A/N: This is the last part! I hope you guys have enjoyed it. Don't expect a lot from me in the next few weeks bc finals are coming quickly, but I'm hoping to get some new stuff up on Christmas break. If you need me, I'll be on tumblr somethingmorecreative1
Percy doesn't get any sleep that night. Between the stress and the dreams, it's not even worth laying in his bed.
The dreams are worse. It hasn't even been one full day, and they have tripled in vividness. Now, instead of featuring only the gray wolf, it's all Annabeth. It's Annabeth in human form. It's her body, her face, her voice. She's everywhere. Percy can't stop seeing her.
By the time he wakes up from the third dream of the night, he gives up on sleep and heads downstairs to his office. He has paperwork to do anyway.
It's been hours by the time someone knocks on his door. Percy's eyes are already tired from reading, and it's barely eight in the morning.
"Yeah?" he calls.
Piper opens the door and leans inside. She's still dressed in her pajamas, hair messy and eyes sleepy. She frowns when she sees him. "You know it's too early for you to look this stressed, right?"
He groans, "Tell me about it. I couldn't sleep."
Piper's face softens, and she steps inside his office, closing the door behind her. She takes a seat in one of the chairs across from his desk and leans forward. She says, "Jason told me about Annabeth."
Percy feels himself blush. "Which part?"
"All of it."
He sighs, "The dreams are getting worse. Last night, it was so bad I just got up and came down here instead of even trying."
"But aren't you excited about finding her?"
"Yeah," he says immediately. "Definitely. And I couldn't be happier that she's here now and that she's safe, but it's hard. I haven't even seen her again, and I feel like my heart is about to stop just thinking about it."
Piper smiles a little.
Percy groans again. "I know that you enjoy my pain, but if you could hide it a little better that'd be great."
She laughs, "I'm just really happy for you. I'm glad that you found your mate. Ever since I found Jason I feel like you've been a little off."
He rolls his eyes automatically. Piper has been saying that since the very first day she met Jason, that something with Percy seemed off. And sure, it had been tough to see his best friend become closer with Jason that him, but it had been worth all of that to see her and Jason be so happy together.
Percy and Piper have been best friends since they were little, basically ever since Paul brought him to this pack after his parents were killed. Piper had been his age, and she had welcomed him into her pack. They've been best friends ever since then. So close that when Percy was appointed to Alpha, he picked Piper as his Beta.
"Don't roll your eyes at me, Jackson," Piper interrupts his thoughts.
"Whatever, McLean," he grins. "Or should I say Grace?"
The smile slips off of her face. "Jason told me that Annabeth's old Alpha abused her. Is that true?"
Percy nods. "Yeah."
Piper nods too. "I'm sure everything will work out, Percy. I know that it has to be hard for you."
He shrugs, "I'm trying not to think about it. However hard it is for me, it must be ten times that for Annabeth, you know?"
"Yeah, but I think she'll be okay."
"Yeah, dumbass, she's got you," Piper gets up from her chair and heads back toward the door. "It might take a while, but it will work out. I know it."
Percy sighs, running a hand through his hair. "Can you try to be friends with her? I just want her to feel like this is her home."
"Of course, Percy. Now come eat breakfast and stop worrying so damn much."
Percy is sitting at the table, eating a stack of pancakes that Piper has cooked when Annabeth tiptoes into the room.
His senses immediately narrow to her. She wears a pair of jeans and a plain long sleeve t-shirt. Her blonde hair is ruffled, laying past her shoulders in waves. Her scent is stronger, and it appeals to Percy even more today because she smells like home now.
"Good morning, Annabeth," Piper says softly from where she stands at the oven. After years of burning food, she's finally gotten the hang of cooking pancakes at least. "Do you want some pancakes?"
Percy watches Annabeth nod. She steps lightly into the room, eyes darting from Piper, to Percy, then to the floor.
Piper hands Annabeth a plate stacked high with pancakes. Then, Annabeth carefully sits down into the chair across from Percy.
"Annabeth," Percy says gently, offering her a small nod. "Did you sleep okay?"
She blinks up at him, and her voice is low when she says, "Yes. Thank you."
Percy nods again, trying to think of something that he can say to her. He hesitates over everything that he thinks of, and by the time he thinks that he's ready to ask her what she wants to do today, Jason walks into the kitchen.
He greets Piper first, pressing a kiss to her cheek, and then, when he turns to Percy, he frowns and says, "You look like shit."
Percy growls in frustration, grip tightening on the fork in his hand. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Annabeth freeze.
He forces himself to relax. His voice is wary when he says, "Couldn't sleep. I've been working all morning."
"Oh," Jason says. His tone lets Percy know that he understands exactly why he couldn't sleep. "Maybe you should go see Will."
Percy pours more syrup onto his pancakes and stares at Jason instead of answering him.
"Okay," Jason relents, grabbing a plate from Piper and sitting down next to Percy. "I got an email from the High Council this morning."
