Aphrodite's Mask - aphroditesfavorite - Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2024)

Chapter 1: An Unexpected Reunion

Summary:

Perseus is having a small lounge party on the ocean surface with other princes/ses of the oceans. It’s his first time on the surface in a while and he’s enjoying himself when Apollo appears on the sun chariot curious about what’s going on. The princes and princesses all bow immediately except for Perseus who greets Apollo.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

It was nice to be back in the sun. The other princes and princesses of the deep didn’t understand it, with their preference for the gentle chill of the deep sea. Perseus had tried to explain to them how his body literally needed sunlight, but the concept of absorbing vitamins through light honestly sounded far-fetched, even when he said it out loud. Eventually, they just accepted it as another quirk from their strange half-mortal prince.

They still teased him whenever they came up to the surface and Perseus would close his eyes and bask in the warmth. But he couldn’t help it. He never realized how much he needed a trip to the surface until he finally got a taste of the sun on his skin. After five years in the ocean he was nearly as pale as the other princes and princesses of the deep. He smiled, thinking of his cousin who had similar issues from spending too much time in his father’s realm.

They had been hesitant when Perseus first suggested a lounge on the surface, but always eager to please him they agreed. In an imitation of the Colosseum Perseus built a circle of columns out of the water. He made the surface in the center flat and stable enough to walk on for himself. Then weaved waterways around and across for the merfolk to move around and chat freely. At their eager request he also made hammocks that hang between the columns and other forms of watery seating. In the center was a small circular platform with steps where he and his most trusted peers overlooked the gatherings.

A few pieces of furniture and beddings from the palace and plenty of food provided from the different kingdoms and the surface lounge quickly became a very special occasion among the children of royalty and nobility in the oceans. That and their parents would balk at them turning down a chance to mingle with a child of the sea god Poseidon. Hence why Perseus kept to his platform for most of the gathering. Merfolk not being able to climb was an excellent nonverbal deterrent. Besides, his brother wouldn’t approve of Perseus being literally lower than lower nobility, even if he was a bastard.

Perseus was dwarfed by most adult merfolk, but in the ocean it was easy enough for him to simply hover higher than they were. On the surface the platform would have to do.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Pistia asked, smiling brightly. She held out a small pearl between her delicate fingers. She loved using Percy’s human phrases. He loved hearing them, it made him feel more at home.

“Just happy to be here,” he said, taking the pearl in the palm of his hand.

“Not looking forward to the party?” She laughed, propping her head up on her hand. Her pale blue skin melted seamlessly into a strong serpentine mertail, delicate, almost translucent fins decorated her sides. Her entire length was nearly ten feet, putting her on the smaller side of merfolk.

Percy groaned. “Don’t remind me.”

He’d almost forgotten his apartments were teeming with lower nobility. A celebration for a year of prosperity. His kingdom was doing better than well, it was shaping up to be a utopia in the oceans. The standards for good governance had been the wealth of this noble and that but Perseus made it clear he would only consider his kingdom as vibrant as his poorest communities. If the common folk weren't thriving how rich could his kingdom be?

It was a… difficult transition. But they eventually got the message and soon things like welfare programs, universal child and healthcare, and even public transportation were slowly introduced to the kingdom. There were a few stumbles, a few unintended consequences but Perseus felt confident he was doing a good job. The greatest success was the introduction of a UBI to even commoners.

Even the most open minded nobility had balked at the idea of just giving peasantry money. But Perseus stood his ground against them and now after months of seeing it in action Perseus’ kingdom and the ones that imitated him were experiencing unheard of growth in population, wealth and oddly enough culture. A sort of Renaissance was emerging and his father would not shut up about it. It was kind of annoying honestly but he was glad people were happy enough with what he was doing to make “real” art again.

Hence the party downstairs while he hid out with his friends up here. He knew they’d rather be with the excitement but would never miss a chance to be seen so close to divinity. Not he considered himself very divine, but as a child of Poseidon merfolk seemed almost enchanted by him. It was uncomfortable at first, all the attention, the barely concealed worship. He was used to being dismissed and reminded of his place below and above others by his siblings and stepmother.

He remembered how Poseidon seemed to loom larger when he was first presented to the masses. Their cheers and awe of Perseus seemed to almost feed his father like offerings. Even his step-mother Amphitrite and half siblings Triton, Rhode and Kym seemed to glow with divinity as the crowd cheered his name. He began to understand a bit more about why gods seemed to be so focused on fame. He had asked Rhode later what it felt like when the crowds were cheering. He remembered her astonished look and laugh. How she insisted Perseus looked just like them only smaller. He only remembered feeling very small.

Now he was honestly used to it, although admittedly still uncomfortable. It felt odd when people didn’t look at him with adoration, but the relief of finally someone I can just talk to always made up for it. That is how he made most of his few trusted friends, the trade off being they were absolutely milking their friendship with him for political clout. Still, it was nice to lounge around with good company and drink in the sun.

Pistia opened her mouth to say something then frowned. Perseus felt it too, a change in the air. Pistia probably hadn’t yet recognized it as the presence of a god seeing as she had never met one. But Percy was on high alert, this god wasn’t of the sea.

The sun seemed to glow and flash brightly, alarming the party goers who cried out in surprise. Some shielding their faces, others opting to dive into the cool water. Perseus blinked as he made out a bright red sports car parked on the surface in front of their lounge. Apollo literally glowed as he stepped out and onto the lounge dressed in a one shoulder chiton with a pair of black sunglasses. He grinned brightly at the stunned merfolk who scrambled to figure out how to bow on the surface.

“Children of the sea, my blessings upon you!” He announced, opening his arms with flourish.

The merfolk seemed at a loss, too scared to lift their heads much less respond to the extravagant god. The closest most of them had come to divinity was Perseus and he mostly chose to hide his. This was all kinds of overwhelming for the children of royalty. Percy wondered if they even knew which god this was. Percy hadn’t seen Apollo in years but he hadn’t changed one bit. Memories of old car rides to camp with young demigods in his lap came flooding in and he smiled warmly.

Apollo continued unfazed by the prolonged silence. “I’ve got to say this is my first time encountering deep sea folk having a surface party,” he exclaimed, strolling in, admiring the liquid architecture. “Who is your host?” his gaze lands on the platform as he takes off his sunglasses

Percy is almost offended as Apollo's gaze falls on his friends bowing around him but a more mischievous side of him enjoys the look of surprise when people realize he’s the one to be addressed. Perseus stood, making no attempt to bow and Apollo’s eyes finally landed on him, eyebrow raised.

“Welcome Lord Apollo,” Percy outstretched his arms. “We’re honored you would bless us with your appearance,” Percy smirked, allowing some playful snark into his voice.

Apollo frowned. “Do I know you?”

“Do you?” Percy grinned, waiting for the moment of recognition.

Apollo only frowned deeper. “You’re a bold one,” his voice was full of warning.

Now Percy frowned, disappointed, but not surprised the god had forgotten his face after five years. “Honestly Apollo, is that anyway to talk to a friend? I know it’s been a few years but…”

Apollo’s eyes widen halfway through Percy’s sentence and he breaks it off with a laugh.

“Percy! Perseus Jackson? Is that really you?” Apollo strode forward astonished as merfolk hurriedly moved out of his way.

“Obviously,” Percy finished giggling. “How have you been?”


“How have I been?” Apollo asked, incredulous. “PERSEUS WHERE THE f*ck HAVE YOU BEEN!”

Notes:

Apollo: Hello! Aren't I amazing!

Merfolk: *screaming*

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Summary: Chapter II - A Consistent Surprise
Apollo is shocked when he recognizes Perseus. They use to spend so much time together and it's been so long since the last time he's seen him. He looks... different now

Estimated date for Chapter II is June 30th

Chapter 2: A Consistent Surprise

Summary:

Apollo is shocked when he recognizes Perseus. They use to spend so much time together and it's been so long since the last time he's seen him. He looks... different now

Notes:

Thanks for all the amazing comments! This is the first fic I've ever posted and the response blew me out of the water I can't believe so many of you liked it!

There are a few lines taken from Madeline Miller's 'Song of Achilles' cause I spend way too much time imagining these two as Patroclus and Achilles kekekeke. Pls don't sue me Maddy I love you

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

There’s not many things left in this world that could surprise him, but one that remained consistent was Percy f*cking Jackson. Not that he should be surprised. Perseus had been on Apollo’s mind the last few days, which was always a sure sign that he would cross paths with someone soon. But he usually thought of Percy whenever his rides got boring. It’d been over five years since he last saw him at Grover’s Grove, standing on a lake, waving goodbye.

It was no secret Perseus had caught his eye, except maybe to Perseus. At first, it was only natural they spend so much time together. Apollo was Protector of Youths after all and frequented Camp Half-Blood to see his children and occasionally leave some blessings. He knew that Percy and Grover were working together to find more lost demigods, but hadn’t paid much attention to the details of their operation. If he was being honest he hadn’t even known it was big enough to call an operation.

It was the youngest of his children that finally got his attention. He was walking a few of them through the woods, pointing out and teaching them about the different fauna and plants. Suddenly one of them asked about a rare flower only found in Ogygia. When he asked the child where they learned of that flower, they said Percy gave them one. Which completely derailed his lesson as the lot of them descended into excited chatter about Percy Jackson of all people.

He couldn’t understand how they had all met him despite Perseus not personally being at camp in quite some time. After some inquiring, he learned they had all met him at some point on their journey to camp. Further inquiry revealed that nearly every single one of them had had a smooth and peaceful journey to camp. Which was ideal of course, but usually to say the least. It seemed as if the little side quests Perseus had been busy with recently were part of a bigger network of satyrs and nymphs.

As time went on, he started getting an idea of how big this network was and at its center was Grover Underwood’s domain of The Wild, which he had cleverly named Grover’s Grove. This was apparently where most of the new demigods had met Perseus. So Apollo decided to pay a visit, naturally. And was greeted to the sight of Percy Jackson, scrolling through his phone, nestled in the water of a small oasis, surrounded by sleeping children and animals cuddling against his side.

It was everything Apollo never knew he needed. He was a sucker for the nurturer/warrior personality type and Percy was checking all kinds of boxes. Apollo, perhaps too excitedly, declared Perseus Protector of Divine Youths. He didn’t mind sharing his domain. And the network of satyrs and nymphs he and Grover had built was impressive and worthy of reward. Percy, however, wasn’t impressed by the title and demanded Apollo pull his weight, starting with a ride to camp.

One ride turned to five and five turned into daily occurrence. It was a rare moment to see Apollo’s chariot racing across the sky without Percy sat passenger, a small child or two in his lap. The children adored Perseus. And Apollo adored watching him. Sure he had been hurt the first dozen or so times one of his children raced past him into the sea brat’s arms. But Apollo would be lying if he said seeing his own children hanging off Percy’s hip didn’t do something for him. He’d be lying if he said smelling the sea of their golden curls didn’t give him ideas.

But the Hero of Olympus was already spoken for by the Architect of Olympus, Annabeth Chase. Not that that has ever stopped Apollo, but he knew Perseus had long been claimed as Aphrodite’s favorite, and he knew better than to mess with her pairings. That and Perseus seemed so head over heels in love with Athena’s daughter. The look of joy on his face when he spoke of her almost made up for the fact that he was speaking of her.

So when Percy disappeared, Annabeth Chase was his first stop. Only she hadn’t known he was gone. Well apparently, there had been some kind of fight between the two of them. She knew he was avoiding her but was surprised to learn no one had heard from him since. Okay, no problem. Perseus was just going through some emotional turmoil and isolating himself. Apollo wasn’t surprised. Percy had confided in him about his fear of losing control of his powers and hurting people. He’d also, less intentionally, revealed this fear had been adopted from the Chase girl.

What surprised him was that he didn’t call Apollo. The sun chariot had become one of the only spaces Percy felt safe enough to cry in. It was hard to process your emotions when shedding a tear might flood your apartment building. But there were no pipes or people to worry about thousands of feet in the air. There weren’t many other places he could think of that Percy would go in a situation like this. But that’s fine, Apollo would find him. Rescue him really. Remind him he shouldn’t be scared of his powers. Let him cry into his shoulder, knowing Apollo was the only one who could shoulder his pain. Percy would look up at him through dark wet lashes and realize that he’s been with the wrong tall, smart, gorgeous, blonde all along.

That image was so delicious he wasn’t really worried for the first few days. Maybe he had gone to his mother’s. Time passed and Sally heard no word either. Apollo checked camp frequently, of course. But he was not in the arena, loud with the clanking of swords. He was not in the Big House or in the attic, where war prizes and treasures of demigods past and present collected dust. He was not in his cabin, where the lyre Apollo gifted him sat untouched. He was not in the woods, or Grover’s Grove, or the Great Salt Lakes they used to swim in. He was not at New Rome, Hepheastus’ forges or Aphrodite’s palace.

Apollo didn’t need to say his panic swelled, became deaf to reason as he seeked out Perseus’ cousin, the son of Hades. Nico di Angelo routinely insisted Percy wasn’t among the dead, only because Apollo routinely demanded an update. It was weeks before Grover finally came to him, telling him he couldn’t tell him where Perseus was. Only that he was safe, he wasn’t taken against his will but communication was strictly forbidden. No amount of threats or bribes would loosen the satyr’s tongue.

“He’s been betrayed by enough people in his life. I won’t ever be one of them. I’ve sworn on the Styx,” Grover’s eyes flashed in a way Apollo knew it was futile to beg, even without the sacred oath. He resigned himself to quiet drives across the sky.

And now here Percy was, only he was… different now. Apollo gaped at the cold shock of his beauty, deep-green eyes and features as fine as glass. The warm tan Apollo painstaking curated was replaced with blemishless porcelain skin framed by long silky raven’s hair that moved in the air as if still underwater. He wore a simple looking sheer chiton that upon inspection was made of sea foam that teased daring glimpses it never revealed.

It was still Percy, anyone could see that, but it was as if a layer of dirt had been washed away. Percy laughed and nostalgic memories hit Apollo like bullets. His voice was exactly the same, maybe a little clearer than before.

“Obviously,” Percy finished giggling. “How have you been?”

Apollo managed to close his mouth and stop gaping like an enchanted mortal. Perseus’ casualness at the whole situation was making his brain short circuit.


“How have I been? PERSEUS WHERE THE f*ck HAVE YOU BEEN!”

Notes:

Percy: Oh no he's mad

Apollo: Oh no he's hot

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… sorry I didn’t move the plot forward on this one 🙂 I got carried away but the next chapter is gonna have LOTS of dialogue and Apollo finally finding out what the hell Percy has been up to this entire time!

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Summary: Chapter III - Squib
Eventually the others relax around Apollo via humiliating Perseus with stories about his adventures. Apollo is fascinated and wants to know everything about what Perseus has been up to the last two years. Apollo meets Percy's Squib…

Estimated date for Chapter III is July 4th

Chapter 3: Squib

Summary:

Eventually the others relax around Apollo via humiliating Perseus with stories about his adventures. Apollo is fascinated and wants to know everything about what Perseus has been up to the last five years. Apollo meets Percy's Squib…

Notes:

Thank you again for all the sweet comments they mean a lot!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“How have I been? PERSEUS WHERE THE f*ck HAVE YOU BEEN!”

“My father’s realm obviously,” Perseus shrugged. “Do you mind turning down the… ” he gestured at Apollo. “Well, you. You’re making my guests uncomfortable.”

“You couldn’t tell me you were leaving!” Apollo glared.

Perseus had developed the haughtiness of a prince, which suited him just fine, but Apollo tried not to let it distract him. He had almost mistaken Perseus for a merchild until he stood among the larger bowing merfolk. But now, Perseus radiated with the power of the sea, it was impossible to ignore.

Percy at least had the decency to look apologetic. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t really thinking when I left. It was… unprofessional of me.”

Apollo raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms. “It was more than unprofessional, don’t you think? I thought we were at least friends.”

Percy pouted slightly and Apollo was transported to old memories of drives across the horizon, sing-a-longs at camp and quiet evenings at the Jackson/Blofis apartment.

“We are! I know, you’re right. I really am sorry,” Percy said, stepping down from his platform. “You deserve an explanation, but tonight we’re celebrating. Why don’t you join us? We can talk tomorrow, I’ll tell you everything,” he offered a small shy smile, sweet, genuine. Gods, he was adorable. Five years of frustration evaporated.

Apollo smirked, not willing to let him off that easily, scanning the party goers. “Seems like a pretty tame party. I’m sure I could help liven it up. What are you celebrating?”

Perseus grinned. “A renaissance. That’s right up your alley isn’t it?”

Apollo returned the grin. “That’s a big word for you Percy,” he teased. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a renaissance party with no art.”

“The real party is downstairs, but you know I don’t like crowds,” Percy shrugged. Apollo memorized the way his hair floated off his shoulders. “Let me introduce you to my friends!”

Apollo had to laugh. Of course Percy would be hiding out from his own party. His “friends” were all still sprawled out in attempted bows. Children of royalty mostly, a few nobles perhaps. Apollo was surprised he didn't befriend any commoners, he was more at home among the masses. Percy started by introducing him to his close friends.

Jortin was the largest of the three. A noble’s child. Unimportant and he knew it. It was clear he had never met a god and was unsure how to respond. Apollo could feel the awe coming off not just him but all of Percy’s guests and it was divine. How long had it been since he was recognized properly as a god? How long has it been since he was introduced to royalty that knew their place was beneath him? Apollo made sure to send him a charming smile when he finally made eye contact with him.

Pistia was lovely, it was clear Percy had affection for her. Which Apollo could forgive, he knew how much Percy loved the color blue and Pistia was the same shade as his eyes. A princess from a neighboring kingdom Apollo did not recognize the name of. But he still nodded politely and complimented her beauty. Which granted him a stunning celeste blush across her cheeks.

Hytine was a little braver. He introduced himself as a prince from one of Poseidon’s more ancient kingdoms and casually inquired as to how Apollo knew Perseus.

“It was my sister Artemis who introduced us,” Apollo beamed. He adored mortals bold enough to start the conversation. “I escorted Perseus and his demigod friends to Camp Half-Blood. Later he repaid the favor by rescuing her from the Titan Atlas.”

The merfolk gasped in surprise, turning to their host who blushed at the attention. It was exactly the reaction he was going for. Gods of Olympus, the boy hadn’t changed. He was breathtakingly humble. Of course his closest confidants had no idea who Perseus truly was…

“Is that when you held the sky? And got a gray streak?” Pistia asks Percy, admiration lining her voice. Apollo tried to keep the agitation off his face. It was only natural that Perseus opened up to some of them. It wasn’t like she really knew him, not the way Apollo did.

“Yeah, it wasn’t a big deal,” Percy tried to wave off the attention. But it was too late.

“Not a big deal,” Apollo snorted, stepping up on the platform to take a seat next to the stunned merfolk. He faced his audience as the others began raising their heads in curiosity. “You’re far too humble Percy. Even I would hesitate to take that burden. Did he tell you about the time he defeated our grandfather Kronos?”

It only took about half an hour of embarrassing Perseus to completely win over his court and another of them sharing their stories for them to win Apollo over. By the end of it Perseus had all but lost his princely demeanor and was acting more like the Percy Apollo knew and loved. The main difference of course being how gorgeous he was now. It was the type of beauty that endeared you to every gesture. Apollo watched fascinated as they beamed, breathing in every bit of their miraculous prince. They leaned towards him like flowers to the sun, drinking in his luster. Eyes widening with every legendary story Apollo confirmed.

“I knew the stories of course,” a young princess with a milky white tail said. “But I guess they didn’t seem real. None of the stories about demigods do.”

Are all demigods like Prince Perseus?” A green noble’s son asked.

“No, of course not,” Apollo beamed as Perseus shrunk. “Percy Jackson is one of a kind! I taught him everything he knows.”

Perseus scoffed at this. “You couldn’t even teach me archery.”

“You weren’t trying,” Apollo sighed, patting his head. He hadn’t realized how much he missed the sight of gold running through raven hair. That was until it bit him.

“Squib!” Perseus exclaimed, shocked as Apollo jumped, pulling back his hand.

Apollo stared in disbelief at the drop of ichor gleaming on his index finger. He looked at Perseus incredulously who was raking his fingers through his head as if to detangle something from it. Perseus’ guest only giggled amused as if it were a regular occurrence.

“Sorry about that! Squib is just a little protective,” Perseus apologized as Apollo watched the lower half of his hair fall like a blob of dark water into his hands. “He doesn’t like gods that aren’t family. And he still has a biting problem. Are you okay?” Percy looked up at him apologetically through dark lashes, but Apollo barely had the bandwidth to memorize that image as the blob in Percy’s hand shimmered and took on the hue of clear water.

It was sentient, clearly. The creature, Squib, burbled and rubbed itself into Perseus’ hands like a puppy. He handed it off to Pistia who it cooed happily at and settled into the crock of her neck.

“Perseus.”

“Why are you using my government name?”

Apollo gave him an exasperated look. “What the f*ck is that thing?”

“Squib.” Perseus said, offering no explanation.

Apollo wasn’t sure if Perseus was luckier that he was cute or that Apollo had infinite patience. He hummed, sucking the ichor off his finger.

“And what is Squib? Exactly.”

“Mine.”

Apollo’s eyes flashed and Percy flashed his in response earning a shocked look from Apollo. He looked too much like his father sometimes. Apollo was tempted to cut him and see if he still bled red. The merfolk watched them like a tennis match. Picking up on their nervousness, and Percy’s stubbornness, Apollo decided to let it drop… for now.


“I have so much to learn about you, don’t I,” Apollo leaned in, giving Percy a predatory grin. “Let’s head downstairs to the real party. I’m dying to get to know the new you.”

Notes:

Apollo: hehe no one can touch Percy like me!

Squib: Sir...

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Hope you all like Squib! Squib is a 'Temple of Apollo' discord OC inspired by Morph from Treasure Planet. You'll be seeing him a LOT in this fic!

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Summary: Chapter IV - The Ick, The Games and The Heat
Percy gets the ick, Apollo laments his complexion, the court is a buzz, heat beats seafoam

Estimated date for Chapter IV is July 13th

Chapter 4: The Ick, The Games and The Heat

Summary:

Percy gets the ick, Apollo laments his complexion, the court is a buzz, heat beats seafoam

Notes:

Hello everyone,

I'm so sorry about the delay but I've recently been hit with a lot of health problems that in particular make it difficult for me to use my hands and feet. (It is not lost on me that I started having health problems immediately after starting a Perpollo fic LMFAO what I do stink?)

I'm in a lot of pain 24/7 an just trying to manage it until I can get my diagnose. Typing is particularly painful but I've had this story in my head for so many years and I just have to get it out. Sorry about any typos. For some reason editing hurts my hands more than typing. (That and I am on many drugs so I'm a bit loopy at the moment) I hope you all continue to enjoy the story despite the inconsistent posting! <3

Love,
Aphrodite’s Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

It was a bad idea and Perseus knew it. But he was certain if his father disapproved of him inviting the sun god into their realm he’d make his disapproval known. He wasn’t sure when him living under the seas went from a ‘processing his break up’ thing to a ‘for your own protection’ thing but it’s not like he minded… much. He was more at home in the oceans then he ever thought he could be. He actually liked being a prince, even with all the annoying parts. Like political games.

Once his inner court realized Apollo wasn’t the terrifying image they originally had of gods they warmed up to him immediately. That is to say they started kissing ass. It’d been a while since Perseus was in the presence of someone who outranked him. And while he enjoyed the attention being redirected he was irritated that his friends were being political at a party. It was one of the main reasons he never introduced them to his family in Atlantis. Something about seeing his close friends humble and degrade themselves in front of his father gave him… the ick.

Watching them splay themselves on the ground in attempted bows to Apollo was all the evidence he needed that second hand embarrassment was a real thing. But he couldn’t blame them. Apollo was godly. Gold and bold and shimmering. His very presence demanded worship and promised blessings to those that did it well. Percy’s family on the other hand loomed large and ancient. Merfolk in their presence could feel their omnipotent power. It was different from feeling Zeus’s electricity in the air or Hades’ gaze across your soul. So deep in the oceans, in the presence of sea gods you can feel their power in the water touching every crevice of your skin. Not only that you can feel them inside of you.

Poseidon wasn’t called the Father of Monsters for no reason. Many of the creatures of the deep were descendants from Poseidon’s personal creations. Perseus once overheard two noblemen describe it as the sudden realization that their mind and body were not theirs. That they were just another drop of water in the sea and Poseidon was the sea. He owned them, he could mold them, unmake them. They sounded terrified but also like they were a part of something greater than themselves. There was an awe in their voices that Percy would later recognize as reverence.

He never felt that way around his dad. He could feel his father’s presence around him just like they described. He could feel his father’s presence inside of him, just like they described. But it didn’t feel like he was a part of something ancient and glorious that could mold or unmake him. It felt like he was a part of his dad. He felt stronger near his father. Like he could mold or unmake anything or anyone. He probably could…

Apollo was definitely a more positive introduction to the gods than the children of the deep could have ever hoped for. That was part of the reason Percy decided to invite him to his kingdom. The other part was he genuinely felt bad about the way he left things. Grover couldn’t reach him very well in Atlantis but from what he had heard it was a bit of a sh*tshow after he left. The Hunters had taken it upon themselves to fulfill some of his duties as Protector of Divine Youth but it wasn’t the same. His absence was too noticeable.

Also Percy missed Apollo. Memories of long drives, the smell of babies, sightseeing, dinner at his moms, and getting teased at camp came flooding back the minute he saw that bright red sports car. He thought Apollo would be madder. His father never told him exactly what he was protecting Percy from but he always assumed it was angry gods. But Apollo’s anger was quick to dissipate. He seemed genuinely happy to just hang out and catch up. Percy almost wished everyone else would leave so he and Apollo could talk alone.

But he was hosting an important celebration and he had already ignored his actual guests for far too long. Hopefully Culus was keeping everyone entertained, but he’d be wondering where they were at this point. Not that they’d say anything about his absence, at least not to his face. Royalty might be late, but the divine never were. Problem was Percy was only half divine which gave them enough wiggle room to express their irritation in other ways. No worries. Returning to Thalivas in the presence of an Olympian god would more than make up for any tardiness on Perseus’ part.

Percy glanced back at Apollo and startled to meet his eye. He had come down to a more human height but still stood a head over Percy. It was unnerving to be looked down at again but then Apollo smiled warmly. Literally, the air warmed up a bit around Percy and he suppressed the urge to lean into him.

“We need to do something about that complexion of yours,” Apollo tutted, stroking his now healed finger against Percy’s cheek.

Percy smiled. “You know pale skin is in down in Atlantis.”

“For merfolk who don’t need the sun maybe,” Apollo laughed like bells.

Another flush of warmth came off of him and Percy wanted to drink it in. A bloom of laughter rose from a few guests as Squib dashed around chasing the sunset across the lounge floor. It was a dazzling array of color and the columns of water gave the lounge an opalescent effect. It was Percy’s favorite part of heading back home.

“So how are we getting down to Atlantis,” Apollo bumped his shoulder, too casually.

Perseus could feel the eyes on them. Triton’s words rung in his ears. They are always watching. Act like it. He was a prince of the seas, only second to the immortal heir of the seas. Being a wallflower was a thing of the past now. Rumors were no longer whispers that passed him by in school hallways. They were deadly projectiles that could shape a kingdom’s future, or end it.

“Everyone has their chariots and we’re going to Thalivas not Atlantis,” Percy smiled standing up, noting the curious tilt of Apollo’s head. “Will you bring the car or ride with me?”

Apollo grinned standing. “Oh no we have far too much to talk about. You’re riding with me .”

Percy started to protest but Apollo dropped his arm across his shoulders and started walking him down the platform. Perseus cursed himself silently for not wearing something more substantial. He’d never tried to maintain his chiton out of water, except for on the surface. Apollo’s warmth made it… challenging. Merfolk only really wore accessories. Clothing was for significant events and signifying class. Rhodes took a lot of joy in Percy’s original insistence to cover up. She adored dressing him in flowing fabrics, delicate pearls and swirling currents. It gave him the appearance of an iridescent phantom.

A little too high fashion for his taste. That and the attention was embarrassing. It was already bad enough that many in his father’s court saw him as an easy way to inject some divinity into their bloodline. Red blooded bastard or not, ichor is ichor. But his sister’s outfits had people treating Percy like… well a princess. Constant comments about his divine beauty , marriage proposals from complete strangers (directed to his father not even him ) and endless gifts. Percy begged his step mother to teach him how to make clothes from seafoam after a small brawl almost broke out over a pearl that had fallen from his hair.

Since then he always wore the sea around him. It was second nature to maintain it. But it was water and Apollo was hot. He should be fine though. Technically the car would be surrounded by the ocean so… he would probably be fine.

“Fine, that’s fair,” Percy rolled his eyes, letting the columns of the lounge slowly sink into the ocean. Usually that was their que to start descending into their chariots. But all of his guests stayed put, milling about. To the untrained eye they all looked engrossed in whatever they were doing but Percy knew when he was in someone’s peripheral vision. They didn’t want to miss a single crumb of gossip to bring back to their respective kingdoms. That and to be seen arriving from Prince Perseus’ private party was one thing, but to do so in the presence of an Olympian god. To be able to say that they laughed and broke bread with Apollo. They’d be insane to leave first… so Percy dropped them in the water.

Gently of course. He just allowed the platform to burble away as a heads up before the lounge began to slowly descend, lowering his guests into the water as he and Apollo walked across the surface towards his car. He tried not to flush at Apollo’s impressed whistle.

“Jortin,” Perseus called. “Take my chariot for me.”

Jortin smiled brightly, honored. “Yes, Prince Perseus!”

Jortin was only a noble’s son and Perseus knew the royalty would bristle a bit at seeing him driving a divine chariot. Good for them, Perseus thought. A bit of early revenge for the tales they would inevitably whisper into the rumor mill. Political games might be annoying but they were fun when they worked in his favor.

“I always knew you were powerful,” Apollo shook his head. “But this is something else. Has it really only been five years?”

Percy laughed. “You haven’t seen anything yet. I’ve got powers beyond your comprehension .” He mimicked Apollo.

“Oh I bet you do,” he winked, walking Percy to the passenger’s side and opening the door. He felt a familiar twinge of excited anticipation as the welcoming heat of the sun chariot enveloped him. The craving for diner food hit him like a bullet. Apollo closed the door behind him and leaned down, sighing dramatically. He always smelt of cloves. “I could really go for some Uncle Hop’s right now.”

“I was just thinking of that other diner in Arizona,” Percy smiled blissfully. “Especially the Heart Attack-”

“- Omelet,” Apollo finished his sentence chuckling. “I still can’t believe you scarfed down three of those.”

“Two and a half,” Percy protested. “Shania ate half of one, remember.”

“You know she still calls them Percy’s omelets,” Apollo hummed gazing at him softly. “The children missed you terribly. I’ve missed you.”

Percy hadn’t realized how close their faces were now. “I missed you too,” he swallowed. “I’ll explain everything later I promise.”

“Of course!” Apollo smiled brightly, straightening up. “We have a party to get to! Where is Thalivas anyways?”

“A little to the right of Atlantis. I’ll navigate,” Percy grinned.

“Just like old times then,” Apollo flashed into the driver's seat, starting up the car. “Will your father be there? I know he appreciates good art.”

“No, he doesn’t want his presence to influence my kingdom too much. But we had a family dinner to celebrate Thalivas' successes a few nights ago… what?” Percy asked at Apollo’s disbelieving stare.

“Did you just say your kingdom?” Apollo asked, shocked. “Your father gave you one of his kingdoms?

“Yeah?” Percy suddenly felt defensive.

“As in to run or own?”

“Own. I’m it’s king,” Percy crossed his arms. He knew from the twitch on Apollo lip that he probably looked more like a pouting child than an offended king but he didn’t care.

“Then why do they call you Prince?” Apollo asked, not unkindly.

“It just made for an easier transition,” Percy shrugged watching as the waves lapped over the side of the car as they descended into the ocean. “No one was really excited about having a foreigner rule over them so suddenly. And I wasn’t really excited to be there either so relaxing the titles eased some of the tension.”

Apollo shook his head smiling warmly. “You’ve always been too humble. You know I know a thing or two about running kingdoms if you ever want some advice,” he winked.

Percy snorted. “Are you the god of kingdoms too?”

Apollo laughed. “Maybe if you brushed up on your mythology you’d know some sh*t.”

Percy gave him a mischievous grin. “Actually I have. I finally learned how to read so now I know everyone’s business.”

The sound of Apollo’s bell-like laughter resonated in the water. Surrounded by the comfort of his father’s waters and the warmth of the sun, Perseus felt at home for the first time in a long time. He absentmindedly willed a current to take hold of all the chariots in the water and began the journey to Thalivas.

Notes:

Percy: I'm tired of this grandpa!

Rhodes, putting him in a ballgown: That's tOO DAMN BAD!

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Whew! Finally finished writing this chapter! Thank you for reading. I love comments and I read ALL of them but replying is difficult so please give me some time! (still figuring out the voice to text feature lol)

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Summary: Chapter V - Nephew of the Father
Apollo stabs Percy. JK JK but he does cut him with a knife though. Also gods being gods. Also Poseidon is a good uncle, sorta. Also they finally make it to Percy’s party and the court meets Apollo. Yeah I totally nailed that summary lmfao!

Estimated date for Chapter V is July 24th

Chapter 5: Nephew of the Father

Summary:

Apollo stabs Percy. JK JK but he does cut him with a knife though. Also gods being gods. Also Poseidon is a good uncle, sorta. Also they finally make it to Percy’s party and the court meets Apollo. Yeah I totally nailed that summary lmfao!

Notes:

Hi everyone!

Thanks for being so patient with me and I hope you enjoy this chapter! I'm going to try to make a more consistent posting schedule for you all soon xo

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Apollo was certain he had discovered Olympus’ best kept secret in millenia. It had to be an enchantment of some sorts. Perseus was stunning under his sun naturally, but here in his element he seemed to glow from within. His divinity spread across his skin like cream, highlighting his porcelain hue in the dark waters. As they went deeper Apollo noted Percy’s outfit began to change.

His chiton was more opaque and its length grew, a transparent blue crisscross design of waves lined the trim and a belt of similar material, shaped like a simple rope, cinched his waist. Behind him an ankle length cape trimmed with the same beautiful wave pattern formed, ornamental clasps sat on his shoulder with his father’s sigil. It was exquisite, but overall it was not a princely outfit. It was simple looking, but it was enough. It was clear that all that was missing was the crown.

If he stood very still Apollo could be convinced he was made of marble. An ancient prince from an idyllic era. Not that demigods ever sat still. He watched with amusem*nt as Perseus rummaged through his glove compartment. Conjuring a rubix cube into the compartment was enough to keep Percy’s hands occupied while they caught up.

Well, reminisced. About their friends, their family, the camp, the children, the drives, the pranks, the food, the places they’d been, the places Apollo had promised to take him, the places Percy now promised to take him. Apollo hadn’t felt like this in centuries. So human . And to experience it in the image of an enchanting prince, illuminated by his own divinity. An excellent combination.

