Chapter Sixteen

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  Annabeth sat at Percy's bedside. His hand limp in hers, chest moving up and down to the rhythm of the machines connected to him.

  The door creaked open and Annabeth looked up. Will peaked his head through the crack. "Chiron's going to take a look at him. Maybe you should get some sleep."

  Annabeth looked to Percy, then back to Will. She nodded hesitantly before releasing his hand and kissing is forehead. "I'll be back soon Seaweed Brain," she muttered.

  Will stepped aside and let her pass, giving her a small smile. She walked to her cabin. Chiron trotted up to her as she reached the door. "I'm going to go check on Percy," he said, "but I'd like to talk to you later, child." Annabeth nodded, turning the knob and slumped down on her bunk. She immediately fell into more nightmares of hell and torture.

  Annabeth awoke with sweat beading her face, hands shaking. Malcolm stood over her, her other siblings nowhere to be seen. "Are you okay?" Malcolm asked, obviously concerned.

  "Yes," she said, a little too quickly. "Where is everyone?" She asked, changing the subject.
  "Breakfast." (A/N  It's the next morning)

  They stayed silent for a moment, Malcolm watching her closely. "I think I'll just grab something and go see Percy," suddenly panic rose in her chest. She jumped out of bed. "What if he woke up and I wasn't there?" She frantically wondered.

  "He didn't," Malcolm said quickly, "Will said so." Annabeth nodded.

  Together, the two walked to the pavilion. Annabeth grabbed some eggs and quickly made a sacrifice to Athena and Poseidon. Help Percy, please, she thought desperately.

  She gobbled down her breakfast and rushed to the Big House. Annabeth was surprised by what she saw. Chiron sat in wheelchair form, staring at an unconscious Percy.

  He must have heard her, as he turned when the door opened. He gave her a small smile and motioned for her to take her usual seat. She did as he asked, "I was hoping we could have that conversation now," he said.

  Annabeth  nodded slightly, glancing at Percy. "He won't wake up for a few more hours," Chiron said, "Will gave him a very powerful sedative."
  "Oh," Annabeth muttered, looking at him expectantly; waiting for him to start the conversation.

  "I bear good news," Chiron said.
  "Yes," he chuckled slightly, "I do. Will and I have concluded that the last of the poison has faded away. Percy will now only have to deal with getting stronger. But that will be slightly easier without the poison still in his veins. In fact, I think he won't have to use the mask within a week or two. He'll be able to sleep without it. We've even considered a wheelchair. He won't have enough strength to push himself around just yet but he has friends more than willing to do that." 

  Annabeth smiled widely. Finally, some good news. "So, he won't have to use the air mask? And he might be able to get outside?"
  "Yes, fairly soon." She was ecstatic.

  However, her smile soon faltered, "But what about he nightmares? He'll still have to deal with them. He still won't be able to walk for a while."
  "That's why your here. You get him through those obstacles."
  "At least I can do something good for him," Annabeth muttered under her breath.
  "Pardon me?"
  "Annabeth, you've done plenty for him. You still do. Every day."
  "What?" She said, suddenly angry, "How could you even say that?"
  "Annabeth, you help each other. You've gotten him through so much. Hell even," Chiron's eyebrows furrowed.
  "Hell!" Annabeth's voice raged, "He went to that hell hole because of me! If I would've just cut that stupid spider silk, he wouldn't have had to get tortured! I put him through that!"
  "Annabeth," Chiron said, utterly shocked, "there was nothing you could have done."
  "I could have done so much more than I did. If I weren't so oblivious, if I had seen that knife, he wouldn't have even be here!"
  "It's not your fault child. Not hell, not the knife. Your mother gave you that quest," Chiron said bitterly.
  "What?" Annabeth asked, she'd never heard Chiron say a word against any of the gods.
  "I'm not blaming her," he said quickly, "she wasn't in her right mind. But the quest was not, under any circumstances, your fault."
  "And the knife?" Annabeth asked. "What about the knife? That was entirely me."
  "No, it wasn't. The fates control what happens and what doesn't."
  "If that's true, then why are the fates so cruel? Why has our lives been nothing but tragedy?"
  "Because somebody has to do the impossible. Your the strongest, they know that. You can take it."
  "You know, I'm beginning to think Percy did something to anger them," Annabeth smiled slightly.
  "It would not surprise me."
  "I don't want anymore tragedy," she muttered quietly.
  "Me neither child. Me neither. But we must be ready for anything. The fates might have more in store for you."

A/N  Okay so, just so you know, I don't think any of this is Annabeth's fault. I just thought she'd blame herself. She's kind of like Percy in that way. Especially when it comes to him.

Disclaimer: I don't own any PJO or HoO characters or places.

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