I've had this idea floating around in my head for a while now, and I'm happy to finally be posting this. We know that Aphrodite had a little discussion with Percy, but here's my take on what would happen after Annabeth found out that he met with the goddess of love in person.
After sending this over to my good friend, Laughing-like-Bells, who made her own additions to this, and then having it edited by Miz636, this is what the final product turned out to be. I really hope you enjoy!
One-shot. Set somewhere after TC and during the summer of BOTL.
It was a normal night at camp; at least as normal as it ever got for a half-blood.
The lights were dimly lit throughout the camp, and we had just got through a late, last-minute cabin inspection. There were nearly ten minutes left before curfew, and I found myself coming out to the fields where I was almost sure no one else was.
"It is so like you to ditch cabin inspection," a familiar voice said, and I almost jumped.
When I turned around, there was no one standing behind me. It was just the murky air, enveloped in darkness. Still water rested in the lake just feet away from me.
Slowly, Annabeth shimmered into view, pulling off her invisibility cap. She wore a ratty T-shirt, which she was probably going to use to sleep in, and a pair of gym shorts. Her curly, blonde hair came tumbling down her shoulders the second she removed her cap.
We had already gone through the whole "I totally scared you! No you didn't! Yes I did!"routine one too many times when Annabeth used her invisibility cap, and so I went straight to her earlier comment.
"I didn't ditch," I informed her.
"Really?" she asked sarcastically. "Because that perfectly explains why you're sitting out here instead of back with everyone else by the cabins."
"For your information," I said, glaring at her, "I was the first one to get my cabin checked."
Annabeth raised an eyebrow. "And you passed?"
"Well, um… no."
Annabeth rolled her eyes, a smile escaping her lips. "Of course you didn't."
"Hey, at least I got a four!" I exclaimed indignantly.
"A four out of ten? Percy, that's worse than what the Hermes cabin got!"
I sighed loudly, looking out towards the fields. "The Hermes cabin doesn't have just one person staying in it, does it?" I questioned. It was the best excuse could come up with at the moment.
I could hear Annabeth's footsteps move forward to stand next to where I sat. "It should be easier when you don't have siblings to make a mess, Seaweed Brain."
"I also don't have siblings to help clean up my mess," I replied, already imagining Annabeth rolling her eyes.
"Percy," I could hear her sigh as she took a seat next to me on the grass. "You have to pass at least one inspection or you're going to be on dish-washing duty for a week."
I turned to give Annabeth my best pleading look. "Will you help me clean it?"
Annabeth smirked, giving me a 'are you serious' type of look. "Not a chance, Seaweed Brain."
I groaned, turning my head back to the calm sight I had been looking at before she had shown up.
"What are you staring at, anyway?" Annabeth asked, following my gaze towards the sky. When I heard her gasp in amazement, I knew she saw it too. Annabeth whispered, "That's amazing!"
Our focus was up in the sky. The stars were shining brightly tonight, and I could easily put my money on these being the most beautiful sets of stars I had ever seen at camp. They were spread out like a giant blanket across the sky, and they shone brighter than ever. It was as if they were little pinhole pricks leading into the heavens. You'd think I was exaggerating, but I wasn't.
I watched Annabeth run her finger in the air, tracing a constellation. "Pisces," she said.
I blinked. "Isn't that supposed to be a fish?"
"It's not just a fish, Percy," Annabeth told me. "You might want to show it some respect unless you want to piss off Aphrodite."
"I thought it was Poseidon's constellation. I mean, it's a fish after all."
Annabeth exhaled, sitting up to look at me. "It's protected by Poseidon," she corrected. "But it's in honor of Aphrodite. It goes back to the myth when Aphrodite was escaping Typhoon -"
"Alright, I get it," I cut her off, playfully. "You don't have to go into classroom mode."
Annabeth shook her head in exasperation. "Like I said, Percy," she told me, with a tone in her voice that said she was truly trying to warn me, "you might want to show some interest. There's nothing worse than a pissed off goddess of love."
Staring at the stars, my mouth ran without thinking. "I doubt I'll ever get on her bad side. She practically uses my life as her personal soap opera."
There was a second of silence, and I looked towards Annabeth. Her eyes were wide with shock, and I backtracked trying to remember what I had just said.
"Wait," Annabeth said, staring at me like I had just dropped from the moon. "You met Aphrodite?"
