So this is going to be fun. This is a Percy-and-Triton-and-Amphitrite-finally-get-their-act-together-and-start-acting-like-a-family-story. It will be a multi-chapter fic, and if you have any ideas or requests, let me know!
WARNINGS:Blood, almost-death, PTSD, mentions of torture. Mentions of abuse in future chapters. (Smelly Gabe)
SPOILERS: Little piece of Last Olympian, last bit of Mark of Athena, really mild Blood of Olympus, and in future chapters, House of Hades.
11/21/19 EDIT: There were some formatting issues in this chapter. I hadn't quite figured out how FF worked when I published this and there were some cringy places. So yeah. The content is all still the same, I just made it a little nicer to look at.
We Don't Save The World Because We Want To
Percy sighed, content. His chosen college of choice at was in North Carolina. He was pursuing a major of marine biology as far away from the Greek world as he could get. His workload was pretty intense, but one of his classmates had told him Litchfield Beach was absolutely awesome, and he just had to go see it. So he'd come down to South Carolina on spring break to check it out.
He'd actually had a wonderful day. The sky had been clear, the wind had been blowing, the sun shining, and the waves perfect. He'd goofed around with a group of younger kids—seriously, no matter where he went, he just summoned small children to him. He loudly complained to his friends about how annoying it was, but secretly he loved it.
So the day had passed. After the sun started to go down, and the kids had gone home, Percy sat on the dunes and watched it set. Oh, it was magnificent. Golds and purples and crimsons shot across the sky, as the moon rose silver on the other horizon. As the stars came out, Percy looked up, carefully searching out the one constellation no one had to teach him. Zoe leaped across the sky, powerful bow bent and arrow ready to fly.
Percy smiled, just this side of broken. "Bob says hello," he told her, just like he did every night. And just like every night, she didn't answer. Percy sighed again. He leaned back against the sand and closed his eyes, listening to the waves crashing on the beach, the calls of the seabirds echoing across the water. A cool breeze gently ruffled his hair.
Exactly 11 minutes and 57 seconds later, he was running for his life. The thing chasing him was the most annoying monster he'd ever fought, and that was saying something. It—sorry, she—(at least, he was pretty sure it was female) didn't have legs, just one massive snake tail. Her arms ended in razor sharp claws, and her face was beautiful—you know, except for the glowing reptilian eyes and fangs jutting out of her mouth.
I mean, it wasn't attractive, but he'd seen worse. The annoying part was she wouldn't die! As soon as she made her presence known by exploding out of the dunes (and I mean, come on! How cliché can you get?!), his instinctive reaction had been to roll, draw Riptide, and stab her in the head. The maneuver was flawless: the problem was it just disintegrated into black sand and regrew itself. That had not made it to his Top Ten Favorite Monster-slaying Moments. Next, he sliced her in half. No good. Off with her head, and her arms, and her snake tail, stabbed her through her heart (assuming she had one) and off with her head again. Nada.
So now he was running. It was sort of embarrassing. I mean, here he was, the two-times over Savior of Olympus, survivor of the Labyrinth and T—that other place, defeater of Kronos, one of the Seven, Son of the Sea God…and he was running for his life.
Percy cursed. He had no idea what exactly he had done to tick Atropos off so badly, but Fate obviously hated him with a passion. He'd tried to get to the water, but this thing obviously knew who he was, because she kept him away from the sea. And as if everything else wasn't enough, she had magical abilities. She kept throwing glowing green orbs of energy that exploded when they landed. One of them landed two feet behind him, and the blast sent him flying at least twenty feet. He crashed back into the ground, feeling his left forearm snap.
"Di immortales!" He snarled under his breath. At least he was right-handed. Percy forced himself back to his feet, almost collapsing again when a twisted knee made itself known. His back felt raw, and he knew he was probably burned pretty badly. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but with enchanted fire? Oh, yeah. That stuff hurt.
He bent down and wrenched his knee back into place, gritting his teeth at the discomfort. He straightened and turned to start running again—only to realize she'd gotten in front of him somehow. No time to go back, too late to go to either side. Time slowed down.
Then she rammed her right hand forwards and punched a hole through his ribcage. His eyes widened. His breath caught in his throat. There was a vicious light in her eyes, her cruel hissing laughter echoing in his ears, and all he could think was I'm so sorry, Mom. I won't make it home this time.
