Hello everyone! Happy (INCREDIBLY late) New Year! ^_^ It's a little (okay…A LOT) past holiday season, but I hope it's still not too late for a percabeth holiday future-fic.
Shout-out to Miz636, who beta-ed this, had part in helping out with writing one of the first memories in this, and let me bounce ideas off of her until I resulted with this.
I hope you enjoy this long-ish and totally fluffy percabeth one shot. ^_^
"I want to open this one!" Sophie wailed, waving a neatly wrapped present in her small six-year-old hands.
Percy couldn't help but smile at seeing the joy on her daughter's face as they were gathered around the Christmas tree on the morning of December 25th. Percy had drank more than a cup of coffee trying to get himself awake, but nothing got him up quicker than seeing Annabeth or Sophie smiling.
Snow was sprinkled outside of their home, and for a second Percy had forgotten all about how Sophie had woken him up ever so delicately by jumping on his stomach and screaming that it was Christmas right into his ear. As he watched her unwrap all of her presents, old enough now to be excited for her gifts, he couldn't help but feel like this truly was the perfect Christmas morning.
Sophie adjusted herself more comfortably into Annabeth's lap, shaking the large and neatly wrapped box next to her ear. Percy could see her hazel eyes squint as she tried to contemplate what could possibly be inside.
Annabeth frowned, taking the gift from Sophie's hand. "I don't remember this one," she mused, glancing at Percy.
"There's a note on it." Percy pointed to a small envelope taped to the back, before he picked Sophie up from Annabeth's lap into his own arms.
"It's from… It's from your mother, Percy," Annabeth said, smiling.
As Annabeth begun unwrapping the gift, Percy couldn't help but roll his eyes. "Leave it to my mom to sneak in gifts under our tree when she visits."
Annabeth ignored him, ripping away the last layer of tissue paper and ribbons to reveal a large book. She ran her fingers over the cover, a frown coming to her lips. "It's a photo album."
"A photo album?" Percy repeated, concern drawing on his face. "I swear, if my mother sent you a photo album of my baby pictures -"
"Oh, will you just relax?" Annabeth interrupted him, opening to the first page where a note was written. "They're not embarrassing pictures of you. They're… They're All of our Christmas Memories,"Annabeth stated, reading from the note.
"I want to see!" Sophie began excitedly, and Percy readjusted them so the three were huddled close together as Annabeth flipped another page in the photo album.
The first picture was one from years ago of Percy's old apartment. It showed a picture of a decorated Christmas tree standing tall by the fire place.
"That was from our first Christmas together when we were sixteen," Percy remembered, feeling like memories were rushing back through him. "Remember you stayed over when your boarding school was on vacation, and Paul and I brought that tree home?"
He glanced at Annabeth for confirmation, but he could see her staring at something much smaller in the photo. She was looking at a purple and white colored stocking hanging from the fire place. "It was the first time you said I Love You," she whispered, looking up to meet Percy's eyes.
Sophie didn't notice exactly what importance the stocking had to her parents, but as she sat cuddled up in Percy's arms, he seemed to flash back to the moment several years ago.
Sixteen-year-old Annabeth sat down next to Percy on the carpet in front of their fireplace in his small apartment on Christmas morning. Her blond curls were all tangled up from the night and her gray eyes were still blinking the sleep out of them.
Percy didn't waste time when he passed her the purple stocking with her name written on it. She was already blessed to be spending Christmas with her boyfriend's family, but knowing that Percy's mother had made a stocking especially for her was more than she could ask for.
Before peeking inside, she glanced around with a slight smile on her face. Percy's mom and Paul were laughing and enjoying their gifts together. She missed her own family, knowing Bobby and Matthew would be fighting over the largest gift at this exact moment, but being next to Percy seemed to make up for it.
Finally, Annabeth turned to her stocking, opening it. At the top of its contents, there was a small ornament bought from a museum. The small piece had some kind of a historical meaning - something only Paul could have gotten as they shared the interest. The rest of the stocking was filled with all sorts of chocolates and candy, most of them wrapped in a blue covering.
Percy's mother glanced at her, winking. "Blue is an old family tradition."
Annabeth thought she had gotten to everything in the stocking, but Percy's eyes were still on her. He watched her carefully, looking almost anxious. "Keep going," Percy told her quietly, "there's one last thing in there."
"Are you sure you put it in, Seaweed Brain?" Annabeth asked, emptying the entire stocking onto the carpet. She was positive there was nothing but candy at the bottom, until she shook the stocking one last time. A neatly folded note dropped down onto the pile of candy, and Annabeth glanced at Percy.
He was suddenly looking anywhere but at her, and Annabeth didn't know what to expect as she unfolded the paper. In the center of the blank note, there were words clearly in Percy's handwriting. It was nothing more than eight letters all together that made her heart skip a beat.
I love you.
