This is a collection of the prompts for "Challenge on Infinite Earths", an AU prompt challenge. These are unedited, precisely how they are on my tumblr, where they were first published. Some are crossovers, and I labeled them as such. There are a few that I also wanted to comment on further, so those notes will be on the bottom. Some of these drabbles will be expanded into full stories someday, but I've put them all together here. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know which ones you think should be expanded upon; I'd be very interested to hear!
Day 1: Hogwarts
"Percy, I have to get to Ancient Runes in 20 minutes. I do not have time to go swimming."
"Aw, but the giant squid wanted to play!"
Annabeth pinched the bridge of her nose between her finger and thumb. Her boyfriend seemed to spend half his time in the lake, which was an impressive feat considering how cold the lake was most of the year. But now that it was spring, the lake provided a refreshing alternative to the stuffy castle, and it was almost impossible to extricate Percy from the cool clear water, in spite of their finals. Probably because of their finals.
"Don't you have something you should be studying right now?" Annabeth asked, looking up. Percy grinned lazily at her.
"Nope. I don't have my first final until next week, and Care of Magical Creatures just ended. I'm home free."
"That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to get something done now!" said Annabeth, exasperated. "You need to study!"
"I studied last year."
"I knew this would happen!" she exclaimed, throwing her hands over her head. "It was hard enough to get you to concentrate for your O.W.L.s, but I knew you were going to slack off in sixth year."
Percy stood up, arms out in a placating gesture. It didn't hurt that he was only wearing his swim trunks. He was good-looking any day, but there was something about being in the water that made him seem to glow. Not that she'd ever tell him that; his ego didn't need the fuel. Still, she could already feel her annoyance ebbing away as he smiled.
"C'mon, I will study. You won't let me not study. But today is just too nice to be inside, right?"
"Well, I need to get to class. Enjoy your little swim, because tomorrow I'm putting you to work."
"You really think you'll be learning anything on the last day of classes? Don't you already know everything anyway?"
Annabeth grinned, but shook her head. "That doesn't mean I shouldn't go." She glanced at Percy. "Enough with the puppy dog eyes! I'm not going swimming."
"What if I promise to work extra hard tomorrow?"
"You're working hard tomorrow either way. There is nothing you can do to get me in that lake." She smirked as she turned her back on him, stooping to pick up her bag.
Suddenly she felt cool, wet arms snake around her midsection. She lost her balance as Percy jumped backwards into the water. Fully clothed, she submerged in the shallows. After flailing for a minute while Percy laughed, she came up spluttering.
He sat there grinning at her when something slimy brushed her hand. She quickly grabbed it and slapped it to his forehead.
"There," she said, admiring her handiwork. The piece of lakeweed stuck between Percy's eyebrows as he blinked at her. A toothy grin spread across his face, and they both started to laugh. She leaned toward him as he reached for the plant with one hand, sliding it away, and tangling his other hand in her long blond hair. His lips convinced her that Ancient Runes could wait.
Day 2: Zombies
Percy really, really didn't like fighting zombies. If he had a choice (which, of course, he rarely did), he would much rather be fighting almost anything else. First off, zombies were already dead, which made killing them a little more complicated. Secondly, they weren't particularly scared of anything, which meant they just kept coming.
They were also heading for camp.
Percy glanced to his left to see Annabeth slashing with her sword at the nearest enemy. Her helmet was a little askew, but she looked otherwise unscathed. But both of them were breathing heavily and Percy could feel his clothes drenched in sweat under his armor. He hated fighting zombies.
"What did you do to piss off Hades this time?" Annabeth demanded through gritted teeth.
Riptide swiped through the air and embedded itself in a zombie's shoulder as Percy thought. He seemed to piss off a fair number of gods, it was hard to keep track sometimes…
"I dunno!" he grunted. Annabeth rolled to her right to avoid a lunging zombie, closing the gap between the two of them.
"This isn't working," she said. "We should head back to camp for reinforcements."
"Works for me."
The two of them turned on their heels (though not before Annabeth jabbed once more at the closest enemy) and took off for the trees. Luckily for them, humans were much faster alive than dead.
But their luck wouldn't hold out. There was a rumble under their feet, and a large crack appeared in front them. Two more zombies burst from the earth, their arms outstretched. One hit Percy around the middle and the other aimed for Annabeth's ankles.
Light on her feet, Annabeth sidestepped the attack and swung her sword straight down onto the creature's back. It let out a moan as it collapsed into a heap of dust. Annabeth glanced up and was met with a chilling sight: Percy had been knocked backwards into a tree, where he lay sprawled and unconscious, while the other zombie gathered itself for another assault. Annabeth ran forward, driving her sword between the zombie's wasted shoulder blades. It began to dissolve, but not quickly enough for her to retrieve the sword. Instead, she grabbed Percy under his armpits and began to drag him in the direction of the camp, not bothering with his sword either; it would just reappear in his pocket anyway.
Percy's limp body was far heavier than she expected; since when was he such a big guy? But he had gotten taller than her in the past year, so she supposed it wasn't too surprising. This would have been a lot easier when they were kids, back when she had been taller than he was. For the moment, she hauled his prone form between the trees, swearing in every language she knew from the past 3000 years. She could hear the zombies advancing, slowly but surely. They'd never make it.
Athena always had a plan, and just as she started to think all hope was lost, she was hit with a brain wave. Annabeth loosened her grip on Percy and he fell to the ground (whoops), and bringing her fingers to her lips, she whistled as hard as she could.
That's when the hellhound appeared.
Day 3: Medieval
Percy knew he shouldn't have agreed to slay the stupid dragon. He had barely escaped that ogre last week, and the pay from the Duke had been paltry. But King Zeus himself had issued the proclamation and the reward promised was large enough to tempt anyone. So here he was, crouching behind a rock as flames shot over his head, cursing his luck.
This particular dragon had been wreaking havoc on the countryside, and the king was desperate enough to increase his reward again and again. There were rumors that he might even knight the man who could bring the beast's head to him. Percy knew that the best warriors from the land had attempted to fell the monster with no success. Beckendorf, Valdez, Castellan - even the prince Jason had tried and failed to bring down the beast.
'I've gotta be crazy,' thought Percy as the dragon stopped exhaling flames and he was able to dodge away quickly before the assault could start again. He broke out in a run to take shelter in the trees that surrounded the creature's cave. For some reason, the dragon seemed almost reluctant to burn down the woods around its home, though perhaps that was an instinct ingrained in the species not to level the shelter near their caves. Whatever the reason, the woods provided some respite from the flames.
Percy slid behind a large tree and glanced back over his shoulder to look at the monster. It was turning its head wildly, trying to spot him with its beady eyes. He looked the other way to try to figure out the best way to maneuver around the cave on the other side when his heart almost leaped out of his throat. Somehow another warrior had managed to creep through the trees and was standing right next to him, his sword aloft and his helmet low over his brow.
"Di immortales, you scared me!" he hissed. The warrior merely shrugged his shoulders slightly, as if to say, 'Then you scare too easily.'
"This is one nasty dragon," said Percy. "Do you have a plan? I can tell you that a frontal assault doesn't seem to do much…" Without a word, the newcomer drew a knife from his belt and began to scratch out markings in the ground in front of them. After a minute of work, he pointed to his handiwork, then gestured to Percy as if prompting him to speak.
"It looks like a cat," said Percy. The warrior smacked his palm against the ground in exasperation, then pointed to the diagram with more force. He traced his fingers over the lines he drew and this time Percy nodded. "Looks good to me."
