Hey everyone. I re-read TLO a little while ago, and there was one thing that kept nagging me after I finished it: Rick Riordan never cleared up the whole Thalia-Luke thing. Granted, it's not a very important part of the books, but it still annoyed me. I mean, he put in a little Thuke in TTC, and he never went back to it again? What about when they were on there own fighting monsters, that was nothing at all? Was it too much of a hassle to include Thalia in Luke's death scene? No offense to Rick, I still love PJO, but it seemed to me that he was taking the easy way out by making Thalia get stuck under the statue.

So anyway, I thought, what would happen if Thalia was there when Luke died? How would Luke react? How would things be different?

Here is the result: one longass one-shot (it was originally only supposed to be ten pages at most on Microsoft Word, but I got a little carried away ;]) from Thalia's point of view during the final defeat of Kronos/Luke's death. The real Thuke-ness doesn't come in until the end. I basically re-did Chapter Nineteen of TLO, with a few adjustments. This is what I think would've (should've) happened at the end of TLO. I think, towards the end, I may have overdone the romance just a little bit, but I think it made up for the lack of Thuke in TLO. And I'm sorry, I just love this pairing.

Special thanks to my beta-reader, icy roses! Thank you so much for the advice and constructive criticism! =)

Note: This fic is partially based on the songs "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy and "Map of the Problematique" by Muse.

Disclaimer: I don't own Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Enjoy, and please review!


~Goodbye My Almost Lover~

I don't think I was prepared for what had happened that day. It was completely different from everything I had expected, everything I had thought on. That day, that fateful day couldn't have been more different from what I had previously predicted. But it happened nonetheless, my calculations washed away.

And do you know what the worst part is?

I still can't get over it. Twenty-three years later, and the events of that day still haunt me. I don't think I was ever more scared than I was on that day. The carnage was worse than I could have ever expected. The last, painful moments of my friends' lives. Nothing, nothing could ever have prepared me.

But something happened. Something even worse than the other events of the day. An even that was completely out of the blue. Something I thought would never have happened to me. The one event, the one moment, the last moment, in a way, shaped me and the rest of my existence. Sure, I'll forget it time to time, pretend I don't care, pretend he didn't care, but the truth is…I do. I care a lot. Him; he cared a lot.

And I will never forget. Even if I die, I won't forget. His face will haunt me; his last words will ring in my ears. And if I see him again…there really is no hope for me.

XXX

I groaned. The weight of the statue felt like it was crushing my legs into jello. My breathing came in short gasps, and my hips felt like they were slowly being sawed to pieces. I didn't know how much longer I could last like that; it was just unbearable.

So you're all probably wondering how exactly I got pinned under this statue. I'll probably have to take it from the top: There was a huge battle going on down in the streets of Manhattan between the army of Kronos, the Titan Lord, on one side, and the demigod army, along with the armies of the dead (led my Hades himself), on the other. Kronos had just run into the Empire State Building, heading towards Mount Olympus (Which just happened to lie on top of the building. Who knew?).

And his objective?

Destroy Western civilization. Take down the Olympians. And everyone who didn't support him would be killed.

A.K.A: Holy shit, that's not good.

Anyway, my friends Annabeth, Percy, Grover, and me, Thalia, had made our way up the Empire State Building right on Kronos's tail. We had just made it to Olympus when we discovered that the bridge from Olympus to America was dissolving. Again, not good. We quickly ran across the bridge on Kronos' tail, into Mount Olympus. We had run through the streets until we reached the long, winding path leading to the Palace of the Gods. On that path, was an archway with a statue of Lord Zeus, my father, and Queen Hera. Kronos must've done some other horrific thing, because the mountain had begun to groan sideways. And the statue of Hera was literally about to fall on Percy and Annabeth.

And you know what I did?

I pushed them out of the way on the statue, so instead I got the freaking statue on top of me. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover had to keep moving or else Kronos would've destroyed the Olympian thrones, so I let them leave me behind.

I was alone.

I'm not going to lie; I was annoyed that I wasn't going to be there for the big showdown. I was angry that after this days-long battle, I get killed by a statue. It was pathetic. And I was angry that my legs felt like they were on fire and that my hips were being squashed to a pulp.

