Chapter Two: Disillusionment
Disclaimer: I do not own BTVS or Percy Jackson.
Chapter Two: Disillusionment
“Dad? Can I talk to you?” asked Annabeth; she was standing at the door of her father’s study. Frederick Chase looked up at his daughter from the toy plane he was currently using to attack a line of toy soldiers with and smiled; he’d hardly seen Annabeth after the funeral, which had been a week ago. His aviator goggles were slung around his neck and a pair of glasses balanced haphazardly on the end of his nose.
“Yes dear, what is it?” he asked.
“I don’t want to go to Camp Half-Blood next week.” She looked nervously at him. Frederick frowned; his bushy eyebrows drawing together.
“Why not dear? Do you want to go earlier? Because I can take you there tomorrow if that’s what you want.” Annabeth gave him an awkward smile and moved into the study to sit in the chair opposite his desk. Frederick felt a sense of foreboding fill him. He was not going to like her answer.
“No Dad. I don’t want to go back earlier,” she said. The frown on Frederick’s face deepened; he had never known his daughter to be so, so hesitant when asking him something. Usually she just came right out with it, consequences be damned.
“Well then, when do you want to go back to Camp?” he asked.
“Never.” Frederick sighed, he was right; he hadn’t liked the answer. Meanwhile Annabeth’s head had drooped and she let her long, golden curls cover her face. Her right foot bounced as she tapped it; trying to dispel some of her nervous energy. She wasn’t looking forward to her Dad’s reaction to this statement of intent; especially considering how many times she had had to leave home to go to Camp and how many times she hadn’t but had gone anyway. She licked her lips quickly as her Dad began to speak again.
“Annabeth, I understand that you are upset over Percy’s death but Chiron has specifically requested that you return to Camp this year.” A small sliver of pain flashed across his eyes as he remembered that conversation. Chiron wanted her at Camp so he could keep an eye on her, just in case she showed signs of wanting to, well; go out like an old hero of the Greek tales. He pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger as if to squeeze out the errant thought. He sighed again. He really didn’t want to think about that.
Annabeth’s right foot stilled its frenetic bouncing and she seemed to draw in on herself, searching for some inner reserve of strength before she took in a deep breath, straightened out her spine and stared resolutely into her Dad’s eyes.
“No Dad. You don’t understand. This isn’t just about him.” Annabeth closed her eyes for a second too long before opening them again. “I never want to go back to Camp Half-Blood.” Frederick stared at her. Okay, so he hadn’t taken her seriously the first time she had said ‘never’ but she seemed adamant in her stance. Frederick’s shock gave way to incredulity.
“But-Annabeth! You love Camp! It’s like a second home for you. What about your siblings? Your friends?” He was searching frantically for a reason to make her go back to Camp. He didn’t want to have to enter her room (which was forbidden territory to all) and confiscate her weapons. As Percy had once commented to him, you didn’t touch Annabeth’s stuff unless you wanted a many holes made in important places.
“My siblings are all clever people. They’ll be fine without me!” Annabeth protested; her left hand started tapping her thigh in small bursts of nervous energy. “As for my friends: what friends? There are only a handful of us, the original campers, left!” Annabeth’s voice was both sad and tired. “So many are dead,” she whispered, before closing her eyes, pausing and taking in a deep breath to collect her emotions together before continuing. “Most of the campers this year will be new faces, new siblings and I just; I can’t handle that right now.” Annabeth looked at the wall. “They’ll be so young.” Her gaze returned to Frederick and her tone almost became conversational. “Do you know that when I was at his funeral, I was looking at my friends’ faces and all I could see were the people who weren’t there and should have been there.” She snorted lightly in contempt. “There shouldn’t have even been a funeral,” she muttered before she threw up her hands in a meaningless gesture of despair. “Gods, Dad. Too many have been lost; I can’t go back, not now, not ever.”
Frederick Chase’s face had paled during her speech but he managed to sputter out,
“But what about Olympus? What about-” He was searching for a reason, any reason, to get her to go back but Annabeth just waved a hand and interrupted him.
“I finished the plans for Olympus about a week before Percy-” She sighed and leaned back in her chair, suddenly looking older than her fifteen years, “I finished the plans about a week before he died, Dad. Mother can take care of anything else; she knows the plans just as well as I do.” Her tone was chilling to Frederick and his mind immediately returned to Chiron’s warning. He shook his head, his daughter would not do that; she wouldn’t.
