HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA BIRD! This year, ya'all have got to admire this girl not just for her extraordinary self, but also because she's had her birthday story in her possession since Christmas (when I gave her a two-in-one present since we live far away), and she had the self-control to hold on until today to read it. She enjoyed the story, so I hope you enjoy it too!

Dedication: MAMA BIRD!

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

A Third of Life

Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep, And yet a third of life is passed in sleep.

-George Bernard Shaw

For the first time in its entire term serving as Percy's bed, it was made. The poster of whales they'd had framed hung over his bed. He had five books on his desk- class books for next semester, which Paul had gotten from the school so Percy wouldn't have to, and a book on Greek mythology that he used as a reference- filled with Post-Its and passages that Annabeth had highlighted as a hey, we haven't met this monster yet- read about it before we do. There were pictures from camp on the drawers of his dresser (and one of she and Paul's wedding, which Sally was proud had made the cut). Jars filled with sand from beaches across the world, sat on the windowsill one next to the other. Hoodies hung behind his door. She'd drawn the curtains, opened the window, and dusted the room to let some fresh air in.

Sally ran her hand through Percy's hair. "We tried not to move anything. There might be some candy stashed in your desk, though."

Percy smiled for a second and dropped his duffel bag from camp next to the door.

"Does anything in there need to go through the wash?"

"Not really," Percy said.

Sally pulled her hand down from his hair.

"Paul thought we should have pizza tonight, to celebrate your coming home."

"That'd be good," Percy said. "The harpies really don't know how to make it."

"Well, we know how to order it," Sally said. Percy didn't reply. "Do you need some time to unpack?"

"Yeah," Percy said. "That'd be good."

Sally walked out. She had just picked out the pizza menu from their stash when she heard Percy's door closing behind him.

Sally had stayed up late to finish her second draft, but she was happy with what the editor was getting. She shut her laptop. Across the table, Percy was still working through some questions in his history textbook.

"Sweetheart, it's late," she said. "You'll be more productive in the morning."

"Yeah," Percy said. "Yeah."

He shut his textbook and Sally kissed his hair.

"I love you."

"I love you too," he said. "Goodnight."

"Sweet dreams, baby," Sally said. She didn't notice him flinch.

A few hours later when she got up to use the bathroom, she saw a sliver of light shining from underneath his door. She sighed, and knocked on his door once before going in. He was laying in bed wearing sweatpants, playing with the beads around his neck.

"Perseus," she said. "Go to sleep. We can't have this discussion every night."

"I know," he said.

"Okay," Sally said. "Then at least turn off your light to try sleeping."

"No," Percy said bolting upright. Sally only let herself frown for a second.

"No what, sweetheart?"

"No, don't turn off the light," Percy said. He swallowed hard.

"Sweetheart, have you been having nightmares again?" Sally asked.

Percy shook his head. Then he met her eyes, looked down, and nodded. He rubbed his face.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Sally asked.

"No," he said. "No I'm okay Mom, you should sleep. I'll…"

"I'll leave the light in the hall on," Sally said. "That way there's light. But we can turn off the light in your room to see if that helps you sleep."

Percy nodded.

When Sally woke up the next morning, he was already in the kitchen making coffee and plopping spoonfuls of jam on toast.

"Good morning," she said. She wrapped her arms around him and had to step onto her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. Then she noticed the history homework sprawled on the kitchen table and the dirt under the running shoes by the door and she knew he'd been awake for a while already.

"Did you get any sleep, sweetheart?" she asked, touching his face as if she were checking for a fever.

"Enough," Percy said.

"You don't look so good, baby," Sally said. "Do you want to stay home from school to try and get some rest?"

"No," Percy said. "No- I- I'm fine, Mom."

"Okay," Sally said. "Thank you for getting the coffee started. That'll make Paul happy."

"Aren't you going to have some?" Percy asked.

Sally chewed her lip. "I'm trying to ween off the caffeine."

"I can boil water for tea," Percy said.

"You're so sweet," Sally said, running her hand through his hair. "That would be lovely."

