Baby Mine

by Icy Roses

A/N: This is a fic for the PJO Battle Fic thing on Livejournal. Details on my profile. Check it out and join if you so choose. Or just go to read more fics. The prompt for this story: Sally & Percy, problem child.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. For real. I mean, the characters and story belong to Rick Riordan and the title and lyrics belong to Disney. So I lose.


When he was born, the center of her universe shifted. He was hers. And she was his.

Her favorite part of the day was coming home after those long hours of work to put her son to bed.

She liked it when he slept. It filled the house with blessed silence, and that's what she really needed after hours of fake smiles around disgruntled customers and a demanding, persistently yelling boss. At home, the babysitter liked to complain Percy cried too much for a normal child. Sally paid the sullen, gum-chewing teenaged girl her wages and let her go without a word. She was too tired.

When Percy slept, his face went slack and peaceful. He looked so much like his father. If Poseidon had ever been a child, she could imagine the two of them would've been identical copies. But, of course Poseidon had never been a child—it was strange to think about—and it was just another thing that made her life weird and dysfunctional. Gods, she needed a cup of coffee.

Where was she in this small person anyway? Perhaps the chin? The cheekbones? She couldn't really tell. On the rare weekends she had time to take him out in a stroller, she suspected people thought she had stolen this baby. They looked too dissimilar, not like mother and son at all. It was during these odd, uncomfortable moments when she would seize him in her arms and make sure he still belonged to her.

She yawned. She was sure at this point she could carry him in the bags under her eyes. She should sleep, but every night, she would come back and watch him instead. It felt like the least she could do after being gone all day. At times, she was afraid he wouldn't recognize her anymore.

He pointed at the waves crashing ashore. "Mommy, there are pretty ladies smiling at me. Do you see them? Do you?"

Sally knelt at his side. Her son stared straight ahead, a tiny crease on his forehead. She followed his gaze, but all she could see was the jewel-toned water ebbing and flowing on the yellow-white sand. The sun glistened on the sea as if Zeus had scattered a handful of glitter on the surface.

"Do you see a man too?" she asked, trying to quash her hopes.

"Nope." He forgot about it and began burying his feet in the sand. It was stupid, but she thought if he was too—afraid? busy?—to visit her, Poseidon might at least spy on his son once in a while. He never did anything, it made her want to scream and throw in the towel sometimes, especially when this month's bills weren't getting paid, and she could barely afford to scrape together enough money for the babysitter. She couldn't drag the god of the sea to court and demand child support. When a Greek god knocks you up, custody is yours, no settlements necessary, she thought wryly.

Maybe it was better this way. After all, it would be hard to explain to Percy why his father only dropped in on birthdays and anniversaries and where he was the rest of the year. It would be hard to explain why Percy couldn't visit his daddy's house. It was all too complicated, and for this, Sally was the slightest bit grateful. It was hard enough providing a normal childhood for a literal "gift from god," without "god" walking through the front door every so often in a Hawaiian shirt and a fishing pole.

Still, she couldn't help but feel like Percy's life was lacking without a father figure.

She couldn't help but feel her life was lacking too.

He was four when the babysitter called her at work, screaming. She took the day off—with no pay and a warning from the boss—and rushed home.

There, she found a terrified girl pointing to her son's room. She burst into the room and found Percy clutching two dead snakes. Like Hercules, she thought dimly. Percy was laughing. "Look, Mommy!"

She pulled them gently from his fists and shuddered as she dropped them into the garbage can. "I see them, sweetie. Don't play with toys I don't give you, okay?"

The babysitter shied in, her hand splayed across her chest in fear. "This is not…not the first time something…abnormal has happened while you weren't home. It's like your son attracts stalkers. The other day, I took him down to the park, and a man with a trench coat practically ripped him out of my arms."

Sally picked up her son. "And you didn't tell me?" She could feel the blood flushing away from her face, leaving her cold. "He was in danger, and you just kept quiet?" Her voice escalated to the edge of hysteria.

The cocky babysitter slapped her hands on her hips. "Are you kidding me, lady? Your son keeps putting me in these situations, and you don't even care? I am so out of here." And with that, she turned on her heel and walked out, slamming the door behind her. "I still want my money!" she yelled from the other side before stomping down the steps.

Sally's hands shook, partly from anger and partly from fear. It had begun. They were searching for Percy, and nothing, nothing she could do would keep them away.

"Percy, this is Gabe. He'll be your new stepfather."

Gabe leered down at her son, and Sally wanted to grab him and run, run far away. But she stayed where she was and pasted on a smile.

