PJatO || Pipabeth || PJatO || When a Wise Girl Goes to War || PJatO || Pipabeth || PJatO
Title: When a Wise Girl Goes to War – A Sad Girl With a Ship
Fandom: Percy Jackson and the Olympians / Heroes of Olympus; before Mark of Athena
PJatO Disclaimer: All rights reserved to Rick Riordan for he created the awesomeness that is Nico di Angelo. And everything else related to Percy Jackson and the Olympians / Heroes of Olympus. Aside from the Gods, of course. They are all copyright by the old Greeks. This fanfiction on the other hand is entirely mine. No money is made with this, though reviews are more than welcomed.
Warnings: shoujo-ai, fluff, hurt/comfort, shounen-ai, hetero
Main Pairing: Piper/Annabeth
Side Pairings: Chris/Clarisse, Malcolm/Katie, Lou/Miranda, Jake/Will, Jason/Reyna, Jason/Piper, Jason/Drew (one-sided)
Percy Jackson Characters: Jason Grace, Thalia Grace, Katie Gardner, Miranda Gardner, Clarisse la Rue, Annabeth Chase, Malcolm Cage, Will Solace, Austin Barton, Kayla Hein, Leo Valdez, Jake Mason, Nyssa Black, Piper McLean, Drew Tanaka, Lacy Hunnigan, Mitchell Logan, Travis Stoll, Connor Stoll, Chris Rodriguez, Lou Ellen, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, Grover Underwood
Summary: Many of my fanfictions - "All the Percybility", "Part Of Your World", my "Lover of Olympus"-series, my "Difficulties"-series, my "First"-series, my "Kind of Complicated"-twoshot, my "Staking the Claim"-twoshot, "We Three Princes", "Of Kings and Princes", "Of Love, Siblings and Kidnappings", "Setting Fire to the Rain", "Heat of the Day", and probably a whole bunch more that I forgot here – are set 'post Mark of Athena', though during that I've always assumed the crew of the Argo II would consist of... well, more than four kids and a goat. So I'm twisting canon to fit.
Here is the explanation why it would have been more logical for the crew to be bigger. It will tell how the Argo II starts it's journey to New Rome. Since it's my ultimate oneshot, it couldn't have a Percy-pairing, so instead, my second most favorite PJatO ship – Pipabeth!
No major spoilers for the canon Mark of Athena since I'm sticking with the plot, aside from a few changes (which would also lead to a different ending, if you know what I mean, though I won't get to that because I don't feel like re-writing The Mark of Athena here).
(Cookies for everyone, who knows where I borrowed subtitle and title from, well, with a little twist!)
When a Wise Girl Goes to War
A Sad Girl With a Ship
"Why are we here? I don't have time for this. There is so much that needs to be finished."
Leo sat at the head of the table, next to Annabeth. He stared at her expectantly. All other cabin heads stared at the daughter of Athena with equal curiosity. The blonde fidgeted a bit.
"We have important matters to discuss, Leo. Even you need to attend this meeting", stated Annabeth softly, folding her hands in front of herself. "If possible, before you finish the cabins."
The Latino frowned at her confused, though he soon got distracted by Connor and Travis, who just finished the perfect prank for Katie. The daughter of Demeter looked furious as her hair suddenly turned green. Annabeth sighed exhausted. Why did they have to be so strenuous?
"We have to talk about who will board this ship", interrupted the daughter of Athena them.
"The seven of the prophecy, obviously", grunted Jason slowly.
The son of Jupiter sat next to Leo and glared slightly. Annabeth looked at him briefly. She didn't quite trust him. He was just that tiny bit too perfect to be true. That and the fact that he was too close to Piper. But that was a matter she should not think about now. She needed to be a leader now, not a weak, love-sick girl... Shaking her head, she tried to focus again.
"Well, if we knew who the seven will be, Grace", snorted Clarisse irritated.
The daughter of Ares sat next to Annabeth, her arms crossed in front of her chest, her brown eyes boring into Jason's. The blue-eyed punk girl next to Clarisse nodded slowly.
"She's right, brother", muttered Thalia. "You Romans may not have gotten much into the last Great Prophecy, but we had driven each other crazy over it, thinking a child of one of the Big Three would turn out to be the hero. It was the reason I joined the hunters, the reason Bianca had joined the hunters and... died. It was what made Lord Hades imprison Percy, because he wanted Nico to be the hero of the prophecy. But in the end? Oh yes, it happened on Percy's birthday, but he was not the hero of the prophecy. It was Luke, the one no one thought about."