She dragged him to the surf, and just before she threw him in, she leaned down and snarled in his ear, "Go to your father, sea scum. I know a fatal wound when I see one, and all the power of the seven seas cannot save you now. I am Lamia, and I have slain many heroes in my years. But soon all will know me as the one who slayed the great Percy Jackson!" She cackled, then used another burst of magic to sling him out, far out, into the ocean. Time resumed its normal pace.
The water caught him as always, and as soon as he was fully in its embrace, it started to heal him, but Percy wasn't an idiot. He knew what a fatal wound looked like and he knew what it felt like, and even the sea couldn't fix this one.
I'm going to die.
He distantly registered that the thought just wasn't as terrifying as it used to be. It's not like he wanted to die, he just…..wasn't going to fight it, that's all. He might even make it to Elysium. That would be awesome. He could see Beckendorf, again, and Silena, and Luke, and all the other friends and family that he'd lost over the years.
Percy wrapped his arms around his waist, cursing quietly as the pain increased. He stared towards the surface of the sea. He was sinking deeper, and the water was a little darker down here, but he could still see the moon. He locked his eyes on it, almost desperately. He knew this would be the last time he'd ever see it.
Wow, he thought. Literally just a year ago, I would have been freaking out at this point. Now I just…
He realized his eyes had closed and forced them back open. When they refocused, his body had drifted upside down in the water, and he found himself staring at the shadows on the ocean floor.
No. I will not die in the dark.
He ignored the logical part of his mind that sounded like Annabeth and shouted "Stop moving, you idiot! Hold still and you won't bleed out as fast" and forced his body to twist back around. Percy tightened his arms around his waist. Blood was staining the water around him, and for a second he was worried about hungry sea creatures. Then he remembered who he was. He had to laugh at himself, which his mutilated torso did not appreciate. He choked, the taste of iron suffocating his tongue. Tendrils of blood started to drift from his mouth.
Oh, Styx, that's not good.
His shoulders hunched in pain, and the burnt skin on his back screamed as it was pulled. Percy groaned quietly, black dots beginning to show up in the corners of his eyes. He looked up, found the moon, and locked his eyes on it.
I will not die in the dark.
His mind was starting to drift when the currents around him shifted. He dragged his eyes away from the surface, blinking in a –mostly futile—attempt to focus. Two cool, strong hands suddenly covered his, adding more pressure to his wound. He flinched away, sure Lamia had changed her mind and decided to just tear him apart.
"Steady, Perseus," murmured a deep voice that was vaguely familiar. "I will not hurt you."
Percy blinked again. "Triton?" he croaked. He had to turn his head to the side to cough harshly, sending more blood spewing from his mouth into the already-scarlet waves around him.
Triton inhaled sharply. "What have you done, foolish demigod?"
Percy laughed tiredly. "I made it to eighteen."
Triton blinked. "What?"
Percy grinned, knowing it probably looked pretty gruesome, what with the blood staining his teeth and all that, but the Sea Prince sounded so confused, it was hilarious.
"I made it to eighteen," he reiterated. "Most of us demigods never make it to eighteen, and I wasn't supposed to make it past sixteen, but I did. Ha. Take that, Atropos."
Triton stared at him.
"You know," Percy continued. "I'm pretty sure that's why she hates me so much. 'Cuz I screwed up a lot of stuff. That's probably why about ¾ of the Council want me dead."
Triton blinked. "I meant what have you done to yourself, Perseus."
"Oh. Um, it wasn't me. Lamia kinda stuck her arm through my ribcage."
Triton choked. "Stuck her arm through your ribcage?!"
"Yeah. I thought she was behind me, but she got in front of me somehow. I basically just ran right into it. But seriously, she's really annoying. She won't die! I mean, I cut off her head, sliced her in half, left her in five pieces—nothing. She just reforms. And I know it isn't because of the Doors of Death, because me and Annabeth closed those. She just doesn't die."
An agonizing shudder wracked his body, and his eyes involuntarily closed. He halfway panicked, forcing them back open, searching frantically for the moon. He found it again, and the tension leaked out of him.
Triton's jaw set. "Alright, we're going to Atlantis."
