Disclaimer: I do not own anything you recognize.
Warning: Expletives. Violence.
Daughter Of Time
"We're so concentrated on entering the Underworld that I think I'm forgetting how we're going to get out," Percy paused, before she added, in a drawl, "If, there's a way out at all."
Briefly, and not for the first time, Annabeth wondered why Percy can't seem to speak without her lazy, sarcastic tone. It would help to make her more pleasant if she wiped that smirk off her face. Seriously, with how she acted, no one would've thought she was leading a dangerous life of a demigod.
They'd just encountered the Minotaur and a pack of hellhounds; instead of trembling, the strange demigoddess had just declared war on them and had charged into battle.
Percy looked like she was enjoying the sheer danger with a half-blood's life. Annabeth couldn't find it in herself to blame her—though she hoped the girl will mature more—since she wasn't like Luke or her. Percy had never encountered an army of monsters out for her blood, had never witnessed the death of a precious friend and brother-in-arm.
She didn't know how terrible monsters could be, she was someone who had yet to face death.
That was, of course, not to say she was naive.
Speaking of which, Percy had brought up a fair point.
"Get in the same way we got out," Grover spoke up hesitantly, wincing when everyone turned to stare blankly at him. "No?"
"If things were that easy," Percy said, sarcasm leaking like water out of a broken pipe. "the gods would've been able to talk rationally, kiss up and make up, with the lightning bolt in its daddy's arms and we won't be here."
"She's got a point," Luke said, laughing.
All of them gathered in this sorry excuse of a truck (that had broken down and had to have its tires replaced a dozen times) made Annabeth nostalgic. They were the quartet again, with Thaddeus instead of Percy—though with how sarcastic both were, Annabeth found it hard to not mix them up, almost like Ted was there with them again.
"Any brilliant ideas?" Percy looked pointedly at her from where she was sitting beside Luke. "I thought someone told me that, ahem, what was it again? Oh, right: Athena always has a plan." Annabeth glared at the smaller girl, irritated at the tone of her voice, high-pitched and totally falsetto at the end in a terrible imitation of Annabeth's voice.
"Shut it. I'm... brainstorming." The last word had been in the son of Zeus's vocabulary. The son of Hermes had remarked he just liked the last part of the word and Annabeth agreed. She had slipped into the habit of using it, to remember that blue-eyed demigod.
"If I was alone," Luke sighed. "I would've been able to sneak out and in without much trouble—"
"If you're implying that we're burdens to you, you can walk all the way there."
"—but I know I won't have the chance to even step foot there, without you guys, I know I won't be able to make it to the Underworld, alive."
Percy harrumphed. "Of course!"
"Anyway, I have a map; Annabeth, check it out."
The daughter of Athena accepted it, pulling it up to cover her face, a silent statement that she'd be studying it alone. She eye the map critically. "I suppose the blue circles mean something to us, a way out of the Underworld?"
"No, shit, Sherlock."
"No one asked you," Annabeth retorted shrewdly, throwing Percy a mild glare.
"Just trying to be helpful, Wise Girl."
"Whatever, Ms. Rule Flouter."
"I did nothing," Percy mumbled.
Fortunately, Luke cut in, stopping the girls from yelling at one another like few hours prior. "We got two of Persephone's pearls already. One was in Camp's treasury, I took it of course," Luke added when he saw Percy's questioning look. "and the other is on Medusa's bracelet. Where's the last one, Annie?"
"Las Vegas," Annabeth answered even though it was a redundant statement. "In a hotel... Lotus Casino?" She traced the road but Luke seemed to have an inkling as to where already. "Should be easy to spot. Keep your eyes peeled." The daughter of Athena shot the other half-blood a glare when Percy looked at her with a crooked, sarcastic smile.
"Is that it?" Grover asked, poking excitedly on the glass window.
"Awesome," Percy said. "Can we take a bath and get a good night's sleep on the side note?"
"I don't see why not," Luke said, looking at Annabeth for her opinion in the rearview mirror. "there's still more than a week. We'll take a break for one day, kick back and relax and pretend we're normal for once?"
