SALT

By: Natilie Sawada

***Takes place the night before Percy's shroud is burned in Battle of the Labyrinth. Chiron has official proclaimed him dead. The night before the funeral***

Written while listening to "Fix You" By: Coldplay. Actually, if you line up listening to the end of the song and the end of the fic it really is very dramatic. Like the last 30 seconds for the last 3 lines of dialogue or so. It has a pretty nice touch ^_^ (I'm a sap, I know.)

Written in present tense because I thought it would make it more intense.

Annabeth's POV

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"I've got the sky in my eyes
As I lie on my back in the deep blue sea
What is this, oh, what could this strange feeling be?
It feels like:
I don't know what it feels like
But it feels right
Sometimes a man is like an ice-cream in a desert
And he wonders what is it we seek?
Like water runs through your fingers
Memories rise up from the deep.

Saltwater
Oh how I miss your misty kisses
Saltwater
Oh what expressionless bliss
Is this?"

-Saltwater

By: The Cat Empire

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I run as hard as I can, my feet pounding against the solid ground of the path that leads up, up, up towards the sunlight. A lot of good being invisible is when my feet echo off the walls and my ragged breathing can probably be heard up and down the corridor.

It doesn't seem like anyone is following me. But that doesn't matter. As long as I get out, I will be fine. But Percy…

I shake my head mid stride. He will be fine. He will survive. He's Percy Jackson.

Sunlight sears my eyes as I break out into the daylight, forcing me to squint them almost shut. But I keep running, knowing I can't stop now, not still so close to the forges. The world is a blur of searing white and slight shadows through my squinted eyelids.

I ignore the ache between my ribs and the burning in my lungs and press on. I am a half blood. This is a walk in the park compared to some things I've been through.

He will be fine, I chant to myself in time with my footsteps, pounding against the ground, he will be fine, he will be fine.

He can't die. He's Percy. He's always going to be there annoying the crap out of me. He has to be. He—

And the earth seemed to…shatter beneath me.

"Annabeth!" Someone hisses in my ear, melding with the fading echo of a boy screaming my name.

I wake up, screaming, tears running down my cheeks again. I'd probably woken up the whole cabin again. Malcolm, my brother, is hanging over the top of the bunk, staring at me with concern.

"I'm fine," I whisper, wiping the tear tracks from my face with my wrist. "Go back to sleep Malcolm."

"Did you have another dream?"

"No," I answer shortly and jump out of bed and start pull on my jeans.

"Was it about Per—"

"Don't…" I freeze, stare straight at him, halfway through pulling on my jeans, "…say it." Malcolm averts his gaze. I guess he can see the rawness in my eyes.

"I'm sorry, I just—" I finish pulling on all my clothes.

"Just go back to sleep, Malcolm." I snap and walk out the door. I can still feel tears rolling down my face.

Even that half of a name, those three letters…enough to rip a hole in my heart. I sniff in the warm New York summer night, wiping away more tears.

I wander away from the cabins, toward the stables. I stand in the doorway, inhaling the smell of freshly washed horses.

They look at me hopefully. I walk over to the nearest stall and placed my hand on the nearest horse's nose.

"He's not coming back," I tell them. The horse's black eyes seem to understand me. "He's not ever…" I can't finish. The pent up frustration and anger and fear and grief and sadness from the past two weeks all suddenly just strikes me like a gale force and I streak out of the stables away from the camp down towards the beach, my voice piercing the night air like Artemis' silver arrow in a strangled scream.

You'll wake the camp, the shred of reason, of my mother, that I have left speaks in the back of my mind; do you really want them to find you out here breaking apart over him? But for the first time in my life, I do not listen to reason. I keep walking and staggering and crying and sobbing and screaming over the dunes.

Tears catch on my lips and they taste like the salty spray of the sea.

Like Percy.

