With a loud sigh, Percie turned onto her other side on the bed. The fountain was still in ruins since she'd destroyed it, but she was sure that she could ask Archimedes if it was repairable and get him to help her fix it. He was cool like that when she wasn't being a complete idiot. The walls were glowing dimly like they always had and although it was normally lulling; all it did was make her more alert.
She sat up and ducked out of bed to safely stretch without hitting her head on the top bunk.
Percie's hand touched her hair out of habit and she looked at it in the dimly lit darkness. It was even darker than Thad's hair and it waved sweetly down her shoulder in a way that made it resemble the waves of the sea. Looking at her own dark hair, she thought of the unruly blonde curls that adorned her best friend's head and smiled to herself.
Her smile grew wider at the thought of him and she threw her hair into a ponytail before slipping out of the cabin. Some nymphs woke up, emerging from the flora and frowned at her, but Percie smiled and beckoned them over.
"Are you guys any good at cooking?"
They nodded and she whispered her plan to them, the three tree nymphs grinning wildly before they ran off.
And that's how she ended up in front of the Athena cabin. She knew for a fact that Athena hated her guts and believed that she was bad news (which she was), but she whispered a prayer to the gods to not have all of Athena's children wake up and find her in their cabin. Opening the door as quietly as possible, Percie's hand twitched at refraining herself from running in and dragging her victim outside like she normally would. That's how she would've liked to do it, but she tiptoed over to a particular blonde's bed and tapped their shoulder lightly.
The arm that was connected to that particular shoulder shot up and clasped around her arm. She bit back a shriek of surprise as he groggily opened his eyes and sat up. He frowned at her and she shot him a smile as she tugged him silently out of his bed. Archimedes tapped her arm and she turned back around to find him gesturing to his chest and mouthing, 'can I grab a t-shirt first?'
Cheeks reddening slightly, she shook her head and mouthed back, 'no time for that' and dragged him out of the cabin.
As they walked, him being tugged by her, he suddenly whispered sharply, "The harpies are going to catch us!"
She smiled and shook her head. "I got some nymphs to fry some bacon for them."
Archimedes brows rose. "And how'd you get them to agree?"
"I promised that I'd water their trees for the next week."
They were silent for a long moment before he said softly, "That was actually pretty smart of you…"
She felt her jaw drop before her lips tugged up. "Was that a compliment?"
"Shut up, Seaweed Brain."
Laughing softly she finally released his arm and walked ahead, finding a spot to sit down.
It was a small grassy lookout that had the most stunning view of the ocean that she'd ever seen and Percie sighed softly as she heard her friend plop down beside her. The moon was still just high enough to reflect off the water's surface and the glow on the water was mesmerising. And the stars. She searched for the constellation of 'the Huntress' finding it and sighing softly. It was easily her favourite constellation.
"What's your favourite constellation?"
She hadn't even meant to ask aloud, but Percie caught his sideward smile as he answered. "I'm not sure, maybe 'Leo'… or 'Ursa Major'…"
"What about 'the Huntress'?"
He suddenly nodded softly. "I think that's my favourite actually…"
Percie could hear his thoughts: she sacrificed a lot for us. "Mmm…"
The sad, depressing silence nipped at them and she stared at her hands, consumed by thoughts that plagued her mind.
"Did you know that demigods get the best of their parents' genetics?"
She frowned at him. "Do you find something random and brainy to talk about every time to fill the silence?"
"Just hear me out okay?" Archimedes sighed, "Because of the godly ichor, when we're created-"
"Are you saying created because you came from your mum's thoughts?"
He glared at her and continued. "-we naturally get the best features of both of our parents, since the godly part of us reflects on how we look."
"So… you're saying that demigods are more …attractive than normal people."
Archimedes nodded and she collapsed onto her back, staring up at the sky.
"Are you kidding me? Damn I didn't get the memo."
