Actions

Work Header

The Heart of the Matter

Chapter Text

Long before the Europeans settled in North America, there was another race who dwelled within the ever changing landscape of the continent, scattered across the plains, mountains, deserts and marshlands of their homeland. Like all other cultures, these Native American tribes had their own ways of life. Their own way of governing, whether it be through local tribes, or the mighty Iroquois Confederacy. Their population was made up of a great deal of different languages, and like other cultures, they had their own stories and mythology.

What is now considered the Lower Hudson Valley, was once part of Algonquian settlements who were spread far and wide down what is now known as New England and the Atlantic Coast. Different tribes, with different names and variations of the language dwelled in the forests and beautiful nature before industrialization and colonization of their invaders took hold.

Although their myths and stories, passed down from generation to generation stayed relatively the same, word of mouth often changed the little details. A popular one, was the ‘Ladies of the Lake’ who were said to dwell in most freshwater areas.

A variation of this was the story of two daughters whose parents ordered them not to go into the lake by which they lived. However, they continuously disobeyed and swam in the water, knowing it was prohibited. One day, their father found his daughter's in the lake and called to them to get out immediately. But when they reached the shore, they couldn’t. The father, demanding to know why, got his answer. His daughters cried that they had become so heavy it as impossible for them to climb out, and found that where their legs had been was now slimy like a serpent. Suddenly, they sank below the surface, and when they emerged they were more beautiful than ever! Their father, stunned, reached for their clothes left on the shore when his daughter's screamed out “don’t touch them! Leave them!” Owning up to their mistakes and misfortune, the daughters sang a beautifully haunting song to their parents who wept by the lake, before the girls dived beneath the surface.

Many years later, a group of children stumbled upon the daughters clothes that were still left on the shore. Wondering whose they were, they rowed out onto the lake, trying to find the owner. After a while, they came across two mermaids in the water and attempted to catch them. But their tails were so slimy, it was impossible. That was, until one managed to grab one of the daughters by her long hair, and tore a chunk off. Upset, the daughter started pushing and rocking the boat, demanding to get her hair back. The boy refused at first so her sister joined in. The daughters threatened to drown all of them unless she got what was hers back. Scared, the boy gave in and threw the hair back to the girl, and the children rowed away from the mermaids back to safety.

When the Europeans came to North America, centuries later, they brought their own mythology with them. First it was the Dutch, who came along to buy and colonize what they called New Amsterdam, now known as Manhattan. They had come into the Hudson Valley first, before they were driven away by the British.

They had taken over and pushed their way through Algonquin territory quickly. Having much better technology, guns and armor, the Algonquin people didn’t stand a chance. Helped by new diseases brought by the Europeans that the natives weren’t immune to, massive populations were wiped out so the Europeans could swiftly move into the now empty territory. The rest is history.

Not many people are aware about the mythological world that exists. Most believe that they are just that, myths and nothing more. But if you were to believe, you would know that it wasn’t just pilgrims escaping religious intolerance or people looking for a better life, many creatures who could pass themselves off as human came to North America as well. Including the European Ladies of the Lake. Having escaped their contaminated lakes and rivers where they dwelled, they left, hoping to find purer homes in new lands.

European mermaids had a different biology and mythology attached with them, but when they found new homes in the various different lakes and rivers, it was like paradise. One, in particular, had found herself in a lake many miles away from the port she came in. In what is now known as Mohegan Lake, she made friends with the Native American mermaids who had already been residing there for centuries, who took her in as one of their own.

Their descendants would live on and continue the myth about the mermaids who lived in Mohegan Lake to present day.    

Chapter Text

The first time Percy ever heard of the tales of The Mermaids of Mohegan Lake was when he was ten years old and being taught by his fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Bradshaw. She was teaching the class about the history of New York, required by state law, and was currently on the topic of the Native American tribes who, many years ago, had owned and walked the land they now lived on. Percy had been fascinated by the stories Mrs. Bradshaw told the class. She had a magical way with words.

The first mention of mermaids was when his classmate Timmy O’Connor asked Mrs. Bradshaw if she believed in the mermaids said to be living in Mohegan Lake, the town’s namesake. She gave him a quizzical look and asked where he’d heard such a thing. Timmy smugly responded that his older sister had told him. Seemingly going along with his answer, Mrs. Bradshaw simply said she couldn’t decide whether or not she believed in them, but had, of course, heard of the tale, just like everyone else in town.

She told the story to the class, sparking Percy’s interest in the mermaids. He wanted to know if the stories were true—and he was determined to find out.

Percy had always loved water, so it wasn’t a surprise that his favorite hangout spot was the lake. During the summer, he’d always be on the beach, either swimming or out in a rowboat. During the colder months he would come and ice skate and play hockey on the lake with his friends. So when he had learned about the tale, he set himself on a personal quest to find the mermaids. And he also dragged his two best friends along with him.

Jason, Percy, and Grover had all first met each other in kindergarten. After becoming friends, the trio were often seen out together in the middle of the lake. Percy would dive in the water and swim far beneath the surface. He’d first try to swim without goggles, but after fixing his mistake, he would submerge himself underwater for several minutes at a time.

Upon first hearing the tale, he constantly searched for signs of mermaids hidden within the seaweed and arches of rock that formed in the water, while his friends stayed in the safety of their rowboat.

The three of them did it every day of that summer. But, by the time summer break ended and autumn came around, Percy’s hope had faded out. Jason and Grover did not seem too upset about it, unlike Percy. He had really wanted to find the mermaids, but realized it just wasn’t meant to be. The three of them moved on and slowly forgot about the myth of the mermaids, pushed it to the back of their minds. That is, until one fateful day.

Percy was now twelve years old. Two years had gone by since he first heard the tale of the mermaids of Mohegan Lake, and his mind was occupied with other things—middle school, summer reading, and how he was going to spend his summer break, to name a few.

Percy was alone when he stumbled upon the cave. It was a hot July day, and he’d been anxious to get out of his house. In the spur of the moment, he decided to go to his favorite spot in town: the lake. However, it was the most popular attraction in the area among locals and tourists, bringing many people from the tri-state area and beyond. Percy didn’t want to go where the rest of the people were so, instead of heading left like usual, he headed right instead.

Mohegan Lake was huge. It was the biggest lake in the county, even making it’s way over a nearby town’s borders. He walked down the sidewalk that slowly became a dirt path which had been plowed down years ago. A canopy of trees surrounded the path, giving Percy shade from the scorching sun.

As he kept walking, he realized he had never been in this unexplored part of town before. But he wasn’t worried, as he knew that as long as he followed the path back home, he’d be okay. Curious as to where it would take him, he continued onwards.

After a while, the trees dwindled out and he found himself back at the edge of the lake. It was very different from the side he was used to. A giant rock covered the shore—at least, Percy thought it was a rock until noticing its cave like features. His curiosity as to what was inside overcame him, and he started to make his way down towards the apparent entrance.

Using the trees as support, he slowly made his way down the slope as the mud turned to sand. Percy peaked his head inside an average sized hole in the rock, and was surprised with what he saw.

It was nothing like he’d ever seen before. There was a small pool of water, clearer than any lake water he’d ever seen. It was crystal blue and glimmered in the sunlight. When he looked up, he spotted an oculus in the ceiling, allowing sunlight into the cave. He took a tentative step forward, needing to see more.

The little pool seemed to have been carved out of the middle of the cave floor, and once he stepped inside, he no longer stood on sand, but on rock. He presumed that the boulder was somehow hollowed out, and as he looked around, he observed all the cuts in the rock seemed to be man made.

Percy continued deeper into the cave. From the outside, it didn’t look that big, which confused him, as it appeared to be huge on the inside. But the next thing he saw made his eyes bug out of his head. He quickly ducked around the corner, peeking his head around to allow him to still see it.

There was another glimmering pool of water with another oculus carved into the top of the cave. But in the center of this pool was a rock. And on the rock…was a girl. She looked to be around his age and had curly blonde hair that framed her face like a halo. She was laying against the rock with her eyes closed, basking in the sunlight. Her stomach rose and fell slowly with each breath. She appeared to be taking a nap. As unexpected as she was, what left Percy even more shocked was that she didn’t have legs. Instead, she had a long, green tail that was half submerged in the water. It had iridescent scales that shimmered with a mix of greens and blues. The scales went all the way up to her chest before the upper half of her torso blended into human skin.

In amazement, he closed his eyes for a few seconds before opening them again. She was still there basking in sunlight on the rock. Then just to double check he pinched himself, but was too hard and let out a soft “ow”.

Percy looked up from his arm and saw that the girl was now wide awake. She looked startled and was sitting up, leaning on her arms. Her eyes looked to be searching for something. Seeing her move scared Percy, and he pulled his head away from the corner. A few moments later he peaked out again to see if she was still there—was, and this time she spotted him.

She gasped, her eyes widening in alarm. Her body tensed up and she looked about ready to dash back into the water. Percy saw his opportunity to actually talk to a real, living mermaid, so he slowly made his way out from behind the rock and towards the water.

The girl jumped off her rock, her green tail flicking as she swam underwater. Percy ran up to the pool with his hand out.

“I’m not going to hurt you!” he called out.

When he looked into the water, it was no longer crystal clear. It was just like any regular lake water. He was disappointed that he couldn’t see if the mermaid had fled or not, but waited a minute more, hoping that she was still there. When nothing happened, he sighed in defeat and started to walk away.

“How did you find this place?” came a soft voice from behind him.

Percy immediately whipped around to see the girl floating in the water with only her head above the surface. Her blonde hair floated around her like silk threads. Now that he was close to her, he could see that her startling gray eyes, color he’d never seen on anybody before. They were narrowed at him in suspicion.

“I don’t know. I just followed a path and it lead me here,” he said with a small shrug.

“This is a secret place for my kind only. Humans like you don’t just stumble upon it. So I’ll ask again—how did you find this place?” she said accusingly.

Percy nervously shrugged his shoulders again.

“I just followed a dirt path. It was one I’d never seen before, and it lead me here. I didn’t mean to trespass.”

A silence followed. She looked him up and down, searching him. They made eye contact for a period of time that made Percy feel a little bit awkward. The girl tilted her head and swam closer to the edge of the pool. She put her hands on the ledge and pushed up so she was at eye level with Percy.

“Only special humans find this place, and they only come once in a lifetime. What’s your name?”

Seeing her face so close up made Percy notice that she was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. Her tan skin was dotted with freckles, especially on her long nose. And she had the pinkest lips.

“Are you going to answer me or not, human?” she demanded, snapping Percy out of his thoughts. He blinked.

“Uh…my name’s Percy,” he managed to get out.

She looked him up and down again before huffing. He saw the gills on her neck flex out with every breath she took.

“Hmph. Interesting name,” she muttered to herself.  

“What’s yours?” he asked.

She tilted her head and gave a smirk that made Percy’s knees go weak. She leaned in on her arms.

“I guess you’ll have to find out tomorrow,” she replied.

With that she dove underwater and away from Percy, leaving him with more questions than answers.

Chapter Text

The next day, Percy ran over to Jason’s house bright and early and knocked on his front door. The sun was just rising over the sky, but Percy was too anxious about yesterday to sleep in late. He bounced on the balls of his feet waiting impatiently for someone to answer the door.

“C’mon Grace, open the door already,” he muttered to himself.

From behind the mahogany door, he heard some grumbling. The door swung open revealing Thalia, Jason’s sister. She was much older than Percy, and was a college student in upstate New York. She was relatively short, but made up for it with her scary aura. She was in a black t-shirt and underwear and her black hair was disheveled, sticking up in every direction. Her light blue eyes were still foggy and smudged with eyeliner making her look like a raccoon. She glared at Percy.

“Percy? For the love of god, what do you want this early?” she grumbled.

Percy tried not to be intimidated by her, even if she was still half asleep. He just gave a sheepish smile.

“Is Jason awake yet? I want to take him somewhere,” Percy asked.

Thalia just squinted at him in disbelief, like she couldn’t believe he had the audacity to show up at her house at this ungodly hour in the morning.

“You do realize it’s like six in the morning right?” She pointed out. “During summer?”

“I’m not an idiot, Thalia. Is he awake or not?”

She glared at him for a minute more before letting out a huge sigh. She lifted her arms over her head and cracked her back then turned around and heaved a big breath.

“JASON! PERCY IS HERE. GET UP SO HE CAN LEAVE AND I CAN GO BACK TO SLEEP!”  

“He’ll be out in a minute,” she said, turning back to Percy.

With that, she left Percy standing in the doorway and walked up the stairs towards Jason’s room. He could hear them arguing. He vaguely heard Jason complain about not being able to shower before kicking Thalia out of his room. She stomped back to her own room and slammed the door.

A few minutes later, a disheveled looking Jason came down stairs and out the front door, closing it behind him. He still had that sleepy look on his face. His blonde hair, which he usually kept nice, was messy and he kept rubbing his eyes behind his glasses.

“Wherever you’re taking me better be worth it,” he grumbled.

A grin spread across Percy’s face. He wrapped his arm around Jason’s neck as they walked down the driveway and into town. Percy had a skip in his step, making Jason stumble behind him.

“Oh trust me, you’re gonna be amazed,” Percy promised.

“Where’s Grover?”

“Apparently his family went on some nature retreat in the Adirondacks this week, so he’s not going to be able to accompany us.”

Jason nodded and let out a big yawn. The sun was still low, making the sky bright orange. When they reached Mohegan Lake, the sun’s reflection was blinding off the surface. The beach and town were still deserted, with only the occasional mother out doing some early morning grocery shopping.

“It’s this way,” Percy pointed.

He marched forward towards the woods and the dirt path he’d taken yesterday. Jason followed along slowly, still half asleep. As they got deeper into the canopy of trees, Jason seemed to wake up a little and began noticing the things around him.

“Where are we going? I’ve never seen this path before,” he said, curiously.

Percy turned around so he was walking backwards and gave his best friend a big smile. Jason narrowed his eyes and scrunched his eyebrows together in confusion, but the gleam in his blue eyes revealed a hint of curiosity.

“It’s a surprise,” Percy replied.

Jason just raised an eyebrow, a question bubbled on his tongue but he stayed silent. The two of them kept walking, the slowly increasing temperature making them sweat. Eventually, the two of them emerged at the end of the path. The same alcove that Percy stumbled upon yesterday came into view.

Percy looked over at Jason, whose face showed the same confusion that he had yesterday. Jason stepped forward, moving the branches of the trees to get a better look.

“I’ve never seen this part of the lake before,” he said.

He turned back around to Percy with a twinkle in his eyes, the light reflecting off his glasses. There was a big smile on his face.

“How did you find this place?” he asked.

Percy walked over to his friend and looked at the magnificent view they had from their position. It was even more stunning in the morning light.

“I just felt a connection with this path and followed it.”

He put his arm around Jason’s shoulder and pointed down at the cave below them.

“But this isn’t even the best part.” Percy began to make his way down the dirt slope, careful not the fall and scrape himself on the rocks and roots. Jason followed right behind him. Percy turned around to help Jason down as he jumped off the rocks, grabbing his hand to steady him.

Percy looked down at Jason’s feet. He was wearing his sneakers. Percy looked back up with his eyebrows raised. Jason, noticing what he was looking at, crossed his arms.

“In my defense, you didn’t tell me where we were going.”

“Have fun with sand in your socks,” Percy joked.

Jason gave him a glare which only elicited a big laugh from Percy. The two of them walked over to the cave. Nothing had changed since yesterday, which Percy was glad for. The place seemed to have magical properties to it which wouldn’t surprise him, since it was a special place for mermaids.

The glimmering pool of water was still there. Jason stepped ahead, taking everything. He walked over to the water and knelt down, gently placing his hand in the water. He took it out and, shaking it dry, looked up at the oculus in the cave that let it the sunlight.

“Holy crap, this is amazing,” he breathed out in awe.

“It get’s better,” Percy insisted. Jason stood up and walked over to Percy, feeling the walls of the cave as he went.

“How? How could it get better?”

Percy just gestured for Jason to follow him. He walked past his friend and went towards the other pool of water where he met the mermaid yesterday. It looked the same, and Percy sat down by the edge of the pool. It was still murky, like regular pool water.

“Jason, take a few steps back,” he instructed.

He did so without question. Percy pointed towards the little pool of water.

“Does the water look crystal clear to you now?” he asked.

Jason nodded his head. He looked like he was in a daze.

“Like the water found in the Caribbean. It’s so pretty,” he muttered.

Percy gestured for Jason to come sit next to him. The boy did so and sat with his legs crossed, leaning back on the palms of his hands.

“Now what does the water look like?”

He looked down at the water, and confusion came across his face. His mouth dropped open in a little ‘o’ and stared at Percy. He blinked a few times, looking at the pool and back to him again.

“What? It looks like regular lake water now. How?” he questioned.

Percy just shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t know the answer to the question either. But he knew someone who would.

“I haven’t any idea. But I know someone who will.”

Jason cocked his head to the side like a confused puppy. With his glasses making his blue eyes even bigger, he really did look like one.

“Who?”

“You’ll see.”


 

The two of them had been sitting there all day, sweating from the heat and bored out of their minds.

Percy was sure that the mermaid he saw yesterday was going to keep her word and show up. But it had been hours since they arrived and nothing had happened.

Jason had fallen asleep an hour ago, leaving Percy to entertain himself for a while. The sun was still shining, but he had no way of telling what time it was. All he knew was that he was sweating, and there was a pool of water right there in front of him. So he took off his flip flops and threw his shirt on top of them. He walked over to the water and dipped his toe in to see how cold it was. It was surprisingly warm. He sat down on the edge of the pool and dropped in, submerging himself completely under water.

Out of curiosity he opened his eyes. The water was crystal clear, it wasn’t murky at all. The pool was much deeper than he thought, so he pushed down to explore more. He had a knack for holding his breath for long periods of time, his record was five minutes, so he wasn’t worried.

It was a stunning seascape; rocks were covered in algae and coral of all kinds of colors, colors he didn’t think existed outside of tropical climates. Fishes swam all around, completely unafraid of him. The bottom was covered in sand, with beautiful seashells buried in it. He ran his fingers through the sand, loving how it fell through his fingers.

When he felt his lungs start to protest from the lack of air, he made his way up to the surface then he shook his hair out with a big smile on his face. He felt better than he had in days. Jason was still sleeping, so he splashed some water onto him.

Immediately Jason jumped up, startled. He looked dazed and confused before finding Percy and glaring at him.

“Seriously dude?” he said in disbelief.

Percy just leaned his head back in the water, wetting his hair and ran his hands through it while treading the water.

“You were so asking for it. Come in, the water’s so refreshing,” he invited.

“Do not take another step forward,” a new voice demanded.

Percy and Jason whipped around to see a girl glaring at Jason. It was the same mermaid from yesterday. Percy’s face lit up, while Jason looked scared. Only her shoulders and head were above the water.

“You came!” Percy exclaimed.

She whipped her head around to face him and he saw her eyes were no longer gray, but took on a red iris, which Percy thought couldn’t be possible. She was glaring at him with a scowl on her face and swam over to him.

“Who is he? And why did you bring him here?” she growled.

Sensing her hostility he quickly jumped out of the pool to join Jason. She followed him to the edge and lifted herself up, showing off her scaly body. Jason’s jaw dropped and his eyes widened. He pointed at her, having lost his ability to speak.

“Is she, is she what I think she is?” he stuttered.

Percy just nodded his head at his friend who looked ready to pass out. The mermaid was still glaring at them, now with her teeth bared. She had pointed canines that looked like they belonged on a vampire, not a mermaid. Her tail splashed violently behind her, soaking the two boys.

“Answer me or die,” she demanded.

“This is my best friend, Jason. I wanted him to believe me that you were real,” Percy stumbled out in a state of fear and fluster.

“And he saw the path you took as well?” she asked, turning her attention to Jason. Her eyes were still red, and Percy noticed that her pupils and whites were starting to disappear under the red as well. Half her body was on the rocks now as she pushed her way towards them. Jason scrambled back and nodded his head.

“Yes! Yes, I saw the path we took,” he said.

Her eyes seemed to be turning back to normal now, fading back to the gray irises Percy knew. She still looked angry at them but she retreated back into the water. She looked back at the boys.

“Do not move from this spot,” she ordered.

With that she went underwater leaving them both startled and scared on the rocks. They looked at each other, not believing what just happened. Jason’s breathing was heavy and looked on the verge of crying. Percy assumed he looked the same way.

“That was a mermaid,” Jason said in awe. Percy just nodded, unable to speak.

“And she almost killed us,” Jason added on.

“Uh-huh.”

Suddenly the mermaid’s head emerged from the surface again. She looked a lot calmer than she had a moment ago, but still angry. A moment later, another girl came up next to her. She had dark tan skin with beautiful eyes that seemed to change color in the light, from blue to green to brown depending on the angle. Her brown hair was cut into bangs which swept to the side, the rest of her hair were done in strands of little braids which floated on the surface around her. She looked between the boys and then turned back to her friend.

“Do you think they’re the ones?”

Her voice was melodic and heavenly. She turned towards Jason who looked at her in awe. His eyes were wide and his face had turned red. The blonde mermaid seemed to think about it.

“They have to be. They found the path here didn’t they?”  

The brunette swam towards them and lifted herself out of the water to sit on the side. She flashed them both a blinding smile. Like the blonde, she had scales that went all the way up to her torso where human skin began. But her tail was light brown instead of green.

Percy had been fishing enough times with his father to know the different types of fins on fish. He saw that her primary dorsal fin was ombré. The root of the fin was the same color as her scales before fading out to soft yellow. It was also looked spiked, fanning out into many tendrils, her secondary and pelvic fins were the same.

After he observed the brunette, he saw that the blonde one had taken the same position but was on the rock in the middle of the pool of water instead. He saw that her fins were not spiked but flowed like pedals on a flower. They were also ombré fading from the dark green of her scales to a lighter green. On the rock he could see her caudal fin, which like her friend was fanned out into many tendrils.

“So what are your names?” the brunette asked.

Jason stuttered through his name before saying Percy’s as well. She just flashed a big smile towards Jason who seemed to blush even more. Percy would’ve laughed at his friend, had he not been feeling the same way.

“Your friend, promised me her name yesterday. We’ve been waiting here all day,” Percy said.

He looked towards the blonde girl who just rolled her eyes in annoyance at Percy. She was leaning against her elbow on the rock, her tail splashing in and out of the water idly. She ran a hand through her hair that had started to curl as it dried.

“How was I supposed to know you were waiting here all day? I can’t just magically sense when you come,” she snapped.

“You’re a mermaid right?” he wondered.

“Thank you for stating the obvious. Your point being, human?” she said with a bored tone.

“Don’t you have like magical ties to this place? Magic powers? I mean, you got on me for disturbing your nap here yesterday,” Percy responded in an equally annoyed tone.

“This is a sanctuary for us, and only special humans can enter without being magically destroyed. And yes we do have magic, but only limited. The only reason why I knew you were here was because I felt you swimming around in the water in here.”

“And then you almost killed us,” Jason pointed out.

She just glared at the boy, and scrunched her nose up like he had a pungent smell. The brunette mermaid sighed at her friend and rolled her eyes.

“Don’t mind her, she’s just a little snappy,” she apologized.

“Yeah, no kidding,” Percy muttered.

“You better watch it, human. Killing you isn’t out of question yet,” she spat.

He whipped around to face her.

“My name is Percy, and you owe me your name.”

She was picking at her nails like she was bored just talking to them. She raised her hand to the light as if to see them better.

“You didn’t make me swear on anything, so I really don’t owe you.”

Percy crossed his arms over his chest and let out a sigh. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the other mermaid had an amused smile on her face, while Jason was watching them bicker like a tennis match.

“You just love making things difficult don’t you?”

“Does it make you angry?” she rebutted.

“Yes.”

“Then it’s my favorite hobby,” she answered with a smirk.

“Okay, stop being annoying and just tell the boy your name,” the brunette said, finally intervening.

She let out a loud sigh and dramatically rolled her eyes before looking over at him. She leaned closer.

“My name is Annabeth and that is Piper. We’re your resident mermaids of Mohegan Lake,” she introduced.        

Chapter Text

Percy had learned a lot about mermaids in the past few years. Some things were similar to the folklore he’d looked up, but others were drastically different. Every time he would sprout something about mermaids he’d read or heard, Annabeth would give an incredulous look towards him. She would then go on to proudly prove him wrong.

They were both now fifteen years old, it had been three years since that fateful encounter. And during those years, Percy’s crush for his friend had only increased. He wasn’t sure if the fact that she was a mermaid had anything to do with it or not.

The two of them had been meeting up every weekend in the mystical cave, and occasionally Percy would try to come during the school week, if homework and whatnot didn’t get in his way.

It was autumn, and the tourist season had gone into off-season. It was early October, still not cold but not the hot temperatures that summer always brought. Percy noticed that Jason and Piper had gotten just as close as him and Annabeth.

Jason and Piper had their own rendezvous point, usually in some other place in the cave. Percy didn’t realize how vast it was until Annabeth had shown him one day. There were many more pathways, always shifting depending on who enters.

He had entered their little meeting place, and waited patiently for Annabeth to show up. She was usually more or less on time to their gatherings. But to just make sure, he would always place his hand in the water for a few moments. He would wiggle his fingers and make tiny splashes. After he would retract his hand before drying it on his pants or whatever was convenient for him. Today was no different.

After a few moments, a familiar head of blonde hair emerged from the water. Her hair was slicked back on her head from the water, and she gave him a smirk before shaking out her mane of blonde. Specks of water doused him, which Percy gave a weak protest to while trying to hide his laughter.

When Annabeth was done she swam over to the edge and hopped over to sit down next to him. She flashed a bright smile showing off all her teeth. It still unnerved Percy that she had two fangs where her canines were.

“Hey Percy,” she greeted.

He immediately picked up that she seemed to be more cheerful than usual. Not that he hadn’t seen her happy before, but there was some kind of glow around her that was different than before. He could see the pride in her smile and the way her gray eyes shined brightly.

Not wanting to offend her, he tried to figure out what was different about her without making it obvious that he didn’t know. He gave a smile back at her, still carefully looking.

“Hey Annabeth,” he responded.

A moment later he saw what was different, and his eyes widened exponentially. Up and down her arms were tattoos. They swirled around like waves interlocking with each other in beautifully and intricate designs. The black ink covered her entire hand and went up to her shoulders. He was shocked to say the least.

Then he looked up at her. She still had a smug smile on her face, and her gray eyes were bright. He noticed that along the sides of her nose and going up with the lines of her eyebrows was colored black too. She had tattoos there as well.

“Like what you see?” she asked with pride.

Percy gulped, not knowing how to respond. He gave a glance over them again before finally figuring out how to use his mouth again.

“Tattoos?” he stuttered out.

She started to plait her blonde hair, showing off her toned arms and fresh ink. She just hmmed in response. Percy rolled his eyes, she was always such a show off.

“Are you going to ask anything else about them, Seaweed Brain?” she coaxed.

He just gave a glare to his friend. She knew he hated when he got called the nickname, but it gave her immense joy out of it for some reason. Seeing his face, she let out a laugh that made her tilt her head and body back.

“You are so easy to get riled up,” she finally said after calming her laughter down.

“I still don’t know why I’m friends with you sometimes,” he muttered under his breath.

Annabeth turned to him with an eyebrow quirked up. She was still plaiting her long hair.

“What was that?” she questioned.

“Nothing,” he replied quickly.

After a few moments, the questions that were itching inside his head finally let themselves out.

“I didn’t know mermaids had tattoos.”

She rolled her gray eyes at him with her lips pursed in annoyance.

“There’s a lot of things you didn’t know about us. And many things you still have to learn,” she responded cryptically.

