Author's Note: I wrote this fic quite some time ago. It's the first story I ever wrote, so it's not exactly as good as what I write now. But I did go back and fix some of the mistakes. Thank the gods for Export, huh? :)

Disclaimer: I'm not Rick Riordan. I don't own PJO, obviously.

Percy's POV

"Percy, honestly, this is crazy!" Annabeth was still worrying, still insisting that this was a crazy idea. Which it was. But I didn't have much of a choice. It was life or death; simple as that.

We were in my least favorite place at the moment: the Underworld, on our way to the River Styx. Nico had this idea that, if I bathed in the River Styx, I'd have a better chance of taking down Luke - I mean, Kronos. Annabeth must've overheard me and Nico talking about it, though, because she and Thalia stopped us just as we were about to leave and said that they wanted to come, too. So right now me, Annabeth, Thalia, and Nico were headed to the Styx.

"I'll be fine, Annabeth," I responded, though I wasn't sure if I was telling the truth.

"What would I do if you...died, Seaweed Brain?"

"Um..."

"Cry that your boyfriend is dead," Thalia teased.

"Shut up, Thalia," Annabeth muttered, blushing.

Me and Annabeth were best friends, but we weren't, like, together or anything. But lately rumors had been spreading around camp that me and her were secretly dating, and we were teased constantly about it. But, to be honest... I wish those rumors were true. Ever since she kissed me on Mount St. Helens, I've loved Annabeth. And I'm not talking about brother-and-sister love. I'm in love with her, Annabeth Chase, Daughter of Athena. Not that anybody else knew that.

"We're here," Nico announced.

In front of me was the filthy River Styx, polluted with peoples' dreams that they threw away as they died.

"So...I just, jump in?" I asked Nico.

He looked at me incredilously. "Well, if you want to be burned to death, then go ahead and jump," he snapped impatiently.

"Well, what do I do?"

"Think. Imagine one spot that'll be your weakness. And try to imagine something... or someone that'll keep you tied to the mortal world. If you had to choose one thing or person that would survive while the rest of the world died, who or what would it be?" Nico instructed.

I thought about a spot on the small of my back, and figured that's where my Achilles spot would be. But what.. or who could possibly keep me tied to the mortal world? I looked down the row of my friends. Thalia, Nico... and I stopped at Annabeth.

I stared at her shiny golden hair, her intelligent gray eyes that made me feel mushy inside. Her eyes stared back into mine. She was so pretty, and yet she didn't even try to be.

Thalia cleared her throut. "Are you two having a moment or something? Quit staring at each other! Jeez!"

"What? Oh." I stuttered, my face hot. I dropped Annabeth's gaze.

"C'mon, are you planning on Styx-bathing anytime this year?" Nico urged.

I turned toward the Styx, hesitant. In the stories, jumping into the River Styx was the most painful experience possible. What if I didn't make it back out? What if I died right here? Would I?

Only one way to find out.

I glanced back at all my friends, prayed I would survive, then dove into the River Styx.

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