Hey everyone, Ivyflightislistening here. This is a Percy Jackson and the Olympians one-shot I've been thinking about writing for some time now about when Percy proposes to Annabeth. Now, this was slightly a conflicting idea as A. I usually don't write really cheery fics and B. I was torn between whether either of them would want to be tied down by law (even if they were together in heart (how corny does that sound? I'm a hopeless romantic.)) or if they would want some permanence in their relationship. I decided, for this fic, at least, that they wanted some stability in the turbulent lives of a pair of demigods.
PLEASE review and tell me what you think, even if you hate it. But don't just write it scks dont rite anything evr agan, please tell me why you don't like it. You don't like fics where they are older, you don't like the idea of marriage, or you don't think I portrayed them well. Whatever. But please, a writer to another reader/writer? REVIEW. Just jot something down, it doesn't have to be an essay.
Anyway, this is called Questions and it is a one-shot about a spontaneous summer when Percy asks Annabeth to marry him. Enjoy!
She was in his house.
By the gods, she was in his bedroom.
Well, it wasn't his house. It was actually the cabin at the edge of Montauk's beach, almost hidden among the leafy trees but with a great view from the front windows to the secluded sand and rocks and then the water. And it was around ten in the morning. Nothing special about the time, really.
But then out she came, shutting the worn door softly behind her. Her hair was still damp from their swim last night, even curlier, and it hung past her shoulders in perfect golden curlicues.
He prayed no god was reading his mind when he noticed this. Or how amazing she looked in her oversized California Angels t-shirt, pulled tighter with a hair tie, and her jean shorts. She raised an eyebrow, noticing that he was watching her.
"Looking for something in particular, Seaweed Brain?" She snapped, but her grey eyes were not flashing the way he knew they would be if he were really in trouble. He smirked, and turned to pour her a mug of green tea. He had never known before that she always drank green tea first thing in the morning, no matter how hot it was.
"This may surprise you," She rolled her eyes. "But I can actually make my own cup."
"I know." He grinned. She accepted the mug. Gods, he loved that smile of hers, when she was trying to pretend she wasn't amused. How long had they been staying in this cabin? A while. Some weeks, at least. Was it… August? That sounded about right. Taking advantage of the extended summer break that came with college education. They had some summer homework; the pair of them, but even that hadn't been too horrendous, sitting side by side at the kitchen table as she glued foam core into a 3D model of a temple of honor Athena or working on his Greek translation on the beach. This vacation had just been… could he use the word heavenly? Yeah, they still argued sometimes and there had been that time when she buried him up to his neck in sand and didn't help him out… but yeah, heavenly sort of covered it. Weren't you supposed to get sick of people, if you spent all your time together? They practically lived in each other's apartments back in the city, and this summer they had hardly seen anyone else. Yeah, when in the city, Rachel and Grover and even Connor Stoll had stopped by, and he had met up with some Apollo kids who were singing carols in honor of the campers who had died in the battle for Olympus seven years ago. He spared the deceased by not singing, but tagged along anyway.
But Annabeth… he never got tired of seeing her. They argued, and they had their own apartments for a reason, but he lived through the school day thinking about when they would meet up at Starbucks or in Central Park and talk about their days or just anything, really. He loved her laugh, her stormy grey eyes, even the way she could go on and on and on about Roman aqueducts. And judging by the way she sometimes played with his untamable hair or traced her fingers along his Achilles heel or pointed out the constellations they could see, laying on the sand at night, she didn't exactly hate his presence, either.
"Sorry!" He raised his hand to block her half-hearted swat and ducked under her arm. He held her close, looking down at her face, her eyes, her smile.
"What?" Annabeth asked, an eyebrow quirked. "Either your brain has gone MIA or you were thinking. I'm going with the former."
He loved reading her expressions, guessing what she might say next. He had gotten pretty good at it, but she still managed to surprise him. Her lips pressed together, eyes calculating, wondering what he was doing.
Percy wasn't exactly sure where the words came from. All he knew was that suddenly he blurted, "Will you marry me?" and he was positive that possession via Aphrodite had nothing to do with it.
Annabeth rarely tried to guess what he was thinking, preferring to wait or sometimes hit or snap at him if she was impatient, but this had clearly not been one of her mental guesses. Her mouth dropped open, not even trying to conceal the shock she felt. She blinked a few times, as if waking from a dream, and he couldn't help smiling.
"And my head is full of kelp." Percy scoffed, but he put a hand under her chin, trying to figure out what she was thinking.
"You…" She murmured. "Are asking me to… to… marry you. Right now. What?"
He nodded. "Yeah, that sums it up."
