A/N: Thank you for reading Hearthstones. It's a complete rewrite and reconceptualization of a fic I started many years ago called Sour Grapes. Call this a creative exercise - I have been trying to write more, and so it was only natural to return to where I began: the PJO Fandom.

Though the Percy Jackson series vividly describes Percy's life at Camp Half-Blood, we readers don't get to see what a normal camper's life is like outside of quests, battles, and prophecies. Our hero Ariadne is certainly not a normal demigod by any means, but in some ways her experience at Camp Half-Blood is.

Many social mores that existed in Ancient Greece differ from the world in which we live now. But in a lot of ways, we still see a lot of policing of female sexuality, homophobia, etc. In Percy's Greek Gods, Rick Riordan revealed Dionysus to be the patron god of all transgender and intersex individuals, due to him being forced to conceal his true gender in public during his childhood. In The Heroes of Olympus series, Nico di Angelo was revealed to be gay. What better backdrop is there to explore the collisions of Ancient Greek mythology and relevant social issues?

Hearthstones is my quest to live out my sixth-grade fantasy - to go to Camp Half-Blood - and to discover how the Greek Gods I love would feel about the modern world, of course, with plenty of drama and action. I hope you'll join me.


Hestia pushed her way through the crowd as discreetly as a divinely beautiful woman could be in a loud New York City bar during Happy Hour. Music blared through the speakers in competition with the hockey game streaming on all of the TVs. Around her, couples kissed with awkward passion fueled by alcohol and coworkers bonded in slurred speech. Hestia squeezed toward the bar and locked eyes with the only sober man in the establishment. Although he had drunk more than anyone else in the bar, he savored his appletini with a clear mind. Miracle? Not quite. This was Dionysus, the king of them all. Hestia shoved a man chuckle-choking on a shot to the side and approached her nephew.

"Dionysus." Though she spoke softly, her passed above the background noise.

"Hestia." Dionysus reached to take her hand, which carried a small bundle.

"Let's go," she said. "Somewhere alone."

In an instant, the two gods appeared in a rooftop garden, the lucrative space of a New York City company. Below, horns honked and lights illuminated the city that never sleeps, but the garden was private and serene.

"After the war, I gave up my seat on Olympus." Hestia spoke humbly, yet maintained a straight-forward and direct tone. "I did it for peace among my family. But also, for you."

"The gesture has not been forgotten," Dionysus assured her. "I am forever indebted to you."

"Yes," Hestia nodded. She let in a deep breath, and unwrapped the bundle in her arms to reveal a sleeping baby. "Take her."

The god looked up at the virgin goddess of the hearth in surprise. "Is it - is she yours?"

Hestia shook her head. "No, no," she asserted. "Yes. But no - not mine." Dionysus took the baby in his arms, awkwardly holding it as one would cradle a stack of delicate China dishes. Hestia continued. "One of my maidens, Andromeia," she explained. "My virgin sisters of the hearth. They turned on one another after she fell pregnant."

Dionysus nodded. "What do you want me to do with her?"

"Take her. Find her a family until she is old enough for the camp."

"Is she a demigod?"

"No, but -"

"Hestia, that is impossible. She would not be allowed through the borders," Dionysus said.

"She is not a demigod, but she has an immortal parent - Andromeia - and her father is a demigod," Hestia countered.

"I'm afraid that isn't sufficient."

"Oh, but it is," Hestia insisted. "The child withstands nectar and ambrosia. She has enough divinely blood to equate with the child of a minor god."

"Well," Dionysus relented, "if she can withstand nectar and ambrosia, I suppose."

"Claim her." It was an order. "When she arrives at the camp, I want you to claim her."

Dionysus started to laugh, but then stifled his chuckle realizing Hestia was serious. "As my child? Is that even -"

"Claim her," Hestia repeated. "Just for a little while, until I can figure everything out." She turned away from Dionysus and leaned over the railing, looking down at the street dozens of floors below and out at the Hudson River. "My fire is suffering. My sisters took opposing sides - some thought Andromeia should be thrust from the hearth. Others called for her execution. And a few advocated forgiveness." She paused. "As I did. My fire is suffering, Dionysus. It has suffered for years, but not like this. My hearth is in danger. Family is in danger, Dionysus. Claim her. And protect her as if she were your own."

The god let out a sigh, and a breeze passed over the rooftop garden, point his gaze toward the Empire State Building, above which Olympus sat. The child in his arms was so small next to the glory of his Olympus throne. He finally nodded. "Alright."

"The name," he said. "What is it?"

"'Ariadne,'" Hestia said. "May she lead us all out of this labyrinth." Dionysus covered the baby's eyes as Hestia glowed and disappeared.