Hey guys!

This is a one-shot in response to Round 4 of the Capture The Flag' Tournament. This is set just after The Lost Hero.

Worked really hard on it so hope you guys like it!

Disclaimer: I don't own this characters. Also, the title of this fic has been inspired by Twenty One Pilots' "Leave the City."

Word Count: 4322

Cheers for reading! Please fav, follow and review.

"They Know (That It's Almost Over)

It was in the beginning of January that Thalia and the hunters had made it to Camp Half-Blood, fulfilling the promise their lieutenant had made to visit her brother.

For Jason, it had supposed a rather bizarre experience, in which for the first time, he had a family member looking out for him at all times. Of course, Thalia was too cool to admit she was keeping tabs on her brother but still, Jason wasn't stupid, as much as Annabeth and Piper loved to argue that. So, while he appreciated it and, the experience of having a sister was definitely a welcoming one, he still found it weird, especially after everything he had accomplished.

Ever since his quest ended, he had done nothing much other than helping Leo with the building of the Argo II, plus trying to remember any possible detail about his life in Camp Jupiter to notify Annabeth and Chiron.

Remembering his past bit by bit had caused two things.

Firstly, he'd remembered all of his successful quests, and how they had given him a reputation fit for the perfect hero. The Trojan Sea Monster, Charleston, and, most importantly, defeating Krios on Mount Othrys, they had given him the pressure of having to be a constant leader, of having to forget about himself in order to be there for his people. Praetorship was about, in a way, not being a person anymore, but an institution. An unbreakable institution, if he didn't want his people to suffer due to any weakness of his.

Secondly, he remembered his friends. Dakota, Hazel, Reyna. He wondered what had happened to them while he was gone and he prayed they hadn't suffered too much looking for him. He thought about Reyna and the fact that she'd probably been leading the entire Legion on her own for weeks, and wished desperately to find a way in which he could contact her without risking the entire quest.

All in all, an inner conflict had arisen within him and, taking the fact that nobody really needed him as an advantage (Leo and Annabeth were too preoccupied planning, Thalia still had her hunters to lead, and Piper had left to visit her dad for a few days), he had allowed himself to crumble internally, as the two versions of himself began a murderous war against one another.

On the one side stood his past version, the one for which his duty was everything. His past version, that had been king during practically his entire life, the one in which he had been shaped into a demigod obedient to the rules, strict and conscious of his place within the chain of command. To sum up, a past version which had been shaped into the perfect Roman, a trait that could not be forgotten entirely, even if he tried.

And, on the other side, the newer version of himself that had been building itself ever since he woke up in that bus. A version that thought it was okay for some things to matter more than duty, like family, friends and love. A version that thought with his heart too, rather than only his head. A version that, as horrible as it may sound, was okay with having left the life he had always known, for it was because of that, that he had met Piper and Leo, because of that he had found Thalia, and because of that he found a home away from home.

All in all, he was slowly going insane and the cold weather wasn't helping. He missed the summers in Camp Jupiter when everything went according to plan. When there was no event that wasn't previously scheduled, when he could go out for walks with Reyna, train his Cohort, or strategize for a War Game and know nothing would interrupt him. Sure, when looking at it in retrospective, his life in Camp Jupiter seemed too routinely but still, he missed the feeling of dependence, and his melancholy only grew as the war within himself furthered, leaving nothing but a scorching trail of destruction behind.

He wished for perspective, for something to just enter into his life and made him realize which was the way to go, which version of himself was the right one to keep, and which was the one he had to discard aside.

A week after Thalia had arrived, perspective arrived in a way Jason couldn't have even imagined.

Piper was the one who delivered the news. Apparently, as her own dad was an actor, while in his house, she had been quite up-to-date with the entertainment gossip, which is how she found out that the townhouse Beryl Grace - the famous actor from the '80s and Jason and Thalia's mom -, had lived in until her death a few years before, was meant to be demolished in order to make way for new housing.

Thalia had stormed out of Cabin One before Piper could finish delivering the message. Jason had delayed just enough to say goodbye to Piper and to find Annabeth before going after her.

