II

HAZEL

HAZEL STOOD PARALYZED till Piper shook her. “Come on, Hazel!!” “No,” Hazel said. “Percy can do something. He can!” Piper shook her once again. “Hazel! Percy is not here! There’s a fire! Frank told you!” When Hazel heard fire and frank together, she felt her pocket. She pulled Piper and left the room.

Instead of running to the hull, she ran into Nico’s room. “Fire!” she screamed. Nico didn’t wake up. She took the glass of water on his table and poured it on his face. “Fire, Nico, wake up!” Nico got up and rubbed his eyes. Hazel ran away leaving Piper to bring Nico. She hoped that he would wake up sooner.

Now she was searching for any opening so she could jump out, into the deep sea. It seemed foolish but there seemed no other way to protect Frank.

She reached the hull, expecting it to be on fire, but instead saw a sight which was far worse. The walls were charred and the place smelled of smoke. She saw Leo crouched on the floor, hands on his face and a horrible sound that sounded like crying.

Hazel went towards Leo and put her hand over his shoulder. Her stomach did a backflip. He didn’t look up or stop crying. She then noticed that his clothes were nearly burnt. “It’s over, Leo. Its only the walls that got burnt. You can fix it. I know you can. We’ll do it together.”Hazel said, patting his back.

“You’re the repair boy after all.” Came Franks voice. Leo looked up at Hazel and then at Frank. With a pang, Hazel noticed that the right half of his face was burnt. “Frank, your face.” She said, getting up to bring ice cubes.

She saw Nico, Piper and Jason along the way. Jason’s face was covered with soot and his shirt was covered with blisters. Other than that, he didn’t look bad. Hazel handed him some ice cubes and Piper too.

“How is Leo? Where is he? He must be broken.” Piper said. Hazel nodded and pointed to the hull. She could not speak. With great difficulty, she said “Don’t worry, Frank is there with him.” Then the four of them walked to the hull.

Nico looked around the room and touched the walls. A small portion of the wall fell down, making Nico scarper. Hazel made sure that Leo wasn’t watching. Then she took a bit of the remains of the wall and threw it into the sea. Nico followed.

“How did this happen?” he asked Hazel. “I have no clue. You got any message from Percy or Annabeth? I mean dreams or something of that sort. You still look tired.”She finished.

Nico smiled. “No message from Percy but I fail to understand why you aren’t there, trying to console Leo.” He said.“The same reason why you aren’t there,” Hazel replied without making eye contact. Nico laughed and said “Don’t tell me if you don’t want to.” and stared for sometime into the sea, lost in thought.

Hazel picked up another pile of char and threw it outside. It was funny how Leo had decided to land before the ship caught fire and that too, on a beach. She tried thinking of everything except for Leo. If he didn’t want to talk to her she wouldn’t either.

But he’s hurt, she told herself. But if I was hurt then he would be doing the same, she replied to herself. This conversation went on for hours, till Hazel’s hands began hurting. Nico was helping her too but she shooed him off to bed. He was too tired to refuse, so he went back.

“Need help?” Came Frank’s voice. He was holding two broom sticks and smiling as if he was holding the lost eagle. Hazel smiled and took one. She wanted to ask him how Leo was, but she herself stopped it. “Leo’s in bed, we promised we’d repair the hull by tomorrow evening. He didn’t agree but we pestered him so much that he had no other choice than to agree.” Frank said and smiled triumphantly.

“Sorry for not helping out.” Hazel said. “The burn is already healing!” she said. Only just remembering that frank had got burnt. “But, how did all this happen? I mean the fire. One second everything was fine and the next…”

“It was my fault.” Frank said. Hazel noticed that he was looking at the floor. “I was on duty. I should have alerted the crew when I saw something. But I called only Leo five seconds before a chimera caught up with us. He did all he could. We destroyed the Chimera right after it burnt the front of the ship.” He sat down and looked at the moon which was full today. “Why were you doing such a stupid thing?” asked Hazel, unable to suppress herself.

“I’m such a stupid person to think that the chimera would pass without bothering us.” he said and looked miserably at Hazel. “You didn’t know it was a chimera.” She said. Frank continued staring at the moon silently.

Hazel wanted to ask him a lot more things and shout at him for being so careless, but she sat beside him, and together, they watched the motionless moon which was shining brighter than before. This gave Hazel hope, that maybe, tomorrow would be better than today.

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