New York was an easy place to lose a person. To lose anything, really, but if you knew your way around the city that literally never sleeps, you're invisible.
Every corner had it's own corner, every nook hid the path from one street to another. It was dark, cold, and extremely fucking loud. Annabeth yanked her coat around her tighter to fight the breeze. Stepping into oncoming traffic was on obvious no and the sidewalk ahead was closed for construction, so she'd have to go around a block or so.
As much as Annabeth resented the city, New York architecture was somthing to behold. How mortals ever figured out to create such a structure was beyond her. They just didnt come with the same brains demigods did! Whenever she came here to visit the Jacksons, (or more pressing matters) it was a special treat to herself to visit the larger skyscrapers in the area. Percy loved talking about each one, telling their history and what was there before. He'd complain about it like an old crotchety man, how his view of certain things were now blocked.
Those memories were warming to combat the cold around and in her.
Healing was hard. Healing was different for everyone. Healing was difficult for Percy.
Percy slept on the couch, the TV droning in the background. Too loud.
Annabeth turned it down and watched her boyfriend's face. She'd arrived three days ago during a cold spell. Sally Jackson was asleep in her room, passed out. Annabeth could hear the snoring.
Mr Jackson was away grocery shopping, it hadn't been done in days, maybe weeks. Little baby Estelle lay sleeping like an angel in her nursery. Its almost like she sensed the urgency of the situation.
Percy's face was distraught. Furrowed into a billion emotions, it was impossible to tell what he was dreaming about. The fight with Kronos? Their time in Tartartus? When Bianca, Luke, Charles, Selina died? Too many memories to guess. Too many things nobody but him knew about. The baggage he carried was too heavy for his shoulders but he would sooner let them break.
Annabeth just turned to tv off and sat down on the floor, close to the couch. Near Percy's head, near his thoughts and his trauma. New York quieted down, no sirens or horns. No talking or wind. No wondering why. Some things are sent from the gods.
She must've dozed, eventually, because when she woke up she was laying on the ground and her ears were ringing something terrible.
Then realization of the scream she heard. It wasn't high pitched, or scared. It was throaty and agonizing, torn from the throat. A cry of sorrow, a scream for help from an unknown force. A nightmare.
Huge sobs were wracking Percy's body, his breath coming in short spastic bursts and tears streaming steadily. Annabeth clambered onto the couch careful where she touched, aware of what to do for her boyfriend but should she really know exactly what to do in this situation? Was that really a sign of normal teenagers? Would she ever really know?
She didnt bother talking yet, he couldn't hear. His body sat ramrod strait on the couch like he couldnt move, trapped in his own skin. Annabeth slowly touched his shoulders, moved up his neck to hold his face in her hands. He was sobbing, stopping screaming and did somthing new- he grabbing his waist and hugged her.
Percy's face was buried in her shoulder, gasping for air, crying for the lives of the lost ones. For the loss of his innocence younger than he can remember. For Gabe. For Sally. For Poseidon. For Luke. For Jason, Leo, Piper, Hazel, Frank, Nico, Reyna. For his life, lost to the bidding of the gods. Never for himself.
Annabeth cried silently.