Time flies when you're busy kicking idiots in the shins. My apologies.
Annabeth needed a lot of things, but at the moment, she was desperately in need of another pencil.
Because she'd snapped every last one of them through either anxiety, agony, or frustration. And because Perseus Jackson, her supposed best friend, was hiding from his problems with that mortal instead of facing them with her. Of course, she had to be the one that was always pulling him back in line, instead of him using his stupid fatal flaw and sticking with her like he was supposed to. Where was his personal loyalty when she needed it?
The mission to blow up Luke – no, Kronos's – monster-infested cruise ship should have started this morning. But of course Percy had to go running off with his mortal friend, and Annabeth sincerely hoped that Beckendorf got Blackjack to give Percy a good kick in the face when they started the mission, though she guessed that Blackjack would never do that. Even if she didn't speak horse, she got that the pegasus pretty much idolized Percy by observing them. She was a daughter of Athena. She did those kinds of things.
Annabeth circled around the cabin, ruffling her bedsheets in a vain attempt to find a pencil that wasn't splintered in half. Aimlessly slapping the pockets of her jeans and shoving her hands through the curly mess of her hair, she finally gave up trying to plan by herself and went to find Malcolm.
By nightfall, Percy and Beckendorf weren't back yet, and Annabeth paced along the dark beach, restrapping her bronze armor and tying her hair again and again.
She'd timed the practice rounds he and Beckendorf had done, and at the very most it had taken one and a half hours. On the actual mission that day, Beckendorf had left camp at three in the afternoon, and judging by the speeds Blackjack could reach, weighted down by two demigods in bronze armor but probably with a sea breeze to boost him, they would've gotten to the cruise ship in fifteen minutes at the most. Minor setbacks like having to destroy monsters and stuff on the way to the engine room would've delayed them for a maximum of half an hour if there were a lot of them.
All that calculated, they should've been back two hours ago.
Annabeth had given her best estimate for the location of the ship, and it was probably out of sight if someone such as herself was looking from the beach. The smoke from the explosion would've been tossed away by the breeze blowing away from camp, so she had no way of knowing how the mission went.
She went over the possibilities. Best case scenario: They'd blown up the ship, and Percy had gotten them to shore alive but far from camp and were on their way back. Worst case scenario: They'd been caught before managing to explode the ship, gotten eaten by monsters, and Kronos was on his way to New York completely undamaged.
Watching the last of the sun's rays disappear under the cold blackness of the ocean, she prayed to all the gods she knew of that they'd make it back alive and okay. The camp couldn't afford to lose two of their best fighters, and Annabeth couldn't afford to lose Percy.
It was a huge blow to the camp.
Annabeth hadn't really been that close to Beckendorf, but he was good at listening to and understanding her plans, and even better at forging the things that would make her plans work better. Now that he was dead . . . She only gave herself a couple minutes to mourn; she and Percy were the leaders of the camp now. If she got bent out of shape, they were all dead.
She did allow herself a couple more minutes to be happy that Percy was alive. Slightly charred and much more serious than he usually was, but alive nonetheless. And he still managed to take away her usual eloquence.
"I'm glad you're not dead, Seaweed Brain."
"Thanks," Percy said, his face showing a mixture of sadness, confusion, and maybe eagerness. "Me too."
Of course, her moment of relief was completely ruined when Percy announced he had to see the Great Prophecy. But Annabeth had to hand it to him; he took the news pretty well considering he now knew he was most likely going to get his soul reaped. If it was her in Percy's place, she'd probably would have . . . well, she wasn't sure what she would have done, but it wouldn't have been pretty.
Any newfound respect for him was utterly crushed when he brought up Rachel.
They stopped by the tetherball courts on their – her – inspection rounds. Percy cleared his throat, looking apprehensive. "Annabeth. Listen, I had this dream about, um, Rachel . . ." Annabeth listened intently, brow furrowed and eyes hard, as he described the dream. When he finished, he looked at her expectantly, like she was going to be happy knowing that he had been dreaming about that mortal. As if.
"What do you want me to say?" she asked, staring at the rip in her scroll.
When he spoke, his voice was almost pleading. "I'm not sure. You're the best strategist I know. If you were Kronos planning this war, what would you do next?"
"I'd use Typhon as a distraction. Then I'd hit Olympus directly, while the gods were in the West."
"Just like in Rachel's picture."
Annabeth kept her voice tight so as not to make a deragatory comment about Rachel. "Percy, Rachel is just a mortal." Accept that fact and move on! We need you here, Seaweed Brain, not obsessing with that mortal. Her inner voice was much more colorful in describing Rachel than what she voiced.