“Disney lied to me,” he said trying to crack a joke.

The attempt was futile though, because the reference to the classic, The Little Mermaid went straight over her head. Annabeth might know his language, and some things about the human world, but many things still were unknown to her. (Thankfully she wasn’t nearly as naive as Ariel had been to the human world. Percy likes to thank himself for being her guide rather than a seagull).

“Okay, why do you suddenly have tattoos covering your arms and face?”

Annabeth finished her braid and wrapped it with a piece of string she had and turned her full attention to him. He could see that was the question she’d been waiting for. And he knew that he was going to be lectured to. But when it came to Annabeth, he didn’t care.

“Well, by our tradition that has been passed down by my ancestors, when a mermaid lives for fifteen cycles,” she paused for a moment, “years you humans call it, it means that we are transforming from being a girl to a woman.”

“At fifteen?” Percy wondered in shock. That seemed pretty young to him.

“Yes. Mermaids mature much quicker than humans do. Actually, from what I know, I think human girls start their transformation around the same time too,” she said looking down with a curious face on.

She then shrugged her shoulders. “Anyway, it means we start developing and the great spirits deem us worthy. They come down and they bless us with tattoos. Each one is unique to the mermaid and their personality. Each one has a different meaning, and as we grow they shift and add.”

Percy often forgot that Annabeth lived a spiritualistic life. She had told him a brief history about the lake and the residences. Apparently when the European mermaid had joined the fray, she had taken on the beliefs of the Native American ones that dwelled there first.

Which Percy often found ironic, considering.

“So, those aren’t the only tattoos you’re going to have?” he hesitantly added.

“You’ve never seen a grown mermaid right?” she rebutted.

He narrowed his eyes at her. Percy put his hands out on either side of his body.

“Does it look like I have?” he sarcastically asked.

“No need for that sarcasm Percy.”

“It was a stupid question, I couldn’t hold myself back,” he said shrugging his shoulders. He even added a cheeky smile for good measure.

Annabeth rolled her eyes in exasperation but she had a small smile on her face. Percy could always count on making her smile, even if was through annoying her.

“As I was saying, our entire bodies won’t be covered in tattoos. But we usually get arms and hands, little face ones, or neck. Sometimes even our tails can get them too.”

“What does yours mean?”

She shrugged her shoulders. She turned her head away from Percy and looked down at the little pool of water her tail was still in.

“I don’t know yet. When the spirits want me to know, they will reveal.”

There was something in her tone of voice that made him suspicious. He had a gut feeling that she knew exactly what they meant, but wouldn’t tell him. He just sat next to her and stared at her for a few moments. He took in every little detail about her that he hadn’t noticed before.

There were freckles going across the bridge of her nose and scattering across her cheeks. Her blonde hair, which now became curly from drying had light green tints in it from the water. With her back to him, he could see that scales that once covered them had fallen off revealing more tan skin. Occasionally she would shift so that her dorsal fin wouldn’t be fully under her weight.

He also realized she was right. Even though it had been at least two weeks since he’d seen her last, she had changed. It was subtle, because he wouldn’t have seen it without her pointing it out to him. But she had more curves, that he’d only seen in older girls and women. Where her tail and what would be her human torso met widened at her hips. Quickly he dropped his gaze to her breasts that had already started to develop as well. Embarrassed at such a thought, he looked back up and expelled it away.

“Did it hurt when you got them?” he asked hoping it would break the tension that had suddenly come.

For a moment Percy thought that Annabeth was just going to jump back into the water and leave him. She slowly turned back around to face him.

“It was really just like a flash of hot, and then suddenly they were there on me. It wasn’t painful because it was quick.”  

“At least your tattoos are magical. If I want one, it’s a painful process,” he quipped with a small smile.

Annabeth tilted her head, a curious look coming across her face. She was always looking for new information to learn about humans.

“How so?”

“Well, you get to pick a design. And then the tattoo artist then sticks a needle into your second layer of skin, with whatever pigments you need or want for the drawing. It takes a while depending on how big it. And the less muscle and fat on the area you get it on, the more painful it is.”

Her nose scrunched up in distaste at the description. She had a kind of horrified look on her face as well. Her eyebrows were raised and her eyes were widened just a fraction.

“Why would any human want to put themselves through that pain? It sounds horrible.”

“I have no idea, but it’s just a thing humans do. I guess we like pain and suffering.”

That got a laugh out of her. After that, the rest of the day seemed to go by smoothly.   

Chapter Text

His feelings for Annabeth hit him like a truck out of the blue one day. Percy hadn’t realize how much he had fallen for the mermaid. The two of them had grown close, both physically and spiritually. Every time he saw her, Annabeth seemed to become more stunning and beautiful.

But it was getting harder to spend time with her, between him doing three seasons of sports during the school year, being scouted for swimming and lacrosse by colleges, and his summer job as a lifeguard at the Mohegan Lake Beach, free time was hard to come by.

Today, however, was one of those rare days off, so Percy made his way to the secret hideout. Walking the path had become muscle memory at this point, the trail which had looked so mysterious all those years ago had become a constant familiarity in his life.

When he entered the little spot, he saw Annabeth was already there, basking on the rock. The sunlight reflected off her green scales and blonde hair, making it glitter, blindingly. Percy stood in the entrance, not wanting to disturb the beautiful sight in front of him. He took out his phone and snatched a photo, just for himself, and smiled.

The sound of the phone alerted Annabeth to his presence. She peeked open a gray eye and arched a brow before closing it again, going back to dozing, however, Percy could see that Annabeth had a small smile on her face.

“For once, I was here before you were,” she stated lazily.

Percy let out a laugh, taking off his sneakers and socks. He took off his shirt and piled it on the side with his phone. He walked over and dove into the little pool of water. He was welcomed with a beautifully clear seascape and the cooling sensation of the water. After a moment he pushed up back to the surface inhaling a deep breath. Percy wiped his hair back from his face, treading water.

He could see part of Annabeth’s tail idly swishing under the water right next to his foot. It still amazed him how much she had grown over the years. Her tail was at least six feet long, which was basically Percy’s full height.

Annabeth was still on the rock, her golden curls hanging loosely around her shoulders. She sat up and looked on in amusement. Percy just gave her a grin.

“It was like you knew that it was my day off, and were just waiting for me to show up,” he teased. “Do you do this every day?”.

She scoffed and flicked her tail, splashing him with a nice wave of water. Percy spluttered, surprised from the attack, and wiped the water from his eyes. Then he saw she had a smug smirk on her face.

“Not on your life Seaweed Brain. I was just here basking in some sunlight, and you just so happened to show up.”

“Seaweed Brain isn’t a fitting nickname, coming from someone who actually lives with the seaweed,” he grumbled.

He hated that nickname, and it was all because of that one time he came up from the water with the stuff covering his head. Annabeth thought it was the funniest thing on the planet, and still brought it up to this day, much to Percy’s dismay. “And splashing me wasn’t very nice,” he pointed out.

Percy then proceeded to make a wave with his arm, sending water flying into Annabeth and her rock, soaking her quite effectively. She sent him a deadly glare before moving quickly from her spot and tackling him under the water.

The impact sent him under, without any air in his lungs. He kicked up to the surface and took a breath before diving back under to join Annabeth. Seeing her underwater, in her element, was a sight. The gills that usually disappear when she’s on land were working properly, sorting oxygen from the water. Her hair flowed around her like a golden halo, and her fins drifted with the small currents of the water. She gave Percy a radiant smile, showing off all her teeth, before swimming away from him. Percy, realizing she was playing some kind of game, swam after her.

Even if Percy was the best swimmer in the state, he had nothing on the mermaid. The strong muscles of Annabeth’s tail allowed her to push herself around in the water with ease. But she seemed to be going easy on him today.

When he finally caught up with her, she had a cocky smirk on her face. Percy felt his time underwater was slowly coming to an end, but still had over a minute left in him.

Percy put his hands on his hips in mock disappointment that she made him swim all that way for a silly game of tag. She let out a muffled laugh, the bubbles of air she created covered her face for a moment. Percy pushed himself back up, the air, when he broke the surface, cool on his face. A moment later Annabeth emerged next to him, with a smile on her face. They looked at each other for a moment, before bursting into hysterical laughter.

After they calmed down, he noticed Annabeth was staring at him. She still had mirth in her eyes which seemed to be a lighter gray than usual. Percy had never seen her like that before and he found himself swimming toward her. The tattoos that went up the sides of her nose and under her eyebrows stood out against her sun kissed skin.

“You know, it’s such a nice day, we really should leave the cave,” he suggested, suddenly.

The spell between them broke, her eyes cleared and she looked back down at the water they were floating in. For a moment she didn’t say anything, and Percy cursed himself for being so stupid.

Then she turned to him with a smile. “Hope you can hold your breath!”

But Percy had other ideas, “I have a boat right by the cave, how about I get that and I can meet you out in the middle of the lake.”

Annabeth’s eyes shifted to a darker gray, no longer the color of light clouds, but she nodded anyway before diving under.

Percy lifted himself out of the water, shaking his head to dry his hair a little before putting on his sneakers. He regretted not bringing a towel, so to avoid the disgustingness of putting on socks with wet feet, he used his shirt to dry them instead.

He quickly gathered his stuff then checked his phone and saw he had four texts from the Baller Squad , which he cringed at every time he saw. Just because he plays sports which involve balls, does not mean he needs to see that horrendous name everywhere he went. So, for the millionth time he cursed Leo for coming up with it.

After he got his stuff together, Percy ran out of the cave to the little area where he stored his rowboat. He didn’t use it often, but he always kept it there just in case. Percy pushed the boat into the water and jumped in after it.

As quickly as he could, he rowed out to the middle of the lake. In the distance he could see the beach and all the tourists lounging on the sand, and the people playing in the roped off area designated for swimming. There all looked like little specs out there, so he knew it would be safe for Annabeth.

When he found a spot he liked, he put his hand in the water and splashed around. That was their signal to show where Percy was. This part of the lake was too deep for him to see down clearly, but a moment later he saw a flash of blonde just below the surface and Annabeth’s head emerge from the water.

“You do know it’s risky being out here for me, right?” she questioned.

Percy waved off her worry and smiled down at her. She swam up and rested her arms on the edge of the boat, then her chin on her arms. Her hair was dripping onto the boat, not that Percy minded.

“We’re out in the middle of the lake, no one ever comes out this far. We’ll be okay,” he assured her.

“Any particular reason you wanted to come out here instead of staying in the cave?”

Now that Percy thought about it, he didn’t really have a good reason. It was just that, in the cave it always seemed like something was about to happen between them. And he was scared of what that thing was. He hoped she shared these feelings, and he wanted to tell her, but he was afraid she’d just laugh in his face.

Percy sheepishly shrugged his shoulders, and he could feel a blush forming on his cheeks which he would blame on the sun, even though sunburn wasn’t that noticeable on him. He leaned back against the boat, making sure he wouldn’t tip it over, and put his arms behind his head.

For a moment, he saw Annabeth’s eyes glance over his arms before going back to his face, a pink tint formed on her cheeks. At least he wasn’t the only one making this awkward.

Although, it was quiet out in the middle of the lake Percy could hear the faint echoes of joy coming from the beach in the distance. But, here, between the two of them was a thick silence, broken only by the drips of water hitting the wood from Annabeth’s hair and face. The water droplets on her face glistened in the sun making her look heavenly and Percy understood fully, for the first time, why mermaids were always depicted as the most beautiful creatures on Earth.

Her eyes were back to their light gray, but he’d never seen the look that was in them before. He sat up on the boat and leaned towards her. She was still resting her arms on the edge but had brought her head further up.

He felt a heat go through his body, like an electric current. Then goosebumps erupted on his skin and he got the chills, even though it was scorching hot outside. He looked down at Annabeth’s lips, at how beautiful and full and pink they were. He did really want to know what they would taste like on his own.

As his courage built up, he slowly started towards Annabeth’s face. She didn’t seem to resist, instead she pushed her body up, closer to his. A moment later, their lips met and Percy felt a shock wave of euphoria erupt inside of him.

The kiss seemed to last forever, but really it was only a few seconds. They pulled back at the same time catching their breath. Annabeth’s face was pink, and Percy had no doubt his was the same.

They just looked at each other for a moment, not saying anything. Then Annabeth’s face broke out into a grin, and relief flooded Percy. He wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

“That was amazing,” Percy breathed out.

Annabeth just nodded. She ran a hand through her blonde hair, messing it up but lifting it a little. Percy leaned back in the boat, feeling lighter than air. He closed his eyes, relishing in the beautiful moment he had just been a part of. Suddenly, he felt the balance shift in the boat, causing him to catch himself from falling out. Then, he realized the cause of it; Annabeth was sitting on the other end, with her long tail hanging over the edge.

Her scales glittered iridescently from dark greens to hints of blue when they caught the sun perfectly. Her head was leaning over the other side so her hair flowed down behind her, just touching the water, like a golden waterfall. Her eyes were closed, once more taking in the sunlight.

In a stupid way, it reminded Percy of a cat sitting in the sun on a windowsill. Not that he would ever tell her that, unless he wanted to risk another death glare.

“You could’ve warned me you were jumping in,” he grumbled.

The smile she gave him almost made Percy forget why he was a little angry at her. Almost.

“The look on your face was definitely worth it though,” she said, sitting up and looking at him, her eyes sparkling.

When he didn’t stop glaring at her she tilted her head and with a swift flick of her tail, a wave of water came down on him.

“C’mon it wasn’t even that bad,” she said in a teasing voice.

When he’d cleared the water from his eyes, he just glared at her more intensely.

“You’re lucky I have a waterproof case on my phone, or else I would’ve been really mad at you.”

She just waved her hand and scoffed, a smirk on her face, ending the conversation. Percy sat back with his arms crossed over his chest, making a point not to look at the hot mermaid sitting across from him. He was angry at her and she would not have the upper hand on him.

“So now that we’ve kissed, what does that make us?” she asked after a good minute of silence.

The question took Percy off guard. He dropped his angry facade and looked over again. She had her arms crossed over her chest as well, and an eyebrow quirked up in question. Like she expected him to answer the question. That was way too much pressure for him to decide and he was pretty sure this was supposed to be a mutual decision. Percy just shrugged his shoulders.

“I mean, I guess that means we’re dating now?” he said, hesitantly.

“Dating,” Annabeth said like she was testing out the word.

She nodded her head and looked Percy in the eyes with a smile.

“Dating.” She repeated, with more confidence.

Percy nodded, feeling the happiest he’d ever felt in his whole life. He moved in closer to Annabeth, with more confidence than before, and they locked lips once again. Their first official kiss as a couple.

When they broke apart again, Annabeth took Percy’s hand in hers and placed something in it. Her eyes were sparkling and nodded for him to open his palm and see what was inside.

His eyes widened at what he saw. It was a single scale that glittered just like the ones on Annabeth. He looked up at her in shock which only made her laugh.

“Is this, is this...?” he stuttered out, his brain seeming to malfunction.

“Don’t get your tongue so tied, Seaweed Brain. Yes. It’s one of my scales.”

He scrunched his face up, imagining how painful that probably was, and why the hell did she take one of her scales off and give it to me?

She must’ve been able to tell by his expression what he was thinking and rolled her eyes in faux annoyance at him.

“It didn’t hurt kelp head. But this is a gift of trust from me to you. Percy, we may be dating now,” she said, giddily, before getting herself back on track. “But you were my best friend first. And this scale, you can wear it however you like. But do not lose it because this scale, when you crush it, will dissolve and grant you any wish you desire.”

Percy’s eyebrows shot up beneath his hairline. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. A magical mermaid scale? Seriously?

“Are you kidding?” he asked, unsure whether she was or not. But her face was completely serious. This was obviously very important.

“Yes. Use it wisely. For you only get one chance. If you trust in the spirits, they will let you know when it is the right time to use your wish.”

He looked down at the beautiful scale in his palm. Percy was at a loss of words. Slowly, he closed his hand around the scale and put it in his pocket for safekeeping.

“Thank you, but now I feel like shit for not getting you anything,” he said with a soft laugh.

Annabeth didn’t laugh back, but a small smile appeared on her face. She ran a hand through his hair, which Percy had to resist the urge to lean into and sigh.

“You’re the only gift I need.”

Chapter Text

Percy was standing at his locker when Jason came up to him, the Cheshire cat grin on his face let Percy know he was somehow in trouble.

The blonde leaned casually up against the lockers and crossed his arms over his bare chest. His white lifeguard tank was thrown lazily over his shoulder and his aviator sunglasses were pushed up against his blonde hair.

“You better wipe that shit eating grin off your face, Grace,” Percy warned, then grabbed his sunscreen from inside his locker and started to spray it all over his body. Just because he wasn’t white like Jason didn’t mean he didn’t get sunburnt. Because he did . And he’d learnt that the hard way during his first summer as a lifeguard.

“I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, Jackson,” Jason rebutted with a light tone.

Percy practically threw the sunscreen bottle back into his locker before throwing a look over at his best friend. Then he turned back to his locker and dug around for his own tank top which he pulled on over his head.

“That’s the grin you wear when you get laid. And I don’t think you’ve ever been laid. Unless you made it work with Piper,” he said suggestively. He looked back at Jason, who was blushing hard now, and gave him a wink and smirked. “Though, not sure how that would work, you know, what with the different anatomy and all.”

“I literally hate you so much,” Jason growled.

Seeing his friend in such an uncomfortable position made Percy bark out a laugh. A hunched over, hands on his knees to keep his balance, kind of laugh. He felt a punch hit him in the back which Percy groan slightly then double over and laugh even harder than before.

“Like you’re any better with Annabeth. Trust me I know you two have been making out every time you don’t have a shift. Piper tells all,” he said with a triumphant smirk back on his face.

Percy stood up and caught his breath and pointed a finger at Jason, about to protest. “Hey, it’s only been, like, a month since we got together.”

A loud clap came from behind the both of them. They whipped around to see who had been eavesdropping on their conversation. Travis Stoll emerged with his arms wide and a big grin across his face. Percy and Jason glanced at each other in panic, both hoping he hadn’t heard the entire thing.

“Well, well, well, who knew Jackson and Grace were getting it on with their lady friends,” he remarked with joy.

“Travis, perfect timing as usual,” Percy quipped with a deadly glare.

The curly haired prankster didn’t seem at all offended by Percy’s sarcasm, instead he let out a loud laugh and wrapped his arm around Percy’s shoulders and clapped him on the chest.

“So, what’s their names? Do they go to our school?” he questioned.

When they didn’t answer fast enough, his blue eyes lit up like he just saw the biggest wad of cash in the world. “Oh man, they’re foreign aren’t they? Oh my god, you guys can get it and yet I can’t even get laid by Katie.”

“Maybe if you stopped pranking her all the time, she’d actually want to,”

Jason said.

Travis just raised his eyebrows like that was the most ridiculous suggestion he had ever heard. Percy got out of his grip and went back to his locker to search for his sunglasses.

“That’s literally no fun though. And we all know deep down she likes it.

I mean, why else does she put up with it?”

“She doesn’t. You’re just persistent,” Percy pointed out.

Travis just rolled his eyes and sat down on the bench in the middle of the hallway and leaned back against his hands, smirking at the two of them again.

“So, what are your lady friends’ names? Have we met before?”

“No, and you probably never will,” Percy said shoving his sunglasses on his head and slamming his locker shut.

“That’s what guys say when they don’t have actual girlfriends,” he challenged.

“Bring them to the party this weekend!” he suggested with enthusiasm.

Percy and Jason shared a skeptical look. Percy wasn’t sure if mermaids could actually transform into humans.

“Maybe,” Percy said, before leaving the locker room and heading out to the beach for his shift.


 

Percy’s conversation with Travis haunted him for the next few days. He really wanted to show Annabeth off to all his friends and family, because that’s what normal couples do. But since she was, you know, a mermaid , bringing her along to social functions would be a lot harder than usual. It wasn’t like he could just show up with Annabeth in a huge tub of water with her green tail hanging over the side. People would look at them like they were crazy.

But the question of whether or not she could appear fully human somehow was burning on his mind. He had to find out. So after his shift he took out his rowboat its hiding spot and rowed out to the middle of the lake.

It was still early afternoon, and the sun wouldn’t set for a while so he had some time before he had to go back home for dinner. Like usual, he gave the signal to Annabeth and a minute later she was appeared right in front of him, a grin spread across her face.

She lifted herself up and gave him a peck on the lips before settling back to her position the edge of the boat. “What brings you here today? No work?”

He gave her a smile and shook his head. “No, I just got off my shift. And I have a question.”

That seemed to peak her interest. She lifted her head off her arms and looked at him intently, waiting.

“Can mermaids shift to human form easily?”

Her eyebrows scrunched together in confusion and she did that cute thing where her nose scrunched up too, wrinkling all her freckles there. She shrugged her shoulders. “I mean we can, but, it takes a lot of effort. Why are you asking?”

Percy reached behind him and started scratching the back of his neck. It was stupid tick he had when he got nervous. “Well, I was wondering if it was easy, because if it was... I wanted you to come meet my friends at a party this weekend.”

She tilted her head to the side, which reminded Percy of a confused puppy. The thought made him smile for a moment.

“A party?” She asked, “like the one Piper was talking about?”

“Yeah! That’s the one. What did Piper say about it?” Percy questioned, curiously.

Annabeth looked unsure, she was avoiding looking him in the eye and her face was still scrunched up.

“She was leaning towards going with Jason. But, like I said, it takes a lot of willpower to transform, and then to stay human too. Unless a mermaid intends to stay that way forever. I don’t think I’m ready for that at all.”

Percy leaned forwards towards Annabeth, turning on his begging eyes. He wanted to show her off so badly. To prove to Travis that he wasn’t making her up. That she was real, and she was the most beautiful girl on the planet.

“C’mon, it will only be one night. And it’ll be fun, I swear.”

“But I won’t have any clothes to wear, and I won’t be able to touch any water. I don’t think I want to make the transformation. I heard it’s like walking on glass,” she said wincing at the thought.

“Walking on glass?”

With a pained and nervous expression she slowly nodded her head. Percy didn’t want her to suffer just for a night out, but he would still try.

“Well, how about we see how you feel in two days?”

She pursed her lips together like she was thinking about the answer. Then she shook her head.

“I’m sorry Percy, but I can’t go to your world. I’m just not ready.”

Before he could even protest she ducked underwater, leaving him alone.


 

Percy walked into his house feeling dejected. Of course, he understood where she was coming from. Change was scary, and she just wasn’t ready. That didn’t mean he couldn’t act disappointed anyway.

He took off his shoes at the front door and slammed it a little too harshly. He could hear his mother in the kitchen, and smell her delicious cooking. The light was on, and it was about a thousand times hotter than it should be in there, but he didn’t care. He walked up to his mother, and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

She turned around, startled by his sudden appearance. Her blue eyes widened for a moment before him a smile and a kiss on he cheek in return.

“Just in time for dinner, Perce,” his mother said. “Help set up the plates will you. I’ll get Moira to join you.”

He gave her a smile and nodded, then walked away and opened up a cabinet filled with all types of plates. He grabbed four plastic blue ones and went into the dining room.

He heard his mother call for Moira as he set all the plates down on the table. A minute later, a bundle of brown hair skipped into the dining room with the forks and knives. His little sister beamed at him while setting everything.

“Paul! It’s dinner time!” She called.

Percy sat down at his usual spot, with Moira sat right next to him. Her light brown eyes looked happy and cheerful, as they normally did. She was the happiest child Percy knew. And he loved her to death.

Soon both parents came out with plates of hot food which they set in the middle of the table before sitting down as well. Paul, Percy’s stepfather, was a former english teacher and had been married to Percy’s mother, Sally, since he was eight. After a messy breakup with Percy’s biological father, he was glad she had found someone who loved her every day and would never leave her. She deserved that much.

Everyone started helping themselves to the food, a comfortable silence between them.

Eventually, his mother asked, “what’s got you so sad today, Percy?” Curiosity in her eyes.

He internally cursed her for knowing him so well, and being so honed in on his emotions. Then again, he wore them on his sleeve most of the time, so it was probably obvious something was bothering him. Even a blind person could see it.

Percy shrugged. He didn’t want to bring up Annabeth, especially since he’d been keeping their relationship a secret for the past month and a half. He didn’t want to deal with whatever that would bring. But it was hard to lie to his mother straight to her face, and it would have to happen eventually. So he decided to rip the bandaid off.

“I invited my girlfriend to a party this weekend, but she rejected my offer. And I mean, it doesn’t bother me a lot, but it does at the same time,” he said trying to pass it off as nonchalant.

That plan didn’t go very well. His mother nearly choked on her food and took a quick sip of water before dropping her jaw in shock.

“You have a girlfriend, Percy? Since when?” She exclaimed.

Percy tried not to wince at the accusing tone. Hiding anything from his mother, especially something as big as this, was bound to have repercussions. Thankfully, she was a saint and would never yell at him, unless he really deserved it. Which rarely happened.

“Uh, since last month?” He said after a moment of hesitation.

She didn’t say anything for a moment, just raised her eyebrows in surprise. She put her knife and fork down on her plate before crossing her fingers and leaning forward.

“So. What’s her name? What is she like?”

Feeling pressured by the questions, Percy took a sip of water. He looked over at Paul, hoping to be saved, but he only had a smile on his face. Percy subtly shook his head which got a laugh out of his stepfather.

“Her name’s Annabeth, and she’s really smart and pretty. She has a sharp and silver tongue. She can almost match her sarcasm with mine,” he said as a joke.

His mother let out a laugh and prompted him to continue on. Percy felt a little bit more at ease.

“She’s very prideful about herself and her abilities, too. Sometimes it gets annoying, but mostly it’s endearing.”

“Does she go to your school?” Paul asked.

Fuck, he thought to himself. He hadn’t even think of a lie to tell them. Hopefully his improv skills were up to par today.

“No, she goes to Mahopac.”

“Hmm, where did you meet her?” His mother asked.

“At a party around a year back. It was out of town, after a lacrosse game. Travis had some mutual friends on the opposite team and they invited us over.”

Percy mentally clapped himself on the back for that recovery. He felt a tapping on his arm, and he looked down to Moira. Her brown eyes were wide and a big grin was on her face.

“Can we meet her?”

He looked up at his parents. They both seemed to have the same question. But he couldn’t get Annabeth to shift, and he wasn’t about to make her do anything she didn’t want to do. Even if it  meant disappointing his parents. “I don’t think so. Not right now. She’s very shy,” he explained.

His mother shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal at all. He was so thankful she wasn’t a helicopter mom, or a pushy one, and she went back to eating her dinner. “That’s too bad. Do you at least have a picture of her?”

He knew he had that picture he secretly took of her weeks ago, but that was in her full mermaid glory. He took out his phone to search through his pictures to see if he had any that wouldn’t give her away. He found one. She was in the water, and he was in his little wooden rowboat. She was smiling up at the camera while Percy gave her a kiss on the cheek. The sun glinted off her hair and face making her more beautiful. He enlarged the picture and showed it to his mom and then to Paul.

“Wow she’s stunning,” his mother cooed.

“Interesting face makeup she has on too. And are those tattoos that I see?” Paul said squinting.

Percy whipped the phone around to look at the photo. Her shoulders were just out of the water, and oh, he could see the tops of her arm tattoos. A lot of teenagers have tattoos right? He sure hoped so. “Yeah, she’s a little on the rebellious side. But she really is the best,” he assured.

“I don’t judge. Whatever floats your boat,” Paul dismissed with a smile.