They both crept over the soft pine needles, wending their way through the trees as the dragon thrashed in front of the mouth of the cave. It was clear it knew that there were invaders nearby, but its poor eyesight couldn't pick them out among the tall pines. When Percy saw that the other warrior had flanked the dragon to the right, he burst into the clearing, yelling a battle cry and lifting Riptide aloft. The beast swung its head in his direction and took a few steps toward him, ready to defend, but before it could breathe fire again, the other warrior sprang towards him, driving his sword deep into the flesh behind the creature's front leg. With a bellow that seemed to shake the mountain under their feet, the dragon turned again, momentarily forgetting Percy and attacking this new threat.
Percy took advantage of this to bring his own sword down onto the monster's foot, but it seemed to have been less distracted than they both thought. It opened its mouth to screech at him, bearing down on him with rows of venomous teeth.
"Look out!" cried the other warrior, but there was something funny about his voice. Percy had no time to think about it, and dove to the side, narrowly avoiding the fangs hurtling his way. The other warrior was charging towards him, but the dragon's tail whipped forward out of nowhere and caught the warrior from behind. He was flung forward, his helmet knocked high into the air to reveal long blonde tresses. The warrior slammed into the ground inches from Percy's face, and turning steely gray eyes to meet his green, Percy realized that he was actually a she…
Day 4: Spies
She had caught him with his pants down. Literally.
This was no easy feat; he certainly wasn't a novice. But neither was she.
It was clear that she had been lying in wait and had specifically held off for him to start undressing before striking. He had slid out of his expensive shoes, shined to almost a blinding quality, then fumbled with his belt buckle until it released and he could pull it out from the loops on his pants. Stepping deftly out of his slacks, he had loosened his tie and began to unbutton his shirt as he walked over to the large sliding glass doors overlooking the pool of the hotel. A soft shushing noise had echoed out of the dark just as he finished the last button. He whirled around. Six objects whizzed by his ears and he felt himself thrown against the wall, the sleeves of his now-open shirt pinned to the plaster with small throwing knives.
Out of the gloom and into the moonlight slunk his attacker. She was wearing a short skintight dress that shimmered as she walked, though its true color was difficult to discern in the cold light of the moon. The reflections from the surface of the pool played across her face as she eyed her prey.
"That was easy," she murmured.
He grunted. If he could manage to get them both into the pool not fifteen feet away, it would be a different story. He was skilled in multiple underwater assassination techniques; in some circles they called him the Shark. But there was something not entirely unpleasant about his current situation…
"I know who you are," she said as she approached. "Your reputation precedes you and your codename, Poseidon. Whether it's warranted…"
"You must be Athena," he said. "I've heard of you."
"Is that what they're calling me these days?" she asked lazily, stepping closer. She reached for his tie. There was a faint hissing noise as it slid from around his neck and fell delicately into her hands. "This will make a nice souvenir."
"Do you always collect trophies?"
"No, but I'm making an exception here." She tilted her face so that she could look into his eyes. They were dark and dangerous and dragging him down. "I know of your work. Top field agent from Jupiter Headquarters. Twenty-seven assassinations to your name. Helped bring down the O'Connor Family in Boston two years ago. I always do my research."
"Listen to this wise girl. Thinks she knows everything about me," he said, though he was still entranced.
"I also know you're reckless. You've managed to escape each time, but you like blowing stuff sky high before you do."
"And you never wing it?"
"Athena always has a plan."
"And what are you planning to do now?" he asked, his eyes hooded and a faint smirk playing across his lips. His hands were still hanging above his head, held in place by the spikes embedded in the wall. It was cool enough in the room that he was acutely aware of the fact that he was standing there with a gaping shirt and no pants.
She somehow produced a large knife from that impossibly tight dress. "I just came here tonight with a message. I'm in town on an unrelated job, but you blundered across my path and I just had to stop by and say hello." She pressed the cold metal against his cheek, but made no move to break the skin. Leaning forward to whisper breathily in his ear, she said, "I'm hear to let you know that you may be good, and that you may be good without even trying, but that no matter how hard you do try, you will never be as good as I am."
She stepped back and he exhaled quietly through his teeth. "We'll see about that," he growled. "This is not the last time we'll be seeing each other, Athena."
She made a move for the sliding doors, but stopped and glanced over her shoulder. "You can call me Annabeth," she said with a smirk. And with that, she was gone, leaving only the faintest scent of lemon soap in the air.
Day 5: School
Annabeth waited outside the boys' locker room with growing frustration. He was taking forever in there.
She couldn't believe her luck on being given Percy Jackson as her partner for the biggest project of the sophomore year. Everyone knew that Dr. Chiron's assignment was the most long and involved one any teacher at the school came up with, and it was a badge of honor to survive his class, GPA in tact. Dr. Chiron was a family friend, and Annabeth had been thrilled to have him on her schedule this year.
The class was mostly made up of high-achieving students, but there were frustrating individuals like Percy who seemed to do no work at all, yet still maintain a passing grade. Percy, with his dark wavy hair that always smelled of chlorine and his idiotic troublemaker grin, barely managed to stay awake most classes. She hadn't given him more than an appraising glance before discovering that he was one of the most irritating people she had ever met. He seemed to like playing dumb.
And now she was stuck partnering with him!
Dr. Chiron had done the pairing assignments randomly, and there were more than a few curious glances back at Annabeth when she and Percy's names were called in tandem. She kept her eyes on their teacher's face. He seemed to flash her a briefly sympathetic glance before continuing to list the partners. Percy had simply stretched his long legs further away from his body, putting his hands behind his head. It had been clear that he thought he was going to get an easy grade off of her. But that was not how Annabeth Chase operated.
She had been persistently hounding him for the past few days, demanding that they get started on their project. He had looked at her with horror when she first mentioned it. "It's not due for months!" he protested. Soon, they had fallen into a routine of her following him around, pestering him that they needed to start working, which he answered with a resigned silence. Now here she was, lurking outside the locker room, waiting for him to come out after swim practice.
Two boys stepped outside, but a quick glance told Annabeth that neither was Percy. They slowed. "Waiting for Percy?" one asked.
"Is he almost done?" she responded.
"I don't know," he said, and poked his head back in through the door. "Hey Jackson! Uh, Annabeth's waiting for you." The boy turned back to Annabeth. "He's coming. I think he's the last one in there."
Annabeth watched them walk away, their footsteps echoing in the hallway. Boys were so noisy as they walked. The door of the locker room swung open, and she turned to face her partner.
Who had apparently not bothered getting dressed.
"You're really annoying," groused Percy. "I was in the middle of showering off."
That much was obvious. His sopping hair clung to his face, and he stood in only his swimwear and drag-shorts. Annabeth got a quick glimpse of the shadows of his hips before firmly averting her gaze higher. Oh, there was his chest, thin yet muscular. Higher! There was his frowning face. A little better.
So that's what they meant by a "swimmer's body."
Day 6: Mythical Creature
The microwave beeped loudly over the sound of the movie. "Want me to pause it?" asked Annabeth.
"No, don't worry about it," said Percy, rising from the couch.
She nodded, staring listlessly at the screen. Percy felt a twinge of guilt. Here it was, Valentine's Day, and all they were doing was sitting around, watching movies. Even his mother and Paul were out enjoying themselves.
He entered the kitchen and grabbed a bowl from an upper cabinet. Popping open the door of the microwave, Percy gingerly grabbed the edge of the bag and slid it into the bowl. As he walked back to the living room, he heard a faint mooing noise emanating from his bathroom.
"Bessie seems to be having a good time," he said as he flopped back down onto the couch, depositing the still-cooling popcorn on the coffee table. "At least, I think she's singing to herself."
Annabeth managed a wan smile without taking her eyes off the movie, and Percy felt a slight panic creep into his throat. He sighed, then said quietly, "Look, I'm really sorry about tonight… I know this isn't what you wanted to do…"
"Oh!" She turned to him, looking slightly surprised. "Oh, Percy, I'm not mad at you. This was the best option, under the circumstances…" She kneaded her eyes with the heels of her hands. "I just wish it wasn't on Valentine's Day."
