The rest of the interview was absolute torture.

No one in the audience dared to make a sound, I don't think I have ever heard the entirety of the camp be that quiet. The only sounds that didn't come from the stage where the occasional cracking of a whip coming from outside the building, followed by muffled screams that made my heart stop. And I'm fairly positive none of this was shown or heard on camera, because all of the attention was on Percy, who wasn't doing a damn thing.

And before I continue, I want to get something straight. I understand why he wasn't. These people apparently made him kill innocent children to live, and that was when he was complying with the rules. If he were to back sass the president of the whole freaking country on live television, even if it was in defense of a friend, I don't think the peacekeepers would have hesitated to blow his head off. And I was thanking every god I know that Percy could see that it was not the time for sarcasm.

But still, he was not acting like himself. Normally if he had to do an interview for some unknown reason, he would have joked around with the interviewer, made the audience laugh and maybe even sneak a wink at the cameras a few times. That day, his voice was flat like he was reading off cue cards in the back of the room and he had a dazed look in his eyes that I've only seen a few times.

I couldn't even begin to think of what they did to him in those few weeks.

"So Percy, you were the underdog from the start. You were the only one of the tributes who had no prior knowledge of The Hunger Games and yet you still came over there, won the hearts of all the teenage girls around the country, and then managed to live to tell the tale. Tell us, what motivated you to show us that you were a forced to be reckoned with." Caesar asked Percy, both of whom were sitting down in fancy chairs opposite from each other, just like your everyday Hollywood talk show interview.

"Well, I can sit here and make up all this stuff of how I tried my best because I wanted to live and how I just wanted to go home, but they weren't the things that motivated me. The one thing that kept me going throughout the whole competition was that in the very beginning, before I even left for the capitol, I promised my girlfriend that I was going to come back to her." Percy told Caesar. He looked so hurt when he said that, and I didn't blame him. And then as if on cue, voices suddenly filled the room, awing at Percy's promise to me, but no one in the audience made a sound.

"I must say Percy that is very touching, and I'm sure all the ladies in Panaem are very jealous of her right now." He joked, Percy only forcing laugh in response. Caesar scanned the crown as if he were looking for someone and I felt my face growing hot as I slid down in my seat, pleading to every God I knew for him not to invite me up on that stage.

"And unfortunately we are almost out of time for the interview, and since traveling to your hometown took so long, I'm afraid we are forced to postpone the annual replaying of the games to next week when you're back in Panaem for some more events. But one more thing before we officially crown you the victor of this year's Games, if you learned anything from that experience, please share because we would all love to hear." Caesar asked, Percy shifting uncomfortably in his chair before he answered.

"I learned that life is a precious thing. Anything can happen at any time that can take away everything you love, and my prayers go out to the families and friends of the fallen tributes from every Game, not just this one.

"I also learned how grateful I should be to take part in a time honored tradition that is the defining trait of Panaem. The people of Panaem let me live on their land and use their resources and treated me as one of their own. And not to mention the hard working citizens of Panaem's districts who helped make all of that possible. From what I learned and saw about Panem, I think that their way of life is revolutionary, even The Games while they are vicious, are an act of generosity compared to what the capitol could have done. Never have I seen a nation with this much compassion for their people, and I truly believe that Panaem is a nation of the future, and to be a small part of this great nation's history, I am forever grateful. "

I wonder if anyone is buying this bullshit. I thought to myself.

We all started clapping half-heartedly when the applause sign lit up.

"Percy Jackson everybody!" Caesar cheered as he stood up out of his chair motioning to Percy, who stood up along with him and took a slight bow, all of us applauding until the sign shut off.

"Now we have one more thing to do before we leave you for tonight, the annual crowning of the victor." Caesar announced, then proceeding to back away from Percy, who was standing rigid and unmoving directly in center stage.

Then the President came back out, holding a crown. I shouldn't have been surprised that when they said crowning the victor they meant they were actually going to put a crown on him, but I was. Here was Percy, a boy who truly cared about people and would give his life for any innocent child who he saw was in danger, and there was, having a crown placed on his head for killing them.

The whole thing looked and felt so unbelievably wrong.

It was obvious Percy hated it, his jaw was pressed shut, staring straight forward at nothing, a look I've seen him use more than once at meetings where someone was presenting an idea that he didn't agree with and couldn't say anything.

The rest is boring, the put the crown on and we applauded because that was what we were supposed to do. Caesar gave Percy some more praise and he ended the broadcast with something along the lines of 'Panem forever.' Then the cameras shut off, the light dimmed and the crew started to come out on stage as Caesar relaxed.

He turned to Percy with an outstretched hand, and Percy shook it like he was on autopilot. He paid no attention to Caesar as he walked off the stage and pushed past a line of crewmen. Some crewmen yelled for him to stop, but he kept going. I tried to reach up and touch his arm as he passed me, but he didn't even look down at me.

He walked through the aisle that he came down before the interview started like he was in a rush to get out of the room, and I didn't blame him one bit. He only stopped when a peace keeper stepped out in front of him, pointing his gun at Percy's head.

"Get away from him!" I yelled, bolting towards Percy. But because of my last outburst there were already guards at my side. They managed to hold me down while I kicked and screamed a few words that Chiron would not accept under normal circumstances.

Percy didn't do anything to stop him.

