A/N: MY FEELINGS. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. I WROTE THIS AND I GAVE MYSELF FEELS THAT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN WHY AM I YELLING.
*ahem* So this little thing popped up this morning during math, and it's been bugging me all day. I'm actually quite proud of this one, sooo… let me know what you think?
(Also, to clarify: parts I and II are in Annabeth's point of view, while parts III and IV are in Percy's.)
Nothing can compare to the exquisite agony of this.
Annabeth doesn't even have the ability to scream. All sound, all ability to convey emotion is ripped from her throat by the rushing wind. They're falling faster, faster, faster still, and all Annabeth wants is for it to end.
Beautiful sacrifices to wake the goddess.
Percy's arms tighten around her, his hands linked tight to hers, and she tries to hang on. (He is her only anchor in a sea of uncertainty.)
A one-way trip. A very hard fall.
With a shattering jolt, the fall comes to an abrupt end.
She hears something snap. Percy grunts from beneath her—reassuring her that he's at least still alive—and she rolls off of him, only to be blinded by a wave if pain so great that it almost knocks her out. The temporary splint on her broken ankle is snapped and twisted, lending little to no support for her to walk.
"Annabeth?" Percy's voice, grating and rough, whispers from her right. She can just make out the dim glowing light of Riptide through the gloom. "Annabeth, are you okay?"
Stupid ankle, she groans inwardly. "Not really."
Her boyfriend's head jerks up in alarm. "What? What's wrong?"
Despite everything that's happened, she manages a weak laugh. "I'm not dying, Seaweed Brain. Just my ankle, that's all."
Percy drags over a backpack that Annabeth takes a moment to process as her own. "Not much in here except—aha." He pulls out a baggie of smashed ambrosia squares. "These will have to work for now."
Annabeth manages to chew her way through one of the ambrosia squares (it tastes like Camp Half-Blood barbecue) while Percy resets her ankle. He'd done enough messing around with rope on ships to get a basic idea of how to rig up a cast.
"Ready?" Percy twists a last strip of salvageable bubble wrap around the piece of wood and sets her ankle back on the ground. Even with him being as gentle as he can, a hiss of pain still escapes through her clenched teeth.
She reluctantly looks up and meets her boyfriend's eyes, glowing green even in the depths of Tartarus. "Is it alright if I say no?"
"Shh, baby, it's okay," Percy murmurs, pulling her onto his lap. (They only used those types of names when they were teasing each other or if something was really, really wrong.) "No more demigod stuff for right now. Okay?"
Annabeth sighs. "Okay. Help me up?"
Leaning heavily on Percy for support, she takes a deep breath and pushes up. Black spots swim before her eyes, but she persists in rising until she hears her knees pop.
"Come on," she says, trying to keep her voice from shaking. "Let's kick some podex, Seaweed Brain."
(She realizes she just thought like a Roman, but she doesn't really care.)
The Doors grind shut with a finality difficult to dispute, and there is a brief moment where no one speaks.
Finally, Percy (thirty pounds underweight and looking more like a skeleton than a teenager, athough she's pretty sure she looks ten times worse) opens his arms and says, "Did you guys miss us?"
All at once, he and Annabeth are crowded into an enormous group hug, and Jason has his arms wrapped around her and he's saying you're both safe, you're both safe, and everyone is crying and Coach Hedge is shouting over the noise to Camp Half-Blood on an Iris-message and for one instant everything is alright again.
Afterward, they lie together in the Grecian sun, facing each other, away from the ship where no one will bother them.
"I love you," Percy whispers, wiping a glittering tear from her cheek with his thumb. "Don't ever forget that, okay?"
Annabeth nods solemnly. "I won't. Not for one minute."
She wonders if his eyes have always been that bright.
When Annabeth collapses on the battlefield, her once-orange shirt stained bright red, Percy knows it is over.
He runs to her side, muttering "No, no, no…" but it's too late. By the time he gets there, her breath is coming in rattling, shallow gasps and her face is ghostly white.
"Annabeth, no…no, you can't leave me, come on! You're—"
She holds up a hand to stop him, and the barest hint of a smile plays across her chalky lips. "Percy," she breathes, "it's my time to die. I know it is. And trust me, I have…no regrets. If I could do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Not for anyone, Seaweed Brain. Not for the whole damn world."
She closes her eyes for the last time.
Shaking with grief and rage, he draws his sword and spins away from the body of his brutally murdered girlfriend. You will PAY for her life, Gaea, do you understand?
Percy runs into battle, slashing and hacking and stabbing as he's never done before, despite Nico yelling, "Percy, no! You need a god for—"
A soft breeze from behind him causes Percy to spin around. Poseidon stands in full war regalia, trident in hand, sadness as Percy has never seen before reflected in eyes the same shade of green as his own.
"Well, my son? Shall we?"
Percy nods and charges Porphyrion.
It will be his last battle, and he knows it well.
This is it. This is the end.
Somewhere very far away, Nico is screaming at him. "Come on, Percy, get up! You're the strongest demigod I've ever met! And you're my cousin! You've survived injuries way worse than this bef—"
Percy draws a shuddering gasp, and the cluster of people—including Leo, who abruptly ceases setting random things on fire—falls silent.
"I knew that when I—" He has to stop for a moment to remember what he wants to say.
"You need rest, man," Frank says, looking terrified. "We can't lose you."
"There's nothing you can do, Frank," Piper murmurs gently. She kneels down and encloses Percy's cold hand in her two warm ones, scarred and burned and bruised to the point where he can't tell what her skin tone is anymore. "Percy's going, and he knows it. That's what he's trying to tell you."
"It's okay, Perce." Jason whispers. He points to the trident on Percy's arm, the black SPQR as stark against his skin as it was the day he recieved it. "You will be remembered with honor."
Percy smiles. "A true nobleman of Rome. A hero of Greece. I don't suppose I could ask for more." The world slips for a minute, going fuzzy, and he knows this is the end. "I—I promised Annabeth that I would—that I would never leave her again, and—"
"Oh, my gods." Hazel clamps her hands over her mouth as Percy's vision tunnels again. "An oath to keep with a final breath."
"Annabeth…" Percy murmurs.
His vision goes black, and everything is still.