Children Wait For the Day They Feel Good
Paul brought his baby girl home, and barely noticed the girl traveling by his side. Athena was strangely absent, and it was even stranger that he didn't say anything about why some odd girl was suddenly following him.
He only brought his daughter into her new home and set her up in her nursery. He stared down at the baby, with the strange girl having actually followed him into the house and was now watching him from the door of the nursery.
He couldn't do this.
Picking up the baby, he walked to his (his, just his, not his and Sally's anymore) bedroom and crawled into bed with the baby, holding her close. He didn't fall asleep, his eyes just wide open the entire time. The strange girl sat at the foot of his bed and watched over them.
When he next woke up, not even remembering when he'd been able to fall asleep in the first place, Paul realized that he no longer had his baby with him. Eyes widening, he shot up immediately and ran out of his bed and out of his room, jumping down the stairs and running into the scene of breakfast laid out on the table and that strange girl holding the baby and humming to her.
"Breakfast," she said softly, looking up and watching him with solemn eyes.
He walked forward hesitantly and she handed the baby to him. He looked down to see Sally's warm brown eyes looking up at him, and he broke down again, falling to his knees as he cried over the baby in his arms. He looked up at the strange girl.
"What do I do? I don't know what to do anymore!"
She laid a comforting hand on his forehead.
"Be a good father. Be a good role model to her," she murmured.
And then Artemis calmly took Paul by the elbow and led him back to his room, telling him to sleep as she gently took the baby from him.
"What do you want to name her?" she asked the quickly falling asleep Paul, brushing his hair back like he was a child.
"Rosemarie," he said sleepily. "They always did love flowers and their sayings…Rosemarie for the flower of remembrance. Rosemarie Perseas Blofis…"
"Perseas sounds a little like Perseus, doesn't it?" she smiled sadly, hiding the pain in her eyes.
He didn't answer, already fast asleep.
"Rosemarie it is then," she said softly, adjusting little Rosemarie in her arms securely.
Artemis quietly left the room, leaving it only a little ajar, and then walked back to the kitchen. She waved a hand and the food was gone, packed into the fridge for later. Instead, she moved to the living room and sat on the couch, rocking the baby slightly.
"Now this is a surprising difference, little sis," Apollo snickered, appearing in the room and watching his twin play mommy. "It's strange to see you acting all nurturing and being nice to a guy when you normally hate men."
"I don't hate men," Artemis murmured, but didn't look away from the face of the baby in her arms. "And Paul Blofis is a kind gentleman, who is dealing with so many things. Besides, too much pain has been cast upon this family already."
Apollo's grin slid off his face and he grew solemn. He walked closer and gingerly sat next to his sister.
"You think Percy would have been delighted at having a sister?" he asked his twin quietly, reaching over and gently running a finger down Rosemarie's small face.
"Of course," Artemis declared stoutly. "And he would have been a very good and loving brother. Unlike you."
He took the lighthearted jab good-naturedly, his lips twitching into a small smile. But then his smile fell.
"Athena is back with the Council. They are trying to decide her fate now. I think they are waiting to hear from Paul first, to see if he wants her to continue her sentence."
Artemis' lips tightened into a severe line.
"He will not want anything to do with her."
Apollo sighed. "Can't say I blame him. I'll guess we'll have to wait."
And when Zeus came to personally ask Paul, Paul merely held on tight to his baby girl and glared.
"I don't want her anywhere near my daughter and I! I don't care who she is –she is never welcome back here!"
And that was the matter settled.
Once again, the Olympian Council gathered and Athena stood before them, head bowed.
"Your sentence with Sally Blofis has been cut prematurely," Zeus muttered, observing his quiet daughter. "As Paul Blofis refuses to have you near him or his daughter, we will continue onto the next part of your punishment. As of now, you shall be deaged to a time where you are old enough to take care of yourself but unable to fully exercise your rights and be taken seriously. Your powers will be taken away and you will live as a mortal, and be as fragile as one."
Zeus frowned to himself, thinking a bit. "Until a time where Rosemarie Blofis is of an age to enter high school, in which she will soon come of age, you will not age until then. When that time comes, I am personally charging you with the safety of dear Rosemarie, in the place of Perseus, who would have –if he had still been alive –been taking precious care of his younger sister."
Athena flinched, but nodded in deference.
"And so shall it be. Athena, this is your sentence."
"You're a bit overprotective," Artemis commented idly, sitting down next to Paul as he watched six year old Rosemarie closely. "But I, unlike most people, would not disagree over an extremely watchful eye. A little freedom at this age won't be remised though. You can lock her up once she's at that age where boys come into mind," her voice turned a little teasing.
He winced. "I think I would prefer to save me the stress of thinking about that until the time actually comes."
Artemis' laughter rang out and pulled a rare smile from Paul.