They followed the lightning in order to find her.

Along the way, the hunters had joined them, all of them worried about their leader and, after a few, endless minutes in which nothing was heard but their own anxious breaths and the thumping of their hearts as they ran, they made it to the Camp's entrance, and found the source of the lightning.

Thalia stood a few meters before the pine that had contained her all those years ago. She stared right at the top of it, her clear eyes murderous, tinted almost with a supernatural light. Her arms were slightly opened, as if wanting to reach and hug the pine, and lighting emanated out of her continuously, making her short hair react to the static. If she was aware that she was being watched, she didn't acknowledge it, her entire focus on the tree before her, the tree that represented one of the worst moments of her life.

The moment in her life that wouldn't have happened if her mom wasn't a complete lunatic, if she had managed to keep herself together for her children.

Jason already knew enough about their mother to be able to guess Thalia's train of thought, so he took a determined step forward, knowing he was the only one capable of withstanding her lightning.

"What are you doing?" Annabeth demanded from beside him, her hand instinctively reaching forward to hold him back.

"I can take the electricity, Annabeth. Being a son of Jupiter has to be useful for something, after all," Jason replied with a weak smile before turning his eyes towards the hunters, his voice now commanding. "Stay back. I'll deal with my sister."

Phoebe glared at him in return. "Sure. Because I'll listen to you, boy."

Jason opened his mouth to reply but Annabeth cut them off by placing a hand on Phoebe's shoulder. "Phoebe, please. Jason's been affected by this as much as Thalia has. Let's stay here and give them a moment."

Phoebe didn't look too convinced but nodded stiffly, wordlessly commanding the other Hunters to stay back as well.

Jason gulped before slowly walking forward, not being able to help being slightly mesmerized by the electric blue lights coming from his sister. Then and there, he cursed his ability to fly, which seemed really lame when in comparison with Thalia's own skill but still, he knew that was not the time to analyze who was the cooler Grace sibling. Finally, making a surprisingly risking choice, he flew the last few meters between him and Thalia and collapsed into her stiff body, hugging her tightly to his body.

They engaged into a struggle for a few moments, in which Thalia used every ounce of her strength to push her brother away, while Jason stretched himself as much as he could, taking advantage of the few inches he had over her, and pressed himself to her back, tightening the hold around her sister's smaller frame as he could feel the panic rising within her for a few, heart-breaking seconds, before it finally began to evaporate from her, taking her strength with it.

And, at the very last, Thalia sank to her knees, bringing her brother down with her. She then looked down towards the ground, her eyes filling with tears she didn't want anyone to see.

"I hate her. I couldn't care less about her or that cursed house," Thalia finally hissed, her voice hoarse with hatred and pain.

Annabeth, who had approached them when the siblings collapsed into the ground, sat before her oldest friend, her hand on Thalia's. "Still, it was your home. It's okay to have your own unresolved feelings about it. The gods know that, if there's anyone who can understand you, that's me."

Thalia smiled a little and wiped her eyes with her sleeve. She looked up at Annabeth with sad amusement. "It's what brought us together in the first place, right Annie?"

Annabeth's grey eyes thundered warningly but she refrained from commenting on the nickname, instead choosing to nod, burden barely concealed in her expression. "Right."

"What do you want to do about this?" Jason asked in turn, slightly loosening his grip when it was obvious Thalia wasn't about to work herself up again.

Annabeth looked at Jason with a frown. "You guys don't have to do anything about this. The last remnant of the woman who abandoned the two of you is about to disappear. This has to bring you some sense of closure, right?"

Thalia bit her lip, her eyes wide, almost innocent-looking as she thought of her mother and her years with her in that house. It had been a life filled with nightmares, regrets, frustrations, and neglect, yes, but it had also been a life with good memories. Few and far in between, of course, but there were some for sure.

Finally, she turned her head towards Jason. "I don't want the only recollections you have of your first home to be from my own memories or what I had to say about it. I owe it to you to allow you to form yourself your own mind about her."

