AN: Started out as memory loss angst, ended up as a Percabeth reunion. *shrug*
The thing about getting your memory back in four hours in a chariot being pulled by the fastest horse in the world when you're rushing to save the world is that you have the memories, but nothing really sticks.
It's like watching a movie.
Percy Jackson is a demigod. Percy's mom is named Sally, and Sally was in love with Poseidon. Yes, he heard that from someone who'd already seen the movie.
And then poor little Percy Jackson—still a baby, really—gets a stepfather, a horrible, smelly stepfather. Well, that is an unexpected twist. Definitely not in the IMDB summary. He flinches as he sees beer bottles smashing and a horrible thud from the other room. But how can little Percy Jackson think that Gabe just punched a wall? How could he be that stupid?
Percy Jackson's list of "Schools I've Been Expelled From" increases.
He goes to an awful-looking school called Yancy Academy—how had his mother ever let him go there?—and meets Grover. Walks funny, looks too old to be in sixth grade, bleats when he's nervous. Definitely a satyr – faun? No, satyr. Greek. And Percy Jackson doesn't notice that his best friend is a mythological creature. Did he not know what he is? Who he is?
A monster attack, a quick school montage, and the scene cuts to a stormy hilltop.
Percy Jackson's mom dies, there's the Minotaur, and Grover is unconscious, and thank the gods that Frank doesn't comment when his knuckles are white against the edge of the chariot and there's something wet on his face. (But you talked to your mom, a little voice in his head whispers. She can't be dead.)
A girl with princess curls and gray eyes. Yes, that's Annabeth. Much younger than he remembers her, though. A centaur. But not one of the barbaric, wrong ones. He looks familiar… yes! That Latin teacher from earlier in the movie. So he must have been disguised. His name is Chiron.
When Percy Jackson wakes up, he seems to be having trouble dealing with the new discovery of his heritage. Percy feels bad for him—the quicker this kid accepts the truth, the easier this whole experience will be. Can't he see that?
A few quick scenes in fast-forward-speed. He sees the camp flash by, sees a campfire and a crowded cabin. The Hermes cabin, he remembers. Always crowded.
He has to keep reminding himself that he's watching his life, not just some kid in a movie. This is not a movie. This is a goddess shoving his memories back into his head with a hammer the size of the Empire State Building.
Percy Jackson gets a quest. He tries to look confident, but Percy can see right through him. Still, he seems brave enough to do it. Might not know much, but this kid has guts. Annabeth and Grover go with him. Medusa (so that's what the gorgons were talking about!) and Echidna and poodles and Ares (no wonder he hates Mars) and Hades and a casino and Tartarus and a lightning bolt and the coast guard and an airplane. And then Olympus and Percy holds his breath through the whole thing, at least until he remembers that he's still alive so Percy Jackson must live.
Another Camp Half-Blood montage. He smiles. Yes, that's what it looks like in his memories, too. (These are your memories, he reminds himself.)
He sees himself poisoned, sees Luke betray the camp, and then in a flash he is home, at another school. Looks like a school for hippies' kids. He laughs when he sees Percy Jackson jogging through New York City in tie-dye gym clothes. Frank gives him a weird look, but Percy just shakes his head. The movie doesn't pause for real life.
Tyson. How can Percy Jackson not see that Tyson was a Cyclops? He's glad he remembers Tyson.
Canadians—yes, he remembers the Canadians—blow up the gym and it looks like the school is going to blame Percy Jackson, but then Annabeth pulls him out of the burning building with Tyson trailing behind and after a car ride and some bronze bulls Percy Jackson is back at camp, and the camp looks horrible. He cringes when he sees the sickly tree, the yellow grass. This is not how Camp Half-Blood should look.
Chiron leaves. A ghost runs their camp. Percy snickers when Percy Jackson tells him to 'go chase a donut'—this kid has a gift. (This kid is you.)
He's not surprised at all when Percy Jackson sneaks away from camp, bringing trusty sidekicks Annabeth and Tyson along for the ride (Grover is missing, but he's seen Grover in that dream, so he must be okay). Another quest, some nice views of the Caribbean—he sees Queen Hylla. Well, not a queen yet, but he feels sick to his stomach that he left all those people at the mercy of the pirates. Did he never think of what happened to them?
Percy really hopes that Percy Jackson learned from his lesson—never let yourself get rusty when it comes to swordplay. Idiot almost got himself killed.
Camp is saved; the summer is relatively normal. He smiles when Annabeth kisses Percy on the cheek. Although he's surprised—he hadn't been doing anything stupid at the time. Doesn't Annabeth kiss him when he does stupid things? Before he has time to ponder than much longer, a girl pops out of the tree. He remembers her name—Thalia. Yeah. Daughter of Zeus. He's pretty sure that they're friends, and he thinks he remembers something about her becoming …a Hunter of Artemis? Yes, that sounds right.
