Five years later.
Annabeth was exhausted.
She had just fought another monster. There seemed to be more of them now that half of humanity was gone.
She looked up towards the cloudy sky. She wondered how her mother, Athena, was doing. If half of the gods had disappeared.
She hadn’t heard from Athena in five years. She had gone completely and totally silent after the dusting.
Annabeth sighed as raindrops started to fall. Perfect timing.
She went towards cover, a parking lot in a shopping mall. She sat for a minute, listening to the raindrops pitter patter against the metal.
Then she saw a bright light...like Apollo’s chariot.
If it was Apollo’s chariot...what did that mean? The gods had been silent for five years.
But what if it was something else?
Annabeth drew her knife. She didn’t trust it.
But then again, she didn’t trust anyone anymore.
The light finally died down, and a blonde lady stood in front of her.
“Who are you?” Annabeth said.
The lady smiled. “My name is Carol.”
“And why should I trust you?” She asked, feeling like a seven year old kid again.
“Because. The Avengers sent me here, Annabeth.”
“The Avengers?” It had been five years. She figured the Avengers forgot she existed.
“Yeah. Come with me.” Carol extended her hand.
Annabeth hesitated, then took it. “Where are we going?”
Carol smiled. “New York.”
While Carol flew through the sky, dragging Annabeth behind her, Annabeth wondered why the Avengers had sent for her now.
Why five years later? They hadn’t completely forgot about her?
They landed in upstate New York at the Avengers complex.
Nat ran out to greet them. “Annabeth! You’ve...you’ve grown up.”
Over the years, Annabeth hadn’t really focused on her birthday and her age...but now, she realized, she would be nineteen.
“Yeah.” Annabeth said, suddenly self conscious. “I guess I have.”
“Come inside.” She said, and the three of them walked towards the concrete building.
They walked inside, and then Nat looked at her and said, “Your knife.”
“Give me your knife. You’re going to see something up there you don’t like, and I don’t want you killing him.”
That made Annabeth want to give up her dagger less, but she handed it over to Nat anyway.
The elevator dinged open, and she saw a face she hadn’t seen in five years.
Not that she had wanted to see it, anyway.
Rage overtook her, and she launched herself at Nico diAngelo to tackle him.
“You. Killed. Percy.” She said, tears falling down her face.
Nico began to shudder. Annabeth realized he was crying.
Carol walked over, and pulled Annabeth off Nico.
“Why are you crying, traitor?” Annabeth asked once she had her tears under control.
“Annabeth, let's have a talk.” Carol said, and steered her into another room.
“When he got here, he was thin. He was tired. He was sad. He said that he regretted everything. But he also gave us some intel."
“The spirits of the people who disappeared...they aren’t in the land of the dead.”
“Is...is Percy in the land of the dead?” Annabeth wondered out loud.
“Anyway, the point is, they aren’t dead. And then, this guy we thought dusted, Scott Lang, appeared at our doorstep. He was in the Quantum Realm for five years.”
Annabeth whistled. “Long time.”
“Oh, but for him, it felt like five hours.”
“He proposed...going into the Quantum Realm at one time, then...popping out at another time.”
“...Like, time travel?”
“Exactly like time travel.” Carol said.
“Whoa.” Annabeth said, theories of whether or not it would work running through her head. And then, she had a thought.
If we can time travel, can I get Percy back?
She pushed the idea out of her head.
“Now, we’re gonna go back in there, and you’re not gonna kill Nico.”
They walked back in the room.
Annabeth walked over to Nico. “I won’t kill you for now.”
“Is...did he get to Elysium?”
“After the snap, I looked, and...he wasn’t there. I think…”
“I think Percy is in limbo. Like the people who got dusted.”
“You mean, if we get everyone else back, Percy will come back?”
She could get Percy back.
But would Percy be fourteen still? Or would they be five years apart?
Annabeth felt like crying. She had hope, but at the same time, she felt completely hopeless. Would things be different now that Annabeth was five years older?
Before she realized, Annabeth was sobbing. She put her hands up to her face, and cried.
She felt arms wrap around her in a hug. I swear to the gods, if this is Nico, he gets a knife to the stomach.
Annabeth looked up to see Carol and Nat with their arms around her. This made her cry harder.
They felt like family, something Annabeth hadn’t had in years.
After some new people had come in, they began to talk about the solution.
Scott’s theory of popping out at another time made sense, but Annabeth couldn’t believe that time travel was possible.
She could get Percy back.
That was what was hitting her the hardest.
They planned and planned, and finally the day came when they broke into teams.
