College, I get it. You’re important and all that..but can you please stop assigning
me buttloads of essays and assignments that won’t help me in my
animation career and just let me finish one of my animations for once?
Aww but you guys, I really want the old gang and the new gang to be family. Grover making some amazing vegetarian chili with Piper in the Mess Hall (”Is this… uh, G, is this half a soda can?” “That’s just what it comes in, you don’t have to eat it. Actually, I’ll take care of that, hand it over.” “Hey, no, get your own!”) Juniper sitting with Nico near that quiet grassy stretch near the trees, teaching him how to busy his shaking hands by twisting the delicate stems of flowers into crowns.
Reyna and Clarisse hanging out in the armory, dusting, reorganizing, sharing trade secrets and favorite ways to completely mess up a dude. Also? Clarisse has so many embarrassing stories about Percy. Reyna’s never laughed so hard in her life.
Dakota and Travis and Connor wreaking havoc–triple the trouble, triple the, uh. Trouble. They’re in trouble. Chiron’s coming and they should probably run. Frank lining up a shot at the archery range, holding the tension in his arms, breathing in, standing steady, and–”Hey, so, I heard you stole my little brother’s job over in New Rome?” His shot goes wide, and Thalia laughs. “Let me show you how it’s done, kid.”
Rachel and Hazel listening to old jazz albums, humming along together and sharing an easel, just covered in paint and giggling. Butch helps them make stained glass sculptures that dance and glitter in the wind. Tyson and Leo as partners whenever there’s a game of Chicken in the Sound; Leo’s got skinny little arms, but nobody can knock Tyson down. “We are the champions!”
Reyna and Annabeth sitting together on the beach, listening to the waves, soaking in the sun. There’s not much they need to say–and the press of their shoulders speaks loud enough, anyway. Percy and Jason facing off in the arena, a clash of titans that somehow ends up in a ridiculous dance-off. Piper and Thalia sharing earbuds and singing dramatically at one another. Will and Hazel tearing through the forest together, unlikely Capture the Flag partners, small and silent and deadly. Frank and Clarisse racing up the climbing wall. “No cheating, little brother!”
Just a big cross-country family. Late night Iris messages. Postcards sent from around the world: Love from yet another death-defying quest, wish you were here! Orange and purple tye-dyed shirts. E-mails and selfies and road trips and slumber parties, sharing drinks and eye-rolls as they hover near the buffet during Official Olympus Celebrations. Trading stories and keeping secrets and knowing one another’s scars, the violence that cut them deep, the exact touch to ease a nightmare. Stolen hoodies and kisses to cheeks and warm hands to hold, a solid weight to lean against, and too much laughter, always.