"But what if her dream is true?" What if it isn't? "Those other Titans – they said Olympus would be destroyed in a matter of days. They said they had plenty of other challenges. And what's with that picture of Luke as a kid –"
Somehow, despite his good nature and (currently wandering) loyalty, Percy still managed to push her to her breaking point.
"We'll just have to be ready."
"How?" Percy asked, looking at her. She couldn't decipher the things flickering in his eyes. "Look at our camp. We can't even stop fighting each other. And I'm supposed to get my stupid soul reaped."
Annabeth threw down her scroll. It always had to be about him, didn't it! "I knew we shouldn't have shown you the prophecy. All it did was scare you. You run away from things when you're scared."
Percy stared at her, stunned. "Me? Run away?"
"Yes, you. You're a coward, Percy Jackson!" she said in his face, hoping that he got the double meaning in her words and that it stung.
She could see it in his eyes that it did.
"If you don't like our chances, maybe you should go on that vacation with Rachel." The words flowed out of her mouth without her thinking about it, which she hated. Percy was one of the few people that could get her to stop thinking, but this time it wasn't in a good way.
"Annabeth – "
"If you don't like our company."
"That's not fair!" Life's not fair, Percy. I learned that the hard way. You should too.
She shoved her way past him and punched the tetherball as she stormed by, not feeling better in the least.
How the heck had he disappeared?
He couldn't go past the borders, he couldn't go through the Labyrinth, he couldn't shadow travel, and still Percy freaking Jackson managed to vanish into thin air.
And it was only seven in the morning.
Annabeth stamped out of her cabin, ruffling her notes angrily and muttering to herself. "Seaweed Brain . . . Idiot! Cowardly . . . Stupid mortal . . . Where in Tartarus . . ." She went on to describe anything she could think of with language that would've made a small furry animal run away in terror.
Last night, after their argument, Annabeth had gone to the Poseidon cabin after Percy didn't show up for dinner. But he hadn't been in his cabin, nor had he been at the beach. Annabeth had convinced herself that he probably just needed some time to cool down, and after three hours of restless sleeping, she'd gotten up again and snuck out to cabin three with her Yankees cap.
But Percy wouldn't have taken half the night to cool down, would he? Because he wasn't snoring away in his bunk when she'd checked up on his cabin at midnight.
He wasn't eating breakfast right now, either.
She was officially worried now.
Holding the notes three inches away from her nose, Annabeth tried to focus on the plans for their latest seige. Suddenly getting a burst of inspiration, she stood up, picked the papers out of her morning orange juice where she'd accidentally dropped them in, and sprinted to the forge.
"Jake!" she said as soon as she'd yanked open the door. She sprinted over to Jake Mason, who had taken over leadership of the Hephaestus cabin.
He turned around, surprised. "Hey, Annabeth. You should be at breakfast."
Annabeth waved his concern away. "You should be too, but neither of us are. Where's that magic shield Beckendorf made?"
A flash of sadness passed over Jake's face at the mention of Beckendorf. "It's on the wall, top left corner of the shield section. Why?"
"Percy's gone," Annabeth replied shortly, her voice masking the panic welling up in her as she scanned the wall Jake had pointed out. She pulled over a stool, climbed on it, and unhooked the polished bronze shield.
Jake did a double take behind her. "What do you mean, Percy's gone?"
"He didn't show up to dinner last night, and he wasn't in his cabin. I didn't see him at breakfast just now either, and it's pretty hard to miss him." Annabeth set the shield on one of the tables, Jake coming over to look over her shoulder.
As soon as she set it down, the reflection in the polished metal swirled from metal contraptions and leather harnesses on the ceiling of the forge to flashing visions of cloudy skies, an impossibly tall and ugly monster, and the reflective surfaces of various skyscrapers across the United States. Annabeth even thought she caught a glimpse of Hawaii before it was swept away.
She focused on Percy's face, his green eyes, messy black hair, his cute lopsided grin. The shield spun through scenes until it finally rested on . . . nothing.
"That can't be right," Annabeth muttered frantically. "The shield shows everything. Percy can't have vanished off the face of the earth!"
"Actually, Annabeth," Jake interjected, his tone nervous, "it shows everything under natural light. So if Percy isn't dead, he's got to be somewhere where there's no . . . natural . . . light . . ." He faltered as they came to the same conclusion.