Apollo had always craved being human, minus the mortality and not being a god part. He adored the little lives they built for themselves. So full of possibility and potential even in the strictest of societies. Divine society was different. To craving living as lower beings was really f*cking weird. Even his sister Artemis, bless her, had trouble wrapping her head around Apollo’s ‘domestic’ antics. The look of embarrassment on her face when she walked in on him feeding cheese (he handmade himself) to his boyfriend still stung fresh in his mind. Sure he had been dressed like a mortal servant who may or may not have been a slave, but what goes on in a man’s bedroom is none of his sister’s business!

Perseus must have struggled when he first entered his father’s court. The dynamic of Perseus being a divine bastard made things… complicated. Poseidon’s realm would recognize him as the sea god’s child, yes. Even as Poseidon’s favorite. But the political landscape of the oceans was complicated and violent. Titles were to be respected above all but blood was stronger. Commoners, nobles, royalty and above all the divine. Percy was divine, but tainted and mortal . Even the most pious of the oceans would have division in their ranks. Do we exalt him as a divine child above all but the divine family? Or do we acknowledge him as a bastard of the Father? Is it worth insulting the immortal Heir of the Sea to welcome a temporary favorite? What customs would be appropriate when addressing him?

Depending on how the royal family tolerated Perseus he would have had quite a few trials to go through to get respect without his father physically present. Poseidon would need to further legitimize him, but apparently that wasn’t enough. The fact that Perseus had to allow his own kingdom’s court to call him Prince to keep the peace, when the land was ordained to him by the god of all the seas was ludicrous. Apollo could not wait to read the political landscape of this kingdom.

That and Apollo could tell Perseus had already grown by leaps. His inner court was nearly perfect. Something even the most prepared of young royalty struggled with well into adulthood. The lounge was an impressive display. Apollo had never seen such fine control of power come from a child of the sea. They were known for explosive, catastrophic, fatal shows of power. A very hit hard and hit fast type of bunch. But Percy had the delicate touch of a freshwater nymph with the power of a hurricane. His control over water was absolute.

You haven’t seen anything yet, Percy had promised him. He had that same twinkle in his eyes as he did when Apollo’s children set up a Happy Father’s Day vogue routine around his cabin. Apparently Percy had been the distraction while they practiced for a few weeks. Apollo had expected something a little different when Percy started initiating their little hangouts, but it was such a delightful surprise nonetheless.

The soft glow of Thalivas appeared in the dark. It was a large kingdom for someone so inexperienced, but small in comparison to the great cities of the sea. Apollo hadn’t visited his uncle's realm in centuries. Under the weight, pressure and power of Poseidon’s realm even his brightest rays couldn’t reach the ocean floors. It was unnerving to be so far removed from his most powerful domain. He never felt unsafe though, not with his uncle.

Apollo had been born great, so his father always expected greatness and detested where he failed at it. Poseidon was more of a guiding hand. He was by no means a kind or gentle teacher, especially back in those days, but he was willing to show you where you stumbled. Quick to see the humor in a thing before the insult. A rare guidance for a “perfect” youth who was believed not to stumble. It was by his example he forgave Hermes' theft so readily, accepted him into the pantheon and declared his domains for him.

Afterall it was Poseidon who taught him the power of divine prophecy to give him foresight to make better decisions. He remembered how he begged his uncle to allow him to have the domain in its entirety. He wanted to be the best at everything he did. His uncle smiled warily and warned him he would regret it and he would not take the domain back from him when he did. Apollo did regret it, so when the young Hermes asked him for proficiency in the art of prophecy, his eyes shining with the same hubris that lit Apollo’s all those millennia ago, he simply gave him Athena’s discarded pebbles.

Poseidon was good to him, yes, but he would be better. Still he knew no amount of affection his uncle held for him compared to his protectiveness over his favored children. There were very few if any children of the sea in Apollo’s garden of lovers. It was an unspoken agreement between them that they respected each other’s children and legacies. Quite often they helped each other's children as small gestures of affection. That was part of the reason he was able to get so close to Perseus without earning himself a shovel talk from Poseidon.

Poseidon knew Apollo well enough to know he would be respectful of Percy’s wants and Percy only had eyes for Annabeth then. But sitting here with Percy’s sea breeze scent filling the car, his taunting sheer chiton, adorable shy smile and bright eyes, Apollo didn’t feel very respectful. He made sure to hide his presence before they descended into Poseidon’s realm. Asking for forgiveness was easier than asking for permission. As long as Percy was happy Poseidon’s wrath could be managed and Apollo had always been good at courting princes.

Five years of being the most eligible bachelor in the oceans hadn’t made Percy any less immune to flirtation. Apollo thought watching him go from Hero of Olympus to bashful child was a vision, but watching the Prince of the Seas collapse into a blushing mess was something he was beginning to relish. Apollo caught every flicker of emotion that played out under his mask of princely demeanor and took pleasure in drawing them out to the surface.

“So where are we parking King Perseus?” Apollo asked.

His face scrunched up delightfully and a memory of giving him a sip of Apollo’s green juice sprung to mind. Demigods, so ungrateful.

Please don’t call me that. Prince suits me better anyways,” Percy grimaced. He pointed to the palace where an upper tower was glowing brightly. “That’s where we’re going.”

“Aw,” Apollo teased. “I don’t get a tour of your palace?”

Percy laughed and water around him shimmered slightly. Apollo tried not to think about how it tasted. “If I brought you through the front doors we’d never make it to the party.”

Apollo hummed, pushing back his hair. “That’s true. I am irresistible,” he wagged his eyebrows.

That earned him an eye roll, but Percy couldn’t hide the slight blush that rose to his cheek. Maybe pale skin was in. Apollo could appreciate the marble-like beauty it gave Percy, but he preferred him sun kissed. The city below was beautiful and lively with pockets of celebrations. Crowds and chatter echoed through the deep as they passed overhead and Apollo could hear prayers of gratitude and smell offerings being spilt.

A small smile played on Percy’s face as he gazed out the window and the urge to cut him came over Apollo again. So he did. Percy stared at the thin cloud of red rising from his arm then gave Apollo a look that bordered on mockery.

“Do I look like a god to you Apollo?”

Apollo smirked, rubbing his thumb over the cut, healing it. “Just a little.”

“What would you do if I was?” Percy tilted his head playfully.

“What do you think I’d do?” Apollo allowed a bit of sultry to slip into his voice.

A flicker across Percy’s face confirmed he caught it but he didn’t show it. “Probably nothing. I can’t see you snitching on me to your dad. Even for something like that.”

“I’m honored you trust me to commit treason for you,” Apollo laughed.

“It’s not treason to not say anything about it right?” Percy grinned.

“Technically no,” Apollo chuckled. “But as you know when it comes to me my father doesn’t really care about technicalities… or reality.”

“That’s fine,” Percy smiles up at him. “I’ll make sure you have plausible deniability if my existence breaks any divine laws.”

“Wouldn't it be the first time it did for you would it?” Apollo’s eagerness for the party almost evaporated as he realized their nostalgic car ride was coming to an end.

Percy scoffed. “I showed up at camp and, they immediately called me illegal and accused me of stealing sh*t from The Family ™.”

Apollo burst out in laughter. “I’m so sorry Percy, but I forget your introduction to camp was a sh*tshow for you too! You should’ve seen the hell that broke loose on Olympus that day. We were all certain it’d come to war.”

“It did?”

"Ah, right."

The current brought them in front of the tower and Apollo checked the rearview mirror to see Jortin faithfully following behind in Percy’s chariot and the rest of the lounge guests filing in behind him. Percy seemed to hesitate before opening the door. Apollo gave him a questioning look.

“I’ve just… never brought family over before,” Percy explained quickly, he looked nervous. “They get weird around gods.”

“Afraid they’ll worship me more than you,” Apollo teased.

Percy laughed that shimmering laugh again. “Please take all the attention off of me and I might even send you an offering. But it’s more like... Well you’ll see. You’ve probably seen it all before anyways,” Percy shakes off his nerves and opens the car door.

Apollo flashes beside him and drapes an arm across his shoulders. “You’ve never failed to surprise me Perseus, I hope you aren’t thinking of starting now.”

Another blush. Gods Apollo hoped his uncle wasn’t watching. He wanted to play the long game with Percy, build this up to something inevitable, irresistible. Have him pining for months with gentle touches, whispered promises and stolen kisses. He’d reveal to Poseidon his intent to court his son and convince him his intentions are pure. Remind him how well he cared for Perseus when he was Protector of Divine Youth. How much Sally trusts him with her mortal daughter. When he finally has Poseidon’s permission he’d accelerate his plans with Percy. Take him to Delos, ruin him under the stars, drape him in gold and show him off.

But looking at Percy, at all that humanity wrapped in this unearthly beauty. Something ancient in Apollo wanted to steal him now. He was the type of prize that was worth forfeiting bragging rights just to keep hidden and Apollo was itching to lock him in a palace where no one could touch him. He didn’t know the reason Percy thought he was down here, but it was abundantly clear to Apollo. Afterall he had learned his possessiveness from his uncle. His fingers twitched. It was tempting, but with the war on the surface heating up it was a bad time to start conflict between the sky and sea. He needed to be patient.

They float down onto the balcony and walk down a short flight of stairs. Percy's face slipped easily into a mask of princely politeness as they walked past the guards who were well trained enough not to react to Apollo’s presence. From somewhere behind them Squib flew into Percy’s hair, melting into his raven locks and cascading down his back.

The creature, Squib , was still perplexing to Apollo but he had a feeling Poseidon created it as a sort of guardian for Percy. It despised Apollo. While it clearly favored some merfolk over others it was friendly with them all, but only ever hissed and bubbled up at Apollo.

He doesn’t like gods that aren’t family, Percy had said. Apollo wondered how Percy knew that and what gods had interacted with Squib recently. He didn’t like competition, and any god who saw Perseus now would be quick to interject themselves. He’d have to ask later. With so much to catch up on Apollo knew they’d never find a chance to speak during this party. He’d have to think of a way to get them alone. Shouldn’t be hard, Percy hates parties and Apollo is very convincing. They approached the announcer a large and round merfolk who gawked as Perseus introduced Apollo, but quickly gathered himself.

“Are there any specific titles you’d like included my Lord,” he bowed too deeply.

“Let’s leave it vague,” Apollo teased. “See how well educated Perseus’ court is on the Olympians.”

He tossed a wink at Percy who rolled his eyes. “Actually you can just introduce him as Lester, second generation god of anxiety and complaining.”

Apollo laughed. “Oof I’m wounded!”

Percy cracked a smile and turned back to the announcer. “Relax Hestin. Apollo is a friend. Introduce him as an Olympian. God of the sun. He’ll probably spill the rest before the celebrations are over.”

The announcer, Hestin, nodded visibly relaxed and opened the curtain to reveal them to the courts. The ballroom was large and decorated like a typical human museum, Percy’s influence clearly. No staircase existed to lower them to the court a good thirty feet beneath them. Statues carved from rare gems unknown to man, artworks framed by the remnants of sunken ships, even written word protected in glass all littered the ballroom in an organized fashion. The colorful merfolk milled about politely in pockets of conversation or admiring the works. Chatter died as the crowd looked up to see if the late arrival was worth their attention. Ah, royals. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t excited for a bit of pettiness and drama too.

“Hail His Divine Highness, Son of the Father, Prince of Seas, King of Thalivas, Perseus Jackson.”

They all bowed their heads respectfully. Apollo caught a few sneers and flashes of irritation before their heads went down. And so it begins, Apollo thought wickedly.

“Hail His Divine Majesty,”

A few heads snapped up in disbelief. Apollo glowed in the water making sure Perseus was well illuminated as well. Not that he needed the help. The crowd was silent, gaping in awe at the divine cousins above them. The reverence was delicious. It had been centuries since Apollo was received like… well, a god. Gods, he forgot how much he loved Poseidon’s realm. He grinned, yeah, he was definitely going to be visiting often. He glanced at Percy who co*cked a bemused eyebrow at him. Enjoying yourself, he seemed to ask.

“Nephew of the Father, God of the Sun, The Olympian Apollo.”

Before the shocked silence could take root in awkwardness Apollo stepped forward and began to descend to the center of the floor, growing to his twenty foot height. Perseus followed closely behind him.

“Court of Thalivas, my blessings upon you,” Apollo outstretched his arms, allowing his voice to ring loud, but gentle throughout the ballroom. “I have come to partake in the art your good governance has inspired and of course visit my favorite cousin King Perseus, Hero of Olympus,” he winked at the crowd.

Before Percy could voice his protest the water around Apollo shimmered with gold and expanded to envelop the great room. The merfolk gasped and exclaimed as a sudden surge of strength was infused into their bodies. Healing ailments was an old party trick but a good one. Most of the lucky souls in this room would now live years past their expected lifetimes. Fantastic ice breaker. Once he had a chance to properly vet Perseus’ inner court he’d bless them too.

The merfolk looked over themselves stunned, some reaching out to touch each other in places where old injuries or illnesses had suddenly vanished. The reverence began to build in the water and oh, it’d really been too long. Apollo had forgotten how divine worship felt when it was infused in the waters surrounding you. The praise and glory caressed him like a blanket and he soaked in the warmth. He glanced over at Percy and his jaw almost dropped. You haven’t seen anything yet.

He floated at Apollo’s height hovering at his shoulder. His chiton and cape moved in the water with lazy grace. His hair, and Squib apparently, caught Apollo’s light like a buoyant dark flame. His divinity seemed to be pulled forth in the aura of worship. Apollo expected Percy to cringe or roll his eyes at Apollo’s dramatics. But he could see a tug of a smile at the corner of his mouth. He was enjoying it, licking the crowd’s worship off his lips.

Notes:

Apollo: lol Percy is gonna be so embarrassed at the attention

Percy, basking in it:

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Summary: Chapter VI - Enemies of the State
Percy enjoys his subjects cowering, Apollo is good at parties but overstays his welcome

Estimated date for Chapter VI is Aug 8th

Chapter 6: Enemies of the State

Summary:

Percy enjoys his subjects cowering, Apollo is good at parties but overstays his welcome

Notes:

At this point in the story if you aren't reading the comments you're missing out on a TON of lore dumping... and jokes lol

Enjoy!
Dite's Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Perseus was enjoying himself. He usually didn’t have fun at parties. Even at more ‘formal’ ones like this, where the rules were a little more clear cut. He’d gotten good at them over the years. But only so he could know where to cross the line, and where not to. Back when he was still living in Atlantis most of the parties he went to were more of presentations. Of him naturally. Which meant all he had to do was sit around, look princely and not mess up any greetings.

He didn’t even have to be good at that really. In front of his father everyone was very gracious about his stumbles in etiquette. Which was ironic considering his father didn’t actually care enough to remember it himself.

“Bah all mortals look the same to me,” his father had waved him off. “You’re my son, it's easier if they all just remember you.”

It was Rhodes who took pity on him and helped him learn how to tell the different ranks, titles and species apart… after a very lengthy discussion on the differences between ranks, titles and species. She was more patient than dad and took the time to explain the why, which Percy was endlessly grateful for. The trade off being she got creative control of his outfits.

In hindsight it was worth it. It felt like being in middle school all over again. He’d say or do something and the merperson would give a smile that didn’t quite reach their eyes. A few weeks later Percy would learn about some random form of etiquette and the memories would hit him like a bullet. His brain would take every crumb of information Rhodes fed him and hold it up against his interactions looking for his misstep.

By then it was already apparent that merfolk had been taking advantage of Percy’s lack of cultural understanding. When he finally wised up to how things actually were he was more than a little shocked at how cutthroat they could be. He played the game while he was still in Atlantis but when his father gave him Thalivas he happily flipped the script on them. Or at least attempted to. He was still dealing with the passive aggressive fallout of his arrival.

Which made the sight of their pompous faces falling at the sight of a god so f*cking satisfying. Percy made a point of not flaunting his powers as much as he could. It’s not like anyone could forget who his father was, with the two legs and all. Over time many forgot his divinity was more than a birthright. It was a raw primordial power that made up his very being. Most of them had never met a god in person and Apollo was a very clear reminder of why the gods were worshiped. Percy couldn’t resist the tug on the corner of his mouth as he caught the nervous glances shared between the guests.

Gods were regarded with a healthy dose of fear in the oceans. Especially gods that were not of the sea. It was rare for one to visit Poseidon’s realm for reasons not tied to major conflicts or events. The myths and legends surrounding godly arrivals in ocean kingdoms usually ended violently with a fun lesson of morality at the end. No doubt Percy’s tardiness inspired a few lightly treasonous words from his guests.

“Spoilt brat.”

“Can’t even show up on time for his own party.”

“He’s never learned his place among mortals.”

Now they stood before Apollo, The God of Truth, Punisher of Hubris and the apparent reason for Prince Perseus’ tardiness. Percy tried not to smirk at their nervousness rippling through the water. Royals may be late, but the divine never are. He knew they were scared sh*tless and he was eating it up.

Percy glanced at Apollo while he chatted away with a flustered sculptor about their favorite materials and techniques. A small crowd including the sculptor’s patron, Lord Marcellus, stood around at a loss, not sure how to participate in a conversation about such laborious activities outside of discussing the finished works. There were no jabs at Percy’s policies or attire, no pointed questions to deflect, no interrogations, no sneers, no one even dared to whisper bastard in the room. Yeah, Percy was about to commission a dozen Apollo statues to leave around the palace at this point. He made sure to remember the sculptor’s name as they moved on.

Percy had intended to let Apollo do his thing while he flitted among the guests but the familiar warmth of a nearby god was inviting. He’d never admit it aloud but the heat coming off of Apollo was delicious. The deep seas were freezing and while the temperature of any water felt just right to him he still liked to be warm. He could heat the water himself of course but his subjects would literally melt if they got too hot. The only reason his friends could endure any of the visits to the surface was because Triton showed him how to protect their bodies from the heat and lack of pressure.

Apollo didn’t seem to mind Percy trailing him as he dazzled the awestruck crowd. They hung off his every word, gesture and smile. His golden hair, melodical voice and larger than life presence drew them in almost as much as his heat kept them at an arm's length. Percy was almost in awe at how good at this he was. He sang ancient forgotten melodies with the elders, chatted casually with the artists, got nobles and royals to laugh together at the same jokes.

It was kind of weird. Percy was used to gods being homicidal, not performative. Apollo still looked the same but there was something new and strange about him. Their eyes meet again as the party winds down and Percy can’t read the look on Apollo’s face. He gives Percy a sunny smile and gestures for him to sit next to him. Without thinking Percy appears next to a bewildered and amused Apollo.

“Now, since when can you do that?” Apollo chuckles

Percy grins. “I told you. You haven’t seen anything yet.”

Apollo leans in closer, the smell of clove and spices mingling in the sea water. “What on earth is your father feeding you down here?”

“Enemies of the State.”

Apollo snorts. “Well I oughta get Will some of that too. Is domestic necessary or do international enemies make a good substitute?”

“It’s up to your preference but the international ones have more flavor,” Percy nodded seriously.

Apollo hummed. “I got rid of most of my enemies during my trials but I’m sure I can scrounge up enough for a good soup.”

“They have to be enemies of the state, plain old enemies will taste the same but don’t have many health benefits.”

“Do exes count?”

“No, you aren’t Scott Pilgrim.”

“Of course not, I’m a much better boyfriend than Scott Pilgrim.”

“I wouldn’t know I never watched the movie,” Percy shrugged.

Apollo barked a laugh startling the merfolk listening in on their nonsensical conversation. Percy smiles as the laughter resonates through the water around him.

“And you say I haven’t seen anything yet?” Apollo teases.

“You haven’t,” Percy grinned. “But I’ll give you a tour of Thalivas another day.”

Apollo gave him a look. “Why not now?”

Percy makes sure his voice can only be heard by Apollo.“I don’t really feel like dragging 20-30 drunk entitled brats through the palace, to be honest.”

Apollo lowers his voice too, his eyes catching Percy’s from an angle that makes him freeze. “I was expecting a solo tour… if that’s alright with you.”

They are always watching. Percy was suddenly hyper aware of all the eyes on him, and the fact that he hadn’t been aware of them for the last several minutes. It was too intimate. Tucked in the nook of Apollo’s arm, looking up at him, whispering secrets in each other's ears. Percy was not about to seal the final nail on that rumor in the making by leaving a celebration with a god in tow.

Percy smiles politely. “There'll be more to see when the palace is awake again. Also it was pretty late when I got here. They’re tired but won’t leave before a god.”

Apollo gave him an amused little smile. “Are you trying to tell me I’ve overstayed my welcome, Perseus?”

“Yes.”


Apollo shook his head looking over Percy head to toe as if seeing him for the first time again. “So fascinating. Pencil me in at noon tomorrow then,” he leaned in too close, his giant face eclipsing everything else in Percy’s line of sight. “I want the full tour.”

Notes:

Nobles: He’s so spoiled he’s always late for no reason. Divine or not a bastard should know better

Apollo, the reason: Hi!

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Sorry about the late posting for this chapter! Life has been INSANE lately the next chapter will be much longer.

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Summary: Chapter VII - Temple of the Father
Religion is complicated for most people especially when your father is the god of the temple you attend. Poseidon takes Perseus on a father-son trip to meet High Priest Archeas at the newly rebuilt Temple of the Father.

Estimated date for Chapter 7 is Aug 22nd

Chapter 7: Temple of the Father

Summary:

Religion is complicated for most people especially when your father is the god of the temple you attend. Poseidon take’s Perseus on a father-son trip to meet High Priest Archeas at the newly rebuilt Temple of the Father.

Notes:

Hey guys, so GREAT news! I don’t have arthritis! In fact my blood work came back very healthy to literally everyone’s surprise. They still don’t know what’s wrong exactly but I’m on medication that has me almost 100% back to normal.

Chapters still are going to take some time because now I have to get my whole life together after a month of being randomly disabled. Wish me luck guys lol.

Also, it was not lost on me that I started having health problems immediately after starting a Perpollo fic lol. But since he saw fit to give me my hands back make sure you say “Thank You Apollo ☀” in the comments!

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Aphrodite’s Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Percy wasn’t particularly religious. But if you asked anyone in his court the King of Thalivas was a very pious man.

When Perseus was given control of Thalivas the first subject he was introduced to was Archeas, his father’s high priest. A young man with the distinct yellow-brown gradient to his tail as most priests. His hair was long and gathered back in dozens of small braids, each weighted down with an arrowhead tip of gold. He wore a white flowing fabric that covered his chest, a symbol of his status as a high priest.

Despite Percy’s religious views he was still a religious figure and keeping a good relationship with the priests of Thalivas was essential. It was the first time Perseus’ father sat him down to explain his role as a Prince to him. It was also Perseus’ first time in the Temple of the Father.

Percy had a feeling he was due for a lecture that day. He had woken in his bedroom to the sight of his father sat beside him twirling his glowing trident in his hand. A million scenarios ran through his mind in that instant. Sensing the spike of anxiety, his father turned to him, grinned broadly, and announced they were going on a father-son trip.

Poseidon seemed to be in a good mood, but he usually did right before revealing he was pissed. Percy kept his questions to himself even as his clothes were changed to traditional greek formalwear. His father morphed into the form of a slightly older young man and traded his own Hawaiian shirt and flip-flop attire for more formal clothing. Percy never saw his father in anything but those loud ass shirts. He decided they looked too much alike without them. The trident, usually a smooth and blemishless metal, seemed to take on a more ancient texture. Tiny shells and coral grew around it and it hummed with a deeper power.

When they stepped into Poseidon’s first chariot, large and ancient, drawn by four enchanting hippocampus, Percy finally felt nervous enough to ask where they were going. Poseidon only winked and offered a hand. Percy warily accepted and let his father pull him onto his shoulder as Poseidon and the chariot grew to his full height as a god. There Percy sat tucked in the nook on his father’s neck as they began their journey.

“Do you remember when you sat on my throne, Perseus?” Poseidon began suddenly.

“Your throne on Olympus?” Percy asked nervously. Surely, he’s not still mad about that.

He could feel his father’s eyebrow co*ck playfully. “I wasn’t aware you were sitting on my other thrones.”

“How many do you have?”

His father laughed, the glow of his skin warming Percy in the frigid waters. “Nevermind that, but yes on Olympus during the second Titanomachy. It would've been your first one though,” he joked.

“And last.” Percy added.

“You asked me to abandon my kingdom, my realm, to fight my father's armies.” Poseidon continued. “The sacrifice was enormous. Father made good on his promise to tear down our seats of power brick by brick. It was one of the darkest moments in my realm in thousands of years.”

Perseus was quiet. He never heard about the state of the oceans after the war. He was ashamed to say he never even thought about it. The ocean had been at war for years before the Battle of Manhattan. He was too focused on the destruction of his own city, his home. The burials of his friends. The miracle of still being alive. Oh and Annabeth… those precious four months when he was a normal boy, right until the Queen of the Heavens stole his life from him.

“I was reluctant, but you insisted and I was in New York just in time to save the day and claim all the glory,” Poseidon chuckled fondly. “The realm celebrated for weeks. A much needed relief after so much suffering for so many years.”

Poseidon flicked his wrist and the hippocampus’ direction turned downward, rushing towards the sea floor. The increased speed had no impact on the two of them as Poseidon continued, his voice still clear. Percy could make out a faint glow in the dark. A kingdom perhaps?

“During the Restoration I decided to change the location of my temple for the first time in the ocean's history. It had been destroyed alongside the palace and I felt it would be better if my seat and source of power were not in the same place,” Poseidon said the last sentence like he had repeated it a thousand time before. As they got closer to the glow Percy realized it wasn’t a kingdom but a single building. But that couldn’t be right, there was no way he could make out the shape of a building from this distance. Unless..

“Is that your temple?” Percy interrupted pointing at the glow.

“Hmm, oh yes! So you’ve spotted it already. Your eyesight has improved.” Poseidon said proudly. “The rebuild is nearly complete.”

“Why is it in the middle of nowhere?” Percy asked.

“It only appears that way,” Poseidon smiled. “On the other side of that mountain is the Kingdom of Thalivas. We’ll be stopping there after the ceremony.”

Perseus sulked, he had a feeling this was going to be another smile and wave situation by the formalwear, but his father’s words confirmed it.

“What kind of ceremony?” Percy asked.

“A θείακύρωση,” Poseidon glowed slightly. “Temples must be purified before they can begin to serve their purpose. The Temple of the Father serves as the center of all our worship in the oceans. As such, it will be purified by our presence.”

“Why just us? Why not the whole family?” Percy asked.

“Because,” Poseidon’s voice dropped low and Percy knew he was the only one who could hear him. “You are my favorite son, and I want to have this experience with you.”

Percy flushed in the soft glow of his father's neck and mumbled out a soft. “Thanks.”

They had arrived sooner than he thought. Poseidon slowed as they approached and Percy gaped at the monumental building. A temple for the gods, literally. He would later learn that The Temple of the Father was painstakingly carved from a single opal gem weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds. The gem was so large the most of it was still hidden underground and into the side of the mountain it appeared from. It casted a bright soft glow from the jagged rock giving an eerie illumination in the dark waters. But it wasn’t eerie to Percy. As they got closer he had a feeling of coming home, as if they just arrived at Atlantis.

Hundred foot columns, alit with eternal blue flames, adorned the open arch entrance where a procession of priests was already gathered. Poseidon’s chariot glowed in the water as his father drove straight towards the entrance. Percy braced himself as they dissolved into water and reappeared without the chariot in the center of the enormous entryway. Percy resisted the urge to gawk at the stunning interior. Everything had been carved directly from the opal which seemed the glow to welcome their arrival.

His father turned to the priests who had finished their scrambling to turn and face their deity, their creator. Poseidon lifted his trident and struck the ground. All at once a rush of power came off his father and enveloped the room. No, not the room, the entire temple, maybe even further than that. Perseus hadn’t felt this much divinity off his father since his introduction to the oceans. The priests cried out in worship holding their offerings over their heads. Percy wasn’t sure what effect it had on them but he felt amazing. Like that first shower after a two week quest, amazing.

For once he could see the slight blue shimmer people mentioned coming off of his skin. The water around him had that same quality it did around his immortal relatives. Percy caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the walls and was startled at his appearance. He always knew he looked like his father, the family resemblance was undeniable. But he was so different from the rest of his family. His mortality always made him feel, well, like a half blood. Like only part of his father.

But now he could see it. He was the son of all the ocean and the seas. All of its power, life and destruction were his birthright. He was beholden to no one, but his family. All his worries and anxiety were gone. Why should he change to suit mortal whims? Of course they can’t relate to him. His place among them was above them. If they didn’t like it they could return to the sea. Perseus was so caught up in his train of thought he almost missed his father’s words.

“... and the coronation of my son Perseus Jackson, Hero of Olympus!”

That was the day Percy became Prince Perseus of the Seas and the King of Thalivas. He spent the entire ceremony in a state of shock that was now immortalized in art, tapestries and apparently a popular drinking song. He greeted Archeas in a daze, his hand limp as the high priest offered a thoughtful human handshake. When they met he hadn’t expected to spend much time with Archeas. Later Percy made it clear to him he didn’t want to use religion to control people, he didn’t even want to be treated as a religious figure. Archeas in return made it clear to Perseus that he agreed that using religion to control the masses was unwise in most situations. As for treating Percy like a religious figure…

“I would never treat you as a religious figure, because you are a divine being, not a figurehead.” Archeas answered piously.

They built their relationship on these compromises and the many hours Percy spent in his father’s temple. As soon as Perseus learned he could escape court by going to pray he started visiting the temple regularly. Archeas was a calm personality that was willing to be a listening ear, advisor or just quiet company. Percy could drop his princely mask around him and be as loud, brass and common as he wanted. Archeas respect for him never wavered.

It was to be expected of course. Priesthood was inherited and Archeas was descended from an ancient line of high priests who had trained and prepared for a significant chunk of their lifetime. Considering priests could live anywhere from five to eight thousand years it was quite a bit of training. Archeas told Percy he wasn’t even allowed in a temple until he was at least 500 years old. At that point he spent a few more centuries basically scrubbing the floors, copying ancient text and standing in the background, then a few more as a student before being given his full rites as a priest. Becoming a high priest took another 500 years…

“You spent a fifth of your lifetime getting here?” Percy blanched.

Archeas nodded amused. “It was a great honor, I assure you. Most never make it to high priesthood and if they do it usually takes much longer than I. I am the youngest high priest in several generations.”

Percy whistled impressed. “Whoa, congratulations! I guess you can accomplish a lot when you live that long.” he laughed.

This led to a discussion about how long Percy’s expected lifetime was, which was far shorter than Archeas could have ever imagined.

“A single century?” Archeas looked frozen in place.

“Give or take,” Percy gave him a sympathetic smile. He was used to his mortal lifespan shocking immortals and the like. He usually ended up comforting them while they grieved him as if he died right in front of them. “Most are lucky to make it to 80.”

Archeas opened his mouth then closed it, a question on the tip of his tongue.

“It’s okay, you can ask,” Percy said gently.

“I hope you’ll forgive the intrusion your Highness but,” Archeas swallowed. “How old are you now?”

“Well if my dad asks I’m 31,” Percy grinned mischievously. “But I’m 25 right now.”

“Twenty-five,” Archeas almost whispered in horror. “Why does your father think you’re 31?”

“He freaks out everytime he realizes I’m getting older so I started telling him I was in my thirties so I wouldn’t have to change the number for a few years.”

“That’s… very thoughtful,” Archeas manages through his shock.

Now Percy sat irritated, complaining to the High Priest about all the changes being made to his household in preparation for Apollo’s sudden visit. Squib dashed playfully around Archeas’ hanging trinkets and baubles, delighted at their soft blue glow. They were deep in the Temple. Far deeper than the colossal gem penetrated, where the temple continued into the mountain side. The temple walls were of smooth rock here and the chambers were much smaller.

Archeas’ “office” as Percy liked to call it, was a large and spacious semi circle. The walls were lined with books, religious text, symbols, ritual and magical items. The ceiling was covered in hanging trinkets and baubles among the trailing vegetation Archeas had planted. He was a man of science, blasphemous for a priest. But he had caught Triton’s attention centuries ago with his following’s unique way of worship. Recognizing the priest’s talent and the dangers, Triton put Archeas under his protection so his gifts may flourish in peace and exclusively serve the gods.

Archeas continued his writing as the mortal prince confided his frustrations. He had several thoughts about the visit. How it could be used, what it could mean for the kingdom, what it could mean for the people. However he had long since learned his king was a sensible ruler, he just had to be dramatic about it first.

“Does your father know of his visit?” Archeas asked instead.

Perseus shrugged. “Why wouldn’t he?”

Archeas hand stopped moving and he raised an eyebrow at Perseus. “Have you told your father of his visit?”

“I just figured he’d, like, know…” Perseus mumbled.

“King Perseus,” Archeas sighed, putting down his pen.

“It’ll be fine,” Perseus rushed out. “If he was mad about it he’d let me know.”

“That I can agree with,” Archeas nodded. “The Father’s eye is all knowing. He would not allow another god into his realm if he did not want it so. Still The Father may test us from time to time. Allow us to be carried by the wayward currents we choose so we may learn more valuable lessons along the way.”

“Jesus Christ,” Perseus rolled his eyes.

“That’s blasphemous Perseus,” Archeas shook his head. “But do you understand?”

The mortal prince hummed looking thoughtful to the side. “Don’t keep secrets from dad.”

Archeas nodded. “That’s the gist of it but there are deeper meanings we can discuss later. For now you must return to your preparations.”

Perseus grimace. “They’re doing too much.”

“Do you know this god well?” Archeas asked. “Would he be displeased with this?”

A small smile cracked the demigod’s face. “Yeah, we’re good friends. Well we were. I think we still are. The way I left was kinda bad and caused a lot of problems, but the party was fun and he didn’t seem mad at all when he left.”

Archeas raised an eyebrow again. “My my, King Perseus enjoying a party. I never thought I’d see the day.”

Perseus smirked wickedly. “You should’ve seen Lord Marcellus fuming that the god of arts would rather talk to his sculptor than him.”

Archeas chuckled. “You did have a good time. Well since you and Lord Apollo are such good friends, what do you think he would prefer for his visit?”

Percy thought for a moment then sulked. “He’d probably love a huge parade through the city streets. Just my luck.”

“Better to cater to the gods' desires than to die in their apathy,” Archeas quoted.

“That’s pretty dark stuff Arc. It’s just a tour,” Perseus smiled from his pout.

“It’s far more than a tour at this point.”

“No,” Perseus said the word gently, but his conviction rang in the water washing over Archeas like a wave. Several of Archeas’ trinkets and baubles glowed very gently, sensing the divine presence. Squib burbled happily and Archeas suppressed a shudder. He’d almost forgotten again, this was a true son of The Father, The Creator, God of the Seas and the Shores.

“Apollo asked for a tour of the palace because he wanted to see what it was like, not because he wanted to see noble so and so’s great contributions lining the walls. I’m telling them to put the palace back as it was.”

