"
"Just turned thirty-five." I answer. Vanessa brings out a tray with the cookies and glasses and such. She hands Percy and Ana their milk glasses, and sets the rest of the mugs on the tabletop. I stare into mine; it's practically white with all that cream and sugar she dumped in it. But at least she knows the way I like it.
"Ah, yes. That was during the pact." Chiron says. "You would have had to be a secret."
"Hold on, hold on. Pact?" My drink burns the roof of my mouth. "You're gonna have to back up, bud. Like, a lot."
Annabeth sighs. "I know I made fun of Percy's intelligence, but this guy," She jabs a thumb at me. "Sand-for-Brains, anyone?"
"Wise Girl, please." Percy raises a brow. "It's only fair to consider that he didn't know our dad, or that he was a demigod 'til now."
Annabeth huffed. "He made an entire tsunami with his bare hands. I think he knows something's off."
"Alright, alright. Just..tell me what the pact is." Jesus, these kids are starting to get annoying. Chiron clears his throat. "Well, we must start with the gods-"
"I know that part. Poseidon, Hades and Zeus are brothers, right?" Ana wipes the milk mustache from her lips and grins. Chiron nods. "Exactly."
"The pact, let's get to the pact." I can feel my brows start to furrow.
"The pact. Zeus, Hades and Poseidon each swore to one another that they would not sire any more children. They..the half blood children, had caused much trouble over the course of human existence." Chiron explained. "Of course, this pact wasn't..kept. Each of the gods kept their children a secret..for some time." He looked into his coffee cup, then back at me. "Have you any recollection of your father when you were young?"
I do. I don't really talk about it with V or Ana..they wouldn't understand. But I was a little kid, and he was holding me on his shoulders.We were standing on some sort of beach pier thing. I think it was a clear day. The sky was a reddish-purple color. The sun was just setting. He was wearing a ballcap with the Oakland Pirates logo on it. I remember reaching out for the bill. I could see the shadow of his smile and he reached plopped it on my head. He pulled me off his shoulders once the sky got dark, and hugged me.
"Daddy has to go now." His voice was husky, but authoritative. "But I want you to remember one thing. Brace yourself for the future."
I still have that cap. It's in my junk drawer of the desk in my office. I come out of my haze and everyone is staring at me.
"No," I say quietly. "I..I don't."
Ana sets her delicate hand on mine. "..Are you sure? You look..upset," I look her in the eyes and force a smile. "No, I just..got a little lost in thought." I'm surprised she's not angry at me anymore, or at least not so much that she's showing it.
"He's lying." Annabeth cuts in, her droll tone slicing the tension. "He totally remembers your dad. He's just too much of a lug to admit it."
"Annabeth," Chiron warns. Ana starts snickering. Her mouth turns up into a little grin. I give her the most dissapointed-dad look I can and that seems to shut her up. Percy gives me an apologetic look. "I..I don't remember Dad that much, either. The gods..they're not really the best at sticking around." He pulls a pen from his pocket and starts to fidget with it. It looks expensive, with its decals and such. Ana notices it, too. "..What art store did you get that at? It's so pretty."
Percy grins. "It's not really meant for writing," He uncaps it, and a bronze blade pops from it.
"Fuck!" I hop up in fear. And it's warranted, you know? That was the last thing I expected. "Where did you get that?"
"That's..kind of a long story." Percy chuckles, recaps the blade, and sticks it in his pocket. "You want the condensed version or all of it?"
"Condensed. There's only so much I can take at once."
V suddenly rushes in, holding one of my ratty, tattered sweatshirts. "Why don't you two go on a walk and get a little bit of fresh air?"
We look at each other and shrug. I put the sweatshirt on and we head for the door when I remember the hat. I slip down the hall to my office, yank open the desk's only drawer and rummage through the sea of half-finished rubber band balls and dried up Bic pens until I find it, covered in dust. I blow it off and plop it on my head.
The air has a sort of salty smell to it; it's pleasant, sorta. We weave up and down Beacon street, until we get to a T-Stop.
"Not as sophisticated as New York's system, I take it." I say as the doors open. We shuffle into the sardine-packs of people.
"Easier than New York's." Percy shrugs. "We were just getting off when we spotted Vanessa and Anastasia getting on."
"How did you know who they were?"
"My mom gave me a pretty good description of what they would look like when we arrived." Percy shrugs. "She didn't say much about you, other than you'd look like me."
We chatter aimlessly as people get on and off, until we reach the Boston Aquarium. It's this weird chrome building with lots of other sections surrounding it. I catch a glimpse of the ticket prices on a sign by the pier. Twenty-five bucks isn't a lot.
"You wanna see the only place that rivals Fenway?" I ask Percy.
He smirks. "Why not?"
I pay at the ticket booth and we head inside. Kids are running around, slamming their hands against the glass, while teens tap at their phones mindlessly. Undercaffienated parents push strollers about. The penguin exhibit is always popular. Me and Percy bump towards the front and peer over the metal-barred barrier. On the rocks, a zookeeper's slinging fish at them. The things waddle and squawk as they try and get their lunch. The little ones are pretty cute with all their feathers.
Suddenly, a rumbling noise starts up, and the ground starts to vibrate. Suddenly, a crack split right through the rock formation, and swallows it whole. The murky water begins to whir and..roar. People and penguins go flying. Percy uncaps his pen, and the blade protrudes from it, he slices through flying debri and motions for me to follow.
But something tells me to stay. I take off my hat and clutch the bill. Before my eyes, it turns into a giant bronze shield. And just in time - a geyser spits right at me. I go flying back into the starfish exhibit, taking Percy along with me.
The world goes black.
I wake up in a bed, covered in linen sheets. I look over, and the world starts to spin. I feel a hand settle on my shoulder. I shift my head back into position, and Percy comes into view. He's sat at my bedside, sporting a shiner. Ana's on my other side, wearing an orange shirt with..a horse on it?
"..Where am I?" My voice is all hoarse and wizened. I clutch my throat and gasp. Ana smiles and grabs my bandaged up hand. "You're at Camp Half-Blood." My vision starts to focus. She's sporting a pixie cut now. And dangly earrings.
"You know how I feel about piercings.." I mutter. I fall back into black again.