Piper

Piper hated telling anyone bad news, let alone the son of the god of earthquakes and storms. Frank, Leo, and Hazel had elected her to tell Percy the bad news when he woke up, probably because she could just charmspeak him to calm down. Still, that did not keep her from glaring at her friends.

Percy woke up too soon for her liking. She was glad that her friend was awake, of course, but did not relish the opportunity to tell him that his girlfriend had sacrificed herself to let them get away, and was probably dead by now.

Percy stumbled on deck, clutching his forehead, followed immediately afterwards by Jason, who was also groaning and blinking in the bright sunlight. The two boys collapsed at a table on deck, where they were joined by the rest of the demigods.

"What happened?" Jason mumbled.

"Um... what do you remember?" Piper asked, hoping to put off answering the question for a little while longer.

"I'm not sure. I was just on deck when suddenly... this cold feeling came over me. After that..." he scrunched up his eyebrows. "I forget."

"Same here," Percy said. "And where's Annabeth?"

Piper felt her stomach drop. There was the dreaded question. Percy apparently saw the poorly disguised horror on her face, because he immediately sat up straighter and focused on her with a sharp look.

"Where. Is. She?" Percy asked, a low growl coming out of his throat.

Piper gulped and started to tell the story, starting with Percy's and Jason's fight. Percy didn't interrupt until she got to the part about Annabeth.

"She what? We have to go back! Leo, turn this boat around."

For once, Leo didn't even grumble about his ship being called a boat, and a serious expression took the place of his usual carefree one. "Percy, I'm sorry. It's too late. They took her half an hour ago."

"There can't have been that many, right? I mean... we've survived so many more monsters. She'll be fine. She has to be fine."

Jason was slowly shaking his head. "Perce, I'm sorry, man, but with the Doors of Death still open..."

"No!" Percy exclaimed, eyes wide and heaving deep breaths.

Jason raised his hands in surrender. "Look, I'm sorry, but we have to be realistic here. Our best course of action is to continue on to Greece. If we head north-"

"Don't," Percy yelled. "Don't for a second just pretend that everything's alright. Annabeth-" his voice broke off. His eyes lost their unnatural gleam, and he started to stare off into space again.

For a second, no one moved. Then, in a small voice, Hazel whispered, "Percy?"

There was no reply from the son of Poseidon, and he just kept staring straight ahead, eyes glazed over.

Jason's hand twitched towards his weapon was, but stopped when Percy abruptly drew in a breath. Percy's eyes lost their glazed look, and he focused on Jason. Breathing heavily, he rose and took a few steps away from the table Jason.

"She's still alive."

Everyone looked startled at his pronouncement, then a bit concerned.

"Percy-" Leo started, only to have Percy cut him off yet again.

"No. I would know if she died, okay? I would be able to feel it. Besides... Gaea just spoke to me. She told me that Annabeth's still alive, but Gaea's got her captured. I have to go get her."

"Percy," Jason said doubtfully. "There's no guarantee that she's got Annabeth. Gaea's luring you into a trap."

"Of course she is," Percy said. "But that's exactly what's keeping Annabeth alive. Gaea's going to bargain with me: Annabeth's life for mine."

"Percy, you can't," Hazel said desperately. "There's got to be another way, we can think of a plan."

Percy was already shaking his head. "No. I can't..." his eyes took on a determined glint again. "I swear, I will get her out of this alive, even if it kills me."

Piper felt chills run up her spine. A line of the Great Prophecy came back to her: An oath to keep with a final breath. She tried to reason with Percy.

"Okay, Percy, we'll get her back, but let's do it the smart way. We have to come up with a plan to get both of you out of there alive. Let's continue on to Greece, because that's where Gaea is, so it's probably where she's taken Annabeth, too, if she has her."

Percy paused for a second, but nodded.

"And besides," Leo chimed in, having been unnaturally silent for awhile, "don't think we're letting you do this on your own. Sure, she's scary, but she's our friend, and we wouldn't have her any other way. We'll get her back, and we'll do it together."

One by one, the other demigods gave their consent. A small smile formed on Percy's face.

"Thanks, guys," he said.

"You can always count on us," Leo said proudly. "Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to check the control panel to make sure nothing blew up while I was away."

"One second," Frank said. "There's one thing that's been bothering me about all this: the prophecy." Immediately, the mood went from hopeful to somber again.

"The prince of death shall be made free/By children of the Big Three." Piper said the first line of the prophecy.

"That's easy enough. Nico's the prince of death, because his father is Hades; it's not Thanatos like we thought. Children of the Big Three might refer to Hades and Poseidon," Percy said.

Hazel continued with the next lines. "The final battle shall be at the roots/You shall be aided by the new recruits."

"I stick by my earlier statement: the new recruits are the new campers at Camp Half-Blood, and they helped build the Argo II," Jason said.

"Wisdom's daughter walks alone/The mark of Athena burns through Rome."

Everyone was silent. No one wanted to bring up a reminder of Annabeth just yet.

"What about Ella's two lines? Battle's chosen has a different course/ Six fly to Greece with hearts of remorse." Piper reminded them of the other lines.

"Battle's chosen?" Frank wondered out loud.

"It's Annabeth." Percy's normally carefree expression was closed off. "Her mother is Athena, goddess of battle. She's got a different course than the rest of us, meaning she'll get to Greece another way." No one said that the 'different course' might not mean getting to Greece at all.

"Right," Leo said. "I think I've got everything handled up here, so how about you guys get some rest or something? I don't know about you guys, but I'd hate to fall asleep in the middle of a fight."

Slowly, all the demigods except for Percy left the table, heading their various ways. Percy didn't fell like moving, or like doing much of anything, really. He just wanted Annabeth.

Unconsciously, Percy's scowl grew deeper. Why was it that, every time the world was in danger, it was him and Annabeth in the middle of it all? Just once, Percy wished that someone else would take responsibility.

Then Percy thought about his other friends, who were risking just as much as he was. Not only the seven- now six- on the quest, but also his friends at Camp Half-Blood as well as Camp Jupiter. Not all of them would live to see the end of the week.

Frowning, Percy shook his head to get rid of the negative thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, Reyna could talk some sense into the Romans. Then the demigods- Greek and Roman alike- would join forces against Gaea, and they would come out on top. Then the six of them would find Annabeth, defeat Gaea, and go out for dinner without any monsters attacking. It was a small hope, but Percy held on to it.

Percy walked over to where Leo was tapping controls onto a keyboard.

"Do we have a course?" Percy asked him.

Leo nodded, not pausing to look back at him. "Yep. We should get to Greece within two or three hours."

Percy stared out over the front of the ship. He clapped a hand onto Leo's shoulder and nodded determinedly.

"Let's go."