I woke up in the Big House in the room that Katie and Kit had lived in when their kids were born. I sat up and looked around to see Nico sitting next to me. “Hey,” he said, smiling.
“Hey,” I said.
I nodded and fell back against the pillow. “I’m not very good at it.”
“Better than you were, though,” he said, smiling again. He leaned forward and embraced me, kissing my forehead.
“I just wanted to be home.”
“I wanted you to be home, too.”
I smiled at him again, glad to see him in person. “How’d I get here?”
Nico shrugged. “We could go ask Chiron.”
I got out of bed, feeling like I had run a marathon. Nico put his arm around my waist for support and we made our way to the porch, where Chiron, Dionysus, and my favorite satyrs, Clarke and Clayton, were playing Pinochle.
“She wakes,” Dionysus said, setting down his cards. “Pretty stupid, what you did.”
“For once, I agree with Mr. D,” Chiron said, smiling softly. “You’re lucky that Jake heard your cries. Without him, you could have been seriously hurt.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled. “I don’t aim very well when I shadow travel.”
“I know, child. It is why you should not be here.”
“I had to come,” I protested.
“‘Had, shmad,’ as you humans would say,” Dionysus said. I wanted to glare at him, but I resisted, trying to decide if he was a worse step-dad than Bob.
“Jake Carman saved me?” I asked Chrion.
“Jake Mason,” Chiron corrected. “I would thank him if I were you. And I would go meet your new sister.”
“My what?” I asked, turning to Nico. He blushed. “I didn’t have time to tell you yesterday.”
“Go, go,” Dionysus said, waving me away. “Let us finish our game.”
I charged off towards the cabins, Nico following close behind. “Are you mad at me?”
“No,” I promised. “We should find Jake first.”
Nico agreed, so we made our way to the Hephaestus cabin and knocked on the door.
Nyssa’s sister, Alyssa, answered. “Looking for Nyssa?”
“Jake,” I said.
“Oh, yeah,” she said. She turned and called for him.
Jake came to the door and smiled sheepishly. “Glad you’re okay.”
“Thanks for helping me.”
“No big deal,” he promised, shifting on his feet uncomfortably.
“I owe you one,” I said. A lot of people said that around here when someone helped them, so I thought that I would.
“I might take you up on that,” Jake said, smiling.
Nico and I said goodbye, then ran to my cabin.
“Have you met her?” I asked Nico.
“No,” he said, “but I did see Travis and Connor showing her around. She wasn’t claimed until dinner, so they thought she’d be in the Hermes cabin.”
“Were people surprised?” I asked.
“Of course,” Nico said as we slowed, stopping at the door to my cabin. “We all thought that you and Percy were Poseidon’s only half-blood children.”
“Me too,” I admitted, my stomach churning. As excited as I was to have a sister, I wasn’t sure how I felt about sharing my dad with more people.
“Should I knock?” Nico asked. I nodded.
The door opened a few seconds later and a girl who was a little taller than me with green eyes and blonde hair looked out at us.
I tried to hide my shock at her hair color, but I don’t think I did very well.
“Who are you?” she asked, looking between Nico and I.
“I’m Nico,” he said, “and this is, um, Katelyn.”
“Your sister,” I said.
The girl’s eyes flashed. “Chiron said that neither of my siblings would be here until the summer.”
“I ran away from home,” I said sheepishly. “So I’m here now.”
The girl looked from me to Nico again.
“I guess, um, bye,” Nico said, turning and going to the Hades cabin.
“Can I come in?” I asked.
The girl nodded and opened the door. There was a stringy backpack on the bed next to mine.
“How’d you get here?” I asked.
The girl shrugged. “I was in school, and my teacher, Mrs. Alderman, ended up being some lizard-thing.”
“A dracaena,” I said. “I hate those things.”
“Me too,” the girl said. “It was really, really scary. Like the time my old friend’s dog got really big and attacked me. I had to go to the hospital.”