Archeas frowned. “But you yourself said Apollo would prefer to be praised.”

Percy grinned at him mischievously. “Oh I’ll get him his worship, but I’m not redecorating my house for it.”


The demigod vanished before Archeas could readvise him, leaving behind a slight blue shimmer in the water. The creature, Squib, squeaked at his master’s absence and disappeared too. Archeas sighed then looked at the still shimmering spot Perseus had been sitting in. He hesitated then leaned over to put his face near the magically infused water and took a deep breath. Immediately he felt energized, his mind sharp, his body loose and relaxed. Such power…

Notes:

Poseidon: Do you remember when you sat on my throne?

Percy: Which one?

Poseidon:

-

Thank you for reading! I have issues with my hands so it takes me a while to write and reply but I love comments and will reply as much as possible! Also to everyone writing essay analysis of the fic in the comments I just want you to know that I love you, my group chat loves you and my mother loves you. May your pillow always be cold.
-

Summary: Chapter VIII - Percy learns a hard lesson from his older brother.

Estimated date for mini Chapter 8 is Aug 29th
(POSTED)
Estimated date for mini Chapter 9 is Sep 5th

Chapter 8: Godling Lessons

Summary:

Percy learns a hard lesson from his older brother.

Notes:

Just a quick half chapter to be a bit of filler until Chapter 9. Enjoy!

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Aphrodite’s Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Percy knew Apollo loved a worshiping crowd and luckily his subjects loved to worship. Still he hadn’t seen crowds like this since his own coronation. Even from the high tower of his chambers he could make out the swarming masses flooding the streets. At Archeas’ command the lower priests had spread the word about what they were calling ‘The Blessing of Apollo’. Between that and the palace food sent out after last night’s celebrations, the effect was instantaneous.

Festivals were already popping up throughout the city that surrounded his palace and even more throughout the kingdom as word spread. News of small migrations that were heading towards the city had already reached his ears. If he focused he could make out the noise of their chatter and music, the swishing of hundreds of bodies in the water. Percy wondered if the offerings he smelt were to Apollo, him or his Father. Not that it mattered, everything in the ocean belonged to his father. Prayers to lesser gods was no exception, Triton had taught him that.

_______

“Prayer is just as important as offerings, Perseus.” Triton was scolding his mortal brother.

Percy was being particularly stubborn about this introduction. The boy hated visiting temples, he lacked the discipline of the gods and mortals. He could barely sit through a single sermon. But Father didn’t care. Perseus was his precious favored son and it wasn’t hard to tell why. Just the sight of him would send the masses into a reverential frenzy. They threw gifts and coins at the chariots as they passed. Pushed against the protective currents Triton controlled just to brush their hand against his brother or his flowing “clothes”. His first birthday under the sea had commoners staining and dyeing themselves a luminescent blue before their arrival, in the hopes that the mortal prince would simply notice them. Triton had never seen anything like it in his life. It filled him with unbridled rage those first few months.

“Half those prayers are unnecessary titles,” Perseus scowled. “It’s stupid. Why do I have to do it? I’m not even a god. Their prayers are being wasted.”

“Those unnecessary titles are keeping those prayers from being wasted.” Triton sighed watching his younger brother change his outfit in the mirror. “Even if you were a god Father would still receive the kraken’s share of it.”

“I don’t understand.” Perseus frowned.

“When we’re introducing you to nobility,” Triton said, taking on a lecturer’s tone. “What is the same about all their titles regardless of rank?”

“How they know dad.” Perseus answered easily.

Triton nodded. “Exactly. The first title will always highlight how far removed that person is from divinity. Hence why before I am the Prince of the Seas, I am a Son of the Father. This is intentional in prayer, so that father may receive his fair worship and offering.”

“But if they’re praying to you, why does dad get first dibs?” Perseus asked. It was a child’s question. He had asked the same question when he was still a young god, learning his domains, his limitations.

“Because he is the king, god and creator of all the seas and as his son I am his creation. Any worship directed to me is his by divine right. This is why mortals of the ocean are able to worship you without breaking divine law. You have no divine titles, so all that worship goes to dad- er I mean father.” Triton explained.

Perseus looked thoughtful for a moment, his face unreadable.

“Do you understand?” Triton asked.

His younger brother met his eyes, a deeper understanding in them. Triton’s heart panged. He knew that look because he’d seen it in the mirror before. It was a strange sensation as a child, to realize you were a vessel for your parent’s reputation, a place for them to store their achievements and ambitions. Perseus was far younger than Triton was when he had finally learned. He had assumed the demigod would not realize this within his lifetime and he had envied him for it. Now he pitied him. He almost regretted telling the boy.

Notes:

Chapter IX - Life Bringer

As thousands flood into the capital of Thalivas for a glimpse of the golden god, Perseus is unaware of some players at work in the background.

Estimated date for Chapter IX is Sep 5th

Chapter 9: Life Bringer

Summary:

As thousands flood into the capital of Thalivas for a glimpse of the golden god Perseus is unaware of some players at work in the background.

Notes:

Sorry this is late but I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it. Also thank you sooo much for the fan art from tumblr blog @perpollomemed ! They make really niche but hilarious memes about Perpollo fanfiction!

https://at.tumblr.com/aphroditesmask/i-love-it-its-my-lock-screen-now/qwmuxe4cql86

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Aphrodite's Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

A faint presence pulled Percy from his memories and he smiled imagining the scent of clove in the water. Percy knew he should’ve gone to join his councilors at the welcome precession they prepared in the front courtyard, but he waited a beat. Then another, to catch a glimpse of gold in the dark waters. No, there it was slowly getting larger. The crowds hadn’t noticed yet, too distracted by their own excitement. Percy was eager to see their reactions, but he needed to be where he needed to be. He let himself dissolve into the water and came together in front of the palace ignoring his councilors' surprised gasps.

“He’s here.” Percy said, pointing into the depths.

They looked up with anticipation, fear and ambition in their eyes. Archeas just looked excited, in his eternally neutral and calm sort of way. Percy was struggling to contain himself. He could feel the pressure growing in the water and it filled him with restless energy. Excitement and anxiety warred inside him. He had been so consumed with preparing for the arrival that he had forgotten he was long overdue for a scolding.

It’s far more than a tour at this point, Archeas words rang through his head.

Right. The tour wasn’t a hangout. It was the stage for a talk he’d been avoiding for five years now. It wasn’t like he left a 9 to 5 without a two weeks notice. He had abandoned duties bestowed on him by the gods. By his friend.

A madness threatened to end the whole event, but a cry from the crowds that had finally spotted the sun god’s bright car grabbed his attention. Apollo was definitely close enough to see the masses flooding the streets. They shouted his name in praise. Apollo, Nephew of the Father, God of the Sun, God of Gold, Bringer of Blessings.

Gods, priests loved titles more than gods did. He resisted the urge to turn and raise an eyebrow at Archeas. The approaching car dipped towards the adoring crowds, now roaring in approval. The car began to glow and Perseus expected it to turn into a chariot. Instead it disappeared and standing thirty feet tall among the adoring merfolk was Apollo in a clean white t-shirt and blue jeans that looked ridiculously out of place in the ancient city. The crowd fell silent for a moment before screaming in praise, Apollo’s smile practically split his face and Percy had to resist the urge to snort. This definitely topped the Father’s Day vogue surprise.

After five years in Atlantis, Percy was used to seeing gods receive this level of worship. He imagined that to a god like Apollo, who got by on demigod offerings and the relevancy of his domains and symbols, this must feel like Elysium. Apollo faces the palace and Percy feels something warm flush his chest as their eyes lock.. He grins stupidly at Apollo. Apollo points a deliberate finger at Percy and he swears he can feel thousands of eyes fix on him.

“Perseus Jackson,” Apollo’s voice was loud and clear in the water. Even above all the cheering crowds, that hushed upon hearing the king’s name without titles. “You will always be famous to me.”

Apollo might as well have granted him immortality. The noise is deafening and Apollo’s bell laughter rings through the water as he feeds off the crowd’s worship, rich and genuine. He begins to take massive strides towards the palace, his golden essence seemingly dripping off of him. The crowd parts easily as their cheers turn to awestruck cries. Percy watched mesmerized.

Apollo was so generous Percy felt as if he were watching worship turn into blessings in real time. He could taste it in the water even from the palace. It tasted of ambrosia and offerings, of salt and clove. He could feel the healing sinking into his body. His councilors however were as overwhelmed as the masses. Percy willed a current around them to ease the pressure. Last thing he needed was them embarrassing him after he had said he didn’t need a welcome procession. That’s when Apollo appeared on the inside of the gate and Percy almost embarrassed himself.

Apollo’s face was bright with delight as he ascended the palace steps on foot, slowly shrinking to a ten foot height. His golden hair flowed beautifully in the open waters. His internal glow banished the soft blue light of Thalivas from his features. Percy suddenly ached to see him in the sun again, outside of the filter of the ocean smoothing out his perfect features.

"King Perseus,” Apollo began as he approached them, arms outstretched. His eyes were shining. “Last night was the best reception I’ve received in centuries. I didn’t expect you to outdo yourself so quickly.”

Percy snorted. “Must’ve been a rough few centuries.”

His councilors gasped aloud, their frozen shock tingling the back of his neck. Percy couldn’t feel anything, but the warmth in front of him. Each breath was like a long sip of ambrosia and he resisted the urge to put his head back and literally bask in Apollo’s divinity. His subjects must be getting to him, no wonder they worshiped so readily. This was Elysium.

Apollo’s laugh rang through the water as he closed the distance between them and enveloped Percy into a tight hug.

“Ah, I’ve missed you,” Apollo sighed.

Memories on memories fell on Percy’s mind and he allowed himself a moment to wrap his arms around Apollo’s neck, close his eyes and bask.

“It was no biggie,” he mumbled, releasing his arms a bit.

Apollo snorted letting him go, but keeping a hand on the small of his back as he gestured to the celebrating city illuminated by blue and gold in the dark waters.

“This?” Apollo said loudly enough for the councilors. “Was no biggie?

Percy smiled. “I just told them you were coming, your reputation did the rest. Thanks for blessing them by the way.”

Apollo chuckled, shaking his head. “You’re so funny. Did you know that?”

“I’ve heard it once or twice.”

Apollo’s lip twitched. “Naturally. You know as much as I appreciate this… I do remember requesting a private tour. I would’ve preferred it.”

Percy knows himself well enough to know if he allows his mind to process Apollo’s words it would only show on his face or worse in the water. He settles into his princely persona and shrugs.

“I remembered you asking for a solo tour, not a private one. Besides, my council wanted to meet you.”smiled Perseus.

Apollo gave him a look. “Knowing you I’m guessing they strongarm you into it.”

Perseus feels a flicker of annoyance at how well Apollo can read him already. He enjoyed watching Apollo try to figure him out, it was fun with him. He didn’t feel the same anxiousness he got from others watching him. Perseus knew Apollo’s assumptions would never be unkind. His words and actions would never be taken in anything, but the most affectionate light. Apollo cracks a smile at his silent admission. No point in lying to the god of truth.

“Lesson one Perseus,” his voice lowered for Perseus. “You make the rules, they follow.”

“Someone should have told them.” Perseus smiles.

“You’re so annoying.” Apollo laughed playfully before letting his attention fall on Perseus’ councilors. “Well since they're all here might as well do a vibe check.” he winked at Perseus letting his hand drop from his back.

Curious heads bowed as the god’s attention washed over them. Apollo approached them without introduction from Perseus, who followed warily beside him. Vibe checks were exactly what merfolk feared most from Gods that were not of the sea.

“Council of Perseus, my blessings upon you.” Apollo smiled brightly.

The council dipped into a deeper bow. Perseus raised an eyebrow more amused than irritated at their sudden reverence for the divine. Everything came so easy for him. It was Lord Marcellus who spoke first, who approached first. Perseus glanced at Archeas who made no sign that he was affected. In the presence of gods, it was the priests who addressed them first. Their understanding and awareness of the gods is invaluable in communication with the divine. Perseus had a feeling he was about to fail a test.

Lord Marcellus had to have known Perseus won’t interrupt his tour just to correct protocol. That’s fine, he would deal with Marcellus’ well timed misstep later.

“Your Luminous Majesty Apollo,” Lord Marcellus bowed very deeply. “God of the Sun, Nephew and Friend of the Father. The Kingdom of Thalivas is honored by your returned presence and at your service.”

Now Archeas met Perseus’ eyes. Perseus was too stunned to speak. He would have thought Marcellus mad, if he wasn’t already so familiar with the man’s misplaced hubris. Apollo liked the sculptor he had commissioned for Perseus’ celebration. Perseus knew Apollo well enough to know he enjoyed the chat with the artist more so than the art itself. Lord Marcellus would’ve been an afterthought to him, but from a noble’s perspective… Yes, that was akin to having slight favor with the god himself.

Lord Marcellus fancied himself a court manipulator. Unfortunately, his ostentatious nature hindered his success to simply remaining in court. If there was a God of Hindsight Perseus would curse their name. Why must the bigger picture only reveal itself when the damage is done? He could see Marcellus’ entire thought process, how all the bits and pieces played out. He could see all the moments that might have warned him of the man’s intent and all the steps he could have taken to mitigate them had he been more observant.

He knew Marcellus was nervous, they all were after Apollo’s surprise visit. The fables of the divine they heard growing up all began with a god, a blessing and a test then ended with a transgression, a lesson and a death. Classic fairytale recipe. They knew Perseus was a very lenient ruler and it had made them bold instead of grateful. They feared repercussions and were looking for something to secure their place at court. Perseus had expected them sucking up to him at each other's expense. Now he sees that was wishful thinking, of course some would try to secure their place through Apollo.

Perseus could’ve ignored the groveling, the exaggerated praise, the implicative statements, but this… To name another god before his father. To offer the service of Perseus’ kingdom as if he were its king, to assert himself so informally. Who the f*ck did he think he was? Marcellus was lucky Perseus was not his brother or father. He would let this slide for now, until the visit was over. Then he would visit with Archeas to discuss correction and how to avoid situations like this again. Usually he dished out more human punishment to his subjects. His intention was to correct the problem and have the person responsible take accountability. However for this, he would take inspiration from the laws of his father’s land.

You must be everywhere, all at once, at all times, Triton’s words rang in his ears. Perseus remembered laughing at that. Teasingly reminding his brother it wasn’t like he could literally be everywhere, all at once, all the time. Now he wanted to scream. Was it this difficult for mortal kings on the surface? How is he meant to outwit beings thousands of years older than him, much less rule them?

Perseus kept his frustration contained. He and anger were old friends that knew how to come to an understanding. Perseus saw Archeas relax slightly, good they were on the same page. No need to expose how dysfunctional the court is in front of a guest. Perseus was almost tempted to bring Archeas along on the tour for moral support. He glanced at Apollo to gather his reaction. It’d be annoying if he actually did take a liking to Marcellus. Perseus didn’t want Apollo to think he was a cruel ruler, but he wasn’t about to let such a public slight go.

Apollo tilted his head with a smile and furrowed brow, but for the most part ignored Lord Marcellus whose million dollar smile faltered. Apollo’s eyes landed on Archeas who freezes like a deer in headlights.

“High Priest, what do they call you?” Apollo asked cheerfully.

“I am called Archeas, your Majesty.” Archeas bows his head.

“High Priest Archeas, I will receive you.” Apollo beckoned him forward. Archeas floats forward, ahead of Marcellus and sinks gracefully into a kneel holding a golden bowl filled with round white fruit about the size of Perseus’ fist.

Most merfolk considered it common and filthy to touch any floor and priests were no exception. But in the presence of the gods, priests were expected to prostrate themselves. It was an offering of submission, an acknowledgement of the power imbalance that existed between the divine and all others, given by one man for the benefit of the masses. Afterall, priests were the only ones with tails that were flexible enough to make the distinctly human kneeling pose.

Perseus was endlessly grateful that Archeas was so pious. He doubted that Apollo knew exactly how out of line Marcellus was, but he was obviously aware of some breach of protocol. Archeas was trying to heal the damage before the cracks grew. To Perseus’ annoyance Marcellus was still floating out of his place among the councilors, hovering above the kneeling priest. Perseus willed a subtle current to pull him back in rank.

“His Divine Majesty, Nephew of the Father, Olympian of the Sun, Apollo. Please accept this offering as a symbol of our hospitality and of lasting friendship between your realm and The Father’s.”

It was the perfect introduction, but Perseus wanted to dig a hole and die in it. Did everyone take a sip of stupid juice this morning? That fruit tasted like sh*t and Archeas knew it. He was tempted to say something, anything to stop Apollo from tasting that fruit. He couldn’t believe Archeas would make such a grievous oversight and didn’t want his favorite subject getting turned into kelp over something so unfathomably stupid.

“Oh my gods,” Apollo laughed delightedly, shoving his hand eagerly into the bowl. “I haven’t had these in millenniums. Ugh, so good, just how I remember them.”

Percy watched with morbid fascination as Apollo devoured the foul tasting fruit, popping them in his mouth like grapes. Archeas looked up with a relieved smile on his face. Forget the Apollo statues, Perseus would build a shrine to Archeas one day. He’d never doubt him again as long as he lived.

Archeas straightened himself and rose in the water to a respectable height. He looked up at Apollo who chewed, smiling expectantly at him, encouraging him to continue. Archeas face was a mask of awe and wonder, but he remained as poised and collected as always. His voice rang clear, loud enough for all the curious faces peeking out from the palaces windows and towers to hear.

“There is a story. That the Father would gift the Olympian Apollo this fruit when he was a younger god. That the sun and sea were reliable friends who broke bread in the halls of Olympus and the hearth of their own palaces. Your presence honors us. Your generosity overwhelms us. We are grateful to the Father, Life Bringer of the Seas, to be blessed with a King worthy to receive the Nephew of the Father, Life Bringer Beyond the Shore. Praise the Father! Creator and God of the Seas! Hail, King Perseus! Hero of Olympus! Praise Apollo! Olympian of the Sun!”

Each of the closing titles was interrupted by cheers from the palace windows, towers and gates. The vibrations shook the water as the crowds in the city joined in the cheer from the palace. Perseus glanced at Apollo’s reactions only to see him beaming at Archeas. Despite looking as though he might expire on the spot, Archeas managed to smile back brightly and Perseus wondered if he had just checked something big off his bucket list.

Archeas speech almost made Perseus forget about Lord Marcellus' misstep, but not enough to allow the welcome procession to go on any longer. He was eager to get out from underneath so many eyes, especially now that his good mood was back.

“Your priest is well spoken Perseus,” Apollo nodded at Archeas appreciatively. “And well informed.”

“Yeah, he’s one of my favorite subjects by far.” Perseus smiled.

Apollo looked at him in surprise. “The humble Perseus Jackson’s favorite subject is his own priest.” he teased.

Perseus rolled his eyes. “Shut up, he’s my dad’s priest.”

Apollo laughed at Achreas horrified expression. “Your priest must not know you well if that’s enough to shock him.”

“He’s scared cause of all your violent punishment myths.”

“Oh, please. They weren’t that violent.”

“To you.”

“Exactly,” Apollo beamed. “My opinion was the only one that mattered anyways.”

Archeas watched with fascination slowly lowering himself back to his place among the council who shifted uneasily. Perseus barely noticed them as he and Apollo fell into their familiar banter. They parted with ease as Perseus led Apollo into his palace.

Notes:

Lord Marcellus: Luminous Apollo

Archeas: Ain’t no f*cking way

-

Summary: Chapter X - Revelations

Apollo recalls the night before and compares the Percy he knew to the Percy he’s discovered. The old friends fall into old habits as they wander the Thalivaian palace. When Apollo takes a seat on Percy’s throne, there are things that need to be addressed between the two of them

Estimated date for Chapter 10 is Sep 12th but that’s a strong maybe y’all life is getting busy at the moment and I’ve been needing to rest my hands more.
UPDATE: Chapter 10 is still nowhere near ready. Sorry for this guys but it's gonna be a long wait. I'll get you a date when I can again.
UPDATE: Chapter 10 is being read and edited right now! Latest posting date will be Mon Sep 26th! Thanks for being so patient!

Chapter 10: Revelations

Summary:

Apollo recalls the night before and compares the Percy he knew to the Percy he’s discovered. The old friends fall into old habits as they wander the Thalivaian palace. When Apollo takes a seat on Percy’s throne, there are things that need to be addressed between the two of them.

Notes:

Stole some bars from Madeline Miller’s SOA. Pls don’t sue me Maddy I love you lol

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Aphrodite's Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Apollo felt underdressed next to Percy, not that he’d ever admit it. He had spent hours agonizing over the perfect outfit for his date. Well pre- date, if this was a real date he’d know exactly what he was doing. This was infinitely more complicated. What exactly does one wear to visit the palace of a deep sea king with New York City rugrat sensibilities?

Finally he decided on something clean, casual and familiar to Percy: A white tee with jeans it’s safe outfit. Sure. But when you look this good basic fashion just highlights everything else. Besides as much as Prince… no King Perseus intrigued him, he was longing for his friend and hoped he could coax Percy out of his princely mask today.

Apollo smiled, smoothing out the non-existent wrinkles in his shirt. The Renaissance Ball was a dream, the beginnings of a painting or perhaps a poem had formed in his mind with Perseus at its center. The dancing merfolk, swirling colors, ancient art and captivating Prince. He regretted not taking a picture of Perseus before he left, he could almost believe he made it all up.

Which is why one of the first things he did when he returned to the surface was pull up an old photo of Percy Jackson at Camp Jupiter, smiling at him and holding one of his youngest children Shania. It was a foggy fall day, but Percy walked among the autumn as if born to it. Leaves of red and gold danced in the wind as he made his way down the hill where Apollo was waiting, mesmerized and memorizing every detail. Percy's face was just beginning to pinch into an embarrassed smile, his cheeks flushed red with the cold as Apollo insisted on a spontaneous “Fall photoshoot”.

He had always known Percy would grow into an attractive young man. The boy had clearly inherited most of his strong handsome looks from his father. His mother’s gentle features softened them into the realm of beauty. He didn’t intend to approach him until he got a bit older. Then came Hera’s kidnapping, The Prophecy of the Seven, the fall and Apollo’s own terrible trials. In what seemed like the blink of an eye Percy was older and had grown into his already favorable features.

Determined to be respectful Apollo still tried not to approach him, at least not without a platonic reason. Yet year after year Percy blossomed as he outgrew childhood. Percy’s very presence drew attention, second glances and long stares most everywhere he went. Apollo remembers how surprised he was at Percy’s lack of awareness, he did not seem to know he had changed so much. They sat by the lake edge of Camp Half-Blood when Apollo finally mentions it.

“You look older,” Apollo says

Percy raises an eyebrow. “Yeah it’s a mortal thing.”

Apollo grins and they fall into a comfortable silence again, before Percy surprises him by saying. “You look older too.”

“Do I?” Apollo asks.

Percy nods. “You looked 18 when I met you. Now you look like you’re in your twenties.”

Apollo laughs. “How so?”

Percy hums, stirring a circle in the water with a twig. “You’re taller I guess. Your face hasn’t really changed, except the freckles. But you seem older.”

“You’ve changed a lot more than I have.” Apollo smiles.

Percy seems surprised. “How?” he asks.

Apollo resisted the urge to bite his lip. There are soo many directions he could take this conversation. They were alone, the nymphs had long since learned not to flirt with Annabeth Chase’s boyfriend. The lake was empty of canoes and kayaks and no one walked along the other side of the shore. He could just lean in and…

Instead he says “Come here.”

Percy scooches closer his eyes bright with curiosity. Apollo regards him for a moment as if he hasn’t already committed him to memory.

“Your face is different now,” he says, placing a warm hand on the side of Percy’s cheek. “Wider along the jawline and you’ve grown into your features.”

Apollo traces his fingertips along Percy’s collar bone, a gesture that seemed to draw Percy’s attention to their intimate position. Goosebumps begin to form under his touch.

“You are wider here also.” Apollo continues, his voice soft. “And this,” his finger gently touches the soft bulb of Percy’s throat.

Percy finally flushes and pulls away, fiddling with his beads.

“So the usual,” he says jokingly.

Apollo leans back with his arms behind his head. “No, I wouldn’t say so.”

Looking at the old photo of Percy, Apollo could see it now. That ethereal beauty hiding beneath the plump softness of childhood. If he hadn’t watched most of Percy’s growing up he would be convinced there was some kind of enchantment at work and yet, he wasn’t entirely unconvinced that there wasn’t. Diving beneath the waves Apollo was determined to keep his presence in Poseidon’s domain… subtle. Although he forgot to take two things into account: His tendency for the spotlight and Percy’s tendency for surprises…

Blessing Perseus’ court was a bit much for someone trying to stay off the radar, but Apollo knew Poseidon was bound to confront him long before he got anywhere with Percy. Better when his uncle finds him, he finds Apollo helping not leering at his son. Still, he could never have anticipated such a small blessing garnering such a massive response.

As he got closer to Thalivas he could feel the magnitude of tens of thousands of merfolk celebrating in the streets and flooding into the city. Festivals, food, dance and worship filled the atmosphere. His jaw nearly dropped as he approached the bustling city and could hear them crying out his name. So much for subtlety.

He could barely process this disappointment as the euphoria of thousands of prayers and offers engulfed him like a flame. This was Elysium. His form flickered and he caught a glimpse of himself thousands of years ago: A perfect youth, hair long, wild and beautiful, eyes gold and rimmed with power. Looking to the palace he could see Perseus at the top of his palace steps, glowing in the water, his raven hair flowing in the currents.

Oh, if only he had been born a millennia earlier, Apollo could see it so clearly he could paint it. Two boys racing each other in the natural Greece landscape. One on the river, the other on the wind. Their faces are bright with joy and carefree abandon. For a moment he imagines swinging down to the palace steps, grasping the prince by the waist and pulling him into his chariot. He’d be flustered, but not enough to run. It would only take moments to reach the surface and then Perseus would be his. It would be so easy.

Percy wasn’t exactly sure when Apollo took over his tour, but he was happy to let him take the lead. Apollo was an excellent storyteller. He rambled off the histories, scandals, secrets and could’ve beens of everything from the columns to the tapestries, the furniture to the layout of the city. Percy settled easily into his role as guide, taking Apollo to the places he thought would most intrigue the excitable god.

The libraries and their vaulted ceiling paved with rare gems, the bouquet hall still full of art from the night before, the luscious gardens and their strange and beautiful dryad-nymphs. They spent some time in the gardens, lounging on the soft grass like plants, nibbling on small snacks the palace staff brought out to them.

Despite the rocky start to the tour Percy was in high spirits. Archeas’ introduction was graceful enough to smooth the discomfort Marcellus brought and Percy was relieved Apollo seemed unfazed although a little weirded out by him. Percy hoped he could bring Apollo to the Temple later for Archeas to meet him less formally. It’d be his little thank you to the priest, that and deciding the details of Lord Marcellus’ fate.

But Percy didn’t want to think about that right now. It was easy not to while basking in the ever present warmth around Apollo. Listening to his colorful stories and bell-like laughter it was easy for Percy to forget he was a prince and a king. He laughed and grinned until his cheeks hurt and let his tongue run from him with abandon. He did not have to fear conspiracy or content himself with ungenuine kindness. His fingers drummed happily and his muscles relaxed as the shackles of conformity dissolved.

There was no one to misunderstand him, no one to glare and stare and wait for his misstep. Just Apollo and the bright nostalgic joy he brought with him. When they walked he allowed Apollo to swing an arm around his shoulder, until they reached the edge of the garden. They continued on their tour and found themselves in Perseus’ blue-green throne room lined with mosaics of myths and kings. Columns made of the Temple’s opal surround the room, centering the eye on the laughably large throne that Apollo takes great pleasure sitting on.

“Come here,” Apollo teases playfully, patting his lap.

Percy floats in front of him unimpressed, arms crossed. “You literally have your own throne,” he says.

“Ah, but how often do you get to sit on a throne that isn’t yours?” Apollo winked.

“Sat on my dad’s once. Jumped on Hephaestus' before his booby traps went off,” Percy nodded seriously.

Apollo looked at him consideringly. “You know it’s strange. I can always tell when you’re telling the truth and it still feels like you’re lying.”

Percy smiled. “Maybe I’m just a really good liar.”

Apollo snorts. “You most definitely are not.”

“Then I’ve already got the most important part of being a good liar.” Percy smiles slyly.

Apollo chuckles looking down at Percy with a fondness he can’t put into words. “You remind me so much of Hermes.”

Percy raises an eyebrow. “Why?”

Apollo barks a laugh. “What? I thought you and Hermes were friends!”

“Yeah, but I think you’re the only person who's ever compared us.” Percy smiles despite himself. Apollo was so pretty when he laughed.

“You’re probably right,” Apollo chuckled. “But seeing as I raised him, I have unique insights others do not.”

“Didn’t you take him to court when he was a baby?”

“He stole my cattle, Perseus.”

“A baby?”

“Don’t start,” Apollo warned, flashing his eyes playfully. “But this is a pretty good example of how alike you two are. Just bratty and annoying for no good reason. Two peas in a pod of malicious compliance and general chaos.”

“Wow,” Percy giggled. “So just the bad stuff huh?”

“Of course not!” Apollo beams, literally. “You’re both hard workers, helpful, quick witted with an even quicker tongue.” He grumbles a bit at the last bit.

Percy hums smiling at Apollo’s dramatics. “I guess I see it.”

Apollo smiles back and pats his lap again, telling Percy to come sit. Percy finally relents, the warmth and smell of Apollo is too tempting to resist. He ends up sitting in the nook of Apollo’s elbow sighing happily as he settles in.

Apollo chuckles, sending a deep vibration through his chest. Percy suddenly has a pang of homesickness for his immortal family in Atlantis.

“Comfortable?” Apollo asks, smiling warmly at Percy.

Percy gives a shy smile back. “You’re pretty cozy.”

Another chuckle. “Well I am the sun god,” he says proudly holding Percy closer to his chest. Percy happily rests his head against Apollo, breathing in the scent of dryer sheets, cloves and the ocean. They sit in silence, enjoying each other’s company and warmth.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you…” Apollo begins.

Percy braces himself, he knew this was coming. Why did you leave without saying anything? He had no good answer, just the embarrassing truth and the abandoned consequences.

“How well do you know that Marcellus fellow?” Apollo asks.

“Marcellus?” Percy looks up at him surprised, he didn’t expect Apollo to ask about that of all things. He was already fairly certain he would execute Marcellus, but he didn’t want to tell Apollo that. From the outside it looked like such a minor thing to kill someone over.

“The noble from the Renaissance Ball and the welcome committee,” Apollo expanded.

Percy lip twitched. “The Renaissance Ball?” he asked.

Apollo rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“There wasn’t even any dancing.” Percy teased.

“I danced!”

“Yeah, but you’re you,” Percy laughed.

Apollo chuckled. “You, you will be the death of me Perseus.”

“That’s rough,” Percy grinned. “But in regards to Lord Marcellus. That isn’t the first time he’s done something… wayward before. Depending on how things go I might be able to get him out of my court.”

Apollo nodded hesitantly. “That’s… good, but I don’t think you understand the implications and severity of his behavior.”

Percy blinked up at Apollo. Perseus did understand the implications and severity of Marcellus’ actions. Which is why he was most likely going to be scheduled for an execution, but Percy didn’t really want to admit he was going to kill one of his nobles just for being rude. He didn’t think Apollo would understand the implications, but perhaps he was underestimating the god.

“I… understand the implications and I understand the severity. He’s going to be dealt with accordingly,” Percy bit his lip.

Apollo hummed and Percy knew from its pitch he was about to be given a lesson.

“Your priest Archeas.”

“Dad’s priest,” Percy corrected.

Apollo gave him a look. “Do you know why I ignored Marcellus and favored him?”

“Priests talk to gods first.” Percy answered easily. He had long since learned that when an immortal thought you were too dumb to understand something, you absolutely understood, it was best to just let them explain it to you anyway.

“Good,” Apollo smiled brightly. “Any other reason?”

“His introduction was sh*t.” Percy smirked.

“Yes, but how?” Apollo laughed.

“The luminous was doing way too much.”

“Yes, and?” Apollo prompted.

“Well, it’d be one thing if he spoke out of turn and was a little dramatic, but it was pretty clear he prepared that speech. Intentionally naming another god before my father, offering service of my kingdom as if he were leader, asserting himself so boldly, so informally.” Percy could feel himself getting angry all over again and slammed a lid on it.

Apollo looked at him pleasantly bemused. “So you do understand?”

“Like I said.”

“Don’t start,” Apollo warned. “I know you may think of my visit as a casual thing, but…”

“You think I did all of that because I thought your visit was a casual thing?” Percy co*cked an eyebrow.

Despite himself, Apollo looked flustered. It was cute.

Percy takes pity on him. “Listen, I know what he did was treasonous. I know how big of an issue it is that he did that today. Like I said he’s going to be dealt with accordingly.”

“Do you think being removed from courts is an acceptable punishment?” Apollo raises an eyebrow.

“I didn’t say how I’d remove him…” Percy shifts.

Apollo smirks at him. “Oh, are you going to carry out an execution?”

“Yes,” Percy frowns resisting the urge to cross his arms.

Apollo blinks and Percy glares.

“Yes?” Apollo asks.

“Yes,” Percy repeats. “After you leave I was planning to visit Archeas at the temple to discuss punishments. Mine are usually too tame, Archeas will be more creative with it.”

“Well,” Apollo gives Percy a satisfied smile. “It seems I was worried for no reason.”

“Worried I wasn’t homicidal enough?”

“Quite frankly yes,” Apollo laughs. “King is a pretty murderous job title, I wasn’t sure you were up for it.”

“I’m literally a demigod?” Percy thought about his international terrorism charges back on the surface and wondered what the statute of limitations were on that.

“Fair enough,” Apollo chuckles. “Speaking of demigods.”

Apollo fishes a phone out of his pocket and swipes through some apps. He turns the screen to Percy. First thing he notices is how much phones have changed. He wasn’t very familiar with them before, but gods how did they get them so thin? The next thing he notices is the smiling little girl on the screen, maybe 6 or 7, in the Camp Half-Blood kitchen. Her grin splits her face as she proudly shows off a cheesy, greasy, meat and pepper filled omelet on a plate.

Percy’s jaw drops and he looks up at Apollo stunned. “Shania?”

Apollo nodded proudly. “She turned 7 last month!”

“June 23rd right?” Percy smiled. He couldn’t believe how big she had gotten. He didn’t know why he expected the baby he carried to camp to still be, well, a baby. Or at least a toddler, she was seven?

Apollo grinned. “You remembered.”

“I always remember the kids’ birthdays,” Percy grinned back. “I just have trouble remembering it on, you know, the day.”

Apollo threw his head back and laughed just like Percy had hoped he would.

“Show me more,” Percy asks eagerly. “How is everyone doing?”