"Better this than Aphrodite's party."
Annabeth rolled her eyes. "Her son is a nightmare this time of year. But, well… we missed the last one, and I was just looking forward to doing something special this year."
"I know," he said, taking her hand. Annabeth would never admit it, but she definitely had a romantic side to her, which Percy found a little amusing; she was so serious most of the time. But when it came to special days (anniversaries, birthdays, holidays - there were so many of them to remember), she liked to be pampered a bit. Which Percy was happy to oblige, but in this particular case, it was out of his hands.
"As soon as my dad fixes his tank, the Ophiotaurus is going back home to Olympus," Percy reminded her. "And I'm quite sure that that godling is gonna be more careful with his discus-throwing in the future. But until then, we have a house guest."
"A house guest with the power to destroy the gods. A house guest that has to stay precisely between the Empire State Building and the ocean so it's close to both Zeus and Poseidon's domains. A house guest that has to live in your bathtub under constant supervision until he goes home."
Percy grimaced. "Yeah, that kind of house guest."
She snuggled her head on his shoulder and they pretended to pay attention to the movie for a few more minutes. For some reason, Percy felt his pulse racing as he tangled his fingers in Annabeth's hair. Her cheek was warm against his neck. He can almost her heartbeat.
"Not entirely constant supervision," he murmured. She turned to face him, curious. He could feel the heat rising slightly to his cheeks as he slid his arms around her waist, eyes meeting hers. "As long as we don't leave the apartment… I think that's enough attention."
Their lips met. One hand found its way back into her hair (they always seemed to do that) while hers encircled his neck. Finally they came up for air.
"When are your parents getting home?" she asked.
"Not for hours. They're at dinner now, then they're going to the play, then they'll go out for drinks—"
Percy was interrupted by a fierce kiss from his girlfriend.
Day 7: Fairy Tale
"All right, Mr. Dolphin, explain it to me one more time."
"That's Prince Dolphin to you."
Annabeth rolled her eyes, but she couldn't help but smile. "Okay, fine," she conceded. "Just… I'm having a hard time believing you."
"You're more willing to believe in a talking dolphin than a cursed prince?"
"Well, neither makes any logical sense, but one is at least verifiable. Unless I'm going crazy, which at this point, I wouldn't doubt."
The dolphin rolled over onto its side to better observe the blonde girl through its dark glassy eye. "All right. My father is the king across the sea. I'm his son, which makes me a prince. Prince of the dolphins." The animal shook itself slightly. "Anyway, I like spending time on the beach. Makes me feel better. So this guy is on the beach and out of nowhere, he gets mad and turns me into a dolphin."
"Out of nowhere?"
"Well, I might have called him fat. And lazy. And generally useless."
"Did you know this guy?"
"…He might have been the High Warlock of my father's court."
Annabeth stood up. "You're such an idiot!" she cried.
"But he is fat and lazy and useless!"
"That doesn't mean you tell him that!" Annabeth could hardly believe her ears (in more ways than one). She had come to the beach to avoid the bitter arguments going on back in the palace. The noise of the waves always seemed to calm her down. It appeared that she and this guy had that in common… no! There was no way his story was true.
"C'mon," the dolphin wheedled. "I got your knife back for you — which, by the way, is a really weird thing for a princess to be carrying — so you owe me. You are a princess, right?"
"I…" Annabeth bit her lip. That was a complicated question. Everyone seemed to regard her as one… everyone except the queen. She did not like her, and the feeling was mutual.
"Please?" he asked. "How many more times is a princess just gonna wander down to the beach for me to run into?"
"Can I at least know your name?" Annabeth asked desperately.
He looked her square in the eye. "Percy. Now how about that kiss?"
Day 8: Futuristic
The nearest explosions seemed to cause his teeth to rattle around inside his head. His ears were ringing and he could taste iron in his mouth.
Blinding light seemed to overwhelm his eyes. Percy turned his back on the front line and dove farther into the ditch he had sought shelter in, landing hard on his stomach. His hands gripped his gun as he spun back around.
There was a screech through the air and he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck bristle. Something landed only a few feet away and he threw himself into the dirt again. More light, more explosions that seemed to rip his soul from his body.
Percy slowly seemed to come back to his surroundings. He heard shallow breathing that at first he thought was coming from his own ragged lungs. He glanced to his left to see another soldier face down on the ground. Her leg seemed to be badly mangled. The band around her arm indicated that she was a part of the Athena faction: an enemy. She had probably been sneaking through enemy lines to assassinate unsuspecting soldiers; Athena always seemed to like infiltration. Percy should have left well enough alone — she would die soon enough anyway — but he crawled on his stomach over to the girl who couldn't be much older than he was.
He gripped her shoulders and turned her onto her back. She was clearly in great pain, as she hardly resisted. Her eyes opened enough to glare at him with gray slits. Percy reached over his shoulder to grab his knife, but those eyes stopped him. She watched his movement with defiance; if he was going to kill her, he would have to do it looking into her face. Instead, Percy slowly moved his hand and grabbed a canteen of Nectar, the military invention that somehow seemed to speed recovery. He dribbled some into her mouth. Her eyes flew open.
He took one more look into her face, then slithered away.
Day 9: Aliens
"What the hell is it?"
"What is going on?"
"Did you see the light? Annabeth, I think that's—"
"There is a logical explanation for this. I know there is. Don't say it."
"Annabeth. This thing fell out of the sky. With bright flashing lights. This is—"
"Don't say it!"
"Because I don't even know how to wrap my head around it."
"You can wrap your head around ancient Greek monsters and gods and Titans and you can't handle this?"
"At least that all takes place on Earth. This is just… I feel light-headed. I just— stop poking it, Percy!"
"I'm doing scientific research. I'm studying it."
"You are not, you are jabbing it with a sword."
"What if you make it mad? What if you hurt it?"
"Wait, are you afraid of it or afraid for it?"
"I don't know! Both! This is insane, we should call… someone."
"Like who? Chiron? NASA?"
"I don't know! I don't know what to do!"
"We could just keep walking. We can pretend we never saw anything."
"You want to pretend we never saw this?"
"Hey, you were the one who couldn't wrap her head around this."
"But we can't just leave it here! We have to— it's moving!"
"Holy Hephaestus… Annabeth, what are you doing?!"
"I need to see if it's okay!"
"Why does this always happen to us? Why does every single one of our dates turn out batshit crazy?"
Day 10: Parody of another Fandom (Soul Eater)
"This guy looks dangerous," Annabeth muttered more to herself than Percy.
"Nothing we can't handle," said Percy lazily.
"Transform," she commanded him, and he obeyed his meister's order. A blinding white light surrounded her weapon and Annabeth extended her hand. A large bronze sword fell into grasp as lightly as if it were a feather.
"I was hoping for the knife," said Annabeth.
"Too bad. I prefer the sword; it keeps you farther away from danger," Percy replied in the metallic, tinny voice that he took on when in weapon form.
"I can handle myself," Annabeth scoffed lightly, though was inwardly a little touched.
"This is it. The last soul. The soul of a witch," said Percy.
"Yeah." She eyed the creature in front of her with disgust. They were in New Jersey, on a mission from Lord Death. They had found themselves at Aunty Em's Garden Emporium, where it quickly became apparent that the witch was hiding. The awful creature before them glared hungrily at them, ready to strike like a snake.
"Well, it looks like I have a few subjects for my experiment," hissed the woman. Annabeth snarled, then leaped forward to attack.
Day 11: Slice-of-Life
They were in deep trouble now. Things were about to, as they so often seemed to do, blow up in Percy's face. It had been his job this week, and he had neglected his duties. Their tiny apartment was about to explode.
It was almost time for Annabeth to wake up. And they were out of coffee.
