captain sparkle fingers revives me from the dead.
pairing: son of apollo!jaemin x daughter of hades!reader
genre: fluff, slight angst
word count: 13.2k
author’s note: 3/4 done! omg i never thought we’d make it with all the emotional rollercoasters i’ve been on with this series 🥴 anyways thank you all so much for the love so far and i hope you guys like it! read the my 00 liner x camp half-blood series here!
tag list: @junglewoos @forever-skz @treblesomeharmonies @inscentedreamer @notaroyal @jaehyunsjasmine @jishyucks @chuus-slug @kravitee @peachyyjaes @lenaluvs @struggle-kmpr @haikchoo-main @euphorin @ukiyoneo @strwbrryhoney @jeo-n @jinnieyeolele (please let me know if you would like to be added to the tag list!)
additional: special thanks to cat and moon for allowing me to put them in the fic <3333
Of all the ways you thought your Saturday morning would go, spending it in the Underworld is definitely last on the list.
You are, or technically your soul is, currently standing in the middle of the throne room in Hades’ Palace. It’s your first time here, so you make sure to take in the architecture since you’re assuming this is the last thing you’ll ever see before you’re sent off to one of the various sectors of the Underworld. The entire palace is made out of obsidian, the floors are bronze, and there are very minimal decorations. You notice a few skeleton soldiers scuttling around, but they don’t stay for longer than a few seconds.
The fact that the place is so wide and empty makes it extremely difficult for you to continue avoiding the giant elephant, or rather god, in the room right in front of you.
The ruler of the Underworld and your dear old dad, AKA Hades himself, is sitting on his onyx throne made of bones with a very sour look on his face. He’s staring down at you, shaking his head with disapproval. His wife and goddess of spring, Persephone, is sitting beside him as she worriedly looks back and forth from you to him.
“So, does this mean I’m dead?” you ask sheepishly, finally breaking the grim silence.
“Not yet,” Hades answers flatly. “I brought you here because I wanted to know exactly what kind of trouble you got yourself into.”
“Well...I was on a mission,” you start, averting your eyes, “and, uh, there was a slight tussle with a Minotaur. And he may or may not have crushed me under his foot.”
You and a small team of your siblings had been assigned to a classified mission that was investigating the mysterious augmentation of the monsters in Camp Half-Blood Forest and the concerning weakening of the Golden Fleece — a magical artifact that is integral to maintaining the protective border around the camp. However, your crew did not get very far because you received a distress signal from the heads of the camp, Mr. D and Chiron, informing you that many campers had been attacked by an enhanced Minotaur (along with other monsters) during a Capture the Flag game. Subsequently, you were immediately ordered to return to the camp.
Unfortunately, that same Minotaur was waiting for you when you got back.
Exhausted from shadow traveling (all Hades children are able to use shadows as a way of transportation) and caught off guard by the monster’s heightened abilities, you and your siblings struggled against it more so than you would like to admit. Before you even realized it, you had been knocked to the ground by a haphazard swing of the Minotaur’s axe and the last thing you remember seeing is the sole of its mangled foot descending upon you.
You’d normally be embarrassed about it if you weren’t so concerned about your siblings along with the state of the camp as a whole.
“Dionysus and Chiron are still sending my children out on these dangerous missions?” Hades demands.
Why do you care, you want to ask. It probably just hurt his pride that his blood is doing the dirty work.
You could count on one hand the amount of times you’ve interacted with your father, much less spoken to him face-to-face. It’s a running joke between you and your siblings that Hades neglects his children just as Olympus neglects him.
“We’re the best suited for it,” you say nonchalantly, shrugging.
He gives you a pointed look, and you realize how ironic your words sound while you’re literally at death’s door.
“You shouldn’t be here, Y/N,” Hades sighs, rubbing his temples. You wonder if gods get headaches too.
“Well, it’s not like I want to be here,” you defend before quickly adding, “No offense.”
“Your father is just concerned about you,” Persephone chimes in gently.
You fight the urge to roll your eyes. It’s not that you dislike Persephone in any way; in fact, she’s actually quite sweet. Much more so than her husband. However, her words hold absolutely zero weight to you since she has no involvement in your relationship with Hades.
You open your mouth to politely brush her off but get distracted when you realize that your incorporeal form is flickering. You look down at your hands, which are growing more and more transparent. When you reach up to touch your face, your hand simply passes through you as if you’re made of thin air. It takes you a beat to finally register that you’re disappearing. Just as you go to question whether or not you’re actually dying this time, Hades speaks:
“You’re waking up.” He nods approvingly.
A part of you feels somewhat disappointed that you are leaving so soon. Like you had more to say to Hades. As if you wanted to stay and keep talking. What were you going to say anyway? Tell him about your day? What Camp Half-Blood is like? Your interests and hobbies?
It’s almost laughable.
“Y/N, I—” Hades starts, but his voice sounds so far away.
You don’t get to hear the rest of what he says because you feel your conscious fading, and your eyelids begin to droop. Eventually, everything grows dark and quiet.
You’re not sure what you thought was going to happen, but there’s only nothingness after that. It’s what you imagine being sucked into a black hole in outer space feels like—a darkness so black that you can’t even feel your own existence anymore. At first, you think you’ve died for real this time, and now you’re stuck in a strange limbo between the real world and the Underworld since you were in the middle of waking up.
Much to your surprise, you don’t feel scared at all. In fact, there’s a serenity in death that you don’t quite expect. Feeling exhausted, you want nothing more than for the darkness to swallow you. You think about your siblings and wonder if they’ll be angry with you for leaving like this. You wonder if your mom will be alright on her own. You wonder if Hades will be happy to see you again. A small, small part of you wonders if he’ll let you stay in the palace with him. An even smaller part of you wonders if he’ll be proud of you and what you’ve achieved.
Just as you feel yourself begin to fall asleep, there’s suddenly a beam of bright light that hurts your eyes. You can’t tell if it’s because the light is truly that bright or if it’s because everything around you is so dark. Either way, it jars you out of your drowsiness. You’re slightly annoyed, wanting to shield your face but unable to since you’re too weak to move.
Someone is shouting, but their words are muddled—like you’re underwater. You want to retreat back into the darkness, but the light grows brighter and the voice gets louder.
Someone's calling your name.
It’s not a voice you recognize, yet there’s something about it that immediately draws you to it. Despite not having enough energy to even shield your eyes, you slowly lift your arm and reach towards both the light and the voice. And as if the light and voice reached out as well and pulled you out of whatever void you were in, your eyes are suddenly wide open and staring up at a white ceiling.
There are more voices now, and they’re all shouting.
However, you’re only focused on one voice. It’s still calling your name, The figures in front of you are hazy, but one is crystal clear. A boy, with light brown hair and kind eyes that are still kind even when his handsome features are twisted with panic. His hand is above you, an amber glow emitting from his fingertips and palms. You immediately identify it as the light you saw before. It is a warm, loving light. It embraces you rather than swallowing you whole.
“Y/N! Y/N, can you hear me?” The boy’s lips are moving, but your ears feel like they’ve been stuffed with cotton balls.
You open your mouth to tell him, but nothing comes out.
Slowly, you lift your hand again and lace your fingers through his. His warmth envelops you like a spring breeze, and you smile weakly.
“Yes,” is all you can whisper.
You drift off again, lulled to sleep as if you were basking under the gentle rays of the sun.
You wake up to a white ceiling again.
Unlike last time, it’s deathly (pun intended) quiet.
And it’s not nearly as cozy and fuzzy.
Rather, it’s the total opposite. You feel like you’ve broken every bone in your body, which might actually be possible, considering how you were literally crushed. You open your mouth to call out for someone but can only muster a wheeze. Luckily, someone notices because you hear footsteps headed your way. The curtain that surrounds your cot is pushed aside, and you recognize him instantly.
There's a boy with light brown hair and a big smile standing there. You’re not sure why you’re so certain, but you know that he’s the one who revived you. He’s so pretty that he feels more like an illusion than an actual person, but the comfort of his palm against your forehead when he walks over and checks your temperature solidifies his authenticity.
“Good,” he mumbles to himself, taking a seat on the stool next to your bed. “your fever’s gone down.”