"What Thals is trying to say", grunted Clarisse and sat up some, pointing a finger at Jason. "Just because you, Valdez and McBeautyqueen rescued Hera doesn't mean a thing. I've had the quest to get the golden fleece and rescue Thalia from her tree-state. Did I turn out to save Olympus? No. One quest means nothing. And even if you three may be part of the seven... Who are the other four? Mh? We have no freaking clue what the stupid prophecy is supposed to mean!"
"Clarisse", interrupted Annabeth sharply. "Calm down."
"What Clarisse means", continued Katie calmly. "Is that it would be ridiculous to send the three of you on your own to the Romans. What if they don't trust you? You need reinforcement."
"And what", interrupted Connor, sitting up some. "What if they do trust you?"
"Yeah", nodded Travis, glaring at Jason. "You're the big, great leader and crap. We'll just assume they'll say yes. What then? You three and Percy will go to Greece alone? To fight Gaia and her giants on your own? Four demi-gods against the Big Bad?"
"That's ridiculous", grunted Clarisse, for once agreeing with the tricksters. "We've been an army – all of us Greeks and the party ponies as well as all Olympian gods on our side and your whole camp at the titans' palace. But Gaia is a more powerful force than Kronos."
"That's true", nodded Will. "My cabin and I had barely been able to fix everyone up during the war. You need at least one child of Apollo at your side for emergencies."
"And someone able to fix that ship up. I mean, sure, Leo being the main designer and all. But what if – the gods forbid – something happens to Leo?", questioned Lou critically. "We're at war, after all. And just because we need someone doesn't necessarily mean they'll stay alright."
"Thanks", muttered Leo with a crestfallen look before sitting up some more. "But... I suppose you're right. And if not me, something could happen to the ship. I can't always run around 24/7 and fix everything up and steer it all the time. I need someone to take shifts with me."
"See?", nodded Clarisse approvingly. "That's why we need to determine a crew."
"That sounds reasonable", muttered Piper a bit displeased. "But how are we supposed to do that?"
"A list", replied Annabeth softly, tipping the paper in front of her with the pen in her hand.
A ball-point pen. Her heart clenched. It reminded her of Riptide, of Percy...
"The pre-boss-whatever... Grace", grunted Connor with a bored gesture.
"Jason Grace", nodded Annabeth, tipping the spot where his name was already written. "I'm a bit ahead of you guys there. Leo Valdez, the... Supreme Commander of the Argo II?"
"I second that", grinned the son of Hephaestus pleased.
"And Piper McLean", continued the blonde girl.
"Why me?", asked the daughter of Aphrodite with a frown. "I mean – like you said before, just because we freed Hera together doesn't mean the three of us have to be part of this. And Jason I can understand, he is our link to the Romans, Leo is the only one who can one hundred percent steer this gigantic ship. But what do you need me for?"
"Your charmspeaking can sooth the Romans if they may be reluctant to listen", answered Annabeth.
"Okay. Who next?", pushed Leo giddily. "The earlier we'll finish this, the earlier I can get back to work. And there is still a load of work to do."
"I'd vote for Annabeth", smiled Piper, winking at the blonde.
"Uh... Why?", asked the daughter of Athena, blushing slightly.
"For one because you're the most anxious to get Percy back", took Clarisse over to answer, counting the arguments on her fingers. "Another reason would be your infinite knowledge on that old stuff. How about your leadership-qualities as another. And oh yes, you got this handy laptop there."
Annabeth reluctantly noted her own name down. On the one hand she really wanted to go – just alone so she would see Percy again as soon as possible – on the other... well... The coin in her pocket burned as if it wanted to remind her that she needed to go.
"Okay, good", nodded Annabeth gravely, tipping her pen against her paper. "Who else?"
"Everyone in this room, wise girl", chuckled Clarisse with one raised eyebrow, her eyes trailing along the ping-pong-table to see the other cabin-heads nod with serious expressions on their faces. "This is a leader-decision. And regardless of if our wonderful Lady Hera declares Jackson to be the leader, we are a democracy. With you, Grace, Valdez and McLean we already have four cabin heads. Add Jackson, who certainly awaits our rescue like the damsel in distress he is, and it's five. So add us too. You need someone strong, someone who can control their powers, someone with experience. Who better than a bunch of pretty pissed-off demi-gods with as many different godly parents as possible?"
