Hey, all! Just kinda got randomly inspired…so I'll wait to babble until the end. I don't own PJO or "Sympathy"! See you at the bottom!
I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals —
I know what the caged bird feels!
Annabeth crept through the Roman camp, invisibility hat tucked firmly on her head. He was here; she could sense it. So close. She had to find him…
There! She fixed her eyes on a familiar mop of black hair that for some reason would never surrender to a comb, those piercing green eyes that made her heart skip a few beats, eyes that seemed to be staring straight at her…
Green eyes that widened in alarm as Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, pointed at Annabeth and yelled, "Intruder! Intruder! She's snuck into camp!"
Annabeth felt her head for her hat, patting her blond curls frantically and whipping her head around. Her hat was sitting on the dirt behind her, as if blown off by a ghostly breeze, next to a cow's hoof print.
I'm going to kill you, Hera, she mentally screamed to the heavens. Then she sighed and whipped out her knife. "I don't want to hurt you," she warned, "but I will if you attack. I just want to talk."
There was a scrape of gravel behind her. Too late, Annabeth realized the trap she'd fallen into. She whirled around and blocked the first Roman's strike with practiced ease—after all, she had been the only one who could beat Percy at sword fighting. Her free hand darted out and snagged the sword hilt, wrenching it from the boy's grasp and driving it into the ground. She dodged a second swing and deflected a third, darting in and out of the attacks as she ran for the nearest wall. She needed to get her back to something, or she didn't stand a chance. Her feet were flying, dancing between the faceless figures, and she was almost there—
She tripped over some unseen obstacle, slamming into the dirt and rock so hard that the breath was knocked out of her. She rolled to her back, spotting the foot encased in a pair of Converse that was so familiar to her—she had drawn a sketch of a temple on the sole. Annabeth's eyes slowly rose to meet Percy's. While she couldn't believe that he would actually hurt her like that, the simple move gave her the tiniest stirrings of hope—he had used that same move on her, during their last duel before his disappearance. Surely he remembered something!
Two of the Roman boys hauled her to her feet, trapping her hands behind her back and pulling her knife from her fingers. They shoved her forward, till she was only six inches away from Percy. "Take her to the dungeons, Perce?" one of the boys asked.
"No!" Annabeth yelled, leaning forward. "Percy, you can't!"
Percy glared at her, unsheathing Riptide and pointing it at her. "How do you know my name?"
Tears slid down Annabeth's cheeks. This simple act of violence—which was so un-Percy-like—almost destroyed her. This was her Seaweed Brain, acting just like these Roman thugs—as if he were one of them!
"I know your name because I know you, stupid!" she shouted. "I grew up with you! And don't you dare tell me I'm wrong, because I also know that you remember absolutely nothing that happened more than six months ago."
Percy's sword hand started trembling. He lowered it slightly, stammering, "I…how…?"
"Oh, does your pint-sized brain need more proof?" she snapped, sinking deeper into the old rhythm of their fighting. "That temple drawing on the bottom of your left shoe? I drew it when we were hanging out in your apartment over winter break. You have an obsession with blue food, even though you probably don't remember why, and even the mention of the word guinea pig makes you blush and have a sudden craving for celery. Riptide is the only weapon that feels balanced in your hand, you feel terrified at the mention of the solstices, for some reason you can't stop calling the gods by their Greek names, and you bear the curse of Achilles—even better, I'm the only living being besides you who knows where your mortal point is. You hate the Minotaur with a passion, you probably get murderous at the mention of Titans, and speaking of you probably don't believe the story of how these guys tore down Othrys; you think it crumbled on its own. Anything else?"
Percy stared at her blankly, his sword tip resting on the ground. "How…how did you know all that?"
Annabeth dropped her head, losing steam. "I already told you, Seaweed Brain. I know you. Before you…left, I was your gir—uh, best friend." She wasn't going to mention the dating thing yet; that was one can of worms she didn't want to mess with. "You know all this, you just can't remember. Please, Percy, you have to remember me." She looked up and choked through her tears, "Please."
"So?" the Roman dude asked, his voice tense, "Do you remember this chick? What's your name, anyway?"
Annabeth didn't take her eyes off Percy. "He knows."
"Do you know her?"
Percy looked baffled, like someone had smacked him between the eyes with a frying pan. "I…I don't…" he swallowed. "I don't know her."
Annabeth didn't fight as the boys pulled her out of the yard and into a low brick building. She didn't struggle as they pulled her down a flight of stairs. She didn't protest as they pushed her into a cell and locked the door behind her.
One of the boys shifted his weight, then called through the bars, "Look, I'm sorry we have to do this. Procedure, you know. And…I believe you. About knowing Percy, like, before. I guess…I'm sorry." He scuffed his foot on the floor and ran out.
