Sometimes, going out and saving the world can get kind of boring.
Like, they go on these long missions in order to save people, or save humanity, or save the Gods, and the missions are supposed to be dramatic and shit. But then they actually get to the missions and, to be honest, a lot of it is just waiting around. They have to come up with strategies sometimes, and other times they have to actively run away or avoid getting murdered ruthlessly. But most of the time, there's a lot of lying on their backs, staring up at the ceiling, and playing rigorously competitive games of I Spy. Inconsequentially, Annabeth always wins.
As boring as it is, Percy likes these times best. When they aren't running away from monsters or plotting some sort of escape, they're able to just hang out and be friends. It's a gift, as a matter of fact, to be bored on these missions. During these times, Percy actually feels like he used to as a kid. Just a normal person hanging out with friends and daydreaming about pizza. When you put it that way, being a demigod doesn't differ much from his life in the Before.
When Percy was a kid, he and his mom used to go see movies every Friday at the theater down the street. It had notoriously low prices, and even though it was a generally low-class place, they always enjoyed hunkering down in the soft red seats and escaping into a different world for 90 minutes. If there was no new movie playing, they would just go see one that they had already gone to.
Percy wonders if his mom still does that when he's gone.
It's less of a problem now. She has Paul, after all. It's not like she needs to use the movies to escape Smelly Gabe. She probably enjoys when Percy leaves, actually. Every once in a while, Chiron will call her and get her to send Percy away from school, and during those times, Percy would be willing to bet that his mom and Paul enjoy a nice, quiet date night that isn't interrupted by a stupid teenage boy.
If Friday night is supposed to be "date night," why can't he get himself together enough to ask Annabeth for a date? They're fifteen years old and he's wanted to ask her for longer than he's willing to admit, but he's never gotten around to it. Probably because if he did, and then she said no, these types of events would be stiflingly awkward. Sitting around, doing nothing, thinking about the fact that they totally could be making out if she had said yes… her acknowledging, in the back of her mind, that this is something that she would never do. Something that she purposefully turned down even though he wanted it.
The concept is so overwhelmingly awful that Percy figures it would just be better if he left Annabeth alone.
"What are you thinking about?"
Her blond hair is a paler color in the light of the moon, let in through the rafters of the barn that they're stowing out in.
"My chemistry midterm," Percy lies.
The expression that crosses Annabeth's face is priceless; she looks simultaneously surprised and proud.
Sitting up against the haystack, Annabeth moves closer.
"How do you think you did on it?"
Percy panics, caught out.
"Usually when I take a test I can tell," Annabeth says, her eyes taking on a misty quality. "Of course, English is such an abstract concept that you never really do know how well you're doing on it. I generally excel in Latin, though."
Percy laughs. It sounds kind of dry. He wishes they'd brought more water.
"Right. All those silly mythology stories."
"Exactly," Annabeth says in return. She rolls over a little in her haystack, and as she does so, she finds herself face to face with Percy. His eyes widen, and he genuinely hopes that she doesn't notice his reaction to seeing her stormy eyes up close. They're bigger when they're right in front of his face, and he can see the spinning of different shades within them. "Percy?"
"I'm really glad that you're the one here with me."
"I… I'm glad that I'm here too."
It would be strangely easy to kiss her right now. Maybe he should. They almost never get moments like these, so quiet and peaceful. It's the perfect time to tell her how he feels about her.
"I mean, when I used to go on monster destroying missions with… with other people… he was always so serious and quiet. But you make me laugh, and you don't realize how stupid you are a lot of the time, and it's just… it's really nice."
He thinks that his brain is turning to mush.
The smile that she gives in return is kind of sad. He doesn't understand why- after all, she's just made him speechless. Isn't she impressed with herself? He thinks that he would throw himself a party were he to ever make Annabeth speechless.
"I'm actually going to try to sleep now, Percy."
Annabeth turns over to her other side, with Percy still lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling of the barn. He wants to say something to make her feel better, but he doesn't know how. He wonders if maybe Aphrodite could insert some sort of Godly intervention here and make him know what to say. For a few minutes, he waits, but when no love poem comes to mind, he figures that she's probably busy with a couple that actually has the chance to get together and hit the age of twenty five, two improbabilities for Percy and Annabeth.
He thinks that he can hear hope in her words, but he ignores it. If he's going to say something right, he has to put his whole concentration on the words.
"I think that this is a really awesome way to spend a Friday night."
Hopefully she gets what he's really trying to say.
They've actually gotten better with the whole tongue kissing thing over time. At first it was kind of bad and awkward and they wanted to laugh a lot. Sometimes it felt like they were only doing it because everybody else did it and they knew that kissing naturally had to progress to kissing with tongues. But it's been a month and a half since they started dating, and they've gotten into the rhythm of each other. And that's all it takes, really. Rhythm.
As he strides across the floor of mount Olympus, narrowly avoiding being hit by a beam that is being guided across the floor by what looks like a young Cyclops, Percy wonders if being in rhythm with Annabeth means that he should know more about what's going on with her architectural advances. Sure, she talks about it a lot, but he really does struggle with listening, and eventually ends up staring at her lips until she takes pity on him and kisses him. He's far too polite to interrupt her in order to start making out, but he's also too disinterested in architecture to think about anything but making out in those moments.
