A/N (Nathan): The first two paragraphs are written by Rick Riordan in The Battle of the Labyrinth. I do not own them in any way, and use them here under Fair Use. Please keep in mind this chapter was written pre-The Last Olympian, so some things might not, and probably won't, coincide with the events that are described in the series. I am writing this because the book will have come out by the time this chapter is finished and beta read, so view this as a AU fanfic, where the event that transpired are these instead of what RR wrote in the 5th book.
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Chicken Soup Flies
"I told myself I would not even speak of this. I would let you go without even offering. But I can't. I suppose the Fates knew that too. You could stay with me, Percy. I'm afraid that is the only way you could help me."
I stared at the horizon. The first red streaks of dawn were lightening the sky. I could stay here forever, disappear from the earth. I could live with Calypso, invisible servants tending to my every need. We could grow flowers in the garden and talk to songbirds and walk on the beach under perfect blue skies. No war. No prophecy. No more taking sides.
"I'll do it. I'll stay."
"Really? You'd do that for me?" She looked up, like she could hardly believe what she was hearing.
"Really. The Fates can't control me." Her eyes sparkled like a blue ocean. I saw her smile. Then I fainted.
In the darkness, memories rushed by, creating a miniature slide show. Telling Calypso I had to leave. Meeting up with Rachel ElizabethDareagain. Navigating the Labyrinth, fighting for my life in an arena. Finding Pan, and then watching him fade. Coming face to face with Kronos in Luke's body. Grover invoking Panic, Dad giving me a sand dollar. Blowing up the Princess Andromeda, and fighting off the Titans for a year. As the final sequence in the series of flashbacks, I saw Janus appearing in my bedroom. His leering face drew nearer and nearer. When it was so close I could have reached out a finger and touched it, my eyes suddenly snapped open. There was Calypso, her face where Janus' had been moments before.
Instead of the hard ground that had I fallen onto when I fainted, I was lying on a soft cushioned bed. Calypso was sitting next to me. The worried look on her face changed to one of relief when I turned my head toward her, still dazed.
"Well, the sleeper finally awakens." Calypso smiled gently, repeating the first words she had ever said to me.
"What happened?" I asked groggily, my head still swimming from my blackout.
"I'm not sure. You reassured me that you were going to stay, and then you collapsed. You've been out since then."
"How long?" I queried, not really wanting to hear the answer.
"A week, I think. You know that time passes oddly here. Not that it matters, you are immortal now. You are stuck at fourteen forever. Although-" she paused, a look of worry crossing her face. "I think that you've infuriated the Fates..."
"They deserve to be angry, torturing you like this. Listen, I need to tell you about something."
"It can wait," Calypso said. "Right now you need to rest. You may not age now, but you can still die from disease. You seem to have a fever. Here, have some soup."
A bowl of chicken noodle soup came in, apparently floating in mid-air. I supposed it was actually one of her invisible servants carrying it. No matter how long I would stay here, that was something I'd never get used to. I took the soup from the servant and tasted it. The chicken was juicy, the noodles weren't too dry, but not slimy, either. It had the perfect amount of fresh vegetables. To top it all off, the soup was just the right temperature-not too hot, not too cold.
"I'll never get tired of your cooking," I said with a grin.
Calypso grinned back at me, "Those vegetables were the ones you helped me plant before you fainted. Hephaestus brought me the chicken. One drawback of living on this island is that all the meat needs to be imported. I can't take care of livestock."
"Well, it's really good. Your cooking is way better than I remembered."
"Better than you remembered? What are you talking about? It's the only thing you've been eating for the past few weeks."
"Actually that's what I wanted to talk to you about. You see, originally I refused your offer to stay on the island..." With that I told Calypso the events leading up to Janus appearing in my bedroom. Calypso listened intently. By the time I finished, her face had hardened into a mask of stone.
"So you're just using me to escape the prophecy."
"No! That's not it! I mean, it's part of it, but also it's because I...I...love you!" I choked the words out, fighting back a blush. I would have stared at the ground, but I was in a reclining position. The only place I could look was up into Calypso's face.
"So...you didn't stay for the immortality?"
"No. Don't get me wrong, the immortality is nice, but I stayed because of you. The first time I left, it was because I didn't know what happened to my friends. I needed to make sure they were okay. But now I know they're fine. Annabeth made it safely back to camp. Grover and Tyson are both okay. I'm little worried for Nico, but he can handle himself. I actually feel sorry for the guy who has to take him on. Right now I'm here with you, and that's all that matters."
Calypso's expression slowly changed as she digested my words. Then suddenly she said, "It's getting late, and you need your sleep. Good night Percy. I hope you are still here in the morning. I'd hate for this all to be a dream."
"If anyone is dreaming, it's me." I said. Calypso laughed, kissed me on the forehead, and left the room. Then darkness overtook me once more.
The scene I saw in my dream was not unfamiliar. Monsters and demigods where pouring out of the entrance to the Labyrinth in to Camp Half-Blood. The campers where mounting a counter assault. It was just how I remembered it. Except something was amiss. Then I noticed that Juniper's tree was on fire! Juniper was trying to bat it out, just like before, but Grover was nowhere to be seen. I couldn't find Tyson either. Where were they? Grover had saved us. If it wasn't for him, our camp would... it would lie in ruins! Without Grover's help, and mine, for that matter, Juniper's tree was turning a deep shade of black. Soon there would be nothing left of it. Juniper was on the ground writhing in pain. As her tree died, so did Juniper.
Kampê appeared and fear overpowered the campers. Chaos came over the campers as they scattered in fear. The only sound that could be heard over the snarls were demigods' screams. Only a few did not run; Annabeth and a majority of the Ares cabin firmly stood their ground. They shot arrows and threw their spears at the monster, but whenever one would get close, Kampê would just dodge it. Every arrow and spear missed its mark, and fell harmlessly on the ground several feet behind her.
Kampê just laughed. Then, with no warning whatsoever, she sprang forward and bit Annabeth. I heard Annabeth's piercing cry as the pointed teeth entered Annabeth'ssoft flesh. Her knees buckled as she fell to the muddy ground. I could almost see Kampê's poison spreading through her body, sucking her life like a leach sucks blood. The Ares cabin just stared with shock, dumbfounded at the sight unfolding in front of them.
"Retreat!" a voice I recognized it as belonging to Clarisse called out. The Ares cabin ran away, some dropping weapons as they ran. This was a testament to how bad the battle was going. The only way a child of Ares would drop their weapon was if there would be no chance to fight another day if they didn't. Some people have best friends, but the children of Ares had best weapons; a faithful companion that would never leave them. To leave weapons behind was the ultimate sacrifice for them.
Kampê dropped Annabeth, who had gone as limp as a rag doll, and then continued on to destroy the camp, the rest of the monsters following her lead. Annabeth's body lay in the smoldering ruins. Tears dripped down my face and I sank to my knees. It was ridiculously unfair. Just because I had stayed on Calypso's island, Annabeth had been killed. I though I had saved the world for several years, until Nico turned 16! Why where my friends all dead or missing?
My thoughts turned even more morbid. It was only fitting that Annabeth drew her last breath just as the Big House was destroyed. However that last breath was used to say something, something I never would have expected. "Percy..."
"Noooo!" I cried as I bolted upright in my bed. I furiously swiped at my eyes as I assured myself it was just a dream. But deep down I knew it wasn't just a dream. When were my dreams ever "just a dream"?
Calypso, hearing the noise, came in the room. "What's wrong, my brave one?"
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~Aish Sheva and PQ's Nathan