Percy smiled gently. "I'm not an idiot, Triton. There's no fixing this one."
Triton's eyes hardened. "We'll see." He lifted Percy into his arms and took off.
Twenty minutes ago…
Triton was running sword drills for new recruits in one of the training courtyards. Just because Gaea had been defeated didn't mean all the monsters just threw down their weapons and surrendered. He was correcting a young merman's truly appalling form when a small pod of hippocampi descended.
Lord! Lord! LORD!
He frowned, turning to face them. "Is it absolutely vital that I hear you out right now, or can we schedule a meeting later?"
Now, Lord, it has to be RIGHT NOW!
His frown deepened. Whatever it was, it had them very upset. He turned back to the mer. "My presence appears to be demanded elsewhere." The mer bit back a smile. The hippocampi were kind creatures, but they were dreadfully bubbly and dramatic.
He inclined his head. "Of course, my Prince. Thank you for your advice."
Triton smiled, clasping the soldier's shoulder. "Anytime." Then he turned and addressed the pod. "Well?"
Blood, Lord! At Litchfield Beach, deep in the water.
Yes, Lord! So much blood!
"I appreciate your concern, but the sea does have its own rules. Survival of the fittest. I am dearly sorry if it was a friend of yours, but there is simply not much I can do." He bowed, and started to turn away when the smallest hippocampi cried,
But Lord, it's the blood of the Sea!
Triton nearly gave himself whiplash. "The blood of the Sea?!"
Yes, Lord! Almost a thousand feet away from the shore of Litchfield!
He nodded. "Thank you, loyal friends." He called the currents to him and took off, double tails powering through the water with all the speed he could muster. Blood of the Sea could mean only one thing—Father was injured.
It didn't take him long to arrive at the scene, but what he found was not what he'd expected. It was not his father. It was his father's demigod, Perseus Jackson.
He slowed down. And for just a few moments, he thought about just turning around. He thought about leaving this physical reminder of his father's unfaithfulness to his mother. Leaving this tangible reminder that Triton was not enough, not good enough, so Poseidon had replaced him, and oh, that had hurt. And he almost did it. He almost turned away and left him there. But then he thought about how devastated his father was whenever any of his demigods died, and he couldn't do it because he still loved his father.
So with more than one curse hissed under his breath, he made his way towards the boy. As he got closer, he realized the water was not actually darker over here, as he'd originally thought. Perseus' blood had turned it scarlet. There was so much of it, Triton wondered if the demigod was even going to be alive when he got over there.
And for some reason, the thought of the boy dying alone and in pain just seemed wrong. Triton increased his speed. He reached the boy's side right as he twisted his body so he was facing the surface. Vivid green eyes, a perfect copy of his own and their father's, were locked on something above them. Triton followed his gaze. He didn't know what had hurt the boy this badly, so his guard was up. But there was nothing above them except the moon.
As Triton drew level with him, Perseus' eyes blinked sluggishly, and he slowly turned his head. Triton could see that he had his hands clamped over his wound, but his grip was loose, and blood was steadily seeping into the water. Triton reached out and pressed his own hands over the boy's. He flinched.
"Steady, Perseus," Triton said quietly. "I will not hurt you."
"Triton?" the voice was raspy, and full of disbelief.
A heartbeat later, the boy turned his head and coughed harshly, his body shaking with pain. Triton's eyebrows drew together, and he was opening his mouth to say something when he saw blood coming out of Perseus' mouth. Triton's eyes widened.
He inhaled sharply. "What have you done, foolish demigod?"
Perseus let out an exhausted laugh. "I made it to eighteen."
Triton blinked. Was the boy delirious? "What?"
Perseus grinned. Blood stained his teeth, but his eyes sparkled. "I made it to eighteen," he repeated. "Most of us demigods never make it to eighteen, and I wasn't supposed to make it passed sixteen, but I did. Ha. Take that, Atropos."
Triton just stared at him. Demigods didn't make it past eighteen? That was so young….
"You know," Perseus continued, eyes rising to the moon once again, "I'm pretty sure that's why she hates me so much. 'Cuz I screwed up a lot of stuff. That's probably why about ¾ of the Council want me dead."
