Disclaimer: I do not own PJO or anything else.

Warning: Although this is Annabeth's perspective, this is a PERLIA fic. Percy. Thalia. Don't like, don't read. As much as I like Percabeth, I really think Percy and Thalia are cute together.

For being the daughter of the goddess of wisdom, Annabeth didn't feel so wise.

In fact, she felt bitter insolence course through her during this summer's year at camp. Regret nagged at her mind at the sight of him and her together. In all honesty, Annabeth had thought that just because she left her mediocre affair with Travis Stoll meant that Percy would still be there for her. While with Hermes' son, she had watched the girls from the Aphrodite cabin and Demeter cabin flock Percy Jackson's every move, now that he was a bachelor.

Why was it that the moment Annabeth left Percy, the boy had gotten even more handsome than before?

The fates were not on her side obviously.

Even thought Annabeth had been the one to cheat on him, he was still the same sweet Percy. He was still kind to her, even though they had hastily broken up. Even their friendship had been marred by the incident, which goes to show that you should never date your best friend, even if you love him.

It wasn't really even an affair. Travis had been the one to kiss Annabeth first during their workshop training and for some reason, she imagined Percy and kissed the boy back. Unfortunately, Clarisse had been walking by—Annabeth hated her now— and out of loyalty, she told Percy what happened. After the big battle, Clarisse was considerably kinder to Percy, and some of that kindness was evoked from Silena's death. Percy had been mad, and she had never seen him so mad before, and the next thing Annabeth knew, Travis Stoll was all she had left.

By the end of last summer, she had been labeled many cruel things by her campers, just for one mistake. Percy may have forgiven her—and it took him a long time to do so— but no one else did. A whole year had gone by, and no other word of Percy Jackson reached her ears. During the winter, she had broken up with Travis just because there was no other reason.

She wanted Percy back.

Come this start of the camp, and she was more confident in getting him back. Annabeth ignored all the comments behind her back with a strong face, and she walked with her head held up high like a true daughter of Athena. Shame wouldn't hinder her in the slightest. She planned on claiming Percy as hers once more, just because she still loved him more strongly than ever.

But he had moved on. In more ways than one, this summer had been worse than the last. The insults that labeled her as 'tramp' or 'whore'—she could deal with. But seeing Percy and her together every single day gnawed at her. It simply killed her whenever she looked. What was the worst of all was that her two best friends were dating each other.

Percy Jackson and Thalia Grace. Who would have thought of it? It was said that they would be either the best of friends or the worst of enemies. Who would have thought that they would be neither?

It was unexplainable, even to Annabeth Chase, who always seemed to have an answer to everything, why she was striding over to Poseidon's cabin at seven in the morning. It was a chilly summer morning, and not many campers were up yet, so no one had the chance to label her a freak or anything.

She strode through the door without even knocking. "Percy—"

She faltered in place, her heart dropping lower than ever with guaranteed pain. The sight she was seeing was one she didn't expect. She took a couple steps back. "I—I'm…"

"Annabeth?" Percy looked up from the map he had been studying. It was an aged map of ancient Greece given to him from his father, and it had once belonged to the great Odysseus.

The blonde girl swallowed thickly, drinking in the sight in front of her. She knew Percy wore only boxers to sleep, but she didn't know his body was so chiseled now, and taut with lithe muscles. Those training lessons must have done that. The map of ancient Greece laid strewn out on the blanket that covered his lower half. The seventeen year old was lying back, idly running his fingers through the dark strands of hair belonging to the pale, skinny girl that was sleeping beside him.

Oh, did she forget to mention that Thalia was there too?

"I-I didn't know you had c-company," Annabeth stuttered, and she inwardly cursed herself for it. "I didn't mean to intrude. I'm sorry. I'll just go—"

"You don't have to." Percy's cheeks looked flushed at Annabeth's arrival, but he didn't seem too bothered by it. "It's not like we…did anything…" At this, he blushed even more. He noticed her crestfallen face. "What's wrong?"

Annabeth shook her head, like nothing mattered. Because it didn't. "It's nothing. It was silly."

"C'mon," Percy rolled his eyes teasingly at her. "I know you, Annabeth. You don't coming storming in early at seven a.m. in the morning just to tell me that what you really need to say is just nothing."

Annabeth contemplated silently to herself, looking between the handsome son of Poseidon on the bed and the gap of his cabin door before pulling out a chair and setting it beside him. She plopped down on the chair carefully, her gaze maintained from his eyes.

Her hands were folded tightly on her lap. "I never apologized for what happened between you and me."

"Oh," he blinked. "That."

"Yeah," she added quietly.

Percy didn't know what to say. Being the boy that he was, and the space that had integrated between them during their post-breakup, he just assumed that things were alright with them. Even if she did cheat, he could never be mad at Annabeth for so long.