You try to speak again, but your throat feels like sandpaper and you burst into a coughing fit.
“Here, drink some water,” he encourages gently, reaching over and handing you a water bottle.
“What happened?” you groan after taking a couple of sips. You try to sit up but a sharp pain in your side makes you falter.
“Well...you died,” he states matter-of-factly, helping you lean back against the wall. “But I brought you back.”
“Yeah, no shit. Thank you, Captain...Sparkle Fingers?” You end it as if you’re asking a question, cringing at the terrible insult. You were going to say Captain Obvious, but you vividly remember his fingertips glowing while you were in and out of consciousness and the nickname just popped into your brain.
It probably should have stayed there.
He looks concerned, leaning forward. “Um, let me check your head again.”
You swat his hands away. “I’m fine. It’s just a shitty nickname, Sparky.”
He chuckles. “I’m Jaemin.”
Ah, Na Jaemin.
Since you and your siblings are normally always on missions to keep Camp Half-Blood safe, you ironically don’t spend a lot of time at the camp itself, so you don’t know most of the campers here. However, Jaemin’s reputation precedes him. The favored son of Apollo, he runs the infirmary and is basically the reason why campers are able to be as reckless as they are during spars and even missions.
Not to brag, but you and your siblings have never gotten any severe injuries that a little nectar and ambrosia couldn’t fix, so you haven’t been here much.
Well, until now.
Frantically looking around, you realize that the infirmary is completely empty other than the two of you. Turning back, you grab Jaemin by the shirt in a half-threatening, half-desperate manner.
“Where are my siblings?” you demand.
Jaemin barely flinches at your outburst, calmly removing your hands from him. “They’re fine. They weren’t as hurt as you, so they were healed pretty quickly. They’re resting in their cabin. They’ve been visiting you, but it’s really early right now, so they’re not here.”
He speaks in such a gentle but firm tone that you find yourself immediately believing him. Then again, you have no reason not to. It’s just that you’re not used to being in a setting where the people around you (other than your kin) can be trusted. You feel the panic within slowly dissipate, and the relief hits you like a ton of bricks.
“Oh,” you whisper, slightly breathless. “I see.”
“Deep breaths,” he says soothingly.
You inhale and exhale, waiting for your heart rate to slow. Once you’ve pulled yourself together, you realize you haven’t even told Jaemin your name, since you were too busy grabbing him by the collar and yelling at him. “S-Sorry about that, I’m a little on edge.”
“It’s no problem at all,” he says jovially, having patiently waited for you to calm down.
“By the way, I’m—”
“Y/N. I know who you are,” Jaemin cuts in, smiling. His smile is so bright (those damn Apollo kids) that you’re slightly unsettled by it.
You eye him suspiciously. “It’s not really that weird that you know who I am, but the way you’re saying it is creeping me out.”
“Oh?” He blinks innocently. “You didn’t seem too bothered by it last time.”
“Wait, what? Now, you’re making it sound like we hooked up or something,” you protest.
“You don’t remember?” He gasps dramatically.
“Okay, Sparkles, cut the bull—”
Jaemin smoothly grabs your hand, nudging it open, before intertwining his fingers with your own.
You let out a noise that’s a mixture of a gasp and a squeak.
“Ring any bells?” He raises an eyebrow.
You barely register his words, too busy gawking at your entangled hands.
You’ve never understood the appeal of handholding because it’s only a matter of time before both your hands become sweaty messes, but you think you get it now. His hand is warm and calloused and absolutely dwarfs yours. You find a solace in it that you’ve never had before. You wouldn’t mind holding it for a long time, even if it gets a little sweaty.
Oh gods, you think to yourself, am I really this touch-starved?
You suddenly feel hot, and you wonder if that fever is coming back. Ripping your hand away from his, you point an accusatory finger at him. “What the hell was that?”
“Aw, you really don’t remember? It made my heart flutter, you know,” Jaemin admits sheepishly.
“You’re saying I did that?” you ask incredulously.
“You’re lying,” you snap. You wish you were confident that he was, but there’s a sinking feeling in your gut that you did do that. You’re not sure how and where you got the courage to do so, since you were in the middle of dying. Who knew that teetering between life and death has the same effect as alcohol? It must be some sort of revival high.
“Well, if that’s what you want to believe.” He seems slightly disappointed, but you can’t tell if he’s just messing around again.
You open your mouth to shamelessly deny it some more, but instead, you wince at a sudden stab of pain. Looking down, you notice a bit of blood seeping through your hospital gown. Jaemin furrows his eyebrows, his fingertips immediately brushing against it. A familiar glow emits from them, and the comforting warmth of his healing numbs the pain.
“Your stitches must have been pulled,” Jaemin says. “You’ve got a pretty large gash on your side, so don’t move too much.”
“Eh, it’s just a scratch,” you say nonchalantly, shrugging. “Give me some nectar and ambrosia. I’ll be fine in a couple of days.”
You’ve dealt with your fair share of injuries, sometimes in situations with much less resources than now, and you’ve always come out of it alright — albeit with an occasional nasty scar. A couple of stitches don’t bother you.
“Y/N, you died,” Jaemin says slowly, “you understand that, right?”
“Crystal clear,” you reply wryly. You make the executive decision to not tell him about your spiritual trip to the Underworld, lest it freaks him out even more.
“You nearly broke every bone in your body, not to mention severe surface wounds. This isn’t something that you can just walk off with a little nectar and ambrosia. You’re going to be on bed rest for at least two weeks. And even after that, you’ll still have to take it easy for a little longer before you can even think about holding a weapon again,” he explains.
Your jaw nearly hits the tile. “You’re not serious.”
“That should be my line. I can’t believe you think you can heal in a couple days.” Jaemin shakes his head.
“I don’t even think I’ve ever physically been at this camp for two weeks.”
You might’ve stayed at Camp Half-Blood for a little while when you first arrived, but you’ve basically always been on the road with your siblings. Since Hades' children are so powerful, they’re essentially the only ones that can successfully complete missions without grave injuries (with the exception of this time). You’ve always felt that you were more suited for protecting the campers rather than, say, canoe racing with the other campers.
“Well, now’s your chance!” Jaemin claps his hands together cheerfully.
“I have a mission to finish. Ask Mr. D and Chiron!” you protest vehemently.
“Mr. D and Chiron are the ones who ordered you to bed rest,” he replies firmly, crossing his arms. “After consulting my professional medical opinion, of course.”
You roll your eyes. “You’re just some dude with sparkly magic.”
Jaemin looks extremely offended.
“Anyways,” you ignore him, “where are they? I’m going to talk to them right now. There’s no way I’m staying here.”
“They’re not here,” Jaemin starts carefully, “They’re out on...business.”
You don’t like how he hesitates. Mr. D and Chiron would never leave the camp unattended unless it was something dire. “What happened while I was out?”
Jaemin pauses, his expression clearly indicating that he’s weighing the pros and cons of telling you.
“You can tell me now, or I’ll just find out myself,” you say matter-of-factly.
He sighs, and you know you’ve won.
“The Golden Fleece is gone,” he relents.
It takes you a minute to process the bomb that he dropped on you.
“Like...gone as in gone for spring cleaning or something? Because it does look filthy—”
“Gone as in stolen, Y/N. Also, it’s summer.” Jaemin raises an eyebrow.
You and your siblings had been suspecting that someone was poisoning the Golden Fleece, which is why it was weakening, and now it all makes sense—whoever it is was preparing to take it.
“How are you so calm about this? Shouldn’t we be in bunkers right now? Without it, we’re basically just a bunch of sitting ducks for monsters!” you nearly yell.
“It’ll be fine. The Hecate kids casted a protective spell over the camp, and it should hold for now. At least until we figure out what’s happening,” Jaemin explains.
“Does anyone else know about this?” you ask.
“Just Mr. D and Chiron, me, you, and the Hecate kids,” Jaemin says, “Mr. D and Chiron don’t want to send the camp into a frenzy. They want to keep as much normalcy as possible.”
If the perpetrator was able to steal the Golden Fleece, then you have no doubt that they’ll be able to break the Hecate kids’ spell. You don’t doubt the Hecate kids’ abilities, but it’s just as Jaemin says: this is only a temporary solution.