Percy was always a perceptive child. His expression went from one of confusion into one of dislike. Sally's heart fluttered nervously. She needed this to work.

"But Dad's still alive."

Gabe gurgled a laugh that sounded like he burped it out from his oversized beer gut. "You're old Dad's been gone so long he might as well be dead, kid. But I'm here to take care of you and your mom. Isn't that great?" His yellow teeth glistened as he drew back his lips.

Percy stared at him defiantly. "I don't like you," he declared and stomped to his room.

She looked at Gabe. He ground his teeth. "Sally, your boy needs some discipline. He can't talk to me like that. He—" Gabe swallowed and painfully modified the fury on his face. "The boy's a delinquent. He needs a firm force in his life. Like me."

He needs you the way he needs a shoe up his ass, she thought. But in a way, Percy did need him. Sally needed Gabe to cover her son's scent. She thought of the snakes, the stalkers in the park. She touched Gabe's arm. "I'll talk to him."

The door swung open with a squeak. Everything in the apartment was in disrepair. Percy's face was red, and he punched his pillow. "Honey?" she said.

"Why are you doing this Mom?" he demanded. "I thought you told me Dad was still alive. Why are you marrying someone if he's still alive? Don't you love him anymore?"

"I do love him. But he's not here. He's not coming back. You need a father."

"No, I don't. Do you even love him, Mom?"

The words faltered in her throat. She sat at the edge of his bed. He put his arms around her waist.

"Don't do this," he said, muffled into her stomach.

"I have to, sweetie." She cupped his face and locked eyes with him. "Please be good." Her eyes were brimming. She couldn't let the tears fall. Please go along with it. "One day, you'll understand."

"Okay," he whispered. "I love you." He tackled her, hugged her tight. She cried, and that was how she began her marriage.

"Ms. Jackson? May I see you in my office please? Yes, Percy, you can go outside on the playground. Be careful! I said—oh, never mind." The first grade teacher rubbed her temples and gestured for Sally to sit down. The chair in front of Mrs. Roberts' desk was a random one pulled from a desk. Sally had to squeeze her butt in it, and she sat maybe a foot off the ground. It made her feel like a petulant child in front of the stately, gray-haired teacher.

"What was it you wanted to speak to me about?" she said, trying to sound parental and responsible. She was twenty-six. Ten short years ago, she was in high school. Except she didn't have parent-teacher conferences then—she didn't have parents then.

Mrs. Roberts adjusted her glasses from the corners in a businesslike manner. "Regarding your son, Percy—he's been having trouble in class."

"What kind of trouble?"

"Well, he is progressing slower than the other children at reading. This may be a simple matter of environment. Some of our students were strongly exposed to books when they were younger."

The way she said it made Sally cringe. Of course she hadn't read to Percy as a child. She was too busy working two jobs and making sure he didn't starve. Somehow, that had seemed like a more pressing issue at the time. "I'm sorry," she said, hating herself for apologizing.

"I'm not accusing you."

Well, it sure as hell feels like you are. She tried to smile.

"But it may also be a developmental issue, and that's what I'm worried about. The problem may be an innate one."

"Excuse me?"

"I think Percy has dyslexia."

The words dropped into her stomach like stones. She leaned back on her tiny chair. "You mean he won't learn how to read, ever?" Her voice was small.

"No, of course not. Children with dyslexia can learn how to read. It'll just be harder for him, because his brain can't make sense of the letters he sees. With the appropriate educational support, he should have no problem catching up. But children like him, they drag down the class, you see? So I'm thinking it might be a good idea to send Percy to a special school where they are better suited to his needs." Mrs. Roberts folded her hands in front of her.

Children like him drag down the class…his needs… "My son is not stupid."

"I did not say that."

"He doesn't need a special school."

"You're not helping him out by sitting in denial. I have a big class, and I want the best for Percy. I simply don't have time to personally coach him through everything. Now here. I have the numbers of some very good schools that can handle situations like this. We can talk about which one would be the best fit."

Panic clawed at her throat. "I'll help him at home. I'll read to him all the time. I promise! Please. He can do it." She couldn't afford a special school. Public school was the best she could do. She looked at Mrs. Roberts, pleading.

The teacher had a skeptical twist to her lips. "All right." Perhaps Mrs. Roberts sensed her desperation. "I'll give him until the end of the school year. If he hasn't improved enough for second grade curriculum, he'll have to go."

Sally nodded.

