Author's Note: So, one day I was sitting reading Titan's Curse for about the millionth time, and I got to a particular favorite scene of mine when Aphrodite comes and talks to Percy about Annabeth. The scene just struck me as so brilliant for character development for both Percy and a more subconscious form of Annabeth (since she's not exactly in that scene). And then I got to thinking...did Aphrodite ever do the same with Annabeth? Talk to her about Percy? In my opinion, she did. Three times to be exact. And here they are.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Rick Riordan is the awesome genius behind all characters.
Spoilers: Titan's Curse, Battle of the Labyrinth and Last Olympian
The first time the Goddess of Love visited her, Annabeth Chase was getting out of the shower.
A towel wrapped around her torso, humming a tuneless song as the steam leaked out of the bathroom, Annabeth stepped into her main bedroom in the apartment shared with Thalia at their boarding school in New York. For the first time in over a month, Annabeth was going to lie around all evening and ignore all her homework and just relax.
Apparently, though, that wasn't the plan the Gods had in mind for her.
The first thing she noticed was that the room smelled different; not unpleasant, just different, and it immediately put her on her guard. The second thing she noticed was the glossy stack of Cosmopolitan magazines right where her pamphlets about joining Artemis on the hunt had been.
"You know, dear, I'm simply appalled by your lack of cosmetics in this room," a tinkling, bell-like voice broke the confused silence.
And, yes, being a sane and fully functional person, it's natural to scream when you see a total stranger on your bed, examining your side table drawer and wincing at its contents.
Which, of course, is exactly what Annabeth did.
"Agh!" The Daughter of Athena ran back into the bathroom and slammed the door shut, breathing hard. How in Hades had someone--or something--gotten in the apartment? Thalia and she shared the loft on the twentieth floor of the school dormitories, with the doors bolted shut and windows locked at all times. Mind whirling a mile a minute, Annabeth forced herself to calm down and think rationally: Thalia was at the library studying for finals and said she wouldn't be home until that evening and none of the other girls had a key to their room.
So who the hell is it that's sitting on my bed? Annabeth wondered fearfully, almost angrily, cursing the fact that she wasn't in access to any weapon.
"Whoever you are, I'm going to call the police if you don't leave right now, okay? Leave, now!" Annabeth forced herself to stop sounding so scared as she yelled from inside the bathroom.
"Darling," the occupant of her bed replied, "I would think you would have known by now that that line never ever works on a God."
Blinking bewilderingly and opening the door a crack, Annabeth peeked out into her bedroom again. The God seated gracefully bed was staring at her innocently, as if it was perfectly normal that they be in this room. She was also one of the prettiest women Annabeth had seen, though it was hard to make out the face exactly. It seemed to change each time she glanced at it. For one minute, she looked like Annabeth's mother, and then a famous movie star that Annabeth had always enjoyed. Then she was a plain brunette--one that Annabeth did not recognize--with brilliant green eyes that were the same hue as the ocean, and seemed vaguely familiar.
"Hello Annabeth." Aphrodite smiled demurely.
The demi-god started, realizing that she was actually being visited by a God, though what this particular God wanted with her, she had no idea.
"Um...." Annabeth stood there in the door way, clenching her towel around her body. "I-...I'm sorry, I just...um...."
It was a bit of an understatement to say meeting the Goddess of love was disconcerting. The blond stood there, speechless for the first time in a long time. It was sort of like meeting all the people Annabeth had been admiring of since the age of two; intimidating and awe inspiring. The aura in the room was warm and comforting, and for a minute, Annabeth was convinced that she really was meeting her mother, or that famous movie star. But along with the affection, Annabeth felt an incredible jealousy of the Goddess, whose beauty was far more perfected than her own.
"Why don't you get into some clothes, dear," Aphrodite prompted with a cheery smile, blinking at her with that peculiar pair of sea-green eyes.
"Erm..." Annabeth nodded jerkily, grabbing some sweat pants and a tank top, "Okay. Sure."
She all but sprinted back to the bathroom, slamming the door behind her and catching her breath as she began to sort out and classify the billion questions that were darting about her head like agitated hornets.
The first and most important question was clearly obvious: what in the name of Hades' gym shorts was Aphrodite doing here?
Whatever is was, Annabeth concluded, it couldn't be good.