Percy couldn't remember exactly when she had starting drinking the stuff. He supposed it must have been during high school, because by the time they had moved in together (much to chagrin of her father), her addiction had already taken hold of her.
She never had more than a cup or two a day, so any health consequences due to caffeine overload were minimized, but still, there was something a little unnerving to Percy about her reliance on the thing to wake up in the morning. Annabeth explained once that coffee woke her up the second-most; a good monster attack at 6am everyday would get her adrenaline pumping even faster, she assured him. "So in lieu of constant attacks, I drink coffee," she had said smugly, cradling her mug in her hands.
It took only a few weeks living together that Percy discovered the benefits of his girlfriend with her morning cup 'o' joe. Before she drank it, she was a bleary-eyed bulldog, ready to snap at any perceived wrong — and this was at no offense to bulldogs. After she had consumed the coffee, she was back to her normal self, smiling serenely in the early morning air.
Percy had taken to working out in the mornings before class, so it had fallen to him to start the coffee brewing. Annabeth had been astonished that he had willingly started to get up before noon (no 8am classes for this half-blood), but Percy said he'd rather get it out of the way early. He didn't say he wanted to be able to still protect her at any time; she would scoff and huff and say that she could handle herself, which was true, but didn't lessen his desire to be prepared. So here he was, standing in front of the coffee-maker, staring into a tin that held only a thin layer of brown powder.
He jumped slightly as he heard the pad of her feet enter the kitchen. She slid somewhat awkwardly into the chair at the table; the breakfast nook was a little small for a table and two chairs. Percy slowly turned to face her. If he was going to be slaughtered, he might as well let it happen sooner rather than later.
"Annabeth," he started, not sure how to continue. She turned to him and inspected him with half-closed eyes. He cleared his throat. "Um, I'm really sorry about this, but I… forgot to buy coffee. I'm really sorry, but we're all out."
Annabeth slid her head down onto the arm that rested on their table. Percy waited.
"Actually, I've been thinking: it's probably not very warrior-like to be dependent on anything to wake up, so I think I need to kick the habit."
Percy's eyes got wide. "Really?"
"Yeah. Which I should have warned you about before, because I was doing some reading about coffee addiction, and it takes a few days of headaches for your body to get over it. I'm probably gonna be a bitch for the rest of the week."
"You're never a bitch," he said smiling. Annabeth smiled wryly back from her place on the table.
"We'll see. I just hope I'm not so grouchy that you break up with me."
"If I was gonna break up with you for being grouchy, I would've done a long time ago, Annabeth."
She chuckled. "Screw you."
"If you insist, we do have some time before your class—"
Annabeth made a raspberry noise, waving her aloft hand to stop him. Percy chuckled, then turned to the fridge to search for breakfast.
"Although, Percy? I would really love some herbal tea."
Day 12: Deserted Island
The sun seemed to shimmer in the sky as Annabeth curled and uncurled her toes in the sand. Percy lay flat on his back in the shade of a tree to her left, snoring softly.
They had been on a small schooner in the Sea of Monsters when they had been attacked. It had been a hard fight, and somehow they had gotten themselves blown up again. A prayer to her mother had gotten them both to land safely on this small, unnamed island — though it was possible Athena had thrown Percy a little harder than necessary, because he was still unconscious. Or at least he hadn't woken up yet; it was also possible he had shifted directly from being knocked out cold to being konked out. It was very tiring, using so much of his powers like that.
Annabeth knew they would have to construct some sort of raft once he woke up; their boat had been thoroughly destroyed. She had already walked around the entire island, searching for driftwood and scanning for usable supplies. The beach that encircled the island was only about a mile long, which made Annabeth wonder if this place had been entirely constructed by her mother to act as a landing spot (perhaps Poseidon had heard her silent plea too and they had actually worked together for once).
But as she sat on the sand, her toes hiding in cool, wet sand with the wind playing with her hair and her boyfriend looking peaceful for the first time since they had been on this mad quest, Annabeth thought they could stand to be here for a little longer.
Day 13: Buddy Cops
"Do you have to wear heels to a crime scene?"
"CSU's already been through, I'm not gonna damage any evidence."
"Yeah, but what if we have to chase a perp?"
"You know exactly how well I can run in these."
Her partner started muttering about twisted ankles and stubborn girls who thought they were so smart, but Detective Chase ignored him. The truth was she was significantly shorter than her partner and she wanted to be a little more equal in height: it sent a message of solidarity and equity in their relationship. Not that he ever doubted it; he frequently admitted her intelligence and her ability. No, it was the others in their department, the others on the streets who she needed to intimidate.
Besides, she liked these boots.
Her hand tightened around her coffee cup as she saw both coroners get to their feet. The scene had to be bad if both Nico and Hazel were here. Nico turned to watch their approach, nodding seriously in acknowledgement.
Jackson sighed. "I have a feeling this one's gonna mean a lot of late nights."
Chase determinedly kept her face neutral at his prediction. There was something very problematic about late nights with him. There was also something very promising about late nights with him, which was even more problematic. It was common knowledge that partners often became like family. In the few short months they had been working together, Chase had been paying attention to this newly appointed detective and had to admit, he got results. But she had been a little disturbed to find her initial mistrust-turned-gruding admiration had taken a distinctly non-sisterly turn.
It was dangerous; she already felt like she had to prove her mettle, blonde pretty woman trying to do a man's job. She didn't need her hormones complicating the matter.
Now if only they would listen.
Day 14: Allegiance Swap
Percy hit the ground hard and felt his mouth fill with the iron taste of blood. He whirled around, raising Riptide up to quickly block the downward swing of a sword meant to cleave him in two. As if her presence didn't already do that alone.
"Get up!" yelled Annabeth, her eyes wild. They seemed wet, though whether from tears or sweat, he couldn't be sure. Her leg was bleeding, but she seemed to be able to still stand.
"Annabeth, please," Percy said thickly. He leveraged himself against the ground and flung her backwards, and she lost her balance and fell. He now had the upper hand.
"No! You're wrong! Our parents are wrong! Look at the mess they've made of this world! We need to start over!"
"And you think Kronos is gonna let you do that?" asked Percy tiredly. Annabeth glared up at him with steely eyes.
"More than my mother ever would!"
Percy leveled his sword at her chest, but made no move to attack. He felt dull and sluggish, as if Kronos were slowing down time. But this feeling wasn't being caused by a Titan; it was being caused by an angry half-blood cursing at his feet.
"You're not even trying," she hissed.
"I don't wanna hurt you."
"Don't be such a coward! When did Luke ever let something like that slow him down?"
He snarled. "Not all of us are invincible, Annabeth."
"Not all of us can be," she snapped. "He survived the Styx because he's strong and he has conviction. You wouldn't last a minute!"
Percy felt his blood pounding in his ears. "We'll see about that," he said as he jabbed down at her. Annabeth seemed to have been suspecting that move, and leaped to her feet, her dagger flashing. She had always preferred the close, intimate kill of a knife…
Day 15: Sex Swap (Note 1)
Persie was trying her best to listen while Andrathan was talking so animatedly about his design class, but it was very difficult. She just didn't understand all these technical terms, and she didn't have the heart (or the desire, to be perfectly honest) to stop him every thirty seconds to ask him to clarify. Plus, what if she asked a question about something he had already talked about?
They were sitting in the middle of Central Park on a large picnic blanket, small white boxes of Chinese take-out strewn about their laps. Andrathan had offered to pick up whatever Persie wanted, though judging by the eyeroll she received when she excited exclaimed pork fried rice, it wasn't what he had had in mind. Still, he had been dutiful and showed up that afternoon with a large bag full of greasy goodness.
Andrathan took a breath, and Persie seized the opportunity to kiss him. As she pulled away, she saw a slow smile slide across his face.
"What was that for?"
She grinned toothily at him. "You're just cute."