But do you know what I was most angry about?

Luke Castellan.

As much as I tried to not think about him, I couldn't help it. You see, seven years ago, Luke, Annabeth and I had formed a sort of family as we journeyed to Camp Half-Blood, a safe haven for demigods, chased by monsters the entire way. Eventually, Grover had found us, and was responsible for getting us back safely to camp. We took a few wrong turns, and I ended up sacrificing myself to save them from monsters at Half-Blood Hill. My father, Zeus, turned me into a tree as I lay dying. Then, six years later, Luke had my tree poisoned. So Annabeth, Percy and Percy's Cyclops brother, Tyson, journeyed to get the Golden Fleece, which would cure my tree. They delivered it back to camp, but the magic had worked too well; I reappeared as a human. A few months after that, Kronos had almost baited me into helping him win the war.

So now, I was overwhelmingly furious at that son of a bitch. Luke.

After everything we'd been through, he had chosen Kronos over us. Annabeth had taken it hard; she was angry at Luke for betraying us, but she, stubbornly, was convinced that there was still some good in Luke. Me? Well, I was mostly angry and resentful at him. I knew there was nothing good in him since he had willingly gone over to the Titans. So I was just furious that he had thrown away everything that Annabeth and I had given him; life and family. Luke deserved to be punished.

I groaned. I was getting a light-headed. I didn't know how much longer I could last being pinned under a statue. I stared at the sky, thinking about what was going on at the Palace of Olympus, the battle raging in Manhattan, and the best ways to kill Luke. Meanwhile, fires still burned and smoke still inhabited the air like spirits. I took a deep breath.

Then something happened. I have no clue to this day why they were going up that path, or how they had even gotten away from Kronos's path of destruction unharmed. But all I knew was that they were there.

I heard footsteps on the path and a rabid conversation in Ancient Greek. The mousy voices got closer to me. I tried to raise my head, which took even more energy out of me, so I decided not to.

The voices stopped talking. I could hear the sound of breathing, about three feet from my head.

"H-hey!" I yelled. "Help!"

I heard whispering, then the silent retreat of footsteps down the other way.

"Wait! Help! I'm stuck under the statue! Help me!"

But the footsteps just kept moving away.

"I'm not the enemy! I'm a demigod; Thalia, daughter of Zeus! Lieutenant of Artemis!"

That did it. The voices whispered in Ancient Greek for a few seconds, and then ran towards me. Suddenly, two heads came into view, both with green eyes that reminded me of the color of leaves during summertime...

Dryads.

XXX

"Thank you!" I said. I waved at the small group of satyrs and dryads, the goddess Iris and my father's cup bearer, Ganymede, (the two dryads had, of course, been unable to rescue me from the statue themselves, so they had gone for help) behind me, then tore silently up the path to the Palace of Olympus.

I winced. My ankle had twisted, my left knee had been sprained, and my hips were bruised. Instead of walking, I had to limp to my destination. Very friggen heroic.

Soon enough, I arrived at the palace of Olympus. The once grand place now looked like it had been run over with a dozen lawn mowers. Some of the marble in the wall had been blown away by a fireball, making a large, smoking hole in it, and two marble poles were in danger of collapsing. The giant doors, once elegant and grand, were now reduced to a pile of twisted metal and chunks of marble.

I limped to the side of the broken down door. I stood and listened in on what was going on inside. If I had just randomly barged in, that might've enflamed Kronos's temper, resulting in my, Percy's, Annabeth's, or Grover's death.

"They're on their way. You've lost." Was that Percy? What was he talking about?

"I haven't even started." The metallic voice, like nails on a chalkboard. My heart leapt in my chest.

Kronos.

XXX

I peeked around the edge of the doorway, making sure I didn't step on big pieces of marble or metal. I saw Grover jump in front of Percy, and saw Kronos simultaneously throw him aside like a rag doll. Both Percy and Kronos looked like they were getting ready for a fight, and Percy looked pretty banged up. He needed time to regroup.