"Good," he says. "We need to discuss that anyway. I also have to finish up Annabeth's transfer paperwork and get it in the mail. Then, we should probably call a pack meeting tonight."
Jason is in the middle of nodding when Piper says, "Do you think it might be too early for that, Percy?"
"Why would it be too early?"
"Annabeth just got here yesterday," Piper rolls her eyes at him, like he should have known that. "I doubt she wants to meet everybody tonight."
Percy shifts his gaze to Annabeth. She's already looking at him, gray eyes wide, but he can't tell what she is thinking. After a second, she looks back down to her food.
"Okay," he says slowly. "We can wait a few days for the pack meeting."
Annabeth seems to relax at that, and even though it's barely noticeable, Percy counts it as a win. He can make her feel better. He can figure this out.
"What are you doing today, Piper?" Jason asks to break the silence.
Piper hums and finishes scooping her own pancakes onto her plate before sitting down next to Annabeth. She says, "I thought I would just hang out with Annabeth and show her around. I might go find Hazel and ask if she wants to go grocery shopping with me tomorrow."
Jason nods, "Are you going out to town? If you do, drop my books back off at the library."
Percy shifts his gaze to Annabeth when she glances at Jason. It takes him a second to remember that she reads. He also realizes that it's the only real thing that he knows about her. He needs to tell Piper about that so they can go to the library soon. Annabeth already doesn't trust him, so there's no sense in her thinking that he's just pretending to be nice to her. No, he'll tell Piper, and she can handle it from there.
In fact, Percy does need to learn more about her. What does she like to do other than read? Does she like to run? Is she allergic to anything? What about her past? Were things different for her before Dare became the Alpha? And what about—
He jerks his gaze back to Jason. He hadn't realized that he had been staring at Annabeth. Thankfully, she has her head down, eyes on her food. He wonders how long Jason has been trying to get his attention. Hopefully not for long.
"What?" he tries to keep his voice light, but he's tired and frustrated. They may have to deal with the fallout of his terrible mood today.
Jason frowns, blue eyes wide and brows furrowed. "Maybe you should try to get some sleep for a few hours."
Percy shakes his head. While that sounds like a good idea, he knows that as soon as he tries to sleep again the dreams will prevent him from resting. Why should he even waste time when there's work to be done?
He gets up from the table. "I'll be fine."
"You're going to run yourself into the ground," Piper argues. Her fork scrapes across her plate. The sound irritates Percy's ears.
Instead of arguing, he growls at her before rising to rinse his plate off in the sink. Then, he turns back to Jason and says, "Meet me in my office when you're done."
Jason nods, and Percy walks out of the kitchen without glancing at Annabeth.
Once he's back in his office alone, he closes the door and leans back against it.
What is happening to him? Why is he so frustrated all of a sudden? Why does he feel like he needs to know everything about Annabeth that there is to know, especially when she won't even talk to him? And why does that feel like such a terrible thing? He knows that Annabeth needs time to adjust to the pack. He understands that she can't just be one of them without some time to heal.
But why is his wolf so adamant about thinking otherwise? Why does he feel like he needs to be with her? Is this what people with mates feel like? If so, Percy's not sure that he wants it.
He pauses at that thought. No, he definitely wants it.
Annabeth... She won't even hardly look at him right now. Maybe after a while she would get used to it here, sure, but how long will that take? Percy doesn't know if he can keep going on like this.
And hell, it's barely been one day since he's met her. It's barely been one full day, and Percy can't get himself to think straight. What was it going to be like tomorrow? Or next week? What about next year?
He growls to himself and pushes off the door before he makes his way to his desk. There are stacks of paperwork piled high on his desk, everything from Annabeth's transfer paperwork to the property values for the acres surrounding them.
Percy has a lot going on right now, and it doesn't help that he's not getting any sleep.
Just as he slumps down into his office chair, his desk phone rings.
With a sigh, he grabs it from the stand. His voice is gruff when he says, "Percy Jackson."
"Percy," Frederick Chase says on the other side of the line.
He scowls. Why would Frederick Chase be calling him? If he is planning on asking for Annabeth to come back, then he could—
"Frederick," he says, voice cold. "Why are you calling?"
"I got an email from the High Court this morning, and I wanted to thank you for supporting my takeover. They would not have granted me the position without your recommendation," Frederick says.
Percy hums into the phone dangerously. He doesn't know where this conversation is going, but he knows that he doesn't like it.
"And, I wanted to update you about Dare."
Percy tenses. He grits out, "What?"
"There were several thousand dollars taken out of our funds late last night before I could get the account changed and secured. I'm not sure where Dare has gone, but I think you were right. He will probably return," he says, voice defeated and low.
Percy scowls. "We'll be ready for him when he does."
There's silence on the other side of the line until Frederick says, "How is Annabeth?"