He laughed, running a hand through his disheveled blonde locks. He tended to wear his hair a little shaggy, and it was all Persie could do to keep herself from burying her hands in it right there and then. After any particularly intense lip-locking session, Andrathan always looked like he had gotten into a fight with a leaf blower and lost. Badly. Persie apparently had a thing for hair.
Not that he seemed impartial to her long dark tresses; he always claimed they smelled like the sea, even after she had just washed it with pounds of scented shampoo. But it seemed that his favorite thing to do when they were alone was to run his rough hands up and down her sides, whispering in her ear that her skin was so smooth while she kissed his throat…
Okay. They were in public. She needed to rein herself in a little. She added "Andrathan's neck" on her list of things to ravage later. Funny how often that happened.
Persie stretched her arms over her head and flung herself down onto the blanket with a faint plop. "I feel so full," she said, staring into the sky. Andrathan slid down to lie next to her, their shoulders touching chastely.
"Well, you did just gorge yourself on Chinese food."
"…I don't see the connection."
Andrathan laughed as they settled farther into the blanket contentedly. It was a peaceful day, with the sun shining high overhead and families milling about on the lawn.
Of course it wouldn't last for a couple of powerful half-bloods.
A roar echoed across the grounds. Some people turned to look while Andrathan sat up and said, "Uh oh."
"I… I think it's the Nemian lion!"
'I already killed that stupid cat, I do not want to do it again."
"Persephone Jackson! Get up, we have a monster to take down."
Persie sighed heavily. She rolled over onto her stomach just as the creature burst through the bushes to the left of them, scattering screaming tourists. She wasn't sure what the mortals saw thanks to the Mist, but she was sure it wasn't good.
Andrathan had already drawn his dagger. Persie reached into her pocket for her pen with some difficulty.
"Gah, I can hardly get my pen out!" she cried.
"Well, that's what you get for wearing such tight jeans."
"Funny, you don't normally complain about how tight my pants are." Andrathan rolled his eyes, though a slight flush crept into his ears and they turned faintly pink.
Persie finally managed to dislodge the pen and uncapped it. Riptide grew to its full length just as the Nemian lion, growling menacingly, started to circle them like a shark, looking for an opening. Persie felt herself and Andrathan slip into their fighting stances, both completely aware of what the other was about to do almost before the themselves knew. This was what they did best.
Day 16: Superheroes (Teen Titans) (Note 2)
Annabeth gazed around the underwater cavern in wonder as her fellow Titans joined her ashore. Could it really be considered 'ashore' if they were hundreds of feet below the surface? Regardless, it was an incredible sight.
There was a bubbling from behind her, and she whirled around. A lanky figure emerged from the broiling and leaped to sand next to her. He straightened up and grinned at her, his messy black hair clinging to his face.
Annabeth tried not to notice his tight suit, but it was a little difficult.
"Thought you guys could use a lift," he said. "Looked like your sub was in trouble."
"I'll say!" said Frank. "You really saved our hides!" Annabeth turned to glare at him, and he cowered a little bit.
"Thanks for your help," she said a little coolly, turning back to the dripping boy in front of her. "We do appreciate it. We were investigating a toxic waste spill—"
"Yeah, dude named Trident's been making trouble lately. He's why I'm out here too."
Annabeth frowned slightly at the interruption, but held out her hand. "And you are?" she prompted.
"Oh," he said, looking a little confused (it was not endearing, it was not) and shaking her hand. "Uh, my name's Percy."
"Is that your real name or your secret identity?" piped up Frank.
"Back on land, we like to keep our powers secret. We can lead normal lives that way," answered Hazel, stepping forward. "For example, my name is Hazel Levesque, but I go by Raven when I'm in uniform."
Beckendorf stuck out a robotic hand. "Call me Cyborg."
"I can change into different animals, so I'm Beast Boy," said Frank. "But my real name is Frank Zheng."
"Thalia," said the tall girl behind the group. "Or Starfire."
"And I'm Robin," said Annabeth. "But Annabeth is fine too, I suppose. I'm guessing you don't travel to the surface much."
"Never been," Percy said, looking mildly bemused. "But I might have to, now that I've heard such strange things about it." He cocked his head as he gazed at the girl in front of him. "Aren't robins birds?"
"Yes," said Annabeth slowly.
"Are those robins in your earrings?"
Annabeth's hands flew to her earlobes. "No, these are owls."
"Why don't you go by 'Owl', then?"
"Because it's a secret identity for a reason!" she answered hotly. "I'm known for liking owls in my normal life! I don't wanna reveal myself."
"Your powers don't give you away?"
"I don't have any powers."
Percy laughed. "How can you fight, then?"
Annabeth grabbed his wrist and flipped him over her shoulder. He hit the ground with a loud thump and she knelt on his chest while pressing her arm across his throat. His eyes were wide with surprise and another emotion that she couldn't quite place…
"Don't ever doubt me again," she said simply.
He never would.
Day 17: Ga(a)ng (Avatar: the Last Airbender)
"Percy, don't you dare splash me, it's so cold out here — augh!"
Annabeth dove to the side as a thin stream of water shot over her head. Judging by where it hit (and froze to, spirits, it was cold) the wall behind her, Annabeth had been in no real danger, but that did not prevent her from glaring at the figure of Percy, hunched over with laughter.
"You shoulda seen the look on your face!" he cried. Annabeth dusted the snow off her parka, then started walking away with a huff. Percy ran to catch up, still chuckling.
The streets of the North Pole were lined with smiling salesmen, waving their goods about and talking animatedly with customers. Percy had been talking about this festival for weeks, and here they finally were.
He had warned her that the North Pole would be nothing like the Fire Nation where they had been spending their last few months together. Annabeth had staunchly argued she could handle a little cold (not everyone needed to bend fire to stay warm), but had found herself getting more and more chilled the farther north they traveled. Finally, rolling his eyes at her stubbornness, Percy had bought her a new parka (she had had no Water Tribe money) and the place became a little more bearable.
Percy had been thrilled to back home. He had shown her all the important buildings and monuments, and even taken her to meet his mother (she would not think too much into that, she would not), all the while practically dragging her by the hand. Annabeth had to admit that it had been really nice to see him so enthusiastic about his home.
As they walked side by side, enjoying the sights and smells and sounds of the festival, she found herself watching the flush climb up his face, the crooked grin that spread across his features, and can't help but wonder what her father would say if she brought home a Water Tribe boy, even if the war had been over for a few years…
Day 18: Military/War (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Was the clock always this loud? It seemed that the later it got in the day, the louder it got. Perhaps he ought to take a look at make sure it was working properly.
Percy started to stand up from his chair, but was interrupted by a hand clenching his shoulder like a vice.
"Where do you think you're going?"
Percy glanced up at Annabeth's steely gray eyes. She quirked an eyebrow, waiting for a response.
"Uh… I dunno."
She guided him back down into his chair. "Finish your paperwork."
Percy put his elbows on the desk and ran his gloved hands through his hair. How could there possibly be this much paperwork for one man? Is this what it really meant to be Colonel? When was he going to be superior enough that he could make someone else do this for him? When was the last time someone did something that nice for him? Should he do something nice for someone else? Maybe he should learn how to bake and he could start making cookies for people and maybe they might…
Annabeth tapped the piece of paper in front of him with a fingernail, startling Percy out of his reverie. "Work."
He flung his head back over the top of his chair. "Annabeth, do you know how hard it is to concentrate? I swear, there's gotta be something in my head that doesn't let me focus…"
"Well, maybe if you kept a clean workspace, you could concentrate better. That always helps me."
"But that's even more work!"
Annabeth threw her hands over her head in a rare moment of exasperation. "Fine, don't then."
"What I really need is some motivation," he mused, throwing an arm over the back of the chair now and stretching his coat open wider (he had unbuttoned it ages ago, despite Annabeth's protests for professionalism). "Something that will actually inspire me."
