Happy Valentine's Day! Nothing says Valentine's Day like some pure Percabeth fluff, so here we are. You'll see song lyrics just about everywhere in this piece- please keep in mind that my taste in music is best described as "?" and that I tried to stick with some older songs because technically Percy and Annabeth are still living in, like 2011 or something. Anyways, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Also all the song lyrics used are sourced at the bottom of the story.
Honey, Let me Sing You a Song
I never saw light, never saw light
All I saw were faded mirrors
And dim reflections but
You shine, you shine so much brighter, oh
So honey let me sing you a song
And listen to my words
As they come out wrong, but don't
Run away, run away, this time
-Honey, Let me Sing You a Song (Matt Hires)
As they both tried to subtly scout out each other's plans, it became pretty clear that all that Percy and Annabeth wanted for Valentines' Day evening was to be left the hell alone.
Paul and Mom had already called crashing in the living room for a movie marathon and a quiet night in, which seemed fair given how super pregnant Mom was. To which Annabeth had said, no problem we are going to eat French fries at McDonald's and I'm going to read my book and you can play Pokémon on your DS and then we're going to walk in Central Park, to which Percy thought fantastic. And when they were done with that, it would probably be 9:00 meaning that Mom would probably be asleep because making human beings was exhausting- so then they would go home and watch movies until they fell asleep on the couch. It was literally a dream night, but because it was Valentine's Day they could plan it without worrying about school or studying or anything at all.
The whole thing collapsed pretty much instantly when Percy picked up Annabeth at school. She was wearing leggings and a hoody that he hadn't seen in two months. She kissed him and they were off, arm in arm, to the closest McDonald's. They didn't even get there when Percy realized that another Annabeth was walking towards them. Annabeth also noticed that glitch in the matrix – or technically the mist- and stopped in her tracks.
"Oh, gods," she said. She pulled Percy into an alley and they waited for the other Annabeth to follow them there.
"Hello, my sweets!" Lady Aphrodite said. Now that he focused, he could see clearly that it wasn't Annabeth. Her eyes didn't have enough shades of grey, there was a freckle missing near her ear, her eyebrows were overdone, and she wasn't scowling in annoyance.
"Is this our punishment for not being romantic on Valentine's Day?" Annabeth asked. "Because it's literally just as much work for us to get dressed up and go out as it is for us to get some peace and quiet, case in point."
"Now why on earth would you think I'm punishing you?" Aphrodite said, putting a hand on her chest defensively. Yup; not Annabeth. "I'm here to offer up an exciting opportunity!"
"No," Percy said. "Can't you go harass Piper or something?"
"Don't be silly, Piper has plans with her boyfriend," Aphrodite said.
"And two minutes ago I had French fries in my future," Annabeth sighed.
"It'll all be worth it when you catch the unraveling fabric of civilization and stitch it back together," Aphrodite said.
"We've already done that, like, three times," Percy said. He could tell how whiny he was, but he didn't care. Neither, apparently, did Aphrodite.
"Well, this time you'll be doing it as a personal favour to me and every single person on this planet who has experienced love," Aphrodite said.
"Okay, what's the problem?"
Percy gave her a look like, Annabeth you engaged!
She gave him a look like, Well, someone has to deal with this!
"I'm so glad you asked," Aphrodite said. "Although it's quite tragic, really- you see, Eros has had his heart broken."
"Eros as in Cupid," Percy said. "As in the asshole god that outted Nico? As in the baby in the diaper?"
"He is not a baby in a diaper," Aphrodite corrected him. "He is my son- my favourite son."
Percy wanted to point out that those two things weren't mutually exclusive, but Annabeth stepped in.
"My Lady, we're very sorry to hear about your son's heartbreak but surely there's nothing that we can do about it…"
"Of course there is!" Aphrodite said. "You can return his wife to him."
"His wife?" Percy asked.
"She means Psyche," Annabeth said. "A beautiful mortal princess that, if I recall correctly which I always do, you tried to tear apart from him, my lady?"
"That's neither here nor there," Aphrodite said, waving her hand.