Before he can answer, there's a light knock on his door, then, Jason slips inside. He frowns when he sees Percy on the phone.
Percy says, "She's fine. She's getting used to it."
"Does she—is she happy?"
"She will be," he says, clenching his teeth. His grip is too tight on the phone. He forces himself to loosen his fingers a bit.
Frederick doesn't say anything for a few seconds, until, "Okay. Please call if you need anything. I hope there can be an alliance between us now. You're a strong Alpha, Percy."
"Thank you, Frederick," he says, a little pleased with his comments. "Please let me know when you find out more information about Dare, if you ever do."
"I will, and—" Frederick's voice breaks. "Take care of Annabeth."
"I will," Percy says. Then, he hangs up the phone.
Percy can feel Jason's eyes on him, but he waits a few seconds before he looks up and catches his gaze. He says, "That was Frederick Chase. Apparently, Dare stole money from the pack before Frederick could secure the accounts. They don't know where he went, but Frederick promised to let me know if he heard anything else."
"And Annabeth?" Jason asks.
Percy sighs, "I told him that she would be happy here."
"She will be, Percy."
He is glad that someone else believes it because right now, he's not sure.
Annabeth smiles at him over her mug. She's still in her pajamas, and her hair is messy, but she looks like a goddess where she is perched on the counter, sipping coffee. She sets her mug down and holds her arms out, beckoning him forward.
He walks closer to her, slipping his arms around her body and groaning when her legs slip around his waist to pull him even closer. She ducks her face into his neck, murmuring something that he can't hear, and then, she's tipping her head up, eyes flittering closed, and just as Percy leans down to kiss her-
He wakes up.
Percy jerks, but there's nothing that he can physically get away from. He is in his bedroom, dark and alone, with no trace of Annabeth anywhere. She's not here, just like always, just like every night that he has woken up from a dream like this over the past two weeks. Just like how he woke up from the first two earlier that night, expecting her to be in his arms.
He groans and rolls over to look at the clock, and even his wolf moans at the time. It's nearly five, so he could just get up and go for a run or go down to the office and work for a few hours before breakfast. That would give him some time try and forget his dreams before he has to see Annabeth anyway.
Or, his wolf rumbles, we could go back to sleep.
Percy growls and rips the sheets off of himself, rolling to the ground and grabbing for a pair of sweats. He pulls them up over his hips and heads downstairs to get some water before his run. Anything to get away from the dreams.
He stays out longer than he planned, so when he comes back, most of the house is already awake. As he walks out of the woods, he can see Will heading over to the infirmary already, dressed for the day and sipping on a glass of orange juice. Some of the other pack members are leaving in their cars, off to work in town. A surprising number of his wolves like to work, which is good because it makes their life seem like it's more normal.
Percy heads back to the Alpha house, running a hand through his hair. He's sweaty, gross, and covered in leaves and mud. The television in the living room is on, which is how Percy knows that Piper is awake. She likes to listen to the Today Show in the mornings while she cooks.
He wanders into the kitchen, tugging his sweatpants up as he goes.
Sure enough, Piper is standing at the oven, pulling bacon from a frying pan. She's dressed too, and when Percy glances at the clock, it's already close to eight. He stayed out way longer than he meant to.
And he can feel it in his bones. His muscles are sore, his head is hurting, and even his eyes are burning. He wonders if it has something to do with the run he went on, or if it is because he hasn't been sleeping enough. He guesses it could be both. But, even though he feels like hell, something inside him feels... better too. Like, maybe if he wanted to sleep, he could for a few hours.
He doesn't want to try it anyway.
Percy shakes his head and walks to the refrigerator. It's only then when he notices Annabeth sitting at the table, reading a book while eating a plate of bacon and eggs. He freezes at the sight of her sitting there because all of a sudden, all he can see is her smiling at him and leaning over to grab his hand.
He blinks hard. It's not real. The dreams aren't real.
Piper sniffs and turns to look at him. She turns her nose up and says, "You stink."
Percy rolls his eyes and grabs a bottle of water from the refrigerator. He downs half of it then, hoping to chase away his headache, then turns to her and forces a grin, "You do too."
She frowns. "You're covered in mud. Where have you been? And you look like hell."
"Couldn't sleep," he says, glancing down at his chest. She's right. There's a streak of mud right across his collarbone.
She hands him a plate. "I'm serious, Percy. You don't look good. Annabeth, tell him he doesn't look good."
Percy feels it more than he sees it when she looks up at him. Her gray eyes widen, and she looks him up and down before frowning. Her voice is louder than normal when she says, "You don't look good."
He frowns too and sits down across from her. "I'm fine."
Despite himself, Annabeth looks really good this morning. She's wearing a blue sweater, and her curly hair falls perfectly down past her shoulders. Her eyes are wide and alert, and it even looks like she's gaining some weight. That thought, that Annabeth is getting better, could heal him of a million sleepless nights.
