A/N: Uhm. Hey, guys…long time no post. (okay it's only been like a week since I wrote something but still) Have some Percabeth because it's all I can write at the moment. You're welcome.
P.S. The first part of section 3 is loosely based off a burdge-bug drawing. All credit needs to go to her and her fabulous art skills *mutters* I am not worthy, I am not worthy, I am not worthy…
"You look beautiful tonight, Wise Girl."
Annabeth's normally intimidating it's-not-that-I-don't-like-you-it'-just-that-you're-really-stupid-and-I-can't-be-bothered-by-you-right-now gray eyes softened at the compliment. Her fingers laced with mine, causing my hand to brush the green silk dress she was wearing. I'd never seen anyone wear something that extravagant—especially not Annabeth, who rarely (if ever) wore anything but her camp shirt and jeans or her battle armor over said camp shirt and jeans—but still, the dress was so gorgeous on her. I wondered (not for the first time) how exactly I'd landed such a beautiful girlfriend.
She smiled at me, her features sliding in and out of focus under the lights as we walked. "Thanks, Seaweed Brain. You don't look too bad yourself."
Straightening my tie with my free hand, I grinned back at her. "It's itchy as Hades, but thanks."
"You don't know how to take a compliment, do you?" Annabeth asked, bumping me with her shoulder.
"You don't know a lot of stuff about me and…what I don't know…how to do," I retorted lamely.
She just rolled her eyes at me. "That's why we're a couple, right?"
I squeezed her hand. "Absolutely."
"So, is your driving actually safe?" Annabeth asked tentatively, looking with apprehension at the empty passenger seat of my car.
"Of course. What, you don't trust me?" I asked, feigning hurt.
She just raised one eyebrow as if to say do I really need to answer that?
"Okay, my driving skills aren't the best…and my mom said that an invulnerable sixteen-year-old demigod with a valid New York driver's license is the scariest thing she's ever seen. But this whole relationship's kind of a leap of faith, right?"
Annabeth only stood outside the car for a minute longer—possibly weighing whether she wanted her life to end now rather than later—before sighing and shifting her bag to her other shoulder. "All right, Seaweed Brain, where do I put my stuff?"
I just grinned and pointed to the back.
When Annabeth was finally settled in the front seat for the half-hour drive to camp, she turned to me. "I missed you, Percy."
"I missed you, too." I leaned over and kissed her. "Excuse the outfit, I haven't had a chance to change yet."
She glanced down at my loosened tie and undone shirt collar—stupid school uniforms, I thought to myself—and laughed. "I wasn't going to point it out until you mentioned it. You know Clarisse is going to tease you when we get there, right?"
"Screw Clarisse. I do what I want."
"Valid point. You look fine, though"—she smirked as she leaned closer—"great, actually."
"Well, aren't you smooth?"
When I kissed her again, it was even better than the first time.
"I try my best," Annabeth replied when she came up for air. "Okay, no kissing and driving. I don't trust you as it is."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence."
"Anytime, Seaweed Brain."
"You know," Annabeth said, "I've been thinking about making some changes to the Athena cabin."
I laughed. "Wow, great idea. I've always thought it was a little dull—could definitely use some work. What are you going to do? Giant unicorn statues? Pyrotechnics?"
"Not quite, Percy," she said in a fake-disapproving tone, though I could tell she was trying not to laugh. "You keep talking like that, and you can kiss any redemption you might've gotten from Athena goodbye."
"Well, here's a better idea. How about I just kiss you goodnight instead?"
I blinked a few times in confusion as I woke up from the dream—it had been a very good dream—easing myself up on my elbows, screwing up my eyes against the light that seemed to come from all sides. My muscles were screaming in protest, like they'd forgotten how to work.
Assess the situation, an unfamiliar voice said in the back of my mind.
A: I was barefoot. B: I was freezing. And C: I was very, very confused.
I managed to struggle to my feet just as the wolves arrived.
There were seven of them, all gray, snarling in the shadows of the trees ringing the clearing. I started looking over my shoulder to check for danger before I realized that maybe I was the danger.
Stop moving, demigod, someone snarled in my head. They are only determining whether or not you are worthy.
My head was spinning. What in the world was a demigod? I didn't think it was even possible to be more confused than I already was, but it had just happened. "Um…worthy of what, exactly?"
The voice in my head let out a bark that might have been laughter. Your cluelessness intrigues me. I must come to see you myself.
From the trees came an enormous wolf, taller than all the others and rippling with muscle, eyes inquisitive. As she passed, the other wolves lowered their heads as if bowing.