They kicked him out at the end of the year, and she had to explain to her son why he had to leave all of his friends.

She was alone in the house for the day. Gabe had gone to one of his friends' houses and instructed her to have dinner ready by the time he returned. She had a splitting headache, and all the Tylenol in the world couldn't fix it.

Percy napped in his room. She tried to be quiet in the kitchen so she wouldn't wake him.

This summer was stiflingly hot. She wished the damn air conditioning wasn't broken. How badly she wanted to go to Montauk where the cool sea breezes would make her problems go away. Would make Gabe go away.

But she couldn't think that. The heat was getting to her. She needed him. Only until Percy could fend for himself. She could do that. She had to do that.

She fanned herself at the counter with a sheet of paper and blew a wet strand of hair out of her face. The humidity sank into her skin, filling every pore. Muggy. What could she make for dinner that Gabe wouldn't whine about? He didn't like it when there was "too much repetition. She found herself scouring cooking magazines in CVS trying to find new recipes. Because if he'd tasted it before, then it wasn't new or exciting enough.

The consistency of the air changed. For a minute, she could shut her eyes and pretend she was standing in the surf as tiny whitecaps lapped against her ankles. And she knew.

The door swung open by itself and a curl of sea breeze whipped inside. "Hello, Sally."

He looked the same, all tanned skin and white smile. His hair maybe had a bit more salt-and-pepper to it, and she wondered whether he had done it so she would feel less awful about aging or he just felt like looking more distinguished today.

He grinned at her bewilderment. Her head spun, and all of a sudden, she found herself dashing across the room to close the distance between them. When she slammed into his chest, he put his arms around her, and the world became perfect. He smelled beautiful. In that moment, there was no Gabe. There was no stuffy New York City apartment. There was only sea and sky, and he and her, the castle at the bottom of the sea he'd promised, and their son.

Percy.

She pushed away from him and backed up. "What are you doing here?" There were tears welling in her eyes. She tried to blink them away. Her heart suddenly became too small to hold the emotions bursting from within.

"Do I need a reason to visit my family?"

"You were gone for almost eight years," she whispered. "Don't pretend like this is normal. Please."

He rustled uncomfortably. "I wanted to talk about Percy." He hesitated. "May I see him?"

Sally wordlessly led him to her son's bedroom. Percy was curled up against the wall. His sheets were scrunched up at the foot of the bed. It was too hot to have even the thinnest layer of cloth touching skin.

Poseidon shuffled to the edge of the bed. Sally looked up at him through her lashes and noticed a smile spreading on his face. She couldn't help smiling too. Should she wake Percy? She moved her hand to Percy's shoulder so she could rouse him, but Poseidon grabbed her wrist.

His fingers pulsated with heat. She faltered and pulled away. "What do you want?" she said in hushed tones. He put a finger to his lips. Slowly, almost as if he were afraid, he reached out and touched Percy's forehead. Sally could've sworn she saw energy flowing from father to son. But then, the Sea God straightened. "Come," he said and steered her out the door back into the kitchen.

"What was that about?" she demanded when she got there.

"I wanted to see my son. He has…much trouble ahead of him. I wanted to make sure he was all right."

"Much trouble?" she asked. "What are you saying?"

He came closer and put his hands on her shoulders. "Listen to me carefully. Percy is a powerful demigod. He is going to be targeted by monsters across the country."

"Across the country?" She swallowed and put her hand on the counter to keep herself from collapsing.

"Sally." He stopped. "You've been doing a wonderful job. Truly. You've done more for him than anyone could've asked for. But there's going to be a time when even you can't protect him anymore. There's a camp. For children like him, children of the gods. It's called Camp Half-Blood, and it's located on Long Island. You need to take him there as soon as you can. There are enough people to keep him safe at camp. He will learn how to keep himself safe. You must do this. Do you understand?" The urgency in his eyes crushed her.

The counter wasn't enough. She pulled out a chair and sat down. "You want me to send him away. For the summer? He's already gone all during the year."

"Actually, Camp Half-Blood is year-round for special cases like him."

"You want me to send him away forever," she said, her voice rising.

"It's for his safety."

"You can't just walk in after seven and a half years, and tell me how to raise my son." She stood up, and the blood sang in her veins. "You're not taking him away from me."

He frowned. "He has dyslexia. And he will probably be diagnosed with ADHD. The schools are having a hard enough time handling him. Don't you think it would be better to place him where he's meant to be? So he won't be confused. He's a bright boy. Don't let the teachers and doctors tell him otherwise. Don't let them "fix him up." This is the way he is supposed to be. But nobody here knows that! He's doesn't fit in!"

