IMPORTANT AN: So I wanted to preface the whole premise of this story just so it makes sense to everyone. The main focus is Percy's emotional development throughout a series of events, and a major part of this development his his eventual romantic pairing. It will either be with Calypso or Artemis, with possibly an alternate ending for the other pairing if it seems appropriate.
The main feature of this story is that you won't know the true pairing of this story until the final chapters, so this is a slow slow slow sloooow burn. Sorry not sorry. This also means that there will be a guessing game on the readers' part throughout the entire story on who Percy will end up with, so I want you guys to have fun with that and not have any urges to kill me out of frustration. Thanks, and hope this makes sense to everyone. Feel free to ask questions and elaborations in the reviews.
Okay, so now that we're done with that, we can move on to the beginning of Knowing When You Need Help. Enjoy.
Chapter 1: Gods are Fucking Disappointing
Percy Jackson's dark shadow nearly doubled in size as the hour passed, juxtaposing with the white sand of the beach before him. Twisting his ring forged from Imperial Gold and engraved with the initials of those he had lost, Percy meditated in the shade of the giant sequoia trees that surrounded his home. The rock he sat on became colder as the sun fell below the treeline and the small light that shone his home disappeared. Even while he sat still, Percy's ADHD commanded that he move. Whether he was tapping his foot on the surface beneath or twisting his ring on his right index finger, Percy had to be in constant motion.
As the sun lowered and the moon grew more prominent, the small waves of the giant lake that Percy had taken countless dips in rose further on the shore. Percy knew from memory that in about half an hour the waves would eventually reach the triangle of moss-covered rocks in the middle of the beach.
"Come on Perce, time to head in." Percy muttered to himself.
Sighing, Percy stood from his place of peace that he had recently been spending so much time in as to head toward his cabin. As the only object larger than a small boulder that stood on the vast beach, the small cabin that Percy had built years before stood out in his home in the middle of nowhere.
Percy entered his cabin, making sure to lock it with the Celestial Bronze deadlock that rested on the side of the door. As he opened his fridge as a force of habit, Percy pondered whether he had enough food for breakfast the next morning. He shrugged, deciding that the lone apple in his fridge would have to do until he was forced to go on another hunting expedition in the great, lonely forest that surrounded the lake.
It was a wonder that Percy had light at all, considering he lived in the heart of California with not a soul within hundreds of miles. Thankfully, The gods had been ever so gracious in seeing that the gift he requested was suitable to live in. Although it would've been a bit dick-ish of the gods to not give him electricity, Percy would not have been surprised.
"Stop dicking around, you need to save your strength for tomorrow." Percy said harshly, nearly physically slapping himself for not remembering about his annual check-in with the gods.
Percy stripped himself of his shorts and battered Camp Half-Blood shirt. He smiled at the bittersweet memory of his initial arrival to the camp when he was a mere 12 years old. Now nearly 11 years later in his early twenties, Percy was far too big to be wearing the shirt that tightly wrapped his skin and constrained any upper body movements. Still, he was determined to keep the shirt as long as he could.
As his last act before getting in his small, sea-green colored bed, Percy did what he had remembered to do every night he had slept there. He took his ring off, making sure to read each and every set of initials that were engraved on the inside. Again, Percy smiled sadly at the memories of his fallen friends and family.
The temporary moment of nostalgia became what it always did, a somber reminiscence that was interrupted by the realization of the events that lay ahead. Tomorrow, Percy would have to go back to one of his least favorite places in the world. Mount Olympus awaited his arrival.
Percy groggily got out of bed, basically half-asleep while putting on his clothes and ring. He dressed in jeans and a black long-sleeve due to his preferred clothes still being dirty from last night and his backup shirt being caked in mud (Don't ask).
"Can't wait." Percy mumbled sleepily, knowing that the day's event would probably bore him to certain death. As he knew he would be in the presence of the gods and could quite possibly end up in a dangerous situation, he knew he had to bring the weapons he used solely for hunting and training nowadays. Percy stared at the navy blue watch and ballpoint pen that lay on his nightstand, attempting to conjure a logical reason to counter the obvious advantages of bringing the weapons. He sighed in defeat, grabbing the pen and sticking it in his right pocket before slapping the watch on his wrist with a satisfying click.
Riptide felt familiar in his pocket, the weight of the pen giving Percy a sense of security as he strode out of his cabin. The weapon had never failed him in the many battles he had taken part in, but was also a constant reminder of the few good people that he could no longer see. The watch, on the other hand, was a curious weapon that had been crafted directly before his departure from the world of Greeks and Romans.
Percy tapped the button on the side of the small clock, watching as a butterfly knife made of Stygian Iron replaced it. Percy smiled, remembering the moment that his brother Tyson had handed him the knife that was intricately created with a wave pattern blessing the handles of the knife. He flipped and played with the butterfly knife as if he had had years of practice fidgeting with the deadly weapon (Percy indeed spent much of his time fidgeting with the knife). Tyson had explained that the butterfly knife was not only an object he could use to fidget due to his severe ADHD, but also a deadly ranged weapon that he could use in place of a bow and arrow that he was insufferably terrible with. Percy closed the butterfly knife and clicked the pin into place that kept it shut, allowing for yet another transformation to take place. The butterfly knife transformed into a beautiful and intricate hunting knife made of Imperial Gold.