"And perhaps hang it out", whispered Will with a thoughtful frown. "The list, I mean. Hang it out. So others, brave or bold enough, have the chance to sign-up too. This is war. We may not be able to take the whole camp, the thought alone is ridiculous, but we need reinforcement. As much as possible. And if, they should also be willing."
Annabeth nodded slowly, scribbling the names of the cabin heads onto her paper. They weren't all that many, but enough to stand a valid chance in a proper fight. At least she hoped so.
"Very well", sighed the daughter of Athena. "I think that's enough for today."
"I agree. Because thanks to that, I can re-design the cabins", grunted Leo with a frown.
"Wait with that. Let me do a plan first", smiled Annabeth a bit pained. "We need to calculate every possibility. I'd like to take a look at your current plans, see how they could fit this load."
The son of Hephaestus nodded slowly and stood, beckoning her to follow him.
Things seemed to have happened so fast after that. Additional to the cabin heads, eleven other demi-gods had signed in. Well, ten demi-gods and one oracle. Annabeth groaned exhausted. She wouldn't have thought that so many would feel responsible for this. But now she knew very well...
"After what Jason told us about that augur and the problems he will most likely cause, I think you need a figure of authority. Who would be fit better than the Oracle of Delphi to defy some teddy-slashing augur?"
"And when did you plan to tell me about this?"
Annabeth blinked bewildered and looked up from her laptop to stare at a very angry satyr and a smug ginger. "What are you two talking about?"
The ginger leaned casually against the door frame, observing Annabeth critically. The satyr huffed and walked into the Athena Cabin to sit beside the blonde. The daughter of Athena lifted her head doe-eyed to blink at her friends. She hadn't even noticed them.
"Sweet Lord Apollo", grunted the oracle and shook her head. "You're very absentmindedly, eh? I said that I will come along. Won't let you get the satisfaction of smacking Percy all to yourself."
"Well... Taking the Oracle of Delphi with us won't be a bad move, I suppose", muttered the blonde thoughtful. "But you will have watch-duty whenever we may get involved in a fight!"
"Wouldn't dare to argue that one", grinned Rachel and sat down next to her cross-legged.
The satyr coughed slightly to catch their attention. Annabeth shook her head. It was kind of hard to focus these days. All the work... She needed a good night's sleep.
"This... monstrosity of a ship. The crew. You didn't really think I'd just let you sail off to get him alone? He's my best friend, Annabeth. You of all people should understand that. After everything the three of us had been through together, you don't think I'd let you and him face that next prophecy alone, do you?", grunted Grover with a slight pout.
"I didn't know...", started Annabeth. "I mean, with your duties towards the wild..."
"You're going to need a protector for such a quest. And who else did you plan on taking?", grunted Grover with a slight frown. "Coach Hedge, who would be blowing up the ship in a fit of rage?"
"No", laughed the daughter of Athena and the oracle. "Certainly not."
"We're going to get him back. And we're going to get him back together", promised Grover.
"So, what are you working on anyway?", grinned Rachel to lighten the mood.
"The cabin plan", muttered Annabeth exhausted. "I mean, this is not a luxury cruiser. We have to bunk as many together as possible to use all the space in a practical way..."
"Probably should wait with that until all are signed up, eh?", snickered the ginger amused.
The blonde sighed and fell backwards onto her bed, closing her eyes tightly. "I wish Percy was here, he would... Well, he would not know what to do. But having him close always helps me to know what to do..."
"You're doing fine, Annabeth", murmured Grover. "And you will be doing fine."
"Okay, Valdez. How is it going down here?", called Annabeth a bit unsure.
She wasn't much of a fan of Bunker Nine. It was a bit unsettling. But if she wanted to talk to Leo, it was inevitable to get inside. The boy was practically living down there.
"Hey, Annabeth", grinned the daughter of Hephaestus from one of the working benches.
"Hey, Nys. I'm looking for Leo?", asked the blonde a bit unsure.
"I have no idea. If he gets sucked into something, he downright disappears", shrugged Nyssa.
Nyssa was leaning over some blue-prints, a cup of coffee in one hand and something that looked slightly like a sonic screwdriver in the other. Annabeth blinked confused.
"Is that... I mean, it's not, is it?", tried the daughter of Athena to ask, though failing.
