Disclaimer: I don't own PJO at all. Or anything else.
Warning: This is a Perlia-not for Percabeth fans, of course. Unrequited love is involved.
Sometimes dating Percy Jackson could be stressful.
It's not like Annabeth wouldn't want to date him—no, she's not saying that at all. Her dates with Percy are pretty much the highlights of her week. C'mon, the boy was like every girl's fantasy that had come to life, only, he didn't quite know the certain effect he had on the girls around him. That just goes to show how much of a seaweed brain he actually was, but what else is new?
Just because they're dating, doesn't mean that he suddenly belongs to her. It would take much more than that. He would have to pluck the courage she knows he's got in him and finally ask her to be his girlfriend. But that's less likely to ever happen to her. She could only wish. Now that she's thought about it, the dates they go on aren't any different than going out as friends. There's no hugging, no holding hands, no blushing—well, she blushes—practically no physical contact at all, like he's afraid to touch her.
But when he does touch her, she feels amazing. There are the few times he actually touches her, such as placing his hand on the small of her back to guide her out of the restaurant, or how their shoulders would bump seldomly, or the times where he would grin at her teasingly and mess her hair up with his long fingers.
These touches mean absolutely nothing, but Annabeth pretends they do.
She's a daughter of Athena, and she needs to win. She's always got a plan and a back-up plan after that if the first plan didn't originally work. Annabeth was meant to succeed and not even the heady obstacles that get in her way could stop her from obtaining what she wants. Her target, since the moment he was carried into camp after defeating that minotaur from when he was twelve years old, has always been Percy. But when it comes to him, when it comes to that obtuse, sea-smelling, reckless (cute/hot/sexy) idiot, she has no plan.
When she's got maps laid out, each mark pinpointing the next advance to the battle, he storms in like the rush of waves and wipes everything clear. She's stupid when she's around him, and not at all like a true daughter of Athena, and Annabeth would keep stumbling and stumbling when it comes to him. The fates play with her like a puppet. They command the strings that control her, and they could cut her at any time, at any moment.
Annabeth feels like she's losing the battle every day when she sees Percy and Thalia together. Yes, they're the best of friends, even closer together than she had been with Percy. All her mother's wisdom leaves her, and for once, she has no answer.
It's a rare thing for Percy to touch Annabeth, but when he's with Thalia, he's touching the daughter of Zeus all the time.
Annabeth watches the way they spar with their whirling swords, and might she say, it is one of the most graceful things she has ever seen. It's more like a dance than a sword fight, and each thrust and parry is precise with meaning. In this fight, she sees the way Percy strikes his sword to the side of Thalia's head, just so that his knuckles could gently graze one of Thalia's high cheekbones.
At times when the friends walk with each other, Percy's arm is around Thalia's shoulders. Annabeth would only blink stoically when his strong arm trails down so that his fingertips touch her hip. Annabeth really watches when those fingers unconsciously slip under Thalia's shirt and make real, physical contact. Skin on skin. That's something Annabeth had been trying to get Percy to do since they started whatever they were doing, because Annabeth wasn't really sure if she should call them dates anymore. And they don't even realize that they're touching each other in such ways.
Campfires are a big deal here, of course. There's the large bonfire, the roasting of marshmallows, and the exchange of scary stories. Usually, Percy would escort Annabeth to these campfires and stay with her for the first fifteen minutes. Yet, when everyone's already seated on the planted logs, munching on their s'mores, ready for the scary stories that would keep them up at night, Percy forgets that Annabeth is there and trails over to where Thalia sits, which is usually on the ground, rather than the logs. Percy sits on the log behind her, and Thalia automatically leans her back against the front of his legs.
Again, they are touching.
Aren't they always?
It infuriates Annabeth to the point that at every touch they exchange with each other, her blood will boil. When Percy abruptly just reaches out and tucks a strand behind Thalia's ear, or when Thalia shoves at Percy when he makes fun of her.
When they all decide to swim together in the lake on a warm day, Percy smiles at Annabeth mischievously before he pushes her in the water. Laughing, Annabeth swims back to the surface, but that smile fades when she watches Percy pick Thalia up and hold her to his chest before jumping into the water. She frowns throughout the day as Percy and Thalia splash each other, and she vaguely wonders if they forgot she was even there.
I hate you, she thinks, but to who?
