Summary: Annabeth Chase is a no one, spending her time studying, hiding from others, and burying herself deep into her past. To top it all off, this anti-social loner has the biggest crush on Percy Jackson—the most popular guy in school. Travel through the pain of high school with Annabeth as she watches her beloved one, hidden in the shadows.
Dedication: Annabeth Brady for making me the lovely cover c: go and spam her with love
HIDDEN IN THE SHADOWS
He sees her fall to the ground and immediately hears the crowd roar in laughter. He wants to go to her, help her up, lead her away to somewhere else with him.
But as she gets up, his eyes fall upon her face. On a typical day, it was shy, reserved, and rather soft-looking. He had always subconsciously wanted to reach out and stroke her cheek, or comfort her. Especially on that one day he had gone over to her house…
Percy shakes his head.
Now, her once sensitive face had hardened, although embarrassed, Annabeth looks almost… angry at what had just happened. His heart soars in his chest, reaching out to her, so incredibly proud of her reaction. She had undeniably changed—he didn't know why—and this change, why-ever it had may occurred, was certainly for the better.
Nevertheless, as she's hesitantly walking out of the cafeteria, he sees Drew, cackling her head off the loudest from the crowd, and his eyebrows furrow. That was Rachel's friend! Why would she do that? Her name tumbles out of his mouth before he knows what he is doing and although he doesn't mean to do it—people had turned to stare at him oddly—he knows that internally, he would never regret it.
He gets up, leaving his cafeteria table despite the strange looks he was receiving, and motions to follow her. By the time he's out of the lunch room, he barely has time to see a head turn down the right corridor, her honey-blonde curls whisking around her shoulder.
Lugging his backpack tighter on one arm, he grins slightly to himself and heads down the hall he had seen Annabeth go down. But as he reaches another corner, he stops in his tracks, hearing voices.
One of them was a voice he recognized easily: Annabeth.
A small sigh of relief falls out of his mouth as he notes that her voice sounded normal, if not the slightest bit shaky. However, when he hears the other voice, he can't help his hands that clench into deep fists. It was a voice he hadn't heard all year—and a voice he had been hoping would stay that way.
He grunts with annoyance and doesn't come any closer, instead deciding to listen in on their conversation. From the unrecognizable sinking feeling that was growing in the pit of his stomach, he knew whatever he was about to hear, he probably would not like.
"Gray Eyes, what happened? Are you alright?"
Percy struggles to hold in a scoff at Luke's ridiculous nickname for Annabeth. He just couldn't have been more creative, could he? But he ignores that, and strains his ears to try and hear Annabeth's response. She had to be okay… he didn't exactly know why, but she needed to! If not, he would do anything he could to fix whatever had happened back there in the cafeteria.
When she finally replies, her voice is small, but there's a hidden strength behind every word. "I'm fine. D—someone just tripped me, that's all."
Her words are rather vague but Percy can tell that she's being honest—the ambiguity is just because she didn't want to talk about it. Knowing Luke, however, he would push until he would be able to grasp in his puny mind that she really didn't want to mention it. What Percy couldn't understand was why had she not just called Drew out on it?
"Are you sure?" Percy hears Luke's voice, and then there's a pause, followed by a rustling sound. There aren't any other words exchanged after that, and so Percy pokes his head around the corner to see what was happening.
His breath catches in his throat as he spots them, Annabeth crushed to Luke's chest. He's embracing her tightly, and her mouth is shut tight, and the space between them is entirely too tight for Percy to be comfortable. He had never hugged her like that! But Castellan was allowed to?
Percy backs away from them before he is caught and rushes to the half-empty courtyard. Sitting on a lone bench, he sets his backpack to the side of him and replays what had just happened in his mind.
Are they… a thing? Like, an item?
She did say she liked him… twice! Once at the ice cream parlor, the other at class!
Why are his hands clenching? Why is there this tightening feeling in his gut?
