Alternate title: We Are Family

Content warnings: Mentions of blood and injury, Hong Kong politics, lack of accessibility and implied ableism, sex (especially one case of underage sex), and war involving child soldiers.

This fic is written for Arrows and Mercury on Tumblr and AO3 — an AU where Ethan lives because f*ck canon. It also happens to be inspired by the Ethan Lives and He's Happy series by Kairi_Ruka on AO3.

This is supposed to take place in the summer of ToN, so mild spoilers for the book. Several OCs appear in this chapter but they are not major characters.

This fic was beta-read by a friend with whom I am part of a Discord server with, 'Yeebles'. Thanks for the help.

Yes, I am well aware that it has been a month since I posted and it's literally December now (even though I'm still working on writing events for October). I've just been... busy with schoolwork. And fandom discourse. And writer's block. Mainly writer's block.

Ethan awoke to enraged screeching and a loud crash. Apparently Damien had to wake up at six in the morning on a Saturday and ended up screeching while throwing his alarm clock at the opposite wall, where it smashed into the white brick wall, leaving a pile of glass shards, crooked metal and gears. Great, we need a new alarm clock. Again. Can Damien arrange those secret dates with his girlfriend at a later time of day? It's the third time this month he smashed a clock!

Jusztina, who slept in the bunk on the opposite side of the room to Damien, had pulled a dagger from underneath her pillow, making a disturbingly accurate impression of the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin, "Who disturbs my slumber?"

"Jusztina, for cripe's sake, put the dagger down!" Ethan snapped. Thankfully, Jusztina had enough working brain cells, even in her exhaustion, to listen to their Head Counsellor. "And get to the Infirmary, I might just have one eye, but I can see you're bleeding from over here."

"Wh— thanks for the alarm, Damie," a voice rang out from the right side of the room. "I need to… get goin'. Got a visit to the museum with Cabin 6, gotta get goin' by 7." Then came the sound of sheets rumpling from the direction of Damien's bunk.

"Which museum, Lysander? There's so f*ckin' many of them in New York," Ethan somehow managed to yawn out.

"We're hittin' all of Museum Mile today, bro, so I gotta go now," Lysander answered.

"Okay, okay, just be back before curfew tonight, or the Harpies are gonna get you," Ethan groaned. And just as his half-brother was heading downstairs to the bathroom, he added, "Oh, and get a new alarm clock if you can!"

Even after he put his head to the pillow again, Ethan just couldn't go back to sleep, unlike a few of his siblings. The most he could do was stare at his surroundings until 8am. The upper floor of the Nemesis Cabin had five bunk beds and a sliding glass door to the balcony, and the floors had a black and white checkerboard pattern — he was the one to choose the colour scheme of the cabin, and black and white seemed perfectly symbolic of the justice their mother doled out. There were several things about the cabin he didn't agree with but passed through to the final design, though. The cabin held a perpetual chill within its walls — apparently because "revenge is a dish best served cold" — but he didn't quite see the point in it.

The other main thing he opposed were the floor-to-ceiling mirrors between the windows. They were apparently installed because mirrors reflected the lookers' true appearance, but it wasn't particularly great for him, a one-eyed man, since he walked into those mirrors at least twice a month yet no one had had the right mind to remove them.

Eventually, he proceeded to curse out Damien all the way to breakfast — it had been a taxing game of Capture the Flag the night before, and he'd only barely slept three hours before being dragged awake by his stupid brother's stupid alarm clock, among other things that made his younger half-brother so irritating.

"I thought Damien's from Indiana," Drew commented as she slipped into the space next to his at the Nemesis table, "not Illinois." After the whole 'Doctor's Note' fiasco last December, Chiron had reluctantly loosened the restrictions over who could sit at which table in the Dining Pavilion. Even though he still tried to reinforce the rules, it wasn't as if anyone listened to Chiron anymore at camp. Something about 'boomers'.

"Northwestern Indiana, part of the Chicago metropolitan area, that's close enough to be a f*ckin' Illinois b*stard to me."