Apollo swipes to a group photo at the Camp Half-Blood campfire. It was fall and most campers were wearing sweaters giving them the appearance of CHB being an actual, normal camp. Most of the demigods have a stick with a marshmallow on it that they held up to the camera. Percy peers at all of their faces one by one. The last five years had felt long, but now Percy could see exactly how long. The weight of it is heavy.

All the kids are now teens or nearly. All the teenagers were starting to look like college students, but there were less of them now. Percy knew it wasn’t just because of college. There were more adults than Percy had ever seen before at camp, but none much older than Percy. He could see none of the older campers that guided him when he first got to camp. In a decade he had gone from one of the youngest to one of the eldest at Camp Half-Blood. A ten year generational turnover…

“Are you okay?” Percy had almost forgotten Apollo was there. Apollo looked at him with concern.

“Yeah,” Percy said, straightening up. “It’s just… everyone got older.”

“Yes, I’ve been told it’s a mortal thing,” Apollo teases, but the water is heavy between them.

Percy manages a small chuckle. “I guess I look older too.”

“I don’t think you would dislike how you look now.” Apollo hums.

They fall into silence. Moments stretching out into minutes.

“You know,” Apollo begins, his voice soft. “I was worried sick when you left. Once I knew you were safe, I was very angry with you.”

Percy fiddles with the tassel around his waist, his eyes on his lap.

“I felt I deserved a letter at least. The children certainly did. They’ve missed you terribly. Your absence was felt all throughout our world,” Apollo’s voice wasn’t judgemental or even angry, but what he was asking was clear and Percy owed him an explanation.

“I’m sorry,” Percy said, barely above a whisper. “I- I wasn’t myself those first few months I was gone. I know it’s not a fair excuse, but… it felt too late to send a message by then.”

“Did something happen to you?” Apollo asks. “Annabeth said you two had had a fight and you left. You went missing right after that.”

“It wasn’t a fight,” Percy muttered looking away. “We broke up.”

Apollo raised an eyebrow. “Forgive me for intruding, but…”

“Hermes was dropping me off from a quest at our apartment. Annabeth was there, with someone else, another guy.”

Apollo breathes. “Oh, oh . Percy you walked in on her?”

“They weren’t doing anything like that,” Percy says quickly. “They were just talking. They’d been dating for a while. He was getting impatient about waiting for her to break up with me. Said she needed someone with ambition not achievements. Someone who can help her make her mark on the mortal world not be carried through it.”

“Gods,” Apollo whispers.

Percy feels almost numb as he says the last line. Even after all this time it still feels like a ghost said it, not his Annabeth. “She apologized for dragging him through this and promised to break up with me soon so they could start their real lives. Then they started making out so… I just. I left a note saying we were over and left.”

Apollo is quiet, but Percy can feel the tension in the arm around him.

“It was late,” he continued, filling the silence. “I didn’t know where to go so I just walked down to the beach. A few hours later my dad showed up. We talked for a bit and he asked me to come live with him. I went with him.”

“Of course you did,” Apollo sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Percy I’m so sorry you witnessed that.”

“It’s fine,” Percy mutters. “I’m sorry I didn’t write or something.”

“One, what happened to you is not fine, in fact it’s just- I can’t even,” Apollo sputters, a lick of flame managing to break his skin in the frigid waters. “Two, oh my Gods I could just strangle her. Two, don’t worry about not reaching out. It’s completely understandable considering the climate at the camps at the time. Still I wish you had called for me when you went down to the beach.”

Percy looks up at Apollo surprised. Considering the number of lives he must’ve affected by leaving, a sh*tty breakup seemed like a terrible excuse and yet Apollo acted as if it made perfect sense. He looked at Percy with such a grieving tenderness it made him want to cry.

Instead he asked. “What climate at camp?”

Apollo gives him a puzzled look, reading his face. “How much communication did you have with the camps while down here?”

“None,” Percy shrugged. “I can’t communicate with anyone on the surface down here.”

“Ah,” Apollo made a pained face. “When did your father tell you this? A few months in?”

“Why?” Percy asks warily. If there was trouble at camp and it was because of him…

“After your disappearance,” Apollo began cautiously. “Once people knew you were safe and it became clear that you and Annabeth were no longer together.”

“Yes?” Percy felt the impatience rising in him but couldn’t tap it down.

Apollo shifts uncomfortably. “A… rumor developed that you had been the unfaithful one.”

Percy raised an eyebrow. “No one who matters is going to believe that.”

“I agree, but unfortunately this rumor left the neighborhood. Many believe that when you were confronted with this… you got upset. There was supposedly a fight. Athena was very upset at this news and wanted recompense. Your father always maintained your innocence and eventually the quarrel was dropped, as the case wasn’t compelling or important enough to require Olympian intervention.”

Percy could only gape at Apollo, his head swimming. “I- what on Earth did she think happened?”

“The rumors leaned… very heavily towards violence,” Apollo flinched. “I know you said you went to the beach to cool off and I believe you, but neighbors whispered about hearing voices arguing. Someone had seen you walking there and said you looked furious. Another witnessed your father taking you. The speculation grew out of control.”

Percy could only shake his head in disbelief. “They’re all lying. There was never even a verbal fight. I was crying all the way to the beach, not angry. How- who?”

“I’m really sorry Percy,” Apollo rubs his back comfortingly, but it does little. Percy feels like he just got run over by a cruise ship. “I thought you were down here because your father was protecting you from Athena, but…”

“No,” Percy shakes his head. “Looking back that’s definitely what he was doing, but I had no idea about any of this. I thought he was just being weird and possessive. He’d wanted me to move here for years, I just thought he didn’t want me to leave and not come back.”

Percy looks up at Apollo. “But I don’t understand. Why didn’t anyone just ask Annabeth?”

Apollo struggles to hold his gaze and the chilling suspicion sinks into Percy’s chest.

“That’s the thing, Perseus. They did ask her.”

Notes:

Apollo: I'm going dress basic so I don't intimidate Perseus. Best to keep things simple

Percy, in royal attire: I threw a parade for you and got you the biggest dose of worship you've experienced in a thousand years wana meet my high priest?

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So so so sorry about the long wait for this chapter. It was really kicking my ass and then my landlord tried to illegally evict me lol
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Summary: Chapter XI - Brace Yourself
Lord Partinus receives his inheritance. Annabeth is given two warnings.

Chapter 11: Brace Yourself

Summary:

Lord Partinus receives his inheritance. Annabeth is given a warning in two.

Notes:

Sorry about the long wait. My landlord backed off yay! Life has still been pretty overwhelming lately and as the holidays pick up I get more candle sales. But thanks you for staying with this story and reading <3

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Aphrodite's Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

The young man was quiet as Archeas regarded him. His eyes were lowered, his hands clasped behind him and his tail moving just enough to keep him upright. A long black cloak held closed with the sigil of Thalivas, not his house, covered his frame.

“Lord Partinus,” Archeas offers.

“High Priest Archeas. Thank you for receiving me,” he said softly.

Pity swelled in his chest. Inheritance was already such a complicated business outside of the business side of things. Archeas had always lived a life where his achievements could only be his own. Nothing was given and nothing was free. Listening to the prayers and complaints of those blessed enough to not have to earn their way in life used to fill him with such envy. Now he looked at yet another child blessed with wealth, but cursed to only receive it at the death of their own kin and all he could feel was sympathy.

“You are most welcome here Lord Partinus. Of that I can assure you,” Archeas smiled softly. “King Perseus is not one to punish a son for the crimes of his father.”

“I am grateful for his Majesty’s mercy and eager to swear fealty to the King,” Partinus bowed slightly.

“The King will be very glad to hear of it,” Archeas knew he certainly was. He wanted to readvise Perseus when he declined to summon the lordling for vows of fealty, but the King’s temperament after the tour was… unpredictable. He hadn’t even seen Perseus since the events of that day.

“However he does not require it of you. His primary concern is that you have the necessary time and resources to settle into your new responsibilities as Head of your household,” Archeas could see the confusion on Partinus’ face. He was the son of a treasonous noble, executed for sacrilege before the gods in the very temple they stood. He expected to be treated as such.

“When- when will he require it?” Partinus asks.

Archeas gives as comforting a smile as he can. “It is not a test. He will not require it of you. Our king is divine, but his blood runs red. He will not force you to swear fealty to the man that killed your father.”

“My father is a traitor.” the word falls harshly from the noble’s mouth.

“Yes, but he was your father first. Family, as you well know, is very important to King Perseus-”

“What does he know of loss?” Partinus snapped his head up, his frame shaking very slightly in the water. “What does he know of grief? His family is immortal. What does he know of what I feel?”

The trinkets on the ceiling glow slightly and the lordling pales. Archeas holds a hand up.

“Peace my lord. Do not answer the Gods’ mercy with your anger,” Archeas gives him a stern look and Partinus gathers himself.

“Is there anything you’d like to know before your departure?” Archeas asks him. “I’ve been permitted to tell you and only you the full details of Lord Marcellus’ execution.”

Partinus looks up at the priest and hesitates.

“I’d like to know.”

Annabeth stirs at the dining room table, beneath her head a blanket of maps and scrolls. She stretches slowly trying not to stir the papers. These days New Rome was very quiet at night, all she could hear was the faint scratching of pen on paper. She took a deep breath and willed herself to sit up. She needed to be well rested tomorrow. There was so much to be done.

“Are you so displeased to see me?”

Her head snapped up.

“Mother?” Annabeth gaped. The goddess stood over the table, her hand still scribbling something on a piece of paper, her eyebrows furrowed. She made no indication that she heard Annabeth speak, giving her a moment to compose herself.

“What’s happened?” Annabeth asks.

“It’s too soon to tell,” Athena muttered, almost to herself. She turns to Annabeth. “Brace yourself.”

The words send a chill down her spine. Brace yourself. The same warning Poseidon had given Percy before the war began taking lives in earnest.

“We have been bracing ourselves for this war,… but that’s not what you mean, is it?” Annabeth says.

“My daughter,” Athena smiles at her and puts her pen down, tearing a piece from the paper. “Always so quick to notice a missing piece.”

Annabeth returns the smile hesitantly.

“But never clever enough to figure out what it is.”

A moment passes between them and Annabeth drops her gaze. Athena hands her the torn piece of paper and closes it in her fist. She forces herself to look back up. Athena’s gaze is intense and searching. When she seems satisfied with what she sees she nods very slightly.

“Brace yourself.”

Athena vanishes before her eyes. The air seems thick and the paper burns in her closed fist. Annabeth swallows and gets up to walk to the kitchen. She leans against the counter and turns on the stove burner. In the blue light of the flame she unfolds the paper and reads two words:

Aphrodite’s Mask

Annabeth stifles a yelp as the paper bursts into flames on its own, burning her fingertips. Her mind races through correlations, struggling to find the common denominator. Was it a literal mask or metaphorical? Was it a warning? Was it about Aeneas? Something dropped in her stomach.

No, her mother had told her to brace herself. Clearly whatever was coming was a personal matter. Still she knew her mother well enough to know she wouldn’t get so involved if that’s all there was to it. Something big was coming her way specifically, and would have overreaching ramifications. It was vague… but it was the best she could summarize at the late hour.

Still ‘Aphrodite’s Mask’ troubled her. She flicks off the stove and runs her red fingertips under the cool water. It was clearly dangerous information, however she had no way of knowing if it was about Aeneas until she did more research. Which would be difficult, seeing as she was in the middle of planning a war and it’s not like she could ask around about it. She turns off the sink and makes her way to her bedroom.

The moon shines brightly through their window and she finds Aeneas sat up and awake, waiting for her. He gives her a gentle smile and holds out his hand. For a moment she is caught in between breaths, drinking him in. Years of basking in his beauty had done little to diminish its effect on her. She walks over to him and curls in his lap, her arms around his neck. He smelled of mulled wine and oranges.

“My mother visited,” she mumbled into his neck.

“I had a feeling,” he sighed, holding her close. “Any good news?”

“She told me to brace myself.” Annabeth shakes her head.

“More than we already have?” he jokes, but the humor isn’t there.

“Apparently.” she gives a weak smile.

“It’ll be okay,” he rubs her back. “You’re her daughter. You can do anything.”

She feels herself well up. “Thank you, Aeneas.” she whispers.

He leans back to look her in the eyes. “But you don’t have to do it alone. Okay?”

She smiles and reaches up for a kiss. She wants to whisper everything to him. What her mother said, how it made her feel, the note, the war, the warning. It’s her singed fingertips that cut through the haze of affection and holds her tongue.

So she whispers. “I love you.”

Notes:

So yall got to meet Annabeth's new boytoy lol. Can you guess his parentage? I'll give you a hint. He's not a demigod but he is descended from two Olympians.

Summary: Chapter XII - Apollo’s Lament
Apollo reflects on the events following Perseus’ disappearance into the sea…

Estimated date for Chapter 12 is very much in the air but you’ll definitely get it before Thanksgiving.

Chapter 12: Apollo’s Reflection

Summary:

Apollo reflects on the events following Perseus’ disappearance into the sea…

Notes:

I’m back! This chapter was literally 5000 words before I started cutting. There were just soooo many moving parts to the Percabeth breakup in this universe and I wanted to give you guys the full story since I know you’re all eager for it!

But thanks to all that word vomit there are two bonus chapters in Aphrodite’s Mask Bonus Chapters right now AND Chapter XIII: At Ease Phoebus is nearly finished! Pray for my hands lol

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Aphrodite's Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Apollo sat in his palace rapping his fingers against the marble countertop. There was a lot to think about… a lot to address. He took a swing of his ambrosia looking over the rolling landscape of Delos. This was too big for a haiku, even an ode was limited. Perseus deserved an epic at this point and Apollo would be the one to write it.

He can see it all so clearly, how all the mismatched pieces fit into place so seamlessly to create this false image of Percy Jackson. If he hadn’t been so distracted with Perseus’ disappearance perhaps he would’ve noticed the rumors as they started, before they became fact. It had started innocently, with the classic Aphrodite cabin Team Percy verses Team Annabeth debate, that was inevitable with any celebrity breakup.

They typically got bored in a few weeks, but this was the couple that had survived Tartarus. What domestic wedge was strong enough to keep them apart? There had to be a scandal. Naturally the debate spread to the other cabins despite Chiron’s best attempts to tamper it. Still it was pretty tame for a bunch of middle schoolers. Mean spirited and hilarious of course, but not big enough to cause any real damage… until it spread to New Rome.

This is when the whispers and tweets had started to reach Apollo’s ears. He had been annoyed at first and even suspected Annabeth, but she was still tucked away in the orange groves of California with her friends Piper Mclean and Aeneas Ourania, far from the drama and questioning eyes of Rome.

“Focusing on herself for once.” Piper had said with a sad smile.

They both watched as Annabeth pitifully picked at an orange's skin, tossing the tiny pieces into the pool in front of her. Apollo sighed, he wanted to grill her for more information about the breakup, but she obviously wasn’t taking it well. He couldn’t blame her, all of Rome seemed to be taking her breakup poorly. He left a flower basket with some spa products and said his goodbyes to Aeneas and his family.

He didn’t think anyone expected the culture war that would bloom from this. #TeamPercy and #TeamAnnabeth moved on to debating ideologies rather than the individuals who inspired the hashtags. The bubble finally burst in March… women’s history month. The women of New Rome were highlighting great female demigods and Annabeth Chase was a popular subject, already on Rome’s collective mind. A Hero of Olympus, Survivor of Tartarus, One of the Seven, and most notably in Rome, Retriever of the Athena Pantheon. She was hailed for bringing the camps together and all the wonderful things that came with that. Children gave presentations on her in class and drew portraits of her to hang in their classrooms.

It was adorable, Perseus would’ve loved it and Apollo couldn’t help but imagine him looking over them with pride, as the children at CHB showed him their hard work. No matter what had happened, he knew Perseus loved that woman more than anything. It was still hard to imagine a world where he and Annabeth were apart, much less at opposition. He wasn’t the only one who still associated Annabeth with Perseus…

It can’t be said when it was decided that Perseus had been unfaithful, but at the time it was fairly common ‘knowledge’. Afterall, who was there to refute it? Both Ms. Chase and Jackson were notably absent from all camp activities and Piper Mclean was fiercely protective of Annabeth’s privacy. So when Annabeth retweeted a post from the New Rome University’s Women’s Club, highlighting her greatest heroic and academic achievements, on a very tasteful Canva template, it did big numbers. Then a single retweet went viral with the caption: But couldn’t keep a man.

Apollo will admit, he had a good laugh at that one, but only because it was funny. Misogyny is an unattractive quality and Apollo certainly wasn’t. Unfortunately it seemed he was the only one on #TeamPerseus who was a feminist. There were more than a few Romans who were sick and tired of seeing a daughter of Minerva plastered all over their city and happily joined the dog pile. The memes were brutal, man and god alike were eating that sh*t up.

Team Perseus, the unruly bunch they were, glorified him as a living hero in unjust exile and Annabeth as the wicked witch who couldn’t handle losing him. They highlighted his achievements by blotting out hers, calling him a classic legendary hero. The women of Rome had quite a bit to say at the insinuation that cheating on your partner is what made heroes. Hazel Levesque got into a particularly heated confrontation with a lar in the unicorn stables who suggested she was an inappropriate match for Praetor Zhang. It wasn’t clear if the lar’s comments on her legacy were in regards to her divine or mortal lineage, but he was never spotted again after the incident.

It got bad enough that Apollo reluctantly took #TeamPerseus out of his Twitter bio. As much love as he had for his dear friend, this would soon pass. No reason to get shot by his sister over a hashtag. Still, he was surprised that of all the gods it’s Artemis who intervenes first. He watches curiously as she and Thalia enter the Ourania family mansion, several hunteress scattered throughout the grove. They talk for a short time before taking their leave and Apollo gets a glimpse of Annabeth’s steely resolve as Artemis says her goodbyes.

He doesn’t speak to his sister until later that night to ask what they spoke about, but she just smiles and says that conversation is between the two of us. She does reveal she’s decided to patron Annabeth at Thalia’s request.

“I doubt she’s a maiden.” Apollo raises an eyebrow.

“She is not part of my hunt,” Artemis rolls her eyes, aiming her arrow. “But I always wanted her to be. She was the only maiden who I did not think a fool for rejecting the Hunt. Perseus had such… potential.”

She points her arrow at the ground, a mix of emotions playing on her face.

“He made a mistake.” Apollo says softly.

Artemis fixes him with a resigned look and he shrugs helplessly.

“It was foolish of me perhaps,” she says quietly looking at the night sky. “My dear Zoe.”

Apollo lowered his eyes. Zoe Nightshade, Artemis’ last lieutenant, had been with her for 2000 years. Nearly half of her lifetime. She knew things about Artemis he never would. Apollo would’ve easily considered her his own sister if she wasn’t so trigger happy around him. She had died several years ago, fighting alongside Perseus and Artemis’ new lieutenant Thalia to save both the goddess and Annabeth Chase from the Titan Atlas.

“She meant everything to me,” Artemis continues. “She held my hand and used the last of her strength to forgive and apologize to Thalia and for the first time in her life, since Hercules, turned to a man and did not disparage him. She honored him perhaps not all men, she said.”

Artemis’ voice goes bitter at the end and Apollo is grateful Perseus is so far out of their reach, but she just sighs and her anger deflates.

“I saw him as a little piece of her legacy, as if her words had taken life. I even planned…” she breaks off.

“Planned what?” Apollo encourages gently.

“It’s stupid.” she huffs, slipping her arrow over her back.

“Tell me,” Apollo teases. “We never talk like this.”

“I’m the one doing all the talking.” she rolls her eyes.

“Exactly! It’s usually just me filling the air.” he grins.

“Fine,” she laughs softly. “When Annabeth and Jackson returned from Tartarus I had the thought, if the time ever came, I would like to deliver and bless their first child myself. I thought Zoe might like that.”

Artemis’ voice sounded a bit wistful, as if it had been more than a simple thought. Apollo thinks of the many times both Annabeth and Percy had received assistance from the Hunt in the past. He knew Artemis favored the two and more than tolerated Jackson’s presence around her Hunters, but he didn’t realize how deep her favor went. It was rare for her to get attached to mortals, much less imagine happy domestic futures for them. He doesn’t think he’s ever seen her so hurt , by a man.

Apollo settled into a younger form and wrapped his arms around his stiffening sister.

“Zoe would’ve loved that,” Apollo says, kissing the crown of her head. “But what you’re doing for Annabeth now, for the women in Rome. I know Zoe is the happiest star in the whole sky.”

Artemis’ small frame relaxes and she takes a single deep breath and for a moment Apollo hates Perseus Jackson.

On the last day of that March, Annabeth, Piper, Thalia, Aeneas and his parents pile into a car and begin the drive to New Rome with the eyes of Olympus watching. Anticipation settled over their world like a fog. Annabeth is given no platform or stage. She doesn’t need one. The crowd forms behind her as she walks flanked by Piper and Aeneas, her face stern, calm, commanding. The scene is captivating and for a moment Apollo understands what Perseus saw in her. He understands why he followed her even into the depths of Tartarus.

She stops a few paces up a small hill and turns to the crowd. She doesn’t look like a woman who just finished grieving a man. She looks strong, like her mother, but the disappointment lining her face is all Sally’s. More than a few shift uncomfortably under her gaze. The speech she gives is remembered simply as ‘Footnote’. A brilliant verbal essay about the trials of being sidelined in your own story if you do not grasp your narrative and make it your own. She never mentions Perseus except to condemn the absurd and insensitive gossip surrounding her break up and makes it clear that there is no #TeamAnnabeth or #TeamPerseus.

“We were a team once, Team Percebeth,” she smiles wistfully. “But now we’re just Annabeth and Percy again, with a little more history. That’s all.”

Short, but terribly moving she received a deafening applause from audiences seen and unseen. Demigod women in power, both in Rome and the mortal world poured support and opportunities towards Annabeth, determined to make sure she doesn’t become the footnote of another jerk hero. Annabeth Chase began to thrive, while the only ones still voicing support for the missing Perseus were the bitter misogynists and small adoring children whose bubble had not yet been bursted.

That and his father who soon after Annabeth’s speech confronts Athena and accuses her of slandering his son’s name in an attempt to taint his glory. They exchange heated words somewhere on the coast of North Carolina. Rumors say war may have been mentioned several times. At least that’s what Apollo heard from Hermes before the issue was brought to Olympus. Now all gods enjoy a bit of mortal gossip here and there. It was always a blast right up until it ends up in the minutes of an Olympian council meeting. Mainly because the conflict would usually end that day with the untimely, electrocuting death of said mortal.

Zeus demanded an explanation for the renewed quarrel between Athena and Poseidon. While it was surprising this issue was being given any attention on Olympus it was well known that conflicts between Athena and Poseidon were best resolved quickly. The two had an affinity for playing the long game and their positions on the council made them difficult to discipline.

It became evident very quickly that the issue should have been addressed sooner. Zeus and Hera find themselves dumbfounded as Athena and Poseidon shout at each other over them like parents at a heated school conference. It’s not lost on anyone how much they look like their own children bickering. Apollo attempts to provide a resolution, but is slu*t shamed into silence. It’s Aphrodite who breaks the tension once weapons are drawn and charged.

Zeus, fortunately, decides against killing Annabeth and Percy as they were already separate and the real conflict was between their parents. He does not punish them for their ‘outburst’, but does revise the consequences to deter them from acting so rashly again. Weapons had always been allowed in the solstice meetings, but drawing them was forbidden. They could hold their weapons, flash them even, with little consequence, but to draw, charge and point their weapons at each other in the limited space of the throne room? Apollo couldn’t think of any other time in their history such a thing had occurred among Olympians and for such childish reasons too. Athena and Poseidon were incredibly lucky Zeus wasn’t making an example of them.

With this declaration, the meeting is adjourned, the gods are dismissed and the great Percebeth debate has finally ended.

Notes:

Do yall have any idea how hard it is to make a chapter of pure exposition sound natural?? Thank Youtube university for HelloFutureMe cause I literally watch all his videos for writing tips and advice lol

So yeah a LOT happened after Percy left New Rome all those years ago. If you want to read the confrontation between Athena and Poseidon in North Carolina and find out what the declaration Zeus made is, check out the next work in this series where I post Bonus Chapter’s for Aphrodite’s Mask.

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Summary: Chapter XIII - At Ease Phoebus
After Apollo leaves Perseus at the end of their eventful tour he is confronted by his uncle Poseidon.

Posting Date for Chapter 13 is Nov 20th

Chapter 13: At Ease Phoebus

Summary:

After Apollo leaves Perseus at the end of their eventful tour he is confronted by his uncle Poseidon.

Notes:

Hehe sorry for posting at 4am but it's Saturday so I know I'm not making you late for school or anything.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

At the time Zeus’ decision felt more than fair, generous even. Now Apollo can barely restrain the lick of flames dancing across his skin as he remembers it all. Perseus’ wide, hurt eyes haunt him. Why didn’t anyone just ask Annabeth? Apollo would’ve done anything to take back that conversation. They were having a perfect day, a perfect date. Why did he have to go and ruin everything by asking stupid questions?

Perseus was a mess and Apollo did what he could to sooth him before he left, promising to return in a few days. Still, Perseus demanded answers, information and reason for why… how this could’ve happened. Apollo was reluctant to give him the full story when the prelude already had him so wrecked. He told Perseus that he would find out more and made him swear to not break his father’s communication ban.

There was just too much to digest and Apollo hardly knew where to begin. Does Athena know? Was the great Percabeth debate manufactured? For what? Annabeth’s glory or Perseus’ fall? It had been years since the issue was dropped, but it hadn’t been forgotten. Annabeth was still considered a powerful figure not only at the camps, but to the mortal world. Perseus, in his absence, became a myth and a cautionary tale.

The great legendary hero who saved the day and got the girl, but lost it all by disrespecting the one who carried him to his glory. It was a story referenced in discussions of how their world had changed for the better. Excelling in violence was no longer enough to launch a hero to stardom, you had to deserve it as well. Perseus, while not hated by most, is remembered much like Hercules. A great man, but not a good one.

His story couldn’t end there, Apollo wouldn’t allow it. He would grasp the reins of this narrative until Perseus was ready to stand before Rome, as Annabeth had all those years ago and speak his own truth. Still, Apollo struggles to lose himself in the image of Perseus’ reclaiming his honor, when the idea of Artemis championing that traitor blinds him with rage.

“Promise me Perseus,” Apollo had begged. “You cannot disobey your father in this-”

“Why?” Perseus sniffles bitterly. His beautiful face was red and twisted in devastation. Milky white tears rolled into pearls that gently fell to the throne room floor. Apollo could feel the slight tremors in the water, Perseus’ restraint, as he wrestled with his emotions. “He’s been lying to me this whole time so I wouldn’t find out and leave. Now everyone hates me.”

“No, my sweet Perseus,” Apollo held his face between his hands. “Your father was protecting you. He has always maintained your innocence, even when… even when I did not believe it.”

There is a flash of hurt on Perseus' face before he asked. “Why do you believe me now?”

“I’m the god of truth,” Apollo smiled softly, as he pulled Perseus towards him to kiss the crown of his head. “Now I’ve heard you say it, I know it to be true.”

Perseus hesitated before wrapping his arms around Apollo and sinking his face into his chest. A small movement caught the corner of Apollo’s eye and he glanced up to see the Squib creature lurking behind a column, as if unsure whether to approach. He hadn’t seen Squib since the Renaissance Ball and wondered if Perseus had locked it in a bedroom for Apollo’s benefit. Apollo smiled at it, grateful to know he wouldn’t be leaving Perseus completely alone down here.

“Your Squib has come to check on you,” Apollo whispered down to Percy, who sniffled and turned his head towards the column.

Perseus reached out a hand and Squib approached them, nestling hesitantly against Percy’s neck and shoulder. It has no eyes, but Apollo still felt as if it gave him an apprehensive look of resignation. He felt oddly validated by the creature’s begrudging acceptance. Perseus rubbed it gently, mumbling as he rested his forehead back against Apollo’s chest. Squib caught a falling pearl and Apollo tries not to stare as the pearl, almost gently, broke into tiny pieces with a soft crunching noise.

“I hate to leave you like this,” he muttered into the prince’s hair. “But I need you to swear to me you won’t break your father’s ban.”

“If I swear it you’ll leave.” Percy mumbled and Apollo’s heart swelled.

“I’ll return. I promise,” He cupped his face in his hands again, ignoring the Squib as it curiously nibbled at his fingers. “I’ll tell you everything I’ve learned. Just… be patient.”

Perseus sighed, but nodded reluctantly. “I swear it, I won’t break dad’s ban.”

“Thank you,” Apollo sighed in relief. “I’ll be back. Just wait for me.”

Perseus escorted Apollo back to his car which looked remarkably out of place in the palace’s ancient courtyard. His subjects muttered quietly, casting nervous glances at the pair. No doubt they felt Perseus’ reaction earlier. It almost alarmed Apollo how easily he slipped on his perfect princely mask. His face was as smooth and calm as the surface of a lake. It was indescribably hard to drive off, looking at Perseus’ polite diplomatic smile, knowing the hurt that swelled right beneath it. Apollo couldn’t help, but have the feeling he had ruined something beautiful by coming to Thalivas.

He was so lost in his pondering he let out a very ungodly scream when the locked passenger side of his Maserati swung open in the rushing currents. Poseidon slid into the car with a sigh as if he had just finished filling up the gas. That is, if he had used a three pronged trident, glowing with primordial energy to fill the tank.

“Uncle!” Apollo says weakly trying to manage a bright smile.

“Nephew,” Poseidon's smile doesn’t reach his eyes and Apollo can’t help but note, how unnaturally still his hair is in the water. “Let’s talk.”

“Of course,” Apollo slows down to a cruise and masks their conversation from prying eyes. “I- ah, met Perseus again. He seems to be doing well.”

“Hm,” Poseidon only hums as he puts up his own barriers around the car, ensuring their conversation is completely private. It’s as dark as Hades, but if Poseidon feels Apollo’s discomfort he ignores it. Still, Apollo gives himself enough of a glow to illuminate the car. “He certainly was this morning, less so now.”

Apollo flinches. “I apologize uncle. I didn’t mean to upset him, truly.”

Poseidon looks over at Apollo with an intense gaze before it softens into something approachable.

“At ease Phoebus,” Poseidon sighs. “You’ve only irritated me.”

Apollo tries not to sigh in relief. Phoebus was always safe from his uncle’s mood, if he had been Apollon today, well…

“I still should have asked for permission to enter your realm.” Apollo smiles apologetically.

“Hmph,” Poseidon smiles. “Yes, but you’re always welcome here. Besides both of your arrivals were loud enough I knew you weren’t up to anything nefarious.”

“Sorry about the noise,” Apollo grins. “I got a little excited. The worship down here really does wonders for my complexion!”

“Amazing what can be achieved when mortals know their place huh.” the corners of his eyes crinkle.

Apollo sighs dramatically. “They just don’t make them on the surface like they used to.”

Poseidon chuckles easily and the last of Apollo’s nerves melt. Many thought of his uncle as unpredictable, especially in regards to his temper. But Apollo had long learned the man just had a phenomenal poker face and a preference for striking when you least expected. Centuries of friendship had taught Apollo the tells of the old sea god better than most “surface dwellers”, as Poseidon not so lovingly used to refer to them.

“It’s good to see you enjoying your godhood again,” Poseidon says genuinely. “You’ve been downplaying your gifts since your recent ascension.”

“I know, I’m just…” Apollo shrugs, exhaling. “Trying to stay out of father’s way for a century or two.”

Poseidon shakes his head. “You mustn’t diminish yourself for your father’s appeasem*nt.”

“These days I’m more so doing it for my own peace.” Apollo gazes into the dark in front of him.

Poseidon pats his shoulder, giving him an encouraging smile.

“I can understand that. What I have trouble understanding is why my son’s peace needed to be disturbed today.”

Apollo glances warily at his uncle who raises an eyebrow, looking at him in anticipation. He swallows and begins to tell him the conversation he and Perseus had in the throne room. Poseidon certainly knows all of this already and is only testing his honesty, but he doesn’t mind. Demigods like Perseus were a treasure that oft inspired fierce protectiveness. He remembered Thetis' frantic ambition and inevitable grief. He remembered his own, Asclepius and the punishment he endured to avenge him.

Apollo at least had been luckier than most. He not only had the privilege of raising his son from cradle to grave, but beyond when he was allowed to ascend at Zeus’ mercy. These last few years were probably the only ones his uncle had where he didn’t fear for his son’s life or safety. Perseus’ coronation, the Temple of the Father, Archeas, that strange creature, the divinity literally glowing on his skin. It was all a father’s desperate attempt to shield his son from those that would gladly deliver him to Thanatos.

“Good,” Poseidon nods, pleased with Apollo’s retelling. “He’ll be fine eventually, but he will expect you to tell him everything when you return.”

Can I return?” Apollo asks carefully.

“You promised you would, didn’t you?” Poseidon teases.

“With your permission of course.” Apollo smiles brightly.

Poseidon fixes him a look, as if he’s waiting for him to say more. He decides to throw caution to the wind and pokes the bear.

“I was also… hoping to court Perseus.” his uncle raises an eyebrow. “If that’s alright with you, of course?”

Poseidon just shakes his head slowly before bursting into laughter. It goes on long enough for Apollo to nervously chuckle along, wondering if his arrows could pierce a big enough hole in the barrier for Apollo to escape through. He’d pick up the sun chariot later, the horses knew Poseidon, they’d be fine.

“Your father really did a number on you Phoebus,” Poseidon finishes his laughter, his trident finally disappearing from his hands. “Since when do you ask permission to take a lover?”

“I don’t?” Apollo scoffs, embarrassed. “But you’ve always been kind to my children and Perseus is… special.”

“Special?” Poseidon teases.

“You know what I mean,” Apollo says. Despite the barriers, he still lowers his voice. “You could pull it off you know?”

The humor is sucked out of the atmosphere. He can see the flicker of hope and fear in Poseidon’s eyes.

“I thought you had when I saw him on the surface.” Apollo continues. “Despite everything, I was kind of excited. Perseus would make a wonderful god! The children would be thrilled to have him back, especially in that capacity.”

“I don’t intend for him to be a minor deity.” Poseidon scoffs not unkindly.

“Neither do I.” Apollo responded.

Poseidon raises an eyebrow as he says this. It was barely a declaration, but among friends it was enough to be held to.

“Protector of Divine Youth was just a title, Perseus turned it into a blessing. Not only for the children, but their mortal and divine parents alike. Most may only remember the sh*t show of him leaving, but I still remember what it was like before he and Grover built those systems into place to find, retrieve and deliver demigods safely to camp.”

“Hm,” Poseidon smiles wistfully. “I can see it. I get updates from that satyr every now and then. He’s always been a true friend to Perseus.”

“I’ll say,” Apollo chuckles. “He wouldn’t tell me anything when Percy left.”

Poseidon laughs loudly. “Between him and Hermes I don’t know who to thank more for that night.”

“Hermes?!” Apollo asks, surprised. He didn’t like how often his brother was coming up surrounding Perseus. If he found out that brat knew Perseus was down here, looking like that, and didn’t tell him? Apollo had a terrifying thought of Hermes sat upon Perseus’ throne, patting his lap invitingly for the eager demigod king.

