"Annabeth raised her head Olympus-wards and silently thanked the gods. Forty-five minutes break after the past hours of insanity teaching students was almost too much to hope for." Set in the summer after the Battle of Manhattan, Percy and Annabeth are back, going undercover to find unclaimed demigods and bring them to Camp Half-Blood. But this time, they have to pose as teachers.
A/N: This is set in the summer after (therefore almost a year after) the events of The Last Olympian. Percy and Annabeth are finishing their junior year and are to start their senior year after the holidays. I know that they're supposed to be in their sophomore year but it didn't go with the plot so I've upgraded them. This is set in mid-May; around two weeks before summer vacation starts.
Disclaimer: I do not own Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Chapter I – Back to School
The light afternoon breeze lightly rustled the hanging branches of the weeping willow. The canoe lake was a mirror stretching across – flat for once; apart from the occasional naiad breaking through the surface and the sound of sword on shields and practice sparring could hardly be heard from Annabeth's secluded spot.
Summer had come early that year. While it was only May, most of the campers who were not year-rounders had been an extra month of holidays mainly to train at Camp Half-Blood. Annabeth and Percy had snuck out in the temporary lapse of activities and the constant bustle of camp life.
Annabeth was sitting underneath an ancient weeping willow tree by the canoe lake, sketching a temple for Apollo for which he had requested for haikus of his own composition to be engraved onto the sides in Ancient Greek. She grimaced. His poetry really hadn't gotten any better. Percy was snoozing beside her, drooling lightly onto her shorts where his head was resting – the Curse of Achilles tired him easily. She leaned her head back against the trunk of the ancient tree and closed her eyes, enjoying the cool breeze and temporary calm and peace that had settled over camp.
Of course it wasn't going to last.
"Annabeth! Percy!" called Katie Gardner from the Demeter cabin as she sprinted over. "Chiron wants to talk to you. He says you need to be there as soon as possible."
Annabeth frowned and prayed to every god or goddess she could think of in that moment – which, being a daughter of Athena, was quite a lot – and prayed that it wasn't something that would ruin her break. "Come on Seaweed Brain, let's go."
"Mmph," he yawned, "five more minutes mom," he mumbled and flushed a deep scarlet when he realised where he was.
She rolled her eyes and smiled. Thanking Katie, they traipsed off to the Big House.
And that was how Annabeth found herself on the steps of Henry Arthur High School on Monday morning.
The stone steps of the school's entrance crunched beneath her feet as Annabeth ascended them. The broken crumbs of sandstone tumbling down in a cascade each time her foot connected with a step. Dodgy craftsmanship, she thought. At 8:00 am, the sun was already high in the cloudless sky and the air already humid and as sticky as melted cotton candy. Annabeth pulled on the collar on her white blouse as she entered through the school's revolving front door.
The cacophony of students lounging at their lockers and sharing weekend gossip was almost drowned out by the school bell which was almost as shrill as Grover's reed-pipe compositions – almost, but not quite. Annabeth attached herself to the flow of students heading towards first period world history mentally reviewing her plan for the lesson – and the backup plan if it went wrong.
She could hear snatches of conversations; " – awesome party last night dude! The enchiladas –"
"– And what did you get for your essay on –"
"– did you hear? Stacy and Kevin broke up! – "
"– Is that a new student? I've never seen her before, she's – "
"Shh… she might hear you – "
"– My god he is so – "
Arriving at the classroom, she found most of the class sitting already and cleared her throat to rouse some of the sleeping members. Before Annabeth could take a step forward a guy wolf-whistled but shrank back on the receiving end of her infamous death glare. Most of the students were staring at her now – with the exception of a few individuals still dreaming. Most of the class were awake though; the arrival of someone new probably broke the monotony of Monday morning first period World History.
Annabeth swept her gaze over the class, wondering which student was the demigod. All she knew was that his name was Simon. A tall guy sitting in the back row yelled, "New student!" as he smirked cockily and winked at her. "Come sit here babe and I'll show you around."
Annabeth raised an eyebrow and smirked right back at him. "Actually," she said, voice coated with fake sweetness, "I'm your substitute history teacher and I don't think that it's within the rules to address a teacher in that way." The guy almost fell off his chair in shock and she had to exercise extreme self-control to hold her laughter in. A few stifled giggles popped up around the class.
"Good morning class, I'm Miss Chase." She gave them her 'no nonsense' look that usually worked well on small children, her brothers and Percy. "Today we are studying Ancient Greece – Greek mythology, specifically." Annabeth surveyed the students seated in rows before her. "But first I need to take attendance." She scanned the list of students on the roll. Damn dyslexia to rot in the depths of Tartarus.
Her eyes scrolled down the list, calling them out until it came to rest on the last name on. "Simon Mason," she stated.
"Here," mumbled a guy with golden blond hair and caramel coloured eyes.
Annabeth's calculating grey gaze passed over him, analysing and processing. He looked vaguely uncomfortable.
She let her eyes wander away. "So, can anyone list any of the twelve Olympian gods?"
"There was: Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Dionysus, Hades–"
"Hades isn't actually an Olympian god," corrected Annabeth, "can anyone tell me why?"
The guy who had answered slumped back into his chair with a disappointed look masking his face.
She smiled at him kindly, "good work though."
An Asian girl raised her hand. "Hades wasn't an Olympian god because he ruled in his own domain – the Underworld. The other Olympian gods were: Hera," – Annabeth gritted her teeth at that name – "Artemis and Apollo who were siblings, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Ares, Demeter and Hermes."