Jason shook his head vehemently. "It isn't necessary. I promise."

"Yes, it is," Thalia argued gently. "You deserve closure too, just as much as I do."

"Thalia, are you sure?" Annabeth asked quietly.

Thalia smirked in a poor attempt of concealing her own conflict. "What, Chase, you have that little faith in me?"

Annabeth knew Thalia better than anyone, so she wasn't fooled. She straightened stubbornly. "Then I'm coming with you."

Jason frowned. "But the ship, Percy-"

"Percy," Annabeth cut him off, her voice wavering as she pronounced his name. "Would want me to do this. C'mon, we need to talk to Chiron before we can leave."

With that, Annabeth stood up, her golden hair shining as the sun reflected on it, and offered her hands to the children of the King of the Gods.

Jason and Thalia exchanged a look before sighing defeatedly and taking Annabeth's hands.

There was no arguing with a stubborn daughter of Athena.

They had been on the move before the sun rose the following morning.

The journey itself was one filled with heavy silence, each of them burdened by their own family' issues, by the memories of those supposed to protect them, yet had failed to do so. Sure, it was partly because of them that they had turned into three incredibly strong demigods but still, was it necessary? The abandonment, the neglect, the pain? How could that have been worthy?

As they had taken off on three pegasus - Blackjack had been chosen by Annabeth, for obvious reasons -, they arrived to Pasadena just after noon. The townhouse, though obviously deteriorated by time and lack of usage, still stood, just like Thalia remembered it, and that gave her the strength to climb down from her pegasus, stalk her way through the iron gate and down the path towards the locked up house.

Finding an iron chain tightly wrapped around the exterior gate was anticlimactic.

Thalia stared at it almost furiously, as if she thought she could actually make the chain disappear by looking at it. At last, as she felt her brother and her friend standing on either side of her, the hunter turned towards Jason with an expectant eyebrow.

Jason took a step back, his eyes filled with trepidation. "What?"

Thalia wasn't deterred. "You have the power to control winds, a power I don't have. Open this gate or I will destroy it with my bare hands."

Jason opened his mouth to reply, clearly scandalized by the petition, but then, looking at both the girls with him, she realized that was not the time to be all respectful about private property so, with a sigh, he moved them aside so he could have room. "Okay but, for the record, I don't like this."

"Nobody said you had to like it," Annabeth muttered, but Jason ignored her. The son of Jupiter closed his eyes in focus, sensing more than feeling, the winds responding to his summoning and adapting to his will.

It took some effort but. at last, the gate was opened and they were on their way up the dusty path. As they neared it, Thalia looked up, not being able to help noticing the poetry of the building's shadow falling onto them as they neared that house of horrors. It was almost a representation of how the shadows of her past had been trying to haunt her mind ever since Piper told them about the house but, well...she wasn't the best at poetry, in her defense.

At last, the three demigods stood once again just before the steps that led to the front door of the house. Its walls, which had once upon a time been dandelion yellow, were now of a worn-down' yellowish gray. Dusted seemed to cover every single inch of the house, along with patches of moss here and there. By the sides of the house, vines were slowly crawling up the walls, extending themselves along the entire surface of the house and even bypassing windows, so the inside of the house was even darker. Neither could see anything into the inside other than complete neglect and darkness.

Silence enveloped them, the two blonde teenagers unconsciously waiting for the raven-haired one to move. However, Thalia didn't, and after a few minutes, Jason had enough.

"So, I've been researching this house with the help of Leo and there's a lot of stories about how it's supposed to be haunted, and how it isn't advised for citizens to go inside," Jason quipped calmly, though on edge as he couldn't help but to stare into each and every single window his eyesight could reach. He knew that, when already superstitious about the supernatural, the eye tended to deceive its beholder immediately, so ghosts tended to be glimpsed and he was not looking forward to that.

"Jason," Annabeth warned but Thalia cut her off as she suddenly stepped forward, climbing swiftly up the stairs and standing before the heavy, wooden door.