“Let me see! Let me see the pretty girl!” Moira exclaimed, grabbing at the phone. When she saw Annabeth, her eyes widened in awe. Like she was looking at an actual princess. Her eyes were glued to the phone for a good forty-five seconds before she turned her attention to Percy.

“She’s so pretty! She could be a mermaid!”

That decree stopped Percy in his tracks. There was no way in hell his little sister could possibly know that from the picture. He grabbed his phone back before she would actually go through his photos and see one of Annabeth in her full mermaid form. Moira looked ready to protest, but Percy cut her off.

“Now where did you get that idea from kiddo?” He put on a smile and ran his hand through his hair to hide the fact that he was internally freaking out.

His sister’s light brown eyes lit up in excitement which eased Percy’s anxiety for a moment.

“At camp we were talking about the Mermaids of Mohegan Lake! And we were describing how we thought they would look, and she looks just like she could be one! That’s how pretty she is.”

“I can assure you, she’s not a mermaid.”

“Maybe she is, and she’s hiding it from you. They can disguise themselves as human you know!”

“They can?” Percy asked with exaggerated enthusiasm.

She nodded her head, like it was a fact. At least he knows she’s going through a mermaid phase now. “Uh, huh.”

“Well I’ll keep an eye on her. Just in case she is, okay?”

“Okay.” She said with a firm nod of her head.

Chapter Text

As more time passed, it became harder for Percy and Annabeth to keep their relationship to themselves. All of Percy’s friends knew about Annabeth, because it’s hard not to talk about your girlfriend, but they had never actually met her in person.

Percy had tried many times to convince her to come to land, he bribed her with private makeout sessions, even his mom’s chocolate chip cookies which he knew she loved. But she was as stubborn as ever, always denying him. It would get him peeved, usually just for a few minutes, or hours depending on how he was feeling that day, and then he’d get over it and they would continue to do whatever they were doing.

But, if he was being completely honest with himself, he’d admit he felt envious; Piper seemed to be much more willing to seek out adventure. She wouldn’t shift often, but it was still more than Annabeth had ever done. Piper had met all of his friends, had gotten to know them, and it made Jason look like the most suave guy in their grade. The guys constantly ragged on Percy for never meeting his girlfriend.

At first he was able to easily deflect their attempts. They had just started their relationship, after all, and he didn’t want to drag Annabeth into the crazy world of high school human guys and scare her off. But when a year passed, now coming on two, and she still hadn’t met his parents, it was becoming significantly harder to make excuses.

And it put a lot of unnecessary pressure on Percy. He already had the stress of college to deal with and actually having to getting through his senior year of high school without severe senioritis. He also had to keep up all his sports because scouts were still trying to get him to sign onto their teams for the next fall semester. Add some sexual tension to the mix, and one could probably see why he was probably not in the best mood at the moment.

They were in their little secret cave together. Percy was lying on his back, to occupied with his own thoughts to hear what Annabeth was talking about. The cave ceiling looked a lot more interesting than whatever Annabeth had to say. It was like she was talking to him underwater. The only thing that brought him back to reality was the hard punch he received to the stomach.

He bolted upright like he’d been struck by lightning before promptly hunching over with his hands clamped to his stomach, groaning in pain.

“What was that for, Annabeth?” he grumbled, sending a withering glare towards her when he’d recovered from his pain, only to receive one back in return. Her gray eyes were dark like a thunderstorm now, and that’s when he knew a fight was about to start. Her face tattoos didn’t help him to not feel a little intimidated by her either.

“Obviously the cavern wall was much more interesting than what I had to say, right?” she said with a bite in her tone.

He rolled over onto his stomach, a groan escaping his mouth. Then buried his head in his arms hoping it would help him avoid this argument.

“You know I zone out sometimes, it’s not a big deal.”

“It wouldn’t be a big deal if you didn’t do it every time I spoke. What’s up with you lately?”

Percy lifted his head to look at his girlfriend. She was still in the water, arms on the ledge, her expression had softened a little but she still stared him down with a stoney glare.

“Honestly, there’s a lot that’s been bothering me,” he admitted, looking away from her.

“Enlighten me, then” she challenged.

Her eyes flashed with anger, but Percy wasn’t about to let her walk all over him. He sat up straight and looked her in the eyes, showing no fear.

“Fine, you want to know what’s bothering me? It’s you ,” he sneered.

She had the audacity to looked offended at the accusation. She leaned back from him, her face showing an angry confusion. But a moment later she bared her teeth and growled at him.

Me? Why am I the reason for your problems?”

“Because you’re making a relationship with you a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Honestly, if you weren’t so afraid of change it’d be a different situation but no, you want to stay a mermaid. Do you know how hard it is to constantly lie about you to my friends and family?”

Annabeth heaved herself up onto the stone and crawled her way over. He could see that her eyes were slowly starting to change from gray to red, meaning she was pissed at him. The only other time he’d seen that was that first day with Jason.

“Don’t you dare blame this on me. I don’t care how hard it is for you to lie. The choice not to change is my own, and I can’t believe you’re angry about that. You told me it wouldn’t matter to you when you asked me to start a relationship with you. Don’t you dare turn this on me and make me seem like I’m the bad guy. If you were in my position, and I was trying to make you turn into a mermaid, you’d have the same reaction as I do.”

Percy tugged on his hair and stood up. He started pacing around, rubbing his face, and trying to quell his anger just a little. But it seemed he couldn’t. This was months in the making and now it was blowing up in their faces.

“It’s just that I see Piper come up all the time with Jason, and I just wish I could have that with you,” he tried, weakly, as an explanation.

“Well you can’t. Magic has always been easier for Piper to master. For her, the transformation is easy. I know it won’t be easy for me, that if I ever do, it will only bring me pain. And I don’t want that.”

“How could you possibly know that?” he asked harshly, rolling his eyes.

“Because the spirits told me so! It’s literally inked onto my skin!” She yelled back.

Percy honestly didn’t know what had gotten over him. Normally, he wouldn’t dismiss such a thing, but he was beyond angry at this point. The repercussions didn’t mean anything to him at that moment.

“How can you prove that your so-called spirits said that? C’mon Annabeth, seriously?”

“Don’t you dare blaspheme against them!” she warned pointing a finger at him.

“Annabeth, it’s honestly ridiculous. The lake doesn’t have spirits in them. Even if it did, you can’t blame them for your own problems.”

He looked over at her and was surprised to see the anger was gone from her face. Her eyes had returned to their normal gray color, and he noticed they were misting over with unshed tears. She looked down at the ground.

Seeing her like that, made Percy snap out of his anger. The redness seemed to fade away, and regret filled his entire body. He couldn’t believe he had said all those things to her. He took a step towards her but she just jumped back into the water, away from him.

“Stay away from me, human ,” she hissed before diving underwater and leaving him alone.

She hadn’t called him that since their first official encounter. Annabeth had used that term like it was the worst insult she could think of. It had meant to offend him, but hadn’t back then. Hearing her use it now, it felt like a shot to the heart.

He got up and screamed in anger at his own stupidity. How could he have insulted her so blatantly like that and not expect something horrible to happen as a result? How had he let himself get so angry and worked up in the first place?

He was disgusted at himself. His mother would be horrified if she’d heard what he just said to his girlfriend… ex-girlfriend? Were they broken up now? He didn’t know, but there was definitely a fall out of some sort. Neither of them had actually broken it off. Maybe he could try and apologize tomorrow and their fight would just be bridge under water. But he had a feeling Annabeth wouldn’t be so eager to forgive him.

Chapter Text

It had been weeks since their argument. Percy wanted to apologize, but every time he went into the cave or rowed out in the boat, Annabeth would never come. Every time he tried, his hopes fell a little more.

Unfortunately, it had now gotten so cold the lake had frozen over, and would be staying that way until spring comes along in March. But, for now, Mohegan Lake will once again become a tourist spot. Except not for the wonderful beaches on the southside as during the cold months, the lake was wonderful for people to go ice skating on and start hockey games. The local recreation department holds it’s annual Hockey Tournament in December, where kids and adults of all ages form teams and play to win half the bucket of money. It’s held just in time for all the college kids to come home and relax during one of the town’s best traditions.

Percy wasn’t much of a hockey player though. His winter sport was swimming and only because it was counted as an indoor sport by the school. However, all his friends were big into hockey and every year they roped him into playing in the tournament.

This was the first year where they would be put in the young adult grouping, instead of their usual high school one. Even though they were still seniors, the high school group was more for the freshmen and sophomores. They were moving up a level, and all his friends were beyond excited.

The actual tournament wouldn’t start for another few weeks, not until everyone was sure the lake had frozen over completely and there was no chance of anyone falling through. And since it was intramural tournament, there wasn’t really any formal practices.

Percy was hanging out at Jason’s house. Piper had somehow managed to get out of the frozen lake, probably through one of her mystical tunnels, and was staying over with them. It was a lazy night, the three of them were just sitting on the couch in the living room under some blankets, watching TV and sipping hot cider and chocolate.

Piper and Jason were cute together. They seemed to fit perfectly like two halves of a whole. Piper’s long brown hair was in two french braids that fell down to her chest. Her tan skin glowed under the dim lighting and she had beautifully symmetrical diamond tattoos across her nose and cheeks, a warm yellow that went perfectly with her eyes. She didn’t have sleeve tattoos on her arms like Annabeth, instead she had an intricate weaving of lines and flowers that wrapped all around her neck. Percy also knew that in the summer her legs were striped like a zebra, matching her tail tattoos.

“Can you believe this semester is over already?” Jason said, enthusiastically. “Now we get two weeks off for Christmas and Hanukkah and then it’s our final semester of high school!”

Percy took a sip of his hot chocolate before putting it down on the coffee table in front of him. He shared the same enthusiasm as his friend because he was ready to leave this town and move on with his life, but the anxiety and antsyness were already consuming him. “Oh yeah, I’m just freaking out about which college to sign on to. I have like five hounding me for swimming and lacrosse, but it’s just way too much pressure. I loved all the campuses too, which doesn’t help at all.”

Jason shrugged his shoulders. The bastard was already committed to Cornell on a full academic scholarship. He hadn’t had anything to worry about anything since June.

“Okay Mr. Cornell, don’t give me that smug look.” Percy quipped with a fake glare.

Jason just threw his hands in the air in mock surrender, that smirk still plastered in his face. Piper gave a laugh and smacked her hand against Jason’s arm.

“You two are really ridiculous, you know that, right?”

“Yeah, well, that’s what happens when you’ve had nearly a decade of friendship with Percy Jackson. Things tend to get a little ridiculous.”

Piper just took her mug of tea off the table and took a sip, without replying. Jason looked at his girlfriend with that dopey look on his face and swooped in for a kiss, making Percy gag.

“Seriously? Gotta do that right in front of me? C’mon guys,” he complained, covering his eyes with his arm dramatically.

He peaked out and saw that the two of them had separated, both sporting guilty looks on their faces.

“Sorry. Have you talked to Annabeth yet?” Jason asked, curiously.

Percy leaned back on the couch and let out an exasperated groan. Annabeth was really the last person he wanted to talk about right now, but it didn’t look like he could avoid it anymore.

“No, she’s giving me the cold shoulder. I’ve tried to talk to her loads of times already and I got nothing.” He gave a heavy sigh. “I really fucked up.”

“Yeah, you probably won’t be hearing from her for a while. Whatever you said, really shook her up,” Piper said.

Percy sat up, a new wave of guilt washing over him. Piper was looking at him, sympathy and sadness in her eyes.

“Really?” he asked in defeat.

She just gave a single nod and looked down at the floor. Jason wrapped an arm around her and pulled her in tight. She gave a small grimace at the gesture.

“I’ve never seen her hold a grudge like this. I mean, I’m sure you know this, but she’s a very prideful person. She wouldn’t tell me what you said, but she got snappy with me when I asked, which she’s never done before. Then she gave me a dirty look and swam away. I haven’t seen her since.”

“Oh my god,” Percy groaned into his hands.

“What exactly did you say?” Jason asked, hesitantly.

They had backed him into a corner. He felt ashamed that he had indirectly blamed them for his own relationship problems. Now he had to explain it to them; hopefully he won’t get punched in the face by either of them.

Percy sighed, head still in his hands. “I was angry and jealous and said that she should be more like Piper, who isn’t afraid to change. I told her she was making our relationship a lot harder than it should be. I basically told her that her fate through her tattoos was bullshit, then she blew up at me and she swam away.”

Percy mustered up the courage to sneak a glance at them. Jason just looked shocked, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. Piper looked shocked too, and she had a glimmer of anger in her eyes.

“I understand why you think that way, but you don’t understand how scary the transformation to human form is,” Piper started, her voice slow and even. Percy was glad she wasn’t blowing up at him too. The last thing he wanted was to have two mermaids beyond angry with him. “It takes a lot of willpower and strength to go through it. Your body is basically being ripped in two and your biology is changing from the inside out. It’s painful and it’s terrifying. The first time I did it, I honestly thought I was going to die.”

“Really?”

Piper gave a curt nod and a small smile. She leaned forward and placed a hand on his thigh in comfort. “Yeah. And if there’s one thing to know about Annabeth, it’s that she’s terrified of change. She doesn’t want to put herself into a situation that she doesn’t have a hundred percent control of yet. When you transform, you’re at the mercy of the spirits and your own powers, going from a safe environment like the lake, to a brand new one, like land. It’s scary and unpredictable. Annabeth relies on knowledge, and planning. So, because she barely knows anything about your world besides the little tidbits you share, she feels like she’s going in blind.”

“I am such an idiot. How did I not think of it like that?” Percy groaned in despair, putting his head back in his hands. He felt a dip in the couch next to him and a reassuring arm being wrapped around his shoulders. Piper’s presence was always comforting to him; she just gave off that comforting vibe, one that Annabeth did not possess.

Annabeth would try and comfort, but she wasn’t very good at emotions and how to deal with them. Whenever they’d talk about deep and heavy stuff, it always became a little awkward. But it had never been that noticeable until they’d had that fight, and all the little things suddenly became big things.  

“It’s okay. I’ll try and talk some sense into her,” Piper consoled. Her tone turned light, “Every couple goes through fights, at least, that’s my understanding of it. Humans still kind of confuse me.”

Percy let out a single laugh, that made him feel a little better. But he still felt like shit mostly, though, and he was probably going to have to break into his mother’s CD collection and listen to every sad song she had about romance when he got home.

“It won’t be long until the lake and ponds in the cave freeze over for the winter as well, though, so I’ll try and get to her before then. No promises, though. She’ll come talk to you when she’s ready, and that might not be until the Spring.”

Percy looked up at Piper, confused. “Wait, the ponds freeze up during the winter, too? Then how have you been coming up during winter, and how was I able to see her?”

“We can melt it with our magic. We have little control over weather, but if we pray to the spirits of the lake enough, and they’re willing to help, they guide us through our spells. But the spirits seem to be angry at Annabeth for some reason, so I doubt she’ll be able to do it often now, if at all.”

“Why are they angry with her? She hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Piper just shrugged her shoulders.

“The spirits are those of our ancestors and of the lake itself. They are mystical, and all seeing. They can see things that we cannot yet. Sometimes they punish mermaids for their ancestors actions, and sometimes they know of the mermaid’s future and will punish them early. It’s a tricky business that we can’t understand until we become a spirit ourselves.”

“That seems kind of harsh doesn’t it?” Jason asked with a hint of distaste.

“Well, to you, yeah. But to us it’s really just a way of life. Our original intentions as mermaids are to lure men to their deaths, in case you forgot. It’s still coded into our, what is you call it, DNA?”

“Yeah,” Jason affirmed.

“Our DNA,” Piper continued, “and we’ve only just learned to subdue it as much as we can. But if something or someone ticks us the wrong way, we still have the ability to kill.”

Hearing that come out of Piper’s mouth gave Percy a sinking feeling. He remembered the first argument he’d had with Annabeth. It was when he was twelve, and she was giving him a hard time.

“You better watch it, human. Killing you isn’t out of question yet.” That memory ignited a fear he hadn’t felt around her in years.

“You don’t think that our fight… y’know, ignited that instinct in Annabeth do you?” he asked, his voice shaky.

“I don’t know. But you’re skating on thin ice with her at the moment. I think if I can convince her to talk it out with you, you’ll be okay. But if something else were to happen, I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried to kill you. Annabeth has never been good at handling emotions,” she warned.

Well, that’s reassuring, Percy thought bitterly to himself. Nothing like saying: Basically you pissed off your mermaid girlfriend, who might want to kill you now, literally! Sorry, sucks to be you. Good luck sorting that shit out!

Jason clapped his hands together, trying to break the tension that had formed in the room.

“Let’s talk about hockey practice. What should the team name be this year?”

Percy was relieved he was momentarily free from thinking about Annabeth, and joined in the conversation with his friends.

Chapter Text

Two weeks had passed since his conversation with Piper and Jason, and Piper had had no luck with getting Annabeth to talk with him. Now the lake had completely frozen over, which meant he wouldn’t be speaking to her directly for a long time. Their only form of communication would be by using Piper as a messenger.

It was the first game of the annual Recreational Mohegan Lake Hockey Tournament. Percy’s team, the ‘Sea Men’, were pumping themselves up for their first game. Travis and Jason, their two team leaders, were chanting some stupid thing about why Jesus can’t play hockey. Percy enjoyed their enthusiasm, but seriously? That chant?

The whole team was banging their hockey sticks on the floor simultaneously when Travis stood up on the bench, ice skates and all.

“Okay my fellow Sea Men! Let’s go get some and win this thing!” He yelled.

There were echoes of “hell yeah!” and “let’s kick these pussies in the ass!”. Percy wasn’t sure who was shouting the vulgar chants, but his money was on Connor. It made him flinch every time internally, knowing that if his mother ever heard him saying that stuff, she’d wash his mouth out with soap. But then again, their team name was ‘ Sea Men’ , which wasn't really any better.

Everyone put their helmets on and walked out of the makeshift locker room and onto the ice where the other team was already practicing. Leo threw their puck down onto the ice and slapshot it to Travis who in turn went straight for the goal. They practiced their passing and formations for a few minutes before the ref came skating out.

The makeshift pitch, which had been spray painted on the ice, was already fading from the ice scratches, but it would do. Percy’s team sent up Jason and Travis to do the coin toss with the other team's captains. Jason turned around and gave them a thumbs up, meaning they’d won the toss and were going on the offensive first.

They discussed who would be playing which position and who would be benching first. Leo threw his hands up in the air at hearing he was a benchwarmer first, but Percy knew the kid didn’t really care. Although Leo was definitely the smallest of all of them, he was a little inferno of energy and could pack a punch when he wanted to, which he usually didn't.

When everyone was set, and the whistle was blown. Percy was on the offensive as right wing. Even though there weren’t any boards to smack against at the sides, it would still get physical between the men.

It was a pretty even game between the two teams and by the mid second period, it was still zero all round.

Eventually, Percy made a breakthrough in the defense and was in prime position to pass to Travis and score. For a split second, he looked down at the ice, and in a clear moment he saw the familiar face and blonde hair of Annabeth.

It was like the ice had cleared from all the skate scratches, just so he could see her perfectly. Her eyebrows were scrunched together in a frown. She put her hand up to the surface of the ice and then made a punching gesture towards him. Cracks appeared on the ice right where Percy was standing, making him panic but before anyone else could see her, she swam away.

It was so fast, no one else could’ve seen it. But it was enough for Percy to lose his concentration on the puck. He felt a body slam into his, and he fell on his ass as the other team took possession of the puck and flew down the pitch in the opposite direction.

When Percy got over his initial shock, he saw there was, in fact, no cracks in the ice at all. He had imagined it. Which made him wonder if he imagined seeing Annabeth too. But she’d seemed so vividly real it couldn't possibly have been his imagination. Slowly he got up, just in time to see the other team score on Connor, getting the lead in the game. While the other team celebrated, Jason and Frank came skating over to him.

“Dude what the fuck happened? It’s like you saw a monster under the ice or something,” Frank asked, annoyed but clearly worried.

Percy just shook his head not wanting to talk about his hallucination. He started to skate back to his position.

“It was nothing. I thought I saw cracks in the ice, but it was just my imagination,” he hastily explained.

“Okay man, whatever you say. Why don’t you sit out for a while?” Frank suggested.

Percy gave no protest as he skated to the edge of the lake and where makeshift benches had been placed for players.

“Hey man, you wanna talk about it later?” Jason asked, following him.

“I’ll tell you later.”

“Was it about Annabeth?” he pushed.

“Focus on the game right now. I’ll tell you later,” he repeated before sitting down.

Jason gave him a worried look before nodding and heading back to the middle of the ice to join the other players.

He tried to focus on the rest of the game, but the image of Annabeth under the ice wouldn’t leave his mind. It just kept repeating over and over again like a video on loop. Why had she been there? It had been over a month since he’d last seen her, and now she just shows up out of the blue like this? And it clearly hadn’t been a friendly gesture either, she’d made a distinctly unfriendly punching motion towards him before swimming away.

When Jason scored the tying goal, Percy tried to get excited with the rest of the team. He even got up to clap his friend on the back. But his heart wasn’t in it, and it seemed his teammates could feel his lack of enthusiasm.

They ended up losing the game by a single goal, but the morale of the team wasn’t too dampered as they still had a chance of moving forward in the tournament. Once everyone was changed out, the captains gave their pep talks, followed by the chant they did at the beginning and end of every game then everyone began to disperse.

When the only people left in the room were Percy and Jason, Jason came and sat down next his friend, who was hunched over still thinking about what he saw. Jason scooched closer and tilted his head down toward Percy’s.

“So, what did you see that freaked you out so much today?” he started, getting straight to the point.

Percy let out a deep sigh and started massaging his temples, hoping it would sooth his oncoming headache.

“It was Annabeth.”

“So you did see her.”

“Yeah, but it wasn’t exactly a friendly greeting. It was so weird, the patch of ice where I saw her looked like it was just zambonied. It was crystal clear, and I could see her so vividly. She was frowning at me, her eyebrows were scrunched together like she was angry, then she raised her hand and made a punching movement toward the ice. When she did that, I thought I saw the ice crack under me and that’s when I freaked out and lost the puck.”

Jason was silent for a moment before letting out a whistle. Percy glared at him for the inappropriate timing.

“Well, fuck. What does that mean?”

“I don’t have a single clue. But I guess, it means she’s still mad at me.”

“You better be careful then,” a new voice cut in.

Piper walked into the room, and her face blank. She was wearing a white peacoat and black leggings with gray legwarmers under her brown boots. Her hair was braided again over her shoulder. She pushed her bangs out of her face before crossing her arms over her chest.

“Piper, do you have any idea what all that meant?” Percy asked, desperate for answers.

“It means she’s probably going to be coming for you.”

“But she’s afraid of coming on land. How will she get me?” Percy wondered with fear laced through his voice.

“That doesn’t mean she can’t get you from the lake. That’s her home turf remember. Now, unless you can really get through to her somehow she’s going to exact her revenge on you.”

Percy threw his hands up in a helpless gesture. He’s done a million things to try and reconcile his wrong doings with her, with no luck.

“Do you have any suggestions then?” he demanded in exasperation.

“Well” Piper paused, thinking. “She gave you something very personal to her right when you first started dating, didn’t she?”

Percy’s hand went straight to the necklace around his neck with the mermaid scale Annabeth had given him attached to it. He wore it 24/7. Knowing what kind of power it had, who it had come from, and the meaning behind it, it was too precious to risk losing it by taking it off. He nodded.

“Yeah, she gave me one of her scales. Said it would grant me a single wish.”

Piper nodded like she understood and walked towards him.

“Well, I think the best thing to do would be to give her something that means just as much to you. Maybe then she will forgive you. If you find something, I can hand it to her on your behalf. Perhaps that will fix this schism you’ve created.”

Something special. What did Percy have that was just as important to him? He racked his brain trying to think of something. Then it hit him. He had a single sand dollar from the shores of Hawai’i, where his biological father was from. It was the only thing he had that connected them together. It was one of his most cherished possessions.

“I have something. It’s very special to me, and I think it might do the trick.”

Piper gave him a big smile and clapped her hands together.

“Perfect. Where is this?”

“At my house.”

“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go get it!”


 

It was surprisingly quiet in the Jackson household, the only noise coming from the TV in the living room. Percy peaked his head in to see his mother and sister watching a TV show together. Percy didn’t recognize it.

“Hey mom, hey Moira,” he greeted.

Both of them turned their heads towards them at the same time, and broke out into grins. But neither of them got off the couch.

“Hey Percy. Hi Jason! Hi Piper!” his mother greeted each of them cheerily.

Piper smiled back and gave a little wave.

“Hi Mrs. Blofis,” she replied.

“I heard about the loss. I’m sure you’ll get it next time,” she told them with an encouraging nod.

“Yeah, we’ll kick ass,” Percy replied optimistically.

His mother gave up on chastising him for his language years ago. Instead she just rolled her eyes.

“Would any of you like anything to drink?” she offered.

“We’re good. Thank you Mrs. Blofis,” Jason responded politely.

With that, Percy ushered the two of them up the stairs and into his room. When they were all inside he shut the door. The sunlight which was already setting over the horizon, making the blue walls of his room illuminate. There was stuff all over his desk, multiple college letters and homework that he had been neglecting.

He went over to his drawer and pulled open the top one. He shuffled through his clothes until he found a little box pushed to the back. It was simple and blue, with nothing more on it. He took it out and opened the lid which put under the bottom of the box.

There was a single item inside, gently he took it out. It was soft, and looked exactly the same as it had years ago. It was light in color with five indents in the middle. When he held it up to the light, he saw Piper was infatuated by it. Her hazel eyes were wide with wonder.

“Wow, that is beautiful. What is it?”

“It’s a sand dollar,” he explained, slightly distractedly, “it was my father's and he gave it to me. It’s from his home of Hawai’i, and it’s the only thing that connects me to him. It’s one of my most prized possessions.”

Piper held her hand out tentatively. “Can I hold it?”

Percy placed it in her hand, and she ran her fingers over it’s surface. She handled it gently like she was afraid of damaging it.

“This is what you want to give?” she asked him.

He was hesitant. Did he really want to give away his only connection to his biological father, a man he’s only met once in his life? For the off chance that Annabeth might forgive him? Yes, he decided he did.

“Yeah, if you want you can make it into a necklace for her too.”

Piper gave him a small smile and nodded then placed it into her jacket pocket. She looked him in the eyes. “I’ll give it to her as soon as possible, then I’ll come back with the news. Hopefully she’ll like it and you’ll be able to talk.”

“I hope so, too.”

Chapter Text

Piper became the messenger between Percy and Annabeth who had accepted his gift as a truce and slowly forgave him for what he’d said. Honestly, Percy had never felt so relieved in his entire life.

But now, spring was in full swing, and the looming shadow of college was hanging over Percy’s head. He had finally committed to the University of Southern California, after they had promised him a full athletic scholarship for swimming. It was the best decision for him to make that would help his family out the most.

That meant that either he and Annabeth would have to make up the next time they saw each other face to face, or he’d have to break up with her because of the long distance. The latter option put a sour taste in Percy’s mouth, especially after all that had happened, but it was also the one that made the most sense to him.

They hadn’t talked face to face in months, and until two weeks ago they hadn’t even been on talking terms. Percy was pretty new to relationships, but he was pretty sure that when couples go through fights, they only last a few days at most. After that, it’s they either make up and continue on, or they break up and move on with their lives.

Even though the snow had melted weeks ago, there was still a flood of water and disgusting mud slush all over the place. It nearly ruined Percy’s favorite pair of sneakers...again. The ice over the lake had finally melted too, and soon summer tourists would be coming around again.