"Vivienne," she smiled. She had dimples.
"Right," said Annabeth. "Does anyone have any questions?"
"Are you single?" asked the same student who had whistled.
Annabeth glared at him witheringly. "That's none of your business. Let me rephrase my question. Does anyone have any questions about the Olympians?"
"Who's your favourite Olympian?" asked a melodious voice. Simon; the demigod.
"Athena," said Annabeth without missing a beat and with a small smile.
"Who's your least favourite?"
Annabeth's gaze hardened, her eyes grew cold and dark. "Hera," she forced out with a burning glare directed at the ceiling. Outside, thunder boomed and a smell of pomegranates suffused the air.* Some of the class looked slightly freaked out. She sighed, trying to steer her thoughts away from a certain annoying goddess of marriage and queen of the gods.
The bell rang, signalling the start of the next period. Annabeth gathered her folders and waited until Simon reached the front of the classroom. "Mr Mason," she said.
He turned around with a questioning look. "Yes?"
"I need to talk to you," she said, "can you come to my office after school?"
"Sure…" he said with a baffled expression and trailed through the doorway. She waited until the rest of the class had lagged out the door, gossiping and discussing the lesson before making her way to her next class. She wondered how she could ever survive the rest of the day.
Lunchtime. Annabeth raised her head Olympus-wards and silently thanked the gods. Forty-five minutes break after the past hours of insanity teaching students was almost too much to hope for. She placed the palms of her hands against the mahogany desk and leaned back against it. Closing her eyes, and tilting her head back, she didn't hear the footsteps until a familiar 'hey wise girl' interrupted her thoughts.
"So you finally decided to show up, huh?" she said in a mock-serious tone.
"Uh…" Percy trailed off as he leaned back against the wall. "I don't have a class to teach until this afternoon so I decided to come later?" His answer came out more as a question.
Annabeth rolled her eyes. "Just admit that you slept in and were too lazy to turn up until now."
Percy ran his fingers through his hair and Annabeth's heart did a little flutter. She cursed Aphrodite mentally. "That might maybe possibly perhaps be the case" he said, "so… how was your morning?"
She raised her eyebrows at his blatant change of topic but didn't comment. "Horrible. I feel sorry for my high school teachers now. But I did find one of the demigods. His name is Simon – he's a junior – like us. I've asked him to meet me after school."
"Uh, good, good," Percy said, trying to subtly rub the tiredness out of his eyes.
"Percy? Did you hear a single word I just said? Gods, don't tell me you're still half asleep."
Percy smiled sheepishly. "Yeah, I did – I did. You found one of the demigods. I wonder who his godly parent is."
"Is that the only thing you're wondering?"
"What do you mean?" asked Percy, his brows furrowing in confusion.
Well," said Annabeth, arranging her files in a pile and gathering them into her arms. "Aren't you wondering why he's in his junior year but hasn't been claimed?"
"Oh… that didn't occur to me." A dark look spread across his face. "Styx!" he swore. Percy raised his head towards Olympus and yelled accusingly, "Got something you want to tell me, oath breaker?"
That unfortunately attracted some attention and most students stared as they wandered past the classroom. "Shh," said Annabeth, "you're drawing too much attention to yourself. Come on, let's go to lunch and after the day is over we'll IM Chiron."
Percy shook his head but not because of lunch. He allowed Annabeth to coax him out the door to the teachers staffroom, gripping onto her hand. "How did they manage to do so? They swore on the River Styx. And you say the demigod has a sister? When I get my hands on the god or goddess who did this –"
"Percy! You really think you can take on a god?"
"Well I did beat Ares when I was twelve."
Annabeth resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "Still, I don't think you can beat a really angry god who can incinerate you just by looking at you."
Percy gulped. "Like your mother…" he muttered.
Annabeth raised an eyebrow but didn't comment.
"I still don't understand how they managed it," he said stubbornly.
She sighed. "Maybe there's something we don't know about, maybe there's some sort of loophole. Or maybe swearing upon the River Styx doesn't work on gods," she hypothesised. "I don't know, Percy but let's not dwell on it. We'll find out soon enough."
Reaching the cafeteria, Percy automatically grabbed a burger and coke and sat down at one of the tables, oblivious to the stares and whispers directed at him.
"Uh… Percy?" said Annabeth. "What are you doing?"
"What do you mean? I'm eating lunch."
"In the cafeteria?"
"So?" he mumbled, with a mouth full of burger. "What's wrong?"
This time Annabeth couldn't resist and rolled her eyes and huffed at him impatiently. "You really are dense Perseus Jackson."
He glared at her jokingly at the use of his full name.
"Seaweed Brain… we're teachers so we have to eat in the staffroom; the cafeteria's for students."
"Oh," he said. "Right, well… Let's go then." He looked disappointed.
"What's wrong Percy?"
He looked down at her sadly. "The coke's not blue."
Annabeth sighed. "What are we going to do with you, Seaweed Brain?"
* The pomegranate is a symbol of Hera and the only one that didn't sound weird in that sentence, I mean; "…and a smell of cuckoos suffused the air…" just doesn't sound right.
This idea I've had for a long time and now I've finally gotten around to writing it.
Thanks to everyone who reviewed or favourited or read my other story, Let Me Go. You guys made my day.
Constructive criticism is appreciated, so review please.