"Psyche was that mortal princess that lived in a palace on her own because suitors literally drowned themselves when she rejected them," Percy recalled. "And Eros visited her every night, but made her promise never to look at him directly. And Psyche fell in love and told her evil sisters who talked her into lighting a candle while Eros slept, that way she could find out who he was…"
"And then Eros' mother got so brutally jealous that she convinced Eros that his beautiful lover didn't trust him and couldn't possibly love him, so Eros ran away heartbroken and his darling mother made Pscyhe go through a thousand horrible tasks to prove her love to him and eventually they fell back into what is considered to be the epitome of love," Annabeth said.
"It wasn't quite a thousand," Aphrodite said. As Percy got more and more annoyed, the goddess looked less and less like Annabeth. Bright orange Nancy-Bobofit freckles were starting to appear. That, and she sort of looked like Paul's mom.
"Doesn't sound like the epitome of love if Eros can't find her," Percy said.
"No, no," Aphrodite said. "Psyche didn't break Eros' heart, Tiffany did."
"Tiffany?" Percy asked "Who-"
Annabeth gave him a look to shut him up before Aphrodite launched into the story of Tiffany, whoever she was.
"So Tiffany was his girlfriend? Who broke his heart so now he has to go back to his wife?"
"See; Eros only dates mortals when Psyche is being reborn."
Percy wasn't sure if he should ask, so mercifully the goddess filled in the blanks.
"Psyche is the Soul. The breath of life," Aphrodite said. "Though she was made immortal for loving Eros so dutifully, a single soul cannot live forever. She doesn't die, mind you, she is reincarnated. Recast somewhere in the mortal world, and they must find each other again. All love needs a little rekindling at some point, haven't you two noticed?"
"No," Annabeth said. "So now that I understand that your son doesn't know where his wife is, I'm still not sure why this can't wait until we've had our fries and our perfect quiet night in?"
"Well," Aphrodite asked. "It's quite simple, daughter of Athena. Valentine's Day is the single biggest celebration of love a year."
"It's a celebration of the commercialization of love," Annabeth pointed out. Oh gods. Percy felt the energy sap out of his body; this was talking-back at the Sphinx in the Labyrinth all over again.
"It doesn't matter what people think love is dear, as long as they celebrate it," Aphrodite said. "It is the single biggest day a year for my son to recharge his power. Eros isn't just a minor god, you know. Many of the ancients considered him, love, to be one of the primordial gods that had built up the world."
"I thought you were the goddess of love?" Percy asked.
Aphrodite's beautiful face frowned. She looked like Hera now, which was even worst.
"I am, make no mistake Son of Poseidon," Aphrodite said. "But my son is my messenger. Think of what your father would be without his trident."
"A sea god with a less ridiculous weapon?"
"Powerful, but with no proper channel in which to concentrate," Aphrodite said. "So here's what you two will be doing, since asking nicely apparently doesn't work on half-bloods anymore. You will find Psyche before midnight. You will bring her back to my son on Mount Olympus. Or else nobody will be falling in love for the next year. Think of it: all the couples that are days away from meeting, all the weddings that are booked, all the little moments and jokes and smiles and looks that make lovers fall in love again? I wouldn't wish for a child to be born in a year without love…"
Percy's face paled and Annabeth grabbed his arm, but he still snarled at the goddess. "My baby sister is mortal- you leave her out of this."
"This isn't a threat, Percy Jackson, merely a warning," Aphrodite said. She held her hand open and a golden arrow appeared. "Here is Eros' arrow. Make sure not to prick anybody but Psyche with it. Follow it to her."
And the goddess of love vanished and the arrow dropped to the ground, denting the snow.
Of course, they did it. Or at least they were going to once they figured out how to get the arrow off the ground.
"What is this, Thor's hammer?" Percy scoffed.
"Hmm," Annabeth pondered.
"Wait, that was a good idea?"
"No, it was an idea that's going to bring me to a good idea," Annabeth said. "I don't think this is about worth or valour…"
She took her phone out of her bag and quickly shifted through the old-timey music that her dad had downloaded for her last time she'd gone home. And as she blasted through Elton John' Your Song, the arrow twitched on the ground.
"Interesting," Annabeth said. "It wants love songs."
"It's not actually flying…" Percy said. Annabeth pursed her lips and sang softly;
"And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world…"
And the arrow magically flew up, but when Annabeth finished the chorus is fell back into the snow.
"I rather be dealing with Thor's hammer," Percy said. "Or Zeus' fucking lightning bolt again."
"Well, we're not that lucky," Annabeth. "Pick a song, Seaweed Brain."