Triton blinked at him. ¾ of the Olympians wanted the boy dead? Then again, who was he to talk? He'd wanted the kid dead 10 minutes ago. "I meant what have you done to yourself, Perseus."
"Oh." The kid blinked. "Um, it wasn't me. Lamia kinda stuck her arm through my ribcage."
Triton's heart skipped a beat, and he let out a choked sound because Lamia?! "Stuck her arm through your ribcage?!"
The boy's voice was matter-of-fact, no panic, no hysteria, simple acceptance.
As if he was used to it.
The idea made the Sea Prince sick to his stomach.
"Yeah. I thought she was behind me, but she got in front of me somehow." Perseus shrugged, a faint pout pulling at his mouth. He looked about five years old. "I basically just ran right into it. But seriously, she's really annoying! She won't die! I mean, I cut off her head, sliced her in half, left her in five pieces—nothing. She just reforms. I know it isn't the Doors of Death, because me and Annabeth closed those. She just doesn't die."
He let out an irritated huff. Abruptly, his body shuddered. He stopped breathing for a moment, and his entire frame curled in on itself. His eyes closed, and a strangled gasp ripped itself from his throat. He forced his eyes back open almost immediately, practically hyperventilating. He searched desperately until he found the moon, then relaxed again, the tension leaving him.
Triton set his jaw. "Alright, we're going to Atlantis." He'd gotten a glimpse of Perseus' wound when he convulsed, and he'd almost been sick. It went all the way through his body. His back was charred, and Triton remembered Lamia had once been a highly skilled sorceress, a daughter of Hecate. The ocean was healing what it could, but this would take Father's power to heal. Maybe even Apollo's.
Perseus smiled, but this one was small, and defeated. "I'm not an idiot, Triton. There's no fixing this one."
Triton grit his teeth. "We'll see." He lifted the broken demigod into his arms and took off, determined to make it home before Thanatos even left the Underworld.
They made it. Just barely, but they made it. As soon as Triton got within sight of the City, he started mentally shouting for his father, desperately begging him for help. Poseidon met him at the Gates, worry etched on his face.
"Triton, are you hurt?!" was the first thing out of his mouth. Triton didn't even have time to be thrilled about that because Perseus had lost consciousness six minutes ago.
"I'm fine! But Lamia found Perseus." He held the demigod out to his father. Poseidon's face paled, horror flooding his features. He reached out and took his son into his arms, gently pushing back the unruly curls.
"Percy…" he whispered, pain etching itself into his face and voice.
"Father, he's still alive! But he's lost far too much blood, his back is severely burned, and—" Triton swallowed hard. "Lamia forced her arm completely through his body. I think you can save him, but you have to go now!"
The Sea God's eyes hardened in determination. Cradling Perseus in one arm, he clamped his other hand on Triton's shoulder and flashed them into the room Perseus had recovered in the last time he came to Atlantis.
Triton was beginning to see a trend here. (He didn't like it)
Poseidon summoned the healers, and they got to work as Poseidon pulled Triton aside. "Thank you, my son," he murmured, cupping the side of Triton's face. "Thank you so much."
Triton looked at the floor. "I couldn't just leave him there."
Poseidon tapped his chin, making him meet his king's eyes. "You are my heir, and my firstborn son, and I love you. I have hurt you and your mother, and for that I am more sorry than I can say. But you saved his life. I—" Poseidon took a deep breath. "I would ask a favor of you."
"What?" Triton tilted his head.
"When he recovers, get to know him. He is not like Theseus, or Orion, or any other hero you've ever known. He is loyal, and kind. He probably blames me more than you and your mother do, because I hurt you, yes, but him…" Poseidon sighed, suddenly looking very weary. "Him I condemned to a hero's fate. I swore on the Styx, and when I broke it, there were no consequences for me. No, my punishment landed on my son."
Triton's eyes widened. He'd never thought about it that way before. "I can promise nothing more than that I will try, Father."
His father's eyes warmed, and he smiled, embracing his eldest. "That is all I ask, my son."
"M'Lord?" A healer stuck her head out the door.
"On my way," answered Poseidon. He turned back to Triton. "Would you find your mother, tell her where I am and what's happened?"