"Could you take her into your huntress group when she's older? Keep her safe and protected?" Paul asked tentatively, squeezing his hands as he stared at the group.
She patted his shoulder kindly. "If she chooses to, I will gladly take her, Paul. But you know, I have a feeling she'll be a lot like Percy in that regard –loyal to the friends she'll easily gain. I'll be proud to have her by my side, but I believe that she'll most likely find home right here with you."
Paul's lips turned up slightly in a bittersweet tinge, but he gave her a thankful smile.
"Why don't you think about one last year of teaching, Paul? Just one more before you really retire," Artemis suddenly suggested. "There's a high school nearby that needs an English teacher for a year coincidentally. I think it'll be good for you."
Paul hesitated, and glanced at his daughter. Artemis gave a little nudge.
"I can help you out with little Rosemarie for now. I don't mind at all," she encouraged him.
After a little more hesitation, his head jerked into a small nod.
"Okay. I'll do it for one more year," he muttered. "I really wouldn't want to trouble you though. And I feel bad about having someone else take care of Rosemarie when I should be the one there."
"Don't worry, I said I was fine, didn't I? And you'll be taking care of her after, just like you have been all this time," and Artemis made sure to look as reassuring as she could, eventually convincing Paul completely.
And so, before long, the new school year started and Paul was, once again, teaching. It had been some time since he'd done so, and he was nervous and wondering if he could still do it. But the bell rung and his first class was already streaming in, and he had no more time to worry about it.
The day almost seemed to go into a blur, and he thankfully seemed to be able to go through the motions of teaching as if he had never stopped. It was like remembering how to ride a bicycle –once learned, never forgotten.
His last class trailed in for the day and he smiled, looking up from the papers from his desk, when his heart almost stopped.
Familiar sea-green eyes and dark hair set around a familiar shaped face…So similar but with differences…
He collected himself and began role call, feeling his heart clenched when he had to breathe out the familiar name.
Dear gods, even his voice sounded similar.
When he came home to Artemis that day, he looked at her and she looked back with an unfathomable gaze. He opened his mouth to ask for the truth, but then shut it.
He didn't really want to know.
He didn't want to get his hopes up. Or maybe he just didn't want to know the truth and find out absolutely for sure that it really wasn't his Percy, and ruined all his illusions.
Whatever reason, Paul closed his mouth and kept it closed.
He didn't have to know the truth. It could be alright if he could pretend either way, right?
"Mr. Blofis? Is it alright if you can help me out with my college applications?"
Paul mentally breathed in and out. Four months and he was still not used to being around Percy's doppelganger.
"Of course, Mr. Jackson. I'll do my best to help you out," Paul gave him a shaky smile.
Last time around, it had been Athena who'd helped his Percy with the college applications. Paul's hands clenched tightly.
The two began working over the paperwork, discussing certain points.
"You know, I had a son named Percy," Paul blurted out and he inwardly winced. "Um, his name was Perseus though. Not Percival. And he was actually my stepson."
Percy gave him a rather achingly familiar grin. "Really? That's cool. What's he doing now?"
"I 'had' a son," Paul reminded the other gently, smiling sadly. "He died in a car crash years ago."
Percy's grin dropped and he immediately looked apologetic.
"It's alright. It's been years now. I should…be living for him, you know?" Paul gave him a small grin, hiding how he actually wasn't and he still really missed Sally and Percy so much. "I also quite remember the trouble he had with these blasted things! In the end, he had to think of what he wanted to do in life and/or what he was going to end up doing as a career, so he could pick the best school that catered to that."
"Oh! That's really good advice, Mr. Blofis. Thank you!"
"You're welcome," Paul's lips twitched up, and he could pretend that he'd helped his Percy, instead of leaving him in the hands of Athena.
It was finally graduation day for the seniors. It felt rather bittersweet in a way, and Paul couldn't help but feel melancholic.
Standing in front of the windows of his classroom, he stared out into the yard and basked in the bright sun that lit up his classroom. He leaned against a desk and murmured a quick prayer to Apollo, a twitch of his lips reminding him that he would have never done such a thing before meeting Sally and Percy and finding out about Greek gods and goddesses being all real.
He turned halfway and faced his door, seeing his favorite student standing there with a wide smile on his face.
"Percy! What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at your graduation ceremony?" he asked in surprise.
Percy gave a half-shrug, but was still smiling. "I'll get there. I wanted to see you first. It's kind of odd…but it feels like I've kind of known you for a long time. I don't think I really remembered or like any of my other teachers, but you're definitely my favorite teacher ever."
Paul laughed lightly and rubbed the back of his head. "Thanks, Perce."
"I was wondering if you were still going to be here next year or if you were going to transfer somewhere?" Percy asked curiously.
