The blast sent her backwards. It had been a crazy plan from the start, then again it had been the boys plan, so no surprise there.
They'd lured Gaea out until she was over the sea, flying somehow, and then Percy and Jason had summoned the storm. Seeing the two work together, was quite simply amazing. Percy looked scary powerful, something Piper had never expected from the goofy son of Poseidon. Jason had looked intense as well, not once-offered-a-place-as-a-God intense, but it was definitely a new look for her boyfriend.
The plan would've worked as well, if it hadn't been for Octavian. Annabeth, Piper and Reyna had been fighting against Gaeas last stand. The earth monsters had come to life and attacked. Hazel was on Arion, dipping and diving in to slash and stab at anything that dared come close. Frank, being Frank, turned himself into a dragon, blasting fire at anything and everything that wasn't a demigod.
Leo had found a strange partner in crime; Nico Di Angelo. The two were running around, setting traps. Nico used his powers to move the ground, which Leo found endlessly amazing. Piper was seriously worried about how that was going to end.
It was probably strange, daughters of Bellona, Aphrodite and Athena working together, but desperate times. Reyna was an amazing fighter, but she was tired from her journey with the statue, and it fell to Annabeth to shout orders at the other two. Piper obeyed without question, Annabeth knew her stuff.
Octavian had been taken out by Percy when they'd got there. He was locked in the big-house, with Tyson stood at the entrance, making sure he din't get any smart ideas. Somehow he'd gotten out, Piper swore she was going to find Tyson later and punch that Cyclopes.
Octavian was bitter to Percy, she guessed, but he couldnt reach him. Piper relived the moment when she saw the imperial gold blade slash through Annabeths stomach. It was only a cut, not particularly deep or fatal. Sure, imperial gold was hard to cure, but Jason managed it, and Annabeth had survived Tartarus, she'd make it.
It was the monster that took advantage of the situation that made Annabeth scream.Distracted, she'd flung her blade out to hit Octavian, barely flinching when he cut her. Octavian fell down, joining the masses on the ground. Piper screamed moments befor the monster turned, but she couldn't get there fast enough.
The monster was ten feet tall, body of a tree trunk, with swirling arms like blades stretching a foot in every direction. It swung and an entire row hit into every part of Annabeth.
She'd screamed, falling to the ground in pain. Piper had been in to much shock to properly react, instead Reyna had stood with one foot on either side of the fallen girl, killing the monster and then fighting with a weapon in each hand, taking out enough for her and Annabeth both. Piper cursed under her breath in a way she was sure would've made Hazel blush, and tried to continue fighting.
Percy heard the scream, and he must've looked over, because suddenly the storm was a hurricane instead. Piper watched as Jason struggled, knowing she couldn't help him was the worst, but she had to help Reyna.
"Percy!" Jason called in alarm, trying to keep Gaea in her place, but she was fighting back hard, and he was clearly struggling. Percy slashed his way through monsters, the look on his face pure pain, causing Piper to snap back to her senses, as she turned and ducked, narrowly avoiding a blade. She wanted to be mad at Percy for leaving Jason, but she knew she'd do the same if Jason was hurt.
"What hapened?" He demanded, taking Annabeths place in the triangle formation, shouting over the noise. Piper went to respond before something attacked and she shouted nonsense as she slashed it to pieces.
"Octaian and a monster." Reyna replied, before screaming as she sliced a monster off at the waist. Percy took out three at a time, the monsters stood no chance against him. He lacked Reynas aggression, but he had Annabeths way of carefully thinking before each and every move he made. From the look on his face, Piper guessed he didn't realise he did that, it was something that had worn off on him after so many years of fighting at Annabeths side.
"Hazel!" Piper cried as Arion sailed overhead "Take Annabeth, she's hurt!"
Without hesitation, Hazel had flown down and pulled Annabeth onto Arion, flying away and towards the cabins, where the battle was scarcer and less dangerous. Piper watched Hazel hand the whimpering Annabeth to a daughter of Apollo before turning back.
"Percy! Jason needs you!" The words didn't come out of Pipers mouth, it was Reyna who had issued the order, and Percy must've registered the urgency in her voice because he snapped out of his dazed trance like state and tore the monster in front of him down and then ran towards where Jason had dropped, but was still over the lake, Gaea suspended in the air.