Now, I thought. If I jumped into the room now, Kronos would be distracted. I would go in after him, giving Percy some time to catch his breath. I would probably be killed, but at least Percy could still save Olympus.

I swallowed hard, trying not to think about my imminent death. Then, I walked through pieces of marble and rock, making a ruckus as I went. Between my sore legs and twisted ankle, that wasn't very hard to do. Kronos turned away from Percy, and stared straight at me. His expression changed from angry to angrier; just what I wanted.

I tapped my silver bracelets, and my shield, Aegis, with the imprint of the head of Medusa, sprouted on my arm. I grasped the hunting sword at my side, getting ready.

"Stay away from Percy," I said, putting every ounce of malice into my voice I could muster. That wasn't much, since Kronos was still staring at me, his gold eyes boring into my blue ones, as if trying to read my thoughts. Even I, headstrong, stubborn Thalia Grace, daughter of Zeus, tried not to cower at Kronos.

Kronos smiled. "Thalia, daughter of Zeus. Lieutenant of Artemis. Oh please."

I tried to move forward to take a jab at him, but I was locked in place. Every part of my body felt like lead. I couldn't move, couldn't fight, couldn't talk. He had put me in one of his time bubbles.

Screw you, Kronos, I couldn't help thinking.

"Thalia!" Annabeth yelled.

"Now, where was I?" Kronos turned back to Percy. But, just as I'd hoped, Percy had taken time to regroup. He was ready to fight.

But of course, Annabeth had to ruin it. Or so I thought.

"STOP!" She yelled.

Kronos tore his gaze away from Percy, and slashed Backbiter down at her face. The hilt of her bronze knife connected with the blade. It was a quick, clever move; nothing less than expected from Annabeth.

She stepped in closer to Kronos, which was pretty amazing considering he was all-powerful and she looked like she had been dragged across Zeus' Fist.

"Luke," Annabeth said, looking up into the Titan lord's eyes, "I understand now. You have to trust me."

Kronos yelled so loudly, I would've jumped ten feet in the air again if I could. "Luke Castellan is dead! His body will burn away as I assume my true form!"

The Titan Lord pushed against her, trying to dislodge his blade, but all he could do was get his sword towards her neck. Which wasn't exactly good, but at least Annabeth still had a hold on him.

But she still needed help. Now.

"Your mother," grunted Annabeth, "She saw your fate."

"Service to Kronos!" he snapped back. "This is my fate."

"No!" Annabeth croaked out. Tears were forming in her eyes. "That's not the end, Luke. The prophecy…she saw what you would do. It applies to you."

What? What was she talking about? I knew about the Great Prophecy, shit, it had almost been about me. The Great Prophecy was about Percy, not Luke. It had to be about a child of the Big Three, which definitely wasn't Luke.

So where was she going with this? A part of me thought she was absolutely crazy for suggesting that, and the other part of me thought, well, she is a daughter of Athena, so maybe she knows what she's talking about.

But if the Prophecy was about Luke…

"I will crush you, child!" Kronos roared.

"You won't," said Annabeth. "You promised. You're holding Kronos back even now."

"LIES!" He yelled. Kronos pushed at her, and she lost her balance. And then, Kronos slapped her across the face. Annabeth went sliding backward.

XXX

Oh gods, no.

I became filled with such an anger at took over every part of my being. My anger was too overwhelming, coming anyway without precedence. I tried moving my hands, and tried to get sound out of my lips. My eyes darted around, and met Kronos's. He blinked and looked away, but then he looked back. I must've been hallucinating; were they turning blue?

I bored my electric blue eyes into his golden ones, and tried to muster the greatest amount of anger I could on my face. Which was zero, since I couldn't move the muscles in my face. I put force into my arms, making them hurt like fire.

And Kronos couldn't take his blue eyes off me.

Amazingly, I broke through his hold on me. I caught my breath as my arms flung around frantically, and then I charged as fast as I could at the Titan lord. I took my sword out of the sheath. I willed electricity to course through my veins and into my sword. It sizzled with energy.

"YOU...YOU…" I pushed the sword at him, about to strike.

"Thalia, stop!"