Percy arched a questioning brow. "Is it unusual for demigods to go on quests?"
"No," Luke said, his hand instinctively reaching up to rub the scar on his face. Surprisingly, Percy had been sensitive enough to keep her mouth shut. Or, she really didn't care either way. "I screwed up," he sighed. "and caused everyone to lose their opportunity to go on a quest. This is the first quest since the last, disastrous one."
"Your teammates back then must be incompetent," Percy offered even though she didn't sound particularly kind.
"I went alone," Luke offered her a dry smile. "Does that mean I'm incompetent?"
"Yes, you suck," Percy responded bluntly, but Luke didn't seem offended, just ruffled her hair and slid out of the truck.
"That was low, Kelp Head." Percy rolled her eyes at Annabeth but didn't rise to the urge to argue. Her throat was quite dry form a few hours of shouting earlier and she'd prefer to re-energize before she started another fight. "Can't you keep one insensitive comment to yourself for once?"
Percy frowned. "Luke didn't seem to mind."
"He's very good at hiding his feelings outwardly," Grover said. "but he's angry and hurt when you said that." Percy glanced at him quizzically and he hurriedly elaborated because he understood the talk-or-i'll-kill-you stare she was infamous for in school. "Satyrs can read people's emotions."
"Like, reading minds?"
"No, just what they'e feeling."
"Even when they're lying?"
"Yeah, I guess."
Percy made a face at Grover. "You're no fun if you can tell when I lie." With that said, she slid out of truck, jogging after Luke who was preparing himself and his speech to sweet-talk the receptionist into letting stay for a night without having to pay as they were rather broke at the moment.
"Stranger thing is," Grover said, sounding mystified himself. "that she never lied, not once."
After a fresh bath, and dressed in fresh clothes that were definitely branded (provided by the hotel, the service was awesome!), Percy was in a very good mood.
She didn't even try to beat the shit out of the guy who bumped into her without apologizing. She just kicked his nuts, and when no other following beating followed, it showed that she was too happy to care about that guy (who had the misfortunate of running into a nutty demigoddess).
Annabeth protested when Percy dragged her out of their shared room.
"Come on, Annie," The smaller half-blood said cheerily, smiling pleasantly for once. "we're going to the game room. You can't possibly want to stay in the room and watch National Geography—of all channels, serious, get your brain checked."
"We're not even supposed to be here," Annabeth said though she stopped protesting the moment she stumbled into the game room. Her eyebrow twitched in annoyance when she saw Luke and Grover ahead of them, having arrived to enjoy themselves much earlier.
The boys were laughing about something and pointing.
Percy made a face, tugging her in another direction. "They're ogling those bunny girls on stage, forget those losers."
Percy's gold eyes made her easily distinguished even under such spotlights of the club—and, no one bothered stopping them, as Percy had said, this hotel's security sucks—and they were glowing with the girl's excitement. The two half-bloods drifted about, playing.
Someone tapped Annabeth's shoulder.
The daughter of Athena turned to see a waitress smiling at her, a tray in hand which was presented to her. "Have a lotus biscuit, my dear."
"Sure," Annabeth said, smiling. "Thanks—"
Just as she reached out to take the offered treat, Percy jerked back abruptly, yelling something, which in turn, shoved Annabeth against the waitress, upturning the tray of lotus cakes.
"Miss!" The waitress cried in protest; Annabeth was about to apologize when she realized that she was speaking to her wayward friend.
Hot-headed as Percy was, she had started a fight. She, a prepubescent teen who had serious anger issues, against a dozen grown men who were all gruff and buff. Demigods usually died at the hands of monsters, Percy might want to break the record and die in a pub at the hands of humans.
"They started it!" Percy cried. "They cheated!"
Annabeth picked herself up from the ground before she was trampled by the onslaught of men trying to kill her friend. Sighing, she straightened her jacket and glanced out the glass windows. Lightning streaked, painting the skies, though they looked faint and weak.
She frowned; something was not right. Thunder rumbled in the distance, as if in displeasure, then: wake up.
