Okay, guys. You seem to be forgetting that I can see how many people read this. 150 people read, and only 6 review? Come on, now. I know we can do better than that. (Thank you to those six people; you are officially exempt from shame.)
Here's the last part.
Finally, I'm alone. Thalia thought happily as she stepped into her lakeside clearing. No Percy in sight, no campers, no prying nymphs who liked to spy on two friends doing yoga and start rumors then spread them around camp; she could finally enjoy her insomnia in peace. It was all she wanted while visiting camp and finally, after a week of pestering campers trailing behind her around camp, she had it, on her last night. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy being a hunter of Artemis, but it was truly impossible to be alone there; sharing tents, the night guard following her around when she tried to leave, well-meaning girls trying to pry her deepest thoughts out of her. Gods, it got old.
Deciding not to do yoga tonight, Thalia plopped down on the sand, foregoing any semblance of grace. She didn't know how long she sat watching the waves lap at the shore, but it took her even longer to notice the lone figure who occasionally bobbed up from the water, disappearing as fast as he came. She felt her heart sink as she sighed in frustration. There could only be one camper who could stay underwater for that long at a time.
Percy Jackson was the only person she had ever met who slept as little as she did.
Thalia kicked off her sandals, rolled up her tight jeans as much as the fabric would allow, then splashed out into the water, making as much of a commotion as she could without getting completely soaked.
Almost immediately, Percy's head shot out of the water. He twisted himself around, spotting Thalia, waving sarcastically from the shore.
He waved back before ducking back under the surface. He was taking his time getting over there, Thalia noticed, as he did a lazy front crawl in her direction. Once he was within a few feet of her, he stood up, letting water run down his bare chest. He shook his dark hair out of his eyes and grinned.
"You're wet." Thalia glanced him over with a flick of her gaze, noting that he had allowed himself to actually get wet and bothered to change into swimming trunks.
"Yeah," He shook his head violently, water droplets showering Thalia, who glared. "Sometimes it's nice to go swimming like a normal person." They waded back towards shore together and dropped down into the sand. "…but now I wish I'd brought a towel." He added. Thalia stared.
"Seriously? Just make yourself dry off."
"You're missing the point."
"Maybe I am, but you still don't make any damn sense." They sat in silence for a few moments. "So why are you up tonight? Yoga didn't work? 'Cause I'm not teaching you another one." She stated flatly.
"Nope, it worked." He answered, scrubbing him wet hair with his hands, trying to get more water out. He just made it stand up in every direction. "But yoga doesn't stop the dreams."
This was a completely serious statement that Thalia could completely relate to, but it was hard taking him seriously with his hair like that. He looked like a five year old.
"You mean the nightmares?" She knew exactly what he was talking about, assuming he had the same problems as she did. Like all demigods, she had the clairvoyant dreams that could leave you gasping for air, depending on what was going on in the world; but she also dreamt about the past, people dying, battles gone wrong, what could have been done to save someone, Annabeth dying, Chiron dying, hell, even Percy dying…
"You too?" She nodded. He sighed. "I'm guessing yours are just as bad as mine then, if they're keeping you up too."
"Waking up screaming and strangled by your own sheets? Yep."
They sat in another silence, this one more comfortable, until Percy spoke up again.
"So is this common for demigods, or are we just particularly lucky? I mean, I'm alone in my cabin; I don't know if anyone else tries to stab their sheets when they wake up…"
Thalia thought for a moment. She was also alone in her cabin, but she hadn't heard talk of it from anyone else. "I think it might just be we lucky few…two." She amended. "Annabeth has never mentioned anything like this before. I mean, there's those weird prophetic-clairvoyant-whatever dreams, but my brain takes it to a whole new level." She paused. "Maybe it has to do with our dads being in the Big Three…more power, more nightmares?" She paused again. "Actually, that sounds stupid, ignore that."
"Hey, it's a theory, at least. If I could ever pin down Nico long enough to have a conversation past 'hey, what's up?', I'd ask him about it." Percy shrugged. "It's the only thing that makes any sense."
"Because we weren't freaky enough as it was." Thalia sighed with a sardonic grin. She brushed sand off of her damp calves before attempting to straighten her skinny jeans out once more, fighting against the tight fabric. "Jesus, who decided that these were a good idea?" She huffed angrily, now having to stand to readjust her pants everywhere as they were clinging in the wrong places and just fitting wrong all over. "Whatever happened to regular, old-fashioned, loose jeans?"
Percy snorted. "I think they went out with the nineties."
"Well, the nineties just so happen to be when I'm from, so I'm sorry if I'm a bit behind the times." She snapped as she sat back down, her pants comfortable again. "Britney Spears was a good role model, Green Day was still a punk band, and iPods didn't exist."
"Oh, is that why you still have a Walkman?" Percy teased, a grin plastered across his stupid face.
"Hey, I like to physically touch my music. I don't want some ridiculous little machine deleting everything in a glitch." She glared as he started to laugh. "What?" She demanded.
"You're such a technophobe!" He exclaimed. "You live in a tent, how can you possibly carry around a bunch of CDs? Where do you keep them all?"
"Hey, I'll have you know that I have an apartment, thank you very much. I just don't spend all that much time there."
"How can you have an apartment? You're still fifteen."