“Yes,” Poseidon gives him a look. “Do you really think he did not know what was happening in Perseus' apartment before he dropped him off?”

Apollo blinked.

“No but,” Apollo frowned. “I don’t understand why he didn’t say anything.”

“I’m sure he had his reasons,” Poseidon says easily, but he can see the hints of a frown touching his lips. “Besides with his reputation, his endorsem*nt of Perseus would have only fed the flames. Not to mention pit him against your sister.”

“I see,” Apollo still doesn’t understand why Hermes didn’t tell him at the least, but he’d talk to his brother later.

“There was something Athena had said.” Poseidon asks. “About you and Perseus, at that council meeting.”

“Hm? Oh!” Apollo laughs. “She was talking out of her ass. I only wreck homes that need wrecking.”

Poseidon barks a laugh. “We both know that isn’t true.”

“It is now,” Apollo beams. “Haven’t you heard! I’m a changed man.”

“So they say.”

“So… can I court Perseus?” Apollo tries to keep the eagerness out of his voice.

“Ah,” Poseidon says thoughtfully. “Well, I may not approve of my son being your lover, but now that he’s king. I suppose I can tolerate you being his consort.”

“I am a god? I- wait really?” Apollo perks up. “You approve?”

“I’ll allow it,” Poseidon clarifies. “Unless there’s a reason I shouldn’t.”

“No, no, of course not! Nothing from my end, but I am surprised you’re not more-” he waves his hand in the water. “Protective?”

“I am protective,” Poseidon fixes him a look. “But even I know I cannot hope to keep him in the sea for much longer. He will surface one day. I’d like to know he has more than one ally when that day comes. Preferable after this war has passed.”

“Agreed,” Apollo nods. As much as he wanted to see this variation of Perseus in battle, it wasn’t worth it. “As for the Annabeth situation…”

A slow smile blooms wickedly on Poseidon’s face and Apollo’s stretches to match it. Oh, this was going to be fun. A lick of flame teases his fingers.

“There’s plenty,” he begins, his voice dripping with conspiracy. “I’d like to do, in regards to that situation. Unfortunately, Perseus being my only demigod makes him an enticing target for my enemies.”

It was true. As powerful as Poseidon was, Perseus' vulnerability tied his hands. He wasn’t going to make the mistake Thetis did. He would prioritize Perseus' life over his honor and glory. He could afford to afterall, five years of slander had done nothing to temper Perseus’ divinity. It seemed to grow in spite of it. Fortunately, Apollo was not restrained by those same limitations.

“Ah, of course,” he says, feeling the mischievous atmosphere rising between them. “I don’t envy your position Uncle.”

“It is what it is,” Poseidon's eyes crinkle. “The hubris of wisdom’s children is well known… but so are their falls from grace.”

Ah, there it is. The green light. The gods' eyes lock in agreement, twitching smiles spreading across their faces. Poseidon breaks first chuckling.

“Some things are inevitable.” Apollo finally laughs.

“Drive safe nephew,” Poseidon says, still smiling, the corners of his eye crinkling. He opens the door and steps out into the deep, his form already expanding and fading into the dark waters. “I’m sure, I’ll see you soon.”


Apollo can’t help the giddy burst of light as he makes his way to the surface. Inevitable indeed.

Notes:

Life Update:
My candle business recently got a ton of orders (200 ahhh) so I'm going to be pretty overwhelmed this week and need to rest my hands a ton. So no more writing for me lol! Child Surprise is still going to be updated on schedule, but I have no estimated day for a new chapter of Aphrodite's Mask or any of my other fics. But glad I was able to get you the full Poseidon confrontation before my little hiatus!

Life Update (12/13)
This weekend my roommate assaulted and choked me out. She was arrested while I got checked out by EMS. I have an order of protection but she is back in the house now so things are still tense. My hands weren't injured in the fight but they are sore since I spent the Saturday selling candles at a vender event. It'll be a while before i can write again I'm really sorry about the extended hiatus I might be able to post again in January <3

Life Update (12/28)
My birthday is next week on the 4th so still no idea when I'll pick this story back up lol

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Dite's Fav

Chapter 14: Circ*mstantial

Summary:

Archeas reflects on events after the Sun God’s tour of Thalivas and finally works up the courage to go see his young King

Notes:

Sorry for the super long wait but I’m back lol

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Dite’s Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Archeas was not a prideful man, although he deserved to be. As High Priest of the Temple of the Father, and at such a young age, he had no shortage of accomplishments despite his lack of ambition. But these things mattered less to him than the favor of the divine. When the Son and Heir of the Seas first approached him it had been the single greatest moment of his life. Suddenly the texts he’d consumed his whole life were not metaphors or flowy prose, but descriptions of tangible divinity.

Archeas was working quietly, struggling to prepare his next sermon when the fabric of reality shifted. It was as if his being and the waters around him were no longer separate things. He was not afraid, though this lack of fear frightened him, for he knew it was not his own. Nothing was his. He felt limitless, expandable, unrestrained and completely powerless. Merely an infinite tool to be wielded by greater hands for a higher purpose.

“Mercy,” he cried out and he was returned to himself in a jarring instant.

His skin and gills shivered as he caught his breath, claws embedded in the desk before him. All he could see was the half-started sermon between his trembling fingers. Slowly, gently, he felt his body and mind relax enough so he could finally face the presence behind him, humming with primordial power. Illuminated by the glow of hanging artifacts the two tailed god eclipsed the small chambers in size and presence, and Archeas sank to his knee in worship.

Now afloat in the wide ornate hallway of Triton’s mortal brother, Archeas can’t help but compare. King Perseus’ aura was always quite pleasant to Archeas and most priests would agree. To be in the presence of the Father was to be held firm by every cell in one’s body. His gaze did not wash over a person so much as through them. It left no blessing, only a reminder of one's place in nature. Perseus was a stark difference from his family. His presence, just as encompassing, was gentle, softer.

The Execution of Aelor Marcellus was a side of King Perseus Archeas had never seen before. He had even doubted its existence, despite the many feats the demigod king had accomplished. Now Aelor’s bloodless death haunted him. The noble’s terror was etched into his memory. Archeas, a captive witness, could only watch in horror as the man choked on the sea foam that poured from his mouth. His desperate, violent, thrashing dissolving pieces of himself until nothing remained.

It took several days of silence for Archeas’ concern to outweigh his hesitation, but only one for the king to accept his request for audience. His heart grew heavy when the guards led him to the king’s apartments rather than the throne room. They left him in the hallway that led to the towering arch entrance of the King’s chambers. He pushes forward, already feeling the King’s pleasant aura. He swims through the archway and bows his head, waiting to be addressed.

A moment later Squib appears against his chest cooing for a cuddle. He gives a soft smile and indulges the creature a pat and looks up. It was not his first visit to the King’s chambers. The centerpiece was undeniably the massive open clam shell framed by two elegant columns. The open mouth of the clam was lined with bedding and small stuffed animals. To his left was a beautiful divination fountain with stacks of rare gold drachmas haphazardly lining its edge. To his right an open balcony where he could see the outline of two ornate chairs through the sheer flowy curtains. A pale arm stuck out from the side of the chair and beckoned him.

Archeas swam forward, guided by Squib who followed his master’s voice. To say he startled to see his old master Triton leaning against the balcony would be an understatement. The two tailed god towered over his little brother. His conch shell hung from netting around his waist. He floated against the balcony with his arms crossed, but did not look displeased with the prince who sat miserably on his throne-like chair.

Perseus looked well, to Archeas relief. He wore a turquoise and emerald robe over a seafoam nightgown. Slender human legs kicked back and forth in the water. He could tell from the prince's pout he had stumbled into a scolding.

“My Lord,” Archeas drops to his knee.

“Archeas,” Triton nods in acknowledgement before turning back to his young brother who threw the priest a small smile.

“As I was saying. You need not fear your own ability, Perseus. You displayed nothing, but control. Father was very pleased to see how undamaged the altar room and present priests were at the end of it,” Triton says gesturing at Archeas.

“Dad saw?” Perseus asks reluctantly.

“The execution you held in his altar room as an offering to him?” Triton smirks. “We all saw it.”

“I didn’t mean it as an offering,” Perseus mummers unapologetically.

“We know,” Triton shook his head. “You did well, for once. It’s good to see you taking things seriously.”

“Thanks,” Perseus tries to say drily, but from his angle Archeas can see the ghost of a smile on his lips.

“Well then,” Triton straightens up. “I’ll leave you to do your duties. Though I will advise you’ll get more done from your throne room.”

“I’ll take it under advisem*nt,” Perseus smiles sweetly.

Triton huffs and dissolves away, reappearing in his chariot.

“Triton,” Perseus calls. “Before you go. Can I ask something?”

“Of course,” Triton gives him a curious look.

“I- heard that there was a lot of conflict on the surface. When I left…” Perseus starts hesitantly.

Triton narrows his eyes. “Who did you hear that from?”

“A friend,” Perseus waves off. “About Annabeth?”

Archeas watches the Son of the Sea tense up at the unfamiliar name. The water takes on a dangerous aura, but the prince either ignores or is unaffected by it.

“I heard people thought that I-”

“You did nothing wrong,” Triton snaps, his voice harsh enough to make the prince flinch. “That woman is none of your concern anymore.”

Perseus looks up to meet his brother’s eyes and Archeas looks away. Some faces were just too young to hold certain emotions.

“But my friends…” Perseus’ voice is small.

“What did I tell you about friends?” Triton asks, his gaze is sharp.

“These were my subjects,” Perseus complains. “They’re-”

What did I tell you about friends?” Triton’s voice is all encompassing, seemingly coming from every angle. Archeas shivers. He doesn’t know how the boy can bear it.

“They’re- circ*mstantial,” Perseus answers, his frustration apparent.

“If your absence is all it takes for them to turn on you like dogs, their companionship was circ*mstantial,” Triton says, turning to his reins.

The god pauses as if he wants to say more and Archeas prays he does. He couldn’t begin to understand the situation, but knew this. The prince was too kind, too trusting for the seas. Now he knew it extended to the surface world. There had been some sort of betrayal, from people Perseus held in high esteem. The Olympian Apollo must have shared this with Perseus. Ah, of course that explained the prince’s mood…

“Apollo?”

Archeas looked up from his kneeling position to find Triton looking directly at him. He froze.

“Apollo… was here?” Triton asks Archeas, but turns to Perseus.

Perseus shoots Archeas an annoyed look.

“You said you saw didn’t you,” he doesn’t meet his brother’s eyes.

Triton materializes on the balcony and swims in front of the prince who reluctantly lifts his head.

“Why was he here?” Triton demands.

“He wanted a tour,” Perseus mumbles. “He showed up during the renaissance celebrations and came over the next day. That’s when Aelor did that dumb sh*t.”

“He just showed up,” Triton stared incredulously. “At the bottom of the ocean…”

“I was having a surface lounge, he crashed it,” Perseus admits.

“In the middle of your celebrations?”

“Who did you think I was talking about during the execution anyways?” Perseus huffs, crossing his arms.

“You think I have time to watch and listen to every clip of you father sends to the group chat?” Triton rolls his eyes.

“You can literally do it at the same time- there’s a group chat?”

“Nevermind that-” Triton waves.

“Why aren’t I in it?” Perseus demands.

“Nevermind that!” Triton snaps. “Does father know Apollo was here?”

“Obviously. He apparently sent the video to the secret family chat-”

“Good,” Triton nods, turning back to his chariot. “Surface dwellers aren’t to be trusted. If father hasn’t come along to speak with you about Apollo’s visit then he’s likely already spoken to Apollo.”

Perseus perked up. “Wait, what do you mean? He’s not coming back?”

Triton stared at his brother as if he grew three heads. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that for your sake, but no your friend will not be returning. Father can’t have an Olympian skipping around his Temple and mortal son.”

“I hung out with Apollo all the time on the surface.”

“Why?”

“He named me Protector of Divine Youth,” Perseus shrugged. “He drove me around to most of my pickups when I was rescuing demigods.”

“I thought that was the satyr?” Triton shook his head.

“Grover?” Perseus brightened. “Grover and I started it, but then Apollo showed up and started helping.”

“Oh he ‘just showed up’ like he did at your surface lounge,” Triton narrowed his eyes.

“He’s the Protector of Youth it was his job anyways,” Perseus frowns.

Triton considers his brother for a moment before grasping his reins. “I’ve heard enough. I’m going to speak to father.”

“Snitch,” Perseus spits.

To Archeas’ shock Triton flips his brother off as his hippocampus dive into the deep. Perseus sighs heavily and slumps down into his chair like a child finishing a tantrum. He turns to Archeas.

“I- apologize sir. I did not realize my thoughts were so loud,” Archeas bows his head.

The prince smiles. “At ease Archeas. Off your knees, that must hurt by now.”

Archeas gratefully rises and approaches the prince bowing deeply at the waist.

“Sorry about all the family drama,” Perseus sighs. “You wanted to talk?”

“I only wanted to see that you were well,” Archeas shook his head.

A small smile. “Thanks.”

“Are you well sire?”

Perseus bites his lip anxiously. “I thought Apollo was coming back. With more news from the surface. I had- I was anticipating it. I’m just disappointed I guess.”

“May I ask? What happened on the surface?” Archeas asks gently.

“Oh, the usual,” Perseus laughed dryly. “Everyone hates me.”

Notes:

*Everybody Hates Chris outro starts playing*

Percy, sad face: Apollo's not coming back?
Triton, swears he took his eye off him for a second: whAT THE ACTUAL f*ck

-

Triton: Dad! did you know-
Poseidon: Yes, don't interfere with my plans

-

So this was a super short chapter but the next one is going to be pretty long. I already have it plotted but might take some time to write lol. Thanks for sticking with me even though my life got crazy for 2-3 business months lol

-

Estimated Date for next Chapter XV - GODLING
Monday Feb 13th

Thanks for reading,
xoxo Dite’s Fav

Chapter 15: It Matters

Summary:

Apollo returns… and tells Percy everything. Well, most of it.

Notes:

Happy Aphrodite Approves Day!

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Dite’s Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

As an experienced swordsman Percy understood how a tool could become an extension of oneself. Riptide was more loyal than a limb and fit better than a glove. Despite Are’s curse, Percy never thought of casting it aside and never would. He’d decided long ago he’d rather be failed by his sword than carry any other. Riptide was a part of him.

Water was a secondary weapon. A grenade with dials ranging from wet to drowned to cataclysmic. It was reliable, when it was available. Versatile, as a power up or first aid, but better for relaxing in, not fighting with. Living with his father changed that.

Too gradually to notice, the sea became a part of his skin: a nobleman swimming on the distant side of the throne room, a conversation in far off halls, the clang of hammers in the forges, his name at the palace gates. He could sense an eye roll in a crowd, the swish of fins, the currents from a sigh. He no longer wielded water, because it was no longer an extension of himself, but an expansion of his being.

Percy didn’t think much of it at first. His father had made a few remarks about his senses getting sharper so he assumed it was his father’s doing and simply leaned into it. Soon his senses were strong enough to “see” the merfolk that weren’t before his eyes. Like a blurry silhouette of structured water, they seemed more like wisps than individuals. Which over time grew more distinct in form, as not only his powers, but his knowledge of the different merfolk in the kingdom grew.

The wisps became blobs, the blobs became people and the people became individuals Percy could spot with relative ease. Like blinking or simply opening your eyes. He’d made a little game of people watching during his many early appearances in his father’s court. They were mind numbingly dull from the throne, but hilariously plot twisting as an invisible spectator. It’s Rhodes who notices first.

“Aw,” she laughed delightedly. “Are you trying to split your consciousness like us? Father’s gonna love this!”

Dad did, in fact, love it. He and Rhodes took to calling him a godling after that, though Triton said he’d reserve it for when he ‘saw some real ichor’. Even Amphitrite seemed genuinely pleased if not a little surprised. For the next few months, every week or so Lord Delphin would come find him and test the limits of his abilities. Meanwhile, his family took to communicating with him almost exclusively through telepathy.

“It’s just easier,” Kymopoleia shrugged, stirring the surface of the Atlantic with the tip of her finger. She was at her godly height, but submerged up to her shoulders. She still glowed under the full moon’s light like a luminous algae field.

“Not for me,” Percy complained, leaning against her shoulder.

“That’s the point.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You say that a lot you know.” Kym’s lip twitched as she pulled back letting the cyclone gather itself.

“Cause you guys don’t explain anything.” Percy huffed, letting some of his irritation slip into his voice.

Kym sighed, turning to face him, resting her arms on the surface, one hand propping up her chin. “If one of your little camp kids knew how to talk, but insisted on whining and crying to communicate. Would you encourage that or make them talk?” she asked.

“Some kids are autistic,” he said. “Everyone grows at their own pace-”

“I don’t care about art,” Kym breathes. “I’m talking about communication. You are the baby insisting that everyone gives you their undivided attention instead of using your words.”

“I’m not insisting! I’m just not used to- not talking to physical people.”

“That’s why you need practice. You do realize gods rarely appear physically in front of mortals. Yet we do it for you all the time. Now we know you’re not just a baby, but a baby that can talk properly. Why in the Sea would we indulge such neediness?”

It had been weird trying to look at it from their point of view, but Percy understood the gist of it. To beings that can appear anywhere, without actually being there, developing a comprehensible form everytime they wanted to talk to him was a hassle. Especially now that he was living in their world and they found themselves having to communicate with him more often than not. Like putting on a suit and tie every time you had to talk to your brother down the hall.

Problem with gods was no matter how well you empathize with them, they were too far removed from humanity to do the same. Afterall, his father was the only one familiar with the mortal experience and that had happened thousands of years ago. So Percy tried not to bother them with his needy mortal tendencies and while they did indulge him with the occasional in person appearance, it was usually for an event or scolding.

It was lonely, but he still had his younger brother Tyson… sometimes anyways. Like everyone else in the palace, Tyson had responsibilities. He was originally General of Cyclops in father’s army, but that had expanded over time to include more branches. Tyson had made quite a name and reputation for himself as the Gentle Giant and Unifier. Most beings of the sea weren’t used to a cyclops with such a tender nature, but Tyson’s genuinity shone through as he developed good relationships with many of the soldiers outside his branch. After the Great Wars took most of father’s generals, they say that Tyson took it upon himself to help the fragmented army find structure.

Percy knew better. His brother was just trying to help individuals, his surviving friends, hurt and lost after their pyrrhic victory. Any benefit to the army was secondary. Still he’s glad that his brother’s kindness was being rewarded, when for so much of their childhood it never went unpunished. More so, he was full of pride to see how strong and respected Tyson had become on his own merit. Sometimes he felt a little ridiculous visiting Tyson. He certainly didn’t have the cyclops’ respect.

He was the spoiled, godling, prince draped in his fine clothing and father’s blessings. Many of them knew the story of how Tyson and Percy grew up together. How Tyson had prayed to Poseidon for a blessing and was sent to protect Percy at some simple mortal school. In exchange he was welcomed to the forges under the sea and eventually became a general. Percy couldn’t blame them, he didn’t want to. A bit of misrepresentation in exchange for Tyson getting some glory was a fair exchange, but gods it sucked sometimes.

His loneliness finally became bearable after his coronation. Now he had a job to distract him and a place where he could talk to actual people, instead of distant gods. Ironically enough his family starts visiting him in person more frequently after he moved into Thalivas’ palace. Usually making him jump out of his skin whenever they materialize besides him, until he learned to recognize the telltale signs of an approaching god. Still, when Apollo suddenly appears on his balcony Percy almost has a heart attack.

“Ah, there’s my favorite prince!” Apollo beams strolling into Percy’s chambers as if he owns the place.

“Jesus Christ,” Percy gasps, gathering himself. “Are you trying to kill me?”

“It’s Apollo actually,” Apollo puts a hand on his hip, his eyebrows shooting up so high his sunglasses fall back on his face. Today he decided to wear a simple expensive looking chiton with a belt of what Percy presumes is solid gold and golden sandals tied up Apollo’s calves. There is a yellow cloth draped over the front of his chest, shoulders and around his arm. He looks like a god. “Phoebus if you’ve known me long enough.”

“Of course,” Percy pushes himself away from his vanity with a sigh. He mentally put Squib somewhere in his dressing room so he wouldn’t attack Apollo. “Jesus would never try to kill me.”

“Say that name one more time.” Apollo warns.

“Jesus.”

They glare at each other for a beat before their lip twitching gives them away and they break off chuckling.

“For a minute, I thought you weren’t coming back.” Percy says, tying his blue-green robe around him, grateful to be wearing something physical over his seafoam nightgown. He pretends not to catch how Apollo’s eyes follow his hands.

“I promised!” Apollo says with mock hurt. “You don’t trust me by now?”

“Ask me again when you’re the god of trust.” Percy smiles, floating off his seat. “Triton was here the other day. Said you might not be allowed back.”

“Oh that,” Apollo laughs, placing the gift basket on the edge of Percy’s clamshell bed. “Please Perseus. Uncle loves me! He’d just prefer I go through customs, not steal his worship or stress his kids out or share the new location of his temple.”

Percy snorts floating over. “My balcony is part of customs now?”

“Don’t start,” Apollo smiles warmly, reaching out an arm to pull Percy in by the waist.

Percy welcomes the warmth wrapping his arms around his neck. Apollo returns the hug, easily squeezing him tight with both arms. A moment passes and he feels Apollo’s warm lips kiss the side of his head.

“You alright?” Apollo asks gently. “I know I left you with a lot last time.”

“Yeah,” Percy nods against his shoulder before pulling away. He wasn’t ready to start crying. “I’ve just been keeping busy.”

Apollo doesn’t let him get far, sweeping one arm under his legs to sit on the bed edge with Percy perched on his thigh.

“Tell me.” Apollo says, giving him a sympathetic smile.

“Just kingdom stuff,” Percy returns the smile. “We weren’t ready for the crowds to stay and more kept pouring in a few days after.”

“Yikes,” Apollo flinched. “Sorry about that. It wasn’t too messy, was it?”

“Nah,” Percy shook his head. He explained to Apollo what the city had been like since his departure. The sense of community and responsibility lingered long after the god left, with regular civilians taking the strangers into their homes and building camps in the square that acted more like ongoing festivals. Attentive and excitable as always Apollo gives his many insights and endless praise at the handling of the situation. They fall into easy conversation and Percy lets his tongue race away from him again, encouraged by his friend’s attention.

“Soo,” Percy nudges the gift basket with his foot. “Is that for me?”

“Ah, I almost forgot!” Apollo reaches over with his free arm and grabs the basket. He hands it to Percy beaming excitedly. “Happy belated birthdays Perseus.”

Percy’s blush feels hot on his cheeks as he reaches for the basket. Apollo was so ridiculously pretty. He had gotten used to ignoring it, but it kept catching him off guard ever since the lounge party. It had been a long time since he had a crush, but the start of one was always recognizable. He had to stop sitting on this man’s lap.

“Thanks.” he mumbled, smiling, not trusting his voice to deliver snark in the right tone.

First thing he reaches for is the sky blue stuffed bear with a sun embroidered on its stomach, that takes up most of the basket.

“Is this a Build-a-Bear?” Percy asked, turning the stuffed animal around.

“Mhm,” Apollo looks giddy and a little self satisfied. “Squeeze its paw.”

“It better not explode.” Percy gives him a look, squeezing the bear’s foot.”

“Hi Percy!” A bright childlike voice squeals from the bear. Percy blinks in surprise, he knows this voice. A small smile creeps on his face and he glances up at Apollo who nods back to the bear looking like a mom who got you exactly what she said she wasn’t getting you for Christmas. He can hear a bit of commotion in the background and just makes out Apollo’s voice encouraging the child to introduce themself.

“It’s Shania,” she says happily. “Dad came over and bought us Build-a-Bears and said we can say hi to you, but it’s a secret! I got a pink ballerina bear and-”

Her voice is cut out, replaced by a new audio making Percy chuckle.

“Hi Percy!” two young voices ring out. Percy instantly recognizes them, Malcolm and Lily. The ‘Golden Arch’ twins he found taking on an empousa fast food worker on their own. Gods, he really chewed Apollo out for that one.

“We miss you!” Malcolm sang.

“When will we see you again?” Lily asked.

“Do you have a fishtail now?”

“Can we visit-”

Percy laughs, already emotional as the next voice comes on. It goes on like that for several of Apollo’s children, all personally rescued by Percy. Despite his best attempts he feels the pearls form in his eyes as he holds the bear close to his ear.

“Hey Percy!” Will Solace’s voice comes through clearly. “It’s Will. Glad to hear you’re doing alright! We were all kinda worried for a second, but we miss you and we’re happy you’re safe. Not sure what the enemies of state thing is, but hope to see you again one day!”

Yeah. That’ll f*cking do it. Milky tears fall freely from his face and he hears a commotion in his dressing room as Squib takes the opportunity to escape. Percy knows he looks pathetic when he looks up at Apollo with trembling lips and milky eyes, but Apollo only smiles tenderly and cups his head to kiss his crown again. Squib thankfully allows it, too distracted by the prospect of a potential snack to worry much about the surface god.

“Sorry they didn’t have any dolphins.” Apollo smiles gently.

“Yeah,” Percy can only nod sniffling. “Thanks a lot.”

Apollo laughs. “Anything for you Pearl.” he says, squeezing his shoulder.

“Don’t make fun of me.” Percy tries to swipe some away.

“I would never,” Apollo teases, running a finger under Percy’s eye. “At least not with anything you cared about. This is lovely though. I meant to mention it last time.”

“It’s gross.” Percy sniffs, watching Squib roll around the floor making soft crunching noise as he devours the pearls like a vacuum.

Apollo sighs. “You wouldn’t know art if it hit you in the face huh.”

Percy shrugged, sniffling. “Are all the gifts gonna be like that?”

“To a degree.” Apollo chuckles amused, reaching in the basket to hand him the next gift. “I told her it wouldn’t need a ziploc, but she was very concerned about water damage.”

Percy hands Apollo the bear and takes the baggie, flipping it over to reveal a child’s drawing of him underwater, holding Riptide up high in one hand. In the other he held hands with a young girl who had distinct salt and pepper black hair. The weight of it hits him like a truck and he almost melts into a puddle. Estelle was even older than Shania now. He knew he had missed most of her life down here, but… to see it. Squib cooed happily as more pearls floated down to the floor.

“Why the f*ck did she staple it?” Percy sniffles. “That’s so stupid.”

Apollo chuckles softly, rubbing his back. “To keep the water out of course!”

“What is this?” Percy squeezed some weird thing at the bottom of the bag.

“Ah, well she was so excited to send something down for you she cut off her hair.”

Percy stopped crying long enough to look up at Apollo and burst into laughter.

“Yeah, that’s my sister alright.” he laughed, holding the basket tightly.

“I’ve said the same thing many times.” Apollo laughed along, already pulling out the next gift for him. “This is the one I’m really excited to give you.”

“No way!” Percy brightened as Apollo handed him the extra big, extra blue, chocolate chip cookie stacked in a cellophane bag. On the oval logo read Sally’s Bakery in the same beautiful shade of blue with Apollo’s elegant script. He gave Apollo a look. “She didn’t open a bakery?”

“No,” Apollo chuckled. “But I’ve been telling her she should.”

“She likes writing more.” Percy grinned, pulling a cookie out of the bag.

“That’s what she told me,” he sighed. “She’s as stubborn as you are.”

“Hmm.” Percy hummed happily taking his first bite.

It was Elysium. There had to be ambrosia baked in. When the chocolate hit his tongue he almost moaned. Had he really gone five years without chocolate? It seemed insane now.

“I snuck some good old fashioned junk food in for you too.” Apollo winked, shaking the basket before tossing it on the bed.

“Thank you.” Percy chewed. He had his eye on those Jolly Ranchers. “Really. This was the best gift I’ve ever gotten.”

“It’s the very least I can do,” Apollo said earnestly. “I know I upset you last time I was here.”

Percy shook his head. “It wasn’t your fault. I’m glad you told me. I never would’ve known.”

“I’m glad you told me,” Apollo sighs, rubbing his back in warm circles. “I hate being misinformed. Especially in such a terrible context.”

“Yeah,” Percy whispers. “Thanks for not hating me by the way.”

“Ah Percy,” Apollo gives his waist a squeeze pulling him further up his leg to rest against his chest. “You’ve done too much good in your life and mine for me of all people to judge you over a bit of infidelity.”

“You said people thought I was violent.” Percy mumbled. “That I hurt her.”

He feels Apollo shake his head. “That I never believed. Neither did most of your friends. It was too far removed from your character. I’m afraid that rumor only found haven among strangers.”

“Nice.” Percy sighs.

Apollo rubs his side a bit. “We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to? We can rain check this and just hang out today.”

That was very tempting. Percy would do anything to pretend this was all pretend for another day, but he didn’t think he could survive another day not knowing how everything got so messed up. He tilts his head to glance up at Apollo. Blue eyes search his face and Apollo nods wearily.

“Short version or long?”

“Short,” Percy answers quickly. “For now.”

“Okay,” Apollo chuckles, squeezing his waist. “I first noticed things going sour a few weeks after your breakup. I would’ve noticed sooner, but I was busy looking for you and Grover wasn’t telling me sh*t-”

Apollo tells him everything. The rumors in CHB spread to New Rome like a plague. He and Annabeth’s breakup became a precedent for toxic relationships. Their names and faces used as mascots of opposing ideologies. A hashtag to slap onto pointless debates. Apollo tells him about his fanbase and their disgusting comments and beliefs. About Annabeth’s responding speech on the hill. About the council meeting on Olympus where his father defended his innocence while he slept safe, unaware and miserable in Atlantis.

“I’m banned from the sky and the surface now?” Percy jerks his head up. It was dumb to be upset about considering everything else, but seriously?

Apollo chuckled. “You’ve still got one-third of the planet to roam!”

“Two.”

“Hm.”

“Two,” Percy repeats. “The ocean covers two-thirds of the planet and it has depth so probably more than that.”

“Shut up.” Apollo says after a beat.

Finally Apollo tells him about the aftermath of it all. How he, Grover and the Hunters had been working together to keep the Demigod Network functional after Percy left. New Rome’s population was replenishing at extraordinary rates and CHB had started their expansion to make room for all the new heads at such varying age ranges. Apollo tells him the survival rate of demigods today is nothing short of historic and tries to give him all the credit for it.

“It was you guys cleaning up my sh*t.” Percy shakes his head. “Thank you, but-”

“Are you not the Protector of Divine Youth?” Apollo asks in his teacher's voice.

“I was but-”

“I don’t clean up people’s sh*t Percy.” Apollo says pompously. “And I certainly don’t remember relieving you from your title. I kept your legacy alive, as did your one true friend Grover Underwood. You are and will always be the Protector of Divine Youth. The credit belongs to you.”

“I left.” Percy says plainly.

“You were relieved of your duties temporarily due to lawless persecution.” Apollo says.

Percy didn’t know what to say to that. Apollo wasn’t letting him take responsibility for anything. So he just said “Thank you.”

“Thank you,” Apollo beamed. “My cabin has never been fuller!”

“Gross,” Percy laughed.

When Apollo tells him Annabeth and Aeneas are still together, he doesn’t expect it to hurt as much as it does. He suspected they would be, even before Apollo came to the sea. Aeneas was perfect for the mortal and demigod world. He wasn’t damaged like Percy was. He was just normal and human. He didn’t cry pearls or bust pipes or torture deities. He made orange flavored mulled wine, smelled like autumn and always had a kind word. She wouldn’t have any nightmares next to someone like that. She wouldn’t wake up to any nightmares from someone like that.

“She never actually said it was me that cheated right? She just didn’t deny it. Right?”

“Perseus,” Apollo’s look of pity is almost unbearable. “It doesn’t matter.”

But it does. Percy wants to say. He knows what Apollo means of course. He’s not an idiot, but… it matters. It matters to him. Despite everything he had to know if there was any love left or did she really and truly hate him enough to destroy his life forever. Annabeth was a good person, smart and reliable. She didn’t betray friends even when they didn’t deserve her goodness or her fierce loyalty. It was the thing he loved the most about her. It was her love for her friends that stopped him from killing Luke, that convinced him to hand his dagger over to the Lord of Time. Was he really so irredeemable… that she gave up on him so wholly? Did Aeneas… save her from him?

He remembered Aeneas’ tender voice and his cutting words. A partner, not a boyfriend. Someone with ambition, not achievements. A person who could help her make her mark on the mortal world as she had on the heavens. Percy wasn’t that person. With life could you build with someone the mortals consider an international terrorist? She had been pressuring him to focus on school and do things the right way. Instead he left her alone for days on end while he sliced and hacked his way through bodies, expecting her to manage his mortal life. Was he really so bloodthirsty? The wars were over. The battles won. Why couldn’t he just settle down into the life he said he always wanted?

“Percy?” Apollo asks gently.

“Yeah, I guess not.” he mutters, not caring that Apollo knows it’s a lie.

Notes:

Percy: Jesus Christ!

Apollo:

Apollo: Ex-f*cking-cuse me???

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Hey everyone! Hope you enjoyed the new chapter, finally decided to let the slow burn start simmering a bit hehehe. My hands have been BAD lately so I won’t be updating for a while. I’ll be back as soon as I can! Also apparently I've accidently deleted the 'Aphrodite's Mask' Pinterest board... I'm devastated please allow me time to grieve and put together a new one I guess lmfao heLP

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No estimated date for next Chapter XVI - Untitled

Thanks for reading,
Xoxo Dite’s Fav

Chapter 16: Gods Design

Summary:

Apollo is enjoying his return to Thalivass when he gets a taste of kingdom drama…

Notes:

I’m backkkk lmfao. Sorry your girl is fighting for her life lmfao. Mentally, physically, spiritually, financially I am in a spiral but Perpollo is always there for me. This hasn't been beta read yet but I promised you guys this chapter ages ago so the beta read version will go up on Sunday!

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Dite’s Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“Lord Apollo,” Archeas’ startled voice rings out.

The priest was lucky he was so likable. Apollo and Percy’s cheeks were just a hair of brushing each other as they laid side by side on the ornate clamshell bed. After the Annabeth discussion, Percy had excused himself to get dressed for the day, his robes eerily still as he moved through the water. All in all he was handling the news well, but Apollo feared the prince had learned to better hide his true face these past few years.

Apollo’s last departure from Thalivas still haunted him. He could see no sign of the crumbled face stained with milky tears in Perseus’ polite princely smile, chilling in its perfection. Still when he emerges from his dressing rooms he wears not a mask, but the face of a heartbroken young man. Words to lift his spirits die on Apollo’s tongue when Perseus meets his eyes and brightens.

I almost forgot you were here.

He should be insulted, truly, but alas. What else can a fool do in the face of love, but grin? Perseus approaches, asking Apollo how he wants to spend the day. He manages to resist his lower instincts and reminds Percy he has five years of entertainment to catch up on. It takes a lifetime for him to pick a show, but it’s worth it when he grabs his stuffed bear and snacks and settles happily against Apollo’s side. Apollo promises to bring a bigger screen next time, but for now the excuse to be close was welcomed.

