The Fourth of July: the day the pyromaniacs show their true colors and are accepted by society under the pretense of a holiday.

My boyfriend says a lot of things light up and go 'bang.' I love him anyway.

Really, he's a bit thick, but he loves the Fourth of July. When I was a kid I would read the Declaration of Independence, but now that I'm dating Percy it's fun, fun, fun all day long. At least, it's drag Annabeth anywhere you want to go day.

So this was my day:

"Annabeth!" Percy called, barging into my room at an ungodly hour. I was already up, naturally.

"Present," I answered, looking up from the Declaration.

"What are you reading?" He asked.

"The Declaration of Independence," I replied. "It's a bit of a tradition, and with you around I thought I might not have time to later."

"You don't have time to now. My mom's here—she's picking us up and then giving us free rein. After I drop her at home, anyway. So today's all ours, until we come back for the fireworks later."

"Let's go, then," I sighed, knowing it was pointless to argue with Percy.

He grabbed my hand, lacing his fingers through my own and leaned down to kiss me. "Mm, strawberries."

I laughed and pushed him away. "Get off, Morning Breath!"

I jogged towards where his mom's car would be, and noticed him subtly checking his breath by breathing into his hand. "That doesn't work!"

I heard his feet hitting the ground, and then his arms came around my waist, lifting me up slightly. I thumped his shoulder, but I doubted he felt anything, as he's invincible. "Going to insult me, are you?" He whispered into my ear.

I felt a shiver run down my spine at his tone—it never failed to surprise me that Percy could be sexy when he wanted to be.

"You make it so easy, Seaweed Brain!" I wiggled out of his grasp and took off running when my feet hit the ground.

"I'm going to get you for that!" He shouted, chasing after me.

We were in sight of his mother's car, and I slid into the passenger seat with a polite, "Hello, Sally."

"Hello, Annabeth," she smiled back. "Ready to keep up with Percy for a day?"

"Oh, I'm sure I'll manage." I turned to look at Percy quickly. Neither of us had mentioned going any further physically, but away from camp… this would be the perfect day. And I wasn't sure I was ready.

"I remember that he always loved Independence Day," Sally started. "Once, when he was four, he had me paint him red, white and blue all over. I still have the pictures somewhere."

"Mooomm," Percy complained.

"I'm your mother. I'm allowed to reminisce."

"Yeah, Percy," I said, turning in my seat to stick my tongue out at him.

The rest of the trip passed with witty banter and more complaining from my boyfriend, but I'll spare you that to get onto the first monster attack.

It was near a hot dog stand. A big thing, with green tentacles. It was a mix of two other monsters. "Hybrid," Percy told me. "Hate those."

"Me too," I said, pulling out my dagger. "Ready?"

"I was born ready, Babe," Percy said, uncapping Riptide.

"Don't call me that ever again if you like your head where it is," I said before darting in towards the monster to catch a tentacle with my dagger.

Percy had no strategy as far as I could tell. He seemed to be diving in and hitting the monster where ever. It was working pretty well, too. I was darting in attempting to hit and eye, and if that was impossible, I would hit a tentacle or some important part—though it seemed that there was no face, only eyes. It didn't even have a mouth. That's the thing with hybrids; sometimes they're wrong, and they can't survive in the world.

I got its eye, finally, and Percy was able to stab the other one. I cut its head off, and the monster dissolved. "Where to now?" I asked.

"I was thinking Central Park," Percy said.

"Where do the ducks go in the winter?"


"Never mind, Seaweed Brain."

"What am I missing? It isn't winter."

"Maybe if you knew how to read you would get it. It is an overly obvious reference."

I turned away from our argument and made my way in the general direction of Central Park. Percy jogged to catch up, and threaded his fingers through mine again. "Sorry, Wise Girl."

I kissed his cheek. "Nothing to be sorry for."

He grinned at me. It was his grin that always made my knees wobbly. There was also something in his green eyes, something that almost seemed like love and devotion, if one could display those things through eyes. Really, it was probably just my wishful thinking getting in the way.

"Movie," he said, ducking into a theater we passed.

"What happened to the park?" I asked.

"Don't get mean because plans changed," Percy said. "I noticed they're showing the Avengers."

"A comic book movie? Really, Percy?"

"Lots of action," he said. "Please, Annabeth?"

"All right," I sighed. "Just once, though. It won't be a repeat of Thor."

We came out of the movie theater and I felt quite a bit better. I checked my watch. Four o'clock.

"What now?" I asked.

"Central Park," he said. "With the ducks that go places in the winter."

I grabbed his hand and we began walking. "The fireworks begin at seven, so we should probably go to your mom's place after this, right?"

"Sure," Percy said, shrugging.

We walked through the park, Percy throwing a bit of left over popcorn from the movie at the ducks. We must have looked like a regular couple. It was nice to relax for once.

Sally drove us back to camp, and we jumped out and joined Katie Gardner on a blanket. She left to join her boyfriend, Travis Stoll.

"Happy Fourth of July," Percy whispered into my ear.

I looked up at him and smiled. "Happy Independence Day," I replied. I kissed him there, under the stars, with fireworks going off all around us and above us. He pulled me closer, and I was blissful.

And that brings us up to now, I think. We've just broken for air. Happy Fourth of July.