"Physically, yes. But legally, I'm an adult. I just told my landlord that I have a mild case of proportionate dwarfism." She shrugged as she admitted this shamelessly, as if it were no big deal, ignoring Percy's gaping expression. Being homeless with Luke and Annabeth had greatly improved her ability to lie without guilt. It was a necessity, as Luke couldn't always do it alone, and having Annabeth turn into a shameless little liar had been out of the question. Though she knew that they had lied occasionally, Annabeth probably had no idea to what extent it really was and Thalia wanted to keep it that way. In the eyes of the law, she and Luke had probably reached the status of 'con artists'.
"Won't your landlord start getting curious when you never get older?" Thalia just snorted.
"Like I'll be there long enough for that to happen? I know how to keep ahead of suspicion." Percy paused.
"See, it's statements like that, that make me think the cops are going to show up for you someday."
"You really think the cops are going to arrest a "fifteen year old" for crimes committed by a teenager in the late nineties? 'But officer, I couldn't have done that. I was only five at the time!'" Her voice shot up an octave and took on an unnervingly innocent quality as she imitated herself as a real fifteen year old. Percy just stared.
"It's kind of scary, how good you are at that…" She smirked.
"You should have seen Luke. He managed to talk cops into giving us twenty bucks each on more than one occasion." She ignored the painful tug in her chest at the thought of Luke. You're over it. She told herself firmly. He hated when you cried. Stop it. "Anyway," She cut off her own thoughts before they really got going. "you don't have to worry about getting pulled in as an accomplice or anything; I'll be out of that apartment in, like, two weeks." At Percy's wary expression she glared, letting her head fall to the side a bit. "My rent agreement is up." She explained flatly. "I swear, Jackson, one more comment like that and I will stab you in the face."
He just grinned.
"Well, it's not like it would hurt you, Superman. Besides," She continued. "Annabeth would probably kill me for stabbing her boyfriend, or whatever you two are now."
"Don't ask me." Percy sighed, placing his hands on the ground between his legs. A trickle of water from the lake ran up the shore to meet his fingers as he continued. "Every time we try to sit down and sort it out, either she gets called to Olympus for some architecture thing, or I get sent off on a quest, or to get some idiot demigod who's doing something stupid." He kept his fingertips in the small pool that as collected in front of him, swirling them around lazily. He seemed more relaxed.
"Well, if you're waiting for me to help you come to some realization; you're going to be waiting for a long time." She absentmindedly picked at her black nail polish, staring out across the dark lake. "Besides, I hardly even know Annabeth anymore…" She added under her breath, mostly to herself. Percy looked up at this, his fingers pausing in their movement.
"I thought you guys were pretty close. You iris each other a lot." Thalia shrugged.
"It's not the same." She smiled a humorless smile. "It's pretty uncomfortable, actually. I mean, I came out of that tree expecting to find a nine year old girl who needed me to hold her hand at night, and instead, I got a strong, confident, kickass, young woman who didn't need me anymore." She paused as her voice caught, remembering the moment she had laid eyes on Annabeth; tough, headstrong, intelligent, in-charge Annabeth. Her stomach had just about dropped out of her ass at that moment. Where did her Annabeth go?
She started again, her voice quieter to hide its waver. "To me, she grew six years in a second, and even after three years, I still feel out of synch." She felt the sting of tears forming and tried to blink them away, turning her head slightly as if to look back towards camp. Hopefully Percy didn't notice. She composed herself quickly and glanced back. He was staring determinedly at the small whirlpool he had created in the sand between his legs, but Thalia knew he wasn't actually all that interested in it. He understood that she didn't want him to see her on the verge of tears, so he looked away. She was grateful for it. At least someone understood that, although she never expected that someone to be Percy, of all people.
He just shrugged. "Well, if it makes you feel any better, I've been here for over five years and I never was in synch. At least you probably were at some point." The whirlpool started again. Thalia snorted, rolling her eyes though he didn't see it.
"How are you not in synch? You're the 'hero of Olympus', or whatever they're calling you these days. Savior? Or is it just 'your highness' now?" She tried, but she couldn't keep the bitterness from creeping into her voice. Great. Now she sounded like a jealous, bitter, overemotional hag who could never find happiness. Just what she wanted…
"Wow, bitter much?" He laughed, but it didn't bother Thalia as much as it usually did. Normally, anyone who laughed at her bitterness got a punch to the face, at the very least.
"Hey, if I wanted all of Olympus kissing my ass, I could make it happen. I'd just rather they keep out of my affairs."
"However shady your affairs may be." Percy added casually. He waited until he felt her glare at the side of his head before he turned to look at her, a badly suppressed grin forcing its way out. Thalia continued to glare for a moment before punching him solidly in the shoulder.
"You're lucky I don't have a knife at the moment."
"Ow?" He tried with that stupid grin shining through. Then Thalia remembered that damned Achilles thing.
"Gods, Jackson, you take all the fun out of punching you. There's hardly even a point anymore."
"Then why do you keep punching me? Not that it bothers me, or anything." Thalia continued to glare at him. Why was it that he was on the receiving end of that glare more than anyone else Thalia had ever come into contact with?
"Why would I stop punching you? I have a new punching bag."
"Oh, this this is going to become a regular thing, then?"
"You can travel through water, right? I mean, if I'm not here, I'll just stand in a puddle and yell at you." She shrugged.
"I don't think it works like that."
"It worked tonight."
"Yeah, but I was like, fifty feet away…"
They sat in companionable silence for a few moments before Percy added,
"But seriously, if you call from a puddle, I'm not coming."
So, I don't know exactly how the whole dream-thing works, so I just made it up. Feel free to correct me.
Now, lets try this again. That link saying "Review this Story" with the cute little yellow word bubble next to it? Go ahead, click it.