Annabeth's forehead was creased in a frown, but he was pretty sure she wasn't saying no. She was just… well, the words had kind of fell out of his mouth before he even thought them through, and they were kind of in college, and he wasn't exactly planning ahead.
"Here? Like this? Why, I'm, I'm…" She backed out of his arms, looking around the cabin and down at herself and back to Percy, in cut off shorts like hers and a dark blue t-shirt. She buried her head in her hands and mumbled something.
Percy cringed. "Sorry?"
"No!" She blurted, looking up at him with wild eyes. "I mean, not no no, I'm just…"
"Overwhelmed?" He supplied, amazed at how calm he ways despite the feeling that his very life was on the line here.
"Yeah." Annabeth breathed, leaning against the blue wall and hitting her head on a hanging starfish.
"I can ask you somewhere else, if you'd like." He offered, moving forward slightly and reaching his hand out, if she wanted to take his hand. She looked up at him, searching his face.
"What do you mean? I like this cabin fine." But she took his hand and he pulled her outside and towards the park on the other side of the beach. They picked up speed, running over the sand and clambering over the rocks they had explored over the summer and up to the more public park. He stopped her at the foot of a picnic table and climbed up, gesturing out to the children on the faraway swing set and the elderly couple looking out at the water from a bench. But he looked at her, the half smile taking the place of the bemused expression, and she still held one of his hands.
"Well, I could publicly proclaim my undying love to you in front of all these good people." He offered, then raised his voice to a yell. "I, Perseus Jackson-"
"No, no!" She yanked him down from the table, laughing despite herself. "Public proposal unnecessary!"
He grinned, holding her at arms length. "You sure? Because all these wonderful people could be witnesses, and then they'd cheer and clap and… and…"
They both dissolved into laughter, knowing it was the completely wrong option for the pair of them, and he led her away back toward the cliffs and rocks. She allowed him to lead her, but he couldn't help but feel hopeful at her optimistic turn to things.
"Hmm." He stopped, climbed onto one of the larger rocks and waited for her to climb up next to him. "Perhaps, what if we're surrounded by bloodthirsty monsters?" Percy uncapped Riptide and spun, slaying some creature of the imagination. He whirled in an array of swordplay, and Annabeth hopped around the rocks beside him, her knife out, but laughing too hard to actually join in. "And," Percy called to her, "It seems there is no hope left! We're obviously goners, but despite the carnage and death I pull you close-" He did so, "And look deep into your eyes-" He leaned in so close she could see every color in his irises, "And I say, 'Wise Girl, we're probably gonna die any second now, but I just want to say that I love you and, will you marry me?'"
They breathed in harmony, tickling each other's cheeks and ruffling her hair, but she stepped away, shaking her head.
"One problem to your plan." She grinned. "No monsters."
"Right." He looked around, as if hoping a sphinx would hop out of the woods or a hydra would sneak out of the rocks. When this failed, he turned back to her. "Well, we could always sneak down to the Underworld… or maybe find a mark of Daedalus?"
"Yeah, because we haven't had enough near-death experiences. And I'm not sure Hades would look kindly on that specific suggestion."
"Well, what if I fell on the rocks and broke my ribs? We have no ambrosia, and my rib pierced my lung so I'm slowly choking on blood, and then my last words are-"
But Annabeth was shaking her head. "Should I be concerned about this obsession with dangerous and life threatening suggestions?"
Percy shrugged. "I don't think so. I'm good without them. You?"
Annabeth shot him a look that clearly meant to move on. He sighed and looked around again. She was watching him when that familiar gleam entered his eye. She waited a moment, and then he turned back to her, pulling her to his chest and looking out at the endless water below them.
"Hold on." He said. "Plan in process."
She snorted, but contented herself with feeling his arms around her, his body heat so close and tried not to hyperventilate at the very thought of their little adventure. In the distance, a black dot grew steadily closer until they quickly took the form of a Pegasus that landed daintily on the rock beside them. She ignored his awkward attempts to offer to help her up, but she mounted herself and he quickly took his place behind her. She patted Blackjack's shoulder and swiveled her head to look at him, but he rolled his eyes at something, presumably a comment from the Pegasus.
"Say we're flying, just for fun." His whispered into her ear, her blonde curls swirling around in the air as Blackjack leaped from the ledge and out into the air above the water. "We're close to the ocean, and it's warm. We've spent all summer together, and it's been the best of my life. When we've flown out into the deeper water, we hold onto each other and jump from the Pegasus's back."
"And say you better not let me drown or this hypothetical situation wouldn't be that great." She called to him over the sudden onslaught of wind as Blackjack slowed and she held Percy's arms tight around her. She spared a quick moment to pat Blackjack and thank him, and then Percy's head was on her shoulder.