Home again. Memories, scenes of the movie flash by, and then there's this quick one-two-three-done part where they go to Maine (it's not very nice that time of year) and Annabeth falls off a cliff (he's in danger of snapping the chariot in two at that point) and he sees Nico (that reminds him, he needs to ask that little shit why he didn't tell him he knew him) and Bianca (why doesn't he have more memories of her?) and the Hunters. A few days at camp, a weird sea monster, and then they go on a quest. Washington, D.C. and then a train ride west and a god named Fred. A massive junkyard, and—oh. That's why he doesn't have many memories of Bianca.
They meet a pig and it turns out Thalia is afraid of heights. He gets shot but doesn't die—no, it's not the iron skin, the Styx. It's that lion pelt. What happens to it? Then they go to the Hoover Dam and he sees a redhead who looks very familiar—yes, her name is Rachel. He thinks he sees her after this winter, strangely.
They were right next to New Rome.
He sees that old man who glared at him from the beach. Nereus. Oh. No wonder.
Mount Tam. Artemis in chains. A Titan—the first Titan Percy Jackson has ever seen. And it's Atlas, no less. Then the fight begins and Percy Jackson takes on the weight of the sky and he looks like he's on fire and everything is tinged red.
He realizes how strange it is that he's watching his memories in a perspective that's not his own. No emotions tied to them. When will those come back? Will they? Or will he be stuck with only this movie of his life?
Then Thalia pushes Luke off a cliff and Atlas is trapped again and Percy Jackson tries to stand but can't and Zoe is dead and there's an airplane. Olympus again, and he can't believe the gods are actually thinking of killing Percy Jackson. Well, yes, he's risky. A wild card. But as Athena says in the next scene (after he dances with Annabeth—he can't help a silly grin at that) loyalty is his fatal flaw. Do the other gods not realize that?
He's home for Christmas and there's this guy named Paul. His future stepfather. Their first meeting is awkward, but not horrible. Oh—except when a monster shows up in the alley… but all around, he thinks Percy Jackson has made a relatively good first impression. Good job, kid, he thinks. (Your life, Percy.)
The rest of the school year passes with little incident, only a few attacks. Freshman orientation, and then Rachel the redhead is there, and the school is on fire and Annabeth shows up and why can't this camp stay safe for once? There's a hellhound—Mrs. O'Leary—and Grover's searcher's license is about to be revoked. Not good. He has a feeling that it won't, though…
A quest to the Labyrinth. Annabeth will lead it. Not good, not good, not good. And why is she bringing four people? Nobody dies, but… this cannot be good.
They see Hera in the maze. He has to remind himself that this is only a memory and he can't punch her at the moment. Then they see Nico, and Percy realizes that he actually does clean stables. Who would've thought.
The group splits up. There's a forge, a volcano, some telekhines, and—
Annabeth kisses him.
Kiss her back! Percy wants to scream at himself. But then Annabeth runs out of the volcano and a few seconds later Percy is leaving the volcano, too, but not in quite as painless a way. He washes up on an island, and he remembers that the girl's name is Calypso. He remembers moonlace and birds and a raft. Percy Jackson (who looks exactly like someone who's survived a volcanic eruption) falls head over heels for her. And then he leaves.
It's not very surprising, he thinks, that Percy Jackson crashes his own funeral. Really, the campers should have expected it. Maybe they did, in that half-hoping half-joking way.
Back into the Labyrinth, Percy and Annabeth and Rachel and not Grover or Tyson. (They survive, though.)
Daedalus, Nico, Minos. Luke becomes Kronos. They find Grover and Tyson, and Pan dies. The Battle of the Labyrinth. All a flash-flash-flash of memories. No time to realize exactly how many people died. All he knows is that the number is too many.
The rest of the summer is quiet. Percy turns fifteen and his father gives him a birthday present for the first time ever.
Poseidon calls him his favorite son.
Well, at least he knows it's not the horse.
As memories of his freshman year flick through his mind, he takes a brief glance down to see that they're getting closer to California. Hopefully he'll have all his memories back by then, because it would really suck to have them playing throughout the battle.
More monster attacks. He goes on a few missions, and explains his absences as a recurring illness, a family death (unfortunately, that one isn't too inaccurate), and other half-believable excuses. He had gullible teachers that year. He visits the Underworld with Nico and Thalia and nearly dies again, but what's new about that?
More missions, more campers die and desert, and things are not looking good for Camp Half-Blood. The second freshman year is over he's on his way back, and the next day he leaves for some Titan base in Virginia to rescue some captives, and a week later there's a building that needs exploding, and he notices that he and Annabeth don't talk much anymore. But they've kissed a lot, and that hasn't happened in his memories yet, so everything has to turn out okay, right?
