A/N: New story! I know a lot of people have been doing TLH sequels, but this one is very different from the rest, I promise. I won't be updating this story as often as my others because I want to make sure it's still good. Everyone hates seeing a good plot ruined by bad writing, or vice versa.
Edit 8/27/11: Redone and revamped. The earlier version of this chapter was just too short.
Now that my little intro is finished, I present to you...
It all started out quite nicely, actually. Of course, being a demigod and all, he should have realized that the peace wouldn't last long.
"All right, everyone, up to bed now. Good night!" Chiron called out, officially ending the campfire. Everyone groaned and started leaving for their cabins in twos and threes. Percy and Annabeth departed slowly, holding hands and laughing. The couple took their time heading back to their cabins. They had both gotten out from school mercifully early, almost two weeks before Christmas (or Solstice, depending on who you asked), and they were to determined to spend as much of their break together as they could.
For the first time in a long, long time, Percy felt happy. He'd forgotten how good it felt—no evil stepfather, no daunting quests, no threat of his friends dying, no prophecy hanging over his head (and not to mention no homework). Right now, his life was utterly and completely peaceful.
Well, except for the gods refusing to speak to them. Olympus had been closed off for the last three weeks with no explanation. Zeus had summoned Dionysus back to Olympus. None of the campers were exactly complaining about his absence, but the lack of snarky comments and fumbled names was still unsettling. The gods had even barred Annabeth from coming up to work on rebuilding the eternal city, which meant that they would rather be holed up in a place that was still half rubble than interact with their kids.
Yeah, great parenting skills, guys.
Chiron, in one of their many counselors' meetings about the issue, had suggested that the gods felt resentful of needing half bloods for survival in the war. The theory made sense, but Percy couldn't help but think they could express their embarrassment in a slightly less extreme way.
"Hello? Earth to Seaweed Brain, do you read? Over."
He laughed. "Sorry. You were saying?"
Annabeth gave him one of those breathtaking, you-silly-idiot-you're-lucky-I-put-up-with-you smiles, the kind that made his heart stop for a second, then go 'Oh, Styx!' and start beating again in double time.
"I wasn't saying anything, actually. You were just being spacy, as usual."
"Hey! I'm not always—okay, well, maybe." In all honesty, he would never win that argument no matter how hard he tried. Best to just surrender early. He sighed. "I was just thinking... about the gods closing Olympus. It doesn't make any sense. I don't get how they could just go, 'Hey, thanks for fighting a war for us! We'll just completely ignore you now. Hope you don't mind.'"
He glanced up at the sky automatically. But there hadn't been an offended rumble of thunder for almost a month, so none came now.
"I know," she sighed. "As far as I can tell, nothing like this has happened before… Not even when people stopped worshiping them. They withdrew a bit then, because they became less powerful, but they've never done anything so… drastic."
"But there's never been a war so drastic," he reminded her.
Annabeth let out a frustrated huff. "This is ridiculous. We just keep talking about the same things again and again and again because we have nothing new to go on. We don't even know if this is a temporary thing, or if they think they're going to keep this up for ages."
"It sucks," he agreed. Something over Annabeth's shoulder caught his eye, and he smiled. "And on that happy note, I'm pretty sure that's Chiron coming to remind us about the rule again. 'Night, Annabeth." He leaned down and kissed her. It amazed him that even after all the times he had kissed Annabeth, each one made him feel on top of the world. Having her so close to him, her lips on his, her breath in his mouth… there was nothing like it.
Percy pulled away, grinning, and started to walk towards his cabin. He was halfway across the pavilion when he heard her call, "Goodnight!"
He looked over his shoulder, smiled even wider at her dazed expression, and kept walking. Honestly, he had never felt so good. The stars were shining, school was out, there was no danger, and he was in love with the most wonderful girl in the world. Yeah, the gods were being moody, but they would figure it out.
And, of course, that's when all the trouble began.
As soon as he closed the door to his cabin, someone tackled him from the side. "Whoa!" he yelled. He fell to the ground, his attacker struggling to hold him down. Percy shoved the person off roughly and staggered to his feet. And then froze when he saw six people dressed in black surrounding him, all carrying some sort of weapon or rope. "What's going on?" he asked flatly.
"Now!" one hissed. They all lunged at once. He punched the first in the face, sending them crashing into the wall, and then kicked another in the gut. One of them smashed something into his head and he stumbled forward. The fourth grabbed his arms and held them behind his back while someone else shoved something into his mouth so that he couldn't yell for help.
He thrashed like a caged animal, throwing them off only to have them come at him again. Suddenly he found himself slammed against his dresser, which tipped over with a crash that had to have woken somebody. He struggled to get up, to free himself, to get away, but there were too many people and they had caught him by surprise. Something slammed into his head, hard, and he faded into the blackness.