Percy Jackson, the notorious pirate, trouble-maker, and the captain of the ship Half-Blood squints down at his second mate, Annabeth Chase. Doubtfully he strokes his chin before saying:
"And you're absolutely certain? Atlantis will really be here?"
Annabeth let loose sigh before she repeats the words she has already said three times.
"Yes," she groans exasperated. "By the Kraken, I thought it was only your head filled with seaweed, not your ears too." Percy looks mildly offended, but Annabeth plods on before he is able to cut in. "As I said, Atlantis, the Atlantis, is according to my calculations right here. Precisely beneath this very ship," she adds firmly when noticing that her Captain and lover's eyes are clouding over in thought.
When noting his second mate's stern gaze, Captain Jackson, famous for his reckless and impulsive behavior, takes a subtle step backward, placing him at a safe distance from Annabeth's wrath.
"Aye," he says carefully. "Let's say you're right. Not that I doubt that you are," he hastily adds and gulps nervously. Annabeth's eyes have grown to become threatening grey tornadoes. He offers her a weak smile. "Not in the slightest, love. You're not my strategist for nothing." He blinks relieved when seeing that some of her frustration is disappearing. "Wise Girl, Wise Girl," he mumbles softly. "Don't be so damn proud all the time." He shakes his head, and now it's Annabeth's turn to take a small step backward. Not in fear. She knows that Percy would never do anything to harm her, but in shame.
"Aye, Captain," she says in a hushed voice.
"Good then." Percy grins again, and Annabeth draws in a breath of wonder. By the gods, he truly is remarkable. When Percy starts speaking again she has to concentrate to listen. His smooth voice is easy to hear, even over the crew's loud laughs and banter. "Now listen, Wise Girl. Let's assume Atlantis really is located here, which I personally believe." He winks, and Annabeth feels heat rising to her cheeks. "The question right now is how we're supposed to convince the crew that the city is here." He gestures a little bitterly at the light waves. "You can't exactly see it, can you?" He tilts his head. "Any suggestions?"
"Perhaps, if you demonstrate your abilities inherited from your father..." Annabeth trails off. She knows that Percy's father, Poseidon, is a sore subject. The first time she confronted him about why he wouldn't use the gifts he'd been born with, Percy had simply claimed that he thought them an unfair advantage. "I want to make a name for myself on my own terms," he had said.
Now he only made a grimace. "I don't know. H of my men don't even believe Poseidon's my father. They think it's only a rumor meant to boost my reputation." He frowns. "To be honest, I'm quite relieved about it."
Annabeth shrugs. "Aye, Perce. You do what you see fit. But if you want my opinion –"
Percy focuses his gaze on her, and they lock eyes. "You know I do. I have always valued your opinion, Annabeth."
She inhales the smell of salt-water. "Then listen. If you are afraid of how to convince your crew to join in on a, what to them might seem to be, meaningless mission, you need to re-value your view of them." She takes two steps forward and pokes him in his chest. "You are their Captain, and they trust you. Live up to their faith now. Don't disappoint them. Or me." Percy, a little shocked, takes hold of her hands.
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean Captain, is that your crew trusts you." She pries loose one of her hands and let her finger trace his jawline, before softly saying: "Look, Percy. I don't know what has happened to you in the past to give your trust-issues like this. But even I thought you would have more of a confidence towards your crew. They have sailed with you for nearly five years now. That's a long time. Do you really think they would betray you? They would take a bullet for you, gladly. And do you know why?"
Speechless, Percy shakes his head slowly, and Annabeth steps away from him. "Because they know that you would do the same for them." She smiles. "Be honest with them, as you were with me. If you're afraid of them leaving because telling them the truth will scare them away, you don't have enough of respect for them. And if they do leave, they never deserved the honor of being part of this ship."
"No buts, and no sentimentalities, Captain. I have merely assessed the situation. It's up to you to make the best out of it. That's your duty as our Captain." With those words she leaves him, praying that she reached him. I hope I did.
"Annabeth!" She ignores him, but that's before he bellows with all his might: "Stop it, right now! All of it!"
Annabeth stops dead in her tracks at the same time as the rest of the crew. She turns, and gasps when she sees Percy stand on the deck like a god, with droplets of water flowing freely in the air around his head. Percy himself looks to be in a daze as he controls the water with lazy movements. That's when Annabeth also notices the crew's amazement, and she laughs when she hears the whisper among them. "It's true!" they say. "He really is only half mortal! A son of the Sea God, indeed!"
"Gentlemen," Percy says loudly, and not a breath is heard aboard the ship. With a mischievous sparkle in his sea-green eyes, their Captain grins, like a true pirate, like the son of the Sea that he is, and continues with a flourishing bow towards his lover. "And my lady." He rises, and the crew cheers for him as he with absolute confidence declares: "I believe we have a city to plunder."
Congratulations, and thank you for a great read ebbapl