I near the surf and I trip and fall in the white sand, the sound of the ocean for miles and miles, roaring in the distance. So close I can almost taste it. I raise my head off the sand, and look up. Only a couple feet away are the waves, surging into the shore.

Tears pour down my face and I reach out with trembling fingers for the water and the waves rush up, as if he is reaching, reaching, reaching towards me. . .

It is always just out of reach.

He is just out of reach.

"Take…" I choke, crawling; dragging myself through the sand on my stomach. "Take me too!" My voice is hoarse and breaking, but I don't care. I scream at the sea and the dark water. "Take me too!" I am a wreck.

A scream, an enormous screech wells up inside me, like a wave collecting as it draws closer and closer to shore.

And eventually the wave crashes on the beach, and my scream tears out of me by force, feeling as if it is ripping my vocal chords to shreds. It is a creature of rage and grief as it tears out of me. Burning, searing blood red into the back of my eyelids.

And then all of sudden it is stolen by the calmness of the water and the sky. Both black tonight.

Black for him.

But I am not calm.

"So much wisdom!" I scream to my mother, to the sky. "I know so much! So…" I sob, mid sentence, "so, so much! Why wasn't it enough?! Why wasn't it enough?!" I demand. My fists grasp at empty air, at my clothing, at my hair, trying to grab onto something tangible, something real. Something to clench so hard my knuckles turn white so I know there is something besides the creature inside me producing another scream.

Tears stream down my face. Salt. It tastes like him.

"How could you!" I scream at the sea, so peaceful and calm as if nothing has changed. How can the world keep going on…when he's not in it? "He was your son," I shriek to the calm, gentle waves," and you just let him DIE!" I collapse and try to dig my fingers into the dirt; my teeth into my lip to muffle a sob.

I hear footsteps…hooves on the sand behind me; running towards me, but they don't register.

I manage to crawl up to a standing position and I stagger over to the waves, wading in.

The waves surge around my knees and I smell sweet salt and open skies and it smells like Percy when he hugged me and my knees buckle and I fall down on all fours into the waves, crying and my eyes are burning from the waves and the salt and my tears and…

"Annabeth!" It's Chiron. "Annabeth, what are you doing?!"

"No, no!" I am sobbing, struggling up to my feet again, trying to wade farther and farther out to sea…farther towards him.

"Annabeth!" Chiron calls. His voice is frantic and I can hear him sloshing up behind me, into the water. I feel his arms around my waist from behind pulling me back towards shore.

"No! Let me go! Let me go!" I scream, struggling and kicking and hitting. "I have to…I have to…!"

"Annabeth," Chiron pleads, his voice soft and broken, "Let him go..."

All of a sudden…I go still. My arms drop to my sides, my legs standing rigid in the surf, my eyes feeling distant and glassy.

"He's out there…" My voice is feeble and child-like. I sound lost. "I can feel him, Chiron."

"Yes…" Chiron says gently, his grip finally relaxing around my waist. He lets go of me and trots around to stand in front of me. He kneels in the surf, so that his human torso is level to mine. He reaches out and grabs both my hands. "He's here." He then pulls my hands down so I have to bend my knees enough to touch the water.

The cool touch of the salty water makes tears well in my eyes. I can't tell if its tears or the salty spray that is making my eyes burn. "And here." He raises both pairs of clasped hands so that they touch right above my heart. "He died to save you, Annabeth. He died a hero."

"He lived a hero, too." I feel my bottom lip quiver. "Chiron," I whisper, trying to control my lip, the tears trying to overflow again, leak out of me like water from a dam. I was usually so good at building things to last. "He can't be gone," I whisper, blinking rapid.

"Oh, Annabeth," Chiron, hugs me tightly, and I stare out over Chiron's shoulder at the black sky and black ocean, salt flavoring my lips…

I close my eyes, and pretend it's him

~fin~

Please review. This is my first attempt at writing something like this. I really tried to capture the emotion behind Annabeth at this point in time, so please review! It'll only take a second! :)