Annabeth Chase vowed that when she saw her long-lost boyfriend, the first thing she would do was punch him.
It served him right for disappearing for eight months, leaving her a nervous wreck, causing her to lose sleep and, when she did manage to doze off, she had nightmares about him.
But finally, she was off to the Roman camp—Camp Jupiter—where she would hopefully see her Seaweed Brain.
For the last thirty minutes, all Annabeth had done was walk in circles, pacing on the deck of the Argo II. And she was thinking.
She could only imagine the worst-case scenarios. Percy hadn't made it to the Roman camp. Percy didn't remember her. And, worst of all: Percy, lying on the ground, lifeless, with a gaping wound in his chest.
"Annabeth?" a voice called, bringing her back into the present.
Annabeth turned around to see Piper McLean gazing at her. Piper smiled, her ever-changing eyes gazing calmly at Annabeth.
"He'll remember you, Annabeth. He's still alive," she said, as if reading Annabeth's thoughts.
"I can't help but imagine the worst. What if he's not even-" Annabeth cut herself off, biting her lip worriedly.
"Annabeth, stop it," Piper said firmly, and Annabeth detected a little bit of magic in those three words. "He's going to be okay. He'll remember you. Everything's going to be-" Piper stopped. Annabeth smiled and nodded, knowing that when you're a demigod, nothing is for sure. Your life is full of monsters and surprises.
Rachel Dare came up behind Annabeth. "Everything will be fine," she said. "Take it from me. I am the host of the Oracle, after all."
Before Annabeth could say anything, Jason came up the stairs from the bottom of the ship, where all the bedrooms were. Longing and nervousness were in his eyes, yet his face showed his excitement at seeing his camp and friends again.
"Hi, guys," he greeted, but even Annabeth could tell that he wasn't entirely there. Part of his mind was already in the Roman camp. Annabeth understood his nervousness. While Percy was gone, so much had changed at Camp Half-Blood. Many of Percy's friends had died while he was away, and Jason had replaced him a leader of Camp Half-Blood. Jason was probably worried that something similar had happened at Camp Jupiter while he had been at Camp Half-Blood.
"It'll be okay, Jason," Piper reassured him. Annabeth's thoughts turned to her boyfriend, as they were on him most of the time. Percy… how much did he still remember?
"Hey, people! We'll be landing in, like, ten minutes, so I suggest you guys get yourselves ready!" a voice called, interrupting Annabeth's thoughts. She turned to see Leo Valdez manning the wheel, looking much like Captain Jack Sparrow.
"I suggest you take the next five minutes to prepare yourselves for the Romans, because they probably won't take too kindly to a giant Greek warship descending from the sky, especially if they didn't get our video message." Jason suggested.
"Even with someone as terrific as me on board?" Leo asked, pretending to be offended.
"If they knew you were on board, they would probably redouble their efforts to kill you," Piper told him.
"I just hope that they don't attack us, but I think this should do the trick," Jason said, pointing towards the giant white flag.
Piper walked over towards him and squeezed his shoulder. "It'll be fine, Jason," she reassured him. Jason looked her gratefully, but Annabeth knew from the look in his eyes that there was something else in his expression: guilt. Annabeth made a mental note to interrogate him about it later, but she needed to go over the plan again.
"Okay everybody, gather up," Annabeth said, summoning everyone together near the wheel so Leo could listen without leaving the ship unmanned.
" First, Jason gets off the ship because they'll recognize him," Annabeth explained in her best strategy voice. At least I hope they remember him.
"We'll go in small groups, so they won't feel threatened. When they tell us that we can disembark safely, I'll go down with Piper. Leo, you make sure the ship won't blow up until we come back, because I don't think the Romans will like that very much. When everything is turned off properly, come down with Rachel. Don't spend too long on the ship, because then the Romans might think that we're trying to hide people from them." Not likely, but best to cover all possible angles.
"We've got it, Annabeth," Piper said, nodding at Annabeth, but Annabeth couldn't tell if it was because Piper was annoyed and just wanted her to be quiet, or if she actually sympathized.
Annabeth had just opened her mouth to respond when Leo interrupted.
"Uh, guys, I just thought you might be interested… we've reached the Roman camp. And they're waiting for us," Leo said.
Annabeth frowned. There was something wrong with his tone. "Leo, why do you seem nervous?"
She looked over the edge of the ship and found out the answer for herself before Leo replied.
"They're waiting for us," Leo repeated. "And they look angry."