Have you ever had to make a hard decision? I'm not talking about choosing a dress for prom, or if you should forgive Mark for cheating on you even though he promised not to do it again (that cheating bastard needs to be kicked to the curb). I'm talking about making a hard choice; a choice that splits you in two, changing your life forever. If you haven't, you should consider yourself lucky. If you have- well I can only hope you made the right choice. I know I did, but that doesn't mean I had to like it.
My story goes back to when times where simpler, people were free to live their own lives and be happy, our government was a group of leaders called The Olympians. Sure they weren't the best government, nor did they make the best decisions at times, but we lived happily under their rule; with the occasional battle here and there, and the inevitable disappointment of a senseless law or action on their part (also my mom was kind of part of the group of leaders, so I couldn't really complain much in front of her). Life was good, not great- but if it was their wouldn't be a need for a better generation. Then the war broke out, a group of power hungry radicals overthrew The Olympians, they called themselves The Titans. They promised peace, happiness, fairness; but they gave us war, grief, and oppression. I watched as innocents were murdered, our country was destroying itself and there was nothing we could do about it.
Then I made the decision that would tear my already torn life to pieces, I joined the rebellion. It all happened when my father was trying to sneak us out of the country, my mother had made arrangements to get us to safety, dad and I were to meet her at a secure location. That night my mother never showed, she went MIA, whether she was captured, killed, or had fled on her own was unknown. Instead we were greeted by a group of The Titans' attack dogs (military guys who ransacked our homes and then killed those who they believed were traitors to their bosses), my father tried to protect me and died in doing so. I was left alone, scared, and surrounded by ten guys who thought torturing people was fun. I stood my ground, shaking on the inside but refusing to let them enjoy my fear. That's when He showed up.
"Annabeth!" He shouted pushing through the group of guards, and running to me.
"Luke!" I shouted, both relief and fear enveloping my body. Luke Castellan had my best friend since I could lift my own head, his father and my mother were both in the council, and we ended up with the same nanny. We were literally raised together, he was my brother and best friend. Seeing him there, I knew he would do anything to protect me, including giving up his own life.
"Are you hurt? Did they do anything to you?" He asked grabbing my shoulders and inspecting me.
"No, Luke, my dad-" he looked to the limp figure on the ground behind me.
"Oh my gods Annabeth, I'm so sorry." I closed my watery eyes as he pulled me in for a tight embrace. He let go of me and looked into my eyes, "We have to go." Grabbing my arm he began to pull me in the direction of the guards.
"Wait Luke, they're not just going to let us leave." I held tight to his arm, feeling secure.
"Sir, your transportation is waiting at the end of the road." One of the guards informed someone close to where we were standing.
"Thank you, I'll meet you at the base. From there we can initiate our ops." The man who I had admired all my life replied.
"Wait, what? W-w-what are you talking about?" My grip on him loosened and he grabbed my slipping hand, holding it between both of his. His eyes pleaded for me to drop it, but he knew me better than anyone, he knew the pieces were already coming together. "You're with them." I whispered, horrified as my eyes darted between him and the armed men a couple feet away.
"Annabeth, there is a war going on. Things are changing, in order to survive we must change along with it. If you join The Titans, you can have a happy life." His cold hands gripped my limp one tighter. That's when my world shattered, if I couldn't trust him who could I trust?
"They killed my father." I tried my best to hold the tears at bay, but nothing I could have done would have stopped the storm stirring inside of me.
"I know, had I gotten here earlier I would have stopped them, I'm sorry. But it's for the best, he wouldn't have lasted through the fight." With one hand still holding on to mine, his free one caressed my cheek. "Please Annabeth, don't do this." He pleaded, he knew exactly where my head was at. They had killed my family, my friends, and he was asking me to take their side?
"You and I seem to have very different definitions of happy." I managed to get out through gritted teeth.
"So are you with me or against me?" He snapped losing his patience.
"I am not with or against you Luke, I just-" I tried to explain but he cut me off.
"If you are not with me, you are against me; and therefore against The Titans! So tell me Annabeth who's side are you on?" He shouted frustrated. My eyes snapped shut when he raised his voice, I took a shaky breath knowing very well what my decision was. Tears spilled down my cheeks as I nodded.