“It was probably a hellhound,” I told her. “Was it black?”
She nodded, frowning. “Everyone here seems to know more about my life than me.”
I shrugged. “You’ll learn eventually. We all do. Training and classes help a lot.”
“How old are you, anyway?” she asked, looking me up and down.
“I’m five. Almost six,” I said. “I’m just tall and strong for my age.”
She nodded. “I’m 8.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Peyton,” she said. “I don’t remember yours.”
“Katelyn,” I said. “I’ve never had a sister before.”
“Me neither,” she said, smiling.
We got to talking about pretty much everything that day, and I learned that she had a mortal brother who was my age, and his name was Nathan. He had always been able to see weird things that even Peyton hadn’t.
“I think he’s like my mom,” I said. “He can see through the Mist.”
“Chiron mentioned that. It’s magic, right?”
I nodded. “It can be confusing, but you’ll understand eventually.”
We talked about how Peyton had always thought that Nathan’s dad was her dad, which I thought was sad, and I told her stories about Percy.
“He’s the best brother,” I said. “And I know because I have another half-brother, Jacob, who’s pretty good, but he’s not like Percy.”
“I wish I could meet him.”
“Me too,” I said, thinking. “Maybe we could Iris message him. I know I was sad when I found out that I hadn’t been here when you got here, so I don’t want him to not meet you until the summer.”
“Iris message?” Peyton asked.
I explained, and we walked over to the fountain in the middle of the cabin. I fished a drachma out of the water and said, “Oh, Iris, goddess of the rainbow, please accept my offering,” and threw the coin. “Show me Percy Jackson, Upper-East Side Manhattan.”
Peyton gasped as an image came into view.
“Percy,” I said. He was playing video games from the couch in his living room and he had headphones on. “Percy!” I shouted, and he jumped. He tore his headphones off and looked at me. “You scared the heck out of me,” he said, laughing.
“Sorry,” I said, laughing too. “I wanted you to meet someone.”
Percy looked at Peyton. “Hi. I’m Percy.”
“Hi,” Peyton said. “I’m Peyton.”
Percy nodded and looked at me.
“This is our sister,” I said.
His eyebrows shot up. “Our what?”
“Sister,” Peyton said. “It’s really weird to me, too.”
Percy smiled, scratching his head. “You get used to the weird stuff, but this one really is wild. You’re sure your dad is Poseidon?”
“There was a trident floating above me yesterday, so I think so.”
Percy rubbed his eyes. “Man. Wow. I wish Dad would’ve told us we weren’t the only ones.”
“Me too,” I agreed. “But Peyton is super nice,” I said, smiling at her. She smiled back.
“Sorry,” Percy said, “I’m not trying to be rude, it’s just a real shocker. Give me a second.” He got up and walked out of the frame of the Iris message. “Mom!”
“I’m a little busy, Percy,” she called.
“It’s really important.”
“Be there in a minute.”
Percy sat back down on the floor. “She’s being slow because last time I said it was important it was just for her to pay the pizza guy.”
Peyton and I laughed.
“I really wish I was at camp,” he said, putting his chin on his hand. “I might be able to drive out next weekend, but that could be risky.”
“Someone could tell Blackjack to come pick you up,” I offered.
Percy nodded. “I think that could work. Are you going to be at camp then, Peyton?”
She shrugged. “I have no idea what’s going on. I only came here because my mom said it was ‘time.’”
“That’s what happened to me when I came to camp at first, too,” Percy said. “You’ll get to go home eventually, trust me. It’s just good to learn how to defend yourself a little bit first.”
Peyton nodded, biting her lip.
“What do you need, Percy?” Sally asked. Her feet came into frame, and then she sat down.
“Hi Katelyn,” she said, smiling warmly. She had met me multiple times, and I liked her a lot. “Hi.”
“Mom, this is Peyton,” Percy said, gesturing. “She’s our sister.”
Sally turned to look at Percy, then back at us. “It’s nice to meet you, Peyton.”
