It happened in a flash. I turned around and the battle was over. We were covered of immortals' blood and monsters dust, our blood too. We won. I should have been happy but I couldn't.
I just stared the painful scene in front of me. Piper was over his dead body. She was crying out in hurtful heartbroken sobs. Jason was dead. I could see Piper whispering in his ear trying to wake him up with Charmspeak. She kissed his eyes and lips as she whispered hoping for a miracle. I wished the same too. Jason died like a hero, but he was too young, a year younger than me. He didn't deserve to die.
From behind, I could hear Hazel sobbing too. She was shaking in vain Leo's still body. Frank was trying to stop her but she was mad in despair. I couldn't make myself to move. Frank tried but Hazel was just so frantic and wild and forced her way out of his embrace. What could I say to Hazel to make her feel better? For Hazel, it was probably losing Sammy all over again. I probably would be in the same state, even worst if it was Annabeth on the floor. I couldn't even face her. I just stared at Piper and Jason. I felt my blood dripping thought my arm soaking my Roman tattoo. My wounds were superficial but they still hurt.
Then, I saw her. Annabeth was moving around the place with her sword. The battle was over but she was checking up that everything was right. She looked nervous like waiting for a final fatal attack. Annabeth expected something else would happen. I couldn't face anything else. I was just fed up with everything. I could sleep for a month.
Once everything seemed fine, Annabeth walked slowly to me. She had blood pouring from her side, but it was starting to close. The blood was already drying out. She looked tired, weak but her grey eyes saw me with happiness. She was happy of me being alive regardless of my two dead friends.
"Percy?" said Annabeth standing in front of her. I felt her hand on my cheek wiping softly my tears. I didn't even know I was crying.
"What have we done?" I whispered. I couldn't believe what happened.
"We won" said Annabeth in tears. Her eyes locked in mine. There was happiness, sadness, tiredness and pain in her eyes. I tried to understand but it was just so unbelievable. We won but at what cost.
"This shouldn't have happened. I could have saved them but…" I whispered and pulled back. I didn't want Annabeth's comforting words or touches right now in the middle of so much pain.
Annabeth moved closer to me. She tried to hug me but I didn't let her. Annabeth sighed sadly and tried to take my hand. I felt her fingers grabbing mine feeling her warmth. Annabeth was my everything. I should be happy that she is alive but I couldn't shake the feeling that I didn't deserve it. Hazel's and Piper's cries didn't help either. I failed to my friends.
"I had to make a decision and I chose you" said Annabeth and leaned to kiss me. Her lips were so close but I just couldn't move to her. I walked back and I almost tripped with Frank who was still trying to separate Hazel of Leo's dead body.
Annabeth got closer to me. Her eyes were sad almost to the point of tears again. I wanted to hug her and tell her everything was right, but I couldn't. Instead, I cupped her face looking at her beautiful grey eyes. She smiled hopefully.
"I'm sorry, Annabeth" I said kissing her. "I can't" Her eyes filled with new tears and I could see how heartbroken she was. She tried to be strong but I could see her trembling and almost sobbing body in misery.
Even after all we have been through, I just couldn't be around her after what happened, so I ran away. I heard Annabeth and my friends screaming my name and running behind me, but I was faster.
I ran through corridors and small narrow streets in the dark city. I thought I would get lost in dead ends, but I didn't. I could feel and smell the sea getting closer as I ran like my life depended on it. I was just hundreds of yards when something fell on me. I shook it off quickly as it fell on me and drew Riptide ready to fight.
It was Annabeth staring at me. She was panting by the run. Her side wound was bleeding again. She walked to me as she feared I would flee again.
"Percy, I love you" said Annabeth softly. She placed her hand on my cheek. I could feel her trembling and her warmth spreading over my body.
"Annabeth, how could you?" I said trying so sound casual, neither angry nor accusing.
"Percy, I had to choose. I couldn't lose you, not again, not ever" said Annabeth with her eyes on me. I saw a weak smile. She was happy of seeing me alive.
"You just lost me" I said and Annabeth started to cry, sob and shake. I just broke her heart. She looked at me with pleaded sad eyes.
"No, please, no" pleaded Annabeth.
"I just don't deserve being happy after we had done. We killed Bob, Damasen, Leo and Jason. We killed our friends" I said and Annabeth cried harder.
"Percy?" said Annabeth softly.
"Sorry" I said and I looked at her face for one last time.
Annabeth was beautiful despise the tears, dirt, blood and bruises all over her face and body. I leaned and kissed her forehead. She sniffed and tried to surround me with her arms. I wanted to hold her in my arms too, but I couldn't shake the sight of Piper crying. Her world had crumbled down because of us. Hazel didn't deserve it either.
I wanted to kiss Annabeth one more time but I ran away again. I heard Annabeth crying and screaming behind me getting farther and farther. For the first time since we knew each other, she didn't run for me. She didn't follow me.
I still don't know how I got to the sea, the dangerous Mare Nostrum. Once there, I just looked at my reflection in the sea. I was covered in dirt and blood, mine and others. I was living and breathing while two of my best friends weren't. I dived in the salt water. I should have felt better in the seawater but it wasn't the case. I felt an urgent need to put as many distance I could of everything so I swam away as fast as possible.
I couldn't come back to Annabeth, just not yet. As I swam, I remembered Leo's promise which he would never fulfill, all because of me and Annabeth. A promise I made myself years back.