Annabeth's office is a small room where she can overlook what's happening on the floor. She had requested it when she had decided to put in an entire garden in the "lobby" that lead into the throne room so that she could oversee the placement of plants from a higher up view. Luckily, she rarely runs into the Gods and they're almost never in her office except to request that more temples of themselves be built. With that in mind, Percy has no problem with heading up there immediately.
She's standing over a table, looking frazzled and frustrated and, honestly, in her prime. For a moment, Percy leans against the door of the room and watches Annabeth scribble furiously on a piece of paper, her normally neat handwriting becoming distorted and messy in an effort to figure something out.
"You doing okay?" he asks, his voice holding laughter in it, and Annabeth looks up, surprised.
Immediately, her body straightens, and she lurches forward to throw her arms around him. Laughing, Percy strokes her back and drops tentative kisses onto her neck. He isn't sure that she's going to like it, but when her body sags against his, he thinks that he must have done something right.
"Work was tough today," Annabeth says, bending her head so that it's tucked into his shoulder. Her words are muffled by the skin on his neck.
"It's weird that you're seventeen years old and you get to say that," notes Percy, causing his girlfriend to laugh against his neck.
"That's true." She pulls away, turns to the table, and starts gathering her things. "So. Are you here to rescue me, Prince Charming?"
"I am," Percy nods. "It's Friday night. You need a break."
She slings a bag over her shoulder, looking back at him long enough to flash him a smile.
"A break. What an interesting concept."
"Come on." He takes her hand. "There's no way I'm going to let you spend your Friday night locked up on Olympus working on Aphrodite's eighteenth statue."
"I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO PLACE ALL OF THEM!" she cries out, firing up immediately.
"I know. It's gonna be okay."
Percy is already tugging her as far away from the office as he can get her. By the time Annabeth has calmed down, he's pushing the button to call the elevator. The doors slide open, and Annabeth is the first one to jump inside, so ready to get away from her problem. Percy wraps his arms around her in the elevator, feeling odd because he is allowed to do so, but he is trying, and he knows that it's calming her down.
Suddenly she's turned towards him, and he steps back so that his body is against the wall of the elevator, but Annabeth just follows him there and kisses him softly on the lips. Percy's eyebrows shoot up in surprise, but he returns the kiss with as much ardor as she gives him. Maybe 'calming her down' wasn't actually the right phrase, he thinks, smirking a little bit to himself.
"What are you smirking about?" Annabeth demands, words smushed by his lips.
"Nothing," he says, trying to keep himself from grinning too hard.
"Wait," Annabeth says, pulling back. "Is kissing in the Gods' elevator blasphemy and something? Are we gonna be punished for this later?"
Percy doesn't really give a damn about what offends the Gods at this point. He just wants Annabeth's lips back on his. They rarely ever delve into this territory anywhere outside of the couch in his mom's apartment when she's not home. It feels like a special sort of treat to kiss in an elevator. Still, he convinces himself to pull back from her and takes her hand when the elevator door opens a few seconds later, leading her off of the lift.
"I hope not," he admits. "But maybe we should find somewhere more suitable to hang out."
"Is your mom home?" Annabeth asks.
"Yeah," Percy sighs, pushing open the door of the building. The people in line for the Empire State Building don't even notice that they were the only two people on the elevator. So weird. "Anybody at your place?"
"Everybody," Annabeth confirms.
They walk down the street, and Percy wonders why anybody would hold hands in this god awful weather. New York in the summer is the worst.
"We could go see a movie," Percy suggests.
He's not dumb. He knows that seeing a movie means that they're actually going to sit in the darkened theatre and hold hands and watch the movie. They're not like those people who can sit in the back and not care what anybody thinks. But Annabeth rarely ever does something as simple and as fun as going to the movies, and Percy never has time because usually he's running away from weird monsters. They deserve this.
"That sounds perfect," Annabeth says. "And after, maybe we can go to your house and have dinner with your mom and Paul?"
"That does sound perfect," admits Percy. "I should kidnap you on Friday nights more often."
"Believe me," Annabeth says genuinely, "I will never complain about that."
"Are you two going to be okay by yourselves?" Sally inquires, adding a few more items of clothing into her duffle bag.
"We'll be fine, mom," Percy interjects, rolling his eyes slightly. Annabeth jabs him in the side for his petulance, then turns to Sally, giving her a large smile.
"We'll be great. We're just going to order pizza and watch a movie."
"And you'll be home by ten?" inquires Sally.
Annabeth discreetly steps on Percy's foot as she says,
"Most definitely. I'm just here to keep Percy company in case… you know… something happens."
Sally pauses in zipping up her suitcase, eyes going up to scrutinize her son's face.
"Maybe I shouldn't go…" she says uncertainly.
"Mom, don't worry about it!" Percy says, leaning forward to wrap his arms around her. He's startlingly taller than her. The shocked look on her face when he had waltzed back into her home, 6 feet tall and with slightly hollow eyes, is a look that Percy will never forget. Ever. But from the way that her eyes sparkle when he is around Annabeth, he knows that she knows.
Annabeth fixes him. Annabeth makes everything better. Annabeth is everything now.
"I'm a mother," she reminds him, releasing him from her embrace. "I worry."