They spent the rest of breakfast together, talking about what had been going on with their lives. Billie saw Sherman join Miranda and her at the Demeter table and immediately left to sit between Yan and Kayla at the table behind the couple, glaring at Sherman as though she wanted to murder him with her bottle of Yakult. Drew had left Mitchell and Valentina to deal with the Aphrodite campers, since Piper had chosen not to return to Camp that summer. She had sent in a few instant photos, though, of her and another indigenous girl with short hair together, holding ice cream cones and smiling at the camera. They seemed to be doing well.

Right after breakfast ended, the Asians and Miranda all piled into the Aphrodite Cabin — thank f*ck Drew listened when I said not to scare everyone off with pungent perfume when she became Head Counsellor, Ethan mused as he plopped down on the floor of the cabin. They got through half a round of Jenga before Billie started to manipulate the wooden blocks and eventually the remaining tower tumbled onto Sherman.

"What did Sherman even do?" Miranda questioned as she picked up the fallen blocks from her boyfriend's lap.

"His mom's a tankie," Billie retorted shortly. "I don't trust people associated with Blue Ribbons."

"Guys, can we not talk politics today?" Yan cried, throwing hands. "At least not in front of everyone else? It's sensitive enough at home as it is."

"Yes, sis."

And with that, Billie had to relinquish her game choosing rights for the day for bringing up politics and everyone strapped down for a few rounds of Cards Against Olympus, essentially a custom deck of Cards Against Humanity rife with ancient Greco-Roman references in dyslexia-friendly fonts and colours.

"Okay, okay," Drew, acting as the Card Czar, announced twenty minutes later, "Hercules is forced to do a 13th labour, which is…?" As she gathered the replies, she laughed, "...ancient Roman porn! He'd probably enjoy that labour, honestly! Who put that down?"

Alice raised her hand.

"I don't think someone your age should be talking about porn, but whatever, this Camp is a hotbed of illegal activity anyway. I caught Alan having sex with his enbyfriend in the armory two summers ago!"

"How old was he at the time?"

"Fifteen — age of consent in New York is 17, and he'll stay that age because he's dead." There was suddenly a solemn moment of silence among the group. Ethan vaguely recalled the Battle of Manhattan — the casualties included four confirmed members of the Apollo Cabin, with possibly others employed in the Titan Army that weren't counted. He only narrowly managed to escape the clutches of Thanatos because his mother showed up while he was in the infinite fall from Olympus to fly him to Camp Half-Blood. He tried not to think about it too much.

"Anyways," Yan coughed. "I think we should carry on playing… without talking about war or politics." The next round involved Ouranos' balls apparently being the person/thing that can make Zeus bottom for once. Drew asked if that meant her mother, who was born from Ouranos' genitals, was the person who could make Zeus bottom. No one answered that question. It is better off not questioning the cards in the Cards Against Olympus deck.

By lunch, the group had run through five games of Uno, a round of Monopoly, and three bandaids from when Sherman stabbed Alice with the plastic sticks in the Tumblin' Monkeys set and Drew stabbed him with her stiletto heels in retaliation. All perfectly normal occurrences in the life of the East Asian Half-Blood family.

As Yan disinfected Alice's puncture wounds with a vial of nectar, she complained, "All the stabbing and the shouting… I don't think this is a healthy family dynamic."

Fixing a wrong number on a shrine blueprint which Apollo had brought to Camp Half-Blood following Jason Grace's death, Ethan replied, "Give them some time. Sherman and Billie squaring off? Perfectly normal. The stabbing? Maybe not… I think we need to schedule a counselling session with Hestia tonight. I'll go do that now. It's normally not this bad."

I'm just here clowning with my Ethan headcanons.

Blue Ribbons, in Hong Kong, refer to supporters of the Hong Kong Police Force and by extension, the SAR government. Think the term 'blue lives matter', same symbolism behind 'blue'. The phrase has been around since 2014 at the very least, during the Umbrella Movement. The converse is the pro-democracy Yellow Ribbons.

I actually made a Cards Against Olympus deck several months ago. Tragically, the site I made the deck on shut down and I only recovered a fraction of my deck.