"What are you guys doing today?" he asks, forcing himself to drink more water before he starts eating.
"Annabeth is almost done with that book so after we go grocery shopping, we're going to stop by the bookstore in town," Piper explains, turning back to the stove.
Annabeth frowns at Piper's back. "Library. We're going to the library."
Before Percy can ask, Piper jumps back, "The library doesn't have the next book in that series, remember?"
Annabeth's frown deepens, especially when she glances at Percy. "There are plenty of other books at the library."
"We're not going to go broke from a few books, Annabeth," Piper argues. "You want them, so we're getting them."
"If you want them, get them," Percy says, getting up to grab another water. "It's no big deal."
Annabeth turns her frown to him, which is one of the first times that she's looked at him like that—not shy, but open and even angry. Percy tries to hide his grin.
Her voice is even and measured when she says, "No. I like going to the library."
Percy shrugs, "Alright."
Annabeth reads at the table while Percy finishes his breakfast. He tries not to stare at her, but he's not sure how well he manages. By the way Piper is humming to herself, he guesses he's not being very subtle.
After he finishes eating, he walks to his office and checks his messages. There are a few from his pack members, one from the High Council notifying him that Annabeth's papers have been fully processed, and another one from Frederick Chase. When Percy hears his name the first time, it scares him that something else with Dare has happened, but as Frederick speaks, it seems as though it's just an update from his pack.
He's bent over his desk listening to it when there's a knock at the door. He stops the message.
The door opens, and Annabeth peeks her head into the office.
Her voice is soft, and it makes his mouth go dry. This is not a dream. This is not a dream.
"Piper and I are leaving," she says. "She asked me to tell you."
Percy curses Piper for doing this to him.
"When are you coming back?" he asks, voice a little choked.
Annabeth shrugs and steps further into his office. The door inches closed behind her. She says, "We're not sure. Piper said that we might be gone all day."
He nods and watches her. She's watching him too, gray eyes wide. He says, "Okay. Be careful."
She nods too and turns to go. When she gets halfway out the door, she looks back and says, "Percy, you really don't look good. Maybe you should try to rest."
He nods and says, "Okay, Annabeth."
It's small, but she smiles at him before she closes the door.
Percy groans and shoves a hand through his hair. He can't take much more of this.
It's been two weeks since Annabeth got here, and she seems to be doing better. She fits in with Piper and Jason, and from what Percy learns from Piper, she likes it here. She hasn't met the rest of the pack, and she hasn't seen the rest of the territory but… she can look around now without wincing. She can look at him without glancing away immediately. She can talk to him now too.
Percy just wonders if by the time she's ready, he'll have gone insane from not being able to be with her.
Hours later, Percy is sitting at his desk in his office, and he can't see straight anymore. His eyes are burning, and his whole body is aching. It's been too long since he's gotten a full night's sleep, and just getting very few hours in a night for the past two weeks isn't combating the amount of work that he does in a day.
He's exhausted. He needs to do something about this.
Piper and Annabeth are still gone to town, shopping or looking around at the library. Jason has been gone all day, dealing with pack business and hopefully the rest of the High Court's emails.
The house is quiet. Honestly, Percy could lean his head down and fall asleep here. If it wasn't for the dreams.
He doesn't know how much longer he can keep this up.
After another hour of staring at the same line in the same report he's been trying to read for ages, he pushes back from his desk and walks out of his office.
Percy walks out of the house and across the yard. He keeps his clenched hands inside his pockets and his eyes on the ground as he walks. He climbs the stairs to the infirmary quickly and slips inside the cool room without anyone from the pack seeing him. He stumbles over his own feet inside the door, and Will looks up at him from his desk in the corner.
Will seems to know exactly what Percy is thinking just by looking at him because he stands and says, "The last bed down there will be the quietest. Did you eat lunch?"
Percy nods as he stumbles toward the bed that Will had pointed to. Now, his head is pounding, and his eyes are watering. He just needs some sleep.
When he sits down on the small cot, Will comes over with a blood pressure cuff and a glass of water. Percy takes the glass from him and takes a sip of water while Will deals with his blood pressure.
After finishing, Will folds the blood pressure cuff and comments, "You're too stressed. It's catching up with you. You need to rest."
"The dreams keep me awake," Percy mumbles.
"I know they do. They've gotten worse since Annabeth got here," he says.
Percy blinks over at him. His eyes are still watering.
Will pulls out his stethoscope and presses it to his chest. He says, "It's her, right? She's your mate."
Percy nods numbly, "Yeah. It's her."
"Okay," he says. "I'm happy for you, but this situation is staring to affect your health. We have to control it, okay? You need to rest. You do have to work, but you're no good to us if you're unhealthy."
He feels tears start to prick at his eyes, "Yeah."
"So we're going to let you get some rest—without the dreams."
Percy nods again, relief coursing through him so strongly that he feels like he could fall over. A break from the dreams sounds better than anything.