"Paul's been looking forward to this conference for months. You have to go."
"I know," Sally sighs. "Okay. Okay, fine. We'll be back on Monday. Annabeth, would you like some cab fare for going home?"
"I have some," Annabeth lies smoothly. To cover up his smile, Percy reaches over and takes a sip from his coke.
"Wonderful. And if you need to stay over, I noticed that Percy changed his sheets, so he's obviously prepared for that scenario."
Percy spits out his drink.
"Um… I was just…"
"I know. You've always been so tidy," Sally jokes. "I just noticed that lately you've been changing your sheets more and more."
Percy feels like he wants to die. Sally looks like she doesn't know whether to laugh or lecture about protection.
"You know what they say. Um… eighteen year old boys… get cleaner. It's a maturity thing."
"Okay then," Sally says, leaning up on her tiptoes to kiss her son goodbye. "Have fun, you two. Don't watch anything too violent. Goodness knows that you don't need any of that in your lives."
She makes a good point.
"So Bambi's out?" Percy teases, and his mom laughs.
By the time she's out the door in five minutes, Percy still hasn't reconciled himself to the fact that he's going to be alone with Annabeth until Monday. He also hasn't reconciled himself to the fact that his mom is definitely aware that he's sexually active. That's just gross.
"I don't even want to have sex anymore," he notes. "Like, don't even touch me."
"Oh, shut up," Annabeth laughs. "If I wanted to touch you, you'd totally let me."
He raises an eyebrow at her.
Annabeth glances towards the door.
"Not particularly. No."
Annabeth plops herself on the couch and Percy bends down so that he can try to decide what movie he feels like watching. When he stands up, triumphantly clutching onto one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Annabeth looks slightly dazed.
"What?" he asks, looking at her oddly. Annabeth shakes her head, clearing it.
"Okay…" Percy says, looking at her oddly as he slips the DVD into the player. When he turns around again, Annabeth has the same look on her face. "Okay, what?"
"Nothing!" Annabeth insists, giggling through her lie.
"No, seriously, you just giggled. You only do that when you're lying to me. What's going on?" She shrugs, smiling. Realization dawns over Percy. "You were staring at my ass, weren't you?"
He moves towards her, walking slowly to the couch. Annabeth sits up straighter.
"Yes, you totally were."
"I was not!"
Percy throws himself onto the couch and starts tickling her sides. Annabeth shrieks with laughter, shouting obscenities at him through her breathless giggles. Finally, Annabeth manages to get him to stop by kissing him. Their kisses are so different from how they were before… well… before. The near loss of life changed both of them and certainly changed the nature of their relationship. With that in mind, the abandon with which they are able to experience each other is something that Percy and Annabeth have seriously come to value.
Percy thinks that his favorite part of sex with Annabeth is watching her come totally and completely undone. In all eighteen years of his life, he's never seen anything so gorgeous as an Annabeth Chase who just doesn't care. Nothing else matters except being with each other, and it's reflected so strongly on her face that sometimes he gets embarrassingly filled with emotion and can't look at her anymore. Sometimes he wonders if she notices.
"I think that I get at least two minutes of unadulterated staring-at-your-boobs time."
"Don't push your luck," Annabeth murmurs, her fingers trailing down his back and eventually landing in the place that started this whole disaster in the first place. One of Percy's hands is holding his body over hers, but he can still tangle the other one in her hair, and he does so quite happily.
"Wait!" he says suddenly. "I thought we weren't supposed to do this because my mom knows that we do it."
Annabeth raises her eyebrow.
"Do you think we could have gone the rest of our lives without having sex just because other people know we have sex?"
When she puts it that way, it's kind of stupid.
"Percy, what do you think marriage is?" Annabeth inquires, exasperated. "It's literally a public announcement that you are having sex with a person. That's all."
"That's not all it is!" Percy argues. Annabeth raises her eyebrows. Goddammit, she's so pretty like this. "Something about taxes…?"
"Alright," Annabeth laughs. "Let's put it this way, Percy…"
She squirms out from underneath him, leaving him to fall onto the couch, watching her in awe as she walks over to his bedroom. As soon as she gets inside, her shirt comes off. Percy groans loudly into the couch cushions.
"I get it," he says. "Loud and fucking clear."
"Speaking of loud…" Annabeth teases.
He's off his ass in two seconds flat.
The music is so disturbingly loud that Percy wants to leave as soon as they arrive at the bar. Jason dragged them here on the pretense that they would have a nice, enjoyable spot to watch the baseball game. At this rate, Percy doesn't think that they're going to be able to hear the damn baseball game.
He doesn't even like baseball that much. He does, however, like beer. A lot. He likes beer a lot. And he likes the top that Annabeth is wearing; black and low cut and he is definitely peeling it off of her when they get back to the apartment. When he glances over at her to inform her of this fact, he sees her face scrunched up judgmentally.
"What?" he asks, seeing the look.
"Nothing," she shrugs. "It's just not really our thing, is it?"
"We're twenty-two. I think it's supposed to be our thing."
"Because we're such normal people," Annabeth says sarcastically.
"I just mean… maybe we should try being normal instead of staying home every Friday night and talking about what it's going to be like when we are normal. In the future. After we have our degrees. Let's be normal now."
