Annabeth was fast asleep when Percy’s night terror began, he frowned and began to whimper softly.
He saw Bianca’s face before she ran to her death, he saw Zoë take her last breath, he saw Beckendorf’s face as he closed his eyes and pressed the button, he saw Annabeth closing Selena’s eyes after she sacrificed herself. He saw countless others he’d failed to save; Lee, Castor, Michael, Luke. He’d failed them all, he couldn’t save them. They all circled him, their faces angry and leering, “you killed us!” They screeched down at him.
Annabeth woke up as soon as she felt Percy squirm next to her, she shook his arm softly and called his name but he didn’t wake.
Instead he began to cry, “I’m sorry” he murmured. Annabeth sat up and took his hand, “Percy, wake up. You’re dreaming” she told him but he couldn’t hear her.
He looked at the faces of everyone he had lost, of everyone he loved. They spat angrily at him, “you’re the reason we died, it’s all your fault” they said. Percy shook his head, “I did what I could, I’m sorry” he murmured barely audible, “your fault, your fault” they all chanted.
Percy ripped his hand from Annabeth and grabbed at his head, ripping at his hair, “it’s all my fault” he cried. Hot tears flowed down his cheeks as he shook, “it was all my fault, I’m sorry. I failed you, I’m sorry I couldn’t save you” he choked.
Annabeth clenched her jaw, she was the only one who knew of his night terrors, she was the only one who knew how to help him but it wasn’t easy. It was hard to watch her boyfriend crying and sobbing every night with little she could do to help.
She eased his hands from his hair, “it wasn’t your fault Percy, none of them. Wake up Perce” she whispered but it was no good.
His face changed from sad to scared as his dream shifted, he saw Kronos’ face laughing at him, cruel and evil. His blood ran cold as he was frozen in spot, helpless.
He saw an army of monsters charging towards him on a lone road. Percy reached into his pocket for his sword but it wasn’t there. He looked around for something he could use to defend himself with but there was nothing. The road was empty and either side of it was nothing but burning wasteland for miles. Percy was all alone and as he turned back he could see the monsters getting closer, he saw everyone and everything that wanted to kill him charging towards him with nothing he could do but wait for death.
He saw Annabeth being pulled into the pit of Tartarus, he lunged for her but this time he didn’t catch her wrist or fall in after her. He fell short, her fingers just brushing his. He crawled to the edge, she clung to the side, her face red with effort. She locked eyes with him, “Percy help me” she said her voice strained, he reached his hand out for her but it was too late. She lost her grip and fell into the void, her eyes never leaving his “Percy” she screamed until he could no longer hear her, she was gone too.
Percy began to kick violently, he kicked at the bedsheets until they were piled at the end of the bed. Annabeth scrambled quickly away to avoid a flying leg coming her way, “no! You can’t take me!” Percy screamed.
Annabeth tried to restrain Percy but she couldn’t get close enough, his eyes flew open and he stared at Annabeth in terror, “get away from me!” He screamed kicking at her when she tried to take a step towards him. He was deep in a night terror, Annabeth wasn’t sure what he was seeing but whatever it was he thought she was it and it obviously terrified him.
Annabeth stepped back out of his reach, “Percy it’s me! I’m not going to hurt you” she yelled over his screams. He shook his head and growled, “you took Annabeth! I’ll kill you!” He roared at the top of his lungs. He sat up then rose to his knees ready to attack.
Annabeth was ready for him, he never meant to but sometimes when he had night terrors he’d hallucinate and act out his dreams, attacking her in his sleep. Annabeth quickly tackled him and held him down to the mattress as he kicked and thrashed aggressively underneath her.
She sat on his thighs and held down his arms so he couldn’t hurt her or himself, “Percy, wake up! You’re having a night terror!” She grunted as she struggled to restrain him.
Suddenly he went limp and began crying out in pain, he was back in Tartarus baring the curses of the arai. His mouth burned, his breath was fire, his body felt like it weight a ton. He felt the pain, fresh all over again. He screamed in pain until his voice was hoarse and came out no louder than a whisper.
Annabeth wanted to stroke his cheek or kiss his forehead, do anything to show him she was there but she knew it was hopeless. There was nothing she could do but restrain him so he didn’t hurt himself and wait for him to wake up on his own.
His face contorted and twisted as he hissed and screamed in pain, “make it stop! It burns!” He screamed.
Annabeth fought the urge to cry, she did this every night but it never got any easier. She had gone to Chiron and explained to him about Percy’s night terrors and how he needed her at night. She was the only one Percy had willingly told about the night terrors but they all knew he’d suffered the worst out of the seven.
It wasn’t just the war, or what he’d seen and experienced in trying to stop Gaia, it was everything he’d ever been through since he found out he was a demigod. It was every fight, every death, every hard choice, when he’d fought Akhyls and he felt something break inside of him he didn’t realise it then but what he had felt break was his soul. And when his soul broke all the repressed trauma came flooding back to him. Now he relived it all every single night, anything difficult or painful he’d experienced since the age of 4 all came back to haunt him every night.
The night terrors first began when they were flying back to camp after they had defeated Gaia. They never talked about but the six of them all heard Percy’s screams at night. They’d all rushed to his side and attempted to wake him but none of them could but Annabeth. None of them could calm him down or bring him back to reality as well as Annabeth could.
Piper was probably the next best and then Hazel but neither of the girls had the strength to pin him down. Jason and Frank could pin him down but didn’t know how to comfort him. Leo was good at calming him down once he returned to reality but lacked everything else.
Annabeth was the only one of them who could really help him and so when they returned to camp she went to Chiron and explained everything and begged him to let her sleep with Percy at night. Once he agreed Annabeth moved out of the Athena cabin and in with Percy at the Poseidon cabin. She would always wake him up from the night terrors or hold him down until they were over and comfort him. Eventually she trained herself to sleep lighter, she would wake up as soon as she heard or felt Percy stirring or his breathing change when he began to panic or cry.
