"Doctor Chase?" A soft voice called out. Fredrick looked up from his stack of maps and records, all related to incidents at sea and references to a people who lived beneath the waves. Admittedly… there wasn't much, and what was there was likely to be a hoax. But he knew Atlantis was real. He just needed proof.
"Yes?" He asked, before frowning. She was young, perhaps mid-twenties, and she had a young boy, easily five or six, holding her hand by her side, looking around his office. "May I help you?"
"I hope so," the woman said, "this is… this is going to sound crazy, but please, just hear me out."
He almost called for security—almost. His hand was hovering near the phone when he noticed the boy, who was staring at the school of fish in his tank. But that wasn't what surprised him. The fish were staring back at him, stock still, just… observing.
"Please, sit down, miss…" he trailed off, and the young woman took the seat in front of his desk, her young son getting pulled onto her lap.
"Jackson," she informed him, "my name is Sally Jackson, and this is my son, Perseus."
"Percy," the boy said, "Per-see-us is too long."
"Percy, then," Fredrick smiled at him, "you're a different boy, aren't you?"
"I dunno," Percy said with all the enthusiasm a child could muster. He had to be Annabeth's age, but even now, Fredrick could pick up things about him that were out of place in a child. His eyes were a startling green, almost glowing in the low light of his office. His body was just a little too toned for a boy of five, but other than that he really looked normal.
"Percy's father was… well, he was the King of Atlantis, an underwater nation at the bottom of the ocean somewhere. His body is designed for crushing depths, and his muscles are so strong that he's able to swim at these depths the same way that. Percy's just now coming into that strength, among other things, and I need him to be taught as to not give himself away. I've done so much subtle inquiring, and everything led to you."
"It's… it's real?" He breathed, "Atlantis is real?" Sally nodded her head slowly, "I don't know much, Miss Jackson, but I'll do whatever I can to help your son. I promise."
"Thank you so much," she breathed out, "I didn't know what else to do."
"I wish I could say I understand, but…" he gave her a gentle smile, "this'll have to be a very lowkey thing, yes? I think that we should introduce our children to each other, see if they become friends. It'll help explain why I see Percy so much."
"Friend?" Percy re-joined the conversation, "I like friends!"
"Hopefully, love," Sally told him, stroking his unruly hair.
"My daughter Annabeth is around your age, Percy," Fredrick explained, "I think you and she will get along very well. She's always looking for new friends. Would you like to meet her soon?"
"Maybe?" Percy said, "is she nice? I like nice people. I don't like mean people."
"I guess you'll just need to meet her and make up your own mind then, won't you?"
"Percy's here!" Annabeth cried out in excitement. Fredrick chuckled and stepped aside as his daughter barrelled past him, out the door, nearly tackling Percy to the ground. Sally smiled at the sight and gave Mary a slight wave. Fredrick studied the boy as he always did. At eight years old, Percy was easily as strong as an adult athlete, and if his theory was correct, would only get stronger as he grew older. Even he could only guess how strong Percy would become.
"Alright Annabeth let him breath," Mary laughed, and Annabeth reluctantly let Percy go, before dragging him inside.
"Come on!" She said, "if we're lucky we'll see the whales out in the ocean!"
"Okay, okay!" Percy grumbled, but there was genuine happiness in his eyes that couldn't be hidden by his words. He let Annabeth lead him through the house to the roof, where two sets of binoculars were waiting for them.
"How are you, Sally?" Mary asked, ushering them inside, past the play-pen where Robert and Matthew babbled incoherently to each other.
"Busy, mostly," the younger woman sighed, "I've had to pick up extra shifts at Sam's lately, since running the lighthouse doesn't pay much. It's not easy, but we make do."
"If you ever need us to watch Percy, we're more than happy to," Mary smiled.
"Oh, I couldn't ask that!" Sally protested, "it's nearly forty-five minutes from our house to here! And that's if traffic's light!"
"Percy and Annabeth love spending time together," Mary shrugged, "we certainly wouldn't mind watching him if you need time to work, or just relax. Besides, the twins seem to calm down far more often when he's here to play with them, and unlike Annabeth, he loves doing it, so it's really a win-win for us."