He's with Rachel, for goodness sake! And he truly, honestly, likes her.
Luke. That's it… he's feeling like this because he doesn't like Castellan.
In all honesty, he doesn't even know if he really dislikes Luke anymore. What had happened had happened nearly five years ago, and what's in the past is in the past. It isn't good to hold on to grudges, faults, or to blame someone for something they may or may not have done. Maybe he should let it go…
… But his relationship with Annabeth, whatever, it was… Percy just can't find it in him to not get to the bottom of it. The curiosity was eating away at him, and Percy hated the fact that Luke got to her before he did. He genuinely enjoyed being around Annabeth… okay, maybe mor—
Rachel, Jesus Christ, Rachel!
He places his head in his hands and shakes his head disapprovingly to himself. Geez, he is such a mess! He needs to figure out what exactly he's feeling before he can decide on anything else… and it has to be fast.
The lunch bell rings, and Percy quietly makes his way into English, his head in a cluster. The only dominant thing—person, actually—that stands out from all these thoughts is Annabeth… and he didn't know why.
He was never good at this "feelings" thing. It had always been like that, and it sure wasn't going to change now.
All he knew was that she, as in Annabeth, meant a lot to him. He could trust her, tell her things that no one knows, talk about subjects that he dreaded talking about. She listened, she didn't judge, and she didn't pity. And in such a short period of time, she had unknowingly managed to carve out a path into his heart.
The question was, exactly how close had she become to him?
Throughout the entire period of English, Percy couldn't focus. His dyslexia is simply a topping onto the main course of why he can't concentrate. All he thinks about is the period after it: Home Ec. He dreads going there, having to face his "problem," but at the same time, he is excited to go and talk to Annabeth.
If she wants to talk to him, that is. Something had happened last time he had gone to her house, and now it seemed awkward between them… even though today was the first day Percy's seen her since then.
When the bell finally rings, signaling the end of the period, Percy hurriedly gets up, nearly running out of the classroom. The room for Home Ec is directly across from the English room, and he only needs to cross the hall to get there. Although Mr. D—as obnoxious as ever—is still there, Percy doesn't mind being there early. That meant he could choose whichever seat he wants to sit in first, and Annabeth always sat in the same spot, every single day.
Annabeth walks in, and Percy doesn't know whether he should grin widely like he wants to, or turn down his beaming so he wouldn't seem like he was more excited to see her, rather than his own girlfriend. In the end, he decides to give her a small smile… or maybe it was a grimace…
She sits beside him, tucking a strand of fallen hair behind her ear. When Annabeth turns to face him, she smiles in reply, and his heart thuds heavily in his chest. Despite the earlier, unfortunate occurrences in the cafeteria, she seemed genuinely happier than he had ever seen her. In fact, he would even go as far as to say she emitted some kind of… aura.
Percy stares at her, moments after she had greeted him, before he suddenly jerks back into reality. "Oh, hey!" Smooth, Perce, smooth. But in the end, it gets a small laugh out from her lips, and he doesn't mind being awkward.
"You're such a Seaweed Brain," she laughs out, and he can feel the heat rising to his cheeks as he remembers when she first called him that. It was insulting, in a way, to be called "seaweed brain," but somehow— coming from Annabeth's lips at least— it became a term of endearment. And he liked it.
He curses inwardly and shifts so his body isn't facing towards Annabeth, as if he were to engage her in conversation.
"Ay, you brutes!" Mr. D calls out to gather the class' attention.
Percy chuckles to himself as he thinks how similar Mr. D's statement was to the only line he understood of Shakespeare's' Julius Caesar: Et tu, Brute?
"Book work, page three-hundred and fifty-two," Mr. D says lazily, sauntering back into his seat. He rolls himself closer to the desk, popping the can of Diet Coke open as the entire class stares at him. "What are you looking at? Get to work!"