It was already bad enough news when any Olympian visited a half-blood. Having Aphrodite visit you (seeing as she hardly ever left her mirror for more than five minutes) was sort of the trouble icing on the cake of doom. Try as she might, Annabeth could not think of a single reason for the Goddess of love to be here, in her apartment.
She has to be here for Thalia, Annabeth decided, unable to come up with anything else; she's probably going to bring up Luke.
Well. Good luck with that.
Luke--as far as Annabeth knew--was a touchy subject for Thalia. Since Thalia's removal from the tree and her debriefing of the current situation six months ago, neither of them had brought their former companion up. The one time Annabeth had even dared to venture what Thalia was thinking, the girl had unconsciously almost fried her with her lighting zap. It wasn't an experience the blond wanted to relive, but the daughter of Zeus probably wouldn't have a choice this time; there was no avoiding any subject if a God was the one to bring it up.
Clothes on, towel hung and feeling considerably calmer, Annabeth stepped out of the bathroom a second time, looking cool and collected so as to not show Aphrodite how nervous and on the spot she was really feeling.
Pretending to busy herself with the stack of magazines (which she new very well weren't even hers to begin with) Annabeth announced, "Thalia should be back in a few hours or so, so you can talk to her then. Or go visit her at the library."
Dismayed and confused, the blond winced when Aphrodite giggled, her voice filling the room like music, "Silly girl, I'm not here to see the Goth. I'm here to see you."
Annabeth would have pointed out that Thalia was, in fact, a punk, not a Goth, but was too stunned by the fact that the Goddess of Love wanted to see her. Her. The girl who hadn't even had a boyfriend yet, let alone a first kiss.
"Me?" Annabeth's so called 'cool and collective' voice shot up several octaves as she gaped. "I...what do you want to talk to me for?"
"Have seat, my dear," Aphrodite patted the space of bed beside her with another winning smile. As Annabeth sat wordlessly, she noticed that the air around the goddess smelled like her two favorite things: Pine trees and chocolate. How curious.
"Now," Aphrodite began in an uncharacteristically business-like tone, "Before we get to the real scoop here, can you please reassure me that you weren't honestly considering this."
The Goddess lifted a stack of pamphlets that all read slogans like 'Join the Hunt: the Many Benefits of Immortality!' Inwardly, Annabeth groaned. Not only had the goddess appeared uninvited in her room, but she'd also gone snooping through her things, apparently. 'Things' meaning the information packets about joining Artemis' hunters, something Annabeth had been thinking over with Thalia several months over now. They hadn't told anyone about their considering it yet, and weren't planning on doing so until they were sure. Up until that second, no one had known.
"I was considering it." Annabeth answered honestly tonelessly, before feeling just slightly defensive at the goddess' appalled glance. "I am considering it. It's a good opportunity!"
With a tsk, Aphrodite tossed the entire stack into the nearest trashcan. Ignoring the demi-gods rather peeved expression, she exclaimed, "Darling, I just can't let you do this to yourself. I just can't!"
Annabeth blinked, more pissed than confused. First of all, who the hell did this Goddess think she was, Annabeth's conscience? The blond couldn't help but feel more irritated then she had a while since beginning to consider joining the Hunt. If there was anything she hated, it was people interfering with her plans.
"Why not?" Annabeth asked flatly, quelling the irritation coiling in her stomach like an agitated snake.
"You're too young. Too unacquainted with life." Aphrodite tossed the pamphlet in the nearest waste basket, as if the thought of it simply appalled her. "You have so much more to do in your mortal life!"
"What I do with my mortal life is no concern of yours." Annabeth replied coolly, trying to remember that though the Goddess may seem innocent, she still seemed perfectly capable of zapping her to ashes with a snap of her fingers.
"Oh, but it is, dear," Aphrodite countered in a sing-song life, "Everyone's love life is a concern of mine. And boy do I have things in store for you!"
Annabeth narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "What the Hades does my love life have to do with my staying mortal, may I ask? Last time I recall, the status of my love life was 'nonexistent'."
"Non existent?" The goddess scoffed, flipping her hair over her shoulder in a glorious sweep. "Pah! Don't play dumb with me Annabeth Chase. Don't for second think that I have no clue how you feel about a certain little friend of yours." Aphrodite looked coyly through her long mascaraed eyelashes, "A friend who, might I add, seems to have made quite a splash in your life, if you catch my drift."