He froze and she frowned softly as he turned to her with the deepest of furrows in his brow. "What are you talking about?"
"I didn't get the memo."
"I got that, but why are you saying that?"
She cocked a brow at him. "It's obvious."
"Okay, now you're just speaking gibberish."
"I'm not pretty," Percie said bluntly. "I don't have any of this 'Godly Attractiveness' that you speak of."
Archimedes promptly kicked her leg. Pain shot up her leg and she found herself hating how hard he kicked. She groaned and tried to kick back, but he grabbed her foot and stared her down with those stormy grey eyes of his.
"Where is that coming from?"
Percie tried to kick her foot out of his grip, but he held firmly. "It's common knowledge."
"No. Where is it coming from?"
She shied away from his gaze at the sharpness in his voice. "I don't know. Maybe the fact that I don't get any dates? That I've never had a single guy at camp give me a second look for anything except for my status?"
The blonde sighed. "You're stupid."
"Convince me then; what nice features do I have from my parents?" she asked coldly.
He smiled and pulled her closer to him by her leg, grabbing her hands and pulling her into a sitting position. Percie reminded herself to breathe, her face burning.
"You have your mum's face," he started touching her red cheeks and her chin carefully, "except… you have your dad's eyes and his cheekbones," (all gods had remarkably nice cheekbones), "and his hair; except prettier," he twirled some around his finger fondly, "You have the same twinkle in your eyes too; the same mischievous one that Poseidon has…" Archimedes' smile was starting to kill her; that sweet one that made her heart jump lightly in her chest.
"And," he was almost whispering, "you have a grin that's a mix between your mum's and your dad's too… it's sweet like Sally's and cheerful like Poseidon's… it's beautiful…"
They were so close now. His face was inches from hers and he was staring in such an unbashful way that she couldn't look away and found herself staring at his eyes. Stormy grey. She'd always found them daunting, but at that moment they were soft and sincere and Percie suddenly felt her cheeks heating up.
Gods, she wanted to kiss him. But she couldn't until she knew that she wasn't going to screw over something that was already strained because of their parents' rivalry (more Athena than Poseidon, but not the point).
Percie ducked her head and buried her face into his chest. His chest vibrated as he chuckled and she felt the very bare skin against her hands and her nose. Blushing harder she jumped away and buried her face in her hands. She knew that he was smiling and growled out, "Stop smiling, Wise Boy."
"Don't tell me what to do, Seaweed Brain."
Archimedes was laughing and she blindly punched him, the punch hitting him in the ribs. He groaned slightly and she uncovered her eyes to find him clutching it. She winced and muttered a quiet apology.
"It's okay… you just hit like a guy."
"I'm not sure to be complimented or insulted," Percie said.
He smiled. "You tell me."
She glared at him before falling onto her back again.
"You should've grabbed a shirt."
Archimedes fell down beside her and she knew he was glaring at the sky. "You told me not to."
"When do you listen to me?"
He seemed to consider it for a moment. "Good point."
Percie closed her eyes and sighed. She yawned too and curled into the grass. Sleep was starting to drag her under and she was fighting not to. "Now I'm tired?"
When she rolled over again, she ran into his shirtless chest and seized up again. Archimedes laughed and wrapped an arm around her, tugging her into him. Percie felt herself blushing furiously, using the flat of her palms to try and push herself away from him.
"Let me go Archimedes…" she mumbled sleepily.
"Why should I?"
"Because if you keep hugging me I won't be able to stop myself from falling asleep…"
"You need some sleep anyway," Archimedes murmured.
She started to thrash about. "What if the camp gets attacked again? I can't be-"
"It's okay to be vulnerable!" he said firmly.
Percie was struck by the sharpness of his voice. He was almost never this harsh to her. "It's okay to be vulnerable, because you need to be at some point and it's better now when I'm here to protect you, then sometime in the middle of a war. Just be vulnerable okay?"