"Alright." I whispered. My eyes opened to see him offering his hand to me, hesitantly I took it. He led me away from the group of guards and towards the vehicle that would take us to my new prison. When the car parked on the edge of the road came into view, I stopped in my tracks, bringing Luke to a stop along with me.
"Luke are you sure about this?" I stepped in front of him, looking him dead in his marvelous blue eyes.
"I am, we can be happy together Annabeth. Everything will work out." He reassured me.
I nodded, gently placing my hands on either side of his face, I gave him a small smile. "Okay." I whispered, pulling down his face and gently placing a kiss on his cheek. Next I swung my head back and rammed it into his' as hard as I could, I felt light headed; the impact also affecting me. But I knew I had no time to wasted, I brought my knee up into his stomach and when he doubled over, I ran for my life.
"Annabeth Chase!" He shouted after me.
That night, as I hid in the woods, I met the people who called themselves The Demi-Gods, people who wanted to bring an end to the reign of terror.
At the age of seventeen I joined, starting out as a look out (we would take turns watching surveillance cameras to ensure guards didn't get to close to our headquarters) but now seven years later I had risen to head of our tact team, we rescued innocent individuals and foiled the attack ops of the opposing side. I was a respected leader in our community, and we wouldn't stop until we had restored order to our world. Unfortunately, Luke had done the same on his side of the battle. He had always been very clever, and The Titans saw that- making him the head director of ops. I haven't seen him face to face in seven years, but given how our teams were literally pieces on opposite ends of a chess board, we have had a few exchanges here and there.
Given our history, things tended to get a bit...interesting (to say the least).
My fingers slid smoothly through the fur on the cat purring in my lap, I hummed amused while petting the sleeping animal. The door to my office opened, my eyes looked up to meet with sea green ones. Percy Jackson, my second in command, and very close friend.
"Hey, so what's-" his eyes landed on the black furball in my lap, "Since when do you have a cat?" He asked confused, distracted from what he was going to originally ask.
"Since yesterday." I smiled at him smugly. He quirked an eyebrow at me, knowing something good had to be behind my smile.
"What'd you do?" He asked, his eyes greedy for details. Just then my computer rang, I had an incoming call.
"Sorry seaweed brain, but you're just going to have to live with the uncertainty. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a call to take." I answered laughing at his pout, he shook his head and left the room, waving lazily as he closed the door.
I clicked the accept button, quickly I spun my chair around to face the wall. I heard the distinctive click of the call connecting through, and noise coming from the screen. "Annabeth." A familiar voice growled.
I slowly spun around, meanwhile petting the cat, the smug smile still firmly planted on my face. "Why hello, Luke. To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"You took my cat!?" He cried indignant and aggravated.
"Well more like he followed me home." I shrugged nonchalantly.
"Bullshit! You haven't stepped foot in Florida!" He glared.
"Well it's not my fault you live in the most humid place in this country!" I snapped.
He chuckled, "Some sun will do you good. Why don't come over, we could settle this once and for all." He leaned back in his chair, smug.
"I don't know, I've always thought I've always thought Washington was a good place for a fight to go down." I answered, smiling as the smile slid off his face. He hated the snow, I knew that and purposely changed our location to a remote town in the middle of gloomy Washington. Just like he moved to Florida because he knew I could never personally go to Florida, I'd die of dehydration the second I stepped off the plane.
"Perhaps another time." He frowned, knowing very well what I was thinking. "Now give me back my cat." He growled.
I brought the cat up to my face and nuzzled it's nose with my own, "I don't know, she seems to really like me. I think I'll keep her, she'll be my one reminder of you."
"You wouldn't need a reminder if you were at my side." He gave me a wicked smile.
"Nah the black kitty who's as black as your soul will do just fine." I shook my head, pressing my lips into a tight line.
"I want my cat back." He stated giving up and returning to what he initially had called for.
"And I want my analyst back." I responded without missing a beat. His eyes closed to a slit, knowing that he had played into my trap. "So we both have something the other wants, how bout we make a deal?" I asked him smug.
"I don't think so." He shook his head stubbornly.
"Well then say goodbye to Zazzles." I shrugged, waving the cat's paw at the computer screen.
"You named my cat?" He cried indignant.
"I had to!" I defended. " What kind of name is Paul for a cat?"
"A functional name?" He answered leaning forward in his chair, he rested his head on his hands, his elbows propped up against the table.
