"He's our friend, our leader, our brother in all but blood..."


The war room was in chaos, filled with worried, stressed, screaming demigods. In the midst of it all was a worried and stressed but not screaming Katie Gardener. Her long-time best friend had vanished without a trace, and the camp was in an uproar trying to find him.

That is to say, Perseus 'Percy' Jackson.

"Look, Princess, believe it or not, I care for Prissy just as much as you guys, but you're the freaking daughter of Athena! You don't go charging in without a plan, and whatever's strong enough to take Percy Jackson without some kind of damage to his cabin or even the camp we'd better be damn wary of," Clarisse said strongly to Annabeth, not quite yelling, but defintely raising her voice to be heard over the din of worried campers.

"I've charged in without a plan with Percy for years, Clarisse, who's to say it won't work?!" Annabeth said right back, a lone tear running down her face.

Clarisse's eyes saddened. "But can you charge in, without a plan, without Percy, and it still work?"

"Yes!" Annabeth screamed, her body vibrating with suppressed sobs and fear. "Yes! It has to!"

Thalia, sitting in as Artemis's ambassador of sorts, said, "Annabeth, you only did that when you were seven. And that was once. Percy's on-the-spot plans only worked because they were absolutely nuts with high-risk factors. You have a lot of imagination, Annabeth, but you don't have a crazy enough mind to create off-the-wall, on-the-spot plans that will get you through with a little bit of pain. I'm sorry, Annie, but it won't work."

Murmurs broke out. Will Solace from the Apollo cabin sighed in exasperation. "Well then, what the heck do we do? Just sit here and have faith in Percy? Our best strategist is in no state of mind of forming a coherent plan, our leader is missing without a trace, and we're all bickering like idiots."

"We can't just sit here!" Jake Mason from the Hephaestus cabin protested.

"We also can't put any others in danger," Lou Ellen from the Hecate cabin said reluctantly. "This is Percy Jackson we're talking about, guys. Whoever it was managed to take him without a fight."

"We need more information," Thalia said heavily, slumping in her seat. "As much as I want to go charging blindly into this, I won't do anyone any good if I'm captured as well."

"Annabeth needs to cool off a little, we all need to get our heads screwed on straight, and—where's Chiron?" Travis said, just noticing that the old centaur wasn't here to input his wisdom.

Everyone shrugged, looking at each other confusedly.

Katie slammed her fist on the decrepit Ping-Pong table, startling everyone at her rather violent action. "You're talking about Percy Jackson, guys. He's our friend, our leader, our brother in all but blood, and you want to give up?! If this had been Annabeth missing, or any of you, really, he would've jerked us all up short and set this damn straight," she said with an almost animalistic growl. "Regardless of whether or not our best strategist is of the state of mind to be planning, or if she's even here, we're making a plan, and we're making a plan now. And no one's leaving until we have a decent plan, whether or not we go through with it."

All the demigods in the room could've sworn the temperature in the room dropped twenty degrees since Katie started talking.

"Okay," Clarisse said, breaking the stunned silence. "New York City is pretty much covered. The Hunters are in North Dakota right now, they'll keep an eye on the Midwest. The least likely place we'll look is in California, because we're always told that Cali is basically cursed with monsters. So we send searchers to Cali and the West Coast, right?"

Conner frowned. "How are we gonna get there? The pegasi are always exhausted after that space-warp-thing they do, and the dragon that's terrorizing the woods most likely isn't exactly helpful right now."

"Send a couple campers with a bunch of pegasi, have them camp out for a day, and then a couple other campers will follow, and we'll search using the rested pegasi," Annabeth said hollowly, staring at her hands.

Katie nodded slowly, wisps of brown hair falling in her face. "That'll do. Are we going through with it, and if so, when?"

Everyone nodded. "We can send the first group tomorrow, equipped with food to last a week and enough tents and sleeping bags for all of the demigods going," Butch suggested.

Katie nodded, her green eyes flashing with determination. "Okay. Let's blow this joint."


"He's our friend, our leader, our brother in all but blood..."


"Tony, what the heck are you doing?"

Stark's head lifted a bit. "I'm thinking."

The billionaire had his shoulders hunched over his granite countertop, a glass of Scotch in his hand that was sitting next to a half-empty bottle of the alcoholic beverage. His hair was ruffled and he had bags under his eyes, and he looked like he just got over a particurally nasty nightmare.

Dr. Bruce Banner looked incredulously at his science bro. Those two words were often uttered from his mouth, but not in the way that Tony was saying right now, usually. As always, Tony proved that Bruce didn't quite have a lock on Tony's personality yet.

"About?" Banner asked warily.

Tony was silent for a long time, staring at his Scotch like he wished it would sprout legs and arms and cartwheel across the counter in an attempt to to distract the billionaire. "Capsicle."

Banner raised an eyebrow.

"We—the Avengers in general—take him for granted," Tony said flatly. "I wonder if his last team took the Cap for granted too, until he saved millions of lives crashing the plane in the Atlantic, freezing himself for 70 years, and upon waking up realizing that everyone he knew was dead or really, really old."

Banner was silent as he slid into the seat next to Tony.

"His team went crazy, looking for his sunk plane," Tony mumbled. "My father fished the Tesseract out of the ocean, carrying the cause of WWII into the next generation...causing another war...a war I'm practically going insane from."

"He's our friend, our leader, our brother in all but blood," Tony announced clearly to the almost empty room. "And heaven forbid I ever take someone for granted."

Then he walked out of the room.

Banner swallowed, wondering just how true Stark's statement about the war making him insane was.

A/N:

Stupid, evil plot bunnies. Short. Ick.

But I like it, for some reason.

I can't figure out why.

Am I the only one that likes it but doesn't at the same time?

Arrivederci!

-Winter

P.S.-I'm going back to my home country for three days! *squee* And in case you're wondering, it isn't the US. It's Spain. Get this—I was born to native Egyptians in Spain while being raised in the Americas. How screwed up is that background? *laugh* I can't wait. It's been so long since I've actually danced with a partner that isn't stumbling over his own feet while turning me around. I'm thinking about putting some of my interesting background on my profile. Thoughts?

P.P.S.-People, I love your favorites, but for every six favorites I get a review, it seems. That's really irritating. I want feedback, to know what I'm doing wrong or right! To push my limits on what I can do!