Annabeth first heard the problem from an ares camper as she passed him on her way to the arena.
"Hey, can you shut your idiot boyfriend up for a while? I want to take a nap!" The boy snapped. Annabeth didn't reply as she raced to the beach where her boyfriend Percy was causing problems. She didn't give the ares boy any response.
The scene at the beach was surprising to say the least. Percy was marching around holding a giant wooden rod with a sign strapped to it. The blue sigh read "DEATH TO DISINFECTANT!" In big bold green letters. It looked homemade and about 20 more signs were sprawled about on the sand. Annabeth stopped dead in her tracks at this shocking event.
To to make matters worse, as if they weren't already bad, Percy started screaming. "DEATH TO DISINFECTANT! I DONT WANT TO DIE! DEATH TO DISINFECTANT! PROTECT OUR IMMUNE SYSTEMS!" Annabeth was so confused. Since when did Percy know words like 'disinfectant' or 'immune system'?
Percy finally noticed his girlfriend standing there in the sand stunned and at a loss for words. The son of Poseidon deuces to use that to his advantage. "Hey Wise Girl!" He greeted gleefully. "Want to help yell at cleaning products?" Annabeth still just stood there. "Are you okay Annabeth?" Asked a concerned Percy.
"Um... How... Why... What is... When did you get the time to... Uh..." Annabeth stuttered, very unlike herself.
"Is the great Annabeth Chase stumbling over her words?!" Percy asked in mock surprise.
"Oh shut up Seaweed Brain. You do it much more and worse than I do."
"Whatever helps you sleep at night Wise Girl," Percy remarked smirking, to which Amnabeth blushed.
"So... What's up with the signs Percy?" Annabeth asked. Percy looked confused. 'Gods, he's dense,' Annabeth thought.
"Do you mean Bob, Joe, Martha, and Sue?" Percy asked, eyebrows raised. Now it was Annabeth'a turn be look puzzled.
"Who?!" Annabeth asked frustrated, to which Percy gave a manic laugh, the ones people give when others think they are crazy.
"Well, actually I named all if them but Bob, Joe, Martha, and Sue are any favorites. Would you like to hold one of them Wise Girl?" Percy asked holding four of his homemade signs.
"I guess so..." Annabeth said unsure. She grabbed Martha and read the messily written words scrawled on it in Percy's horrid handwriting. The sign read "I don't want to die!" in large green capital letters. Annabeth blinked slowly. "Percy, what's this about? Bob says 'I don't want to die!' on it. Why?"
"Ok, first, for your information that was Martha not Bob Annabeth. Geez," Percy said. "Secondly, I'm out here at the beach protesting disinfectants. Do I need to spell it out to you Annabeth? I thought you knew these things. Aren't you a mind reader? Children of Athena are mind readers right?"
"No I am not a mind reader Percy Jackson."
"Oh. You'd tell me if you were a mind reader right Annabeth?!" Percy asked worried.
"I don't think that'd be happening soon..." Annabeth paused at the hopeful look on Percy's face. She sighed. "Yes Percy, I'll tell you if I become a mindreader," she said, thinking 'not like it will happen though' in her head. Pushing that thought aside, Annabeth started on a new topic. "Why were you protesting disinfectants anyways Seaweed Brain?"
Percy replied, "Well, I've always disliked disinfectants, since I was really little. Then I got a brilliant idea to make signs and say I don't like them. Then maybe someone else might come and help."
Annabeth nodded. It actually made since, in a messed up Seaweed Brain way. "And why, Percy, do you dislike disinfectants so much?"
"i can't exactly hate them, 'cause hate is a very strong word Annabeth." Percy's girlfriend face-palmed.
"That's not what I meant Seaweed Brain. You really are a Seaweed Brain aren't you? I meant, why don't you like disinfectants?"
"Oh... I get it now. I think. I don't like disinfectants because they work too well." Annabeth looked at Percy baffled.
"Isn't that a good thing?"
"No! Why does everyone think that?" Percy mumbled that last part. "Disinfectants aren't good at all! Do you know why?!" Annabeth shook her head no. "A daughter of Athena doesn't know something?!" Percy exclaimed in mock surprise.
"Shut up,"Annabeth retaliated.
Percy smirked. "Back to the point, disinfectants kill germs right? The immune systems in our bodies are just for getting rid of the germs disinfectant kills. If disinfectant kills all the germs, what does the immune system do? Nothing, it can't do anything if all the germs are dead."
"I still don't see how that's bad. Dead germs is fine..."
"You didn't let me finish!" Percy interrupted. "As I was saying," Cue glare at Annabeth, "The immune system has nothing to do now. What happens when a new germ comes and is immune to disinfectant because it adapts after over-exposer? People get infected because they have too much trust in disinfectants. Usually the immune system will protect the body, but it's been too out of use due to disinfectant overload. Now it can't work. What else is there to stop this new germ? Nothing. Eventually, the new germ takes over and the person dies. Is that a good enough answer Annabeth?" Percy asked once he finished his rant.
Annabeth stood in the sand shocked. Maybe Percy isn't as much of a Seaweed Brain as everyone has always thought. "Well, you don't know that's going to happen..." She trailed off due to the look Percy was giving the sand beneath his feet. "Right? Percy? Are you okay? That's not going to happen right?"
Percy keep looking at the sand. After waiting for him to speak up, Annabeth started to leave when she was startled by a hollow sounding voice.