"You don't have to apologize," he replied a few minutes later. "It wasn't completely your fault. I mean," he paused, his other hand scratching the back of his neck nervously, "I must have done something to make you do what you did, right?"

Annabeth looked up quickly. Her eyes were red-rimmed. "Don't say that," she commanded him chokingly. "None of it was ever your fault, so don't you think that way. This was all me."

When Percy was stunned to silence, she continued. "I'm so, very sorry, Percy," she whispered, her traitorous tears strolling down her cheeks, taking their leisurely time. "If I had things my way, I'd reverse time and avoid the mistake I did. I don't know why I did it when I had you. Percy, you were— are perfect."

"I'm not perfect, Annabeth," the other boy shook his head in disagreement.

She sniffed. "And I'm far from it. I don't deserve it, I know that, but would you ever forgive me?"

Percy reached out and held his hand, his palm facing up. Annabeth blinked down more tears before she placed her hand slowly in his, sighing when his warm, long fingers enveloped in hers. This one, simple touch gave some indication to Annabeth that Percy might still love her.

She knew better than that.

"You should know that I forgave you a long time ago," he smiled gently. "I could never stay mad at you for too long. You're one of my best friends."

Friend. Of course she would always remain his friend. There was a time in which she and Percy were more than just friends, but she blew it.

Thalia shifted in place, rolling over to face Percy, her bangs falling on her face, the covers slightly thrown back to show that she was wearing an over-sized orange Camp Half-Blood shirt that hung off her thin shoulder. It wasn't as hard as rocket science to figure out that the shirt was Percy's. A small, natural ball of envy budded in Annabeth. She had never worn anything of Percy's when she was with him.

Automatically, Percy let go of Annabeth's hand, forgotten, as he was enamored with the girl beside him. It was true to say that Thalia Grace was one of the most beautiful girls in camp, and maybe of all New York. Now that Thalia had grown out of her punk/Goth phase, letting her hair grow out longer, she was even more beautiful than ever. Some referred to her as the second Helen of Troy, her being the daughter of Zeus, even though Thalia detested the similarity between her and the older woman.

She had such long hair now. Those black, endless curtains reached to the girl's waist now, a far cry from what Thalia's short-cropped hair a couple years ago.

Annabeth felt mordancy as she watched Percy push back Thalia's black bangs with evident tenderness. It was as though the daughter of Athena wasn't even there, when Percy leaned down to kiss Thalia's bare shoulder before pulling the shirt up to cover it.

Thalia, somehow sensing his presence, snuggled a bit closer until her head was lying on his lap. Her arms were subconsciously and loosely snaking around his slim waist. Percy only smiled at this, his hand returning to playing with her hair. Annabeth felt forgotten.

She cleared her throat. "Uh…Percy?"

Percy looked up curiously, but did not remove his hands from her long hair. "Sorry about that, Annabeth. Almost forgot you were there," he gave a light chuckle at his tactlessness.

Of course you did, Annabeth thought soberly, but she managed a tight grin. "Can I ask you something?"

"Go ahead."

"Did you ever…" she trailed off, trying to find the right words to fit this. It was now or never. "Did you ever love me the same way you love her?" she nodded over at sleeping Thalia. "When we were together?"

Silence. And then: "Honestly?"

Annabeth nodded. "Yes, the truth."

"Well, there was a time when I thought I felt that way for you," Percy answered, his seawater gaze never once wavering from hers. "And to be honest, when we broke up, I didn't miss you as much as I should have."

Ouch. That one really hurt.

"And then I realized that I didn't love you the way I thought I would. I love you like you're my sister."

This seemed like a déjà vu, doesn't it? Luke Castellan had asked her the same question she asked, and Annabeth had responded in the same manner as Percy did before Luke had died.

Annabeth accepted the cold, hard fact. "And Thalia?"

Percy's response was a beautiful, soft smile. "I love her more than anything else. More than my life. I couldn't live without her," he murmured, his eyes dropping down to stare again at Thalia. It was a short declaration of love, and as simple as it was, it was perfect with a flair that was simply Percy.

The more Percy's love grew for Thalia, the more Annabeth's heart was breaking. She couldn't bear it. Be strong, daughter, she heard her mother's calm voice in her head, We all learn from our mistakes and we excel from it.

"Thank you, Percy," Annabeth willed herself to smile as she rose from her seat. "I needed this. Closure, you know?"

The son of Poseidon nodded. "I understand. Don't worry about it."

"Alright. See you at breakfast," Annabeth breathed before running out of the cabin.

It was right outside of his cabin did she let her tears fall again, doubling even more than the first time she cried that morning. Her breathing came out in ragged chokes, her heart hammering as she tripped over her shoelaces. She fell forward, her face pressed against the dirt below, tears still streaming from her grey eyes.

How pathetic. Yet, she didn't stop crying.

Life was a cruel, cruel world with no mercy.