"He's in the Underworld," Annabeth whispered. "Oh, gods, why would he be down there? Somebody's taken him."She started pacing, tugging on her ponytail. "Percy would never go there willingly; he hated it on our first quest!"
"Whoa," Jake said, putting a firm hand on her shoulder. "Calm down. What can we do?"
Annabeth took a deep breath. "I don't know. We can't Iris-message the Underworld. We can't spare anyone to go on a rescue mission. The only thing we can do . . ." She blinked hard. "We wait."
"He'll be okay, Annabeth," Jake reassured her.
"Thanks, Jake," she said, staring into the nothingness the shield stubbornly showed her. "I have to go."
Jake nodded understanding as she remounted the shield on the proper hook and trudged out of the forge, mumbling possibilities and curses under her breath.
Annabeth hadn't really seen the curse of Achilles in action before, but Percy's demonstration was awe-inspiring. She decided that she could forgive him for running off to the Styx without telling her. His new monster-fighting abilities totally made up for it.
He was a demonic whirlwind, his bronze sword like a deadly bronze disc from the speed with which it hacked and slashed. Hellhounds dissolved into pools of darkness. Dracaenae exploded into grainy dust. Anything and anyone in his way that they called an enemy was instantly destroyed. Annabeth's knife was only a shorter version of Riptide as she vaporized monsters left and right and in front, fighting back to back with Percy.
As the monsters fell, Kronos's demigod allies gradually took their place. She noticed Percy slowing down with his fighting, wounding the enemy instead of just flat-out killing them. No! You can't show mercy here!
Suddenly, Annabeth felt the air around them shift, in a way.
In half a second, as she caught sight of a black eye patch under bronze, everything went wrong.
Pain exploded in her shoulder as Ethan Nakamura's poisoned blade struck her instead of Percy. Even as her consciousness slipped away, even as she collapsed into her best friend's arms, some small part of her brain documented that she'd just somehow saved Percy's life.
Then the world went black.
Something burns . . .
"Percy?" she mumbled, not really awake. There was warmth on her hand.
"Shhh," a soft voice said. "You need rest."
She gladly did as it told her and slid back into a restless sleep.
When she came around for good, she was lying on a lounge chair outside on the terrace of the Plaza. Layers of blankets covered her, but her skin was clammy and her shoulder was hurting so badly she nearly passed out again. She gritted her teeth and forced herself to stay conscious. Her siblings looked on worriedly.
"Percy!" she heard a voice exclaim, followed by a dull clap. "We're getting reports –"
"Later," Percy's voice replied, sounding anxious. "Where's Annabeth?"
"The terrace. She's alive, man, but . . ."
She heard a scuffle as Percy pushed his way onto the balcony.
He stared at her with pained green eyes, his face pale and tight. "Annabeth . . ." His voice cracked.
"Poison on the dagger," Annabeth mumbled, attempting a weak smile. "Pretty stupid of me, huh?"
She gripped his fingers as Will Solace cleaned out the wound with nectar. Then the demigods slowly trickled back into the hotel, leaving her, Percy, and Silena on the terrace, who left after a bit of sniffing and a new resolve to convince Clarisse to join the battle.
Percy knelt next to her when they were alone, pressing his hand against her forehead. His fingers felt cold, although whether that was because he was scared out of his wits for her or whether she was feverish, she couldn't tell. Probably both.
Deliriously, she noticed his face. "You're cute when you're worried," she muttered. "Your eyebrows get all scrunched together."
Percy's cheeks turned a little pink. "You are not going to die while I owe you a favor," he ordered her. "Why did you take that knife?"
Annabeth wasn't sure herself, so she gave the best answer she had. "You would've done the same for me."
A million different emotions flashed through his green eyes. "How did you know?"
Percy looked around warily, as though looking for eavesdroppers. He leaned close to her and whispered in her ear, his breath cool against her feverish skin. "My Achilles spot. If you hadn't taken that knife, I would've died."
So that's what her instinct had been warning her about. Annabeth stared off into the distance, imagining what could've happened if she hadn't been there. She didn't like what her brain came up with. "I don't know, Percy. I just had this feeling you were in danger. Where . . . where is the spot?"
She was asking something huge. If Percy trusted her with his secret, she'd be . . . what would she be? The decider of his fate? The person that timed his death? She didn't like either of those options.
Percy hesitated for the tiniest fraction of a millisecond, then breathed the answer confidently. "The small of my back."
Annabeth summoned her strength and lifted her hand to his back. "Where? Here?"