"Having fun?" a voice from above startled Percy, instinct driving him to throw the knife at the source with deadly precision. The unknown figure ducked out of the way a split-second before the knife embedded itself into the stone chimney of the cabin.
"Hermes." Percy stated emotionlessly. Hermes smiled, plucking the knife from where it stuck.
"Indeed. I assume you know why I'm here." Hermes asked, floating down from the roof to Percy's level and handing the dagger to its owner. Percy nodded.
"How long will this take? I am yet to have found my meal for the day." Percy said. Hermes winced slightly, imperceptible to Percy's observations. The once sarcastic and joyful demigod had long been replaced by the man that stood before him.
"It will only take a moment. No longer than usual." Hermes said. Although the pair only saw each other once a year, their interactions had become quite routine. Percy nodded in approval.
"Let's get this show on the road, then." Percy said, his statement dripping with dread and sarcasm. It was almost a statement that the teenage version of Percy would say. Almost. "Ah, give me one moment to get something."
Percy quickly dashed into his cabin before returning not a moment later with an apple in his hand. Hermes held in a chuckle. It pleased him to know that there was some remnant of the old Percy in there somewhere.
"Alright, to Mount Olympus then." Hermes stated. He clasped his hand on Percy's shoulder as Percy took a large bite of the apple in his own hand. A flash of light blinded the beach that Percy called home, consuming the relatives and sending them to the council of gods.
Percy squinted as his eyes became acclimated to the blinding lights of Mount Olympus. Blinking rapidly for a second, Percy saw the semi-circle of thrones through his hazy vision.
"Percy Jackson. Thank you for joining us." Zeus' booming voice echoed in the large throne room. Percy grimaced, gritting his teeth. He really had the audacity to say that?
"Whatever." Percy mumbled, fighting back an aggressive response. He spared a glance at each of the gods towering before him, each in his or her personalized throne. Nothing much had changed, except for the new addition of a smaller throne and occupant in front of each throne.
"Who are they?" Percy asked bluntly, referencing the unknown humans, probably all descendants or demigods.
"Each Olympian now has a representative, Roman or Greek. Our children were chosen specifically by each parent." Poseidon said sadly. The girl in front of Percy's estranged father smiled weakly at Percy, earning nothing more than a curt nod. Percy could really care less about the new additions to the annual meetings. After all, he would really only see them once a year, which was still more than he desired.
"Now that Perseus is here, let us begin." Zeus boomed, pounding his master bolt against the floor. Lightning lit up the sky above and thunder boomed throughout the room. Percy rolled his eyes, remembering just why he hated being here. "Nico, how have the two camps collaborated?"
"The two camps are doing better. Other than a small fiasco involving the Mars and Ares kids, the camps have fit together pretty seamlessly." Nico smiled for a split second at Percy. The woman beside him nodded at him with a small smile tugging at her lips. Percy grinned at the two of the few friends that he had left in the world. Nico and Hazel sat in two smaller versions of the one that Hades occupied behind them, smiling at the friend that they would now rarely see.
"That is good to hear." Zeus stated. Since the war waged against Gaea and the giants, the gods mainly stayed stable in their Greek forms. "On to other news, it has been revealed to the council that a large number of monsters have sought out Calypso in her prison of Ogygia."
Percy's head perked up from his position of utter boredom.
"The council has decided that no action is needed. We need not waste the lives of the demigods to save a person who will be fine without our help."
"Fuck that." Percy mumbled instinctively, not hesitating for a second to process his response. He had grown used to the constant disappointment he received from the Olympians.
"You dare!?" Zeus boomed, tightening his grip on his Master Bolt. Apparently, Percy's words were not as inaudible as he thought.
"Yes, I dare." Percy said calmly, not wavering for a second. "One of the few things I asked for, and you failed. 5 years ago, I asked for you to release Calypso and other innocent Titans, yet you refuse to do so." Zeus looked ready to either retort or smite Percy where he stood, but a rather large trident extended from the throne beside the king of the gods. Poseidon glared at Zeus with his eyes glowing with a color not too dissimilar from Percy's. The situation actually reminded Percy of any of the number of staredowns that he and his cousin Thalia used to have.
"Brother, let us be reasonable." Poseidon said, his eyes pleading for Zeus to calm down but ready for a fight if needed. Although his son had attempted to live as far away from the realm of gods and monsters as he could, Poseidon was still his father.
"Fine. But this does not change anything. Calypso's prison will be invaded within the next several days, and we will do nothing to interfere." Zeus said, falling back onto his throne. Percy shook his head, rising from the casual slouch he was in and straightening his posture.
"If you shall not aid Calypso, I will." Percy said. Immediately, as if on command, whispering amongst the council and their representatives began. Percy was aware that it was a well known fact he wanted nothing to do with the gods anymore. The wars he fought in and friends and family he had lost were enough to drive away the greatest demigod known to man. "Simply send me there and I shall aid her."
