Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Pairing: Percy/Thalia. Yes, this is a Perlia, don't read it if you don't like it.

A/N: This fic was the result of too much caffeine. Please excuse me if I have a couple of grammar mistakes. This was written when I desperately wanted some sleep.

Eight Days and Fifty-Five Minutes

Twenty-seventh of June

When Thalia abruptly storms through the mess hall pavilion, it takes a lot from Percy not to spurt out the water he had been drinking and make himself look like a total idiot.

It's not that she's completely gorgeous with that series of white and silver tank tops she's wearing—the colors of the Hunters—joined with a light pair of grey jeans that cling to her. It's the fact that she's absolutely different. Her dark hair, when it had barely reached her shoulders the last time he saw her, was now hanging down to her waist. It was clipped up into a messy, but perfect in a way, ponytail and he wonders how long it really is when it is let loose. She's traded black Gothic style for the essence of an almost-pure angel.

Ironic as it is, since a silver circlet rests atop the crown of her head like a halo.

Percy gapes at her because she looks so different.

Okay, fine, maybe it was because she was beautiful.

He was sure that every guy in the hall has their mouths dropped stupidly. He could see that their eyes watch her every move as she makes her way around the tables. And Percy wasn't sure if he was alright with the hormonal guys looking at her like that.

Because he cared for her. Like a sister.

"Wipe the drool off your mouth, Seaweed Brain," Annabeth drawled beside him, barely keeping her laugh to herself.

Percy glared. "I'm not drooling."

"Right," Annabeth rolled her eyes. "Percy, why do you think we didn't work out?"

"Because we were better off as friends…?"

Annabeth snorted, jumping up from the table. "Your nickname epitomizes you," she observed as a matter-of-factly. When the first lieutenant of Artemis neared their table, Annabeth gave a squeal—Percy doesn't understand how girls make that noise—and she tackled Thalia, almost knocking the other girl off the ground.

Then, Percy notices how skinny Thalia is. It's abnormal to see how thin she is. He makes a mental note to take her to the nearest fast food restaurant and order double of everything for her.

"When did you get back?" Annabeth asked, her grey eyes sparkling with mirth.

Thalia smiled, and the notion gave Percy a heart-attack. "We just stopped for a break. We've been hunting nonstop for months, and now that we're here, I might be able to sleep the entire week. We leave the day after the fireworks."

The day after the fireworks. That was exactly nine days, including today.

A concerned look crossed Annabeth's face. "You're not getting enough sleep?"

"Not as much as I would like," Thalia sighed resignedly. "Oh, hey, kelp for brains," she said when she finally notices Percy still seated at his table. Wordlessly, she opens her arms out to him.

Say something, Jackson. "Hi, Pinecone Face."

The next thing Percy knew, his arms were around her. Was it just him, or did she get just a bit shorter? The last time he remembered, Thalia was about the same length he was. Now she barely reached the tip of his chin. He feels like a mammoth when hugging her, but there's this burning feeling inside him that leaves his skin all tingling. Small as she was, he thought that Thalia fit him perfectly.

But she was like a sister to him.

Uh huh, you just keep telling yourself that.

Twenty-eighth of June

"What?"

"I'm serious."

"Did you dump her?" Thalia demanded angrily, and that silver circlet that she was forced to wear every day didn't look so much like a halo anymore. "Because if you did, Jackson, I swear on the River Styx—"

"I didn't dump her, Thalia," Percy cut in before she made a hasty swear on his life. "It was mutual when we agreed to break up. Things just didn't work out like we thought it would. Besides, she's much happier with Will."

Thalia scoffed. "Will? Will Solace? You can't let him take away your girl, Percy!"

Percy leaned against the cabin wall, tired of this conversation already. "Annabeth is not my girl. We're better as best friends than being in a relationship."

There is a calm silence as Thalia processes in the newly-acquired news. She snapped her head to the side sharply, thinking pensively, causing the silver tiara to go slightly askew on her head. On impulse more than anything, Percy reaches out and straightens the dainty head piece. When he finishes, Percy could feel Thalia's intense, blue-eyed gaze on him, and he quickly looks away, attempting to hide his blush.

"I always thought that you two would be together," she finally managed. "I mean, you guys were like the golden couple."

Percy didn't know if it was his imagination or not, but he swore he saw relief shining in those electric blue eyes. But when the expression disappears as quickly as it had come on, he figures it was all just a hallucination.

Though, he wishes that it hadn't been.

Twenty-ninth of June

Percy doesn't know what to think as he watches Thalia notch her silver bow. Her nimble fingers align the arrow along the bowstring, keeping a close observation when her eyes narrow a fraction as she pulls the bow back. With a quick release, the arrow travels through gravity and hits the bullseye seventy feet away.

"Show off," Percy muttered loud enough so that she could hear.

"Don't hate," she smirked outwardly.

Of course, she had never started off this way. When she first entered the Hunters, Thalia had been a horrible archer. But when she was not off looking for monsters with the rest of the Hunters, she dedicated her time into practicing to improve her horrendous archery skills. She was still amazed at the fact that she had gotten so far.