No; it couldn't be…

What the Hades was going on?

I stopped short, almost barreling into Kronos. My feet skittered on the ground, making me wince in pain because of my twisted ankle. I fell butt-first onto the floor, gasping from the impact.

"Thalia! Are you…FOOLISH GIRL!" The hand of Kronos swooped in at me, about to push me across the floor. I managed to skirt out of the way of his hand just in time, so I ended up doing a few somersaults on the floor, which aggravated my hips even more.

"Thalia!" yelled Grover.

I lay breathing heavily on the ground for a few moments. I opened my eyes slowly.

Grover's eyes found mine. He mouthed, Are you okay? I shook my head at him. He frowned more.

My eyes trailed the room to where Kronos was standing. He seemed to have momentarily forgotten about me, which was good. What was bad was that he was standing right in front of Annabeth.

"Family, Luke. Me, you, Thalia. You promised."

XXX

"Annabeth, stop." I croaked. Her eyes flitted towards me. I gave her a warning look.

Grover was beginning to stand, while Percy moved slowly towards Kronos. They both looked pretty batched up, which made me wonder even more about what had happened while I was stuck under Hera's statue.

Annabeth held out her bronze knife for the Titan Lord to see more clearly. He staggered on the spot.

Annabeth, what are you doing? I thought. What was she thinking? Was she trying to get herself killed? This was ridiculous. I had to move in to help her.

Which I did, of course. That's me, Thalia Grace.

A jolt shot through my body, as if telling me, Go help her! I began to stand. Since my ankle was throbbing even worse (I would have to get it checked out by the Apollo cabin when this was all over), my knee was wobbling, and my hips were threatening to break. So, I had to crawl on one knee instead to Annabeth. Kronos didn't seem to notice; he was too busy studying the knife. I exchanged looks with Grover and Percy, as if asking them, "What is she doing?" but they just turned to look back at Kronos and Annabeth.

She looked at me from the corner of her eye.

"Annabeth, don't-"

"I know what the prophecy is about." She seemed to be directing this more towards Kronos, but she ended up filling me in as well. "It's you, Percy and the cursed blade."

I glanced at the blade in her hands. It was the bronze dagger Luke had given Annabeth many years ago in Richmond, Virginia. No biggie. I looked from Annabeth to Kronos (who's eyes were somehow changing to blue again), and to the knife. I studied it intently.

And I remembered.

"What's your name, kiddo?" I said.

"Annabeth." Her gray eyes looked up at me quizzically.

Luke smiled. "Nice name. I tell you what, Annabeth-you're pretty fierce. We could use a fighter like you."

The little girl's eyes widened. "You could?"

"Oh yeah." Luke offered her his knife, turning it around so the hilt was facing her. "How'd you like a real monster-slaying weapon? This is celestial bronze. Works a lot better than a hammer."

Annabeth gripped the hilt.

"Knives are only for the bravest and quickest fighters," Luke explained. "They don't have the reach or power of a sword, but they're easy to conceal and they can find weak spots in your enemy's armor. It takes a clever warrior to use a knife. I have a feeling you're pretty clever."

The girl stared at him with adoration in her face. "I am!"

I grinned. "We'd better get going, Annabeth. We have a safe house on the James River. We'll get you some clothes and food."

"You're…you're not going to take me back to my family? Promise?"

She looked up at me. I shook my head. "Of course not."

Luke smiled at her, and put his hand on her shoulder. "You're part of our family now. And I promise I won't let anything hurt you. I'm not going to fail you like our families did us. Deal?"

"Deal!" Annabeth said joyfully.

"Thalia agrees?" Luke said, looking up at me. He winked.

I nodded. "I definitely agree."

Annabeth smiled at me. I smiled back. Wow, she was a cutie.

"Now come on!" I said. "We can't stay put for long!"

I gasped. It all made perfect, horrible sense now. I understood what Annabeth had been playing at.

The cursed blade in the prophecy was Annabeth's, because Luke had broken his promise about the three of us being a family, and how he wouldn't let anything (including him, that lying traitor) hurt her. Hero's soul, cursed blade shall reap. Luke was going to die. A single choice shall end his days. Did that mean that Percy would make a choice that would kill Luke?

