Characters: Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase.
Summary: There's treatments and medicines and white rooms and doctors, sure, but there's no cure. Insanity's curious like that.
Notes: Well. What can I say? It's been a few days in the making, but I'm really happy with the outcome. It's one of my sad, insane little one-shot epics that I have for every fandom - Defeat for the Hunger Games, and How The Potters Died for Harry Potter - and I love it. To pieces. Does this mean I'm insane? Well, I still hope you enjoy.
"But you'll always be my hero,
even though you've lost your mind."
-'Love The Way You Lie Part II' Rihanna ft. Eminem.
Insanity is a curious thing. Especially amongst the gods.
The best story, in their opinion, is of Cassandra, Apollo's prophetess. Cassandra who spoke fantastic prophecies of tragedy and defeat; prophecies that no one would ever believe. She drove herself mad, she did. The gods just laughed.
But Cassandra was not a demigod. Cassandra was not a hero of Olympus, or a child of the big three. She was just a little mad girl way in over her head. Percy Jackson is not.
"Shadows," he whispers first. "No! NO!" He screams, thrashing left and right, sinking further and further into the pillows and blankets.
The shadows are coming. So dark, sucking up his memories, and didn't he have a best friend, once? Something about a little figure dressed in black - Percy drops it in surprise, and the ground beneath him burns and cracks in front of his eyes.
Water. Water used to be good, Percy thinks. Safe, water is. He's sure. But he's so thirsty, and he swears that that tree over there is looking at him...
A girl with blonde hair; doesn't he remember her?
Darkness isn't safe. Darkness is going to kill him, eat him, bury him alive...
"Percy!" Nico says softly, appearing from the shadows themselves and shaking his shoulder. "Percy, dude, wake up!" And Percy does. He wakes with a scream, and water pours through the cracks in the ceiling above their heads.
"Who are you?" Percy asks wearily, rubbing a hand over a face whilst his other itched towards Riptide in his pocket. He remembers Riptide.
"Perce, it's me," the smaller boy tells him. "Nico. Freaky Hades kid. Remember?"
"Remember?" He repeats, as though it's not a word he's heard before, but it interests him. "Yes, of course I remember, Nick."
"Nico," Nico corrects faintly.
"Nico," Percy says again, confused. It's a typical Percy expression, and it calms Nico down slightly. "Nico, what're you doing here? My dad'll kill you if he finds out you've been in the Poseidon cabin." He looks around, and, leaning over, turns on a light.
"It's fine, Perce, I've barely been here. And I was outside, and you were screaming. Nightmare, I think."
Nico nods, and rubs his neck uncomfortably. "Are... are you alright? Not freaking out on us or anything? With the whole prophecy and that? You've have as good a reason as any."
"I know," Percy agrees, sitting up in bed. "Trust me, I know. But I think I was just... panicking. You know how you do in dreams and crap."
"'Course," he says, not believing the Hero of Olympus one bit.
"Um, I think you'd better go." They both chance a glance out of the window, but Percy spots the rain first and swears. "You'd definitely better go. Dad's going to be mental if you stay any longer. Hades' spawn, and all that."
"Right," Nico whispers faintly. "I'd better..." he points to the shadows, and Percy nods. "I'll see you tomorrow, Percy."
Nico doesn't see Percy tomorrow, or the day after that. In fact, Nico doesn't see the real Percy ever again.
"Percy, Percy, you need to calm down," Annabeth soothes, but her normally neat blonde hair is messy, and her eyes are wild as she looks on at her boyfriend. Percy does not calm down.
"Who are you people? Where am I? I don't understand!"
"Percy, we're your friends. You're at Camp Half Blood," Grover says, and Thalia rolls her eyes at him, because Percy obviously does not know where or what Camp Half Blood is right about now. In fact, he looks practically terrified. If this were any other situation, she's relish in the look of horror on Percy's face, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and she controls herself.
Thalia straightens her crown, coughs slightly, and looks straight at the terrified boy.
"Now, listen here. I'm Thalia, lieutenant of the Hunters of Artemis. That's Grover, a satyr, and Annabeth, a daughter of Athena. You are Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon and, currently, Annabeth's boyfriend.
"Get your act together."
"A son of Poseidon?" Percy asks incredulously. "As in the Greek God? You're all barking. Insane. Loony! Just let me go home!"
Thalia mentally slapped herself on the forehead.
"And where is home, Percy?" Annabeth questions softly, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. He falters.