"Do it." Percy said with that sarcastic attitude that I knew and loved, "Kill your Victor right after the Games, I'm sure that will go down well with the people of The Capital."

There were a few tense seconds before anything happened, but Percy eventually stepped out of the way of the gunman and continued through the aisle before nearly running out the door.

The guards loosened their grip on me and I immediately sprinted after him. Following him into the yard outside of the Great House, I saw him run over to an injured, but surprisingly well Connor.

And when I say surprisingly well I mean he was standing over the peacekeeper that dragged him out of the room when he spoke out of turn. The peacekeeper was now unconscious with the whip he had used on Connor in Connor's hand

"Are you okay?" Percy shouted as he approached Connor. I was surprised he could move that fast with an outfit that was that tight on him, I don't think I have ever seen Percy where something tighter than skinny jeans. I had a flashback to when his mom had took me and him out to the mall, she had picked them out, and he absolutely hated them. I made fun of him when he had to on, but I secretly loved how they looked on him, he really had the legs to pull them off.

He still did in case you were wondering.

"Yeah man, I'm fine. I don't think he was expecting me to fight back." Connor told him, bloody and out of breath. He put on wise cracking smile like he always did after a fight or spar, but I could tell he was in pain. He had whip marks on his arm and on his face. One of his eyes were swelling already and he was holding himself stiffly, limiting his movement.

"Wait, then how did he end up on the ground?" Percy answered, pointing to the unconscious peacekeeper.

"Uh, I punched him in the gut and smacked his head off the ground a few times?" Connor replied, just as thrown off by the response that Percy gave as me.

"…Percy?" I asked, slowly approaching him from behind. After what I had just seen on that stage, after they put him through not once but twice, I didn't want to make any wrong movements.

"Wait, so you…attacked him right?" Percy asked Connor as if he was trying to clarify something, completely ignoring me.

"Yeah I did. I told you that twice man, are you okay?" Connor asked, stepping over the unconscious man and walking toward him with a concerned look on his face.

"Uh, Percy?" I asked again, raising my voice this time.

"Just…can you say that again?" Percy asked Connor, who was now looking back and forth between me and Percy, confirming that I wasn't the only one who was noticing that he was completely ignoring me.

"Percy?!" I repeated once more, the irritation that was starting to stir evident in my voice.

He kept ignoring me.

"Bro, did you get mad at Annabeth over the past month or something?" Connor questioned, looking more angry than confused at this point. All Percy did was just freaking stand there, as if I didn't freaking exist. I couldn't see his face since his back was turned to me, but I could tell he was concentrating hard on something. When he was solving a problem or trying figure out a battle strategy. Even when he was just trying to figure out his homework during our tutoring sessions, he had a certain way of holding himself that showed me he was putting all of his focus in on it. It was absolutely freaking adorable on most occasions (though I will never admit that out loud), but right then and there, it was just making me more and more irritated.

"Percy!" I yelled, walking up to him and spinning him around so he couldn't ignore me anymore.

This was the first time I could clearly see his face since he got back. The first thing I noticed was how flawless he looked, even more flawless than usual. He obviously had makeup on, and I'm sure plenty of the girls in the Aphrodite Cabin would have been jealous at how perfect his contouring was. His eyebrows had been plucked and waxed and on certain places on his face he had areas with a light dusting of dark grey. It looked like he had walked through a fire and that the ashes had laid on his face in a way that would make any girl's knees go weak.

He looked surprised and a little bit clueless, like he genuinely didn't know I was there. When I spun him around, he held up his hands in front of his face like I was about so smack him, which was not like Percy at all.

He let his guard down when he saw it was me and looked confused for a few seconds, then his eyes widened with realization. All of my anger and irritation instantly disappeared, and I felt a pit of guilt drop in my stomach.

Something was wrong.

His mouth opened, but no sound came out.

"…How long have you been standing there?" He asked me once he regained himself.

"I followed you out the door." I told him, pointing back toward the doorway of the Great house. His gaze followed to where my finger was pointing, and then he looked back towards me. Groaning loudly, he put his face in his hands and rubbed his eyes in frustration, turning away from me.

"I can't freaking do this." He muttered to himself, his voice quivering ever so slightly. I couldn't remember the last time Percy did that in front of me, even I Tartarus, he never cried.

"Are you okay?" I asked him, my heart rate getting faster by the second. He didn't answer my question, he just put his hand to his mouth and looked up to the sky, trying to stop himself from breaking down.

And that's when I saw it.

It was well hidden, and I guess that's why I didn't notice it before.

But it was there, and I felt my heart drop and the air leave my lungs when I realized what it was.

I couldn't believe how stupid and selfish I was, thinking that Percy was ignoring me on purpose.

It was small and the exact same color as his skin tone, the small clear wire running from the front of his ear to the back where it connected to the rest of the device.

He was ignoring me because he couldn't hear me. At some point during the games, he had suffered major hearing loss, and the capitol was generous enough to give him a hearing-aid.


So I haven't posted a chapter of this story in nearly a year, but I kept getting reviews and even PMs asking me to continue this, so here you go! I have to say, I have never gotten a PM asking me to post an update. And the fact that it's been a year since I posted a one chapter story made me do a freaking backflip.

So to the person who messaged me asking for this, this chapter is for you! (You know who you are)

And hey while you're here, tell me if you like it in the reviews, they mean the freaking world to me :D