Annabeth froze completely, and it seemed for a minute that she'd stopped breathing. Denial was the first thing that came to mind, sweeping over her like a torrential wave of rain. Then the shock, and then the irritation. She hated this part, she really hated this part. The part where someone knew her secret. The part where someone could take just one look at her and know what kept her up late at night. Annabeth had spent years on mastering her emotions and thoughts, but in seconds, Aphrodite had just waltzed right in and guessed her worst secret without batting one lid. It baffled the demi-god, completely and totally baffled her. How had the Goddess even known about that? She'd never ever even mentioned it to any one aloud, let alone to herself. She'd felt sure that no one could tell, especially the person the secret concerned.
A splash on her life? Was the goddess insane? As if that twit...that moron....that....Seaweed Brain could weave his way into her heart as he did everyone else? Annabeth almost laughed at the thought, trying hard to quell the uneasy bubbling of her nerves. Gritting her teeth, Annabeth steeled herself to look back at the Goddess, whom was gazing back innocently. She knew nothing. At least, nothing that was too drastic.
After all, it was just a little tiny crush. It would go away, right?
The blond faced the goddess with a blank stare. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Oh, don't play stupid. You know exactly who I mean." Aphrodite answered, pulling a small nail file out of the Prada bag next to her and inspecting her pinky. "The signs are all there, and--hello--it's not exactly hard to see that the two of you are meant to be together."
The demi-god clenched her fist, wishing she could haul off and just beat the crap out of the goddess; the way she usually dealt with annoying people and their personal anazlyzations of her.
"You can't prove anything." She snapped.
The Goddess raised one perfectly plucked eyebrow, "Oh, really? Can't I?"
"No, you can't." Annabeth declared, standing up and beginning to walk towards to door so she could show Aphrodite the way out. "What I do with my mortal life is none of your damn business, Aphrodite, and I don't care if you're the goddess of love and you think you know everything, I'll have you know that I don't give a crap and that if you don't get out I will personally kick your nip-tucked--"
The demi-god ceased mid-rant and whipped around at the sound of a new voice joining the conversation, a decidedly familiar voice.
She turned, and there he was.
She tried to ignore the way her heart seemed to leap into her throat in that one second after she saw him. She tried to not notice the fact that she had unconsciously clenched her fist and bit her lip out of sudden nervousness. She tried to forget the way her pulse was suddenly pounding.
And in spite of the fact that she tried to ignore them, and in spite of the fact that he wasn't even really in the room (the shimmery illusion of the Iris Message was enough to tell) they weren't going away, these bizarre bodily reactions; a fact that was both infuriating, if not semi-horrifying to her.
Yet as strange as this all was to her; emotions bottled up for months suddenly bubbling up under her skin and making her feel itchy, she couldn't help but also notice the dart of happiness that flashed through her at the same time.
"Percy." She breathed, almost sounding relieved to acknowledge his presence. He hadn't changed all too much in the last six months they hadn't seen each other. His hair was a little longer, his face a little thinner since the last time she'd seen him, but he was still the same. The same disaster arrangement of black hair and the same bright green eyes, and definitely the same annoying--but sort of endearing--grin.
"Who're you yelling at now?" Percy asked conversationally, rolling his eyes. It took Annabeth a good three seconds to realize that he must have seen her talking to Aphrodite, but not seen the goddess herself. Said goddess was still seated on Annabeth's bed, now touching up on her lip gloss and smiling flawlessly at her reflection, while occasionally shooting Annabeth the 'I told you so' look.
"Ah, no one." Annabeth waved her hand about. "Just....TV programs."
"Hung up on the history channel again?" He asked teasingly. "I told you it was bad for your health."
"Clever." Annabeth replied. "I can tell by your lack of knowledge about what's bad and good for health that you're still an idiot."
"And you're still a know it all."
Annabeth smirked, crossing her arms over her chest. "Alright, alright, fair is fair. I'm brilliant. We've already been over this, haven't we?"
"I'm afraid so." Percy mimicked her stance, his grin all but contagious.
"Now, could you please tell me why you really called, Seaweed Brain." Annabeth prompted, eyeing Aphrodite as she smiled sunnily at the two of them. "And try to tone it down on the humor. I'm afraid my ribs will crack from laughing so hard."
