[I'm sorry this took a while. I had so much work to do last weekend and during this week that I had no time to think let alone write. But here is a new edited chapter! I plan to post another one soon and those one-shots I've been working on soon.
I got a new keyboard from my dad the other day, which I have now plugged into my laptop. I'm not sure if I should feel like a serious IT guy or an idiot… Anyway, this one doesn't stick but I'm still getting used to it.]
A.N.: Pray for those poor innocent children in Connecticut. The ones who were lost and the survivors. Pray the survivors will be able to heal after the traumatic experience they got through. Pray that the children murdered will be in a better place and pray that their families will be able to cope with the tragic loss. These children had their whole lives ahead of them, and one evil-minded person took all that away from them and their families.
Full author's note at the bottom.
Disclaimer: I do not own Percy Jackson and the Olympians or any of the characters.
Percy held Annabeth tightly; his arms wrapped protectively around her torso. She had pulled the sheets over her head so as not to be seen and was shaking slightly in Percy's arms, while he tried his best to keep his breathing and his heartbeat steady, also trying to make sure that his body shielded her from view.
"What is going on here?" the figure in the doorway asked again. The person sighed. "I know you're under the sheets, Annabeth. I can see you and I won't tell anyone."
"Jason," Percy said with a sigh of relief as he slightly released his hold on Annabeth. "You really startled us for a minute there."
"Sorry." Jason casually walked into the room and sat down on his bed as though there was nothing unusual about the situation. Annabeth sat up, Percy's arms still around her waist, and he pulled her back down when she attempted to get off the bed.
"Stay," he whispered, his warm breath tickling her ear and sending goose bumps down her neck. "Please."
Annabeth looked into his bright sea green eyes, so deep she felt like she was falling into them. How could she possibly say no to those eyes?
Instead of replying verbally, Annabeth simply leaned back into Percy's chest and snuggling there happily.
Jason, who had been watching from his bunk, stood up to leave.
"I suppose I'll leave you two alone now," he said. He winked at his cousin as he made his way back to the door. After he left he poked his head back into the room. "Oh, and Annabeth, I almost forgot. You should know that your sister is going crazy. Agathe is trying to stall but I don't think it will be long before she comes looking for you. I'll escort you back, if you'd like."
"For the love of Zeus!"she groaned as she pulled herself out of Percy's embrace. "She's going to kill me! And Leila will help!"
"Calm down." Percy got up off the bed, stretched and yawned loudly. "If you leave now and hurry then you can get back soon and convince Thalia and Leila that you fell asleep in the garden last night."
"You're a genius," Annabeth said, grinning over her shoulder as she tied her sandals.
"Well, I do my best," he replied cockily. "But you'd better hurry, I don't really want Thalia to kill me too."
Annabeth straightened up, glaring playfully at Percy, and walked closer to him until she was standing directly in front of him, looking up at his handsome face. She stood on her toes to kiss his cheek.
"Thank you," she said.
Percy's brow creased as he frowned in confusion while he gazed into her swirling, stormy eyes. "For what?"
"For last night, and for letting me stay," Annabeth mumbled as her face began to colour.
"It was my pleasure," Percy replied, also turning slightly pink, cupping her face in his hand and gently running his fingers over her cheeks.
And then he leaned down to capture her lips in a soft and loving kiss. Annabeth couldn't help but think that their lips fit together perfectly, and she began to wish that she didn't have to leave Percy even for a second. She didn't care what her stepsister said; she wanted to be with the commander, even if he was a few years older, because to her it didn't even matter. It was her life after all.
Jason, still standing half in half out of the room, averted his gaze, because he knew that he would begin to blush if he didn't. But no matter where he looked, he would have something to tease his cousin about for a long time, as it wasn't likely that he would forget this moment soon.
He waited for a while, but soon realised that Annabeth wouldn't willingly leave Percy unless she was dragged away or threatened. As much as Jason didn't want to see his cousin kissing a woman, he knew that if he didn't get Annabeth to leave then she would be in trouble which would in turn upset Percy.
So he turned to face them and cleared his throat loudly to get their attention. Annabeth carefully pulled away from Percy and turned to look at Jason.
"We should probably leave now, Annabeth," he said, nodding his head in the direction of the palace.
She nodded. "Are you sure you don't mind showing me the way back? I'm not sure if I can remember it," she asked. "And if you said that you found me sleeping in the garden I'm sure Thalia would be more convinced."
Jason was just about to answer and say that of course he didn't mind, he had offered after all, and that Annabeth's idea was a good one, when someone burst unexpectedly through the door for the second time that morning. A flushed and panting Agathe almost fell through the doorway, tripping and falling into Jason, who caught her by the arm to stop her from losing her balance and falling face first on the floor.
"What's happened?" he asked the maid.
"Thalia is looking for Annabeth now," Agathe answered between gasps for breath. "She knows Annabeth didn't fall asleep in the garden, she already had someone look there."
