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This is my (heavily edited for mature content) first story on here. I'll post a link to FF.net once I get it up so you can read the real version, but until then, enjoy this! Also, the FF.net one will be way different, mostly because Wikia is being a b*tch and not letting me edit it right, so I decided to rewrite some of the story.

Rated T for sexual themes, language, implied s*x, violence, and drug use.

Also, I'm probably an Idiot Ball, but all the paragraphs clump together when I c&p the story into here sometimes, so be warned for big chunky paragraphs if I don't have enough time to edit it. Otherwise, I'll be writing on the wiki itself, so I don't have that problem, so you might get half-chapters here and there.

Part I: A Prison in the Clouds

7:23 AM, August 18th, 2009

"Percy ... I can stop him ... I know ... give me the knife!"

Luke pleads with Percy, who's standing there in his armour, holding Annabeth's knife and looking uncertainly at Luke and Annabeth and the throne room of Olympus.

"Please," the older boy begs, "only I can stop him."

He seems to make up his decision right then and there. "No way."

"Then run," says Luke. "Go!"

"Stop that, boy," Kronos' voice says.

Percy shakes his head. "I'm not abandoning my friends."

And suddenly, a pain shoots through his body. He hears a faint "No!" from Annabeth, and then he blacks out.

8:42 PM, August 18th, 2009

"Happy Birthday. Like your new prison?"

Percy blinks awake, and focuses on a form with wide shoulders, tall, flaming head, and for a moment he thinks it's Hyperion, but it can't be, because the figure is much taller...

He blinks again. Hard, and focuses on the figure before sitting up. The figure has a scythe. Great. Kronos.

Now Percy is looking around. His prison is completely stone, except for one side, where he can see New York. His mother is pleading, pleading with another Titan.

He stands up. "Mom!"

"It's just a screen, Perseus."

"Mom! Paul! Can yo--" Percy breaks off as Kronos swings his scythe and hits him in the leg. Apparently, his Achilles curse has broken, because pain shoots through him. "Ow! Gods--"

He shouldn't expect anything less from the Titan lord, though.

He turns to face Kronos, gritting his teeth against the pain. "You're a monster."

And Kronos laughs. "Monster, you call me? I must admit that I am familiar with them, but I am not a monster... unless you express the desire to have one."

"Bastard."

Kronos kneels down to face him, a mocking smile on his face. "You should be honored, Perseus Jackson. I'll leave you to figure out the secret for yourself."

A swipe of his scythe and Kronos is gone.

Swearing angrily under his breath, Percy turns to face the "screen" when he notices the golden drops of blood.

Ichor.

He ignores it at first, and finds a video game-like controller connected to the screen, and he finds that he can walk around the city, like an avatar. He decides to put this off, and then looks down to check his leg.

The area around the wound is soaked in ichor. Blood of the immortals. Confused, he rolls his pant leg up and realizes that the ichor is coming from him.

Percy is immortal.

For a moment he's stunned, then he lets out an enraged yell. "No. No!"

3:37 PM, November 11, 2042

"So how're things outside the city?"

Percy's question is only dull. He's not interested. He's gone around New York countless times, using his video game controller and the screen to check everything out. It never turns off. He sleeps a bit. He thinks a bit. Sometimes he screams swear words at the wall. But most of his time when he's not being visited or tortured is spent on the screen. Most of the demigods evacuated, including Annabeth Chase.

He's glad for this.

He's visited every so often by a Titan, maybe once a week. It's hard to keep track of time.

Prometheus visits every so often. The first time didn't really seem like anything. He had no weapon. He had a box of donuts, a pie, a Nintendo DS and two games, a knife, a Sharpie, and a six-pack of root beer. Food, drink, and entertainment. Thank the gods.

But the Titan of forethought had a way with words that hurt worse than weapons.

That first time, his last words? "I'm surprised you didn't ask about Annabeth Chase."

"All the demigods have sheltered in Calgary," Prometheus says.

"Annabeth," Percy blurts out. "How is she?"

"She ... misses you," Prometheus says. Somehow Percy can tell that he's holding the bad news in.

"Tell me," he says quietly.

"Are you sure?"

Percy stands up angrily. "What the f**k do you think?" he snaps at the Titan.

"Luke found her," says Prometheus.

"And?" queries Percy.

"Stabbed herself in the heart with a sword," Prometheus says. "Anaklusmos."