“Even so, we have to go find it,” you persist.
“You are not going to do anything, except rest,” Jaemin corrects, “Don’t worry. Chiron and Mr. D are going to sort it all out.”
“You can’t make me stay here,” you argue petulantly.
He raises an amused eyebrow. “You wanna bet on that?”
The two of you have an intense staredown. Well, intense on your end. It’s more...smiley on his part.
Even injured, you’re certain that you’re a better fighter than he is, but there’s something ominous about how calm and relaxed his aura is. Even though his posture seems laidback, you can tell by a glance that he’s stronger than he looks. You hate types like him—unassuming. It’s as if he’s inviting you to make a run for it, like a lion waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting gazelle.
The stubborn, more competitive side of you believes that you’re good enough to get past him. However, the rational, more logical side of you understands that you’ll only be a liability to everyone else in your current state. You tend to routinely ignore the latter side of you, but now it's being backed up by the steel wall of defense that is Na Jaemin.
“Fine, I’ll stay,” you grumble so quietly that it’s difficult to tell whether you were speaking or making a noise.
But Jaemin still hears you, beaming. “Great!”
What a great word to describe him, you think to yourself, this man is the literal definition of beaming.
“What the hell am I supposed to do now?” you ask, crossing your arms.
He looks at you as if the answer is obvious.
“Sleep, of course. And get used to it too, because you’re going to be doing a lot of it.”
You’re not sure if that’s supposed to be a threat or not.
You’re not sure how long you’ve slept when you’re awoken by some rustling and the sound of a stool being pulled forward. Groggily blinking, you look up and see the faces of your siblings. Cat, your sister, is staring at you with wide eyes. She’s got a couple of cuts and bruises on her but appears to be fine other than that. Fine enough to crop her orange Camp Half-Blood t-shirt and tie it in the front and pair it with some high-waisted jeans. Her dark hair is also meticulously styled and parted to one side, straightened to perfection. She has always been the more fashionable sister.
Your brother, Sicheng, seems to have been injured the least. He has one scrape on his cheek, and that’s about it. However, he doesn't look as stylish. His hair is sticking up, his t-shirt is crumpled, and he’s wearing sweatpants. It’s obvious he rolled right out of bed (or was dragged by Cat). But he is just as surprised to see you looking back at them two of them.
“Y/N?” Sicheng calls out tentatively.
You don’t know how relieved you are to see them safe and sound until you realize there are tears forming in your eyes. Hades is well-known for not having many children, and it’s only ever been the three of you together. And it’s not like you have many friends at Camp Half-Blood, so they’re basically all you have.
But you definitely will not be caught crying by them because you will never live that down.
“Whoever moved your chair and made that awful noise,” you mumble, drying your tears out of sheer willpower, “your mom’s a hoe.”
Sicheng doesn’t even try to hide his guilt.
“Thank the gods you’re awake. You’ve been out for almost a week, and we thought you were in a coma,” Cat says, “Are you feeling okay?”
“Yeah, I’m a little battered, but nothing I’m not used to,” you grunt, sitting up. “I actually woke up earlier...wait, what time is it?”
You try to calculate how long you’ve been asleep, but then you realize you didn’t know what time you woke up last time either. In fact, you don’t even know what day it is. The concept of time means nothing to you right now.
Gods, I need to get out of this bed.
“I brought you cereal,” Cat says, pulling out a box of Lucky Charms from a bag. “Sicheng, get the milk and bowl.”
Food has been the last thing on your mind, but the moment you see that creepy ginger leprechaun, your stomach lets out a growl that rivals one of a dinosaur.
“This is why you’re my favorite, Cat,” you say happily.
Sicheng furrows his eyebrows, but nonetheless reaches down and pulls out a styrofoam bowl and a pint of milk before pouring it into the bowl.
You and Cat watch on in horror, as he pours the milk before the cereal.
“What, on Demeter’s green Earth, are you doing?” Cat asks slowly.
“Huh?” Sicheng shoots her a quizzical look before handing the bowl to her.
You and Cat recoil from it like he just handed over poison. He looks at you and then Cat, clearly lost and waiting for someone to fill him in.
“What is wrong with you?” you gasp, mortified.
“What?” Sicheng demands.
“You just...poured the milk before the cereal,” Cat whispers.
Now, he looks even more confused. “So what?”
You and Cat exchange solemn glances.
“He’s a serial killer,” Cat states, “you know I love a good pun, but pun not intended. This is serious.”
“We must remove him from the family registry at once,” you say swiftly, “no one must know that we have someone who pours milk before cereal in our bloodline. It would bring dishonor.”
“You guys are so annoying. Do you want the milk or not?” Sicheng snaps.
“No need to get your panties in a twist,” you reply, gesturing for it. “Hand it over.”
He rolls his eyes but obeys, and Cat also gives you the cereal. You have to carefully shake the cereal into the bowl so that the milk doesn’t splash all over the place. Despite your best efforts, a couple of drops still end up getting on your hospital gown.
“Great. Like I’m not dirty enough already,” you groan. You feel like an absolute swamp monster, sitting in almost a week’s worth of filth, and you make a mental note to take a shower as soon as possible.
“I’m going to have to use some sort of Pavlovian technique and condition him into pouring the cereal first,” Cat ponders.
Sicheng lets out a defeated sigh, but he doesn’t say anything else. After all, he’s used to life with two sisters.
A comfortable silence falls between the three of you as you devour your cereal. You have so much you want to tell them, but you’re not even sure where to start. You want to tell them everything that happened with Jaemin (well, mostly Cat because Sicheng wouldn’t care). You debate on mentioning the Golden Fleece being stolen, but you opt not to since you want to respect Mr. D and Chiron’s wishes.
You also try to figure out a way to bring up your encounter with Hades.
But luckily (or not), you don’t have to because Cat does, piping up, “Jaemin says you died for a moment.”
The underlying question is loud and clear.
Did you see our dad?
“Yeah, I did,” you say, both confirming her statement and also answering the question.
Understanding the double meaning, Cat pauses for a moment before asking, “What...What did he say?
Sicheng tries to keep a straight face, to act like he doesn’t care, but you can tell by the way he’s clenching his fist that he’s hanging onto your every word.
“He didn’t say much. I just told him what happened,” you say quickly, “and then I woke up.”
Neither of them know how to respond, and everyone grows quiet again. This time, it’s a little more awkward. Cat, again, breaks the silence.
“Sicheng likes someone.”
Now, that instantly shatters the awkward atmosphere.
You perk up so quickly that you almost pull another stitch, eyes sparkling. Sicheng is looking at Cat like she just revealed the country’s nuclear codes to an enemy of the state. He’s also blushing all the way to the tips of his ears.
“Who is it? When did all of this happen?” you ask, impatient for the juicy details.
“No, wait—” Sicheng begins frantically.
“Her name is Moon,” Cat ignores him completely, not hesitating to delve into the story. “she’s a Poseidon kid. They met a couple days ago, while he was here with you, and she came to the infirmary to get some Tylenol because she had a headache. He thought she was cute, so he started talking to her—”
“Sicheng talked to a girl first?” you ask incredulously.
“I know right? Anyways, they started talking, and she ended up lending him some manga to read since she likes anime and manga,” Cat gushes, “and he’s reading it! He doesn’t know a single thing about that stuff, but he’s doing it for her!”
“Stop, oh my gods, that is so cute.” You cover your mouth.
Sicheng has his head in his hands.
“So, this is what you’ve been up to while I was dying, you little rascal?” You glance at him, wiggling your eyebrows.
“How did you even find out?” Sicheng lifts his head up, ignoring your provocation and turning to Cat.
“Did you really think you could just walk in and start reading One Piece and I wouldn’t question it?” Cat teases. “I asked my Aphrodite friend to snoop around, and she told me everything.”
“You’re evil,” Sicheng hisses.
“Well, when do we get to meet her?” you ask expectantly.
“Never, if I have anything to do about it,” he mumbles.
“You don’t, so when do we get to meet her?” Cat replies, not missing a beat.
“—While I hate to interrupt this extremely riveting conversation that I was most definitely not eavesdropping on,” a different voice begins, “visiting hours are now over.”