Thalia wiggled with the handle forcefully in vain before stepping back and eyeing her rival critically. Then, she nodded to herself and kicked the door open, the wood flying out of its rusty hinges and lifting up a curtain made of dust.

"Ghosts won't bother us, little brother. Shall we?"

She was ready for the onslaught of memories that came to her mind as soon as she placed a foot in that house.

Everything was filthy dirty with dust and humidity but still, it was just like she remembered. The staircase her mother used to pass out on after a night out stood tall just before her, which made way for the corridor of the second floor and the different rooms on either side. Just beyond the stairs, she could peek into the grand living room, a door by the opposite wall leading to the kitchen.

For every object from her past that she recognized, memories came to her mind. Memories about her mother, about the pain she put her through, about the fights and the unfair insults thrown at her. They reminded her, yet again, of a harsh truth, the truth that her mother had never been there for her. The truth that, regardless of where she lived - whether it was on the streets or in that house -, she had always been on her own.

However, there was no time for that. Thalia had gone there to look for one thing only, something she had hidden away from her mother's clutches just before she left so, without looking back, Thalia stalked up the stairs and towards her old bedroom.

The dust had settled in her room just as much as it had in the rest of the house but, it was clear something had happened to it, as her belongings had been utterly destroyed.

"What happened here?" Jason asked quietly as Thalia opened the door wider.

Thalia shrugged, her heart heavy as she imagined her mother going through her stuff. She had probably been drunk, judging by the general chaos, detailing a lack of a clear objective from her mother's part. Her bed was still there, right below the window by the opposite wall but, other than that, nothing had been left untouched. Her cds had been all shattered, judging by the pieces of broken plastic laying on the floor. Her wardrobe was wide open, clothes falling out of it and spilling into the floor. Her desk lay broken, the books that once stood on it now thrown haphazardly across the room, it's pages wrinkled due to the humidity. Just under that chaos, Thalia could see patches of the wooden floor burnt, as if her mother had attempted to make a pyre with her daughter's belongings and failed.

Still, the sight didn't bring her much grief. After all, even if she would always be conflicted by her mother's memory, she had long learned to accept the way things had been. Yes, her mother had been a crazy, arrogant, horrible person, but she couldn't touch her or Jason anymore. Her brother was alive and with her, finally, while this woman who had abandoned them both was long gone.

She wished to be innocent once again, to go back to those summers in which she and Jason spent all day together, or even those summers with Luke and Annabeth - her first real family -, but still, the knowledge of knowing her mother couldn't touch them anymore brought her peace.

It made no surprise that when she crossed the room towards her secret hiding spot under the bed, she did so with relatively calmness.

"What are you looking for?" Annabeth asked from the doorway as Thalia knelt under the bed.

"I'm looking for something I hid just before I left," Thalia replied, her voice muffled as she stuck her head under the bed to look for the loosen wooden floorboard. "I'm not surprised Beryl couldn't find it. The mix of drinking and high heels are not good for any person looking for something hidden."

"What is that?" Jason asked as his sister stood once again, carrying an old diary.

"Isn't it obvious, Sparkles?" Thalia asked with a smirk. "It's where I kept all photos and memories of you. C'mon, let's go back to the first floor. This room is just depressing."

"What do you mean all photos of me?" Jason asked, struggling to catch up with his sister as she exited the room and strutted downstairs. "Didn't our...didn't Beryl keep photos of us?"

"She did at first," Thalia shrugged as she opened the diary, smiling when she realized it was all still there. "But when she began drinking heavily after Jupiter left, I couldn't trust her with anything. This record of you was the most precious thing I had, you know. I mean, at first, as an older sister, I thought I would get to show it to your girlfriends to make fun of you but, when everything started taking a turn for the worse...I thought I would hold onto the memories of the only good thing living here had brought me."

Jason wanted to cry and hug his sister tightly but he knew that she was barely holding it together so, if he did hug her, she would cry and she would never forgive him that. At last, he could only clear his throat, his eyes bright with unshed tears as his lips were pulled up into a crooked smile. "My girlfriends? What, you thought I'd be a player?"