There's a long pause. Then Percy shoves at the much stronger Titan and roars, "Get out! Get the f**k out!"

And after he's gone, Percy takes the picture of Annabeth Prometheus was so thoughtful to give him, and stares at it for a while.

For the first time in years and years, he cries silently, the tears leaking down his cheeks. And right now, he wants to die.

6:30 AM, August 18, 2392

The day New York was deserted completely, all monsters and humans and demigods out of it, was Percy's three hundredth birthday. The demigods had gone first. The humans tried living there, but eventually they all moved away. Monsters stayed for a while longer, feeding on the bodies that didn't manage to survive. But then they left, too.

The screen flashed bright blue with the date, and went dead for the first time in three hundred years. I'm three hundred years old today, realized Percy, and no one's here to celebrate it, and I still look sixteen.

"Happy birthday," says a voice next to him.

He turns to see Luke. He's looking well.

But Percy does not care that it's his birthday, or it's Luke, or that he should have been long dead by now. He stands up. "Traitor!" he roars. "F**king traitor, coward, son of a b*tch, piece of s**t, a**hole, motherf**king c**t--" He breaks off as he realizes that Luke's expression is remaining indifferent.

"You can call me that," Luke says.

He sits down.

"Why the hell are you here?" demands Percy, still suspicious. No weapon. Thank the gods. But the Titans got bored of torturing him about a hundred or so years ago, and he'd had no visitors since then. He'd gone insane, practically, mumbling about random nonsense, and then he'd look at Annabeth's picture and calm down.

"Bored," is Luke's answer.

"Oh, you're bored," Percy says sarcastically. "I suppose you haven't been sitting in a dungeon for the last three-f**king-hundred years, with the last one-f**king-hundred f**king alone, and I have no idea what the f**k is going on with this world, and do you know how f**king disgusting it is watching monsters eat people?"

"Oh, come on, Percy," Luke says. "It couldn't have been that bad."

Percy's stone hard glare is enough to make Luke put that in another way.

"I mean, there's worse things."

"Well, worse than being sliced open every other week?"

Luke looks slightly thoughtful, then he says, "No, not really. And you're not in a dungeon."

"Show me."

Luke shrugs. Then waves his hand.

Immediately, sky appears - bright blue sky. "You're not in a dungeon," he repeats. "You're in the sky."

"I could tell," Percy says, half sarcastically. "What happens if I jump?"

"You die."

"I guess I shouldn't try, then," Percy says ruefully.

"I'll leave this open."

"S**t, no." Percy looks out the door nervously. He'd always been scared of heights.

"Your call," Luke says.

"Fine, leave it open."

"See you."

"Not."

Luke grimaces, then disappears.

7:30 AM, August 18th, 2392

"I found you!"

A girl's triumphant yell awakes Percy from the nap he'd been taking.

"Holy s**t!" he yells, seeing a girl staring straight into his face. She backs away.

"Sorry if I scared you," Percy mumbles at the same time the girl says.

He stands up, stretching. "Ugh," he mutters. "I need a bed. I need a freaking bed."

Then he looks at the girl. She's about sixteen, with blond hair and bright green eyes. "I can get you a bed."

"Thank the gods," Percy mutters. Then he sighs. "Who are you?"

"Jenna Leigh Wood," she says.

"You're going to get me out of here, right, Jenna?" asks Percy.

She looks at him, green meeting green. "Sure."

Percy immediately looks happier. He takes the picture of Annabeth and the Nintendo DS and the butterknife that Prometheus gave him so long ago.

Jenna regards it with a look of disgust on her face. "You won't get anywhere with that," she says.

"Well," Percy begins to explain, tucking the picture into his jeans pocket, and the game into his jacket, "I used to have this really awesome sword, but I don't know where it is."

"Does it have anything to do with a pen?"

"You know about it?" Percy asks incredulously.

"Well, yeah. But until we find it ... "

She takes a backpack off her shoulder and digs around to find a dagger. "That should do."

"Not my sword, but better than nothing," he says.

"Okay, hero," Jenna says with a smile, "are you ready to save the world?"

Part II: Wonders of a Lost Oracle

"I'm Percy Jackson," he says. "Do you have a plan?"

"Do you have a plan?" she asks.

Percy shakes his head. "Can we just get down? Heights really aren't my thing," he says.

"Sure. Hold onto, like, my shoulder. Really tightly."