Percy jumped, a wave raising with him, taking him up to Jason. The wave dropped and Jason pulled a gust of wind to hold Percy up. The storm restarted and Gaea let out a primal growl that resonated around camp. The storm was their plan, it was going to end Gaea, but it was no longer strong enough. Piper felt the chill run down her spine, Jason was so close, she couldn't bear him getting hurt, no way.
"Percy! Jason! You need this!" Leo was stood on the beach screaming, Nico by his side, fighting off anything that came close, with a determined look that shone in his eyes. Nico had always scarred piper a little, he was a good kid, but he hung out with dead people, that made Piper uncomfortable.
Percy nodded to Jason, and he flew down, a wave rising to help Percy stay close to Gaea, wrapping the water around her again and again. Piper thought of water eroding earth.
Leo passed something to Jason, explaining with wild hand gestures and lots of shouting. Piper didn't catch a word of it but from the grave look on Jasons face, it wasn't their best plan. Reyna must've caught onto the pained expression on Pipers face.
"Go!" She shouted, Piper stopped short, causing a monster to nearly get a good hit at her chest.
"What? I'm not leaving you!" Piper shouted. She wasn't Reynas biggest fan, but she wouldn't leave her, this many monsters woud kil her in seconds. "You'll die!"
"Piper, it would take at least twice as many of these to kill me, go! I'll be fine!" Reyna pushed Pipers back with the tip of her knife as she spun to slice at something two headed.
Piper ducked under Reynas blade, rushing to the beach. Nico killed something that resembled a bird as Piper ran towards them.
"What's happening?" She shouted over the roar of the water entrapping dirt face and the noise of the battle.
"This has to hit her heart, or as close as you can get it! Take me up there and I'll do it!" Leo shouted, ignoring Pipers presence.
"Leo, I said no! I'll do it!" Jason said, holding tight onto whatever it was. Leo made an annoyed sound in the back of his throat, attempting to grab it, but Jason held it up, and there was no way Leo would be able to get it. Piper wanted to laugh, but the moment felt too serious.
"Dude come on! I'm fireproof remember? And it's my plan!" Leo shouted even louder, clearly angry at Jason for trying to stop him.
"Oh for the love of the gods." Nico had apparently cleared out every monster close to him. Nico grabbed Jason's hands with a surprising amount of force and ripping it away from him.
"Perc, can I get a lift down here!" Percy obliged, against Jason and Leo's shouts of protest, and a wave surged up, taking the son of hades with it.
"Nico! Get your ass down here!" Jason shouted, teeth gritted, tears gleaming in his eyes. Piper was still confused at that point, practically spinning in circles to try and catch up. Up above, Percy and Leo seemed to be arguing about something, Percy trying to concentrate on keeping them and Gaea up, whilst worrying about Annabeth, whilst fighting with Nico probably wasn't their smartest move.
Piper had been trying to work out what they were saying but she only caught words- "Fatal flaw", "Underworld", "hades" and "Annabeth".
As Percy reached for whatever was closed in Nicos fist, Nico elbowed him in the back and threw himself into the storm with Gaea.
"Nico!" Jason screamed, running before jumping up, helping Percy control his balance before controlling the storm. Piper reached out to grab Jason but he was already flying up.
Dark flashes of hair and bright swirls of his Hawaiian shirt were the only tellers that Nico was even up there. Panic rose in Piper, she felt useless, she couldn't help Nico, Hazel was going to hate her for letting him go, Annabeth was dying in pain, Percy and Jason looked terrified, and Leo was stood next to her screaming nonsense at the floor.
"Damn you! Seriously? You had to wake up now? NOW? You couldn't have waited a few years, really? Damn you piece of schist dirt!" He was screaming and stamping his feet into the sand like a toddler, Piper didn't have the time to calm him down, she was running towards where Reyna seemed to be struggling with the monsters all around her.
"Need a hand?" Piper asked, jumping into battle, her and Reyna working as one.
"You know, you fight well," A smirk lit up Reynas normally serious face "For an Aphrodite kid."