Percy couldn’t wait for his summer job to get back into swing again, too. It was already the end of May, and soon it would be June which meant two things: prom and graduation. He wouldn’t graduate until the end of June, but his classes would be over the first week of the month, giving him a beautiful 3 week buffer, with a final or two thrown in the mix. Nothing he couldn’t handle.

But on the flip side of the coin, was that the day of his departure to college was coming closer and closer. He had been battling with himself for over a week on whether or not he should break up with Annabeth. He saw that Jason and Piper were going to try and make it work. Then again, Cornell was only around three and a half hours away, and they were in a good relationship. Los Angeles was a six hour flight from New York, and a longer trip by train or car. And Annabeth wasn’t one for land or air, so there’s that too. The factors were accumulating towards a break up. It would probably make both of their lives much easier and less complicated. It was in the best interest of everyone.

Percy walked into the library, meeting Jason for a quick tutor session for their Economics final tomorrow. Jason, being the studious guy he is, was already at a table in the middle of the room, books and notebooks open everywhere, ready for business.

Quickly, Percy pretended to sign in, so he wouldn’t get scolded by Ms. Houston, one of the librarians that seemed to hate Percy. She always caught him doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing, like surfing the internet on the library’s little chromebooks, or eating food. He always felt bad afterward, but sometimes you just gotta cram for a test that was next period, and you can’t study in the cafeteria! So it was reasonable rule breaking.

He walked up to Jason and slung his backpack on the table, taking a seat across from him. The noise startled the boy, making him drop his phone on a textbook. When he’d recovered a moment later, hand over his heart, he used the other to punch Percy in the shoulder.

“I don’t have to do this for you, Jackson,” he grumbled.

Percy unzipped his backpack, pulling out the notebook he used for Economics’ notes and opened it up. He reached deep inside his backpack again.

“You and I both know it is your study session too,” he rebutted before pulling out a pen with triumph.

All he got was a grunt in response. Jason pushed his glasses back up his nose and began rambling about the chapters they needed to focus on.

Mr. Parks, their economics teacher, taught an easy class. Percy knew how he worked because he’d had him as his eighth grade social studies teacher as well. All the answers were right in front of your face if you bothered to look, and the questions were taken right from the textbook he used. So basically, all Percy had to do was write questions down and remember them for the test. Mr. Parks gave a ton of extra credit as well, so it was impossible for even the seniors with the worst case of senioritis to fail his class.

It was because of this that their study session didn’t last too long. It wasn’t like it was an AP test, (which had already passed, because Jason had been freaking out about them all of March and April). The class was just a requirement for seniors to graduate. Everyone knows that teachers who have seniors go easy, because they know there’s nothing left to lose.

“So, I’m thinking of breaking up with Annabeth,” Percy casually stated.

His internal monologue of thoughts these past weeks had been building up, and he had to share it with someone.

Jason, who had just finished putting his textbook away, dropped his backpack and looked over at Percy with his blue eyes wide. His mouth fell open making a little ‘o’ which emphasized the scar on his lip.

“What? Are you serious? Why?”

Percy opened his mouth to reply, but he just couldn’t articulate his reasons properly so he shrugged his shoulders, letting Jason’s questions hang for a moment while he collected his thoughts.

“I mean, there’s a lot of factors that had built up to it, but honestly, we don’t have a good relationship. I haven’t even talked to her, at least face-to-face in months!”

Jason tilted his head and leaned forward, resting his elbows on the desk. His blonde eyebrows were scrunched up, and his glasses had started to fall down his nose.

“You guys can always make it up. The lake is unfrozen, so you can finally see her again. You have to believe there’s still hope,” he reassured.

Percy inhaled deeply, then let out a long breath. He closed his eyes for a moment, clearing his head and thoughts to calm himself. When he opened them, he stared back at Jason.

“Dude, I know you mean well. But honestly, I think it’s for the best if we just break up and move on with our lives. I mean, c’mon, I leave for California in July to start conditioning for swimming, and Annabeth, I’m pretty sure she’s never going to leave here. It just won’t work if I have to always come back here, even when I want to move on.”

His best friend pursed his lips and gave a slight nod of understanding. He looked down at the ground before turning his attention back to Percy again. He leaned forward even more, like he was about to share some dangerous secrets with him.

“I understand your reasonings, and trust me when I say, I am one hundred percent backing you on it. But remember Piper’s warning. They are mermaids , Percy. Their instincts still live in them, no matter how much they’ve tamed over the generations. If you break it with Annabeth, I suggest you bring me with you, or at least near you as backup incase something happens.”

Percy shook his head.

“I can’t ask you to do that Jason. I don’t think Annabeth would stoop to that level,” he reassured, even if he knew deep in his heart there was a possibility she would.

Jason put both of his hands on Percy’s shoulders and shook him a few times. “I’m trying to shake some sense into you Jackson, because you seem to be extra dense today. Annabeth is a mermaid, a creature who is meant to lure and kill humans. You saw the way she acted when you called her names. She threatened you from under the ice, she scared you. Imagine how she might act when you break off your relationship with her? Something that she invested her trust and life into. It will not end pretty, I can tell you that. So when you decide to end it, at least bring her closer to where other people are. I’m serious.”

Percy took his friend's hands off his shoulders and nodded, reluctantly. He was right, and Percy knew it.

“Okay, fine. I’ll pick a date when you’re on lifeguard duty, and I’ll make sure a lot of people will close by, too.”

Jason nodded, showing his satisfaction before packing away the rest of his things. It was clear the conversation was over, but he had a feeling it would be playing around in his mind in the coming weeks.

Chapter Text

Percy had finally picked a day he planned to end his relationship with Annabeth. All the conversations he’d had with Jason and Piper ran through his head non stop. The warnings they gave, and how to proceed with caution echoed in his mind, always reminding him of what is to come.

It was June, and the heat had picked up greatly. It was a week before graduation, prom had passed in more or less of a blur, whether it be from his own mind deliberately trying to block the memories or the considerable amount of alcohol he’d consumed, he didn’t know. But now peak season had arrived, and the beaches were already starting to pack in people.

Jason was on shift as head lifeguard at the beach today, meaning he was able to be on the lookout for him, and there was other people around to be witnesses as well if needed, so it was the perfect day to go through with his plan.

But it still made Percy nauseous and left a bitter taste in his mouth when he thought about it. Annabeth was one of his best friends, and he really wanted to maintain that friendship and didn’t want it to ever end because that would probably leave him heartbroken. He needed to do this, though, he needed to end whatever romantic relationship was left between them.

He walked down the path he hadn’t been down in months, pulled out his rowboat and rowed it out into the lake towards the beach full of people. When he got in place, he was close enough that the people didn’t look like ants, and he could clearly see Jason sat in his high chair on duty. He was probably only fifty feet from Percy.

Taking a deep breath to calming himself, Percy steeled up his nerves to contact Annabeth. It had been so long since he’d seen her, which in itself seemed messed up for a couple, but he couldn’t dwell on that thought for too long. When he opened his eyes he gingerly placed his hand in the water and splashed it around before taking it out again.

He sat there in the little wood boat for a few very tense moments. Anxiety crept into his chest, making him breathing become faster.

“Oh god,” he muttered to himself.

Suddenly, a familiar head of blonde hair emerged from the water. Annabeth’s face immediately calmed him down. Her lips were in a tight line and her gray eyes seemed to be light, hopefully meaning she was in a good mood.

“You came,” Percy breathed.

She arched an eyebrow at him, looking him straight in the eyes for a moment before looking past him. He turned his head and saw she was looking at the beach full of people.

“Why are we so close to all these people?” she asked.

Percy had an arsenal of sarcastic remarks he could’ve said back. Some included: Really? No, hey Percy long time no see! Sorry for not talking to you for months! Love you! But he kept his mouth shut, because he was about to drop the bomb on her. He put on his best smile and gave a laugh.

“That’s the line you greet me with?” he teased.

For a moment, she ignored him, still looking at the group of people playing around in the shallow water. As Percy watched Annabeth, he noticed the uneasy look on her face. But when she then turned to face him, she gave him a small smile in return.

“Sorry. It’s just, I’ve never been this close to so many people before. It’s a little unnerving.” A blush had formed on her cheeks, it was like their big fight had never happened. They seemed to fall into a comfortable atmosphere around each other again. Percy was sure it was about to make the news a lot harder to break to her.

She then pushed up on the boat, rocking it with her weight, and sat herself right across from him. He realized she was wearing his sand dollar around her neck. It hung high, like a choker, from a string of rope she had probably found in the lake.

“You’re wearing my gift,” he stated.

At first her eyebrows scrunched together and she tilted her head in confusion. A moment later she realized what he was talking about and her hand went to her neck and touched the sand dollar. She looked down and gave a cute smile.

“Piper told me how much it meant to you. She called it a sand dollar?” she said it like it was a foreign word to her.

Percy just nodded. They sat in silence for a few minutes. It started off nice and comfortable. Annabeth leaned her head over the side, her golden hair flowing down behind her. Her eyes were closed and she had a small smile on her face in content. The sun was shining down on her, making her scales glimmer.

The scene was so peaceful, Percy almost changed his mind about breaking up with her. He didn’t want to change anything he was seeing. But, he knew he had to do it. He couldn’t continue on, knowing it would only bring them more pain. He mentally psyched himself up and took a deep breath before exhaling slowly.

“Annabeth,” he started softly.

She just hummed in acknowledgment, still basking in the sunlight. Percy wondered when the last time she’d had the chance to do that was, being stuck in the water for most of the winter. He knew that she had to get air to breathe too, she wasn’t fully aquatic, but it was probably too cold in the winter to stay on land for long.

“I have to talk to you about something,” he continued, grimly.

Annabeth seemed to pick up on his tone and opened her eyes up and sat up in the boat, no longer relaxing. Her gray eyes narrowed in suspicion and she leaned forward.

“What do you want to talk about?” she asked slowly and carefully.

This was the point of no return. He was treading on dangerous waters now, but he couldn’t go back. He just had to say it, like he was ripping off a bandaid.

“Annabeth, you have to know that I still love you,” he started off.

Her eyes softened and she gave a smile before grabbing his hand and stroking it gently. Percy winced at the gesture.

“I love you too.”

“But only as a friend,” he finished.

The smile melted off her face. She took her hand back like she’d burnt herself by touching him. She recoiled first to the other side of the boat, and then slid back into the water. Her hands were still clutching the side, but she seemed to be hiding from him.

“Percy what do you mean?” she asked.

“What I mean, Annabeth, is that I’m breaking up with you. Our romantic relationship is done.”

With that, he felt like the weight of the sky had been lifted off his shoulders. He had said it. It was done. He looked over at Annabeth, who had now swam over to the side of the boat closer to him. Her face showed confusion, like she didn’t fully comprehend what he had just told her.

“Breaking up,” she breathed before snapping her head toward him. “Why?” she demanded. Her voice had taken on a hard tone. Her gray eyes had turned the color of thunderstorm clouds getting ready to shake the earth. This is what Piper and Jason had warned him about.

“It’s because there’s someone else isn’t there?” she cried.

Percy was startled by her screaming. He put his hands out to try and calm her down, but it didn’t work. She was already starting.

“WHO ARE THEY?” She screeched.

“Annabeth! Listen! There’s no one else. It’s because things would start to get complicated. I’m leaving next month, moving all the way across the country. It wouldn’t work for us,” he shouted over her.

This information made her pause for a moment, but she just became even more livid. A film of tears formed over her eyes, but refused to be released. She bared her teeth, showing the sharp canines that could easily puncture him.

“You’re leaving me too? You can’t just leave me here alone! I won’t allow it!”

“Annabeth, it’s not your choice to make. I’m free to do whatever I want, and you can’t dictate it,” he said back with ice in his tone.

Whatever he said seemed to go right over Annabeth’s head. She seemed to be in her own world at the moment, wrapped up in whatever thoughts were going through her mind. Her eyes had a far away look to them, looking at nothing in particular. It made Percy worry for a moment.

“First Piper, now you,” she muttered softly to herself.

Percy leaned forward to see if she was alright. It was a lot to process and he could see that she might need some time. He put his hand out to touch her shoulder when she turned to him. Her face was placid now, and a smile that was mesmerizing.

“Annabeth? Are you okay?” he cautiously inquired.

She leaned her head against the edge of the boat using her arms as rests. She gave him a dreamy, sleepy smile. At least she wasn’t angry with him anymore, Percy thought.

“Percy, remember that song I taught you all those years ago?” she asked like she was in a daze.

He nodded. His head felt suddenly lighter, but it was a good kind of light, like all of his problems had just melted away. Annabeth was in front of him, and she was so beautiful. Why did he want to break up with her? Surely no other woman would ever compare to her.

“Can you sing it for me?” she asked, softly.

“Uh, huh.”

He couldn’t deny Annabeth. He started to sing the song she taught him. It was an old pirate's song that Annabeth said had been passed down the generations. As he sang each lyric, his mind began to cloud. Annabeth joined in after the first verse. Her voice was heavenly, like a chorus of angels singing with him. It was truly enchanting.

Slowly, as they made their way through the song, she got closer to him. She was staring into his eyes, and he’d never really noticed how beautiful her eyes were until now. They were the most stunning color he’d ever seen.

As the song finished, she was so close to his mouth that all it would take was a gentle push and he’d be kissing her. And how he missed her kisses. There was a pause, then suddenly Annabeth pulled back and her eyes were turning red, starting from the irises. She bared her teeth and grabbed Percy by the neck and pulled him off the boat and under the water.

Her enchantment on him was immediately broken. Water surrounded him, but he was still being dragged down by Annabeth. She was trying to drown him.

In a panic he tried to resist her, but she dug her nails into his skin, cutting into him and making him bleed.

If I can’t have you, no one can! He heard her voice yelled into his mind.

He was running out of air quickly, having had no chance to take a deep breath, he couldn’t hold for much longer. Percy realized that trying to use his arms would be pointless, she had him in a lock, but he could still use his legs to kick against her.

A swarm of bubbles escaped her mouth as she grunted in pain, but she still held on. Percy kicked again with all his might and this time Annabeth loosen her grip and he was able to escape. Quickly he started swimming to the surface.

Just as he broke and let out a deep breath he called for help.  

“HELP! SOMEONE HELP ME! JASON!” He screamed at the top of his lungs.

He heard the familiar three whistle blow and saw Jason jump down from his tower and come sprinting into the lake. He felt a hand scratch his shoulder and drag him under.

You dare try to break my heart? I should’ve known your gift was a ploy. You humans were always tricky , she sneered in his mind.

Percy wished he could tell her that it wasn’t. He was sincere in his gift to her. But he was too busy trying not to die. Suddenly he saw another body appear at the surface. The short blonde hair was familiar and Percy had never been so happy to see Jason in his entire life.

His best friend kicked at Annabeth hard. She withered back, hissing her fangs at them. Jason grabbed him round the waist and brought him back up to the surface. Percy coughed water out of his lungs, gasping for air.

Jason reached into his pocket and threw something at Percy. He caught it and saw that it was a little pocket knife. He flicked it open and saw that the blade shined, like light was held inside of it.

“Piper gave this to me. The blade is made out of sea glass and melded with sunlight. If you cut Annabeth with it, it will wither her and she will have to swim away to heal. The more effective but harder way is to cut her hair. It will make her significantly weaker. Piper gave this to me in case something like this ever happened.”

Percy was still in shock and couldn’t formulate a proper sentence in his mind. His breaths were ragged and he was still panicking.

“I-I can’t stab Annabeth with this,” he stuttered.

“You might not have a choice!”

He looked down into the water, “she’s coming back! Percy do it now!”

Annabeth in her full, true mermaid form was swimming towards them, ready to snatch Percy again. Looking at her, he knew that this wasn’t the real Annabeth, she had been taken over by some monster inside her. Just as she broke the surface, he slashed a cut across her face.

“AHHHH!” She screamed in agonizing pain.

The cut seemed to give off a bright light before fading into a bloody mess. Both her hands were covering her face. Percy miraculously managed to grab hold of her hair and cut a section of it with the knife. Annabeth gave another screech as she clung to her damaged hair. She snapped her face which had now morphed into a beastly form and hissed at him before plunging underwater.

Jason climbed into the rowboat, and grabbed Percy’s hand to haul him in too. For a few moments they sat in complete silence, in shock of what had just happened.

Percy breathing was still ragged, and he was staring at the blade which now had Annabeth’s blood dripping down it and the blonde piece of hair in his other hand. His mind was completely blank.

“Percy,” Jason asked carefully, “are you okay?”

A few seconds passed, and he repeated the question. Percy shook his head numbly. He couldn’t feel his body. It was like his soul had left him and was watching over his mortal body from above.

“Let’s get you back to shore okay?” he suggested, gently.

He took the oars and slowly made their way back to the beach. All the people who had been swimming there, were watching them silently as they got out. It was a big shock. Jason had his arm around Percy as he escorted him through the sand and into the lifeguard locker room. No one was in there, if someone was Jason would have kicked them out.

He walked over to his locker and got out a white towel and gave it to Percy who wrapped it around his shoulders, shivering in the aftermath.

“Annabeth tried to kill me,” he muttered in shock.

He just couldn’t believe that she would actually want to kill him. He knew the warnings, but he had been naive enough to think she wouldn’t actually go through with it. Wouldn’t become an actual mermaid, one that sailors and pirates and men had feared for centuries.

“I know. Chiron already called 9-1-1 so you should be getting help shortly. You’re going to be okay,” Jason reassured.

His calm, steady voice helped Percy. It was a familiarity that brought good memories with it.

“Annabeth tried to drown me,” he said again to emphasize it.

He looked Jason in the eyes for the first time since they'd got back and saw there was pain in his eyes as well. He was scared too.

“I know. I’m just glad you’re okay. We’ll get through this together okay?”

He moved forward on the bench and opened his arms out for a hug. Percy just stared at him for a moment before leaning in, and began sobbing into his best friend's shoulder.

Chapter Text

It was a warm summer night in Mohegan Lake. The skies were clear, showing off their abundance of stars. The beach on the south shore of the lake, which had until recently been packed with tourists, both local and not, was now barren. The gentle breeze sent the sand blowing, smoothing out all the indents from footprints and erasing anything human. The water softly lapped against the shore, the sound peaceful.

And it was a boring night on watch duty for Officer McGuire. She dreaded being put in this position, but the she had drawn the shortest straw in the office, so here she was. Whenever she was on night duty though, she would always hang out by the Lake. It was the most peaceful place in the little hamlet, the most trouble she had to deal here with were drunken teenagers disturbing the peace during the weekends with their parties and public intoxication. If she needed to be called, the walkie talkie would blare for her.

The music on the car’s stereo was softly playing in the background. She found herself humming along to the song, making the shift just a little bit more bearable. She turned her head towards the lake and looked out across it. The very presence of the place she grew up with calmed her significantly.

All was good, until she suddenly saw something that seemed to be rising from the water. She glanced at the time which read 01:30, then rubbed her eyes thinking she was just imagining it. She looked back, to see the figure, which was definitely human, still rising out of the water towards her.

Alarmed, she turned off the car and got out, reading herself in case the person was hostile. The only light being provided was the moonlight making the figure a silhouette. She slowly made her way across the beach towards the feminine-looking figure.

“Who goes there?” she called out.

The figure stopped, then wobbled as if she had never walked on legs before in her life. Officer McGuire took another step forward and turned on her flashlight. The beam of light hit the woman, revealing her.

The woman looked young and was around 5’11”, with blonde hair that was currently matted to her face and neck from water. She had tattoos all up her arms and shoulders as well as her legs. The light caused the woman to flinch and hold her arms up to block it out. She had gray eyes that looked dazed and confused. And she was completely naked.

“Ma’am, are you alright?” Officer McGuire asked the naked woman.

They locked eyes for a moment. The girl’s mouth parted and she started taking quick, short breaths, then started swaying back and forth.

“Help,” she croaked.

The word alarmed Officer McGuire and she ran to the woman, who then collapsed onto the sand.

“Percy,” she muttered before passing out.

Officer McGuire pulled out her walkie talkie and turned it onto the right channel.

“This is Officer Claire McGuire at the Mohegan Lake. I have a passed out woman on the beach and need 9-1-1 to be called immediately.”

There was static for a moment before her response came.

“10-4. Ambulance has been called, and is 56.”


 

Percy collapsed into his couch after a long shift down at the firehouse. He was tired, and just wanted to relax in his apartment and have a lazy night in with his girlfriend. Instead, as soon as his head hit the cushion, his phone started ringing.

His phone had been hastily thrown on the island in the kitchen when he walked in, and that was ten feet away from him now. He let out a muffled groan at the idea of having to get up and walk over to get his phone. The temptation of just letting it go to voicemail was high. Instead, thinking better of it, he let out another muffled groan and heaved himself up.

He picked up his phone to see his sister’s face show up on the screen, then he swiped it to accept the call. Before he could even get out a greeting, her voice interrupted him.

“Percy, thank god you picked up,” she said with a sigh of relief.

Hearing his sister relieved to hear him made Percy a little happy, he hadn’t seen his sister in a good couple of months. With his job slowly consuming his free time, and Moira starting her first job as a nurse at Westchester Medical, it was hard for them to stay in touch. But it also worried him. His sister was usually calm and collected, anything that made her seem panicky, made him panic too.

“Moira, what happened?” he demanded.

“I need you to come home immediately.”

Percy almost dropped his phone in shock. They hadn’t even been talking on the phone for more than a minute before the conversation escalated. But the idea of going back to his hometown, after he had ran far away from it, made him nauseous. He always made sure that he hosted all the holiday parties, no matter how much of a pain in the ass it was, so he could avoid that place for good. Thankfully, his girlfriend loved planning parties.

It was silent for a moment as Percy tried to figure out how to form a coherent thought to say to his sister.

“What? Why?” he asked hoping to convey to his sister that Mohegan Lake would be the last place on earth he wanted to be.

“Trust me Percy, if I didn’t need you to be here I would never ask you. But there’s something I need your help with,” she assured.

“What is it?” he asked, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath.

“We seem to have a Jane Doe at the hospital, and according to the officer who found her, she said your name before she passed out. I think you might know who she is, and what she wants.”

Percy arched an eyebrow at this, even though he was alone in the apartment, he didn’t have a clue who it could be that would specifically ask for him.

“Maybe you’re confusing me with another Percy? I mean, there’s plenty of them out in the world,” tried to deflect.

“Yeah maybe if I was working in a hospital that wasn’t so close to our hometown. I just need you to come out and identify her for me. Plus it would be nice to see you again,” she added softly.

“Fine, I’ll come, but Rachel is tagging along, too. She’s the one who can pay for the plane tickets from San Diego to New York, and you’ll have to pick us up,” he negotiated.

Moira let out a laugh which was a great sound to hear for Percy.

“Of course. Text me the flight details and I’ll request off. Thankfully my boss seems to have a soft side for me so he’ll let me. Thank you so much Percy. I owe you one.”

Percy smiled.

“Anything for my little sister. Love you,” he said.

“Love you too,” she responded before hanging up.

He placed the phone down on the granite island and leaned forward on his arms and rested his head. He took in a deep breath before exhaling slowly. From behind him, he heard the front door open, and his girlfriend walk in.

She was wearing paint splattered jeans and her Harvard sweatshirt. Her red hair was tied up in a messy bun with few curls falling out around her face. She pushed the door shut with her foot then took off her shoes and dumped her messenger bag on the floor.

“Hey, what’s up?” she greeted, stealing a kiss from him, then walking away towards the fridge and scanning the contents inside. Percy walked over to his laptop and started to search for the earliest flight to New York. Rachel closed the fridge empty handed and pulled out her phone.

“Does Chinese sound good to you?” she asked already dialing the number for their favorite.

Normally, Percy would cook for them. But they hadn’t gotten around to doing the food shopping and Percy had been working crazy shifts, making him too tired to try and make something. He just nodded.

Percy waited for Rachel to finish talking on the phone with the Chinese food restaurant before he informed her of their impromptu travel plans.  

Rachel was a freelance artist, who painted murals for all kinds of places around Southern California so her job was very flexible. Percy, on the other hand, would usually have to call in some favors and say family emergency to get off work. Luckily for him though, his first day off in fifteen days was tomorrow and extended for two more, giving him a whole three days off.

“We have to go to New York tomorrow,” he said as soon as Rachel hung up.

She turned around, confusion written all over her face, but didn’t say anything. She pulled a stool over and sat down across from him.

“Any particular reason?” she asked with a small smile appearing on her face.

“Moira called and said that she needed me to help her identify a Jane Doe, who apparently said my name before passing out in a coma,” he shrugged, trying to put it off as not a big deal.

Rachel, knew better though. They had met in college, and she was the first friend he’d made there. He had studied marine biology, and had been the star swimmer for USC for all the four years he was there. Rachel on the other hand came from big money, which she denounced as soon as she could, and had been in the art program. They had become best friends, and eventually started dating in their senior year.

Now they were six years out of college and still going strong. They had moved into an apartment together right after graduation. While Rachel hates her family’s wealth, she uses it occasionally when they need it, or when she wants to spite her parents.

Her light green eyes went into thought for a moment, and the freckles on her face rippled as she scrunched up her nose.

“Well, that’s definitely weird. Are you sure you’ll be okay going back home?”

He nodded his head, already accepting the fact.

“Moira sounded like she really needed me. I’ll do anything for her.”

Rachel gave a smile before resting her hand over his. Percy couldn’t believe how lucky he’d gotten with her.

“I’ll book our flight for tomorrow. Don’t worry about it.”

He let out a relieved sigh.

“Okay, thanks.”

Chapter Text

They arrived at midday in LaGuardia. Rachel had been able to grab a direct flight out from San Diego for them, instead of having layovers and making the trip longer than it had to be. Once they got off the plane, they were greeted by Moira.

Her brown hair was pulled up into a neat high bun on top of her head. She was wearing a tank top that had the twin suns of Tatooine on it and was tucked into high waisted shorts, and she had gladiator sandals on her feet.

Percy practically ran up to her and engulfed her in a big hug. He picked her up and spun her around, like he did when she was a little kid. She let out a laugh before punching him. Percy put her down, and saw that her light brown eyes were sparkling with happiness. She had black eyeliner that winged perfectly and her lips were covered in red lipstick.

“I’m so glad you were able to come on such short notice,” she greeted with a big smile showing off her teeth.

“Anything for my little sis,” he said trying to ruffle her hair, but she waved his hand off before flattening all the little baby hairs. Moira walked up to Rachel and the two of them hugged tightly as well. After greetings were exchanged, they walked out of the airport to Moira’s car.

Once they were on their way to Mohegan Lake, Percy felt anxiety gnaw at his insides. It had been a decade since he’d been home, and now he was back and all the memories, both good and bad, were coming back to him.

He found himself looking out the window and noticing how much everything had changed. As they drove down Main Street, only one or two family owned shops were still there, the rest had been replaced by chain brands.

“So much has changed here,” he whispered to himself.

He looked over to see Moira’s face grim as she drove them to her house. She snuck a glance over at him before turning back to the road.

“It’s because of Olympus Electric. They came stomping in, right after you left, and built a factory right on the Lake. I mean, it helped people get jobs or whatever, but then other corporations came in and took over the town. And now there’s little charm left here.”

“Well, that’s very depressing.”

Moira hummed in agreement. There were less people walking around than Percy remembered, and even though it was the middle of summer, the town seemed to be lacking it’s usual buzz of tourists. It made the place seem like a ghost town. And he didn’t like it at all.

“What happened to all the tourists?” he asked.

“The Lake isn’t very swimmable these days. Like I said, the factory changed everything here.”

They pulled into a driveway to a two story house. It was right down the road from where they used to live as kids. Their parents had moved away a few years back, but only to the next town over, still close enough to Moira and the town they love. Percy wondered if this new factory had led to them leaving as well.

