The Year of the Great Prophecy
Because I got to see Nico, 2004 started off well. It didn’t matter that everyone knew that Percy was turning 16 in August and the prophecy was going to be fulfilled. Afterall, it wasn’t even summer yet. We just trained the best we knew how and didn’t stop.
Amidst all the craziness, something pretty new happened at Camp Half-Blood. It had actually happened for the first time back in 2003, but I hadn’t been around for that time.
Hera, the goddess of marriage and childbirth, had begun something she had wanted to do for a long time. She decided to start gifting children to couples who she knew were meant to be, starting with the couple that everyone knew was going to get married eventually: Katie Gardener, daughter of Demeter, and Kit Barcelone, son of Hermes.
They had been together since Kit, who was two years younger than Katie, had arrived at camp and it had been love at first sight. They had been dating for years, and, according to Katie, they had both been praying to Hera, unbeknownst to the other, that someday they would get married and have children. They were clearly the perfect couple for Hera to begin her experiment on, because they thanked her endlessly.
Katie and Kit’s quadruplets were born on November 8th, 2003. The next day, they were claimed by godly parents. Demeter claimed Isaiah and Kinley, and Hermes claimed Samuel and Hailey. This meant that, though Chiron allowed them to live in a room at the Big House for a couple weeks, they eventually had to take their children into their cabins. This caused a lot of problems, not only for Kit and Katie, but for their cabinmates.
It was even worse than when Jacob had been at camp, because the quadruplets were newborns and they cried a lot more. Plus, it was hard for Kit and Katie to get formula for them in their cabins. Still, they did it, and though everyone lost sleep and complained a lot, the babies stayed in the cabins.
Then, on January 16th of 2004, I was there to witness Griffin Finnighan, an unclaimed guy living in the Hermes cabin, and Anyssa Veracue, a daughter of Hephaestus, being gifted twins, a boy and a girl, who they named Tera and Kade.
Chiron called a Head Counselor’s meeting. Because Percy and Nico Sr. weren’t at camp, Nico Jr. and I went as representatives from our cabin. After the whole Roman peace treaty and Nico holding his own in the Battle of the Labyrinth, people actually listened to us sometimes.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t deal with babies in my cabin,” Beckendorf said when everyone sat down at the ping pong table. “I love Nyssa like, well, a sister, but I can’t do it. I didn’t sign up to be an uncle, you know?”
“I’m really sorry, guys,” Katie whispered. I leaned against her arm and she smiled at me. Nico and I had babysat for Kit and Katie a few times while they trained, and I really loved her kids. I knew that Nico would fight for them, too.
“Kit’s doing his best,” Connor Stoll said.
“Yeah,” Travis agreed, “but it’s exhausting. If these new kids go unclaimed like Griffin, we’ll have four babies in our cabin, and that’s just not fair.”
“You can’t just kick them out,” Nico said. “They’re babies.”
“We’re not going to kick them out, Nics,” Beckendorf promised. Yeah, he had a soft spot for little kids.
“I think they should stay at the Big House,” Silena Beauregard said. “It worked for Kit and Katie those first few weeks.”
“It was nice,” Katie admitted. “It gave Kit and I time to bond with the babies that don’t share the same godly, um, ‘parent’ and to figure out how to work as a team.”
“Suppose Hera keeps doing this to multiple couples,” Chiron said, scratching his beard. “Keeping everyone in the Big House isn’t sustainable.”
“That’s true,” Malcolm Cunn, the son of Athena standing in for Annabeth, said. (Yeah, I know his last name is Pace in the books, but that’s fiction. Malcolm didn’t want his full name used.) “We’re going to need a nursery or something.”
“I think so, too,” Chiron said. “Could we count on you to spearhead the project?”
Malcolm blushed. “I think Annabeth would kill me if I did. Architecture is kinda her thing.”
Chiron smiled and nodded. “When she gets here, we can talk to her about it. I think we can wait until then.”
We all agreed, and with that, the meeting was adjourned. Nico and I ran out of the Big House, giddy.
“That was so cool,” Nico said, smiling.
“It was,” I agreed. “You even talked! I was too scared.”
“I didn’t try to,” Nico said, blushing. “It just came out.”
I took his hand, and we went to practice our favorite thing: sword fighting.