Disclaimer: I don't own PJO or anything else.

Rated: M- for swearing, violence, rape, and some graphic images.

A/N: This is a three-part one shot, and it takes place during the second war between the Roman and Greek demigods, which is about a year after The Last Olympian. Silena Beauregard never died. Hope you enjoy!


Waiting

Something wet drips from her back and Thalia immediately assumes that it's just pure perspiration. Her skin feels scorching hot, but then she realizes that the weather around her is chilly with nighttime air. More of that wet moisture drops down onto the ground below her. When she finally looks down, she sees that it's not the regular, clear color of what sweat should look like, but rather a darker color.

Blood. Her blood.

It was a huge sign of weakness, but Thalia couldn't help but physically wince as another sharp pain etched along her back, the retraction of a single whip flying past her ears before disappearing behind her. It was a numbing sort of pain, since the guy's been at it for hours now—or that's what she thinks— and her mind's beginning to dull. She clenched and unclenched the bound hands that held her to the wooden post. Colors were beginning to swirl around the edges of her eyes, and she shook herself from completely succumbing to darkness.

"Stop it! Stop!" That was Annabeth's voice. In all her life, and her friendship with Athena's daughter, Thalia had never heard the blonde girl sound like that before. She sounded unsure. Scared. "You're killing her!"

There was a loud rustling movement. "You're all cowards! Tying her to the post like that because you're all afraid of actually fighting her yourselves—you should be ashamed to call yourself Romans! Cowards, all of you!" This was from Clarisse.

Out of curiosity, even in her delusional state, Thalia turned her head to the side. Annabeth, who was always brave and calm in any given situation, was crying. Tears streamed down her gray eyes as she struggled against her holders. To the side of her, at least five Romans had to hold Clarisse down. She was screaming at them angrily, untamable and unrestricted like a detrimental dragon.

Fatigue was pulling a heavy strain on her body. She was already on her knees, and it wasn't as though she could sag down any further because of her tied hands. When the last whip was given to her, an effect that had her tight muscles wielding, she let out a small breath. Before she could fall into unconsciousness right there, the ropes were loosened from her wrists and she was firmly hoisted up. She mentally cursed herself at the tremendous ache in her back, and the way her knees started to shake.

The Romans marched the three girls back to their headquarters, which was nothing more than an empty prison cell containing cold air and dirt. Simply lovely.

They pushed in Thalia first, taking in satisfaction as she stumbled in and fell right on her front, since they loved to prey on the injured first, especially if she was a daughter of Zeus. Annabeth came in next, falling to her knees and instantly crawled over to the other fallen girl, uncaring if the Romans were watching or not. It was in Clarisse's nature to give the Romans a sprout of colorful words, earning her a hard punch to the cheek, before they locked her behind the bars.

Clarisse rubbed her right cheek, but that was the least of her problems. She turned around, seeing Annabeth gently removing the back of Thalia's torn and ragged shirt.

"Ow! Goddammit, that hurts, Annabeth!" Thalia hissed through her teeth.

"Sorry, sorry!" Annabeth replies shakily, more mindful of the girl's wounds. She hastily wiped her tears away, thinking herself stupid to be crying at a time like this. There was just so much blood on Thalia's back that Annabeth didn't know where the blood was even coming from.

Annabeth hurriedly walked over to corner wall. She removed one of the broken bricks, where they had a first-aid kit hidden from view. When the Romans had ransacked their things, Clarisse had kept the kit very well hidden before they were captured and thrown in the cell those few months ago.

"I shouldn't have said anything," Thalia muttered. The cold air was like another invisible whip to her back. She flinched at the cold contact.

If she hadn't opened her mouth to sheer, impulsive stupidity, the three of them would have been about their day like they had been for these past couple of months. When the guards taunted them, she should have ignored it and kept her mouth shut. But Thalia Grace was too proud, and that was her major flaw. She had spat words right back at the Romans, and the next thing you know, she was whipped, and Annabeth and Clarisse had been forced to watch.

"Yeah, you shouldn't have," Clarisse agreed wholeheartedly. "Cause then I definitely would have said something to those sons of bitches and our positions would be switched."

It was the entirely wrong moment to do so, but Thalia cracked a grin. Wet drops sprinkled along her back, and Thalia bit her lip at the small pain that erupted. "Annabeth, would you stop crying?Your tears are burning my back."

"I'm sorry," Annabeth repeated, not really being able to stop. "It's just—they kept g-going on and on, and they w-wouldn't stop…"

"I know. I was there, remember?" Thalia wryly replied.

Annabeth slumped back against the ground. Her body was shaking and she couldn't will it to stop. She would never, ever get the image out of her head. To her, Thalia had always been the one person who could withstand anything. She was one of her closest friends, and Annabeth looked up to the girl. But seeing her, strapped to the pole in her vulnerability, repeated whips slamming mercilessly down on Thalia's back, Annabeth couldn't take it.

She had tried to look away from the scene, but she couldn't. It was one of those moments where you know something bad is going to happen: like an incoming car speeding down the street, about to hit a walking passerby. You know there's going to be a large accident, but you can't will yourself to look away. It was like that. So Annabeth tried to close her eyes, but when the Roman demigod that was holding her noticed, he forced her eyes open.

The image would never be erased. It would be a memory, a recurring nightmare…

Clarisse noticed the blonde girl's state. She gently pried her fingers away from Thalia's back. "Annabeth, you really should get some rest," she said with a tenderness that was unknown to all except for the two girls she was sharing a cell with.

"No, I could—"

"Get some rest," Clarisse ordered in that same gentleness. She removed the kit from Annabeth's hands, and set out to work on Thalia's back herself.

