Dream or Reality?

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Chapter 31

Annabeth shook in Finnick's strong arms. She felt a hundred miles away from him. Annabeth was tumbling through the tossing waves of her mourning. It was like she was falling and being pulled apart.

She sucked in a breath and caught a whiff of Finnick's cologne, it smelled like a mountain breeze. Annabeth couldn't remember if his cologne always smelled like that or she was just making things up.

In the midst of her pain and fear and worry he was an anchor in the middle of a storm. There was so much at stake. Percy was gone, she had Snow coming for her in the morning, and she had to not kill the body that she was in. most importantly she needed to protect Finnick. Her heart flickered.

The sobs that racked her body stripped her throat. Every breath seemed like gasoline. She was ready to give up.

Percy was not there.

Her brain didn't seem to do anything. It was lost in a sea of Percy. The same Percy who was gone. The same Percy who still had a hold on her heart.

She couldn't remember when the tears stopped. Finnick hadn't moved since embracing her. She shook in his arms silently. The room was dark and she couldn't see him. But she could feel his arm around her back and his other one clasped with its pair on her shoulder. He was so strong.

"I," she tried to say.

"You don't have to," Finnick said. It was so kind. Drastically different from the sarcastic man she had met upon fist coming to this house, he was so caring.

"His name was . . ." the tears came out again. That word, "was," it was so wrong. Percy shouldn't be "was." Couldn't be "was." But he was. She tried to swallow her tears but they rushed through her. It took a few tries before she could get it out, "Percy."

He didn't say anything. He was the only thing that held her tighter. Annabeth didn't know how he felt about this. But she needed to get it out. She had to tell someone.

"He was tortured," she breathed. Annabeth let her head lean against his chest. "And I didn't help him," she was shaking again, she knew that she had to get the last word out, "And now he's dead." Her whole body seemed to crumble. New mind numbing tears raced down her face. She couldn't think straight.

"Percy's dead," she gasped into the darkness in between tears.

"Percy's dead." Annabeth pressed her hands into her face. Her short nails dug crescents into her skin as she tried to distract herself from the drill going through her chest. His hand that was not around her back he moved to her cheek, pressing her head further against him. She could feel his head tip down and his lips press against her forehead.

Part of her recoiled, but at the same time she just wanted that comfort so badly. She clung to him with all her might, trying to pull herself away from the shards in her heart.

"Annabeth," Finnick said sadly. She sucked in another wheezy breath. Percy's voice echoed in her mind, just the sound, and no words. It was like the memory of him was already slipping away.

She remembered in Tartarus he had kept her from stopping, from giving up. But now that he was gone, that he was more torn apart then he had ever been in Tartarus, how could she not give up?

"I love him," she said, the clearest words she had said all night, "I loved him," she corrected into the scent filled shirt of Finnick's.

"Do you want me to go?" Finnick asked warily. Her tears were drying but she had never felt so broken. She could feel him loosening his grip on her. She knew that she should say yes.

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