So that was how Percy and Annabeth ended up walking across New York, shouting out the lyrics of love songs- always ready to jump in when the other inevitably forgot the next lyrics, trying not to be embarrassed by their taste in music. This was also when Percy discovered how much Annabeth liked Boys Like Girls:
"Your voice was the soundtrack of my summer
Do you know you're unlike any other?
You'll always be my thunder, and I said
Your eyes are the brightest of all the colors
I don't wanna ever love another
You'll always be my thunder
So bring on the rain
And bring on the thunder
Today is a winding road
Tell me where to start and tell me something I don't know
Today I'm on my own
I can't move a muscle and I can't pick up the phone
I don't know…"
Annabeth gave him a look saying she was done soon, so Percy came up with:
"Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends
"Disney?" Annabeth asked.
"I've been practicing for my sister," Percy said. "Just a little change… Small to say the least…Both a little scared… Neither one prepared… Beauty and the Beast…"
He took Annabeth's hand and spun her in a silly waltz, and she laughed (probably at him) but went with it.
"Ever just the same
Ever a surprise
Ever as before
And ever just as sure
As the sun will rise, woah…"
Percy didn't really care what this all looked like to the mortals. Hopefully they'd just look like two teenagers stupidly in love with one another.
Okay, so to be clear, just because Percy was beyond caring what the mortals were thinking of all this didn't mean that he wanted to be the only one singing. Annabeth had settled on holding his arm and just listening to him make a fool of himself.
"I watched you sleepin' quietly in my bed
You don't know this now but
There's somethings that need to be said
And it's all that I can hear
It's more than I can bear
What if I fall and hurt myself
Would you know how to fix me?
What if I went and lost myself
Would you know where to find me?
If I forgot who I am
Would you please remind me?
Oh, cause without you things go hazy…"
He kissed her hair and she looked up.
"That's not your usual repertoire," Annabeth said.
"No," he admitted. "But it makes me think of last June a lot- when you were the only thing making me... me."
Annabeth squeezed his hand;
"I'm racing to the finish line
Of a lifetime that's barely started
The peace of mind I left behind
I pray you'll keep in your perfect garden
You're waiting on a minute hand
And a countdown that lasts for days
But I'm here tell you
It won't be long before I'm here to stay
'Cause when I needed a place to hang my heart
You were there to wear it from the start
And with every breath of me
You'll be the only light I see
The weightlessness and a lack of rest
Away from you I'm in over my head…"
Percy took her hands. In the mess of dealing with themselves after Tartarus, they hadn't talked all that much about the months they were apart. It was such a big loss- of time, which was the one thing demigods needed most. He wrapped his arms around her.
"When your tears are spent on your last pretense
And your tired eyes refuse to close and sleep in your defense
When it's in your spine like you've walked for miles
And the only thing you want is just to be still for a while
And if your heart wears thin I will hold you up
And I will hide you when it gets too much
I'll be right beside you
I'll be right beside you…"
"When I was younger
I saw my daddy cry
And curse at the wind
He broke his own heart
And I watched
As he tried to reassemble it
And my momma swore
That she would never let herself forget
And that was the day that I promised
I'd never sing of love
If it does not exist, but darlin'
You are, the only exception
You are, the only exception
You are, the only exception
You are, the only exception…"
"But there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair," he sang softly.
Annabeth leaned against his chest. "We're okay. As long as we don't piss off Aphrodite too royally, we're okay now."
Percy looked up and grinned. That's when Eros' arrow plummeted and smacked him on the side of the head. Annabeth laughed.
"Oh Styx- the tip didn't touch you right?"
"Nope," Percy said. "Not in love with Eros, the arrow's just being a dick…"
"Girl, I say, if only life would lean our way,
Well, you and me, we'd run away to be wherever our adventure waits,
And time would be a distant memory, nobody could tell us to stay,
Well, I've been dreaming ever since I've seen you
Heaven when you came my way.
I heard your heart say love, love, love
I heard your heart say love, love, love…"
"You're dancing in the streets," Annabeth laughed, taking his hand and tugging. "Focus."
"Can't and won't," Percy said. "Love, love, love…"
Annabeth interrupted as they kept walking, "There was a man back in '95
Whose heart ran out of summers
But before he died, I asked him
Wait, what's the sense in life
Come over me, Come over me
Son why you got to sing that tune
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
Let an angel swing and make you swoon
Then you will see... You will see
Then he said,
Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...»