The daughter of Athena jerked, pressing a hand to her head. How long had they been here? Zeus's Bolt! Persephone's Pearls! Where? She glanced around frantically, trying to find the pearl even though the action seemed futile. This place's artificial lights far outshone any pearl's natural lights.
"Percy!" she yelled, trying to get her friend's attention. "Let's go! We've got a pearl to find!"
"I know!" Percy's voice was muffled but at least she was still alive and kicking (literally). "That's why I'm fighting for it!"
Annabeth glanced down, finding the list of prizes—it took her a few long moments to decipher the English text—and there, listed on it was the first prize: Persephone's Pearls. No wonder Percy was risking her life for it.
A victorious cry drew her attention. Percy shoved her way out of the crowd of greedy mortal men, turned against one another for some reason or other, holding a bright blue pearl in her hand. "Come on," she chortled excitedly, not at all disturbed by her split lip and forming bruise on her arm. "let's get out of here!"
"Let's hope they're still ogling those girls."
Those boys, as expected, were still stuck there. But the bunny girls were already starting to play strip poker. Percy had no trouble wrenching both hormonal boys from the scene, cussing them loudly when they protested and squirmed.
"Snap out of it!" Annabeth cried. "This is a trap!"
That stilled Luke who blinked rapidly in confusion. "Sorry?"
"I've read about this! Lotus Eaters trap their victims in one place and if we don't get out now, we'll never make it out!"
Much to her astonishment as she'd expected to be ambushed at the entrance, Percy and her friends didn't encounter any resistance on the way out. The group of four burst through the glass doors.
"That's easy," Percy muttered, suspicious.
"Too easy," Annabeth agreed.
"Wait," Grover frowned. "Where's the truck?"
"Even worse," Luke muttered. "Look at the time. The date!"
"That can't be possible," Percy said, disbelieving. "We just went in, like, June 15th! Now, it's June 20th! We've been in there for barely four hours and five days had passed?!" She glanced at her companions as if they might be able to deny her claim.
"We only have on day left to the solstice deadline," Annabeth announced gravely. "and we have no transport of the sort to move."
Percy hissed in frustration, linking her hands behind her head—a habit Annabeth had noticed she had—with her eyes closed, trying to calm down and think of something at the same time. Grover brayed mournfully, mumbling something that sounded like 'goodbye world, hello war' and Annabeth knew she was right when Percy reached over to smack her.
The quartet raised their heads. Surprise flitted across their features, but the confusion from Luke's face cleared first. He'd met this man before, and after a moment, Annabeth recognized him too.
"Who's he?" Percy asked rudely.
"Ares, the god of war."
Grover whimpered. "This is bad. What does he want from us?"
Percy frowned; that biker was an Olympian? He looked like an Olympian all right—the athletes—with his buff and muscular build, his eyes burned bright with a cruel fire behind his glasses, every move he made had his muscles rippling. Percy thought it was disgusting.
She braced herself for a confrontation, every matter in her body screaming that this god was a danger to her.
She glared at him, her gold eyes bright though not as burning as his.
"I've always been helpful to troubled demigods like you," he offered them a shark-like grin, as if he might eat them up the moment their guard was down. "come, let us... have a little chat."
"I have the sudden impression that we're going to die."
"Grover," Percy spat. "shut up. Don't make me feel like I'm willingly walking to my death. It makes me look stupid."
"You aren't very smart anyway, nothing to lose there," Annabeth muttered.
"Shut up, Owl Head."
"Move it, Prissy."
Exchanging filthy glares, the girls slowly descended into the pit. "I feel like I'm entering Tatarus," Percy confessed as she advanced, taking the first steps towards Ares' prized possession—his shield that didn't look majestic to her nor did it look like ti might worth a billion dollars.
"Watch out for traps!" Luke called out helpfully from above.
"I'm keeping my eyes peeled, right, Annabeth?"
The daughter of Athena glared, but before she could retort, she nearly slipped when she stepped on something slippery. She glanced down, frowning.
"What's keeping you?" Percy turned, a brow arched.
"Nothing," Annabeth replied smoothly, stuffing the ridiculously pink scarf into her back pocket. "Keep going, I have your back."
Percy seemed to be sneering and knowing her, she might just be. "How reassuring," she muttered as she bent to picked the shield.