Annabeth sank into a corner and sobbed.
I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting —
I know why he beats his wing!
She couldn't take it anymore. She had to get out of here.
Annabeth body-slammed the bars of her cell, ignoring the fiery pain that flared in the scar on her shoulder. She punched the door, kicked the hinges, and screamed in frustration as every assault brought another round of wounds.
Finally, she sank to the ground, ignoring the protests of her aching body. She was soaked in blood and sliced to pieces. She ignored that, too. What did it matter? No one cared. Percy didn't care.
She yelled and aimed another futile kick at the bars.
I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
I know why the caged bird sings!
Annabeth was rattling her "cage", shouting for someone to let her out. She was going to lose her mind. If she was stuck in here for one more minute, she was honest-to-gods going to lose it.
Her jail guard, one of the crueler warriors, smirked at her. "No one can hear you," she reminded Annabeth.
"You can hear me," Annabeth snapped back. "Are you implying that you're a nobody?"
The guard jerked to her feet. "Watch it, you little—" A loud bang from the hall cut her off. She sneered and mocked, "Now don't you go anywhere! I'm gonna check this out." She disappeared around the corner. There was a scream, another bang, and silence. Annabeth backed away from the bars.
Percy ran to her cell and jangled a set of keys. "Hey, Annabeth."
It took all of her self-control not to start crying from happiness. She felt as though her heart would burst as she casually complained, "It took you long enough."
"Sorry. I never got the memo. Let's get you out of here, okay?"
"Sounds like a plan worthy of Athena."
He unlocked the door and tapped his foot as she slowly limped out, having sprained her ankle at some point during her temper tantrum. Then he gathered Annabeth into his arms and kissed her full on the mouth, running his hands down her back before winding them around her waist. She placed her hands on his arms and melted for a moment before pulling back and murmuring, "I guess you got your memories back."
"What if I didn't?" he teased. "What if I'm only kissing you for the sake of kissing a pretty girl?"
"I don't mind."
"That doesn't sound like the Annabeth I remember."
"That Annabeth was well-rested, healthy, and not emotionally strung out."
"Good point." He kissed her again. She allowed it for a minute before pulling back and resting her head on his shoulder. Percy groaned, "Would you stop doing that?"
"We have to go," she said, "And your dear Roman hosts are probably going to try and kill us."
Annabeth's head whipped around as Jason, Piper, and Leo stepped around the corner.
Jason rested against the wall, and Piper leaned against his chest before pointing accusatorily at Annabeth. "Chiron was having a mini panic attack, you know," she said. "You could have sent the distress call."
"So Jason was our golden ticket into the camp," Leo explained, "and we were supposed to bust you out—but it looks like Percy took care of that already."
Annabeth sighed theatrically. "Good, I thought my fate was completely in the hands of Seaweed Brain here."
Percy groaned again, "Yeah, I remember that nickname, too. But not all of them are bad—remember my sixteenth birthday?"
"I'm not the one with amnesia, stupid." They both leaned in again.
Leo wretched, "Agh! PDA! PDA!" While Piper stepped back and yelled, "Oh, my sweet virgin eyes!"
Annabeth pulled back long enough to mutter, "Grow up," in their general direction.
"Really, guys," Jason laughed, "we're on a tight schedule. You two can make out when we're back on the boat."
"Boat?" Percy asked.
"Long story," Annabeth said, "but we're going to have a job later."
"Well, you can tell me all about it," he said, "but let's get you out of here, agreed?"
"Sure thing," she laughed, then took a step and collapsed on her bad ankle. Percy caught her before she could hit the floor. "Don't tell me I'm going to have to carry you out of here," he complained.
Annabeth grinned sheepishly. "I think you will."
"Come on, then." He scooped her up, and she rested her head on his chest, with a huge smile plastered on her face.
Percy raised an eyebrow. "What're you so happy about?"
Annabeth tightened her arms around his neck and kissed his jaw as he carried her up the stairs and out into the bright morning sunlight. "I know why the caged bird sings," she told him.
Me again! Time for an insanely long A/N:
First: My mom works at the local public library, and every year the library does a summer camp. This year's theme: Camp Half-Blood! Guess who's playing Annabeth? That's right, MEEEE! Who's jealous? :)
Second: For those of you who have read Kiss My Eyes (I'm still working on chapter 2, it's really long) I've finally figured out the entire back story to Andi's blindness. Do you guys want me to write it now as a separate oneshot, or wait and stick it on the end of the story?
Third: I am SO ready for summer vacation. Anyone else?
Last: Review! I live for reviews.
Thanks for reading! ~lark