Percy countered : « Well, they showed you a statue, told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
Aw, but they never told you the price that you pay
For things that you might have done
Only the good die young"
That was when Eros' arrow smashed itself into the window of a café.
Annabeth caught it before it hit the ground and looked over her shoulder. "Well, here we are."
"Could I get one hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and an Americano please?" Annabeth ordered at the cash. "Don't worry Seaweed Brain, I got it."
"And I get extra whipped cream," Percy said. "You do love me."
"I do," Annabeth said looking around. Eros' arrow was tucked in her coat, but Percy saw it spinning still, trying to find Psyche in the shop.
Once they had their drinks they claimed a table against the wall and put the arrow done. It spun in circles as if they were playing spin-the-bottle and eventually pointed to a girl with long brown hair that curled all the way down to her waist. She had a strong nose, heart-shaped lips, and clear blue eyes. She was sitting with a caffé latte in front of her, her coat folded over her lap. She was wearing black boots and a black dress and a denim jacket, a heart-shaped pendent resting against her chest. She was reading a book that looked like Tristan and Isolde, which Percy knew was some sort of Medieval love story (not because he'd read it but because he lived with two English majors).
"She's beautiful," Annabeth said. It was good that it came from her, but Percy agreed.
"Okay, what's our plan? How do we… approach her?" Percy asked. "We can pretend to be lost tourists- that should get us close enough to use the arrow…"
"Wait," Annabeth said.
Another woman wearing a button-up and a bowtie came to sit in front of her, with her own cup of coffee. Psyche smiled and closed her book and leaned in closer.
"Oh," Percy said. "She's on a date."
"Yeah," Annabeth said. "And she's flirting. See that thing she's doing with her hands? It's to make sure her date's looking at her."
"Do you do that?"
"No, you look at me anyways," Annabeth said. She bit her lip.
"It wouldn't be right," Percy said. "I mean… She looks like she's having a good time."
"She really does," Annabeth said. "I mean, sure, maybe she's supposed to end up with Eros. But that doesn't mean that she doesn't get to… We got five years before being together. I think we're stronger for it. Everything that happens before you fall in love builds you up, it makes you the person you have to be in your love story- heartbreak, loneliness, bad choices, fear, all of it."
"Yeah," Percy said. He took her hand over the table. "Yeah, I agree. So what are we going to tell Aphrodite?"
Annabeth chewed her lip.
"There's a pharmacy near here, right?"
"Let's go," Annabeth said picking up her coffee cup and getting up.
Eros' arrow refused to leave the coffee shop with them, so they left it.
"Hey sweethearts," Mom said when they came in and kicked their boots off. She and Paul were in the midst of a Harry Potter marathon, which was probably what true love meant. They were bundled under a blanket eating M&Ms and Mom's head was propped against Paul's shoulder.
"Hey," Percy called.
"You're in early," Mom said.
"Yeah," Annabeth said. "It got weird."
"It's always a zoo on Valentine's Day," Paul said. "You can come watch with us if you want."
So they stole a handful of M&Ms apiece and curled up on the armchair. Draco Malfoy was about to get charged by Buckbeak when Aphrodite burst into the living room. Whether it was out of anger or a trick of the mist Percy couldn't tell, but her hair was flicking through colours rapidly.
"Umm-?" Paul began.
"Over our heads honey, I think it's a goddess," Mom whispered to him.
"Yes,it is a goddess," Aphrodite said coldly.
"Hey, don't burst into her apartment and act rude to my Mom," Percy said.
"Perseus Jackson," the goddess ignored that. "Annabeth Chase. A word."
"Don't pause for us," Percy told them. They got up and joined the goddess in the kitchen.
"What seems to be the problem, Lady Aphrodite?" Annabeth asked.
Aphrodite was clutching their gift basket angrily. They thought they'd done a pretty good job putting it together. Tissues, gummy worms, chocolate and chips (to cover Eros' sweet tooth regardless of whether he had a sweet or salty tooth), some movies that had been 2 for 5$, some gossip magazines to keep him distracted, candles, a facial mask, a small tub of Ben&Jerry's, a bottle of chocolate syrup, some sprinkles, a stuffed frog that smiled, some supposedly calming tea, these ridiculous slippers that Percy had insisted on, and a bottle of sparkly apple juice since neither of them could legally buy champagne.
"What is this?"
