Title: Come Dawn
Pairing/Characters: Annabeth, Dr. Chase, background Percy/Annabeth
Summary: During a visit with Annabeth's father, Annabeth realizes how much her father cares, while Percy and Dr. Chase come to an understanding.
A/N: Written for the LJ comm pjo_fic_battle, with the prompt Annabeth, Dr. Chase, "...And I love you, Dad". Except the actual line didn't work it's way into the fic, but I figured it's implied enough. Post series, implied spoilers, enjoy!
It was early in the morning, and for once, the house was quiet. Annabeth sighed and took a sip of coffee, curling her legs underneath her and leaning back against the wall as she flipped through the pages of her notebook. A week off for spring break was nice, but she still had two tests scheduled when school started again in a few days. There was no other noise but the creaks and groans of the house, and Percy snoring gently on the futon in the living room.
She had to take advantage of this time while she had it; soon the boys would be up, she knew, and then Percy would be up, and she'd have all three of them sitting at the table clamoring for her attention in one way or another while her stepmother would be at the stove banging pots and pans. And her father, bless him, would be sitting at the head of the table, reading the newspaper with the most serene expression on his face, as if there wasn't all that ordered chaos going on around him.
"When did you start drinking coffee?" Her father stood in the doorway, the newspaper folded under one arm as he looked at her curiously.
Annabeth smiled. "Mt. Olympus is a time zone all its own," she answered. There had been way too many nights of heading up the elevator and working for what she had planned to be an hour or two only to have it turn into five or six or overnight.
"Of course." He yawned and sat down at his seat. "Did you fill the pot?"
"I did. Here." Annabeth jumped up, picking up her own half-empty cup and going to the cupboard for a clean mug. Mentally, she was assuring herself that she was just being nice, only being a considerate daughter, and that it had nothing to do with the fact that sometimes things were still weird when it was just her and her father, face to face, having a conversation.
They got on well now, they really did. The couple of years Annabeth had stayed with them off and on before the Battle of Olympus had been an intensely confusing, emotionally overwrought, dangerous time, and they had gotten through it just fine, outside of the fact that she'd occasionally had to run outside in the middle of the night to fight monsters. And the fact that she had technically run away that one time, although she didn't think that counted since camp had been in danger.
It was just – there was still a lot of hurt, a lot of unease, especially when Annabeth remembered her childhood. Her gut instinct was still to be wary of what she said around her stepmother, and to assume that her father would't always listen to her. And she couldn't help thinking that maybe they felt the same; as she poured a cup of coffee for him, her eyes roved across the sill of the breakfast nook, cluttered with photo frames that were stuffed with pictures. There were a lot of different photographs from the years, but nothing of her from before the age of twelve.
Her father and stepmother's wedding reception, her brothers' christening picture, a shot of her in her high school graduation robes, with the salutatorian rope around her shoulders, her and Percy from his senior prom –
Annabeth blinked as she picked the frame up and studied it. It was definitely her and Percy at his senior prom. They were standing in front of the mantle in Percy's living room, she with a distinct blush on her face and Percy with an arm around her waist, holding her close, beaming with a dazed look. It had been one of many that Sally had snapped of them before they'd left the apartment; a copy of this picture was sitting on the hard drive on her computer.
"Where did you get this?" she asked, holding it up for her dad to see. "I don't think I sent you this one."
He looked up from the paper. "Sally sent me that one."
"Sally. Percy's mom, Sally?" she asked, putting the picture down again and picking up their coffee. "You talk to Sally?"
He shrugged, his eyes wandering back down to his reading. "We email, once in a while." His gaze flicked up at her and dropped down again. "When you get busy at school, we touch base."
"Oh," Annabeth said quietly, sitting down across from him and staring down at the table, her mind racing with the implications. She was under the impression that she checked in fairly regularly but when midterms and finals picked up it wasn't exactly a priority. She hadn't even realized that he'd noticed.
Silence fell. Dr. Chase determinedly went back to the newspaper, while Annabeth memorized the wood grain in the kitchen table. After a few minutes Dr. Chase cleared his throat and said in a rather rushed tone, "Speaking of Percy, how are things with him?"