"I - I - I don't know. But I'll find out, right? I mean, you don't just forget where you live. I'll - I'll go and look for my parents, and then I'll remember, and it'll all be fine-"
"You can try and look for your mum, but I don't think that's quite the safest option at the moment. And I wouldn't advice looking for your dad, unless you decide to grow wings," Thalia tells him unsympathetically, looking up at the sky and, for the first time, praying that the gods are eavesdropping on this particular conversation.
"You're all insane!" Percy yells, and somewhere outside, a loud wave crashes on the beach.
Coincidence, of course.
"We're not, Seaweed Brain."
"Seaweed Brain?" He repeats, testing the words on his tongue, looking at Annabeth as though he has never seen her before. "I... I think I know someone called that..."
"Yes!" Annabeth says, leaning forward and grasping his hands. "It's me, Percy. Annabeth. Remember? Please, remember."
"Of course I remember," Percy says distractedly. "Annabeth. Annabeth. You told me that I drool when I sleep." She leaps up, and hugs him tightly, whispering nothings into her hair and clutching his fingers with one hand tightly. "But..."
"But what, Perce?" Grover asks, grinning, looking for all the world as though he's just stumbled across the world's biggest enchilada truck.
"Nothing. Nothing," he answers with an even wider and even faker grin. "How could I forget? 'Course I remember you, Wise Girl."
Thalia thinks that that smile says otherwise.
There is silence around the camp fire. Clarisse has been telling the elaborate, but heartfelt, story of Silena's sacrifice when Percy blurts out the question. All faces turn to him, different shades of horror written all over them.
Rachel doesn't look horrified, or even remotely shocked. She's been expecting it for days now.
"Silena, Percy," Annabeth says. "Silena Beauregard. Daughter of Aphrodite. Remember?"
He shakes his head, and somewhere on the other side of the steadily dying fire, somebody sobs out a word, but nobody pays any attention. They are all looking at the son of Poseidon.
"I've told you!" Clarisse shouts suddenly, her armour clinking as she stands and points an accusing finger at Percy. "I've already told you a thousand times, you insolent brats! He is insane! Mental! A lunatic! He's forgotten everything! He asked me who Chris was yesterday. I had to punch him to get any sense out of him! He's lost it all.
"Get this through your thick heads: Percy. Is. Gone. That boy there? He's a shell! Nothing more! He doesn't-"
Clarisse chokes off with a watery laugh that sounds, to all, as if she has finally broken. Rachel thinks that, well, maybe she has.
"- he doesn't even remember Silena, and she died for him."
"That's not true!" Annabeth screams back at her, releasing Percy's hand and standing as well. "He is Percy! You almost die that many times, and you come out unscathed! It's bloody Hera, messing with his mind again! He'll be back to normal. Give it a month, Clarisse. He hasn't even been back a month."
She is crying by the end of her short speech, but Rachel knows that nobody can truly bring themselves to care.
Because Clarisse is right. Percy Jackson is gone. What's left is a shell.
"Annabeth," Percy says softly, and suddenly, he is her Seaweed Brain, and he's going to tell Clarisse just how much he remembers, just how wrong she is and always will be, just how much he is the hero he's always been. But he looks so sad. "Who's Hera?"
These words cause uproar, so deafening that those not taking part cover their ears, including Rachel who has constant headaches anyway, thanks very much.
Chiron sends everyone back to their cabins, including Percy and Annabeth, who are still attached to each other, solemn and barely breathing. Their thoughts flutter and change and never rest.
Grover goes out to the forest and looks for Juniper, who comforts him and helps him to forget.
Thalia returns to her hunters, who don't know of Percy and his amnesia, and so lead her on a hunt and don't ask questions.
Chiron sits at his desk and waits.
Rachel stays with the dying fire, even thought multiple people come and try and pry her from her spot and towards the Big House. She ignores them and pretends that the fire in the centre is really alight, rather than dead and cold and dark.
Chris and Clarisse don't part either, but instead brave the harpies and Chiron's wrath, and sit out on the beach, hold hands and remember a girl named Silena Beauregard.
Annabeth turns wearily from where she stands on the beach. She has just been to see Percy; Percy, who can look at you and tell you his life story from the age of four, or not know who you are, and swap between each in a manner of seconds. He has done both four times today, and so she's escaped for a while.
"Lord Hermes." She bows gracefully, but resentfully, because the gods are not in her favour at the moment, as she has never been in theirs.
The winged god laughs and waves mockingly as he sprints down from the other end of the beach. "So cold, daughter of Athena. You wound me." He touches his heart. "Right here."
