disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to Sonya, for Christmas or her birthday. I can't remember which.
notes: so… much… fic… I seem to be writing about the ocean, a lot. I guess I miss it.

title: drink deep
summary: I left you a letter in an empty bottle one day and sent it out to sea. — Annabeth/Percy.

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Annabeth had a line of coloured glass bottles on her windowsill.

They had sat there for as long as she could remember; little vanities that she'd found along the beach when her father took her to the coast as a child. It had been a misguided attempt, but it was better than nothing.

Trace amounts of caring were better than nothing.

It was a half-hour bus-ride from where her father and his wife lived to the shoreline. She squirmed uncomfortably. It was hot and close in the interior of the bus, the day that she decided she needed to tell the ocean that she loved Percy Jackson.

It wasn't anyone's fault, not really.

(Well, except Percy's. It was his fault for being so ridiculously dorky and Seaweed Brain-ish and—and—cute. It was all his fault for being cute.)

Her skin stuck to the vinyl beneath her and she winced. It was sticky and disgusting, and she shuddered at the claustrophobia that clawed at the inside of her throat. She slipped her hand into the bag at her side to close around the cold neck of one of the bottles.

They clinked against each other comfortingly.

Annabeth took two deep breaths. The deep meditative breathing exercises were something she used only in times of greatest panic, but she really didn't like buses. Ten minutes, Chase, she told herself again and again; she repeated the mantra over and over in her head. Just ten minutes.

But just ten minutes turned into a nightmare of traffic, too many people, and the distinct smell of a city cooking in its own heat, something caught between garbage and vomit. And yet Annabeth was prepared to sit through it all, because she wanted to make it to the sea.

Because if it was meant to be (and it was), Annabeth was going to find a way to make it so. That was just the sort of person she was.

And Percy would never let her live it down if he found out that she'd given up because of a bus.

She took another two deep breaths, and got off.

The ocean air was a blessed breath of relief.

"Sweet Circe," she murmured, "thank you."

She thought she heard laughter.

Annabeth tucked wild blond strands behind her ear, and pulled two of the bottles from her bag; one green and one blue, they glimmered wetly in the sunlight. Curled inside were letters; one to her father and one to Percy, and they were special and loved.

She'd corked them, careful and painstaking so that no water would get in.

Maybe they would sink to the bottom of the sea.

Obliviously obvious, she walked down to the pier's edge and looked down. The water was very deep.

Annabeth smiled into the sun, and let them drop.

"Hey, Seaweed Brain. I love you. Just so you know."

And this time, that was laughter she heard, for sure.

fin.