Archeas flushes at the sight of his king laid with a god, the tips of his fins twitching in embarrassment. Still he gathers himself beautifully, placing his hand high up on his chest and sinking to his knee. Despite the interruption, Apollo was glad to see the priest. This time he intended to leave Thalivas with a full trunk of his favorite fruit.

“Sire,” Archeas begins, stretching his arms out to fully prostrate himself on the floor.

“Archeas?” Perseus perks up, leaning forward to see the priest.

“Apologies, sire. Lord Apollo. I did not mean to disturb you,” Archeas says to the bedroom floor.

“It’s fine,” Perseus says, already pushing himself upright, his voice taking on a tone of authority. “Rise. What brings you all the way here?”

Archeas lifts his head reluctantly. “Lord Partinus.”

The name seems familiar, but Apollo cannot place it. Perseus certainly recognizes it. Squib mews from his hair as the water grows tense.

“Is he well?” Perseus asks wearily.

“Yes, sire,” Archeas picks himself up from the ground, struggling to make eye contact with Perseus over the lounging god. “He has requested your audience. I’ll have him return at a more preferable time.”

Apollo had gathered from their brief introduction that Perseus relied on Archeas outside of just religious duties, but he doubted it went as far as delivering messages personally. Traveling from the Temple to the palace was quite a commute to announce one man’s request.

“Who is Lord Partinus?” Apollo asks Perseus.

“The late Lord Marcellus’ eldest son and heir,” he says with a frown. “He’s here to swear fealty.”

“Ah, the one from the tour,” Apollo had almost completely forgotten about him. Had he remembered he wouldn’t have expected Perseus to carry it out, especially not in the midst of everything he learned that day. “Do you disapprove of his heir?”

“No,” Perseus plucks at his bear’s seams. “I mean- I’ve only met him a handful of times. I don’t know him well enough to disapprove. I just should have gotten this done a lot sooner.”

“It would be his responsibility not yours,” Apollo says.

“Yeah, but I messed up,” Percy sighs.

“How so?” Apollo raises an eyebrow.

“He came the day after. To swear fealty,” Percy begins. “I- didn’t really want to see anyone or face him yet so I told him the choice was his. I didn’t realize at the time how the other nobles would react. They’ve likely been giving his family a hard time. I’ve been meaning to send word that I would accept if he wanted to, but… it kept slipping my mind. If he came on his own, it’s probably getting bad.”

“Hm,” Apollo hums. “I see how you might feel responsible, but you did give him a choice. Anyone with sense would still swear fealty. If not for their family’s sake then for show.”

“He just lost his father,” Perseus excuses the nobleman. “He probably wasn’t thinking clearly.”

“Were you not clear when you made the offer?”

Perseus' eyes flicker to Archeas.

“Was I?” he asks not unkindly.

Archeas nods hesitantly.

“Lord Partinus of House Charius expressed gratitude for his Majesty’s mercy,” the priest begins. “It was plainly said our king would not force him to swear fealty. Though his initial assumption was a postponement, he accepted it was not a test and requested to hear details of his father’s final moments.”

“Well,” Apollo said, turning back to Perseus. “Seems like he made a clear choice.”

“Who would swear fealty after hearing the details of their father’s death?” Percy argues, clinging stubbornly to his guilt.

“No one,” Apollo shrugs. “He had made up his mind the moment he requested them.”

“Still-”

“I’m not saying you shouldn’t accept,” Apollo interrupts, patting his leg. “Only that you shouldn’t feel guilty for offering a kindness. Naive maybe, but not guilt.”

Percy smiles a bit at that and looks at his hands mulling it over. “You’ll join me?”

Apollo grins. He thought he’d never ask.

He gazed up at the Wall of Histories. Twice as tall as most were long, the wall followed up the spiraling tower, segmented by eras of rule. The depicted histories were sculpted by master hands, so realistic they seemed to reach out from their base. It was a rare honor to witness these halls, though Lord Partinus doubts honor was the intention when he was left to wait for his king’s response besides the newest addition to the histories.

King Perseus' reign was very young yet his halls were longer than kings that ruled twice his lifetime. They were the most beautiful too. Light seemed to blink and dance between the seamless gems of the Temple. Giving a glowing appearance most commoners might associate with the divine. Each depiction of the beautiful child of the Father was adorned with the precious stones. Their glow made his small frame impossible to miss among the larger merfolk.

Tiny king, Partinus thinks before remembering his mother’s warning to guard his thoughts. She had always been more superstitious than religious and father’s death certainly hadn’t helped the matter. He supposes he should feel fortunate that she had something to distract herself with. He approaches the carving before him.

Surrounded by small cowering priests, his father’s likeness is crumpled on the floor. His upper body is pitched upwards, arms tight to his side as if held by some terrible force. A fortune of divine gems pour from his mouth. The beautiful arrangement is illuminated from above by a long stretch of Temple opal. The history is simply titled Hubris. Partinus doesn’t pause to read the short inscription. Everyone from Atlantis to Hallestia knows the fable of Lord Macellus Charius by heart.

“Lord Partinus.”

Partinus is greeted by the High Priest Archeas in his flowing robes. Priest Archeas frowns deeply at the history behind him.

“Apologies my lord,” Archeas says as Partinus bows at the waist. “For the choice of location.”

“No apologies necessary,” Partinus manages. “King Perseus’ histories are beautiful,”

“I agree,” Archeas smiles warmly. “You will be received by King Perseus in the throne room.”

“I am honored to be received by him,” Partinus tries not to show too much relief. It was a gamble, coming here uninvited. Still he knows the king is unlikely to refuse him before of the courts of Thalivas. House Charius may have been weakened, but they still held some degree of power. There was peace to be found here, if the king was forgiving.

“The Olympian Apollo will be present as well and may address you,” Archeas adds.

“Olympian?” Partinus repeats, the word sounds slow to him.

“Yes, my lord.”

Olympus was a myth within myths. Where the god of their world convened with the gods of others and made their plans for the universe at large. It was the location in a story to explain a title of the Father to children. It was real in the way the sun was real. A religious excuse for the Final Frontier. He remembers the old stories of overzealous adventures surpassing the point of no return, only to die screaming in the dark, their companions haunted by the taste of blood in their gills. An educated man knew it was simply a guardian keeping the masses at bay. The devout chose to believe in a god of scalding heat called the sun who melted the flesh of those who dared ascend above their natural station.

“This is the god my father disrespected,” Partnius asks softly.

“The Olympian my lord,” Archeas corrects. “This is no minor god. Nephew to the Father, God of the Sun, he is the lifebringer on the shore. You should be honored to be in his presence.”

Partinus nods mutely.

“I am honored to be received by him,” he manages.

Archeas nods pleased and turns to guide him. The twisting hallways all melt into one another. Partinus is dimly aware of the eyes on him and knows what they’re thinking. They’re hungry. Eager for the first drop of blood to spill to justify their violent delights. They would tear him limb from limb if they thought it would give them even an illusion of wealth. Usually their blatant greed filled him with rage, but after a week of fending off the bottom feeders, protecting his lands and trying to keep his family together he is weary of his own anger. All he can wonder is whether he will be immortalized beside his father.

Too soon he is before the great entrance to the throne room. Though beautiful and grand the only thing that holds his attention is the insufferable heat. Partinus looks up to the throne as he follows Archeas and is stunned by the sight. His chin falls to his chest and the water in his gills feels too thin to breath. His father was truly a fool. Even Partinus who denied the sun’s existence could not deny the overwhelming presence of divinity before him.

The Lifebringer on the Shore stood on two legs, a clear sign of his divinity, leaning against the throne of King Perseus as if it were only furniture. His heat bled into the water like a deep sea vent, visible and with no end. How had his father found the reckless courage to approach this being uninvited? Partinus could hardly find it in him to move, but follows the priest’s yellow fins down the long swim to the throne.

He sinks to the floor alongside Archeas, envious of the priest’s strange tail. Designed for groveling, his father had once called it. A common enough mockery of the devout, especially among children. An old memory of a young priest in training suddenly enveloped him. He remembered the boy’s smug smile, his gaze of utter contempt at the outranking noble’s son. Designed by the gods, the boy responded returning to his duties before Partinus and his friends could say another word.

It had been a running joke among them for years after the fact. Now with nearly every inch of his body sprawled at the base of the throne he understands the boy’s words. His contempt at the ignorant noble’s son who mocked his yellow bending tail. Sat upright beside him Archeas looks serene in the overbearing presence of the gods. Still beneath them, as all mortals were, but with the dignity not afforded to the masses like nobles, commoners and slaves. He takes small comfort in the cool stone relieving him from the heat.

“I, Archeas, High Priest of the Temple of the Father introduce to His Divine Highnesses Olympian Apollo of the Sun, King Perseus of Thalivas. The head of House Charius, Lord Partinus Charice, First of His Name,” the priest’s voice rings easily through the throne room, but Partinus doesn’t miss the shift in the waters when his house is named. The gathering nobility in the throne room start to peel from the cool walls. Braving the sun god’s heat to catch a glimpse of the disgraced house.

“Lord Partinus.”

King Perseus' voice almost makes him gasp. It is like a physical thing. Cool and caressing. A stark difference from the sun god’s oppressive presence. He had heard rumors of Poseidon’s Blessing. The nickname for the good health and fortune that seemed to find those fortunate enough to be in the king’s presence. Another myth made truth today.

Partinus dares to raise his head and is almost taken aback by how small King Perseus is. Truly the Child of Atlantis, the half god is hardly half his size. Had it not been for the shining glow surrounding him, the king would be dwarfed by his own throne, and his radiating cousin besides him. Unlike the god the king wears flowing fabrics that cover his legs in an imitation of a tail.

“Welcome. Rise,” King Perseus smiled warmly at him. “Why are you here?”

Partinus gives a nervous glance to High Priest Archeas who nods subtly. He lifts himself from the floor with as much modesty as he can manage. The eyes of the crowd were heavy on his back.

“King Perseus, the voice is loud and clear. A great relief. “I have come to beg the opportunity to swear my fealty and the fealty of House Charius to the Crown and King of Thalivas.”

The crowd mumbles disgruntledly and Partinus tries to ignore the snickers in the water. Nearly ten days after his father’s execution, House Charius’ vows of fealty were long overdue. He had been a fool to neglect them, he knew that now, but what was done was done. The child king had had his fun letting the bottom feeders tear their house apart. Now he had to make peace.

“That’s very generous of you Lord Partinus,” the king says with a tight smile. “Though I’m confused. Why would you beg this of me? I gave you free will to choose if you wanted to swear fealty to me and you choose to retain your House’s independence.”

Confused muttering in the court match the turmoil in Partinus’ mind. The king… admitted it. What game was being played? Was this another test? The sun god, still glowing, gives the king a peculiar expression, but remains silent. Partinus cannot tell if he is displeased or not but is grateful the god’s frightening blue eyes are off of him.

“Yes,” Partinus nods quickly. “Yes, sire. I remember the Crown’s grace and mercy. Honor demands I correct the sins of my predecessor so my house may be restored to glory for future generations to serve you well.”

The court is silent as they await the king’s response. Archeas calming presence the only thing keeping Partinus grounded.

“I don’t remember ordering the fall of House Charius,” the king finally says, his porcelain face frowning. “Only the execution of Lord Marcellus.”

“I-,” Partinus swallows. “I don’t understand.”

“Traitor!” a voice rings out from the crowd sending a ripple of excitement through the court.

“Yes,” King Perseus scowls and Partinus bows his head. “Lord Marcellus was… a character, but you are not Lord Marcellus.”

“I am a traitor’s son,” he begins, daring a glance at the radiating sun god now gazing at him with an eerie expression. “I beg of you my king, Allow me to correct my father’s wrongs. Allow me to serve you again.”

Jeers rise in the court. They want blood. Or more accurately a divine execution. The right to say they observed history in the flesh not on a wall.

“Lord Partinus,” the King’s voice sounds angry, but measured. “Forgive me. I haven't offered you condolences for the death of your father.”

The court falls silent with the exception of a small child’s babble somewhere in the room.

“I-” Partinus begins.

“I do not intend to hold your house responsible for the actions of a single person,” Partinus can hardly believe his ears, but the king continues, unfazed by the shock in the throne room.

“Nor a son responsible for the actions of his father. Though apparently many others would,” King Perseus directs this disapproval to the court with a frown. “I am a man of my word and a Son of the Father. If I wanted your entire family persecuted I would’ve done it myself. If someone calls you traitor for exercising the right I gave you call on me as the king of your lands, to keep my word and protect your house.”

“You are under no obligation to protect us,” Partinus can’t stop the words from spilling.

“House Charius is under no obligation to serve me yet your service hasn’t faltered since the late Lord Marcellus’ execution. Why wouldn’t I protect your assets?”

Partinus begins to stammer. “My lord-”

The words catch in his throat as the child king disappears from his throne and materializes in front of him. Partinus did not consider himself one to come undone before beauty, but the beauty of King Perseus is as real as any of the myths Partinus had seen today. Not a child but a man designed by the gods.

“I won’t ask whose actions against your family drove you here,” King Perseus says gently, his face genuine and open. His voice loud and clear. “But understand you are under my protection not as the crown but as the son of the sea. Any hand raised against you and your house is an offense to me.

King Perseus holds Partinus’ stunned eye contact until he nods then turns to the rest of the court.

“Let it be known,” the young King says. “As long as I reign, House Charius will serve the kingdom of Thalivas at their pleasure,”

King Perseus smiles brightly at Partinus as if changing the trajectory of history was only child’s play. “You have my word Lord Partinus. You are no enemy of mine.”

Notes:

Apollo: Netflix and Chill?

Archeas: Treason and Execution sire

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Partinus: My dad got killed for insulting the sun? The sun doesn’t even exist??

Partinus aftering meeting Apollo: My father is an idiot and a traitor pLS.

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Here is a drawing of how the different mer tails look! https://www.tumblr.com/ditesfavorite/719564636408692736/lord-partinus-was-stressed-tf-out-lmfao

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No estimated date for next Chapter XVII
(I’ll try to shoot for next month lol)

Thanks for reading,
Xoxo Dite’s Fav

Chapter 17: A Gift, From Me

Summary:

Will and Nico have a talk. Apollo and Percy have many

Notes:

Whew this chapter (literally one paragraph i got stuck on for a week) kicked my ass a little bit, but I did it! Prepare for the slow burn to finally start burning. Sorry for posting at 1pm on a Wednesday.

Enjoy the chapter!
xoxo Dite’s Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“Enemies of the state?” Nico raised a brow.

Will shrugged beside him, worry etching his brows as he drove them down the Manhattan city streets. It was risky to travel to camp like this, but Will had insisted. Citing an overuse of underworld powers as the reason while they were still in Hades’ realm. But it became evident something serious was on his mind as they made their way to the sleek black Bugatti. Forged with shadows and Stygian iron it was the perfect place for a private conversation.

A million anxieties rushed through Nico’s mind as Will silently started the car. When Will pulls out onto the street and stops at the first red light he finally turns to Nico with the most peculiar expression. He’d halfway braced himself to be dumped when Will said the last name he expected: Percy Jackson.

Will quickly summarizes his bizarre encounter with his father outside the West 34th Street Build a Bear. Apollo had gathered some of his youngest for a custom gift to add to Percy Jackson’s care package under the seas. It was the first any of them had heard from him in years. Will said his father looked excited, but didn’t give away anymore information aside from he was doing well and made it abundantly clear that Percy’s reemergence was to be held in secrecy.

While it wasn’t unusual for Apollo to trust Will with sensitive information Will was startled to find the next day, he was the only of his siblings present who remembered the Build a Bear trip.

“I’m pretty sure the enemies of the state thing was an inside joke,” Will tapped on the steering wheel.

“You know gods and their inside jokes,” Nico scoffed jokingly.

They gave each other a look that finished the phrase.

“So. What are you thinking?” Will said nervously as the light changed. “What should we do? This doesn’t feel like a coincidence.”

“No, it doesn’t,” Nico ponders. “But I had a feeling this might happen.”

“How?” Will frowns.

“The sea doesn’t like to be restrained,” Nico stares out the window. “Besides the gods would never let Percy Jackson rest as long as he’s alive.”

Nico glances at Will when he doesn’t hear the expected chuckle. His eyes are far away, lost in thought. The unspoken thing between them grew in the silence.

“Maybe that’s a sign,” Will finally says, glancing nervously for Nico’s reaction. “Maybe we shouldn’t do this.”

“We have to try-”

“Maybe not anymore” Will exclaims. “If Percy really is coming back-”

Your father said he wasn’t,” Nico raised an eyebrow. “Definitely not, were your exact words.”

“Yeah, but… it’s Percy,” Will insists. “He always helps us.”

“Not always,” Nico purses his lips.

“Nico,” Will chides. “That wasn’t his fault.”

“I know,” Nico closes his eyes. “I know. It was his right to say no to another war after everything he went through, but that’s exactly the point. Percy wasn’t born a hero, he was forced into it. We can’t always turn to him.”

“He might not even know what’s happening on the surface,” Will says. “The way dad was talking. It almost sounded like Percy was completely in the dark.”

Nico nodded. “That’s what I think too, but there’s no way to reach him. Even if we could, he’s been down there for five years. He might have a whole new life. He might even have a family. I don’t want to-”

“You don’t want to burden him,” Will finishes. “I know. But if we’re willing to disturb the dead, shouldn’t we at least try asking the living first.”

Nico slumps in his seat looking out the window to the crowds of late summer tourists, off duty suits and school children briskly making their way here and there. Will was right. Nothing about this felt like coincidence. There was a nostalgic dread rising in the back of his mind these past few months, but he couldn’t place his finger on it. He looked down at his three skull ring, watching the light of passing cars reflect on it. They needed more information.

Apollo had a long standing habit of comparing the kings he courted to his favorite, Admetus of Pherae. None came as close as Perseus. To his endless delight and frustration, Perseus was passionately involved in nearly every aspect of his kingdom. He enjoyed ruling and did it well, yet still had the wisdom to know he didn’t know enough about his subjects and his lands.

Apollo had incorrectly assumed Perseus was more prepared for his position than he was. As far as Perseus was concerned one day he was spending his days aimlessly roaming the palace and the next he was the king of thousands. The transition was anything, but smooth and from the sounds of it Perseus had very little help from his immortal family those first crucial months. An obvious test, though one Perseus was sure was designed for him to fail and Apollo couldn’t blame him.

When Perseus finally told him the story of his surprise coronation he was stunned by the lack of foresight from his uncle. The only show of support Perseus received was from his older brother Triton in the form of high priest Archeas, that Perseus references so often Apollo forgets he was not intended to be an advisor. Still it’s obvious Perseus would not have succeeded without the high priest’s knowledge and guiding hand. Even more so when Apollo realizes the scale of the kingdom Perseus was expected to rule.

Back in his day Thalivas was a single kingdom. Large, but not grand. Successful, but not thriving. Close enough to Atlantis to provide his favorite deep sea treat, Apollo rarely visited Thalivas in person, but recalled enough to know there wasn’t much else to recall. When Perseus first shows him the icy floor map of current day Thalivas and the eleven neighboring kingdoms enveloped into its fold he almost melts the landscape.

“Dude!” Percy exclaims, hurriedly solidifying his map.

“Perseus,” Apollo gapes, the light from his glow reflecting off the map beautifully. “When you said your father gave you the kingdom of Thalivas I had no idea it had expanded so much.”

Percy shrugs his hair rolling up off his shoulders with the movement. He walked across the icy floor depicting the tumultuous landscape of cliffs and canyons on the ocean floor. His turquoise robes trailed behind him, spilling into the cracks and crevices of the map. Small sea creatures dove in and out of his attire, providing a source of entertainment and food for Squib.

“It’s basically one kingdom, but with different cities,” Percy says, pointing to a glowing spot on the floor. His father’s Temple.

“No,” Apollo shakes his head in disbelief. “This is twelve kingdoms, each with hundreds of cities, being ruled by one man. You.”

His nose scrunched. “Yeah, but if I think about it like that my brain will break.”

“You’re too humble.”

“You’re the only one down here that thinks that,” Percy rolls his eyes.

I’m the only one here that knows you,” Apollo laughed.

“True,” Percy smiles, shrugging again. Gods, Apollo loved watching that hair dance in the water.

“Give yourself some credit Pearl,” Apollo teased. “This is a colossal project to manage!”

“My siblings help,” Percy scrunches his nose at the pet name.

“Triton? How is he anyways? I’m surprised he hasn’t come to say hi with all the visiting I’ve been doing.” Apollo asks, slightly annoyed now that he thought about it.

Triton had always been a bit pompous for his taste. It was a rare thing to be born a legitimate son to the eldest gods. Triton stood apart even from them as the only crowned prince. The only successor to a seat on the Olympic Council. It was… aggravating. Even for a son of Zeus as favored as Apollo was in his youth. Still, between the bickering and unsubtle jabs about parentage he and Triton found a familiarity with each other. They could relate at least to the envy of their siblings and the weight of expectation from their fathers.

“He’s annoying,” Percy mumbled, waving a hand. “He’s always stressed about something.”

“Yeah, that sounds like him,” Apollo chuckled, walking across the landscape. “Do you two get along?”

“Mostly,” Percy shrugged, crouching down to look into a crevice where a large city was built into. “We’re closer now that I moved out.”

Apollo stifled another chuckle. “Yeah, that happens with families sometimes. Does he visit you?”

“Yeah, he was here a week ago,” Percy said.

“What for?” Apollo asked, joining him on the floor.

“The execution mostly,” Percy looked up a little embarrassed.

Apollo raises an eyebrow. “Was he upset?”

“Nah, he just came to tell me dad wasn’t upset about it,” Percy swirls his finger in the canyon. Apollo imagines him as a god of a creation, toying with his little universe. The image is committed to memory.

“Was Marcellus very important to your father?” Apollo prys.

“No,” Percy laughed at the idea. “Dad can hardly tell nobles and commoners apart. The priests are the only ones that stick out to him.”

“Why the visit then?” Apollo smiles as his own memories of Poseidon’s forgetfulness regarding his creations confirm Percy’s words.

“Cause I accidentally executed him in dad’s temple-”

“What?”

“I didn’t think he’d take it as an offering,” Percy says defensively.

“You what?!” Apollo almost shouted through the hysterics bubbling up in his throat.

“It was an accident,” Percy said, rolling his eyes.

“Perseus!” Apollo’s shock collapses to laughter. What the actual f*ck was wrong with demigods. “Gods of Olympus, you’ll be the death of me!”

“There’s only one god of Olympus down here,” Perseus scowls with false piousity, a faint blush on his cheeks.

“Two actually,” Apollo manages through his laughter.

“Second generation ass god,” Perseus mumbles, turning his head to hide his deepening blush.

Apollo collapses in laughter again.

Despite the sheer size of the kingdom Perseus makes a point to visit all the capitals and most major cities routinely.

“If I don’t show face every few weeks they start making sh*t up,” Percy complained, lounging on his clamshell bed.

“Please be serious,” Apollo rolled his eyes laughing, dropping a box at the prince’s crossed legs. Percy and Squib perk up at the sight of the golden, bow wrapped box.

“Another care package?” Percy asks eagerly, reaching for it.

“A gift,” Apollo says, pulling it from his reach. He leans in close. “From me.”

Apollo takes more pleasure than he’ll admit draping Perseus in his new robes. A rare intimacy for him. It was unbecoming of him, of course, to physically dress a mortal king, like some common servant. He was grateful Perseus couldn’t see his slight smile as he expertly arranged the layers of fabric, lost in memories of Admetus teasing him in his chambers. Asking Apollo if the cattle were the only ones he planned to bless with fertility. Gods, that man was fine.

When Apollo finishes and steps back to admire his work he wants to tear it to pieces. Such beauty should be reserved for the gods not man. Perseus’ long black hair cascades down the golden robes, making them that much more striking despite his pale complexion. The gold fades to a shade of blue matching the revitalizing aura that surrounded him in worship. Embroidered sigils of the sun and sea wink with his slightest movement.

Perseus insists it’s too gold (as if that were even possible), but the faint pink never leaves his cheek and Apollo finds him admiring his reflection more than a few times. Squib certainly approves and decides to take creative liberties with his hair switching from style to style as they make their way to Apollo’s car. It almost feels like a date when Apollo opens his car door and Percy slides in, smiling excitedly up at him, wearing the sun on his shoulders.

He quickly remembers this is not a date as they pull into the next kingdom. The worship is on a scale like nothing in Apollo’s living memory. The crowds stream behind them at every palace they enter, chanting their names and their praise. They are greeted by hundreds if not thousands of soldiers in decorated armor and shining shields, accompanied by the now familiar sounds of drums and women harmonizing in the distance.

“That’s my theme song,” Percy tells him as they walk through the heat vent gardens in the palace of Iallestia.

“Your what?” Apollo laughed.

“Well the harmonizing part is for me,” Percy smiles. “They change it up depending on which of us is arriving.”

“The Sea Fam?”

“The sea what?” Perseus exclaimed. A vent went off somewhere in the distance.

“Perseus please,” Apollo scoffed laughingly, turning from the demigod’s bemused expression..

“Is that what surface dwellers are call us?” Percy asked incredulously.

“You sound like your brother.”

“Gross.”

They linger in the warm gardens, enjoying the climate and privacy as Squib danced around clearing the blocked vents and tackling the occasional vermin. Eventually they return to the cool palace, still radiating residual heat that keeps Perseus’ subjects at bay. Though not by much.

They seem to lean towards him, unaware of themselves. They grinned and gazed at him with such a fondness, hanging on his every word and gesture. He moved so gracefully and intentionally among them he seemed almost immune to his own effect, unaware of the awe he inspired. Apollo was beginning to learn that was far from the truth. Every moment they were alone Perseus was quick to let his mask drop and his shoulders sag.

As much as he’d like to believe Perseus was just comfortable around him, it’s moments like these that Apollo can only see him as the young man who slumped in his passenger seat after a long day of classes, overwhelmed by the interest their world had in his life. He’s more than happy to be Perseus’ excuse to slip away and more than happy to distract the courts with his own generous presence. Bathing them in blessings that drew them away from Perseus’ intoxicating light.

“You know you don’t have to do that at all the capitals?” Percy said settling in as their closed chariot drove them back to Thalivas.

“Perseus,” Apollo beamed, sure he was glowing in worship. “Trust me when I say it is my absolute pleasure.”

“I believe you,” Percy gave him a crinkled eye smile. “But I don’t want you to feel used. I like hanging out with you.”

“Oh, then let’s hang out,” Apollo grins.

“We already are?”

“This was work,” Apollo waves leaning in. “I meant like we were before. We haven’t finished Stranger Things yet.”

Percy perks up, his eyes bright. “We can have dinner in the gardens? Finish watching there.”

Apollo smiles, already imagining Percy sitting among the fragrant deep sea blooms in his golden robes, stuffing his face with the finest deep sea cuisines, watching Netflix on an iPhone.

“That sounds perfect.”

And it was. Those first few weeks in Thalivas passed like bliss and Apollo began to look forward to his steady new routine. Every morning he greets his stallions at dawn. The swift sun horses, Pyroïs, Eoüs, Aethon, and the fourth, Phlegon, would fill the air with fiery whinnying, and strike the bars with their eager hooves, ready to take on that steep first track.

They snorted at his wet clothes drying them in an instant, refusing to carry the extra load of a water logged deity. Tethys’ keeps her suspicions to herself as she pushes back the gate and gives them access to the wide heavens. Rushing out, they tore through the mists in the way with their hooves and, lifted by their wings, overtook the East winds rising from the same region.

In mid-heaven Apollo reached his peak, where to look down on earth and sea often alarmed him, now his heart trembled with a different fear. In the deep sea, shielded by the protective blanket of his uncle, witness to Perseus’ own newfound strength, danger does not seem to exist. Here in the sky with nothing between him and the bigger picture, there was nothing to dissuade him from the vastness of their world and the dangers that it held. At times he would be filled with such a sharp sudden rise of terror in his chest it was all he could do to not dive headlong into the ocean.

Still, he had a duty to complete and he would not risk exposing this vulnerabilty by faltering at it. So he pushes down his fear and commits himself to the task. Piercing the rushing sky, constantly turning and dragging along the remote stars in their rapid orbits, he gathers great speeds. This great momentum does not overcome him as it does all other things, he will not let his fears overcome him either. He will rule this fear as he rules his proud horses, breathing out through mouth and nostrils the fires burning in their chests.

He sweeps across the sky through ambush and apparitions of wild beasts. Avoiding the horns of the Taurus Bull, Sagittarius the Haemonian Archer, raging Leo and the Lion’s jaw, Scorpio’s cruel pincers sweeping out to encircle him from one side, and Cancer’s crab-claws reaching out from the other. The last part of his track is blessedly free from obstacles. A downward drop into Tethys submissive waves where out from the watchful eye of the sky, he drives past Hallestia and Atlantis where he waves to his extended family on the ocean floor. Here the sun horses tolerance for the frigid dark temperatures is exhausted and he releases them from his chariot, sending the fiery spirits home, so he might continue his journey to Thalivas where Poseidon’s favorite son was beginning to stir.

Notes:

Will: I WOKE UP IN THE NEW BUGATTI

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Archeas, getting promoted to high priest: The gods are finally recognizing me!

Archeas, realizing its a babysitting gig: *f*ck*

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Admetus: We gonna f*ck or what?

Apollo, two thousand years later: *holy sh*t*

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Percy, after watching GOT: I want Cersei's map

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Tethys, under her breath when Apollo would come out the ocean looking like a wet dog: *slu*t*

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Can you guys believe the one year anniversary of me starting this fic is right around the corner!!! I really thought I'd finish in a year since I had the whole plot written out before I started but wow time flies by. Thank you to everyone for supporting my writing all this time even as I randomly got disabled a few months after starting lol. I'm learning to live with it a lot better now and you guys were one of the biggest reasons I didn't give up on writing completely after starting up again. Love you all!

Thanks for reading,
Xoxo Dite’s Fav

Next Chapter Release on Juneteenth
Chapter 18: Of Many Shifts

Chapter 18: Of Many Shifts

Summary:

Hermes notices his brother Apollo disappearing every night...

Notes:

I'm so sorry this is a day late! I had too much fun on Juneteenth lol. Please enjoy the chapter!

xoxo Dite’s Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Inevitable as it was, Hermes was still relieved. It was only a matter of time before the strange spell that fell over his older brother would pass and Apollo would start to date again. Even Artemis voiced her worries when they hit year eight with no new demigods from their famously prolific brother. Apollo was getting too close to the ones he had before Lester Papadopoulos, too familiar. Sure, Hermes occasionally let Apollo drag him to the camps to ‘bond’ with his own children, but really he was there for his brother.

He’d become so fragile these last few centuries and his children had become a powerful crutch. With no newborns to look forward to or serve as distraction he didn’t know what Apollo would do when this golden age of demigods ended and mortality rates began to rise again. The camp visits made a good excuse to keep an eye on him without drawing too much attention to the fact. Hermes knew he wasn’t the only one watching his brother.

Zeus was becoming paranoid. Their father was aware he had gone too far with Apollo’s punishment. Sure it was the Fates who decided Apollo’s ultimate, well, fate. But that was too thin a veil of plausible deniability for him to remove himself entirely from blame. Not that his decision making would never come to question aloud. Certainly not to his face.

Until it did. By a mortal of all people. At the moment of Apollo’s sentencing Jason Grace stood up for him and dared to call the god king foolish for his choice. It was brave and kind of sweet. Though Hermes wasn’t surprised the boy didn’t live long after that. That would usually signify the end of that, but something about this one was different. Somewhere between Grace’s loyalty and death was just enough space for certain opinions to be implied.

Hermes could hear them building on the wind. While Apollo had been distracted by his guilt and grief he had unwittingly become a topic where a dangerous amount of discontentment could be shared. Like Hermes, most knew where the ear of Zeus’ paranoia was focused on. So they weaved their illicit notions into a safer topic. One that could be codified to discuss Apollo.

Jason questioning Zeus had set precedent for someone of merit to do so, within reason. Father was more than aware of this, but his hands were tied by the circ*mstance. Zeus could no longer target his poor mood at Apollo without risking his indisputable will. So he settled for watching him.

Apollo’s distraction at the camps was a welcome relief. Though Zeus occasionally grumbled about non-existent delays in Apollo’s domains it still nullified him in Zeus’ eyes. So Hermes gently encouraged it from a distance, keeping an eye on the developing Demigod Underground Railroad.

Despite his complaining Percy Jackson was always eager to help a fellow demigod. With Hermes’ assistance and blessing, the occasional rescues turned into a full time operation. He was subtle but Jackson still notices most of the children he rescues are children of Hermes or Apollo. Hermes honestly didn’t see any problem with that, but regrets not being more careful when Apollo catches onto so many of his children arriving at camp.

The kids lead him right to Grover Underwood’s Grove where Apollo promptly takes over the entire operation. Which was good of course, that was the whole point of Hermes maintaining the Demigod Underground Railroad in secret. Still he can’t help, but feel a small sense of annoyance at his brother taking credit for his work. Apollo names an unimpressed Perseus, Protector of Divine Youth. While that may not have been Hermes’ goal it was a perfect role for Jackson and added validity to his work that finally muzzled those irritating professors of his, who took a bit too much pleasure in outranking the former praetor and twice hero of Olympus.

Hermes still remembers the day Apollo walked the embarrassed Percy into NRU’s biology department demanding to speak to Professor Sitara. Percy jogs behind him carrying a babbling toddler in bandages, quietly begging Apollo to leave it alone. Apollo’s expression is deceptively open and playful and Hermes can tell from the slight panic on Jackson’s that he knows it’s only a mask. Hermes chuckled watching them disappear into the building, unaware the event was being witnessed by other gods.

“What’s going on with your brother and the sea brat?”

Hermes looks up at his father in surprise and is greeted by an expression that clearly already has its own stubborn answer to his question. Hermes curses himself for not expecting this line of questioning from his father. Father’s disdain for Perseus was as well known as his disdain for his own son. There was a reason Perseus seemed to be the unofficial exception to Zeus’ no mortal interference rule. Which Hermes had only thought made him the perfect excuse for Apollo to see his children. In frustrating hindsight, Hermes had unwittingly given father the perfect excuse to question Apollo.

“The Roman University has been monopolizing his time since he was titled Protector of Divine Youth,” Hermes says nonchalantly. “It was subtle at first, but a professor recently claimed to outrank the god’s will in regards to Jackson’s academics. As the God of Education and Punisher of Hubris, Apollo couldn’t really let that slide.”

“Hmph,” Zeus taps his finger. “I don’t know why Apollo gave that boy that title. I never liked him.”

“Ah, you don’t have to like him father,” Hermes waves, smiling crookedly. “He’s useful. We’ve never had such a wide selection of demigods to pick from.”

“An army of demigods,” Zeus’ eyes darken and a sliver of fear ran down Hermes' spine. “We’ve more than replaced the ones lost in the wars and the numbers keep growing.”

