Written by: High Fiving Jesus
Based on: the song Almost Lover and the story 'Too Far Gone' by The Heartless Harlot
Typed: Sunday, August 29, 2010— Monday, August 30, 2010
"But… I'm just… I mean, I'm just me."
"That is enough," she promised. "I told myself I would not even speak of this. I would let you go without even offering. But I can't. I suppose the Fates knew that, too. You could stay with me, Percy. I'm afraid that is the only way you could help me."
He stared at the horizon where the first red streaks of dawn were lightening the sky. He could just disappear from Earth, forever with her and the invisible servants tending to his every need. They could live under perfect blue skies and grow moonlace flowers. No war. No prophecy. No more taking sides.
"I'd like that," he told her.
She looked up bewildered and excited. "Do you mean…" she had a curious tone.
"I don't want to hurt you," he said, "and my friends don't need me. I have faith in them."
"But they also have the same faith in you," she whispered. Her face dropped and she picked a sprig of moonlace. Its silver glow dimmed as sunlight danced across the island.
Percy stared at the horizon and Calypso touched the flowers to her lips. Daybreak is a good time for decisions, Hephaestus had said.
"I'm staying," he said with a finality that caused Calypso to turn to him and quickly kiss his cheek. Her face flushed red and she gracefully ran back to the cave, disappearing behind a billowing silver curtain.
Annabeth brushed her hair out of her face, forcing herself to stop. My best friend, she thought. He's gone. She stood up from her bunk and grabbed the sea green shroud. A beautiful trident blazed on the front. With the windows open it gently flowed, hiding and then revealing the image.
She folded it gently, taking care not to touch the ground out of respect. She watched campers trudging towards the amphitheater. Some of the campers were still standing in awkward, bean-shaped circles just praying to their parents that Percy was going to return. A small part of her started to think it was pointless, but she couldn't lose hope. Not now. They had come so far.
The Ares cabin practically trampled the others under foot, trying to get to the amphitheater as fast as they could. They were finally enjoying themselves. It made her sick but she wasn't prepared to fight all of them. That logic was undeniable. She was a wreck.
Annabeth hugged the shroud to her chest and, for the first time, she set her knife down on the bedside table and didn't even think of bringing it to the funeral. She just couldn't and she didn't know why.
She made her way there, following the flow of the crowd. They would glance at Annabeth or others that were close to Percy and would turn their attention to the ground. A young girl of about nine was so focused on watching her fiddle with the shroud that she ran into a tree. Her older brother looked down at her and bent over to talk to her. She rubbed her head with her free hand and tugged on his arm, trying to run towards the theater.
The daughter of Athena stared blankly after her and thought about how old she had been when she had gotten there. Annabeth had been there since she was seven, and had seen so little. Percy had gotten there when he was twelve and had seen so much that it killed him. It killed her.
She knew she shouldn't have gone. A horde of telekhines and one son of Poseidon—the odds were slim. What was she thinking? If she had only not been so lenient and been more stubborn. She felt responsible for whatever had happened. An explosion. A terrible way to go.
She met Chiron's gaze as soon as she stepped within the walls and a terrible realization struck her. He trotted towards her calmly and looked down at the shroud.
"Annabeth, my dear," he said. "I'd like you to burn the shroud. It's very beautiful." He added, almost keeping her distracted with any positive he could find.
Annabeth stared up at him. Burning the shroud was the last straw. Everything became real in that moment. Percy was dead, or so they thought. He wasn't coming back. She looked around at everyone huddling inside, whispering or standing boldly or laughing and joking—this was only from the Ares cabin. She couldn't do that in front of all of those people. Tears were already stinging her eyes.
"Sure…of course," Annabeth told him. She pulled back her emotions and smiled weakly. Chiron gave her the same grin and looked back, starting towards the front of the crowd slowly.
A long rectangular fire pit had been placed, for the possibility of a body also being burned with the shroud in a rare case.
"Heroes! For those who know about Percy's disappearance…" he paused, choosing a more direct route. "We must assume he is dead. After so long a silence, it is unlikely our prayers will be answered. I have asked his best surviving friend to do the final honors."
Annabeth stopped for a moment. What about Grover? He couldn't be gone also. Two of them gone was too much. Annabeth paused before her ADHD mind took off on a new course. She snapped the shroud and laid it flat. She lit in on fire and stared at the flames. Percy's smiling face flickered and dispersed at an obnoxious crackle as the embroidered trident symbol burned. She narrowed her eyes but looked away before breaking in the midst of her fellow half-bloods.
Some of the faces seemed to say, what gave her the right to believe she was the only one that cared?
She swallowed, trying to hollow out her throat and looked at everyone. "He was probably the bravest friend I've ever had. He…" She looked toward the empty doorway and could almost see a clouded image of him. He leaned against the wall with a sincere smirk and waved shortly. The image dissolved and she found herself stepping towards his shadowy image. "…was… amazing and loyal. And too… nice." She gave a long speech, trying to hide the obvious feelings, but still remaining sincere. There were sniffles occasionally and Annabeth would pause to watch the blue flames licking up the sheet. She wanted so much to conclude with an 'I loved him' or something that would appear more real and true but she couldn't get the words out.
Before anyone could think, she glanced at Chiron, wiped at her eyes and bolted towards the door.
She stayed, locked away in her cabin or training or ruining her eyes by staying up late at night, throwing herself into her work on Daedalus's laptop.
Disclaimer: I don't own Percy Jackson and the Olympians; no copyright intended. All rights go to Rick Riordan and his publisher, editor, the children that helped him, his inspiring ADHD and dyslexic prone son, etc. Woo.