The smile faded just slightly on his face. "Yeah, okay. Grover called, said he found a new group of kids. Unclaimed. He doesn't even have an idea what they are."
"Mhm." Annabeth nodded, and felt heat creeping up her cheeks as she noticed the crinkle in Percy's brow as he frowned, looking just as confused as she felt (though clearly for completely different reasons). "Do we have a rendezvous point?"
"Yep. My mom and I will be around to pick you up in about..." He glanced at his watch. "Forty five minutes. Have Thalia ready and meet me on the corner of your building. Bring the essentials."
"Got it." Annabeth replied, feeling excitement start to prick in the back of her head. Finally, a chance to do some hardcore monster-ass-kicking. She could certainly use the distraction at this moment in time. "See you then."
"Oh, and Annabeth?" Percy said, just before she reached out to cut off the connection.
"Yes, Seaweed Brain?" She asked, hand poised.
"I know it'll be hard for you, but try not to be late."
"Honestly, as if I'm the one who should be worried about being late, Mr. Tardy Pants." Annabeth replied smoothly, referencing to his constant tardiness on all occasions. She cut the connection, her eyes lingering on his as the last of the Iris message faded from mist to air.
In seconds she was across the apartment, picking up her emergency cell phone and hitting Thalia's speed dial. With the other hand she tucked her dagger into its sheath and Invisibility Cap into her back pocket. She'd almost forgotten about the occupant on the bed.
"You're actually looking forward to this, aren't you?" The goddess suddenly asked, seemingly intrigued.
Annabeth looked up angrily. "You're actually not leaving, aren't you?"
Aphrodite watched the demi-god amusedly for a few more minutes as she bustled about, pulling her hair up in its signature pony tail and changing her sweat pants for jeans. Suddenly, she stood, gathering up her Prada bag and its contents.
"Might I just offer one piece of advice?" The goddess asked, before walking over to the door.
Annabeth clenched her teeth. "If you must."
"Don't get too upset if he doesn't notice you like him right away." Aphrodite sighed. "Boys, you know, they can be terribly dim."
Yeah. As if Annabeth wasn't already 100% familiar with Percy and his own level of terrible dimness.
"I'll try not to be too crushed." The blond responded sarcastically. "But don't worry. I'm used to guys not noticing."
And it was true. Annabeth had liked her fair share of boys in her life. Maybe nothing extremely serious, but simple school girl crushes. And yet...though she would often talk to them or smile or laugh at their jokes....they never seemed to notice that she was in any way a girl. Maybe it was her attitude, maybe it was her voice, or maybe it was the fact that she could kick almost anyone's ass in the arena, but guys just didn't seem to like her like that. It wasn't surprising, and it most certainly wasn't depressing. Annabeth had just learned to live with it.
But to her surprise, the goddess shook her head. "Oh, Annabeth. Annabeth, Annabeth, Annabeth. I think you'll come to find that while boys might not be blatant about their feelings, they most certainly do notice you."
Aphrodite paused in the doorway, smiling. "Especially one in particular."
And with that, the Goddess snapped her fingers, dissipating in a cloud of purple and pink sparkles that looked faintly like the bursting of a piñata.
The second time the Goddess of Love visited her, Annabeth Chase was having a full on crying jag.
She normally wasn't a crier. That was just a known fact. She was the hard-ass, tough-as-nails girl who never ever shed a single tear. Sure, she'd had the occasional spell when stress and other factors just piled up and she cried a little. But this....
Well, let's just say it was a new achievement for the demi-god in terms of emotional heights.
The Athena Cabin was empty, her brothers and sisters giving her the space that she needed at the moment. Tired, sore, bruised, Annabeth sat on her bed with her head in her hands, sobbing quietly. Her hair was a rat's nest, her eyes were puffy, she hadn't showered in days since getting back, but that didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore. Not the war, not her family. It couldn't mean anything to her anymore. Not now that Percy was.....
She couldn't even think the word. It just made her cry harder, shake with suppressed screams of anger and hurt that pulsed through her system. He couldn't just leave her like that. He couldn't.
"There there," a small hand slipped around her shoulder, "Don't fret, my dear."