To Thalia? No, the girl was her best friend. There was now way Annabeth could hate her if she even tried.
To Percy? No, she actually was in love with him. She couldn't hate him.
She loves them because they are the two people who have a place in her heart. She hates them because within each day that passes by, her friends continue to grow closer and closer to each other. Without her.
Their dates are pretty much quiet with just the two of them. It's not like they don't talk—Percy and Annabeth could come up with a whole bunch of things to talk about. It's just that most of their dates are too comfortable. Too safe. And Annabeth wants none of that.
Percy smiles at her over their meals, but Annabeth knows that he's envisioning black hair instead of blonde. His irises desire pale skin instead of tan. He's looking into stormy grey orbs, but what he really wants to see is electric blue.
Annabeth knows all of this with clandestine yearning, but she smiles back, and she pretends.
He's an asshole.
Percy knows this, the way Annabeth's eyes light with the emotion of hurt she always tries to hide during their 'dates'. He's the worst of all pricks when he smiles at her as though it's nothing. Older people must walk by and think, Oh, what a cute couple they are. How darling. The eat their food in a comfortable silence, faces portraying that nothing is wrong with this scene, but eyes revealing how wrong it all was.
You're not supposed to take someone out on dates because you think it's the right thing to do. You're not supposed to take them to the movies or take them to the park just because you think you should be together. It's strange to the point that it's not really a date anymore. Annabeth may think of it as a date, the way her cheeks tended to blush, but Percy thinks of it nothing more than two friends hanging out. This was why he took her to the movies often when they went out. In the movies, he can't see her in the darkness, so he wouldn't be able to look at her face and feel guilt all over again.
He realizes that he lies every single day. Every single time he's with Annabeth, he lies.
He does realize the things he does half the time. The other half, his actions may got unnoticed to him, but he knows it immediately once he sees Annabeth's face.
Percy likes to spar with Thalia a lot. One, she's at his level, which makes her a harder opponent to defeat. It's definitely impressive because while he carries the curse of Achilles, Thalia doesn't, and it's amazing how she can't beat him, and he can't beat her. They're at equilibrium when fighting. When he spars with her and when their swords touch, their fingers might brush each other's as well. Thalia may not notice, but he does. He likes the feeling.
Here, he notices that Annabeth has been sitting there, watching them fight for hours with no action for herself. Percy would offer to fight with Annabeth after that, but at that point, he's sweaty and tired, and it would be pointless. Of course he feels so bad at the dejected look the blonde girl tries to hide. At this rate, Athena might just kill him for continually making one of her favorite daughters so depressed and sad.
But then Percy sends a big grin towards Annabeth that just says along the lines of: Don't worry there, Wise Girl. I still like you. Yeah, it makes Annabeth's face light up tenfold, but all of it is just a lie.
He doesn't notice how he keeps a tightened arm around Thalia until Grover points it out. Around her shoulders, around her waist, touching her hip, touching her elbow… He really, really hates the way the guys stare at Thalia when she isn't looking. In every sense, he has the right to be protective.
But being protective and being possessive were two entirely different things.
He's a douche when he feels absolutely nothing when those guys look at Annabeth in the same way.
Of all the camp activities, Percy enjoys the campfires the most. No, it is not because he can get closer to Thalia and touch her without anyone questioning about it because they're too caught up in the scary story to care. No, that wasn't the reason, so stop bothering him already.
Percy always starts out with Annabeth at the beginning of the campfire. They sing songs and the way he sings makes Annabeth laugh, and that relieves some of the guilt off of him. At the eating of s'mores, Percy turns a jealous eye to see that fucking annoying 'I-want-to-beat-the-utter-shit-out-of-him-every-time-I-see-him' Will Solace murmuring something in Thalia's ear that makes her grin. It may be a joke, or they may be flirting, but Percy had been that close to snatching her away from Solace. It's Annabeth that keeps him rooted.
It's at the telling of the scary stories when Percy makes his infamous escape.
Thinking that Annabeth would be too engrossed in the story, he tiptoes around everyone that surrounds the large bonfire and appears behind the log facing Thalia's back. His foot shoots forward and softly nudges her back. When she turns around with a smile full of everlasting mischief, his heart just beats a little faster. He can't keep the smile off his face when she finally leans her back against his legs. But it's the look Annabeth sends him across the campfire that makes his smile falter a fraction.