"And unfortunately that's all you'll ever be, functional." I answered coldly.
We stared at each other, both knowing today was not going to be the day where the other caved and joined their side.
"I'll send the cat back with an agent to retrieve my analyst." I finally answered, no longer being able to stare at him. My eyes landed on the scar above his eyebrow, extending along the side of his face to below his eye. Even with the scar he was so handsome, he had always been, shame he was so stupid.
"Fine." He huffed.
"Well until another time I guess." I waved reaching out to press the end button, but paused when he spoke.
"Until then, oh and Annabeth? Try not to give yourself a heart attack." He winked at me and the screen went black. What on earth did he mean by that?
I put the fur ball on the floor and leaned back in my chair, just then someone knocked on my door.
"Come in." I answered staring into the distance thinking his words over, with Luke one could never be too careful.
"Hey Annabeth, I just got back from the air drop location. We've received more boxes with people they need us to find and get to one of the camps, some supplies and ammo, the usual; and this box for you." Piper finished setting a small box in front of me on my desk. My eyes slowly slid down the wall, to my desk, to the small brown box sitting in front of me.
"It's probably from Chiron." I answered grabbing my small pocket knife and sliding the box towards me. Gently I cut threw the tape holding the flaps together and pulled them apart. The piercing scream that escaped my body as I sent the box flying across the room sent people running to my office with guns out and ready to take out the threat.
"Get it out! Get it out!" I cried, climbing up onto my desk as the hairy tarantula jumped around on the floor, trying to find some place to hide.
Percy walked over to the knocked over box, picked it up and after cornering the beast into a corner, slammed the box down over the creature trapping it back in it's box. "There it's trapped." He answered looking at me from where he crouched next to the upside down box.
"No, no, no! Get it out!" I shook my head frantically. He chuckled and I glared at him.
"Pipes, hand me that clipboard over there please." he nodded to the green clipboard on the cabinet, she was leaning against. She grabbed it and tossed it at him, he caught it, slipped it under the box and handed it off to Jason.
"Please go outside and release our hairy friend here, before somebody dies of a heart attack." Percy nodded his head at me, the people in the room chuckled along with Jason as he grabbed the package and left. I would have gone off on Percy had his words not frozen me in place. Heart attack...My eyes widen, the anger and irritation that accompanied my realization shaking my body.
"LUKE CASTELLAN!" I shouted at the top of my lungs. I jumped off the desk and stormed out of my office, with Percy hot on my trail.
"Ooooh someone's gonna get it." He sang, easily keeping up with my fast steps.
"Not now seaweed brain!" I snapped.
"Leo!" I shouted storming into the tech room, it was filled with the sound of keyboards clicking and computers humming. The back wall wasn't a wall but rather a large screen.
"Yes my braininess?" He looked up from where he was playing with some kind of robot-toy-car thing.
"It's that time." I looked at him with a stone face, he blinked at me and I waited for him to understand.
"Oooooh THAT time." He nodded understanding, a slow grin slid on his face, he had the look of a maniac in his eye.
He set the remote on the table next to him and ran to the computer that controlled the monitor; he began typing away at an incredible speed. I crossed my arms and tapped my foot, impatient for results to occur. A crowd of some of my closest friends had began to appear by the door, Percy sat casually on the table a few feet to my left, looking very amused. The loud ring of a phone going off echoed in the now silent room.
"Well?" I snapped, waiting for the annoying noise to be silenced.
"It's not me." Percy held his hands of innocently, everybody began to check their phones wondering if it was them. I looked around the room to see people shaking their heads, it wasn't them. So who was it, it was then that I realized the small vibration against the fabric of my jeans. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, the screen showed an incoming call from an unknown caller. I pressed answer and slowly brought it to my ear.
"Hello?" I answered, a suspicious feeling settling in my stomach.
"How'd you like your gift?" A deep voice chuckled at the other end.
"Luke! You son of a Cyclops! Just wait 'til I get my hands on you. I'll twist your head right off!" I shouted into the phone, anger boiling inside of me.
"Now, now, is that any way to act after you've received a gift from a long time friend?" He chided.
I took a deep breath in through my nose, "No of course not," I answered slowly, "Allow me to express my thanks." My voice was calm and my gaze intense as I nodded at a waiting Leo. He pressed a button and laughed like a maniac, I just shook my head at him in a helpless why? gesture.
