Hey guys! SO ths chap looks a little shorter than I thought but oh, well. I'm really happy with it. Hopefully I made it emotional enough without making it grotesquely sappy. :) Let me know how I did?
I had a reviewer ask for a chap of them AFTER the war...not sure if this is what you meant...if it isn't let me know! I TAKE REQUESTS FOR CHAPTER IDEAS! IF I LIKE IT I'LL DO IT!
And swim just finished for me! JV conference was yesterday and I KILLED it in the 500! (500=Going down and back 10 times) I got a new best time by 3 seconds getting myself a 6:17! :D Really happy!
So let me know what you think of this chap! And FYI I'm currently building the basis of a new, actual story for FF. Similar yet very different to my Blocking Out Painful Things story which earned me many reviewers and readers. Same concept of "Daughter of Percabeth" but with very different characteristics and VERY different plot line that I'm hoping won't be too weird. I'm currently consulting with Panda-Angel-Wings about it but IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO HELP ME THEN PLEASE PM ME! I'd love as much input as possible.
Anyhoo, review about what you think of this CH! :D
And follow me on twitter AFAuthor (I'd love to get a following there and be able to communicate about things with readers!)
The Giant War had finished less than a month ago. Percy had spent the first few days at camp, and then spent about a week with his mom, and Annabeth included. About a week ago they came back to Camp Half-Blood. Their sleeping arrangements were difficult at Camp. At Percy's moms house, Sally had turned a blind eye to the fact that they needed to sleep together, as long as a door remained open. At Camp, things were complex.
The rules were strict, and for understandable reasons. Two Campers, who were of differentiating parentage and opposite sexes, were not permitted to be alone in a cabin, let alone sleep together.
Luckily, after the War the schizophrenia of the gods faded and Annabeth's Yankees cap returned to it's normal magical state. Annabeth had to keep from crying from relief when she discovered this. It was a sign her mother forgave her, and was maybe even apologizing.
Using her recently magically revived cap, Annabeth would sneak out of her cabin sometime after midnight and go into the Poseidon Cabin, where a certain son of the sea god would be waiting. Only then would either of the two get some peaceful sleep.
One of these nights had been particularly hard on Percy, though he had Annabeth pressed against him, he still suffered a nightmare. Though, this time it wasn't Annabeth's death he saw.
He instead saw himself, in Tartarus, and saw all the things he did, and all the things he felt and, more importantly, all the things he didn't. Worst was his encounter with Misery and the fear which turned to anger inside of him, bringing forth a cruelty he didn't know he possessed. He so badly wanted to watch that hideous being die slowly, choking on her own pain. Didn't she know Percy had enough misery on his own? He didn't need hers! Neither he nor Annabeth needed any more Misery, they had a surplus of their own. He just wanted to watch Misery die, and was relishing in the fact that he was the one who would cause it.
Thinking back on that moment now, and Annabeth's face-gods, she had been afraid of him!-now made Percy want to vomit. He had been startled awake from this nightmare after watching him...after watching himself become Annabeth's killer, hurting her in the same way he hurt Misery. And while he felt guilt now that he was awake, he had felt none while he was dreaming.
Shaking and frightened, Percy gingerly untangled himself from Annabeth and walked over to his small bathroom. Every cabin had one. It was a half bath, with no shower. Simply a toilet and a sink with a few cupboards and one closet. The showers and extra stalls were in the bathhouse. Percy turned the faucet on in the sink and splashed some water on his face, hoping any connection to his element might help, but it did nothing to cleanse his mind of guilt.
Guilt was such a heavy emotion, it weighed down your soul, your body and mind. It would crush you, leaving devastation in it's wake. It was a destroying emotion, but it could also be healthy. Guilt meant conscience. It meant humanity.
Anger was such a light emotion. It carried you away and let you act without remorse. It was simple and easy to take and could motivate you in the toughest of situations, but it is a hateful emotion. Unlike guilt, which can feel killing but can lead to health, anger simply feels good but can kill you just as simply. Anger is harder because it's so much easier. Why be weighed down by an anchor of guilt? Why let it drown you?
But when you sever the cord to your guilt, you also sever the cord to everything that keeps you floating. Once you do that you're all alone. No anchor below you, but no life-preserver around you either, and you better damn hope you can swim. It's a fate of your own making, but it often ends ugly.
And Percy stood on the precipice of making his decision, much like Luke was when Percy was twelve. Luke, unfortunately, made the wrong decision. Percy was trying so hard to make the right choice, but it was getting really hard. His guilt was pulling him down so much, he would be drowning in his guilt, he was sure, if not for Annabeth. Percy couldn't lose Annabeth, so he was trying so hard to survive with the anchor.
But his guiltless moments in Tartarus, those few, callous moments where Percy didn't make the right choice, they were haunting him now. He had made Annabeth afraid. Annabeth had been afraid of him.
Percy gripped the edge of the sink, his knuckles turning white from holding on too hard. His head was bowed down. His eyes were clamped shut. He told himself that he didn't feel tears running down his cheek. He was lying. He knew it.