She gingerly put her hand on his lower spine. Percy moved her fingers to the spot on his body that kept him grounded and mortal. She could almost feel the tingling of his skin coursing through her fingertips.
Even after she brought her hand away, Percy's warm fingers wrapped firmly around her frigid ones.
"You saved my life," he said, his tone spilling everything he couldn't put into words. "Thanks."
That was her Percy and his blunt way of saying emotional and touching things.
"So you owe me," she said feebly. "What else is new?"
As they watched the eerily silent New York City sunrise, she read the answer in Percy's face: We'll live to find out.
She couldn't agree more.
Stupid, STUPID, idiotic, moronic, half-baked, mindless, foolish fire-headed mortal GIRL!
Annabeth was the one that had taken the knife for him. Annabeth was the one who had been at his side through the years. Annabeth was the one that had constantly put up with and protected Perseus stinking Jackson, and now his friend had to show up in a bright obnoxious red helicopter!
And guess what Annabeth had to do.
Yeah: Fly the bright obnoxious red helicopter to save Rachel Elizabeth Dare from being smashed into a grease spot against a skyscraper. Annabeth could check that off her daily to-do list now.
She repeated the list of derogatory adjectives in Ancient Greek under her breath, each word getting darker as she went on.
It only made her feel a little better, watching Rachel run inside the building like a wimp, but leaving the demigods to do all the dirty work.
"I'll take the drakon," Percy said weakly. Then he cleared his throat. "I'LL TAKE THE DRAKON! Everyone else, hold the lines against the army!"
Annabeth pulled her owl helmet low over her face, shielding her red-rimmed eyes. Standing next to Percy didn't feel so great anymore.
"Will you help me?" Percy asked.
"That's what I do," Annabeth replied miserably, refusing to look at him and staring at the drakon instead. "I help my friends." She couldn't help the undertone of sarcasm that decorated her words.
She kept waiting for Percy to say something, hopefully reassuring her that Rachel was an annoying brat that kept showing up randomly, but of course it never came.
Slash, hack, slash, hack, tackle Percy to keep his head from being the drakon's appetizer, slash, hack.
Even that wasn't as terrifying as what came next.
Letting the poison-corroded Ares helmet roll away in the pitted pavement, Annabeth stared down at Silena Beauregard as she breathed her last story.
"All my fault," Silena choked out, a tear smearing the grime and burns on her face. "The drakon, Charlie's death . . . camp endangered –"
"Stop it!" Clarisse demanded brokenly. "That's not true."
Silena opened her hand to reveal a silver bracelet. Dangling from it was a scythe charm – the mark of Kronos.
"You were the spy," Percy whispered.
Jerking her head in a feeble nodding motion, Silena rasped out her confession. "Before . . . before I liked Charlie, Luke was nice to me. He was so . . . charming." That Annabeth could agree with her on. "Handsome. Later, I wanted to stop helping him, but he threatened to tell. He promised . . . he promised I was saving lives. Fewer people would get hurt. He told me he wouldn't hurt . . . Charlie. He lied to me."
He lied to me.
It felt like she was falling. She'd known it was the truth, of course, but when it had been happening to her – was happening to her right now – it hadn't been real. But hearing someone else's story revealed on their deathbed . . . The blood drained from her face. She felt nauseous.
He lied to me.
He . . . Annabeth thought of a different he this time. A he with green eyes instead of blue, black hair instead of blonde.
She met Percy's eyes.
And she vowed that this he wouldn't let her down like the other one.
Kronos turned and smiled through Luke's face. Except for the golden eyes, he looked just the same as he had all those years ago at camp, training her to fight with a knife, sitting under Thalia's pine, floating on the canoe lake and eating jelly beans. The memories tumbled into her mind, and she made a painful sound in the back of her throat at the force of it. She felt like a Party Pony paintball had socked her in the gut.
He and Percy exchanged some insults and threats. One of the words stuck, and suddenly an old memory overwhelmed her.
"It takes a clever warrior to use a knife. I have a feeling you're pretty clever . . ."
The gears in her head started whirring. Annabeth gasped. "Percy, the blade!" With a trembling hand, she unsheathed her knife, the scraping noise of bronze against leather ringing in her ears. "The hero's soul, cursed blade shall reap."
Before Percy's cluttered brain could process her meaning, Kronos attacked. Without the curse of Achilles, Percy would've been sliced like salami under Backbiter.
Ethan Nakamura intercepted her path toward Kronos – Luke – and her attention was ripped in two between her attacker and her best friend. Blonde hair flying around her face, she whipped her head back and forth between the two battles. She saw Hephaestus's throne electrocute Luke, sending him sprawling onto the cracked marble floor.
