A/N I don't have the Percy Jackson books with me for reference, so I apologize for lack of quotes/misquoted quotes/things out of order. That said, read on, and I always love getting reviews!
Terminus was rarely in a really good mood. Being in blocks of stone that had no arms did that to a person- or, rather, a god. Unlike the other gods, he couldn't stroll around freely or have demigods- well, he could, but it was much harder for him than for other gods. They just made their normal forms smaller, maybe altered a detail or so, but he had to make himself not look like a statue. There was only one person that Terminus knew of who fell in love with a statue, and that was a sculptor whose heart Venus was messing with. But nobody would date Terminus if he showed up looking like he normally did. No, no, of course not. Instead of doing interesting escapades he could chat about with the other gods, he was expected to diligently patrol the borders of Rome- well, the city in Camp Jupiter. Rome, the old Rome, now belonged to different gods, curse the thought. The Romans didn't even have the decency to name the camp after him, even though he was the one always with them, and visits from Jupiter were few and far between.
Terminus really, really disliked Jupiter. And, come to think of it, the other "major" gods as well. Pah! Just because they had power over flashier things, they thought they were better. So did a lot of the minor gods, just because they could move around and interact with people in different ways than feeling them up for weapons. At every godly party, Terminus got laughed at by one god or another.
Without fail, he went back to Rome grouchy, trying to release some of that irritation by lashing out at campers. Honestly, can't they stop asking stupid question? Why must every single new camper ask why he doesn't have arms or challenge his ability to frisk them for weapons? He was a god. This didn't seem to convince them. He was a statue, a broken one at that. Demigods and legacies accepted that eventually, but few treated Terminus with the proper respect.
He liked little kids better. They might not kneel to him and give him offerings or show "proper respect for a god", but they respected him a lot more than older demigods. They thought he was cool- a statue that could talk, knock things down without using his hands, and crabby- they found his crabbiness incredibly funny. They were amusing, too. They played little games with him, and it helped him pass the time. Decade after decade, Terminus guarded the borders. He saw the camp moved after the rather unfortunate incident with the descendent of Neptune, and got a break from the dull monotony of his life by yelling at the demigods unfortunate enough to have to move his statues to the camp's new site.
"Watch it, boy! You can't just go dropping a god's statue! Show some respect! Watch out for that tree! Don't trip on that rock! Come on, come on, don't just stand there!"
It was actually rather fun, this getting out and about business. Terminus asked the praetors at the time if it was possible for people to carry him out to see the world- maybe in a custom-designed wagon?- from time to time, not too often, maybe once or twice a decade, so he didn't have to expend a bunch of energy trying to get himself in another place outside of camp.
They vetoed his idea. Apparently there had been too many complaints of the verbal abuse Terminus had given his carriers that nobody wanted to carry Terminus around. Terminus sulked. But grouching at those demigods was the funnest part- he got to add variety to his complaints! Normally he couldn't worry about people dropping him, or care that they were moving slowly, or ramming him into trees (not that it would really hurt him anyway), so complaining about that was fun. He could also see more demigods and yell at them for not having their shirts tucked in evenly, or having their weapons hung crooked. Most of them cursed and dropped whatever they were doing to fix themselves up. Terminus had known that they were sloppy(er) when they weren't in his sight, but this was terrible! He delighted in telling people off and seeing them immediately fix whatever was wrong. It might have been abusing his power as a god and therefore an authority figure, but all Terminus had to do to get past that was think back to when those teenaged demigods had just gotten to Camp Jupiter and had inadvertently insulted him, and any traces of guilt for power-abusing rather abruptly vanished.
It was rather amusing, after all.
After that, Terminus really began using his powers to their full extent. No longer would he just sit where his statues had been placed- he could and would teleport to other parts of camp to tell people off. The standard of neatness in dress and the rest of camp promptly improved. Now they looked like proper Roman legionnaires. Terminus didn't care about changing styles of dress outside of camp; he was not going to throw away his standards just because a bunch of silly mortals thought it actually looked good to have one's pants around one's ankles in public. Nu-uh, no way, not while Terminus was around. He hoped that the demigods wouldn't revert back to their old styles once out of camp, on a quest or something. That would be a very bad thing to have in one's obituary:
"Jimmy died after tripping over his own pants leg while running from a gorgon, consequentially getting himself mauled to death when he would've outrun it, had he not tripped. However, he at least died in style, with jean size approximately four sizes too large, at the least, and the top hovering around his knees. Hopefully this is consolation enough for his friends and family."