It's a good point, and it halts her pouting immediately.
"Yeah. Yeah, you're right." She grins as she realizes what has just happened. "Oh my god. I can't believe you just out logic-ed me."
"It took several years and a lot of Oprah reruns," Percy admits, causing his girlfriend to laugh loudly.
"What would we even do without Oprah?"
He's about to answer, but suddenly Piper is flying through the crowd and throwing herself at Annabeth, wrapping her arms around her friend excitedly.
"I'm so glad you're here! Jason and Leo will not shut up about sports and it's literally making me want to kill myself."
"Where's Tori?" Annabeth asks, raising up on her tiptoes to see if Leo's girlfriend is at the bar with their group of friends.
"She's at home, studying, like all engineering majors who aren't daughters or sons of Hephaestus."
"Obviously," Annabeth says. "So all of them except Leo?"
"Basically," Piper snorts.
They approach the bar, and Jason immediately approaches Percy to slap him on the back.
"Thank the Gods you're here. Frank is getting bored out of his mind by the sports and has been dying for Annabeth to show up all night so that they can compare combat techniques."
Annabeth shakes her head.
"I'm off duty tonight," she says, accepting a beer from Leo. Percy knows that she'd rather be at home, drinking red wine and reading a book, but he appreciates the grace with which she accepts the drink that she only moderately likes. He wraps his arms around her waist so that her back is leaning against him and gives the top of her head a kiss. Annabeth leans up so that she can look at him, making a silly face at him when their eyes meet.
He really, really loves her. It's a good thing that they're in a bar, because that face would probably have caused him to propose to her there and then, and he definitely can't do that. The ring is still being sized.
"Where's Nico?" Hazel wants to know, smiling at the bartender with thanks as he hands her the second sprite of the night.
"He's got a date with some guy named Spencer," Jason shrugs, eyes on the screen.
"He says he might stop by if it doesn't go well," Piper adds when Jason doesn't say anything else. She rolls her eyes in his direction. Out of the group, he's definitely the most into sports, with Leo only trailing slightly behind. Percy has a feeling that he would probably have been satisfied just coming to this bar without the rest of the group, watching the game all by his lonesome. Still, they're all so busy with their student schedules that it's nice to have one day of the week when they can all meet up and hang out. Since Percy and Annabeth started going to college, Friday had been that night of the week for the entire group.
When you go through a life changing experience with a group of people, it really is difficult not to stay friends. Although they've all gained new friends and gone separate ways in the field of careers, they'd be hard pressed to find a group of people more understanding of each other's lives. Therefore, it's no surprise that they've all stayed together.
"How's the nursing program?" Percy asks Hazel, releasing Annabeth so that he can detangle himself from whatever conversation she's having with Piper about a book that he's never read. He's halfway done with his beer by the time she finishes her excited chatter on the subject.
It's interesting, but it makes him think about his marine biology essay, sitting on his desk at home next to Annabeth's sketch for her art class, unedited. And maybe he should have added a third paragraph about the detrimental effects of…
Annabeth jabs him in the side.
"Stop thinking about it," she says, knowing what his expression means instantly. "We're out. There's nothing that you can do about it right now. We'll worry about it when we get home."
He likes how she says "we." Like the battles that he fights are her battles too.
"It's gonna be, like, midnight when he get home," he reminds her, glancing at her watch.
"Well," Annabeth says in her "reasoning" voice, "we'll just have to distract you until you're tired out and can fall asleep. You can edit it tomorrow, I'll edit on Sunday, and then you can submit it on Monday. It'll be fine."
He looks at her with a lopsided grin that he almost feels ashamed of having.
Annabeth mockingly flips her hair over her shoulder.
"Oh, I know."
"WE'RE NOT GOING BACK THERE!"
The fury in her eyes is so evident that Percy immediately wants to shrink back from it, but he doesn't. He knows that she's angry at him, but he also knows that it's important to him to have a say in their relationship too, and just because Annabeth is smarter and prettier than him, doesn't mean that his opinions don't count.
But yeah, she looks pretty damn pissed.
Over the years, Percy has learned that he's got to pick his battles when it comes to Annabeth. Their relationship is too important for him not to and, besides, she pays him the same courtesy. If something doesn't matter that much to her and matters a lot to him, Annabeth backs down. That's just what you do when you're in a couple. You compromise.
The problem, of course, is when the two of them believe so adamantly in their sides that there isn't a way to avoid stalemate. When both of them are so stubborn about something that it's difficult, that's when everything explodes out of control. It's fights like these that make Percy wonder whether he's ever again going to have Annabeth's head in his lap while they lie on the couch and do the Sunday crossword together. He didn't want to at first, but Annabeth had reminded him that teachers are supposed to know everything and that crosswords are the best ways to do so. He thinks that she's right.
He's going to miss moments like those when Annnabeth kills him.
"WELL, I THINK WE SHOULD!"
"I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK, PERCY! WE ARE NOT GOING!"
"Come on!" he cries, stamping his foot on the ground. She raises her eyebrow at him. "Annabeth. Darling. Dear heart. We grew up there. We can't avoid it forever. Remember when we used to say that we'd go back there and help teach the kids?"