Percy grasps her shoulder, and he sees a flash of Celestial bronze, and suddenly they're in the middle of a city - well, not really a city. Just a place. A place to rest, a place to quit being chased by monsters, and where demigods now spend their life.

"Let's go get something to eat. And I need clothes."

"Good plan," Jenna says. "I'll take you to meet some of my friends, after. They've agreed to help me."

She marches off, and Percy follows her to a mall. It's not running, really, it's more of a gathering place with food and clean clothes.

He eats, he gets a couple outfits, and they go. Not much to do here except train and train and train, and Percy already had enough of that at camp, huh?

--

He's waiting in the guest bedroom of her house, slipping in and out of sleep.

Finally she knocks on the door.

"So soft," Percy moans. Then he wakes up fully. "Uh, sorry. Come in.

He rolls out of the bed, and Jenna pokes her head around the doorway and steps in.

"You weren't m*s*u*b*ting," she says with a smirk.

"Maybe I was," Percy jokes. "I just haven't been on a bed this soft for ages." He sighs. "So what's going on in the world?"

"Well," she says, "We're the only city in North America. Basically this side of the world, actually."

"So who's your parent?" Percy asks.

"Me? James and Lillian."

Percy shakes his head. "No, your Olympian parent. Or whichever goddess or god you're related to. You know what I mean."

"I don't know," Jenna says. "Mom and Dad never told me who their parents were."

"Well," Percy says, "we'll find out."

"I know who they're not, though," jokes Jenna. "Aphrodite. I'm f**king ugly."

"Nah, you're not," Percy says, grinning.

"Aw, don't be so nice, don't deny it," Jenna says.

Percy raises an eyebrow. "I'm serious," he says, quite seriously.

"Back to the plan?" Jenna queries. "We need a - "

"Quest!" Percy blurts out. "No, really."

"And, do you, by any chance," begins Jenna, "know exactly where to find a quest?"

"I believe I do," says Percy. "Yeah, definitely. We need to go to New York. I'll lead us there."

--

After a few hours of running around the house, and Jenna grabbing her two best friends, Emily and Logan, they're ready to leave for New York.

"I'll drive," Emily offers as they all pile into her car. "It's my car."

"Sure," Percy decides. "Better for me."

Even Percy's towards the younger side (in appearance), so he sits in the back with Jenna.

"How many Greek myths do you know?" she asks.

Jenna shakes her head, and Percy launches into stories. He's not sure if they're right, but they must be close enough, and by the time it's time to switch drivers, he's already explained the first Titans vs. Gods war in great detail and gone onto how Athena was born.

"Ouch," Jenna says. "That's harsh."

"I know," Percy agrees. "It's kinda weird, but Athena will kill me if she knew I said that. She hates my guts, anyways."

"Let's stop here," says Jenna, yawning widely. "We need to sleep. I'll take the floor."

He starts to protest, but the blond girl rolls her eyes. "Don't argue."

And then he can't protest anymore, because of three hundred years of sleeping on a hard, cold stone floor, this is amazingly soft to him.

--

The car's moving when he wakes up.

"The zombie awakens," Jenna says.

Percy struggles up onto the seat. "D'you want me to keep going?"

"Sure?"

When they stop for food again, he's rattled off most of the myths. Everyone listened closely. He'd become so immersed in telling the story, that he didn't notice the ruins of the United States of America.

"That's my country," he says, staring out the window in horror. "What happened to my country?"

Because outside the window are dusty ruins, abandoned buildings. What used to be there was a big, bustling city. Not New York, but another city, and he's staring, looking at what used to be.

"We'll get it all back," says Jenna. "Come on, Percy."

He tears his eyes away from the window. "So how's life in ... Calgary?"

"Most of the humans are on the other side of the world," says Jenna. She tells him about how it's only people training. How they get things they need from the other side of the world. And he's fascinated. A whole bunch of kids and young adults, working together.

"Can you tell me the rest of the myths?" she says, after her story's over. And he tells her the few that are left.

When she pleads, "Anything else?" and he shakes his head, but remembers his own adventures.

And through the few days driving to New York, he recounts what happened when he was twelve. "I asked Argus to take me down to cabin three, so I could pack my bags for home," Percy finishes.

"That was ... amazing," says Jenna.

"Yeah, well ... I have a pretty good memory," says Percy modestly. "Especially since I became immortal."

That's when they pull up into New York and Percy turns to the window.

--

"My mom used to work there," Percy says, pointing to the candy shop. They drove a little more. "That's where I used to go to school."