“Dear, I understand that you’re upset about losing so many friends and that Percy’s death has shocked you but, Camp is the only safe place in the world where you can exist without the fear of being hunted. Annabeth, you’re a demigod-”
“Well maybe I don’t want to be,” she muttered; pain filling her voice and bitterness coating her tone. Her left hand stilled its movements as Annabeth flung herself upright and strode to the door of the study, yanking it open and stalking out. Meanwhile, Frederick had taken a step back as if she’d slapped him. Even in their worst fights, and they’d had too many to count, she had never denied who she was like this. He shook himself out of his daze and hurried after her, calling out to her retreating back.
“I, Annabeth, please, think about what you’re saying! You can’t just deny your nature! You’re a demigod and you always will be!” He was practically shouting at her now. His wife had frozen upon hearing their raised voices and the twins were staring wide-eyed at their Dad and older sister fighting. Annabeth stopped, ignoring their spectators, and turned around, facing him as an equal, not as an obedient daughter; not that she had ever been particularly obedient to her father, she would be among the first to admit that.
“I don’t want to be like this anymore. I don’t want to go to a summer camp where every year I count the faces of those left and every time, someone’s not there.” She was crying now and Frederick felt something inside of him twist at the sight. “Gods, I just want to be normal.” Annabeth looked like she couldn’t quite believe that those words had left her mouth any more than her father could but her expression quickly hardened and any visible doubts were crushed. Frederick stared at her and he was ashamed to admit that when Annabeth had been small, he had wished for much the same thing. His shame though, quickly morphed into anger.
“You can never be normal Annabeth! You are a demigod, and there is nothing you can do that will change that!” The twins flinched at his shouts and his wife ushered them quietly from the room as she shook of her shock. He paused to let them go and then he sucked in a breath. “You are going to Camp Half-Blood and that’s final!” Annabeth looked at him, straight into his eyes.
“No.” was all she said before she turned around and walked up the stairs, leaving a deflated and worried Frederick behind.
They argued for a week, backwards and forwards. Each side parried arguments with counter-arguments and fell foul of the other’s unyielding footwork. Wisely, Annabeth’s stepmother stayed out of their duels and kept the twins out of the way of the fighters as they paced their chosen corners of the house before entering back into the fray; more determined and stubborn than before.
Frederick tried every reason, every argument, every trick that he could think of. However Annabeth remained unmoved by him, and deep down, Frederick accepted that he couldn’t win but he continued on desperately. However Annabeth kept firmly to her plan.
On the seventh day of almost continuous fighting, Frederick was recuperating in his study from the last battle. He knew that he would have to forfeit the argument, admit defeat. He could only pray that ‘somebody else’ would talk some sense into his stubborn daughter. He cleaned his glasses absentmindedly and he almost dropped them in surprise as a knock sounded on his study door.
“Come in!” he called and Annabeth stepped inside. She looked just as tired as he felt and perhaps more vulnerable than he had even seen her. She shut the door behind her and walked up to his desk.
“Dad, I’m not going back to Camp Half-Blood and if you try to force me to go again, I’ll leave New York and go away by myself. I don’t want to leave home Dad, but I’ll do it if I have no other choice.” Her voice was quiet but full of determination. The worst thing about it was that it was hardly an empty threat. Frederick knew that Annabeth would do it if she really felt that she had no other choice.
“There’s nothing I can do to change your mind. Is there?” He asked, not really expecting the answer he hoped for.
“No, there isn’t Dad,” she replied; her solemn eyes gazing at him. She had always had solemn eyes, Frederick remembered with a slight twinge of pain, even when she was a baby.
“Alright, alright,” he groaned out. “You don’t have to go to Camp.” Annabeth, instead of smiling in victory, collapsed in the seat opposite his desk. She looked at him and Frederick groaned. “There’s something else isn’t there?” he asked. She nodded in the affirmative. “What is it?”
“I have been thinking about some of the points you’ve raised Dad. You’re right, New York isn’t safe but L.A is,” Annabeth said.
“L.A? Why is L.A safer than New York? And what does this have to do with anything?” asked a frustrated Frederick. Annabeth licked her lips nervously and continued.
“New York is too close to Camp, monsters are attracted to here. Also, the fact that Olympus is nearby means that New York is a sort of hub of energy that most monsters can feed off of.” Annabeth explained quietly. Frederick looked at her in surprise; why hadn’t he heard this before? Annabeth continued to speak. “As for why L.A, L.A is where Aunt Joyce lives and I want to go live with her,” she said.