"It's not as functional as the real deal, but it's pretty close. And we call it a prop", commented Jake as he entered with a load of sandwiches in his arms. "You hungry too, Annabeth?"
"Uh, I don't-", started the blonde, though her stomach betrayed her, making her blush.
"I take that as a yes", chuckled the oldest child of Hephaestus amused before turning some and screaming. "Valdez, get your ass down here or I'll eat your lunch!"
"On my way!", came Leo's voice from somewhere above.
"Sit down, Chase", ordered Nyssa with a friendly glare. "We all know how much time and energy you put into planning this journey. I doubt you've eaten today."
"Not really, no", admitted the blonde and sat down slowly.
"Can't wait until we get Jackson back", muttered Jake, sitting down next to Nyssa. "He was at least able to get you off your work and your laptop for some time."
"Believe me, you're not the only ones wanting him back", whispered Annabeth wistfully.
"No pouting in my bunker!", warned Leo as he came to join them, sitting down next to the blonde.
"Hey", smiled the daughter of Athena softly. "How is it going?"
"Thanks to Nyssa and Jake and the others, it's actually going pretty well", grinned Leo broadly.
"Oh, yeah. That list of yours? Add our names", nodded Jake thoughtfully.
"Yeah, we can't have our baby brother running around alone", agreed Nyssa. "We'll come along too. I mean, if the machines fail or if the ship gets attacked and Leo is the only one knowing what's going on? Yeah, you'll be doomed."
"Thanks, sis", grunted the Latino and rolled his eyes.
"No offense", chuckled the daughter of Hephaestus, ruffling his hair. "But if something happens to you, if you're hurt and need to rest even for a bit, who is supposed to take care of the ship? And you need to sleep too. We know how to handle it, we helped you build it."
"They're right", agreed Annabeth with her mouth full of ham sandwich. "Mentally noted down."
"Is she alright? Will she be alright? What's wrong with her?"
"If you would please calm down, Piper. She's alright. Just exhausted."
"But you need to tune it down. She needs rest."
"What are you talking about?", murmured Annabeth confused, blinking into consciousness.
Everything was a bit blurry, but there was one thing she recognized right away. Piper's face. The daughter of Aphrodite was sitting next to her bed, a worried frown on her face. Three blonde heads were the next thing she noticed, swirling around Piper. Or maybe the swirling was her mind.
"Annabeth? How are you feeling?", asked Will concerned.
"My head hurts a bit. What happened?", wanted the daughter of Athena to know.
"Well, we were eating breakfast together", grunted Piper with a disapproving glare. "And just when I wanted to steal some of your pancakes, you collapsed face-first into said pancakes."
"Oh...", mumbled Annabeth and bit her lips.
"Oh? That's all you have to say?", chuckled Kayla with one raised eyebrow.
"You know how exhausted a person has to be to collapse like that?", added Austin.
"How about the two of you leave and get Jake and Nyssa checked? The last thing that exploded had hit them pretty hard", suggested Will, making himself a bit rare too to give them some privacy.
"Annie", whispered the daughter of Aphrodite, grabbing Annabeth's hand. "I know you miss Percy and I know you feel responsible for this quest. But you can't do everything on your own. This is a camp full of demi-gods. Ask someone for help once in a while. You need sleep and food too."
"I... know", nodded Annabeth slowly, closing her eyes. "But it's hard for a child of Athena to give up the lead, the control. And... it's Percy. Percy's safety depends on this. I... I can't fail him."
She felt something warm, arms circling her shoulders, pulling her close against a very comfortable chest. A blush graced her cheeks and she kept her eyes tightly closed. In the safe embrace, she automatically relaxed. Piper always had that reassuring effect on her.
"I know. But he will be alright. We will go and save him, together. But he needs you at your best, you hear me?", murmured the native American girl in a calming voice. "So you need to rest. You need to give some responsibility over to others. Okay?"
"Yes", nodded Annabeth, without even meaning to.
But Piper's voice was so very convincing. The daughter of Athena yawned slightly.
"Piper, if you'd excuse us for a moment?", asked Will reluctantly.
"I... Yes", nodded the brunette slowly, obviously not wanting to.
The son of Apollo approached Annabeth with a disapproving glare, his arms crossed in front of his chest. "Jake told me on our last date that you're behaving irresponsible. But I had hoped you wouldn't come to visit me. Okay, it's obvious. I'll have to take Kayla and Austin with me. I know you bunch of idiotic heroes. You'll throw your life in danger for Percy and he would do that for you. I need help patching you guys back together again."
