I finished the House of Hades earlier today...well, technically yesterday, seeing as it's past midnight now and everything, and oh my gods, I loved it so much!
So, this is my version of the fifth book of the Heroes of Olympus series, the Blood of Olympus!
Percy's head was hurting again.
He'd been suffering from a challenging headache that was just as persistent to cause him pain as the giants since they'd set off.
The stars were fading and the sun was breaking.
Percy was gripping the rail with both hands, staring at the sky.
Leo's plan was to fly until they hit the water. Then they would sail.
Percy had missed the water most of all during his unjustified time in Tartarus with Annabeth. He'd missed real, sea green, flowing, not-made-of-fire water.
He wanted to take a bath in it; he wanted to jump down and swim all the way to Athens, just loving the water he missed so dearly.
But that wasn't a possibility, because he had work to do on the ship.
Percy was used to feeling tired; all through his trip into Tartarus, he'd been tired. Physically and mentally, he had been worn and in need of rest constantly.
What bothered him was the fact that he wasn't tired. He had been awake all night with Annabeth, keeping watch and waiting to finish his promise to Bob.
His heart cracked a little more. Bob.
We never should have left you behind. There should have been another way. I'm sorry if you're dead now. You're the best friend anyone could ask for.
The sun peaked over the horizon, and he smiled a watery smile. "Hey, Sun. Bob says hello."
"I know." Whisper from behind him didn't even make him jump. He hadn't know she was there, but his senses weren't on high alert right now. He never thought he would be able to jump at the sound of a voice again, or to flinch when someone jumped out in front of him, or panic when a weapon from a fellow demigod came rushing to meet him. He had been through Tartarus; he was constantly one step away from dying.
There was no other alert like that.
Annabeth wrapped her arms around him from behind. He was rigid with anger and guilt. He was mad. If Annabeth had agreed to let him stay behind, he could have saved Bob. He could have saved her, and Bob, and Damasen. She had been so quick to throwing them under the bus for their own safety; she hadn't fought for them to come along. She had just let them go.
I should have thought about you more. I should have come to visit you.
"You're blaming yourself, aren't you?" Annabeth asked, running a soothing hand up and down his prominent spine.
He didn't answer.
"Or are you blaming both of us?" Annabeth's hand stopped.
"If you had just let me stay…" he whispered.
"You know that wasn't an option."
"It was for me."
"Would you have left the fate of the world like that?"
He clenched his teeth. "Bob was more important than that. He was. And I should have then that. I should have pushed him into the elevator and pushed the button myself."
"Percy, I'm going to be straight forward with you," she let him go and pressed her back to the rail next to him, leaning her elbows on it. "If you had done that, we more than likely would have all died."
Percy turned his hung head in her direction. "What do you mean?"
"They would have overwhelmed you; the monsters. You wouldn't have been able to hold it for the full twelve minutes. You would have died, we would have died, and the world would have ended. There was only one choice. Only one, and we made it. Bob was willing. Damasen was willing." She eyed him from her sloppy ponytail. "Do you understand."
Percy's shoulder's slumped. She was right.
She was so, horribly right.
He felt his eyes water and he whispered, "I just wish there was another way."
And then she hugged him, and he pressed his face into her neck, and she stroked his hair.
"I love you, Wise Girl," he whispered. "I love you so much."
"I love you, too."
Percy noticed she didn't seem particularly tired, either. Did time move differently in Tartarus? Were they still catching up with sleep?
Would it still be "morning" in Tartarus?
How are Bob and Small Bob?
Percy had decided it would be best for his state of mind to assume they had all made it out of the fight alive.
He pulled away from Annabeth and said, "Want to eat some more real food before the real fight starts?"
"Ah, good ole real food. I don't think I'll ever get sick of anything again."
"You and me both, Wise Girl." They held hands as they started walked off the deck, toward the dining hall for a really early dinner.
They collected a plate of food for each of them, and Percy tried his best to ignore the images of Camp Half-Blood playing at their backs. He glanced over at Annabeth and saw she was extra fidgety.
Like, Leo fidgety, which was very out of character for his Annabeth.
"You okay?" he asked her.
She nodded. She swallowed, but it seemed forced. "Hey, can we, um…eat on the deck?"
He nodded. "Sure."
They walked up and ate under the slowly dissipating stars and the bright colors of the sunrise.
Annabeth seemed much more comfortable sitting on the deck then below it.
"Hey…I know Tartarus screwed us both up pretty bad," he admitted, turned to looked at her as she shoveled scrambled eggs in her mouth, "but do want to tell me what's going on with you?"
She continued to eat; as did Percy, of course. Silence wasn't going to stop him ever again.
She swallowed harshly and took a quick breath before saying, "I just…I can't stand being below deck. I just…I like the sky. I can't…I was never in any tight spaces. I was never…I was never stuck in a crevice for a long time, I was never…I don't know what's wrong with me. I just can't handle it down there."
Percy ate as he listened. Before he knew it, his plate was empty. He smiled at her. "I think I have some little, unexplainable quirks, too."
She eyed him. "Like what?"
He shrugged. "I don't know yet. They'll surface; don't you worry."
Her laugh was empty and she shook her head and watched the boards on the deck.
