Disclaimer: I don't own any thing, Rick Riordan does.
Before: Annabeth and Percy have a fake relationship to help Annabeth's writing and make Percy think about something else then his violent father. His father who were just released from prison.
On the run
One morning Annbeth didn't get up early to write, but slept in, and was dressed simply in her nightdress when the doorbell rang. She was in the kitchen, almost burning the bacon she was making for breakfast.
"Dad, can you get the door please?" She asked looking down on herself. She was studying her unpolished toenails instead of looking after the eggs. She could hear his chair moving and breathed easier.
"Oh hello!" She heard Brunner grumble from the door.
"Good morning professor Brunner!" Annabeth's cheeks went red, and in two seconds she had put the breakfast of the stove and ran towards her room. The voice she'd heard was Percy's. She almost started pulling the dress over her head before she got to lock the door. Desperately she found something to wear and stressed into the kitchen again. She hadn't had the time to check herself in the mirror, so her hair was still in the messy braid she'd slept in when Percy entered the room.
"Your father said I could eat breakfast with you two."
The three ate in silence. Once or twice Brunner started talking; asking Percy questions, but all the answers he got was short. He gave up pretty early, so all of them just ate with the radio news as background noise. Annabeth didn't listen, she was focused on Percy. She looked at him chewing and sometimes tensing up before taking another bite. Her food had to be terrible, with him dreading to eat it. He was not looking at her, just faced into his plate, leaving Annabeth wondering why exactly he'd given him the "Winnie the Pooh" one. Come to think of it, he looked anxious and nervous. She felt a worry deep down in her stomach. Something had to be wrong, and he had come to her to talk about it. Annabeth started eating faster, and her foot started tapping almost silently towards the floorboards.
"I'll leave you two alone then, I have a few things to do." For a moment Annabeth shifted her gaze, looking at her father.
"Are you sure you'll be okay?"
"Don't worry Annabeth, I'll make sure not to get eaten by monsters or fell out of my chair." Maybe another father would've bend down to kiss her head. But Annabeth got up from her own chair, a thing her father never could, and planted her lips near his hairline.
"Be safe out there in the big scary world!"
She extended her arms over the table to reach nearer his. Without looking up Percy laid his own hands over hers, covering them, gripping them lightly, letting her trace her thumb at the side of his. The radio was still on in the background, Percy's eyes were still looking down, and suddenly his hands gripped around hers tighter. As soon as it happened he let her go, and finally met her eyes. He still didn't say a word, but Annabeth knew something was wrong. And she couldn't help it, she was curious.
"You can tell me, you know that, right?"
"You know how prisoners just out of jail have to report to the police?" Annabeth didn't say anything, just studied how his mouth moved when he spoke.
"He hasn't, my dad I mean. And apparently he got rid of his GPS monitor. They don't know where he is." She closed her eyes, and when they opened she pushed the chair back, and went over to Percy and laid her arms around him.
"I'm so sorry Percy. How are you feeling? How's your mum?" He stood up and pressed her close. He didn't hold on to her as if she was the last thing that kept him standing, but rather like she would fall apart if he let go. He was protecting her, when he really was the one who needed comfort.
"I'm just scared." He breathed to her hair.
"It's okay Percy, you'll be okay."
"What if he finds us?" He started laughing, dryly, more like coughing and he was shivering. She didn't have any clever or smart answer to that. She just let him push her closer.
"Hi mum, I brought Annabeth. If that's okay?" Annabeth was standing in the door frame of Percy's apartment, not sure if she wanted to go further. She didn't belong, not now. She was out of place, as Percy's week-long girlfriend. Maybe she was here as Percy's year-long friend, but she was still a puzzle-part not fitting into the picture. Sally's eyes were red, just as her nose, and small trails of saltwater ran down her face. She didn't start drying off her tears or trying to smile when she saw her, she just sat still.
"Hello Annabeth." Her voice was cracked and low. "Nice to see you, I understand he told you…" Her voice trailed off.
"Yeah, I hope that's okay. Just tell me if there is anything I can do to help."
"He's very lucky to have you, isn't he?" She said it like a statement, not a question. Annabeth felt Percy's hand in hers. She couldn't help wondering if it would've been different if they were really in love. If holding his hand could feel better, if she could hug away his pain, help him. But maybe not even love can fix broken pasts.