“They’re mostly infants and toddlers,” Hermes shrugs. “The older kids at Grover’s Grove don’t even learn how to fight until they get to camp and-”

“What do they learn?” Zeus looks at him sharply.

“Mostly arts and crafts,” Hermes smiles bravely. “A bit of wilderness survival. They learn about the world they’ve been born into and how to respect the gods.”

“Ha,” Zeus laughs humorlessly. “You expect me to believe Perseus Jackson is teaching these demigods respect for the gods.”

Hermes laughs with real humor. “No, of course not from him. The Lord of Wild, Grover Underwood takes responsibility for that one, along with Apollo naturally. It’s rather nostalgic to see demigods worshiping the old way. Wouldn’t you say Hestia?”

The young girl tending to the enormous Olympian hearth turns her head to give her nephew a knowing look. Usually Hermes wouldn’t involve her. Calling on Aunt Hestia to pacify father was one of the oldest tricks in their collective book, but it was part of the reason she remained neutral on just about anything these days. Still, if Father was turning the eye of paranoia towards the Grove… surely Hestia would intervene in this.

“What say you sister?” Zeus raises an eyebrow. “You’ve seen this camp?”

“Not a camp brother,” Hestia stands holding her fire poker like a cane. “A haven.”

The flames dance and sway as the sound of children’s laughter rises from the hearth and the images reveal themselves. If Hermes hadn’t known better he would’ve thought he was looking at Greece in a time of prosperity. Children of every age, shape and hue run along the rich foliage and rivers that decorated the Grove of the Wild. Nymphs and dryads tend to them with cheer. Teaching them to weave, gather, build, sing, dance and swim. Prayers of gratitude rise in the smoke of the fire and Hermes can taste the rich worship on his tongue.

Zeus takes a deep breath of the swirling worship in the throne room and Hermes can see a smile play on Hestia’s face.

“Grover Underwood has taken great care to ensure his work is in honor of the gods not man,” she begins. “Afterall it was Man that killed his beloved Pan and you brother, who gave him the ability to revive the Wild. The demigods of the Grove have been raised with this gratitude and the gratitude of the nymphs and dryads that exist under his care.”

“Hmm,” Zeus hums. “Who is this worship given to?”

“As you well know,” Hestia raises an eyebrow. “Worship at the hearth is directed to all Olympians through me. What makes the worship from demigods of the Grove so rich is the unceremonious prayer.

“The gods exist on the forefront of their minds,” she waves her hand over the fire and the images change to show the gods as she names them. “They see the essence of Demeter in a good harvest. They call on Hephaestus when they play in their crafts. They see Aphrodite in every beautiful thing that lives in their lovely home and Artemis in every wild thing. They have a love for the gods I have not seen in a thousand years.”

She was good. Hermes didn’t even need convincing and he felt inspired, refreshed from the rich worship Hestia shared in the throne room that day. His mouth watered for more of it. Zeus spares the Demigod Underground Railroad from his suspicions, renaming it the Grove, which Hermes found unfortunate. Still, he went back to his work, satisfied the Grove and his brother were safe now. Then the break up happened and everything very nearly fell apart.

To be fair, Hermes had only been trying to help. It was painfully obvious Jackson had very little interest in his student life. Sure, he moaned and whined about wanting a normal life, but Hermes knew there was no such life Percy Jackson could settle into comfortably. He was built for the world he was born into. A world of great prophecies and wars that gave countless outlets for that divine energy to be released. Now…

Even in a semi-mortal world like Camp Jupiter that energy overflowed into barely contained chaos. One bust pipe was a lot to ask your neighbors to deal with. Several a week was lynch mob inducing. Still he controlled it remarkably well. The trade off being he was barely present. Distracted by the effort of normalcy Percy would disappear into his own mind. His eyes glazed off more often than not. It was pretty depressing to watch and Hermes needed a favor, so one day he scooped Jackson up right before class and asked him to help with a missing son of his.

Kid came to life right before his eyes. Ever since, Hermes made a point to pull him out of NRU a few times a month to burn off some of that divine energy sitting stagnant in his blood. Sure the kid’s grades took a dip, but they certainly would’ve tanked if Jackson quit and dropped out. It was the perfect solution as far as he was concerned. Annabeth Chase saw it differently.

Hermes had to admit she had some pretty valid points, but they meant very little to him. She had always been on the more knowledgeable than wise spectrum of Athena’s brats. Part of the reason he made the mistake of underestimating her. He did not think she could do much better than Perseus in regards to her ambitions and he did not think she could hide an affair so seamlessly, as part of New Rome's most famous couple.

He very nearly missed it. Still, begrudgingly impressed by her stealth he takes the time to observe her and the legacy, Aeneas more intimately. An excuse really, to postpone the inevitable. He knew Perseus would be better off without her. Finally bloom into the demigod of legends he was meant to be. Find someone who fits into his life of myths and magic instead of filing him down to fit in an office cubicle. But he couldn’t bring himself to break the kid’s heart.

He delays it as long as he can, shooting for the end of the school year to break the news when he finds out the girl plans to break things off herself around that time. Not on his watch. He would not have Perseus on his knees begging this woman to stay. She was not worthy of his affections, much less his tears. This bandaid needed to be ripped off clean. So he drops Percy off at home in the middle of Annabeth and Aeneas’s date.

Hermes only wished he had known things would get so messy. Apollo drives himself half mad searching for the demigod, unwittingly neglecting the demigods of the Grove. Distracted by his search neither of them notice the growing conflict building in the camps until it is brought before the Council of Olympus. Between the shock of Athena and Poseidon’s outbursts Hermes doesn’t miss the glint of opportunity in his father’s eyes. In a decisive moment, Perseus is banished to his father’s realm before anyone could argue for him. Not that anyone could.

Despite Artemis’ opinions on Perseus she agrees to help Hermes revive the demigods of the Grove for Apollo’s sake. Recruiting the Hunters, who as the years go become an integral part of the new Demigod Underground Railroad. As the Wild expands so does Artemis’ domain and range to hunt. In exchange the Hunters provide protection and aid to the defenseless demigods of the Grove. Apollo slowly, but surely regains his interest in the Grove and returns for the children, with Artemis now keeping her close eye on him.

Five years later Hermes can’t imagine their world without the Grove, now also known as the Haven. A real life Garden of Eden, unspoiled by man, blessed by the gods and tended by their children. Apollo was as constant a fixture in the Haven as he was in the sky. Children hung from him the way light clung to his skin. Their beaming faces were bright in his presence. Eager for gifts, stories and news from the outside world.

He cared for all of them like his own, not missing a single milestone or moment in their lives with him. So when a child pulls the hem of Hermes’ khakis and unpromptedly informs him that Apollo disappears some nights it definitely catches his interest. He gives the snitching child a treat for her good work and a sigh of relief that Apollo was finally dating again.

He had a mind to tell Artemis, but didn’t feel like getting shot over a false warning. Keeping a close but distant eye on Apollo, he waits to confirm the truth of the child’s words. Sure enough, at day’s end Apollo is nowhere to be found. Nor the next day. Or the next. Well, that’s when Hermes began to worry again. Last thing they needed was Apollo getting too attached to this new plaything only to crumple when it inevitably died.

He questioned Apollo about it of course, but his older brother only grinned and said a hot new nymph just dropped. Which was normal for his brother sure, but Apollo had never been one to hold out on details. While he doesn’t blame Apollo for being secretive, he should be able to trust his brother at the very least. They were sworn best friends after all. So Hermes does what any self respecting, self proclaimed menace of a little brother would do. He follows him.

Notes:

Zeus: Percy is building an army of demigods

Hestia: They're chill trust me

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Hermes: Where have you been?

Apollo: wouldn't you like to know messenger boy

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Zeus: *kills his son for questioning him*

The power of friendship: wow what it that were my last straw

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Hi guys sorry again this chapter was late! But you asked for Hermes POV and you got it! The next chapter is also gonna be Hermes POV so get ready for drama and plot development lol

I was listening to this album while writing it. I don't know why it just tickled my brain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPZYeLzDE-Y

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Thanks for reading,
Xoxo Dite’s Fav

Next Chapter Release on IDK IM SORRY
Chapter 19: ____________

Chapter 19: Meddling

Summary:

Hermes follows Apollo's to the Poseidon's realm and learns something shocking...

Notes:

I'm back hehe (and yes I'm working on next chapter for Child Surprise lol)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Hermes watches from the clouds as Apollo plunges into the sea. A moment later the empty chariot emerges again as the sun horses make their return to Delos unaccompanied. His brother’s signature glow blinks out of view rapidly as he descends into the depths of the ocean. What a f*cking hassle.

The discomfort of being so far removed from worship was something almost all deities were reluctant to experience, but at the abyssopelagic depths, most domains were non-existent making Poseidon’s realm as accessible to the divine as it was to mortals. Which is to say, it wasn’t. As an Olympian Hermes was more than powerful enough to withstand these uncharitable depths and had the added benefit of being fortunate enough to have domains still relevant this far from mortals.

Though Hermes left the majority of ocean’s heralding responsibilities to Triton, he was still the god of all boundaries. Even following Apollo from such an undetectable distance he could feel the faint indications of his brother passing through the layers of the ocean Poseidon had given mankind to explore. Those meager three kilometers were only a fraction of its true depth. Deep Seas meant something entirely different to the world of gods and monsters

Apollo speeds pass the boundary separating these and Hermes suspicions are confirmed. He slows his descent as he approaches the illusion of the sea floor. From the depths rises a great stone marker made in his image. The massive rectangular column is topped with his bearded bust, its scrutanive eyes facing forward. These markers littered the ocean floor. Infused with a much faded fragment of his essence they were crucial for comfortable travel to Poseidon’s monotheistic realm. Providing visitors with just enough energy to continue their journey, well serving as a sort of customs to announce their arrival.

He hadn’t replenished them since his last visit to Poseidon’s realm, after the end of the second Titanomachy. Father had sent him to report on the state of the seas following Oceanus’ retreat. It was bad, needless to say. Kronos had made good on his promise to dismantle their seats of power brick by brick. A chill still ran down his spine as he remembered the leveled ground where the golden palaces of Atlantis once stood.

To see the vision the Crooked One had for Olympus displayed so absolutely… was disturbing. What was left could hardly be called a ruin. Hermes still remembers Triton’s despondent frame as he stood above the center of what used to be his father’s grand Atlantean temple.

Though there was little comfort to offer, there was plenty of gratitude to spare. Olympus had been spared at Atlantis’ expense and no one knew or cared enough to address it. So Hermes offered his aid to the gods of the seas and took great care to downplay the devastation to his father. The messenger gods worked closely those first few years following the war, until Atlantis was able to rebuild and stand on its own two feet again.

Then of course, Apollo’s trials began and Hermes' hands had been full dealing with his brother ever since. He turns from the marker and continues his descent, passing through the false sea floor into the dark hostile realm of the sea god. No need to announce his presence just yet. Now he knew Apollo was traveling to Atlantis it would be easy enough to figure out what he was being so secretive about. A trip to Atlantis was hardly worth all the creeping around. It was hardly unusual for Apollo to visit Poseidon's realm without any business. The two of them had always been close, even before Hermes was born.

The sea was known for hosting young deities and had even fostered Olympians before, but Apollo was the only one taken fully under Poseidon’s wing. When Hermes learned his brother had received his domain of prophecy from the old sea god he eagerly asked Apollo to share it with him as well, only to receive Athena’s discarded pebbles and a haughty laugh. Poseidon and Apollo had even rebelled against Olympus together, to the shock of all except its orchestrator, Hera. After stringing her above Tartarus, Zeus set his sights on breaking the bond between his traitorous brother and son.

He forced them into mortality together. The miserable experience of crawling the earth instead of soaring through the winds or seas was meant to turn them against each other in bitterness. It had the opposite effect. Having never known suffering, Zeus’ golden son falls apart almost as soon as he is imprisoned in his mortal shell. The flaws of the human form he had designed with pride pained him in flesh and spirit. Poseidon was a child of Kronos. Mortality was hardly a trauma to the elder god. He gripped Apollo by the hand and dragged him to his feet. Guiding him through mortality with the pride befitting an Olympian, no matter how lowly. Though cast from Olympus as nephew and uncle, they returned as father and son and Zeus never stopped punishing Apollo for this second betrayal.

If father were to learn Apollo was visiting Poseidon’s realm so frequently, right on the heels of Apollo’s most recent mortal trials…

Hermes felt a flare of annoyance at this brother for being so careless. Was he and Artemis not providing him enough attention? Enough affection? Could he not wait a few decades before showing such blatant fellowship to Poseidon?

Hot new nymph just dropped.

Hermes taps his annoyance down. If there was one thing he knew to be true about Apollo it was that he might tell you a joke, but never a lie. Especially not to Hermes. The god of truth and the god of lies were famously honest with each other. Hardly a choice seeing as they were both divine lie detectors. Though in times of confidentiality they had learned how to subvert expectations.

It was unlikely Apollo had been lying about the nymph bit considering they were in the sea. He had implied a romantic entanglement, but that could still be a red herring. The only thing that gave Hermes pause was his unwillingness to share details. Who the f*ck was it? Surely not Poseidon. Hermes had his suspicions during the building of Troy’s walls, but was never able to prove anything. Besides, Amphitrite was unlikely to tolerate infidelity in her home. Triton certainly would have said something.

As if on cue Apollo’s dim aura switches currents away from Atlantis, towards another old kingdom to the east. A sinking feeling rolls in his gut. Surely not uncle. No. Apollo had said it was a new nymph. Regardless of how accurate the nymph bit was, he was certain it was someone he didn’t know of. Hopeful really, right up until a bright blue glow begins to take shape in the distance and Apollo picks up speed, his golden light glowing too brightly for the depths. As if he was being fed another god’s essence…

The blue glow thankfully takes the form of the Temple of Poseidon and Hermes is spared the image of watching his brother leap into their uncle’s arms like a lovesick schoolgirl. Not that this was much better. The Temple of Poseidon was a closely guarded secret. Aftering the loss of not only his palaces, but his primary site of worship, Poseidon had insisted on keeping the locations separate. Choosing to build his temple in a classified location, away from Atlantis. It was not information Herme though he would have access to for centuries, yet here he was stumbling upon it because of his slu*tty older brother.

The structure is massive, even from a distance. Closer still, he can feel the deep sea kingdom behind it come to life. Literally. Apollo rains down blessings in a blinding display matched only by the rich praise and worship rising from the creatures of the kingdom. Hermes couldn’t believe it. Poseidon, the monotheistic worship hog he was, was allowing Apollo to be worshiped in the shadow of his temple, built in his nephew’s favorite old deep sea kingdom, Thalivas.

Hermes couldn’t stay here. This far into Poseidon’s realm Hermes was practically a minor god. If Poseidon didn’t notice him soon, Apollo certainly would as he gorged himself on the rich worship infusing the waters. No matter how Hermes felt about the situation, this was something that needed to be approached delicately or not at all. He kicks the wings on his feet and begins his ascent to the surface world, his mind spinning with more unanswered questions than he arrived with.

Hermes considered telling Artemis of course. But the only realm he’d feel safe voicing what he had seen was owned by Apollo as well. He tried in vain to distract himself with work, but between his clouded mind and the mortal striking nothing was going to get done. George and Martha are uncharacteristically quiet as he hovers in the clouds to await Apollo’s return. Their nervous energy mimics his own as they coil around his caduceus. There was no way of knowing where Apollo would surface, but Hermes knew exactly when he would.

Apollo’s golden chariot of fire rushes through the open gates of the sea to start the day. The perilous climb to the skies peak was the more difficult part of the journey. With his focus on his ascent, Apollo never notices his little brother freefall from the clouds into the ocean. The cool sea envelops him, colder by the second as Hermes plunges into depths, taking advantage of the fading disturbance left in Apollo’s wake.

This time Hermes knows to approach Thalivas from the mountain's rear, to avoid Poseidon’s glowing temple. The waters are now overflowing with worship and blessing. Infused with the essence of the sea, the sun and mortal praise. Despite the disgusting implication there is something so nostalgic about it Hermes can’t help but take an unnecessary breath, soaking it in. He regrets it almost immediately as his form releases an involuntary glow, his essence spurred by the rich waters. He collects himself quickly, praying no one saw that.

Avoiding the grand palace of Thalivas, Hermes enters the city in disguise. Shrouding himself among the crowds in a bustling marketplace. He takes the form of a young commoner, adorned well enough to be mistaken for a merchant’s son and opens his ears. The city is in good spirits as one would expect. There had been a flurry of visitors in recent days, but the locals didn’t seem to feel displaced or annoyed by this. They were thrilled in fact. Verbalizing their gratitude to some new reform from their king that made the visitors benefit to them.

It was a city on the cusp of a golden age. Probably how Poseidon justified his frequent visits to his wife. Hermes catches a glimpse of yellow fins and follows a young apprentice to the priesthood out of the marketplace. The young boy is cloaked in white flowing cloth across his shoulders and openly carries a scroll against his chest. Yet no one accosts him. In fact the crowd seems to part with ease around him, the people of the city sending friendly smiles and nodding his way as he pass.

Curiouser and curiouser. The boy leads Hermes to a moderately sized temple more accessible to the public. There are four long lines snaking out of the temple as citizens and visitors alike wait to be received. This would not be unusual if not for the misplaced excitement, as if they were in line for a festival ride not a reading. Hermes notes many of the visitors are ill or injured in some way. Definitely his brother’s influence.

Hermes shakes his head and enters the temple invisible, still following his unwitting guide through the great arched doors. Several of the worshippers send blessing the boy’s way as he enters, their smiles large and earnest. Embarrassed, the boy simply nods to them and continues on his way, leading Hermes through the maze of halls and auditoriums.

“Ah, there it is,” the temple’ priest says as the boy approaches.

The priest is a much older merman, sat in a distinct kneel across from another more heavily clothed priest. As Hermes analyzes his adornments he realizes he was lucky to happen upon this particular temple.

“Apologies for the delay Priest Helian, High Priest Archeas” the boy bows.

“None needed child,” the high priest smiles warmly, reaching his hand out for the scroll.

Seems Triton had taken his advice after all and relocated the advanced young priest they’d noticed during reconstruction. Hermes never would’ve guessed how far the priest would rise in Poseidon’s cult. The first High Priest of the new temple was an immortalizing position. It was quite the promotion from the dingy cave dweller surrounded by scrolls and books they had first noticed.

“Thank you for retrieving these for the King Priest Helian,” Archeas thanks the beaming priest.

“Of course,” Helian bows his head. “We live to serve the Father and Sons.”

“To serve the Father and the Sons,” Archeas repeats piously rising from the ground.

“Does King Perseus have any other need of us?” Helian rises.

“Just to care for his people as he cares for us all,” Archeas tucks the scroll in his cloths.

The priests carry on with their formalities and goodbyes as Hermes materializes behind the palace, hidden in the flowing deep sea pastures. Hermes lets out a shout that finishes as a laugh. Then another and another and another. Relief floods through him as he clamps his hand over his mouth, his cheeks stretched wide enough to burst.

Hot new nymph just dropped flashes through his head and Hermes actually collapses to his knees in laughter. Screaming into his fist at the absurdity of it all. Perseus f*cking Jackson. Of course it was Percy. Hermes was embarrassed to say he had forgotten all about his little demigod companion. Sure he knew Percy had been sent to live with his father indefinitely, but information on the demigod was as elusive as Poseidon’s Temple. And now Hermes knew why.

“Oh my gods, that’s brilliant,” Hermes says aloud as he gathers his breath.

“Do you think Jackson knows about his dad and Apollo?” George asks.

Hermes collapses into giggles again as Martha scolds George’s stupidity.

“Okay jeez! How was I supposed to know? It’s disorienting down here!” George tries to defend himself.

“If anyone should have guessed it should have been me,” Hermes shakes his head, looking up at the looming palace above him. “Percy f*cking Jackson. Unbelievable.”

“Are we going inside?” Martha asks.

“Of course we are,” Hermes grins. “I need to have a word with my little cousin.”

Notes:

Hermes, aftering seeing Atlantis destroyed: Thank the gods it wasn't us huh lmfao

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Hermes, comforting Triton: Sorrows Sorrows Prayers

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Zeus: This will destroy their bonds for certain

The power of friendship: Light work. No reaction

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Apollo, experiencing a human body for the first time: Who f*cking made this sandwich?!

Poseidon: You??

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Apollo: Hot new nymph just dropped

Hermes: UNCLE!?!?!

Apollo:

Apollo: Percy

Hermes: oh

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Hermes, bursting into Thalivas: You two are f*cking!

Hermes:

Hermes: Percy??

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Yall have no idea how excited I am to finally reach this part of the plot omg! I know I promised Hermes would see Percy here but it felt like such a good place to stop lol.

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Thanks for reading,
Xoxo Dite’s Fav

Next Chapter Release on IDK IM SORRY
Chapter 20: ____________

Chapter 20: Reintroduction

Summary:

After discovering Perseus' kingdom Hermes enters the palace to do some light snooping and gets more than he bargained for

Notes:

The long awaited Hermes Percy meeting is finally here lol. With two special guest appearances lol

Enjoy the chapter!
xo Dite's Fav

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

The plan was to comb for more information regarding King Perseus. Or was it Prince Perseus? The subjects of Thalivas couldn’t seem to make up their minds. Hermes wanted to get a good look at the Walls of Histories, see if anything has been updated. Maybe poke around Percy’s chambers for cringy love letters, but he never got the chance.

Disguised as a simple guard he stands at attention, against the walls as Perseus is announced and escorted down his halls. He stares unabashedly as Perseus floats pass like a porcelain doll. His expression, serene and regal. Midnight hair and seafoam layers drift behind him like silk in the wind as a collection of small deep sea creatures encircle him. All illuminated by the divinity spread across his skin.

It was a delicate beauty Hermes would never have thought to subscribe to a child of Poseidon. Yet here he was, enchanted nonetheless. Hardly the only one, the guards around him all breathe in their king’s presence as he passes by, reverence plain as day on their faces. Perseus Jackson had been blessed and Hermes knew this blessing well, but this was not his brother’s doing.

I promise all my favorites an interesting love life.

Aphrodite had apologetically said to Percy’s father during that disastrous council meeting. An innocuous enough line. The only reason it stuck out to him was because he had heard it a few months earlier. On the rooftops of a New Rome apartment complex.

Hermes paced restlessly, listening closely for sounds of the imminent breakup. He hardly noticed the scent of roses until it had fully engulfed him.

“Hermes,” Aphrodite hummed as he turned, startled to face the looming goddess. Her smile is wide and sharp in her shifting faces. She leans over him, her hair a thick dark curtain obstructing all sides. “What are you doing to my masterpiece?”

Hermes swallowed, trying for a salesman smile. “You’ve never been one to enjoy dramaless romances.”

“Ha,” Aphrodite tossed her head back, lifting the curtain. “So you were helping me? How kind. Perhaps you’d do better as one of my Erotes.”

“I’ll pass,” Hermes chuckled nervously. “I do apologize if I’ve overstepped. I-”

“Liar,” she sighed sweetly, her charmspeak lodging the words in his throat. The stone beneath them crackled as a throne of roses rose from the floor, constructing itself behind her. Their thorns tore and carpeted the ground at Hermes’ feet, pricking his sensitive wings.

“Fortunately for you,” she said, taking her seat with a crossed leg. “I promise all my favorites an interesting love life. You’ve only managed to accelerate my plans, not disrupt them.”

“That is fortunate,” Hermes agreed, grimacing through the pain. “I would hate to insult one as lovely as yourself.”

“Oh I know you would,” she giggled as the thorns punctured his feet. “You learned your lesson the first time you crossed me didn’t you.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good,” she leaned forward, putting her hand on the side of his face. “Because from now on you’re going to stay out of my way regarding young Perseus. The only deity meddling in this love story will be me.

“Of course,” Hermes nodded reluctantly, feeling the ichor dripping down his ankles.

Of course,” she mocked, smirking as she ran her thumb across his lips. “That would require your silence about the events that unfold tonight. Understood?”

Hermes nodded, opening his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. A chill runs down his spine as he meets her changing eyes, delighting in her own strength.

“And all relevant events that come after,” she adds.

Hermes nodded silently.

“Good boy,” Aphrodite smiled, patting his face.

She vanished with no flourish leaving Hermes skewered to the rooftop in a puddle of his own ichor. He spent the next twenty minutes mindlessly freeing himself from her thorny chains. At least it felt like twenty. By the time he was finished the entire roof was cleared, the sun was blinking on the horizon and Perseus was long gone.

Hermes suspected Aphrodite took him for quite some time, until Underwood revealed it was Poseidon who had taken him under the sea. Between Athena and Aphrodite, Hermes couldn’t blame him for hiding away his son, but it had done little to thwart the goddess of love, born of the ocean. Her influence was as obvious on Perseus, as Apollo’s was on Thalivas.

From the marketplace streets to the grand palace halls his symbols, icons and imagery were carved, painted and adorned all over the ancient city. His presence still felt in the water despite his recent departure and the proximity to Poseidon’s temple. No where was it felt as strongly as near young Perseus whose own divinity infused the blessed water.

Hermes was no stranger to self ascending godlings. He smiled in nostalgia, remembering Dionysus’ early days on the cusp of godhood. Like a babe discovering his limbs were at his command and all the wonderful applications of such a realization. Perseus was coming to the end of his mortal childhood. His developing essence spilled from him like an open tap, drawing mortal awe and worship to feed on.

It was mesmerizing to watch, both then and now. Hermes follows several paces behind as an invisible spectator simply observing Perseus’ daily routine and breathing in his leaked essence. It’s a short lived tour as Perseus soon retires from his duties and makes his way to his chambers. Which was unsurprising. There was no such thing as night and day in the deep seas.

In fact time itself was a much more fluid and intangible thing in Poseidon’s realm. It was measured in seasons and current patterns more than days or hours. Creatures that rested did when it pleased them, not because the hour was late. Lateness was more of a noble class construct amongst each other. Afterall, they were the only ones with enough time on their hands to actually measure it.

Apollo’s visits and departures would have introduced a new measurement of time to the deep sea kingdom. For the first time in five years, young Perseus had a sleep schedule again. Hermes wrestles with the idea of confronting Percy now or another day. It was risky to try again at a later date. There was always the chance that Poseidon was aware of his presence and an even great chance that Apollo would recognize it once he returned.

Still, he follows the demigod king as he makes his way up and down the winding halls, greeting all he passes. Finally they come to a great hall that ends in a large archway crowned with rare jewels. Hermes notes this is the first hallway they’ve come to with no guards. Not surprising considering Perseus had always valued his privacy. He was a much more extroverted king than Hermes would have imagined-

“State your name and your purpose,” Perseus suddenly announces to the empty halls.

Before Hermes even has a chance to question if Perseus was truly speaking to him he runs straight into a barrier. Perseus turns slowly, the lower half of his hair melting into the water, his green eyes bright, electric and out of place on his otherwise calm face.

“Name and purpose,” Perseus repeats. “I won’t ask again.”

Hermes blinks, stunned and impressed. With all the divine essences swirling around in the waters he never thought his minute signature would be something Perseus could detect. He grins preparing to reveal himself when in an instant a thousand needles pierce his forearm and like a rotating blade rip a jagged tear through his divine flesh and bone.

He howls more in surprise than pain and tries to tear the assailant off of him, but his hands come up empty, gripping nothing as his ichor spills into the waters.

“A god?” he hears Perseus’ almost bored and confused tone.

His illusion drops and they make eye contact over the cloud of ichor still pouring from the opening wound and Perseus’ eyes widen.

Hermes?” his jaw drops. “What are you doing here?”

“I’ll tell you as soon as you stop this excessive assault,” Hermes snaps angrily, wrestling his arm from the continued attack.

“Squib!” Percy cries. “Stop! He’s a friend. Let go!”

A guardian? Hermes thinks mutely to himself as the tearing finally stops, but refuses to release its death grip on his arm.

“Squib,” Perseus scolds. “Drop him. Now!”

The creature whines in frustration, but finally releases him and Hermes tears his nearly severed arm away from it. His other arm is already reaching for his caduceus to blast the vile thing, consequences be damned when he feels two small cool hands take his arm. Perseus’ small face is tight as he holds Hermes’ arm in his hands, willing the currents to draw the spilled ichor back to him.

Hermes can still feel the creature circling them warily as he watches the demigod’s attempt to heal him. His ichor obeys Percy’s will and pours back into him, just as he closes his wounds. There is a moment of silence before Percy looks back up at him wary and apologetic. His eyes glance at the caduceus.

“Are you gonna hit me with that?” Percy asks plainly.

“I should,” Hermes scoffs, rolling his shoulders. “I think I’ll settle for your beast’s head.”

Percy giggles and a small bust of essence spills into the water. Cool, pleasant and divine.

“Squib doesn’t have a head,” he says, holding out a hand. The creature finally reveals itself to be… well quite formless. A sentient blob if Hermes had to guess. It coos and rubs itself into Percy’s hand before draping itself across the back of his neck. “I’m sorry he bit you, but you shouldn’t be sneaking around people’s palaces.”

Excuse me,” Hermes' eyes narrow at Percy who just shrugs.

“I also gave you like two warnings, so.”

“Demanding my name is not a warning brat,” Hermes snaps.

“I also asked for your purpose,” Percy grins, his eyes twinkling. “Why are you here? And why are you sneaking around? You could’ve knocked.”

Anger still boils in his chest, but Hermes can’t help but be charmed by Perseus’ flippant attitude. Bright familiar eyes look up at him eagerly, clearly glad to see him despite the terrible reintroduction. Up close Perseus is no less lovely, but his boyishness still shines through the enchantment. Hermes would have to find another opportunity to kill the Squib.

“Knocked,” Hermes mumbled to himself, shaking his head. “You’re a real piece of work, you know that.”

“Yeah.”

Hermes fixes him with a look that dissolves with a chuckle. f*cking demigods.

“Come,” Hermes says, walking past him. “Let’s talk somewhere more private.”

Notes:

Justice for Krites 🫡

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Hermes, breaking up the most famous couple to ever couple:

Aphrodite: *kill bill sirens*

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Hermes: I'm sorry

Aphrodite: liar

Hermes: that's fair

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Poseidon: Percy will be safe from crazy goddess under the sea:

Aphrodite, a sea goddess: lmfao

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Poseidon: This is a monotheistic religion

Apollo: What about me?

Poseidon: monotheistic in the way Christianity is

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Hermes: If I had a nickel for every time I met a self ascending demigod I'd have two nickels which isn't a lot but its weird it happened twice.\

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Deep Sea Creature: What time is it?

Other Deep Sea Creature: What the f*ck is thyme?

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Percy, taking a nap everytime Apollo leaves:

His servants: Oh that boy getting it gOOD

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Hermes: hehe I'm so sneaky

Squib, licking its lips:

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Percy: I'm sorry my dog bit you

Hermes: I'm sorry I'm gonna kill your dog

Percy: what?

Hermes: what?

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Hermes, pissed off, injured, really f*cking homicidal:

Percy, grinning ear to ear: omg you're here!

Hermes, f*cking folds:

-

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We did it guys! We made it to the Percy meets Hermes part of the story lol. Thanks for sticking around this long this chapter was hard to write and I have no idea why but I'm glad we finally made it here lmfao

PS: I'm glad you guys like the end notes as much as I do they're my favorite part of writing these chapters hehe

I’m doing a poll for Swuibs favorite snacc! https://www.tumblr.com/ditesfavorite/726756605324099585/squibs-favorite-snacks-enemies-of-the
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Thanks for reading,
Xoxo Dite’s Fav

Chapter 21: Boundaries

Summary:

Reunited for the first time since the night of Percy's breakup, Hermes and Prince Perseus have a lot of catching up to do. But maybe some things are better left unsaid...

Notes:

Hey guys I'm back with another chapter! Enjoy

Dites Fav xo

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Dionysus’ domains were easy enough to guess, even before his ascension began. It made the task of Hermes keeping him hidden from Hera very difficult in those early years. Keeping him hidden from anyone was a monumental task. Even without Hera’s hunt, Hermes dared not leave him in one place for too long.

Godling essence was as rich as ambrosia and as filling as offerings. Drawing in worship to feed on and dangers to flee from. Such a distinctly divine presence in a mortal body was a coveted prize amongst monsters and men. Generous as it was potent, Dionysus had very little control over his spilling essence. Despite Hermes insistence to contain himself, it still infused the very earth Dio laid his head on until the land became as much an embodiment of wine and madness as he was.

Later these places would become Dionysus’ most ancient sacred spaces. Where they’d spend centuries gossiping and drinking wine in the leopard prowled gardens that grew. This is where Hermes' memories take him when he first steps into Perseus’ chambers.

If he were honest, Hermes still half expects to walk into a teenager’s bedroom. The computer chair full of dirty laundry, the walls covered in posters and pictures. Maybe even a skateboard or sword balancing somewhere it shouldn’t be. Instead he enters the pristine lodgings of a deep sea king. Cold, sharp and beautiful, the room is awash with the godling’s essence.

Generous and almost visible in the water, Hermes is speechless. Perseus’ essence swirls with the currents, so dense with years of worship it feels like cream on his skin. Hermes tries in vain to focus as the sensation washes over him, but the essence is as pure as a child, still undefined by any domains, only the rich reverence given to Perseus by the people of Thalivas. A thousand times more potent than even the worship of the Grove.

“So,” Perseus brings Hermes back to the present. “I’m guessing you didn’t go through customs.”

“I’m the god of customs actually,” Hermes turns around to smirk at him.

“You mean boundaries?” Percy’s lip twitches as he walks past Hermes into his room. His shoulders noticeably empty of the creature.

“Where is your beast?” Hermes eyes him.

“Looking for something else to eat,” Percy smiles, a mischievous smirk tugging at the corner of his lip. “Are you hungry?”

“I’m fine thank you, King Perseus,” Hermes name drops.

It hits just how he wants it to and Percy scrunches up his nose. “That’s Percy to you. Everyone here calls me Prince.”

Hermes laughs. “That seems to be up for debate. Especially in the temples.”

“Everything is up for debate with them,” Percy shakes his head. “Except the gods of course.”

“It’s their nature,” Hermes waves. “What’s your official title?”

“The long or the short one.”

“The long one of course,” he smiles.

“Son of the Father, Second Prince of the Seas, King of Thalivas…”

“Whoa wait pause,” Hermes puts a timeout sign up. “Prince of the Seas?”

“Second Prince,” Percy corrects. “Tri-”

“Your father naturalized you?” Hermes asked, stunned.

There was no way. Naturalization just didn’t happen among gods. The idea of it being extended to a mortal was ludicrous. Even Hermes, in all his loyal centuries of service, would not dare dream of a circ*mstance where he could ask his father to make him a natural born son. And if Hermes was certain of one thing, it was that Perseus would never have asked.

“Uh, there was a coronation?” Percy asks, unsure if he was answering the question. “But like, there was no ‘you’re not a bastard anymore’ ceremony.”