"Suppose you're right", chuckled the daughter of Athena with a sad smile.
"On another note", coughed Will slightly, seizing her up. "You should tell her."
"Tell who what?", grunted Annabeth, feigning ignorance.
"Fine, play dumb", chuckled the blonde boy and shook his head. "I suppose you have enough things in your head as it is, even without having a girlfriend at your heels. I'll go and let you rest now. And do that. Rest. You'll take this weekend off and sleep and watch cartoons or something like that."
"Yes, Doctor Solace", smiled the gray-eyed blonde amused, yawning widely.
"You'll rest. Just like Will said. Even if it means I'll have to tie you down and lock the door."
Annabeth smiled fondly at her slightly younger half-brother. She had spend a couple of hours in the Apollo Cabin, but once she was stable again, Malcolm brought her back to her own bed. The son of Athena kept glaring at her dangerously, threatening her to rest. He was worried out of his mind for his big sister. She smiled at him and leaned back on her bed.
"I know", chuckled the daughter of Athena. "Look, Mal, I appreciate your worry, but... I'm fine. I know I'll have to take it a bit slower for now. There's just... so much on my mind..."
She sighed, rubbing her forehead. Malcolm frowned, slowly sitting down next to her on the bed.
"What's really bothering you?", asked the blonde boy softly. "I know you're worried about Percy and I know you're worried about the mission and I also know that you're worried about Jason and Piper. But there is something else eating you away these days. It started only a couple days ago. I'm not sure what it is, but it scares you. You know you can tell me, right?"
Now it was Annabeth's turn to frown. She averted her eyes, staring intensely at the laptop on her bed-stand. Her fingers searched for the coin, nearly automatically. Should she tell him? He was her brother, a child of Athena just like she was. Maybe he could... help her? Lift some of the burden?
"I saw our mother", whispered the blonde girl in a low voice.
"You did? But I thought the gods...", started Malcolm with a worried frown on his face.
"She's wasn't herself", interrupted Annabeth, shaking her head. "She was... cruel and... cold... angry and... she gave me this..." Pulling the coin out of her pocket, she showed it to her brother. "She said I have to follow it, follow the Mark of Athena, and avenge her. Or otherwise I am no longer her child... I don't... understand what it means yet, but I fear it will bring me to Rome and I... don't know what to do... What is it she wants me to avenge? Why was she that way...? Why...?"
She sobbed slightly, hiding her face in her hands. It had been too much in the past weeks. So much pressure, so many things she had to control and to direct and to take care of. And then, even her own mother forsakes her. Malcolm wrapped his arms around her, pulling his sister into a comforting hug, rubbing her back and wishing Percy would be there. He may be her biological brother, but the bond between Percy and Annabeth had always been the one of siblings. They could trust each other blindly and Malcolm knew that if Percy wouldn't have disappeared, Annabeth would have long since told him about this. Though seeing as the son of Poseidon wasn't here...
"I'll come too", offered the son of Athena in a confident voice. "I'll come too and we'll do this together, okay? She's my mother too. And she didn't say you have to do it alone, right?"
"I... No, she didn't", murmured Annabeth thoughtful, rubbing her eyes.
"See?", smiled Malcolm, ruffling her hair. "We'll be just like Hansel and Gretel, following the crumbs of bread to the witch's house. Whatever that may contain."
"Thank you", whispered the female demi-god, wrapping her arms around his neck, hugging him close. "I'm so glad to have a brother like you."
"I know", smirked the son of Athena cheekily.
"And you coming along has nothing to do with the fact that Katie comes too, eh?", smirked Annabeth back, picking him in the ribs.
"Well, maybe a bit", shrugged Malcolm and blushed slightly. "I have to keep my two favorite girls safe after all, eh? Someone has to watch out for you."
"Yeah... Someone...", nodded his sister with sad eyes.
The son of Athena winced slightly. Not the best topic to talk about with her at the moment.
Annabeth yawned slightly. She had spend the past week in bed, being pampered by Malcolm, Rachel and Piper. It had actually been nice for a change. To have someone take care of her. Especially so those three. Her brother, her best friend and her... Annabeth shook her head. Now was not the time to think about that.
"Annabeth, where are you going?", asked Piper with a worried frown. "You should rest!"