Before the couch was a plate with homemade cookies, untouched. There were three sitting together, no longer crying, but sad, scared, alone hand in hand. Mother, son, stranger? All three were sitting in silence in front of a muted television listening to far away noises and breathing. They were drowning without trying to swim to the surface. There were rocks and knots filling her up. As Annabeth held Percy's sweaty hand her mind drifted of, and she thought about her own mum. She felt so guilty for missing someone she'd never really met, never really known. Here she was, sitting in a couch with two people on the run from a father. At six she'd done the same, however she'd never had a mother to run with. Even if Percy's mum was so wonderful it didn't mean her own was, but she could not let it go.
Annabeth wondered how rude it would be to leave. She had been there for what seemed like hours. It wasn't like her presence was bettering anything. Annabeth wondered how rude it would be not to leave. To continue disturbing their privacy and not eating the amazing cookies.
"I'm sorry; I have a thing with Thalia. Do you mind if I leave?"
"Of course not. I'm sure this isn't much fun." Sally smiled to Annabeth, finally making some of the rocks inside her vanish.
Percy kept the tradition and followed her out into the hallway. The exact same one who observed their second kiss.
"Do you actually got a thing with Thalia?"
"Not really. I just thought you two would be better off alone."
"Maybe, I don't know."
"I'm sorry, I'm just not very good at this." They stood in silence for a while, and she were about to leave him there, but he started speaking.
"Something is bothering you too aren't it?"
"Nothing important, just get back in with your mum."
"Annabeth, just because I have it like shit right now doesn't mean that you can't have problems too!" She breathed slowly in and out, looking down and…
"I just miss my mum."
"You've never mentioned her before."
"I've never really met her. I mean, except the being born part. I guess she had to be there for that. But it's weird, huh, missing someone you can't even put a face to."
"No, it's not. Truth is…" He looked down, started speaking faster and not as loud. "I miss my dad too. It makes me feel like crap. I know there was a lot of bad stuff, and that he an ass, but he's the one the tough me to swim." She remembers seeing him swimming, participating in races and almost always reaching the end of the pool first. Writing was her passion, swimming was his. And so another kiss was witnessed by walls, floors and locked doors. (They'd lost count.)
When Thalia opened the door, she raised one of her eyebrows.
"Why aren't you spending your time making out with your new boyfriend?"
"Why aren't you spending your time making out with your old boyfriend?" Annabeth retorted.
"Funny, why?" Thalia had that kind of voice, and those kinds of eyes that you didn't refuse her anything.
"Percy is going through some bad stuff right now. He should be alone with his mum. I don't think he is thinking about making out right now."
"Don't be so sure. You'll never know with teenage boys. But what's going on? Is he okay?"
"I'm not the right person to tell the details, but he will be okay." She hoped.
Thalia's room was very different from her own. It's bigger, messier and darker. Her walls were covered of images and posters of musician screaming passionately into microphones. Closest to her bed there were other kinds of pictures. A photo of a blonde hair boy and a black haired girl kissing, a photo of a little girl with curls smiling, a three year-old boy with a scar on his lips. Annabeth looked at the photos while she and Thalia sat on Thalia's giant bed. In the room next door there were also two teenagers; a girl and a boy. Boy: short blond hair, blue eyes closed, scarred mouth, purple t-shirt. Girl: messy brown hair, green, no blue, no brown eyes half open, pink top. They were kissing like there were no tomorrow. Through another wall: a short woman with blonde hair and a pink tight-fitting dress. She was slow dancing with an imagery partner over a newly washed floor.
"So how are things with you and Percy?"
"It's good actually. I mean it's weird, but it's good."
"Yeah, it's weird to start dating your best friend. I remember how it was with Luke. For a while we just sat beside each other awkwardly… Luckily that's changed." She smiled one of those mischievous smiles. "So how are the make outs, the kissing? I've always wondered if Percy's a good kisser."
"To be honest I don't have that much to compare it too." Thalia laughed.
"Really? I'm a brilliant kisser, I'll kiss you and you can compare us!" She made an iconic kissing mouth and planted tons of kisses all over her face. It was one of those rare moments with only the two of them were Thalia allowed herself to be a teenage girl.
"I surrender! I surrender! You're a much better kisser than Percy!" Thalia grinned, pleased.
"I knew it! You're way too great for him girl!"
AN: I honestly don't know much about the US prison system, so go easy on me. I would like to thank you all for the amazing and inspiring reviews, they're so great!
As always, I would love (honestly I will) it if you reviewed!