Paul turned off the lamp on his side table and rolled to his side. His arm stretched out to gather Sally against his chest, and she let him drag her close.

"Is Percy still up?" Sally asked.

"Yes. He said he needed five minutes to finish his game."

Sally sighed.

"Should I go tell him to..?"

"No," Sally said. "No, let him. He may as well be doing something if he won't sleep."

They came home with armfuls of groceries to try and make bibimbap. They weren't sure how successful they were going to be, but they were pretty excited.

"Anybody home?" Paul called, dropping his keys in the bowl by the door.

"Yeah," Percy called out. "But be quiet, Annabeth's sleeping."

After depositing her groceries in the kitchen, Sally peeked into the living room. Percy was sitting on the couch, watching some of the Shark Week programs that Paul had taped for him while he was gone. Annabeth was sitting on his lap, curled up against him, her hand grabbing a fistful of his sweater. Her curls were fanned out like tangled wire, and Sally was stunned by how much softer her features looked when her eyes were closed.

"Is she okay?" Sally asked quietly.

"Yeah," Percy said. "She just isn't sleeping either."

And that word really caught Sally's attention. Either.

Sally drew her cardigan around herself and knocked on the door

"Yeah?" Percy asked.

He was sitting on his bed, reading a postcard that his cousin, Jason, had just sent from California.

"Hey," Sally said. "Do you mind if I shut the door?"

Percy's head tilted to the side, like a puppy who was hearing a new sound for the first time. Sally had always found that so endearing.

She approached and sat down next to him in bed.

"I talked to your father," she said.

"What?" Percy asked.

"We went out for coffee," Sally said.


"Just today," Sally said. "I took the afternoon off of work."

"How?" Percy asked looking completely bewildered.

"You don't need to know the specifics," Sally said. She pushed a piece of hair out of Percy's face. "But he's your father, and now that you're claimed and settled, we keep in touch. He told me about Tartarus."

"He did what?" Percy said. He looked angry.

"He didn't have a lot to say," Sally said. "I suspect even the gods can't see that far outside of their realm, not that they would ever confirm that, and that Hades hasn't been too keen on sharing."

"He didn't have the right to tell you," Percy said.

"I'm sorry sweetheart, but I had to know," Sally said. "I had to pry it out of him, for what it's worth."

Percy muttered something that was probably unkind in Ancient Greek.

"He told me only a little," Sally said. "He told me you went in on purpose."

"No I didn't," Percy said.

"He said that you followed a daughter of Athena in," Sally said. She had known how important this was because Poseidon had even been able to name the one.

"I did," Percy said. "But that's not a choice. I couldn't let Annabeth go in there all by herself."

"Oh, sweetheart," Sally said. "You… you could have told me."

"I didn't want to worry you," Percy said. His voice was shaking.

"I always worry about you," Sally said. "I worry about you when everything's okay. I worry about you especially hard when you're not sleeping and your eyes look bruised and you get confused and hazy when you're trying to make a sandwich."

"I napped in math class this afternoon," Percy said. "I mean, I know I shouldn't have, but that helps."

Sally put her arm around Percy and he rested his head on her shoulder. He always did that- when she was reading on the couch, he'd come and sit next to her and lean on her like a puppy. She had a full catalogue of mannerisms and habits and likes and dislikes, had been keeping one up-to-date ever since she discovered how much worst peaches made her morning sickness, out of all things. When he was running late in the morning, he'd run around getting ready for school with an apple in his mouth. When he was cooking, he always narrated what he was doing as if he were on television- usually to make her laugh. She knew her son, but there was a great big part of him that had been taken out and replaced by something darker and more fragile. Maybe this is what other mortals felt when the mist was falling on them- like the world was recognizable, but a little bit off.

"I love you," Sally said. "And I am proud of you- for all the little things and all the big things, and the things I know and the ones that I don't. I understand that there are some things I don't need to know, but there is nothing that you can't tell me if you need it."