I am Lupa, Perseus Jackson. The she-wolf stopped in front of me. And you, hero, are apparently worthy of my attention.
"What was that all about?" I asked quietly, looking at Piper as she bent over Jason. He was still passed out cold, but we'd managed to get him into his cabin without bruising him up too much more.
"I don't know," replied the daughter of Aphrodite. She bit her lip in concentration. "But you said it was Leo who fired the ballista?"
"That's what I saw." I looked over at Annabeth, whose only response was to tighten the hand gripping my knee. I leaned over carefully. "I'm not running off again anytime soon, Wise Girl. Besides, it wasn't exactly my choice—"
"Shut up, loser," she whispered teasingly, resting her head against my shoulder. Raising her voice again so Piper could hear, she added, "But Leo wouldn't have done that on purpose. It was something else that made him fire on the Romans."
"You think?" Piper sounded worried. "I know Clarisse didn't threaten to kill him if he screwed up on this quest just because she likes violence—"
"Actually, that's probably exactly what her motive was," I interrupted, and Annabeth smacked me.
"Okay, I deserved that."
"Yeah, you did."
"Ow, Annabeth, watch the ribs. The ribs."
Annabeth winced. "Oh gods, Seaweed Brain, I'm sorry. Do you think you broke them?"
"If breaking ribs makes your chest feel like it's on fire, then yes, I think I broke a couple." I took another few painful steps toward the alcove-like cave Annabeth had found for us to shelter in, trying to ignore the pain. I'd gotten pretty good at it over the years, but this was its own special kind of awful.
Annabeth's supportive hand on my back wasn't helping—she had to put a lot of strength into holding me up, and behind her strength was a Hades of a lot of force. I was actually surprised that she could do it with a broken ankle, but this was Annabeth.
When we finally got there, I eased myself down against the wall (which was hardly comfortable, but hey, I didn't really have room to be picky), trying to take some of the pressure off my…everything, actually. Annabeth all but collapsed next to me. We were both bloody and sore and completely exhausted.
"Damage check?" she whispered after a minute.
"Lots," I replied weakly, and she laughed.
"Thanks, Captain Obvious." She laced my fingers with hers, examining an old scar on the back of my hand (the origin of which I couldn't remember for the life of me). "But at least we're alive, right?"
"I think so—I hope so. It would suck if we came this far only to die."
"I just want someone to play 'Another One Bites the Dust' at my funeral and I'd be happy."
"Come on, Wise Girl, don't talk like that." I rubbed small circles with my thumb on the back of Annabeth's hand, the way I knew she liked it. (My ADHD brain wondered, in some remote corner, if boyfriends were supposed to remember this stuff and save it for future reference. So far, I'd managed this pretty well—at least I hadn't yet been banished to sleep on that dreaded bane of a boyfriend/fiancé/husband's existence, the couch.) "We're going to make it out alive, I swear."
"As long as we're together, right, sweetheart?"
We only used those kinds of names when we were teasing each other or if something was really, really wrong.
I half-smiled, too tired to do any more. "Of course."
"How in the name of Lupa are you two alive?" Jason demanded, passing me an ambrosia square. "Nico said you guys came close to dying—"
"—about five billion times, yes," I finished. "And to answer your question, I honestly have no idea."
The door opened to reveal Hazel, who was quite obviously crying. Alarmed, I tried to sit up so I could see what was wrong, but black spots swam before my eyes and I almost passed out.
"Whoa, dude," Jason said, pushing me back down gently but firmly. "Relax. You were just in freaking hell."
"S-sorry, guys," Hazel managed. "I just wanted to check up on you. We're headed to Camp Half-Blood to get ready for the fight"—her voice broke slightly—"and Leo says we'll be there in about four hours."
"They'll be stable at that point," replied the son of Jupiter. "Once we get to camp, the Apollo kids can work their medical magic."
Hazel came over to sit on the edge of my bed. Her fingers closed over mine. "How are you feeling?"
Jason tactfully turned away, pretending to be checking on a sleeping Annabeth, who was lying right next to me. My right hand was still firmly closed around her left. I had a feeling I wasn't going to let her go for a long, long time.
I smiled tiredly at my sort-of cousin. "Like schist." She laughed, and I added, "But we'll be okay. We're always okay."
"CAMP HALF-BLOOD!" Leo shouted. "PERMISSION TO LAND?"
"PERMISSION GRANTED!" someone on the ground shouted back. "AND FOR THE LOVE OF ZEUS, DON'T CRASH!"
"NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING!" he responded, twisting the wheel hard. "Hang on to your nonexistent hats, demigods and satyr. This might get awesome."