Will steps away and come back a few seconds later with two pulls in his hand. He offers them to Percy, and he swallows them without complaint, hanging back the glass of water too. Will helps him lay back against the pillows, and his eyes flutter close. He listens as Will shuffles back across the room to his desk, but then, there's quiet.
Percy falls asleep that way, and for once, he dreams of nothing and no one.
When he wakes up the next morning, everything makes a lot more sense.
His wolf is quiet this morning, which is strange because every other morning the beast has been raging to go find Annabeth. Thankfully, the both of them finally seem to be on the same page. Maybe Percy really did need to get some rest.
When he gets up to go to the bathroom and looks in the mirror at himself, the dark circles underneath his eyes are gone.
It's already close to nine by the time he makes it downstairs. He can hear the TV playing in the living room, and he walks to the kitchen to find Piper and Annabeth seated at the table, cutting up the newspaper and sorting through coupons.
He smiles at the two of them. Piper is grinning and laughing at something that Annabeth has said, who is also smiling down at the newspaper in her hand.
Piper looks up, and when she sees him, she smiles and waves her scissors at him. "Thank god, you finally look like you're alive, Percy."
He growls playfully as he sits down at the table with them. "Shut up, Piper."
She laughs, "But no seriously, you look a lot better."
"You really do," Annabeth says, and when Percy looks over at her, she's smiling at him over the top of her newspaper.
His heart thuds in his chest, and he grins at her.
"You want me to make you something to eat?" Piper offers.
He shakes his head, "I got it. What are you guys even doing?"
He listens to Piper explain their coupon cutting as he fixes himself a bowl of cereal and sits down with them to eat. Every few minutes, Annabeth looks up at him with a small smile, and something inside him settles.
Percy is sitting in his office, glaring at the stacks and stacks of paperwork that has to be completed. He loves being Alpha, loves taking care of his pack and his wolves, but the paperwork. He hates it.
There's a knock on the door, and Annabeth pokes her head inside the office.
"Percy?" she asks, voice light and careful. He wonders if everything is okay. Though Annabeth has been more interactive and talkative with him, she hasn't sought him out on her own yet. He wonders if she's doing it because something is wrong.
"Hey," he says, studying her as he leans back in his chair. "Everything okay?"
"Can I come in?"
Percy nods immediately.
She steps inside slowly, and Percy watches her. She walks on her tiptoes, which she's been doing since the very first time Percy saw her in Dare's pack. Her face is open, not nervous like so many of the other times that he has spoken with her. She's doing better now than ever, but Percy still doesn't want to push her too far.
"What's up?" he asks, motioning for her to sit down in the chair across from his desk.
She sits, and then she sighs. "I feel like I'm not doing anything."
He frowns, "What do you mean?"
"It seems like everyone else has jobs or works out in town or… just does something. All I do is read and hang out with Piper," she explains. "I don't want to take up space and not help."
Percy stares at her, and to his surprise, she doesn't fidget under his gaze. Her jaw is clenched, but other than that, she seems perfectly at ease in the room alone with him. Percy ignores how much that pleases him.
He leans forward. "Annabeth, you've barely been here for a month."
"So? I want to help."
He bites back a grin. "I'm trying to give you time to get used to the pack and our life. I know that it's been difficult for you."
She frowns, "I'm doing fine."
"You know that you still walk on your toes, don't you?" Percy asks, standing up and walking around to lean against the front of his desk so he can be closer to her. "And you still favor your right arm. You flinch when someone slams the door, and if I even walk in on you reading somewhere it looks like you're about to have a panic attack if I try and say hi to you."
Her face is red, and she looks down at the floor. Her voice is quiet when she says, "I'm trying."
"And you're doing a really good job, and I'm proud of you, but we're not taking it too fast, okay? There's plenty of time for you to help out, so for now, I want you to keep socializing with the pack and reading when you want. You're making friends, right?"
She nods. "Jason and I talk about books. Piper and I hang out every day."
Percy hums, nodding to himself. "Good."
"What did you expect from me? When you brought me back with you?" she asks suddenly, gray eyes wide when she looks up at him.
He wonders what he should say. The only real thing that he was thinking when he made the proposal to her father that day was that he had to protect her and that he had to get her away from that environment.
He settles for, "I didn't expect anything. I just wanted you to be happy and safe."
There's an awkward pause between them, and then Annabeth says, "I never thanked you."
"You don't have to. You're part of my pack; it's my job."
"Yeah, but I wasn't then."
Percy shrugs. "You were. We just didn't know it yet."
The thing is, Percy thought that Annabeth was getting better.
After she came to find him in his office a few nights ago, she's been being more open with him. There's been a few nights where he comes in and sits down beside her on the couch while she reads, or she even sits in his office and reads for a few hours while he works on paperwork. It's nice—being alone with her, but it makes Percy wonder if she feels the same way, if she realizes that there's more between them.