Annabeth's gaze snapped up, and she jumped when she found herself face to face with Aphrodite. The Goddess had just appeared out of nowhere. Only this time, Annabeth wasn't scared at all. Surprised, maybe. But the tears threatening to choke her kept any anger at bay.
"Ugh, go away." She groaned.
"Why would I do that, when you need some comforting?" The goddess asked kindly.
Annabeth glared. "Isn't this the sort of thing you love? Tortured relationships parted by death?"
"Oh, that's a nice thing to say." Aphrodite rolled her eyes. "Please, you don't honestly think that I would go to all this trouble to get you two together just in time to have one of you die? That's so...Shakespearean. As in, over a couple hundred years ago. Ew."
Annabeth sniffed, raising her head and blinking back more tears confusedly. "He's dead. I saw the place blow up myself."
The goddess laughed now, as if this whole affair was hardly anything but spilt tea. "My dear, I thought you would know by now that your Percy is not exactly an easy person to get rid of."
"He's not my Percy." Annabeth said defiantly, her lower lip jutting out.
"Well," Aphrodite sighed, inspecting her perfectly rounded and buffed fingernails, "I beg to differ. That kiss up there certainly speaks for itself."
Annabeth rounded on the goddess, once again infuriated and bewildered. How did she know about that? Good Gods, had she been watching that entire time?! The blond blinked back more tears--this time of embarrassment--and squared her shoulders. "Of course I kissed him! I thought he was going to die. And, oh look at that, he did."
"You were acting on impulse," her companion agreed, "But it was by no means spontaneous or un-premeditated. In fact, it's all you've really been thinking about since he rescued you last winter."
If Annabeth had been standing, she would have stumbled. Her shock at how someone she'd only met personally once could know so much about her was more trying than any mathematical equation or architectural problem. She could try to deny it, as she would have with anyone else. But something about the flat, yet understanding way Aphrodite was looking at her made Annabeth sigh defiantly. "Fine. You're right. Whoop-Dee do."
"Oh, my dear. You've admitted your attraction. That's an excellent step!"
The blond blinked angrily, wishing there was some way she could get it through this idiot Goddesses head that--kiss or no kiss--her small crush on Percy didn't even matter anymore. Because he was dead.
Oddly enough, this idiot of a goddess just didn't seem to get that simple fact.
Annabeth gritted her teeth, resisting the strong strong urge to punch something. It was usually how she dealt with stuff. But there really was nothing to punch in the vicinity that would make her feel something. Something. Better than this choking despair and desperation to know he's okay. To see his intense green eyes regarding her with that confused look, to see his cocky smile. Just some sort of proof that he was still there.
By now, Annabeth was used to losing people. It just seemed a natural for them to get close to her, and then leave. Whether they merely had other things to do instead of being a parent, they got turned into a tree, or decided to go all dark-side, Annabeth was never surprised when someone had to leave. Usually. But Percy had been the exception to her rule, the diamond in the ruff with the disheveled way of doing things. In the past two years, he'd become her rock, the person she could depend on, even with his hair-brained schemes and often immature attitude regarding every little issue. She didn't have to like him 24/7, she didn't have to enjoy all his rather annoying quirks, but she had liked that he always seemed to be there. Present in her life in a way no one else was. The shoulder to cry on, the beanbag to punch, the only person she could really share the triumph of kicking serious monster ass with.
And without him there, everything felt so inexplicably wrong. Even with Aphrodite standing right there, assuring her that everything is going to be alright and that he's not dead, Annabeth felt like someone had taken a club to her stomach and heart in one sitting.
Unable to think of any snide comment that would do Percy proud and unable to carry out her aforementioned violent intentions, Annabeth just sighed and dropped her head, pressing her palms to eyes as if they could soak up the tears that were once again trying to overspill.
"Do you miss him?" Aphrodite asked, as if she was asking for Annabeth's phone number instead of prying into rather emotional matters.
Okay, that did it.
Fury, cold blind fury, swooped over Annabeth like a shadow, blotting out the tears and the sobs and the woe-is-me groans and moans. Those previous thoughts about punching? Yeah, they were back.
"Oh course I miss him." She yelled, towering over Aphrodite as she leaped up from the bed. "He's my best friend. I care about him. Hades, I even kissed the idiot. I'm here crying my eyes out and feeling worse than I've ever felt in my life. And you're asking me if I miss him?!"