"He fits in with me! I'm his mother! And what about you? You're the goddamn owner of the sea. You can do anything. Why don't you protect him, huh? You're his father, aren't you?" She was shaking from head to toe.

"I know what you've been doing. You married that disgusting mortal so you could keep him safe." His hands traveled from her shoulders to her fingertips. He held her hands reverently. She couldn't believe she hadn't been blasted to pieces yet for yelling at him. But then—Poseidon wouldn't hurt her. He loved her. It made her infinitely sad to even think something so horrible of him. He wasn't like the other gods. Not like Zeus or Hades. He was kind. She couldn't believe she had forgotten that. "You don't have to be with him," he said. "Let Percy go to camp. You're suffering."

"Yes," she said quietly. "But I would rather live a million days with Gabe than give up my boy. I thought you would know that."

He let her go, defeated. "You're making a mistake. You were always stubborn. I suppose, it's one of the things I liked about you. Are you sure about this? Have you really thought about it?"

Her mind was going to splinter. She held it all together. Carefully, deliberately, she went to his side, stood on her tiptoes, and kissed him on the cheek. "Goodbye, Poseidon. I'll miss you." It reminded her of the first goodbye, when Percy was born.

There was a touch of sadness in his smile. "I always miss you," he said. And he disappeared.

"There's no such thing as freakin' blue food. Why the hell are you arguing with me over this?" Gabe yelled, spit flying from his mouth. His beer gut moved up and down as he breathed. Sally found herself staring at it to keep from yelling back.

Normally, she would just shut the hell up so he wouldn't hit her—which had maybe happened once or twice, but she became really excellent with concealer because she knew if Percy found out, he would pick a fight with Gabe. She'd rather get hit a hundred times than let Gabe touch him. But today, she was pretty fed up. She got up at five in the morning to clean the apartment, since Gabe was having buddies over. She couldn't figure out for the life of her why he needed a clean apartment, as he was probably the least hygienic person she'd ever met. But she did it. And she made the damn snacks and went out and bought the damn beer—using her own money—and if he was going to say something else, she swore she was going to hit him for real this time.

"This is the dumbest fight ever," he growled. "I swear, Sal, you're so stupid sometimes." She cringed at the word "Sal." Her name was Sal-ly, thank you very much. She bit her lip until she could taste blood.

Gabe threw one last sneer at her, plopped down on the couch, and promptly started flipping through channels like a maniac.

"Percy?" she called. Her voice had a quiver, and she tried to keep it steady.

His messy black head popped through the doorway. "Yeah, Mom?"

"We're going shopping."

"Uh, do I have to?"

"Yes, please."

He groaned. She heard him run to his room and rustle through the closet. He came out with a coat haphazardly buttoned, the hood thrown over his head. She resisted the urge to laugh.

"Be back before dinner, you hear?" Gabe said as she slammed the door behind her and locked it venomously.

Percy stared at her. "Are you okay?"

"Of course, honey." They piled into the car and drove off into the snowstorm. Sally tried not to turn corners too recklessly.

"This isn't the greatest weather to be going out."

"I really, really need an ingredient," she answered. Sally took her son's hand and marched purposefully into the supermarket. The automatic doors zipped open, and a burst of warm air thawed her nose and cheeks. She scanned the aisles. That one. The two of them walked past baking supplies, white paper packages of flour and sugar.

"Here we are." Sally grabbed everything that was left—nine tiny pointed bottles of blue food coloring—and dropped it into the basket.

"Do we need that much food coloring?"

"We're going to make blue food from now until the end of the month." She shrugged. She hadn't meant to do that, but now that she said it, it sounded like a good idea.

"Really? Awesome!"

The woman at the checkout counter gave her a weird look. "It's for a wedding," she said sweetly, randomly coming up with lies as she went. "Those cakes—they need a lot of food coloring to be the right shade of blue." Behind her, Percy giggled like mad. The checkout woman whose name tag said "Jordy" nodded slowly, dumped everything into a plastic bag and shoved it at Sally. "Have a nice day?"

"You too!"

Percy chuckled all the way to the car. "You're a good liar, Mom."

"You know lying is unacceptable, right?"

"You just did it."

She buckled him into the backseat. Then, she dug her fingers into the neck of his coat and wriggled them impishly.

"Hey, stop it! I'm—I'm—ticklish!"

"Do you promise you won't ever lie to me?"

"I promise!" She stopped and ruffled his hair. "That's what I thought." She kissed the top of his head.

