Concrete Angel: A one-shot on Annabeth Chase

A/N Hello, I decided to make this.....thing, bringing out some emotions. This was meant as an exercise for me and my feelings and turned out to be a complete fic. Dedicated to Athena Forever, because I know she's going through a hard time. Also, dedicated to Clara Fonteyn, one of my closest amies here in FanFiction. So I hope you like it. Please Review~!!!!

She walks in a frangible manner, heading toward the huge lump of faded bricks, one on top of the other, with a big bleached sign reading: SCHOOL.
Her footsteps fail to make an echo on the sidewalk. She looks straight ahead, the incisive storm clouds that are her eyes examine the scenes before her methodically, analyzing, calculating. Her gray irises rest upon one in particular: a woman, no older than thirty. She is standing in an odd position, legs bent almost to the ground, arms spread, wide open. But that is not what seems strange, unfamiliar. No, it is the body that fills the mother's arms that seems alien to her. Alien, because she has never experienced it, not in seven years of life. The little girl she is watching grins widely inside the comfort of her mother's arms, the parent doing the same. The gesture seems so out of place in her own world, something uncommon.

She readjusts her worn haversack over her right shoulder, the pressure leaving an uncomfortable sensation. Her mouth is dry, deprived from all forms of water. It seems as though it might crumble any second now, but she knows she must save the fresh, cool liquid inside her canteen until it is of utmost importance to ingest it. Her stomach makes hollow sounds, complaining and grumbling about not being fed. The lunch she packed sits untouched on her bag, taunting her just by having the nerve to exist, and she resists it. She resists the urge to consume it in a single bite.

Nobody knows what she retains in her possession. Nobody knows that she wears the crinkled dress she did not have time to iron the night before. It is the one she wore yesterday, and the one she will wear tomorrow. But she realizes that the dress alone would not be enough to cover the purple and red that dot her skin. No, she needs a sweater, another garment to cover up the bruises with linen and lace.

As she makes her way to the classroom, the hallways already empty, she realizes she is not alone. Her memories of the day before are stalking her, walking in the back of her mind. And she knows that this time, the monsters are real. And they don't hide in the closet, nor under the bed. They lunge at her, talons open, threatening to topple over the twin babies resting on their carriage. A concerned mother screams, a frightened father pushes her out of the way as he races to the infants, protecting them. The blow hits her square on the chest, sending her flying through a couch, through a shelf, through a door. A gun fires, and the creature flies away, unsatisfied. She sits up, ignoring the red on her arm. The two adults are fussing over the perfectly-asleep children, and backs turning on her. She moves, wincing, to grab a broom, and starts cleaning the shattered pieces of her house. House, not home.

The teacher looks up briefly from her desk, as the blond girl with the gray eyes enters the room, and sits down noiselessly, snatching a torn notebook from her equally mistreated bag. The air conditioner broke down today, and heat slaps the students on their faces. After a few minutes of torture, Annabeth is forced to take off her sweater, sighs, and resumes to write the too-simple exercise nonchalantly. That is, until the teacher begins to pace the aisles, reviewing the progress of the kids. Or, more precisely, attempting to do so. She is too distracted by the girl scribbling quickly just a few feet away from her who is, indeed, brilliant. A genius within the body of a seven-year-old. But she is also strange, forlorn, out of place. You can see through her cloudy eyes that she bears the burden of a secret storm. It is only when the teacher stops her musing that she notices the dark areas around the girl's skin, colored in purple and red. The old woman's eyes become wider, and she wonders, studying the marks on the little girl, watching her out of the corner of her eye. But the mentor doesn't ask, she knows she mustn't. At any rate, she knows how to pretend not to have realized. It is too hard to see the pain behind the prevention from being noticed, anyways. So she walks off, resuming her job as a teacher, and only a teacher.

The bell rings finally, long after Annabeth has finished both class work and homework. She overlooks the fact that she can focus completely, even with the intense painfulness hunger and thirst provide. She revolves gleefully around the fact that she will be eating and drinking soon. Her efforts and restraint finally paying off.