"When we're done, I'm so gon- Duck!" Piper screamed slashing over Reynas head at a monster that was way to close for comfort. "Gonna kill you for that."
"Like to see you try." Reyna said, but there was a playfulness to her voice, and in the midst of things, Piper smiled.
"We need to get up there." Piper pointed at where a shdow of people had appeared on the hill, Reyna nodded, slicing the head off another humanoid monster of Gaea, and they ran to the top of the hill, avoiding hits and blades as they went.
"I missed this place." The girl smiled, Piper didn't recognise her at first.
"Thailia! Hunters! My sister?" Reynas questions practically overlaped she was talking so fast.
Of course, Thalia, Jason sister. Piper didn't comment about the fact that she was leaning on the tree that was once a part of her.
"She's okay, but she stayed to treat the wounded, she plans on a visit to Camp Jupiter soon though." Thalia assured. "Hunters, do what you're good at, time to kill monsters!"
The hunters dispersed, running and attacking swiftly, giving them an edge that Gaea wouldn't be able to control from her stormy prison.
"My brother?" Thalia asked.
"Causing the storm, keeping Gaea inside while Nico works his magic." Piper explained what she understood, which wasn't much.
"Okay, have you seen Annabeth?" Thalias eyes were full of hope, Piper had forgotten they were old friends, she was sure Jason had mentioned it before though.
"Injured, but the Apollo kids will take care of her." Reyna answered, Thalias face turning a sickening shade of green. She was worried, so was Piper, but she'd taken that worry out on the monsters around her. Now she had time to think...
Before anyone could shout for cover, a green light illuminated everything around them, radiating from the storm over the lake.
The blast sent everyone sprawling, leaving hundreds of demigods injured, unconscious and dead. And Piper woke first.
Her arm was twisted underneath her at an awkward angle, her right stretched out in front of her as she faced towards Thalias tree. She tried to pull herself into a sitting position, but screamed as agony ripped its way through her arm and shoulder.
Then she thought, Annabeth got through Arachne with a broken ankle, Jason fought with an imperial gold wound, Percy defeated a godess in the underworld, she could stand up.
She used her other arm to pull herself up, wincing but not crying out or screaming.
I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay.
She looked to her left and saw Reyna lying on her back, a small trickle of blood escaping from her lips.
"Reyna!" Her voice startled the praetor, and she jumped up in alarm before rubbing her head where a bruise was forming.
"What happened?" She asked piper, who had to shrug her good shoulder.
"Let's go find out. Oh and it's definitely broken, I can tell." Reyna said, jumping to her feet.
"Great." Piper muttered, as Reyna helped her up, making sure she was okay before they started down to the bottom of the hill, there was no sign of Thalia.
Piper took note of the obvious destruction. Most of the buildings were still standing, but a few cabins had been torn down, anything without foundations had been moved, and makeshift hospital stretchers were carrying people to the infirmary.
People were pouring out of cabins, less affected by the blast but still dazed. The storm was gone. Gaea was gone, but Piper tried not to hold onto any hope.
"Where's Annabeth?" Reyna asked the first person she saw.
"Blonde girl, Athena kid? Percy's girl?" He asked, they nodded their heads "She was in the Apollo cabin with Will, it's not looking too good, poison."
The guy, who was wearing a purple shirt, gave them an apologetic look before setting towards some people he appeared to know.
Reyna and Piper hobbled to the cabin as fast as they could, Piper forgetting her arm and rushing to try and get to her friend, probably making the condition worse.
Just as they got to the door, so did Frank. He looked at then nervously, but there was nothing to say.
Reyna took charge, pushing open the door and stepping inside. There was about five beds set up here, and that just showed Piper how bad this must be. The mildly injured were in the infirmary, it was the fatal injuries that got sent here.
Annabeth was at the far end, alone and asleep, a layer of sweat covering her forehead, a slash across her face, just below her eyes, another across her upper chest, missing her throat by inches. The cuts were tinted with a yellowness, proof of the poison.
"Annabeth." Frank couldn't stop himself, rushing forward to her side. Her eyes rolled before opening, grey with a ring of red around them. Piper almost ran away in fear.
