Summary: Annabeth's point of view while Percy's unconscious after the ship explodes. Sea of Monsters missing scene. Title credits go to Cage the Elephant.
"Fear is a part of life. It's a warning mechanism. That's all. It tells you when there's danger around. Its job is to help you survive. Not cripple you into being unable to do it."
-Jim Butcher, Dead Beat
"Percy Jackson will forever be scaring the crap out of me."
- Annabeth Chase
Chapter Three: In One Ear
Watching a monster pluck soldiers like candy off of a boat was not my idea of a great escape. And neither was dying. Percy tried to reach forward and slice the monster before it swiped away another deckhand, but he was far too slow.
"Everyone get below!" he yelled.
"We can't!" Clarisse yelled, pulling her sword out. "Below deck is in flames!"
I searched around helplessly. The entire ship was in complete chaos. Flickering soldiers were sprinting back and forth, running around like chickens with their heads cut off without command. Lifeboats were banging against the side of the ship, and I could see the supports barely holding them up. They could be a way out.
"Lifeboats! Quick!" I yelled, pointing them out.
Clarisse shook her head. "They'll never get clear of the cliffs. We'll get eaten."
I understood the risks, but it was the lesser of two evils. I'd rather get blown into the sea with Percy right next to me than get eaten by an unseen monster.
"We have to try." I urged. Then I noticed something in my friend's hand. "Percy, the thermos."
He looked at me, stress creasing his face, and then stared back at the engine rooms. "I can't leave Tyson."
"We have to get the boats ready!" I screamed, trying to fight over the roaring of the swirling sea. Tyson was immune to fire. I had to believe he could survive the blast. We were all going to die if we didn't hurry up and do something. Clarisse seemed to get my message. She and a few Confederate soldiers started uncovering a boat, preparing to climb into it, and I was about to follow their lead. It was high time to scramble.
Percy tossed me the thermos. "Get the other boat. I'll get Tyson."
The idiot. The stupid, self-sacrificial, foolish, idiot! I struggled to not scream are you kidding me? "You can't! The heat will kill you!" Percy gave me one last reluctant look before he sprinted toward the engine rooms. Furious, and lost, I turned and pulled the cover off of the other boat, tossing it into the sea. Worry stewed in my stomach, the demigod instinct that had saved my life hundreds of times before was reoccurring. I looked for Percy.
He was gone. No, he was in the air. Flailing helplessly in the air while Scylla's teeth were wrapped around his backpack, and swung him back and forth like a rabid dog with a toy. My stomach sunk as the boat dropped from the ropes and hit the water. The current quickly pulled me away from the ship, and I clutched the sides of the lifeboat, nausea curling in my stomach.
Percy, in a swing of sheer luck, swung his sword behind him and stabbed Scylla in the eye. Screeching, she dropped him and he started falling towards the ship. He was at least a hundred feet in the air, if he landed on the ship's deck he'd die, and if he didn't die there then Scylla would find him again.
The struggling engine of the boat finally gave out, and it exploded.
Percy was falling down, and the wreckage of the CSS Birmingham was flying up.
I wrenched open the cap of the thermos. I only got a glimpse of Percy jerking out of his freefall before the boat started spinning rapidly, throwing my stomach into my throat. Everything disappeared in a flurry of water, foam, and wind, the boat skipping helplessly along the top of the ocean. My head ached, and my knuckles were white from clutching the sides of the boat. The rushing in my ears stilled, and the furious spinning slowed down until I was floating slowly, surrounded by wreckage.
Nobody could be seen. I couldn't find Clarisse's boat anywhere nearby. But I wasn't worried, she was determined, and no single monster would take her down.
Percy. Percy, I was worried about. I had lost track of him while I was spinning out of control, and with speed he had; he could've been anywhere. Tyson was gone. A lump crawled up my throat. He'd saved my life and I'd shunned him the whole time. I shook my head free of the grief and shoved it to the back of my head. First things first.
Find Percy. Alive or… alive.
I plucked a thin plank from the water, and started halfheartedly paddling forward through the wreckage, searching for a sign of him. An unopened Dr. Pepper floated by and I brightened at my minimal luck and threw it in the boat. Far off to my left I saw Percy's knapsack floating upside down in the water. Hopefully, if that was close, then Percy was nearby. It was barely afloat, filled with water. A Ziploc bag of ambrosia, and Hermes's multivitamins were still inside. Tired, I scanned around in a circle. Nothing. He had to be under the water then. Thank the gods he couldn't drown.
That meant I had to get wet.
"The things I do for you, Seaweed Brain." I muttered.
I flipped both legs over and dropped into the water. The Florida water was warm, if I was even in Florida anymore. Taking a breath, I dove underwater and opened my eyes. It was blurry and stung, but all I saw was floating wreckage. Kicking my legs around, I spun in a circle and looked for a dark green shirt. He had been wearing a green shirt right? Yeah he had, because she'd thought about how it made his eyes stand out—.