“What? It’s bad enough that you’re not going to Camp but you want to move across the country as well?” Frederick Chase couldn’t help his pain at the idea that his child wanted to get as far away from him as possible while remaining in the same country.
“L.A is safer than New York Dad, I’m less likely to get attacked by monsters there, and I can’t stay in New York. Not now. I just can’t,” she was pleading with him; pleading for him to understand. Frederick looked at her and even though he saw that she was resolved in her current course of action, he could see the deep grief resonating behind those storm-cloud eyes of hers.
Frederick sighed. If L.A truly was safer than New York then he’d have to let her go; after all, his whole argument about her going to Camp Half-Blood was based on her safety. He just hoped his sister would agree to take her, would agree to watch out for her, and besides, maybe time away would help her to change her mind? Help her to grieve safely and not do what Chiron had suggested she might do? Who knew?
“Alright. Fine. I know I can’t change your mind so I’ll call Joyce now and see if she’ll take you.” Annabeth smiled at him, moving forward to hug him. “But you have to call Chiron and tell him that you’re not going to Camp.” Annabeth stiffened slightly as she hugged him before relaxing again.
“Okay Dad, I’ll go call him right now. Thanks, you won’t regret it; I promise,” she whispered in his ear before releasing him and turning to go out of the study. Frederick gazed mournfully at her retreating back and then switched his gaze to the phone on his desk after she had shut the door.
“I hope I don’t Annabeth, I really hope I don’t.” He glanced at the clock, it was quite late in the evening by New York time and it was a Saturday so Joyce should be at home right now. He sighed and picked up the phone and dialed. The phone was answered and, even though his sister couldn’t see him, Frederick Chase still planted a nervous smile on his face. “Hello Joyce! It’s me, uh, Freddy. I know we haven’t talked in awhile but I need to ask you a favor. It’s about your niece, Annabeth.”
Annabeth shut the door of the study behind her, her heart thudded in her chest; she had won. She then headed up to her room to use the phone there. Her Dad’s phone was on a different line to the rest of the house because his work often meant that he’d be getting calls at ungodly times in the dark of the night from colleagues in different time zones.
She reached her room and quickly walked over to the bedside table where her phone rested next to a picture of her and Percy after their first quest. She picked up the picture and smiled. Her finger slowly traced the outline of Percy’s face. They both looked so young. Annabeth smiled sadly as she remembered the picture being taken; it had been a warm evening and the clouds had pealed back to show the most beautiful night sky. Zeus had been in a good mood with the campers that night. She and Percy looked very happy (Percy had later joked that he had still been coming down from the high of not being served crispy by his Uncle) and Percy’s arm was casually slung around her shoulders while her arm had snaked around his waist. She smiled sadly again and placed the picture back down before opening the drawer of her bedside table and pulling out an address book. As her address book was filed according to the ancient Greek alphabet, Chiron was near the end:
Χείρων- (631) 456-7890
She picked up the phone and dialed the number. There was a ringing sound for a few seconds when the phone was picked up and a gruff voice answered.
“Yeah this is Camp Half-Blood. Who’s callin’ and what do ya want?” said the voice. Annabeth blinked in surprise before a peal of laughter escaped her lips. The humor lifting the dark cloud that had surrounded her most of the time since Percy had died.
“Who did you beat up this time to get secretary duty, Clarisse?” she asked, amused. There was a sharp intake of breath from the other side of the line before Clarisse breathed out and muttered a word which Annabeth didn’t quite catch but knew it was uncomplimentary at best.
“Well you know how it is Princess, I mean there was this arrogant little newbie, I decided to knock some sense into him and he turned out to be one of Mr D’s kid’s.” Clarisse’s voice, while gruff, had betrayed some affection for Annabeth when she had called her ‘Princess’. They had been through a lot together and they were friends; of course, if someone asked them if they were friends they would’ve lied through their teeth and declared their undying hatred for each other. Annabeth laughed again.
“Oh Clarisse, you didn’t! You know what Mr D is like when it comes to his own kids. He’s not exactly the god of equality you know,” she berated Clarisse gently.
“Yeah, yeah, I know Annabeth.” However some satisfaction had crept into the daughter of war’s voice. “But that kid ain’t as arrogant anymore and he definitely won’t be getting in my way again.”
“You’re impossible, you know that right?”
“I know Princess. Anyway, whadda’ya want? I know you aren’t callin’ to hear my lovely voice.” Clarisse sounded curious and Annabeth couldn’t blame her. She never normally called Camp using the telephone; she usually just IM’ed Chiron if she wanted to talk to him.
