Disclaimer: I do not in any way, shape, or form own Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

"She looked at me, like she was drinking in the fact that I was still here. And I realized I was doing the same thing. The world was collapsing around us, and the only thing that really mattered to me was that she was alive."


I sat alone on the sandy shores of Camp Half-Blood, watching the crimson sun set upon the horizon. Twelve years. Twelve years since Kronos' destruction. Twelve years since I'd become a god.

Twelve years since she died.

My mind flashed back to that day, in the throne room of the Olympians.

Annabeth lay in my arms, blood trickling from her lips.

"Just hold on a little longer," I pleaded her. "They'll be here soon."

She smiled sadly. "It's too late. You know that."

"No, please..." I grasped Annabeth's hand. Its warmth slowly began to slip away, like a weakening flame.

With all the strength she had left, she stammered, "Percy...I..."

Then the fire within her was extinguished, and gazing into my eyes, her life faded away.

"No...no!" I cried. Suddenly, blinding flashes of light filled the room, signaling the arrival of the gods. "APOLLO!" I screamed. But I knew it was no use. Annabeth was dead.

The sea was calm and eerily silent. My eyes felt blurry, and I blinked away the teardrops. Why did she have to die? After everything we'd been through together, how could she leave me just like that?

I probably would have just sat there drowning in my own misery for hours, if I didn't feel the presence of another deity beside me. One much more powerful. I turned around, and sure enough, there stood a slender women with blond hair and gray eyes.

"Lady Athena," I addressed, bowing.

"Good evening Perseus," the goddess replied. She gazed into the distance and said, "Reminiscing again?"

It was more of a statement than a question, so I decided not to answer.

Athena continued, "It has been over a decade now. Perhaps you should learn to forget about her."

"And why should I do that?" I retorted, frustrated that she should butt into my business like this.

Athena frowned. "You will retain youth for eternity, Jackson. Mourning the death of a mortal for majority of that time would not do you any good. She chose to be reborn, and wonders the earth anew. You should leave the memories behind, move on with your life."

I clenched my fist, willing a water spout to formed around us.

"Look, what I do with my life is none of your concern, so I'd appreciate it if you left me the hell alone." I snarled.

"I sense much resentment inside of you, young god," Athena returned indifferently, "You blame us for her death. And with good reason. If we'd returned only a second sooner, then her fate might have been prevented."

The Goddess of Wisdom paused, then murmured softly, "But do not forget, Percy, that she was also my daughter."

The water spout died down. I looked down at my tattered Vans, feeling somewhat guilty. Athena placed a hand on my shoulder sympathetically.

"A warning before I go," she added, "Do not forget your fatal flaw. In the near future, you will be faced with a decision, one that could have dire consequences on the world. No matter how much you may want to save a loved one, you must remember that in doing so, you would bring about the death of many others." And before I could ask her what she meant, the goddess disappeared in a flash of light.

The sky was vermilion, with dabs of pink clouds scattered across it. I stood there, trying to make sense of what Athena said. All of a sudden, my forehead felt as if it was being split open. I collapsed, writhing in pain. Oh crap, is Athena going to pop out of my head now? I was on the verge of begging Hephaestus to bust my brains out, when I heard a voice in my mind.

Percy! Help me!

Though faint, I knew what the message meant. And who had sent it.

When I opened my eyes again, I was standing at the foot of Half-Blood Hill, facing the passing road. The pain had subsided, but I still made sure nothing had emerged from my head, all the while pitying Zeus for what he had to go through.

Anyway, running in my direction was young girl, being chased by an old enemy: the Minotaur. He was now nearly fifteen feet tall, looking like a giant football player with a huge overdose of steroids.

At first it seemed like the girl was going to make it. Then, at about forty feet away from where I was standing, she cried out and tripped over a stray strawberry vine courtesy of Dionysus, lousy bum that he was. Old Beefhead towered over her, ready to deliver the finishing blow.

I wasn't about to let that happen.

"Hey, ugly!" I hollered, "Remember me?"

He looked up and bellowed in rage. Come on, challenge me, I prayed. The half-man half-bull stepped over his fallen prey, and charged.

"Ready to get your ass kicked?" I shouted, and sprung to meet him. True, I could've just slice him into shredded meat with a single thought, but I decided to have a little fun; it felt good to get rid of all the anger I'd kept inside of me for so long.

My fist connected with the Minotaur's chest, and I heard a dozen bones in his ribcage crack. He let out a thunderous MOO! and fell to his knees. Hooking my index finger onto his nose ring, I yanked it through his skin. Now the big guy only had one huge nostril.

The beast collapsed on all fours, whimpering. And by whimpering I mean something sounded like mix of a sumo wrestler wailing and a pig snorting. It was more disturbing than that one time I overheard Ares singing Olivia Newton John's "Physical" (he vowed to microwave my head at three-thousand degrees for a century if he ever got the chance).

For a moment, I thought about sparing the poor guy. But hey, this was Beef Boy we were talking about.

I grasped his horns and pulled them out straight from his head, resulting in a deafening ROOOAAAR!

"Oops," I apologized, "here you go." And with that, I drove the horns back into his skull, stabbing so deep that black blood squirted out from his eyes. The Minotaur let out an anguished roar and fell into a heap of ashes.

I dusted my hands off, then switched focus to the girl, who was struggling to get up. I knelt at her side to help. She looked about thirteen years old, and had curly, blond hair. Like a princess. Her eyes were gray and stormy. A child of Athena. And when I got a clear view of her face, my heart stopped.

"A-annabeth?" I stammered.

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