They Never Came Back

A/N I normally don't like most fics set after MoA, because they're completely chock full of assumptions (and you know what they say about people who assume). But this idea popped up, and I was in need of an idea, so I wrote it down.

I'm such a hypocrite.

"It's gone."

Percy looked to Annabeth. "What?"

"The wall. It just ended."

When Percy and Annabeth had finally hit the ground, one of the first things that popped into his mind after making sure Annabeth was as good as she could be with a broken ankle, was something Annabeth had said when they were fourteen and in the labyrinth. To follow the wall on the left. As Annabeth had no other ideas, she had agreed. So for however long they had been there, she had kept her left hand on the left wall of the tunnel they seemed to be in, with Percy acting as a human crutch to keep her from further damaging her broken ankle.

"Does it turn left or something?" he asked. He brought Riptide around to look for the wall, but the glow was too dim to see anything, as usual.

He heard Annabeth moving her hand along the wet and soft wall until it ended. "I don't know. Maybe there's a room right here?"

"Then we should avoid it," Percy concluded. He hoisted her arm back around his shoulder and began walking forward. "If it's a room, we should find the wall again when we're past it."

Annabeth nodded and hopped along with Percy. She didn't dare put an ounce of weight in her ankle.

As the were passing the room, they heard a soft growl. It was hard to hear with the constant indistinguishable whispers coming from all around them, but they both heard it. Percy tightened his grip on Annabeth and turned his blade to where the sound had come from.

The glow from Riptide was enough to expose the snout of a hellhound, inches away from the two of them. The monster bared it's teeth and, faster than possible, lunged for Percy's throat.

"NO!" Annabeth shrieked, reaching for the blade that Luke had given her so long ago, only to remember having lost it in the fall. She watched in sickening detail as the hellhound sunk his teeth into Percy's flesh, directly into the jugular. Blood everywhere, but she couldn't look away. Like a train wreck.

"Percy, no!" she shrieked again, reaching for Riptide to kill the monster. It was out of her reach, so she put her injured foot down to reach further. A thousand white hot knives pierced the skin of her ankle and traveled down her foot and up to her knee, but she paid it no heed. She grabbed the sword from the ground where Percy had dropped it, and attacked the monster. She brought it down on his neck, and he turned into dust.

She dropped the blade on the ground next to where she knew Percy's head was. It illuminated half of his face and, to her horror, half of his extensive injuries.

"No, Percy!" she yelled at him, dropping to her knees by his chest. His hand groped the floor, looking for her hand, and she provided it. "No," she said again. That was all she was able to say.

His breaths were coming in rasps, and the blood kept flowing out of his wounds. There was a chunk of his neck missing right where his jugular was, and blood all over his face and chest. Annabeth started to rip part of her shirt to press to his neck, but his hand weakly stopped her.

"D-don't," he rasped. "Too… late."

Annabeth let out a pent up sob. "No! You're gonna be fine! We still have to—"

"Sweety," he breathed, and that's when Annabeth lost all hope. He never called her that. "S'alright."

"But it's not!" she sobbed. "You have to stay with me! That's why you came down here!"

Percy's eyes fluttered closed and he shook his head infinitesimally. "Do one th-thing, Annabeth?"

Annabeth nodded her head forcefully and moved closer to his mouth so she could hear him over her sobs.

"Wake up."

Annabeth's eyes snapped open and she heard the echo of a scream in her room on the Argo II. She could tell, from the scratching in her throat, that it and many more had come from her.

She put no more thought into it as she stared up into the battle-hardened, pained, and worried sea-green eyes above her.

He held her wrists in his vice like grip, and she realized she was fighting to get out of his grip. She had the urge to slap at something, scratch and injure something, and she had a feeling Percy was keeping her from doing that to herself. She let the muscles in her arms loosen, and he didn't hold her so tight.

Annabeth tried hard to slow her hyperventilating, but didn't do well. Her gasps turned to sobs, and she had no urge to stop it.

Percy was hovering above Annabeth, standing to the side of her bed. He had put his elbows on either side of her ribs and grabbed her wrists, trying to keep her from clawing at her neck, but when that hadn't worked, he'd put his upper body over hers.

As he watched her sob beneath him, tears gathered in his eyes and started to travel down his nose. She put her arms around his neck and pulled him down to her, so he laid down next to her on her small twin bed and let her sob into his shirt. He stroked her hair, whispering reassurances in her ear. He had heard what she was saying (or screaming) in her sleep, things like 'Percy no' and 'you're gonna be fine', so he assumed it was a nightmare about him. He was so familiar with nightmares about losing her that he wasn't surprised.

He looked to the door, where he had forgotten Jason was standing. He looked worried for Annabeth and tired from saving the two of them from that pit of hell. Percy mouthed 'I've got her' to him, and he nodded and left.

Annabeth's sobs were slowing, and she had slowly stopped convulsively clutching Percy's shirt. Percy moved a strand of sweaty hair away from her face and looked into her eyes. Just doing that made him want to cry with her. What used to be stormy, calculating, and thoughtful were now sad, broken, and a little lost. He knew that his eyes probably didn't look the same, either. He vowed that he would do whatever it took to get her back to her old self if it was the last thing he did.

"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked her in the softest of voices. Sometimes in Tartarus talking about their nightmares would help, sometimes it didn't.

She let out a shuddering breath. "That first hellhound attack, about a day after we got there." Percy knew the one. "It… it didn't go the same. He attacked you, and I couldn't save you," she finished with a whisper so quiet Percy had to read her lips to know the last few words.

Percy hugged her tighter and held her head to his neck, and kissed her head. "It's alright, Annabeth. We got out. We're saved."

Annabeth's face crumpled. "I know. But it was so real!" She started sobbing again. Percy resumed stroking her hair.

"I know what you mean," he murmured.

After a few minutes of her crying herself out into his shirt, she finally rearranged herself on the bed so that Percy was more comfortable. Then she lay with her head in the crook of his shoulder, clutching his hand as if it were a lifeline.

"Will you sleep in here?" She asked in a whisper.

Percy thought about it. Jason would definitely know if Percy never went back to his room, since he had seen him come in here. He would probably be listening for Percy to go back to his room. But he didn't want Annabeth to know Jason had seen her crying. She hated how weak she had already seemed in front of their friends since their escape, and he knew better than to add to that pile of shame.

"Coach Hedge?" He said the name like a question. He could practically hear her roll her eyes.

"If he says anything, I'll take his club and bonk him on the head with it," she said.

The corner of Percy's mouth twitched, almost as if it wanted to smile. Gods, how he missed smiling.

"Sounds like a plan. 'Night, Annabeth." he said.

"'Night, Percy."


"Yeah, Percy?"

He kissed her on the forehead. "I love you."

The corner of Annabeth's mouth twitched as well, only not out of humor as Percy's had. "I love you too."

Percy took the hand that Annabeth wasn't clutching and wrapped his arm around her. He waited until Annabeth's breathing had slowed until he let himself close his eyes. They both slept peacefully, as they had found they could only do in each other's arms.

A/N I have decided to turn this into a three or four chapter thing, explaining things like how Percy was so familiar with dreams of losing her, and why Jason was in the doorway, and whatever else.

I hope I didn't anger anyone or gross anyone out with the dream. But the blood in the beginning is why it's rated T, when the rest of my stuff is all K+. I'm paranoid, so what?

Topic change: I have been totally fangirling all day over the new House of Hades cover. IS IT AWESOME OR WHAT?

Yeah. It's awesome.

Anyway, please review!