"Truly, Sally, we don't mind," Fredrick added, "Percy's a delight. We'd be more than happy to have him over more often."
Sally Jackson was stubborn—Fredrick knew that to be a fact—but as she chewed on her lip, he couldn't help but realise just how desperate she really was. That she was willing to leave her son, easily the one person she valued more than anything alive with them for possibly entire days at a time showed that things weren't as simple as she had tried to pass them off as.
"We can talk about this later," he offered, "why don't you come in and have a cup of tea, or coffee?"
"Tea would be lovely, thank you," Sally said as Mary walked them to the couch. Fredrick went to the kitchen without a word, turning the kettle on before pulling several mugs out of the cupboard. He let his mind drift off as he thought about Percy. The boy was clever—far cleverer than he let on, and incredibly intuitive. He hadn't told anyone about his ability to breath underwater, and he hadn't even let on that he could command fish, not even to Fredrick himself. Or perhaps Percy didn't realise he could do it, in which case, Fredrick needed to teach him.
"Here you go," he said as he handed the tea over to the women, before going back and grabbing his own. "Percy and Annabeth are still trying to spot the whales. I don't think they've had much luck."
"If only they could talk to them," Mary chuckled, not noticing the way that Sally stiffened slightly. So Percy had told someone, then. It just wasn't him. That was fine, he understood why Percy would wait before telling him about this development. He just hoped he wouldn't withhold too much for too long.
"Good job, Percy!" Fredrick praised as the fish swam away, "you're getting much better at talking to them!"
"It's… it's not talking, Doctor Chase," Percy frowned, "it's more… commanding, and while it's natural, I still feel wrong doing it. They're living creatures, and I just—just force them to do what I want. It's not right."
He should've seen it sooner. He really should have. From when he was nine to when he was thirteen, Percy had gotten a stepfather—Gabe Ugliano. Fredrick had never liked the man, and he couldn't tell why, until one day, he got a panicked call from Annabeth, saying something about the police, and Sally, and he hadn't heard much else before rushing to Montauk with Mary. When they arrived, Gabe was being carted off on a gurney, handcuffed to it. A sobbing Sally was holding Percy, apologising profusely. That was when he had found out the truth.
Gabe was abusive. He was an angel when Sally was around, but the moment she vanished, he would take out any frustration he felt on Percy. While Percy didn't bruise easily back then, it was still possible, though Fredrick knew it would take severe trauma to form the bruises on his torso. He still didn't know the full story, but he had gotten bits and pieces over the years since. 'Fire Iron' was a word that came up every so often. It made him sick. Even three years later, Percy could get incredibly passionate when he saw anything that could be construed as abusive. He placed a hand on Percy's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Percy, I should've realised." He apologised, "let's focus on something else, why don't we? You're getting faster in the water, right?"
"Much," he nodded, "and I'm getting stronger. I wasn't paying attention where I was and went through the hull of a shipwreck. It was steel, so I think it was a ship from one of the world wars, maybe, or around that era. There wasn't much left to identify it, but I didn't look either."
"I don't blame you," Fredrick chuckled, "I'd have been mightily distracted as well."
"I…I know it's important I learn to control my abilities," Percy practically spat the words, "and I will, but for now could we—could we maybe hold off on the whole talking to fish thing?"
"Don't worry about it," Fredrick assured him, "okay, let's call it a day. I'm sure Annabeth needs your help with prom stuff, right?"
"No?" Percy frowned, "why would she?"
"You didn't ask her to prom? She told me that she had been asked by a boy, and I just assumed…"
"I—no, I hadn't asked her. She uh, didn't tell me that anyone had asked her," Percy said softly, and Fredrick felt awful. He had just—Percy and Annabeth spent so much time together that sometimes Fredrick himself felt as if they were dating. "I think… I think I'm going to go for a swim. Thanks again, Doctor Chase. I'll see you later."
"Yes, yes, of course," he coughed, "until next time, Percy. Oh, Percy, one last thing, if you don't mind?"
"Sure, what is it?"
"While you're out swimming… could you possibly keep an eye out for any sign of Atlantis? It would be amazing to discover what I can about it!"
