Yet again I woke up in that bloody motel room in Canada, with the sickly green wallpaper peeling off the walls and the faint smell of bleach and piss assaulting my nostrils. Getting up and again bursting out of the door, trying to make my way back to New York before the monsters could arrive. Once more, I called in a favour from Hermes to get me from west to east before the horde could get there and one more time, I arrived with just enough time to have a bittersweet reunion with Annabeth before the swarm of monsters arrived, headed by my old friend The Minotaur.

How many more times am I going to fight this battle, I wondered. How many more times am I going to watch either Annabeth or myself be killed, suffer the pain of dying and wake up in that shitty motel room?

I'm not sure how many times it ended up being before I decided to give up, and just said goodbye. The straw that finally broke the camel's back however was watching Annabeth get raped after we were beaten, chained and strapped to the walls. After I saw-… No, I'm not ready to talk about that yet. Not yet.

The point is, I can still remember the very first time I said goodbye to her. I'd arrived with five minutes to spare; just enough time to say goodbye but not quite enough to escape with her before they arrived. She was looking as radiant as always when she opened the door, with her hair in a messy bun, eyes squinting with tiredness but desperately trying to blink the sleep out of them, and a worn and faded blue robe with the patch of a pink owl on it half falling off.

"Percy! What on earth are y-" she started to say before I scooped her into a tight hug that squeezed her arms by her sides. I can still remember the smell of her hair to this day, after how many centuries that I've lived through.

"Annabeth." I said, my voice muffled by her hair "I'm so sorry. I am so, so sorry for what's to come. No matter what I've tried I can't seem to save us, but I want you to know that this time, we'll take them down together, and we'll take them down as permanently as is universally possible, I swear on the river Styx."

Thunder boomed as I made that promise for the last time. When the Minotaur broke down the door, I cut his head off his shoulders as he walked in for the last time. As the end crept nearer, and monsters kept coming through, as we were pushed back into the bedroom with dust from the bodies of the monsters we slayed rising up to our knees from their sheer numbers, I looked into her eyes and saw a kind of peace with our deaths. It was as if she always knew that we would be killed tragically, but that she was just happy that we would die together, and in that moment I knew that this would be the last time that this exact scenario would play out. What scared me was that I was okay with that.

Have you ever felt like that? Knowing that you failed someone so completely and yet feeling okay with that sense of complete and utter failure because they're happy with the situation? To say it's confusing is an understatement as it's taken me centuries to become familiar with it and to accept that some things can end in failure if the person most affected is okay with the result.

Of course in the next moment, because I was distracted, an arrow pierced my throat and caused me to gurgle blood to my death, but that's slightly beside the point. What the point is, is that as I saw Annabeth's head go flying, rather cleanly but that's the warrior in me appreciating good technique, I didn't feel any need to attempt to save her from her death. All that happened is that I merely appreciated the fact that we got to spend what little time we had together and that we went down fighting together.

However, apparently, this is what Chaos was waiting for. After I died, everything just sort of faded to black, contrary to what had happened every time before, where I had just woken up when I wanted to (the day of Annabeth's death). I was just sort of standing in a void, with nothing to allow me to gain my bearings other than the feeling of gravity, and some sort of ground to stand on. Looking around, all I could see was blackness as not even the twinkling of stars was there to pierce the blackness that I had previously associated with Nyx on the few occasions that she handed me quests (yes, I realize I had previously fought with her, but I also did that with many gods and goddesses during the Second Titan War, and some of them sided with me during the Second Giant War, so by that point I had given up keeping godly preferences straight).

This time I was approached by Chaos in person, so to speak. She, and this time it was a she that approached me, casually walked up to me as if this was but a normal occurrence for her. I will admit that she was gorgeous, more stunning than even Aphrodite and she was the goddess/ titaness/ primordial of love. She had the most striking blue eyes, almost like the sky before a storm, dirty blonde hair that fell just above her shoulders, and a figure that would cause jealousy in any female, mortal or not, that saw it. In short, she looked just like Annabeth would have in a few years.

"Is there any particular reason you chose to actually talk to me this time, instead of beaming the information into my head like last time?" I questioned. Sure, all reason had since left my life, but such is the case when your dad's an Olympian, and more importantly I was curious.

"Well Percy, this version of you gets this version of me and this version of this conversation, but you already knew that, after I as you so eloquently put it, 'beamed the information' into your head" she said, her voice almost melodic, and reminding me of the music of nature and all of it's randomness. "I'm here to help explain things to you and to help you with your transition from an ordinary being stuck inside my multi-verse, to a kind of explorer of all of my many branches."

"Alright" I hesitantly responded, "could you start with explaining the multi-verse bit in a bit more detail, and more importantly the whole 'my branches' bit? 'Cause I get the whole deal with you reviving me in different universes, but what is a multi-verse, how is that different from a universe and again, what the hell do you mean 'my branches'?!"

"Well my dear son of Poseidon, to answer your questions, let me start from the beginning. I am Chaos-" she started.

"Yes, I know that bit." I interrupted.

"It's bad manners to interrupt when someone is doing something that you want dearie," she said, and I could feel the energy charged in what passed for air in this void as her anger literally changed the universe, "now where was I? Ah yes. I am Chaos, and I am what some call a multi-verse entity, or a universal center by other more experienced beings. What I am is the beginning of every single universe where things such as Greek gods, Roman gods or any of those other, poly-deist gods exist. Not the idea of them per se, as many universes have myths about them due to some of my universes brushing up against theirs enough to convey the idea of multiple gods, but not enough to merge and split together and have them actually exist in a separate universe that stems from me and another center. Yes dear, there are more than one universal center, but stay hushed for now.

"Now, think of me as a tree. I grow with one universe taking center stage like the very, very core of a tree, with other universes expanding off of that one universe, each very similar yet slightly different like the rings of a tree. These other universes are caused by people making different choices than the ones made in the core universe, and most of the time, the choices that these people make only cause small changes to occur in their universe. Things like instead of you liking blue food, you like purple food, or the car that some person chooses is another and that has very little impact on the direction a universe takes. Other choices are a bit more important.

"Choices that can change the course of a major war for example, such as the Trojan War. There's one universe where the Trojans decided to light the horse on fire as a sort of, how do you say it, screw you to the Greeks, causing the Greeks to attack earlier than anticipated. Another good example is your choice to use Annabeth as your anchor in the river Styx, how if you'd chosen a weaker anchor then you wouldn't have survived and the entire Second Titan War would have failed as the prophecy couldn't be fulfilled.

"When choices such as these are made, the universes they create are no longer so much rings on a tree, but branches from it, and they can be vastly different from the core universe, each splintering and growing by itself. You came from one such universe, where not only did Annabeth get killed in a full on assault, but you both chose to live in New York, and you decided to end your life and commit suicide rather than bear the pain of loss and sorrow that accompanies a loved one dying. Now Perseus Jackson, what are your other questions?"


A/N: If you have any major questions, please either put them in a review or PM me and I'll try to answer them in the next chapter. A big thank you goes out to the three people who reviewed this and told me to keep going, as I don't think I would've kept going and have forgotten about it. I'd also like to thank you all for your patience as so many different things happened to delay this chapter getting posted from my original idea failing miserably, to exams hitting like a sack of hammers (something I may do to Percy literally now that I think of it), to my muse always singing when I couldn't write and being a bitch whenever I pulled this up at home. As I said before, please review as no matter how long it's been I will keep coming back to this as long as there's interest, and as long as more ideas keep coming for this.