"I thought I was going to die, Mom," Percy said. A sound got stuck in his throat on its way out. "I mean, I know that happens a lot, I have a near-death experience at least twice a week. But I really thought I was going to die and leave Annabeth in the middle of hell by herself and you'd never find out what happened and the world was going to be wrecked. And I thought that there was no way I could save the world twice, that that just couldn't happen. I don't know why I had to do it twice, but I thought this was it."

"Sweetheart," she said. She kissed his hair, but what could she say? That was the problem with demigods. Sally could only understand half of them. The other half she could love beyond love, but she wasn't really part of his world.

Then why does the other half get to hurt him so badly if I can't fix it? She thought angrily. She had fallen out of the habit of getting angry at the universe, but the anger flared in her chest undeniably.

"We fell for nine days," Percy said. "Every second I thought I was going to lose my grip on her- on Annabeth…"

It felt like he talked for nine days too. The next day, Paul only had to peek into the room to know that he was in charge of calling the school and her work to tell them they weren't coming in. She made egg and cheese and bacon sandwiches that morning, and Percy wolfed down three and some orange juice. He fell asleep watching Ellen, completely worn out. It was Sally's turn to stay awake, which was how she knew that Percy spent that night awake too.

Sally tucked herself against Paul. His chin rested on the top of her head, and it felt like the click of a familiar puzzle- like the ones at the cabin that had been done and redone a thousand times, so that the image peeled off the cardboard pieces. What was new was how Paul's arm rested lower on her, his hand drifting near her midriff.

"I don't know how to tell him," Sally said. "I don't know how to tell him now."

"I can't imagine…" Paul said. "I just, I can't."

"Nobody can," Sally said. "I don't know how to tell him now. I don't want him to think that- that he's broken and that we're replacing him or something horrible like that."

"I understand," Paul said. "It can wait."

"But we said we'd tell Percy before we told your family," Sally said. "Your mother-"

"Can wait," Paul said. "God knows, it can't hurt her to learn a little patience and kindness."

"This isn't something that's going to be fixed quickly," Sally said. She remembered Gabe Ugliano, the worst thing that had ever happened to her. She remembered how long it had taken her to stop being afraid of answering the door, to stop hearing his voice in the subway.

"It doesn't have to," Paul said. "Percy deserves all the time that he needs. We can talk to the school, keep his teachers in the loop to take the pressure off of him. He has Azedah for English, she'll understand. We can start having supper earlier, maybe if he started falling asleep when there was light outside it would help, I don't know…"

Sally sighed. "I don't either."

Paul kissed the top of her head. "It's like what you told me about Mount Olympus. It's something that mortals just aren't meant to see."

"Until Annabeth showed you the blueprints."

"Best Christmas present ever."

Sally smiled. Paul kissed her again.

"We'll figure it out," Paul said. "We'll get him through this."

Through this and to what? Sally wanted to ask.

Annabeth was typing away at her new Macbook. At the start of the school year, Sally had heard her complain about how much slower than Daedalus' laptop it was, but now there was an owl sticker on the top right corner of the screen, so she must be satisfied. Percy was sitting next to her, drawing diagrams of the human heart over and over again to try and memorize it. Or at least that's what he'd been doing. Now he was sleeping on his notes, using Annabeth's arm as a pillow.

"Makes it harder to type," Annabeth said. "But I'm not complaining."

It only got weirder from there. One day, Sally came home from a meeting with her publisher to find Percy and Annabeth on the kitchen floor, leaning on the fridge and slumped against one another, fast asleep with a bucket of melted ice cream and two spoons between them.

"Are you okay?" Annabeth asked. She was sitting on the couch, reading and highlighting from a physics textbook balanced on the arm rest of the sofa because Percy was sleeping with his head in her lap. Sally was relieved, it had been a while since she'd seen him sleeping for more than twenty minutes at a time. But Annabeth had gotten to the apartment that morning, Sally had fed them waffles, and instead of going on a syrup high, Percy had immediately crashed.

"Oh, I'm fine, sweetheart," Sally said with a smile.