Triton nodded. "Go. I didn't go to all that trouble just so you could be late and let him die anyway." He was trying to mask his concern, but from the way his father grinned, he didn't think he succeeded. Rolling his eyes, he went to find his mother.
He found her in her garden, in the heart of the palace. She was sitting on a bench of abalone, staring vacantly at a wall.
Amphitrite's head turned, and she offered him a wan smile. Concerned, he swam over and settled on the seafloor and leaned against her tail. "Are you alright?"
She sighed. "That boy is here again."
Triton winced. "That is actually why I was sent to find you. Yes, he's here, but do you remember how he arrived last time?"
"Burnt halfway to a crisp, bleeding and unconscious?"
"Yes. His current visit would appear to be a repeat."
"And they call him the Savior of Olympus." She snorted. "I find myself distinctly unimpressed."
"Mother…" he sighed. "Lamia was after him."
Amphitrite's eyes widened. "Lam—what did she do?"
Triton couldn't help but notice that for someone who "didn't care one drop" about the boy, Amphitrite sure was interested in how badly he was hurt. He swallowed, paling a little as he remembered the severity of Perseus' wounds.
Amphitrite gripped his hands. "Triton?"
"She—" he cleared his throat. "She forced her arm completely through his torso. His back is charred—probably from one of her spells—his left arm is broken, and his right knee was dislocated."
Amphitrite's mouth dropped open. "How is he still alive?" she wondered.
"I was ambushed by a pod of hippocampi during training earlier," he answered. "They were completely frantic, begging for help, babbling about blood in the water at Litchfield. At first I thought it was just the usual—one of their friends caught by a shark, or some such. Then one of them said it was the blood of the Sea." He shuddered in remembered fear. "I thought Father had been injured. So they told me where it was. But when I got there, it was Perseus. I brought him back here, and Father and the healers are trying to convince him not to die."
Amphitrite narrowed her eyes, carefully examining her son. He had grown colder as the centuries passed. He pulled away from both her and her king. But not so much that she could no longer read him like a book. "Triton. What else?"
He glared at the seafloor, and she gently tugged on his chin to make him meet her searching gaze. She leveled him with the Look, the one that made even Poseidon crack.
"Did you know he's eighteen?" Triton asked seemingly randomly.
She blinked. "What?"
"When I got there, he was coughing up blood. The sea around him was scarlet. I couldn't see his injury right away, because he was covering it, trying to stop the bleeding. I asked him what he'd done. He said, 'I made it to eighteen'." Triton's expression suddenly reminded her of when he was young, and his first hippocampi had passed away from old age. The same hurting, lost look filled his eyes as he stared at her and said, "Did you know that most of the demigods don't even make it to eighteen?"
"I thought he was delirious at first, but when I asked him what that was supposed to mean, he said, 'I made it to eighteen, and I wasn't even supposed to make past sixteen.' He was dying, floating in the ocean, alone and in pain, and he was alright with that. He was perfectly alright with dying and he's only eighteen."
Amphitrite stared at him. "He considers himself lucky to have reached eighteen years of age?"
Triton nodded. "He said that's probably why Atropos hates him so much—because he was supposed to die, and he didn't."
Amphitrite was speechless. "Eighteen…to us, that's practically an infant."
"I know." Triton stared at the ground again. "Barely into college, and he was ready to die, alone and in the dark." He shook his head.
Finally, Amphitrite pulled herself together again. "I taught most of those healers myself," she said, "and from what you've said, Perseus' wounds are grievous. I shall offer my assistance, and see if we can't put him back in one piece."
Triton rose. "I'll come with you."
They left the gardens. They weren't exactly rushing, but they certainly weren't dawdling.
"Father asked a favor of me," Triton said. "I thought I'd warn you, since he'll probably ask you as well."
"And what did he ask you?"
"It was actually rather simple: get to know Perseus. Father said he's not like any hero we've ever met."
"Get to know the son of my husband by another woman," Amphitrite mused. "Not the most diplomatic thing he's ever thought of."
Triton snorted. "Definitely not. But I promised him that I'd try."
Amphitrite was quiet until they reached Perseus' room. Then she reached out, stopping Triton with a hand on his shoulder. "I shall try as well for one simple reason." Her mouth lifted in a heartbroken smile. "It is not the boy's fault. He did not ask for any of this. He has done the best he can with what he has, and I agree with Poseidon. Perseus is unlike any other hero I've met."