"Fine," Annabeth answered automatically, her ears tuning back to the sound of Percy's snoring. He wouldn't get up until she or one of her brothers made him get up. "Just fine."
Her father smoothed the newspaper out across the table, leaning back, crossing his legs, and fixing her with a curious look. "He's, ah – he's good to you, right?" he asked nervously.
"Of course, Dad." She couldn't help wondering why he was asking this now; she and Percy had been together almost five years at this point.
"You don't – you don't need me to talk to him about anything, do you?" Annabeth felt herself recoil before he could finish the question.
"Don't!" She blurted out before she could even think about it. "Mom already doesn't like him! I don't need you scaring him off too!"
He picked up on the exact part that she didn't want him to. "Your mother doesn't like him?" he asked, his eyebrows crinkling. "Why ever not?"
Annabeth blushed to the tips of her ears. The one subject she wanted to talk to her father about less than Percy was her mother. "She said his fatal flaw is dangerous," she finally mumbled, staring at her cuticles.
"Well what's his fatal flaw?" Her dad understood the concept well; it had come up in discussion between the two of them before.
"Personal loyalty." She grimaced.
"He's too loyal?" Dr. Chase looked confused by the concept, and she couldn't blame him.
"Yes." Annabeth nodded. "He's too loyal. Mom said that he'd let the world end if it meant he could save someone he loved."
Her dad stared at her. "And he loves you?"
Annabeth wanted to crawl under the table. "I – well – I guess – he says – yes," she stuttered, praying to every single god she knew that someone, anyone, would wake up and come into the kitchen and end this conversation.
For the longest minute of Annabeth's life, her dad watched her with a funny look on his face. Finally he blinked, said, "Okay," and went back to reading the newspaper.
Percy was in the foyer, sitting on top of his suitcase while he stared up the steps, waiting patiently as Annabeth tore apart her room.
Dr. Chase peeked from the kitchen. "Aren't you all packed? What is Annabeth looking for?"
"Her notebook," Percy answered easily, his eyes still trained upstairs. "Says she swore she left it on her nightstand."
"Oh." Dr. Chase patted his pockets nervously, double checking that he had his car keys on him. "I wonder where she left it."
Percy toed her carry-on bag. "It's in here. She packed it last night."
"Oh." He stared. "Are you going to tell her that?"
Percy gave Dr. Chase a mischievous grin. "Yeah, I'll give her another five minutes, and then I found it in the living room or something, and I'm the big hero." He said this in a casual, joking way that indicated that this was something he might have done before, and that Annabeth might have been in on the joke.
Dr. Chase blinked and scratched his head. "Listen, I – I wanted to tell you anyway."
"Hm?" Percy's attention shifted to Dr. Chase entirely. He even sat up a little straighter.
"I just – I wanted to tell you – if –" he shifted uncomfortably. "If Annabeth's mother ever gives you too much of a hard time –" Percy noticeably tensed. "I'll – I could speak to her. On your behalf. We still communicate, once in a while."
Percy frowned, his eyebrows drawing down. He waited a long moment to speak, finally licking his lips and asking, "Can't she vaporize you?"
Athena could. But she hadn't vaporized him when he'd openly debated her in class. And she hadn't vaporized him when he'd asked her to take Annabeth back. And she hadn't vaporized him when he'd allowed their daughter to run away. "Uh, well she could. She probably won't."
Percy nodded. "Okay, cool. Thank you." Then, to cover up his blush, he bent over and rooted around in Annabeth's bag, digging out her notebook.
"Annabeeeeeeeeth." He called in a sing-song tone up the stairwell. "I have your notebook!"
They heard Annabeth stomping across the floor before they saw her. "Where was it?" she asked breathlessly, leaning over the railing to gaze at the two of them.
"Actually," Percy shrugged, "Your dad found it."
Annabeth smiled at him, her entire face lighting up. Somehow, it was impossible not to smile back. "Thanks, Dad."