All roads lead in one direction: Percy Jackson/One Direction Cross over


1. Chapter One: Creation of Harry

Haeres is five years old the first time he sees them. He’s been five for a long time – a thousand years, or thereabouts. He doesn’t keep track. After all, he’s only five. He likes being five; it’s one of his favorite ages. He never gets into trouble when he’s five, and he can curl up in Mum’s lap to go to sleep whenever he likes.

They’re in France. They’ve been in France for two hundred years or so. It’s safe there. No one would ever think to look for Harry in France. They spend most of their days in the Jardin du Luxembourg, and Harry tumbles about on the grass and splashes in the fountains and plays Crochet et Boiser with the little girls. He climbs trees and draws on the sides of statues and grins at everyone all the time, because he’s small and cute and his eyes are the size of the moon. Old women pick him up and coo and give him berlingots de Nantes that turn his lips and tongue bright red. 

Roudoudou demain, s’il vous plaît! he demands, pulling at their sleeves. They kiss him all over his face and bring him the roudoudou the next day, and he sits on the lion statue’s back and licks the candy out of its seashells.

His mother sits only feet away all the time when they’re outside. She can’t bear to let him out of her sight; part of that is just motherly love. 

And no one can love her children like Rhea. The mother of all of the gods, the mother of all things, child of only the earth and the sky.

Her other children can never know about Harry. Not even his father.   Especially not his father.

Harry runs over with his mouth and chin sticky and green from the roudoudou, waving his wax seashell happily, and settles down in Rhea’s lap. He curls her long hair around one fist and tucks his face against her collar and promptly goes to sleep. Around the park, all of the old women and all of the little girls stop and watch him for a moment and smile inwardly, their hands clutched to their bosoms or cupped to their chins.

Son of Rhea, son of Eros. The missing Olympian, always hidden. Harry is the god of infatuation and mischief, and as much as no one can resist him, he can’t resist the things he loves even more.   So when he sees them for the first time, January 15, 1964, as he gallops – alongside his mother with a baguette perched on one small shoulder – past the Paris Olympia, Harry’s whole world suddenly cuts and tethers on new to someone else. To something else; a new idea, a new need, a new style. A new rhythm. He is so suddenly smitten that within days, the rest of the world follows with him, spiraling into an obsession that would never quite be matched.    Outside the Paris Olympia, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Richard Starkey smoke their cigarettes and shake out their floppy hair and behind them, a track of “She Loves You” blares out onto the street.
“Maman!” Harry crows, pointing at them, his green eyes huge and shining. “Regardez! Écoutez!”

“Oui, mon cher-coeur. Sont très joli,” Rhea sighs, fixing her hand on Harry’s. “Venez.”

That night, after they’ve eaten supper and Rhea has kissed Harry’s face and gone to sleep, Harry becomes sixteen. His bones stretch out just that little too much; he keeps hollows around his hipbones and clavicle, but gives himself a little muscle in his abdomen and chest. His hair is still curly, though, and his cheeks still dimpled, and his eyes still huge and shining and green. He takes the mirror from the wall over the bathroom sink and props it up in his bedroom so he can admire himself for a while, twisting at all angles. Merde. Somehow he’s given himself four nipples. He frowns and pokes at one of the extra ones, but he can’t seem to make them go away.

No matter. He’s sixteen again now – he’d forgotten how much he loved being sixteen; his father was Eros, after all, hefucking loves being sixteen – and there are more important things to attend to than a few extra nipples. He turns a bit to check out his rear and nods appreciatively, then stands with his hips out to check out what, now that he’s back to sixteen, is clearly the most important part of him.

He grins. He might have four nipples, but at least this turned out well. He lifts it curiously to feel the weight in his hand, then remembers, oh, I’m sixteen and touching my chauve à col roulé, and lets the memory of Paul McCartney sucking on his cigarette fill his head until he’s heavy and hard and gets off twice over the pillows.

The sun just barely begins to rise over the rooftops and Harry looks out at it, watching Apollo’s chariot roll up over the east, and opens the window to lean out.

“Au revoir, Paris!” he shouts, and likes his new sixteen-year-old voice. He throws his arms out and laughs uproariously as two old Breton women in their lace hats look up at him from the street and shade their eyes against the sun to cluck disapprovingly at his nakedness. He takes a last cold lungful of Paris air and darts back into his bedroom. He makes himself a collarless suit, chic and posh and gray, and shakes out his curls before swiping them to the side to smile at himself in the mirror – ducking his head to peek out through his fringe the way he’d seen John do outside the Olympia – before skipping down the hall to his mother’s room.

Rhea is awake, sitting at the side of her bed with her long, black hair in a braid down her back. The look on her face glows placid and fierce at once: the sort of look that blooms mountains.   Harry curls up beside her like he did when he was five.

“Tous n’êtes pas cinq années,” Rhea says, not looking at her smallest son.

“Je veux aller en Angleterre,” Harry answers. When he speaks again, it’s in a deep, raspy voice, slow and with a curling Northern mumble. “I think I’m English now, anyway. I really fancy a tea.”

Rhea laughs then, and turns to kiss Harry’s brow. “Alright, sweetheart,” she says. “We’ll go to England.”

They end up in a tiny Cheshire village – two streetlights, a church, and a bakery; very picturesque – and Harry falls in with a group of mortal boys to make a terrible racket on guitars and drums.   Rhea has to laugh watching them. Harry is as demanding at sixteen as he had been pleading for  roudoudou  in the park at five, except now he demands quicker tempo and more drums and lyric changes. They call their band “White Eskimo” and the girls’ school lets them play at the spring mixer.

Harry is delivered home, looking sweaty and not the least bit sheepish, by an incensed nun at half-seven, after she’d quite literally stumbled upon Harry and all three senior officers of the Young Ladies’ Charitable Pep Club in full undress at the back of the coats closet.

