Arrivederci: Italian for 'goodbye', literally 'until we see each other again'

'"I shouldn't have trusted you." His voice broke. "You lied to me. My nightmares were right!" "Wait. What nightmares?"' –The Titan's Curse, PJatO, 2007

All recognizable text – generally dialogue – is taken from The Titan's Curse, which I do not own, and never will.

All dialogue (marked with double quotation marks "") in italics indicates that it is not spoken in English. All Venetian is translated in bold at the end of each corresponding paragraph – my apologies if it was translated incorrectly, especially for Venetian, since I have no translator and had to compile everything from multiple sources myself.

He was in the middle of a junkyard in the desert, a lot like the view he saw every time he went to the balcony of that suite they stayed at just months ago. Lights glimmered from a highway in the distance. Five people were walking towards the highway: Percy, Bianca, a girl dressed in mostly black (Thalia), another girl with a glinting silver circlet (Zoë, was it?), and Percy's friend Grover.

When they reached the highway after a minute or two (how does time flow in dreams?), Zoë thanked the gods that they made it out of the junkyard... then he unconsciously flinched – it was like the sound of large quantities of metal being physically ground to dust with brute force, a strange combination of a growl and a crash. Behind them was a rising bronze automaton, taller than practically anything he had ever seen. It was just like the figure on the Mythomagic card of Talos – armoured and ready for battle (epic), except it seemed… damaged. Dusty. Melted. Rusted.

Zoë then confirmed that it was Talos, then Thalia added that he (it?) was too small to be the original, calling it a prototype and a defective model… which the automaton didn't respond well to, drawing his sword from his belt with a horrid scraping sound. He wouldn't be surprised too, if he were the one being called defective…

Zoë accused Percy of thieving from the junkyard. A spark of indignation burst inside him – Percy wouldn't do such a thing! Then he looked at his sorela – she looked… guilty. [sister] Please… you didn't take anything, did you? Please tell me you didn't steal anything from Talos! I told you before about how effective of a guardian he was! Remember that day I finally got his card in that game-off?

The ground rumbled. The automaton had taken one giant step towards them. They split up. Zoë's arrows did no (further) damage to his dented face. Behind a broken chariot, Percy confronted his sister about stealing something… a bow? She took something... Too late?! What is too late! Please don't tell me that she caused all of this to happen! He was all but ready to snap back and defend his sister, but she only looked back with guilt and fear evident on her face, he could almost feel it himself…

Talos stepped towards them. A power line wrapped around the giant's calf, sparking. Electricity crackled. He flinched again… but why did he feel this way? None of his memories involved fizzling power lines… as far as he could recall…

When he finally stopped zoning out, the first thing he heard was Percy declaring it to be "crazy idea time", then told Bianca something about a maintenance hatch. "There may be a way to control the thing. Switches or something. I'm going to get inside."

His heart leapt to his throat. He can't do that! "How? You'll have to stand under its foot! You'll be crushed!" Exactly! You can't just die like that…

"Distract it. I'll just have to time it right."

"No," his sister decided, tightening her jaw in a resigned determination. "I'll go."

WHAT!? NO! PLEASE, DON'T GO! YOU CAN'T GO! You're going to die if you go!

"You can't. You're new at this! You'll die." That's what I said! Don't do it! You can't! You have to come back! What am I going to do without you?

"It's my fault the monster came after us. It's my responsibility. Here." Bianca picked up something from the ground and gave it to Percy. He could feel the guilt and pain radiating from her – "If anything happens, give that to Nico. Tell him… tell him I'm sorry."

Me? She stole something guarded by Talos of all things… for me?! Whatever you stole isn't worth more than your life! Férmate! No! [Stop! No!] There's nothing more important than your life to me! Don't do it! NO!

He watched as his sister rushing for the automaton's left foot, and as Percy cut into Talos' big toe with his pen-sword (that was amazing, by the way), his sister slipped into the machine, clambering upward to a control panel.

The automaton creaked and sparked indicated all signs that it was going to malfunction in some way or another, but as he screamed soundlessly for Bianca to turn back and return to the group – please don't leave me alone, you have to come back from the quest, you promised, his sister continued her climb with thoughts like make things right and I'm so sorry echoing through her mind, the latter directed at her fellow questers, Artemis, himself

At the control panel, she poked at the controls with a face that screamed grim determination, to try to get back to the questers, to stall for time, to deactivate the blasted automaton. She flipped switches and pushed buttons and turned dials so numerous it made his head spin just looking at them–

The automaton was dancing, hitting himself in the face; a loud clang indicated that he dropped his sword, and at the echoing scream (Percy!) of "Look out!"

White-blue electric currents snaked up from Talos' ankle, he could barely see anything, the only things he could hear was the crackling and fizzing and buzzing of the currents through the metallic body and the mental screams of scuxa, me fradelo, te vògio ben [sorry, my brother, (platonic) I love you], please forgive me that I cannot come back to you and the unbearable, baking heat searing into his skin as the automaton collapsed into a boiling-hot heap of scrap celestial bronze, he couldn't get out, he couldn't breathe–!

He was surrounded by snoring adolescents and children – some younger than himself, but most of them older. He was burrowed in a sleeping bag donated by the Apollo Cabin (they were a pretty nice bunch, especially Will, he always listened when he went into Mythomagic 'rants'). The crowded Hermes Cabin stank of a few dozen sweaty teens (do these people never bathe?). He sat up and took a shuddering breath. He could still feel the heartache and regret and the pain and the heat despite the chilly winter nights in New York–

"No. She can't be dead. She can't be," he attempted to reassure himself, but a tiny part of him doubted that the dream was just a dream. It just felt too… real to be just a dream. He could only hope that his sister, who had been with him for as long as he could remember, would return from the quest, and Percy had not betrayed his trust and let his sister die.

BONUS: He told Will about the nightmare. Will didn't have the heart to tell him that his sister was probably (definitely) dead.

DATE OF WRITING: 27-28 March 2020 (took about six hours of homework, research and heavy eyelids to read)

DATE OF EDITING: 28 March 2020

A/N: I hope you enjoyed the missing scene, and I sincerely hope that I did this scene justice. After all, it was quite the turning point in both plotline and character development.

A fic that helped me with this is Sol Invictus by lunardance (AO3). Kudos for helping me with writing what happened inside the Talos prototype.

Please leave feedback and possible suggestions for what I should write next, and may you have a great day/night.


Bonus - TW Rant below:

Me while writing: What. *sigh* The. *facepalm* Frick. *groan* Is. *despondent sigh* This. *closing eyes in frustration* In. *huff* Venetian. *internal sobbing* Because I'm doing this the more historically/culturally accurate way and refuse to resort to just standard Italian. And where the f* did that Venetian-English dictionary get to – the one I used when I wrote the poem Ànzolo? I'm not even sure what is worse to write – this child's mental state or his possible-first-language. (As someone who speaks Cantonese as a first language, I can absolutely see the Cantonese-Mandarin/Venetian-Italian parallels from here with extensive research.) And I don't even know if the dictionaries/videos/reference sites are even accurate… *sigh* And this is with me doing my homework on the side and having a headache from that too. Oh, well. #LifeOfAYoungWriter

Also, dear Lord, Italian and Venetian profanity is… harsh on the non-straight folks. *winces in the forgotten past*