"I really love this ship," she said suddenly. "I mean, I met back up with you in Camp Jupiter because I was on this ship. I always felt safe on this ship. And now, here I am, again, on this ship."
"How can you feel safe on this ship?" Percy asked. "It's always getting attacked."
"That's our fault, not the ship's fault," Annabeth laughed.
The sun was basically up.
"I think it's time to wake everyone," Percy said. "I'll be right back."
He stood up and looked down at her his sitting girlfriend, her blonde hair surrounding her hair with a golden glow because of the sun light.
"Come back," she whispered.
He nodded and walked downstairs.
Once everyone was assembled on the deck, Leo started to guide the ship, taking it off autopilot. He smiled as Percy watched him work.
"Yeah, it's in the dashboard now," Leo explained. He started talking about a few of the other adjustments Leo had made to the ship, when Percy felt like he was being watched.
He went completely stiff and rigid. He was on high on alert for anything, and he looked over his shoulder to see Jason, studying him with…disapproval?
Oh hell no.
Percy turned to go over to him, instinctively rolling up one of his sleeves, ready to slug Jason in the jaw, when Leo grabbed his arm and said, "Percy? Yo, dude, what's the matter with you?"
He let his hand drop and sighed. What was wrong with him?
He turned back to Leo and said, "Give me a day or two to readjust."
Leo studied him for a second. Then he quietly asked, "Were you going to…"
Percy shrugged. "I don't know." He ran a frustrated hand through his hair. "I don't know! I don't know anything anymore!"
He wanted to hit something. He needed to be alone.
"Just keep it under control," he muttered, whether it was to Leo or himself he wasn't sure, but he stalked below deck and walked into his room for a while.
He slammed the door to make himself feel better.
He collapsed on his bed and rested his elbows on his knees. He held his head in his hands and stared at the floor between his shoes.
Quirk Number One found: Percy was way more aggressive now.
He was busy thinking off all these ways to get himself back; being nicer, practicing patience, always thinking the best of people's intentions for a while, when suddenly the ship hit the water.
The impact was perfect. It soothed Percy to a point of relaxation.
He stood up and decided to go back up on deck for a while, being with the group. He was still going to be reliable. He might be a little unpredictable until he got himself back together, but that was fine with him. He was going to get through it.
He climbed back on deck and smiled. He smiled at Frank. He was proud of Frank and everything he had done. It was a genuine smile.
Annabeth was leaning against the rail, sucking in air. He placed his hand on her shoulder and she said, "Percy, my head hurts so much…"
"Tartarus side effect number one. They really should put the side effects in the description, shouldn't they?" Percy joked.
Annabeth laughed. "Yeah."
"Hey, everybody?" Frank called out.
Percy and Annabeth turned to him, as did everyone else.
He cleared his throat and he said, "So, we're officially sailing now. We need to discuss the plan to get to Athens."
"We're sailing right into the Saronic Gulf," Leo explained. "It minimizes land time and it's fairly short. Unless, of course," Leo looked over at the two of them, "Annabeth has a better idea?"
"It might be short, but is it fourteen days short?" Annabeth asked, and then she walked over to him to look at the GPS.
"I mean, along with all the threats Gaea is going to throw our way…are we sure it's the best we have?"
"It'll be harder across the water to get us than over land," Hazel promised.
Suddenly, Jason was beside Percy against the railing.
"Grace-" Percy started.
"What's your definition of a hero?" Jason asked suddenly.
Percy was confused. But he answered honestly. "A person who knows what's best and does what's right for the group, no matter what the cost. It's his job to make the sacrifices and decisions."
Jason shook his head. "You know what I think being a hero means?"
"That they know they're part of a group." Jason looked directly into Percy's eyes them. "That they remember and think about everyone, and they know the responsibility isn't only them. That they have help."
Percy met his gaze and held it. "I haven't done anything wrong already, have I?"
He meant to laugh, but it just wouldn't happen.
Jason shook his head. "Nothing you can fix, no."
And with that, he pushed off the rail and walked over to Piper.
And then he looked over to check on Annabeth.
She had her hand on Leo's arm, and he was looking angry, upset, and frustrated.
Percy was about to go see what was going on, when the ship suddenly rocked with a sudden force.
Everyone snapped to full attention, but Percy already had Riptide out and he was perched on the railing, holding onto it with one hand and balancing on the balls of his feet, watching the water.
"Percy," Annabeth's voice drafted over to him, and then she said, "Guys, we need help, now!"
Percy leapt down and ran across the deck to see what Annabeth was seeing.
A massive whirlpool was forming; the edge right next to the Argo II, and it was slowly being dragged into it.
Everyone started working on autopilot, Percy and Annabeth shouting commands. Leo tried to steer away from it, but it just sucked the back end of the boat into it.
Annabeth and Percy gripped the rail as they shouted more orders and the ship fell backward, into the whirlpool.
Percy tried to control it, but it was out of his control.
We aren't dying now, Percy thought as he watched his friends desperately trying to pull the ship together.
We made it out of Tartarus to win, not to die in some damn whirlpool¸ Percy thought angrily.
They had made it out of Tartarus to live, and that was what they were going to do.
And that was chapter one! I made it extra long for you guys, so...yeah!
Thanks for Reading!