My Little Baby
"She's alright," Lynn, his wife, said before embracing him from behind. She pressed her lips on his neck briefly before pulling away, "Just another bad dream."
"That's good," Frederic Chase answered. He glanced back at the many papers which cluttered his desk and sighed. Once again he'd gotten home too late to even kiss his daughter goodnight. And now she was having more nightmares, his long quest for tenure was once again turning out to be a bad decision.
"Are you sure she can't stay with her mother for a while?" Lynn asked, pulling her nightgown over her head.
Frederic frowned, "No," he didn't discuss Athena with Lynn. He was afraid of many things if he brought up the goddess with his wife.
"I wish you'd tell me about her," Lynn pursed her lips before sighing, "I'm just wondering what kind of mother leaves her child. I couldn't even imagine doing that with Bobby and Matthew."
"That's enough," Frederic snapped, she didn't know anything to make that claim - even if in his gut he felt it was true. If Athena were in Annabeth's life things would be simpler. He ran a hand through his curly sandy blond hair and crunched over his desk, everything seemed so out of control. He'd married Lynn partially because she would give him some of that control that he'd lost ever since meeting Athena back. But Annabeth was still not doing well, he was still not doing well.
He felt her hand on his back rubbing soothingly in circles. His wife was just trying to help, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have raised my voice," Fred said. He turned around and pulled her down to his lap and kissed her. He would get this job and make things work. Annabeth would be alright and she'd get used to her new family.
At breakfast he sipped his coffee while reading over documents about the battle of Tannenburg. Lynn rushed around him, feeding the twins, and nagging Annabeth to eat her eggs.
"Eat up baby bird, you're going to need your energy for school," he eyed his daughter over noticing the bags under her grey eyes and how she kept yawning.
"Daddy, I don't want to go to school," she said quietly. Her grey eyes looked up at him pained, and he wondered just how bad were the nightmares, or maybe it was something else.
"Is someone bothering you at school? If they are tell me, and I'll deal with them."
Annabeth shook her head and was about to speak when Lynn interrupted, "She'll be fine Freddy, just focus on your work. You've been working all year for this day, remember." Lynn patted Annabeth's wavy blonde hair and smiled at him.
Fred nodded, he had to make sure his presentation was stellar. His focus returned to the battles of the past, ignoring the unknown battle right in his face.
At work his presentation went great. The students seemed impressed and looked like they'd actually learned something. The head of the history department who had been assigned to assess his teaching gave him a pat on the back and congratulated him on getting the tenure he was after. He was grinning wide as he came home with sweets to celebrate, months of long nights away from home and his family were now over.
He was happy, he could spend more time with Lynn and the boys, and he could take Annabeth to DC so she could see all the buildings - just him and her. He knew she'd love that.
When he walked inside their large home he saw a group of police inside, surrounding Lynn who was crying. Lynn's mother Eun Jung was holding one of the twins in her arms.
"What's going on?" he asked worriedly. He looked around trying to find the grey eyes of his daughter but couldn't find them. His heart felt like it was going to explode and dread filled him, "Where's Annabeth?"
Finding a 7-year old child didn't seem like it would've been hard. But his daughter was anything but ordinary. That thought made him even more depressed, Athena had warned him that monsters would always be after her to threaten her life. She was just a child but completely alone somewhere. He felt tears slide down his face as he sat on his bed feeling utterly useless while holding the terrible sloppy scribbles his daughter wrote him telling him she was going away.
Lynn walked in the room and sat next to him putting an arm around his shoulder, "They'll find her Fred."
Fred shook his head and kept crying. "I felt something was wrong, but..." he couldn't finish his sentence before the sobs wracked his body. Lynn gripped him closer.
"It's not your fault Frederic," Lynn soothed, "Her imagination was wild, those outlandish stories she told didn't exude she was going to run away."
"What stories?" he asked.
Lynn sighed, "It was ridiculous, shbe imagined a swarm of spiders were attacking her during the night. She pretended like they had some kind of vendetta after her, she even went so far as to cover herself with cobwebs."
As Lynn spoke Frederic's frown deppened, "Why didnt you tell me?" he asked angrily.
