I'm back with a new, slightly dark but still a little fluffy Percabeth story! I think Annabeth and Percy would be seriously impacted by Tartarus so I wanted to take Annabeth's view on it.
And for the Nico lovers, I added a little tidbit for our baby. May not be satisfactory but his story is coming later when I have time to work on something for him.
Please read and review - hope you like the songs and story :)
please stay as long as you need
can't promise that things won't be broken
but i swear that i will never leave
please stay forever with me
james dean and audrey hepburn / sleeping with sirens
Falling into Tartarus wasn't the most romantic date for an eleven month anniversary in Annabeth's opinion.
But she was with Percy and they are the first known demigods (including Nico) to make it out alive. Everyone at Camp comes up to them proclaiming, "Hey! You guys are fucking legends! What other heroes besides Percy and Annabeth could survive Tartarus and defeat Gaea all within a month? Well, shit. Thanks for setting the bar so low!"
And as much as it means to hear a compliment from Clarisse La Rue, Annabeth isn't sure survived was the right word.
Sure, they've come back alive - more or less in one piece (she thinks if she even so lands funny on her ankle one more time, it's going to fall off) - but what about the hallucinations or nightmares that haunt her? What about the panic attacks when she's alone in the dark and she feels like Polyphemus, blind on an isolated island?
The only person who keeps her from completely slipping off the brink to insanity is the only person she ever really wants by her side anymore.
Even though it's against Camp rules, at night she slips on her functioning Yankees cap and trudges over to Percy's cabin. He's always waiting for her, with a troublemaker's grin and piercing sea green eyes. It's innocent - they're both fully clothed and simply enjoying each other's presence in the dark - but they're anything but innocent.
Everyone's just pretending not to notice. It's the least they can do.
But Chiron has to draw the line sometime when Aphrodite kids start protesting and all Piper can do is give them sympathetic looks like, I really tried to stop them.
So when Sally invites Percy to move back to her apartment to repeat the eight months of sophomore year he missed, it's all she can do not to lock themselves inside the Poseidon cabin. Her worries don't last long when Sally extends her invitation to Annabeth, realizing the trauma isn't going to go away easily.
Their faces are both bright red as they swear - on the River Styx, nonetheless - that there won't be any little Percy's and Annabeth's running around.
She can't take the panic attacks, the hallucinations, the black-outs, and the recurring nightmares anymore.
Even sharing a bed with Percy doesn't make the nights easier. Especially during the day when she's in class and she overhears an argument between two lovers, "Well I hope you go to hell!"
Black spots begin to cloud her vision and she can't tell which way is left and which is right. She's been to hell and it's not something she would ever wish upon someone, especially a lover.
The kids at school think she's weird and creepy and the only person who will be seen with her is the only person who she wants to be seen with. She makes a hard decision and informs Percy, Chiron, Sally and Paul, her mother, her father and stepmother that she'll be withdrawing from Goode High School and taking classes online.
They take the news well - hell, Athena's just glad she's continuing an education - except for her father and stepmother. They claim she's throwing away her life and wasting all her time on Percy but they don't know anything.
They don't what the taste of fire feels like, scorching its way down your throat, and how it rips at your stomach. The burning aftermath it leaves on your tongue, how it chars your fingers, leaving scars. They don't know the desperation of having to drink fire.
One day after dinner, sometime in October, she absentmindedly asks Sally if she thinks nectar would work as an antidepressant. The next day Sally comes home with an ugly orange bottle of pretty pills and looks ready to cry.
"I hate to subdue you to this, Annabeth, but I can't think of anything else. I can't talk to a physician, because they wouldn't understand. Percy said he spoke to Apollo who suggested this, as a form of mortal medication. It should fare better than nectar, I hope. Oh, Annabeth, I'm sorry."
In late December, Annabeth suddenly remembers Akhlys shrouding the two in a death mist and then sprouting poison at them as a betrayal gift. But the scariest part of the memory, is Percy's sea green eyes turning black. He reverses the poison back to her, filling her veins and lungs with the poison, a sick but unsatisfied expression appearing over his face.
The memory should've ended there but he suddenly turns to her and she feels the burning liquid attach to her face, her youthful features turning emaciated and aged. She begs him to stop but he doesn't hear her, the unsatisfied look still enrapturing his face -
She blinks back to reality and Percy's eyes are green again. "What?"
"You blacked out again," He murmurs, his eyes dropping down to her hands.
She's afraid to ask the question, how long this time?
"The meds aren't working, are they?" He asks. "You were out for fifteen minutes."
She sighs and leans back onto his chest. "It's better than twenty."
