lightningthief: (did Hades just erupt out of that fire)
Nick's encounter made me curious. The island is doing something new. Nick's encounter with Artemis had some details that don't fit the previous mold. Percy and Coraline had missed three days, but it had started at night when they were sleeping, where Nick just lost three days while he was walking around. Also, Nick encountered Artemis here on the island, not in a scene back home, yet Artemis seemed to have her powers. I can't seem to fit these little details together into what's really going on here. That irks me. I've been thinking about it for a while, and I've been snooping around that area of the island, just to see if I can pick up any clues.

So, once again, after breakfast, I head out. Juuuust in case, I packed myself some food and water, because I realize something might happen to me too. If I wake up groggy, parched, and starved, I'll be prepared. I also have my sword Masamune with me.

I walk around for a good while. Three and a half hours, in fact. I covered the area Nick was in, and I fanned out. I know magic occurrences aren't necessarily going to drop physical clues, but I can't help feeling a tad disappointed. I've been looking around for days, but haven't found anything. As I start mentally asking myself what did I expect, I am suddenly distracted by a blur of movement off to the side. I stop and turn, my body preparing for anything. I'm about to grab my sword. Suddenly, something really fast comes, but stops in front of me. My jaw drops.

It's my dad.

Hermes, immortal messenger of Olympus, god of travel, boundaries, trickery, theft, is standing before me. He's holding his caduceus, that staff thing with the two snakes. He's looking at me. His expression looks to be remorseful, but this is Hermes. I don't trust him. I can never trust him. He had that kind of expression that one, and only, time we met, and he didn't really love me then.

"Luke..."

"Hermes?! What in Tartarus are you doing here?" Sure, Nick met Artemis around here, so one could reason why not Hermes too, but this is SO not the same!

"Son, I..." He begins, but I immediately interrupt him, "Screw you." When I was young, how many times had I prayed to him, begged him for help? As the years passed, how many times had I cursed his name? Cursed Olympus? My body is tensed. My hands are clenched at my sides. We look at each other in a silent moment of impasse.

"Please let me talk," he pleads.

No, I think as I shake my head slightly. I can't handle this. I don't want this. I don't want to be hurt by him again. He looks upset as I begin to take small steps backwards, away from him. "Forget it. Save your lies for someone more gullible than me. You'd have to..." I was turning away, but suddenly he rushes around in front of me and speaks.

He's in front of me on one bent knee. The caduceus has been cast to the ground next to him, and the two snakes look a bit huffy, but don't say anything. The god's hands are clasped and raised in front of him. "...beg you on bended knee? I will, if that's what it takes." I was about to say 'beg me on bended knee.' I freeze. My mouth is slightly agape. My father, a god of Olympus, is begging me. I am absolutely speechless. Totally. Floored. Time stretches.

Since I'm standing there dumbfounded, Hermes takes the opportunity to continue. "Please let me talk to you Luke. I think I finally understand. I've made terrible mistakes with you. Son, I'm so sorry."

He's still there on one knee. I'm still in shock. I'm actually straining against my body, which wants to actually shake. I'm actually on the verge of shaking! No. No, I won't trust him. I won't ever believe him! My mouth opens just slightly as if to speak, but I don't know what to say. All I can do is cock my head slightly and look at him with incredulity. This can't be real. Artemis wasn't real. This can't be real. Even if it is real, MY father is an uncaring, self-absorbed prick who's never lifted a finger to help me in my whole life. I hate him. Don't I? Deep emotions within me are being stirred against my will. This is going to be just like last time. I close my mouth, swallow, and summon forth some resolve as I shake my head firmly no.

"Go away."

"Luke, I don't expect you to forgive me easily. Just don't go yet, my son. Please. I need to talk to you."

I don't move. I don't say anything in reply. He continues.

"Back home, son, some... things... happen. Something significant happened that made me think long and hard about you."

Finally, I speak. "I die. I know."

"Luke, I'm sorry you found out about that before your time. Since then, I did something I should have long ago. I stole the Golden Fleece from Camp Half-Blood. I took it to your mother. She's healed."

I don't honestly think Medusa herself could freeze my whole body in place as completely as these words just did. My heart nearly pops out of my throat. There is no way to describe how I feel right now.

"Luke." The voice isn't my dad's. My eyes immediately struggle against tears. I know who it is behind me. I can't turn. This can't be real. This can't be real. This can't be... "Oh, Luke. Won't you look at me, sweetheart?"

My head is turning. There she is. She looks different. Her body language is different. I gasp out, "Oh gods..." Her instinct is to take a few hurried steps towards me, but she stops before she gets too close. Maybe she knows now! Maybe she knows now what she's been like, and why I'm always so distant with her! I see the tears streaming down her face. That's my mom. That's my mom crying! I can't...

"Luke, I understand now. I wanted to be a good mother to you, I really did." She starts crying more. As she begins to break down in front of me, she manages to croak out, "I'm so sorry."

"Mom.." Seeing her like this is tearing my heart apart. But that's always been the problem with her. Our love was always so twisted and painful. What should have been the center of a child's world was always bittersweet poison. Her little boy had to stop the oven from burning down the house too many times. Her little boy was chased to his hiding place in the closet too many times. Her little boy was caught and shook and ranted to too many times. There's too much painful history for me to readily rush to comfort her. My dad has none of those reservations, though. He goes to her. He wraps her in his arms and looks at me.

"She's barely stopped crying since I went to her with the fleece. She's explained and made me ashamed of everything that happened to you. Please, Luke. You don't have to forgive us right now. You don't even have to believe we're really here. Please. Come here. Just get a hug from your mom and dad." And, with that, he opens one arm out, welcoming me to walk to them. Mom does the same, and she reaches out for me too.

What am I supposed to do?

Every experience I've had throughout my entire life teaches me to run from this. Each of them has hurt me. I... have deep emotional scars because of them. Now, with two minutes of theatrics, I'm supposed to just cast that all aside? Gods, every fiber of my being wants this so bad. Curse them for doing this to me! Every rational thought tells me to run away now. This is a trap. It could even be dangerous. It could be a dangerous, even fatal trap.

I take a hesitant step forward.

Hermes nods and encourages me forward. "That's it son."

My mother adds, "It's okay. We won't hurt you anymore. Never again, Luke."

A very large tear rolls down the scar on my face. I can't run. I can't. My brain tells me nothing good can come of this. I can think of how this is a trap that I may never escape. But, I also know with complete certainty that I can not resist the steps I'm now taking. Gods, I'm scared. I'm scared of them! It's like I'm that little kid hiding in the closet all over again!

Suddenly, I realize I'm within their reach. I gasp in anxiety as their arms wrap around me. I tense up so bad as we come together. They start murmuring soothing things to me. They hold me. They tell me I was right, and they were wrong. They apologize profusely. They tell me everything is okay now. They tell me how much they love me.

Will Elysium ever be as good?

Hours pass.

I reluctantly go home, only because my mother insists that I take care of myself. She won't let me end up as bad off as Nick. Before I go, I vow to them I'll come back tomorrow.

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July 2014

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