Love and war.

Are they so different, really?

Maybe not.

Not when she's watching Annabeth standing in an empty cabin, blankly staring at the floor as a sea breeze blows through the windows.

For once, her mind can't wrap around something—namely the fact that he's gone.


Percy's gone.

How is this even possible? she thinks. Camp without Percy? What about Goat Boy?

She stops in the doorway, knowing that this is a private moment for the blonde girl inside, and a horrible realization comes to her. What about Annabeth?

Clarisse La Rue is not a gentle person, but she figures to Hades with it all, it's now or never. So she steps inside cabin three, puts her arm around Annabeth's shoulders, and says, "Come on, girl. Let's go to the Big House. I'll make you some hot chocolate."

(They're words from a long time ago, old ones for another girl who lost a boyfriend, but Annabeth looks grateful nonetheless.)

Something's hardened in the daughter of Athena's gray eyes, though. She doesn't say anything, but Clarisse gets the message.

I will be strong.

For you, Percy, I will be strong.