"Promise," Annabeth said.

XXX

Kronos began gasping like he couldn't get enough air. He stumbled forward.

"Annabeth…" It wasn't Kronos' voice. It was Luke's. I think my heart dropped a little in my chest.

Luke turned his gaze from Annabeth to me. His eyes widened. "Thalia-"

"Percy, please. My knife…" Annabeth tried to raise it, as if to put it into Luke's hand, but her arm was bent at a funny angle. It clattered to the ground.

Before Percy could make a move, I reached over, straining my arm, and scooped up the knife. I reached up and tore Backbiter from Luke's hand, and then threw it into the hearth. We didn't need Kronos killing anyone else.

Luke gazed at me. He put his hand out towards me.

"Thalia…Annabeth …I'm so sorry…"

"Don't touch them." Percy stepped between Luke and Annabeth and me, blocking my view of his face.

"JACKSON!"

Oh great, here comes Kronos!

But, thank the gods, he was gone just as fast as he had come. Luke gasped again. "He's changing. Help. He's…he's almost ready. He won't need my body anymore. Please-"

"NO!" Kronos roared. I saw him stumbled over to the hearth, looking for Backbiter.

Percy tried to stop him from getting to the hearth, but Kronos just pushed him away like a rag doll, into Athena's throne.

"Percy…" I croaked.

"The knife, Percy," I muttered. "The hero, the cursed blade…"

Percy opening his eyes slowly. He looked like he was ready to go into a comma. But I guess we all did.

I looked back over to Kronos. He was grabbing a hold of his sword, but almost immediately dropped it. He yelled in pain. The hearth fire had grown red-hot, and his hands were burned and smoking.

"Please, Percy…" Luke was back. He turned to us and then collapsed, clutching at his fingers.

XXX

Percy began to stand up, staggering a little on the spot. He had to kill Luke now. If he didn't, Kronos would gain too much control over Luke's body, and assume his true form. Then everything would be over. I threw the knife at Percy. He caught it, and began walking over to Kronos.

Luke looked from Percy to the knife in his hands, and then moistened his lips. "You can't…can't do it yourself. He'll break my control. He'll defend himself. Only my hand. I know where. I can…can keep him controlled."

I gasped. Luke was glowing now, a golden light taking hold around his body. Kronos would be here, in divine form, soon.

Luke glanced at me. His expression grew sadder. "Thalia…please…"

Please what? I thought

"No…Percy…" Annabeth muttered next to me. She tried to get up, but flinched and sat down.

"Annabeth, stay" I murmured. "Percy knows what he's doing. He has to kill-"

"No!" she croaked back. "Luke has to. It's Luke…" Her eyes were getting watery.

I heard a scuffle of hooves on Annabeth's other side. Grover was there, putting his arms around Annabeth, as if shielding her. A tear flowed down her cheek.

"Not…Percy…" I looked into her face. She looked so adamant about it, that I almost believed her.

"Shhh, Annabeth." I pulled the hair away from her face, and then grasped her hand. She held on tightly.

Percy raised the knife, as if to strike.

I couldn't help realizing there was a lump was growing in my throat.

XXX

I waited for Percy to strike at Luke. But he never did.

Instead, at the last moment, Percy looked back at us. He looked at Annabeth intently. His eyebrows knit together, and he turned back to Luke.

"Please," Luke groaned. "No time."

And could you guess what the idiot son of Poseidon did next?

He gave Luke the knife.

"Percy!" Grover yelped. "Are you…um…"

"Percy, what was that?" I said, making sure the exasperation would show through my voice. Now that he had given the knife to Luke, what would stop Kronos from taking over the body again and using the knife to kill Percy? Then we all would be dead and Olympus destroyed forever.

But then something happened. Luke grasped the hilt, and began unlatching the side straps of his armor, exposing a small bit of skin under his left arm.

And he stabbed himself.