"Times change," Annabeth says stiffly, throwing her fancy black purse onto the kitchen table. They both realize that they're not going to the club that Annabeth's old roommate had invited them to for her birthday. They're in this until it's resolved, one way or another. "People change. We're not visiting Camp Half Blood."
"Well, what about when we have kids?" Percy demands impatiently, running a hand through his hair. It's like the eightieth time he's done that since they started fighting. "Are we just not going to put them on a bus when it's time for them to go to camp each summer instead of dropping them off?"
Annabeth looks shocked.
"Percy! Do you honestly think we're going to let our kids go to Camp Half Blood? Are you crazy?"
Now it's his turn for his eyes to bug out of his head.
"Annabeth, are you fucking kidding me? They're children of two powerful demigods. They're not going to be safe unless they learn how to fight."
"Our children are not learning how to fight. They are going to be just that: children. They are never going to have to stress out about… about… drakons and harpies and Gods trying to take advantage of how wonderful they are for their own personal gain. They are going to be happy, normal children with happy, normal childhoods, and fuck you for trying to take that away from them."
"No, they're going to be dead children if they don't know how to defend themselves."
"We can only keep them safe for so long, Annabeth!" he says, pleadingly. He slowly approaches the couch, the only thing that is separating. "What is this really about? It's not about not wanting our children to know how to fight- we've talked about this before. I know that this isn't something that you've always thought of."
She stares at him, her lower lip trembling.
"We left that life," she finally whispers. "It's not ours anymore, and it hasn't been since Hera took your memory away. We built something new and beautiful and I don't want it wreckedby that awful place ever again!"
"YOU WERE DEAD!" she yells. "DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD?"
"I KNOW! I'M SO-"
"I DON'T CARE THAT YOU'RE SORRY, PERCY JACKSON, BECAUSE IT FUCKING HURT, OKAY?"
"BEING THERE REMINDS ME OF ALL THE TIMES THAT I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD; THE TIMES THAT I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN-"
"I KNOW, BUT-"
"-THE TIME THAT WE LITERALLY MADE YOU A FUCKING BURIAL SHROUD AND THERE WAS NO YOU TO PUT IN THE GODDAMN BURIAL SHROUD. DO YOU KNOW HOW THAT FEELS, PERCY?"
"NO, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN-"
"BEING AT CAMP HALFBLOOD MAKES ME THINKING OF LOSING YOU AND I NEVER WANT TO LOSE YOU AGAIN!"
"SO FUCKING MARRY ME!" he roars.
They both snap their mouths shut.
"Oh shit," Percy mutters. That was totally not how he wanted to propose to her. Like, at all.
"What?" Annabeth whispers.
"Marry me?" Percy suggests, shrugging a shoulder.
"Wait. Wait one second," he begs, and then he rushes into his bedroom and searches through the closet for the old hoodie that he never wears and pulls out the red box. When he gets back into the living room, Annabeth is still standing there, looking like Percy always imagines Jason does whenever Jason gets hit by a brick.
He doesn't kneel. Instead, he pops the box open and thrusts it carefully under Annabeth's nose. Her eyes don't leave his at first, but when he gives her an encouraging nod, she allows them to dart down to the ring. At the sight of it, her lips form a perfect "o."
"We're talking about our children," he says firmly. "Not your children. Not my children. Not hypothetical children just in case we ever decide to get married. We're having kids. Our children."
She steps up onto the couch, then leaps over the back and into his arms.
Annabeth kisses him so hard that he doesn't actually know when they end up in the bedroom, or when his shirt comes off, or when her shirt comes up. What he does remember, years later, is her sitting on top of him, her top half completely bare, as she shakes her head and says,
"You call that a proposal?"
"Seriously, Percy, I'm going to make you do that again some day."
"You're wearing the ring," he says cheerfully. "No take backs."
Annabeth smiles lovingly down at the engagement ring that Percy actually has no recollection of putting on her finger.
"Yeah, okay. You're still doing it again, though. Seaweed brain."
"Can you tell the gang that we can't go out tonight?"
A sudden shout on the other end of the phone informs Percy to the fact that all of their friends have just done a round of shots. He thinks that he can hear Frank coughing loudly and Piper yelling at somebody to get him a chaser.
"Sure," Hazel says amiably. "Why not? If you don't mind me asking."
"Annabeth has a cold," Percy tells her. As if queued, Annabeth lets out an elephant-like sneeze from the other room.
"Are you watching a documentary on the mating habits of animals who originate in Africa, or was that your fiancée?"
"Fiancée," Percy confirms.
"How attractive," Hazel giggles.
"Hey, don't be mean! You sound like a Drakon when you're throwing up."
"I HAD FOOD POISONING FROM THE QUISADILA THAT GROVER MADE ME EAT! SERIOUSLY! IT'S GROVER'S FAULT!"
"He really does enjoy Mexican food," Percy agrees fondly. "Well, I have to go. Annabeth is gonna run out of tissues in roughly three sneezes and I promised her that I would grab the box from the living room."
"Good luck," Hazel says. In the background, Jason shouts something about penguins wearing bow ties. "Oh god, Jason's drunk off his… you know. I gotta go try to force some water down his throat. Have a good night!"
She hangs up before Percy can return the sentiment.