"Yeah, uh, I'll keep an eye out, for sure," Percy said, before wading into the surf, not a care in the world for his clothes. He didn't have anything on him but what he was wearing—he had swum to this little cove from his home at Montauk. Fredrick smiled as he turned around, not noticing the way that Percy spat at the sea, nor the look of annoyance on his face as he glanced over his shoulder back at him. And even if he had noticed them, he wouldn't have known why he reacted that way.
"So who asked you to prom, Annabeth?" Fredrick asked casually, as his daughter worked on her homework. She stilled immediately, and he could practically hear the gears turning in her head.
"Oh, um, it was, uh, Percy!" She blurted out. Disappointment wasn't a feeling that Fredrick was used to with Annabeth, but in this moment, with this lie, he couldn't help but feel it. She seemed to read it on his face. "…you've spoken with Percy, haven't you?"
"Less than an hour ago, in fact," he confirmed, "he was even more in the dark about being your prom date than I'd have imagined for a boy who asked you. Now, why are you lying to me?"
"It's just, uhm, I don't really think you'd approve," she said meekly, "and I didn't want you to stop me from going."
"Is he a criminal? A drug dealer?" Fredrick asked. Annabeth shook her head. "Well then he can't be that bad. Who is it?"
"It's… Luke. Castellan." Annabeth told him.
"The senior?" Fredrick asked. "Who was suspected of assisting his father in robbing a jewellery store?"
"It's not true! Everyone knows it's not true!" Annabeth protested.
"Annabeth," Fredrick sighed, "I'm not going to tell you that you can't go. Nor am I going to tell you to pick another date. I just wish that you'd have been honest with me upfront."
"I'm sorry dad," Annabeth said, "but I knew you didn't like him… and neither does Percy. That's why I didn't tell him."
"Percy's a pretty good judge of character, Annabeth," Fredrick reminded her, "he saw Gabe for what he was before any of us did, and when we didn't believe him, he suffered for it. Have you asked him why he doesn't like Luke?"
"He wouldn't tell me," his daughter groaned, "he just insists that he's not as good of a person as everyone thinks he is. But Luke is nice. He's good. I know it. I know it!"
"If you insist," Fredrick frowned. "I still think that you should at least talk to Percy. He is your best friend, after all. Or has that changed too and you didn't tell me?"
"Just asking," he shrugged, "you're nearly an adult, Annabeth. I can't control you, nor do I have any desire to do so. You're very much like your mother in that regard."
"Percy?" He heard Mary ask, before gasping loudly, "oh dear, what happened?"
The sound of crying drifted into his study just after, and it took him an embarrassing moment to realise that it was Annabeth. He was to the door in a flash, where Percy was holding a crying Annabeth, who didn't look to be able to stand on her own.
"He's such an asshole!" his daughter slurred, swaying on her feet. She was drunk. Fredrick held in a sigh of disappointment. "How could he do this to me?"
"Let's get you to bed, dear," Mary said, taking Annabeth from Percy, "you can tell me all about it there, yes?"
"I wan-I want Percy to take me!" Annabeth declared, but she let Mary lead without complaint.
"What happened?" Fredrick asked once they were out of earshot.
"Luke ditched her pretty quick," Percy sighed, running his hand through his hair, "Annabeth found him in a… compromising position with another girl, so she went and got utterly shitfaced. The moment I found her I drove her straight here."
"Oh my poor girl," he muttered, "how could he do this to her?"
"I think I broke his jaw," Percy admitted, "he didn't even care about what he had done to her. I just… I snapped. I don't particularly care, either."
"You have to be careful, Percy," Fredrick warned him, "no one will think much of it due to the circumstances, but if you make a habit of this…"
"I don't plan to," Percy cut him off, "could you drop me back at the school? I need to get my car and drive home."
"What about your date?"
"Who do you think Annabeth found Luke with?" Percy asked bitterly.
"Oh. Oh, I see. Don't worry, I'll drive you there. I'm so sorry about tonight, Percy."
"Don't worry about it, Doctor Chase," Percy's voice was low, "I wasn't planning on having a good time anyway."
"You've got two more proms in you at least, my boy," Fredrick ruffled his hair, "hopefully they're better than this one was."
