The flames surrounding Leo in the sky above Camp Half-Blood made it look like he really was made of fire, the flames continued to rise above endlessly as he piloted Festus, the bronze dragon just as illuminated as his rider. "I can't contain the fire much longer. I'll vaporize her. Don't worry. But you guys need to leave." Leo told Piper and Jason with such command; he seemed almost leader-like.
"No!" Jason said to him, his sky blue eyes wide with shock. "We have to stay with you. Piper's got the cure; Leo, you can't-!"
"Hey," Leo grinned, which made him look frighteningly riveting since his teeth resembled molten ingots. "I told you I had a plan. When are you going to trust me? And by the way - I love you guys." Leo said to his two best friends with a sad smile on his face.
Festus's claw released Jason and Piper, allowing their plummet towards the ground to start.
"Leo, no, you can't. You can't-! Leo-!" Piper screamed at him with fresh tears springing from her kaleidoscopic eyes. Jason, drained by the recent storms he had brewed to fight against Gaea, had no energy to stop their fall, holding Piper close to him as they continued shooting downwards at an alarming rate.
The deafening explosion that followed suit resembled an enormous ball of flames, a second sun, in fact; except their best friend and his bronze dragon were the cause of it.
Leo's immunity to fire was a significant advantage in his life as a demigod, especially since he was the son of Hephaestus, after all.
With the real cure in hand, Leo took a swig out of the tiny bottle; life surged through him as the flames engulfed both him and Festus, slowly but surely.
Leo took a deep breath and shut his eyes as he plunged towards the ground, closer and closer, faster and faster. He could’ve sworn he could feel smoke coming out of his mouth. He felt like he was internally combusting, yet he’d never felt so alive.
At one point, Leo’s grip on Festus faltered, causing him to slip as he let go. Festus seemed to have shrunk as he plummeted downwards further away from Leo, who had floated upwards because of how merciful gravity was feeling towards him. Leo touched his searing forehead briefly to take a second and realize what was happening. Maybe, just maybe, Jason’s old man Zeus was feeling a little nice. “The sky is Zeus’s domain,” and other things like that. It seemed to make sense to Leo. For a while, at least.
I’m coming, Calypso... Leo thought to himself reassuringly.
He wondered what his friends thought about what had just happened. Did they know he was still alive? Did they know that he was planning on telling them he was alright as soon as possible? His train of thoughts was put to a screeching halt when he could see the familiar crystal clear, island blue waters of Ogygia below him.
Festus’s landing in the surrounding blue sea should’ve stirred up quite a commotion, a mini tsunami of Ogygia’s pure waters blasting towards the shore of the island, the home and prison of the girl he loved, Calypso.
His heart did a happy dance just by thinking about her. He almost forgot that he was about to have a not so pleasant landing in the water below him; almost. Oh, that, and he was still on fire.
Remembering a piece of advice he’d heard somewhere about landing in water, he kept his arms and legs straight, bracing for impact.
The winds of change definitely weren’t in his favor today, (when were they ever?) but why? Leo suddenly spiraled round and round in the sudden gust of wind that blew him away. He flailed his arms and legs around to calm himself as he screamed at the top of his lungs, losing consciousness until he finally did land on the ground.
Waking up, Leo slowly opened his eyes and looked around for several seconds. He slowly sat up and took in his surroundings. He was in a bathtub sized crater in Ogygia’s pristine white sand, very much similar to the one he had landed in when he had first arrived in Ogygia. Déjà vu, maybe? “Umm.. Sunshine? You there?” Leo called out uncertainly.
Weird, why was it so... quiet? Maybe she was patching up a new set of clothes just for Leo, after all, she did agree to wait for him until he returned. Maybe she somehow knew that he’d willingly burn to death just to see her, after all, love does crazy things to people, especially ADHD-driven demigods like himself. Just look at what Percy did! Jumped straight into Tartarus after Annabeth, the stupid idiot!
Whatever the case, Leo couldn’t wait to see her. He stood up and wiped off some of the soot on the clothes he’d unintentionally burned trying to get here. He climbed out of the crater and walked towards Festus, the mechanical bronze dragon slowly joining him on the beach.
Festus was doing surprisingly well, despite the fact that the water might have tripped something up in his system. Great, another problem for Leo to fix, though ever since Piper had sweet talked him, he’d become his own living mechanical dragon. He barely had to do anything anymore in terms of mechanical make-overs. “You alright there, big guy?” Leo asked him with a cheeky grin playing on his lips.
Festus simply creaked in response like he always did. Leo said, “Why don’t you wait here for a sec and dry off? I’m gonna have a look around for bit. Sit tight, Festus! I’ll be right back!” Festus merely creaked in acknowledgement when he turned on the heating features to dry himself off.
Leo jogged a few meters away before stopping in his tracks, looking up into the orange sky. “It’ll be dark soon...” Leo said to himself mindlessly. The warm breeze around him blew at his dark curls, reminding him that it was summer. He turned around and looked at a calm Festus, resting in the sand behind him. Leo faced forward and looked towards the path leading to Calypso’s garden.
Seeing that Calypso hadn’t come to see him just yet, Leo turned on his heel and walked back to where Festus had seated himself. Leo decided to make a rainbow using the sea spray like he’d tried when he first crash landed on Ogygia. This time, he decided to come prepared. He made sure that the few emergency drachmas he kept in his tool belt were there for the offering he planned to give the goddess of rainbows in order to Iris message his friends in the first place. They were probably worried sick about him anyways.
“Oh Iris, goddess of the Rainbow, please accept my offering,” Leo said without hesitating as he tossed his drachma into the rainbow. After waiting a couple of seconds, the image he received was not (or was it?) what he expected.
It appeared to him that his friends were doing perfectly fine without him around, especially since they were his best friends, who were both into each other, and dating on top of all that. Jason and Piper were too busy eating each other’s faces to notice he even Iris messaged them in the first place. “Whoa! What did I say about PDA to both of you earlier!?” Leo said to them in disgust as he shielded his eyes.
The two lovers released one another and jumped, letting out involuntary screams of surprise. "Gods of Olympus! Leo, is that you!?" Piper screeched at him.
"Duh. What does it look like?"
Jason let out a sigh and looked into the distance briefly in a panic before telling Leo, "Leo, could you give us a minute? I think the patrol harpies heard us."
Leo rolled his eyes at Jason as he replied, “Are you sure you aren’t just saying that to get me out of your hair, Blonde Superman?”
“Leo, do you have any idea what time it is? It’s like two in the morning!” Piper said to him flatly.
“Says Ms. Beauty Queen who’s up at two in the first place,” Leo said to her in reply.
“This is serious, man. Could you just give us a couple of minutes, please?” Jason pleaded.
“Dang, someone sure doesn’t like being cockblocked,” Leo said with a laugh. “I’ll call you back later, then.”