He shrugged and brought the big screen to life, "Goodbye Luke, enjoy your evening." I stated pressing the end button on my phone. I watched as men began running in all directions, trying to avoid getting bombarded by the pink acid. It was nothing seriously dangerous of course, we're not completely inhumane, it was simply one of Leo's concoctions gone wrong- I merely found a different use for it. Originally it was supposed to numbing gel, something to apply to our wounds until we could get treated. But there was no way in hell I was going to let that stuff touch the skin of my people, not after realizing how it didn't numb anything, but rather made you feel a lot of pain.
Pink globs splattered onto the ground and the poor unsuspecting bodies, grown men and women began running shielding their heads with what ever they could. They would dive under tables, blankets, cars, anything that would protect them from the pink atrocity. A young girl ran by screaming, wiping the pink goo off her burning arm.
My eyes were focused on one certain target, and sure enough there he was, standing amidst the chaos with a yellow umbrella to protect himself. He seemed to be shouting orders, his hands waving wildly as he tried to bring order back to his camp. But he made the mistake of keeping his outstretched arm out of protection too long, and a nice big blob fell onto his exposed skin. He retracted his arm immediately, hissing and making sure every part of him was well under the umbrella.
My phone buzzed and I looked down at the screen, You will pay very heavily for this. The new message read, I felt a slow smile spread across my lips. Bring it.
"Percy, how many times do I have to tell you the olives go on the pizza, not separate." I asked annoyed as he grabbed a slice of pepperoni pizza and bit into it, meanwhile shoving the container of olives my way. He said something but all I heard was mumbles as he stuffed his face with more pizza. I rolled my eyes and grabbed a slice, my mouth watering at the delicious smell.
Before I could bite into my slice, Jason burst in to Percy's room. "Hey guys, glad to find you both here, saves me the trip. Listen we've got trouble." His blue eyes were wide, his head nodded out into the hall. We both stood up immediately and followed Jason out the door and into the rec hall. The entire section was buzzing, "Holy-!" Percy shoved me against the wall as a tiny mechanical spider shot fire in our direction.
"What on earth are these things?!" I squeaked from underneath Percy. Spiders, whether real or fake, were never good news.
"They are a true work of art! That's what they are!" Leo shouted running towards us with what looked like five deactivated spiders in his arms. "They're tiny but what technique?! Flame throwers, acid, gas bombs, you name it these things can do it! Plus they're small so easy travel and aren't limited to the ground, these things can climb anything!" He explained enthusiastically.
"Leo you sound like a crazy salesman right now, all you're missing is to say 'Buy two at the price of one!' and bam you're set." Jason laughed jumping out the way as a little monster whirred by spouting little electrical zappers. Unfortunately Frank being the large target that he is, was hit by one and shrieked as the current shocked his body.
"Leo get rid of these things!" I exclaimed ducking and rolling as more zappers were thrown our way.
"Awww." He pouted, upset about getting rid of his new toys. "But we can use them, I can reprogram them and use them for missions!" He exclaimed.
"No." I shook my head keeping an eye out for the little monsters.
"Please." He pleaded sounding and looking very much like a six year-old.
"Fine!" I gave in, knowing he would keep them anyway, "Just get them to stop destroying the place!"
His grin grew wider than I thought was possible. "Guys! I told you she'd say yes! Get them to the workshop! Grab as many as you can!" He shouted taking off down the hall, all the techies already had their own arms filled with immobile spiders and were running down the hall after the crazy leader.
"Do you know who sent them?" Jason asked rubbing his hair, some of the tips were smoking and black, having been burned by the flame thrower.
"Like you have to ask?" I crossed my arms and went further into the rec hall to inspect the damage.
"Luke." Percy answered behind me, I cringed a little on the inside. I never liked the way he said Luke's name, it's true he was the leader of the team that had it out for us. And he worked for the people who ruined our lives. But Percy only knew that side of him, I knew the boy who trembled under thunder storms, the guy who planned every senior prank of our high school for 4 years, even though he wasn't a senior for 3 of those years. He only saw the image of the enemy but I saw the brother who protected me and then betrayed me. After all that, he was still family.