A coronation for a bastard? Unlikely. Still, a coronation for a mortal? Just f*cking unbelievable.

“Kid,” Hermes chuckles, shaking his head. “I think that was the ‘you’re not a bastard anymore’ ceremony.”

“Oh.”

“f*cking oh?”

“It was a while ago,” Percy scratches his head. “I was kinda out of it.”

“Too much pre-celebration?” Hermes grins.

“I didn’t even know it was happening,” Percy says. “Dad just woke me up and brought me to the temple. He gave a speech and at the end I found out it was a coronation.”

“What did you think it was?”

“He told me it was a purification for the temple,” Percy says, a little bashful.

“A purification?” Hermes raised an eyebrow.

“He said it was a θείακύρωση,” Percy crossed his arms. “That the Temple had to be purified by our presence since it’s the center of worship.”

Hm, that would explain why Percy’s essence was so rich in worship. The kid was bathing in it.

“Our presence?” Hermes asks.

“That’s just what he said,” Percy shrugs.

“How’d you feel afterwards?”

“Uh, weird I guess,” Percy says.

“That’s it?” Hermes raises an eyebrow. “You were crowned heir to a divine throne and you just felt weird about it?”

“To be fair,” Percy says. I literally just woke up and had to meet a lot of people right afterwards. Also everyone felt weird about it. You look like you’re feeling weird about it right now.”

“I’m feeling very weird about it,” Hermes agrees. “You’re one lucky bastard, you know that?”

“I’ve been told.”

“How did your brother handle the news?” Hermes shakes his head.

“He beat me up,” Percy says drily.

Hermes howls.

“f*ck,” Hermes wheezes. “Impeccable delivery kid.”

“Thanks,” Percy tries to hide a small smile.

“Ah man,” Hermes straightens up. “Your father is crazy, you know that right?”

“All gods are as far as I’m concerned.”

Hermes chuckles. “I’m sorry you got beat up. I can’t say I blame him though.”

“Why?” Percy tilts his head. “Aren’t you naturalized too?”

“Unfortunately no,” Hermes admitted.

“But you’re an Olympian,” Percy frowns slightly. “Isn’t that your ‘not a bastard anymore’ ceremony?”

“Not with Hera around,” Hermes shakes his head.

“Oh, right,” Percy has the decency to look embarrassed.

“Right,” Hermes smiles. “So I presume you and your brother don’t get along.”

“No, we’re good,” Percy says. “We mostly got along before it and haven’t really gotten into an argument since.”

“I didn’t expect Triton to be so reasonable. He’s been an only child for a very long time.”

“Yeah, I can tell,” Percy rolls his eyes. “Still, he’s been a good big brother.”

“Hm,” Hermes hums. “You are full of surprises.”

“What about you?” Percy looks at him expectantly. “How have you been? Why did you come all the way out here?”

“I can’t visit?”

“You never have before,” Percy raises an eyebrow. “And you didn’t use the front door, so what’s up. Did something happen?”

“Actually,” Hermes gives Percy a knowing smile. “I was looking for my brother. Finding you was a happy accident.”

“Oh,” Percy perks up. “Apollo?”

“Mhm, seems he’s been visiting for quite some time,” Hermes watches the implication turning in Percy’s head. “Every night in fact.”

“He’s been helping-”

“-me with my kingdom.”

“-helping you with your kingdom?” Hermes finishes the line with a bashful Percy. “If I had a nickel for every prince I’ve seen fall for that one.”

“I- it’s not like that,” Percy flushes.

“I won’t question your taste,” Hermes holds up his hands grinning. “Though I should. Are you sure you really like him? Or was he just the first person with legs to visit?”

“He’s my friend,” Percy insists, pink faced and flustered. “Which is more than I can say of you.”

“Whoa!” Hermes laughs. “Don’t attack me. What did I do?”

“It’s what you didn’t do,” Percy accuses, grabbing the opportunity to change the topic.

“And what was that?” Hermes smirks.

“You didn’t tell anyone the truth about Annabeth. I got banished because of it,” Percy’s voice is lower at the end, soft with hurt. He seems just as surprised by the accusation as Hermes is.

The kid wasn’t wrong to be upset. Had Hermes not been muzzled by the stroke of a thumb, he would have spoken up long ago, when Apollo was driving himself frantic looking for their missing demigod friend. But the goddess’ primordial magic was as absolute as the grave. Her sparse use of it, always a chilling reminder she was set apart from the rest of them.

“You were banished, because my father doesn’t like you, Perseus,” Hermes says patiently. “Your own father defended your innocence adamantly and it did nothing to sway him. What did you want me to do?”

“I don’t know,” Percy mumbles. The word try hangs in the water between them.

“I told you to call me afterwards didn’t I,” Hermes reminds him. “Why didn’t you?”

Hermes watches the wheels turning in his head, remembering the night Hermes dropped him off on the NRU fire escape.

“I guess, I forgot,” Percy says, a bit deflated.

Hermes sighs. He doesn’t blame him of course, had he not been preoccupied with the goddess he would’ve been right there the entire time. Maybe even called Apollo to help cool the kid down before he caused a scene.

“How bad was it?” Hermes asked.

Perseus stays silent, as still as marble, his eyes at the floor.

“Listen kid, we all make mistakes. Especially in anger-”

“I didn’t,” Percy says, the harshness in his voice taking Hermes by surprise. “I didn’t do anything. I wrote a letter and left. They didn’t even know I was there. I never hurt her.”

“I wouldn’t think you hurt her,” Hermes said carefully. “But I was under the impression there was an… argument.”

Percy shakes his head miserably. “Everyone thinks I’m a cheater and I hit women.”

“I wouldn’t say everyone,” Hermes waves. “History certainly will, but she’s only a muse and her master is the truth. From what I’ve seen you seem to have him on your side… platonically or otherwise.”

“Yeah,” Percy cracks a smile despite himself. “I guess.”

A beat passes in silence.

“Thanks by the way,” Percy finally looks back up at him, bright eyes genuine. “For trying to help that night.”

“Am I detecting sarcasm?” Hermes raises a brow.

“No,” Percy smiles. “I think… if I hadn’t seen it for myself, that I wouldn’t have believed you. I guess you told me the only way you could, so, thank you.”

“Wow,” Hermes smiles. “That was a lot of growing up you did in the last three minutes.”

“Sorry,” Percy mumbles. “I only found out about everything recently. I didn’t have a chance to think about it all.”

“How recently?”

“Like,” Percy frowns as if counting in his head.

Hermes laughs. “You have no concept of time anymore do you?”

“It’s hard down here,” Percy defends himself. “Maybe a month ago?”

“That’s pretty recent. Why did you think your father was keeping you here then?”

“He said something about angry gods,” Percy shrugs. “But honestly I kind of like it down here. I’ve never really asked to leave. Then I got these responsibilities and sort of built a life here.”

“Grand life you’ve built,” Hermes shakes his head.

“Nepo baby things.”

“Ha,” he laughs. “So is that it then? You’ve settled in here? Don’t you miss the camps?”

“Of course I do,” Percy says. “But I can’t”

“Because your dad says so,” Hermes mocks.

“And yours.” Percy accuses.

“What they don’t know won’t hurt them,” Hermes winks, leaning forward. “Come on kid. I can understand wanting to put the cape down, but when did you become such a square?”

“This is kinda a fishbowl,” Percy rolls his eyes. “I can’t just swim out of here.”

“If only you had a friend with a knack for stealth,” Hermes hums.

“If only,” Percy raises an eyebrow, reminding him how easily he detected his presence behind him.

“Give it a thought,” Hermes smiles, leaning back. “But I know you want to. Imagine how thrilled the kids would be to see you, have you fight by their side. You might even get your banishment lifted if you help in the war.”

“Yeah right,” Percy pauses. “Wait. What war?”

“The camps?” Hermes frowns.

“They’re at war?” Percy exclaims. “Again?”

“What? They’re-”

A frigid and oppressive pressure bears down on Hermes and Percy’s wide startled eyes are the last thing he sees before being flung through space at ungodly speeds. He hits the earth with a force that shakes and chokes on the clouds of debri blinding him as he struggles to gather his bearings. He hardly needed an educated guess to know what happened. His uncle’s primordial presence is menacing and all encompassing.

“Nephew,” his voice echoes in the dark. “Let’s have a discussion about boundaries.”

Notes:

Hermes, drinking in the essence of a self ascending godling: Finally some good f*cking food

-

Dionysus, trying to contain his essence: I'm tired of this grandpa!

Hermes: That's too damn bad!

Percy, literally flooding his room with essence:

Hermes: You're doing amazing sweetie!

-

Hermes: I’m actually a master of stealth

Percy, who literally just catch him snooping around his palace: uh huh

-

Percy, a 27 year old demigod: My father naturalized me in a coronation ceremony

Hermes, a 3000 year old bastard: C😭ON😭G😭RA😭ULA😭TI😭ON😭S

-

Percy: He’s been helping me with my kingdom

Hermes: If I had a nickel for every prince that bought that sh*t

-

Hermes: You always do what daddy tells you to?

Percy: You don’t? 🙄

-

Percy: Triton beat me up

Hermes: I get the feeling

-

Apollo, enjoying his drive, knowing no one knows about his secret magic ocean boyfriend:

Hermes, literally drinking in said boyfriend's essence: Sooo how's the family?

-

Thanks for reading!
xo Dites Fav

Chapter 22: Water's Memory

Summary:

Percy looks for Hermes, Triton intervenes

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“What the f*ck?” Percy says, to no one in particular.

No one in particular answers as he stares at the empty space where Hermes once stood. Hermes was about to tell him something important. A war. The camps. He spoke as if they had been at war for some time and Percy would believe it, but Apollo would’ve said something. Right?

Of course he wouldn’t. Triton had said as much. That Father couldn’t have an Olympian skipping around his temple and mortal son. In fact, he’d said Apollo wasn’t supposed to come back at all.

But he did, didn’t he. He came back and explained everything, answered all his questions. Percy runs a hand through his hair, dimly noting Squib was still gone. He almost wants to be angry at Apollo, but can manage little more than frustration. Dad must’ve sworn him to secrecy, but at least Apollo told him what he could. Percy exhales his frustration, his circling entourage steering clear.

He had to speak to his father, but he hadn’t prayed since Apollo told him about everything. He’d been angry at his father before, but this anger felt different. It felt injust, heavy with guilt. How could he blame his father? What could he blame him for? Protecting him? Offering him shelter? Family? Purpose?

His anger felt ungrateful, but knowing this didn’t ease it. Percy glances back at the empty space where Hermes' silhouette still lingered. All that was left of the god was the imprint of his warmth and presence, as detailed as a statue, already beginning to fade. Walking around the space Percy finds a disturbance in the back of Hermes’ form. The image is distorted and layered like a transparent flipbook, showing something dragging the god backwards.

He was taken, as expected. The least Percy could do was search for his old friend, make sure he wasn’t in too much trouble. He turns away from Hermes' form, allowing it to fade, and materializes in the center of his room. Filling his lungs with the rich waters of Thalivas, he closes his eyes and reaches into the living map weaving throughout the twelve kingdoms. All at once, he was everywhere.

He opened two eyes to a thousand thousand sights. Merchants and markets, nobles and neighborhoods. Priests and temples. He could see them all, feel them all with the waters around him. Just as Triton taught him.

“Try again,” Triton says, his patience unyielding in the face of yet another failed attempt.

“But I’m already doing it,” Percy breathes, beyond frustrated.

“You are not,” Triton insists calmly. “You are expanding your waters, not yourself. You are trying to swim there when you can simply be there.”

Percy stares at him blankly. “I want Rhodes.”

No,” Triton snaps. “Reach into your memory. Expand yourself to that place and you can be there and here. Simultaneously.”

Percy closes his eyes and tries again, in vain. He imagines his own chambers. Imagines the smells, the feel of the water, the flow of the currents. He sees himself there as clear as a memory, but can tell from Triton’s expression he managed little more than imagination.

“Water has memory, Perseus,” Triton explains again. “And so do you. Reach into your memory.”

A long and frustrating lesson, but Percy does finally get it. He stops imagining himself in his chambers and starts remembering being there. He remembers the smell, the feel of the water, the flow of the currents. He reaches into his memory, not imagination and reality folds. With a lurch, he finds himself in front of his chamber dresser.

“At last,” Triton’s hand rests on his shoulder. Percy looks up at his brother in two places, with two sets of eyes. “Well done, Perseus. You’ve split your consciousness.”

“Feels like it,” Percy manages through the fog of dual consciousness, his voice both far away and close at once.

“Good,” Triton smiles. “Father will be very pleased.”

“You seem more pleased,” Percy raises a brow.

“Rhodes may have noticed your attempt,” Triton smirks. “I’ve curated it.”

“Sure,” Percy rolls his eyes. Big mistake.

He catches a glimpse of himself and looks down at what should be two bodies. With a start he realizes there is only one, his split self existing without form. The layered vision buckles and Triton’s annoyed face merges into one. Still pleased with the results, Triton allows him to finish vomiting before bringing him before father to announce the progression.

To say Poseidon was ecstatic would be an understatement. By next day’s end, Percy was The Second Prince Perseus, third in line for the Atlantean throne. The coronation did something to him. His sight and senses were sharper than they had ever been before. His control of the waters, almost absolute. He spends his first few weeks as king swimming through his city, traveling his kingdoms and growing his memory. Over the years his travels were so complete, he had created a living map in his mind where he could split and travel to a thousand thousand places.

“You’re getting good at that,” Triton says. Percy blinks, his search for Squib and Hermes interrupted by Triton’s arrival. His brother looms before his physical form, an unreadable expression on his face.

“What gives?” Percy scowls.

“Don’t be difficult,” Triton warns, lifting a hand over his head.

He doesn’t even have time to shout before his expansion is forced back into his chambers. The living map falling away, blinding him to everything his true eyes can’t see.

“What the f*ck!” Percy demands, pushing his waters against Triton’s great pressure.

“Enough,” Triton barely reacts to his brother’s efforts, his waters calmly forming a barrier around Percy, a cage. “Father sent me to speak with you.”

“Did he tell you to blind me too?” Percy snaps, his water churning angrily inside the sphere of influence Triton allotted him.

“He wasn’t specific,” Triton’s look is warning. “Enough.”

After a beat Percy breathes out forcefully, the waters around him finally subsiding. Pleased, Triton nods and pulls his hand away, only releasing the pressure. Percy still could not see past his chamber walls.

“I hear you had another uninvited guest,” Triton begins.

“I hear there’s a war.”

“There is no war in our seas,” Triton says plainly. “Thank the Father.”

“Thank Father,” Percy rolls his eyes. “I’m talking about the surface.”

“Affairs of the surface are no concern of ours, as our affairs are no concern of theirs.”

“Hermes said the camps-”

“Hermes-” Triton sighs. “Should know better than to visit without announcing himself.”

“So you can tell him what he’s supposed to keep secret from me.”

“Yes,” Triton stares him down.

“Why?”

“Why?” Triton almost mocks. “Don’t be so childish. If you surface, your life will be forfeit. You know this, at the least.”

“I heard about the banishment only a month ago!” Percy gestures angrily, pushing against Triton’s steadfast barrier. “Why are you keeping things secret from me?”

“It is not your concern,” Triton snaps. “The wars, celebrations, affairs of the surface are another world. One you have been cast down from. This is your world now.”

“I have family up there,” Percy shouts. “You’re telling me I’m just never going to see them again?”

“You have family here,” Triton’s eyes darken. “Some of whom have sacrificed much to see you acclimated here.”

“For f*cks sake Triton,” Percy threw his hands through his hair. “I’ll never see my mother again. Can you not get that?”

To his credit, Triton’s eyes did soften, but his jaw was set. Percy wasn’t sure when he had started crying, but he could hear the dull clink of his pearls hitting the bedroom floor. Squib still hadn’t returned.

“We know,” Triton finally says. “Now, you do too.”

Percy only sniffles in response.

“You will overcome this Perseus,” Triton continues. “Confide in Archeas. Focus on your work. This grief will pass in time.”

“I want to talk to dad,” Percy says softly.

Triton pauses, as if at a loss for words.

“Apollo will be allowed to continue his visits as well,” Triton says gently.

“Triton.”

“That’s enough,” Triton hushes him. “Father will speak with you in his own time.”

“Where’s my Squib?” Percy sniffles.

“I’m sure it will return.”

“Fine.”

Triton pauses as if he wants to say more.

“Very well,” he says finally, vanishing.

Notes:

Triton: There is no war in Ba Sing Sa

-

Percy, feeling angry at his father but also guilty about that anger but also anger at that guilt and guilt about that anger: Am I Catholic?

-

Percy, expanding his consciousness over the span of a massive empire:

Triton, giving him the full older brother experience: light work, no reaction

-

Percy: I want Rhodes

Triton: And I want paternal validation chop chop

-

Rhodes: So I noticed Percy could do a thing

Poseidon: Amazing! Spectacular! Here's a million dollars

Triton: I taught Percy how to harness the power of that thing

Poseidon: Great! I'm giving him all of your stuff as a reward!

-

Percy: My entire life was stolen from me and I just found out. I am devastated.

Triton: God isn't available at the moment but you can try his priest or just bury yourself in your work like I do.

-

Percy, expressions emotions:

Triton: Can't you wait til Apollo gets here?

-

Triton: You split your consciousness!

Percy: Not my body though! *vomits*

-

Hello everyone! Sorry the chapter was so short! The next one will be Hermes getting chewed out and Apollo arriving to a dumpster fire in the ocean lol

Thanks for reading!
xo Dites Fav

Chapter 23: God of Worship

Summary:

Hermes gets chewed out by Poseidon and the twins have a serious conversation...

Notes:

Wow it's already June which is the almost the two year anniversary of this fic yayyy (sorry im such a slow writer)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Hermes gasps, kneeling in the hard cracked earth as the debri settles around him. To struggle here was futile. All encompassing, all seeing and all powerful, the sea god and his realm are as one. There was simply no comparison, no competition. Incomprehensible pressure bears down on him from all sides as the probing waters, taut and suspicious, grasp and investigate.

“So,” Poseidon’s voice echoes from all corners. “You’ve found my temple. To what end?”

The temple? Ha! Hermes had forgotten all about the grand thing. There were far greater topics of interest in Thalivas than a temple. Perseus Jackson was ascending. A self ascension. Even under the cold, sharp hostility of his primordial father, Perseus’ essence still warmed Hermes’ core. He could still taste the reverence of thousands on his tongue.

A god like no other. Of this, Hermes was certain. He remembered the rich smoke of swirling worship rising from Hestia’s hearth. The hum of divine energy, sat stagnant in Percy’s blood. Perseus rallying his fellow demigods, on several occasions. Inspiring them and bringing their potential to surface.

Protector of Divine Youth? No. Perseus was bigger than that. He inspired worship like… he was the god of it. As soon as the thought crosses his mind, Hermes knows it is true. George and Martha shift nervously and rightfully so. This would be a tricky situation to get out of.

Hermes was protected some by his title, but it was his role that really limited Poseidon’s options. He was not someone who could disappear for long periods of time without raising alarm. People really hated delayed deliveries and besides, Hermes was someone Zeus summoned frequently. More likely than not, it would be his father to first notice his absence.

Still, Poseidon was a father himself and far more protective of his children, mortal or otherwise. It would be no simple task to convince him of Hermes' benevolence. His phone buzzes in his pocket and almost instantly he feels it crushed by the offended waters. Speak, the word drags across his mind like a chalkboard.

“It was my brother,” Hermes manages. “Not your temple I seek.”

“Surely not,” the pressure tightens. “Your celestial brother. Driving across the heavens as he has done for the last thousand years.”

“That’s the one,” Hermes tries for a smile. “Lots of sun themed paraphernalia in Thalivas theses days, aye?”

“Aye,” Poseidon says dangerously. His voice, low and close. “Care to share more?”

Hermes lifts his head. Poseidon towers above him. Ink haired and scaled, he is the stuff of nightmares. His form still half melted into the dark of the seas, making his eyes appear vibrant, eldritch. His hair, unnaturally still, suddenly shifts with a familiar sound. The Squib dances along the god’s shoulder, as cheerful as a snitching child.

Honesty was hardly Hermes' policy, yet occasionally, it was far more convincing than anything he could make up. So he proceeds to tell Poseidon of his original concerns for Apollo, shared by Artemis. Of how he followed his brother to the sea and found Thalivas and the great temple. Of how he returned for curiosity’s sake and found Perseus.

The sea god is silent, stoic and unmoving as Hermes recounts his reintroduction to his son. The only time he reacts is as Hermes describes the Squib’s assault. Loud, boisterous laughter startles the messenger god making him trip over his words.

“Atta boy,” Poseidon laughs wholeheartedly, rubbing the cooing blob like a loyal dog.

“What?” Hermes asks, carefully. “Exactly is that thing?”

“A Squib,” Poseidon answers plainly, leaning back as if to sit. Low and beyond a throne does appear behind him as he rests himself into it. “Carry on.”

Still, unnerved by the sudden change of mood, Hermes continues. Summarizing their brief encounter before-

“I found myself quite rudely, dragged out to open sea,” Hermes concludes.

“Hmph,” Poseidon taps his fingers. “You’re being surprisingly forthcoming.”

“I like the kid,” Hermes shrugs. “I’m glad to know he’s well.”

“He was,” Triton’s voice drifts in behind him. The sea prince moves through his father’s oppressive presence with the ease of a breeze. “Less so after your arrival.”

“Ah,” Hermes smirks. “The First Prince of Atlantis. I’m honored.”

Triton barely reacts, but with him barely is enough to know the jab landed. Locked in silent conversation, the sea gods ignore him. Finally Poseidon nods his head and Triton turns to address his cousin.

“I don’t believe you intend Perseus any harm,” Triton tilts his head, reading him. “Still, the god of boundaries should know which ones not to cross.”

“It won’t happen again,” Hermes assures him. “I’ll leave what I’ve seen where I’ve seen it. You have my word.”

“You came for your brother,” Triton says, unmoved. “Come dusk, we will be certain you leave with him.”

A sinking feeling drops in Hermes' stomach.

“Come on,” he tries for a smile that drops as meaty hands grab each of his arms. f*ck. Fearsome creatures, the warrior cyclops of the deep were not to be trifled with.

“People will notice I’m gone,” Hermes reminds them as he is dragged to his feet.

“People might notice the mail,” Triton says, almost bored, Squib dancing around his fingertips. “They’ll assume you, idle.”

“Where have you been?”

Like a bell, Artemis’ clear voice carries across the noisy diner with ease. Apollo looks up from his menu as his sister strides forward, entirely out of place in her chiton and silver bomber jacket. Not that any of the mortals notice her.

Truth be told, he had expected Artemis’ inquiry much earlier than this. It’d been over a month since he began his nightly pilgrimage to the deep sea and she was a notoriously nosy older sister. Still, he was glad for the time to gather his thoughts. To ensure the picture he painted for her was complete and concise.

The actions of Annabeth Chase were hardly blasphemous, yet they had earned her unjust favor from the goddess. Artemis was fond of Chase. She would not accept this betrayal without explanation and so much of the truth contained what was told to him in confidence. So he waited. For her to come to him with question, so he would not break Poseidon’s faith without excuse.

“Artemis!” Apollo exclaims, cheerfully waving her over. “I can’t remember the last time we had lunch together.”

“An eon ago,” she smiles slightly, sliding in. “Maybe two. Where have you been?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Apollo teases. “I was thinking of getting a black and white shake. What about you? Juice?”

“Your disappearances are becoming noticeable,” she stares him down, arms crossed. “If it is a lover, say so, so I may return to my hunt in peace. But if you’re up to some bullsh*t-”

“Who says it can’t be both?” he smiles cheekily.

“I knew it,” she scowls. “Speak.”

The diner hushes. All around him, waitresses, patrons and their noisy banter fall into silence, frozen in suspended animation. Outside the large glass windows, cars fly by unaware, as several silver clad young ladies patrol the popular diner.

“I fear,” Apollo gives her a knowing look from above his sunglasses. “We may need a more secure location. Besides, I like the people here.”

After a beat, Artemis nods, vanishing as the diners return to their various tasks and conversations. There was only one place in the world the twins could speak freely. She waits for him, in their usual place of gossip. But even Delos, with its listening trees and chatty breezes, had few private sanctuaries. He manifests besides her, gesturing she follows towards his palace and through gilded foyer arches. Down grand winding halls, through secret doors and hidden ways. They come before a great rounded door, gleaming with magic.

Home not only to centuries of offerings and trinkets, sacred and divine, the treasure room of Phoebus Apollo held all the whispered secrets of the sun and moon in its vast vaults. That and his unreleased artwork. Which is what he really wanted to show her today.

Torches alight at his presence, a wide collection illuminated as the flames leap across the room. Gold, bronze, books, treasures, weapons, prayers, offerings, line the shelves and hang from the ceiling. Behind them the door rolls shut, sealing them inside. The moon turns to the sun.

“Alright,” she says. “What’s this big secret?”

“I need you to swear to me,” Apollo says softly. “You will leave what you hear, here.”

She frowns, more so at his dropped tone, too serious for banter, but nods, locking eyes with him. No words were needed to seal a vow between twins.

“You’ve been deceived, sister,” Apollo begins, striding towards his masterpieces. “As have I.”

It was no secret Apollo enjoyed painting his memories. The pen may record events, but the canvas immortalized them. The ‘Thalivas’ Renaissance Ball’ was one of these treasured memories. Bliss radiated from the stunning blue canvas, depicting ancient art, dancing colors and swirling seafolk. At its center floated a small figure, draped in semi-translucent robes, glowing with worship.

“Your lover, I presume,” Artemis gives him a look, knowing, not judging.

Lover, ah. Despite how much he teased, he would always adore his sister’s old fashion speech and especially her old fashion lens of romance. The word situationship had probably never even graced the maiden’s ears.

“We are… courting,” Apollo smiles swaying. “The King of Thalivas, Second Prince of Atlantis.”

“Atlantis?” Artemis’ head jerks, but Apollo only grins. “Second Prince of Atlantis?”

“Aye,” Apollo winks, pulling her along.

“Triton has a son?” she asks, following to the next painting. “Or a new broth-”

“Triton has an heir,” Apollo only half corrects. “We met on the Atlantic!”

Perseus’ surface lounge of watery columns, streamed sunlight like a divine prism. The deep seafolk, so rarely illuminated, laid sprawled in awkward prostration as Perseus stood atop his platform, glowing with open arms and flowing hair. Too captivating for the oils, Apollo found liquid light the only medium that could do this piece justice.

“The single most spectacular thing I’ve ever seen,” Apollo awes at his work. “Deep sea folk! If you would believe it.”

“Phoebus,” Artemis warns. “If I get to the end of the walk and find out there’s nothing more to this than you courting Triton’s heir-”

“Can you just let yourself be seduced by the story for once?” Apollo exhales.

“I am not here for your love story,” she says. “What is this deception you speak of?”

“As I was saying,” he ignores her. “He was the most spectacular thing I’d ever seen and his kingdom, my gods, was awash in worship. Of course, when I saw Poseidon’s temple in Thalivas, I understood why.”

Artemis co*cks a brow, intrigued. The location of Poseidon’s temple was of some interest after all. The decision to move was strange to most. It didn’t seem to offer any obvious benefits and was wrapped in enough secrecy to encourage whispers… or inspire certain suspicions.

Hermes quietly complained to Apollo. Of father’s concern that Poseidon was hiding some power in the depths. Which was the usual complaint father had regarding his brothers, only far more insistent this time. Apollo could only imagine how father would react to learn just how right he was. Which was part of the reason he brought Artemis down here.

As faithful as they were to one another, they were still children of Zeus. Forever clamoring and competing for his affections. For information so valuable, the promise of father’s favor was far too tempting to resist. Here they could speak free of listening ears and double dealing.

More than Poseidon’s faith, he couldn’t risk Perseus, not when forever was so close. Perseus was on the cusp of becoming one of the most powerful gods in their pantheon and didn’t even know it. A godling’s essence is a unique thing. They inspire worship with their very presence. Drawing in mortals with as little effort as breathing. Which in turn feeds the godling and grows their essence. Still mortal, the body cannot contain such an overabundance so the essence leaks out into the environment like a steady tap.

Only Perseus' essence didn’t leak from him, it poured. Apollo had never seen anything like it before. Essence and worship swirled around him in a steady current, giving him a near constant aura almost visible to the mortal eye. It took Apollo several days of visits to realize just how far his essence had truly expanded.

When a godling frequents a place enough, the very earth can become infused with their essence: a budding sacred space. Perseus’ chambers was an obvious one, as were the deep sea gardens where he liked to lounge. What came as a shock to Apollo came as he was leaving Thalivas and felt the shift of presence in the waters. From the realm of the son into the realm of the father. Perseus’ essence had infused the entire city. Thalivas was his realm now, not only in title, but by divine right.

The Temple of the Father acted as a vacuum, pulling in Perseus’ worship and essence alike for the sea god to consume. Keeping a delicate check on the godling’s boundless growth. Apollo couldn’t imagine what Poseidon was doing with all that power. Until Perseus told him of the Short Night.

The day our god abandoned us for his beloved son in the world above, Perseus solemnly recites before recounting the events at the Battle of Manhattan, when Poseidon came to save Olympus.

Perseus tells Apollo of the moments before his legendary battle with The Crooked One in the heart of Olympus. After Thalia Grace’s injury at the hands of Hera’s statue, Perseus was left with only Annabeth Chase and the satyr Grover Underwood to assist him in a battle he was fated to die in…

Chills run through Apollo’s body as he recalls the day. He can almost see young Perseus. Desperate and terrified, climbing atop his father’s throne to beg for help as the Time Lord marched on the Hall of the Gods. Perseus tells him of how the Crooked One slowed time and forced him to watch his city being destroyed by gods, monsters and titans alike. Until…

“Typhon stepped into the Hudson and I prayed one last time,” Percy says, lost in memory. “Then I heard the conch blow. Dad came. So did Tyson.”

Percy’s voice takes on almost a tone of awe, of reverence and Apollo can’t blame him. With all their strength, the Olympians had been battling Typhon for weeks. Relentlessly pommeling the foul creature with divine and devastating power, but it made no difference. Even father’s most ruinous strikes of lighting did little more than stagger the beast.

Exhausted, they could do nothing, but keep fighting as they watched extinction march on their home. Apollo remembers the animalistic fear in their divine eyes as every destroyed temple, each slayed child weakened them further. A funeral procession of the grandest scale, interrupted by nothing short of a miracle.

Apollo watches as the Hudson erupted, churning with forty-foot waves. Out of the water burst a new chariot—this one pulled by massive hippocampi, who swam in air as easily as in water. Glowing with renewed power, Poseidon stuns and inspires all with his arrival. With huge black iron chains, thirty foot cyclops weigh Typhon down into the funneling waters where their god can strike.

Ichor spills from the beast in a waterfall taller than a skyscraper and the Olympians are revived in spirit. Ares rode in and stabbed Typhon in the nose. Artemis shot the monster in the eye with a dozen silver arrows. Apollo shot a blazing volley of arrows and set the monster's loincloth on fire. And father kept pounding the giant with lightning, until finally, slowly, the water rose, wrapping Typhon like a cocoon, and he began to sink under the weight of the chains.

Typhon was defeated and once confirmed they rushed to the Hall of the Gods, to finally face the Lord of Time. Only all they found in the dim warm light of the hearth, were Perseus, Annabeth and Grover standing over Luke’s broken body. The children had defeated him and now asked for a shroud to cover him. While Olympus celebrated their victory, the deep seas were still engaged in apocalyptic warfare.

“He made good on his promise,” Perseus' tone is solemn. “Brick by brick. When Dad left he knew his seat of power would be destroyed. He had to take all his power with him to fight Typhon and it left the seas godless, defenseless.”

Perseus goes on to describe an apocalypse of epic scales. Kingdoms, bloodlines, species, ecosystems, destroyed. Billions died in the initial conflict and millions more of exposure or starvation before the rebuild began. The Atlantis Perseus entered five years ago was one of extreme poverty, mass dissent and disturbing sedition.

It was hard to believe. The sea god had given no indication of his suffering. In fact, looking far more energized and empowered than the rest of the battle weary Olympians. He had masked his weakness, by displaying it. Using the last embers of his power to cast an illusion of prosperity.

“Incredible,” Artemis mummers, her expression thoughtful as she follows Apollo to the next portrait. “He was completely powerless.”

“Aye,” Apollo nods. “It was a dark time.”

“Have they since recovered?”

Apollo smiles. “That’s where the Second Prince comes in.”

“The one whose name you still refuse to give me?” Artemis accuses.

“Quite frankly, I’m shocked you haven’t recognized him by now,” Apollo doesn’t hide his smile as he stops at the final canvas.

“Am I supposed to know him?” Artemis raises a brow, looking at the painting.

A plain background portrait of Perseus dressed in stunning robes of opal blue. He cradles Squib to his chest, his expression dejected and down cast. Red faced and milky eyed Perseus is divine in his human sorrow. Apollo watches as Artemis dissects the portrait, finally looking past the enchanting beauty and grasping the familiar features. It takes a beat, but when he hears her sharp intake of breath, he knows she recognizes him.

She takes a step back, warring emotions on her face. “What is this?” Who is this?

“Naturalized above the Great Altar,” Apollo begins. “In the new Temple of the Father. Crowned by the Olympian of the Seas Poseidon, as his Second Prince of the Sea, Heir to First Prince Triton, Guardian of the Temple and King of Thalivas, Perseus Jackson.”

Artemis only stares at him. “Is this a joke?”

“No, it’s a love story.”

She closes her eyes as if counting to ten.

“Perseus Jackson is immortal,” she finally says after opening her eyes.

“No,” Apollo says. “He’s still in the process of self ascension. Unclear domains, except the one.”

“Which is?”

“Worship.”

Notes:

Hermes: Ha you can't keep me. I'm a Very Important Person!

Triton: You're an overglorified mail boy and professional snitch

-

Hermes: I was just looking for my brother

Poseidon, knows damn well Apollo comes everyday: You're looking for the sun god in the ocean? Are you stupid?

-

Apollo: When was the last time we had lunch?

Artemis: We aren't even having lunch right now

-

Apollo: Will you just let me tell the story?

Artemis: NO!

-

Zeus, old man muttering about Poseidon having a secret power in the ocean:

Apollo, knows Poseidon has a secret power in the ocean: Sure thing dad.

-

Poseidon, spending his last dollar making sure he looks fly:🕺🏻

-

Kronos forcing Percy to watch his city get destroyed on IG live: 🤳

-

Percy: Please dad its only a dollar

Poseidon, looking at his last dollar: No problem buddy.

-

Percy, after the only other high powered demigod got nuked leaving him with a goat and a nerd to fight a literal deity: f*ckf*ckf*ckf*ckf*ckf*ckf*ck

-

Apollo and Artemis gossiping in Delos:

Hermes in jail waiting to get picked up: 🧍🏻

-

Aphrodite's Mask - aphroditesfavorite - Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2024)
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