"You've been sick every time I've been over recently," Annabeth said. She cocked her head to the side and opened and closed her mouth.

"Never mind," Annabeth said. "It's not really… I shouldn't ask."

"Don't tell Percy," Sally said. "He's not quite as perceptive as you are."

"That's an understatement," Annabeth said. Still she smiled. "So… it's true?"

Sally smiled back at her and nodded. "Yes."

"Congratulations," Annabeth said. "Oh my gods. Oh my gods… I guess I should wait for Percy to know before asking you questions."

"That would be nice," Sally agreed.

Sally smashed a hand in front of her mouth to stifle her scream when she saw the bathroom.

"I'll clean up," Percy promised. "Don't call 911."

"Who's blood is that?" Sally asked. "Annabeth's?"

"Yeah," Percy said. He was sitting on the floor, his back to the bathtub. Annabeth was slumped against him, cradling a bandaged arm against her chest. There was another scratch on her face, and her ponytail was disheveled.

"What happened?" Sally asked. "Is she okay? Oh my God…"

"She's okay," Percy said. "We stopped the bleeding really quickly. She felt okay, we IMed Will Solace and he said she'd be okay. She just feels stupid about the whole thing, really."

"About getting hurt?" Sally asked.

"She walked through Central Park with her earbuds in," Percy asked. "Rookie mistake, it's a monster hotspot at this time of the year. She can't fight as well when she's tired, when she can't think on her feet."

Sally had so many things to say that she shouldn't or couldn't say at the moment.

"Wouldn't she be more comfortable on the couch?" Sally asked.

"I tried moving her, but it nearly woke her up," Percy said. "Can't risk it."

He looked exhausted himself; the rings under his eyes were a new shade of blue, his hair was a mess, and he looked pale. If Annabeth had been awake so long that she couldn't fight monsters properly, she wondered how far behind her Percy was. Then she decided not to think about it, because there were no possible answers that she liked.

"Why don't I make chicken noodle soup and grilled cheeses for supper," Sally said.

"That'll really cheer her up," Percy said. "Thanks Mom."

"No problem," Sally said.

A little while later, when she went to check how many sandwiches Percy wanted, she found him also asleep on the bathroom floor.

"Don't panic," she told Paul when he walked in. "But our bathroom is bloodied. We just can't clean it up until Percy and Annabeth wake up."

Sally had started reading Percy's books to him out loud. She wasn't sure how much of Catcher in the Rye he was getting, but he wasn't reading it on his own so listening in was an automatic step up.

"It's like when you read me stories when I was a baby," Percy said. "The Velveteen Rabbit and The Little Prince and all of that."

"The Little Prince was your favourite," Sally said. "That and Rainbow Fish."

"Rainbow Fish is still the best," Percy said. "Do we still have those books?"

"We do," Sally said. "Which is pretty lucky…"

She looked up to Paul, who was grading papers in the dining room. She gave him a look that said come here right now, I am going in. He seemed to get it, because he came and sat next to her.

"Percy, baby, we have something to tell you," Sally said.

"About little kid books?" Percy said jokingly.

"No," Sally said. "No, just about… about little kids in general."

She felt so clumsy, it was a good thing he wasn't so perceptive so that her build-up didn't spoil it all.

"Percy, I'm pregnant," she said. Paul's hand tightened around hers.

Percy looked at her with wide yes. Then his mouth dropped. He looked at her, then at Paul, and back and forth again and again, as if hoping one of them would just burst into laughter about what a great prank this was.

"I'm going to be a big brother?" Percy said. "I mean, I've got Tyson, but… You're having a baby? Like, a real baby?"

"I hope so," Paul said.

Sally nodded, holding her breath. Then Percy's eyes got all watery, which was part exhaustion and -based on the smile on his face- part happiness.

"I'm going to have a baby sister? Or a baby brother? And you guys are going to have a baby together?" Percy asked. The smile on his face soon took over. "Oh my gods," Percy said "Oh my gods, oh my gods, are you guys serious?"

