The board meeting at OA was over, Atë was in Tartarus, and I had had the realization of a lifetime…I had a home. I thought back over the last few months and all that had taken place with the Titans Rising, the fight with Atlas, and then my encounter with Ourea and the changes that took place after that. Thoughts of Helios and my conversations with Persephone about rehab rushed through my mind. I made my way to my friend’s apartment with questions and ideas running through my head. Knocking on her door, I smoothed my hair and button-down blouse while awaiting her greeting.
Persephone opened the door to her apartment and smiled at me. “Selene, how are you? Come in,” she said as she stepped aside to let me enter.
Persephone’s apartment was a reflection of her; soft, feminine, and floral. It was bright and sunny, welcoming, with a bouquet of pink lilies on her table, the aroma of the flowers filling the apartment. The light wooden floors had soft throw rugs that were an obvious nod to her tendency to walk around without shoes. The room itself was decorated in an elegant bohemian style with throw blankets on the couch, piles of pillows, and a light, airy feel. As I entered, Persephone hugged me in greeting with a smile, offering me a seat on the soft floral couch. A sound reached my ears, a click click click on the wooden floor, and out of the adjoining bedroom came a large white dog, a breed the mortals called a Pit Bull. It stopped upon noticing me, and slunk back into the bedroom.
“That’s Snow. He is shy around new people. He came with me from the underworld,” Percy supplied as a form of explanation. “I am so happy to see you, can I get you anything? Tea? Wine? Coffee?”
I took off my shoes at the door and walked over near the sofa, sitting on the floor instead. Closing my eyes, I did something I saw Artemis do before. I just sat there and let Snow familiarize himself with me. Persephone seemed to understand and let me sit in quiet for a moment. Snow slowly peeked his head out of the bedroom, his curiosity getting the better of him, and he slowly made his way closer to me. After a few minutes of silence, he approached and sniffed my hand. I slowly opened one eye and raised a few fingers. Snow jumped at the movement then returned to me, sniffing my hand again. After another few minutes, Snow had allowed me to touch the top of his head gently.
“So,” I began softly, in an attempt to not startle the beautiful beast beside me, “I have an idea and wanted to talk to you about it. And, no, thank you. I don’t need a drink at the moment.”
Persephone smiled as I petted the white dog, content in his exposure to more and more visitors. She sat upon the floor with me, obviously comfortable with the situation.
“I was wondering what your plans after Rehabilitation were? What do you think will happen with Helios? I know you and your father are still in negotiations, but what is your end goal?”
“For Helios?” she asked. I nodded in affirmation. “My hope is that he will be released from Tartarus. He is truly sorry, Sel. I could see it in his eyes, in his pain. I could hear the remorse. We have often spoken of the choices he made. For others? It is not solidified. The research I have done on many of the Titans, well, I just cannot see them as viable candidates. Their crimes and behaviors just do not show they would even be open to the concept, let alone biddable enough to begin the process.” She looked somewhat downtrodden as she looked at me.
“I was just thinking if you succeed, do you really think Zeus and Hades would give Helios a chance on the surface? Even if it’s only occasionally? Maybe as a trial run? Like the mortals do, what do they call it? Probation?” I struggled to remain calm for the dog, my ideas running faster, the more I spoke.
“That is my hope. I have discussed with both of them the option. They are apprehensive, as would be expected. I believe they would like to talk with him, to determine for themselves. But,” the smile crossed her face as Snow skittered back with the excitement building, “they seem open to it as if it could be negotiated.”
“I guess I need to visit Zeus, then. See if I can make an appointment with him. Helios could stay with me, or maybe an apartment of his own? It would make it easier for you to continue to work with him up here, wouldn’t it?” The mere thought of being with Helios again filled me with such joy, but Persephone brought me back to reality with one simple thought.
“Sel, I am optimistic, I really am. But I am concerned about what Daddy might say. He would not even hear of me working with Atë, his own daughter…” She trailed off as her fear of crushing my hopes became evident upon her face. Persephone was always considerate of others’ feelings, no matter the broader picture.
My face dropped as her words sunk in. “You’re right, Percy. I’m sorry. I just got overzealous. I won’t risk your progress. I promise. I will go speak to Zeus, but I will do it with respect and caution. I won’t risk your program, nor my brother because of my excitement. You have my word.”
“I have no doubt you would, even in your excitement. I have always seen you as thoughtful and considerate in your actions.” Her smile was tender, bolstered with her affection for me and my brother as her friends.
We spoke for a bit longer and eventually ended up moving to the kitchen for a cup of tea. I loved her apartment and the feeling of spring it gave me. I wondered if I should try to make a home somewhere, now that I felt I belonged here and needed somewhere to stay beside my office or the lounge. By the time I left, Snow had warmed up to me, and Persephone and I had an idea of how to approach Zeus.
Leaving Persephone’s floor, I entered the elevator and took a deep breath before pressing the button on the large panel with the number 91 on it, Zeus’ office. Letting out the breath, I ran through my ideas and braced for his reply. The doors opened, and I strode confidently across the floor to his receptionist’s desk.