Fighting, fighting, fighting. That's all Percy Jackson seems to do.
Two months fly by and then he has to go blow up a cruise ship and—no, no, Beckendorf can't be dead. But… he is. He doesn't have any memories of him after that.
They - he and Frank and Hazel and Arion - are getting closer to New Rome.
He sees Atlantis for the first time, when it's under attack and about to collapse. His father looks old and decrepit, with a big beard kind of like the Roman statues of Neptune.
With the line that Ella recited.
A brief flash of a fight with Annabeth, and then Nico and the Underworld and even from this weird third-person point of view he can feel how agonizing the Styx is.
He sees that vision of Annabeth. So she's not only his girlfriend, but also the one thing connecting him to mortal life. He wonders if that's changed since the curse washed away.
The war passes by in a flash of blood and concrete and death. Michael. Silena. Almost Annabeth—no, thank the gods. Ethan. Kronos. Luke. Too many others.
He turns down immortality… glancing at Annabeth before he says no. And then he makes the gods make a promise. Percy feels the urge to pat himself on the back, but doesn't because he would fall off the chariot and die, which would kind of suck after all that effort.
And then finally, finally, he and Annabeth kiss.
The rest of the summer passes by in a quick flash of memories. He looks down and notices that the chariot is almost at Camp Jupiter.
Back in New York, his life looks pretty normal. Occasional monster attacks, but that's normal for him, at least. The only abnormal thing is that he's alive and he's at the same school he was last year. Percy wonders what his parents told the school… Illness? That he ran away? Military school?
Annabeth kisses him a lot.
They head back to camp for winter break. Annabeth kisses him goodnight. He walks into his cabin, sees a goddess, and then the memories are over.
He blinks, almost falling off the chariot. He feels numb.
His whole life has just flashed before his eyes in about four hours.
He has his memories back.
'Cause, see, he's got them back. But he doesn't know them yet. They are familiar. If somebody came up to him and asked him if he remembered that time they did x, y, and z, he would say yes.
But he can't remember the exact sound of Grover's laugh, or what Tyson's favorite color is. When's his mom's birthday? And Annabeth's brothers… what are their names?
He doesn't have time to think about what he doesn't remember, though. He's got a camp to save. Again.
Percy stumbles off the chariot, stiff and sore and still numb. Frank looks like he's about to vomit. Hazel seems fine.
Tyson and Mrs. O'Leary come, and it feels so good to see them. Tyson's favorite color is green, he remembers. Or rainbow because it reminds him of the hippocampus. Yes, that's right.
Rushing into battle feels normal, which should be weird for a sixteen year-old, but apparently not for him. During the fighting, annoying flashes of memory pop into his head—that time he used this move to kill someone on the Williamsburg Bridge, that move was one of the first he learned, a certain feint to the right and stab was what Chiron used when he was fighting Kronos—and the memories are distracting. He tries to force them to the back of the mind, but he's terrified of losing them.
Polybotes is dead, the celebration begins, and he can't help think that everything here is so different from at Camp Half-Blood, where they spend the night after a battle in mourning, not feasting.
We. Not they.
At night, memories fill his dreams. A lot of them involve kissing Annabeth, which he doesn't exactly mind. And then of course Juno—Hera? No, it's Juno—interrupts and calls him a loose cannon and he dumps her in the river.
The next day he manages to convince the Senate that the Greeks (Why do you keep referring to them as separate from you? You are Greek. You are their leader.) are not a threat to Rome. Yes, they will be arriving in a warship, but they're peaceful. Kind of. He hopes they haven't brought Clarisse along—from what he remembers, she would kill someone at the first sign of a sideways glance.
From what he remembers.
The ship lands, the bronze glowing as hordes of Romans flock to see these strange new allies, these people they didn't know existed. And not just the legionnaires—civilians from New Rome pour out of the city to gape at the flying vessel.
There—a flash of gold.
Reyna has to clamp her nails down hard to keep him from sprinting to the boat before they even disembark.
Too slowly the passengers climb down a ladder that looks like it'll collapse any second—he can see her—and he and Reyna walk towards a point halfway-ish between the legion and the boat, although he inches just a few steps closer.
If he wasn't a praetor and if he didn't already have enemies here…
"And there is no way whatsoever we could go just a little bit closer?" he asks.
Reyna rolls her eyes, although Percy can tell she's almost as anxious as he is. She hides it better, though. "What, so they don't have to walk as far?"
Still, they walk a few more steps.