Sicheng turns toward Jaemin, staring up at him as if he just saved his life.
Which might be a little true.
You’ve been so invested in Sicheng’s love life that you didn’t even notice that the sun is setting. It’s only until you’ve all stopped talking that you realize how quiet the infirmary is, since everyone has left.
“Alright, time to go. See you later, Y/N!” Sicheng stands up, giving you a half-assed side hug, before speedwalking away.
“Don’t worry,” Cat reassures you calmly, “I’ll get it out of him one way or another.”
“I’m counting on you,” you nod.
She waves you and Jaemin goodbye before leaving as well.
“That was certainly...interesting,” Jaemin remarks after Cat is out of earshot.
“I bet it was, you eavesdropper,” you smirk.
He chuckles. “Can you blame me?”
No, you can’t.
“Anyways, here you go.” Jaemin gives you a bag containing toiletries, a change of clothes, and a towel. “I’ll show you where the restroom is.”
You’re grateful that you’re finally going to be able to shower, but you’re also slightly humiliated that he noticed you needed one before you said anything. You wonder if you really smell that bad, trying to inconspicuously sniff yourself to see. Obviously, you don’t smell amazing, but it’s not as if you reeked either.
Jaemin offers you his hand.
“I can walk by myself,” you retort stubbornly. A small part of you wants to take it because you remember how nice it was when you held his hand last time, but you’re much too prideful for it.
He fights off a smile and retracts his hand. “Be my guest.”
Annoyed at his smug expression, you kick off your blanket and get up. Well, “get up” is putting it nicely. The moment your feet hit the floor and you put your weight on them, your legs begin wobbling as if you’re a newborn giraffe. Pain shoots through your whole body, like mini daggers traveling through your bloodstream. Even though your broken bones were mended by the ambrosia, nectar, and Jaemin’s healing, they still feel broken.
Because you refuse to admit Jaemin was right, you prepare to take a step forward. Luckily, Jaemin grabs your hand and places it on his arm for support before you can fall flat on your face. You don’t reject him this time, allowing him to help you hobble to the restroom.
“Asshole,” you mutter, “you knew that was going to happen.”
“You seem like the kind of person that always does things the hard way,” Jaemin hums, “so I didn’t really see the point in arguing.”
Damn, he’s right again.
“But I like that about you,” he notes, saying it so casually that it feels like he’s talking to himself.
You can’t tell if he’s being semi-flirtatious on purpose or if he genuinely doesn’t realize it. Either way, you’re still falling for it—hook, line, and sinker. Your cheeks are practically two round radiators, and your heart is pounding so hard that it’s painful.
“Here we are,” Jaemin says, leading you into the restroom. He points to a small, step stool that’s in the shower. “You can sit on that while you shower.”
You feel somewhat like an old grandma that is too old to stand in the shower, but you know you have no choice if you don’t want to collapse.
“If you need help, I can get one of my sisters—”
“I’ll be fine,” you cut in, holding up a hand to stop him.
Jaemin nods before leaving. Once he’s gone, you immediately make a beeline for the mirror. You can’t help but let out a gasp when you see your reflection. Your hair is absolutely disgusting, and your skin is so dry that it’s flaking off. The fact that Jaemin saw you like this makes you want to die from embarrassment.
Not that you should be caring about what he thinks.
Shifting your attention, you fish out your toothbrush and toothpaste and furiously brush your teeth until your wrist is sore. Careful not to pull your stitches, you hop into the shower, reveling in the feeling of being able to wash away all the grime.
When you emerge from your shower, Jaemin has turned off most of the lights in the infirmary. There’s a small lamp on the front desk, where he’s sitting, and there’s another lamp on the nightstand next to your cot. He’s so immersed in his work that he doesn’t notice you. A small smile makes its way to your face as you watch him. The dim lighting makes his skin glow; there’s a certain vibrance that all Apollo kids have, and Jaemin looks absolutely ethereal. His tousled hair falls into his eyes, but he’s too busy to brush it aside. He’s chewing on his lip as he furiously scribbles on a clipboard. He’s rather endearing like this, not so...composed.
You begin to feel creepy for staring, so you clear your throat. Jaemin shoots his head up, giving you a tired smile.
“Why’d you turn all the lights off?” you ask, padding over to your cot.
“The infirmary closes at 8,” Jaemin says. “I’m finishing some paperwork and then heading off to my cabin.”
“Wait, you’re just gonna leave me here?” you gawk.
“The Apollo Cabin is nearby if there’s a medical emergency—”
“I’m not talking about that. I mean what am I gonna do here alone? I’ll be bored out of my mind!” you complain.
“I already slept all day. Plus, my shower woke me up.” You shake your head.
“Then, would you like for me to stay with you?” Jaemin grins mischievously.
You shoot him a pointed look, even though your heart skips a beat. You loathe the fact that such a corny, cheesy line worked on you.
“By the way, aren’t you scared that I’ll run off when you’re gone?” you ask, refusing to acknowledge his last remark.
He doesn’t respond, simply smiling. Even though he isn’t saying anything, it’s perfectly understood that he has already taken precautions for that. This man is always two steps ahead of you.
“Fine, but at least bring me some books or something. You can’t expect me to go to bed at 8 every day,” you sigh.
“Alright, I’ll stop by the library tomorrow,” he agrees, walking over to you and setting down a small plate of nectar and ambrosia. “and here, just in case.”
Jaemin pauses, gaze trained on something. You’re not sure what he’s looking at until he reaches over and gently grasps a lock of your hair between his thumb and pointer finger, catching a droplet of water that was about to drip onto your collarbone.
You inhale sharply, holding your breath. It’s so quiet that you’re afraid he’ll hear the thumping of your heart.
“I should get you a hair dryer too,” he says quietly. Again, he uses such a nonchalant tone that it’s as if he’s just musing to himself. He’s so calm, yet you feel like you’re about to pass out.
This is so pathetic, you think to yourself, I seriously need to get out more.
At this rate, you’ll be wrapped around his finger in no time.
“Make sure to dry your hair properly. The AC is super cold in here, so don’t get sick,” Jaemin warns. You’re so frazzled that you don’t notice how he shakily flexes his hand when he pulls it back.
A common cold is the least of your worries right now.
“Well, good night, Y/N,” Jaemin says softly.
“Night, Sparkles,” you say numbly, the nickname just naturally slipping out again. Even after he leaves, you continue to sit there in a daze.
Without realizing, your hand slowly reaches up and brushes through the ends of your hair.
Jaemin keeps his promise, bringing back both a hairdryer and some books from the library. Curiously, Fifty Shades of Grey is among his selections for you.
“Huh. I didn’t know we had this,” you had said, holding up the book.
“Apparently, the head counselor of the Athena Cabin ordered it,” Jaemin had replied, shrugging.
However, after a couple of days, you were bored again. After all, you can only read so much of terribly-written BDSM smut before it’s not funny anymore. Cat and Sicheng still visit, but it’s mainly to bring you junk food. There also haven’t been any updates on Sicheng’s relationship with Moon either, much to yours and Cat’s disappointment.
You come in and out of sleep, but you never stay asleep for long. On the bright side, you’re able to stand up and walk around without assistance now, but you still can’t strain your body. Every time you think about the fact that you have a week or two more of this, you want to scream out of frustration. You’ve never realized how restless you were until now.
You’re lying on your cot, trying to figure out if the ceiling paint is a cream beige or more of a neutral beige, when you notice Jaemin walking towards you in your peripheral vision.
You haven’t spoken to him much since he’s been pretty busy the past couple of days, not only running the infirmary but also taking care of the duties of Mr. D and Chiron since they left him in charge of the camp while they were gone. You never realized just how many people come up to him on the daily and expect him to solve their problems—and how he actually does. It seems like a pretty heavy burden to place on one person, but Jaemin has handled it pretty well. Not only that, he still makes sure to keep a watchful eye on you and always leaves some ambrosia and nectar by your bedside even if you don’t see him do it.
Sitting up, you notice that he’s carrying some sort of instrument in his arms. It’s one you’ve never seen before—golden and U-shaped, it’s similar to a harp but much smaller.
