17: An Uncle's Second Chance

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TONY PoV

My stomache is in knots. I never want to see him in pain like that again. And the hardest part is trying to stomach that he's been through worse.

He isn't crying out. He's holding in his cries of pain. And all I can feel is guilt. I know, that logically, it isn't my fault, but I have to feel like it is. It is, because I didn't do anything to prevent it.

Nevermind that I didn't know he existed! I should have been there for him. I'll be there now. That's a promise. I'll do everything I can to be there for him.

So I stomache it. I swallow the bile and wait. I absently notice the others become aware of Percy's nightmare, but I can't take my eyes off him. I can't afford to miss anything anymore.

The others leave, I assume. Bruce finishes, and together we prop up his weight and help him walk to the captain's quarters. We ease him onto the bed, and I reluctanly leave him.

The others had found a kitchen of sorts. I ate something. I'm not sure what it was, Steve gave it to me. He'll probably know what it was.

I don't sleep very well. When I do doze off, that's all I can manage before a nightmare of my own taunts me. I give up at four something in the morning.

I find something to eat. I think it's the same thing as before. What Steve gave to me. I clean up the mess I made, and find myself on the upper deck.

His whimpers of pain resounding in my mind. The guilt. The hollow pain in my chest.

I watch as the sky begins to lighten. It's a quiet world, and I listen to the waves hitting the hull.

I attempt to drown out the memories of his pain with the simplicity of the ocean around me.

Someone sits down next to me. I startle. It's Percy. We don't talk. For some reason, I feel the silence is a truce.

The sun begins to peek above the horizon. We watch for a little while more.

Then Percy breaks the silence. "Would you like to watch from below?"

"What do you mean?"

"From under the water. It's a weird experience, but I like it." Percy says, his voice calm.

"How would I be able to stay...?" I wonder.

"I can form a bubble." Percy says, his voice still quiet.

"....Yeah. Yeah, I'd like that." I accept his offer.

He flashes me a small smile, and with his eyes all sleepy looking and half closed, he looks like a normal teenager. Though an early riser.

He climb up and stands on the railing, and gestures for me to join him. Wary, I try to climb, and graciously accept his help in staying balanced through the ordeal.

Percy places a hand on my shoulder. "We're going to jump in at the same time. Hold your breath at first, otherwise it'll be really disorienting." He warns.

I place my hand on his shoulder, and we manage to jump at the same time. I place my trust in the kid.

I hold my breath as I feel the waves engulf my form, but they seem to pass over me. An odd feeling.

"You can breathe now." I hear Percy say, his voice incredibly peaceful.

I open my eyes, and cautiously take a breath. All works just fine, which is incredibly strange. I decide to just accept it for the moment.

A sunrise from under the water is... well, serene. The light passes through the water, and it looks... The only way I can really describe it is like a moving magic painting.

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