"The fates visited me" Hermes said. They were at camp, both demigods and gods.
They were circled around Luke, who was barely conscious and his breathing, shallow. Thalia and Annabeth were kneeling beside him while Percy was kneeling too behind Annabeth, out of Luke's sight. Annabeth and Thalia were crying.
Percy was barely suppressing his tears. I can't cry people know us as enemies. I won't cry...no
The rest of the camp was remembering the times when Luke wasn't so bitter. All looked at Hermes hopefully as he spoke.
"They said only one person can save him" He said with a hint of hope "One who knows him best."
Hermes brows furrowed "And they said… broken bonds will be mended and secrets will be revealed".
They all looked at Annabeth and Thalia fitting the line 'broken bonds will be mended
"I...I..." Annabeth faltered. They both shook their heads hopelessly crying harder as she realized she didn't really know him. She thought she knew him but she does not.
"I'll do it" Percy said quietly from Annabeth's side. Though both Annabeth and Thalia were crying a bit loud, everyone still heard him. Everyone looked at him incredulously.
"You don't even know him well, Percy" Thalia exclaimed. "You and him weren't even that close."
Percy stood up. "Do you want Luke to live or not?' Percy asked firmly.
"Of course I do!"
"Then trust me" Percy said, his voice firm. Thalia opened her mouth to protest.
"Thalia" Percy looked at her in the eyes. Everyone was surprised to see him this serious. "Just trust me"
He went over to kneel right besides Luke. Everyone was watching him, not saying a word, even the gods. Percy didn't care if all his secrets were revealed. Well... maybe he does care but he can't worry about that now. All he cares about is saving Luke. Nothing matters… just let him live.
Percy pulled something from his neck. It was a necklace with a pearl hanging from the almost invisible chain. He took it off placing it in Luke's hand.
"Hey, hey…Luke" Percy said firm but gentle. He pats his face softly. "Hey, look at me".
Everyone gaped at him. They never heard Percy talk to Luke like that before. Zeus opened his mouth to speak but Poseidon elbowed him making him close his mouth and glare at his brother.
Poseidon ignores it and continued to watch the scene before him making his brother sigh and turn to watch again too.
"Look at me". Luke's eyes focused on him with difficulty.
"Percy?" His voice was hoarse but everybody heard him in the now silent crowd.
"It's me Luke" Percy said softly, not caring if everybody heard him. "It's me your little brother right?" Everyone looked around confused even Annabeth who is standing now with the other campers along with Thalia to give Percy and Luke some space,
Both boys were in their own little world. Luke smiled weakly.
"You're not mad?" Luke at that moment sounded like a child.
"I've always had forgiven you" Percy assured him. "Always, because no matter what you did, I know you still cared, that you are still in there,"
"Because you never revealed to Kronos my secrets and weaknesses" He said softly but loud enough for everybody to hear. "Because remember when you 'tried' to kill me when I was 12? You weren't trying too hard by killing me next to the water which is my strength. It's a wonder nobody noticed."
He chuckled wetly. "I know you Luke and I know you are stubborn." Percy looked at him firmly. His gaze, unwavering "And you are going to live. You are not going to die, not on me, you are gonna live, okay? "
"You still have us Luke, We are still your friends, you still have something to live for" He added quietly "I'm still here, Luke"
"Fight, please. Live, for me. For all of us, okay?" Luke nodded weakly. Percy gripped his hand tightly and a bright glow surrounded them both making everybody look away. As the light subsided, Luke was coughing while Percy was rubbing his back comfortingly. Percy helped him in a sitting position. They looked at each other and burst out laughing.
The gods and demigods watched with mouths open. They had never seen Luke this happy, especially not with Percy.
Annabeth opened her mouth to speak but she was cut off by a horrible sound.
It came from Percy. He had coughed in his hand. It was not a normal cough, no. And everybody knew that and looked at him with worried expressions.
Luke narrowed his eyes at Percy, who was hiding his hand behind his back.
"Give me your hand" He said firmly. Percy looked panicked and shook his head wildly.
"Give me your hand"
Everyone looked at Luke, then at Percy, and Luke again. Luke was getting impatient.
"Dammit Percy" Luke said angrily. "Give me your hand"
Percy refused again. Everyone was baffled, why did Luke wants to see his hand?
"Percy, I need to know. Goddammit"
Percy glared at him. "Fine" Luke looked bewildered as though he wasn't expecting him to agree.
"Fine, let the whole world know all my secrets." Percy said in a dangerous calm tone. "Is that what you want? I'll take my shirt off too and everyone knows my secrets."
Luke's eyes widened but before he could speak Percy thrust out his hand at him.
Everyone stared at it in horror. His hand was covered in blood. He was coughing blood.
"Perce…" Luke faltered, lost at words. Poseidon was staring at his son's hand in horror, so does most of the gods.
Percy ignored the looks he was getting and focused on Luke." I'm taking my shirt off too, Luke and...All will be revealed"
Luke shook his head but Percy took it off. Once again, everybody was staring at him in horror and shock.
Scars littered his body and it was obvious it was not from fighting monsters. "Happy?" He spat, not meeting any of their eyes.
Thalia stuttered "Ho-how..?" Percy looked at her, his eyes blank.
"Not all monsters are legends, Thalia"
With that, he walked off leaving both demigods and gods.