"Yeah," Sally said. She was so relieved she might cry. "Yeah, we are."

"Oh my gods," Percy said. "How old is it? How big is it, like, a peanut or bigger?"

"I'm twenty-two weeks along," Sally said.

"Oh my gods," Percy said. "So like, bigger than a peanut?"

"About the size of a spaghetti squash by now," Sally said.

Percy's jaw dropped. "I have a squash?"

"For now," Sally smiled. "It'll turn into a real baby. By now it already has eyes, but no eye colour yet." She turned to Paul and smiled. "Hopefully they'll have your eyes." He kissed her.

"Oh my gods," Percy said again. "Wait, twenty-two weeks is a lot… Why didn't you tell me?"

"We wanted to tell you at the right time," Sally said. "When you were happy and safe here, again. When we'd had time to show you how much we love you."

"I know how much you guys love me," Percy said. "That- that's never in question. Sometimes that's the only thing keeping me going. This baby is the best thing I've heard about literally all year, and that includes the world being saved. Holy shit, what if we hadn't saved the world? There would be no baby… oh my gods, Mom I'm so happy."

Percy proceeded to bear-hug her and Paul, and Sally felt like she could breathe for the first time in weeks, despite Percy's death grip.

She got up about fifteen hundred times a night to use the washroom, and every time Percy's light was still on. She knocked and opened his door. He was playing Solitaire with himself, sitting on his bed.

"I was going to go eat some ice cream," Sally asked. "Do you want to join in?"

"Did Paul get the mint chocolate chip you like or the regular chocolate chip everybody normal likes?" Percy asked.

"Both," Sally said.

It made her feel better, knowing that Percy at least wasn't alone, bored out of his mind, and trapped in his own skull during his all-nighters. Still, she wished he'd sleep. The baby had been a game changer. He had an extra bounce in his step, and she'd seen him read the pregnancy books she'd stopped hiding and he'd even added little notes and milestones like baby can hear now to the calendar in the kitchen. When Paul had asked they should find out the baby's sex, Percy had said that they absolutely had to so categorically that the discussion was closed. When they'd gone to Sunday dinner at the Blofis house, Sally enjoyed what she liked to call the "Jane Seymour Effect" in which her popularity amongst her in-laws suddenly boomed when talk of grandchildren emerged, and Percy was being roped up in it since he had fun facts about squashes and iris pigmentation to offer.

But two weeks later, she could tell he was running out of energy.

"When do we find out if it's a boy or a girl?" Percy asked, digging into his ice cream.

"Thursday," Sally said. "2:30. It's on the calendar."

"I hope it's a girl," Percy said. "I already have a brother, but I only have a step-sister. Well, I guess Tyson's my stepbrother too…"

"How's that?" Sally asked.

"Amphitrite has a demigod daughter," Percy said. "She's so annoying, but so cool. And I guess there's Hazel, but that doesn't really count either. I really want a sister."

"I don't work on commission, unfortunately," Sally said. Percy laughed, and that made her smile more.

She wondered what was going to keep him upright and moving after Thursday.

The answer was not a lot.

Sally got a call from the school. The school nurse was calling because Percy had passed out, and she knew that this was probably because of his sleep disorder and hadn't wanted to call an ambulance unless Sally saw fit. She picked up Percy, and brought him home immediately. Once she had him on the couch, wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea in hand, she went over to the pharmacy.

"It's melatonin," she said. "I know you said you didn't want to, but you need to sleep somehow. This is more natural than some of the other medications out there."

"I don't know if it'll help," Percy said.

"Neither do I, Percy, but we have to try something," Sally said. "You're collapsing…"

"This isn't physical," Percy snapped. "It's in my head." He paled. "Mom, I'm sorry…"

"Shh," she said, pushing the hair away from his forehead. "Just because it's in your head doesn't mean that it's not real, sweetheart. If anything, it's more real to you because you're the only one who can live it, understand it, describe it. I'm doing the best I can."

"You are the best," Percy said. He looked pale and sick.