The bond is there, and it's as intense as ever. Thankfully, the dreams have been less vicious since he got caught up on his sleep. Some nights, when he has spent a lot of time with Annabeth in the day, they are worse than others, but they never seem to regress to what they were before. He doesn't know if he would be able to stand it if they had continued.
But Annabeth. She has been doing better over the past month. She has been talking and smiling more, eating more and gaining weight, and just looking happier. Percy thought that being here was helping her and that she was getting better.
At least, she had been up until a few days ago.
Annabeth hasn't been able to look at him. It's like she's reverted back to the very first time he met her because she can't even look up at him anymore. The first time he tried to speak with her, she flinched away from him and stared at the floor.
When Percy talked to Piper about it, she said that Annabeth wouldn't hardly talk to her anymore either. Neither of them were sure what was happening.
After two days of this incessant pattern, Percy figures out what's wrong. The precise moment that he does, he's standing at his window, staring at the almost full moon.
The next afternoon, when Percy finishes all of the paperwork he has, he walks down to Annabeth's room and gently knocks on the door before he opens it and steps inside.
She's curled up on her side in bed, with a book held close to her chest. She flinches when she sees him, which makes Percy's heart ache. Her eyes are wide, and her mouth is held in a stiff frown.
"Annabeth," he says softly. "I need you to come with me."
She just stares at him. Slowly, after a few seconds, she shakes her head.
He nods, and this time, his voice is harder and more stern when he says, "Yes. Come with me. I need to help you."
Percy steps forward and holds out his hand. He hates it, but he growls lightly when he says, "Annabeth, you need to take my hand and come with me."
She whimpers, but she does. When she places her hand in his, the first thing he notices is how hot her skin is.
Percy gently pulls her out of the bed and to her feet. She is stiff on her feet, rigid and strong in a tense way. He laces their fingers together and pulls her through the house to the front door. Thankfully, there is no one else in the house so they are alone as he guides her outside.
The sun is bright, but the wind is chilly. The leaves are starting to change colors, and it's going to be a beautiful fall and winter.
Annabeth's fingers are tight in his own. Her hand is hot in his, and her grip is strong, like she's clinging to him.
They pass the tree line and walk through the forest on a well-worn path. They get to a small clearing, and Percy comes to stop. He makes himself let go of Annabeth's hand, and then he steps away from her.
Annabeth clenches her fists at her sides and stares down at the ground. Her voice is low and shaky when she whispers, "What's going on, Percy?"
He crosses his arms over his chest, "You haven't shifted in more than three weeks that I know of."
"Some wolves only shift once a month," she says, glancing up at him.
"True, but not you. I can tell you're getting anxious. You need the exercise too."
Suddenly, Annabeth's eyes fill with tears, and she wipes them away as they fall. Her shoulders are hunched over and caved in as she bends her head forward. Her voice wobbles when she says, "I can't hear her anymore. I think she's afraid. I tried to shift yesterday and the day before that too but something's wrong with me and—"
Percy steps forward, carefully reaching out and setting his hand on her shoulder. Other than holding her hand earlier, this is one of the first times that he's touched her, even though his wolf is always pressuring him into getting close to her. Percy reminds himself to give her space. She's been through a lot. She deserves to be at ease around him.
"Hey," he starts softly. "It's okay. There's nothing wrong with you. It's just stress, okay? Your wolf is fine. She's just scared and not used to it here yet."
Percy stiffens in surprise when Annabeth turns her head into him and rests her cheek against his shoulder. One of Percy's arms automatically wraps around her waist, and he rubs his open hand up and down her back.
"I know you were trying to protect me when you brought me here," Annabeth starts suddenly, voice muffled by Percy's shirt. "But I'm still not used to it here. I don't know if I ever will be able to be normal. I might be fucked up forever."
Percy growls, tightening his grip on her. "You are not fucked up. There's nothing wrong with you, understand? You're perfect, and it's totally normal to be nervous about this. It's barely been a month, Annabeth."
She shudders when he says her name, and something close to hope blossoms in Percy's chest. Maybe she does feel the same way about him as he does about her.
It's a thought for another day. Right now, he has to help her.
"Your wolf is fine, okay? She's probably just scared. Once you shift and let her run around and get used to it here, you'll both feel better," Percy explains, lifting his other hand and gently running his fingers through her hair.
She's relaxing against him now, the tension draining out of her body as he combs his hand over her back and through her hair. Her voice even sounds a little better when she says, "How will I shift if I can't even hear her?"
"I'll help you," Percy says.
He holds her close for a few minutes, waiting until she completely relaxes against him. He wonders if she knows that her arms are around him too, clutching his back and holding her body to his. He kind of bets that she doesn't.
After a short moment, Percy gently pushes her back from him, running his hands down her arms and putting them to her sides. Her eyes are held half open, like she was halfway to sleep, but when Percy takes a step back from her, she blinks and the alarm fills her gray eyes again.
