It is a given law that once a soul it born, soon or later, it will die. No one can escape death forever. Some embrace it, some wait for it, others run from it. But in the end, everyone dies.

Death itself is not a tragedy, but tragedy is a part of a death. How one dies is the real tragedy. Heroes of all ages, in every generation, do heroic things, and sadly, die tragic deaths of martyrdom.

This particular death was not tragic ; it was merely an indignity to their former self.

At least, that's how Annabeth Chase felt, as she opened the door to Staphine's Funeral Home, that rainy afternoon.

Staphine's was located in the very unpleasant part of Brooklyn, New York. Annabeth looked extremely out of place with her expensive funeral attire, and that large diamond ring. She clutched her purse protectively when she noticed the intrigued stares of the obviously poorer locals. Being a demigod had taught her to be aware at all moments.

She sat on the carpeted steps where the closed casket was. The room was dark, only a few candles lit. She hadn't clue what to say at the moment. Sure, she felt sad, but she also felt ashamed on how this had ended. And maybe even a little guilty. Where should she start? This speech wasn't planned. How out of character for the girl who always had a plan.

"Excuse me miss?" The masculine voice had taken her by surprise. She had her hand in her purse clutching to her dagger. She released hold of it when she realized it was only a thin man. "Would you like me to turn on the lights?" He continued and still stood at the doorway.

"No, no. I'm fine." Annabeth replied and gazed at the coffin. Then she turned back to the man that was almost out of sight. "Wait!" She stopped him, and he returned to the doorway to once again face her. "Has anyone," her voice unexpectedly faltered, "Has anyone else came by. To this coffin yet?"

He thought for a moment. "Yes. One person. An older woman. Are you expecting someone?"

"Yes, a few people. They should be here soon. Thank you, that's all."

"Anytime miss."

She waited until till he left to check her watch. It was nine thirty. Everyone was supposed to be here by nine oh five.

Annabeth had guessed that the woman that had come to say goodbye was his mother. She must have been a wreck, she thought. Though, it had been years since mother and son had had any contact with each other.

Unlike Annabeth. It was only three weeks and four days ago, when they had last spoken. He called her on the phone and pleaded with her.

"I need help." He had pleaded. But she couldn't listen to him anymore. Not after all the hurt, the lies, the drinking.

Still, she couldn't help but feel sorry for his mom. Poor Mrs.-

"Am I late?" The familiar husky voice interrupted her.

"You are very late, Nico." She answered, "Now, where is the rest of the lot?" Then she heard a chorus of "here's." She rolled her eyes. She would have preferred if everyone had come on the planned time, and not forty eight minutes late.

Chiron wheeled himself towards the front of the room to be near the casket and Annabeth. Everyone else followed.

"My, my Annabeth, you certainly have grown up." Chiron said. staring at her wedding ring. "Is he here too?"

Annabeth shook her head. "No he's at home."

A few moments of uncomfortable silence passed before Travis spoke up, "So how has everyone been."

Clarisse glared at him, but it was Katie who scolded, "Now is not the appropriate time to chit-chat. Do you know where we are?"

Travis looked a little hurt.

"I suppose we should say our goodbyes." Chiron inquired. "I'll begin. My, dearest hero, I trained you to fight monsters, I had not taught you how to tackle your inner monster. That was my error. " He lowered his head solemnly.

A few heart beats later Connor spoke up, "Man, you were like on top of the world."

Travis finished for him. "And it came to this."

Clarisse stepped forward. Chris held her hand. "I know I was a total bitch to you. And that I hated your guts, and was stubborn, and generally unpleasant. I'm gonna miss beating your ass in capture the flag." As if they still met to play the childhood game. There was awkward laughter that went around.

"You were my best friend. I really mean it." Grover said sadly. He was crying.

"I know I was a total brat to you. I did some horrible. Bu-But I was jealous of you." Nico, looking down at the floor. "I blamed you for the shit that went down in my life. The truth was I was jealous. You were special and I wasn't. Sorry, just sorry."

"I was special." Rachel began, and a few laughed, "And I'm glad you were able to find me, and tell me I wasn't just a freak." She ended and wiped her tears.

Katie said her condolences, and Chris followed her. Silence fell afterwards. All heads turned to Annabeth, who quickly looked the floor.

"Are you going to sat anything?" Grover asked.

She looked at her shoes. "There isn't much I have left to say. I could go on about the great times we had. About how in love we were in college. How I thought we'd last forever. Or I could say how bad things started to get when he decided college was too much, and he wasn't smart enough. How mad he would get because he felt like a loser. How he stopped talking to me and started drinking. How they fired him from work. How I couldn't just take it anymore, so I left, and he begged me to stay. He was wreck." She sniffed, "Do any of you know how he actually died?"

Everyone could sense the bitterness in Annabeth's words. No one wanted to speak.

"Wasn't he stabbed?" Nico answered unsurely.

"Yeah, stabbed by his drug dealer." She cleared up, and wiped away angry tears. "He called me a few weeks ago. He owed his dealer money, and didn't have any to give. He begged me to give some. I just hung up." She started crying harder. "I just let him die"

Silence surrounded the room.

"I had no idea what he had become." Chiron said. Everyone silently agreed.

Annabeth gave the coffin a last pitiful glance. "It's no use wasting anymore goodbyes. The Percy Jackson you knew died many years ago."

They left Staphine's shortly after. Together.

Percy Jackson was a great (mostly unknown to humans) hero of his generation. If not the greatest. He, however, did not die a tragic death. His death was ignominious and shameful to his former self.

He died when he was thirty four. Most would consider that a devastation, but the few that attended his funeral, though greatly hurt by the loss, were disappointed in the way things had come to be. That such a brave young man had become what he had become.

AN: Written for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Writing Olympics. My apologies to the judges for waiting so long. Writer's block decided to befriend me, even after I kept ignoring them on Facebook. This was all I could force out. *Gives desperate smile*

Thank, Ariadne's Twine for beta-ing this at twelve in the morning, and making it into less of a piece of crap. *Huggles Rachel*

You know you love me,