“Clarisse, although hearing your voice has just become the highlight of my day,” Annabeth could practically picture Clarisse rolling her eyes on the other end of the phone “I need to talk to Chiron about my arrangements for Camp this year.” There was a long pause in the conversation but Annabeth knew Clarisse was still there because she could hear her breathing in and out heavily.
“You’re still coming to Camp aren’t you Princess?” Clarisse asked quietly and with a surprising edge of vulnerability. Annabeth winced and just as she was mentally scrabbling for a good reply, she heard Chiron asking who was on the phone and taking the phone from Clarisse; she suspected that Chiron had been checking in on Clarisse regularly, everyone knew she wasn’t the most gracious of secretary’s.
“Hello this is Chiron speaking, who is this?” Chiron’s voice was calm and authoritative. She heard a muffled protest in the background that quickly subsided; Chiron must have given Clarisse his ‘I’m several thousand years older and I’ve learned a lot of nasty things, do you really want to get on my bad side?’ glare. That glare could stop a Party-pony from reaching for a root beer but it was most famous in demigod circles. Annabeth had once been on the receiving end of that glare when she had been ten and masterminded a counter attack on the Hermes cabin for a prank of theirs that had targeted one of her siblings; needless to say, she hadn’t done it again but the Hermes cabin still hadn’t pranked her cabin again for years. The humor of the memory drained away as she remembered why she was calling.
“Hello Chiron, this is Annabeth. Um, I needed to talk to you about Camp this year.” Annabeth gulped and rubbed the back of her neck with her free hand.
“Oh Annabeth! It is such a pleasure to hear from you my dear. I am so looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. What is it you wanted to talk to me about?” Chiron asked; affection coloring his tone. Guilt immediately filled Annabeth at his kind voice. Gods, did this have to be so hard?
“I won’t be coming to Camp this year.” Annabeth rushed out. There. She’d said it. It hadn’t been that hard…
“Annabeth,” He stopped searching for the words “I understand that recent times have been hard for you but you must come to Camp!”
“No Chiron, I’m not coming back.” interjected Annabeth.
“But, my dear, what does your father say about this?”
“He’s resigned to me getting my way in this Chiron.”
“What about your Mother? I doubt she’ll approve of your decision.”
“I doubt she will too Chiron but I’m set in my choice. I’m not coming to Camp this year.” Annabeth stated with a calm facade but on the inside, her heart was thrumming loudly in her chest. Chiron sighed on the other end of the phone.
“There’s nothing I can do to persuade you otherwise is there Annabeth?” he sounded disappointed.
“No Chiron, there isn’t. I’m sorry. I really am.” Annabeth winced at his obvious dissatisfaction with her. “I give up my cabin counselor position Chiron, my siblings can sort out who to pick for cabin counselor by themselves.”
“You will come back to us, my dear, won’t you?” asked Chiron. Annabeth gripped the phone tightly. She was well aware that she had started crying. However, she couldn’t and wouldn’t lie to Chiron, no matter how tempting it was.
“I don’t think I will sir, I’m sorry but I really have to go now.” She quickly hung up the phone and placed it carefully in its resting spot. Her arms moved and wrapped themselves around her waist. She hunched over and cried silently for the loss of a life that she had once loved.
Several miles away on Long Island shore, Chiron took the phone from his ear and placed it in its cradle. Clarisse looked at Chiron’s sad face and whispered,
“She’s not coming back again is she?” Chiron shook his head once sadly.
“No Clarisse, she will not be returning to us,” he said and for a second he seemed to become his uncle, Atlas, holding the weight of the sky for eternity. Clarisse rose from behind the desk visibly upset and walked out, slamming the door behind her. Chiron let her go; he couldn’t blame her for her reaction.
High on Olympus, Athena watched the sobbing form of her daughter in a scrying pool. She frowned before sighing. She would have to go and talk to her daughter and soon. Maybe she could convince Annabeth to stop taking this foolhardy and irrational path but, Athena knew she couldn’t force her daughter to do anything she didn’t want to. Still, the sooner she acted the more chance she had of stopping her daughter before she became even more resolute and illogical, although it had to be said that Athena’s hopes were not high in that regard. Her daughter could be very stubborn and it was with a small amount of pride that Athena reflected on the fact that her daughter had inherited a lot of her own character traits as well as her appearance.
AN: Okay, the Buffy time-line will be introduced in about three chapters or so. It will start with where the movie started but obviously it will follow Joss Whedon’s darker take on being the vampire slayer.