color me devious
camp half-blood / summer 2005
Percy is twelve when he receives his first camp t-shirt. It's a little big for his skinny frame, but he's never been prouder to wear something like this—something that marks him as special, as a part of this crazy new family of demigods.
The shirt is bright orange, with CAMP HALF-BLOOD emblazoned across the chest and a galloping pegasus printed below the words. When Percy asks Luke why it has to be orange, of all colors (personally, he thinks it should be blue), Luke just laughs and punches him on the shoulder.
"It was Mr. D," he says conspiratorially, crouching down to get on Percy's level. "He thought it was funny to watch the Aphrodite girls try to come up with an outfit that matched bright orange."
siren's island / summer 2006
"Annabeth," Percy says, trying to be soothing. His hands seem to move of their own accord, gently tracing patterns across her back. "Hey, it's okay. You're okay."
She sobs into his shoulder, and for a second Percy panics—after all, if the practically indestructible Annabeth Chase is crying, then the world should be burning and everything is probably going to Hades.
But then—finally—she cries herself out and sags against his chest. He's almost certain that she can feel the accelerated beat of his heart through his shirt, which is peppered with holes and burned almost beyond recognition.
"Thank you, Percy," she murmurs almost inaudibly. "For saving me."
They discuss the Sirens and hubris and fatal flaws in general, and she keeps her hand over his heart the entire time.
the weight of the world
mount olympus / winter 2006
"We're hardly dressed for the occasion," Annabeth whispers, looking at the other dancers that surround them. "We just finished a quest, for the gods' sakes."
"I—uh—I think you look good," Percy stammers, nervous about what she might say.
But Annabeth just smiles (albeit a bit shyly) and pretends to flick dust off his blood-soaked t-shirt. "You don't look too shabby yourself, mister."
Her eyes meet his, and it's like the weight of the sky falling on him all over again, leaving him breathless as he looks at her.
the labyrinth / summer 2008
"What's that?" Rachel asks, pointing at Percy's shirt. "Camp Half-Blood—what does that mean? Is it like a cult or a gang or something?"
Percy laughs, and even Annabeth seems to be trying to hide her smile. "No, Rachel, it's not a cult. It's a—well, how do I put this? It's kind of like a training camp for children of the gods, but—"
"It's home," says Annabeth simply. "For the demigods, it's home."
There is no more discussion on the topic after that.
love is a four-letter word
camp half-blood / summer 2009
They sink to the bottom of the lake, wrapped up in each other and their own little world, finally acknowledging what neither one of them has had the guts to say for four whole years.
Ever so gently, Percy brushes a stray lock of Annabeth's hair behind her ear. The water supports them, swirling around their legs in little currents, responding to Percy's euphoria although he isn't consciously doing anything.
"I really don't know what to say," Annabeth finally whispers, lacing her fingers with Percy's and resting her head on his shoulder. The seam of his t-shirt leaves creases on her cheek.
He laughs and presses his lips to her cheek. "Then don't say anything, silly."
They kiss again, the contact voicing what words never could, and Percy's heartbeat thrums harder in his chest, pulsing through his camp shirt—just like the last time they held each other underwater.
Only this time, it seems to be thumping out a different beat: I am hers, and she is mine, and it has been that way all along.
find me here
camp jupiter / summer 2010
He pulls on the standard-issue purple t-shirt of Camp Jupiter, but it feels wrong—it's itchy and uncomfortable and he's never in his life wished harder for a change of clothes.
Trying to be neat, he folds up his old orange shirt—which isn't a shirt now so much as a pile of rags—and places it on his bunk in the Fifth Cohort barracks.
If Annabeth comes after him, she'll know it's his.
the argo ii / summer 2010
Four years down the line, and Percy has gone through a lot of camp t-shirts, and all of them have some significance to them—like the one he wore the first time he got all the way to the top of the climbing wall without grilling himself in the lava. Or the one he had on when they won the Battle if Manhattan.
So when Annabeth enters an unconscious Jason's room and hands Percy a fresh orange shirt, giving him her knowing smile, he grins back at her.
"What, you're not a fan of the toga?"
"I don't know about me not being a fan of it," she says, eyeing the slit up the side of the fabric, "but it kind of looks like a dress. And dresses are not manly."
"So now you're gonna tell me what's manly? I see how it is."
Annabeth rolls her eyes. "Just go put the shirt on, will you?"
the argo ii / summer 2010
"Okay, so is there anything else you guys need?" Piper asks, her voice soft. "I'm heading back upstairs to grab a few things and then I'll be back to start working on" —she gestures to Annabeth's bloody, mangled leg— "that."
Percy looks at Annabeth, then back to Piper. "A change of clothes might be nice, you know?"
Piper winks. "Gotcha. Be right back."
She comes back down a couple minutes later with two t-shirts, Percy's favorite sweatpants, a clean pair of shorts for Annabeth, and a carefully balanced stack of medical supplies. When she tosses him a shirt, Percy slips it on immediately, relishing the feel of it against his bloody, bruised skin.
