Some heroes can't ever leave the conflict. Duty to serve overwhelm them. Many never ask for the right to serve. Some spend their entire lives trying to escape. For fewer, must go on longer.
Leo didn't know what to expect once his destiny of saving the Earth had come to an end and he freed Calypso. After everything, his friends believed him to be dead, and he set Calpyso free to see the world alongside the hunters of Artemis.
He didn't know what else to do. All alone in the world with Festus the dragon. Just him and the ever busy yet empty world around him.
With nothing before him, he inevitably landed at a Cyban coast line and stared at the pure, sparkling blue ocean. He let Festus explore the land as was in a dragon's nature as he continued to stare. With his dragon focused on the native life, Leo looked to the sky, then bowed his head, thinking a small prayer towards Posiedon, Hades and his father. It was short, to the point, and hopefully without intervention. Looking back at Festus longingly, he made his choice, and stepped off the cliff side. He gasped just before hitting the water instinctively, entering Posiedon's kingdom in an attempt to return to Hades' realm.
He could feel the cool grip of the nighttime water and the current against his abnormally warm body. His exhausted limbs began to seize as he instinctively fought to get air. With his lungs getting as close to burning as Leo felt gas leave his lungs I favor of anything they could get only to be assaulted from saltwater. His body felt like it was going limp as he welcomed returning to Hades. He was going to die a second time. Perhaps, he could see his mom this time.
Dying never really hurt. Itwas surviving that hurt.
So even before his vision returned, his burning throat and lungs told him that he had failed in ending his life. He could feel tears prick at the corners of his eyes for a moment before drying up in exhaustion. He groaned and reached out for Festus, the only one who would save him. But instead of smooth metal, he felt warm skin.
"Hey, you awake? Mama! I think he's waking up!"
Leo groaned once again and opened a bleary brown eye. Everything was fuzzy for a moment. But as time went on his vision sharpened and Leo came face to face with an excited but concerned thin faced Latino boy with impossibly dark blue eyes.
"Hola. Glad to see you're awake," he said in a cheery but soft voice that made reminded Leo of his mother.
"Hey," Leo croaked out with a sore throat.
"Lance? How's he looking?" An older woman's voice cut threw the air.
"Better if had some of your famous soup mom," the boy- Lance- complimented. Leo heard a chuckle as a larger and curvaceous woman walked into the room with a tray with a steaming bowl of what Leo assumed was soup and a glass of ice water. Leo felt a hand slip under him and a pillow placed behind to keep him upright. He felt Lance's hand on his shoulder and then on top of Leo's head with a light ruffle as the woman he assumed was Lance's mother.
"You're quite the charmer," the woman said with a chuckle. Leo felt his limp limbs try and get up to drink the water, only to find exhaustion had sapped him of all his energy.
Lance gave a worried smile and asked, "You want the water right?"
Leo tiredly nodded. What else could he even do?
"Mom!" A new voice broke in making Leo jump a little, shaking the tray slightly.
"What is it Marcela?"
"Damian and Luis are fighting ag- well hi there! Glad to see you awake!"
"Marcela? Damian and Luis?"
"Oh right. They were fighting and squashed the squash."
The woman sighed and muttered "Not again," under her breath as she left the room, no doubt to deal with the squash squishers with Marcela following behind. He then noticed Lance had grabbed his glass and held it up to his lips.
"Still thirsty right?"
Leo gave a sad and sheepish grin before allowing Lance to give him water. Once the glass was pulled away, Lance started to talk.
"We were real worried. When we saw you just floating in the water and all."
Leo didn't say anything as he realized that they had been the ones to drag him out of the water, not Festus.
"Do you remember what happened?"
"I just came to Cuba looking for family," he lied. For some reason, a warmth blossomed in his heart like when he was working in a forge, "I figured that since I was here, I'd check out the ocean. Guess it was a little much for me," he gave a forced grin.
"No foolin? Heck, mom's got connections all over Cuba. What's your last name. We'll help you find them."
Leo felt his stomach drop. The last thing he wanted was to get connected to anyone when it was inevitable he would leave. Even if it was just the overly friendly blue eyed boy.
But then again... What was the harm? If he didn't let him help, he was sure they wouldn't leave him alone.
"Valdez. My name is Leo Valdez."
Both Lance and Leo could hear the front screen door open as two boys, young sounding at that, were pulled into the house by the back of their shirts, grumbled about how unfair their mom was being.
"What Lance? I need to talk with your brothers about why it's a bad idea to wrestle by the garden."
"You know any Valdezes? He's looking for family."
The woman walked to the doorway of the room and stared at Leo with both smaller boys still in her grasp.
"I do... But they moved away a long time ago."
"Oh," Leo said glad to have an out.
"Tell me kid, who was your mother?"
"Humor an old woman won't you?"
"Mami! You aren't old. Why you are positively radiant," Lance gushed with a goofy and sarcastic smile.
"Thank you Lance. Now young one, what was your mother's name?"
"Esperanza," he said softly. The woman gasped, her grip loosened on the two boys but they made no move to run, now curious.
"Was... Was your grandfather named Samuel?"
"We called him Sammy," Leo blurted out.
"Oh my god... You're Espie's son."
"Mom?" Lance questioned.
"My cousin Esperanza, and her sister Rosa. You're familia."
Leo felt himself pale, then faint with the new information overwhelming him.
After defeating Gaia, Leo goes to explore the world, only to find himself meeting a spunky young man who wants to be a fighter pilot. Basically, Lance. They discover a shocking revelation that their mothers were cousins. Leo ends up sticking with Lance's family, and going to the Garrison, eventually being stuck in a blue lion and rocketing off to a new war... In space.
Rule 1. Leo hasn't told anyone he's a demigod, nor of his fire power.
Rule 2. He does not initially, if ever, get a lion.
Rule 3. Leo does have at least one incident of combat.