When he returns to the bathroom, tissues and tea in hand, Annabeth is wrapped even more tightly around her blanket than she was before. She's in a matching blue pajama set, long sleeved and fleece, to keep her warm, and her nose reminds Percy of Rudolph. He doesn't know whether to laugh or cry at how she looks- it's rare that Annabeth seems as weak as she does when she has a cold.
"How are you doing?" he ask.
"Dokay," she says, making a face at how stuffed up she is.
Percy carefully hands her the mug of tea that he made her, then topples onto the bed next to her.
"Yeah, you definitely sound like it."
"I don't deed your sarcasm right dow, good sir!"
"Sorry," he says, kissing her on the tip of her reddened nose. "Do you want me to watch a Jane Austen movie with you to make up for it?"
Annabeth nods emphatically.
"The six hour BBC version of Pride & Prejudice?"
"No way. Honey."
"The 2007 BBC version of Persuasion?"
"How long is that one?"
"Just do hours!"
"Do hours? That's all?"
Annabeth nods again.
"Okay, fine. Is it in your DVD collection?" She reaches over to the side of the bed, where she already has a copy of the movie waiting for him to put into the DVD player. "Wow, you're really on top of things even when you're sick."
Annabeth looks proud of herself.
They don't have a DVD player in their bedroom, so Percy picks Annabeth up bridal style and carries her into the family room. After setting her down on the couch, he puts the disc into the DVD player and sits back on the couch next to Annabeth. Immediately, she cuddles into him, subconsciously nuzzling her nose against his neck.
"I forgot to ask," she says as the menu appears on their television screen. "How was your day?"
"Good!" Percy says. "It felt like a Friday though, you know? I just wanted to be done and come home to you… knowing you were at home made being at work seem pointless."
"Understabable," Annabeth says, making a face when she hears how the word sounds in her nasal voice. "But were the kids good today?"
"Yeah!" Percy brightens. "I like the teacher's aid program at this school. Sometimes the teacher will let me have entire lessons. Still, I don't think I want to teach such young kids. I like science and all, but I might want to have a more high school type focus so that I can build relationships with the kids."
"I think you'd be better at teaching high school," Annabeth says honestly. "I think it could be something that you really excel at."
She misses his delighted smile because she has to angle her body away from his in order to sneeze.
"Do you mean that?"
"Sure," she says brightly, looking around for tissues. "Oh, crap, you brought the tissues into our bedroom."
The second part of the sentence comes out with a cough. Percy lifts her off of him for a second, shifting from underneath her so that he can grab the tissues from their bedroom. When he returns, he presents the box to Annabeth dramatically.
"There you are, m'lady."
When he lies underneath her again, using his body as her throw pillow, she shifts so that she turns around so that she can kiss him deeply. For a few moments, they kiss quietly until Annabeth is forced to pull back, gasping for breath.
"Oh by god!" she groans.
"I know," Percy smirks. "After all this time, I still take your breath away."
"Do!" Annabeth chuckles. "It's because by dose is all stuffy and I can't breathe while we're kissing."
Percy looks stricken.
"Oh god. I'm so sorry, Annabeth."
At the look of horror on his face, she releases a laugh that promptly turns into a fit of coughing.
"It's okay," she promises between hacks. "If I have to die because of a cold, kissing you seems like an excellent way to go."
It's very possible that Percy has been grading these papers for his entire life. Or at least four hours. The school building is quiet by now, most of the teachers having left hours ago. But he had to be stuck with the one science teacher that's such a stickler for grading that she makes Percy stay after school on a Friday night and work on grading papers. When he had made the decision to continue his teaching assistant requirement in a high school, he hadn't realized that this would mean getting stuck with Mrs. Freemont. If he had, he probably would have sucked it up and stuck with his elementary school job.
"Goodness!" The old woman looks up, her eyes squinting underneath her glasses as she catches to the time. "How late it's gotten!"
"I'm on the last paper," Percy says wearily. "I just have to put the grades into your gradebook, and then we can get out of here."
She looks over at the giant stack of completed essays that he's got in front of her and, in a rare moment of sympathy, cocks her head at him.
"How about you finish that paper that you're on and I enter them into my gradebook?"
Percy perks up immediately.
"Really," she confirms. "Don't you have a fiancée? You should be going home to her."
At the thought of Annabeth, a pang enters Percy's stomach.
"A wife, actually," he says. "We got married over Christmas vacation."
"How wonderful!" she says. "Congratulations! Two months of marriage. How are you liking it?"
"I love being married to Annabeth," Percy says sincerely. "It's wonderful."
Just not exactly how they'd planned it.
He scribbes a solid B onto the essay, then hands it to Mrs. Freemont.
"Do you need help getting to your car?"
She shakes her head.
"Of course not. I have everything taken care of. Enjoy your weekend, Mr. Jackson."
"You as well," he says, grasping his messenger bag in hand as he heads to the door.
The city air is refreshing after spending so much time inside. He's even glad to pass the homeless people on the street, just to have some sort of social interaction other than Mrs. Freemont. On his way, he dials his favorite pizza company, knowing that he will be home before it gets there. He's got cold beer in the refrigerator, and of course, he has Annabeth. There's nothing to indicate a bad start to the weekend. Well… not really.