Rhea – called “Anne” now in England; she’d been “Antoinette” in France if people spoke to her at all – apologizes profusely for her son and promises fifty Hail Marys to Mother Magdalene. Once the nun has stormed off, Harry throws his head back and laughs belly-deep.

“Mum!” he cries. “There was a man at the dance who says he wants to bring White Eskimo to London! He said we could be ‘the next Beatles’!” Harry’s green mooneyes shine.
Rhea kisses his forehead. “No.”
Harry’s face falls like rain melting colored chalk from the sidewalk, and he catches his lip between his teeth. “No?”

“Harry,” Rhea says softly, “Your brothers will find you.”
“So?” Harry asks defiantly, puffing out his chest, “Let them find me! I’m no threat to them. Everyone loves me, besides.”
Rhea cups a hand over his flushed cheek. “That is what makes you so dangerous, sweetest heart. They will fall into such obsession with you that they would steal you away to Olympus and forget about the world. They have their own duties and purposes, Harry; they can’t lose themselves in love to you.”
“But being lost in love is good. Especially with me.” Harry’s face is a mask of innocence. Rhea strokes his cheek with her thumb. “Infatuation isn’t quite the same as love, sweetheart. It’s the most dangerous love of all. It’s the kind of love that makes good mortals and good gods do the worst things.”
So Harry stays in Church Hulme. The rest of White Eskimo go on to London without him, and without him, they change their name to The Who. Harry blessed them before they left him, and he watches quietly from his tiny parish in Cheshire as they forget all about their first lead singer and lead a whole demographic to sing about their g-g-g-generation.
Harry sings in the street, and sings sometimes at The Old Red Lion, and sings flirty little ditties to girls on the path home from school while he trips charmingly on his boots and peeks out from beneath his curls. He watches everything he can of the Beatles. He keeps a badge of their faces pinned to his schoolbag. In 1974, Church Hulme changes its name to Holmes Chapel, and John Lennon plays three songs at Madison Square Garden with Elton John.

On December 8, 1980, Harry finally understands what his mother meant about infatuation being dangerous. 

A world away, in the shadow of Olympus, John Lennon is dead.   And Harry knows, like all gods know their own divine work, that it is his fault. 

That night, Rhea hears him crying in his room and rushes in to find that Harry is a baby, wailing and inconsolable and wanting nothing to do with the world or love outside of the tiny domain of his mother and warm milk and napping on a blanket in the soft patches of warmth the sun paints on their living room floor. Loving anything else seems – it scares him, and he cries and cries and cries until he’s too exhausted to move and falls asleep, sniffling, on Rhea’s shoulder.

He stays a baby for the next fourteen years. On some days, he’s a toddler, and they go to the park so he can stomp his feet holding onto Rhea’s fingers for balance and pad into the dirt to pick up bits of grass and bugs, but he never wants anyone to be hurt by what he can’t control again. If infatuation and mischief kill, then they won’t exist in the world.

And the domain of the Olympians progresses on without Harry noticing, the decadent, broken 1980s melting into the green ‘90s around him. Obsessive regimes lose their footholds. Decades-old hate softens its fervor. The Iron Curtain opens and the Wall comes crumbling down.   But something is  missing  from the world, and even the mortals can feel it. 

On February 1994, when it’s cold, Harry is a tiny baby curled into a sling over Rhea’s middle, and she ducks into the small local bakery for warmth and coffee and a bright pink-and-yellow Battenburg cake. Inside, the bakery has Christmas carols playing in the corner, and it’s warm and bright and smells like almond and apricot and yeasty, roasty bread. The choir on the cassette split into a soaring harmony as the sweet-creamy scent of the cake passes by Harry’s nose as Rhea takes the cake. There’s a soft pressure on the back of his head as someone presses a kiss to it.

He stirs a little and blinks out at the bakery girl.
The next morning, Harry is sixteen again with curly hair in his eyes and an absurd scarf around his neck, standing at the stove stirring a pot of porridge with a fork when Rhea comes down the stairs.

“You’re not supposed to use a fork for that, sweetheart,” she says, and kisses the back of his head.   Harry makes a face. “I was hungry. I used all the spoons already. You’ve only got four.”

“Well, no one else was using them,” his mother says pointedly. “Are you ready to settle for a bit, then? Only it’s difficult when you change so frequently.”
“I know,” Harry says softly, and licks some porridge from the fork. “I’m going to work in the bakery.”
Rhea-called-Anne smiles and pats his cheek. “Good. I do love you, Harry, but it will be nice to have some time to myself. You are a very demanding baby.”
“I’m a very demanding teenager, too,” Harry quips, and starts eating the porridge right out of its pot.
And for the next sixteen years, Harry works at the little bakery in Holmes Chapel, selling swiss rolls and scones and chatting up nearly everyone from the parish. He takes up with a steady line of pretty girls and a covert assortment of prettier boys, and there’s a resurgence in the popularity of “comfort foods” and “slow-cooking” in most of the Western world.

There’s also a resurgence in the power of obsessive love, infatuation and mischief and want, and with them come boy bands. Harry tries his best not to love any of them in particular, but they all excite him and he thinks, well, he’ll just love them all equally, then, and no one will get hurt. Rhea-called-Anne catches him singing Take That’s “Rule the World” as he sweeps up behind the counter one evening, and she’s glad.

And then, in February 2010, when it’s cold, Harry is sixteen and beautiful and his green eyes shine up at his mother when she ducks into the bakery for warmth and coffee and a bright pink-and-yellow battenburg cake. Joe McElderry is playing from the radio in the corner, and Harry kisses his mother’s cheek and then bites his lip before blurting out,

“Mum? I want to be on X-Factor.”

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