"Actually, I'm retiring," Paul revealed wryly. "I was only working for the year. A friend convinced me and I decided why the heck not? In the end, I guess it turned out to be a pretty good decision."
"Oh…Ah, well, what do you plan on doing with your retirement?" Percy's grin was a little on the small side.
"Well, I got a six going on seven year old I've got to take care of," Paul smiled widely, remembering his little girl. "She gets to have her daddy full time now."
"That's great! She sounds precious," Percy mused.
"She is…" Paul murmured. "You know, Percy, you remind me of my son. You're very kind and loyal –he was the type to do anything he could for his loved ones and had been starting college himself. I hope you get to have a great time at your university and succeed in life."
"Thanks, Mr. Blofis," Percy beamed at him.
He returned the happy cheer, before it dimmed a little.
"Just a word of advice –you and my son are very loyal and love strongly…but just make sure you don't let anyone push you down or take advantage of you, alright? Even if it's someone you really love and care for. I love my wife and she was a very strong and a one of a kind woman, but the woman my son chose…"
Percy looked startled before smiling sadly. "I understand, Mr. Blofis. I'll keep that in mind."
"Good boy. I wish you well in life, Percy."
And Paul only wished that his Percy could have done the same.
"It was a good year," Paul ruminated.
"I'm glad," Artemis tilted her head, watching him.
"Did you know he would be there?"
He didn't have to say who he was talking about for Artemis to know.
But she couldn't say the truth either. She only found out recently about certain events from a little tip by a certain trickster, but the others were right –the less who knew the truth, the better. She wasn't even supposed to know at all, and the less evidence that she did was a good thing. And…
Just one lifetime without Athena at least. Just one lifetime…
"How odd," Paul hmmed. "I feel so tired."
Artemis looked at him closely, frowning.
"Sometimes…sometimes I have dreams where I'm dying. I don't know why, but I feel like they're the best dreams I have," he was blinking slowly, as if lost in thought.
She reached out quickly, almost instinctively, and grabbed his hand.
"You still have Rosemarie…and myself when I have the time to come around," she gently reminded, forcing back the tone of urgency and panic that almost welled up.
"Yes, yes. You are right," Paul came to a little more, and gave her a soft smile. "You are very right, Lady Artemis."
"Just Artemis, Paul," she lightly tapped his hand. "You and neither Sally or Percy ever had to call me 'Lady.'"
His smile widened a little before he focused his attention on his drink, looking down at it with a sorrowed look.
"I wish our Percy could have met this Percy. I think the two of them would have gotten along."
She swallowed the lump in her throat and merely patted his hand in answer.
Artemis was doing her best to keep together and help the family of Percy's that were still alive and left behind, and this little was all she could do for now.
Rosemarie Perseas Blofis did not like her name being shortened to 'Rose' or 'Marie.' She preferred being called by her full name –Rosemarie.
It was in remembrance of her brother, of whose name she was also literally named after as well. Of course, 'Rosemarie' was also in remembrance of her mother too.
Her mother had died at her birth, though she knew that for the longest time beforehand, her mom had trouble being happy and something about 'depression.' It was because of the death of her brother, Perseus "Percy" Jackson.
Percy had died young. He'd died in a car crash. He died because of some woman.
She heard a lot of things and she'd ended up making her father tell her the truth.
She had grown up with a lot of stories about her brother and she loved hearing about his adventures and hearing about him. She knew about him being a demigod, all about the Greek gods and goddesses, and had even met Artemis herself –who tried to frequently visit.
Rosemarie loved hearing Artemis talk about Percy.
When she was hearing about Percy and all the things he'd done, she felt a little bit closer to him and like she really knew him. She really loved her brother, even though Rosemarie never really got to meet him or see him.
So when she started hearing things about his death now that she was twelve years old, sometimes little passing things, mentions or even a small explanation –like maybe from Uncle Travis or Uncle Connor, who visited her father sometimes, or Aunty Clarisse, or even Aunt Annabeth, who she didn't like being around because Aunt Annabeth would always look at her with the saddest eyes and it would make Rosemarie feel uncomfortable or really sad herself –she really just wanted to know what really happened.
So her dad told her.
He told her how her brother had fallen in love with Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, and how they were happy together for a time. And then, suddenly, how Athena started to mistreat Percy and it eventually tore him down and he had ended up running away and heading straight for the car crash that ended his life.
She had never really hated anyone before, but she was surprised that the unfamiliar emotion rushed through her being after she learned about her brother's death. And she couldn't help but really hate Athena, whom she'd never even met before.
Rosemarie really, really wished Percy could have fallen in love with any other goddess. She would have preferred if he'd fallen in love with Artemis, Aphrodite, Hestia…Just anyone else. Even if it had been a god, because surely they would never have made her brother that miserable.
If it wasn't for Athena, she would have been able to have the older brother that made everyone happy and would have loved her too.