I inspected the various room of relaxation and entertainment, we were going to need a new screen in the home cinema, a new pool table, a couple new basketballs, and more bean bags chairs, but nothing too serious.
"So what's the counter attack?" Frank asked helping to straighten out the mess, if he had any hair I know it would have been standing on it's end after the voltage he received. But the only give away was the every so often spasm he'd have.
"We send in the dragon." I answered.
I smiled as I remembered Leo's new machine dragon terrorizing Luke and his men, I knew Luke couldn't stand it because that's how he got the scar on his face. Something about stealing something gold for his boss and what not, and a dragon statue that fell on him or...wait was it at a Chinese festival and he was trampled by a Chinese dragon...I don't know, he refuses to tell me. But anyway it was fun to see his squirm.
"Annabeth!" A voice shouted behind me, I stopped walking and turned to see Hazel running up to me.
"What's wrong?!" I asked alarmed.
"Huh? Oh nothing's wrong?" She dismissed my worry with a wave of her hand. "It's Nico! They found him Annabeth! They found my brother!" She shouted bouncing in one place.
"That's great! Where? How?" I asked filling with joy, finally some good news.
"He was hiding out somewhere in California! They're bringing him back now as we speak! I can't wait to see him!" She and I began resumed walking, I headed in the direction of my room.
"That's great Hazel, why don't you go and arrange everything for once he's here. Make sure to prep a room for him and get him up to date. Okay?" I suggested.
"Really? Okay, thanks!" She nodded sprinting off in the direction she came from. "See you later!" She shouted behind her. I laughed and made my way over to my room.
"Annabeth?" Grover stopped me on my way in, I peaked my head out and stepped back out when he approached me in salute.
"At ease Grover, what's up?" I asked leaning against the frame of my door.
"I don't know, the enemy has sent over a raw turkey. I'm not sure what that means." He looked at me confused. "It has been checked for explosives and bugs, but appears to be clean." He shrugged. Meanwhile my face had gone red, all my previous happiness gone.
"He was supposed to take that memory to the grave!" I shouted furious. "That's it! He asked for it!" I shouted marching into my bedroom while yanking at my hair.
"Have a dozen goats sent over to their camp immediately! He hates them, they terrify him!" I shouted glaring at the innocent and confused ginger.
"Excuse me!?" He asked unsure of what to make of what he just heard.
"Just do it, he'll get it." I rolled my arms and waved him off. He left but not before giving me a look of uncertainty.
"He'll see." I grumbled plopping face down on my bed.
My laptop screen showed an incoming call, I stared at the screen, not really wanting to move; I was still face down on my bed and the laptop was open arm's length away. But I didn't want to move my arm to answer, grudgingly I lifted a lazy limb to answer the video chat.
The screen showed a very exhausted and disgruntled Luke, "What?" I asked, half my face still buried deep in my comforter.
"How the hell did you get into my house and not set off the alarms?" He asked rubbing his tired face.
"Darling you use the same passcode for everything you own, your birthdate. And you keep the spare key in the same place you kept it back home." I mumbled looking at the screen with only one eye.
"What were you doing in there in the first place?" He asked, quirking an eyebrow.
"Me? Nothing. I haven't left the state in days. I did have a friend who was asking about your place. She seems to be infatuated with you." I rolled my eyes, or rather my eye at the screen.
"Well can you blame her?" He smirked.
"I can actually, tell me how are your fish doing?" I asked coyly.
He froze and ran from the computer frame, out of my view. "Son of-" I heard a low curse somewhere in the house.
"First my cat, now my fish?" He asked.
"Hey, I had nothing to do with that. Apparently your cat got hungry." I tried shrugging. I lifted my head and rested it on my propped up hand. "Listen I'm actually quite tired, so I suggest you say what ever else you have left to say." I answered flatly, bored and exhausted.
"I hate your uniforms, I wish you would join me, who ever that short kid with the tool belt is had better stay away from my machinery- and my car- if he knows what good for him, stop stealing my pets, and for the love of all that is holy stop with the goats!" He shouted yanking at his hair.
"Sure, as soon as you stop with the spiders." I answered smug.
"Dang. I guess I'll never get rid of those smelly monsters." He shook his head sadly, I glared at him.
"Until some other time Luke." I waved sadly.
"Until some other time." He nodded, and ended the chat.