"Oh look at you two! All ready to graduate!" Mary clapped her hands together. Both Percy and Annabeth looked incredibly uncomfortable in their robes, but they smiled convincingly the moment that the cameras came out.
"Let's just get this stupid ceremony over with," he heard Percy mutter, grunting slightly when Annabeth elbowed him.
"Okay seriously, it's not that bad," she told him, "and have you been working out? Your ribs are practically rock solid."
"A little," Percy shrugged, "most of it probably comes from swimming."
"Don't lie to me Perseus Jackson," Annabeth chided him, "you don't become that toned from swimming. Come on, tell me! Is it for a girl? Is that why you've secretly been working out?"
"I guess I just have good genetics," Percy said simply and sharply, and Annabeth instantly recoiled.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have pushed," she said softly.
"No, no." Percy shook his head, "it's not your fault. It's just around that time of year again. Mom's getting melancholic and I'm getting snappy. You know how it goes."
"I know, but still I shou—"
"Annabeth, it's fine, really," Percy assured her, "now let's get this thing over with. I want to go swimming."
"You always want to swim," Annabeth pointed out.
"Doesn't mean that I mean it any less this time," Percy chuckled, "come on, I can see Grover and Juniper waiting for us. Let's get going. We don't want to be late, do we?"
"I suppose not," his daughter sighed dramatically, "it would be asking too much, wouldn't it?"
Fredrick watched them stroll of the side, noting with pride as the two greeted nearly everyone who crossed their paths, without any hesitation. From what he had gathered over the years, Percy was seen as a bit of an outsider, considering how much time he spent at Montauk, but he was, without fail, one of the more liked students at Goode High School. Annabeth, likewise, was immensely popular, and as the valedictorian, one of the smarter students. People asked her for help, and she freely gave it. That was the dynamic between Percy and Annabeth. People went to his daughter for help with school, but to Percy for help with life.
Fredrick sighed after a moment. Despite searching for two years, Percy still hadn't come across Atlantis, and so there was no proof for his research. Or maybe he had, a quiet voice in his mind said, and he isn't telling you.
Fredrick pushed that voice aside as he strolled into the gymnasium. Sally was already seated, looking far older than her thirty-nine years, the stress clearly building on. Fredrick and Mary had helped where they could, as had Percy once he came of age, but there was still so much for Sally to do, and not enough time to do it. She was pushing herself too hard, and she knew it. Still, she managed to beam a warm smile at his family as they approached, motioning to the seats next to her that she had clearly held for them. Like Percy, Sally was universally loved—or perhaps it was the other way around—and if she had asked for several seats to be held for the Chases, no one would've questioned it.
"Isn't this wonderful?" Sally asked them as they sat, "our children, ready to go onto to college, and then the world?"
"It's an inspiring moment," Mary nodded, "but I still remember them when they were tiny, playing with each other in the sand, splashing each other with water. It's so odd seeing them now as adults."
"They'll make a mark on this world," Fredrick added, "I'm sure of it."
Sally shot him a glare, causing Fredrick to look away. She was really intimidating when she wanted to be, for such a sweet woman. He refocused his attention to the stage, where the principal was coming out to begin the graduation. He didn't really listen, instead thinking about the conversation he needed to have with Percy.
He watched with pride as his daughter gave her speech, clapped with the others when Percy took his diploma with a wide grin on his face, laughed with them when a big bucket of flour doused the Stoll Brothers, who looked stunned for a moment before they too burst out in laughter. He spoke with the other parents about how proud they were of their children and promised to catch up with them for drinks. The entire time, he followed Percy as he moved around, talking with all sorts of people without any hesitation. Popular, unpopular. Smart, not-so-smart, it didn't matter. He treated them all the same. That was how Sally had raised him. He decided to wait. He'd talk to Percy later, after graduation was over.
"You want to what?" Sally hissed at him, Percy stopping her from moving, but even then, his face had gone from shock to betrayal before blanking completely.
"Think about it, Sally, Percy!" He tried to explain, "if we reveal who you are, where you come from, think about the possibilities!"
"Let's not!" Sally exclaimed, and once more, Percy stopped her from moving towards him.