The trip is made interesting by Percy directing Logan to Camp Half-Blood - or at least the place where it was supposed to be - and him commenting on the places along the way. There's longing lingering in his voice.

Finally, they're at the hill, and Percy is climbing, running up. Thalia's tree is still there, though there's no sign of the Golden Fleece, but they couldn't worry about that now.

Percy stops at Thalia's tree, staring at it for a few moments before running back down to camp, which isn't that ruined, surprisingly.

"Camp!" he yells excitedly, like a little kid.

He laughs, and starts looking around. The stables are deserted, half the forest is burnt down, as are the cabins, most of the buildings are crumbled, but he still recognizes camp. Camp Half-Blood. Orange t-shirt, training, fun, capture the flag, quests ... his favorite place in the world.

Finally the group meets up with each other. "In the ruins of the Big House," Percy says, "there should be a mummy." They all look at him like he's crazy, until someone shouts that they've found it.

"Uh, hi," Percy begins, before Logan cuts him off.

"Hey, man, what is this?"

"It's gonna give us a prophecy," says Percy. "With luck. And then we'll know where to go."

"With luck," says Logan, his voice laced with contempt. "Yeah, I feel real confident."

"Uh, hi," Percy says. "What should I do?"

The Orcale of Delphi rises, green smoke curling out of its mouth, which causes the others to jump back.

"When the boy on the cloud is free to go,

And the gods' powers are lost below.

You will fight for the gone and keep it for good,

The traitor will turn and will tell all he could.

The gods of Olympus are powerless to assist,

So you will free them and let them persist.

The hero will make his final stand,

In a world that has turned to wasteland.

And what must be righted will go wrong,

For a long death will only prolong.

But do not fear what it holds in store,

Because everything will be washed ashore.

And when the clock runs out of time,

The ancient mountain you are destined to climb.

And you will find a love that never strayed far,

And be the victors of another long war."

The Oracle sank down, and became a mummy again.

"It actually uttered some more cheerful lines for once," Percy notices. "Wow! You've improved! But that was a long one, man."

"That was cheerful?" Emily asks skeptically.

"Prophecies have several meanings to them," Percy says. "I'm going on the quest."

"Me too," Jenna says . "Are you crazy?" Logan asks them.

"And you will find a love that never strayed far," recites Percy. "Did I ever tell you about Annabeth?"

When there's no answer, he shakes his head and says, "She killed herself. Because she wasn't with me."

He opens his hand to show a large scar on his hand. "Prometheus gave me a knife," he said. "Apollo was helping, I know it. He didn't want to."

"Prophecies often have double meanings, though," Emily says, slightly worried. "I don't want to disappoint you."

Percy shakes his head. "I'm going."

Jenna points at the other two. "You two. Go."

"I didn't want to go on the quest anyways," says Emily, before her and Logan go back.

After they've left, Jenna turns to Percy. "So you came back."

"No," Percy says, with a smile on his face. "I came home."

Part III: Luke

They're eating dinner in the Poseidon cabin while discussing the prophecy.

"When the boy on the cloud is free to go," Percy remembers. That's obvious. I'm free.

"And the gods' powers are lost below."

"Again obvious," Percy says. "The gods' powers are somewhere below Mount Olympus."

"Yeah, that's very specific," says Jenna sarcastically.

"We'll figure that out," sighs Percy. "You will fight for the gone and keep it for good. That means we're going to have to fight for their powers. The traitor will turn and tell all he could. That's obviously Luke." "The gods of Olympus are powerless to assist. I don't like that."

"Well, that's going to happen," Percy says. "So you will free them and let them persist. That sounds a bit better. The hero will make his final stand."

"That doesn't sound good at all."

"It may not be what we think it is," warns Percy. "In a world that has turned to wasteland ... Jenna, is everything ... normal ... across the world?"

"Yeah. I mean," she says, "everything's better than over here. There's about a billion people in the world." "Ouch," Percy says. "Last I saw the world, there were, oh, about six billion?"

"Wow," Jenna says, her eyes wide. "That's ... a lot of people. Anyways, I'm not fond of What must be righted will go wrong. Or For a long death will only prolong."

"That sounds bad," agrees Percy. "But do not fear what it holds in store ... I don't know what to make of that line. Because everything will be washed ashore. That's confusing too."

"And when the clock runs out of time doesn't seem very positive to me," Jenna says uncertainly, stirring her mushroom soup. Percy tries to keep the fire going in a portable barbecue he'd pulled out.