"Ew, Mom. Come on," he whined.

"I love you, sweetie."

"I love you too, but do you have to show your love that way?"

She laughed.

"Well, Ms. Jackson? Your son has a severe case of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD for short. It means—"

"I know what it means."

"Yes," said the doctor uncomfortably. "Not to worry, though. There are plenty of medications available to treat the disorder. They're all safe and certified. Your son is not alone. There are many other young boys diagnosed with ADHD, and we can set up therapy sessions as well, if you so choose."

"Percy, go outside to the lobby and wait for me, please." She waited until he left, and she shut the door. "Doctor, thank you for the diagnosis and your concern, but I will not be medicating my son."

"Ms. Jackson, this is standard procedure. There isn't anything dangerous about the medication, I assure you."

"I'm aware of that." She stood as straight as she possibly could and lifted her chin for good measure.

The doctor sighed and ran a hand through his brown hair. He was young for a doctor, she noticed. "Is there anything in particular you are skeptical about? We can talk about this. I'm here for you in this difficult time."

She snorted. "Difficult time?" She knew her son would have ADHD. "Excuse me, but he is perfectly fine. It's not like he's in a coma!"

"Of course not. But without medication, he will have a hard time in school, paying attention the teacher. I know that"—he shuffled through his papers and examined a few of them—"he has dyslexia. Am I correct?"

Sally nodded sharply.

"Well, then with the combination of the two, he is probably struggling through school. While dyslexia can't be treated, ADHD can. You can make his life a lot easier."

Deep inside, she was terrified. Monsters would be coming after Percy, and he needed the ADHD to keep him alive. She felt so helpless and wretched for sentencing him to a childhood of perpetual frustration in school. She wouldn't cry in front of this doctor who had no idea of her situation and kept regarding her with clinical coolness instead of the warmth and understanding of a human being.

"Thank you for your time, doctor," she said finally. "We'll be going now."

"You're not helping your son."

She paused with her hand on the doorknob. "You don't know anything about my son."

Sometimes, she felt so alone. She wondered if there was some kind of support group for the parents of demigods. She would've dearly loved to meet someone else like her. Instead, she was sure that she was the only person in the world who knew about Mount Olympus and its inhabitants.

Sometimes, she thought it was all in her imagination.

Sometimes, she thought she was insane. Maybe she was the one who needed medication.

Sally crawled into Percy's bed, and he rested his head on her shoulder. "Are you feeling okay?" she asked.

"No."

"What's wrong?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

"I'm your mom, silly. You can tell me anything," she said. He didn't reply, only fiddled with this thumbs furiously. "When you hurt, I hurt too, you know."

He looked up at her, and his green eyes were moist. He had maybe cried in front of her twice in his life. He never cried. Or if he did, it was by himself, and the moment she walked in the room, he would wipe it away and put on this goofy, fake grin. He buried his face against her side. "Oh, my baby. Don't cry. Everything is fine now." She rubbed his back.

When he lifted his face, it was all red and blotchy. "Mom, I don't get it."

"Get what, honey?"

"Why I'm so different. I'm so slow. We had to read something in five minutes and answer questions about it, and I couldn't. I kept looking at the first sentence, but it didn't make any sense. I couldn't do it. I'm stupid."

Sally thought she heard her heart shatter. It sounded like glass. "You're not stupid."

"Yeah, I am. All the kids kept saying it. If they say it every day, it has to be true."

"They're a bunch of bullies," she said. "Why are you going to believe in them? Do you think they're telling the truth or I am?" She caught his perfect face in her hands. "You're different, that's true. But different isn't a bad thing. You're special."

"There's nothing special about me," he muttered.

"Yes, there is. You don't know it yet, but you're one of a kind. One day, you're going to do great things. Wonderful things. One day, you're going to be a hero." She hadn't meant to say it that way. It was true, though, and she couldn't bear to see him in pain. "Do you know why I named you Perseus?"

"No. It's a pretty weird name."

"I'll tell you." She recounted the tale of Perseus and Medusa. She loved how he listened with rapt attentiveness. When she finished, he was tired. He struggled to stay awake. She slipped off the bed. "Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite."

"D'you know my favorite part of that story?" he said sleepily.

"What?"

"And they lived happily ever after. D'you think I'll live happily ever after? Because of my name and all…"

She was glad his eyes were closed so he couldn't see the tears streaming down her face. "You will. I promise."

He turned nine. He read an entire chapter book by himself. She ripped off the cover and framed it.