"Her name was Anne." Annabeth was confused, but didn't say anything. At least, not yet. "She was a huge germaphobe. You know, fear of germs? She always carried around a can of disinfectant spray. You could never catch her without it." Percy smiled down at the ground in memory. "Anne was a year older than me. We had the best times together. We would always play inside though. 'Too many bugs outside Perce' she'd tell me. We'd go back and forth arguing over her fear of germs and bugs..." Percy trailed off in memory.
"Go on," Annabeth gently pressured. Percy took a deep breath.
"One day, we had gone outside together to play. I had finally convinced her to give it a chance. Who knew that we'd always regret that day. We had brought a picnic lunch, just her and me. My mom stayed at the apartment cleaning up after Gabes' latest poker game. An ant crawled into her sandwich. She ate it and didn't even realize it. No one realized it. She got stomach aches after that, so we went home. My mom took her to the doctor and he gave her an X-ray. They found out that she had eaten the ant. It was too late though. It was already in her system. Everyone thought it was fine; I had eaten much worse when I was younger. You should've seen the things I ate sometimes. No wonder you guys call me Seaweed Brain." Percy looked down.
"It's ok. Keep going," Annabeth said, laying a hand on Percy shoulder while they both sat in the sand. Percy nodded.
"Not even the doctor realized it. I mean, we are in New York, we should've suspected something. But no one did. That ant was carrying a new deadly germ. It came for a lab that was down the street and was closed for creating too much deadly things to be in the middle of a big city. I guess they let the ant go or it escaped. Either way, I will always hate that company until the second I die. I hate them with every fiber of my being, with a burning passion."
"But didn't you say hate is a strong word Percy?" Annabeth teased, attempting to lighten the mood.
"Yes it is. That's why I said it," Percy responded emotionlessly. Annabeth was shocked. No one had ever seen Percy like that. How much did everyone really know about the son of Poseidon?
"Shall I continue or are you not done gawking at me?" Percy asked without Turing around. 'How did he know that...' Annabeth thought. Still, she nodded, signaling for him to keep going.
Percy continued, "Anyways, the ant that Anne had swallowed was carrying that germ right? Well, she would've been fine, if she didn't use so much disinfectant. That was the death of her. Her immune system was already weak, and she made it even weaker by using all the disinfectant. The system didn't know what hit it. Anne didn't survive through the month," Percy explained looking at his feet.
"But that day, August 17th, was the worst day if my life. My best friend died and I was right at her side. She held my hand and told me 'Percy I'll always love you. Don't forget me and don't do something stupid like killing yourself so we can be together.' Even to this day, I winded how she knew that, because that's exactly what I was going to do. It would've been my best birthday present ever; being with my best friend forever. Instead, I had replied, 'I'll always love you Anne. I'll try not to be stupid, but especially you know that I can't do that forever. I'll try though. Just for you. I'll miss you Anne. You can't die though. You need to make sure I stay out of trouble. Who will play with me and stand up to Gabe? Remember when you sprayed him in the eyes with the disinfectant because he was picking on me? Who will I say good night to every night. Who will I curl up in bed with when I have a nightmare? I need you Anne! You can't just die! Not like this! Not now... I can't lose you...'" Percy paused in his story.
"What happened next?" Annabeth asked. Her boyfriend sighed, but continued.
"Anne just smiled at me like she knew something that I didn't. Then... Then her eyes closed. I kinda lost it then. I remember shaking her lifeless body and screaming at her to come back to me. The doctor came up to me and said she's gone. I just ignored him. What did he know? He let her die in the first place. At that time I wished it was anyone other than her that had died. I would've even died for her. I did anything if she asked me to. Have you heard that song Grenade, Annabeth?"
The awestruck daughter of Athena nodded. Percy smiled a bittersweet smile. "That was she and I. I'd catch a grenade for her any day. Give me a place and time. And I'd be there. Anyways, back to the story."
"I didn't do so well for the next year or three. I was always depressed. I was like Nico, except I wouldn't speak. I wore black everyday mourning her. I didn't speak unless necessary, and nothing was ever necessary. For my birthday she was going to give me a black hoodie before... She left. She isn't dead. I refuse to believe it. I wore that hoodie everyday though. I only took it off if I was showering or swimming. I even wore it to sleep. pictures of her and both of us and any picture with her in it was tacked up on the wall in my room. Some days I even locked myself in there for a few days, eating granola bars my mom pushed under my door and drinking sink water from my bathroom. I got so skinny I looked like I hadn't eaten in weeks, which would've been true if my mom wasn't around. I probably would've died a long time before I knew about the gods if my mom let me have my way. It's too bad she didn't."
Annabeth didn't know what to say. Here was one if the strongest demigods talking to her about wanting die and loving another girl. She would've said something about it if Percy hadn't continued his story.
"All in all," he concluded, his voice expressionless, "it's my fault she died. I begged her to go outside. I brought the picnic. I forced her to eat the sandwich because she didn't want to. I didn't want her to starve though. I told her she'd be alright. She wasn't alright and it was my fault. That's the end of the story Annabeth. Are you happy now?" Percy asked his girlfriend.
"Happy?! My boyfriend is in love with another girl! And here I thought you loved me Percy!"Annabeth cried in frustration.
"Annabeth? What are you talking about?!" Percy yelled confused.
"I'm talking about how you love Anne and yet you date me! We are through. I will not help you torture that poor girls spirit. Do you have anything to say for yourself before I leave?" Annabeth demanded.
"Yes," Percy replied, hate burning in his eyes. "Anne wasn't some random poor mortal. She was my older sister," Percy said before stomping away, leaving a stunned Annabeth behind him.
"I didn't know Percy. Please forgive me," she whispered to herself as she stood around the signs that Percy had so carefully made. "I'm sorry."