Chapter Four

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A/N I'm going to continue this story no matter what, but for those of you reading this, what do you think so far?


  It took a week just to let Percy off the air mask. He despised that thing.

  But that also meant a week of Grover speaking for him, telling his jokes, and having silent conversations with him. Annabeth was overly annoyed. Grover tried his best, but he wasn't Percy.

  And those silent conversations... She hated not knowing things.  She especially hated not knowing if Percy was alright. He rarely met her eyes. He was trying to stay strong. But Annabeth could tell he was on the verge of crumbling.

  After a week was up, Will and Chiron finally agreed that Percy could breath without it. But, he'd have some trouble at first.  (A/N I don't know if doctors really just take a patient off an air mask or ease them off and I'm too lazy to ease him off it so.....)

Annabeth was worried though. He could barely move his fingers and toes. Would he be able to breath right? She trusted Will and Chiron but she couldn't help it. She didn't want to see him struggle.

Will came in with Chiron trotting behind him. Percy eyed them nervously and Annabeth gave his hand a gentle, reassuring squeeze. She swore she saw him flinch.

Percy looked at each of us (the seven and Grover). We all nodded, smiling. He looked back to Chiron and Will.

"Alright," Will said, "everyone except Piper and Annabeth, out." They all glanced at Percy before leaving. "Why do you need me?" Piper asked. Although, Annabeth was sure she already knew the answer.

"Charmespeak," Chiron replied. Piper nodded. Percy gave her a grateful look. She smiled. So did Annabeth.

Percy's eyes trailed to Annabeth's and their eyes locked. He kept her gaze.

"Alright Percy," Chiron said, "We're going to slowly turn off the machine and then removed the mask completely." The only acknowledgment he got was Percy blinking towards him.

"Okay Dr.Solace, do the honors." Will nodded slightly before crossing the room to the machine. Percy's eyes lingered there for a moment before turning back to Annabeth.

Annabeth nodded again. Piper readied herself to the right of Percy (across Annabeth). Will began to turn the handle.

Percy's breath got sharper and heavier as the air ventilator turned off. Soon enough, Will walked back to Percy and removed the mask.

Percy was breathing extremely heavy now, almost in gasps. He looked like every breath hurt him. "Okay Perce look at me," Will said.

Percy's eyes darted around before landing on Will. "Copy me," he said. Will took deep breaths, indicating with his hands. Percy tried copying him but it came out as more of a gurgling sound.

"Shhh," Annabeth cooed him. She seemed to be doing that a lot lately. Annabeth glanced at Piper. She nodded in understanding.

"Percy," she charmespeaked in his ear, "deep breaths. You know how to do this. In. Out. In. Out," she repeated.

Annabeth rubbed circles into his hand. There seems to be a pattern developing. As long as we're together, she thought.

Chiron stood in the corner quietly. Watching with sad eyes. He caught Annabeth's eye and smiled meekly. She returned the favor.

After a half an hour, Percy got into somewhat of a rhythm. His breaths were ragged but at least it was on his own. It was progress.

  That night, Percy was scared to go to sleep. Annabeth could tell. He didn't even have to say it. Not like he'd said anything since he'd been breathing on his own. He was focused on keeping his chest rising and falling.

  So, that night, he didn't even close his eyes. Of course, Annabeth stayed with him the whole time. Not getting a wink of sleep.   She could tell Percy felt guilty.

  Percy kept throwing worried glances her way. Finally she said, "I'm fine. I'm not going to sleep. Something might happen to you. Deal with it."  He looked down. Annabeth kissed his cheek.

  Percy glanced up at her again. He tried to control his breathing slightly. Then he opened his mouth. With great difficulty, he -hardly more than a whisper- rasped, "I... Love... You...Wise... Girl." 

  Annabeth smiled down at him. She kissed his nose this time, avoiding his lips because she was afraid to cut off his air supply.  "I love you too Seaweed Brain."

Disclaimer: Sadly, all Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus characters belong to Rick Riordan.

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