Chapter 12 - DEAD

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Percy knew what he'd done wrong. He knew what Annabeth had been upset about. He'd sat at the table Drew's friends were at, but it was only for a few minutes. He'd been asked to show around a new student- Rachel Dare, who actually used to be friends with Percy outside of New York. He hadn't expected her to be so hurt. He wanted to help and make sure she was okay, explain why he'd sat with them. The moment someone pointed to where Annabeth usually was and laughed... The moment he saw Drew walk away from Annabeth's usual place at lunch, he was on his feet. She walked away from him. She ignored him and vanished down the hall. In their next class, when he finally decided to do something that would get her attention she yelled at him. After that, she started crying. He wasn't stupid. He knew she was crying.

In gym, he purposely hurt himself so he could talk to her. That's when he knew how much he hurt her. That's when he knew how badly he'd screwed up. Then she walked away and sat in between two seats. He'd dropped his head into his hands and mentally yelled at himself. Pretty soon, he heard her yell at someone, sounding broken. He looked up to see Maisie facing Annabeth, to see the shorter girl slap Annabeth so hard that Annabeth fell down the seats of the bleachers.

He hadn't moved fast enough. She was at the bottom, limp, barely breathing when he reached her.

Now, sitting in his history class, leg bouncing under the table, phone in his hands. She was sent to the hospital, and Maisie was suspended. She should have gotten worse. Everyone should have gotten worse than a suspension. Why? They all laughed. Only a girl named Piper, Coach Hedge, and Percy himself hadn't laughed when she hit the bottom. Now Percy was panicked. He needed to go see her. He needed her to be okay. He needed to apologize. He needed to fix things. He needed to help her. Percy's hands shook as he stared at the clock on his phone. Two minutes till dismissal. It felt like hours away. When the bell finally rang, it felt like decades had passed. Percy grabbed his bag and ran for the door, not bothering to wait for anyone. On his way out, he saw the Piper girl.

She ran after him, and together they left the building. Percy was about to start running until Piper touched his arm. He looked at her, and she blinked, as if surprised by the emotions in his eyes. "I'll drive you."

A kind of understanding passed between them, though Piper barely knew Annabeth, and Percy barely knew Piper's name. He nodded, and she turned to a red convertible. Percy was definitely surprised by the type of car, but he didn't care. They got in, and she pulled into the street, leaving the school behind. The driver there was silent torture, and Percy didn't wait for Piper to park before getting out and running for the entrance. He slammed through the front doors, surprising a couple nurses.

He stopped at the nurses station, breathing heavily. "Annabeth... Chase... Is she... Can I see her?"

"Sir, are you alright?"

"I'm fine. I was running... Can I see her? Please?"

"Yes, of... Of course. She's in room 315." The nurse nodded, eyeing him worriedly.

"Thank you." He said, turning as Piper reached him. "Come on."

They started moving. Percy ran down the hall to the elevators, Piper at his heels. The moment she was in, he pressed the button for the third floor. He'd been there enough times to know which floors held which rooms. He bounced on the balls of his feet, watching the numbers over the elevator doors. He shook his hand out, ready too see her. "Percy, she'll be okay." Piper whispered.

"I know, but I screwed up. I have to fix it. Make up to her for it... I can't lose her..."

"You love her?"

"I... I wouldn't say that. I... I like her. A lot... I know I've had a crush on her since I met her, but... But I... I don't think that I... She's my best friend." Piper watched him as the elevator doors opened. "She's important to me. I know that..."

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