"No!" Luke yelled a moment too late. Percy had already stiffened, straightening as she strapped Ares's shield to her arm, ready to use it to shield herself from any missiles or deadly projectiles. "Get away from there!"
The girls didn't hesitate to scramble out of there. Percy darted past Annabeth, overtaking her, but both girls tumbled to the ground when the blonde started screaming.
Percy yelped as her face met solid ground. "OW!" She pushed herself up onto her forearms, rubbing her nose, her voice muffled. "Zeus's balls, what on earth is wrong with you, Owl Head?"
Annabeth just clung to Percy like a leech; just as the golden-eyed half-blood was about to smack her awake, she saw in clarity what had terrified Annabeth. "Is it because of the Arachne... the goddess of spiders and shit? Lame chick, lost to Athena didn't she?"
"J-Just get me out of here!"
"What do you expect me to do?" Percy demanded, baffled. "Fly us out of here?"
"Get on the boat!" Luke's voice yelled from above. He didn't waste time elaborating; Percy heard the sound of feet slapping concrete and she knew that the boys were moving somewhere. She hauled Annabeth up to her feet, starting to drag the taller girl towards the boat.
She dumped Annabeth's dead-weight on the boat, pulling herself in just as the spiders surrounded them.
"Hurry up!" she shrieked at Luke and Grover. She raised her gaze to the control room; Grover was raising his hands in defeat but Luke was still slamming buttons here and there. What was wrong?
Percy closed her eyes, silently calling on the power earlier when she'd encountered Medusa. Time and age had rusted the pipes, preventing it from working. If she could controlled time like earlier...
The pipes exploded and water came gushing out.
The damage was still done though. Percy's forearms were bleeding from where the spiders had bitten into her. Physically, Annabeth was faring well, though she was screaming even louder now, if it was possible. "Just a little longer," Percy muttered as the water filled the area.
It took a few seconds too long in Percy's opinion before the boat was finally surging forward and down the tunnel.
These rides got to be controlled by something, Luke must've hit the top-speed button or something, else, Percy wouldn't be having such a hard time trying to steady herself and Annabeth. The daughter of Athena was calming down, though she still looked a little ill, quickly when the metallic spiders were submerged within water.
Percy didn't have time to heave a sigh of relief. "We're going to die," she said.
Annabeth blinked, squinting ahead of her and she gasped. Abruptly, she wrenched Percy to her feet. "Ow!" The brunette protested but didn't struggle too much. "What are we going to do?"
"That's crazy! Have you gone bonkers?"
"We have no choice! At my count! Three... two..."
"Where's the one?" Percy asked when Annabeth kept hesitating and hesitating.
Fortunately, neither girls were clumsy or had too terrible luck. Both leaped out of the boat just as if it crashed. Internally, Percy thought it was a good thing she hadn't decided to take charge, the moment she thought they were to jump was wrong and had they lingered a nanosecond longer, they would've crashed.
She counted on luck and instincts but she figured Annabeth counted something in the air to calculate when they should jump.
Percy sighed in relief, that was of course, until she recalled she was about to crash painfully into asphalt. "Fuck," she yelled, trying to summon the time-out ability again. She expected it to fail, but just as her nose brushed the asphalt, her whole body was jerked back.
Hesitantly, she released Annabeth's hand and placed it on the ground. Time resumed and she landed safely on her hands and knees. Beside her, Annabeth was staring at her in a mixture of awe and horror.
"That ability... controlling time... was it you?"
"Seems so," Percy said, releasing a breath of relief though the implication of her powers had yet to fully sink in. She traded a glance with Annabeth, the silent truce to keep this ability secret didn't need to be spoken out loud. She pushed herself to her feet, not used to just sitting and moping about her cursed fate.
"Come on," she said. "Let's go back to our friends."
Question: Are there any suitable nicknames for Percy instead of Seaweed Brain and Kelp Head? Perhaps something connected to her father's domain?
Author's Note: Thanks for the reviews! Even though I don't have the time to answer all of you, do know that I'm reading your opinion and will take it into account.
Reviews are loved.