"How about tomato soup and grilled cheeses for supper," Sally said. "You still have one Shark Week show to watch. Take the night off, tomorrow we'll stay home and get some work done."

"Yeah?" Percy asked.

"Yes," Sally said. She took his hand and kissed his knuckles.

It shouldn't have surprised Sally that halfway through her baking, there was a knock on the door and Annabeth let herself in- the doorman didn't even bother ringing when Annabeth came by anymore.

She didn't even take her coat or shoes off before beelining to the living room. She knelt next to Percy and touched his face.

"I tried to surprise you at school and Paul told me what happened. Don't do that to me again," Annabeth said.

"I didn't do it on purpose," Percy said. Annabeth took a deep, shaky breath and she buried her face in Percy's chest.

"I know," Annabeth said. "I know you didn't, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I hate seeing you like this, it's my fault, I'm so sorry…"

"I'm not," Percy said. "I'd go back to Tartarus if you fell in again."

Sally chewed her lip. She felt trapped in the kitchen- Annabeth clearly didn't know she was there, but at the same time Sally couldn't stop listening.

"Don't say that," Annabeth said. "I wouldn't let you."

"I didn't ask for permission the first time either," Percy said. His hand started playing in her hair, and they stayed like that for a long time.

Sally ended up putting an extra cup of tea on the coffee table and then retiring to the bedroom to read. When she reemerged later, Annabeth had joined Percy on the couch and they were both fast asleep.

"What the heck is this?" Percy asked horrified, holding a piece of paper. Sally had picked up all the random paperwork and knickknacks laying around the apartment and made piles for each of them to deal with.

"Oh, sorry sweetheart that's not yours," Sally said. Percy didn't let her snatch the paper away.

"What is Chiron writing to you for?" Percy asked. Then his face dropped.

Dear Mrs. Jackson-Blofis,

It is our responsibility as camp directors to advise you that your camper Perseus Jackson child of Poseidon has broken camp rules by allowing non-sibling campers to enter his cabin after-hours.

As this is Perseus' third breech of the summer, we are writing to advise you of this and encourage you to have a conversation with your child about the importance of Camp Half-Blood's rules and regulations regarding cohabitation, sharing cabins, assigned lodging, and general privacy.

Best regards,

Dionysus (Camp Director) and Chiron (Activities Director)

Percy looked up horrified.

"Umm…" he said.

"I wasn't going to bring it up, but now that it's here…" Sally said.

"Are you going to talk to me about condoms?" Percy asked.

"Should I talk to you about condoms?" Sally said.

"No," Percy said. "I'm- I'm aware- I mean… I remember from last time you told me."

"Good," Sally said. "And should condoms be your only method of birth control?"

"No," Percy said.

"That's right," Sally said. She kissed his hair. "Not that accidents are always bad, but sometimes the second method really comes in handy."

"Mom I did not need to know that," Percy said horrified.

"And I didn't need to know this," Sally said, whacking Percy with the letter. "Doesn't Annabeth have a hat that turns her invisible? How did this happen?"

"She has some vengeful siblings," Percy muttered. "Can we never talk about this again?"

Paul was already home and working through lesson plans when the front door opened harshly. He looked up from the kitchen table before even hearing the voice he only faintly recognized.

"Get in."

He got up to look at the door, and there was Percy being marched in by his father. Annabeth dallied behind, looking pale. Percy, on the other hand, was covered in…

"Percy, are you okay?" Paul asked. "What happened to your clothes?"

"You don't want to know," Poseidon told him. Paul thought he would like to know, but didn't protest. He couldn't tell who looked angrier- father or son. "Perseus, go get cleaned up before your mother sees you like this."

"You don't get to tell me what to do," Percy snapped. Paul was taken aback. Percy was mellow, easygoing, flexible. Paul had seen him frustrated, Paul had seen him unhappy or annoyed, but never angry. Especially not rude.

"When I pull you out of the Hudson River, I absolutely do," Poseidon answered. "Get in the shower, now."

"This is your fault," Percy snapped.

"Enough, Perseus," Poseidon said.