Gone were the tears. The grey eyed glare she sent the goddess's way would've terrified anyone else mortal. But the goddess merely sighed as if she was already bored with the direction the conversation was taking.
"We're getting redundant here, darling." Aphrodite flashed a perfect white smile. "Really now. I already know you're crazy about Percy. Now go get out there and find him!"
"I can't find him because he doesn't exist. He's dead. Now I'm feeling redundant." Annabeth snapped. "He's dead. Okay? We're having his goddamn funeral tonight. Chiron says two weeks of waiting is enough to say he is no longer missing in action."
"So you're having his funeral." Aphrodite nodded slowly. "And this means what?"
Annabeth let out a huffy breath and felt more hysterical tears start to ebb up her throat. "He's dead. Now, if you don't mind, I have a funeral speech to write. You can show yourself out."
Aphrodite stood without complaint, but the demi-god could have sworn she heard her mutter, "I don't think I've ever met a child of Athena with more impudence."
"Can I just say something?" The goddess asked loud enough for Annabeth to hear.
"Well, clearly I have no say in the matter like last time, so why not?" The blond said bitterly.
The beautiful woman's face morphed slowly, and a gut-wrenchingly familiar pair of green eyes stared innocently back at her, along with a twisted mocking smile.
Aphrodite gave the girl a once-over, as if she didn't like the look of her. "You're uncharacteristically stubborn, even for a daughter of Athena."
"You say this as if I don't already know." Annabeth scoffed, wiping her face on her sleeve.
"Oh, it's just an observation. I was just surprised, that's all."
"Surprised about what?" Annabeth asked suspiciously, wondering if the goddess was just playing her right into her own trap.
"Surprised at how some one with such a hard and rather brilliant head as yours could possibly believe that Percy is dead." The goddess sighed again. "Especially with the lack of evidence and, furthermore, body there is."
Annabeth was more stunned into silence than anything. It wasn't often that people made jibes at her intelligence. Things such as stupid-jokes weren't very abundant when it came to the daughter of Athena.
"Of course," Aphrodite continued, "I have to say that I question your real beliefs about the truth as it is. You're not stupid enough to think he's died."
"What are you saying, that I subconsciously don't believe Percy's dead?"
"Not at all subconsciously, Annabeth," Aphrodite replied firmly, a flare in her tone that made the demi-god actually fear her for the first time, "You know he's not dead. I know it too. The only difference between us is that while I'm actually doing something by having my husband out looking for the boy, you're sitting in this cabin crying about the fact that you can't seem to convince yourself he's dead."
Aphrodite walked out of the cabin, closing the door softly behind her, different from her last exit. Yet Annabeth--a shocked expression glued to her face--still heard the light tinkling of bells that accompanied the goddess' disappearance into thin air right outside the cabin door.
The third time the Goddess of Love visited her, Annabeth was in the middle of a rather engaging situation.
Very engaging, to be exact.
"You're very lucky your mother isn't home," The blond muttered, leaning back and grinning to herself as she felt Percy Jackson's lips curl up into a smile against her own, "I don't think she'd very much like the sight of her son and his girlfriend making out on the living room couch. Not exactly a Kodak moment, if you get what I mean."
"Is there really a need for you to be talking?" Percy asked jokingly, pecking her lips three times so as to smother her laughter.
"I'd say so." She said flatly, suppressing her smile. "I mean, we're only alone in this lovely living room. What else are we supposed to do?"
"I could think of a few things." He answered slowly, a grin creeping onto his own face as he leaned forward, pressing his girlfriend into the couch and lacing his fingers through hers. "Really, Annabeth, I think you need to learn the true value of silence."
"My ears and eyes are open, Professor." She replied, grey eyes sparkling as Percy dipped down and kissed her, slowly and sweetly. Annabeth didn't bother to continue the verbal part of the conversation, letting her eyes drift closed. If the last month had taught her anything (apart from the Basics of Saving the Entire World Mortal or Otherwise and How to Get the Guy) it was that Percy was all but incorrigible when he was in the mood for kissing.
But hey, who was she to complain?
Besides, Annabeth reasoned as she wound her hands into Percy's already tussled locks and pulled his face closer to hers, there really wasn't anything particularly bad about this whole no-talking' thing.
She could certainly get used to it.