I realized right then that I had never mentioned it to Annabeth, and now my throat felt dry. "Yeah," I said, trying to brush it as casually as I could. "It wasn't a big deal."
"Not a big -?" Annabeth started, like she couldn't believe what I was saying. "It's a huge deal! Aphrodite rarely ever comes to visit campers, much less even her own children. Why would she come see you?"
I stared forward, hoping Annabeth would decide to drop it, but I knew it was useless because the news had Annabeth's full attention now.
"At least tell me when you saw her," Annabeth said, her eyes fixed on me.
"It was last winter, Annabeth," I said, being a short as possible. "When you went missing."
"Oh." Annabeth went silent before speaking again, and I had a feeling she was thinking about everything that had happened last winter. She snapped out of her thoughts to ask me, "Aren't you going to tell me why she spoke to you, Seaweed Brain?"
I tried to answer Annabeth's question in my head and found myself speechless. The truth was that I was still confused with exactly what the Hades Aphrodite said she had in store for me, and I was still embarrassed by the whole thing. I was sure no one knew the real reason Aphrodite had wanted to speak with me, and I wanted to keep it that way.
"Percy!" Annabeth said, and I realized I had spaced out.
I exhaled before speaking. "It was nothing, Annabeth. She just came to warn me about Hephaestus' junkyard. She told me it was important that we didn't touch anything."
"And?" Annabeth stared at me impatiently.
"That can't be it! You just said Aphrodite used your life as her own personal soap opera."
I regretted opening my big mouth in the first place and stared anywhere but at Annabeth, trying to get out of the situation I had created for myself.
When I didn't speak, Annabeth lowered her voice. I could barely hear her when she said, "Aphrodite only comes when love is involved somewhere."
I looked over at Annabeth. It was too dark to read her expression but there was a hidden tone in her voice that suddenly made me feel guilty.
"It wasn't like that," I said stupidly.
"Then it shouldn't be hard for you to tell me what it is," Annabeth said quietly. "I just want the truth, Percy."
I wasn't expecting it, but I could feel my own cheeks burn as I really thought about it. I could only hope that Annabeth couldn't see my face in the dark.
I took a deep breath, looking over at Annabeth. For a second, the moon light flashed across her face when she moved, and I could see the look in her gray eyes. They were clear, filled with noting but trust, and I suddenly felt bad for hiding something from her. As I tried to take everything in, my eyes fell on Annabeth's clothes, and it was possibly the worst distraction for my ADHD. Even as she wore a simple t-shirt and shorts, the moon looked like just another rock compared to the way Annabeth looked now.
"Did she talk to you about…" Annabeth paused. Even though her voice was unreadable, I could still hear a slight accusing edge to her voice as she finished her question. "Rachel?"
"No. Why would she talk to me about Rachel?" I asked faster than I meant too, surprising even myself. "I didn't even know Rachel back then."
Annabeth nodded slowly, her expression still hidden. Her voice was enveloped in suspicion as she asked, "Then, who?"
I looked at Annabeth, and I thought my tongue might have betrayed me. When I spoke, my throat felt dry and my skin was on fire.
"It was someone who was missing back then," I told Annabeth honestly, getting the words out as best as I could. "A friend. Aphrodite told me that I couldn't give up. I had to keep looking for her until I found her, because…well, because she knew that I care about her."
For a second Annabeth's eyes widened while she realized exactly what I had just said. I didn't know what she would have done, but then suddenly voices were heard from back at camp. We could hear Chiron announce curfew.
Before Annabeth even had time to fully process the fact that there wasn't anyone who was missing that winter besides her, she stood up immediately, brushing off her legs and looking absolutely flustered. I stood after Annabeth.
"We should get back." Annabeth said, breaking the silence.
"Right." I nodded.
She didn't wait for me as she took off back toward the cabins, and I found myself looking up at the stars one last time.
"Percy?" Annabeth called, stopping in her tracks. She was already half way across the fields, and now she held her cap in her hands.
I looked back at her, waiting her for to say just about anything. What she said, though, was something I hadn't been expecting.
Before pulling her invisibility cap over her head and disappearing for good, she said, "I'll help you clean your cabin."
The next time I looked back up towards the stars, my eyes strayed towards the constellation where Annabeth had traced out pieces. It seemed to stand out amongst the rest, glowing.
Once again, I hope you enjoyed this dose of light percabeth fluff! Your thoughts and comments will be cherished and much appreciated. ^_^ Please review!