Chapter Twenty-Four

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Surpirsingly, Annabeth didn't wake up to screaming last night. No, she woke up from shaking. But not her. The arms wrapped around her trembled like an earthquake.

She sat up slowly and looked at Percy. His eyes were wide with fear. He was paralyzed.

"Hey," she jumped into action immediately. "Hey it's ok. Shhhh. It was just a dream. Your out. I'm out. We're together. I'm not leaving your side okay? Your going to be alright. Shhhh."

But Percy couldn't stop trembling. Annabeth spoke to him for about five minutes. She shook him slightly. Nudged him. She even resorted to slapping him, even though she knew the consequences. But still, nothing.

"Percy," she said firmly, "Percy look at me." Her voice was so forceful that he obeyed. "I'm not going anywhere. He is not here. You are okay." She pronounced each word firmly.

Percy looked at her for a moment, blinked a few times, and the fog seemed to clear from his eyes. Annabeth sighed in relief. "Are you alrig-"

She was cut off from Percy's lips smashing to hers. (A/N This is so awkward to write. I don't do the whole fluff stuff.) He pulled away and wrapped his arms around her, burying his head in her hair. He took deeps breaths.

"It was so real," he muttered.
"But it wasn't Perce. It was just a dream."

He nodded slightly but didn't respond. Soon enough, he pulled away from her. "I'm sorry," he said, "For waking you."
"That's what I'm here for. And I wake you up all the time. Don't worry about it."
"You should probably get some more sleep. It's still dark out."

Annabeth eyed him suspiciously but laid her head against his chest and closed her eyes. She must've been more tired than she thought because she fell asleep almost instantly.

When she was awoken, it was by a new voice. But it wasn't panicked, or in pain. Curiously, she opened her eyes. She saw a son of Apollo smirking at her. Percy hadn't moved from his position.

Annabeth blushed slightly and shifted so she was in a sitting position. Although, it wasn't as awkward as it had been when she first stayed with Percy, it still wasn't the most comfortable situation.

Annabeth saw that Will was holding his famous clipboard. His eyes were bright today. She decided to let him talk to Percy.

"I'm just going to... Uh, go brush my hair," she said as she stood up from the bed. She walked to the bathroom and closed the door. But instead of brushing her hair, she slid down to a sitting position and pressed her ear against the wood. She hated not knowing things.

The voices were muffled but she was able to make out the conversation. "Okay Perce. You've made a lot of progress and I think you've paid your time. It's about time you get back on your feet," she could practically hear the two boys smirking.
"Really? Like walk?"
"Wow, you really do have kelp in that head of yours. Of course I mean walk! I mean, you'll have to use the wheelchair if your going long distances but this is a start."
"I don't know. After breakfast."

She heard Percy celebrating and counted to three before she opened the door again.

"Umm Annabeth? Didn't you say you were going to brush your hair?" Will asked.
"I did? Oh yeah I did. Well you see-"
"You were listening at the door weren't you," Percy cut her off, grinning.

The two boys laughed. Annabeth scowled but she soon joined them. "So Seaweed Brain, let's get you that breakfast."
"Sooner the better."

The two headed down to the pavilion. Percy in his wheelchair and Annabeth by his side.

She took a seat at the Athena table as her siblings gave her updates. Percy sat alone at the Poseidon table.

They gobbled down their breakfast and headed back to the Big House, awaiting Will's arrival. Just as planned.

Will appeared about ten minutes after them. Jason was at his heels. "Before you ask, he's here to help," Will said to Percy. He nodded slowly, looking confused.
"Who's going to catch you if you fall?" Jason said.
"Well," Will said, "I really don't see why I need to be here. Plus I don't want to embarrass you. Annabeth, give me a full report?"

Will nodded at the three before exiting the room. Percy sat on the edge of the bed, feet touching the ground. He glanced at her and she gave a reassuring smile. He bit his lip and looked at his feet.
"You'll catch me?" He asked Jason uncertainly.
"Yes. Now stop second guessing yourself and just go."

Percy put his hands on the bed. He pushed himself up and immediately sat back down again. "Come on Seaweed Brain. You can do it."

He sighed and pushed himself to his feet. He wobbled to one side and tried to step out to catch his fall but tripped over his other foot. Jason grabbed his arms right before he hit the ground.
"Thanks," Percy grumbled.

Jason straightened him up again, hands in his shoulders. Once he was standing Jason said, "I'm going to let go now okay?"

Jason slowly moved his hand and Percy fell forward, into Jason's waiting arms. (A/N Awkward...) "Okay," Jason muttered as he put him on his feet, "Let's try something else."

He dragged Percy to the wall and told him to put his hands on it. Percy obliged. Jason stayed at his exposed side. "Use the wall to walk."

Percy leaned his shoulder in the wall and moved his right foot. He nearly collapsed but he led out a hand, signaling to Jason that he was fine. He then moved his left foot. Then his right again.

The situation reminded Annabeth of a baby's first step. Just the comparison put the weight of the world back on Annabeth's shoulders.

She snapped out of her daze and turned back to Percy. He took his shoulder off the wall and was now using one hand. His knees buckled.

Jason caught him by his armpits. Percy mumbled a thanks and resumed his position. It took about five minutes but soon he walked with ease as he used the wall for support.

"Now without it," Jason said. Percy pursed his lips as he removed is hand from the wall and steadied himself.

His left foot rolled out he was able to regain his balance before Jason could come to his aid. He took a few shaky steps.

Annabeth smiled widely. "Alright Percy. Just walk to me," she said. She currently sat in the bed at the other side of the room.

Percy took a deep breath as he walked towards her. He tripped a couple of times but forced himself to Annabeth. He stopped and stood in front of her.

She rose to her feet. "Hey look at that. I'm taller than you again." Annabeth shook her head and smiled.

She went on her tip toes, careful not to touch Percy (she didn't want to put any extra weight on him). She leaned him and pecked his lips, aware of Jason grinning at them. "Well Mr.Jackson," she muttered as she pulled away, "it's looks like you are."

Word count: 1231

Disclaimer: All rights go to Rick Riordan.

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