"They're just stories Freddy, I didnt want to indulge her whining."
Frederick Chase angrily pulled himself away from his clueless wife. "They were not just stories!" he cried before storming off.
He clicked the phone off and set it down on the night table. He'd been staying in a hotel room near his home the past few days. He wasn't really mad at Lynn, how could she have known that spiders were actually attacking his daughter every night. Anger and sorrow filled him, anger for himself. He'd ignored his family and now was paying the cost.
A bright flash filled the room and he looked up to find Athena standing before him. She wore beige khaki pants and a violet battened up top. Her dark black hair flowed around her shoulders, and her beautiful grey eyes held his gaze.
"Athena," he started, suddenly unsure what to say. How did he reveal to the mother of their child that their daughter was missing.
"I'm watching over Annabeth," she said calmly. She didn't look happy as she said it.
"You are?" Frederic smiled for the first time in weeks, "Where is she? I have so much to tell her."
Athena moved to sit in the sofa across from his bed. She studied him intensely, and Frederick had a sinking feeling he was going to lose his daughter. "You're not giving her back, are you?"
Athena shook her head, "She decides if she wants to go back to you, she is on her way to Camp Half-Blood for now."
"She's 7!" he exclaimed, "She comes back to me, I'm her father." She raised an eyebrow, "Not a very good father, but at least I'm there for her," he felt slightly guilty about that stinging remark, slightly...
"Annabeth isn't stupid, even if she is a child. She will be safe once she gets to camp. There she will have family, and tutolage to become a great hero."
But Fred didn't want any of that, he wanted his little girl with him. "She has a family with me, Lynn, and her brothers."
"Does she? You're rarely around, and Lynn treats her like a stranger," Athena frowned, "I'm not arguing with you Frederick. She goes back to you when she chooses to. Ahena sighed and stood up. She suddenly looked very tired, despite the situation he couldn't hide a grin.
"This is the first time I've seen you look, human," he said quietly.
His first true love smirked, "I try to hide it." Frederick wanted to kiss her and hold her, everything he'd been denied in his friendzoned relationship with the woman, but before he could stand or ask her to stay she teleported away in a mist of pixels.
Her first letter arrived in the mail a month after she'd ran away. Lynn had handed him the letter adressed in sloppy print, with a return address to Camp Half Blood. Rushing to his room he read it alone:
I miss you a lot. I'm sorry for leaving, but it should be better now. I met mom, she sent me friends. Luke is very cool, he is great with a sword. He saved me and gave me a knife. Thalia was my friend too, but she was turned into a tree by her father.
I have lots of brothers and even sisters! They're all older than me, but they're nice and they don't leave me behind. Sheila even helped me climb the rock wall, it has a pit that lands in lava if you fall (I didn't fall).
I'll get my brother, Jamie, to help me write again. (Hi Annabeth's dad! - this is Jamie)
Your Baby Bird
He didn't realize he'd started crying until he noticed the small droplets on the ink, staining it. He smiled when he realized she was happy and safe, though he hoped to the gods she was kidding about the lava wall, and wasn't she too young to have a knife.
Years passed, Matthew and Bobby started walking and soon muttered their first words. Frederick uprooted the family and moved to San Francisco, working as a history professor at Stanford University. Every week he'd look forward to her letters, she was bigger now. He had been sent a picture in the last one. The baby fat on her cheeks was starting to fade, she was leaner, and her face exuded confidence.
How is the new home? Are you near the ocean? Are there fruit trees everywhere? Is it always sunny? Does everyone say "dude" and "narly?" I have so many questions, but Jamie is telling me I should just visit you if I want to know the answers. But, I can't right now. I know you said I wasn't a problem for the family, but I know I was.
I'm getting stronger, and when I do see you again I'll be able to protect us. I promise.
Your Baby Bird
But he didn't want her to protect them, that was supposed to be his duty as a father. So at night when Lynn and the boys were asleep he'd go into the basement, experimenting with weapon designs. He would always make sure she was safe.