His footsteps make loud, clomping sounds on the stairs up to the apartment. As suspected, it's dark when he gets inside. He flicks on all of the lights that he can, then goes into his bedroom to change out of his work clothes and grab his iPad. By the time he's done, the pizza delivery boy is knocking on the door. Percy tips generously, then closes the door to welcome the delicious scent of sausage and onion into his home.
For how depressed he feels, one would never suspect that Friday is his favorite day of the week.
The iPad screen whirs to life just as he's sat down at the table. He's still popping open his beer when he swipes the 'answer' button, waiting for Annabeth's face to appear on the screen.
"Hello!" she says, waving at him happily. She looks tired. Really tired. Then again, so does he.
"It's so good to see you," he says, wishing that he could slump forward into her embrace.
"It's good to see you too. How are you?"
"Mrs. Freemont is driving me crazy," Percy says immediately. "She forgets that other people have lives and she keeps me at the school until dinner time. I get hungry, Annabeth!"
"I know," she says sympathetically. "But you always do say that she really cares about her kids, and isn't that the kind of teacher that you want to be?"
"Yeah," Percy admits. "But not in the same way. I want to be approachable to my students; she makes them better, but she isn't exactly their favorite person."
Annabeth shrugs, taking a bite of her veggie pizza.
"Whatever works for you as a person and as a teacher. You might change your mind once you actually get to the practical application of having your own classroom. Who knows?"
Percy shakes his head, sighing heavily for what seems like the eightieth time in one night.
"So how's Chicago treating you?"
Annabeth brightens immediately.
"Percy, today was so great! I got to sit in on a business meeting with some of the greatest architects in the country. It was absolutely amazing. I love this internship. I learn a million new things every single day. You know how I always struggle with my drawings of staircases? One of the guys in the office went over it with me yesterday and now I can draw a staircase so beautiful that Frank Lloyd Wright would weep."
"That's great!" grins Percy. "I'm glad that you're getting so much out of it."
"I know that I'm a glorified secretary, but I'm learning so much that I can't even complain," Annabeth laughs. She takes a sip of her wine and her gold wedding ring glints in the light of the iPad. At the sight of it, Percy's stomach tightens.
"No complaints," he says, not meaning to sound bitter, but he sort of does. He desperately hopes that she doesn't notice. "That's good."
"Oh!" Annabeth says suddenly. "Did you sign all of the thank you notes for our wedding that I sent you? Because after that, I'm gonna need you to send them. Don't worry, though, I already addressed and stamped all of them. You just have to lick the envelopes and deliver them to the post office."
"I'm going to do it tonight," Percy informs her. "Right after I get back from the strip club, of course."
Annabeth laughs loudly.
"You really should have thought of a more believable lie than that."
Percy looks affronted.
"Why wouldn't I go to a strip club?"
Cocking her head to the side, Annabeth gives him a look.
"Maybe because the last time you went to a strip club, you called your mom and apologized."
"Hey, you can't blame me for that! I was drunk from the humiliation of being at a strip club!" The speakers on the iPad do not do Annabeth's laughter justice. "So," Percy says, waiting until she's done laughing to speak, "not to be selfish but… two more months."
"Yes," Annabeth says, nodding. "Two more months until I come home. Have you started cleaning the apartment yet?"
"Hardee har har," Percy says. "I'm keeping it very neat."
"You realize that I talk to your mom too, right?" Annabeth points out. "I've heard actual horror stories about that apartment."
"She's lying," Percy lies.
They talk for four more hours. Annabeth brings her iPad into the bathroom and brushes her teeth, then to her bedroom as she changes for bed. They lie there, Annabeth in the dark, Percy still at the kitchen table, until Annabeth finally drifts off to sleep. Then he turns off his iPad and goes into the living room to start licking envelopes.
Thirty minutes into this practice, there's a loud knock on the door. Percy rises and goes to open it, confused by the disturbance so late at night. When he peers through the peephole, he sees Jason standing outside, waiting patiently. Percy opens the door. Immediately, Jason raises his hand. He's holding onto a large bottle of Jack Daniels.
"Whiskey?" he says.
"Whiskey" Percy confirms, swinging the door open.
And that's his Friday.
During the week, Annabeth wears a pencil skirt to her small downtown office and designs buildings. She wears nice white blouses and high heeled shoes to make herself seem more professional. She comes home from work and lets her hair tumble down from its extremely messy bun while Percy listens sympathetically to her stories about her horrible boss, simultaneously checking students off for having their homework. And to see her at a house party, holding onto a red solo cup, just a few hours after she puts on the work persona is too weird for words.
The beer is only okay, really, and Percy would much rather be at home, sharing a glass of red wine with Annabeth while they lie on the couch and watch Game of Thrones. That show is way more entertaining than a house party. And, yeah, it's pretty nice to hang out with their friends, but when Leo started doing a keg stand, Percy suddenly came to the realization that he was out of his element.
Even Hazel is drunk, which is an odd occurrence, and Percy thinks that maybe her rounds at the hospital are taking more of a toll on her than she would ever deign to let on. He vows to talk about this with her when she's less intoxicated. Judging from the drink in her hand, vodka and blue Gatorade is her poison of choice for the night. He's not sure where she got the vodka or the blue Gatorade, but he decides not to broach that subject.