Thalia shifted her head, staring right at Annabeth. "You look tired."

"Speak for yourself," Annabeth retorted back, unable to fight back a grin.

"Hey, at least it got you to smile again," Thalia replied lightly. "The weeping Annabeth was kinda freaking me out."

Annabeth rolled her eyes, wiping the last of the wetness that pooled there. She watched quietly as Clarisse cleaned Thalia's back with a small towel from the kit. After wiping away most of the blood, Annabeth could vaguely see in the light provided by the moon from outside, that there were numerous lacerations decorated along her pale back, long and fresh. Thalia jumped when Clarisse rubbed something on her back.

"Stop moving," Clarisse commanded.

"It burns!"

"You brought this on yourself, you know."

Thalia turned her head as much as she could to glare at Clarisse. "Just a moment ago, you said that if I hadn't done anything, then you certainly would have."

"I know I said that," Clarisse reaffirmed. "But at least I could take the whipping without whining."

"I'm not whining."

"Really?" That only prodded Clarisse into pressing more of that stuff onto Thalia's back, causing the blue-eyed girl to hiss in protest. "Oh, and just to let you know, I'm only pouring water onto your back." Thalia started grumbling, and while Clarisse washed her back, she frowned. "I wish we could fight back."

"You know we can't," Annabeth responded, her eyes softening.

Clarisse fisted her hands, careful of Thalia's back. "You've seen their fighting tactics. We're much better than them. If they didn't have her, we would have killed every single one of them by now."

Annabeth shook her head. "They could kill her at any moment."

Thalia stared hard at the ground, her teeth grinding together. Because of the stupid thing she had done, she must have been paying for it now. Gods, they were probably torturing her! Thalia could think of the many ways they could hurt her.

Their party of three used to be a party of four. All of them were assigned to one of the most dangerous jobs. They were to be spies on enemy territory: the Roman Camp Half-Blood. They were to act like Roman demigods, passing along any information to the other side of the war. The girls knew what they were getting into and they had accepted the job. They were chosen because they knew they could handle it. It was the second war that had occurred between the Greek demigods and the Roman demigods in history.

Besides the three of them, Silena Beauregard had spied alongside with them.

Unfortunately, they were found out, and they were captured. They were taken to another sort of encampment and thrown in the cell they were currently living in, and just for the fun of it all, they had taken Silena as their own personal hostage. They had taken her to make sure that the other three wouldn't try anything. Because Silena couldn't defend herself as well as the other girls, she was the easiest target.

They had been captured in June.

It was now December.

The whipping was pretty much nothing compared to what they've already endured. If anything, Thalia would think of it as another couple of scars to be added to her body.

Just because they were prisoners, didn't mean that they would sit on their butts in the cell all day. There were many prisoners at the camp, but not all of them were Greek. Some were even Romans themselves. It was barbaric, considering the Romans enslaved their own kind.

During the day, they were separated off to work. Thalia worked down in the mines, chipping off rocks in hopes of finding jewels, that being the reason why her hands were seldom scratched and bloody. Clarisse worked where she was assembling weapons together, forced to create weapons for the wrong side.

Annabeth had the easiest job: just to clean the weapons with a rag. She wondered why that was. Was it because Thalia and Clarisse kept mouthing off the guards almost every other day? Even though they were subjected to pain every day, Thalia and Clarisse were tortured a bit more than Annabeth was. And what was the worst part was the fact that they couldn't fight back.

They would have killed these Romans so damn easily.

But because they had Silena, they did nothing.

Clarisse finished bandaging Thalia's back, before carefully placing back the prisoner shirts they were supposed to wear. She quickly put the kit away and out of sight.

The cell bars had slammed open again, all three girls reacting to it. Thalia straightened up to a sitting position, and Clarisse whirled around to see a sword pointed at her, and another in front of Thalia. Both girls watched helplessly as a Roman demigod roughly grabbed Annabeth by her hair, dragging her by the roots. They would have moved, but they knew that once they did, their heads would instantly be cut off. They watched Annabeth scream and kick all the way, but it was not long before the Romans and Annabeth disappeared behind the bars.

Both girls were quiet, holding their breaths.

On the other side, Annabeth gave a blood-curling scream.

Once again, the Romans were trying to get information from them. When they took Clarisse, they had beated her and they had tied her to the edge of a table, nailing her hands to it with a hammer, in which she still had the deep holes. When they took Thalia, they had hung her upside down and sliced her flesh with every knife imaginable. Now they wondered what they where they going to do with Annabeth.

As Annabeth gave another scream, Clarisse held her head in her hands. "Face it, they're not coming for us."

Thalia closed her eyes. "Don't say that," she murmured, trying to block out the screams.

"It's already December, Thalia," Clarisse snapped harshly. "It's been six months, damn it! If they cared, they would have come a hell of a long time ago! They're already worried about the war! They don't care about us!"

"Maybe they don't know where we are," Thalia countered. "Maybe they're still looking."

"Yeah, right. Silena's probably dead too."

"Clarisse. Stop."

The bitter daughter of Ares crossed her arms. "You know she's dead too," she accused darkly. "They might have killed her a long time ago, and these assholes might be playing us. I know you know. Silena's gone."

Thalia refused to believe any of it. "She's not dead, okay? And they are going to come for us."

"Don't waste your breath," Clarisse snorted.

The blue-eyed girl turned away, her arms wrapped around her knees as she buried her head in her arms. She could still hear Annabeth's pain-filled screams, but they were distant now. For now, Thalia was escaping into her mind, which really wasn't any saner than this prison was. She figured that out a long time ago. Nowhere was safe anymore. All they needed to do is wait.

The only concern Thalia had was that she would lose herself completely.