Everyone got their stuff from the trunk of the car, and Moira lead the way to her front door. It was a modern looking house, and she put her code in the door which unlocked it automatically. Percy was impressed with the technology in the house. The door swung open, and Moira walked in followed by Percy and Rachel.

Moira turned around and hung the keys on a rack on the wall then gave them a small smile.

“The guest bedroom is up the stairs and first door to the left. Once you’re all settled in, we can swing by the hospital so you can help identify the Jane Doe who seems to know who you are. Andréa is working today, so she can help us too.”

His sister walked away, leaving Percy and Rachel alone in the hallway. Percy picked up their bags and climbed the set of stairs that led to the second story. The door was white, plain and simple. He opened it up revealing the guest bedroom.

There was a queen sized bed in the middle of the room, along with a dresser and a desk at the far end. A bookshelf was perpendicular to the bed, with a TV on the top shelf. The bed had simple cream colored sheets and white comforters that were perfectly made. The walls had been painted a soft green, which was illuminated beautifully by the light shining in through the two windows in the corner.

They placed their bags down on the bed, and quickly unpacked their stuff. They hadn’t brought a lot, considering it was just a short three day break for the two of them.

“Do you have any idea who this woman could be?” Rachel asked folding a t-shirt and placing it in the drawer.

During the long plane ride there, Percy had had plenty of time to mull that question over. He wanted to say that he had no idea who she was, but a memory slithered up to the forefront of his head. Something from his past that he’d tried to get rid of. A feeling of heartbreak and trauma that when mixed together made him nauseous. A flash of golden hair that weaved in the water like silk. Gray eyes that would change from light gray like fog, to dark like a thunderstorm rolling in.

“I think I have an idea,” he muttered softly.

Rachel turned around with a questioning glance, but didn’t say anything further.

The two of them maneuvered around in silence for a few minutes finishing their unpacking. When they were done, they walked down the stairs and into the living room where Moira was sat watching TV. She was distracted by whatever was playing for a moment before she saw them.

She stood up and turned the TV off before walking over to them. She slipped on some Toms and grabbed her car keys.

“Are you guys ready?” she asked already opening the front door.

“Aren’t giving us a choice are you?” he teased as he walked up behind her with a smirk.

Moira scoffed and went down to the car. Percy turned toward Rachel who was smiling and he winked. Then she scoffed and stalked passed Percy as well. How the women in his life love him.

He closed the door behind him, being the last one out of the house, but still snatched shotgun, and then Moira pulled out and starting driving to Westchester Medical. There was silence in the car, and Percy turned on the radio to fill it. The silence wasn’t awkward, but it wasn’t the most comfortable silence either.

After twenty minutes on the Taconic, Moira took the exit to the Hospital and went in through the employee area. She pulled up and found a spot that was close to the entrance. They all got out of the car and made their way in.

When they entered, Moira walked up to the reception desk, flashed her ID and talked to the receptionists. Percy saw the older woman smile and nod to his sister before turning in her swivel chair to grab something. He saw her write something down then give the paper to Moira with a smile.

She walked over and handed visitor stickers to Percy and Rachel which they both peeled it off and placed right over their hearts. When they discarded the trash they walked down a hallway, where doctors and nurses in scrubs were walking around doing a variety of different things.

Percy didn’t study medical stuff, no matter how many times he’d been to the ER in his childhood, much to his parent’s dismay. He had no idea what was happening, and every time he’d been to the hospital, it was always like this. Moira, on the other hand, was a nurse so knew all the other nurses and waved to them a quick greeting before they left.

The three of them went up an elevator and emerged on a floor that was much more quiet. The doctors were much more relaxed, going around from room to room. The urgency wasn’t there. Moira turned around to face Rachel and Percy.

“This floor is quiet, so try not to make a lot of noise,” she directed a stern look over at Percy.

He threw his hands up and showed his disbelief.

“Ye of little faith,” he whispered to his little sister.

Moira smirked and walked away. Rachel came up and squeezed his bicep in comfort, her eye bright.

“To your sister’s credit, you can be very loud,” she said with a wink and a laugh before walking on.

Percy felt his face heat up immediately but it was too late to make a snarky comeback. Instead he just followed the two women down the hallway. Moira stopped in front of a room and put her hand on the door handle, ready to open up it. When Percy caught up she twisted it down and slowly opened it. The room was dimly lit, and eerily quiet. A thin curtain was closed across the room, splitting it in half. They all walked through after Moira who stepped forward with her hand on the curtain.

“Are you ready?” she asked, softly.

Percy was afraid to see what was behind the curtain. His gut was telling him that he knew exactly who she was, but he wasn’t ready to see her. He would never be ready to see her again, not after what happened. But he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, calming himself for a moment before nodding.

He heard the curtain being pulled open, and when he opened his eyes he felt his stomach drop to the floor. Laying in the bed, wearing a hospital gown, was Annabeth.

She looked relatively the same as she did ten years ago. Her eyes were closed and her face looked calm. The tattoos that went up the sides of her nose and under her eyebrows were the same as they’d been when she’d got them. But he saw that she now had new ones too. Her lips which were once pink, were now black. And at the corners, like ink had dripped from them, were lines that went down to her chin. Her face looked skinny, her cheekbones were more noticeable than he ever remembered them being. And her skin, which was once sun kissed was now pale. She had a scar across her face from her right eyebrow, across her nose and down her left cheek. It left a hideous mark across her entire face, marring it of its former perfection.

Her hair which had been long and bouncy had been cut to her shoulders. But it was choppy...like someone had cut it hastily with a knife. It’s golden color that was once so familiar to him, was now dulled. The short sleeves of the gown revealed her arm tattoos that still swirled around all the way up to her shoulders. Her chest was moving up and down slowly and in rhythm.

She was taller now, too, almost as tall as he was, and if she was still in her natural form, he could only imagine how long her tail would be. It could probably wrap around him like a snake does to its prey. He also remembered her having more curves to her figure. She was by no means big, but she wasn’t skinny like she was now. From underneath, he could see strong muscles in her legs and abs, from swimming around her entire life.

He was ripped out of his trance by snapping fingers in his face. Startled for a moment, he looked over at Moira, who was frowning, clearly worried.

“Do you know who she is?” she repeated.

Percy felt sick to his stomach looking at her. She was the same, but so different at the same time.

“Yes,” he whispered, so soft he was sure no one heard him.

“What’s her name?”

The name that he had forbidden himself from ever saying again. He had hoped she had been rid from his life for good. She was the reason he never came back home. And now their fates were intertwined once more. His hand went to his neck, where he had kept her gift around his neck for so many years. Now it was in a box, hidden deep in his own archives of his apartment in San Diego. But it was muscle memory, seeing her meant touching the scale as a reminder of his love.

He was silent for a few moments.

“Her name is Annabeth Chase.”

Annabeth’s last name had been her closest kept secret. She told no one, not even Piper. The only exception had been him.

At the sound of her name, gray eyes blinked open and she came to life.

Chapter Text

Percy was the only one to notice at first. The grays of her eyes were unfocused, like she had been hit on the head and was confused, but they were the softest he’d ever seen them. Their color was so light, it almost looked like mist.

Moira and Rachel caught his line of sight, and when they saw what he was looking at, Moira gasped in shock, and Rachel’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. They all stared at Annabeth, who was slowly gaining her bearings.

Her heart rate on the monitor started to spike and her breaths became shallow. Moira’s training kicked in, but she was off-duty and therefore couldn’t do anything.

“Andréa is on this floor. I’ll get her!” she said before running out the door.

Percy started to panic, he had no clue what to do. He looked over at Rachel who looked just as scared and out of her element as he was. The door slammed open, making Percy jump and turn around. Moira ran in first followed by a woman with dark red hair that was tied up in a messy bun on top of her head.

She had light brown skin and she was taller than Moira, she looked to be almost as tall as Annabeth. She was in green scrubs with a white jacket over them and had latex gloves over her hands. From where Percy was he could see her profile.

She had a Roman nose, with a single hoop piercing through her nostril. Her eyes were an intense hazel color, fully focused on her job. She had full lips, but her bottom lip was larger than her top.

The nurse quickly fixed whatever was happening to Annabeth, by using a calm and sturdy voice. She also injected something into her arm and when she was finished she turned toward Percy and gave him a big smile.

She opened up her arms wide waiting for a hug. Percy went in for it and she clapped him on the back, hard.

“Percy, good to see you again,” she greeted.

“You too Andréa. It’s been too long,” he said with a smile.

Moira’s girlfriend, Andréa, walked over to his sister and pecked her on the cheek. They spoke quietly for a moment before she turned toward Rachel.

“Rachel! Great to see you, too!”

The two women quickly hugged before getting back to business, Andréa’s face became stoic and serious once more.

“So, Annabeth,” she said testing out the new name of the now identified Jane Doe, “is fine. I’ll give you all time to speak with her now.” He saw Moira squeeze Andréa’s arm with a loving smile before she walked out of the room.

Annabeth, who was now more alert of her surroundings, looked at all of them with wide eyes. Percy could see that she was terrified, not even her pride could hold that at bay. She obviously didn’t recognize him, or the other two people. Of course she wouldn’t.

Percy took a step towards the bed and Annabeth withered away from him. She stared at him straight in the eyes. There was no recognition in them, which hurt Percy a little. He held out his hands in a gesture of peace.

He probably should be lashing out at her. He didn’t know why he was acting so calm and at peace with the person who had tried to kill him. But he still believed that it wasn’t Annabeth who tried to drown him, he was convinced that it was some type of possession that had taken over her. The real Annabeth he knew would never.

“Annabeth,” he said, gently.

Her eyes widened at the sound of her name and she tried to move further away from him. She scrunched up her face, the ugly scar rippling with it and she bared her teeth, which were still razor sharp canines.

“How do you know my name?” she hissed.

He kept eye contact with her, hoping that she would recognize him, even after all these years. But still nothing.

“Annabeth, it’s me,” he prompted.

She leaned forward just a little to challenge him. The same spark ignited in her eyes, one that he was familiar with, the fire that showed how she never backed down from a challenge.

“That doesn’t answer my question,” she drawed out with malice.

He snuck a glance at Moira and Rachel who both looked shocked and confused. Then he looked back at Annabeth.

“It’s me, Percy.”

The anger melted off her face. Her eyes widened in sudden recognition. He’d always liked how her eyes would get comically wide with childish wonder like that. Her mouth dropped open, forming a little ‘o’. He saw her swallow, and he could see her heartbeat picking up again on the monitor. Hesitantly she moved forward toward him, taking him in properly for the first time. Her eyes seemed to take in every detail of him, like she was afraid she would lose it forever.

“You heard my cry for help,” she breathed.

She seemed hopeful now, her expression reminded Percy of that of a child, bright and innocent looking. He took a step back from her, knowing that he shouldn’t get too close. Swiftly, he took his place beside Rachel and wrapped his arm around her waist.  

Annabeth seemed to fully see the other two women in the room for the first time. People she had never met before. She turned stiff, her gray eyes stoic, flicking between the two of them with suspicion. No one else but Percy could see her nervousness, people she didn’t know always made her jittery. Even after all these years, he still knew her inside and out.

Percy pointed to Rachel and looked over at Annabeth and gave a reassuring smile.

“This is Rachel,” he introduced. Rachel gave a bright smile and waved at Annabeth. She didn’t reciprocate. Rachel felt the awkwardness and put her hand down. Human interactions were never Annabeth’s forte. Percy then pointed to his sister.

“And this is Moira.”

Moira was more reserved than Rachel was. She gave a tight smile, and a curt nod. Annabeth didn’t say anything back. The silence was thick between the four of them. Finally, Annabeth spoke.

“How do you know Percy?”

The question took all three of them by surprise. Annabeth’s voice was cold and calm, but it wasn’t dangerous. Percy didn’t feel the tingle that he got when she used her powers over humans.

Rachel, the ever brave one spoke up first. She was always the social butterfly between the two of them.

She had on a friendly smile, “I’m Percy’s girlfriend.”

Percy saw the shift of Annabeth’s eyes, jealousy was never hidden on her face, no matter how hard she tried to hide and deny it. But then, it was gone. Annabeth just nodded in acknowledgment.

“I’m Percy’s sister,” Moira declared. “How do you know my brother?” she added.

Percy and Annabeth shared a glance. They both clicked back into place even after all these years. The question between them was: who’s going to break the news?

She gave Percy a little glare, signalling that he was going to break it for them. He didn’t have much energy to fight her. He turned toward the two women and cleared his throat.

“Annabeth is my ex-girlfriend.”

There was a moment where tension was filled with electricity in the air. Moira’s eyes went wide in disbelief and Rachel just arched her eyebrows in surprise. Then, Moira whipped around toward Annabeth and pointed an accusing finger at her.

“You! You were the one who tried to kill my brother!” She screamed in rage.

She stormed up to the bedside where Annabeth was lying. Annabeth lifted herself into an up properly to get in Moira’s face, her gray eyes were flashing with anger. Percy quickly ran between the two of them before things got ugly.

“Moira, calm down.”

“CALM DOWN?! Percy, she tried to kill you! I could get her arrested for attempted murder!” Moira exclaimed.

“And I forgive her. That’s all that matters,” Percy said, pacifying her.

She opened her mouth to say something else, but let it drop, instead she gave him a look of disbelief, like she couldn’t believe he was forgiving Annabeth. Even though she didn’t know the full story. Moira took a step back and leant against the wall. She crossed her arms over her chest and cast a glare at Annabeth.

“Can I have a moment to speak to Annabeth alone?” he requested.

“Seriously? She might kill you,” Moira muttered bitterly.

Percy rolled his eyes at his sister’s childishness. Even though, yeah, Percy knew that could happen, but he was pretty sure that since Annabeth was on land she was significantly weakened, so it was unlikely. He turned to Rachel and kissed her reassuringly.

“It’ll just be a moment.”

Both women nodded and walked out leaving Percy alone with Annabeth. When the door shut he turned his attention back to Annabeth. She sat up and was leaning against the pillows with her arms crossed over her chest.

Percy grabbed a chair and took a seat next to her bed. They had a lot to discuss. He leant back with his legs spread in front of him and put his hands in his pockets. For a few long moments, they just stared at each other.

“I thought you said you would never make the transformation,” Percy started bluntly.

“And I thought you said you would never get tattoos. I guess we both lie” she bit back gazing at his arm and all the colors inked onto it.

“I see your biting wit hasn’t dulled over the years,” he mumbled to himself.

Annabeth just shrugged her shoulders and let out a huff through her nose. She rolled her eyes at him, a gesture that was so familiar to Percy it left a pang in his heart.

“But seriously, you made the transformation. Why?” he asked, wanting to know why she had brought him here.

She didn’t make eye contact with him, but he could see her trying to mask whatever emotions she was feeling, but she couldn’t, not to him. He could practically see the war going on between her emotions and her pride.

“I need your help.” She said through clenched teeth. If Percy hadn’t been accustomed to her mannerisms, he probably wouldn’t have been able to hear it. Admitting she needed help was something she never did, her fatal flaw was pride; she thought she did everything the best way and needed no one’s help doing it.

Percy was still confused. “You need my help?”

Annabeth glared at him, but it wasn’t scary or angry. The scowl over her face made the scar worse. “Don’t make me repeat myself.”

He held up his hands in surrender, the last thing he needed was her getting riled up. “Okay. But why did you transform to a human? And how did you know it would get me to come?”

She shook her head and shrugged. “I didn’t. It was a risk I took, even though I knew it was a long shot. But here you are.”  

Percy just hummed in response. He took his hands out of his pockets and crossed them over is chest.

“What is it, exactly, that would make you feel the need to call me for help?” he wondered.

Her eyes got a far away look in them, and she frowned, but a moment later they had cleared up again.

“My home. It’s being destroyed and I need your help in fixing it before it’s too late.”

Percy scrunched his face up in confusion. Why would she need his help for something like this? Percy leaned forward in his seat.

“No offense Annabeth, but why would you call for me? Why don’t you get Piper or someone else to help you instead?”

Percy noticed her breaths were becoming deeper, like she was trying to calm herself. Her eyebrows were scrunched inward as well, and her nose was wrinkled up and her lips pursed together. Just like she did when she was younger.

“I haven’t a clue where Piper is. You were the first one I thought of who could help me,” she admitted.

“What do you mean you haven’t any clue where Piper is? And how did you know I would even want to help you? I mean, we left on pretty horrible terms don’t you think?” he responded with bitterness leaking into his tone.

As if on instinct of the memories, she reached a hand up to touch her chopped hair and her other hand to the scar on her face. Permanent reminders of their fallout. She dropped both hands to her sides.

“Piper left around the same time you did. I assume to be with Jason or something. I don’t know,” she huffed out, “all I know is that I’m the only protector of the Lake left, and now I’m failing and I don’t have a clue why.”

It didn’t go unnoticed how she ignored his other question.

“And you would ask a human for help?” he asked for clarification.

Annabeth let out a growl of frustration.

“You are just as insufferable as I remember. Yes, because I’m assuming it’s you humans who are doing this to my Lake. So logically I’m asking for a human’s help. Do you have any idea why this is happening?”

Percy wanted to tell her that he hadn’t lived in Mohegan Lake for a decade. He refused to be up to date with what was happening because of her. But Moira’s words from earlier came to mind.

“It’s probably the factory,” he stated.

She cocked her head in confusion. “What factory? How is it doing this?” Annabeth said the word factory like it was foreign to her. She probably didn’t know what it was, and refused to ask.

“It’s some big business place, where they manufacture things for humans. It’s probably dumping its waste into the water, Moira mentioned how the place isn’t swimmable anymore.”

“Well whatever waste it’s putting in my waters, it’s killing everything that lives in there. You need to stop it.”

Percy reeled back from her, then stood up.

“Me? You think I can do something about this?”

Annabeth tossed the blankets aside and shifted her body round so her feet touched the floor. Seeing her with legs, and the big circle tattoos down the sides of them was a very weird sight. Not seeing her scales that glimmered all the way up to her torso was weird. But she stood up shakily for the first time to get in his face.

“Yes you! You are a human are you not?” she demanded.

He scoffed and threw his arms out wide.

“Yeah I’m a human. But I don’t know the first thing about businesses and their big factories or whatever. I’m a fucking firefighter for God’s sake. So I can’t really help you there!” he shouted back.

“Then can you find someone who can help me?” she shouted back.

Her face had turned red from the anger, and it was much more noticeable now that her skin had paled.

“Why should I help you?” Percy asked in a soft anger.

The fire went out in her gray eyes. Her shoulders slumped over and she tucked a curl behind her ear. A nervous habit she always had.

“Because I will die if this poison is not stopped,” she whispered, “I already am dying. Most of the things that lived in the water have already perished leaving me with nearly nothing. Please,” she begged, “help me.”  

Chapter Text

It took a lot of convincing and hushed yelling between Percy and Moira before he managed to get her to let Annabeth stay with them at her house until everything was sorted out. Moira was still angry and bitter towards Annabeth, but her goodness she shared with their mother, meant that she couldn’t turn away someone.

Moira talked to Andréa, who talked to the other doctors who then did the final checkups on Annabeth to make sure she was okay to leave. Percy gave her a blanket to cover herself up with, because she didn’t have any other clothes except the hospital gown. Her legs were wobbly when walking, but she refused to ask for any help, but Percy still stayed behind with her to make sure she didn’t fall.

When they reached the car, Rachel got in first but Annabeth was hesitant. Percy saw her observing and analyzing every part of the vehicle she could see, her gray eyes were narrowed in concentration and her lips pursed and twisted to the side. Moira noticed her scrutiny.

“The car’s safe you know,” she said before climbing into the driver’s seat.

Annabeth’s eyes moved toward Percy’s sister with a hint of annoyance before she carefully got inside the car. Thankfully, Annabeth wasn’t totally useless in the human world, she was an observer, after all, and picked up on things quickly. Percy couldn’t imagine the conversation that would’ve occurred about what a seatbelt is otherwise.

The air was full of tension during the car ride back to Moira’s, the radio wasn’t on, and no one spoke the entire way making the twenty minute journey feel like an eternity. As soon as Moira put the car into park on the driveway Percy was busting out the door in an instant.

They all got out and walked into the house, Annabeth stood back with the blanket wrapped around her body at the entrance way looking up at the house in awe, her gray eyes were wide like an owl’s and her mouth hung open a little.

Everyone took off their shoes, minus Annabeth, who didn’t have any, and stood in a little circle. Annabeth was too infatuated with the house to notice. Finally, Moira spoke up.

“What are we going to do about clothes?” she asked.

Annabeth snapped out of her daze and Percy saw her face start to turn pink. She looked down at the ground, wiggling her toes. Rachel shrugged her shoulders.

“I can provide some. I mean, you’re a lot taller than I am, but it shouldn’t be a problem.”

The two women looked at each other for a moment, before Annabeth looked down again. Rachel walked over placing a hand on her shoulder, but Annabeth visibly flinched back making Rachel immediately back off again.

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Please lead the way,” Annabeth said with a shrug.

Rachel gave her a small smile and lead the way up stairs to the guest bedroom. Percy and Moira made their way into the kitchen.

Moira took a beer out of the fridge silently asking if he wanted one, too. Normally, he wasn’t one for drinking, but after today’s events he took the offer. She opened the cap with a bottle opener and handed it to him then opened her own. She slumped down on a stool, taking a big swig and leaning casually on her arm on the countertop.

“Never thought I’d be meeting Annabeth for the first time like this,” she muttered.

Percy found himself staring at nothing in particular and took a sip from the alcohol, not particularly liking the taste, but welcoming it nonetheless. He sighed.

“Yeah, me either,” he admitted.

Moira twisted her head so she was looking up at him, lost in thought. There was sadness in her eyes.

“I remember you showing me a photo of her for the first time and thinking she was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen, you looked so happy, too.” She gave a wistful smile at the memory, which Percy returned. Moira had just been a little kid at that point. He remembered when she called Annabeth a mermaid and he nearly had a heart attack that she had somehow found out her secret. Now they were both older, and things were much different.

“I always wondered why we never met her, even though you guys dated through most of high school.” Moira lifted her head so that it was resting in the palm of her hand then she arched an eyebrow at Percy. “Care to tell me now?” she asked.

Percy hated hiding things from her. That was one of the reasons why his relationship with Annabeth had been so hard on him. Constantly lying to his family about her, making up excuses on why she couldn’t come over for dinner. It exhausted him. But he wasn’t sure he wanted to tell them yet. He wasn’t sure they’d ever believe him.

He rubbed his face with his hand. He was exhausted. But he couldn’t bring himself to look Moira in the eyes.

“It’s complicated,” he said. The classic excuse ripped right out of the book.

“It seemed like you didn’t want her to meet us. Was she sketchy? Is that why she tried to kill you?” she pushed, the last question seemed more spiteful to Percy.

He rolled his head back, starting to get annoyed, then gave a half-hearted glare over the counter to his sister.

“Don’t bring that up. You don’t know the full story.”

She leaned forward, challenging him. Sometimes it startled Percy how alike her and Annabeth could be at times, even though they had never met each other until today.

“Then why don’t you tell me the full story. Percy, I’m your sister. I care about you deeply, and I feel like I deserve to know it. What she did to you really hurt you.”

“Moira, you think I don’t know that? Because trust me, I do. I can never step back into a body of water that isn’t a swimming pool ever again!” he exclaimed.

“Then why did you accept her back so easily today?” she asked.

Percy just shook his head, annoyed. He took another sip of the beer and turned towards the window.

“Like I said, it’s complicated.”

“Then tell me so it isn’t complicated anymore!”

Percy slammed his hand down on the granite, the noise echoed around the small room, startling both Moira and himself.

“I loved her damn it, and she loved me too!” he exclaimed, getting angry.

Moira scoffed and rolled her eyes before taking a mouthful from her beer.

“She sure had a funny way of showing it.”

“Don’t you dare say anything when you don’t know the first thing about her. You don’t have the right to judge her. She’s done many good things that made me happy over bad things.”

Their anger simmered down after that and a quiet settled between the two of them as they both got lost in their own thoughts. Moira seemed to recant her previous thoughts.

“Do you still love her?” she suddenly asked, her voice soft.

The question took Percy off guard. He sat up straight and looked at his sister’s inquisitive face. His eyes widened and her gaped at her, like a fish without water, for a few moments trying to collect his thoughts to form a coherent sentence. He shook his head.

“I’m always going to love her. That won’t change. But I’ve moved on and I love someone else now.”

Moira nodded like she accepted that answer from him and sighed.

“I just want what’s best for you, Percy.”

He gave a small smile to his younger sister.

“I know.”

They sat in the dimly lit kitchen together for a few minutes. It was silent between the two of them, but it wasn’t awkward.

The Moira asked, “what did Annabeth want to talk to you about anyway?”

“She needs my help.”

That seemed to peak her interest and she sat up straighter.

“What for?”

“Saving the Lake.”

She arched her eyebrows like she couldn’t believe what she’d just heard, then she scrunched them together in confusion.

“Why does she care? Is she some kind of conservationist or something?”

“Something like that,” he responded.

Moira seemed to pick up on his crypticness, but didn’t mention it. She just stood up, put her now empty beer bottle in the little plastic bag filled with recyclables and turned to him.

“You can’t hide your secrets from me forever,” she said playfully, but with a serious tone laced in underneath.

“Oh, but I can try, little sister.”

A moment later, Rachel and Annabeth walked into the kitchen, joining them. Annabeth was now wearing a light green v-neck tshirt that had the words May the Forest Be With You on it. It was form fitting on her, and if she had looked like she did ten years ago, it probably would’ve ridden up on her abdomen. She was in shorts that went down to her mid thigh, and had plenty of paint smears all over them.

Her hair seemed to be shining more, it’s golden luster returning, and the green that had always tinted her hair from the water was gone. But she looked uncomfortable in the clothes and kept tugging the shirt down.

“I don’t understand how you wear clothes like this all the time,” she muttered, “it’s so restricting.”

That got a laugh from Rachel, which seemed to startle Annabeth, almost as if she hadn’t realized she’d said it outloud. A blush formed on her cheeks and Rachel put an arm around her.

“No need to feel embarrassed. I understand where you’re coming from. Many people are nudists” she reassured.

Annabeth’s gray eyes flitted to her with a mortified look. Whether it was because Rachel assumed she liked to live in the nude, or if it was because she assumed she was human, Percy didn’t really want to know. But the look on her face was hilarious.

“That’s-that’s-” she stuttered, trying and failing to find a reasonable response.

“Let’s save Annabeth the embarrassment, and move on. Percy told me you need his help,” Moira said, taking pity on her and changing the subject.

Annabeth’s expression changed to that of relief and they all took a seat around the counter to talk. Moira handed out a beer to Rachel who accepted, and then to Annabeth who just looked at it funny. Moira took that as a ‘no’ and put it back.

“He said you need his help to save the lake. Why?” Moira continued after everyone was settled.

Annabeth nodded, fiddling with her hair. “He was the first person I thought to call. The Lake is being poisoned, and all the wildlife and plants are dying very quickly. I just assumed since it was a hu-” she stopped short realizing she was about to say ‘a human problem’.

“A problem he would be familiar with, I could asked for his help. He told me what he thought the root of the problem was, which he said didn’t have any expertise in. So, I asked him to find someone who did.”

“Why do you care so much?” Rachel questioned, she sat up and put her hands out in front of her. “Not that I don’t care, because this type of stuff I’m really passionate about, but you talk as if the lake is your home.”

Annabeth gave Rachel a wry smile.

“In many ways it is.”