"With that hair of yours? Of course, Jason," Thalia scoffed dryly, "Besides, you've been talking a lot about this Reyna chick as of late. Anything we should know about that?"

Jason flustered as he scratched the back of his neck nervously. "Shut up, Thalia."

Thalia smiled sufficiently before walking towards the living room and gazing at the vacant room wordlessly, her eyes filled with memories. Finally, she glanced in Annabeth's direction, who had stepped back to give the siblings a moment. "Do you remember how I wanted to go to the beach everyday during the summer?"

Annabeth chuckled as she shook her head. "We'd go running to the waves the second we got to the beach and Luke would be exasperated with us because he had to stay with our stuff while we had fun."

Thalia chuckled as well before glancing at Jason, taking in how different he was from her, with his tall frame, his Superman' hair, his orange t-shirt and his strict' face; yet how similar they both were, both with clear eyes, both with the tall, proud stance of a child of the God of the Sky. She saw herself in him, somewhat, and that brought her the relief of knowing that, no matter how long they'd spent apart, she had never lost him, not really.

Jason, who had been looking through the pictures, suddenly picked one up and showed it to his sister. The image was already slightly faded because of the time spent in the darkness, but a young Thalia and a baby Jason were recognizable. They sat under an umbrella in the beach, both in their swimming suits, their hairs wet and stiff due to the salty water. Jason was giggling right in the direction of the camera, while Thalia had wrapped an arm protectively around her brother, offering the camera a toothy smile.

Thalia smiled at the picture and reached forward to grab it delicately. "We used to go everyday, back when Beryl was a relatively sane person. You loved the water, which was weird for a son of Jupiter but still, it was the one memory that pulled me through all the crap that came after. I've come to hate winter, because it pulled me away from the beach, but this memory was the one I held onto whenever I needed."

Annabeth walked forward and took the photo from Thalia, smiling cheerfully at Jason as she wrapped an arm around her friend's shoulders. "You were a cute kid, Grace. Who would have thought?"

Jason rolled his eyes, ignoring the girls' mocking laughter. He patted his sister's arm as he walked past her, glancing at the room before him with contempt. Annabeth turned too and asked, "what are we going to do with this house?"

Thalia cocked her head, deep in thought. "I have a solution."

"Thank goodness," Annabeth sighed with relief as she glanced at Thalia with approval.

Thalia returned her look with a sheepish smile. "It involves fire."

Annabeth's eyes widened. "Absolutely not!"

"I agree with Thalia," Jason quipped, raising his arms in surrender when Annabeth turned towards him. "What, a Roman can't destroy property now? I think it's the best way to gain our closure."

Annabeth threw her hands up in exasperation. "Fine, but if you wanted to merge your Roman and your Greek side, this was not the way to do it, Grace."

Jason merely smiled before raising his eyebrows at Thalia. "How are we going to do this?"

"Please, brother," Thalia smiled before opening her backpack and pulling out a can of oil. "You thought I wouldn't be prepared?"

At the end, it had taken them more than a can of oil but they had managed to fulfill their task and, before too long, the house was burning, the fire cleansing them from all haunting memories.

Thalia stared at the developing fire with ease, relief feeling her heart as she finally gained her closure. At last, she had conquered her past, just like Jason had done when he regained his memories. The two of them were much too different, but still, the both had had the same journey.

A journey that came to a turning point right there, when they realized their past wasn't something to be forgotten, but rather something to be conquered. They were who they were because of the decisions they had made, but also because of the people who had touched their lives and, for every bad person who had hurt them or betrayed them, they both had had infinite support.

At the end, Roman or Greek, it didn't matter that much. She and Jason were the same, they were survivors and, finally, all memories they had left were the ones that mattered.

Thalia smiled at that thought and clutched her diary close to her heart, where it had always been. She still missed summers, sure, but then, she realized that, like winter always came eventually, so did summer and, this time, she once again would get to go to the beach with her brother.

Well, after Gaia was defeated, of course.

"Come," Thalia finally said, "we need to go home. There's a Seaweed Brain we need to find."

This time, they never looked back.