Author's notes: You know it was only a matter of time before I produced Percy/Annabeth kidfic. Just a fluffy futurefic I wrote for Mother's Day.
Disclaimer: I don't own Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Where the Heart Is
The lights were still on when Annabeth stepped into the apartment, even though it was almost midnight on a Sunday and she had called ahead to tell them not to wait up for her arrival earlier in the night when her flight had been delayed. She could hear the tell-tale murmur of the television in the living room as she shut the door behind her, and knew they hadn't listened to her at all.
She didn't bother calling out a greeting; if Percy and Charlie were awake, they'd have heard her keys scrabbling in the lock and would be rushing down the hall to find her soon enough.
She set her suitcase down by the hall closet, too tired to drag it all the way to her room, and sighed as she slipped her heels off, relishing the feel of the familiar carpet under her aching toes. She hadn't had time to change out of her business attire on her way to the airport, thanks in part to a late seminar at the conference and bad Los Angeles traffic, and she'd only made it on her first flight with minutes to spare.
Unbuttoning her suit jacket, she padded down the hall slowly and peeked into the living room as she passed, pausing in the doorway.
Percy's lanky form was spread out on the couch in front of the television, one arm hanging off the edge, his hand clutching the remote loosely. The other arm was wrapped around the tiny waist of a dark haired toddler, who had her head ducked under her father's chin and hands clenched in the fabric of his t-shirt. Both of them were snoring lightly, having failed spectacularly in their goal of staying up until she got home.
Annabeth leaned against the door frame of the living room, warmth spreading through her as she watched her husband and child sleep together. Even though affection was plenty in their household, Annabeth still liked stumbling across these quieter moments from time-to-time; it made her realize how lucky she was to have Percy in her life, how amazing it had been to bring their daughter into the world, and how impossibly much she loved both of them.
Her chest clenched at the thought of disrupting their tableau, but she knew both of them would be cranky in the morning if she let them sleep on their springy old couch, Charlie especially.
As gently as possible, Annabeth reached for their daughter, trying her best not to wake her as she moved her. Percy's grip tightened on the Charlie's frame as he felt her body sliding away from him, but he relaxed after Annabeth touched his wrist lightly and let go.
She gathered her arms around her daughter, and Charlie stirred, mumbling a soft, "Mommy?" into Annabeth's neck.
"Shhh, baby, it's all right," Annabeth said, running a hand through her dark curls soothingly as they walked down the hall. "Mommy's just putting you in your bed so you can go back to sleep."
Annabeth didn't bother to switch on the light in Charlie's room, the hall light illuminating the room just enough to see the tiny bed.
"Me an' Daddy missed you," Charlie yawned as Annabeth laid her down on the mattress and pulled the sheets around her. She snuggled into the bed, her thumb sinking into her mouth, and Annabeth's heart clenched again.
"I know, Charlie. I missed you too," she replied, stroking her hair. "I'll see you in the morning, baby."
Charlie mumbled something else in her sleep as Annabeth pressed a kiss to her forehead, but she didn't stir much more after that. Annabeth watched her chest rise and fall under the covers for a few moments, drinking in the sight of her baby, before backing out of the room and shutting the door quietly behind her.
When she returned to the living room, the television had been turned off, but Percy was still sprawled on the couch and even if he was awake, he probably didn't have much of an inclination to move from that spot. His eyes were still closed when Annabeth sat down on the little free piece of space of the couch near his waist, and she reached out to brush a few strands of hair out of his eyes.
"You want to know something funny?" she asked quietly. "I think Charlie inherited your habit for drooling in your sleeping. You've got a wet patch on your shirt where her head was."
Percy's eyebrows scrunched together, and he opened his eyes after a moment, glaring at her tiredly.
"That joke got old ten years ago," he replied, his voice a low and husky rumble from sleep. "You need some new material, Wise Girl."
"But it's a classic. And you know I only tease you because I like you so much, Seaweed Brain."
"Hmmm," Percy said, his eyes drifting closed again. His dangling arm slid up lazily, somehow settling on the bare patch of skin between the top of her pants and her dress shirt with practiced ease. "Charlie in bed?"
"Yes, although you should've put her there hours ago," she admonished lightly, running her hand along the stubble on his jaw. "You spoil her too much."
"I can't help it. She looks so sad when she pouts, and all she wanted to do was stay up and see Mommy," he replied. "I don't blame her. You can't go away for that long again. I might just go crazy without you."
Annabeth leaned forward, resting her head on his chest and letting his hands roam up and down her sides languidly. He wasn't the only one who had been going crazy after being apart for the last week; her body had ached for Percy's touch, wanting to be near him instead of across the country in her lonely hotel room.
"I'm glad to be home," she said, tracing a pattern over his heart with her fingertips.
"I'm glad you are too."
His heartbeat was slow and steady, and she concentrated on the soothing rhythm, letting her exhaustion overtake her. Now that the anticipation of seeing Percy and Charlie had faded away, she had been left with her jet lag and travel weariness, and they both seemed to be hitting her all at once.
"We should go to our room," she mumbled after a little while, the warm, fuzzy feeling of approaching sleep washing over her.
"We will," Percy said, pressing his lips to her temple. "Just lay with me here for a bit, okay?"
Although her sensible side insisted that she and Percy were far too old to be sleeping on couches any more, Annabeth found herself nodding and twisting into a more comfortable position. Percy shifted to give her more room, and she curled into his side, her eyes drifting closed as her husband's fingers trailed up her arm. This, she realized slowly, was what contentment had to feel like.
The lights were still on when they woke up the next morning.