"I could have had him!" Percy said.

"Or you could have died Perseus, haven't you had enough of that?"

"You don't get to say shit like that to me," Percy said. "You're the one who broke the oath, you're the one who brought that prophecy on to me and now it won't stop it never stops it doesn't stop- so I can't stop-"

"I will run out of patience," the god said.

Percy stormed off, slamming the bathroom door behind him. Paul had no idea what had just happened, but the shower did indeed turn on.

"My Lord," Annabeth said, bowing her head. "He meant no disrespect…"

"Do not lie to defend my son, daughter of Athena," Poseidon said.

Annabeth bowed but kept her tongue.

"I'll go put the kettle on," Paul volunteered. "Will you be staying?"

"I will, to make sure he calms down," Poseidon said.

Annabeth helped Paul in the kitchen and whispered to him, though Paul was sure that the god in the living room could hear them.

"Mermaids have been washing up dead," she explained. "Percy's been trying to track down the killer."

"What?" Paul asked.

"Poseidon's told him to stop before," Annabeth said. "But today he saw a mermaid being abducted. He tried to interfere. He nearly drowned."

"Percy can't drown," Paul said automatically.

"Yes," Annabeth said. "He can. He nearly did over the summer."

Paul shook his head. There was so much that he didn't know.

"His father saved him from… from whatever it was," Annabeth said.

"The Titan War tore open old wounds, and there are more than can be counted under the sea," Poseidon said. "It is one of the oldest forces on this earth, and some of the oldest deities have been stirred up. Even Percy would be out of his league."

"He was trying to help, My Lord," Annabeth said. "He was concerned."

"Which I can appreciate, daughter of Athena, without seeking to congratulate impertinence," Poseidon said.

It grew quiet again.

"He was not disobeying you specifically My Lord, for what it is worth," Annabeth said. "He… he was trying to say that he had to try and do something. He had to be involved. He cannot… he cannot rest."

To which Poseidon stopped responding.

Annabeth came in extra early one Sunday morning, holding a big box.

"Belated birthday present from Dad," she said showing them a 1500-piece puzzle of the Parthenon, standing tall on the Acropolis.

"Wow," Paul said. He poured Annabeth a cup of coffee which she accepted happily.

"I know that Percy's still passed out, but my roommate is a slob and I don't have the floor space to get started on this," Annabeth said. "Even if I've been waiting all week to get to this puzzle and she's been saying all week that she'd clear the floor… that's another story."

"The living room is yours, sweetheart," Sally said. "Percy should be up anytime."

Annabeth put the puzzle box down on the kitchen table to go to the bathroom and change back into her pajamas. When she came back for her puzzle, Annabeth looked at the list on the kitchen table.

"Baby names?" she asked.

"Yes," Paul said. "So far so good?"

"Andrew is cute for a boy," Annabeth said. "Too bad Andrew Jackson exists though."

"That's true," Paul said. "Scratch Andrew. Thanks Annabeth."

"Anytime," Annabeth said, taking her puzzle into the living room.

Percy woke up not long after, stumbling into the kitchen.

"Is Annabeth here?" he asked, scratching his jaw.

"Yes," she called from the living room.

Percy took his coffee to the living room, and a few seconds later they were already arguing.

"Stop," Annabeth said. "Stay away until you shave."

"I don't want to shave."

"Then I don't want to kiss you."

"That's not fair."



"That sure sounds like a you problem, Seaweed Brain."

"Rude. Don't you want to kiss me?"

"Not until you shave."

"Oh, so you can turn it off just like that?"

"Your scratchy face does that for me, actually."

And so the morning proceeded until lunch, when Percy tried to kiss Annabeth's cheek discreetly, and Annabeth slapped him away. Percy put down his fork, stormed off into the bathroom, and ten minutes later stormed back in with a freshly shaved face and kissed Annabeth.

"You could have brushed your teeth while you were at it," Annabeth said.

"That sure sounds like a you problem, Wise Girl."