"C'mon, kelp for brains," she teased with a grin. "I'll teach you some basics."

"Aha…no."

Thalia raised an eyebrow. "Why not?"

"I'm not an archer," Percy pointed out flatly. "You know I'm not an archer."

"Hey, I wasn't one either."

"So?"

Her blue eyes scrutinize him, feeling as though she was peeling off each layer of his skin slowly. "You scared?"

If there was one thing Percy refused to give up, it was his dignity.

He was up the moment those two words left her mouth. "Fine," he grumbled, sparing a heavy glare at her. "Don't blame me if your bow ends up broken."

"Here," she handed him the silver bow, and picked an arrow from her quiver. "You've been watching me for the past half hour. Just copy what I did."

Percy gripped the bow and placed the light bow along the thin string. With his fingers, he caught the string and the bow together, pulling the two back carefully. Because the bowstring was so thin, he was afraid that he would rip the string with his clumsy fingers. At Thalia's nod, he let go.

The arrow didn't travel very far.

"Shut up," he snapped when Thalia started laughing.

"Sorry," she gasped through fits of laughter. "How about I help you?"

"You couldn't have helped me the first time?" Percy retorted dryly.

Percy's sarcastic manner escaped him when her hand went to hold the hand that was holding the bow. The blush reddened even more when her other hand also closed around the fingers that held the bowstring and the new arrow. He was extremely glad that she couldn't see his blushing face, but it didn't help at all when he felt her willowy body press against his back.

With a quiet swoosh, the arrow is in the air.

It hits the target.

Percy realizes that the wooden target wasn't the only thing her arrow had hit.

Thirtieth of June

He doesn't want her to leave. He never wanted her to join that forsaken hunting group in the first place.

Percy admitted that he had been having a small crush on Thalia ever she had resumed her human form from being a pine tree all this time. It was hard not to like her. They were so similar and it was a question was to whether they would be the best of friends or the worst of enemies. He was just glad that they ended up being the former.

Involuntary shivers run up and down his spine in that moment, when her pale arm is hooked around his elbow. The gesture alone isn't much, but it's enough to get his heart beating so loud, he could barely hear himself think.

"You're staying for the fireworks, right?" he prodded as they took their little walk through the woods.

"Maybe," she replied wistfully, blinking owlishly in the night. "It's funny. I've never seen the infamous fireworks before."

"That's because you joined the Hunters before you had the chance to see it," Percy responded bitterly. He noticed his tone and sent her an apologetic look. "Sorry."

It was the truth though. Thalia had been part of the camp before the Hunters. She had been Annabeth's before Artemis recruited her. Most importantly, she had been his.

Thalia shrugged, unbothered by it. "S'okay. I still wonder what it would be like to be mortal again."

"Then why don't you quit? You said the only reason you joined the Hunt was because you didn't want to be part of the prophecy. The war's over already."

"It's not that simple."

"Why not?" Percy tried his best not to sound too agitated.

"It took an oath, you idiot," Thalia retorted, but her tone isn't as joking as he thought it would be. Her expression on her face is sober—almost sad. The look on her face breaks his heart. He's never seen her this way. "I can't break it now."

"You hate it there." Not a question, but a statement.

Thalia doesn't answer, but she looks up towards the white moon. Her calculating gaze is mixed on its whiteness, reminding her immediately of the moon goddess herself. Her eyes dart back and forth, wondering if Artemis is watching her this very minute.

Percy doesn't care if anyone's watching from under the bushes or behind the trees. With a rather rough yank on her slender wrist, he pulls her closer to him. Their bodies collide hardly on impact, and his arms are pressed against the small of her back, securing her in place and preventing her from escaping. He breathes a sigh of relief when she doesn't try to wiggle her way out from his embrace.

She's standing still, and for a moment, Percy was worried that he lost her in her own thoughts. He then relaxed when her arms wrapped around him too. Thalia would remain immortal, and Percy would keep growing up. He would die, and she would still live. This was like a messed up version of Romeo and Juliet, only—their fate was far worse than that of Romeo and Juliet's.

At least Romeo and Juliet got to die together.

First of July

"I missed this," Thalia remarked as her body floated on top of the water.

Percy grinned. "Hunters don't swim?"

"You wish," she muttered, breathing though her nose as she felt the cool waters calm her. "Bet you'd like that huh? Two dozen girls in their bikinis, splashing and playing with each other at the lake…"

"That's every boy's dream."

Thalia splashed him shamelessly for that comment. Because he was Poseidon's son, he wasn't all that affected. In fact, he welcomed the incoming waters that drenched his face. He knew it wouldn't work for her, and he took every minute into getting her wetter with water than she already was.

He doesn't know how or when it happened—all he knows is that it did.

They had been too close. Splashing each other and trying to dunk the other person's head underwater had them edging closer and closer to each other without them realizing it. It was the heat of the moment, and her face had been tilting up inquiringly at him, and his face had been leaning down. Neither of them waited for the other to make the first move. After all, people did say that they were too similar. So they both went for it, each taking their chances.