“Oh, good. You’re awake,” Jaemin says, carefully setting down the instrument and another book titled Lyre for Beginners.
“What is that?” you ask.
“A lyre!” he replies cheerfully. “My father is famous for playing it.”
“Don’t you think your plate is a little too full right now to be taking on a new hobby?” You raise an eyebrow.
“I do, which is why I’m not going to be the one playing it.” Jaemin smiles.
You blink, finally understanding. “No.”
“But I don’t want to learn the lyre,” you groan.
“Do you have anything better to do?” he counters.
“It won’t be so bad. I’ll teach you,” Jaemin insists, flipping open the music book to a song entitled Hot Cross Buns.
“You say it like it’s so easy, like you’re not some sort of virtuoso,” you say wryly. But he’s right, you have nothing better to do, so you begrudgingly indulge him.
Jaemin sets the lyre on his lap, carefully positioning his fingers over the strings. He’s concentrating so hard that he could probably burn a hole through the sheet music. When he begins playing, you can’t help but furrow your brows at how…off it sounds. You’re no lyre expert, but even you can tell that it’s not good. The notes are out of tune, and the way he’s plucking the strings is clumsy and awkward. His eyes are darting back and forth from the music to his hands, and you finally notice the band-aids all over his fingers.
He finishes the song with one last painful pluck, and he looks so relieved that you actually feel a little bad.
“Well, how was it?” he asks, out of breath for some reason.
You feel bad, but you’ve never been one to lie. “That was…terrible.”
Jaemin doesn’t seem surprised by your answer, sighing. “Yeah. I’m not very musically gifted.”
“Wait, aren’t all Apollo kids supposed to be musically gifted?” you ask.
“My strong suit has always been healing, and I really focused on that,” Jaemin explains, “which caused me to neglect my archery and music abilities, so they’re not stellar. I don’t mind archery, but I actually really dislike playing instruments.”
“Then why are you teaching me how to play the lyre?” You laugh.
“Every time I looked over at you, you looked really bored, so I thought maybe this would be fun,” he admits, actually looking a little shy, “I got my sister to teach me some basics, but it didn’t really turn out well, as you’ve noticed.”
“Is that why your fingers are covered in band-aids?”
“Yeah.” He chuckles to himself. “They actually hurt pretty bad.”
You can’t help but smile. The fact that he went through all of that trouble just for you makes you indescribably happy. Your heart feels so full, pounding hard against your ribcage, but it’s not racing in that giddy, schoolgirl way like it was before. It’s beating in a way that makes you feel like Jaemin could be more than just a silly little crush—
You catch yourself.
What was that?
There’s nothing wrong with getting flustered by a cute boy from time to time, but you’ve never felt that emotion in your life, and you don’t know how to handle it.
So, you do what you do best—deny and bury it.
Get it together. He’s just being nice, you tell yourself.
“Well, so much for being Apollo’s golden child,” you tease weakly, after realizing that you should probably respond before Jaemin notices something is wrong.
Jaemin looks genuinely embarrassed by the title. “I hate it when people call me that.”
“Why?” You suppose now is not a good time to inform him that everyone calls him that.
“Because it makes me feel like I have to live up to a certain expectation and that people will be disappointed when they realize I don’t,” Jaemin confesses. His figure is slumped, and he suddenly looks so small and vulnerable. That bright, almost unnatural smile is nowhere to be found. Now, he seems a lot more like a man who’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Jaemin is much more human like this. Less god.
“Pretty lame, huh?” He laughs harshly.
“Maybe a little,” you admit, “but I like that about you.”
You echo his words so instinctively. Though you’re not sure if he was being serious when he said them to you, you genuinely mean it. You like this side of him much more than the perfect golden child that smiles no matter what happens image that he tries so hard to project. You wish he showed this side more often.
“I see,” Jaemin says softly, unable to look you in the eye. His entire face is a glowing pink, even reaching all the way to the back of his neck. You’ve never seen him this flustered before, and you can’t help but giggle. It seems he can dish it, but he can’t take it.
When he realizes you’re laughing at him, he blushes harder. Grinning smugly, you take the lyre from his hands.
“Now then. Let’s play some lyre, shall we?”
All he can do is nod.
The two of you spend the next hour plucking aimlessly at the strings, both clueless on what to do. You manage to get through Hot Cross Buns, but neither of you know if it was correct or not. You’ve just started Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when Cat comes running into the infirmary.
“Moon is talking to another man!”
You nearly snap a string, mid-strum. Jaemin also whirls around excitedly, a lot more invested than you thought.
Cat nearly crashes into your bed, unable to stop her momentum. She is able to catch herself just in time, pausing to take in one big breath before spilling everything.
“It’s Lucas, a Hebe kid! They’re eating together at the Dining Pavilion, and Sicheng is trying to spy on them,” Cat is speaking so quickly that you can barely keep up, “Either way, you have to come see this, Y/N!”
You’re already halfway out of your cot, slipping on your shoes.
“Not so fast,” Jaemin interrupts, “Y/N, you’re supposed to be on bed rest, remember?”
“Come on, Sparky, it’s not like I’ll be doing anything that’s straining my body,” you plead, “I’ll come right back—actually, you can come with me! That way, you can make sure I’m not doing anything I shouldn’t. You want to know what’s happening too, right?”
Jaemin hesitates, actually considering it.
“Yeah, Sparky,” Cat joins in, adapting the nickname. “This is an emergency! If we wait any longer, they might not be there anymore.”
“Okay, fine,” he gives in pretty easily, “but only for a little bit.”
You and Cat exchange grins.
The three of you make a mad dash (well, more of a swift powerwalk because Jaemin won’t allow you to run) to the Dining Pavilion. You all duck under an empty table, scanning for Sicheng.
Fortunately, you notice Sicheng sitting all by himself at a table far off in the corner, very obviously spying on two people right across from him. You assume that the pair, a guy and a girl, is Lucas and Moon. Lucas has floppy brown hair and a face that reminds you of a Golden Retriever. Appropriately, he is goofing off. Moon is laughing at something he’s saying, and when you see her, you know why Sicheng and Lucas are fighting over her. She’s wearing thin, round glasses and has black shoulder-length hair. She’s so pretty, and her smile is absolutely adorable. Lucas seems to think so too because he stops what he’s doing to watch her laugh, a small smile on his face.
Your heart hurts for Sicheng, who’s staring at her with so much longing that you think he’s going to start crying right then and there.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” Jaemin whispers, “but they’re really cute together.”
That gets him a double elbow to the ribs.
“Who’s side are you on?” you whisper back furiously.
“Sicheng can come back from this,” Cat says determinedly.
Her words linger in the air as the three of you keep watching, growing more and more discouraged.
“Sicheng!” Cat whisper-yells, finally having had enough and trying to catch his attention. When he turns and sees all of you, he grows paler than a ghost. His expression is a mix of dread, fear, frustration, and exhaustion.
“What are you doing here?” Sicheng asks through gritted teeth.
“Are you just gonna sit there and watch some doofus steal your girl?” Cat demands.
“Want us to go over there and teach him a lesson?” you offer.
“You can’t give up now!” Jaemin chimes in.
Now, Sicheng just looks mad. Getting up from his seat, he marches right over to you three. For some reason, you suddenly feel like a child that was caught stealing candy as he looms over you.
“We need to talk,” he states, crossing his arms.
The three of you obediently crawl out from under the table and follow him back to the infirmary, walking in a single file line behind him like a bunch of ducklings. Once he arrives at your cot, he points at it.
“Sit,” he orders, looking at you and Cat.
The two of you carefully sit, hands folded dolicely in your laps.
“And you too. Don’t think you’re getting out of this,” Sicheng snaps, turning towards Jaemin, who was trying to make a smooth escape.
Jaemin, mid-tiptoeing away, laughs nervously before sitting down next to you. Cat stifles a snicker at him being caught, while you mutter “traitor” underneath your breath. After you’ve all situated, Sicheng takes a deep breath.
“What the actual hell is wrong with you?” he asks, trying to keep his voice down but only somewhat successful at it. “There’s a difference between meddling and just straight up stalking!”
“Don’t be dramatic,” Cat grumbles, “we weren’t stalking you.”