In one of their dates, Percy bites the inside of his cheek before taking Annabeth's hand in his. It's about time. And the ecstatic smile she gives is pretty worth it.
But he's not going to lie anymore.
Percy's staring at Annabeth, undoubtedly seeing someone else. And no murmurs, no lies, could ever cover up the fact that he was way too deep in love with Thalia Grace to be going on a date with another girl.
Most of the time she wonders, What the fuck is wrong with this place?
By now, the entire camp is certain that Percy is in love with her. They must be—no, they are—stupid, considering that he was currently going out with Annabeth. She hears the whispers that all center around her and the seaweed brain. They sprout rumors all over the place, even Chiron's listening to them. She has half a mind to storm up to the source of the frustrating rumors, which would be the Aphrodite cabin, and just beat the living hell out of all of them.
For. The. Last. Time.
Percy was not in love with her!
He couldn't be, not when he has Annabeth. The blonde girl of Athena was an amazing girl. She was smart, she was pretty, and best of all, she always had a plan to get them out of any loophole they might have stuck themselves in. Annabeth was the reasonable source that balanced out adrenaline junkies like Percy and Thalia in place. They would tumble away if she wasn't there to be their glue.
The whispers reach a crescendo now, to which she can't ignore. They agitate her, and she thinks that the Aphrodite cabin has nothing else to do but make someone's life into a reality show involving finding love and whatnot. Please, don't make her barf. Usually, when she thinks of love, she thinks of hearts, and then she thinks of Valentine's Day, and then she thinks of her worst favorite color: pink, and then—ugh, where's the trash can so that she could empty her stomach?
But then…these rumors might have a point.
She keeps a huge lookout to see if Percy's giving her any signals. When they fight, nothing much happens. When their hands touch while their swords cross paths, she mistakes the tingling feeling for her inner electricity she can conduct.
And then, well, there are the times in which Percy's arm would be around her. Thalia doesn't notice his arm until it's been there for a while. She can't help but stare at his arm that's molded around her waist so casually. Sometimes, his fingers would accidentally touch her skin under her shirt, and she would feel the shivers down her spine. Her skin cackles at his touch, and again, she mistakes it as the currents of electricity. He touches her a lot, she realizes. Friends could touch each other, right?
Friends don't touch each other that much.
Thalia honestly doesn't know why everyone likes campfires so much.
The songs are so loud, it'll leave her migraines afterwards, and if she ate too many s'mores, she might just get a stomach ache. It's the weird, moronically scary stories that grab her attention.
When Will Solace leans over to whisper in her ear about the kid sitting in the front showing his butt-crack, she can't help but grin. And then she notices that Percy is looking at her. Looking may be the wrong word. Glaring was more like it, and the heated look was directed exactly towards Will. But why the glare? What did Will do?
During the story-telling, a slight nudge touches her back. Thalia turns around to find Percy grinning at her. In this light, he looks quite handsome and…what are you thinking? He's handsome? Well, well, hold on there, party girl, you ate too many s'mores. She's a bit tired and Percy's grin coaxes her to rest against the front of her legs. Of course, Thalia is completely oblivious to Percy's happy smile, or Annabeth's envious look. She's oblivious to it all.
One night, Thalia was walking around camp, alone. Percy and Annabeth took off again on their weekly dates or whatever, and the night is breezy and nice. She closes her eyes when the wind touches her cheek. When she opens them again, she is shocked to find Percy walking Annabeth back to her cabin. Thalia panics, her eyes darting around to see a hiding place or an escape. She hides behind the shadow that a random cabin provides her.
Percy murmurs something to Annabeth. No kissing is involved. Thalia frowns. Usually, at this stage of their relationship, they should be kissing already. Why aren't they kissing?
No. All they do is hug.
With Annabeth's back turned from Thalia, the blue-eyed girl can see Percy's face from where she's standing. Percy's supposed to be focused on Annabeth, but as he hugs the blonde girl, his seawater gaze lands right on Thalia. She freezes on the spot, knowing well that he could see that she was there. Her heart drops to see that there is longing in his ocean hues—a yearning not for Annabeth, but for—
Thalia turns away from Percy's haunting eyes. She could still feel his hungry eyes on her back as she walks away, back to the sanctuary of her solitary cabin.
Times like these she wished she had accepted the role of a Hunter.
Because being a Hunter would be way easier than facing this.