She hummed contentedly against his mouth, and even smiled when he reached forward and cupped her cheek. It was semi-ridiculous, how Annabeth's pessimism and bitter attitude seemed to be crumbling these days. How she smiled at every little thing. How everything--from the dirt on the ground to the tedious hours spent in classrooms--seemed brighter somehow. And even though she would never ever say this aloud, Annabeth could no longer deny a simple fact in that moment: she'd never been happier in her life.
"Oh, I just love happy endings!" A voice sobbed from across the room.
"What the--" Percy pulled away from Annabeth, who almost frowned at the strange absence of his lips all of a sudden. After a few minutes of blinking and attempting to clear her head, Annabeth looked over to the noise, and outright laughed.
There, her head buried in her hands as she burst into continual tears, was Aphrodite. The goddess looked beautiful as ever, even with the tears streaking down her face.
"Um..." Percy glanced worriedly at the goddess, and then back at Annabeth, looking as awkward as she felt. "Sorry to be rude, but can we help you?
"Oh, no no!" The goddess waved him away with a sob, "Don't mind me, really! I'm fine! You just go ahead and do your thing!"
The bewildered look Percy shared with Annabeth made the blond almost laugh aloud again. Stifling it and sitting up properly, Annabeth looked at the goddess and said, "Um, I believe an introduction is in order. Percy, this is Aphrodite. Aphrodite, my boyfriend."
"I know who she is." Percy said, frowning slightly as the goddess just dabbed at her tears. "We've met."
"You've met?" Annabeth raised an eyebrow at her boyfriend. She couldn't help but feel the slightest bit jealous. Itr was just her luck that Aphrodite happened to be more beautiful than anyone in the world. "When?"
"Uh..." Percy scratched the back of his head and colored slightly, as if it weren't much of a memorable experience. "She sort of talked to me when I was coming to rescue you with Thalia and Grover."
Annabeth, now feeling more amused than irritated, looked back at the goddess, "You mean to say you talked to Percy about me just like you talked to me about him?"
Aphrodite blinked guiltily but then stood, sweeping her hair imperiously over her shoulder. "They don't call me the goddess of Love for nothing, my dear."
Annabeth stared at the goddess, trying to trigger some sense of anger within her and direct it towards the god. But there was nothing. Because--as much as the Goddess might have driven her insane the past three years--she couldn't help but feel just the slightest bit...thankful.
"So I've heard." She answered, brushing some hair out of her eyes and sighing. "Well, we're together now. Your goal has been reached. Another match made. You happy?"
Percy watched the whole exchange with wide eyes, as if not sure whether to look entertained or horrified at the entire conversation. Meanwhile, Aphrodite picked up her Prada bag and sniffed, "I won't be happy until you two are happily married with kids. Then I'll be able to call it a done deal."
She began to walk towards the fire escape, but then stopped and turned towards the demi-gods, "Oh, and one more thing you two. I've invested much of my time making sure you two end up together without dying off or killing one other of your own accord. You're perfect for each other." The goddess stated flatly, a threatening tone on the edge of her voice. "Do not ruin it."
And with that, the goddess of love walked onto the fire escape and vanished in a flash of pink light, leaving the scent of roses in the air behind her.
Percy turned to his girlfriend with a completely lost expression. It was typical for him, but Annabeth found it more endearing than usual. "Um, forgive me for asking, but what the Hades was that about?"
Annabeth smiled again, feeling that contagious happiness sweep through her veins as she rolled her eyes and wrapped her arms around her boyfriend's neck, pulling him against her again. "Honestly Seaweed Brain, you have to be the slowest person I know."
"Don't worry about it, Percy. She was just stopping by to give some advice." Annabeth said soothingly, touching her forehead to his.
"Advice?" Percy looked even more confused, even as they bent back against the couch, the end of their conversation nearing with each inch they sank.
"Yes, Seaweed Brain. Just advice."
"Oh." Percy smiled, even though he still probably had no idea what that was all about. "Well, good."
"Now," Annabeth sighed impatiently, "Can we please forget that heinous interruption and go back to practicing the art of silence? I think I was really starting to get the hang of it."
His answering grin made her heart flutter and her stomach flip. "I thought you'd never ask."
And that said, he kissed her again, and all thoughts of Aphrodite and her constant intrusions were forgotten.
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