Taking the chance, she kicked Ethan out of the way and rushed the Titan. "Luke, listen!"
Percy's face scrunched up in pain, fear, frustration, like he was dying to shout at her. She ignored his facial expressions and kept running. Kronos flicked his hand, and an invisible force slammed her into the throne of her mother. Black stars and white spots danced in her vision, tearing her between the choice to pass out and grit her way through the agony.
A scream ripped across the throne room. "Annabeth!" She squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her jaw to ward off the oncoming headache. Her mind felt like it was shredding itself, which she didn't like in the least – she needed her brains to survive.
She wavered between blackness and hazy images of the battle. Suddenly, clarity that was nearly painful jarred her, like a thousand-watt lightbulb was flashing on her muddled thoughts.
Riptide skittered into the open fissure and dropped into open air.
"STOP!" She whirled over the fissured marble, cursed blade in hand, and drew on her last reserve of strength to catch Luke's strike on the hilt of her dagger and hold him at a standstill.
"Luke," she rasped, "I understand now. You have to trust me." Please, please trust me.
Kronos bellowed in her face. "Luke Castellan in dead! His body will burn away as I assume my true form!" Her mental voice shrieked.
Her arms started trembling. "Your mother," she said hoarsely. "She saw your fate." She had to keep talking, talking to Luke, make him see reason . . .
"Service to Kronos! This is my fate." As much as the words stung her, Luke was speaking now. She was getting through to him.
"No! That's not the end, Luke. The prophecy she saw what you would do. It applies to you!"
"I will crush you, child!" Kronos roared. Luke never called me child . . .
"You won't," she insisted with a dead certainty. "You promised. You're holding back Kronos back even now."
It wasn't like her to be taking the persuasive approach when faced with an enemy.
It wasn't like her to be so insensitive, talking like this when she knew Percy could hear it.
It wasn't like her to be doing this, but she was and she had to and it couldn't be changed.
"Family, Luke. You promised."
Gold eyes flickered blue, and Luke fought his way in and out control, raging an internal battle against Kronos that left his skin smoking and glowing gold.
Exhausted, she said, "The knife, Percy." The very effort of forcing out the words wore her down more than she could've imagined, physically and emotionally. Her breathing quickened and shallowed. "Hero . . . cursed blade . . ."
Understanding and prejudice flashed in his beautiful green eyes. Percy took her knife . . . and handed it to Luke.
He stabbed himself.
Annabeth shut her eyes and clenched her fists for all she was worth, knowing that when she opened her eyes Luke would be dead. Or close to dead, which wasn't any better. The throne room shook with the force of the explosion as the curse of Achilles was blown away.
It was silent for a long time.
She limped over to Luke's slumping body, praying he had time for his last words. Tears blurred her vision. She was thankful, because she didn't want to see the details, have them etched in her memory forever.
"Good . . . blade." His breath rattled emptily in his chest. "You knew. I almost killed you, but you knew . . ."
"Shhh," Annabeth whispered. "You were a hero at the end, Luke." It felt so relieving to call him by his real name, and know it was him that heard it. "You'll go to Elysium."
Feebly, he shook his head, smoldering blonde hair sticking to his face with blood and sweat. "Think . . . rebirth. Try for three times. Isles of the Blest." She touched her fingertips to his blistered ones.
"Did you . . ." Luke coughed, lips glistening red, and something sank in her chest. "Did you love me?"
The inevitable question.
She took a deep, rattling breath, searching for the right words to answer with. "There was a time I thought . . . well, I thought . . ." Her eyes locked with Percy's, and from the pleading, shock, and love in them she realized how to let it go.
"You were like a brother to me, Luke." Her voice carried softly around the room. "But I didn't love you."
Luke nodded, and something glimmered behind his defiant blue gaze.
Gray eyes met green, and the unspoken things in Percy's face assured her that she was right. He would be okay with it. He wouldn't hold it against her. The slate was wiped clean now, and there was no more guilt lingering between them.
They'd be . . . all right, if nothing else.
It was pretty quiet that night. The diners slowly trickled away after their evening meal, leaving Percy sitting at the Poseidon table and staring at the moonlit lake.
"Hey." She slid onto the bench next to him. It was becoming sort of a habit now. "Happy birthday."
Percy stared at the blue cupcake in her hands, uncomprehending. "What?"