Annabeth looked up and met Percy's eyes. Worry-tinged green eyes looked into her gray ones, and all she could do was smile, truly caught in the moment.
Paul raised an eyebrow, matching Sally's curious expression as he looked at his step-son. "You never mentioned putting a note in the stocking."
Sitting there, the note like a jewel in her hands, Annabeth couldn't hear or see anyone else around her. The permanent smile plastered onto her mouth was broken when she replied by leaning forward to kiss Percy full on the lips.
When she pulled away a bit, her heartbeat was even louder in her chest than before. Percy felt like he could capture that exact moment knowing he would never forget the look in her eyes right then for the rest of his life.
It wasn't long before Percy realized they had an audience. As Annabeth watched her boyfriend's face burning, red coming to his skin, she couldn't help but look back to the note.
She had never expected him to tell her on Christmas or do it with a simple note written in royal blue ink in the center of a blank scrap.
In her mind, though, it was just so Percy.
"Mommy looks really pretty!" Sophie chanted, pulling her parents out of their memories. She had flipped the page, pointing at a photograph of Annabeth and Percy sitting side by side on the edge of the bed in Percy's old room. In the photo, Annabeth was wearing a sparkly blue dress, her curly golden locks lying over her shoulders, and Percy wore a casual suit. A small boombox sat by his feet and several CDs of slow dancing music were scattered on the bed next to him.
Percy kissed the top of his daughter's head, remembering her earlier comment. "I thought mommy looked pretty that night too."
Annabeth smiled. "It's from the time right before we went to that Christmas dance over at my boarding school, remember?"
"It's best if I don't remember," Percy groaned, glaring at the CDs from the photograph.
"Oh, come on, Percy," Annabeth glanced at him, smiling at his stubborn look, "you have to admit you had a little fun once you stopped stepping over your own feet."
Annabeth clicked the pause button on the boombox, exhaling loudly.
"I told you for the millionth time, Annabeth, I can't do this!" Percy complained, ready to walk out of his room.
She grabbed his hand before he could leave. "You're not trying, Seaweed Brain. It's simple. Just put your hands around my waist and -"
"Annabeth, you know I suck at this. I couldn't do it right at that dance at West Over Hall when we were on that quest, and I can't do it now."
Annabeth sighed, giving up on trying to explain the directions for a fifth time. She had been trying to teach Percy how to slow dance as a last attempt before the event in a few hours, and it seemed like a hopeless case. She couldn't figure out what was making him nervous and trip all over himself. She had even secretly taken off her shoes to make sure Percy knew that he was just a little bit taller than her.
In a final attempt to get Percy to try one last time, she breathed steadily, clicking the play button on the boombox. A slow song came on, reminding Percy of what they had danced to that time on Mt. Olympus after the Council of the gods.
Annabeth didn't ask this time, taking Percy's hands in her own and placing them around her waist.
"Annabeth, I told you -"
She quieted him this time, stepping closer. For a second, he forgot all about why Annabeth was wearing a dress or why music was playing in the background. All he could see now was Annabeth's face just an inch away from his, and he was sure that he could point out four different shades of gray in her eyes.
She broke their gaze to put her head on his chest. Annabeth whispered something then, something that made him relax. "I don't want you to do anything, Percy. Just hold me."
As she let herself go in his arms, he did exactly what she said. He held her. This time, only one thing was different from the time they had danced at West Over Hall: This time, she was his.
Knowing that, at that second, she was in his arms and nothing could have changed that, he lost himself.
Neither Percy nor Annabeth knew when they had started swaying to the sound of the slow and sad tune, but one thing was for sure: They were both lost in the moment; lost in each other's arms. She was his and he never wanted to let go.
"What's the green thing?" Sophie asked, squinting at a green plant that hung from the ceiling in the background of the next photograph. She was zooming through the photos, oblivious to the fact that Percy and Annabeth kept trailing off.
In the picture, down below from where the plant hung in the corner of a heavily decorated room, it revealed a full-blown party with drinks, snacks, and a bunch of High School students dancing like graduation was just a day away.
Annabeth leaned forward, observing the photo, her face quickly going from a normal shade to pale as she stared at the mistletoe in the picture in front of her.
Sophie hardly seemed to notice when her mother's eyes shot to glare at Percy as he began rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. "Come on, Annabeth," Percy sighed, "it was years ago. I thought you promised me that you had let it go."
Annabeth took a deep breath, refusing to let the memory spoil a perfect Christmas morning. Percy, on the other hand, could see it play back in his head like a bad dream.
Her fingers- with perfectly done, bright pink nails - curled as they tangled deeper into Percy's hair. Her chocolate brown eyes were shut tight as her lips parted against his when she leaned deeper into the kiss.
It was incredible, thrilling, mesmerizing; it was everything.