Percy took a step closer to Annabeth so that he was standing directly behind her. He wrapped his arms around her small frame and she leaned into his embrace, grateful for the comfort he offered.
"She knows I was here and still am," Annabeth whispered through her fingers that now covered her mouth. "She'll be on her way now."
"Don't panic," Percy replied softly. "Just keep calm."
"That's a difficult thing to ask, Perseus," Agathe muttered. "We are like cornered rats, we have nowhere to hide."
"The stables!" Jason cried. When he was met only with looks of confusion he elaborated on idea he had just gotten. "You say that you fell asleep in the stables," he explained.
"It's a good idea," Annabeth admitted. "But why would I be in the stables?"
"Say that you got lost in the dark and fell asleep there because you thought it would be the safest place to stay for the night," he replied. "But you'll have to leave right away. I'll take you back to your room."
"Why shouldn't I be able to take her back?" Percy argued.
"If I take Annabeth back Thalia and Leila are less likely to suspect something," Jason said, giving his cousin a look that clearly said that the reason should have been obvious.
Percy grudgingly agreed to let Jason escort Annabeth back to her family. Agathe would accompany them and Percy would wait until Jason returned to tell him if his plan had been successful or not. As much as he wanted to go with the other three, Percy knew that Jason was right; it wouldn't be a good idea and would make it very obvious where Annabeth has been the previous night.
While Percy waited, he didn't worry about what Thalia could do to hurt him. Instead he worried about Annabeth. Would the plan work? Would Annabeth be kept under house arrest for the rest of her life, married off to some old man who wanted another young wife? The terrible possibilities were endless and unbearable to consider. He wanted Annabeth to marry him, not some old man who would treat her unfairly and even abusively. Percy would love her and keep her safe, no matter what happened. If only Thalia could see that.
"Where have you been?" Thalia almost exploded when Annabeth, Jason and Agathe hurried through the door.
"I fell asleep in the stables last night," Annabeth lied easily, her face expressionless; not giving anything away.
"Why?" Thals asked, her eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"I got lost in the dark and that seemed the safest place to stay at the time."
"You don't look like you spent a night in the stables."
Agathe and Jason hadn't been expecting Thalia to call Annabeth out on that, but the blonde had thought of everything.
"I cleaned myself up before I returned," she said, lying smoothly to her stepsister's face.
Thalia continued to glare at Annabeth and her two companions for a while before she sighed.
"At least you're safe and you weren't with that man."
Annabeth rolled her eyes. If only you knew the truth… she thought.
"What do you have against him?" she asked aloud.
"He isn't good enough for you, that's what I have against him," Thalia replied before turning and walking away with clenched fists. "Luke is waiting for me."
But that hesitation was all Annabeth needed to prove that Thalia didn't have a real reason for her dislike towards the commander. If it had been true that Thalia thought Perseus wasn't good enough for her then Annabeth would have been touched at her stepsister's concern.
For a second Annabeth almost felt guilty for lying to Thalia about her whereabouts the previous night, but then she remembered that at the moment Thalia seemed to care about her image more than anything else. Instantly the guilt vanished and was replaced by irritation.
Once Thalia was out of earshot Jason let out a sigh of relief.
"That was close," he whispered, running his hands through his blonde hair.
"I know…" Annabeth replied. "I'm going to have to be more careful in the future."
"You mean you plan on sneaking out to visit Commander Perseus at night again?" Agathe asked, her eyes wide with shock. "I would think that you had learned your lesson!"
Annabeth chuckled. "I learned that I need to be more careful."
Agathe shook her head, but smiled kindly at the young woman and let out a small laugh.
"I need to tell my cousin that Thalia believed the story," said Jason. "I'm sure that I will see you again soon, Annabeth. Goodbye, Agathe."
"Thank you for your help, Jason," said Annabeth. "I greatly appreciate it."
Jason smiled, saluted and left. Annabeth turned to Agathe, closed her eyes tightly and let out a sigh. Agathe opened her arms and Annabeth walked into her motherly embrace.
"I can't hide from Thalia and my stepmother forever," she mumbled. "But I want to be with Percy, and they will never approve."
"Shh, sweet. Everything will turn out for the best. Just you wait and see."
"I hope so."
Later that evening Annabeth went out to the garden to find Percy. He wasn't there when she arrived, so she sat down on the bench and waited. She had been sitting in the moonlight, waiting for a while when she saw the silhouette of a man enter the garden.
At first she thought that it was Percy, but she saw that the man was slightly shorter and less muscular and his hair was cropped short. When he got closer she saw that his eyes were hazel, not sea green, and his hair dark brown, not midnight black.
He approached her and stood still in front of where she sat, facing her.
"Miss Annabeth?" he asked.
Annabeth stood to meet the man. "Yes?" she answered.