“Yeah, we were just observing,” you retort.
“Do I look like I’m in the mood to be playing this game right now?”
You two fall quiet.
“And you!” Sicheng glares at Jaemin. “Aren’t you supposed to be the responsible one? I thought you were supposed to make sure Y/N stays on bed rest?”
“Yeah, it’s all Sparky’s fault,” Cat says quickly.
Jaemin gawks at her.
“We wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t for Pikachu over here!” You immediately take advantage of the diversion, dropping a new nickname on the fly.
He looks betrayed for about three seconds before furrowing his brows. “First of all, I feel like this nickname thing has completely derailed from its original meaning. Calling me Pikachu implies that I can generate electricity, when in reality—”
“Enough!” Sicheng yells.
The three of you shut up.
“You two always do this,” Sicheng sighs, “You distract from the conversation so much that no one remembers what we were supposed to be talking about.”
You and Cat exchange guilty looks.
“Listen, Moon is—I’m serious about her, okay? So, please. I don’t need any more stress,” Sicheng says quietly.
“Okay, we understand. We took it too far, and I’m sorry,” you apologize genuinely.
Cat scoots to the side before patting the empty spot beside her. Sicheng reluctantly sits between the two of you.
“We were too much. Sorry,” Cat says as well, “we were just worried about you.”
“Were you really worried or just wanting to be entertained?” He raises an eyebrow.
“Both,” she replies, wrapping an arm around his shoulder. “But we really are sorry.”
You do the same, nudging him gently.
“I know,” he says.
“I’m sorry too,” Jaemin chimes in, reaching over and giving him a pat on the back.
“Thanks,” Sicheng responds.
There’s a brief pause before you all burst into laughter.
“No, but seriously, how am I supposed to get Lucas away from her?” Sicheng finally asks after a while.
You and Cat immediately jump into action.
“Okay, so here’s what you need to do…”
“Here you go.”
Jaemin places a plate of ambrosia and nectar on your nightstand yet again.
“Don’t you think I’m pretty much healed at this point?” you ask. All of your surface wounds are practically gone, and the phantom pain you’ve been experiencing has subsided too.
“You might feel like it, but you never know what can happen in the middle of recovery,” Jaemin says warily, “and besides, you had an eventful day today.”
You snort. “That’s an understatement. Sorry that you got roped into it. And that Cat and I tried to sell you out.”
“I didn’t mind. I had fun today,” he says, something resembling a smile on his lips. However, it’s not like his usual ones. He looks incredibly sad, and even though you’re right in front of him, he seems so alone. “You have a wonderful family.”
“Well, they’re kind of stuck with me,” you joke, trying to cheer him up. “It’s not like I have any friends.”
“Same,” he replies, laughing. It doesn’t really sound like a laugh though.
“Come on, you’re, like, the most popular person at this camp,” you insist, “everyone wants to be your friend.”
“There’s a difference between being popular and having friends. No one here wants to be friends with me. They want to be friends with a version of me they’ve created. The golden child.” His tone is so cold that you almost flinch.
“I’m your friend, aren’t I?” you ask quietly.
“You don’t know anything about me,” he says dryly.
“Sure I do. I know that you don’t mind archery, but you hate playing instruments. I know that you suck at playing the lyre, but you learned it anyway for me because you’re kind. You’re kind, but you also have a mischievous side. You enjoy eavesdropping on your patients’ conversations. You get invested in petty drama. You like to flirt, but you can’t handle being flirted back with. You can be a little scary sometimes. You’re a hard worker as well. You carry this infirmary on your back and still manage to take care of Mr. D and Chiron’s affairs. And you do it all without a single complaint. You say that you can’t live up to people’s expectations, but I think you’re doing a pretty damn good job.”
The words flow out of you like a waterfall. You surprise yourself at how much you know about him.
Jaemin is so quiet that you start to get a little embarrassed for monologuing like that.
“You think I can be scary?” he finally asks.
“I just poured my heart out for you, and that’s all you can say?” you snap.
He chuckles, and it’s a real laugh this time. “Sorry, no one’s ever called me that before.”
“You don’t think you’re scary? Whenever I threatened to leave, you smiled all creepy and acted like you were going to take me down if I even tried!” you exclaim.
“Oh, that. I was just bluffing,” he says casually.
“I’ve dealt with many of your kind before. If you think I have the upper hand, then you won’t do anything,” he explains. “It’s a mind game I like to play.”
“You know what, I’m glad you brought the ambrosia and nectar,” you start, “because you’re going to need it.”
For the first time since you’ve met him, Jaemin smiles. It’s not a smile that he plasters on for common decency. It’s not a smile he plasters on because he’s trying to hide another emotion. It’s not a smile he plasters on just because he doesn’t have another expression to put on.
He’s smiling because he’s happy. Because he wants to smile. Because you make him happy and want to smile.
Apollo children’s smiles are always bright, Jaemin being no exception. However, this smile is more of a soft glow rather than a beaming light, much like the glow that emits from his fingertips when he’s healing someone. This smile suits him much more than the gleaming, overwhelming smile that he usually has.
What a dangerous weapon you’ve just discovered.
One that you wish you could keep for yourself.
“Thank you for pouring your heart out for me, Y/N,” Jaemin says softly. “You think too highly of me. Much more than I deserve, but I’ll try my best to meet your expectations.”
You reach up and grab his face, squishing his cheeks together way too hard.
“Stop! I don’t want you to live up to my expectations. Or anyone’s! Live up to your own expectations, dummy,” you scold him, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you. Unless you become a racist or something. You get the gist.”
His eyes are wide as he stares down at you.
“Got it, Sparkle Fingers?” You bring his face closer.
Now that your face is only a couple of inches away from his, you hone in on the small details. He has golden flecks in his light brown eyes, and you wonder if that’s an Apollo kid thing. His lashes are feathery and thick, much longer than yours, which slightly annoys you. And against your better judgement, your eyes travel down to his lips. They’re pink and plush, but not too thick, and slightly chapped—not that it makes you any less willing to kiss him.
Shit, you curse to yourself, quickly trying to retract your hands.
It seems that you need at least a three feet distance between the two of you for your brain to function properly.
He gently grasps your wrists before moving up to cover your hands with his own, holding them on his cheeks. “I’m going to hold you to that promise.”
Your head is swimming, and you’ve lost your ability to speak, only able to muster a nod.
Jaemin appears to be in a daze too, firmly (but still gently) holding onto you as if his life depended on it. The two of you can only helplessly stare at each other before he blinks a couple of times and realizes what he’s doing. He lets you go so abruptly that your arms can only fall limply to your sides.
“A-And same with me! I’ll always be here for you too,” he stammers. Even in the dim lighting, you can see how red he is. “Anyways, get some sleep. It’s late. Good night.”
He goes to leave, and before you can stop yourself, you grab the edge of his shirt. He nearly jumps out of his own skin, stiffly turning his head.
“Y-Yeah? Is there something else you need?”
You don’t want him to go, but you can’t tell him that. But now you have to say something. Racking your brain for an excuse, you blurt out the first thing that pops into your mind.
“When I died, I met my dad in the Underworld.”
You’re not sure why that was the first thing that you thought of, and you’re even more unsure of why you were dumb enough to actually say it. You and Jaemin just had a touching moment, and now you were about to ruin it with your daddy issues.
Jaemin, to his credit, doesn’t stare at you like you’re insane. He just stares at you. In a neutral way, like he’s processing.
“Wh-What? You spilled your secrets to me, so I’m just returning the favor,” you flounder.
“Fair,” he admits, smiling, much to your relief. He takes a seat on the edge of your bed. “So, what happened?”
You can’t believe you’re about to talk about Hades to Jaemin, of all people. You don’t even talk about your father to your own siblings. It’s a subject you’ve never really known how to address, and you suppose doing it with someone who has no ties to Hades could be good for you.
“Well, nothing really. I just died, went to the Underworld, he asked me why I was there, and I told him,” you say bluntly. “By the time I finished talking, I woke up.”
Jaemin doesn’t respond right away, gauging your reaction, before asking, “What did you want to happen?”
“I don’t know,” you confess, “I guess maybe I’d thought he’d be happier to see me.”