"No, let's," Percy spoke for the first time, "here's a potential scenario—you heard about the boy from San Francisco? The one who they found out could control lighting, could fly—was super strong? Do you remember how the government tried to turn him into a weapon to use in their wars? Or how about the girl in New Orleans, who was nearly lynched by a mob because they thought she was a witch? Or the 'Ghost' in Detroit who led the city's SWAT team into an ambush that ended when they dropped a bomb on the building he was in? What do you think would happen to me, Fredrick?"
He blinked. Percy had, as far as he knew, never used his first name. He circled around Fredrick's desk, moving right in front of him.
"I can lift upwards of fifty tons when I'm out of water, and who-even-knows how much weight I can handle when I'm in the water," Percy said softly, and that terrified Fredrick more than anything, "my muscles are so hard that no metal can cut me. I can take a bullet point blank to the head and it's like getting hit with a rock. If I push myself as hard as I can, I can swim ten thousand feet per second. That's nearly seven thousand miles an hour. I can leap hundreds of feet into the air. I am the perfect weapon for any nation. And you'd make me known."
"All these years, all this research and I'm just supposed to hide it—you—away? This would make us famous, Percy! We'd be seen as pioneers in the scientific world! If you tell me where Atlantis is, it'll be even more cred—"
"Enough!" Percy snapped, and it was only then that Fredrick realised why he had moved. Before he could open his mouth to protest, Percy's fist went right through his computer, tearing the hard-drive out and crushing it in his hands.
He watched in horror as all his research, physical and digital, was destroyed by the raging Atlantean. Percy seemed to know where all his research was, no matter how well he thought he had hidden it. It took ten minutes, and the past twelve years of his life was gone. Crushed, burned, torn and soaked. Just… gone.
"Forget your plans, Fredrick," Percy told him, "they were dangerous, and just this once, because of what I just did, I'll forgive you for thinking it was a good idea. If there's a next time, I won't be as forgiving."
Percy led Sally out, and she shot him once last glare before they were gone. Fredrick crashed back into his chair and held his head in his hands. How could he have let this happen? There was nothing left. Everything he had done, gone. There was no proof.
He blinked. There was no proof now… except for Percy. Percy was the proof he needed. He just didn't know how he would get it. He just needed… he needed someone who would do it, no questions asked. Some like… some like—he knew exactly who to call.
He pulled out his phone and searched the name of the man he was looking for. Amazingly, there was a number to call. His finger hovered over for a moment, as he thought about what he knew about this man, what he had done, and what he could do. It was dangerous, to trust a mercenary, especially a young one, to do exactly what you needed, but in the end, Fredrick could justify it to himself. This was for science. This was for knowledge.
He pressed the number, and his phone began to ring.
Once. Twice. Three times. He was about to hang up when—
"Who is this and what do you want?" A deep voice came through the line.
"My… my name is Fredrick Chase," he said, "and I'd like to hire you."
"I know you," the man on the other end replied, "what do you want me to do?"
"There's a… special man, with special abilities. I need you to get a blood sample from him—it'd be best if he didn't even know why it was needed," he explained, "I don't want anyone getting hurt."
"I'll do what I can. His name?"
"Doctor Chase," the man said slowly, and a pang of worry wormed its way into his chest, "it would be my absolute pleasure."
The phone was hung up, and Fredrick let out a deep sigh. He was committed now. Alone in his ruined office, there wasn't much he could do.
He was practically numb as he began typing out emails to nearly a dozen local news outlets, telling them everything he knew about Percy, and Atlantis, which, for the latter at least, was not much. Once that was done, he sat back and closed his eyes. He needed this to work.
"What have you done?" Annabeth screamed at him, "is this some sort of prank? There're dozens of people swarming Percy's house asking him about his 'powers' and now they're saying you tipped them off?"
"Fredrick," Mary said slowly, "why would you say these things? I just watched poor Sally give a press conference about how her son is regular boy, just like anybody else. Which he is. We've known him since he was six for Gods sake. This was too far, Fredrick, and I can't begin to imagine why you would even do this!"
"It's all true!" He insisted, "I never told you the truth about how I met Sally and Percy. It wasn't at the aquarium. They came to me, asking for my help. Percy was just starting to come into his 'powers' as you call them, and he needed help learning to control them."