From the corner of his eye, he can see Annabeth dutifully begin working. With a sigh, he reaches under the chair to grab his own textbook, realizing she must not want to talk. Or maybe she is just ignoring him.
He wants to ask her if she's dating Luke. For some inexplicable reason, that bothers Percy.
Something twists deep within him, and he turns to stare at Annabeth's serene, nearly glowing face. She looks so peaceful, and it immediately soothes whatever green monster had been growing in him.
But as soon as Percy looks back down to his work, it reappears, and his thoughts turn gruesome as he thinks about Annabeth and Luke… together. And then all of a sudden, it pops, exploding within him, and Percy comes to a startling, world-changing revelation.
Although Annabeth may call him a "Seaweed Brain," he isn't that stupid. He can still identify what he is feeling and the cause behind it. He can still tell that he is falling fast for Miss Annabeth Chase.
During Percy's last period—if you could even call it a period; it's study hall—his new realization bites at him endlessly. Could it really be possible that all this time, he had… liked Annabeth? Like, as in like like?
But he has Rachel…
… and she has Luke?
He groans to himself, attracting startled gazes from students beside him.
Luke. That jerk always had to mess things up! First with Nico and Bianca, and now with Annabeth!
Percy reaches into his pocket to pull out his phone. He unlocks it and scrolls through his contacts until he reaches the number of the girl he couldn't get out of his head. The thought, what if they aren't together? runs through his head as he quickly types out a message and hits send.
Less than a minute passes before he receives a response, and he eagerly opens the message.
He sends another message. —What class are you in?—
—APUSH with Thalia, Luke, Rachel… and Drew. And you?—
Annabeth's apparent hesitation with Drew's name keys Percy in on how she isn't entirely comfortable with what had happened during lunch. He doesn't push her, and continues to type out a reply.
—Cool. I'm in study hall.—
It takes longer for the new message to arrive, and for a moment he wonders if he said the wrong thing…
—Sorry, Luke stole my phone for a minute. What's up?—
Percy grimaces at the fact that she's so at ease with Luke to the point where he can simply take her phone, but he doesn't sweat it. —Just thinking…—
—Oh my God, Seaweed Brain thinks?—
This brings out a laugh in him, and he has difficulty typing the next message, due to his shaking-from-laughter body. He immediately writes another text. —About you, of course :)—
The moment after he sends it, he thinks about how awkward he had made the conversation, and so he sends another one. —What are you doing after school?—
Stupid! That probably just made the conversation even more uncomfortable!
Another message from Annabeth doesn't come until ten minutes later, just five minutes before the end of school.
—Um, Luke's taking me to the ice cream parlor…—
His stomach growls angrily, twisting in the depths of his abdomen. Maybe they are actually together.
Percy's phone vibrates again.
—Maybe you could bring Rachel and come with us?—
He clenches his fists together, shake his head. He didn't want to go with Rachel, as bad as that may sound. (After realizing he liked Annabeth, he couldn't even greet her the same way in science by kissing her on the cheek… Heaven forbid he had to act like a dutiful boyfriend to her in front of Annabeth…) He didn't want to go with Luke. All he wanted was to just hang out with Annabeth—and only Annabeth!
Glancing at the clock that's about to ring, he quickly types out a short message, presses send, and shoves his phone back into his pocket.
—Oh. Okay. I'm busy after school. Have fun—
His phone buzzes one last time, just as the bell sounds, but he ignores it, taking the long way to his locker so he could avoid Rachel, Luke, and Annabeth.
By the time he exits the school building, the entire parking lot is empty, all but his and someone else's cars.
Percy sees two people walking towards the other car, and after a moment, he realizes it's Annabeth!
No, she can't leave with Luke! He needs to break up with Rachel! She needs to know how he feels about her! He needs to know if she feels the same way!
They get into the car, backing out of the parking space, and he runs like a madman.
He runs out into the parking lot, chasing after her…
…But it's too late.
The lot is empty, all but his lone car.
And she is gone.