“You think he would be happy that his daughter is dead?” Jaemin doesn’t say it in a condescending way, more like a genuine question.
“No, but...I thought he’d want to talk to me. To ask me how I’m doing. Instead, all he cared about the fact was that Chiron and Mr. D was making his kids do the dirty work,” you sigh.
“Did Hades say that?”
“He implied it.”
“How do you know?”
“I...don’t. But he’s never shown any interest in his children, so why would he be saying it out of concern?” you ask.
“Maybe he never showed any interest in his kids because they would have to come to the Underworld, which means they would have to die,” Jaemin ponders.
“We can visit him while we’re alive,” you counter.
“But you would be surrounded by death. Maybe he doesn’t want the scent of death following his children,” he muses.
You don’t say anything, considering his words.
“Godly parents are...something. No parent is perfect, but godly parents are especially flawed. My dad is quite the character. He’s self-centered, frivolous, and behaves more like a child than his actual children. But I know he loves us in his own messy, unconventional way.” Jaemin laughs. He speaks about Apollo in a way that you’ve never felt about Hades. “Of course, I’m not telling you to forgive Hades or let go of your dislike towards him. No child should have to beg their parent for love. But I do think that he’s trying, in his own way. He’s just not doing a very good job of communicating it.”
“You think so?” you whisper it, like a hopeful child.
“I do.” He nods.
“I thought about him,” you continue, “I wondered if he would’ve let me stay with him if I had really died. I wondered if he would’ve been proud of me. I want him to be proud of me.”
“I think he would’ve been very happy to hear that.” Jaemin smiles. “And Y/N?”
You look up at him.
“There’s no way that he isn’t proud of you, and I bet he would have told you if you had stayed there a little longer.” He speaks with such conviction in his eyes that you believe him.
You feel heat rise to your cheeks, embarrassed by how earnest he’s being. “Well, thanks to a certain someone, I never got to find out.”
Jaemin chuckles. “True. But you know what?”
“I’m damn glad I brought you back.”
Your face grows hotter, and you hope that Jaemin can’t feel the warmth radiating off of it. You break eye contact first, trying to tame the butterflies in your stomach.
“Alright, but now I really need to go. And you need to rest,” Jaemin says, standing up. But not before he shoots you another mischievous grin. “Unless you want me to stay.”
Your embarrassment is curbed by your annoyance. Now that he’s got you flustered, he’s grown arrogant again.
A part of you wants to tell him to stay, but then that would be too real.
You actually get a decent amount of sleep, despite everything that happened last night. To your surprise, you don’t go in and out of consciousness like you normally do. In fact, you actually have to be shaken awake.
“Y/N, wake up,” someone whispers.
At first, you want to just turn the other way and ignore them. Unfortunately, they keep persisting, and your groggy brain finally registers the voice as Cat’s. You force your eyes open, but you’re slightly disoriented. It’s still dark outside, and you register that it’s extremely early.
“I’m up,” you mumble, “what’s wrong?”
“The Golden Fleece has been stolen.”
That wakes you up instantly. You’re not sure how Cat figured it out, but you don’t know how to tell her you’ve known for a while now. However, you don’t have time to figure it out because she keeps going.
“Chiron and Mr. D are back, and we’ve been dispatched,” Cat explains. “We’re leaving soon.”
Even though your body protests, you push yourself up. “Wait, I haven’t even packed yet. What time is it?”
She bites her lip, looking hesitant. “No, Y/N. We as in Sicheng and I. He’s still getting ready in the cabin, so that’s why he’s not here.”
The gears in your brain malfunction. “What do you mean?”
“You’re in no condition to go. Chiron and Mr. D are going to split the missions up. Sicheng and I are one team, and they’ve found another team to replace you.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. I’m fine,” you insist, “who are they sending?”
“I’m not sure. An Ares kid and a Nike kid, I think. I didn’t really catch their names,” Cat says.
“Why would they send two people and risk two lives when I can handle it?” you protest.
“Of course, you can’t. You’re hurt, Y/N. Jaemin didn’t even want me to tell you, but I didn’t want to leave without saying bye,” she sighs.
“I have to go,” you assert. “I’m going to talk to Mr. D and Chiron right now.”
“You can’t. You’re on bed rest,” Jaemin cuts in, appearing from behind Cat.
“I think I could go the rest of my life without hearing those words ever again,” you mutter.
He turns toward Cat. “Go finish getting ready. I’ll handle this.”
Cat nods, giving you one last hug. “We’ll be back before you know it.”
“You can’t stop me now,” you say to Jaemin after she leaves. “You’ve already told me you’re bluffing.”
“Please don’t make me do this,” Jaemin whispers, sounding genuinely pained.
“I’m stronger than you,” you point out, going to push past him.
He holds out his arm, blocking your path. You can tell by how tense his body is that he’s preparing to use his powers and/or physical force to stop you. If you wanted to, you could take his outstretched arm and put him out of commission right now. But you can’t bring yourself to do it.
“Why are you doing this?” you sigh. “Why do you insist on getting involved like this?”
He doesn’t answer.
“Is it because you’ve finally gotten me under your perfect golden boy spell, and it damages your pride now that I’m trying to leave?”
You know it’s not true. You know you’re being cruel. You just want to provoke him, to make him angry because you’re willing to lash out at anyone right now.
He reacts only slightly, clenching his jaw.
“What, did that hurt?” you ask.
“Yes,” he answers hoarsely, a muscle in his jaw pulsating.
“Good. I wanted it to,” you say childishly.
Jaemin squeezes his eyes shut, like he’s trying to restrain himself. However, it only lasts for a brief second before he opens his eyes again, and he decides to say something.
“You think I want to keep getting involved with you?”
“I want more than anything to uninvolve myself with you, Y/N. Ever since you got wheeled into this damn infirmary, I keep finding myself doing stupid things just to keep talking to you. To keep finding an excuse to stay close to you. I never get involved with my patients, but I’ve been doing nothing but that when it comes to you. To the point that I’ve told you my deepest insecurities, only for you to weaponize it against me. But I know you don’t mean it. I know it’s because you’re worried about Cat and Sicheng, that you feel guilty about leaving them to do the mission on their own. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t be angry. Angry at your self-destructive and self-sacrificing mentality that’s going to end up getting you killed for real this time. And the thought of seeing you like that again—”
He stops, shakily breathing in. You’ve never seen him this upset before.
“I love you too much to let you do that to yourself. But it doesn’t matter how much I love you because you’ve never been the type to listen. You have to do things the hard way. No matter what,” he continues, “So, go. Go, and when you come back, I’ll pick up the pieces like always. Like the golden child I am.”
It’s too late to regret what you said, yet you still do.
You thought you were willing to follow your siblings to the ends of the Earth, and you still would, but Jaemin makes you hesitate. Jaemin makes Camp Half-Blood, a place that’s never once felt like home, feel like home. He makes you want to stay.
But you don’t deserve to stay. You don’t deserve anything from him—and certainly not something as precious as his love.
So, you leave.
Your initial goal was to find Mr. D and Chiron, but you somehow end up on the Training Grounds with a sword in your hand. You’ve been whacking at the straw dummy for so long that you’ve almost created a hole in the cast iron armor it’s wearing. You’re covered in sweat, and your whole body hurts. If you had any stitches left to pull, then you’d have pulled them already.
Much to your dismay, the sun is starting to set, which means you are that much closer to having to confront your problems. But first, you opt to take a shower first and continue to ignore them for a little longer. Wiping sweat from your brow, you return your sword back to the Armory before heading to the Hades Cabin.
There is no way in Tartarus that you’re going back to the infirmary tonight.
“Hey, new girl!” You hear someone shout.
At first, you don’t turn around, but the voice calls out again. A girl with long black hair tied up into a ponytail and rosy cheeks is running towards you. She has long, slender legs that resemble an Amazon, and you can’t help but admire what a perfect specimen she is. You’re so busy ogling that you forget to correct her and tell her that you’ve been here for years already. Just not physically.
“Here. Care package from anonymous.” She tosses a small drawstring pouch at you, and you clumsily catch it. The girl doesn’t even wait for your response before walking off.