A green shirt. That was connected to dark blue jeans. He was a long way down there. I could see the top of his mop of black hair, and only a glimpse of his clothes. I'd have to swim fast so I didn't die without oxygen. Surfacing, I took a huge gulp of air and plunged back down, furiously pumping my arms and pushing against the pressure of the water.
There was a dolphin poking him. At first, I thought it was trying to eat Percy. But it wasn't. The dolphin nuzzled its snout-thing (Percy would know what that was) into his shoulder and curled its tail around his back, almost… protectively. It was (and I never say this) really cute. Obviously being the son of the sea god had its privileges.
The dolphin's head swung around and it stared at me with black eyes. If I could have swallowed, I would have. I swam farther down, slower now; hopefully it realized that I didn't want to hurt him. The dolphin watched me, and I watched it. Reaching down, I gently wrapped my hand around Percy's, keeping my burning gaze on the dolphin, trying to convey my message. It swam right up to my face, stared at me with an almost human awareness and then turned around and disappeared into the ocean.
My lungs were burning for oxygen. I pulled Percy a few feet higher and then ditched so I could swim and get more air. A few gulping breaths later I returned, tugging on Percy's hand and getting a good grip around his chest. It was all blurry, but I could still see his face, features slack and hair in his eyes. I was struck by how close we were. Worry nagged at my insides, but I shoved it away, because at least he wasn't in the ocean floating alone.
He was under my wing. It was my responsibility to make sure he stayed safe anyway. He was the one who made it so hard.
We broke the surface, water dripping from my face and hair, while Percy was completely dry. I supported him with one arm and pushed him to my side so I could figure a way to get us both in the boat. It definitely wasn't a state of the art setup; Percy would have had some sort of technical sea name for it. It had a relatively flat bottom, and if I got Percy up quickly, then it wouldn't tip over… hopefully.
I looked down, checking the condition of my Garmin-certified Oceanic Compass. His face was still floating in the water. The sight made my skin crawl. It made him look… wrong. Only people who were actually drowning looked like that. I grimaced and pulled his head up to rest over my shoulder.
"This isn't personal, Seaweed Brain." I grumbled.
Percy's head shifted, his breath ghosting along the breath back of my neck as he mumbled a few incoherent words. I felt something bump my ribs and started until I realized it was his elbow. His fingers automatically clutched my shirt. I could feel his knuckles brush against my bare skin through a hole in the fabric.
It was all wrong—the peace I was feeling that moment. The sun was beginning to set, and was a gentle source of light to my left, warming my skin and drying my hair. Percy was alive and breathing—in my arms—and he was relaxed and safe.
I shook my head clear of the tired daze and gripped the side of the boat. No matter how embarrassingly comfortable I had been, the water wasn't that refreshing anymore. I was too exhausted to try and think up some plan, so I decided to go with pure brute strength. I threw my arm into the boat, up to my elbow, and then pulled Percy higher, probably scraping his back against the wooden wall. With one last heave, I tugged Percy into the boat, grateful for once that he was short and lanky, and fell in right next to him.
Tired, wet, and shaking from the strain, I caught my breath lying on the wooden floor. I didn't even realize my arm was still wrapped around Percy until the soft movement of his chest rising up and down started to lull me to sleep. I wiped my eyes and propped myself up on one elbow.
"You are so much work." I breathed.
He didn't answer. My feet were still hanging out on the top of the boat and so were Percy's. We were slumped over it sideways. I groaned as I crawled to my knees on the floor; my muscles were sore from the slew of things we'd been through. Too much. I was pretty sure I was developing arthritis already.
The boat was surprisingly not that tippy. I couldn't exactly stand up in it, but it was decent enough. I resituated Percy so he at least looked semi-comfortable lying on the wooden floor next to me; my hand found its way under his head as I moved him. Demigod or not—a person's brain can only take so much abuse.
I really hoped he didn't have a concussion. The lingering unconsciousness was freaking me out. Maybe he was just exhausted; the slight purplish tinge underneath his eyes pointed to it. It was weird—thinking about Percy being tired. He was the hero, the clumsy, clueless, albeit oddly gifted, hero. He wasn't supposed to flaws. Percy was supposed to be invincible and untouchable. But, he wasn't. I had seen prove of that at the end of last summer. I was still in shock with what Luke turned to, what he did to Percy. He tried to kill someone.
Different topic. We needed a method of transportation.
As I stitched together a wayward uniform that was floating nearby, I couldn't help but keep my eye on Percy. A floppy haired, green eyed, and scrawny, teenaged boy.
My mom and Poseidon may have their issues.
But I had to give it to the King of the Sea.
That guy sure knew how to breed.
Laugh! That last line was totally hilarious. She said, in a very roundabout way, that Percy was attractive. :) And we all know she thinks that. I'm going to pinpoint that her crush had to have started around his part of the series. Because they do the whole huggy-holdy thing after the Sirens, and then she kisses his cheek after the Chariot race.
So, that's what I'm going to think. :) Besides, he has black hair and green eyes, the best combination, EVAR!
I've always wondered whether I want to marry a guy with that combo because I'm attracted to it, or because I read this series... Hmm...