"The ancient mountain you are destined to climb must mean Mount Olympus," Percy says excitedly. "Also, I just love the line You will find a love that has never strayed far, and you will be the victors of another long war."

"That sounds positive," Jenna says. She looks like she wants to ask Percy something. "Percy?"

"Huh?"

"Did you ... love Annabeth?"

The question lingers in the air for a while, then Percy says, "I truly loved her."

--

Jenna and Percy spend the next week making a bigger boat out of the canoes. Percy manages to rattle off the rest of his life story, not including the boring parts, in that week.

"You're a really good storyteller," she says.

"Thanks," Percy says awkwardly. "I didn't know that, but ... thanks, I guess."

"We're ready, right?" she asks as they look at the boat they've made. It's reckless, with splinters all over.

"Not yet. First, do you know why we're making this boat?"

"Not really," she admits.

"Well," he says, "this should be an easy question. Where did Greek myths originate?"

"Greece?"

"That's where we're going," Percy says, "but not before we find my pen."

Somehow the two manage to find two bikes and they ride through the city. They stop beside the Empire State Building.

"Look for a pen," he says. "A golden pen."

There's about two hours of searching before Jenna yells, "Found it!"

He runs over, finding that immortality makes him stronger. "Let's see."

Sure enough, it's Anaklusmos. Riptide. He uncaps it, feeling the familiar blade in his hands. He slashes, hoping that his skills haven't become too rusty, and finds that he's still quite good with the sword.

Percy grins. "Let's go," he says, and he hops back on the bike to go back to camp.

--

But by now it's dark and Jenna argues that they have to stay in camp, because she really doesn't want to set out across the ocean in the dark, so they invade the Poseidon cabin for the last time. After he makes sure that Jenna is asleep, Percy goes down to the ocean, where he takes his sword out again, practicing.

"You're really going good, huh?"

Luke's voice. Percy turns around.

"It's you," he says.

"I see you found your sword."

"Yeah," Percy says. "It's great."

"What's the prophecy?"

Percy sighs. "Right into it, huh?"

"Well, yeah, uh, what did Annabeth call you? Oh yeah. Seaweed Brain," Luke says teasingly.

But Percy thinks something different of this. "Don't call me that," he says icily. "It's a name reserved for Annabeth. And since she's gone--"

"You could have stopped it," Luke said quietly. "You could have given me the knife. What was it again? The hero's soul, cursed blade will reap. And didn't Rachel tell you that you were not the hero? And that only I knew where the Achilles spot was, and that only I could fight him?"

Percy stays quiet, and Luke comes up to stand right beside him. "Prophecies have double meanings. You thought you were the hero."

The realization hits Percy like something smashing into his chest. "You were supposed to be the hero," he realizes.

"Exactly," Luke says. Another pause. "I would have given my life to save Annabeth."

"But I didn't give you the knife," Percy says. "Oh, gods. I could have saved her."

"I bet you miss her," murmurs Luke.

"Yeah," Percy says, staring off into the water. He knows he shouldn't give in, that this is how Luke works - smooth, smart, and devious. But it's Annabeth.

"I bet you don't remember her very well."

His voice is closer to his ear now, soft.

"I know you kissed her, Percy. In the labyrinth."

Then, swiftly, he steps right in front of Percy. Percy shoves him away, uncaps Riptide, and pins Luke to the ground, Percy's legs keeping him from getting up. "You're crazy," he gasps.

"If I wasn't, the world wouldn't be like this," Luke says wryly, gesturing to the world around him. "Trust me, Percy Jackson."

"Tell me something."

A pause. "I was the one who led Jenna to you."

Another pause. "I helped you to New York. I had Anaklusmos."

The longest pause yet. "I need to know the prophecy, Percy," Luke says. "I need to know it so I can help."

Percy sighs and lets him go. Luke springs up, but shows no sign of anger.

"Now do you trust me?" Luke asks, his ice-blue eyes glinting coldly in the night.

--

Percy recites the prophecy to Luke. In all honesty, he’s still reluctant to trust him, but he figures that if the Oracle says that he’s turned, then he most probably has.

“Well, what you’ve got to do first is obvious,” says Luke when Percy’s done. “You have to get the gods’ items of power.”

“Yeah, well, I kind of figured that out for myself,” Percy says sarcastically.

“I guessed that,” sighs Luke, “but do you know what they are?”