“Sooyoung, come on!” Another girl calls, gesturing for the girl you’re assuming is Sooyoung.
You watch the two girls leave, arms wrapped around each other. You wondered if the gods were rubbing it in your face too. Sighing, you open the mysterious pouch and find a couple pieces of ambrosia in it. You blink a few times, trying to make sure that you’re seeing it correctly.
Because there’s only one person who would’ve given this to you.
You feel tears prick at your eyes.
If Jaemin is mad at you, then he should act like it. He shouldn’t be kind. He shouldn’t make you falter. He shouldn’t make you question everything.
He shouldn’t make you more in love than you already are.
You take a piece of ambrosia and bite into it, hoping that it’ll make this pain in your heart go away.
After returning back to your cabin, you take a piping hot shower—where you realize that you are way too inept at emotions to be able to solve this yourself. You need an outside opinion, someone who can tell you straight.
You need a friend.
Cat and Sicheng are busy, which cross out your only options.
Therefore, you take some desperate measures.
Marching right up to the Poseidon Cabin, you knock. You begin to count to three in your head, deciding to bail right away if no one answers the door after three seconds. Unfortunately, someone does—and it’s not who you hope it is.
It’s a boy you don’t know. He has wavy, light brown hair and has big doe eyes. His lips are naturally pouty and heart-shaped. He has an angelic face, but you can tell he’s also a troublemaker. He gives you a confused smile.
“Hi, can I help you?”
“Hi. I’m looking for Moon,” you say, twiddling your thumbs.
“What’s your name?” he asks, raising an eyebrow.
“I’m her, uh, friend,” you answer vaguely.
He looks doubtful but opens the door wider for you to enter. You awkwardly step in. The Poseidon Cabin is absolutely stunning. The walls and floor all resemble the ocean, with seashells and coral adorning them. You’d take time to admire it more if you weren’t so desperate.
“Moon, someone’s here for you!” The boy calls out.
There’s a couple seconds of silence before you hear someone’s footsteps coming toward you. Moon emerges in her pajamas despite the fact that it’s only the evening with a One Piece manga in her hand.
“Hyuck, this better not be some sort of stupid prank again. My favorite character is about to die, and I’ve been gearing up all day for a good cry—”
She stops, staring at you.
“Hey.” You give her a small wave.
She furrows her eyebrows. “Who—”
“Listen, I know you have no idea who I am, but I really need to confide in someone right now and you seem to know a lot more about love than me,” you blurt out quickly.
Both Moon and Hyuck look bewildered.
“Um, okay,” Moon says slowly. “We can go to my room then.”
You let out a sigh of relief and follow her. Without even introducing yourself, you take a deep breath and tell her everything that’s happened with Jaemin the moment she closes the door. Moon, shockingly, listens carefully instead of getting a restraining order. After you’ve finished explaining everything, her response is simple.
“You fucked up. Bad.”
“I know,” you groan, “what do I do?”
“What else can you do except apologize and tell him how you feel?” Moon shrugs. “It’s up to him whether he wants to accept them or not.”
“What if he hates me?” you ask.
“He sent you ambrosia even after you said those terrible things to him,” she points out, “he doesn’t hate you. He will never hate you, but he also might not forgive you.”
You nod. You’re not sure you deserve to be forgiven anyway. It’s selfish of you, but you just don’t want him to hate you.
“Then again, he’s got it pretty bad. The man even learned the lyre for you,” Moon snorts.
You want to envelop Moon in a giant hug, but you don’t want to weird her out even more than you already have.
“I have to go now,” you suddenly say. “Sorry for just barging in like that, and thank you so much for listening to me. I hope we can be friends after I resolve this.”
You’re already halfway out of the door when Moon says, “Wait! What’s your name?”
“I’m Y/N. Oh, and by the way, I wanted to let you know that Sicheng is definitely the better choice.”
It’s just shy of 7:45 p.m. when you make your way into the infirmary.
As you expected, Jaemin is sitting at the front desk, doing paperwork. Even though you only last saw him this morning, his face is much more haggard than you remember. He looks absolutely drained, like he’s barely able to hold up the pen in his hand. Not noticing you yet, he sets the pen down to pinch the bridge of his nose, sighing.
Luckily, you’re able to retrieve the lyre from your cot without him seeing. Inhaling deeply, you walk over to him, clearing your throat. His head jolts up, clearly not realizing someone was there. When he sees you, his gaze instantly softens before hardening again when he remembers he’s mad at you.
“No, wait,” you say quickly, “give me one minute.”
Jaemin looks like he wants to say more but eventually closes his mouth, waiting.
You carefully position your fingers over the strings before beginning to play Hot Cross Buns. Unfortunately, it’s not as grand of an apology as you had hoped because you forgot to grab the music book. Therefore, you were simply plucking Hot Cross Buns by memory, and you definitely did not have it memorized. It’s a painful minute, as you try to remember the chords but ultimately just playing whatever.
When you finish, Jaemin just looks at you. Panicked, you open your mouth to beg for his forgiveness for both the song and everything else.
“I think you’re worse than I am,” he says quietly.
Your jaw slightly hangs ajar, confused by his reaction. “Wha...What?”
“I said, that was awful,” he repeats.
“Oh. I’m...sorry?” You don’t know what else to say.
“For the song?” He raises an eyebrow.
“Don’t,” Jaemin says firmly. “I don’t want you to be sorry. Because that means you’re sorry about us. I don’t want you to regret anything about us. I really don’t think I could handle that right now.”
“But I am sorry,” you insist, “But not about us. I am regretting. But not about us. I’m sorry for using something you confided in me with against you. I regret saying it. No matter what I do, I will never be able to take that back in this lifetime. You loved me, and I hurt you. It’s so selfish of me, but I still love you back. I’m not asking for anything in return, I just wanted to tell you. After this, I’ll go—”
“Say it again.” Jaemin is up from his seat, walking towards you.
“Oh, um, which part?” you ask, taken aback.
“You love me?” he whispers. He’s close enough to reach out and touch you now, but he doesn’t.
“Yes,” you confess, “I think I have for a while now, but I’ve been fighting it. I just...I was scared I was misunderstanding. And because I’ve never felt like this before. Something this strong.”
Jaemin finally lifts his hand and brushes your cheek. His touch is feather-light, like he still isn’t sure if you’re real or not.
“I love you, Na Jaemin,” you whisper, making sure he knows you’re real.
Not Sparkle Fingers, not Sparkles or Sparky, not Apollo’s golden child.
“That’s all I want,” he says softly, leaning down and pressing his lips against yours.
Jaemin’s kisses are so distinctively him. They’re warm and loving, embracing and coaxing you rather than forcing you. His hands cradle your face as if it’s made of glass as he pulls you closer to him. You stand on your tiptoes, wrapping your arms around his neck. Eventually, his arms find themselves wound around your waist, picking you up off the floor just a little.
You’ve never noticed how nice he smells until now. You’re not sure how it’s possible, but he literally smells like sunshine. He smells like the warm ray of light that shines down on you when you’re lying on a hammock. He smells like the spring breeze that blows past you in a field of flowers. He smells like the spot of sunlight that kittens bask in during their naps. It’s a scent that you could inhale more than oxygen.
He only pulls away when he senses that you’re running out of air.
“I’m still a little mad at you though,” he says, slightly breathless himself.
“Okay.” You nod, dizzy from both the kiss and his scent.
“But...one more kiss.”
“Okay, so here’s the game plan, Sicheng. Moon’s favorite character in One Piece is about to die, and I’ve been distracting her from that volume until you came back, so that you can be the one comforting her when she’s crying.”
“Wait, Y/N!” Cat cries out, adjusting her binoculars (that she also stole from her Aphrodite friend). “Isn’t that Moon crying in Lucas’s arms right now?”
You snatch the binoculars from her and hone in on the Dining Pavilion.
“That son of a—”
“Should we ask Dad to send a zombie to harass him?” Sicheng asks.
“Y/N, you do it. You’re his favorite,” Cat says.
“Do you really think he’ll agree to that?” you hiss.
“Uh-oh,” Jaemin says frantically, having taken over the binoculars. “Code Red! Code Red! He’s leaning in for the kiss.”
“I’m going to pray to Dad right now.”
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