"I can't touch you," Annabeth scoffs, "you're immortal."
"Irrelevant," Hermes waves her off. "I have a message from you. Your presence has been requested at Olympus. I by requested, I mean demanded."
"Of course," she nods, biting her lip and straightening her orange Camp Half Blood shirt. "Now?"
"Well, they said as soon as possible, but by that, they probably mean yesterday." He winks at her, but at the lack of reaction, he places a finger under her chin and lifts up her head. "Smile, Anniebeth. Perseus isn't dead yet."
After all, gods aren't all so good at the tactical side of things.
Annabeth glares at him, but nods sullenly. "And I'm supposed to get there... how? I promised Chiron I'd stay at camp all summer this time. No running off for impromptu meetings."
"What meetings worth having aren't impromptu?" Hermes asks, but he shakes his head. "Anyway, I'll take you, of course. These wings on my sandals aren't just for show, you know, though they are the very height of fashion in Milan this season."
She doesn't feel amused.
"Alright, alright." He sighs, and fiddles with his belt, before reaching out his hand to her. "I'd advise you to hang on."
Hermes straightens his hat, takes her hand, and runs straight at the water. At the last second, he pulls up, his sandals bearing their joint weight with ease as the ocean disappears beneath them.
And Annabeth flies. For a second, she forgets all about her fear, about the past few weeks, about Jason and Piper and Leo and Thalia and Grover and Clarisse and Nico and Chris and Rachel and herself and Percy, because she is flying, and well, she doesn't want to remember.
"Lady Hera," Annabeth says coldly, bowing so low that her back almost bends in half. Hera raises an amused eyebrow as Zeus and Poseidon fume quietly.
"I think you can imagine why we sent you here, child," Hera says mockingly, standing up from her throne and towering over the tiny Annabeth in her goddess form. She steps forward, and as she does so, she shrinks until she is a normal, human size, but still towering over Annabeth.
"I can imagine, yes," she replies disinterestedly, ignoring the queen of the gods' obtrusive staring.
"How is brave Perseus doing?"
"That's it, Hera!" Poseidon yells, standing up and also shrinking to his human form to stand in front of the goddess. "You fix my son, and you fix him now. Do you understand me?"
Hera quickly and easily silences him with a wave of her manicured, ring-adorned hand. "Of course, of course. If I could fix him, Poseidon, I would. But I fear that this is not the backlash of my memory work, but rather, Perseus's."
"Percy?" Annabeth asks suddenly, stepping forward again. "You mean to say that Percy erased his own memories?"
"No, no," Hera laughs at the idea, pure amusement shining in her cold eyes. "I mean to say, that it happens. Heroes, I'm afraid, aren't overly tolerant. It happens to the best."
"What does?" She glares at the goddess and awaits the answer.
"Lunacy, of course."
"That's ludicrous!" Poseidon yells in fury. Annabeth gets the feeling that Florida just felt a hurricane. "My son is not insane, Hera, and I'd advise you not to call him such!"
"Ah, but it's not my judgement. It's common sense, really, Poseidon. Ask Athena." Her eyes flutter back to Annabeth, and she smirks. "This isn't my doing. Yes, I may have started the domino effect, if you will, but I hardly placed down the dominos."
"What a horribly mortal analogy," Zeus comments softly from where he still sits, in his god form, in the centre of the semi-circle of thrones.
"Percy is perfectly sane," Annabeth interjects. "It's your memory tampering! This never would've happened if it weren't for you!" She points at Hera, before wrapping her arms around herself and falling silent.
"However," a cool voice states, and Athena, mortal sized, appears from behind an ancient pillar, looking solemn, "it isn't impossible, even for the greatest of heroes." She pauses, and frowns. "Not that Perseus is, of course."
"You mean people can just... lose their memories?" Poseidon adds in, glaring at Athena.
"It's possible, that in times of great trauma, the brain can subconsciously... reverse some of the worst memories. Which starts a chain reaction, that..."
"That slowly eats away at all of their memories," Annabeth says quietly. "I know."
"Then, child, I think that however..." Athena stops, and glares slightly at the goddess. "... frivolous Lady Hera was with her powers, there is no one to blame here. Perseus is simply... losing his mind."
The gods and goddesses nod their heads to Annabeth, who stumbles back out of the room, and into the arms of Hermes. They slowly and silently fly back to the beach of Camp Half Blood, where Percy stands, sighing in obvious relief.
