“He’s still not awake,” Nico said at dinner. No one had stopped us from sitting together. “I Iris messaged Emma, and she couldn’t believe it.”
“I can barely believe it,” I admitted. “I expected you to have a younger sibling at some point, but one that’s older than Emma? Didn’t see that coming.”
Nico nodded. “I don’t think anyone did.”
“Are you upset?”
Nico shrugged. “I may have sat in my cabin and yelled at Hades a bit. Not that he heard it, really, but it still felt good.”
“Well, I’m glad you did it, then.”
“I’m afraid that my own brother, er, uncle?”
“I think it’s easiest if you just think of him as your brother,” I said. “Hades is nicer to you than Nico, anyway.”
Nico scowled. “I’m afraid that my own brother thinks I’m an idiot.” “He doesn’t,” I said, rubbing Nico’s back. “He was just in shock. Like everyone when they get here. Besides, when you show him his powers, he’ll respect you a lot.”
“Maybe,” Nico said.
“Hey,” I said, smiling. “I thought of two cool new last names that I made up.”
“Klinesson. And Calaiver.”
Nico perked up. “You really made those up?”
I nodded. “Do you like them?”
“I like both of them. Say them again.”
I said them, then Nico said them. “I think Calaiver sounds better,” I decided.
“Katelyn Calaiver?” he said.
He smiled and hugged me. “You’re the best ever.”
“No, you are,” I said, laughing.
Xavier and Nico were pretty close by the twenty-eighth, when we turned 7 years old. When all of the year-rounders came back to camp, Xavier finally seemed to believe our claims about his Greek parentage and the world he was now living in, and he learned to fit in at camp, despite the fact that he was more like Nico Sr. than Nico Jr.
In February, the entire camp was shocked when Emma and Jason were blessed with another set of triplets, this time two girls and a boy. Nico, Peyton, Matty, Keenan, Xavier, and I rushed to the nursery as soon as we heard the news. When we got there, Emma, Jason, Kit, Katie, Nyssa, and Griffin, as well as their children, were all in the main room, where babies slept.
Nyssa saw us first and beckoned us over, to where Emma was crying uncontrollably, Nyssa and Jason were trying to comfort her, and everyone else was keeping the babies occupied.
“What’s wrong?” Matty asked, sitting down next to Nyssa. Nico and I sat on one side of Emma and hugged on her while Jason hugged her from the other side.
“She didn’t expect more kids, did you, girl?” Nyssa asked, passing Emma another tissue.
“We just weren’t ready,” Jason said, staring at the ground, his face paler than usual.
“The triplets-- the first triplets -- are only one and a half,” Emma said, sniffling. “We can barely handle the three of them.”
“You’re not alone,” I reminded Emma. “We’re always going to be here to help you.”
Nico, Xavier, and my siblings echoed similar things.
Emma tried to smile. “Thanks guys. Really. It’s just… our parents -- our mortal parents -- already could see we were overwhelmed when we brought the kids home over the holidays. The looks that Jason’s mom was giving us… I could barely take it.”
“And now there are three more,” Jason said, sighing. “We don’t even know what to name them.”
“You guys don’t have to go home for another year, right?” Matty asked. “You’ll be able to handle all six by them and show your parents that you’ve got this.”
“We don’t got this,” Emma said. “And I can’t even say how I feel because…”
We all nodded knowingly. Xavier glanced at the ceiling.
“You can call on us whenever you need help,” I promised.