"I rested for a whole week, Pipes", chuckled the blonde amused. "I'm alright."
"I know you are", sighed the daughter of Aphrodite. "Doesn't change that I'm worried though."
"What is going on over there?", frowned Annabeth confused.
"Standard quarreling over the list", chuckled Piper. "Come on, let's take a look."
"You mean that happens often?", asked the blonde slowly.
In front of the Big House stood Rachel, trying to keep Drew apart from Lacy and Mitchell, while Miranda was scribbling her name onto the list, under the loud protests of both, her sister and her girlfriend. Chris was debating with his older brothers and his girlfriend.
"Okay, guys, you all calm down now!", demanded Piper, putting a bit charmspeak into her voice.
It effectively calmed the quarreling demi-gods down, though it made Drew huff in irritation.
"What's going on here?", asked Annabeth irritated and confused.
"Drew signed in! So we did too", grunted Lacy, her arms crossed in front of her chest.
"None of you should join", muttered Piper, shaking her head.
"None?", repeated Drew, one of her elegant eyebrows raised. "Out of everyone here, I am the one with most experience when it comes to charmspeak, wouldn't you agree? And if you tag along, so will I. You're more inexperienced than me."
"I never heard that you'd want to go on a quest", mumbled Annabeth, blinking a few times.
"That's it!", yelped Mitchell, nodding hastily. "She's not joining for the quest! She wants to take Jason away from Piper! It's only a scheme to get her position back."
"Oh, please, Jason is so yesterday", snorted Drew, rolling her eyes. "But I bet that camp is full of handsome, strong Romans. Wouldn't want to miss that out."
Piper glared at the older daughter of Aphrodite and Annabeth's heart clenched. It was obvious that Drew was lying. She still wanted Jason. She hated that Piper had gotten him. Well, one thing Annabeth and Drew agreed on then...
"We will come along too, we'll help Piper", declared Lacy determined.
"Yeah, we don't have to fight! We could just guard the ship or clean it or cook or help with minor repairs", added Mitchell. "There are plenty of jobs to do and you guys would certainly be too preoccupied with fighting to do them!"
Annabeth frowned and looked from the two younger children of Aphrodite back to the two older ones. "Okay. Drew is right. Her charmspeak is more experienced. And having two charmspeaker with us is certainly better. And Lacy and Mitchell, you guys are in charge of watching out for your big sisters. I don't want any cat fights. Am I clear?"
"Yes, ma'am", grinned Lacy and Mitchell, high-fiving.
The blonde nodded satisfied, leaving the four love children to their quarreling and turning over to Miranda, who was engaged in a mighty quarrel with her girlfriend.
"I am as good as a cabin head!", growled the daughter of Demeter. "Whenever Katie leaves for college, I am in charge. Which makes me head of the cabin more often than her. So I very well have the right to go with you guys to this quest!"
"But I don't want you to get hurt!", growled Lou back, her fists shaking in anger. "This is dangerous! You should stay here, 'Randa!"
"I have to agree with Lou", muttered Katie and shook her head. "It's too dangerous."
"But together we're stronger", argued Miranda with a pout. "We can control the nature. The earth, the plants. We have the same element as our main enemy. If anyone is able to hold Gaia at bay, it's the two of us and di Angelo combined."
"That's a good point", interrupted the daughter of Athena them, briefly wondering where the Hades that Ghost Prince was anyway. "If you train much during the months we have left, then I suppose this would be a very good solution."
"But-", started Katie and Lou to argue.
"No buts", said Annabeth determined and shook her head. "We're at war. If she wants to fight, if she thinks she's strong enough, then we certainly can use her help."
With that said, she turned over to see what the tricksters were up to. Clarisse stood there with a frown on her face, shaking her head slightly, while Connor and Travis each had an arm wrapped around their younger half-brother, grinning like maniac.
"Let me guess, Chris wants to come along and you don't like the idea, Clarisse?"
"No, it's not that", grunted the daughter of Ares, rolling her eyes. "It's more so the fact that those two idiots are already planning ship-proved pranks."
Three cunning thieves and tricksters and, even more so important, travelers would come in handy. They were like living navigators. Like Percy was on a ship in the sea. Percy... She shook her head sadly, trying to suppress the thought of her best friend. This wouldn't end well otherwise. Because it mostly ended in tears these days. It was just... too long. Too longs since she had last seen him or talked to him. But she really needed him at the moment, his help. Not really his advise, but some of his stupid ideas that would bring her onto the right path again.