“That would be a good question,” Percy says.

“So?”

“Of course, you douchebag!”

Luke raises an eyebrow. “So, tell me.”

“Dad’s trident, Zeus’ lightning bolt, Hades’ helm of darkness, Hermes’ is a caduceus, right? Uh,” Percy says, as he struggles to remember the rest. “I don’t know,” he admits finally.

Luke smirks. “Exactly,” he says. “I’ll be at the Parthenon.”

He turns to leave, but Percy yells after him. “Luke, you haven’t given me any hints!”

And the other boy (figuratively speaking) turns to Percy, and winks. “Who said I’d give you any hints?”

“F**k you!” Percy shouts, and making the hand gesture to go along with it, but Luke is already gone.

Part IV: It's Not Just Sibling Rivlary

The next day, the two set out for Greece.

At first, Jenna's unsure about going across the ocean on a badly made boat, but once Percy assures her that he is the son of Poseidon and that he could get across the ocean on his sword, she gets in.

It takes only a week to sail across the ocean. Percy's strongly reminded of his journey into the Sea of Monsters. After a while, Jenna asks Percy to tell more stories, so he tells of ordinary, everyday things that used to be, and movies, and school. He also throws out the plotline of the one book he liked.

Finally they reach Greece and Jenna leads them to the deserted Parthenon.

--

Unfortunately, their first meeting is with someone that Jenna would rather not meet.

"Jenna, is that you?" the simpering, girly voice sounds behind them, and they turn around. Behind them is a girl who's wearing a short black dress. She has cold blue eyes, black hair, and she's wearing lots of make up.

"Jane," Jenna says coolly. "Percy, this is my ... sister, I guess. Jane, this is Percy."

Jane nods. "I haven't seen you in, what, ten years?"

"Yeah," says Jenna. Then she mutters, "Damn good ten years it's been without you."

Her sister shakes her head. "Don't act like that, little sis," she says. "I'm family."

"Not in my category," scoffs Jenna. "Joined the Titans when you were ten, didn't you?"

Jane smiles. "It was the best," she says brightly. "Trust me, you'll know, or you might not."

"I'd die instead of join the Titans," Jenna says scathingly. "You are a coward. Coward, see? C-A-U-W-E-R-D."

And the black-haired girl, shrugs. "I value my life."

"Traitor," mutters Jenna.

And the mascara tears of her getaway still linger on her face as Jenna and Percy turn to leave.

"Jenna," says Jane.

The blond-haired girl turns around for a second."

"There's something you sould know."

And Jenna raises an eyebrow skeptically. "And what may that thing be?"

"I'm a b*tch, Jenna," she says. "Everyone here knows that."

"It's nice to know," says Jenna quietly, coldly, and then she turns around and marches after Percy Jackson.

--

"Hey, Percy," he greets the other boy with a wink. "You get Athena's first. Do you know what it is?"

"Aegis!" Percy suddenly bursts out. "Like Thalia's shield, right?"

Luke nods. "Exactly. I thought you'd've realized before, since Thalia's one of your friends, but now is better than never," he says. "Oh, and Percy?" he asks, when Jenna's gone. "Don't go in there. Athena, er, may not appreciate it."

"Thanks for the warning," Percy says dryly.

"Don't be so bitter," Luke says with a cocky smile on his face. "I want to show you something."

Luke waves his hand, and Percy's suddenly transported 300 years ago, to that time when Luke was fourteen and on the run with Thalia and Annabeth. Annabeth was sleeping, but both Thalia and Luke were up, sitting around a campfire a bit farther away.

"Where the hell are we, Luke?" asked Thalia, somewhat impatiently. "Nowhere near New York, I'm guessing?"

Luke was looking at a map with a scowl on his face. "I'm working on it, Thalia."

"Why can't my dad or your dad just - show up - and help us?" she complained, now scrolling through the songs on the MP3 Luke had stolen some few weeks earlier, just before they had found Annabeth.

"Thalia, the gods are selfish. Don't care 'bout anyone but themselves, dammit," Luke said, still frowning at the map. "Oh, forget it. We're in, like, Georgia."

"Curse the gods," Thalia said.

Luke looked up quietly. "F**k the gods," he said quietly. "Did you hear that, Zeus? F**k you!" Luke yelled to the sky.

--

Quite a few years later, Luke was lying in the hospital wing, with the scar down his face. He was scowling and muttering under his breath.