XXX

My hands went to my mouth, as did Annabeth's. Luke howled in pain, even though there didn't seem to be a deep cut. His eyes began glowing. The throne room shook, making me grasp my head so it wouldn't fall off. Luke was glowing, getting brighter and brighter by the millisecond. I shut my eyes. In the next second, a noise that sounded like a nuclear explosion enveloped the room. My skin blistered, my lips cracked, and my arm hair felt like they were about to be singed off. Panic sprouted through me. I had a horrible vision of everyone in the room being burned alive by the golden light. I screamed in my mind.

XXX

Silence took over for the next several moments. I began breathing irregularly, until my breaths eventually became gasps. I didn't want to open my eyes, still afraid that the golden light would jump out of nowhere and kill me. But I opened my eyes soon enough.

I opened them slowly. No golden light, no piles of ashes. I sighed in relief. I brought my hands away from my head, and moved my neck form side to side. I moved my hands and feet a little. I wasn't dead. And no one else seemed to be either.

My eyes traveled the room (Percy? Check. Grover? Check. Annabeth? Check.) until they saw Luke sprawled next to the hearth. A circle of ash surrounded him. The remains of Kronos's scythe, now a puddle of molten liquid, seeped into the glowing fire.

"Good…blade," Luke croaked. The entire left side of Luke's body was bloody. His armor and underclothes were soaking wet, and the blood was seeping onto the floor. His face was drenched with sweat, and his breathing came in deep rattles.

I shut my eyes from the impact of the memories. In only a second, I remembered everything Luke and I had been through. The first time we met, when he had helped me destroy the hydra, him and I cursing the gods, us laughing together over the pasta he stole from a fancy Italian restaurant, the first time we met Annabeth and eventually Grover, the time when he had brought me into his arms as I cried…

I stuffed my fist into my mouth to keep from crying out like a baby. I shut my eyes, trying to keep the tears from flowing. I kneeled (I heard a crack as I fractured my knee) and put my head in my free hand.

Stop it Thalia, stop it! I thought.

But I couldn't. My old friend, regardless if he was a traitor or not, was leaving me forever. I would never seem him again, unless I fell in battle. At the end, he had given himself to save Olympus. That had been his fate; a sacrifice. Even though he had helped the Titans along in great measures, his fate had never changed. At the end, he had become my friend again. My Luke, the one I had known seven years ago. And you know what else he was?

A hero.

XXX

I crawled over to where Luke was sprawled on the floor, taking my fist out of my mouth along the way.

"Luke!" I said, my voice breaking. How had it come to this?

He grasped my hand (the one that hadn't gone into my mouth). I grasped back.

"Thalia…"

I shook my head. "You don't have to say anything."

Percy, Annabeth and Grover sat down around me, forming a semi circle around Luke. I looked over at Grover and Annabeth. They both had tears in their eyes. Annabeth leaned over and hugged me. I hugged back.

Luke turned his gaze from me to Annabeth. "You knew. I almost killed you, but you knew…"

"Shhh." Her voice broke, like mine had. She broke away from me. "You were a hero at the end, Luke. You'll go to Elysium."

He shook his head weakly. "Think…rebirth. Try for three times. Isles of the Blest."

I smiled at him. The first tear flowed down my cheek. "You always did push yourself too hard, Luke." He smiled at me.

"You know who I saw when I w-was bathing in the river Styx…who connected me to my mortal life?"

Luke looked straight at me. "You, Thalia."

A sob escaped my chest. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Annabeth had a new wave of tears flowing down her cheeks. I swallowed hard, trying not to cry anymore. It took me a few seconds, but my short gasps and the tears receded. Luke held up his charred hand. Luke let go of my hand, and brought it to my cheek. I wrapped my hand around his.

Luke turned his attention to Annabeth. "You…were like a little sister to me, Annabeth," he croaked out.

"And you were like my brother, Luke." She answered softly. He held up his other hand, and Annabeth brought her fingertips to his. She looked around at Percy. He looked back at her, his face showing with relief, happiness, loyalty...

Luke turned his gaze towards me. "Thalia… I'm sorry for betraying you…after everything we went through-"

"Shhh," I said, pushing his hair out of his face. "Don't speak. It's putting you in pain."