One good thing about being a god constantly in contact with demigods was that Terminus could observe changing customs up close and personal- not the outside world as a whole, really, since he tended to stay within Camp Jupiter, but he could see the changing diversity of the camp and how those new additions were treated. That was interesting to watch, though Terminus would never let the campers know that. He was above them, and letting them know that he was taking his cue on how to act to ethically different campers from them was simply unacceptable. He did have standards, after all.
Terminus could categorize legionnaires pretty much from the first day. The clumsy ones who wouldn't do anything much, the average ones, the ones who would become leaders, the ones holding great but hidden power and would go above and beyond. He could tell who was not to be trusted, who would abuse their power, who would underestimate themselves and never discover all they had to offer, who had secrets that they weren't about to tell anyone, who would surprise everybody else when they suddenly rose. Terminus had to check himself every day so that he wouldn't give away people's hidden secrets and powers, so that they could discover them for theirselves. It was better that way, to discover their power bit by bit and use to learn a little at a time, rather than jumping into trying to use all reaches of their various powers at once. Better to build the crown jewel, the masterpiece, on a solid platform, rather than on mere scaffolding.
As soon as Jason Grace arrived, Terminus could sense great power in him. It was no surprise when Jupiter claimed Jason as his son, even though there had been no Jupiter demigods for years before.
Terminus could also sense that Jason's presence spelled trouble. There had been a reason why there were no Jupiter demigods, and even if Terminus didn't know what it was, he could spot a pattern. There had been no demigods from the Big Three for decades. This might have been more normal for Neptune to not have demigods at the Roman camp, but for all three of them? Not at all. It was also worrying that Jason spoke of an older sister that was nowhere to be found. Was this sister another of Jupiter's children? Terminus suspected that she was. Mortals didn't usually have affairs with gods after having normal mortal children. This meant that there was another extremely powerful demigod out there somewhere, unless she was dead.
Jason was powerful, Terminus knew. He could sense that Jason would be a great help to the camp one day, and he was right. Camp Jupiter probably would've lost the fight with the Titans if it hadn't been for Jason's skills in fighting, his leadership, and, of course, his flying. It was a great deal of help to have a demigod who could see the monster lines from above, so that attack planners- mostly Mars kids- could position the lines better. It was good to know about the drakon that was in one of the weaker-looking lines, and about the hole in the monsters' defenses. Jason helped much more than Octavian did, even though Octavian had a surplus of high-quality teddy bears to read. Terminus suspected that Octavian was too busy trying to figure out how to get a praetor position to actually pay much attention to the problem at hand.
Terminus really hated that kid.
He had to show some respect to Octavian, because the teen apparently had "the sight", but that didn't mean he couldn't make his cuts and jabs when Octavian really misstepped. The guy was all appearance and no thought to the bettering of the Roman community. Octavian always talked about what a "true Roman" was- loyal, willing to take blows for his friend, hard-working, dedicated, helpful, and so much more. Terminus suspected that Octavian said such things so that others would help him, rather than the other way around. Octavian had clearly overlooked the part of the "True Roman Definition" that said "Romans help each other and do not abuse their positions. They do not use others as stepping stones to power." Really, it was unacceptable the way nobody dared oppose him. Where were the "Romans are strong and stand up for what's right"?
Terminus refused to get riled up when Jason vanished. Reyna was a strong praetor; she could handle the camp while Jason was MIA as long as she didn't let Octavian push his way into becoming a praetor as well. Reyna held strong, fulfilling Terminus's expectations. He showed his appreciation by not criticizing her as much- or at least as sharply, he still did have his duties to do.
Terminus was surprised when Nico and Hazel showed up- now there wasa pair with some serious secrets- and he was startled to learn that they were both children of Pluto. First Jupiter, now Pluto- what was going to be next, a child of Neptune? Oh, gods, if that happened…the scars from the last Neptune kid were still there, faint but angry, and the Romans never did like the water much anyway…
Then Percy Jackson came. Terminus could recognize a smartass right off the bat. Percy Jackson talked back to authority figures like no one's business. Terminus felt very much redeemed when Percy talked back to Mars as well- Mars, a majorly major god who could smash Percy into dust where he stood. Terminus grudgingly recognized that this demigod had guts.