He's pretty sure that this wasn't what Frank wanted when he asked Jason and Leo and Nico to throw him a "small" party, but by the time the rest of the group had realized what the trio had interpreted "small party" to mean, it was far too late to stop it. At least Frank will feel loved on his birthday, right? All these people are at his house in order to celebrate the fact that he turned another year older. At least 50% of them brought gifts. At least 46% of those gifts don't count alcohol. It's a good life.
Except Percy has spent the entire week dealing with kids and all he wants to do is go home, fuck his wife, and go to bed early so that he can wake up early in the morning and maybe convince Annabeth to having some leisurely morning sex, too. That sounds like an absolutely perfect plan, as a matter of fact. So what are they doing at this stupid party? It's not like he wants to stay in a place where he's been hit on by several drunk girls who apparently do not notice the wedding ring that rests firmly on his finger.
Making a decision, Percy wades his way through the crowd and away from Jason, who is being cheered on by an adoring crowd as he begins his own keg stand, and goes off in search of Annabeth. She's huddled in a corner, clutching a vodka cranberry (seriously, where is all this vodka coming from?) and having a discussion with three girls who are younger and drunker than she is. She looks kind of shell shocked.
"Percy!" Annabeth calls out, relief falling over her face as he approaches. "Hi! Hello! I'm so glad you're here! I seriously, seriously love you."
The girls giggle at the sight of Percy, who waves awkwardly at them with the hand that has his wedding ring. Get a fucking clue, idiots.
"Hi," he says, kissing Annabeth on the lips. He places his hand in hers and tugs her away from the girls without giving her time to say goodbye. "You about ready to get out of here?"
She checks her watch.
"We got here thirty minutes ago."
"And it would be extremely rude to leave Frank's birthday party after being here for less than three hours!"
"It's okay; I have a plan."
"What's your plan?" Annabeth questions, raising one eyebrow.
Her eyebrow game seems to have gotten stronger in the three years that they have been married.
"Step one: we go home. Step two: we have sex. There is no step three."
Annabeth sighs heavily.
"Ugh, that sounds like such a good plan. Still, it's just too rude. We have to stay for at least two hours. Frank is one of our best friends, after all."
She takes a sip of her vodka cranberry, seemingly steeling herself for a long evening.
"Annabeth," Percy says, "I think we should start having kids."
She swivels her head around to look at him.
"Well, think about it," Percy begins. "We're married. We both have good, steady jobs. We're in love. We are getting steadily sloppier with our birth control. And having kids would give us excuses to get out of parties like this, or to not have to go to these parties at all. It's kind of a fool proof plan."
"Honey," Annabeth says, pulling him out of the way of someone who is skateboarding across the hardwood floor. "You do realize that having kids means that we will probably never be at a party like this every again?"
The skateboard guy crashes into the wall and a stream of expletives explodes from his mouth.
"I'm okay with that."
"Percy!" Annabeth says, aghast.
"Look, Annabeth, we're in a different place in our lives than the rest of our friends. None of them are married. None of them are ready to leave this part of their lives behind. We've been done with this for two years at least. I think it's time we start having children."
A smile is beginning to grow on Annabeth's face. She bites her lip.
"You've actually thought about this, haven't you?"
Percy nods seriously.
"Yeah, I have! Jason and Leo both went to do keg stands so I had several minutes to just stand by myself and think about it."
Annabeth shakes her head.
"I'm going to ignore the fact that you just said that and go say my goodbyes."
"So is that a yes?" he calls after her retreating back. Annabeth turns around, beaming.
"Put a baby in me, Percy Jackson!" she calls over the loud music.
He likes to think that the cheers that follow represent the crowd's support of their decision and not Nico's boyfriend approaching the keg.
Annabeth's hair smells like spit up. Percy tries to ignore this as he collapses onto the bed, exhausting claiming his body, but it's difficult to concentrate on much of anything when you know that you've got enough cheerios tangles up in your hair to feed a small country.
"We need to shower," Annabeth says, words slurred with exhaustion. Percy nods his assent.
"Yeah, we do."
Neither of them make a move to get up and shower.
"Is she asleep?" Annabeth inquires, turning to Percy.
"Yeah. She stopped throwing the temper tantrum when I put pajamas on her American Girl doll and tucked it in bed with her. Did you get him down?"
"The ocean noise machine works like a charm," she says contently. "That was actually the best gift that your father could have given us. I'm starting to think that it has some sort of enchantment on it."
They're silent for a moment.
"Hey…" Percy says tentatively. "You don't think…?"
"No. No way." She closes her eyes and sighs heavily. "Is it bad that I hope it actually does have an enchantment on it?"
"If so, that makes two bad parents."
Somehow, her head ends up on his chest, and suddenly it doesn't really matter that her hair smells like vomit anymore. He just wants to be around her.
"Are you happy?" he wants to know, popping an eye open.
"Oh yeah," Annabeth says. "Wrestling small children into their beds with Percy Jackson? Actually the best Friday night ever."
He feels the same way about her.
A/N: This fic is a gift for Percyyoulittleshit on tumblr. If you would like to ask me something or say hi to me, you can find me at rongasm. Title comes from a song of the same name by The Cure. Hope you enjoyed this! ~writergirl8