It was everything it wasn't supposed to be. As she breathed sharply against his cheek before crashing her lips to his again in a heated moment under the mistletoe, Percy couldn't help but feel like this was all wrong.
And, then he felt angry at his own guilt. This was what he should have been doing, wasn't it? If Annabeth would rather spent the last half of Christmas upstairs buried in her studies rather than going to the party he had asked her to weeks in advance, then it was her own fault.
All Percy could think about at the moment was the stupid blond-haired "pretty-boy" from Annabeth's class who she had been spending more and more time working on blueprints with for her new engineering class. That was when Percy allowed himself to dive deeper into the kiss, his lips keeping up with hers now.
At that moment, he tried to clear his mind. He was kissing an unbelievably attractive girl under the mistletoe. What else could be on his mind other than how lucky he was?
And then, the guilt hit him again. When he tried to focus on the girl in front of him, it only took him a second to realize what he was doing before he pulled away. It wasn't Annabeth.
A look of shock flashed over the girls face at Percy's sudden retreat. She caught her breath, "What's wrong?"
"I'm - I'm sorry," Percy stuttered. That's all he had time to say, before he fled the scene of loud music, amazingly hot girls, and his friends from senior year to head towards the one girl he needed to see; his girl.
When he got to her room, it only took him a second to drop every ounce of his self dignity when he told her what happened. As he watched her gray eyes widen with every word he spoke, the initial look of hurt slowly being replaced by anger, he realized something right then.
Whether he was jealous of some guy getting closer with his girlfriend or not, whether Annabeth was right next to him or three thousand feet away, he never wanted to kiss anyone other than her ever again.
And then, like a sting worse than anything he had ever felt on his cheek, came her hand slapping him across his face. When she was screaming at him; her words harsh and accusing, and her gray eyes filled with a million emotions; he couldn't stand it anymore.
Right then and there, mistletoe or no mistletoe, he put his lips to Annabeth Chase's, quieting her rushed words.
"I can't lose you," he breathed, when he finally came to his senses. The kiss was enough to leave both of them feeling dizzy for a second, and Percy could barely even remember the girl he was with just minutes ago. "It was nothing compared to when I'm with you, Annabeth, I swear. I was being stupid."
As Annabeth stared back at Percy, his face dead serious as he spoke, they both knew that the words weren't enough to win her over.
Percy knew what he had done was probably the dumbest thing of his entire life, but he couldn't help but feel like he gotten one thing out of it. It made him see what he felt so much clearer, and he could see right then that he only had room for Annabeth; anyone else would just have to turn and head the other way.
Sophie squirmed in Percy's arms, sinking deeper into his lap as she huddled up near his chest.
That memory, in particular, had never made him smile before the way it did now as he sat with his daughter close to him and Annabeth by his side holding the album.
The scene was a blur in his mind, but he couldn't forget what he felt for Annabeth in the intensity of that moment. He smiled because, sitting there, Percy knew more than ever that whatever it was that he had felt so strongly for Annabeth all those years ago was still there and always would be.
"It's shiny!" Sophie squealed, as Annabeth flipped another page.
Percy shook out of his thoughts, wondering if Sophie was pointing to the shiny red car that he and Annabeth stood in front of in the photograph or the item around Annabeth's neck.
"Paul was nice to buy you that new car," Annabeth recalled, smiling, "if only you hadn't wrecked it within the month."
Percy laughed, a faint image of his time with the car coming back to him. As Annabeth ran her fingers over the glossy photo, she could remember snapping the picture of them with her digital camera right before the two headed upstairs to his parent's apartment.
Percy parked the car, overlooking the New York skyline; the cities light lit like starts in front of them.
"It's Christmas, Percy," Annabeth reminded him from the passenger seat, "shouldn't we be getting home to your family?"
"I know," Percy mumbled, busy trying to get something out of his pocket. "I just - I need to do something first."
Annabeth had gotten used to Percy's bizarre ideas that seemed to pop up at the strangest times. However, she wasn't expecting it when Percy pulled a silver locket from his jeans pocket.
Annabeth's eyes widened as she stared at the delicate sterling silver chain holding a heart-shaped pedant decorated with specks of diamonds engraved into its smooth surface.
She glanced back at Percy, a confused expression filling her face, before she set her eyes back on the shining locket dangling off of her boyfriend's fingers as he held it.
"It's for you," he said simply as if he hadn't secretly spent the last two months working an extra hour on his side job while he was at college to save up for the locket.
"Percy," Annabeth gasped, "how did you - I can't possibly accept this -"
"I want you to have it, Annabeth," Percy pressed, moving the chain closer to her. Her fingers reached forward brushing the diamond engraved pendant, and her eyes met his. She knew that the locket was too much for her to accept, but then she saw the look on Percy's face, and she knew he wouldn't take no for an answer.