Terminus found himself liking Percy even more after Percy stood up to Octavian, ignoring Octavian's comments that Percy wasn't a true Roman.
He's a truer Roman than you are, Terminus thought sourly. Never mind that Percy was clearly Greek and a son of Neptune (Terminus shouldn't have opened his mouth to grumble when Nico and Hazel came- clearly, he had cursed himself), he was willing to take on a seemingly hopeless quest in order to help the Romans and he was willing to withstand ridicule to get to that goal and complete the quest. Terminus felt a bit sorry for the kid- he had just arrived at camp, had already gotten on Octavian's bad side, and was now going out on a quest. He could obviously fight well, so that wouldn't be a problem, but still. The Romans hadn't exactly prepared the group well, and Percy clearly knew it. He was frustrated, but was refusing to let Octavian see that and get his little victory.
Terminus hoped that Percy would make it back to camp. It really amused him to see Octavian put in his place, and Percy Jackson was the perfect person to do that. Never mind that the kid seemed incapable of showing respect to authority- at least he wasn't fake like Octavian- he was amusing and real, and 'authority figures' had to earn his respect, not just expect it.
A few days later, all hell broke loose as monsters stormed the camp. Terminus did his part, blowing up missiles flying towards the city, bellowing insults at monsters, and obviating any that strayed too close. He had always fought with the legion when the camp was attacked, defending the home lines and what was most important. He kept an ear open for Percy Jackson, though- he had to come back. Terminus was sure that Percy's presence, along with Hazel and Frank, could turn this fight around. The Romans weren't losing, exactly, but they certainly weren't winning.
A very bright crackle of lightning followed by an equally impressive BOOM of thunder announced the questers' return. Terminus grinned- or, rather, his lips were no longer in a permanent frown. The eagle was back, and it was ready to destroy some monsters.
A flash of gold caught Terminus's attention a couple minutes later. He squinted, and could make out the figures of the Fifth Cohort, dressed in mismatched gold armor. He'd have to yell at them later for looking so shabby- honestly, he knew that they couldn't all have the same shade of gold armor, but couldn't they at least try to match on their same person? They looked like they had been at an armor rummage sale. They were about as scary as a scrap heap.
A screaming, bloodthirsty, very-well-protected scrap heap, Terminus hastily amended a moment later. They had something going for them, at least. The Fifth Cohort had forgotten that they were supposed to be the weak, pathetic cohort and instead were skewering monsters left and right, coming to the aid of the other cohorts. Terminus felt a warm glow of pride inside him- the Fifth really defined what it was to truly by a Roman, not just have the appearance of a Roman. They seemed to have forgotten-or at least put aside for the moment- the fact that the other cohorts had constantly picked on them and not come to their aid when the Fifth needed it, and now the Fifth was helping others because they were in a position to do so. All that raw talent, all that determination, all of that frustration and anger and skill, now shone like Apollo in a good mood (also known as 'like the sun').
Terminus turned back to deflecting the ever-increasing shower of flaming missiles. The monsters wouldn't get the satisfaction of destroying New Rome while he was protecting it. It wasn't exactly like it took a ton of concentration, either, but he couldn't just slack off. He would never hear the end of it if he got distracted by the action and let New Rome get destroyed. He wished, not for the first time, that the monsters had been courteous and kept their fighting to the actual battlefield and left New Rome alone. The battle was some of the best action Terminus had seen in a long time, and he had to miss much of it to make sure he was obliterating all dangers to the city.
Bother those monsters. Besides trashing the camp and making it less than presentable, they were also robbing Terminus of the chance to actually see any interesting action.
Suddenly Percy Jackson came bolting down the path to Terminus, out of breath, and wanted Terminus to help him destroy the giant. Terminus took one look at the poison-dripping, basilisk-dropping, really tall giant, and said no- after all, giant-fighting was not in his job description. That was up to the demigods. He just protected the city. Percy looked rather frustrated, then ran back off to face Polybotes. Next thing Terminus knew, the big ugly lug was running down the path, getting closer, then crossing the New Rome border.