That was how their crew consisting of the cabin heads had gained another twelve members. The next two days had been spend with Leo in Bunker 9, planning on how they'd get all of them into the ship. In the end, they decided for smaller cabins and bunk beds, making it seven sleeping cabins, each for eight demi-gods. Not much room, but then again they only needed the cabins for sleeping anyway, it wasn't a holiday cruise after all. That gave them enough capacity for their own campers, Romans to join in and the huntresses, once they'd meet in Rome. Since they counted on a hard fight in Rome, it would be better to bring the girls with them in the ship so the healers could also take care of them. Leo had been a bit disappointed since he had wanted to make awesome cabins for everyone, but Annabeth had whacked his head and reminded him to focus on the important parts of the ship. The interior design was quite a way down on their list of priorities.
"You alright, Annie?", asked a soft voice.
Annabeth yawned and stretched some, her back making evil noises at that, making her groan. She had spend way too much time bend over to look at her laptop, fixing the last layouts of the ship.
"Just a bit exhausted. But I'm alright. We'll soon be able to set sails", hummed Annabeth.
She scooted over a bit, making room for Piper to sit next to her. The daughter of Aphrodite rested her chin on Annabeth's shoulder to take a closer look, making Annabeth blush a bit.
"Okay. I don't get it. Explain", urged the native American on.
"We got two floors. One with the seven sleeping cabins and here is supposed to be the infirmary", started Annabeth to explain, pointing at the blueprints. "That's what I'm designing at the moment. Leo, Nyssa, Jake and I agreed on what is necessary for the ship. I'm only taking care of the minor things now, like what we need on board of the ship. Tables, chairs, how many, beds, nectar, ambrosia, food, stuff like that. Anyway, here is the kitchen, the dining hall with stairs down to the other floor where another dining hall is seated. Since one room would be a bit crowded by all of us. It's good we went through that together. Leo wanted to put stables in there for the pegasi. If he would spend more time up above Bunker Nine he'd know that pegasi don't like being caged all that much. So... more room for us to use."
"Interesting", nodded Piper fascinated. "And the cabins? Any rooming arrangements made?"
"Yes", nodded Annabeth slowly. "Kind of, that is... I thought about always having four/four. Four Romans and four Greeks. But Jason said that probably not many Romans are going to join. If we take the cabin leaders, they will send the... cohort heads, if I understand that correctly. And there are only five such cohorts. Plus the two real leaders, the praetors. Jason said that Percy will most likely be praetor by the time we reach Camp Jupiter. And he also said that if we take the Oracle of Delphi, they won't be able to go without the augur. Which makes it... eight Romans. Let's say two more at least because we assume that the prophecy fulfills itself over there at the moment too. Let's say fifteen or twenty Romans then, since we have some... not cabin heads that tag along too. With seven rooms, all fitting eight people, we have room for 56 people. 20 Romans, twenty cabin heads and eleven to join us makes it 31 Greeks... Well, that fits, I suppose."
"It is, in any case, an army", nodded Piper thoughtful. "It will still be tough."
"But we will live through it. We fought Kronos, we'll kick some sleeping dirt-face's ass too", chuckled Annabeth lightly, using Leo's words. "Right?"
"I hope so", nodded the daughter of Aphrodite. "It's easy to say for you. I've been on vacation without a care in the world while you fought a war. This is still all so new to me... I've only had one real quest before and now I'm supposed to march into war? It... scares me, Annie."
"I know", nodded the daughter of Athena, leaning back against the native American. "I know. It scares me too. Even after all these years, after all the fighting and quests and the war... I'm scared to die. I'm scared to lose my friends. I'm scared to fail and end the world..."
"Well... If we work together, we certainly won't fail... right?", asked Piper in a low voice.
The daughter of Aphrodite laid one arm around the blonde's waist, pulling her some closer. "Yeah."
"We are so going to fail!"
The daughter of Aphrodite was nearly frantic, pacing the deck of the Argo II. They were on their way to San Francisco. And until now, this proved to be the hardest part. Just sitting around and waiting for them to finally arrive at their destination. The blonde sat a bit farther away from Piper, since the daughter of Aphrodite already had her... boyfriend to comfort her. Which hurt. Much. Even after all these months, she still couldn't get used to seeing Piper and Jason together. And it was so different from anything she had ever experienced.