"You're ridiculous," Annabeth scoffed, "this is a publicity stunt. You're so desperate to be famous that you'd do something so horrible to my best friend. I can't believe you."
"I've seen it myself, Annabeth!" Fredrick tried telling her, "I've seen Percy do things no regular person should be able to do! I've seen him lift weights unimaginable, swim at speeds that no person could dream of reaching. I had all my research and then he went and destroyed it all! Without any hesitation. I had to do this, don't you understand?"
"No, Dad, I don't," she told him sharply, "once this has blown over, I'm going to apologise to Percy and Sally, and then I'm going to college. I'm more than happy to talk to you and the boys, Mary, but Dad, I don't want to hear from you. This is unreal."
She opened her mouth to say something else, but her phone began ringing and ringing and ringing. She checked the caller I.D. before frowning and picking up.
"Silena? What is it?" She asked, and Fredrick couldn't hear anything that her daughters' friend was saying, but he could see the way she paled, and the way that tears gathered in her eyes. "When? Is she…?"
After a moment she hung up.
"Someone attacked Percy at Montauk," she told them quietly, "Sally tried to fight his attacker off, but he hit her hard. She's had a heart attack. The doctors don't think she's going to make it."
Mary let out a gasp and Fredrick stumbled back a little.
"This is your fault," Annabeth spat at him, "because you wanted to be the famous 'Doctor Chase.' I never want to see you again."
And then she was gone, storming out of the room, and the house. Fredrick knew she'd be going to the hospital, to Percy and Sally.
"I have supported you all these years," Mary told him, her voice cold, a sign her anger was rising, "without question. But this was too far. Annabeth was right, this is your fault. I'm going to take the boys to my parents for a while, and then I'm going to go see Sally. You're not welcome, Fred. Don't try to come."
He watched them leave too, half an hour later, bags packed, and his sons confused. He collapsed back into his chair. He hadn't…he hadn't wanted anyone to get hurt. Sally was his friend. He didn't—God, what had he done?
Three days later, he finally built up the courage to go to the Jackson lighthouse at Montauk, the day of Sally's funeral. The building was surrounded by news vans and reporters, all with their cameras set up and trained on the door.
"We only want to ask some questions!" A reporter called out, "why won't you come out and answer us?"
"Is it true you can breathe underwater?" Another called over.
"Do you really talk to fish?"
"As you can see, Carl, the scene behind me is hectic, with reporters yelling at the house in the hopes of drawing a response out of one Perseus Jackson. Earlier this week, Doctor Fredrick Chase told multiple news agencies that Mister Jackson was an 'Atlantean,' a water-breathing race from the bottom of the ocean," a woman was reporting, and thank God no one had noticed him yet, "In recent days, Sally Jackson, Perseus' mother, denied these claims, saying that Doctor Chase was clearly suffering from some form of issue. Then, three days ago, a mysterious man attack Mister Jackson, and during the struggle, injured Miss Jackson. She later died of a heart attack."
"He's got to come out at some point," a reporter muttered, "his mother's funeral is today."
"He's just sitting there," a woman said, "why's he just sitting?"
Suddenly and without and warning, the door exploded into shards of wood as Percy stalked out, his face furious.
"What do you want from me?" He demanded of them.
"We just want to know what you are!" A reporter that had bowled over asked from the ground.
"I know what I am," Percy told them as he tore his shirt off, pushing through them towards the jetty.
"Percy!" Fredrick tried to call out to him. The young man glanced to his right, and his gaze hardened at seeing him. "Percy, wait!"
"I'm not one of you!" Percy roared at them, before diving into the water, vanishing beneath the waves.
"What the hell?" Someone muttered as a spray of water flew into the air. They didn't know what that meant, but Fredrick did. He was swimming hard.
He swallowed down a sob as he realised what he had done.
So this isn't Filii Deorum. But it is one of several stories I want to write, so here we go with this. Quite simply, this is a kind of DC inspired superhero story, where Percy is a balling Aquaman-like figure. Others will be involved, as hinted to towards the end of this chapter. This will follow the comics more than the DCEU, because those are what I read. Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and feel free to leave a review or send me a PM!