I felt nothing but fear. I knew that in this moment I needed to stay strong, formulate a plan, do anything to get Piper and I out of here. All I had been through, all I’d endured, and this is what was holding me back. I went through Tartarus for Hades’ sake, and this is how we would die. Here I was, the daughter of Athena, unable to come up with a game plan.
“Don’t try to control it. That’s what the temple is about. You have to accept the fear, adapt to it, ride it like the rapids on a river.” Piper consoled. It was like she could read my mind. Tears ran down my cheeks.
“How do you know that?”
“I don’t know it. I just feel it.”
I knew all about following your gut, but this seemed like a stretch. I started spouting rationalities in hopes that somehow it would resemble a plan. Before I knew it, Piper was cupping my face. I stared into her eyes as tears filled my own. She pressed her forehead to my own. My pulse was so loud I could have sworn it was coming from outside my body. Piper was so calm and collected, I hated having her see me like this.
“Fear can’t be reasoned with. Neither can hate. They’re like love. They’re almost identical emotions.” Piper paused and looked into my eyes. Her gaze was so healing, and so calming, and I didn’t know how. “That’s why Ares and Aphrodite like each other. Their twin sons - Fear and Panic - were spawned from both war and love.”
“But I don’t … this doesn’t make sense.”
“No,” Piper smiled at me. “Stop thinking about it. Just feel.”
“I hate that”
“I know. You can’t plan your feelings.”
You can’t plan your feelings. All my life I had been told to plan ahead. Every moment, every quest, all I’ve done is plan. I’ve never been asked to follow my heart. I didn’t even know what my heart wanted. Thinking about what my heart wanted wouldn’t help anything. I turned off my brain, and I pressed my lips against Piper’s. She seemed taken back, I was too. She got her bearings back and kissed back. My heart felt like it had skipped a thousand beats. My tears were no longer of fear, but love. An almost identical emotion, Piper had said. The world around me seemed to fade away, all my troubles swept away; all that remained was me, and Piper. A crash came from the background that brought me and Piper back to reality.
“We need to get out of here!” Piper exclaimed.
“Do you trust me?”
“Then let’s go.”