Percy struggled against Annabeth as he winced in pain, “it hurts! Why’re you hurting me?” He cried. Annabeth knew he wasn’t talking to her, at least not purposefully but it didn’t soothe the guilt in her chest.
She hated restraining Percy, she knew if she didn’t one of them would get hurt but she didn’t like the idea that she could be hurting him instead. There had been nights where Annabeth wasn’t quick enough to tackle him and he had broken her nose when he’d punched her in the face or he’d given her a concussion when he’d kicked her so hard she’d fallen to the floor, Percy would always apologise profusely once he’d broken out of his night terrors and Annabeth was generally strong enough to take it but Percy could be dangerous when he got aggressive in his sleep.
Annabeth leaned down to whisper in Percy’s ear as she held his arms against his chest in hopes to calm him down. She saw his face relax partially as she whispered soothingly to him, “it’s okay Percy, you’re safe at camp, you’re not in any danger” she told him. “camp” he murmured, it was working, Annabeth loosened her grip on his arms experimentally. He didn’t try to break free and attack her and so she let his arms slowly go.
She stroked his hair and cupped his cheek, “wake up Perce” she said softly, “no more arai” he whimpered, still in pain but beginning to slowly wake. Annabeth took his hand and held it to her face, “shhh, you’re okay, it’s me. It’s Annabeth” she soothed. He frowned, “Ann-a-beth” he murmured slowly, Annabeth shook his arm knowing he was close enough to consciousness she could wake him now, “Percy” she called softly.
His eyes opened quickly and for a second he didn’t acknowledge Annabeth, he felt a weight on top of him and panicked. He cried out and tried to shove Annabeth but she predicted his reaction and grabbed his arms, “Percy! It’s me!” She said quickly.
His eyes focussed and fell on Annabeth, she wasn’t dead. She was alive and okay, “Annabeth?” He croaked. Annabeth nodded and slid off him before she helped him sit up, “you were having another night terror” she explained.
His face crumpled and he wrapped his arms around her waist, “you’re okay” he whimpered before he began to cry uncontrollably.
Annabeth wrapped her arms around his shoulders and ran her hands through her hair, “shhh I’m fine Perce, everything’s okay”. He buried his face in her chest allowing her to hold him whilst he cried, “I saw- you didn’t” he hiccupped through his tears.
She hugged him to her tighter, “calm down babe, I can’t understand you when you’re crying. Just take a deep breath, everything’s okay” she whispered. He held onto her for dear life and sobbed until he had no more tears to cry, all the while she stroked his hair or rubbed his back patiently.
“You wanna talk about it?” She asked once he was done, he nodded and pulled away to look at her. His eyes were bloodshot and watery, his cheek sticky with tears. She wiped away his tears, cupping his cheek in the process. Percy leaned into her touch, “I had that dream again, they were all circling me and yelling at me and-“ his voice wavered.
He shut his eyes again, fresh tears rolling down his cheeks, Annabeth wiped them away and kissed his forehead, “it was all my fault” he said in a broken voice. Annabeth frowned and shook her head, “stop it. It’s not your fault, none of them would blame you” she replied angrily.
He collapsed against her, “I should’ve done more, they died because of me” he insisted, “they all sacrificed themselves for us, that wasn’t your fault. They knew the risk but they’re all heroes, each and every one of them, just like you”. Annabeth moved back so Percy could lean against her, he didn’t move but just let himself fall back with her.
He stared numbly ahead of him, “I saw you die again” he whispered so quiet she barely heard him. She knew that was the latest reoccurring nightmare, he’d dreamt of her dying every day that week, every day he woke up he would hug her and not let go.
She lifted his head so he could look at her, “it was just a dream, look at me. I’m okay, I’m still here”, he lifted his hand weakly to stroke her face as if checking that she really was alive and he wasn’t still dreaming.
“I wish I could make it stop, I can’t stand to watch you die again” he croaked, his voice cracking with emotion.
Annabeth didn’t know what to say, she wanted to help him but she didn’t know how. “Why don’t you let me take you to Will? He might know how to help you” Annabeth asked, Percy shook his head adamantly, “I don’t want anyone else finding out about my night terrors” he said firmly.
Annabeth sighed in exasperation, she must’ve had this conversation a million times, “I know you think it makes you weak but you don’t have to be strong all the time Percy. Please, just let me help you” she pleaded.
He hummed in thought, “Percy, we’ve been friends for 6 years and you’ve always had problems with accepting help. You don’t need to hold up the weight of the sky, let me help you” she asked again.
He looked at her and sighed, “fine, I’ll talk to Will in the morning but you need to come with me” he said. She smiled, “of course I’ll come with you Seaweed Brain” she said, he brushed through her hair until he found the grey streak that matched his own, “no more holding up the sky” he laughed weakly. She nodded taking his hands in hers, “once was more enough” she agreed.
Percy yawned before he looking at her nervously, he was scared he’d fall asleep and have bad dreams again. She understood the look of fear on his face, she lay back down on the pillows and opened her arms for him, “we don’t have to sleep, we can stay up and talk if you’d like” she said.
He lay cautiously down in her arms, “good because I don’t want to sleep”, she kissed his head and nodded, “that’s okay, but if you do go to sleep, just know I’ll be here to protect you”.
He smiled at her weakly, a little sleepily and more than a little nervous but his sea green eyes were loving as he looked at her, “thank you for always been here for me” he mumbled. She leaned down and kissed him, “I love you” she said in response, Percy allowed his eyes to fall shut, he was scared but Annabeth all found a way to make him feel better, “I love you too” he said before he drifted back to sleep.