"Ready?" He asked.
"Born ready." She retorted, and they jumped.
The water was cold, but not unpleasantly so. They sank, still holding each other, and he found her lips to kiss softly before he guided them up to the surface again. He had the currents guide them towards shore, their own private beach in view, but they stood when the water was at waist height. Waves tugged at their bodies, but they weren't strong and for a moment the pair stood, dripping wet but soaking in each other's presence like the sun. Gently, he brushed her hair behind her ear and ducked down to kiss her again. This time it was longer. Hungrier. Powerful. She felt the sea kick up around her, responding to his emotions, but Annabeth was never worried for her safety next to Percy. The ocean had always made her nervous. It seemed eternally hungry, merciless, but she had come to find it was just like Percy. A little reckless, not planned out, and sometimes it took a while to get to know. But once the sea had you in it's grasp, you couldn't leave easily. They were both ensnaring, whether they knew it or not. Annabeth did not feel nervous now, returning his kiss with equal fervor. She felt her arms wrap around his neck, and he bent and then pulled her up off the seafloor. He felt her legs encircling him, holding him as close as possible. Waves danced around them, sprinkling their faces with drops of salty water.
"And next," He murmured, lips tracing her jaw line and neck as he carried her inland. "Perhaps the pair collapse onto the sand as they make their way out of the ocean. And perhaps there is more physical contact then he originally intended. This theoretical girl, she's pretty strong, but he loves how she's holding him so close, and then they're lying on the sand-"
Her head blocked the sunlight from his face as she leaned over him, the waves tickling their lower legs. She touched her lips to his, stopping speech, until she pulls up a little and stares down into his eyes. Then she moved in again, softly kissing his cheek and then whispering directly into his ear.
"And as they lie on the sand," Annabeth murmured to him. "The world seems pretty perfect, but she knows there is a reason that he brought her here, and she's curious."
Percy's eyes, tide pools of green, follow her every movement as he sits up, and then he's taking her hands, guiding her to stand tall, and he gets down on one knee.
"Wise Girl, you okay?" He asked, watching her so intently she felt she might burn up. For once, Annabeth couldn't find words, so she just nodded. He nodded, too, considering. And then he swallowed, and blinked a few times, searching her eyes for something. He still hadn't let go of her hands.
"Look," He said to her over the sound of the surf. "Annabeth. I know it's sudden. Unplanned. But, please listen… will you marry me?"
She was silent for so long he was afraid she might pass out, tough girl or not. But eventually she choked out his name. "Percy. We're… I'm… Twenty-three. We're in college. It's just…"
"Sudden?" He offered again. She nodded.
"Sudden. Unexpected. Unplanned. Risky. We don't even hold permanent jobs! Where would we live? What would my mother say?"
He squeezed her hands. "Annabeth." He whispered. "Breathe."
She did. He smiled slightly.
"But… Percy," She choked. "Why? Don't tell me you're kidding because I swear to the gods I'll gut you like a fish if you are." She waited, reading his expression, understanding the answer she had known all along. "Oh, gods." She breathed. "Oh, gods."
Percy figured it was time to say something before Annabeth either ran off or took her knife out, both of which were always options on the few occasions when she was overwhelmed.
"Why, Wise Girl? Because I love you. And yeah, we're still in college, but demigods aren't exactly known for longevity, right? Clarisse and Chris are married. We both have apartments, and family who can help us out if we needed it, which we won't, thanks to your amazing planning skills and my charming character. No one can refuse me!"
She choked a little laugh and muttered something that sounded slightly like "Clarisse."
"Point is, Annabeth, this summer has been amazing. I love all the time I spend with you. Tell me if I'm too clingy, but I want to be by your side and you by mine forever. We can argue like hell, but I also know there is no one else in the entire world who I would ever want to spend the rest of my life with more than you. I'm not saying we start a family. We will graduate in May. Find more permanent jobs. Go to the reunion at Camp next June like we always do."
Annabeth folded down on her knees next to him, one hand to her mouth as if afraid of what she might say. She looked out at Percy from underneath her curls, falling back in her face then pushed back with the wind.
"This is crazy." She whispered.
"I know." He said simply.
"Do you even know the divorce rate these days?"
This offhand comment finally managed to reach through to her. "Why are you being so godsdamned optimistic!" She snapped. "This isn't just a jaunt in the woods-this is marriage and ohmygods we're… oh, gods. Seaweed Brain I swear to the gods I'll kill you myself!"
"Before or after you answer?" He asked.