She would go with Bruce, Tony, Steve, and Scott to New York. They would get the stones that were in the city, and she would go to camp to get the Reality Stone. (Which was apparently in the attic of the Big House. They stored the craziest stuff up there.)
Finally, the time came and they were all on the platform, suited up. Annabeth felt like a superhero, like one of the ones her stepbrothers read about.
“Six stones, three teams, one shot. Five years ago, we lost. All of us. We lost friends. We lost family. We lost a part of ourselves. Today, we have a chance to take it all back. You know your teams. You know your missions. Get the stones. Get them back. One round trip each. No mistakes. No do-overs. Most of us are going somewhere we know. That doesn't mean we should know what to expect. Be careful. Look out for each other. This is the fight of our lives, and we're gonna win. Whatever it takes. Good luck.” Steve said, and everyone activated their helmets.
“See you guys in a minute.” Annabeth said, and the portal opened.
When Annabeth opened her eyes, she couldn’t believe she was looking at New York.
Aliens and these worm things flew through the sky.
“Yeah, I know it seems bad.” Steve said. “But we beat ‘em.”
“Okay. I’ll see you guys later. I have to get to Long Island.”
Annabeth wished she had a pegasus, or anything better than the Long Island Railroad. But she got on anyway, and tried to enjoy the ride.
She was helping save the world.
Finally the train stopped at the closest stop to Camp Half Blood. Annabeth put on her magic cap and ran towards Thalia’s pine.
She ran over the crest of the hill, and homesickness kicked her in the chest.
The campers were having such normal lives...well, normal for a half blood, anyway.
Tears tugged at her eyes.
She made her way down the hill. Chiron was teaching archery, people were climbing the lava wall. She carefully stepped on the Big House porch, because she remembered it creaked.
She got inside and bounded up the stairs.
She looked around inside the attic. Where would it be?
Her eyes flirted across a piece of pink fabric.
THE SCARF OF THE GODDESS APHRODITE, RECOVERED BY ANNABETH CHASE AND PERCY JACKSON, WATERLAND, DENVER CO.
She grabbed the scarf and tried to remember the scene when they had grabbed it.
Percy snuggled the scarf close to his face. Annabeth grabbed the scarf from him, and said something like, No, sir, no love magic for you!
Annabeth took off her cap and started to cry while holding the scarf. She was crying so hard she didn’t hear someone stomping up the stairs.
She looked over. Oh gods.
It was young Percy.
“Wh- how did you get here? You were captured by Thorn! I saw you in a dream, holding up the sky!”
Annabeth had to think fast. “I’m not actually here, Percy. You’re dreaming.”
“Why are you older?”
“Because you’re dreaming, Percy.” Annabeth gritted her teeth. She really didn’t want to do this, but if Percy kept asking questions, she would have to.
“I don’t think so.” Percy put his hands on his hips and squinted at her.
Annabeth lashed out and hit Percy in the head with the butt of her dagger. He crumpled to the floor, unconscious.
“Oh, gods.” Annabeth said. “Oh, gods.”
She put on her cap and dragged him on to the stairs, trying to make it look like he tripped and hit his head.
“I’m sorry.” She said.
She went back into the attic, and rifled through the junk. Why did they have to save this stuff?
Annabeth decided that when she got back to camp, after this was all over, she would organize an attic cleanout. To be courteous of the next time traveler who came through.
She finally found a briefcase. She opened it and...there it was. She snapped the briefcase shut and put on her helmet, preparing for takeoff, back to the future.
She stood back on the platform with the Avengers.
“Did we do it?” She asked.
Everyone held out different containers.
They had done it!
Steve looked around. “Where’s Nat?”
The archer guy, Clint, looked down.
“Oh.” Steve said softly.
Nat was gone?
Annabeth supposed it was the same thing that had happened to Percy.
“The Soul Stone?” She asked, her voice cracking.
He nodded. “You have to sacrifice someone you love. It should have been me.”
Bruce put his arm on Clint's, but Annabeth barely noticed.
You have to sacrifice someone you love.
If Nico had been forced to sacrifice Percy…
Annabeth put it out of her mind. She would talk to Nico later.
“I’m sorry, Clint. That's how I lost Percy...five years ago.”
They all walked off the platform.
“So, we just need to build a gauntlet, then stick these suckers on there, right?” Tony asked.
“Yep.” Bruce confirmed.
“Getting half of humankind back sounds so simple when you say it like that.” Annabeth muttered.
“Yeah. We’ve got this, team!” Scott said.
End of part two.