She finds a reclusive bench at the edge of the court, and slowly opens the plastic bag she has carried the whole morning. A single cookie sits there, already hard, inedible. But to her, it looks as appetizing and as mouth-watering as real meal. She brings it to her mouth, bites down on it, and contorts her facial expression into that of sudden pain; she winces at the taste. Or rather, at the lack of taste, and she opens her canteen, taking a sip. Oh how she wishes she was never born!

The sound of an animal startles her, and she spills water on her already-dirty dress. She turns in time to see a bird fly down and sit on her lap. It is small and has hooked and feathered talons, a large, round head, and a hooked bill. Its eyes are big and gray, just like hers. She jumps back when the owl hoots and stares at her intently. She raises her hand and cocks her head to the side as she feels the soft feathers on its head, laughing in spite of herself. She has never had a bird this close to her, and so tame. But she knows owls are supposed to be nocturnal animals, and she wonders idly why such a bird would be awake at this time. And as if realizing the girl was right, the hooter flies away, leaving a peck on the girl's cheek.

She frowns, dazed, and heads back to the building. And the next thing she knows, she is heading to another building, a smaller one. It's where hell meets earth, and where she doesn't want to go. Either way she opens the back door, and sees a woman with the same old broom, cleaning the last pieces of glass from the night before. She doesn't even acknowledge Annabeth as she steps in, and so she heads to her room. A small, confined space, with old wallpaper and a bed that creaks in the night, making frightening sounds. She drops her bag, and sits on the cold floor, ready to fly, fly to a place where she is loved. Her dreams begin to give her wings.

A mother would be nice. A mother who would listen to her, who would help her with her homework, even though most of the time she doesn't need help. This mother turns into a feather, and it lightly places itself to begin constructing the wings.

A father would also be good. She wishes a father who would hold her and buy her pretty things. Or who would read her a fairytale before bed time. Who would kiss her forehead and leave the door just a crack open. Her parents turn into more feathers, feathers that cling to her back, and she begins to hover.

Friends should be there on her list, too. Someone to laugh with, to talk during classes and to go for ice cream. And so friends become a part of her dreams, and therefore, her wings.

A teddy bear is one of her most secret desires. She should be too old for one, but she needs something to hug besides herself, because even for her, sometimes her own company isn't enough. This way, the bear turns into another soft piece of wing.

She saw a dress the other day. It was small and blue-green. A color she is fond of. It sat there on the sideboard, glowing, pretty, new. She longed to try it on, to twirl in front of the mirror and feel as if she were some kind of princess. But of course, one wants what one cannot have, and so she adds it to her dream-like wings.

Another life. Where there are no monsters, where she is safe, where she is loved. And she dreams, flying, through the wind and the rain, where she stands hard as a stone. In a world that she can't rise above. A concrete angel.

She doesn't know it, but she has fallen asleep, and by the time she wakes up, her wings made out of wishes shattered, it is already dark. She sits up, and hears somebody cry, a baby, though she is not sure which one, Bobby or Matthew. The neighbors hear but they turn out the lights, and Annabeth says, "No more,"

She hears her own footsteps run across her floor, grabbing things here and there, and stuffing them in the same worn bag. She packs the flannel, the only, pajamas she owns, and walks out the door.

And now, when morning comes it'll be too late .

She heads down the stairs as the two adults are in the room above, appeasing the newborns with love and care. She makes a quick stop to the toolbox, remembering the monsters that roam her, and grabs the long, sleek, tool she was told never to touch. It feels heavy in her hand, but she stuffs it too, with the rest of the objects.

Hammer, clothes, water, food, bravery, determination. And with all this, Annabeth is not alone anymore. She has herself and that is enough. She reaches for the door-knob, twists it and carries her foot over to the threshold. A broken heart that the world forgot.

"But her dreams give her wings, and she flies to a place where she's loved……Concrete angel."


Anna :)