Smiling, she asked him an important question. "You'll protect me even if there's spiders?"
He gulped. "Even if there's spiders."
Her grin turned soft and she curled into him, allowing sleep and his warmth to overcome her.
Percie was asleep in seconds.
You know that state of being asleep enough not to open your eyes, but just enough to hear what everyone's saying? Well that's what state Percie was in.
And the noises that she heard were camera clicks and evil laughs as well as the sound of a satyr chortling in laughter. Someone was hushing them, the sound closer to her then the others.
"Shut up! Don't wake her up!"
A snicker as a hand stroked her hair. "But look at her! She's all cuddled up to you! It's so cute!"
The other voice got sharper. "Connor."
"Okay, calm down Archimedes! Bad enough that you've already threatened the entire male population of the camp if they even look at her; you don't need to get angry at me!"
She almost laughed. So it was Archimedes' fault? Sly, Archimedes, sly.
"So how'd this happen?"
"She couldn't sleep, so she woke me up and dragged me out here."
"Wait… she went into your cabin?"
"To wake you up?" Grover elaborated.
Percie could hear Archimedes getting confused. A nice change, she decided. "Yes…?"
"She risked getting caught and your mum's wrath just so you guys could have a nice late night talk," he said cheerily.
"Why are you so happy?"
"Why are you two so oblivious?" he retorted in a mutter and she knew he was probably massaging his forehead.
There was an awful crick in her neck and she moved slightly to stretch it out. Intakes of breath sounded and Percie felt herself laughing softly and she cracked open an eye. She saw the Stoll twins, Grover and Aphrodite girls giggling further away before she dared to look up to find Archimedes sitting up with pink dusting his cheeks, her head sitting in his lap. Chuckling she stood up and dusted herself off, before remembering what she was wearing and felt her neck flush. Tank top and short blue plaid pyjama shorts. Very conservative.
And then there was Archimedes sitting there in only pyjama shorts himself and she felt her neck flare more (but damn did he look nice shirtless). Stretching, she grinned sheepishly and did a little finger wave.
"I… should probably get into actual clothes… see you later!"
And she strode off. Normally she would've run, but Percie wasn't the sort of person who wore a bra to bed and she wasn't planning to draw more attention to herself.
Fifteen minutes later, Percie walked out of her cabin and went to the mess hall. She filled her plate Canadian Breakfast style and happily offered her father the largest strip of bacon before she grabbed a mug from the serving table and went over to her spot. A satyr almost knocked her off the seat by sitting next to her so hurriedly.
She ran a hand over her face. "Oh my god, Grover!'
"What?! I have the right to ask why I found my two friends sleeping together like a cutesy couple."
"He already told you what happened!" she angrily shovelled some egg into her mouth.
He grinned. "How much of our conversation did you hear?"
"From Archimedes telling you guys to shut up…"
Grover seemed to almost smirk. "You know… you say his name differently."
"Like it's important," his smirk grew.
She immersed herself in her cup of blue hot chocolate. "Your point?"
"Oh my gods, Percie; you're hopeless."
"Don't call me hopeless…" she muttered, pushing him with her shoulder.
He ruffled her hair which she'd let fall onto her shoulders and stood up. "Did something happen?"
"Did something have to happen?"
"No, but I want to know."
She massaged her forehead, like she'd seen him do so many times. "I'll tell you later when I don't have to worry about people eavesdropping."
Grover perked up and nodded eagerly. "Sure! After you have sword-practise with Cabin 6!"
Percie froze. "What?"
"Did you forget that you had it with the Athena kids?"
Nodding, he patted her shoulder and offered her a smile. "Have fun"
And he left.
Percie hurriedly finished her breakfast and almost sprinted to the arena. No one was there yet, but she felt too much energy in her body from having to sneak around the day before to stop herself from maiming a few dummies. Lazily putting on a breastplate and taking the pen from her pocket, she uncapped Riptide and the first dummy that she saw was getting thrashed within seconds. Limbs were going everywhere and Percie got worried about the amount of energy that she had. She'd kill someone if she didn't get rid of more of it. Unlike her, they couldn't heal from something as easy as drenching themselves in water.