"Shut up! This is crazy. Have you even talked with our parents?"
"Admit this idea occurred to you just this morning!" She ordered, yanking her hands away from him and holding her head to her chest. "Admit you didn't think this through in the slightest, that this is just a whim you're serious about now but will forget about tomorrow morning!"
"I can't do that." He said softly, then crept forward to brush the hair on her head. "Yes, it occurred to me this morning when I realized how I always want to wake up with you by my side, how I love living in the same house, how I've never known anything but instability. I never used to believe in love, I thought that marriage was just a joke. But now… I just… I love you, Annabeth. We'll make it through."
Annabeth had raised her head to look at him somewhere around the instability part and he realized just how high the stakes were. Her family life had been nothing short of awful. She ran away. Had Thalia taken from her. Had Luke turn on her. Percy had always known how emotionally fragile she was, no matter how hard she tried to blow it off. Percy had never been a big one for marriage, when he was younger. Between Smelly Gabe and the idea of being tied to someone for life… but he was tired of 'ifs.'
"Here." He offered. "Come here."
He led her into the water, up to their ankles, knees, waists, and then he took her left hand in his and placed it just on the surface of the water, which had calmed almost instantaneously, as if it realized how important this moment was. And then, before Annabeth's eyes, water began to swirl up her finger, circling her ring finger. It began to solidify into a substance clearer than crystal, and then she was looking at her hand in open-mouthed astonishment at a beautiful ring. It was inland with chips of micah, catching the sunlight in patterns that looked like waves, and then on the very top there was a simple stone. It was a funny sort of oval, almost eyelike, and a ring that gleamed and sparkled.
"Did… did you know what would happen?"
"Not for sure." Percy admitted, blushing. "But I just guessed. The ocean's never not helped me when I needed it, and I just realized I didn't have a ring. Waves to remind you of me. The diamond is supposed to be an owl eye. Representing you."
Percy Jackson had given Annabeth some pretty spontaneous gifts over the years. A feather found in the park, a shell, a stone that caught the light, but this topped them all. Annabeth realized the old Percy had finally resurfaced, he was blushing and nervous, and couldn't quite meet her eyes. The waves chopped around them.
"I know it's sudden. And frightening, whether you admit it or not, Wise Girl. Don't feel pressured into saying yes, not that I can pressure you into anything, but… I thought I'd give it a shot. If not, we can pretend this never happened."
"No." Annabeth said softly, fingering the new ring but looking up at Percy. "It's… I…" She swallowed and cleared her throat. "I'm just nervous, Seaweed Brain. I want something permanent, but now I'm worried." This was admitted haltingly. "Are we going to elope? Go find someone now? Should I change my last name? What will my father say-no-what will my mother say-"
Percy had lit up like an entire house of Christmas lights. "You mean you're saying yes?" And he had her hands in his and pulled her so close his nose touched hers. "You'll marry me?"
"I…" Annabeth stared up at him with something new in her eyes. "Yeah. Yes. Oh my gods. Yes."
The ocean reacted with Percy as he lifted her to the sky, and the waves reared and sparkled, breaking and rushing all around them. She held him tightly in her arms.
"No huge wedding?"
"'Course not. We could get Juniper to do it; I've heard nymphs have really nice, nature-y ones. No religious affiliations."
"Just friends and family? My dad, his wife, their kids? Your mom and Mr. Blofis? Grover and Juniper? Rachel? Clarisse and Chris? Malcolm? Nico, maybe?"
"Whoever you want." He promised, laughing with joy. "Wherever you want."
"This is our last year." She reminded him of their five-year programs in college. "Next June?"
"Perfect." He whispered into her ear, stroking her flyaway hair with one hand, the other supporting her as she clung to him. "Wise Girl?"
"Seaweed Brain?" She murmured into his neck.
She prayed he couldn't tell she was crying. "Would we be doing this if we didn't love each other?"
"I should hope not." His mouth burned a line from her ear to her throat, along her jaw, and finally meeting her lips. Who would have thought that gawky boy with the Minotaur horn could ever entrance her like this? But she supposed that was what loving someone was about, not caring about flaws like how his hair was untamable or when he called her at two in the morning for help on a paper.
"One more thing." She said quickly. Percy stopped, waiting. "If you tell anyone how I freaked out, I will feed you to Mrs. O'Leary."
"Mrs. O'Leary likes me." He reminded her, laughing, and he dove into the waves to avoid her Death Glare. Annabeth stood for a moment, trying to decide between chasing after Percy or waiting for him to come back, thinking he was forgiven, but seeing his black head pop up among the waves, she couldn't help grinning and diving after him.