"I'm sorry…for poisoning your tree…"

Tears welled in my eyes. "Its okay, Luke."

"It isn't." Luke locked eyes with me, boring his blue eyes into mine. "I'm sorry."

The tears came back, flowing even harder.

"Do…do you love me?" He entwined his hand with mine.

The question took me by surprise. The answer was no, of course; I was a Hunter of Artemis. Of course I couldn't love a man like that.

"Luke…I think you know-"

"I know." He looked down. His hand slacked a little. "But…did you love me?" He looked back up into my eyes.

I shut my eyes, and licked my lips. I replayed every moment that we had had together. I reopened my eyes, and drank him in. It was Luke. My friend. My enemy.

My almost lover?

He was looking at me intently. I kept drinking in his face. I shuddered; I knew my answer.

"Luke, I have…every reason to say no. You…I...I had the best years of my life with you and Annabeth. Fighting monsters, being a team…I don't know if anything in my life was better than that. But then you…" I couldn't say he betrayed me. He was dying. "I…I…I think I might've loved you, Luke."

He just nodded. My breathing became heavy. If Artemis somehow found out what I had just said, I would be banished from her presence forever, regardless if whatever had happened between me and Luke had been long before I'd joined the Hunters. And were those feelings really, completely gone? Was escaping the prophecy the only reason I had joined the Hunters? Or was it also because my best friend in the world deserted me?

There was silence for a few moments. Luke looked at the four of us in turn, but payed me the most attention. My heart sunk.

"We can get ambrosia," Grover finally said, "We can-"

"Grover, you're the bravest satyr I ever knew. But…no. There's…no healing…" He coughed up a lung.

Luke's eyes sailed to Percy. He unlocked his hand from mine, and gripped his sleeve.

"Ethan. Me. All the unclaimed. Don't…don't let it happen again."

"I won't," Percy answered. "I promise." Luke nodded to him, and put his hand back in mine.

"Maybe…maybe I'll see you again, one…one day, Thalia. Reincarnated. I'll find…I'll find you."

I lost it again. A sob escaped my chest. Tears ran down my cheeks, and I made sounds like a dying sheep. What was happening to me?

Luke reached up and pushed the hair out of my eyes, then wiped the tears from my cheek. He shouldn't have been doing that; he was in too much pain.

And I shouldn't have let him.

"Don't…don't cry for me, Thalia. I don't…deserve it."

I looked into his eyes, and saw they were sad…and weak. Losing strength. He would be dead in a matter of minutes.

I had no clue why I did it. I shouldn't have. But I leaned down, and kissed his cheek anyway.

"I'll be waiting." I smiled at him.

Luke smiled back at me. "You better be." Then, he turned to look at Annabeth, and grasped each of our hands, forming a triangle.

"Family." He said.

"Family," we answered back. I looked at Annabeth from the corner of my eye; tears were flowing down her face.

Luke turned to look at Percy, then Grover, then Annabeth for a few moments each. He loosened his hand away from mine, as he did with Annabeth's. Then, he took his final look at me.

He smiled, a bit mischievously, I thought. Even in death, or a reincarnation, he would still be a son of Hermes. And I didn't want to know what else Luke had planned.

He gazed up at the ceiling.

XXX

Luke Castellan, son of Hermes, closed his eyes. After a few moments, he stopped breathing. Grover leaned down to check for a pulse. His chin wobbled, and he got back up. He cried silently.

A few minutes later, the Olympians arrived in their full war regalia, as if expecting a battle.

What they found were Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and me sitting around the body of a fallen hero, in the dim light of the hearth.

"Percy." It was the deep voice of Poseidon, God of the Seas, my uncle. I didn't look up.

"What…what is this?"

Percy turned to face the gods.

"We need a shroud." His voice broke. "A shroud for the son of Hermes."

Goodbye Luke, I thought silently. I shut my eyes, remembering that day by the pier in Richmond. The day our family began.


Alright, how was it? Please leave a review! :)

Off topic-ness: I really love the song "Sleepyhead" by Passion Pit. At first I thought it was weird/annoying, but now I am in LOVE with it! Anyone know it?

Thuke ftw!