Nuh-uh. There was no way that was OK. Terminus promptly said so, yelling up at Polybotes. He might have been a minor god, but no giant was going to run around breaking his rules. Polybotes responded by knocking Terminus apart and then stepping on him. Terminus saw red.
"Percy Jackson, you've got yourself a deal!" he yelled. "Let's beat this giant!"
Percy grabbed Terminus's disconnected head and promptly started what appeared to be an acrobatic routine all over Polybotes, resulting in the giant finally getting knocked down. Terminus caught the slightest hint of a grin on Percy's face as he bounded up to the giant's face. Polybotes didn't seem particularly threatened by Percy. After all, the ugly lug continued, Percy couldn't kill him on his own.
"Meet my friend Terminus," Percy said, almost gleefully, as he raised Terminus's head up so he could smash it down on Polybotes. "He's a god."
Terminus had the satisfaction of seeing terror on the giant's face just before his head slammed into Polybotes' nose. Polybotes disintegrated into a pile of steaming seaweed, and Terminus couldn't have felt prouder. He (and Percy) had defeated a giant. A giant designed to take down one of the Big Three, at that. What a story to tell at godly get-togethers! Now no gods could look down their noses at him. A giant. Never mind that one of his statues was in ruins- that could be fixed later- Terminus had never felt so important.
And Percy had called him a friend. Normally Terminus would've felt offended at being considered a friend to a mortal, but hey- being someone's friend meant that the other person didn't hate him, and it meant that he had earned Percy's respect, and Percy didn't respect just anyone.
Terminus smiled proudly as the legionnaires picked Percy up, chanting "Praetor! Percy! Praetor!" and praising him. Terminus could hear Percy protesting and saying "I couldn't have done it without Terminus...thank him!" and "You guys were awesome, too". Ah- the best kind of hero, one that wouldn't claim credit he hadn't earned and gave others the respect they deserved, no matter how small a role they played. Terminus could tell that Percy was sincere about not accepting all of the credit, not like Octavian, who would praise others, then call attention to what he had done. Terminus was pleased to see that even the closest of Octavian's followers had abandoned his side to cheer for Percy.
Terminus chuckled at the look on Octavian's face. Priceless.
The grin didn't leave his face that evening, as he wore his party hat and chatted cheerfully with the legionnaires and families of New Rome. Somehow, the news had spread that he had had a large role to play in the fight and specifically in Polybotes' destruction. People were congratulating him left and right, and Terminus could barely thank them, he was smiling so widely. Music drifted in from all corners of the camp, cheerful laughter and cheers mixing in. Terminus rolled his eyes at Iris's "gifts", now littering the streets, but he couldn't bring himself to care as much now. Rome would be clean again soon; there were already street cleaners sweeping up the mess in New Rome, and the next couple days would probably be dedicated to rebuilding areas that had been damaged and making improvements to the camp. The armory would have to be expanded, for one thing. There might be another expedition to Alaska to retrieve the rest of the Imperial gold weapons, and the Vulcan campers would be busy reforging old weapons, so that they would be a bit more...uniform. It was one thing to look a bit messy during a fight after getting armor on a moment's notice; it was another thing totally to continue to look like armor rummage sale remains for ages after the initial surprise.
But Terminus wasn't going to worry about that tonight. He wasn't going to worry about the feeling he had in his stomach that something was going to happen...not something bad, necessarily, but something. Percy Jackson was a praetor now, not Octavian, and Terminus trusted Percy. He wasn't going to sacrifice other people's lives and happiness for his own glory, nor would he let others rule him. Terminus had seen both before. It wasn't pretty when that happened, and it always took the camp a while to really recover.
Terminus smiled again as the sun finally sank behind the horizon, turning everything gold for a moment before starting its descent into black night. Come what may...Camp Jupiter is ready for it, and so am I.
A/N Only 3,500-something words...booo...
There really wasn't a lot I could say about Terminus, since he has only appeared in one book so far (not that it stopped me with Octavian...but we got more information there in Son of Neptune, so I'm going to blame that. And I haven't read Son of Neptune for a while (I need to get a library card for the local library), so that was a bit of a problem, too.), but I hope that what I wrote was all right. Terminus's grouchy character was fun to write.
Review! I love hearing feedback. Any requests for one-shots about other characters? I've already done Octavian and Rachel's stories...maybe Dionysus?