By the time that the Athena kids had gotten there, at least eight dummies were completely dismantled. She saw Archimedes chuckling and all of them smiling at what they found was a relatively common sight.
"Took you long enough!"
"Sorry that you didn't get to maim any more dummies," Malcom joked.
She grinned and gathered her hair on top of her head, capturing it into a ponytail. "Oh it's okay; they were pretty lame opponents. So how are we going to do it today?"
"What we normal do," one of the younger ones piped up, "we watch you and Archimedes spar and then pair off afterwards."
Percie smiled and nodded; the girl was only eleven and she'd given her a few tips before. She was a sweetie.
"Sure. We can do that right, can't we Archimedes?"
His lips tugged up crookedly and he nodded. "Are you ready?"
She quirked her eyebrow and gestured to the annihilated dummies. "Does this look like I'm not at least a little bit warmed up?"
Laughing, he shrugged and strapped on a breastplate. He grabbed a sword from the weapons rack. She frowned and placed a hand on her hip as he walked in the middle of the arena to where she was.
Archimedes smiled. "I need to get used to using a sword again."
He frowned for a moment and stepped forward, fiddling with one of the straps of her breastplate. "Why are these always wonky with you?"
"It's a talent."
"I swear you do it to annoy me."
No, her brain whispered registering how close he was to her and how she could almost smell that lemon scent that came off his hair, it's just a happy accident. He stepped back and his face grew hard with concentration.
And they took their stances.
She struck first. And she knew that he'd anticipate her first strike like he always did. Uppercut; blocked. Mock undercut, slash at the leg; blocked. Percie could already see his tactic and almost smiled. Getting a bit predictable there, Wise Boy, her brain whispered. Finding some extra energy, she pushed off the ground and leapt over him (yes, she managed to leap over a five foot ten sixteen year old), vaulting over him and pushing him in the shoulder, flipping slightly through the air and managing to land on her feet as he stumbled slightly. If she hadn't been in the middle of a fight she would've squealed and done her infamous happy dance, but managed to keep on task. Nodding in approval, he jumped forward and struck at her left. She scowled and blocked it, sweat starting to form on her brow.
They were jumping back and forth, striking and blocking, sweat soaking their shirts to their backs. Archimedes was starting to get tired and she saw the fatigue in his eyes as he breathed heavily, analysing her. She grinned and ducked down as she swept her leg beneath his feet, to which he jumped and arched the sword over her head. Barely managing to block it, she pushed forward enough for their swords to stop touching and she rolled away to stand up.
"You're a bit slow today, Archimedes!"
He grinned and parried a strike from his right. "I'm just warming up!"
"Are you really, because it looks like you're trying to wear me out."
"Do you really think that's what I'm doing?" he asked.
Percie grinned, "Nope, but… I think I've already won."
"And why's that?"
Before he had time to react, she'd slammed the butt of her sword into his stomach with enough ferocity to make him stumble, swept her feet under his and knocked him to the ground. She jumped up and put a foot on his torso and had the point of her sword at his throat.
"Do you think I've won?"
Archimedes was breathing heavily, but managed a small smile. "Possibly… but when I can actually breathe again; we're having a rematch."
She laughed and retracted her sword from his throat and removed her foot, offering her hand. "Does your pride let you get a hand up from a girl?"
"I'm not sexist, Seaweed Brain."
Pulling him up with a small heave, they turned to the others and she hid a guffaw behind her hand.
They were all captivated and she knew that even though she was a daughter of Poseidon that they could appreciate her skill and her strategy by how unhinged their jaws were.
"How… did you really just take Archimedes Chase to the ground?"