"Percy, think reasonably. Fighting that amount of monsters alone would be a suicide mission." Poseidon said, a sad expression spreading on his tired face.
"I second that. There would be no use in sending one warrior to Ogygia." Athena said, surprisingly agreeing with her immortal enemy.
"And so it shall be. I do not care what you gods believe. I wish to aid Calypso since you have failed to do so and refuse to while you still can." Percy said, standing his ground. He scanned the council and the demigods before them, finding nothing but blank expressions and curious faces.
"We cannot send you, Percy. I refuse to allow it. Not if you plan on going alone." Poseidon said
"Uncle, perhaps I can bring some hunters to aid Percy in his quest to help Calypso." Artemis said, her suggestion seemingly coming out of nowhere. Percy did well to hide his confusion and instead nodded in approval. He would've asked Nico and Hazel if they would aid him had he not known that they had other duties to attend to.
"No. Absolutely not." Zeus said defiantly. "I will not allow any of the Olympians to interfere with this."
"Father, we are still in Perseus' debt from the last war, and forever will be if we do not aid him in his quest." Artemis pleaded. Zeus frowned, about to retort, when Athena interrupted his almost certain aggressive response.
"This is true. We should have released Calypso from her prison in the first place. We may still amend this and help free her from her perilous situation." Athena reasoned.
"Lord Zeus, if you allow me to go to Ogygia, consider your debt to me paid in full." Percy said, silently thanking Athena for her intervention. Zeus bit his lip for a moment before finally nodding after a minute of silence.
"Fine, if the council deems it permissible, Percy, Artemis, and a group of hunters shall be sent to aid Calypso in her incoming assault." Zeus said. "All in favor?" To Percy's surprise and gratitude, a majority of the council raised their hands.
"And all opposed?" Zeus asked. Poseidon's hand was the first to come up along with a few others. Percy didn't really blame him, for he was his father after all. "Then it is decided. Tomorrow, you shall venture to Ogygia in the attempt to aid Calypso." Percy almost fist pumped, but did well to hide his emotions. He simply nodded and returned to his slouched, casual posture.
The rest of the meeting was rather boring to Percy, all the usual talk about recent and upcoming events rarely piquing his interest. When the meeting was finally over, all of the demigods, sans Hazel and Nico, filed out of the room to go down the long elevator of the Empire State building.
"Perseus." a voice came from in front of Percy. He looked up to find the Goddess of the Hunt staring at him. She had shrunk to regular human size, appearing in her adult form. She appeared to be around 19 or 20 years old, with long auburn hair flowing from her almost luminescent skin. Her silver eyes pierced into his own sea green ones as she looked slightly up at him. Their height difference did nothing to veil the pure power flowing from her being.
"Milady." Perseus bowed slightly. Although he despised much of the realm of the gods, he still knew respect and etiquette.
"Tomorrow, I will meet you at your isolated cabin to travel to Calypso's home." Artemis said as Percy released himself from his bow. He nodded in understanding. "I expect you to be ready by 10 in the morning."
"Yes, milady."Percy said, resisting the urge to bow again. It was humorous how respectful and polite Percy became when directing his attention to a god he didn't despise.
"Perseus." Artemis said, her formal tone softening and her posture relaxing. "We will save Calypso."
"Yes. Yes we will." Percy said, not quite knowing how to respond. Artemis gave Percy a curt nod before teleporting away in a flash of light.
"Percy!" a different voice conjured from in front of Percy before he was met with a pair of siblings.
"Hazel. Nico." Percy said, a warm smile emerging from him. He hugged Hazel and shook Nico's hand firmly with the smile sticking to his face. "How have you guys been? It's been awhile."
"Percy, you say that every year." Hazel said with a grin.
"Yeah, I guess I do." Percy chuckled. Every year, without fail, he greeted the two siblings in an almost identical fashion.
"We've been doing alright, Perce. Our father has us organizing the Underworld. We get to slay rogue spirits or help the undead. You'd be surprised at how confused some of the new inhabitants become. Just the other day, we had a guy from Elysium accidentally walk into the Fields of Punishment. I found him actually pissing himself from the horrors he saw." Percy chuckled, tears nearly springing out of his eyes. Oh, how good it felt to genuinely laugh. It was a rare occurrence for him these days.
"Percy, I thought you were done with quests?" Hazel said accusingly. Percy shrugged.
"I don't know. I thought I was too. But it's Calypso. I would probably be dead if it wasn't for her. I owe her at least my effort in freeing her from her prison." Percy stated. Nico smirked, shaking his head. "Plus, it's not technically a quest."
"That's your fatal flaw speaking. You never could really get past it." Nico chided after a chuckle. He was kind of right. Loyalty was his fatal flaw, and he did nothing to fight it. Still, he didn't really see it as a bad thing. "So, you really think you can save Calypso?"
"Definitely." Percy said without hesitation, confidence emanating from his voice. "I'm gonna free Calypso."
So, how'd I do? I probably could've extended the chapter a bit, but I felt like this felt like a good natural point to end the introduction. Constructive criticism and feedback are appreciated in the form of reviews. I have hope that this story can do well, and I think the next chapter can be up by the end of the week if you guys want it.