Disclaimer: I do not own PJO or HoO
Chapter I Hazel
The entire room was still in a daze. Percy and Annabeth had fallen into Tartarus. Every so often, Hazel would hear Jason mumbling "I could have saved them!" and Frank saying pretty much the same thing. Occasionally Leo would say "I knew I shouldn't have broken that cookie! It's all my fault!" Nico looked miserable and Piper looked the same. All in all, not a very happy crew as they sat at the dining table.
"All right, cupcakes!" Coach Hedge yelled. Gods, that faun – satyr – whatever – was annoying. "There's no point moping around. What's done is done and all you can do is look forward. So everyone stop being miserable! It's not going to help Percy or Annabeth and it is not going to help us stop Gaia! Do you hear me?"
Piper glanced up. "You're right, Coach," she finally said. "So what do we do now?"
"Er… I hadn't thought of that actually! How about we eat?"
Frank stared at Coach Hedge. "Percy and Annabeth are in Tartarus and you're worried about food? Are you serious?"
"Hey, we can hope they're OK but we can't do much else. And you're all useless with nothing in your bellies, okay? Valdez, what's for dinner?"
"Um, I think we have frozen pizza and some packs of noodles in the hold. And there's some soft drinks as well if anyone wants some. And, um, I think that's it. Festus?"
Creak-click-click-click-creak, click-click-creak – or something like that – was the reply.
"Yeah," said Leo. "Oh, and there's some other deep-frozen stuff as well, but it would take way too long to defrost and all that. So, uh, Coach, what do we do after we eat?"
Coach Hedge stared at Leo. "Duh, Valdez. We tell Camp Half-Blood and continue our journey to Greece. Honestly, I thought you had brains."
Leo glared at the faun – no, satyr – and said "Fine. So I'll get the pizza?"
"Yeah, do, Leo," Piper said. "And hurry up. We're all starving." There was a lilt in her voice that Hazel recognised as charmspeaking. In any case, Leo sprinted out of the room so fast he turned into a blur. A few seconds later, he returned with cans of Coke for everybody except Coach Hedge and two pizzas – a pepperoni one and a mozzarella one for Piper and Coach Hedge. He plonked the Coke down on the table and put a pizza into the microwave, then lit up his hand and heated the other one. Hazel felt a stab of worry as she remembered Frank's firewood, still in her pocket.
"So the plan's to tell Camp Half-Blood about Percy and Annabeth? Wouldn't that be, like, seriously bad for morale boosting?" Piper asked through a mouthful of pizza. "Yeah, but it wouldn't be fair to not tell them." Jason said. "And we can tell them about the legion coming as well."
"Tomorrow," said Nico. Hazel felt worried about how bad his voice sounded. It sounded like the grating of a dozen of Alcyoneus' jewels – and she knew really well how that was like. As everyone turned to look at him, he explained "No need to give them bad nightmares. And Cabin Fifteen – the Hypnos cabin – will have nightmares about it. The legion won't arrive tomorrow. Besides, daytime is usually a better time to break bad news. Let them have one more day of – um – not knowing. We can hardly create a rainbow here anyway. Tomorrow morning"
"Uh-huh," Frank mumbled. He swallowed his pizza, then said "But wouldn't that make it evening in their time?"
"Ah, Zhang, that's no problem. They'll end up with the nightmares anyway. And besides, Nico is right. In this case, better later than sooner." Coach Hedge said.
"Yeah," said Jason wryly. "But don't make it too late, right, Coach?"
Coach Hedge glared at him. "Yep."
"All right, everybody," Leo announced in a loud voice. "Early night tonight. Meeting at eight in the morning on deck to send the Iris-message. Just relax, alright? I know it's hard but we're not doing them favours by worrying. Everybody, off to bed. Crew dismissed." When everybody stared at him without any sign of moving, Leo carefully produced a small fireball. "Anyone not in bed in the next two minutes will get scorched. Shoo!".
Everyone slowly shuffled off to bed. Despite what had happened earlier, Hazel felt slightly better. It was good to have a proper plan again, to not feel useless. She glanced at her brother – he'd been given cabin 13. He'd absolutely refused to take Percy's or Annabeth's cabins - and she didn't blame him - so Leo had emptied a storage cabin for him. Nico had just slung a hammock for a bed in the room. When Leo had asked what number he wanted Nico had said 13. It had taken Leo practically seconds to forge that. In any case, Nico still looked miserable. She promised herself to check on him tomorrow – private brother-sister time – and headed to bed.