“My name’s Sally, by the way, if these two didn’t tell you.”
Percy blushed a little.
“I’m excited to have a sister,” I said.
“Beats having this guy, I bet,” Sally joked, bumping Percy’s shoulder. He rolled his eyes. Sally looked at Peyton. “You must be a little overwhelmed right now.”
Peyton nodded, tears glistening in her eyes. I hugged her from the side, but she didn’t hug me back. She just wiped the tears from her eyes. “It’s all so confusing. I just wish I would have known the truth.”
“It gets better,” Percy promised. “I was kind of mad at my mom for not telling me for a bit, but it wears off. It’s hard to comprehend that we have a myth for a parent, you know? But when you start seeing more stuff, it’ll be easier to understand. Plus, Chiron and so many people at camp are great. You’ll really feel at home in no time.”
Peyton nodded, still crying.
We talked for a little longer, but it was really awkward, so we ran out of time before Peyton stopped crying. I led her over to her bed and helped her sit down. Then she finally hugged me back until she stopped crying.
“It’s probably lunch time, if you’re hungry,” I whispered. I was pretty hungry, especially for some good camp food.
Peyton laughed a little and nodded. I took her hand and led her to the Pavilion, where I couldn’t hide my excitement at having someone to sit with at meals. Nico and I grinned at each other over and over until everyone was done eating and we took Peyton to the nursery to meet our friends and the babies, which we knew could cheer anyone up.
“The Barcelone babies are the oldest,” Nico explained, leading Peyton and I to the playroom, where Kit was playing with his quadruplets.
“Hey,” he said, standing up with Samuel in his arms and coming over to shake Peyton’s hand. “I’m Kit, son of Hermes. I tried to say hi earlier, but you were a little busy.”
“Peyton,” my sister said, taking his hand. “Daughter of Poseidon?”
“It gets easier,” Kit promised, smiling. “Sit, take a baby! They give the best kisses. Can cheer anyone up.”
“He may be biased,” I teased, going over to hug Hailey, who squealed and gave me a toy hotdog.
“They’re very cute,” Peyton said, sitting down and starting to play trains with Kinley and Isaiah. “How do you have babies already, though?”
Kit laughed. “Well, not the normal way, that’s for sure. These guys were made like children of Athena. Basically thought into existence, gifted by Hera herself.”
“Who?” Peyton asked.
Nico, Kit, and I looked at each other in alarm. “Shh,” Kit said. “Best to never say that outloud ever again about the Queen of the Gods. Goddess of childbirth, marriage, all that. Okay?”
“Okay?” Peyton said, blushing.
“She’s easily offended,” I whispered.
“It’s okay,” Nico said, also whispering. “She’ll probably be forgiving since you’re new.”
Peyton looked terrified, so I left Hailey just to give her a hug. “Don’t worry. Just another thing to get used to.”
“The ‘things’ just keep coming,” Peyton said, looking like she was going to cry again.
“We’ll help,” I promised. “Then it’ll come just like breathing. Easy!”
After we got her calmed down, Nico and I took her to meet Tera and Kade, who were taking their last nap of the day, and the triplets, Colton, Martin, and Kayla, who were in the process of eating dinner at the big multi-seater table.
“Want to take a turn feeding?” Jason asked, holding out the baby food to Nico and I. I nodded and took it from him, feeding Martin carefully.
“Your babies are from Hera, too?” Peyton asked, eyeing Jason skeptically.
“Yep,” he said. “Extremely unexpected, as my girlfriend would also tell you, but the best gifts either of us have ever gotten. I never thought I’d have three kids, but here I am. I could never chose one to give up.”
Nico smoothed Kayla’s hair as I fed them, and Peyton sat down next to Jason and started talking. I couldn’t stop smiling at Nico, watching as he carefully gave each baby attention and made them feel loved. He was going to be such a great dad, and I hoped that he would be the father of my babies, if Hera ever decided to give me any.