"Dad!" she leaped into his arms, wrapping her skinny arms around his neck. Frederic kissed her cheek and held his daughter in his arms. She was 10-years old now. He hadn't held her in 3 years, that was much too long for his tastes. But at least he'd managed to convince her to visit for Christmas break.
"Hello Annabeth," Lynn said from behind them. Bobby and Matthew hid behind their mother's legs looking curiously at their sister.
Annabeth pulled away, and Fred had to keep himself from not letting her. He settled on keeping his arm around her shoulder, even that made him want to cry. She was so tall now.
"Bobby, Matt, this is your sister Annabeth," he explained, moving Annabeth closer to her younger brothers, "You probably don't remember her do you?"
The boys shyly shook their heads. "Why don't you both give your sister a hug, she's been gone for a long time." They shyly stepped from behind their mother's legs and slowly approached Annabeth, Fred laughed at them each hugging one of her legs and Annabeth awkwardly patting their backs.
Once they were at home Fred gave Annabeth a tour of their home, revealing her room last. He'd spent a lot of time fixing up her room, making it special just for her. Lynn had wanted the empty room to become her office, but he wouldn't negotiate, Annabeth would always have a room to return home to.
"Wow, this is... amazing dad," Annabeth smiled as she took in the room. He'd gone for a Parthenon theme, the corners of the wall had built in stone pillars to mimic the real deal. The furniture was designed after ancient Greek furniture. And books of architecture were stacked on her bookshelf.
Fred smiled, he just hoped she would decide to stay.
Life has a way of knocking people down, it started with a fight. He'd been at work when a monster attacked. Sure enough Annabeth was stronger and was able to defeat it on her own, but she couldn't prevent the sun parlor from being destroyed. Lynn, having been shocked at seeing her first monster although she'd been briefed on the whole Annabeth is part demi-god thing, released her anger on Annabeth.
"Maybe she shouldn't stay Fred," Lynn said that night after the kids had been tucked into bed, "I thought we could make it work, but she told me that she'd seen worse monsters. If there are worse monsters that can take out more than a room, I don't want to meet them. It's not safe for the boys, they're defenseless."
Fred sat on his side of their bed with his arms crossed. Angry at himself for being unable to protect her once again in their home, and now he was losing support from his wife. "This was a fluke," he explained, "I've been working on things, and she's brought back some weapons with her. I've got a plan to make my-"
"Frederic," she interrupted, "If she stays our lives will be a constant battle. I don't want that. Not now at least."
Annabeth left earlier than planned, making an excuse about needing to get back to tutoring the other demigods. More monsters had attacked, they didn't cause any damage this time. But Matthew and Bobby had picked up on the tension Lynn was carrying around and the household lost it's warmth. Annabeth drifted further away.
I'm sorry about the monsters attacking when I visited. If I'd been stronger it wouldn't have destroyed the sun parlor. Tell Lynn I'm sorry.
Your Baby Bird
Fred scowled at the letter. He was the one who should've been apologizing. He sat in his office reading it over and over before setting to work. Annabeth had told him about celestial gold and the weapons of the gods. He'd be able to implement his designs and create working weapons on monsters. He'd never let his daughter down again.
I went on my first quest! It's a really long story, it started with this awful boy named Percy Jackson...
... And in the end Luke betrayed Percy and nearly killed him. I'm still shocked at his betrayal, but at least Seaweed Brain survived.
Your Baby Bird
Fred was amazed at her long summary of her quest. She'd finally been given a chance, and although his heart pounded whenever she mentioned the times she'd almost got hurt, he was very proud of her. Athena was right when she'd said Annabeth would be a great hero, she was cunning, smart, and sweet girl. He was proud to be her father.
And as her father, he'd have to look out for that boy Percy Jackson. He suspected with all the name calling and teasing that there was more going on between the two of them, even if his daughter hadn't realized it yet.
Frederic Chase read her story again and again, and that night he read it to Lynn and the boys as their bedtime story. Matthew and Bobby listened amazed at their own hero sister, becoming more excited to see her again in the coming months. They all were.
AN: I'm not sure If I'll end it here, or expand it all the way until Mark of Athena. Tell me in reviews please if you want more.