"You really seem to love those t-shirts," Piper comments, pulling up a chair next to Annabeth's bed and starting to work.
"Not necessarily the shirts themselves," he replies, leaning back against the wall. "It's the connection they have to Camp Half-Blood. They remind me of home, you know?"
"Yeah," Piper sighs. She doesn't glance away from Annabeth, but Percy imagines the wistful look on her face. "Yeah, I do."
middle of the night
manhattan, new york / spring 2017
They're sitting in the tiny kitchen of their apartment one night after dinner when Annabeth drops the ball.
"Percy, I think I might be pregnant."
He's so shocked by the sudden pronouncement that when he goes to speak, it comes out as a whisper: "Wait—what?"
Eyes shining, she comes around the table and puts something in his hands. It's not until he's staring right at it that he realizes it's a pregnancy test.
And it's positive.
"Holy shit," he mumbles, pulling Annabeth onto his lap and wrapping his arms around her from behind. "Holy freaking shit."
"Language!" Annabeth chastises, although the weight of her reprieve is practically nonexistent because of how hard she's laughing.
Percy presses his face into Annabeth's back—the Camp Half-Blood shirt she's wearing smells like laundry detergent and lemons—and tries to imagine what the baby will look like. Maybe it'll be a girl that looks just like her mother—the same curly blonde hair and piercing gray eyes.
"I can't believe it—we're having a baby! I AM GOING TO BE A FATHER!"
From the direction of the living room comes a loud banging on the wall. Their neighbor (a nice kid named Jack Lawrence who's just about Percy's age) shouts from the next unit over, "That's great! Good for you! Now will you please quiet down so we can all get some freaking sleep, because that would be much appreciated!"
Neither Percy nor Annabeth can stop laughing for the rest of the night.
the embodiment of perfection
manhattan, new york / winter 2017
Percy wakes up at two in the morning to find that the other side of the bed is cold and empty—which it shouldn't be. Heaving a sigh, he drags himself out of bed and down the hallway to the kitchen. It's deserted as well, but he sees a half-full cup of tea on the counter that still has ribbons of steam curling off the top.
He pushes past the stack of presents from Annabeth's latest baby shower and squeezes into the living room, where—bingo, his wife is staring at the TV with glassy eyes, not registering the fact that she's probably been watching the same infomercial for an hour.
"Wise Girl? What are you doing up?"
She jerks upright at his words and reaches for the remote, tapping the power button and plunging the room into semidarkness. The only light comes from the floor to ceiling windows on the right-hand wall.
"What's wrong?" Percy whispers, sliding over beside her on the couch. His hands reflexively reach for Annabeth's stomach, which has swelled up so much that she can't even see her own feet anymore—much less move around easily or fight or do pretty much anything that is necessary to a demigod's survival.
"Nothing," she replies, staring thoughtfully out the window. "My back just hurts, that's all."
Percy reaches under her shirt—it's an old camp t-shirt of his that just barely fits her, even though it's an extra large—and starts working his fingers into her back. "I can tell it's not nothing. Why don't you tell me what's really going on?
She sighs. "What if—what if I'm not good at this whole 'mom' thing? I have literally no idea what I'm doing, and when I look at your mom—"
"Well, first of all, don't compare yourself to my mom. My mom had to raise a demigod with a smelly old drunken asshole in the house—she had to get good at being a mom really fast. You and I are going to do this together, and we're going to do it so well that it'll put Hera and her motherhood 'skills' to shame."
Annabeth laughs softly. "What skills?"
Suddenly Annabeth gasps and grabs at Percy's hand. "Percy, put your hand here—right here."
He does as she asks and is rewarded with a series of fluttering kicks against his palm, flooding him with a sense of wonder.
"The baby agrees with us," Annabeth says gently, and Percy has to smile at that.
Cassiopeia Thalia Jackson is born on December 22, 2017.
She is the most perfect thing Percy has ever seen—not to mention the best Christmas present he could have wished for.
Leo arrives in their hospital room with the rest of the Seven, Nico, Thalia, and a large box in tow. The nurses give him some strange looks but let him pass.
He dumps the contents of the box on the bed—it's an assortment of Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter t-shirts, ranging from infant-sized to regular youth smalls.
"Was that really necessary?" Annabeth asks as they all collapse into laughter. "It's like—"
"An orange and purple avalanche?"
"Thank you, Leo, that was exactly the term I was looking for."
Percy smiles and looks down at the camp t-shirt he's wearing—the old bright orange color that he associates with some of his best memories. They've been torn apart by monsters and used as temporary bandages, soaked through with blood and sweat as daily reminders of his true purpose in life. The stains come out in the wash, but not the memories—those are forever.
My big-mega-huge oneshot thingie should be up on August 18th, by the way. And if my dates are correct, Percy's turning—get this—TWENTY. Scary, yes?
Anyway, review, blah blah blah. You know the drill.
Love you darlings :)