The Greek crew are finally making their way towards the unspoken line, and he can see Annabeth and—that must be Jason—pulling the others, Leo and Piper, so that they walk faster, and the stare Annabeth is giving him makes him grin like an absolute idiot (thank the gods the legion can't see his face) and she huffs and lets go of Piper's arm roughly and starts to run forward— But Jason grabs her arm and Percy can vaguely hear him say something about weapons— And Annabeth plucks her dagger (he remembers that the dagger killed Luke) from its sheath and throws it on the ground and sprints—
Forget the rules; he hasn't seen his girlfriend in over half a year and he can't wait another second.
He runs toward her, mentally cursing whoever gave togas so many layers to trip over, and then she's in his arms and she's hugging him and everything is okay.
Percy never wants to let her go. Ever again.
"The next time I see Hera," Annabeth's voice is muffled against his stupid toga, "I am going to gut her like a fish."
He laughs, still holding her, and he just feels so happy right now… complete. As long as Annabeth's here, everything will be okay. He realizes that she's shaking. And he thinks he might be, too, but he can't really tell and he doesn't care because Annabeth is here.
"Don't worry," he says. "I already dumped her in the Tiber."
Annabeth stares up at him, a single eyebrow arched over those gray eyes he's been longing to see. She shakes her head, smiling, and he has the feeling that this is the first time she's really smiled in a long, long time.
"Seaweed Brain," she mutters.
He pulls her even closer, loving the feel of her pressed against him, and he's still grinning like a Seaweed Brain but he doesn't care.
Reyna clears her throat.
Looks like reunion time is over.
His co-praetor is standing pretty close to Jason, so he hopes that they don't want to kill each other at least. Though with Reyna, you never know. Leo seems funny and he doesn't have a good read on Piper yet. Jason is exactly how Percy expected him to be—kind of serious, but a good guy. He thinks they'll get along well.
He doesn't leave Annabeth's side.
Even in the Senate meeting later that day, their Greek guests get special front row seats as the Romans debate their fate. Octavian tries to use Percy's relationship with Annabeth against him, saying that she could be tricking and influencing him, but Percy shoots him down so ferociously that Octavian looks as if he's been slapped. Jason, as a former praetor, helps argue for his new friends. Three praetors against an augur, albeit a smooth-talking one.
The Senate votes: the Greeks, if they prove their trustworthiness, will live.
That night, he and Annabeth fall asleep in a spare house they've found in the praetorial neighborhood, talking about memories and the last half a year and just enjoying each other's presence because it has been way too long.
"So you've got all your memories back?" she asks. Surprisingly, this question comes up pretty late in the conversation.
He pauses, tracing up and down her leg absentmindedly.
"Yeah. Mostly. I… I have them," he tries to explain, "but I don't know them. They're familiar, but not mine yet."
"Kind of like… you watched a movie about your life, but you need to watch it again before you remember all of it?"
Percy shakes his head in amazement. "Exactly."
"Hm." Annabeth looks deep in thought, as always. A devilish smirk crosses her face. "Well, maybe I can help jog your memory."
He grins as her lips meet his for what feels like the hundredth time that day. If he could've, he would've pulled her away as soon as the ship landed.
"I missed you," she mumbles some time later.
He kisses her forehead. "Me, too."
Annabeth rolls her eyes. "At least you were drooling away for four months of it. You weren't going insane, searching all over the country—"
"So basically what you're telling me is that I should sign you up for the mental hospital?"
She smacks him.
"Shut up. When I was missing, you were crazy. Gods, you should hear Thalia talk about it."
He tries to remember what he was like when Annabeth was missing. Panic creeps up on him. Where are the memories? How - how does he remember? What if he's already forgotten—?
"What's wrong?" Annabeth tugs on his arm.
"I can't remember. I can't remember when you were gone. I can't remember how to remember."
She looks like she did when she was seven, alone in—wait. That's a memory. That's a memory.
"It's okay. That's okay, Percy." She puts her hands on his face and takes a deep breath. He's still panicking. "You guys were with the Hunters after the fight, right?"
A shaky breath. "Yeah. I - I got in a fight with… Thalia. And Artemis, too, I think. And Nico kept asking me questions. He asked if I could surf." He grins briefly: "And if you were my girlfriend."
Annabeth lets out a little laugh. "Okay, so what happened after that?"
"After the Hunters showed up, I tried to convince them you weren't gone. It didn't work. And after Bianca joined them, Apollo gave us a ride to camp. Thalia drove. It was awful."
The memories click into place, one by one, sometimes out of order. And this time he remembers the feelings, too.
He stumbles a few times and begins to panic again, but she helps him. Thalia has told her a lot. He wonders how much…
By the time he gets to the part about Mount Tam, he's calmed down considerably and both of them are starting to feel the effects of the long day. It's almost midnight. Both of them are lying down on the couch, Annabeth partially on top of him.
"And then I found you," he mumbles. "I found you."
His eyes close, and Annabeth is here, and everything is okay.