I flew to Percy’s apartment on Blackjack that Saturday, my mom’s voice from the Iris message we had shared ringing in my ears.
“We had an agreement. You were supposed to stay here. I’m trying my best to give you a complete, stable family, even after I messed up the first two times, and now you’re not even appreciating it. Come home.”
I had promised her that I would come home Christmas, but not before then. What I didn’t tell her was that I planned to be here, with Nico, to celebrate our birthday. I doubted that his dad would even show up, so there was no way that I was going to let him celebrate without me.
When I arrived at Percy’s apartment, I left Blackjack on the street.
People are going to think I’m some police horse runaway. Blackjack said, shaking his head.
“It’ll be fine, man,” I promised. “I’ll have Percy bring some blue food.”
If I get blue food, I’ll be a police horse anyday.
I smiled and ran up the stairs to Percy’s place.
“Katelyn!” Sally said, sweeping me into a hug when I opened the door. “I’m so glad you made it safely. I’ve been worrying since Percy told me the plan.”
“I can fend for myself,” I said, laughing and hugging her back. “I promised Blackjack some blue food.”
Sally put me down and ushered me into the apartment. “Well, good thing I’ve been stress-baking.” She handed me a bag of blue blueberry muffins and blue chocolate chip cookies as Percy came out of his room.
“Hey sis,” he said, grinning and shouldering his ratty old quest backpack.
“Hey, bro,” I said, smiling. “Are you ready?”
“Heck yeah,” he said. “I miss camp. And you, of course.” He ruffled my hair. “Let’s get going.”
He and I ran down to Blackjack, who gobbled up two blueberry muffins, only stopping after the second because we promised to give him two more back at camp. The flight there was amazing, Percy asking Blackjack to do a bunch of crazy stuff, which made me feel like I was going to fall off. I hugged Percy with my arms and Blackjack with my legs as hard as I could, and we all made it to camp safely.
When we touched down at camp, Emma holding Martin, Peyton with Kayla, and Nico with Colton were waiting on Half-Blood Hill. They waved and I jumped off of Blackjack and went running over to them. “I’ve been waiting for this moment,” I said, grinning at Peyton and bouncing on my toes. She smiled at me, then up at Percy.
“Hey, sis,” he said, smiling and getting off of Blackjack. He put his arms out and came over. “Bring it in.”
Peyton handed Kayla to me and hugged Percy. They let go pretty quickly, but Percy still smiled at her warmly. “Welcome to the fam.”
“Thanks,” Peyton said.
“What a circus we are,” Percy said, laughing. “We’re a total mess, all strewn all over the place, but it’s a lot of fun, right guys?”
Nico, Emma, and I nodded enthusiastically.
“It has been a pretty crazy week,” Peyton agreed. “In a good way, mostly.”
We helped Emma take her triplets back to the nursery, then Percy turned to Peyton and I and said, “Time to introduce you to your powers, huh?”
I nodded and smiled at Nico, who blushed. “I think I’ll stay here and help out.”
My heart sunk, feeling bad for leaving him out, but I supposed that it was for the best. “I’ll be back,” I promised, and he nodded.
Peyton, Percy, and I got along amazingly, especially after the first day. We canoed, taught Peyton to control small balls of water so that we could play catch, taught Peyton to make waves in cups of water, played pranks on the Ares cabin, helped Peyton through her first game of capture the flag, and a ton of other things that I don’t remember or that would take a long time to list.
When I wasn’t with Peyton and Percy, and even sometimes when I was, I was with Nico. We did everything that we normally did, but something between us had changed. I could feel the electricity between us, and I knew that I loved him more than I ever had before. I needed him.
“Let’s sneak out tonight,” Nico whispered to me at the campfire on Christmas Eve, right before I was set to leave for three days and go back home.
“And do what?” I asked.
“Anything,” he said. “As long as it’s just you and me.”
I nodded, smiling at him, and we joined everyone else in singing the campfire songs once again, bumping shoulders and feeling the fire rise inside of us.