"Hey," Percy says immediately, reaching out to cup her cheek for a second. "Relax. I've got you."
She nods carefully, but she doesn't relax again. Percy can hear his wolf huffing at him for not being closer to her. He resists the urge to roll his eyes.
Percy stares at her, catching her gaze and holding her eyes. She looks scared, and Percy can almost see her wolf in her eyes, cowering and shuffling nervously. He should have done something about this sooner—no wonder she hasn't been able to settle down. Her wolf is scared and confused. Annabeth probably can't even think straight right now.
He takes a step closer until his chest is almost brushing hers, and he stares down at her intently. She's almost quivering under his gaze, but she holds still, brave like always.
"Shift, Annabeth," he says, voice deep and commanding. He's never done this before, but he figures it's totally possible since he's her Alpha.
Her body shudders at her name, and she looks away. Percy tilts her chin back up to his so she has to look him in the eye, and he lets a bit of a growl slip into his voice when he says, "Shift."
The air starts to shimmer around her, and she lets out a sigh before she starts to shift. Percy grins smugly and steps back to give her plenty of room.
He's never seen her in her beta form before, and she's just as beautiful as she is when she's in human form. Her fur is light gray with a sandy tint to it, and she's lean and muscular. Percy crouches down in front of her, smiling. She pads over to him, getting close enough to press her nose into his chest and sniff him.
He laughs lightly, running his fingers through her fur on top of her head. He tilts her head up and grins when he says, "Hey. You're beautiful."
She huffs and butts her head against him.
"I'll take you on a run if you want to go. You haven't even seen any of the territory yet," Percy says, scratching behind her ear.
Annabeth whines, and Percy stands up and backs away from her, calling up his wolf and shifting easily.
He pads over to her when he's shifted, twisting around her body and sniffing her curiously. She smells insanely good, and Percy's doing all he can to hold his wolf back, to keep from marking her.
He takes off down the path, letting Annabeth catch up to him. After a while, she pulls rank and Percy lets her, watching her carefully and staying a few steps behind her.
They run for a long time, and Percy keeps up with her even though he's tired because she's excited and it's so great to finally see her happy about something. Thankfully, she starts to slow down and then stops completely in a meadow that Percy likes to visit when he's on his own.
Seeing Annabeth's wolf reminds him of his dreams. All of his thoughts are confirmed just by looking at her. She's it for him. She's his, and he's hers.
He tries to shake himself, tries to remember that she's still new and that she needs his help to get used to it here.
Percy's wolf hesitates at that, and he thinks that he's won this battle, but when Annabeth turns toward him with heavy eyes and a bowed head, all of his logic goes out of the window.
He stalks toward her, winding around her as she holds perfectly still. When he gets back in front of her, she holds her head up and licks his muzzle.
Percy crowds her, pushing her down to the ground. She keeps licking him, and Percy cannot see straight anymore.
Suddenly, he feels her lips on his, and he realizes that they've shifted back to human form. He doesn't know how long it's been, but Annabeth is laying on her back in the grass. Percy is hovering over her, barely keeping his weight off of her with his arms on either side of her head. He's kissing her, and she's kissing him back and every time that he tries to pull away for air, she makes this little whining noise that sends a shock through Percy and pulls him right back.
He doesn't know how long it takes him to get his head back and to realize that they're actually kissing. But when he does, he wonders what the hell is going on and how he could have been so fucking stupid.
He finally pulls back, listening to her sigh. Her eyes flutter open, and she looks completely blissed out right now and Percy's wolf is going so fucking crazy at the sight of her like this he can already feel his canines slipping down so he can mark her.
Instead, he blinks hard, and that's enough to make the thoughts go away. Annabeth still has her hands on him, one resting over his heart and the other sliding up his neck and into his hair.
"Hey," he says. "Annabeth. Snap out of it."
It takes her another few seconds, but when she realizes what's going on and where she is, she seems more confused than panicked. Percy thinks that it's a good sign at least.
"What—" she starts, looking up at him in concern. She must still be in a fog because she lifts one of her hands and traces his lips with her fingers.
He grins and brushes a strand of her hair out of her eyes, "I think our wolves like each other."
Annabeth eyes widen, and she blushes as she realizes what must have happened. Her lips are swollen, and her cheeks are red, and Percy wants to see her like this every fucking day. He wants her so bad that he can't stand it.
She blinks suddenly, and a smile graces her face. "I can hear her again!"
Percy breathes out a laugh. "Good, I'm glad."
He realizes that they're still laying in the grass, so Percy carefully gets to his feet. He holds a hand out to Annabeth, and she distractedly lets him help her up. Her eyebrows are furrowed, and she's staring off across the field.
"Hey," Percy says, tapping his fingers against her hand. "She talking your ear off now?"
She nods, blinking a few times before she gives him a small smile, "Yeah. She's—she's really happy. I've never heard her like this before."