--

A dream. Kronos in Tartarus. Where the gods are now, wanting to get out back to the modern world, probably cursing the Titans into oblivion - well, if they could do that, they would.

--

Yet another few years - or possibly more, as Olympus was completely deserted and a wreck - and Luke was walking through the ruins of Olympus. He stopped in the throne room. "I'm sorry, Dad," he said out loud. "I'll get you out, I promise."

--

Percy is now in present time.

"Thalia and I," Luke says, "used to curse the gods to hell and back. We ... we hated them. But once they're gone, well, you tend to appreciate things when you don't have 'em anymore, and when tons of things have faded away from the world, you really appreciate them."

"I'm not gonna' ask you why," Percy says with a sigh. "But you're sure you're on the other side. You're sure."

"Well, yeah," says Luke.

There's a pause. Then Luke says, "Okay, Jen's got Aegis. You can go in now."

--

As soon as Percy slips through the tall white columns, he knows something's wrong.

Jenna's trying to fight her way through ten or twelve Keres with a double edge spear and a shield.

It's obvious she's not used to wielding her sword with one hand.

"Jenna!" yells Percy, then uncaps his sword and charges, slashing through the monsters. "Pass me the shield."

She gives it to him, and Percy puts it on his arm, just in time to deflect a hit. He shoves it back and stabs it, hard. The Kere sails back while disappearing into dust. "You all right?" he asks Jenna.

She nods, looking tense, and leaps into the thick of the battle, spinning the spear with both hands and slashing through a few monsters. But more are coming, and Percy can see the Minotaur among them. He hates the Minotaur, really, really hates it. He's had to fight him twice.

"There's too many!" Jenna says, desperate. "We can't do this!"

Shut up, Jenna! "We can do this," Percy says. But they're already back-to-back, surrounded by the monsters. "Go!"

They manage to destroy a few more monsters, slashing and blocking, thrusting and stabbing and shoving -

But then Percy's gotten a bad cut from a dracena and Jenna's trying to fight the gigantic Minotaur, and it's not working. They probably couldn't do this, put Percy's not giving up, trying to fight through even though his arm feels like jelly.

"We're dead!" comes Jenna's yell from the other side of the Parthenon.

And then a girl comes flying down, landing in the midst of the monsters, carrying two wicked hunting knives, with a backpack and a quiver of arrows slung over her shoulder, and daggers strapped to her arm and a gun hanging from her belt.

"Back!" she yells, brandishing the knives. "Get back!"

One of the empousai grows at her. "We don't eat women, but we'll make an exception for you!"

"I don't think so," the girl says before slashing through a whole row of monsters with her knives. In the two seconds which Percy has time to rest, he sees the Minotaur start charging towards the girl, but she keeps fighting the monsters without getting hurt, and when the Minotaur is almost upon her, she whips out her handgun and shoots it, blowing it back into dust.

"Pi̱gaínete na ta korákia!" she shouts at them in Greek. "Pi̱gaínete ston Tártaro! Xefýgoume apó emás í̱ egó̱ tha sas synthlípsei sta kommátia!"

Go to the crows, go to Tartarus, get away from us or I will smash you to bits, Percy's mind immediately translates.

The monsters stop fighting.

The girl waves the knives at them. "Synechíso̱, katára se ólous sas!"

Go on, curse you all!

"Thélete na páte me ton ídio trópo ópo̱s polýtima fílous sas? Aplá pi̱gaínete!" shouts the girl at them.

Do you want to go the same way as your precious friends? Just go!

Finally the monsters all turn tail and run.

"That ain't the last of them," mutters the girl under her breath. She straightens up, brushing her brown hair out of her eyes.

Now that Percy can get a good look at her, she looks eighteen, and she's quite pretty, though nowhere as pretty as Annabeth is. "Who are you?" he asks her, slightly open-mouthed and very, very awed.

The girl breaks into a grin. "I'm Piper Andres," she says, "Daughter of Apollo, at your service."

Part V: Piper

"I know you," Piper says to Percy. "Percy Jackson, right?"

"Yeah," Percy says uncomfortably. "I think I saw you around the camp a few times."

"It would've been nice if you'd've saved Olympus," Piper comments lightly.

Percy looks nervous, and lamely tries to defend himself with a, "Yeah, well, I t--"

"Can't do everything, I s'pose," Piper says with a shrug. "Well, who cares. That was three hundred years ago. Now, we're going to bring the gods back, right?"

"Definitely," Jenna says.

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