"Jason? Hey, man! How's it going?"
Percy's in the hallway but Annabeth can still hear him from the bedroom. She was sleeping but she had a vivid nightmare of Kelli the empousa slashing at her shoulder. She rubs the scars and feels jolts of pain sear into her chest.
"Yeah, we're all good. Annabeth's been doing some online classes so she'll still graduate a year before me…I don't know if she's thinking about college, to be honest. Haven't really thought about it myself. At one point I was convinced…exactly, New Rome! It seemed perfect. But you know…"
Everyone knew. Tartarus kinda changes things.
Annabeth props herself on her elbow. She doesn't mean to eavesdrop but it's not like Percy knows what how to whisper.
"I miss you guys too," He said, his voice hollow. "I know Annabeth does, it's just things are hard. I want to be there for her, unlike when she had to face Arachne all by herself. She needs me man, and I can't let her down."
Her shoulders sag back into the bed and she feels like they're holding up the sky again, except this time she's too weak and it's crushing her bones and brain together.
He can't play the hero part forever. She knows he blames himself for Tartarus, for not cutting the webs off her ankle when he had the chance, and it's a heavy blame to hold. Sooner or later he'll crack from the nightmares, the monsters, the blame, taking care of both him and her, and she'll be all alone again.
Annabeth knows what she has to do, but she's just afraid to do it.
"I miss our friends."
Percy looks over at her before returning his attention back to the TV. "What?"
"Grover, Piper, Jason, Leo, Clarisse, Chris, The Stoll brothers, everyone at camp." Annabeth mumbled. "I miss them, you know."
He nods beside her, his arm wrapped around her shoulder. "Jason called the other day. Should I call him back and see if they're free?"
She nods with a small smile and wishes painfully that his face wouldn't look so happy.
"The guys and I are thinking about going to the movies later." He tells her. "Hopefully Leo won't set the popcorn on fire again because Frank's flown in from California for vacation. You know how those two are."
She manages a half smile. "Sounds like fun. What time should we meet them?"
Percy fumbles over his words. "Oh, um, I was gonna meet them around 5 or so. Rachel called me and said that she wanted you to come over to her house, to hang with her Piper and Hazel."
The tension is palpable. Her cheeks flare and she wants to crawl into a shell.
Despite the fuzzy dots that cloud her vision and her lungs pumping slower, she says, "It's been a while, hasn't it?"
He studies her face with intense green eyes that make her slightly cringe for the first time and grasps her hand. "Listen Annabeth, I'll stay here with you -"
"No." She says, squeezing his hand, trying to get a grip on something. "Go out. We can't live like this forever. You deserve to have fun."
"So do you," He whispers, pressing his lips lightly to her neck. His hot breath trails into her ear, causing her vision to go nearly black. "We're alive, Annabeth. We're together. That's all that matters."
She doesn't want him to leave her. Not even with Rachel, Piper, and Hazel, her best girl friends. She wants him to stay with her.
But she feels herself becoming clingy, it's been happening for a good six months now. She's always needed Percy, but this need is more intense.
Pre-Tartarus Annabeth never needed someone this much. Even when Percy was missing for eight months she never needed someone like this. Post-Tartarus Annabeth is scaring the living shit out of her. She's co-dependent. She needs Percy to be by her side so much that the very thought of him enjoying life without her - even for a couple of hours - is sending her into a madness.
She kisses him feverishly, hoping it's enough to make him stay. His hands crawled up to her waist, dancing on her scarred skin above her jeans.
By the time she gets to Rachel's, Piper's already a drunken mess.
"Hey Annabeth!" Rachel flings her arms around Annabeth. "Piper and Hazel are already upstairs. I hope you don't mind we brought some liquid happiness. What's a party without the party?"
Annabeth's insides start twisting and churning. She wants to hold Percy's hand so badly, to comfort her that her friends aren't going to turn into monsters,but he's downtown with Jason and the boys, having a merry ole time without her.
Piper, Hazel and brandy are waiting for them upstairs. Piper's drunk half the bottle and stumbles over her words.
"Annie-beth!" Piper shouts, running towards her. She falls onto a plush white couch.
Annabeth cracks the ghost of a smile. "Hey Pipes. How ya doin?"
"I MISSED you. Like so much. So much." Piper pulls her head up and wrapping her arms around Annabeth's neck. The nauseating but enticing smell of liquor creeps into her nostrils. "It's been forever!"
"Hey Annabeth!" Hazel says quickly, coming over to hug her friend. "You look so tan for this New York winter."
Hazel's interruption is pointless. She already knows that it's been six months since she's last seen her friends.