"Why was there blood on his hands" Annabeth and Poseidon asked at the same time.
They all looked at Luke for answers.
Luke sighed. "It's not my place to tell, but knowing him, he'd never tell"
Thalia interrupted him. "How exactly do you know each other"? Luke faltered then sighed.
"I'll start from the beginning". Everyone was listening intently.
"I ran away from home when I was 9, I ended up in a park, Percy found me there, I was 9, he was 4"
Luke was just sitting there in a corner of the park, looking longingly at the bag of candy in a 4 year old hand. The boy noticed him looking, and Luke looked away embarrassed. He heard light footsteps behind him. It was the boy with the bag of candies. He held out the bag.
"You want some?" he asked stumbling over his words. Luke looked at the 4 year old in surprise.
"Can I?" Luke asked hopefully and the boy nodded. He sat down beside Luke and started eating the candy.
"What's your name?" Luke had asked. The boy looked at him with wide, innocent sea green eyes.
"My names Pewcy"
Percy's worried mother found Percy with Luke. He didn't know how it happened but he stayed in their apartment for the night.
Everyone had wide eyes.
"I don't know how exactly did it happened, but I stayed there for the week, then a month until the Jackson's adopted me. Everyone had their jaws hanging... Luke's tone was wistful.
"A year later, Percy was 5 and I was - I mean Ms Jackson married Gabe" he spat off their former stepfather's name with so much venom, everybody cringed. "He was a disgusting, vile man" He then added quietly. "He was abusive but mostly to Percy". Everyone was listening in horror as Luke continued.
Annabeth interrupted. "That's where he got those scars…" She whispered. Luke looked uncomfortable but nodded. "He was more abusive to him for some unknown reason"
"I tried to protect him, I really did but what can a 10 year old do?" He spat bitterly. "It hurts to see him in pain at 5. Can you believe it? He was so young." Luke took a deep breath.
"Moving on..." he said awkwardly. He cleared his throat.
"The following year went fine…well, not really but we were happy."
"The year after that…" Luke faltered. "It was the worst year I'd ever had"
"I was 12 and Percy was 7, we found out that he…that he has leukaemia". A shocked silence followed his sentence.
"What?!” Almost...I mean-everybody exploded bust as Luke started to talk again they all quiet down.
"It hit me and his mom so hard I actually collapsed when the doctor announced that" Luke said bitterly. "But Percy, he didn't let it affect him. He was still ever so cheerful as if he never had been in the hospital and he never had a deadly sickness".
"I asked him about it because I didn't understand how he can be still so happy. I was 13, he was 8. He told me that he wanted to live with no regrets, that he'd live his life to the fullest and he will not let one sickness to make him fall"
"I cried for him because he wouldn't cry for himself" Luke said softly." We grew closer than I thought possible for brothers to be"
"Percy was 9 and I was 14, he was admitted to hospital and the doctor said it was incurable, that all we could do was wait". Everyone had tears dripping down their faces.
"I lost it back there, I ran away" Luke had silent tears dripping down from his eyes. "I can't watch him die slowly, I...I" Luke's voice broke.
He stared at his sleeping brother. He was packing his bags. He's running away. It was a selfish act and he knows it. He was leaving when his family need him most. But he can't take it.
He walked over to Percy and kissed his forehead softly, taking his fist to his mouth to suppress a sob threatening to come out. He glanced at his mother and Percy for the last time, turned the knob, opened the door… and ran. He ran until he was far away. He didn't stop. He bumped many people, he didn't say sorry as he normally did. He just wanted to get away, as far as he can.
Not until he was miles away from his house did he collapsed into a corner and cried.
Thalia asked softly. "Why didn't you tell us?” Luke shook his head softly.
"It hurt too much, I can't talk about my brother and remember I left him when he needed me the most"
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you". Silence, nobody dared speak.
"Then you know the rest, and that's...that".
"Why didn't Percy tell us?" Annabeth asked, her voice shaking. Luke turned to her.
"He wanted to be strong, when he was 12, he wanted to be strong for his mother, 13, he wanted to be strong for Grover, 14 he wanted to be strong for you and 15 too. 16… he wanted to be strong for the camp, for the world." Luke said.
"That's why he endured it all" Luke said. "I know it hurts when he holds back his coughs, he…he knew he was going to die, sooner or later, he accepted death. That's why it didn't really matter that he does all those dangerous quest because he knows he's going to die, that dying was inevitable." Luke chuckled without humour.
"I imagined his face when he read the prophecy saying that at 16, he'll make a choice that'll either end his days. It was ironic because the doctor said that night, he might and was highly possible that at the very most, he's going to die at 16 and might not reach until 17." Luke added quietly. "It was so ironic…so cruel"
"He was destined to die, but he didn't care." He looked around their sad faces. "Bet he said that you can't worry if he dies and that you've got more problems to worry about, right?”. His statement was confirmed by their stunned expressions.
"He never really did care about dying but he doesn't want to die doing nothing, he wants to die at least after doing something to help others." He chuckled. "He was always so selfless; his worst flaw was the best thing about him."
A miserable silence fell over them.
"So it's possible he's going to die at any moment" Annabeth's voice broke. Luke looked at her gravely but he nodded.
"I'm so sorry Annabeth" His voice too broke.
He looked around at the demigods' and gods' tearful faces.
"I'm so sorry."