She took a deep breath. Then a different smile lit her face, one full of mischief and hope. "And who knows? This boy just might turn out to be not so bad after all."
Triton gave a small smile. "Well, either way, this is going to be an interesting few days."
His mother laughed, then together, they entered the room.
A few hours later, the healers departed, leaving behind a few bottles of potions and nectar. Both Amphitrite and Poseidon had exhausted themselves to heal the boy. Whatever spell Lamia had used, it was determined to claim his life. Fortunately for Perseus, the Sea monarchs were even more determined to save it.
Perseus would live.
Triton sighed, staring down at the boy. He looked better. More like death-warmed-over, instead of just plain up death. His torso was wrapped in bandages, but his knee and left forearm had been completely healed by the water. His back was still wretchedly burned, but Amphitrite was hoping she could get it to heal without too many scars. The hole in his chest had been regrown, but he would always have scars from it.
Speaking of scars, Amphitrite had cried once all the adrenaline and hurry had worn off, and she'd gotten a long, proper look at him. His body was just covered in them. They ranged from sword wounds, to dagger marks, to claw and fang and talon. There was a very interesting one on the palm of his left hand—a kind of starburst shape.
But the worst ones were on his back. Long lines of varying size ran from his slim shoulders to his waist. Some of them were relatively new, while others were silvered with age. The little skin that hadn't been charred was just covered with them. Amphitrite had gently run her hands over them, and even in his almost catatonic state, Perseus had flinched away.
Triton's parents had withdrawn to their own room to rest—they'd completely drained themselves. Triton was uncertain who was more surprised—himself or his father—when he volunteered to watch over the boy. His mother, curse her, just smirked.
So now he'd been sitting here a little over half the night, and the boy still hadn't woken. Triton sighed softly, gently pressing a hand to the boy's forehead. The healers were fairly positive the Sea Monarchs had eradicated the entirety of the spell, and being in the ocean should take care of any other complications, but they'd said to keep an eye on his temperature.
So far, it had been normal. Triton was a bit concerned over how long it was taking the boy to wake up, though. Last time, he'd fallen a hundred stories with an arrow in his leg and a ship blowing up behind him, and he'd only been out a couple of hours. Admittedly, his current wounds were much more severe, but still. He was in Atlantis, the heart of the Sea, where Father's power was strongest. The King and Queen of the ocean had poured their strength into him, and still he made no sign of awakening.
No sooner had the thought crossed his mind than the boy began to stir. Just a bit, at first. Then, all of a sudden, he rocketed upright, hands reaching for the pocket Triton knew held Anaklusmos. He didn't get more than halfway up before a cry of pain ripped from his mouth, and he started to fall back. Triton quickly grabbed his shoulders and guided him back down to the bed.
Percy flinched away from the touch, eyes wide and disoriented.
"Please, no," he whispered, trying to get as far away as possible. He let out an almost soundless hiss of agony and curling into himself. "Please, stop."
"Perseus…" Triton didn't know what to say. The boy was obviously not seeing him. He gently shook the lad by the shoulders, careful not to hurt him. "Perseus. Snap out of it. You are in Atlantis. You were attacked by Lamia, and Poseidon and Mother healed you."
The boy blinked rapidly and shook his head. His eyes cleared, and he met Triton's eyes with something like disbelief. "You saved me," he said, voice rough.
"Father saved you," Triton corrected. "I just brought you to the palace."
Triton stared at him. "Why wouldn't I?" he asked, bewildered.
"Because you hate me," Percy said. "Because I'm a symbol of Dad's unfaithfulness to you and your mother. Because I'm the result of a broken oath. Because I—"
"I don't hate you!" Triton cut him off, appalled.
Percy snorted. "Yeah, right. I saw the way you looked at me, last year. You wanted me gone."
Triton took a deep breath, but before he could say anything, Percy started talking again.
"I get it, you know. I really do," Percy's green eyes were wandering across the ceiling aimlessly. "You don't want me here. I'm not supposed to be here. I'm not even supposed to exist. I'm a mistake." The amount of bitterness in his voice surprised Triton, and some distant corner of his mind acknowledged that the boy wouldn't be saying any of this if he wasn't half conscious and drugged to the gills.
