A/N: I finished reading the Mark of Athena yesterday, and needless to say my feels were just all over the place. That's how this piece was born. RICK RIORDAN WHYYYYYYYYYYYY

Okay, enough with that. I hope you guys like this.

Disclaimer: Rick owns Percy.

Annabeth, in all her glory and wits, had always been afraid of death. Despite being a demigod with powerful skills, awesome combat training, and a mind that came from Athena herself, Annabeth had always been secretly afraid that every battle she'd have to face would actually be her last.

She had first encountered the idea of death when she was barely seven years old. She had always had an irrational fear for spiders, and there was this one, unforgettable moment when spiders kept crawling all over her bedroom floor. She screamed for her father who wasn't at home, and instead of her dad she had gotten her stepmother, a foul-tempered woman who told her to stop screaming and go to sleep.

The spiders bit her that night, and the next day she had itches all over her body. That incident happened for two nights in a row, with her stepmother playing bad cop, and on the third day she decided she had had enough and ran away.

Roaming the streets of New York City all alone proved to be a difficult task that tested her survival skills and fears. Luckily for her, her mother seemed to be listening to her pleas, because Athena protected her and allowed no harm to come her way. She even allowed her path to cross with that of two older demigods, who took her in and protected her like family. When she met Luke and Thalia she thought that nothing would go wrong anymore, but much to her dismay she had another encounter with death a few weeks later.

This death was big and scary, with the horrible power of mimicking the voices of the ones she loved. She had to defeat this one all by herself, because the Cyclops held her friends hostage. She was able to subdue it for a while and untie Luke and Thalia before they defeated it completely, but she remembers the fear she had felt and the voice of her father coming out from that horrible veneer. However, for her courage and bravery, Luke rewarded her with a bronze dagger, and he might have even given her a smile that allowed a cute blush to grace her cheeks.

Aside from being afraid of death, Annabeth also didn't like it when the people she loved would sacrifice themselves for her.

She was positive about this belief when Thalia sacrificed herself and became a pine tree in order for her and Luke to enter Camp Half-Blood. She remembers crying at night for several weeks straight, thinking about Thalia's stand and how she vowed to never let anyone do that to her again. Call it survivor's guilt, but Annabeth didn't like the feeling.

When she met Percy Jackson she didn't expect that she'd have encounters with death almost every other day. She believes it's one of his many talents aside from being annoying; that boy could attract trouble, monsters, and death even worse than a child of Zeus or Hades. At first she had trouble adjusting, for fear that each battle she'd face would be her last one, but gradually she felt a bit more relaxed and at ease. She moved smoothly and battled ferociously, and her confidence grew a lot especially with Percy by her side. Her fear of dying slowly moved down her heart and slumbered for a few years.

But then of course months after the Titan War Percy decided to disappear and leave Annabeth all on her own. Then her irrational fear of death awakened once more and consumed her whole being with terrible fright. She couldn't bear to think that Percy was dead- no she refused to think he was dead, and even though their search proved to be futile for the next seven months she continued to hope that Seaweed Brain was alive.

And he was alive, and they were finally reunited in New Rome after so many days of searching and waiting. They sailed across Mare Nostrum together, encountered death several times once more, and her fear was momentarily subdued now that she's got him on her side. But the Mark of Athena, a quest even more dangerous than the Prophecy of Seven, was looming near, and the worst part was she had to face it all on her own.

Annabeth, in all her glory and wits, had always been afraid of death. Now, as she hangs onto Percy's sweaty hand as he tries to haul her up, she looks into his eyes and sees love and pride in his emerald orbs for what she has done; for successfully retrieving the Athena Parthenos and tricking Arachne into her death. But she knows it's her end, she knows she'll have to go down with the web, and she can't afford anybody to sacrifice for her anymore. She vowed, hadn't she?

"Percy, let me go." she says, trying to stop her voice from cracking and the tears from falling. "You can't pull me up."

She sees his face white and straining with effort, and she no longer wants to see him suffer for her. She tries to let go but Percy catches her hand.

"Never," he says, his voice adamant and filled with emotion. He tightens his grip and she whimpers in pain; the caught web is tugging onto her broken ankle. Damn it, why didn't she think of cutting that stupid web?

"Nico!" Percy yells. "The other side! We'll see you there! Understand?"

Both she and Nico widen their eyes.


"Promise me, Nico!" Percy says, more forcefully this time. "Lead them there!"

She barely hears Nico's promise as Percy locks his eyes on hers once more.

"We're staying together. Never again, Wise Girl."

He releases his hand from the tiny ledge and they fall, their fingers woven as tight as the spider's trap.

"As long as we're together," she whispers.

And suddenly, dying didn't seem so frightful anymore.