Rachel just nodded, studying Annabeth. Percy could tell she was probably thinking about a future painting or something.

“Well, I think with all of us combined, we can help you. I mean, my dad is a huge business man, so I know a thing or two about the subject and have a lot connections. Percy has Grover, who’s a conservationist like you, and Jason, who can help if things escalate too quickly,” Rachel suggested.

“We’ll make a few phone calls,” Percy said, already getting up.

“Thank you,” was all Annabeth could say.

Chapter Text

Jason was more than willing to come home than Percy had been. Almost immediately, before Percy could even get a few words out, Jason had agreed. They had a long talk over the phone catching up, it had been quite some time since they had last seen each other. Jason and Piper lived in Washington D.C. and promised to be there later that night.

Grover had also hopped on board quickly. They had’t spoken in an even longer time, especially since Grover moved to Colorado in the sixth grade with his family. He was now part of some environmental Peace Corps type of deal, so was all over the country and usually had a pretty flexible schedule. He would be there within the day.

 

As promised, Jason and Piper knocked on the front door just as the sun was setting over the horizon. Both beamed at Percy when he answered the door, and he nearly got crushed by a bear hug from them. Piper then put a hand on Percy’s shoulder, face getting serious.

“Where’s Annabeth?” she asked.

Percy pointed up the stairs. She had been up in the second guest bedroom all day after their conversation, and she refused to leave and for anyone to come in. Piper nodded and walked up the stairs leaving Percy and Jason still stood in the doorway.

They both watched as she disappeared around the corner, then they walked into the living room to sit down on the couch. Jason pushed his glasses up his nose, his face serious.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“There’s some serious trouble, and Annabeth has roped us into it. The Lake is being poisoned by Olympus Electric, and it’s making her panic. She needs our help apparently.”

Jason seemed to be in deep thought. His lips were set in a straight line, and his eyebrows were scrunched downward and his light blue eyes were narrowed. Percy could see he was trying to figure out what to do. Finally he looked back at Percy.

“This is a pretty big deal. I can probably try to file a suit against the company for disrupting the ecosystem of the lake and make a case about how it affected the town and residents. But it would be a big risk going against Olympus Electric, they’re a huge company.”

Percy just nodded.

“And I know you’re no investigator, but you did study to be a scientist. Not only that, but a marine biology one. So you can probably run some tests on the Lake and present it as evidence. And Grover knows his shit about the environment, god knows how many times he’s protested in D.C. about it.”

Percy let out a laugh, and a small smile forming on his face as he looked over at his best friend.

“It’s been quite some time since I did any scientific studies,” he joked, “not sure if I remember properly.”

Jason knew he was kidding and punched him in the shoulder. The two of them burst into loud laughter for a few moments.

“I’ll get Rachel to pull some strings with her connections, she’ll probably have some good lawyers who can help you and get me the right equipment we need.”

Jason wrapped his arm around Percy’s shoulder and pulled him in for a noogie. Percy yelled in protest and push him off with a hard shove.

“Ugh, I’m gonna have to take a leave of absence now and say I have a family emergency,” he complained, realizing his short weekend was about to become much longer.

His friend suddenly sat up straight like he’d just had an epiphany. But it wasn’t the happy kind, his face scrunched up like he’d just sucked juice from a lemon.

“I just realized, my dad has connections to that company, like, high connections. Maybe, I can convince him to stop them so we don’t have to file a case and make this a much more complicated and longer process.”

Percy understood why he didn’t like the idea. Jason and his father were formal at best. The relationship was just as bad as Percy and his own fathers.

“That means you’ll have to speak with him,” Percy said, speaking softly.

“I know.” Then Jason’s face hardened in resolve and he turned to Percy with a new vigor. “But if it makes this situation go faster, I will. Because Annabeth doesn’t have the time it takes to get a case to court. It could take months, hell even a year. So I’ll talk to him, even if I don’t like it.”

Percy smiled at his friend. “Your sense of justice never ceases to amaze me.”

Jason shrugged his shoulders and lifted his chin up in fake pride. “That’s why I’m a lawyer right?”

“Lawyers are usually only in it for themselves and the money,” Percy jabbed.

Jason glared at him, “dick.”

They both broke out into hysterics. The laughter went on for a long time, until they were both wheezing and tears were coming from their eyes. It had been too long since he’d laughed that hard with his best friend.

Then Percy came to a sudden realisation too. He calmed himself down, his stomach aching from the laughter.

“I may be rusty on my biology skills, but I know someone who isn’t.”

Jason calmed himself too, wiping a stray tear from the corner of his eye. It took him a second to realize what he was talking about.

“You’re willing to talk to your father?” he asked in astonishment.

Percy nodded. He had talked to his father probably five times in his entire life. “Yeah, if you’re willing to talk to yours, I can talk to mine. We need all the help we can get. Besides, it’s probably time I actually had a chat with him about… everything,” he resigned.

Percy thought of the sand dollar his father had given him so many years ago, and how much it had meant to him. That one piece he’d had of his father and where he came from, and how he’d then given it to Annabeth in the hopes of reconciliation only to have a horrible breakup with her weeks later. He wondered if she still had it, and if she still wore it. He really hoped so. That was a pretty important thing to him, and he would feel devastated if she had just thrown it away like it was nothing.

“I guess we’re both maturing. A little late at twenty eight,” Jason joked trying to lighten the mood.

It worked and Percy laughed along with his friend.


 

Piper found the room that Annabeth was in after a bit of trial and error. As quietly as she could, she opened up the door and gently knocked her knuckles against it. If Annabeth heard, she ignored it.

The room was dark, the only light coming in was through the window next to the bed. It was a simple looking room, with light green paint over the walls and white and green sheets to match on the bed. There was a wooden desk and set of drawers; the bare necessities needed for a guest room.

Annabeth was sitting on the bed, looking out the window. Her legs were tucked under her and she was leaning forward against her arms. Piper could almost imagine her tail, the beautiful green scales glittering in the sunlight making them iridescent with tints of blue. And her larger than life fins which always flowed behind her gracefully whether in water or not.

She couldn’t help but notice how weird it was to see Annabeth in human form, she could see that it just wasn’t right . She didn’t belong as a human, not that was a bad thing. But she had always been so scared of what it would be like if she did transform, and so against it until she knew she could trust the person she would transform for. Just like how Piper figured it out for Jason.

Piper had thought that Percy was the one for Annabeth, they had been so perfect together and she thought they would be together forever, that the spirits would allow it. How else had Percy found the path to them, dragging Jason along with him? Only the soulmates of the mermaids, the ones who would help them keep the ancestral line, could find the path. They were meant to be.

When a mermaid found her soulmate, she would transform to human to form the bond between them. They would have a child together, mermaids were only permitted to have girls, and they would raise the child together until they thought she was ready to take on the duty as the guardian of whatever body of water their mother had come from. Usually this was in the early years of childhood. It was a compromise that both parents knew and agreed to. Piper had been brought to the sea when she was eight, but didn’t remember much of her time on land. Annabeth had already been there for years when she came. Piper remembered her mother as a tender woman, with the ability to charm and shift her appearance. It was standard of mothers to leave their child and go back to their lovers, but of course they would come and check up on them from time to time.

Mermaids were always called back to their home, though. No matter how far they strayed, it was inevitable, it was the call of the sea, of the spirits to bring them home. Piper had felt it the same time Jason got Percy’s call. Piper couldn’t stay human all the time; she was much better at controlling it now, but occasionally she would have to make the transformation to mermaid again. It’s why their home in Washington D.C. was right next to a lake. It wasn’t her lake, but it was sufficient enough to quell the call.

Piper had always wondered why things had gone so astray for Annabeth. She knew the spirits had punished her, but she had no idea why. As far as Piper knew, Annabeth hadn’t done anything that would make the spirits that angry with her, that they would deliberately twist her fate, and Annabeth would never tell her why.

She looked at her fellow guardian, and noticed her the difference in her appearance. It had been years since she had seen Annabeth and she felt a twinge of guilt for leaving. But Piper was a free spirit, she wanted that sense of freedom and had took the chance to get it with Jason. Annabeth looked thinner, much thinner than she should be. Her skin had lost the sun kissed tone from all her time she’d spent basking in the sunlight. And her hair, one of the most sacred parts of their identity, had been chopped to her shoulders. That could only happen if some else had done it to her. Mermaids would never willingly cut their hair, doing that meant losing a connection to their magic, severely weakening them, and they couldn’t pass on as a spirit until they got it back.

Piper knew the story, of course. Jason had told her everything in vivid detail about what had happened that day. She couldn’t say she was surprised, because she had seen it coming. But she knew how painful it must’ve been for Annabeth, and she empathized with her. She couldn’t deny she probably would’ve reacted the same had it been her and Jason. She just hoped that Percy knew the significance of cutting her hair, and the consequences. She hoped that Annabeth would get it back so she could pass on in peace when the time came.

She took a step forward into the room.

“Annabeth?” she called out cautiously.

She saw her tense and d moment later her head turned around to face her. Piper could see that she had gotten new tattoos on her face, one’s that didn’t look so nice. The tattoos mermaids got were significant to the person they were on, but even Piper could see that the black lips and lines down the chin seemed like a bad omen.

A nasty scar ran diagonally down Annabeth’s face, from where the blade she had given Jason had cut. Piper visibly winced at it. Annabeth’s gray eyes were wide like she couldn’t believe Piper was standing right there in front of her.

“Piper?” she whispered.

She smiled at Annabeth and walked toward her until she engulfing her in a hug. It felt so good to reconnect with her, to feel the bond they had formed, strengthened by touch. It made Piper feel whole again.

She let go after a minute, but they still kept their hands on each other’s shoulders and they just stared at each other. Annabeth with her big eyes wide in awe.

“Piper, I can’t believe you’re here too,” she said gently.

Piper gave her a warm smile, which Annabeth returned.

“I would always come back. You know that, and I would do anything for you.”

Then she turned serious.

“Annabeth what happened? What made you transform after all these years?” she questioned with a sense of urgency.

Annabeth looked down, a sadness coming over her. Shadows seemed to cover her entire face.

“It’s the Lake. Something is happening to our home, and I need help to fix it before everything,” she hesitated for a moment, “including me...dies.”

She said the last part so softly, Piper thought she had heard her wrong. But she could feel Annabeth’s aura, it was much weaker than it had ever been. She suddenly understood the gravity of the situation. If the wildlife in the lake dies, the spirit fades along with everything else. Which means that their history will fade to nothing. They need to save their home.

And they will do anything to try.  

Chapter Text

Normally, Percy was a heavy sleeper. All throughout his adolescence, his mother constantly berated him for sleeping through alarms or anything else that was going around him. So, he didn’t know why he woke up to the sound of Rachel muttering to herself, but he did.

Groggily he sat up, stretching his limbs and trying to figure out what was happening through his dazed mind. It was still dark outside, and all the lights were off in their room, except in the corner at the desk, sat Rachel sketching away in her drawing pad. The was a desklamp on, giving off the only dim illumination. It made her hair look like an inferno; he had taken to calling her ‘Red’ because of her hair, but, ironically, was also her initials.

Percy rubbed at his eyes to clear the sleep from them, Rachel was too engrossed in her work to notice he was up. Her back was hunched over, her face full of serious concentration, while her pencil glided away across the paper.

Percy stood up and walked over to her. He leaned down and rested his head on her shoulder. The touch startled her for a moment, but she never broke her concentration.

“What are you drawing?” he whispered.

He observed the rough pencil sketches on the paper, more lines being added by the second as Rachel kept editing her own work. He was amazed at how talented she was, finding inspiration in everything.

“Something I saw in a dream. I woke up and started to draw before I forgot it,” she whispered back.

The lines became a little clearer now. At the center of the page was a woman, he could see half of her body as the rest had been submerged underwater. She had a look of longing, eyes that held so much emotion, a soft grimace on her face. She was looking in the distance at something he would never be able to see. Her hair was long, and had waves to it that fell down to her chest, before fanning out in thin tendrils in the water, surrounding her gracefully. Around her neck, like a choker, was a sand dollar attached to leather strip.

Percy realized who it was. His eyes widened at the rough draft masterpiece.

“Is that,” he started but hesitated, “Annabeth?”

He saw Rachel nod and heave a short huff of a laugh. She twisted her body round so she could see him.

“I know, right? In the dream though, she wasn’t human. She was a mermaid.”

Her words made Percy’s stomach fall to his feet. There was no way she could possibly know the truth. They had only known each other for a few days, and besides Annabeth’s awkward way of dealing with human life, there was nothing to betray that she was mermaid.

Rachel continued. “And it was weird, I was talking to her but I don’t remember anything we were saying. Just her mouth was moving and her face expressing things to me, but I couldn’t hear anything. And then we separated and I saw her in the water, she gave a soft smile but it was also sad, then she dived underwater, and her tail, which was the most beautiful thing I could’ve ever imagined up, flicked the water before submerging with her.”

She stuck the pencil behind her ear and her eyebrows were scrunched together in confusion. Then she looked back down at her drawing.

“It was so real,” she muttered.

Percy wrapped his arms around her shoulders giving her a kiss on the cheek. He nuzzled his face into the crook of her shoulder and neck.

“Maybe it was a vision. You always seemed like the Oracle type to me,” he said half jokingly.

She let out a laugh, before gently smacking him on the arm. Percy laughed into her neck, joining in because this moment was perfect.

“You and your dumb mythology references,” she teased.

Percy looked back up at the drawing, studying every detail to memory.

“What do you think this means?”

Rachel shrugged. “Maybe if it is a vision,” she said as a joke, “then it means that Annabeth gets what she wanted our help for and the water could be the Lake she loves.”

Percy nodded in agreement. She was just analyzing stuff, but for Percy it was literal, he was sure the water was Mohegan Lake. “I hope so. Will you ever finish it? Like, paint it and what not?”

She twisted her head so she was looking up at him and gave him a grin and nodded. Rachel put her pencil back with the rest of her art stuff, snapping the bag closed. “It would be a shame if this was only a rough pencil sketch.”

She got up and turned off the light. The darkness surrounded them, the only light being from the moon outside their window. He felt her grab his hand and drag them back to their bed. They both got under the covers, and lie facing each other.

“Now, you have a big day with your dad tomorrow, so go to sleep.”

He leaned in for a quick kiss before they both went back to sleep.


 

Percy was anxious waiting for his father to arrive. It had been a few days now, and he had taken a leave of absence from work; something he wasn’t too happy about. Everyone they had called had arrived now, Grover was staying with Jason and Piper, who still had a house here just in case. Always the planner, was Jason.

It was just him, Annabeth, and Rachel in the house. Moira and Andréa had gone out for a lunch date somewhere leaving them alone. They were all sitting in the living room, idly watching TV. Annabeth was concentrating on what was happening on the screen, while Percy and Rachel both knew what was going to happen because it was a rerun of Seinfeld they’d both seen a million times.

Annabeth still seemed to be a little uncomfortable as a human, but she had adapted to wearing clothes relatively quickly. Rachel and her had bonded together, but he hadn’t a clue what they talked about without him. Hopefully Annabeth didn’t unleash her green monster that was very prominent inside her when she wanted it to be. But Rachel never mentioned anything about jealousy, in fact, she seemed to like Annabeth.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Percy jumped up from his seat and practically ran to the door. Rachel and Annabeth simultaneously leaned over to watch. He would’ve found that funny, had he not been so anxious to answer the door.

He took a deep breath before turning the doorknob, opening the door and revealing the tall man stood there. He was Percy’s height, and had a stocky build to him. One that could easily intimidate anyone he talked to. His black hair was smoothed back with gray showing at his temples. A thick beard covered his face and his skin was deeply tan, both from his natural skin tone and sunlight. He had the same shade of green eyes as Percy did.

It was his father.

He was wearing a tacky Hawaiian shirt, one that was brightly coloured with nauseating designs on it. He was also wearing cargo shorts that had many pockets on them, and a bucket hat hanging behind his neck, with various fishing hooks and sea pun buttons on it. A smile formed on his face.

“Perseus, how nice it is to see you again,” he greeted. His baritone voice reverberated and seemed to take up the entire room. The same voice he hadn’t heard in years. Percy was rendered speechless. He took a step back and opened the door wider so his father could come in. He took the offer and slipped off his flip flops before following Percy into the living room.

Rachel stood up when she saw him, and Annabeth who was more hesitant followed her. Rachel walked up to Percy’s father and gave him a cheeky smile.

“Hi, I’m Rachel, Percy’s girlfriend. You must be his father,” she greeted. She held out her hand for a handshake, which he shook in a strong grip and smiled in return.

“I’m Poseidon,” he introduced.

He then turned his attention to Annabeth who was scrutinizing him, her eyes had turned a dark gray and were narrowed at him. Poseidon looked at Annabeth, analyzing her, like he knew everything.

“I know what’s going on,” he said with confidence in his voice.

Percy and Rachel exchanged confused glances for a moment. Poseidon walked over and sat down in a chair that was closest to where Annabeth was sitting on the couch. Everyone else took a seat as well.

Seirína,” he said.

Annabeth bristled at the word and stood up straight like she had been electrocuted. Then she leaned forward and growled something in a language Percy didn’t understand. Whatever she said, she said it with venom. But his father didn’t seem too offended. Poseidon’s green eyes flicked over to Percy for a moment.

“Now, now. How about we talk so everyone can understand?” he asked, but not expecting an answer.

Annabeth sat back with her arms crossed over her chest. She gave a low growl but didn’t argue. Her gray eyes were almost black, and Percy was afraid that soon they would turn red like they did when she was furious.

“Now, Perseus,” he started. Percy visibly flinched at the sound of his full name.

“How did you get entangled with a seirína , like her?” he inquired.

He had used that word again, it had sounded familiar to him somehow. It sounded almost… Greek. Percy racked his head for what it could mean, then it clicked. His eyes widened and he could tell his father knew what he was talking about. He turned to Annabeth who just kept glaring.

“How do you know what she is?” Percy asked in shock.

His father’s green eyes brightened with mischief, it made him look younger, and a smirk formed on his face underneath his beard.

“I know one when I see one, son.”

“Am I the only one who has no idea what the hell is going on right now?” Rachel asked suddenly. She was very confused and a little bit peeved that she was out of the loop. He didn’t want her to feel left out, but at the same time he didn’t know if he wanted Annabeth’s identity to be revealed.

Percy turned to Annabeth who was still wound up tight and sat tense on the couch. He leaned in toward her.

“Do you want to share now, or later?” he asked.

It was inevitable that she would find out eventually. Percy knew that, and he knew that Annabeth did too. Now that his father had waltzed into the door basically screaming her identity for all to hear, it would be hard to hide. He could see in her eyes she was submitting.

“Now,” she said through grit teeth.

Percy nodded and turned to Rachel who was still waiting for an answer. He tried to think of how to break the news carefully and easiest. But she wasn’t having that.

“Whatever it is you’re gonna tell me, you better do it now.”

“Annabeth is a mermaid and she lives in Mohegan Lake,” he said in one breath.

Her face was blank for a few good moments. Her eyes moved from Percy, to Annabeth, to his father, and back to Percy again.

“Seriously?” she asked.

Her tone wasn’t sarcastic or unbelieving, it was more of awe and amazement. Annabeth seemed to be confused.

“You believe him? Just like that?” she asked Rachel.

Rachel shrugged her shoulders, an easy going smile appearing on her face and her eyes brightened.

“Yeah! I mean the world is crazy anyway, so honestly anything is fucking possible at this point.” She looked Annabeth up and down, smirked and arched a brow at her. “And it explains why you have that aura of mystery about you and why always seem to be beautiful no matter how you look. You not being human is so obvious now,” she said laughing.

A light pink dusted Annabeth’s cheeks and she turned away from Rachel. Percy could count on one hand how many times he’s seen Annabeth blush. He was surprised that his girlfriend caused it. Now he really did wonder what they talked about alone.

Poseidon clapped his hands together with a smile. “Well, now the cat’s out of the bag, let’s continue on shall we?”

Everyone nodded and adjusted themselves on their seats. Once everyone was comfortable, Poseidon began again.

“So, Perseus had called me stating an emergency, but failed to say what it was. Care to elaborate?”

He leaned back in the seat, crossing one leg over the other with his arms stretched behind his neck. Percy really couldn’t believe how laid back his father was. All this time he had always assumed he was this harsh and cold man who demanded to be taken seriously. Instead he was the quite opposite.

Percy nodded and explained the whole deal. He didn’t make eye contact with his father most of the time; he didn’t want to see the same green eyes that mirrored on his own face. But he could see out of the corner of his eyes that he was listening very intently. When he was finished, his father had a brooding face on, deep thought. Then he leaned forward, his elbows on his thighs, and his hands clasped together under his chin.

“I see. Yes, well, what I think is, the reason you called me here, is not what you intended me for.”

“What do you mean?” Percy asked, confused.

“What I mean is,” he started slowly, demanding eye contact with Percy, “is that yes, you need to get Olympus Electric to stop dumping their waste into the lake, but you also need things from my world, that Annabeth and I can provide.”

Annabeth leaned forward suddenly at that. “What do you mean you can provide?” She demanded, “and how do you know so much about my kind?”

“My dear, I know so much about your kind, because I am the son of one myself,” he stated casually.

Percy felt like the world had fallen out from under him. He felt like he had developed vertigo, and the whole world was spinning and tilting sideways and upside down.

“Impossible!” She shouted standing up, “my kind doesn’t allow men! We don’t raise them to be like us, you are a liar!”

“My mother raised me. I know of the ways of the magic just as you do. It is also one of the reasons why I was attracted to this place when I met Sally.”

“You’re a nóthos ,” she sneered like it was a despicable thing.

Poseidon seemed a little offended and hurt at the word, but he hid it quickly.

“Your prejudices cloud your mind my youngling. But yes, I am. My mother raised me on land, I am more human than merman but I still possess gifts the spirits gave to me over time.”

“Prove it,” Annabeth challenged.

“Perseus, can you get me a glass of water please?” he asked.

Percy nodded and walked into the kitchen and grabbed a glass from the cupboard and filled it to the brim with tap water. He came back and handed it to his father who then placed it on the glass coffee table.

He saw his father roll up the sleeves of his Hawaiian shirt revealing very beautiful symmetrical tattoos on his biceps. He closed his eyes and inhaled a deep breath.

Megála pnévmata kai theoús tou Olýmpou parapáno, sas kaló na me voithísei me ti mageía ,” he said loudly.

Somehow, Percy was able to understand what he was saying. Great spirits and gods of Olympus above, I call on you to help me with my magic. Annabeth raised an eyebrow, she obviously recognized the call.

Poseidon’s tattoos started to glow from a bright yellow to a blinding white. He opened his eyes, but they were no longer green instead replaced with the same white glow as his tattoos. Exactly how Percy imagined a god would look like.

He raised his hand, and the water with it rose out of the cup and hovered above his palm. He moved the water between his hands, stretching it until it dissolved into gaseous molecules, and then suddenly condensing it into ice. When he was finished, he sent the water back into the cup and the glowing faded.

“Proof enough?” he asked.

Annabeth nodded but didn’t say anything, she glared at him, like she was mad at his very existence. Percy couldn’t help but feel like that was his job; he was the one who had been abandoned by him, caused many family issues between him and his mother.

“Good. Now you understand why we need some magic, as well as some mortal help. Let’s get started shall we?”

Chapter Text

Percy still felt like the world had crumbled beneath him. Just when he thought he knew every aspect of his life, something came and changed it. He couldn’t believe his father, his biological father, was the son of a mermaid. Meaning his bloodline had the same qualities that Annabeth’s and Piper’s did, and he hadn’t known it, nobody had even hinted at it; not once. He wondered if his mother even knew the truth or not. He hoped she didn’t, because he wouldn’t believe that she would hold such a monumental piece of information from him.

He was sitting on a chair outside, needing some alone time. He was on the back porch, looking out across the backyard that was at least an acre. There was a nice summer breeze, blowing his hair back and cooling his face. He had been staring at everything and nothing at the same time for what felt like eternity now, his father’s words repeating themselves over and over again in his head.

He hadn't even heard the screen door opening and closing behind him, but he saw Annabeth take a seat in the chair next to him. She sat up straight with her legs together and placed under her. He noticed she liked sitting with her legs closed a lot, he thought it may have to do with the tail she normally bore.

Percy snuck a glance over at her, but didn’t say anything. Her blonde hair was flicking in the wind and she closed her eyes, like he had seen her do so many times before, basking in the sunlight that was shining down on them. The blue tank top she wore showed off her strong arms with the tattoos that went with them.

“Do you want to talk about it?” she whispered softly. Her voice was almost caught and thrown with the wind. She still had her eyes closed in a moment of peace and tranquility. Something he was grateful for after the last few hectic days. He couldn’t remember the last time they were together with this type of calm. Surely it was years ago, when the both of them thought their love was indestructible. Naive kids they had been back then.

“About today or everything else that’s happened?” he asked with a ghost of a smile forming on his lips.

She grimaced slightly and opened her eyes to look over at him lazily.

“We have plenty of time. I can answer any questions you have.”

Percy let out a little laugh, and ran a hand through his hair. He leaned back more in his chair, spreading his legs out. He flexed his arms, stretching them above his head, then placed them behind his neck, linking his fingers together.

“That’s good to hear, because I have many questions.”

Annabeth didn’t say anything, but she arched an eyebrow signalling she was ready to answer his slew of questions.

“I think a good place to start is with my father.”

Annabeth nodded her head and let out a hum from her lips. She crossed her arms over her chest.

“That language he was speaking, what was it?” he asked.

“It was ancient greek.”

Percy leaned forward, cocking his head to the side, confusion washed over him.

“Ancient Greek? Why would you two know that language?”

“Because it is the original language my people spoke. It is hardwired into our brains to speak it. At least, my bloodline of mermaids originate from Grecian seas of the west. We are descended from the ancient sea nymphs who have now spread to other places through time. Piper’s bloodline comes from the people who lived here first. My kind just integrated and assimilated with them over time.”

“You called my father something. Why did you sneer it?”

“I called him illegitimate.” Before Percy could even follow up with another question, she continued on, looking ahead. “Your bloodline is tainted. I can see that he is much more human than he is nereid, his aura isn’t very strong. My kind is meant to raise women, and if the off chance that a mermaid does have a son, they give it to the father to raise and flee.”

Percy looked at her like she was crazy. That was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard. Annabeth snuck a glance at him and rolled her eyes.

“Are you serious?”

“Don’t act so surprised, yes I am serious. Your grandmother, she broke that and raised him with the culture of my kind. He is illegitimate in the eyes of my own. Your own bloodline connected to our magic, is the most probable reason why you were able to find the hidden cave on your own all those years ago, but your magic is very diluted; so weak that I couldn’t even tell.”

“So it’s basically useless?”

“Yes,” she said bluntly, “any more questions?”

“Do you and Rachel get along?”

She turned to him, confused, and tilted her head to the side, reminding Percy of a puppy.

“Pyrrha is very nice. She is a little, uh, quirky though,” she said nodding her head.

The name that she called Rachel, was not one he recognized. But he let out a little laugh about hearing her being quirky. Like Annabeth wasn’t. Well, she would never admit to that.

“Pyrrha?”

“It’s a little nickname, because of her hair. I’ve never seen a color so red in my life. She seems to like it.”

Now the big question that as still between the two of them, was about to come. It was the big elephant in the room that needed to be addressed. But asking it made Percy nervous. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer.

“Annabeth, do you still… have feelings for me?”

She scoffed, but looked put out by the question. He could see she was trying to put up a front for him, make her seem more nonchalant about it.

“If you just wanted to ask that, you could’ve just asked if I still loved you. That’s what you mean, right?” she said in a cool voice.      