Athena said that there was no one to blame, but Annabeth can't really help but blame herself.
"Percy's having another one of his episodes again," Grover tells Annabeth at the door of Athena's cabin. Annabeth, dressed in a light dressing gown and slippers, nods tiredly, and quietly follows Grover to the Big House, where a bed has been set up, most likely by the Morpheus cabin. Percy is far from silent.
"Let we go! Why are you keeping me here? What do you want?"
It is a natural occurrence now. Some days are good days, where Percy only forgets little things, like why he likes the colour blue, or who told him that he drools in his sleep.
Some days are worse.
"Grover!" Percy calls , catching the satyr's entrance almost immediately. "Grover, dude, tell them. I don't know anything. Mrs Dobbs is going to kill us if we don't get back for double math-"
"How much do you remember today, Perce?"
His brow furrows, and Grover sighs. Today is a bad day. Today they're back to Mrs Dobbs and strange occurrences and Gabe.
"I remember... I remember you. And... peanut butter? Something about peanut butter. Maybe Mum ran out? I left for school today, and we were on the bus, where Nancy poured something over your head, I remember that."
Grover winces. He doesn't like being reminded of the time he pretended to be twelve.
"But who are you?" Percy asks, pointing to Annabeth, who is standing right next to Grover, her hand on his shoulder. Her eyes are narrowed.
He thinks she's going to say, "Your girlfriend," or maybe, "Somebody who used to love you," because if anyone can pull the guilt-trip on an amnesiac, it's Annabeth Chase.
"Annabeth, Percy," she says softly, and it's so unlike Annabeth that all of the room's occupants have to shiver a little. "My name is Annabeth." And she nods a little. "I've just got to-" Annabeth runs out of the Big House, past Nico who appears from the shadows with a horrified look on his face.
"There has to be-" Annabeth wanders back into the Athena Cabin and runs to one of the many bookcases, frantically pulling down book after book and thumbing through them before dropping them. "-something-"
"Annabeth," Grover murmurs, as she pulls down another book, goes to the index, her eyes drinking up the information. "Annabeth, there's nothing."
"There has to be something!" She screams, dropping the book and sitting down on the bed that he presumes is hers. "Anything, Grover. Just so he can recognise me. Even if he doesn't know my name, just so that he can look at me and remember something..."
"There's no cure, Annabeth. There's treatments and medicines and white rooms and doctors, sure, but there's no cure. Insanity's curious like that."
"Curious?" She repeats, astounded. "That's the understatement of the century."
"At least it's a statement of something," Grover growls; because it's just so sad that they've all been tiptoeing around it for weeks now, but Percy isn't getting any better. He never will, after all.
It is exactly three months, two days, seven hours and eighteen minutes after Percy's first "episode" before he falls into a coma. Oh, he wakes sometimes, but only for an hour or two, every five days or so. This new Percy never stays long, and the real Percy, well; he's still buried in that coma.
It is exactly two weeks, thirteen hours and nine minutes before Percy does not wake up anymore.
"Annabeth," they say, like it can wake her up too, as though that's all that's needed for everything to be alright. Like the Rumplestiltskin story; just say the name and everything will be alright.
"Just... a minute. That's all I need."
They all leave, apart from Nico, Thalia, Rachel, Grover, and - Annabeth thinks this in dry amusement - of course, Percy.
"I haven't spoken to Percy since I woke him up that first day, what? Three months ago? Four?" Nico says idly, walking around the bed to crouch beside Percy's head. He leans an elbow on the bed, and rests his head on it. "What a waste."
None of them have ever seen Nico look so solemn.
"I haven't seen him smile for... I don't want to think how long. And even then, it was fake." Thalia, leaning against the far wall, pauses, and with a small grin, echoes Nico. "What a waste."
Rachel doesn't say anything at all, just sits at his bedside and turns the torch in her hand on and off even though it's still daylight.
"He's not getting better, Annabeth. I think... I think it's time to let him go. Any memories he has now... well, they aren't worth keeping. You know that. You remember."
What if she doesn't want to remember?
"There was a prophetess called Cassandra once." They all look at her, bewildered, as she tears the mortal-made IV drip from Percy's arm. "They say she drove herself insane, because she was cursed. No one would ever believe her, and after all, insanity's a curious thing.
"She went mad. And they say the gods just laughed."
Annabeth grasps Percy's hand, and holds it tight as her hero's eyes flutter open for a second, before closing. The pulse beneath her fingers slows to a stop. Somewhere, Hera begins to laugh.