I had a feeling that Leo's version of "awesome" was what most people considered "absolutely and utterly terrifying".
Jason's hands were locked onto the railing, his face white as he tried to focus on the winds. "Perce, man," he said desperately, "I need your help."
I swallowed hard. I had no idea if I would be able to control such a huge amount of water being as energy-drained as I was, but I knew Jason and Leo wouldn't be able to do this by themselves. Besides, I'd had enough ambrosia to sustain a small country (not literally, of course, but—oh, you get the picture).
"Leo," I said calmly, "I need you to get a tiny bit closer to the lake."
Annabeth's eyes widened. "Oh my gods, Percy, you're not seriously thinking of—"
She never got to finish her sentence. As Leo followed my request, I focused on the mass of water below us and willed it to rise. There was a familiar tug in my gut as the water responded in an incredible burst of power.
"HAVEN'T DONE THIS IN A WHILE!" I yelled to Jason over the now-roaring winds and torrents of water, completely exhilarated by the feeling of having so much power at my command.
"I KNOW, RIGHT?" he called back. "OBVIOUSLY YOU'RE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!"
Carefully (so as not to drown anyone on the ground below) I eased up on the intensity of the water now swirling in midair underneath the ship. Now that I could talk in a normal tone of voice, I called over, "Hey, Grace, can you take it the rest of the way?"
Keeping it controlled was hard—not to mention I could feel myself losing energy at an alarmingly rapid rate—but I spun the water back into a swirling column and sent it splashing back into the lake just as Jason got the ship safely onto the ground.
"Seaweed Brain, that was just plain stupid, not to mention dangerous," Annabeth called as she tossed down the ladder.
"Dangerous is my middle name."
"Really?" Leo asked as he made his way down. "I always thought it was something generic like Steve or Phil…something like that."
"Shut up, Valdez."
The instant my feet hit the ground, there was a loud "Perrrrrrrcy!" and a satyr running towards me very, very fast.
"Hey, G-man—whoa, okay, hugs are good, definitely in a hugging mood," I said, trying not to cry out because of the pain in my—everything, actually. My ribs in particular were still absolutely killing me.
The whole crowd of demigods was cheering now, which made me feel really good. I had no idea I meant so much to some of them, but even the younger campers were practically jumping up and down.
"All right, Prissy," Clarisse snarled as she stalked up to me, "never get yourself kidnapped again, do you understand me?"
"Good to see you too, Boar Breath," I replied—and then, to everyone's surprise (but hers especially) I hugged her as well.
"Did he just do that without getting pulverized? THE WORLD SHOULD BE BURNING—"
"Maybe you can do it for us, Valdez."
As Annabeth joined me on the ground and instantly took my hand, I called, "Connor and Travis Stoll, don't think I've forgotten you. Give me back my wallet, car keys, driver's license, and the two actual plane tickets I got to take Annabeth to see the Parthenon this fall, and nobody gets hurt."
She looked at me in complete shock. "Oh Percy, you did not."
"Best boyfriend ever?"
"I think that's a yes."
"Percy, no! You can't die, I won't let you—"
"Annabeth…it's too late. You can't—can't save me now."
"You Seaweed Brain and your damn loyalty complex! Percy…why would you sacrifice yourself for me?"
"You did it for me during the last war. I was only returning the favor."
"Yes, but I didn't die! You can't leave me—I'll never survive without—"
"Annabeth, listen to me…you're all I live for, all I love wrapped up in a single person. My only regret is that I—I didn't have more time to spend with you."
"Were you happy, beautiful?"
"The happiest I've ever been, Percy."
"Then I've…done my job well…"
"Of course you have. You were the bravest hero of them all."
"No, I survived dating Annabeth Chase-who-should-have-been-Jackson-except-we-ran-out-of-time. I'm proud of that."
"As—as you should be."
"Goodbye, Wise Girl…"
"Oh, Seaweed Brain. I'm coming."
A/N 2: Please don't kill me for doing that...
A note on the last line, since there might be some confusion. Annabeth starts to say earlier in scene 8 (which, by the way, happens in the middle of the battle with the giants) that she can't survive without Percy, and she means it. When he dies, she's going to follow him all the way to Elysium just so she can kick his sorry butt for dying on her. So the "Oh, Seaweed Brain. I'm coming." thing means that she's basically going to kill herself (which shouldn't be hard, and I realize how awful that sounds, considering she's in the middle of a huge battle) so she can be with him again. (remember all the tumblr theories about how Tartarus is going to make Percy and Annabeth inseparable? Yeah, it's like that.)
Good lord. Murder and suicide and Percabeth dying in the same fic? I need help.
/overly-explanatory explanation out