He turned ten. She found a note in Percy's backpack. It read:

Sally—

Send him to camp. They'll be after him soon.

There was no signature but she recognized the handwriting of the Sea God. She ignored the fear that crept around her wrists and ankles, immobilizing her. And she burned the note.

At nights, she would wake up in a cold sweat. Nightmares.

When they celebrated his eleventh birthday, Sally couldn't help but feel a sense of overwhelming relief that he'd made it this far. It was morbid. But on that day, she was truly happy.

The goat-boy—satyrs, were they called?—smiled weakly at her. "I'm supposed to keep an eye on him. Soon, he'll have to go to camp, so I'll try to make sure he stays alive until then."

The satyr looked not much older than Percy. She kept staring at his hooves, decided it was rude, and forced her gaze back to his face. "You'll tell me if anything goes wrong?"

"Of course."

She wanted badly to believe him and willfully ignored the part about going to camp. Percy had been fine so far, hadn't he?

The car exploded on the side of the road. The raging bull-man shrieked. Sally's legs were rooted to the ground. The impending terror washed over her like a wave. This was it. She kept her son alive for eleven years, and they were going to die on this damn hill like flies, like road kill, like…

The rain fell down as if the gods were prematurely mourning their demise. "I'm sorry, Percy," she said hoarsely. They were going to die, and it was all her fault. She should've let him go. Gods, why didn't she let him go? She wished for simpler times. The world was so unfair. She never thought it during all those years she was financially destitute. She didn't think it when her parents died, when her uncle died, when she dropped out of high school. It never crossed her mind when she finally let go of her dreams, watched them take flight without her. She didn't think it when she got pregnant as a twenty-year-old, and the one person she loved left her because he was divine and she wasn't. She didn't even think about it when she shackled herself to Gabe Ugliano, endured the abuse, gave up love, the whole concept of marriage…no, she never thought about life's fundamental unfairness.

Because it was worth it. It was worth it to watch her son catch snowflakes on his tongue. It was worth it every time he smiled over her blue food. It was worth it when he grimaced over taking Christmas pictures. It was worth it every time he told her he loved her. It was worth it every morning when she woke up and knew she had a son. Just because of that, she could make it through the day, could make it through anything, really.

"I've been worried about an attack for a long time. I should have expected this. I was selfish, keeping you near me." Her throat closed up, and she couldn't say anymore.

A surge of adrenaline rushed through her veins. No. She didn't care if life left her for dead in a gutter somewhere. This was not the end of the road for Percy, and damn the Fates if they thought it was going to be. She gripped the unconscious satyr in her arms tighter. The Minotaur stumbled around, sniffing blindly.

"Percy," she said under her breath, "When he sees us, he'll charge. Wait until the last second, then jump out of the way—directly sideways. He can't change directions very well. Do you understand?"

He put his arm on her elbow, like he was going to pull her to the pine tree—the border of Camp Half-Blood. She shook her head. If he was going to make it, he would need a diversion. She pushed him. "Go, Percy! Separate! Remember what I said." For a second, he looked as if he was going to defy her orders, but to her relief, he darted away from her.

Using her last reserves of strength, she went the other way. She cast a glance over her shoulder. The Minotaur came after her. Good.

She was almost to the smoking, shattered car. The Minotaur charged. She could see Percy's in the background, his eyes wide with horror. His green eyes. Poseidon's eyes. Everything, time, space, memory balanced on a sharp sliver.

The way the corners of his lips turned down in his sleep was downright adorable. She took a few pictures for good measure, but never showed him.

Once, he accidentally redirected the kitchen water in the sink all over her hair. It wasn't so funny, then, his ability to manipulate water—the ability he didn't even realize he had.

When she sent him to boarding school at the beginning of each semester, it was like tearing away part of her heart.

The first time she held Percy in her arms was the moment the world stopped. Just for them. She would never let him go.


Baby mine, don't you cry.

Baby mine, dry your eyes.

Rest your head close to my heart,

Never to part, baby of mine.

Little one, when you play

Don't you mind what they say

Let those eyes sparkle and shine,

Never a tear, baby of mine.

If they knew sweet little you,

They'd end up loving you too

You're so precious to me,

Cute as can be, baby of mine.


A/N: Much thanks to Kioko for the quick once-over at close to 3 AM and fixing the train wreck of an ending. Applause if you made it this far. I'm really sorry about the length. I'll try to do better next time. It's a tad angsty for my taste. I'll try to be happier too. Reviews are wonderfully appreciated.