Back with Percy, when he had first introduced Rachel to her, it was more of a possessive kind of jealousy, because they shared a friendship she could never relate to. A life outside of camp. It was probably also the jealousy of that.
But with Piper and Jason? It hurt, it physically hurt to see them together because she knew Piper would never be hers. And what hurt so much was that she truly wanted to be happy for them, but she simply couldn't bring herself to do so because all she could think was that he wasn't the right one for Piper and that she deserved better, that he was way too stoic and cold and way too Roman.
"Stop looking like a kicked puppy, Chase", warned a very unamused voice next to her.
"Yeah", agreed another female voice. "I mean, back when you thought you're madly in love with Percy, you just took him and kissed him. Can't you do the same with Piper?"
"How could I?", grunted Annabeth defensively, turning to Rachel and Clarisse with a dark glare. "If you haven't noticed, she has a boyfriend. Which not only means that she's taken, but also that she is very much... straight. Why don't you two go and bother someone else for a while?"
"Oh, someone is being cranky", chuckled Rachel, laying one arm around Annabeth's shoulders.
"Hold on! Annabeth, do I... get that right?"
The blonde's eyes widened as she and her oracle friend turned around slowly. Clarisse wrapped one arm around each her friends, glaring protectively at the two younger children of Aphrodite.
"Lacy! Mitchell! You were not supposed to hear that!", yelped the daughter of Athena flustered.
"But we did", noted the son of Aphrodite. "So... You think Piper and Jason are a couple?"
"But you do know that Piper still thinks you and Percy are a couple too", added Lacy.
"And actually, you're both idiots", muttered Mitchell, shaking his head. "She is only playing the part of Jason's girlfriend to protect him from Drew! Because he is longing for his girlfriend from the Roman camp and Piper agreed to play along so he would be safe from her flirting!"
"But the truth is", continued Lacy excitedly. "That she is totally in love with you! We are not supposed to tell you, but... I mean, after what we heard... And the two of you wouldn't ever get that managed on your own! She loves you, but she thinks you're missing your boyfriend!"
Silence befell the five demi-gods, until Clarisse huffed annoyed and grabbed Annabeth's arm to drag her along. The blonde stared at her friend wide-eyed and yelped as she was pulled closer and closer to Piper. Both Piper and Jason looked up in complete confusion as the pissed daughter of Ares brought them a highly flustered daughter of Athena.
"Annabeth? Is everything alright?", asked the son of Jupiter perplex.
"Get lost, sparky", grunted Clarisse with a glare. "The fact that you don't have the guts to tell one girl off is the reason that I had to listen to a whiny, depressed wise girl for months now. And you, McBeautyqueen, get your ass over here and kiss her. For a child of love, you're quite blind."
Before either of them could react, Annabeth was roughly shoved against Piper, who caught her in reflex. The two girls stared at each other wide-eyed for a couple of seconds, until the other members of the crew (led by Mitchell, Lacy and Rachel) started to chant them on.
"Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss!"
"Well... uh... shouldn't deny the crowd, right...?", mumbled Piper and bit her lower lip.
"I don't know... I mean, if you want to...", whispered Annabeth, turning a darker shade of red. "I mean, Lacy said you're not really together with Jason and I don't... think I want to be together with Percy anymore... I think I found someone who means more to me, at least in that kind of way..."
"Really? Uh, I mean... really me?", asked the native American, blinking stunned.
The reply she received were soft lips pressed against her own. Annabeth wrapped her arms around the brunette's neck, pulling her into a passionate, heated kiss, all the tension that had been building up over the past months finally had the opportunity to be released. Piper grinned into the kiss, her arms tightly wrapped around the blonde's waist.
"Finally! And I thought they'd never get that right", grunted Clarisse in approval.
"But... How do we explain to Percy that his girlfriend turned into a lesbian?", whispered Grover.
"Oh please", snorted the daughter of Ares and rolled her eyes. "That boy is gay like a rainbow. And likes to bend over just as much as said rainbow."
"Oh! So next mission: Finding Percy a boyfriend", grinned Rachel delighted.
Not that Piper and Annabeth paid them and their stupid planning any mind, they were way too lost in each other's mouths the feeling of finally holding the other girl.
"How about you two go and get a room?", chuckled Jason amused, trying to hold Drew off.
"No time for that", announced Leo. "Ladies, gentlemen and goats, we just reached Camp Jupiter."
~*~ The End ~*~