Percy just nodded, looking down at the ground.

“Of course I still love you. But I understand if you don’t reciprocate the affection. What I did to you that day, I will never forgive myself for it. Instincts that were so primeval and disgusting came over me, I still can’t believe I let my emotions get out of control like that. I don’t deserve you, and honestly, I don’t deserve your help either.”

Percy took the words to heart, he knew that was the best apology he would ever get out of Annabeth and it was enough. He wanted to tell her that he still loved her too, that he would never stop, but he didn’t want to give her any false hope that they would be together again.

“And Rachel, you’re not angry at her for dating me?” he asked carefully.

She let out another scoff and a self-deprecating laugh. One that made her head tilt back on the chair, her golden hair cascade over the sides. She looked over at him, her gray eyes bright but he could see the pain inside.

“I tried to be angry at her. I wanted to hate her because she stole your affection away from me. But I just...I can’t. Everything about her is just so genuine, that I know that she is the right person for you. No matter how much it pains me.”

She choked out the last line and turned away from him. Percy saw her brush a stray tear from her eye. Percy got up and crouched down in front of her. He looked up into her eyes, which had a sheen of water over them. He gently took her hand.

“Annabeth, you don’t know how much that means to me. I was so worried that you’d take your anger out on her, but you have quelled those.”

He looked at her face, taking it in. The splash of freckles still over the bridge of her nose, even though her face had changed she was still the same girl who stole his heart. But she had given it back to him.

“And I would always help you. You said it yourself, my fatal flaw is loyalty to my friends and those I love. And I love so easily, and I fall just as quickly. Annabeth, I still love you, and you will always have a piece of my heart with you at all times, but I’m thankful that you accepted that I moved on.”

He then reached his arms around her and hugged her tightly. It was the first time they had any contact like this in years. It was full of intense emotions, ones that had been bottled up. He leaned into her ear.

“I will be here until this problem is resolved,” he whispered.

“Thank you, Percy,” she said in the most sincere voice.


Annabeth found herself looking at a variety of clothes and feeling very overwhelmed by them all. Rachel had dragged her, Moira and Andréa along for a girls day out, which consisted of getting Annabeth new clothes for herself.

Even though she had been on land for now a week, the human world still confused her greatly. She had hoped that with all the little stuff Percy had told her over the years, she’d be able to become accustomed to it. Boy, was she wrong. Nothing could’ve prepared her for such a shift in lifestyle.

Moira hadn’t been told the truth about Annabeth. Percy didn’t want her to be sucked in more than she already was. But Annabeth could see that Percy’s sister wasn’t an idiot. She would figure it out sooner or later. Annabeth tried to act casual and blend in, but she just couldn’t seem to shake off the awkwardness of being in human form.

Rachel walked up next to Annabeth and wrapped her arm around her shoulders. Annabeth wasn’t too keen on the physical contact, but she didn’t want to pull away. Rachel’s red hair was piled up on top of her head and she was wearing a loose shirt and colorful jean shorts and she had a big smile on her face.

“Okay, now as much as sharing my clothes with you has been a wonderful bonding experience Annabeth, it’s time for you to get your own,” she announced.

Annabeth turned to Rachel, with a skeptical look on her face. All the stuff in the store didn’t seem like it would cover much of Annabeth’s body.

“I don’t know about this. I mean, as soon as this problem is solved, I’ll be back home and I’ll have no use for this stuff,” she argued.

Rachel scoffed, already dragging Annabeth deeper into the store.

“Don’t look so short term! Maybe you’ll come back on land one day and then you’ll need some clothes, so you won’t emerge completely naked out of the water and scare the poor humans. Plus, I have plenty of cash, so we can buy multiple bras here no problem!”

“Bras?” Annabeth questioned. She had never heard of the word before.

Rachel nodded casually then gently slapped the top of her breast. Annabeth covered herself with her arms, feeling scandalized.

“Yeah, that thing I gave you to hold up your tits. My bras are little too small for you, so we’ll get you measured properly.”

Annabeth didn’t argue. A woman measured her and rambled some numbers and letters that didn’t make any sense to her, but Rachel seemed to understand what she was talking about. They walked over to the bras hanging up on the racks and Rachel started picking some out and holding them up in front of Annabeth, looking for approval. Annabeth didn’t know anything, so she just nodded every time.

By the time they were done, Annabeth had was carrying eight bags. It seemed like overkill to her, she wouldn’t need this much clothes ever in her lifetime, but Rachel had insisted.

Annabeth wanted to dislike Percy’s girlfriend. She was the jealous type after all, even though she had no right to be. She wanted to be able to intimidate her and lure her away from Percy so she could have him for herself. It would be so much easier if she was a horrible human being, like how she had been taught. But instead, Rachel was this genuine, nice woman, who seemed to want to be friends with Annabeth despite everything. She wanted to help Annabeth and told her about her own life, she didn’t want to fight over Percy. She didn’t even see Annabeth as competition from an old flame. Rachel just saw Annabeth as Annabeth. And Annabeth found herself liking Rachel, a lot.

The two of them walked into a restaurant that was next to the mall. Annabeth couldn’t read English, something she never wanted to admit to anyone. She had never been taught how to read it, there had never been a reason for it. There wasn’t anything to read underwater anyway, all her communicating was through talking.

They were seated quickly, and handed something that listed all the food. Annabeth flushed when she saw all the words, she couldn’t understand any of it. To her, it just looked like a bunch of symbols mashed together in sequences that were incomprehensible to her. She decided she would just ask the person who got their food what was the best seafood they had and take it from there.

“Moira and Andréa will be joining us in a few minutes,” Rachel said looking over her paper. Annabeth wished she knew the word for that item.

She just nodded and kept pretending to look over the food items. Percy used to say a phrase: fake it until you make it. That’s what she was doing, in fact that had been her game plan the entire time. It wasn’t that she hated Moira, but they seemed to be on rocky grounds. They just didn’t like each other very much.

“I just want to clear the air, and I hate keeping secrets,” Rachel started. She placed the paper on the table, and took a sip of water that had been provided for them. Annabeth noticing she was thirsty too, followed. The water was crisp, unlike anything she had ever tasted before. Annabeth nodded while drinking the rest of it down.

“Percy tells me almost everything, and he talks about the conversations between you two, to me.”

Annabeth arched her eyebrow. “Does he now?”

Rachel nodded. She took out something and started to draw on the white square of paper they had been given. Annabeth couldn’t tell what she was drawing, but it was intricate in design. Her green eyes, which were much lighter than Percy’s, were deep in focus.

“He told me how you still love him, and he told me he still loves you, too. I understand where he’s coming from, and by default where you’re coming from too. Even if I don’t have any actual personal experience,” she said with a small laugh.

Annabeth was speechless and she started twirling her hair, something she always did when she was nervous. She didn’t want Rachel to hate her, after she had come to like her over the past few days. Rachel held up a hand.

“I’m not done. I know you said you approve of me being with him, which I appreciate, knowing that if you didn’t, well, you could’ve killed me.” Annabeth flinched at the implication behind those words. It was something that was still seared into her mind and every time the memory came up, it made her feel shameful. “But, Percy is a very loving person. He tends to get emotional to the people he cares about. He might not want any romance with you anymore Annabeth, but trust me when I tell you this: he will always want to protect you. You were his best friend first and he wants to rekindle that friendship, even after all this has blown over. Don’t lose the opportunity placed before you, because you’re lucky he still has that trust for you.”

This was all something she had been told by Percy before. But it was still nice to hear it from someone else. It gave her confidence that the words held true meaning, that it wasn’t all fake.

Annabeth looked down at the wood of the table, and with her finger drew invisible designs on it. She gave a small smile to herself.

“Trust me, I know, but thank you for saying it again. I would love for our friendship to be re-kindled. But he told me you live out in… San Diego?” she asked, not sure if she got the place right. She couldn’t remember where it was, but she knew it was far from here.

“Yeah, out on the other side of the country.”

Annabeth nodded.

“If you live there, I can’t visit. I’m the only guardian left of my home, and my duty as a mermaid is to keep the peace and protect my lake at all costs. If he would wish to see me after, he would have to come to me instead. I hope he understands that.”

Rachel gave out a loud laugh, startling Annabeth, but after a moment she joined in too. Annabeth didn’t understand what was so funny, but it felt good to laugh with her.

“He’s a pretty understanding person. I’ll make sure to tell him though.”  

Chapter Text

Percy knocked on the front door to Piper and Jason’s house. The house reminded Percy of Jason’s childhood home that he’d lived in with his older sister Thalia. This house was two stories, painted white with a nice blue door, that made it look like it was from Greece instead of a little town in New York.

“Come in!” he heard Piper call from inside.

He turned the handle, pushing the door open, and walked in. Even though they didn’t live full time in the house, nobody would be able to tell. It gave off a very comfortable atmosphere and a homey vibe, photos of them hung all around, some with friends or of momentous occasions through the years. Percy slipped off his shoes and walked into the kitchen.

Piper was sitting on a stool, looking at some magazines. She looked up for a moment, giving him a smile that dazzled but didn’t bother to stand up to greet him. She pointed to the living room.

“Jason and Grover are in there watching football or something.”

He laughed, before walking over and kissing her on the cheek. She just smacked him away, but had a small smirk on her face.

“What, didn’t want to join them in the man cave?”

Piper made a face and made fake barfing noises.

“Man cave? Seriously? Get out of here you disgusting human,” she chastised, shooing him out.

Percy turned around, walking backwards towards the living room, and pointed a finger at her, which she raised an eyebrow at. “Hey, you are practically married to a disgusting human. Remember that.”

She just rolled her eyes and went back to flipping through her magazines. Percy turned around and walked into the living room.

Jason and Grover were lounging casually on the couch, staring at the television screen. Neither of them had even noticed him come in. Percy walked over to them and flung himself over them both, making them groan and scream at the same time.

“Percy! Get off of me!” Jason groaned trying to push him off.

“Man, you really hurt. You’re just dead weight!” Grover moaned.

Percy just stretched himself on top of the both of them and looked up at Grover, who was glaring at him and slapped his face gently. His brown eyes showed he wasn’t amused at all.

“Sorry you two were so distracted with the Mets game. I mean, it’s really nothing special to see anyway.”

Jason pursed his lips and turned off the TV. Percy finally lifted himself up off them, settling for sitting right in between them, and wrapped his arms around his friends, bringing them together.

“So, how long has it been since it’s been us three together? Five years?” he asked.

Grover shoved his arm off of his shoulder. “Yeah something like that. Reality is a bitch,” he grumbled.

Percy couldn’t argue with that. Sometimes he wished he was back when things like taxes and having an actual job and adult responsibilities weren’t a big part of his life. And when all three of them didn’t live in different parts of the country most of the year. But they were all together now, and Percy had some things he wanted to talk about with them.

He released them from his grip, and they took the chance to casually lean away from him. Percy decided not to take that personally. He leaned back against the couch and looked at them.

“So, what’s the progress you’ve made so far?” he asked Jason.

The atmosphere turned serious. Jason leaned forward and took a deep breath.

“I spoke to my father, and it went much better than I expected.”

“What did he say?” Percy inquired.

“Well, it really was a game of catch up I guess. Surprisingly, he wanted to know about my life, which is rich considering how he hasn’t been in my life, ever. But I asked him to get the company to either stop dumping their waste into the water, or shut down and find another location for a company and to mend it’s ways.” His blue eyes looked far away, remembering the conversation. He let out a little curt laugh, and he shook his head. “He was mad about that. But I knew how to get to him. I gave him other examples of lawsuits that were similar, like the GE case with the Hudson, or Coca-Cola in Plachimada. He knew how those went down, and he told me he’d see what he could do. I demanded he get it done, or else I’ll file a lawsuit. He seemed pretty frazzled by that.”

“If things really don’t get settled soon, I can call in some of my friends and start a protest. Those seem to help get things done, and corporations hate them, because it gets them in the public eye and in a negative light,” Grover added. “And I could always get Juniper to look into what’s been going on. She’s a good PI for this kind of stuff. Then we can testify if needed. Hopefully not though, because I hate speaking before the court,” he shuddered.

Jason nodded in agreement before looking back at Percy.

“I mean, I told you before, that I really don’t want to make this a bigger deal than it needs to be, for Annabeth’s sake...and for Piper’s too. She’s really worried about her home. But I’ll take the case pro bono if I must. Hopefully not though, my father told me he’d call tomorrow with news, but if he doesn’t I’ll just play the pestering son until he does go through.”

“How’d things go with your dad? What’s your progress?” Grover asked Percy.

Percy leaned back and gave a laugh at the whole ridiculousness of what happened. He stretched his arms and placed them behind his neck and closed his eyes. “It took a very weird and unexpected turn.”

“Explain,” Jason demanded.

“Well, turns out my grandmother was a mermaid, and raised my father on her culture, therefore making me part of a mermaid bloodline. He told me he would need Annabeth and Piper to help him cleanse the poisons out of the lake through magic. Not what anyone expected right?”

Percy opened his eyes to see equally shocked expressions on his friends’ faces. Both sets of eyes were wide and their jaws were hanging open. They just stared at Percy for a few moments, before Grover snapped out of his trance.

“Are you kidding me right now?” Grover asked in disbelief.

Percy scoffed and sat up leaning his elbows on his thighs and running a hand through his hair.

“Yeah, I wish I was G-man, but I am being completely serious. So he’s going to be helping us with the mystical side of our problem.”

“Holy shit man. That could explain why every girl and non-straight guy always pinned after you. You got mermaid blood in you,” Jason said with a smirk.

“Well, don’t get too excited. Annabeth told me that my bloodline was tainted, and my father shouldn’t know about that side of his heritage. So basically that mythical part is so faint, she couldn’t even detect it. Safe to say, I’m almost a hundred percent human.”

There was a silence between the three of them for a few good minutes, all inside their own heads.

“So, how’s it going with Rachel and Annabeth anyway? She hasn’t try to kill her yet, right?” Jason joked, but Percy could hear the seriousness in his voice.

“Surprisingly, they get along. Annabeth even has a little nickname for her, she calls her Phyrra. Annabeth even said she approves of our relationship.”

“Wow, who would’ve guessed.”

Percy cracked a smirk at Jason. “Seriously. But Rachel always has that effect on people, and I guess mermaids too.”

“Moira on the other hand, hates her.”

“She can’t get over the fact that she, you know,” Percy trailed off. He still couldn’t bring it up fully.

Jason and Grover nodded in understanding. When Grover had heard what happened, he’d flown out from Colorado to visit Percy for the summer. He always knew Grover to be timid, but he loved the guy when he put on his brave pants and did something reckless like that. Percy would’ve done the same, well he did. He’s here now because a friend needed his help; even if it didn’t start off that way.

“Does she know Annabeth is a mermaid?” Grover asked, his brown eyes full of curiosity.

Percy shook his head, looking at the ground. “I haven’t found a way to break it to her yet, I mean, I don’t know how she’d handle it honestly, and I don’t want to drag her in more than she already is.”

He felt Grover wrap his arm around his shoulder. He looked at the man.

“Well, I think it might clear the air between the two of them if you told her the truth. She’s probably going to find out anyway. Better it be from you than by accident right?”

“Yeah, she’d be pissed if she found out and I didn’t tell her beforehand. Rather not get on her bad side,” he agreed.

Grover clapped his chest with a smile on his face.

“That’s what I’m talking about. Who knew little Moira could be so scary, huh? In my mind, she’s still a little eight year old that talked nonstop about mermaids. Ironic, right?”

Percy nodded in agreement, chuckling.  

“Oh yeah. Sometimes I just look at her, and realize how old we’ve gotten and it makes me have an existential crisis. Actually, it happens a lot more often nowadays.”

“Hey now, twenty eight is not that old! Remember, thirty is the new twenty one,” Jason added. The three of them broke into hysterical laughter. It felt amazing to just be with his best friends since childhood again, relaxing like there was nothing in the world to worry about. Percy treasured these moments, because they seemed to be coming few and far between.

Chapter Text

“She’s a what ?” Moira demanded.

Her face full of skepticism and disbelief, like Percy had just declared himself an alien. She had her arms crossed over her chest, and her hip jutted out balancing her weight on her right leg. She arched an eyebrow, and narrowed her eyes. Percy should’ve known she would react this way, but there really was no easy way to drop a bomb like this. He let out a deep sigh and looked her straight in the eyes.

“Annabeth is a mermaid. She lives in the Lake,” he repeated.

Moira’s face didn’t change.

“Have you been smoking with Grover and Jason again? Because the only way I’ll accept you spouting out this bullshit is if you’re high as a kite right now.”

Percy’s jaw dropped at the accusation. He stood up, so he could tower over his sister. He opened his arms up in the universal gesture that said: are you kidding me?

“Moira, are you for real right now? If I was smoking you would definitely be able to tell. Why the hell do you think when I did in high school I’d never come home? I am as sober as can be right now.”

She scoffed and rolled her eyes.

“Like I’d know that. I was what, like, ten years old at that time? I didn’t know any better.”

He shook his head and put his hands on his hips.

“Whatever. We’re getting off topic. As I was saying before, Annabeth is a mermaid. The very ones you used to talk my ear off about all the goddamn time. They’re real, and guess what? Piper is one too!” he exclaimed throwing his hands in the air.

“Please tell me, you’re shitting me right now,” she said in a tone of defeat.

“Does it look like I’m shitting you?” he retorted.

Moira stared at him, and kept his expression that of serious and all business. He saw her eyes soften and she let out a breath of air. She slumped down onto a stool and dropped her head to the counter, and let out a loud groan. She reached up and pulled the hair tie out of her hair, causing it to tumble down around her shoulders.

When she looked up, her brown locks were making a thin veil around her face, it made her look like she’d just rolled out of bed. She positioned herself so her head was leaning in the palm of her hand.

“How the hell is this possible?” she muttered.

Percy mirrored her position, and let a smirk form on his face. He shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t really know, but I’ve just learned to go with the flow. You know, if mom and dad taught us anything…” he said waiting for her to finish the mantra that had been pounded into their heads through the years.

A small smile formed on her face as she recalled the memories.

“It’s to always have your mind open to all the possibilities.”

“You know, mom is a sage, seemed to have the world figured out before anyone else did. And I’m pretty sure it came from her own experiences,” he mused.

Moira let out a chuckle.

“I want to know her secrets. Because life seems to fuck me over everywhere I turn.”

“Join the club, little sister,” Percy said, “it only gets worse here on out.” He winked at her. She pushed her hair back from her face and glared at him. Percy just laughed.

“Thanks for the reassurance,” she grumbled.

“It’s what big brothers are here for.”

“You’re a dick,” she giggled.

Moira picked up her phone and quickly browsed through it. Percy did the same. There wasn’t anything of importance on his phone, but it gave him something to do with his hands.

“What do you think mom’s experience was?” Moira asked, suddenly, not taking her eyes off the screen.

“What are you talking about?” Percy responded confused. He placed his phone back on the counter. Moira quickly glanced up at him before looking back down, her fingers moving rapidly across the screen.

“When we were talking about the thing she used to tell us as kids, you said that she seemed to have personal experience. What do you think it is?”

Percy realized what she was talking about. He didn’t say anything for a minute, trying to figure out what to say. How much more crazy could she handle in one day? But she was a Jackson-Blofis. She could handle crazy.

“Well it’s not what I think, more of what I know.”

“Enlighten me then,” she pushed.

“You know my biological father was out of the picture,” he started.

Moira nodded, knowing the story.

“Yeah, if that didn’t happen I wouldn’t be here now would I?” she said, trying to lighten the air. It worked a little.

“Well, I met up with him a few days ago and we had a chat.”

“I have a bad feeling about this.”

Percy pointed a finger at her, which she smirked at. Percy shook his head laughing a little at her antics.

“I will admit, that was a perfectly timed Star Wars pun, but stop distracting me.”

“You have trained me well, Master,” she said, bowing her head.

“Yes my young padawan, I have. You are now a Jedi Knight,” he returned. He couldn’t resist himself from playing along, Star Wars was a weakness of his.

But Percy got back onto his train of thought. It took him a moment to remember what he was talking about.

“Anyway, I met up with him this week and as it turns out, his mother, my grandmother, was a mermaid too. Therefore making him one, and in default me, too, but since the magic is so diluted, I might as well be fully human. And I think mom knew about it, but didn’t see any concern of it, so kept it a secret.”

Moira looked like she was in shock. She just stared at nothing for a few minutes, before shaking her head in disbelief.

“Any more shit you’d like to unload on me today?”

Percy rubbed the back of his neck, and gave his sister a sheepish grin.

“No, that’s all I got.”

She nodded her head absentmindedly. Her eyes scanned across the room, and Percy started to bounce his leg up and down on the stool in nervousness. Moira was tapping her fingers to some invisible beat, like she was practicing a song on piano, which was likely, that’s what she did when she became stressed.

“So, why did you decide to tell me now of all times?”

“Because you would’ve found out sooner or later, and I’d rather you found out from me than someone else. I don’t like hiding secrets from you.”

“Well, you hid the fact that your ex-girlfriend was a mermaid for how many years?” she refuted.

“That is a different situation that we will not bring up. Now that you understand, at least, I think you’ve retained all the knowledge of mermaids right?” he asked with a teasing smile. She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms defensively, giving Percy his answer. “Then, you can understand Annabeth’s psyche a little bit, can’t you? And you won’t be as cold to her anymore?”

“I don’t know if I can forgive her completely. I mean almost killing you, is kind of a big deal to me. But I’ll ease up.”

Percy clapped his hands.

“You are an awesome sister.”

“And don’t you forget it, Jackson.”  

Chapter Text

Percy had been in New York for over a week now, and Moira had finally decided to invite their parents over for dinner. All the events that had occurred had made him occupied and now that there was a little break, he nearly hit himself in the head for not thinking of his parents. He knew his mother would’ve killed him if she had found out he was in town and didn’t tell her.

Jason was still hounding his father, trying to prolong getting into a court case over the issue, but Zachary “Zeus” Tonnerre was being evasive and not giving them any real answers. Which only made Jason more angry. Grover had already called in his girlfriend to be ready to investigate, and they were getting ready to start spreading the word over the internet. Percy and his father had actually gone out into the lake with their science equipment and had run some tests. Poseidon, who actually worked in a laboratory, had sent the evidence out and was waiting for the results. Rachel, who moaned about feeling useless, put her charismatic charm and anthropology minor to good use, and went around interviewing people in the town to ask how they felt about the factory and its impacts. Not surprisingly, most people gave negative feedback.

Now there was a rare moment of peace, Moira was running around the house making sure everything was clean and perfect for her parents. Percy and Andréa had been in the kitchen and at the barbeque all day making food worthy of a Thanksgiving feast, even though it was the middle of July. Andréa made some of her famous Brazilian cuisine, which Percy always enjoyed because it added some variety to the “traditional American food”.

It was around five when a knock at the door was heard. Percy was putting the mashed potatoes into a bowl, which he left on the count to answer it, but Moira beat him to it. He wiped his hands over his shorts, which in retrospect wasn’t the best idea, but when he got to the door, standing on the front porch was his parents, who he hadn’t seen since Christmas when they had flown out to San Diego.

His mother was wearing a navy blue tank top with white capri pants to go with her flipflops. Her brown hair, which Moira had inherited, was clipped up with her bangs fringing her forehead. As usual, she looked amazing. Paul was standing next to her, his arm wrapped around his mother’s waist. He wasn’t the tallest guy, and certainly wasn’t taller than Percy, but he still stood a few good inches over his mother. He still had the salt and pepper hair that Percy always remembered him having and still looked like a Robert Redford movie star.

Moira exchanged hugs with the both of them, and after Percy let himself be known, his mother’s blue eyes lit up with excitement and she ran right into his arms, crushing him. He made a big show of pretending to get the wind knocked out of him, which he received a little smack for. He kissed her on the cheek, before going in for a hug with Paul. They all exchanged pleasantries, before walking through to the back of the house.

“I heard everyone was in town, are they all in the back?” his mother asked.

Moira nodded and pointed to the sliding doors that led to the deck in the backyard. Andréa was taking plates of food outside and everyone else was helping her set the table. His parents walked ahead to help with Percy and Moira right behind them.

The food was already set up in the middle of the table when Percy got out there. Everyone had claimed a seat, leaving Percy at the end next to Jason. The sun was still out in the sky, providing plenty of light, and the temperature was still warm, without making it uncomfortable. It was the perfect summer night for an outdoor dinner.

Chatter had already started between everyone, giving the atmosphere a friendly feel. Grover clapped his hands together already eyeing enchiladas that Percy had made specially for him.

“Let’s eat!” he announced.

Everyone reached for the different foods at the centre of the table. The general rule was to only take one serving, making sure there was enough for everyone. If there was extra, it was fair game for seconds. Percy took the bowl of mashed potatoes and scooped a dollop onto his plate before passing it on to Piper, who in exchange gave him the mac and cheese.

Seeing the steak and pineapple kebabs were going fast, Percy stood up and reached over the table to make sure he got one, he would do anything for Andréa’s barbeque, then took three Acarajé balls (there were plenty for everyone). This was definitely better than any traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Once everyone got all the food they wanted on their plates, the chaos dissipated. Everyone was enjoying their food, and from across the table he could see Annabeth’s eyes widening at all the different tastes.

“Percy, Andréa, you have out done yourselves,” Piper complimented after swallowing a mouthful of corn.

“Anytime I get the excuse to cook with Andréa, I take it,” Percy responded. He then turned to her.

“Seriously, you’ve got like the best recipes. Why are you a doctor when you could be a chef instead?”

Andréa rolled her hazel eyes but had a proud smile on her face, she ran a hand through her dark red hair, which was still in a high ponytail.

“Oh shut up Percy. Doctors make more money,” she rebutted, “and if I wasn’t a doctor, I wouldn’t have met your beautiful sister.”

Percy smiled and turned to his sister who was blushing hard at the compliment. His mother cooed at the romance and Moira faked being annoyed and threw her hands up in exaggerated exasperation.

“Do you see what you do Andréa Santos? You are so embarrassing.”

Andréa let out a laugh before taking a bite from her kebab and winked. She then pointed her stick to Moira.

“If you really didn’t love me, you wouldn’t have put up with me all these years, now would you?” she challenged.

Moira stuffed some feijoada into her mouth, the black bean sauce dripping down her chin. “You Brazilians and your delicious food and charm,” she grumbled.

“Love you too.”

Everyone kept eating their food, occasionally taking seconds of whatever was left on the table, casual conversation going on around the table. But Percy could see his mother eyeing Annabeth. Not in a critical way, just in curiousity. Then she put her knife and fork down.

“Percy, are you going to introduce me to anyone?” she asked arching her eyebrow.

Percy nodded and put his cutlery down on his plate then picked up his cup and took a sip of the ice tea inside before answering. He cleared his throat and gestured to Annabeth.

“Uh, Mom, Paul, this is Annabeth,” was all he said.

Percy knew his parents knew who Annabeth was. She had played a pretty significant part in his life when he was younger, even if they had never actually met her before now. Both pairs of eyes widened as they openly stared at Annabeth who seemed to be uncomfortable with the attention she was giving. She gave a small smile and a quick wave.

“Hi,” she meekly said.

His mother recovered first and gave her a small smile in return. She obviously knew some of the history between Percy and Annabeth, but was too nice to start a fight and drag back old flames.

“Annabeth,” she breathed, “how nice it is to finally meet you. I’m Sally, Percy’s mother.”

Annabeth nodded, “Percy has told me a lot about you over the years.”

His mother turned to Percy and smiled.

“I’m sure he has.”