He was eighteen now, and he felt like the least he could do was afford to buy his girlfriend a Christmas present that didn't come from Paul or his mother's wallet.
Annabeth smiled slowly, biting her lip. "Put it on me, Seaweed Brain."
As he leaned forward, hooking the fragile chain around her neck, Annabeth could feel his breath on her cheek.
"How much was this?" Annabeth whispered, drifting back into reality.
"It doesn't matter," Percy told her, and he meant it. He had told himself that working an extra hour on top of his studies was absolutely nothing if he got to see her smile, and he had been right because as he caught sight of the glint of joy in her eyes he knew there wasn't much more he could ask for. "Another thing," Percy said, before he kissed her. "Merry Christmas."
"Were you in a bad mood, daddy?" Sophie asked, fidgeting in Percy's arm to get closer to the photo she was looking at.
Annabeth held the album up closer, reading a small date in the corner. "It was the year I spent winter in San Francisco," she remembered, a slightly sad smile forming on her lips as she stared at Percy's face in the photograph.
It was a picture of Percy, Sally, and Paul standing in front of the Christmas tree on a gloomy evening. The clear balcony door next to them revealed gray storm clouds in the sky that day and raindrops blurred the glass. Paul had his arm around Percy's shoulders, and Percy was making less than an effort to smile.
"Paul dragged me into the photograph," Percy recalled, nodding slowly as the memory came to him.
"Mom, I'm seriously not in the mood," Percy groaned for what he felt was the fiftieth time as he lazily spread out on the couch.
His mother and Paul had been trying to get him in the Christmas spirit since morning, but Percy refused to do anything other than sit next to the phone hoping she would call.
It was already bad enough that he didn't get to see her everyday as they went to different Universities, so the holidays were the only thing he had left to live for anymore.
He knew that Annabeth had gotten an important opportunity at San Francisco to help design a central park over the entire month of December, and he was happy for her. But, sitting there on the couch, he couldn't help but wish he hadn't put on a fake smile and encouraged her to take the opportunity and spend Christmas with her family while she had the chance.
Sally seemed to pull her nineteen-year-old son out of his thoughts as she rustled his hair. It usually bothered him, but he didn't even have the energy anymore to complain. "It'll only be for a more days, Percy. You know she'll call you as soon as she settles in."
He didn't need to hear that. He knew that, but what bothered him was that he couldn't understand why he felt like half of him was missing. They had been far away so many times before, so why this was time any different?
As he watched Paul put up the lights on top of the fire place, something clicked. This was the first Christmas they had been away from each other.
Ever since they were sixteen, Christmas was always a time when Percy knew she was by his side. He always had someone to hold.
Annabeth had spoiled him, and he knew it more than ever now that she was away. Thunder rumbled outside the apartment, and Percy breathed. Just being away from Annabeth, knowing there was one less pair of hands as they put up the lights, he felt like the world was off balance.
He tried to think about what Annabeth was doing; he could imagine her fingers carelessly brushing away a golden curl from her face as she handed her father his gift.
At the moment, Percy wasn't sure how to make the hollow feeling in his chest go away, all he knew was that it hurt him to be away from Annabeth at a time like Christmas, and he needed her now.
"No more?" Sophie said, disappointed as she flipped hurriedly through the remaining pages. They were blank, photo-less pages, which brought a sad frown to Sophie's lips.
"That's strange," Annabeth matched Sophie's expression, observing the rest of the album. "Why would your mother leave the rest empty?"
As Percy stared at the blank pages, he realized something. "They're not empty," he said, handing Sophie to Annabeth's arms carefully as he stood up. "They're just not filled yet."
Annabeth didn't have to ask what Percy was doing when she saw him pull the camera from the drawer. As he set it up on the podium, Annabeth sighed, already beginning to brush her daughter's hair and straighten her pajamas.
As they gathered in front of the camera, waiting for the timer to go off and the picture to be taken, the three smiled.
If you saw the photograph, you never would have known what was really going on in Percy and Annabeth's mind at that second. No one could truly know the extent to what they had gone through this morning, but knowing they could share the memories with each other was enough for them.
From the stocking that was filled with words Percy brought himself to tell her for the first time, to the way he lost himself when she was in his arms, or whether it was the way a stupid kiss under the mistletoe could trigger a sea of renewed feelings between the two, a first official gift, or their first Christmas away from each other – they knew that there was way more to come.
It wasn't an end to the photo album. They were together, and Percy and Annabeth felt like they had everything they could need with them right there. They had made things permanent and managed to make it this far with a child in their arms who was just theirs. They could only look back at the past and smile now.
It was all just starting, and there were hundreds of new memories to be made.
Percy leaned over, kissing Annabeth on the cheek as the picture was taken.
Too late to say Happy Holidays, but I can tell you that I really do hope you enjoyed that. ^_^ You can let me know and make my day by clicking the small "review" button at the bottom there. :)