There was something in Annabeth's voice that made him turn to look at her, but she was very suddenly the only thing he could see. She leaned toward him as she slipped onto his lap, pressing her knees on either side of him. He was hyper aware of her chest in his face and her breath on his teeth, when suddenly she kissed him hotly. She ran a hand through his already-mussed hair and he wrapped an arm around the small of her back.
She was kissing him more fiercely than she ever had before and his brain could hardly keep up. When she bit his lower lip, he arched forward without warning, causing her to hum in amusement. When had the room become so hot? Her fingers encircled his neck as she licked the inside of his cheek and it was all he could do to keep himself seated.
He ran a hand up and down her spine and she shifted on his lap (which was a little more crowded than it had been a moment ago) and turned her head to deepen the kiss. He trailed his hand around to the front of her coat and began to try to undo the buttons, fumbling as she moved her attention to his earlobe. Her tongue was tortuously warm as he managed to open the front of her uniform and he could see through the fabric of the white shirt underneath; he hadn't even known she owned a black bra.
Annabeth left a wet trail of kisses down his cheekbone as Percy growled in frustration at the amount of clothing they both still had on, tugging at the hem of her shirt. She giggled softly as she passed over his stubbly chin (he'd forgotten to shave that morning) and pressed her lips over his once again.
He reached up and took the clip out of her hair, allowing her blonde mane to surround both their faces. He clutched at it like it was a lifeline, twisting his hands into it as her nails dug into his collarbone. She moved on his lap again, but this time he responded in kind. They moved together slowly, keeping time with a rhythm only they could hear.
Abruptly, Annabeth broke the kiss and stood up, her boots landing loudly on the floor. She stooped to grab her briefcase, not meeting his eyes as Percy sat in his chair, panting and a little mystified. He could see that her cheeks were flushed and her lips were swollen from the force of her kisses. She strode toward the door, then turned on her heel to face him.
"Finish those reports in an hour and a half and meet me in my apartment. If you're not there by then, you'll find it locked up tighter than a drum." With another quick turn, she was out the door, shutting it closed smartly behind her.
Percy never worked so quickly in his life.
Day 19: Idols
"I can't believe the Mist works on everything from gods to monsters to lion pelts to my pet hellhound, but it doesn't work the one time I just want some water out of a water fountain."
"Quit complaining. You're just lucky I thought of something to explain the fact that you were moving water with your mind in broad daylight."
Percy frowned, but said nothing. It was true, after all; Annabeth's quick thinking saved him yet again. They had gone for a run together at a community center in his neighborhood (Annabeth insisted on staying in shape over the school year in case of monster attacks), but Percy had forgotten a water bottle. He had been waiting for Annabeth outside the girls' locker room when he spotted a water fountain next to the door. Unfortunately, it had been out of order. Percy had surreptitiously glanced around and failing to spot anyone, had called on the water hiding in the pipes below to slither its way out and into his mouth. It was at that precise moment that a young girl and her mother emerged from the locker room, swim bag in tow.
"Wow!" the little girl had exclaimed. "How did you do that?"
Percy had glanced at the mother's face and to his horror, she was staring at him with a look of apprehension and worry; clearly, he had been spotted.
"What do you mean?"
"You were making the water dance!"
To Percy's immense relief, Annabeth walked out of the locker room, bundled up once again to brace the chilly New York winter air. She had appraised the situation and immediately jumped in with, "Were you practicing your magic tricks again, Percy?"
This seemed to pacify the mother, but somehow the conversation had gotten all turned around and Percy was backed into a corner. He found himself agreeing to put on a full performance for a group of third graders at a birthday party. The only problem was now creating an actual performance.
"As long as you can do some really simple stuff for, like, 20 minutes, you should be fine," Annabeth said for the sixth time that day. They were holed up in the kitchen of his mother's apartment, trying to design a fake magic show out of real magic powers. Or godlike powers, whichever.
They had agreed that Percy's tricks had to be impressive enough to match the level of skill he seemed to have at the gym while also being small enough that the parents would actually believe that they were sleights of hand, not actual magic. So far, they had run through a couple different ideas, and while some seemed to worked, Annabeth always seemed to be able to make an argument against them (it was very frustrating, her being so good at physics and all).
"All right, let's take a snack break," Percy said, releasing his hold over an orb of water and letting splash into the sink. Annabeth stood up from the kitchen table and turned toward the fridge. As she leaned over to inspect its contents, Percy cocked his head to the side.
"Hey, Annabeth? How would you feel about a magician's assistant outfit?"
Day 20: Species Swap
Percy could feel a headache twitching at his temple as he surveyed the scene in front of him. His week had been full of monster attacks and narrow misses, and he had a physics midterm he hadn't studied for, and he just did not need this right now.
But his girlfriend had just gotten a lot shorter. And a lot more feathery.
Annabeth was still hopping from clawed foot to clawed foot, appraising the situation in a mystified way. Percy knew that as soon she processed what had just happened, there would be an explosion. A tiny, ruffled-feather, hooting kind of explosion, which might mean it would be kinda cute, but an explosion nonetheless.
"Percy," she said with much clacking of her new beak. "Percy, can you hear me?"
"Yes," he replied carefully.
He dropped his face into his hands. "Annabeth, you need to stop getting in fights with goddesses."
"I…" She turned in a circle, watching her own tail. Percy could practically see the gears in her head turning.
"HECATE!" she shrieked. "CHANGE ME BACK!"
There was no reply. The goddess had vanished after casting her spell. Annabeth let out a stream of expletives, flapping her wings to punctuate each curse.
Your mother favors you for what you can do for her… let's see what happens when you're no longer useful to her…
Annabeth turned to glare at Percy, which her large yellow eyes allowed for very well. "Kiss me," she commanded.
"Kiss me! Maybe this is like the frog prince, and a kiss from my true love will change me back!"
She let out a small cough (which, in her current state, was adorable) and said, "Well, we can discuss the finer details of that later. For now, give it a try."
Percy awkwardly reached for the fluffy bundle of feathers that was his girlfriend and pecked her on the beak. Nothing happened.
"I think Hecate said something about a quest to prove your worth while she was casting her spell. I dunno, it was in ancient Greek, but really really fast…"
Annabeth swore loudly.
Day 21: Fantasy
Annabeth's mane of curly hair formed a halo around her head in the setting sun.
Her collarbone tasted slightly salty. She chuckled lightly as Percy ran his tongue along the sensitive skin in the hollow of her neck. He began to nibble gently, but when it earned him an actual gasp, he started to bite down a little harder, working his way to a spot below her ear. When she moaned softly and arched toward him, he pulled them both down so they were lying in the grass, her knees on either side of his torso.
Apparently she decided to return the favor, for it was now her tongue on his ear. She left a sticky trail down his jawline until she reached his lips. Annabeth pressed her mouth to his, drawing the breath out of both of them. She tasted like lemon drops.
Percy slid a hand under the hem of her shirt, slowly inching it up her lithe figure. She releases his lips long enough for him to drag the shirt over her head, only to latch onto him again, fingernails tracing grooves into his shoulders. The lace on her bra itched slightly against his exposed chest, so Percy reached around her back to undo the clasp. She grabbed the straps and slid them off her arms, tossing the garment to the side.
He leaned up slightly to take the soft, inviting flesh into his mouth —
He nearly jumped out of his skin as he came crashing abruptly back to earth. He was sitting at the fire pit, the embers having died into a mute glow long ago. Annabeth was standing off to the side, an oversized sweatshirt hugging her thin frame. "It's almost midnight, and you're dozing off. You should go back to your cabin and get some sleep."
Percy nodded. She smiled, then turned and walked away.
Day 22: Horror (Amnesia: the Dark Descent)
Water dripped slowly from the ceiling, hitting the carpet with a faint plop six inches to the right of his ear. There was a musty smell in the air, and the light shining through his eyelids told him it was daylight.