Then she turned to Paul, who wasn’t quite as openly gaping at her, but still seemed to be in shock that he was actually meeting the infamous Annabeth. His mother slapped him on the arm, knocking him out of his trance and the two of them exchanged hushed words. Paul then turned to Annabeth and gave her a big smile to her.

“I’m Paul, Percy’s step-father. You look just like you did in all the photos Percy showed us.”

Annabeth cocked her head to the side and scrunched her eyebrows together in confusion. Then she turned her attention to Percy.

“Photos?” she asked.

Percy nodded. “Yeah, remember when I would take my phone,” and he did to remind her what a phone looked like, “and take a picture of us?”

Annabeth’s face morphed into one of recognition and she nodded in agreement acting like she knew what she was talking about. The conversation glided smoothly after that.

 

As the sun was setting, everyone took plates and dishes back inside to the kitchen. Moira was wrapping all the leftovers (of which there wasn’t much, but enough to not throw away), and Andréa was washing the dishes and putting them in the dishwasher. Everyone else was mingling in the hallway.

Annabeth and Piper were talking to each other about something. Rachel was busy talking to Grover about their activism, and Jason and Percy were lounging on the couch watching TV in the living room. All was good, Percy was ready to pass out from a food coma. Suddenly, he heard a loud THUMP! Startled, everyone looked in the direction of the noise and saw Annabeth and Piper passed out on the ground.

Jason and Percy reacted first running toward them. Percy put his hand over Annabeth’s forehead and felt that she was burning up. Moira and Andréa came in next, pushing them away, and started to take their pulses and check for symptoms.

“We need to get them to the hospital,” Andréa said.

“No! We need to call Poseidon,” Percy insisted.

Moira looked at him like he was insane, her face full of worry.

“Percy are you crazy?”

Percy looked around at them all. Everyone, except possibly his parents and Andréa, knew who Piper and Annabeth really were. The fact they had passed at the same time probably meant something more magical was at work.

“No, listen to me. Piper and Annabeth passed out at the same time, which means something else is probably at work, and the only person I know who might know what is up, is only five minutes from here. I’m calling him.”

Moira looked like she wanted to argue with him, but just nodded instead. Percy excused himself and was already dialing the number. A few rings later the familiar voice of his biological father answered him.

“I need you to come to Moira’s house ASAP. It’s a mermaid problem.”

That was all the explanation Poseidon needed, and said he’d be there in five minutes and hung up. Percy walked back to the group and waited anxiously for his father to arrive. Rachel had wrapped her arm around his waist, and was gently massaging his back trying to ease his worry. He leaned into her touch. Jason was on the floor next to Piper and was gently rubbing his fingers over her hand, whispering something to her.

Five minutes later, the front door slammed open and Poseidon stalked in and pushed his way through the crowd. His face, nearly identical to Percy’s, was tight with worry. He bent down and waved a hand over them, his eyes closed in concentration. A few moments later he stood up and looked around at everyone.

“We need to take them to the Lake right now,” he demanded.

The situation was so chaotic, no one even bothered to argue with him. Jason picked up Piper’s limp body bridal style, with Percy following with Annabeth. Everyone shuffled out of the house into different cars. Both Piper and Annabeth were placed gently in the back of Jason’s car, who was already in the driver’s seat while Percy took the passenger seat. The parade of cars, pulled out of the drive and drove in the direction of the Lake.

The journey there felt like the longest five minutes of Percy’s life. Every few seconds, he would twist around to check on the two women in the back. Jason didn’t look any better. He made a sharp turn into the now empty parking lot that led to the beach and the other cars pulled up next to him. Both of them took the women out of the car again and stalked to the beach.

Only to find the entrance was blocked off by a makeshift fence and yellow tape. Percy look around for any alternative entry ways, but found nothing. Jason and Percy looked at each other, worry filling their eyes before turning around to everyone.

“They closed off the Lake. We can’t get in.”

Chapter Text

“What the hell are we supposed to do now?” Percy exclaimed in panic.

His question was geared more toward Poseidon, because he was the only one who had any clue at what to do and he was the only non-human (at least to a more prominent degree) that was actually conscious. His father looked deep in thought, his hand scratching his beard. Then he looked up at Percy.

“We need to get them into that lake somehow.”

Percy rolled his eyes and let out a sigh. Even though he worked out every day, the longer he held Annabeth’s dead weight in his arms, the more tired he got. She was pretty solid of a person.

“No shit, Sherlock. Any more obvious answers you want to share?” Percy retorted, not in the mood.

“Are you sure there’s no more entrances to the water?” Poseidon inquired.

“Not to the south shore at least, this is really the only part that goes into our town. If we want to get to the other side, we’d have to drive into Yorktown, and we’re pressed for time as it is,” Jason informed.

Like he’d been struck by lightning, Percy had a moment of clarity. He turned toward Jason.

“We have our secret path! The one we took so many times all those years ago!” he exclaimed.

Jason’s eyes widened and a smile broke out onto his face. Both of them turned toward Poseidon who was waiting for an answer.

“We have a way. It’s the path we used to take to visit Annabeth and Piper. Only we can see it, but I think since you are, you know, one of them, you’ll be able to get in too,” Percy said.

Poseidon nodded and gestured for them to show the way. Percy took a step forward and then turned to everyone else.

“Stay here. We’ll be back.”

“What are you going to do?” Moira asked with her arms crossed and worry in her eyes.

“Whatever he tells me to do to save them.”

“Please, stay safe,” Rachel said with a nod and smile.

He smiled back at her and winked.

“When do I not?”

With that, the three of them started to walk down towards the path. Even though it had been years, it was muscle memory to Percy. They were walking fast down the path, which was usually vibrant in the day but the sun was slowly starting to set, casting longer shadows and making everything seem more orange and yellow.

When they reached the entrance to the cave, Jason and Percy exchanged a glance before walking in. The cave walls looked exactly the same, and the oculus was still in the ceiling allowing sunlight in. They took the same twists and turns and entered one of the catacombs with the familiar pond and rock that glistened.

They both kneeled down on the ledge. Poseidon walked up behind and observed the water in the pond.

“This is definitely water from the lake?” he questioned.

Percy nodded. “Yeah. Does it matter?”

“It makes all the difference. Place them into the water, gently.”

Percy and Jason did what they were told and lowered the girls into the water. At first nothing happened, and then from underneath the surface, Percy saw the tattoos on Piper and Annabeth’s body start glowing. The designs stood starkly out on their skin, just like what happened on Poseidon’s arm when he’d used his magic. Then a big light enveloped the two of them from sight, causing the boys to cover their eyes. But a moment later, the light vanished and they looked down at the girls in the water, who were now back in their mermaid form.

They floated up to the surface, still unconscious. Panicked, Percy dragged Annabeth all the way out of the water, and Jason pulled out Piper. Percy looked up at his father, who glanced at them, slight worry in his expression as well.

“This is not good,” he stated, grimly.

“What the fuck does that mean?” Percy demanded.

Poseidon kneeled down over the women, and closed his eyes. Percy didn’t know what he was doing, but he figured it was something with magic.

“It seems the spirit of the Lake is dying, and since Annabeth’s and Piper’s spirits are tied to it, they are too.”

Jason looked like he’d been slapped across the face. He sat back on his heels.

“Well that’s just fucking fantastic. How the hell do we stop it?”

Poseidon was still kneeling over the mermaids with his eyes closed in concentration.

“As I said before, you’ll need me to help with the magic aspect of cleaning the lake. We need the dumping of waste from the factory to cease first. How is that going?” he asked, his voice remaining calm.

Jason let out a growl and glared at Percy’s father. His glares always reminded Percy of a wolf. Jason didn’t get angry often, but when he did, it was usually deadly. He stood up and whipped his phone out of his pocket.

“I’ll be back,” he said stomping off to another part of the cave already dialling the number for his father.

Percy leaned against the wall of the cave feeling completely helpless. He buried his head in his hands.

“Not to make you feel any worse, but unfortunately for Annabeth, since her hair has been chopped off by force, it seems her spirit is deteriorating much faster than Piper’s. Do you happen to know why her hair has been cut?”

Percy let out a groan that turned into a half scream. He lifted his head and banged it against the stone.

“When I broke up with her, she turned into, like, an actual mermaid and tried to kill me. Jason gave me a knife that Piper had given him to swipe at Annabeth to weaken her, I managed to cut her hair before she drowned me.”

Poseidon turned to him, understanding. His green eyes bored into Percy’s. Sometimes he hated how much he looked like his father, it was looking at a future version of himself.

“I see. Well, I know that if you gave her hair back, and she went back into her Lake, it would merge back together and all would be well. Do you have any idea where it could be?”

Percy scoffed and let his legs down to stretch before him.

“Are you crazy? Of course I don’t. When I was in a state of emotional distress and turmoil, I wasn’t really thinking about what to do with the hair I had just cut off from my ex-girlfriend who almost killed me,” he spat.

His father put his hands out in a defensive gesture and gave a soft and understanding smile to him.

“Fair enough. Remember that sand dollar I had given you when you were just a child?”

Percy nodded not understanding what that had to do with anything of relevance at the moment.

“Yeah, why?”

“I told you that it came from my home, but of course I didn’t tell the entire story behind it. That had come from my mother’s home, she was a salt-water, tropical mermaid, much different from the freshwater ones such as Annabeth and Piper. Her tail was a vibrant cerulean blue with beautiful yellow and green fins to match. She gave the sand dollar to me as a blessing to you. Just like anything a mermaid gives, it was able to grant a wish. Anything you could ever want, you could have. Do you still have it?”

Percy just stared at his father, and couldn’t believe his own luck.

“Are you kidding me,” he deadpanned, “I gave that as a gift of good will to Annabeth years ago. She always wore it around her neck, but now she isn’t. Only she knows where it could be and she can’t tell us. This is great.”

“Did she ever give you something? You were in a pretty serious relationship with her, were you not?”

Percy’s eyes widened in realization. The scale! He stood up from his revelation, and saw Poseidon smiling at him.

“She gave me one of her scales when we first started dating. She told me the same thing, and I always kept it on me...even after what happened.”

Poseidon clapped his hands together and a grin broke out onto his face.

“Well at least we have a lead now. When Jason gets back, we can get it.”

Percy shook his head, taking out his phone. He was pacing back and forth on the stone dialling Rachel’s number, fortunately, he had good service. He put the phone to his ear.

“There isn’t time to wait for Jason. I’m calling Rachel so she can run back to the house and grab it for me, and then I can get it from her when she’s back,” he said waiting for his girlfriend to pick up.

Rachel picked up after two rings.

“Percy? Is everything okay?” she fired off with worry in her voice.

“We’re okay for now. But I need you to do me a huge favor, I need you to go back to Moira’s, and look inside my suitcase where there is a little black box and I need you to bring it to me. I’ll meet you halfway. Please hurry,” he hastily explained.

“You got it,” she said before hanging up.  

Percy put his phone back in his pocket and sat in silence next to his father. He watched the steady, in sync, breathing of both mermaids and it calmed him down just a little bit.

“How do you know so much about these mermaids, when your mother was a different kind altogether?” Percy wondered out loud.

He saw his father shift to sit beside him, leaning against the wall of the cave in a casual sitting position. They mirrored each other perfectly.

“Well, as I’m sure Annabeth had explained, or at least I hope she did, we’re all descended from the Nereids told in Greek Mythology. Piper, is a special case, given that her ancestral line came from the indigenous people of these lands, but there are many similarities.

“My mother, your grandmother, Rhea, raised me on the shores off the Pacific in Hawai ʻ i. She was a salt water mermaid, but after I reached adulthood, I travelled and somehow managed to find myself in New York. That’s where I met your mother and fell in love with her.”

“If you loved my mother so much, then why did you leave?” he grumbled.

“Because I knew it was best for you. She knew of my heritage, and how it would make you different and stand out more, at least in the magical world. My presence would only aggravate the peace. But I did live in this town for your younger years; you just don’t remember it. I researched the mermaids who lived here. I even knew of Annabeth’s mother and her family. I see they no longer live here anymore.”

Hearing Annabeth having an actual family stopped Percy in his tracks. He knew that her family was a very sensitive spot for her, but it still came as a surprise. He wanted to know more.

“What was Annabeth’s family like?” he asked.

Poseidon let out a low chuckle, reminiscing about the past.

“Her mother was a mermaid, and her name was Athena. Her and Annabeth look almost exactly alike, but she got her father’s blonde hair. She sensed my aura and disliked me greatly for it. One of those puritans, you see. Didn’t take well to strangers like me in her territory. We mostly just kept out of each other’s way though. Her father, was definitely quirky. Worked as a professor at West Point, really into World War One and model airplanes. But as you know, when raising mermaids, Athena quickly left Frederick and went back into the Lake with Annabeth in tow. But Athena soon, left as well. As to why, that still remains a mystery that will probably never be solved. That’s all I found out. After that, I felt the unbalance, and that’s when I knew I had to leave. No matter how much it hurt me to do so.”

Percy looked over at Annabeth, feeling like his entire view of her had been flipped. He felt bad finding out about her life this way, but he knew she wouldn’t tell him now. The silence around them was only filled by the soft waves of the pool that gently lapped against the ledges. Suddenly, his phone started to ring, and Percy jumped up and was already walking out of the cave.

“Rachel, good. I need you to follow my exact directions and I’ll meet you.”

“Okay, I got what you need. I hope it helps.”

Percy directed Rachel to the edge of the woods where the pathway started. The sun was just about to go down over the horizon now, making way for the stars and moon to shine in the sky. When he saw her, Rachel broke out into a run and handed him the box. Gently he opened the lid, to see the beautiful green scale inside that belonged to Annabeth. Rachel peeked over and gasped when she saw it.

“Is that an actual scale?” she wondered.

Percy nodded and closed the lid again. He bent down and gave Rachel a quick kiss.

“Yeah, and I need it to save Annabeth. Thank you.”

He then turned around and sprinted back to the cave. Jason was still on the phone, looking livid and talking in a cold and harsh tone. But Percy didn’t have time to dwell on that as he back to where his father was waiting with the mermaids.

When Poseidon saw Percy, he stood up and Percy opened up the box and gently took the scale. It hadn’t lost any of its luster over the years. Poseidon looked at the scale with joy and they both walked over to Annabeth.

“What am I supposed to do now?” Percy asked.

“It’s pretty simple actually. Just close your eyes, bring the scale to your lips and say what your wish is. Once you said that, it should start to feel warm, and then you crush it in your palm and spread the pieces over Annabeth.”

Percy nodded following exactly what his father told him to do. He didn’t care how ridiculous he looked, he just wanted Annabeth to be okay.

“I wish for Annabeth to get her hair and source of magic back,” he whispered.

Just like Poseidon had said, he felt the scale grow warm. He opened his eyes to see the green start to brighten, and with a deep breath he crushed his fingers around it. When he opened his hand up, it was full a pile of glittering dust. He carefully cupped it in his hands and sprinkled it over Annabeth’s body. Nothing happened, but then Poseidon gestured to place her in the water.

When he did, her body started to glow like it had done before, and it grew so bright he had to close his eyes and look away. But it had only lasted a moment before the light had died down. In the water, her eyes still closed was Annabeth, but now she looked like Percy remembered her from years ago.

Her skin had its golden glow again, she looked much healthier, and the best part was that her hair was now back in all its curly glory, no longer chopped to her shoulders, but flowing down to just above her waist. It looked fuller, and floated around her head like a golden halo that should belong on an angel. Percy was so happy, he jumped for joy and gave his father a big hug which Poseidon reciprocated.

“She might still be unconscious because of the Lake’s state, but when we fix that, she shall be able to help, fully, once more. We are one step closer,” Poseidon announced.

“Listen here you son of a bitch! I’ve told you we have already started to gather evidence against you and this company, I swear to god, I will make this such a big deal that every global news station will find out what you’ve been doing. I will even make it a scandal about your affair with my mother and your long lost son which you’ve done a great job hiding for the past twenty eight years. I will take it to the Supreme Court if I must. I am not fucking around!” Jason yelled into his phone, walking back into the cave.

Percy couldn’t hold his surprise back. He had never actually seen Jason in action, or this angry, in his life. It was like seeing the flip side of a coin. He couldn’t hear what his father was saying on the other end, but Jason’s face slowly turned to a smirk of what could only mean victory.

“I am going to hold you to that, and I will personally come and visit with some friends to make sure that you’ve actually stopped the waste dumping. If you didn’t, you’re going to wish you were actually in hell,” he threatened before hanging up.

Jason walked over and gave a smile to Percy, who was still gaping at him in shock.

“Dude, were you raised by wolves or something? Like damn, I’ve never seen you so angry before.”

Jason shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, it got the job done. Zeus said he’d make sure the waste dumping would cease immediately. And as you just heard, I’ll go and check tomorrow and I’ll bring Grover with me to make sure of it. After that, it’s just the cleanup process left to do.”

Chapter Text

Explaining everything to everyone was a lot harder than had Percy expected it to be. But he managed to do alright. He was happy that Andréa and Paul, the only ones who didn’t seem to know about mermaids, took the news relatively well. There was no freak out over the new information that would shake up anyone’s world. Just confusion and eventual acceptance, once they actually saw Annabeth and Piper in their full mermaid glory.

Zeus had gone through with his word, thanks to the threats Jason had yelled at him. He could understand why national and international publicity and scandals would not do well for the company, and why Zeus wanted to avoid it at all costs.

Every day Poseidon would go to the Lake, and Percy would come along too. The had opened up the fence that had bordered off the waters, and it was now free once more. The water, unfortunately, was still not clean enough to swim in yet. But thanks to Poseidon and his magic he would able to clear some of the toxins out. They only knew it was working because Annabeth and Piper, who they had brought back to the house, looked better than they did before. Soon they would be waking up, and everything would go back to the way it was.

It was a few weeks after the incident when he finally saw Annabeth and Piper had woken up. Percy was doing his regular check-up on them when he saw their eyes open. They looked groggy and confused, but none of that mattered because they were awake. He ran out of the room and shouted, “they’re awake! Piper and Annabeth are awake!”

Everyone who was in the house screamed with joy and stampeded their way to the room. Piper looked over at them and her eyes widened in surprise. Annabeth was still getting her bearings, looking like she had just woken up from a nap.

“Why are you all so happy?” Piper asked, yawning.

“You look like you’ve never seen us before,” Annabeth groaned.

Percy walked up to the two of them. They didn’t seem to realize they were in their mermaid forms.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” he asked them.

Annabeth shook her head, her golden curls waving around her shoulders.

“We ate some really good food, and Piper and I were talking about something...then it’s a blur from there.”

“You don’t remember anything after that?” he prodded.

Annabeth slowly blinked her eyes, giving him a glare, and ran a hand through her hair.

“If we did, don’t you think we’d tell you?” she muttered sarcastically.

That got a laugh from everyone in the room, making the atmosphere much lighter and happier.

“At least you didn’t lose your sarcasm.”

Jason walked up to them and engulfed Piper in a big hug, which she returned graciously. They shared a kiss, which made everyone coo. When they broke apart, Piper looked around once more.

“So, what did we miss exactly?”

Everyone took turns giving snippets of the story. Annabeth looked down, noticing that she was in mermaid form. Her eyes widened in surprise and she looked around. But once she saw that no one seemed to care, she relaxed. The two of them listened closely to the story, taking in every detail of it. When they were done, the two of them looked at each other, seeming to be having a silent conversation, which wouldn’t surprise him. Annabeth had the ability to communicate through her mind, (which Percy unfortunately, found out the hard way. Other than that time, he would’ve found it pretty awesome).

“We’re thankful for all of your help. Without it, I’m sure we wouldn’t be awake, or even alive right now. We will join you and help cleanse all the toxins out of the Lake once and for all. We just might need some help getting there, considering,” Annabeth added gesturing to their tails which hung off the side of the bed, touching the floor.

Everyone laughed, and Annabeth cracked a smile. Percy couldn’t believe how much more alive she looked now. So different from when he’d first seen her all those weeks ago at the hospital.

“I know you two might want to be macho men,” Piper said pointing to Percy and Jason, “and try to pick us up alone, but it won’t work. If you try, you’ll probably throw your back out, and I wouldn’t feel sorry about it.”

Percy placed a hand over his heart, pretending he was hurt by her sentiment and shook his head. “You hurt me, Piper,” he teased.

Jason and Andréa went over to Piper. Jason picked her up by where the crease of her legs would be, while Andréa picked up the end of the tail to keep it from dragging on the floor. Percy and Rachel picked up Annabeth, who didn’t seem pleased about it but held back her complaints. Her tail was slick and slimy, almost what touching a stingray felt like. Rachel was startled by this, not experiencing whatever she was expecting. Even though Percy had held her before, he still wasn’t used to it.

Moira draped sheets over their tails without any preamble. When Percy looked at her in question she just shrugged her shoulders.

“Can’t go around just carrying mermaids about in public, can we? This will make it seem like you’re all just drunk and doing something young adults do, instead of causing mass panic. People will look at you weird, but won’t question,” she explained.

“Can’t argue with that logic,” Grover said in approval.

Percy nodded, thanking his sister for being so smart. She just shrugged it off like it wasn’t a big deal, always the modest one.

They all walked out to the cars and placed Piper and Annabeth in the back seats. Their tails were much too long which Annabeth was vocal about pointing out, but they made sure every inch of them was inside the car.

“It’s only a five-minute drive, I think you can handle it,” Percy said.

Annabeth just crossed her arms and didn’t say anything else. Percy hopped in the driver's seat, with Jason beside him, and they drove off to the Lake.

When they arrived, everyone helped carry Annabeth and Piper again, who was still covered with the sheets. Percy hoped his sister wouldn’t miss them too much. Poseidon was already walking over to the shore, where there was still no people. He took off his flip-flops and stepped into the surf. Percy followed with Rachel and Annabeth, and they stepped in the water next to his father. Jason and Andréa were beside them carrying Piper.

“Are you ready?” Percy asked.

Annabeth just nodded. On the count of three, both mermaids were tossed back into the water, with a huge heave from all of them. From the air, the two of them dove perfectly beneath the surface. They didn’t come back up for a good minute, but when they did, their aura seemed to be brighter. Not that Percy could see it, but he could practically feel it coming from them. They swam back over.

“Poseidon, are you ready?” Piper asked.

His father took more steps into the water, nodding his head. Percy looked on with curiosity at the three of them. He couldn’t see their faces since their backs were turned to him, but he heard them start to talk in a language he didn’t understand. The tattoos on their bodies were glowing, and all around, he could see black mist rising from the water. It gathered in a big cloud above them, covering the sun from view. Percy took a step back in awe, he saw Rachel do the same. And then it was gone, evaporated into thin air.

Percy looked down, the water looked exactly the same as it did before, but he could sense it was cleaner. They had removed the toxins from the Lake.

He watched as their shoulders slumped and the glowing from their tattoos faded back to their normal ink colors. His father muttered something to the both of them, who nodded back with smiles of gratitude. Then he walked back toward Percy with a smile on his face.

“All has been restored.”

Percy took a step into the water to talk to Annabeth, but then she disappeared under the water, her tail flicking up and making a little splash. He looked to Piper who had a small smile on her face.

“She’ll be back.”

“Where’d she go?”

Piper looked down at the water. “To get something.”

The two of them waited for a few minutes in silence, just letting the water lap against them. When Annabeth emerged from the surface, her blonde hair clinging to her face and neck, her eyes clear and bright and she smiled at Percy.

“Here you go,” she said. She opened up his palm and placed something inside before closing it again with her hand over his. When Percy opened it, he saw it was the sand dollar he had given her all those years ago, still in pristine condition.

“You saved my life with your gift, I think it’s only fair to give back yours as a token of my gratitude.”

Piper excused herself from the moment by diving underwater and swimming towards Jason. Percy gave Annabeth a smile.

“No, I gave it to you for a reason, and I want you to keep it. My father told me it has the same properties that your scale had. Keep it, and one day you can use the wish for something you want.”

Annabeth was about to argue, but she saw the look on his face and it dropped off her tongue. She looked away from him, her eyes on something else. Percy turned his head and saw she was looking at Rachel, who still had her ankles in the water. For once, Percy couldn’t read Annabeth’s expression. Then she turned her attention back to him and gently took the sand dollar from his hand.

She looked at it from all angles, feeling the roundness and closed her eyes. She brought the sand dollar to her lips.

“I wish Percy and Rachel all the happiness, and for them to know that I will always protect their family for the rest of time,” she whispered. Then she broke the sand dollar in half, and it crumbled into her palm. She opened her eyes again, and spread some of it onto Percy, and then blew the rest over to Rachel. The wind seemed to carry it to her. Percy was shocked.

“Annabeth…” he breathed.

Gently, she placed her hands on his shoulders, looking him straight in the eyes and smiled at him.

“I want you to know, that I will always look after your family. But you have to do me a favor too.”

“What is it?” he asked feeling like he was in a daze.

“You have to come visit me every once in awhile. I don’t want to have to wait another ten years to see you, and I don’t want it to be because something terrible happened.”

Percy felt a grin take over his face and he let out a joyous laugh. Annabeth laughed too and they hugged.

“I promise. I’ll even make some trips for the holidays, then you’ll see me at least twice every few months.”

“I will look forward to your visits, from San Diego is it?”

Percy chuckled and nodded his head. He crossed his arms over his chest and looked fondly down at Annabeth. He was glad they were friends again.

“You were always the smarter one, remembered the most peculiar details about things,” he complimented with a hint of teasing.

“Can you tell Rachel to come over, please? I’d like to talk to her.”

Percy nodded and waded back into the shallows where his girlfriend was still standing. She smiled at him.

“Annabeth wants to speak with you.”

Rachel looked worried but walked over anyway. Percy watched as the two of them talked, wondering what they were talking about. He saw Annabeth grimace and nod, looking at Percy once more before diving under the water leaving Rachel alone.

Slowly she made her way back to him, smiling as she looked down at the water. Percy wrapped his arm around her and gave her a kiss on her temple and they started to wade back to the shore.

“What did Annabeth want?”

Rachel shrugged her shoulders and looked up at him.

“She just told me to take care of you, and that she promised to look over our family. I guess like a guardian angel… mermaid?” she said letting out a laugh.

“She always did have little faith in me to take care of myself,” he joked.

“Well, she’s not wrong,” Rachel teased with a wink, “but seriously, I’m just glad she likes me. I’m not usually a kiss up or a people pleaser, but it gives me a little bit of comfort knowing I’m on a mermaid's good side.”

“The only request she had, was that we visit often. Think we can manage that?” he asked.

Rachel raised her eyebrows. The sun reflecting off her green eyes and emphasizing her red hair and freckles.

“Yeah, I think we can. Plus it’s a win for everyone. I think they’ll all be happy they won’t have to fly out to California for every holiday now.”

“All this magic and running around has made me starving. How does Burger Barn sound to you?”

Rachel shoved him off her, causing him to fall into the water. She burst into hysterics and he couldn’t help but laugh with her.

“I can see why Annabeth called you Seaweed Brain,” she said taking a piece of kelp off his face, “but yeah sounds good to me. You need to dry off first, though.”

Percy stood up, picked up Rachel and threw her over his shoulder. She let out a screech before he ran out of the water and towards the car. He saw Jason waiting by the car along with Andréa.

“Whoever gets to Burger Barn last pays the bill!” he shouted running into the car.

Jason and Andréa whipped their heads toward each other before running to the other car.

“Not fair! We have to pick up the others at my house!” Andréa yelled.

“Too bad, so sad!” he shouted out the window pulling out of the parking.

Percy already couldn’t wait to be back home, and he hadn’t even left yet. He couldn’t help but notice how cliché it looked, driving off into the sunset with everything falling perfectly into place; but he couldn’t find himself to care.