And really, that fucking breaks Percy's heart. He grips her hand harder and pulls her a bit closer to him.
It's a few more seconds until Annabeth blushes again, and Percy thinks that she's finally grasping that they were actually kissing a few minutes ago.
She gasps a little, "Percy, I'm so. I didn't realize—"
He laughs softly, and just because she's so fucking cute, he pulls her into a hug. She freezes, but after a few seconds, she relaxes into him.
"Don't worry about it. Like I said, our wolves must like each other. Sorry I couldn't control mine better," he says gently, worried that he might mess this up. He doesn't know what he would do if he couldn't have this someday.
"Yeah, but if I'm remembering right, I'm pretty sure I'm the one who started it—"
He laughs a bit louder this time, holding her closer until he lets go of her and forces himself to take a step back. "Maybe so, but still. I should have had better control. Can't say I regret it though. You're a great kisser."
"Of course you are, Annabeth," Percy says, confused. "Hasn't anyone ever told you that?"
"Well," she hesitates and glances down at the ground. "No one's ever—I've never kissed anybody before."
And god, that fucking ruins him.
"Oh," he says quietly. "I'm sorry I messed up your first kiss."
She rolls her eyes, and her face is still red. She looks more like herself now than Percy has ever seen her. She says, "No. It was a good first kiss, but you don't have to just say that because there's probably someone else you can—"
Percy growls all of a sudden, and his ferocity scares both of them. He says, "There's no one else, Annabeth. I knew it the first time I saw you."
There's a heavy pause between them, and then, she asks, "Knew what?"
He curses to himself. He has been trying to keep this to himself for as long as possible. He wants to make sure that she got integrated into the pack before he throws this at her too.
"I have dreams," he admits quietly. "About a gray wolf. When I first met you that day back at your old pack, that's why your scent was familiar to me. I've known since then."
She's staring at him, jaw open and eyes wide. Percy's not sure what she's going to say, but then she's reaching out towards him and reaching up to touch his face.
"I have the same ones," she whispers, surprising Percy. "Black wolf. You."
He nods, "Me."
"So what does this mean?"
Percy sighs, pulling her closer. "Nothing."
She squeaks against him. "Nothing?"
He can't help but laugh at how indignant she sounds, like he's being an idiot. He says, "Not right now it doesn't. You need to get used to it here. I need to help you. We'll figure this out as we go along, but we're not rushing. We're going to do it right."
"Percy," she whines, dropping her head to his shoulder. He wonders if it's her or her wolf arguing with him right now. It's a bit hard for him to care either way.
"I'm right here," he says.
She wiggles closer to him, but Percy laughs again and holds her back. She's frowning up at him.
"Hey, we've got all the time in the world," he says. "What's the rush?"
"You're a little infuriating."
"And you're fun when you're not nervous."
She gets quiet. "No one has ever told me that before."
Damn. She's going to break his whole heart in one fucking day. His leans closer to her and whispers, "You're beautiful too and so, so brave."
She blinks up at him, but she doesn't say anything.
"Want to go back to the house? I bet it's almost time for dinner," he says, offering her his hand. He knows that she wants more, but he doesn't know if it's her wolf telling her that or if it's really her. Until then, he's holding back. Or at least, he's going to try to.
Annabeth nods and slips her hand into his.
The walk back is quiet. Annabeth keeps a tight hold on his hand, staying close enough to his side that he can actually feel the heat radiating from her body. Every few seconds, Percy catches himself glancing over at her, and he really can't believe that he's found her, that she's here with him, and that she knows and wants this.
When they get back in sight of the house, Percy pulls her to a stop.
She looks confused, but there's a small smile on her face. She raises an eyebrow at him.
"That was your first kiss?" he asks again, letting his other hand slide around to her back.
She nods, gray eyes narrowed in suspicion when she looks up at him. "Yeah."
He bites back a grin, "Can we redo it? I don't think a surprise kiss initiated by our wolves counts."
Annabeth blushes lightly, but she rolls her eyes at him before she says, "I guess so."
Percy laughs lightly and uses his hand on her back to pull her closer until she's pressed up against his chest. His other hand is still tangled with hers, and he keeps their hands at their sides.
He slowly leans down and slots his lips to hers.
She responds against him immediately. It's sweet and chaste and everything he's ever imagined while thinking about her.
When he pulls back, Annabeth's eyes are shining with tears.
He leans his forehead against hers and whispers, "I've dreamed about you for as long as I can remember."
She swallows, and one of her hands fists in his shirt to keep him close. She says, "I'm glad I found you."
Percy smiles and presses his lips to her forehead. "Me too, Annabeth."
The sun is sinking low over the horizon, bleeding red and orange onto the darkening sky. Percy turns back to look toward the house. He tightens his grip on Annabeth's hand, and together, they walk back to eat dinner.
A/N: Thanks for reading! Leave a review!