Okay. This is a darker fic, much darker, written for Windowchild's week nine challenge. Wish me luck.
Percy's thoughts bounced around his head, wanting to cry, to laugh, to sob, to do something. Anything that let him feel. He had been numb for two years, hearing Annabeth's last words echo around his head over and over and over.
Nothing is ever as it used to be. Two years ago, he had everything. Everything. He had the most amazing girlfriend in the world, he had great friends, a mother and a father, and even a freaking summer camp.
But no. The gods had to so cruel as to let those things slip away from him over the past twenty-four months. And as he sat on the shore on the exact place Annabeth's blood had stained the sand and made the sea run red, these thoughts were made all the more obvious. He picked up handfuls of sand and let it run through his fingers, falling into growing piles beside him.
"No," Percy whispered. An image of a laughing Annabeth, leaning backwards in a swing, her hair blown back by the wind and her grey eyes were sparkling with bliss, appeared in his head. He shook his head to clear it, but the memory faded into nothing. Nothing at all, with was more scary then the thought itself.
Percy was plunged into darkness, falling into a seemingly never ending pit. He couldn't see anything, couldn't feel anything, couldn't hear anything except the sound of him screaming miserably. It was a wordless scream, filled with all the pain, hate, anger, fear, and remorse he had ever felt in all his entire life. He fell, and the deeper he went he was stripped of all feeling, not that he had much to begin with.
The memory came back, but it was different. It was horrifying, Annabeth's grey eyes were dull, and her blonde hair stained red with spilled blood. Her lips parted for a moment, and Percy leaned closer to hear what she had to say. "You call yourself a hero, but yet you're the hero who let all of them die for you."
Then she died. Without a word, without a sound, without anything at all except the sound of Percy's strangled sobs echoing off the water and returning to him, over and over and over.
And then Percy hit the bottom. Rock bottom. Percy thought. Tears slipped down his cheeks as he sat up, and almost fell back down when it hit him. All the emotion he had been blocking out of himself for two years swelled over him like a tidal wave that he couldn't stop. It was a flood, memories, feeling, emotions, everything he had thought and done and felt in the past two years came back to him, flooding him, consuming him like a deathly horror.
"Hey." A voice said, speaking to Percy through the tsunami of feeling that he thought he had wanted, but now he wished for nothing more then for it to leave. Percy glanced up and blinked the tears away. It was a familiar black haired, black eyed boy around fourteen years old. Percy knew him, really, he did. But he couldn't name him.
"Who are you?" He demanded. It came out as a harsh whisper, giving the boy a small glimpse of what Percy was feeling.
The boy looked surprised. "You don't remember me?"
Percy shook his head, unable to speak as he was crushed under yet another wave of emotion. Unable to do anything except barely endure the pain and sadness filling him up like a water balloon about to burst.
"Son of Hades...?"
Percy waited for him to continue. Nico sighed.
"Of course you don't remember me. You're in Hades' realm. You won't remember anything until you're judged."
Percy had no idea at all what he was talking about, but the familiarity of the boy and his words strengthened. He knew what he was talking about, he just couldn't... comprehend it. It was as if trying to read a book he knew by heart in cursive. He knew the plot and what was going to happen, he just couldn't read the details.
"I'm Nico." The boy said, patient with Percy. "Son of Hades. Good friend of yours."
Percy nodded, the emotions fading enough so he could remember his friend.
"I remember..." he whispered just as the sadness reared up once more. He felt himself being dragged down, going down, never to rise again. He collapsed on the ground with a oomph, the breath having been knocked out of him.
Nico hauled Percy up, draping the older boy's arm around his shoulder. Together they limped toward a river, in which a bridge appeared when Nico waved his hand. "I'm a god down here, Percy. I can do almost anything down here." He explained. "It's difficult, though."
They crossed the bridge, and Percy blacked out.
"So we meet again." A voice hissed softly, filled with disgust and hate. It was shockingly familiar, and with a start Percy realized it was Annabeth.
"Annabeth! Where are you?" Percy cried desperately. The immense wave of emotions had disappeared, leaving Percy to wonder where the hell he was. "Where are you? Where's Nico?"
"I'm not Annabeth. I'm a figment of your imagination. I am what you wish to hear, to see. I am merely her voice, your mind imagining her speaking. Nico's gone."
"I do not know."
"You sound exactly like her. What's going on?" He asked, frustrated.
"I know. I might partially be her. It's impossible to tell." Percy noted she didn't answer his question.