They don't understand. They didn't fall into the incarnation of evil and come back alive.
She forces a smile. "You're so strong! I bet you beat up Frank in combat all the time."
Hazel's smile is forced as well, like this is already a proven fact. "Want some brandy? We might as well start getting into it now before Piper drinks both bottles."
Piper's head shoots up again, her kaleidoscope eyes changing rapidly enough to make Annabeth's head spin. "There's another? You said there was only one!"
"There's actually three but we have to save one so my dad doesn't get suspicious." Rachel says. "Are you feeling up to it, Annabeth? Don't feel like you have to. We're not planning on getting that drunk."
Annabeth wonders if she drank enough, would she forget enough? Would she forget the curses, the empousa, Akhlys and her poison? Damasen and Bob - their friends who helped them escape death itself while sacrificing their lives against their own family?
Tell the sun and the stars hello for me.
She reaches for a shot glass. "Bottoms up, bitches."
She doesn't remember what happened.
One second, they're all dancing to some Katy Perry song and the next minute she's having some sort of seizure over the bathroom toilet.
"Did you eat before?" Rachel asks, holding her hair back. "Crap. Should've asked."
Annabeth doesn't eat that much on a regular basis. Sally always tries to get her to eat more but the meds never make her hungry. Sometimes when she eats too much, she feels like she's about to throw up fire.
But this sick is worse because she just took her meds two hours ago. The former wise girl would've known better than to drink on an empty, medicated stomach. Any child of Athena knows that.
Hazel's in the living room calling someone, while Piper's passed out on the armrest. Rachel's leaning against the sink, her face flushed and red hair wild.
"I'm sorry, Annabeth. I shouldn't have done this. I just… wanted to see you, that's all."
Her friend sounds so brittle that Annabeth wants to cry. Pre-Tartarus Annabeth would hug her and say something comforting because that Annabeth was smart. She was strong, she was a leader, she was your go-to girl.
Post-Tartarus Annabeth can't even cry. All she knows is that he should be here, his solid biceps curled around her.
She weakly lifts her hand to meet Rachel's but her perfume wafts carelessly into Annabeth's nose and is so overpowering, she feels her stomach churn.
She feels like she's throwing up the entire Phlegethon river.
She faintly hears rushed voices downstairs. Immediately her senses start tingling and she knows he's there. All she wants to do is run, jump in his arms, and be together again.
But she's not even strong enough to support her own head above the toilet.
Time slows down as footsteps rush up the stairs and down the hall. Her heart pounds and she forces herself to sit up properly.
Percy appears in the doorway. "What happened?"
Rachel beckons him over to hold Annabeth's hair back and whispers something in his ear. Annabeth only catches, drank a lot…empty stomach…panic attack.
Dots begin to cloud her vision.
"Hey, it's alright. I'm with you." Percy whispers as he pulls her away to him. "You're okay. Alcohol on an empty stomach. Never good but not fatal."
Rachel squeezes her hand before leaving the bathroom.
"Did I ruin your guys night?"
"Don't even think like that, Wise Girl. I'd rather be with you than anyone else." He doesn't answer her question. He called her Wise Girl, a nickname she'd long forgotten. She doesn't even remember the last time Seaweed Brain has crossed her mind.
Her eyelids become droopy. "I love you."
"To Tartarus and back."
She's beginning to really miss Pre-Tartarus Annabeth.
Post-Tartarus Annabeth is losing muscle and gaining weight. She doesn't really do much but lie around, stare at the walls and kiss Percy.
She misses her old relationship with Percy. They're like an old married couple now. They used to go out, tease each other, flirt, sometimes fight, and kiss with that kind of excited passion. She sort of remembers what it's like to be excited to see Percy. Sure, at first when she moved in with him it was fun. Being with him every night.
But they're both so afraid of losing each other that they have begun to lose each other.
Her old, beautiful, dead friend, Silena Beauregard, once told her, "The only way to keep a boy interested is to keep him missing you. If Charlie and I saw each other all the time, our relationship would be boring because we'd be together, all the time."
Pre-Tartarus Annabeth didn't see anything wrong with that. "Why is that so bad?"
"Because he wouldn't miss me. He'd take it for granted that I'd always be there. There's no intrigue about that. Even married couples need breaks from each other. Just to remind their partner that they shouldn't take each other for granted."
It didn't make sense to Pre-Tartarus Annabeth but she listened dutifully because Silena was always right about these kinds of things. Her mother was the goddess of love after all.
Post-Tartarus Annabeth understands it now.