Laughing softly, Percie nodded. "He was being predictable."
She got a punch in the arm for that, so she shoved him to the side. With a glare she turned back to them.
"How'd you do that flip?"
Percie shrugged. "I don't know…"
"You barely had a run off!" one -Penelope? – exclaimed, then tuning out as she tried to figure out the physics of it.
"And how'd you get the strength to hit him hard enough to make him stumble?"
She didn't answer that one, because it sounded like they doubted her strength. Sure she was lean, but Percie wasn't bulky in the muscle department.
More questions flew at her and she managed to answer them all (except for the ones that were downright insulting).
"Any other questions?"
Malcom smirked and crossed his arms over his chest. "Are you sure that Archimedes didn't let you beat him?"
The thought hadn't struck her and she turned to glare down her sparring partner. He put his hands up in surrender and she continued to scowl at him.
"Pair off!" she called and they dispersed as she kept glaring him down.
She took a few steps and poked him hard in the chest. "I swear to the gods that if you let me win-"
"I didn't let you win; you distracted me enough to pull that off."
Percie kept pushing and poking though. "How do I know that you aren't lying?!"
"Why would I lie?"
"It wouldn't be the first time now would it?!" she said furiously.
He frowned. "What are you talking about?"
"You left me completely in the dark about the fact that you've threatened all the boys in camp to keep away from me!"
"When did you hear that?"
Archimedes looked worried. "How much of our conversation did you hear?"
"From you telling them to shut up," he relaxed and she growled, "Why? Is there something else that I need to know?"
Angrily, she shoved him. "You're… infuriating!"
"You know that word?"
She clenched her fists and gritted out, "I'm going to go give your siblings some pointers while you stop being such an arse."
He smirked. "Fine."
Turning on her heel, she wove through the pairs, stopping them at times and pointing out little things and correcting them. As she was telling one of them to stop favouring her right side, Percie glanced back to find Archimedes in a deep conversation with Malcom, his cheeks the slightest shade of pink. She frowned and went back to distracting herself with the other Athena kids. By the time that she was happy enough with everyone's stances, she barely had enough time to practise herself.
With a little sigh, she found a spot for herself and started trying to figure out how she'd done an flip over Archimedes with a dummy and a crash mat that she'd found pushed behind it. Unstrapping her armour, she warmed up a bit and attacked another dummy for a while before she returned to the other one and attempted to vault over it. And of course with that kelp brain of hers, she landed flat on her back on the other side.
So she tried again.
And again until she laid on her aching back.
Percie winced to herself and attempted to get up, only to have a hand help her up.
"Are you okay, Seaweed Brain?"
She nodded and rubbed the back of her head. "I'm just trying to work out how I did that flip thing over your shoulder…"
Archimedes frowned as if he was concentrating (which he always was) and analysed her like he'd done earlier. Percie shifted on her feet at how his eyes were nit-picking her. It wasn't that he hadn't done it before, but it made something strange flutter in her stomach. He paused.
"Sorry… I'm making you uncomfortable right?"
"A little bit," she muttered.
He murmured another apology.
"Well… you obviously have the strength to do it…"he said, "and enough of an adrenaline rush to pull it off…"
She pondered about it. "The last time I did something like that was with the Minotaur..."
"And you pulled that off because you were scared and let your impulses take over right?"
"What?" Archimedes frowned.
"I thought that my mom had just been killed and that he was about to kill my best friend too; I was angry not scared."
He nodded. "I don't know exactly how you did it, but I'm thinking that if you channel all your impulses and adrenaline into it, you might manage it. Got that?"
Nodding, she was about to try again, but Archimedes grabbed her shoulder. He grinned and gestured to himself.
"Might work better if you try with a real target."
She smiled and walked back a couple of steps before she closed her eyes and let her impulse and whatever adrenaline that remained in her body take over.
And then she stepped forward and leaped.