"Where am I?"
"I don't know. But I have to show you something." He felt a slight pressure that grew around his hand. It spread around his body, shooting up his arm, down his legs, into his head, until the pressure was too much to bear. When he felt like he was going to explode, it stopped. Percy opened his eyes, which he hadn't realized he had closed. 'Annabeth' had formed in front of him, a silvery mist floating above the ground. Percy wanted to hug her, to kiss her, but he couldn't move. He was surrounded by massive sheets of mist with pictures illuminating on them. He saw Annabeth dying, he saw Nico battling a monster, he saw his first encounter with Hades. It was crazy. It was insane.
It was Percy's Hall of Memories.
Annabeth let go of Percy's hand and it fell to his side with a dull thump. "Follow me," She said quietly. Her voice had turned silky, soft, and pitying. Percy hated it with every molecule in his being. She floated towards the sheet that showed Annabeth laying on the beach, and she disappeared inside of it. She poked her head out and beckoned for him to follow, which he did. He thought when he touched the mist it was disperse, but it did not. He was blown back by an icy gust of wind that stung his eyes and pricked his cheeks. He ignored it and continued on, the icy cold fading and warming into a cool ocean breeze that Percy had come to know and love. He inhaled and closed his eyes, trying to become one with the beach. But his eyes snapped open when he heard Annabeth say the dreaded words that had haunted Percy for two years. He saw the silvery Annabeth floating above the dying one, her lips moving in harmony with the bloody girl lying on the sand, frantically trying to choke out her last words.
"You call yourself a hero, but yet you're the hero who let all of them die for you." The ghostly Annabeth was floating, glaring at the real Percy with pure hatred. He felt the familiar stabbing of guilt, of defense that he quickly pushed away, of love, of disgust.
He blinked, and when he opened his eyes, he was back in the hall of memories. The floating Annabeth was losing substance, fading into the air. "Remember what you have learned here, Percy. Do not become vain because you are invincible. Do not take your friends and family for granted, for though this is merely a dream, one day it may become reality."
He woke in a cold sweat, feeling feverish. The sky was dark outside the window and the full moon twinkled with millions of untold secrets. But the best part was that Annabeth was standing over him worryingly. "Are you okay? You look pale, and you were mumbling in your sleep."
Percy had never been happier to see her. He threw his arms around her and kissed her on the lips, which she was confused by, but kissed back. "What was that for?" She asked.
"I'm fine, never been better." Percy said wholeheartedly.
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Positive. I just had a bad dream, that's all."
She sat down next to him, and the bed squeaked softly. "What was it about?"
"Oh... it was stupid."
"Tell me!" Annabeth insisted, and the ghost of the dead Annabeth's words echoed in his head. Remember what you have learned here, Percy. Do not become vain because you are invincible. Do not take your friends and family for granted, for though this is merely a dream, one day it may become reality.
"It was just something that could've happened." If I don't shape up...
"Oh. Well, you better get back to sleep, Seaweed Brain. It's two in the morning." She got up to leave and was on her way out when Percy stopped her.
"Yeah?" She asked, turning. Percy realized he didn't know what to say. There were a thousand unspoken words in that moment, and it would be a moment both of them would remember.
Forever and always, they would remember that moment, because it couldn't be a bit more perfect. So, being the Kelp Head he is, Percy said the first thing that came to mind.
"What are you doing in my cabin in two in the morning?"
She grinned, but her glowing red cheeks gave her away. "That, my friend, is for me to know, and you to never find out."
So. Good? Bad? Horrible? Crappy ending? Yep. But... to clear things up; Percy was dreaming the entire time. Until he woke up. Yeah, I know it's short.
I hoped you like it, it was written for Shadow Palace and WindowChild's week nine challenge, which is below in case you want to enter. Also, the words, "You call yourself a hero, but yet you're the hero who let all of them die for you.", Comes from a Verita prompt from Thursday 13. I don't know, but that spoke to me and inspired me. For anyone who is wondering, Bachelorette: M(r)s Annabeth Chase WILL be updated eventually. Eventually.
Shadow Palace and WindowChild's challenge: Week 9 story challenge: Write a fic involving the characters: Percy, Annabeth, Nico, and Hades. The fic can be any genre, any pairing, any form (as long as its over 100 words), etc. The only rule is that it can involve ONLY those four characters. No other characters may be in and/or referenced in the story. If you have questions about the rules of the challenge, please don't be afraid to PM us and ask. See their profile.