Annabeth grinned. "It's August 18th. You're birthday, right?" For a second she was afraid she'd miscalculated and it actually wasn't his birthday, but Percy assured her she was right by grinning that lopsided grin of his (which never failed to make her stomach flutter, but don't tell him she said that).
"Make a wish," she offered, holding out the gigantic cupcake.
"Did you bake this yourself?"
"That explains why it looks like a chocolate brick," Percy said, examining his cake. "With extra blue cement."
Annabeth laughed. It felt good to hear something that didn't have to do with anger and pain and getting destroyed coming from her. It felt even better knowing Percy was the one making her laugh.
Tilting his head to the side for a moment, Percy blew out the candle.
She wondered what he'd wished for.
They sat in silence for a little bit, soaking up the sound of crickets chirping, monsters howling, the other campers' laughter, and eating blue cake until she voiced her thoughts.
"You saved the world," she started quietly.
"We saved the world."
"And Rachel is the new Oracle, which means she won't be dating anybody." Hint hint, Percy. I know you're not really that dimwitted.
"You don't sound disappointed," Percy noted wryly.
She shrugged, feigning indifference. "Oh, I don't care," she said, a slight tease in her voice.
Annabeth looked at him expectantly, raising an eyebrow. "You got something to say to me, Seaweed Brain?"
"You'd probably kick my butt."
She mentally giggled. "You know I'd kick your butt."
Percy dusted his hands off and started talking, watching her carefully. She kept her eyes trained on the horizon, looking at anything but him. His gaze was so intense she could practically feel it.
"When I was at the River Styx, turning invulnerable, Nico said I had to concentrate on one thing that kept me anchored to the world, that made me want to stay mortal."
"Yeah?" she asked, carefully controlling her voice.
"Then up on Olympus," Percy continued, "when they wanted to make me a god and stuff, I kept thinking –"
Annabeth recalled her panic at the possibility of losing Percy to Olympus. But her reply didn't show it: "Oh, you so wanted to."
"Well, maybe a little. But I didn't, because I thought – I didn't want things to stay the same for eternity, because things could always get better. And I was thinking . . ." Percy trailed off and cleared his throat.
"Anyone in particular?" she asked softly.
Practically everything depended on his answer now. Annabeth had known that he had caught on to the concept of dating her, but he hadn't done anything about it. Not yet, at least. She'd pretty much already made up her mind on the subject, but then again, she'd had to change it on short notice before.
Percy looked at her, seeing her trying not to smile. He pouted.
"You're laughing at me!"
"I am not!"
"You are so not making this easy," he complained.
Well, that wasn't exactly the answer she was hoping for, but it was Percy's way of saying, "It's you," and that was good enough. Better than enough, really.
Annabeth laughed for real and pulled him around to face her, putting her hands on either side of his neck. "I am never, ever going to make things easy for you, Seaweed Brain. Get used to it."
She kissed him, and it was a second before he realized what she was doing right now, and then he kissed her back.
"Well, it's about time!" a voice growled from behind them, rudely interrupting a heartfelt moment. At first, Annabeth thought there were more monsters trying to kill them, and resolved to destroy them in an extremely painful fashion before she realized what was going on.
Campers flooded the pavilion, carring torches and cheering. Clarisse charged in, followed by another group of eavesdroppers.
"Oh, come on!" Percy said, exasperated. "Is there no privacy?" Oh, no, Seaweed Brain. Not in this world. She should know; she'd done her fair share of spying on him, though hers was professionally executed (meaning she used her invisibility cap).
"The lovebirds need to cool off!" Clarisse shouted to the general kiss-crashing party, who cheered in response.
"The canoe lake!" Connor Stoll yelled, gleefully rubbing his hands together. Oh, she would so get him back later.
They hoisted her and Percy on to their shoulders and carried them down to the lake, keeping them close enough to hold hands. Percy's face was flushed in the torchlight, and he was laughing embarrassedly. Then again, so was she.
Their hands were firmly clasped all the way up until the moment they got dumped in the water.
Afterwards, they stayed underwater for Zeus knows how long (scratch that; even Zeus probably didn't know) in Percy's much larger air bubble, which proved to be extremely hot at times. She'd never been kissed underwater before, and she loved the sensation of it.
Anybody who could do that pretty much killed her expectations by completely blowing them away. No, scratch that too. Percy was the only one that could do that and kill her expectations by completely blowing them away.
Yeah, he was totally the one.
Keep an eye out for the rewritten versions of chapters one and two, because, if you read through the whole thing, you'd have seen the horrifically ginormous difference between the first two chapters and the last two. If you like(d) it anyway, do please review.