They went back to their puzzle after lunch. When Sally finished the dishes, she checked in on their progress- but the two of them had fallen asleep on the floor, surrounded by puzzle pieces and a few columns they'd assembled- Annabeth's hand cupping Percy's cheek.

Sally thought they were cute and she pointed them out to Paul smiling. And it occurred to Paul that this one time Annabeth was wrong, and that Percy could indeed rest, that he was able to. Just not always.

Since Percy and Annabeth had both been cramming for finals, Sally and Paul took them to go see a movie one Sunday afternoon, when the ADHD was just not having it. It was fun. They had popcorn and Nibs for lunch.

On the Subway ride home, Annabeth fell asleep, her head on Percy's shoulder.

"Hey, you guys should go home, but she really needs to sleep," Percy said.

"Should we drive her home?" Paul asked.

"No, no," Percy said. "If we wake her up, we might ruin it. I'll give her at least an hour, get her to her dorm, and come home. I promise."

"O… okay," Sally said. "If you think that's best."

"Yeah," Percy said. "She slept seven hours this week."

"Seven?" Paul said.

"Yeah," Percy said. "So, you know, making it eight is a big deal."

Sally and Paul got home, and Paul repeated "Seven?"

"Hey," Paul called into the apartment when they got home from an afternoon at a school event that Paul had had to go to. "We officially survived the boring adult function- who wants Indian food?"

There was no answer, but Annabeth's red shoes were by the door so they were clearly around. Paul found them first and called Sally over to the baby's room. The walls had been painted a nice, warm beige that Sally figured would be easy to paint over once the baby grew up and picked a favourite colour. They'd photocopied covers from books at the library, everything from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Anne of Green Gables and Rainbow Fish, or The Velveteen Rabbit and The Paper bag Princess, framed them all and hung them up.

The new addition was that the crib, which had previously been living in a cardboard box, but was now set up in the middle of the room. Percy and Annabeth were sleeping in a tangle of limbs on the apple green rug, Annabeth's fingers still closed around a screwdriver.

"They built it," Sally smiled. She could imagine them sitting on the floor, admiring the finished product, and suddenly feeling the weight of hours upon hours of consciousness crashing down on them.

"They're so sweet," Paul said. "And they look legitimately… well."

"How many times have you seen Percy sleep this well without Annabeth nearby in the last month?" Sally whispered. Paul didn't answer.

Out of nowhere, Percy started twisting in his sleep, his shoulders and arms tensing and muffled, sleepy Greek spewed out of his mouth. Annabeth, still caught in a sort of half-sleep, put her hand on his chest and said something just as muffled that may have been "Percy I'm here". Whatever it was, he settled back down.

"Let's go ahead and order Indian food," Sally said. She turned to leave, but even then her hand stayed on the doorknob for a bit.

When Percy and Annabeth woke up, Sally and Paul pretended that they had just walked through the door with the Indian food. It was 8:00 PM, and Annabeth was going to miss the curfew to go back to the dorms. Sally told her not to worry, and they had supper. Then they played cards while chain-drinking tea. Eventually Percy and Annabeth were alone playing War, and it was time for Sally to go to sleep. She kissed Annabeth's hair, then Percy's.

"When you two are done playing, Percy you can lend Annabeth a spare shirt and a pair of sweatpants," Sally said. "There are extra toothbrushes under the sink. All I ask is that you keep the door open."

They both looked at her with big, surprised, wide eyes. She looked back.

"Sleep well," she said simply.

"Percy," Annabeth said sleepily at around 2:00 AM.




"Is this the rest of our lives?" Annabeth said. "Sleeping and functioning so poorly that special open-door policies are instituted just for our sakes?"

"I see the rest of my life whenever I look at you," Percy said sleepily. Annabeth gave him a bit of a kick in the shin and he didn't so much react as he just rearranged his sleeping position, so that his head rested on her chest and his arm looped around her waist.

"You can kick me again and it'll still be true."

"Tell me again when you're lucid and awake," Annabeth said.

"Oh no," Percy said. "I am so comfortable, I am never getting up again."