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T W E N T Y - O N E

Three days later and Percy was still at a loss of what to do. Time was ticking and the clock was a grenade with an unknown detonation time. There was no telling when the monster after them this time would strike. Locking fear in a box and throwing away the key was all Percy wanted to do.

But Clarisse in all her arrogance, as much as he hated to admit it, was right. He needed to stop moping. That was the second time he'd been told and if he didn't step up his game, it wouldn't be the last.

Lying awake in bed, pretending to be asleep, he looked at the world through closed lids. Things were falling apart. He was falling apart.

When you took time to reflect, you picked up on stuff you'd normally overlook. He was never happy anymore and was almost always in a forlorn, sullen mood. Lost to the world, Percy Jackson had given up on life itself. There was no point without her.


He had given up on life itself.

Past tense.

"Annabeth wouldn't want this," he murmured.


Between half-closed eyes, Percy could make out Harry's figure from the foot of his own bed as he shuffled through his suitcase. He was observing him with a look he couldn't quite place.

"Just talking to myself," he responded, shutting his eyes again and letting the world lapse back into the shadows. He knew it was cold and dreary outside just like his mood. Most trees were bare. Percy didn't want to get up and face the problems of the world. They could deal with themselves without his help.

A suitcase slammed shut and polished shoes clicked against the floorboards and down the stairs. He thought it would be too much to hope that the footsteps belonged to Harry who was another reminder that he was failing his quest. No such luck.

"Well you better get up or you'll be late to first period. I don't think anyone is buying your excuses anymore," Harry spoke.

Percy felt a pang in his chest. He was a failure. He'd made absolutely no progress. If he had, then maybe Harry might be speaking to him as if they were friends and not just roommates. He might have found a way to wake Annabeth up. He might have found out who was behind everything that had transpired. He wouldn't feel so awful.

"What excuses? I feel like crap," he stated plainly, swallowing the bile building up in his throat. It wasn't a total lie. He opened his eyes again to find that Harry had moved over to his dresser. He kept looking out the window and frowning. After Harry didn't respond, Percy's eyes began to shut again of their own accord.

"Ron didn't tell me he was going to see Hagrid..." he muttered quietly.

"What?" Percy asked, groggily.

"Doesn't matter," Harry rubbed his eyes and turned away from the open window, shutting the drapes. "But really, you should get up."

Reaching for his wand, he pulled off his glasses and wiped them clean with a spell.

"I already told you, I feel like–"

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