Suddenly it all became much too hard. Percy wanted to scream, so badly. He wanted to cry out the injustices he had endured. He wanted to go up to Olympus and punch Zeus in the face. He wanted to denounce all the gods. He wanted to run and never look back. He wanted to be bitter.
With all this pressure building inside of him, he hardly noticed when the sink exploded. It only seemed right that something explode when he couldn't.
Annabeth yelped as she was suddenly awoken by the noise. Percy just stood and watched water spray around as Annabeth ran over. Looking at the wreckage in shock she turned to him. "What happened?" She demanded.
"The sink, uh, exploded," Percy muttered.
"Yeah, I got that." She snapped. "Think you could make the water stop, oh wise son of Poseidon?" She crossed her arms and stared at him, now soaking wet, it was only when he made the water stop that he realized he was wet, too. He hadn't willed himself dry.
Annabeth sighed. Her face softened once she studied him closer. He wasn't meeting her eyes, which was something that was becoming more common recently. His hands were in fists and he was biting his lip so hard she was afraid he would draw blood. Everything about him seemed tense and angry. Something that was also becoming more common recently.
"Percy, what is it?" She asked, quietly, but sternly.
"It's nothing, Annabeth," he tried to assure. "I'm sorry I woke you. I can get you some dry clothes-," he tried to walk past her but Annabeth moved into his way.
"No. Not until you talk to me."
"So we're going to stand here soaking wet while we have a nice talk about our feelings?" Percy asked, his usual sass replaced by a new biting edge.
"Yes," Annabeth replied. "Percy you're worrying me and you're not talking to me about it. We said we would talk about this when everything was said and done and now it is. So talk."
Percy sank down to the floor, leaning against the wall. Annabeth followed his lead, leaning against the doorframe. "I don't know what to say," he admitted.
"Let's start with the nightmares. They've been getting worse, which is weird because they should be getting better now that we're not fighting for our lives." Percy looked down and Annabeth realized that, in some mental or emotional way, Percy was still fighting for his life, except it was on a new battleground, previously unexplored and completely foreign to him. He was fighting in his mind. He was fighting over who he would become. He was standing on a cliff and Annabeth was worried he might fall. "Percy, please...just talk to me." She pleaded.
Percy put his arms on his knees and began to speak. He spoke rapidly and quietly, though his voice grew in volume. It was like he was afraid he'd lose the courage or was afraid Annabeth would leave before he could finally finish saying what was on his mind. Throughout his entire speech or story, whatever it is you wish to call it, Annabeth spoke not once. She listened thoughtfully and painfully, wondering how she hadn't noticed his pain earlier.
He told her how the nightmares were first about her, about her dying. Then they began focusing on his anger at her death. How he would lose himself if it ever happened. Then they became about Tartarus, and how maybe he had already lost himself.
Towards the end Percy began looking the opposite direction, his voice more ragged. Annabeth turned his head to face her and saw he was crying.
The Percy Jackson she knew didn't cry. He just didn't. He was able to go through so much crap and stay strong and hold her as she cried. But somewhere in her, she was thankful she could finally return the favor. Percy fell into her as he lost it, and Annabeth held him close. Without words she assured him he was not lost, he was here, in Annabeth's arms and in her heart and he could always find himself there. Without words, she assured him that, though he may be a little broken, so was she, and the could heal each other together. It was a painful, but worthwhile process that would lead to their eventual happiness. Without words, she assured him that she would always love him. She would always be there. She was here because of him, she was alive because of him, she was happy because of him. She knew what it felt like to be bitter, hadn't she felt the same at Luke's betrayal? She knew how anger seemed so tempting, but she also knew the strength that choosing the hard way gave you. While it may seem daunting, and you may seem to weak, once you choose to go the hard way, Fate, or perhaps the fates, will give you the strength you need.
So for roughly an hour they sat there, slowly drying their clothes as their faces remained wet. And it was in that moment, Percy chose the hard way. Once he decided to, it was easy. He had already been given the strength, and her name was Annabeth.
Once he was done crying he felt himself blush, embarrassed at his breakdown. Annabeth smiled, wiping away the tears from his cheeks and the hair from his eyes. "Well, there, we've had our emotional breakdown, I think we can officially be done with that Quest, huh?" Annabeth asked, even though she knew that the Quest of the Seven would be one she would carry with her for the rest of her life, but Percy was here to shoulder it with her, so she knew she would be fine.
Percy chuckled, and that sarcastic gleam in his eye returned and Annabeth almost began sobbing all over again when she saw it. To her, it was as much a symbol as her Yankees cap being returned to it's previous magical state. Percy was becoming more like his old self, while still maintaining some of his new self. It would be hard to figure out what parts of him to keep and what he can discard, his guilt, Annabeth knew, would be particularly hard for him to get rid of, but she was confident it could be done. She just knew, and so did he.
He leaned in and kissed her, both of them looking rather disheveled from having been soaked and now partially-air dried. It was a kiss, not without passion and not without care, either. It was a kiss with meaning.
And with that kiss, and without words, he told her what he needed to.
Thank you for saving my life.