There's a long pause. "Annabeth? Is that you?"
"Hey! It's been - I mean, what's up? You okay?"
She has to think about this answer. "I don't know if okay is the right word, but… I'm doing alright. How about you?"
"Just got back for Spring break. I've been back in New York for 20 minutes and I'm already looking for emancipation documents."
Annabeth manages a small laugh. "Am I right to assume you don't want company?"
"Oh my gods, no! If you're offering, definitely come over! I really miss you, so does Piper of course. She was planning on coming to visit if you'd like to join?"
"Are you sure about this?"
Percy's asked her this question a billion times already and she's on the verge of either snapping his head off or begging him to tag along with her.
"So why are you going?" He pesters. "You could stay here with me. We'll even watch that rom-com you like."
He's talking about her favorite movie, Bride Wars, the one that whenever she suggests to watch, he threatens petrify himself with Medusa's chopped off head.
She kisses his salty sea lips. "Because old Annabeth would do it."
"Pre-Tartarus Annabeth. The one who wasn't scared of her own shadow." She says sitting down on the bed next to him. "I don't wanna let Tartarus control my life anymore. Everything I do, somehow relates back to Tartarus. I don't wanna hang out with anyone but you because you're the only person who understands what it's like. Remember when we were excited to see each other?"
"What? I'm always excited to see you."
"Remember when you would lift me up when you saw me for the first time after like three weeks? Going to the movies and dinner dates?"
"The fireworks at Camp? Sitting with our friends, trying to convince Clarisse not to skewer Connor in the gut? Sword-fighting in the arena? The capture the flag games? Sneaking into your cabin though everyone knew I was there-"
"Alright I remember." Percy says, raising his hands and giving her a suspicious look. "What brought on all of this?"
He means to say that yesterday she was having a panic attack at the idea of saying hi to Chiron in an Iris-Message and now she's so fearless she wants to go back to the campfire sing alongs and roast marshmallows.
Honestly, she's still having a panic attack at the idea of saying hi to Chiron and going to see Rachel and Piper later and being without Percy. She's scared beyond death that she's going to wake up Rachel and Piper with her gut-wrenching nightmares and they're going to think she's a sick freak and not want to be with her.
But they already know she's sick. It's killing her pride - and her hubris is causing her more grief than Tartarus ever could.
"I don't know." She answers and hates herself for it. A daughter of wisdom that doesn't know something? "My hubris? Everything? For eight months, I've let Tartarus take over my mind. Just because we're alive, it doesn't mean we survived the pure terror. It's reduced me to fucking anxiety and anti-depression pills! Is that Annabeth? Is that really me? The girl who helped save the world - on pills?"
"Annabeth, if that's what this is about -"
"It's not. I promise. It's about me and you. And me taking you for granted."
Percy rubs circles into the back of her hand and sighs. "You're right. We're sick."
"I have them too, the nightmares. Of seeing Bob and Damasen fighting a losing battle as the Doors of Death close in front of us. The fire. The poison, the curses. Hearing the voice of Tartarus telling me to die. It's tempting sometimes. I'd be doing a ton of monsters a favor."
"If you ever died willingly, I would meet you in Hades to kick your butt for leaving me."
He laughs and it's the first time they've laughed at something related to Tartarus. "I think I'm more scared of that than a few puny monsters."
She wraps her arms around his waist and buries her face into his chest. "We're going to get better. Together."
"Kinda hard to do it together if you're moving out."
"What?" She pulls away quickly.
"Isn't that what you're planning? The whole speech about camp and us being too close?"
Annabeth stares at him, completely stunned. Then a little sound pops out of her mouth. She can't stop it and it erupts into something bigger.
"Are you seriously laughing at me?"
Annabeth covers her face to hide the giggles but it doesn't work. "Is that what you really thought this was about?"
"Well…it seemed like it. I almost thought you were breaking up with me."
With laughter still coated on her lips, she kisses him but this time there's a little spark in her stomach. It's a nice difference from the usual panic.
"Seaweed Brain, you couldn't get rid of me if you tried."
"I talked to Hazel last week and she told me Nico came by to visit her," Piper reports "She said he looks good."
Nico di Angelo is the only other demigod who made it out of Tartarus alive and Annabeth's positive he didn't survive. Even a son of Hades could be scared by evil and darkness in its purest form and he was alone.
She wonders how he overcame the madness that must have took over him afterwards.
She knows it's not the real reason he disappeared after the Giants War.
"What's he up to?" Annabeth asks, meeting Piper's eyes. She's not sure if Piper knows the truth and if she does, she's not letting on.