What was his name again?
He tried to open his eyes, but doing so made him feel as if he were about to vomit, so he closed them again quickly. He took a few deep breaths, trying to steady himself. Sliding his hands along the damp rug, he leveraged his way into a sitting position. He put his face in his hands and opened his eyes in the darkness of his palms.
Percy. His name was Percy.
Percy what? He felt a fogginess envelop his brain and threaten to overwhelm him. This was not helping. After a few more minutes, he slid his fingers apart and was mollified by the fact that he could now withstand the light. He shakily got to his feet.
He was in a room with stone walls (was this some sort of castle?) and mildewed tapestries. There was a small desk in the corner, but as he made his way over to it, he could see there was nothing in it. He turned toward the door and noticed something glint off to the right.
Upon closer inspection, it was a glass bottle. It was empty save for a few drops of a vile pink liquid. Seeing it made Percy's temple twinge, and he put it down, watching as it rolled away from him. He wiped his mouth, but stopped when he noticed his hand.
There was a trace of pink on it.
He stood up so fast that his vision turned dark. Once he was able to see again, he noticed a splash of pink across the carpet in the hallway. As he passed through the doorway, he could see it was a trail.
Following the disgusting blotches of pink might not have been his best idea, but it was the only thing his addled brain could come up with, so follow them he did. After a few more hallways and empty rooms, he entered what must have been in better days a study, but what was now a few empty shelves and another desk. This one had a piece of paper on it, and with shaking hands, Percy reached for it.
I'm sorry I had to drink this awful stuff, but I can't live with the memory anymore. I'm letting you off the hook. You never have to know the horrible stuff that we — that I — did.
But I need you to do me a favor too. I need you to get down to the basement of this castle. There is a girl down there. Her name is Annabeth.
You need to kill her.
Your former self,
Day 23: Pre-21st Century
Percy had never seen a woman as beautiful as the one before him now.
He was clearly not the only one to notice. There were three young men sitting on the bar stools next to her, talking animatedly as she stared into the depths of her drink, looking haughty and bored. One of them put a hand on her knee, drawing circles with his thumb on her thigh. She smiled wanly, sliding off the chair and digging a heel into the foot of the offending gentleman, then stalked off.
Her golden hair flounced behind her as she walked by Percy, not even noticing him. Well, he was in uniform; it was difficult to stand out. He kept his hands in his pockets and watched as she stepped through the double glass doors onto the balcony. He counted to six, then followed.
She rested her forearms over the edge of the wall, cradling her drink in her hand. Percy leaned against it, staring back towards the party. "Sorry about that," he said quietly. "They're not so bad, once you get to know them."
A bark of harsh laughter told him she did not agree. "I don't know why I'm here tonight," she said, smacking her lips as the alcohol burned its way down her throat.
"Well, I do know why I'm here tonight. My father insisted." She stole a glance over her shoulder to look at a man with salt-and-pepper hair dancing with a woman with dark hair.
"Is your father Dr. Chase? The weapons expert?"
She turned to look at him, eying him up and down quickly. "Do I know you? You look familiar."
"I'm, uh, Percy. Percy Jackson."
"General Poseidon's son?" He held out his hand and she shook it. "Yeah, I'm Dr. Chase's daughter. Annabeth. I've met your father; you look a lot like him."
"I get that a lot," he said in a slightly self-deprecating voice. "I've heard you look like your mom, but I've never met her…"
Annabeth's eyes turned away. "And you never will. She was killed on the front lines two years ago. The Germans surprised her; she was an expert tactician, it's why she was there, but they pulled a move she apparently wasn't expecting…"
"So your mother was a knock-out too?"
The corner of her lip turned up. They were painted a stunning shade of burgundy, and Percy had to forcefully turn his gaze away before urge to devour them overwhelmed him.
"If she heard you say that, she would break you five ways till Sunday."
"But you haven't attacked me yet… Does that mean I'm doing all right?"
She smirked at him. "I find you mildly amusing. You're lucky I've heard such good things about your father."
They stood for a few minutes in companionable silence, enjoying the slight breeze that played with their hair. Percy wished he wasn't in his uniform, as it was a little hot around the collar (though that might have had more to do with the present company than the summer night).
"We're back to the front lines tomorrow," he said, turning to face her. "Lot of the guys are talking about killing as many Nazis as they get kisses tonight."
"Lot of the guys are idiots."
"True. But I think if I had one from the most beautiful girl here, that would be all I need. I'd be able to go to my grave a happy man."
She smiled down into her empty glass. "I have a better deal. Come back alive, then we'll talk."
Day 24: Apocalypse/Dystopia
Percy felt his nose break as a giant paw swatted him and sent him flying. He felt himself crash against the stone walls and saw spots; the only light in the gloom of the pit.
He ducked as the chimera advanced again. It seemed to dissolve around the edges, a feature that all the monsters here in Tartarus shared. Annabeth had postulated that they weren't fully formed, which is why they hadn't escaped the pit yet, but this almost made them harder to fight: they were like smoke, fading in and out of sight.
Rolling under the beast, he lifted Riptide and ran it down the monster's belly. It let out an odd roar that seemed to be both far away and close enough to be felt in his veins. Its chest had a gaping wound, but rather than bleed, it seemed to work in reverse, sucking in the very air around it, like a black hole. It vaulted off the bloodred walls to pivot in midair and clamp onto Percy's lower leg. He howled in pain.
Riptide arced through the darkness to crash down onto the creature's skull. It slowly dissipated and Percy could feel the teeth of the chimera grow less and less solid. This exposed the wounds to the open air, and he hissed at the renewed pain.
The silence around him caused him to panic. "Annabeth!" he croaked.
"I'm here, I'm here," she said, suddenly at his side. Except for a welt growing on her cheek, she looked unharmed. "Are you all right?"
"Nectar," he said through gritted teeth. She fumbled with the pack that they had thankfully found when they first fell. He could feel her hands gently running up and down his body until she felt the dampness near his ankle that could only be blood. She dribbled a little bit of the life-giving juice onto the wound and Percy gasped in both pain and relief.
He suddenly felt her hands on his cheeks and she kissed him. In the dark she couldn't see that his nose was bleeding, and the kiss tasted like iron, but they were both just glad that they were both able to taste any kiss at all.
Day 25: Children
She hated the swooping feeling in her gut whenever she looked him in the eyes. She hated the way his obnoxious smirks made her head spin a little. She wished that he looked stupid when he drooled in his sleep, but instead it was becoming endearing, and she hated that too.
This new boy was taking up way too much of her brain space, and she really, really hated it. She needed all of the brain power she could get so she could become a great architect. She needed to focus.
But this kid came crashing into camp and now she needed to take care of him. It was clear he couldn't take care of himself, and she seemed to be constantly needing to roll her eyes at him. But other times she would watch him through her lashes, noticing the slight crease in his brow, the minute frown that would flit across his features that she had come to associate with the unclaimed kids. She would feel a stirring in her stomach and she hated it.
She kept trying to tell herself not to trust him, people were always letting her down and she was fine with that, really she was, but she didn't want to be let down again. It was exhausting. So she really shouldn't be getting so comfortable with him, it was really a bad idea, it wasn't like her and she hated it. So she held onto that anger, gripped it tightly in her hand.
But she found herself watching him one day as he was talking to someone else, not noticing her gaze, and she searched her feelings for that anger and hate to hold onto, to keep her anchored, because otherwise she would lost in those sea green eyes, adrift in the waves. She found herself groping in the dark for a hate that wasn't there. She found herself drowning.
Percy turned around. He grinned his crooked grin at her, and she found something else to hold onto: a lifeline, a promise, a friend.
Day 26: Seniors
"Mom, Dad, would you two behave?"