"I have a message for you from Commander Perseus." He held out a piece of folded parchment to her.
Annabeth thanked the man before sitting down again and opening the parchment to read the message. The soldier stood silently in front of her, waiting until she had read everything written on the thick, yellow paper.
Annabeth scanned the parchment.
I would have given anything to see you tonight, but Jason said that it might be too risky after this morning. Meet me two days from now after dinner in the garden, under the Cyprus tree. Tell the messenger yes or no.
Annabeth looked up from the scroll.
"Thank you, and tell him 'yes'," she said.
The soldier nodded. "Yes, of course Miss Annabeth." The man hurried out of the garden, leaving Annabeth by herself, clutching the parchment in her hands.
Annabeth sat down on the stone bench again, not feeling like going back inside. The weather was beautiful and warm, the sky full of stars and completely cloudless. The cool breeze was a welcome change considering how humid it had been the past few days. The wind made Annabeth's curls dance in the air, occasionally whipping in her face.
Annabeth found herself thinking about Percy; he had wanted to see her, but his cousin had warned that it might be dangerous considering the fact that they had almost been caught together that morning. Percy wanted to see me, she thought. He still does, he sent a messenger to arrange a time. She was giddy with excitement as she sat alone in the garden, grinning to herself at the thought of the commander.
"I take it you're in a good mood?"
Annabeth looked up to see her father smiling down at her. She nodded her head yes in reply, a grin still gracing her lips.
"May I sit?" Frederick asked.
"Of course, Father."
Frederick sat down next to his daughter and clasped his hands in his lap. He took a deep breath before he began to speak.
"Thalia told Leila and I where you said you were last night. I think we both know that you didn't spend the night in the stables."
Annabeth looked down at her feet and blushed. "Well if I wasn't there, then where was I?" she challenged, not meeting her father's gaze.
"I think you were with the commander," Frederick replied quietly.
Annabeth sighed. "Alright, I was with Percy." She could lie to Thalia easily, but lying to her father was completely different. She cared about him too much to hide anything from him. For a while it had been just the two of them and the last thing Annabeth wanted to do was jeopardise their relationship.
Frederick groaned and put his head in his hands. "He didn't… take advantage of you, did he?" he asked from between his fingers. "He didn't…?"
"No, Father, of course not! Percy would never do that," Annabeth assured her father. "He would never hurt me or put me at risk."
"Good, that's good."
They sat in silence for a few minutes before Frederick spoke again.
"Annabeth, I want you to know that I approve of Perseus even if Thalia and Leila do not. I won't force you to marry someone the king chooses for you. I promise that I will decide. At the moment, I am considering Perseus as a husband for you."
Frederick didn't want his daughter to get married; he didn't want to loose her. She was still young; there was still time, but the king kept hinting that he should find a husband for her soon. And if the king were to choose a husband, Frederick could only shudder while imagining the kind of man he would decide on. Annabeth didn't want to marry, but Frederick knew that she would at least be happy if she were arranged to marry Perseus.
Annabeth grinned up at her father, eyes wide and happy. "Really?" she asked, grinning so wide her cheeks almost hurt.
"Yes, really," her father replied.
Annabeth was relieved that her father would let her marry Percy, after all, now she wouldn't have to put up with some fat, balding, smelly, drunk. Her only concern was what her stepmother and stepsister would have to say.
"Thank you, Father," she whispered as she flung her arms around his neck. "Thank you."
"I know he will take care of you," Frederick mumbled. "I don't trust the king to find a good man to be your husband."
"Neither do I," Annabeth admitted. "I'm very pleased that you are considering Percy."
Frederic smiled to himself, happy that his daughter was happy. "When are you seeing him again?"
"Two days from now, after dinner in the garden." She smiled at the thought of seeing him again. She only had to wait two whole days…
"I can see that you are looking forward to it," Frederick said with a half-smile.
A.N.: Merry Christmas! :D Yes, I know this is late! I'm so, so sorry! I haven't had nearly as much time to write as I had hoped - actually, that's not true… but I have had writers block so I didn't work on this. You'd think I would know by now that if I just start writing everything flows from there, but I keep putting it off until I have a brainwave that never comes.
Anyway, I've been working on this chapter for most of the day and the whole evening. My dad forgot to renew his contract with the DSTV people, so the TV was cut off today and I had nothing to do but read and write. Its been a very boring Christmas…
Anyway, I have a game for you guys. I'm going to give you clues as to where I am and if you get it right, you get a shout out! Here it goes:
Its humid, tropical, seen as 'paradise', there are lots of expensive boats and rich people and the locals speak a language that descends from French… any ideas?
I hope the length of this chapter somewhat makes up for the long wait. I will try to update sooner this time.
Until the next update (:
[My grandfather turns 80 today! We're having a family dinner and my cousins are visiting for the occasion, so I won't have time to write more today, but maybe tomorrow depending on how much homework I get done.]