"We think of it as a breakup survival kit," Annabeth said.
"Just… you know… to keep Lord Eros happy while his… heart heals?" Percy said.
"Is this some kind of joke?" Aphrodite asked. "I gave you a very simple task…"
"It's actually not simple," Percy said. "Putting people together and tearing them apart from others. The fact that you would call is simple is pretty scary actually. Listen, Psyche was with somebody else. And even if that date of hers isn't going to be the love of her life, she deserves to have the time to make the memories and make her own decisions. Eros is just going to have to wait and let his heart heal like a mortal."
"I have never been so insulted," Aphrodite said. "Never in my entire life. Especially not by two mortals who owe me so much-"
"Okay, after saving the world twice, I'm gonna have to go ahead and say that we don't owe you and awful lot," Percy said.
"That's your debt to the gods, Perseus Jackson," Aphrodite said. "But as long as you speak of you and the daughter of Athena as a we, you owe me something more…"
"Stop it," Annabeth said. "Percy and I don't owe you anything, actually. You didn't make us fall in love, we chose each other. And we worked hard for each other, to make that choice work and bring us to where we are despite all the odds. And that's what it makes it so good. Knowing that nothing is making us stick except for the fact that I want to spend my life with him, and he wants me just as much. I'm sorry, but we won't be bullied into interfering in someone else's love story."
Aphrodite's eyes burned.
"You can be as stubborn as you like, little half-bloods, but you will feel the consequences."
"Actually, the gift basket you got was a decoy," Percy said. "The real one we gave to Eros and he thought it was really cute. He also thought it was pretty cute that our Valentine's Day was spent putting it together, and he also liked when we told him what all our friends and our parents are doing for Valentine's Day. He called us his #1 favourite couple. So… yeah. We're done here."
Aphrodite was so mad, she just left.
"Want to order pizza?" Annabeth asked.
"Yeah, I'm starving after all that," Percy said.
When they headed back into the living room, Mom and Paul had indeed paused the movie to wait for them (and also to eavesdrop) and they were grinning.
"You guys are the #1s," Mom said.
They had built a blanket fort in the living room after Mom and Paul had gone to bed and now they were rewatching How to Train Your Dragon for the umpteenth time and eating their cold pizza. Annabeth wasn't as into it as she usually was, so Percy paused the movie.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Yeah," Annabeth said. "I'm fine."
"Are you worried about giving attitude to the goddess of love?" Percy asked.
"Not really," Annabeth said. "I stand by what I said. But…. There's something she said earlier, about how Psyche regenerates because true love simply can't last time, needs to be rekindled and all of that… Do you think that's true? That love just can't last forever."
"I don't really care about that. I mean, I don't want 'forever' with you, Wise Girl," Percy said. "I want the rest of my life. That's the point of us. And I don't want anybody else but you."
"You sap," Annabeth said. But she was smiling.
"Can I give you your present now?" Percy asked.
"You didn't have to get me a present."
"Right. Like you didn't get me one too."
Annabeth smiled and reached for her bag. She took out an envelope, and Percy reached under the couch where he'd hid the little black box earlier. Annabeth rattled the box and investigated it like a private eye before pulling at the ribbon and opening it. He'd found a tiny ring at a craft show that Mom had dragged him to over the Winter, shaped like an olive branch.
"It's to remind you of my favourite kiss yet," Percy said.
Annabeth put it on and tried to give him a kiss to top that one. She probably didn't get close, but she did give him his present now, also wrapped in a little brown box. It was a fossilized ammonite, basically a sea shell, with a tiny hole drilled in so that it could fit on a pendent- or a camp necklace.
"My sister just got hired at the Smithsonian and when I visited I got you this, so that you'd remember our first," Annabeth said.
"We're disgusting," Annabeth said. Percy kissed her.
"Yeah, we're the worst."
"And we really can't sing," Annabeth said. Percy just laughed harder- so hard he might wake up Mom.
"No, we really can't," Percy agreed. "But I'll sing you love songs anytime, Wise Girl."
Your Song- Elton John, Thunder- Boys like Girls, Tale as Old as Time- Disney, Hazy- Rosi Golan, Every Breath- Boyce Avenue, Beside You- Mariana's Trench, The Only Exception- Paramore, Love, Love, Love- Avalanche City, The Riddle- Five for Fighting, Only the Good Die Young- Billy Joel