The waters were quiet and the clash of lips is the only sound. His tongue is lapping over her lips, prying them apart to seek sacred entrance, and her teeth are nipping at his bottom lip. Her fingers and tangled into his wet hair, and as she yanks and pulls at his tendrils gently, that only encourages him more.

Its hours later when they finally stop. Percy is Poseidon's son, which is why nothing happens to him. But when Thalia gets out of the water after being in it so long, her fingers and toes are wrinkly and numb.

Second of July

Knock. Knock. Knock.

"Go away, Annabeth."

"Percy?" he could hear his friend's voice from the other side of the door. "I just want to make sure you're okay. You haven't left your cabin all day."

"I'm fine, Annabeth."

She's worried. "I don't trust you. But I don't think you'll let me in either."

Percy can only sigh. "I just want to be alone."

The silence on the other door signals that Annabeth stops trying to break in through his door. Her retreating steps from his cabin signal that she gives up and she's probably looking for Thalia to get news from her.

After the incident that happened yesterday, Thalia ignored him for the rest of the day. At dinner, he tried to catch her eye, but she would pointedly look away. There was that same sad look on her face, and it nearly kills him because he thinks he's the cause for that sad look. And after dinner, he tried to catch up with her, but Thalia was gone the moment he made way towards her.

Persistent as he was, he knocked at Artemis' cabin, but all he got was a stoic Hunter coming out to tell him to get the hell away from the place.

Hence, he was having a bad day.

Why was she ignoring him?

Why was she acting as though the whole thing didn't happen?

Did she not care?

He was in love with her for fuck's sake.

Third of July

There's no sign of her anywhere around the camp.

He should just wallow in self pity.

Fourth of July

Fireworks.

Yippee.

Swirls of multi-colored sparks light up the night sky. Zeus has approved of this day, considering there was not one patch of a dark cloud in sight. The fireworks spiral up, its quickness almost blurry, and it explodes on impact when it reaches the empty sky above.

This event was probably the most romantic event of Camp Half-Blood. Sure, the fireworks were nice and all that, but the campers were more worried with who they were going with, not what they were going to see. Unlike the other campers, who resorted to making out on blankets across the field under the dark abyss, Percy actually takes the time and appreciates the fireworks that do their dance amongst the stars. He likes looking at them.

And because he has no date. Whatever.

When Percy spots two identical blonde heads, he's sure the couple is Annabeth and Will. For some reason, upon seeing them in their gentle tongue-wrestling, it only brings his spirits down even further. He stiffly ignores the flirtatious wink a random Aphrodite girl had sent him, and pretends to be busy looking at his shoelaces.

He can't think of anything right now. He can't think of anyone for that matter.

Five minutes in, and Percy was just about to give up. He was hoping that she'd come around, or he would be able to spot her shiny silver circlet glinting under the moon, but there's no sign of her anywhere. Percy dropped his head down, his shoulders slumping slowly in dejection.

Cold arms that suddenly wind themselves around his waist stop him from retreating back to his cabin. Percy knows these arms and he couldn't help but feel his heart do back-flips inside his chest. He's reminded of the incident a couple days ago, when she had been teaching him how to shoot with an arrow. They're in the same position, only, she's much more closer now than she was when she had been teaching him. Percy swallows dryly as he feels her chin drop to rest at his shoulder, the side of her head barely grazing his cheek.

"Thal—"

"Just listen," she interrupted quietly, her whisper brushing and tickling his ear. Percy does listen, but all he can hear are the booms of the fireworks, the loud clamor of his heart, and the stilled breathing. "Tell me the truth. Don't you dare lie."

Percy could only nod before Thalia continued. "Do you love me?"

"Yes."

Just like that. No hesitation whatsoever. It's not from impulse—he knows he loves her.

"You sure?" she shoots back, her tone barely a whisper. "I'm just about to give up my title, give up my immortality, give up my oath to the hunt, and give up absolutely everything for you. You sure that the moment I give back all those things, you won't back out on me?"

Percy tried to move, but her arms are snaked solidly around him, keeping him rooted in place.

"I won't," he promised. "But just a curiosity, what happens if I do?"

"Not to be dramatic or anything," she replied, and Percy could visibly see the roll of her eyes even though he's not facing her directly, "but if you leave me after I gave up everything, then I actually won't have anything to live for. Leave me and I kill myself—simple, no?" she deadpanned.

Her proclamation scares him.

But still, was she really leaving the hunt?

Catching her off guard, Percy whips around and nearly tackles her to the grassy ground. He bends over her, looking right into her eyes, trying to detect any signs of deception in her blue pools. Maybe this was all just a horrible prank that the Hunters had put her to it, and she had no other way but to carry it out. But Thalia's face is calm, her gaze blinking up at him with obvious hints of affection for him. It was a type of love she had hidden well for years. And now it was coming out.

Percy feels like he should jump up and whoop. But he doesn't do that. He's only very willing when Thalia's arms come around his neck and pull him down for a smoldering kiss that would only be continued in the privacy of his cabin later on…

11:55 p.m.

It took Percy exactly eight days and fifty-five minutes to claim Thalia as his.