"I mean, I have saved a few people," Percy said. "But there were so many more who I couldn't save. So many who paid the price for the mistakes of the Olympians." He sighed, eyes drifting to the window. "We're just kids, you know?"
Triton swallowed hard. "I know."
"We never asked for any of this. We just want somewhere to live, where we can actually live, without always being afraid of what's gonna try and kill us next. We don't want the wars, or the quests. We just want to be able to see our parents, talk to our family. Did you know," he tilted his head and looked Triton in the eyes, "that right after we saved Artemis on Mt. Tam and went to Olympus to make Zeus admit Kronos was rising again, almost half of the Olympians voted to have me incinerated right then and there?"
Triton's mouth was opening and closing, but he couldn't quite seem to get any sound out.
"No? Yeah, well…Most of them want me dead anyway, only reason I'm still around is because I'm useful." He snorted. "When they decide I'm not necessary anymore, one of them will snap their fingers and poof. No more Percy. And not one immortal will care. Well, Aunt Hestia will. Uncle Hades is probably going to do a victory dance—he's wanted me dead even longer than Zeus. Can't really blame him though, considering what Zeus did to his family…" Percy trailed off.
"Father would care," Triton rasped.
"Yeah," Percy's mouth pulled up at the corner. "I'm pretty sure he's the only reason I made it past twelve."
"The year I got to camp, Chiron told me the only reason the Olympians hadn't attacked me yet was because they were afraid of angering Poseidon." Percy huffed a quiet laugh. "It is an absolute pity that Kronos didn't share that fear. Or Gaea." The boy looked at Triton and aimed a broken smile his way. "That would have made my life so much simpler. And less painful. You know," he said, "I should have taken Medusa up on her deal."
"Medusa?!" Triton shouted, horrified.
Percy snorted. "Yeah. One of the first monsters I killed. She made me an offer. "Don't be a pawn of the Olympians, my dear," she said. "Your life would be better as a statue. Less pain, less pain."" Percy shook his head, bitterness burning in his eyes. "She was right."
"But—But you're a hero!" Triton stammered, unable to believe his ears. "You've saved the world, twice over! You have so much to live for."
Percy laughed with no humor. "We don't save the world because we want all of the pressure and pain and loss that comes with it. We save the world because no one else is willing to do it. We're kids, Triton. We should be worrying about grades and girls and passing our driver's tests, not what all-powerful, immortal, supernatural being is going to try and murder us and everyone we love next. That's not living, that's surviving. That's barely surviving." He laughed again, and tears shimmered in his eyes. "And some of us don't even manage that. You know where they are?"
Triton wordlessly shook his head.
"They're dead," Percy spat. "For almost half of them, we couldn't even recover their bodies, so we sent their parents their funeral shroud, because we have those. It's one of the first things you do when you get to camp—you make your own funeral shroud. "Welcome to camp, your parents have insulted/cursed the vast majority of monstrous beings in existence and they're all going to come after you, so here's a funeral shroud! And when you are inevitably killed, we might even be able to recover your mutilated body instead of just sending your parents your shroud! Aren't you lucky!""
Triton felt like he was going to throw up.
The boy smiled, but it was all sharp edges and his eyes were broken into a thousand pieces. "Welcome to the life of a demigod," he said softly. "It's such an honor to be the child of an Olympian."
There we go! I know that Percy is really angsty and bitter here, but this fic is set pretty soon after he gets back from Tartarus. And I know that I'm leaving Annabeth out of this, but she's not the focus here. The focus was Triton seeing past the "I'm a demigod! Life is great!" thing that he had going in The Last Olympian. He's seeing that Percy's life isn't all long walks on the beach and sunsets. It's a very difficult, pain-filled life, and he's realizing that there's much more to this boy than he first thought. The only thing I can promise about this story is that things will get brighter eventually. No idea when, but eventually.
If you have any requests or ideas, let me know!
Also, that bit about summoning small children wherever you go? Am I the only person that has this problem?
Thanks! Reviews are love!
(11/21/19: Like I said, I didn't change the content. There are a couple of sentences I re-worked just because they sounded bad, and I tweaked the beginning a little bit. It just flows more smoothly now. Should make it a little easier to read!)