Percy let out a wheezy chuckle while Annabeth grinned. "We were just showing the kids the proper way to take down a Gorgon."
"Very different from how to take down a chimera."
"They're getting very good."
Percy leaned forward on his sword, sinking it into the soil a bit. He was still able to wield it, but he suspected he might need to retire it to one of his grandchildren soon. For some reason, his children seemed opposed to this idea, arguing about such nonsense as them being under the age of 8 and playing with swords.
Their daughter swept her eyes over her parents. "Are you getting tired?" she asked.
"Of course not," scoffed Annabeth.
"Well, if you are, you should get some rest. The rest of the family isn't arriving until tomorrow. And please be nice to Kevin's parents when they arrive."
"We're always nice," Percy said, putting an arm around Annabeth's sloping shoulders. Their daughter walked back towards the house, muttering about hellhounds going up skirts with distinctly not nice words.
The two chuckled to themselves again, watching their grandchildren running around the yard, pretending to slay monsters. They felt very peaceful.
Day 27: Family
"Okay, I'm going to take a nap. Don't forget to reapply sunscreen to her in a half hour."
"Yeah, yeah, don't worry."
"And make sure she stays hydrated."
"I will, I will."
"Annabeth. It's been almost two and a half years, have I gotten her killed yet?"
Annabeth shuffled on the towel, mumbling to herself as she tried to adjust the excess weight on her midriff into a more comfortable position.
"I don't trust you this close to the ocean. If I wake up and you're both miles under the sea, then by all the gods, I will break you in half."
Percy smiled as she finally relaxed, her large sunglasses obscuring half her face. She was about six months along in her pregnancy, and the strain of carrying a growing human made her tired and a little grouchy (maybe a lot grouchy at times). In the middle of the night when they were entangled in each other's limbs, she would murmur through the dark that she was so happy and proud that he was such a good father to their two-year-old, but in the light of day, she liked to nag.
She did somewhat have a point, as usual. Percy did tend to get excited on the beach, enjoying the waves and the gulls and the tiny patch of sand on Jones Beach they had managed to eke out for themselves among the crowds. It was helpful that his wife remind him that their daughter was a little more delicate than he was.
She was currently digging in the sand nearby, having made a hole large enough that it had filled up with water. She was dribbling the wet sand over her legs, watching in fascination as it rolled off her chubby folds. Sensing her father's gaze, she glanced over at him, then pointed down the beach.
"You wanna go see the pencil?" he asked, indicating the large water tower that dominated the skyline. She nodded. "What do we say?"
He reached over and laid a hand over Annabeth's abdomen. Hey buddy. Watch your mom for me for a little while. Your big sister and I are gonna take a walk.
No response, but there was plenty of time for that.
Day 28: Pirates
Annabeth did not appreciate swords at her throat, thank you very much.
Annabeth did not appreciate being manhandled onto the deck of a ship after being abducted from town during a pirate raid. Annabeth did not appreciate the fact that there had been an attack on the village at all. Annabeth did not appreciate the way all the pirates around her were leering at her.
And she most certainly did not appreciate that smirk at the end of the sword.
"You put up quite a fight for a rich girl," said the captain, grinning crookedly at her. "My men were impressed. Where'd you learn to fight like that, lass?"
She cocked her head. "Wouldn't you like to know."
There was a muttering that went through the crowd of ragged men, and Annabeth took the opportunity to yank her arms out of her captors' holds. She straightened her dress, smoothing the wrinkles out over her stomach. When she looked back up, the raven-haired captain was standing over her, his sword back in its scabbard.
"People are usually a little more obedient to a pirate king," he said softly.
"King of what, this old rowboat?"
His eyes widened. "Are you insulting my ship?"
Annabeth peered down her nose at the gnarled wood of the railings, the faded deck, the splintered mast. "I am."
He stepped closer and she found her nose in the crook of his neck. He smelled of brine.
"That's the kiss of death, insulting a man's ship, lass."
"Please don't kiss me. Your breath is awful."
Now there was an eruption of titters behind her, men elbowing each other in wide-eyed admiration and amazement. The captain pulled back enough to stare into her eyes. She was startled to see a gentle sea green, like the sea on a beautiful clear day. Before he skewered her, she quickly said, "Your ship is old, but I'm sure you could repair her into a better state. I could design it for you."
He raised his eyebrows. "You design ships?"
"Well, buildings. But I doubt there's much difference."
He blinked at her for a moment. Then he guffawed. "You're something else. Fine, in exchange for not making you walk the plank, you can design me a new ship. But mark my words, lass, you will find yourself at the bottom of the sea if I am not pleased."
"Annabeth," she said acidly. "My name is Annabeth."
He grinned again, doffing his hat and bowing slightly at the waist. "Captain Perseus, at your service."
Note 1: Something that I did not really address in this short drabble is something that has always fascinated me about genderswapping people from PJatO/HoO. Ancient Greek society was obviously highly gendered, and while RR clearly tries to modernize it, his stories do still retain some of that, probably most notably the Hunters of Artemis, but also Athena's maidenhood, etc.
Which makes rule 63 in this universe so fascinating. The first question you have to ask yourself: are you switching just the kids or the gods as well? It takes a lot of mental maneuvering to do that: ancient Greek society's oppression of women is at odds with your now-female Zeus. So that throws a lot of the myths for a loop.
Or you could choose to just swap the kids: probably a little easier. But Percy's story (at least in part) is an ascension into manhood without a father figure present for most of his life. The Lightning Thief clearly begins with his burgeoning awareness of himself as a man, which plays into the tension with his stepfather and his protectiveness of his mother. It's clear that he in some respects blames the man absent from his life who should be there to correct these two problems. He begins to see his mother not just as a mother, but as a woman whose needs (love, security) are clearly being unmet by Smelly Gabe and he is angry with the man who left her. (RR delightfully has Percy's mom get out of the situation on her own, which allowed Percy to see the value of respecting another person's autonomy and choice, so good on him.) But I can't help but think that the entire flavor of PJatO would be altered if he had been a girl. NOT because he wouldn't have been a great hero — RR has made it perfectly clear that his girls can hold their own in a fight — but because the story deals in part with the growth of a son who is doing his best to live up to his father's legacy. Not that there can't be the same thing between a father and daughter, but I do think some of the underlying conflict for Percy was trying to navigate a life in which he had no male role model to suddenly having a god for a father to live up to.
Note 2: So for those less well-versed in Titan-lore, this was a (vague) parody of "Deep Six" from the first season of Teen Titans. Aqualad (Percy, in this case) is introduced to our main gang, though he interacts more with Beast Boy (Frank, here) than Robin.
I kinda made a different choice for each demigod-turned-Titan. Annabeth became Robin because I was really struck in Mark of Athena when RR points out that Athena's children didn't really have special powers (though I'd argue that they are naturally gifted weavers, it seems, admittedly that's hardly a battle skill). But she's also a natural leader, so there was that choice.
Beckendorf worked perfectly for Cyborg: intelligent, good with mechanics, and friendly. There was also the delightful coincidence of not having to racebend him.
Leo's personality fits Beast Boy almost perfectly, but Frank's powers won out. Ironically, as I am huge BBxR shipper, putting Hazel in there worked almost too well, in the sense that she could be canonically matched with either Leo or Frank. Hazel related to Raven because of their fathers being creepy kings of the Underworld, though Thalia fits her dark looks better. Starfire as Thalia is admittedly a little weird (based solely on the episode in which Starfire inexplicably uses a bow against a monster then discards it immediately), but no one else really fit that bubbly personality of hers. I considered Rachel, who also has red hair, but ehh. It felt weird to turn a mortal into arguably the most powerful Titan.
Again, I'd love to hear which AUs were your favorite, so please feel free to share! Also, please feel free to find me on tumblr to discuss any of these AUs or just to chat: fabulousanima