Placing a hand on his shoulder, she vaulted over him and she somersaulted at thrice mid-air. Preparing for the land, she bent her knees and her feet touched the ground, the impact making her knees protest.
She looked up grinning like a maniac. Normal people wouldn't be able to do that sure (without intense training); but she was a demigod. And as the offspring of gods and humans the word 'impossible' is no longer valid.
And then like a normal person, she freaked out.
Jumping around happily, she let her hyperactive side take over and dropped her sword successfully without cutting herself open.
"Did you see that?!" she asked Archimedes, throwing her arms about.
He laughed and nodded.
"That was awesome! I actually just did that!" then her tone soured and she glared at him, "Why didn't you record that! That was probably one of the best things that I've ever done!"
"Are you sure it's one of the best things?" he chuckled, probably thinking of all of her triumphs.
Nodding hyperactively, she spun around and jumped around wildly, trying to rid herself of the excitement.
When Percie turned back to say something else stupidly excitable, she froze at the smile on his face. It was soft and kind and almost un-Archimedes-like if it hadn't been for the fact that she'd seen his soft side before. She liked him best when he was soft and goofy.
So like any normal person; she tackled him into a hug.
He almost toppled over, but managed to regain his balance and hug her back with another little laugh, his armour making it a bit awkward. Looking up at him, she kept her dopey grin plastered on her face and he returned it. Gods, his smile was cute. Suddenly realising their proximity, Percie jumped out of his arms, cheeks warm and tucked some hair behind her ear out of habit.
Glancing over at the others, a few looked over to the briefly, most of them with tiny smirks on their faces before they struck at their opponent again. She frowned and when Percie met eyes with Malcom, he just gave her this look that told her that he knew everything. Cheeks reddening, she turned away so he couldn't see the embarrassing colour on her face.
"I have to go."
Percie heard the frown in his voice. "There's still another few minutes of sword-training left."
"I have to meet up with someone."
"Who?" there was something sharp in his voice that almost made it sound more like a demand than a question.
"Grover; I have to talk to him about something."
Archimedes looked almost hurt and she winced. "It's just something that I can only talk to Grover about."
"And that is?"
She needed to think quickly so she blurted out the first thing that came to her head.
Percie felt the need to crawl in a hole and die.
He spluttered. "What?"
"He knows tons about it for some weird reason," gods, where was that hole when she needed it? "Maybe nymphs and other godly creatures have them –I don't know-, but he's really nice to talk to about it. Gotta go, bye!"
And she grabbed her sword and sprinted out of the arena.
Using her Empathy link, she attempted to send Grover a wave of distress as she ran into the forest and sat by Juniper's tree. Apparently it worked when he came rushing into the clearing looking extremely worried. When he saw her sitting quietly with Juniper rubbing her back, he sighed in relief and sat next to her.
"What did you do?"
"I'm an idiot!" Juniper pulled her into a hug as she freaked out, trying to calm her.
Grover started patting her back too. "From the beginning."
And she told him, his girlfriend hitting him when he burst into hysterics.
Percie glared at him as he kept guffawing. "You're the worst best friend ever."
"At least you're not in love with me too."
To say the least, she spent a good fifteen minutes chasing him around the clearing, Juniper trying to get him to shut up as sweetly as possible, but when he started singing 'Percie loves Archimedes' she joined Percie quite happily, yelling out curses in Ancient Greek that 1) didn't make sense and 2) should never be repeated ever again.
The worst part was that she knew that he was speaking the truth.
Gods, he speaking the truth.
A/N Apologies for any people who were hoping that my next update would be a HTTYD fic, but I've loved this franchise since I was 10. I suffered through waiting an entire year for House of Hades and Blood of Olympus to come out, so I can somewhat sympathizefor the people who read the first Percy Jackson book in 2005 and bought the new book every year. But I've always loved Percabeth and genderbend is sort of my thing so I hope you enjoyed this and will read the next chapter!