"He's been traveling around Italy, trying to find any trace of his roots. Of course he's always going to be looking for Bianca but I think he's come to an understanding that she's gone now."
A stream of sadness floats into Rachel's eyes. A chipper, virginal oracle can't fall in love with a homosexual son of Hades who prefers the company of dead souls without some sort of heartbreak involved.
"Is he okay?" It's a stupid question to ask, Annabeth thinks to herself. Of course he's anything but okay.
"He's doing better, I think." Piper tells. "He doesn't harbor so much anger anymore."
"Does anyone want ice cream?" Rachel asks abruptly and they both know better than to avert the subject back to Nico. "I just got rocky road and a whole bunch of toppings!"
The night passes by quickly with rocky road, chick flicks and pillow fights but Annabeth doesn't even look at the clock once to see when Percy's coming to get her.
My dearest Annabeth,
You finally looked so pieceful sleeping that I couldnt wake you. I figured you could call me wen your ready in the mourning and if your feeling up to it, we could go grab breakfast. You know. As a celebration to the start of not letting Tartarus control us anymore.
Anyways call me whenever. Looks like you had fun - hope Rachel doesnt mind I took the rest of the rocky road ice cream. Love you!
She ignores all the spelling and grammar mistakes and looks at the clock. It's 7:30 in the morning and Piper and Rachel haven't even begun to stir.
She leans over from her spot on the couch and shakes Rachel, who's for some reason sprawled out over the floor. "Rach."
"Hmm," She murmurs sleepily.
"Do you have plans this weekend?"
"Maybe. A little. I think." She replies somewhat coherently. "Why."
"Can I stay the weekend? If it's not bothering you -"
"Yes!" Rachel's bright green eyes fling open and Annabeth fears she's about to sprout a prophecy. "Absolutely! Please stay, it'll be super fun!"
Piper snores loudly in response.
Annabeth cracks a tiny smile and whispers back, "Course."
She carefully steps over Rachel's body and heads into the kitchen where the house phone is. It's always a bad idea for demigods to use telephones but it's sort of an emergency.
He picks up on the first ring. "Hello?"
"Annabeth, you're awake! How was it? You're all good?"
"If you mean any nightmares, panic attacks, hallucinations, or black-outs - surprisingly only two. I'm doing pretty good."
"Awesome. You got my note?"
She twirls the phone cord around her fingers. "Yeah. And I would love to go out on a breakfast date but I was thinking that I should stay over Rachel's this weekend. You know, catch up with her and Pipes. We had a really fun time last night and I heard that Jason and the boys are still at camp."
He's quiet for a moment. "Oh. Yeah I'll call Jason or something and hang out. Or Grover. I miss that silly goat."
Annabeth smiles but realizes he can't see her. "So you're okay with it? I'll see you tomorrow night?"
"Yeah. Sounds like a plan. I miss you."
"I miss you too. Love you!"
She laughs loudly as he picks her up in front of his doorway and spins her around. "Gods, Seaweed Brain, put me down - your neighbors are watching!"
"You were gone for ages."
"I was gone for three days!"
He puts her down and closes the door, keeping his arm around her waist. "But it felt like ages."
She kisses the top of his forehead. "Did ya miss me?"
"Did I miss you? I had nothing to do without you! Sure going back to camp was fun but I've been so bored and lonely. Don't leave me - why are you smiling so big?"
Annabeth can't help the grin that's quickly spreading all over her face. She kisses him again, this time capturing his salty lips and whispers a silent thank you to Silena Beauregard.
It's two months later, the anniversary of their falling into Tartarus, and Annabeth's steps out onto Percy's balcony.
He's sound asleep back in the bedroom but the nightmares woke her up and she must do what she's been afraid to do for so long.
The humid July air sticks to her cool skin and the roar of New York traffic rages below.
She presses her body to the railing and considers sitting on it. It's sturdy enough to hold her weight and there's not even a breeze to push her over but she doesn't trust herself enough yet to not fall over, even on accident.
She plays with the trinket in her hands and bites her lip. It's the only thing left connecting her to Tartarus. The only thing she can physically get rid of to start over again.
Annabeth takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. She reaches her arm out over the balcony and takes another slow breath, this time inhaling her lungs with fresh air and hope. She lets go of the ugly pill bottle, still containing pretty pills, by slowly releasing her fingers and watches it fall to the ground with a small thud.
Bye bye, Post-Tartarus Annabeth.
the walls we crashed through
how the kingdom lights, shine just for me and you
i was screaming, long live
all the magic we made
and bring on all the pretenders
one day, we will be remembered
long live/ taylor swift