"Hey." She croaked out, smiling at them all. Piper could barely see through the tears that were threatening to spill.
"Gods Annabeth." Piper said before she started crying and shaking, covering her mouth with her good hand to try and stop herself from sobbing.
"Pipes." Annabeth soothed, putting out her hands for her to take. Piper stepped forward and grabbed one, trying to not notice how cold it was "Come on I'm alright."
"Annabeth, I just-"
"Where's Percy?" She asked suddenly, looking around as if he was hiding behind Piper.
"I haven't seen him since the blast." Piper admitted. She could've chaemspoken, told her he was fine and it was going to be okay, but it felt wrong to do that to her friend.
"Where is she? Where is she!" The voice came shouting from outside before the door swung open and a bleeding, tired Percy came running in.
"Percy come here I need to sort you out!" Will Solace complained, trailing behind him.
"Go help Nico, the kid's with Jason on the beach they're both pretty hurt." Percy brushed him off cooly, his eyes frantically searching for Annabeth.
As he saw her, he aged ten years. Worry lines suddenly creased his face, a little fire died inside his eyes and he began to shake as he ran towards them. Piper imagined that being her and Jason and she felt like she could throw up.
Piper let go of her hand and stepped back so Percy could get there. Piper stood between Reyna and Frank. And she was surprised to see Reyna crying.
Percy fell to his knees immediately, grabbed her hands and looked straight at her.
"Sea weed brain?" She asked, one brow raised in a way that was so perfectly Annabeth.
"Yeah." He said, like he was desperate for her words.
"You're bleeding. You should really see a doctor." She said and when he laughed she smiled.
"Well I would but you see my girlfriend seems to enjoy almost dying, not-so-wise girl." He joked, and Annabeth laughed.
The laugh turned into a cough and before anyone could help it she was leaning forward and coughing up blood, and the Apollo kids were crowding around with water and ambrosia.
Piper let out a sob, and frank pulled her into an unexpected half hug, being careful of her broken arm. It was friendly and warm and Piper let herself cry on frank because she could tell he was crying too.
Once Annabeth stopped she sat back she let out a low whimper that made Piper ball her hand into a fist.
Percy turned away ever so slightly, and Piper saw the tears that were streamed down his face, the redness of his eyes and his own wounds. He had a gash across his forehead, a sprinkle of cuts across his cheeks and he was bleeding out from somewhere on his arm and his thigh. It must've been excruciating, but that was clearly not why he was crying.
"Percy?" Annabeth mumbled, and his head whipped around, never letting go of her hands. "I love you."
"I love you too. I love you so much Annabeth I can't even tell you how mu-" And his voice broke. He couldn't stop the obvious pain he was in.
Piper didn't know if it was because Annabeth was her best friend, or because she was a child of Aphrodite, but she felt her stomach drop and her heart break as Percy began to sob.
"Wait. Wait, wait, wait." Percy announced, his hands flailing around like the ADHD demigod he was. "Where's the poison?"
"Every cut, all ten of them, and the imperial gold wound on her stomach, but that would heal eventually." The Apollo kid with shaggy brown hair told them.
"I've got an idea." Percy climbed next to Annabeth, being careful not to move her, and put his hand on the cut beneath her eyes.
He shut his eyes and Piper watched in admiration and disbelief as Annabeths blood began to visibly move beneath her skin. And then Piper realised he was drawing out the poison.
Annabeth jerked violently, her back arched, as her skin became pale and Percy suddenly looked afraid, but he didn't stop. Suddenly a thin stream of brownish liquid began to run down his hands an arms, sizzling as it touched his skin. Piper wanted to smile, but what if this didn't work? Why if Peru got sick instead? Piper could tell that Percy would take Annabeths place in a heartbeat? But she also knew that Annabeth would never want that.
If he was hurt, he didn't show it. He smiled as Annabeths colour returned to her face, the cuts still there but smaller, not open or jagged or yellowing.
For a terrifying second nothing happened, Annabeth clearly didn't breath, and then she gasped. Her eyes opened and she saw Percy, forgetting her injuries and his, she threw herself at him and he caught her, laughing in relief.