*dodges tin and pop cans being thrown*
So uh... hi... Long time no see... *angry shouts*
Um. I don't really have excuses. I mean, SURE I could say that I had tests, and essays, and team try outs, and all that stuff. Sure I could say that I experienced hallucinations and dizziness from lack of sleep. But I'll just be honest. Your crazy author simply didn't write. For the sake of not writing. Yeah, I'm horrible.
So, as a bit of...reconciliation, I wrote a longer chapter for you guys. (over 7,500 words) I really hope you like it. Cause you're going to hate me momentarily. So onward on that note!
Disclaimer: Unlike Rick, I enjoy Percabeth, not Percadeath. Therefore, I own nothing.
Percy lay back in his bed. It was the last night in New Zealand before they would be flying to Los Angeles, spending one day there, then going home to New York two days before school started.
He looked up to the stars, the skylight enabling him to do so. On the first night he had moved the bed so it was directly under the skylight. It provided a good way to fall asleep, being able to look up at the dark sky. Over the past week they had been the luckiest. Only light rains overnight, but clear blue skies daily.
He twisted again on the mattress. Finally throwing off the light sheet that had covered him so he was the only thing on the mattress, minutes before he had thrown his pillow across the room in an attempt to sleep. Too often he found himself doing this, curling up in a ball on the bed without anything near him, to finally fall asleep.
Percy closed his eyes and listened to the light sounds of the insects, through the screen door.
He opened his eyes.
Tap. Tap tap.
He flung himself out of bed, almost relieved that he had something to do.
Tap tap tap.
He opened his door, it silently swooshing through the air, to find an empty hallway only illuminated by the moonlight.
Tap tap. Tap. The last tap was much stronger than the other taps.
Percy walked back into the room, running his hand through his already messy hair. "Whoisit?" he mumbled.
Tap. Tap. TAP.
It sounded like somebody was tapping on a window, he surveyed the room, and all the windows were open, with screens keeping the bugs out.
He looked up, figuring that that could be the only other location.
The curls of the tapper could only be one person.
He waved. "Hey Annabeth."
Even though there wasn't any light near her face, he could tell she had put her fingers to her lips, signaling him to be silent.
He grumpily waited for her to do something else.
"Come on up." She whispered through the glass.
She stood up, fully standing on the roof. "Find a way up Seaweed Brain." She had been using his nickname at every possible moment ever since he had been dunked by her.
"Fine." He grumbled, adjusting his tank top and swim shorts, of which he had never changed out of from the busy day.
He walked silently out to the hall, careful to not make sound while going down the stairs and finally going outside. The crickets chirped loudly.
"Up here!" Annabeth motioned to him, on top of the three story house.
"You're crazy!" he looked at the height again. "Never mind that, how did you even get up there?"
"I'm good at climbing." She smiled, standing farther back on the roof, away from the ledge. "It's easy really."
"Easy." She confirmed. "Just go to the second story balcony."
"Do I have too?" Percy whined, but with no real intent behind it.
"Yes." Annabeth ordered, "It's worth it. I promise."
Percy pretended to sound hassled, but grinned when he was inside, away from her eyes, barely giving much thought as he quickly ran to the balcony.
"Yeah?" he said, looking up to the roof, where he knew Annabeth would be waiting for him.
"See that tree there?" she asked, and he nodded. "Climb it."
Percy fish mouthed. "Uh…what?"
"Climb it." He could hear her impartiality about the matter, like she was taking a walk in park, instead of jumping to a tree branch.
"Fine." He said for the second time, getting a feeling he was going to say it a lot more.
He climbed on top of the railing, wishing he had put on some sort of shoes, and dived forwards. He landed right on the branch, and realized how easy it was. He was hugging the branch, with his chest hurting a bit from falling like he was sky diving, but he was easily safe.
"Not the way I would have done it," He could hear the amusement in her voice, and knew she was laughing at him. "But that's one way to do it Seaweed Brain."
"Not all of us are geniuses." He lifted his body up, so he was straddling the branch, without killing himself.
"Go to the base of the tree and climb up about five branches, then shimmy yourself forward on the big branch, going towards the roof. You'll know which one I mean." Annabeth instructed, predicting his questions.
Percy nodded, and grunted as he started climbing the tree, happy that the bark wasn't too rough on his hands and feet, even though they were turning a bit red for the exertion.
"Almost there." Annabeth's encouraging voice rang out. "You're doing good."
He climbed faster, and found the branch that Annabeth was talking about. She was right. It was obvious which branch she was talking about. It was the only one going straight to the roof, and its diameter was almost as big as the tree's trunk.
He went down on his stomach, and inched forwards, towards Annabeth, who he could now see fully on the roof. She looked majestic in the moonlight, with a hair clip that was no doubt Thalia's, glinting in the small light source.
"Hey." He breathed as he landed on the roof, his feet hurting a bit from the impact.
"Hey yourself." She said, beckoning him over to a different section of the roof. "Not bad for a beginner."
"And you're and expert?"
"I think I am." She said, pretending to sound all haughty, but he knew she was proud.
Annabeth sat down on a towel that she had laid on the roof, close to the skylight of Percy's room. "I was good at hiding when I was a child. People never looked up."
She patted the area next to her on the blanket, and Percy settled down next to her.
"It's so much better up here."
Annabeth nodded. "I'm used to sleeping under the stars, you know?"
Percy shook his head. "No, I was a city kid, I couldn't see that stars."
"Where I lived in Cali, you could see them so well."
Percy kept silent, he was tempted to say something, but Annabeth rarely opened up, even to him.
She kept quiet for a moment, before turning to him. "You want to know about Luke and me, don't you?"
Percy smoldered. He did, but he didn't want Luke to ruin their moment here.
She took that has his response. "I was a messed up kid Percy. I'm not proud of what I did."
"What?" he whispered.
"I used to be part of a perfect happy little family. My dad loved me." She paused. "So did my mom. And my dog."
"So did mine."
"Except, I destroyed it." Annabeth buried her face in her hands. She took a breath, but let it out. She tried a couple more times to say what she wanted to.
"I'm a murderer."
Percy stopped in shock. That wasn't what he was expecting.
"I'm the worst kind around Percy." She mumbled. "I'm responsible for four deaths."
"Annabeth." He said.
As always he was worried that he was going too far with his actions. Worried that Annabeth wouldn't come to him anymore. Worried that he felt like a girl worrying about everything like he was. Worried about how e lightly wrapped one of his arms around her body and pulled her closer.
"You're not a murderer." He gulped. Debating what to say. "That's how I coped for a while too -with my parents-, but only recently I've figured out that that's not the way to go about things."
"You'd never kill anybody." Annabeth mumbled. "I don't believe you."
"And I don't believe you." He responded, "Because as much as you'll want to throw me off this roof, I know that you're being irrational right now."
Instead of getting angry though, she just curled even more into him and he felt her shoulder shake, the telltale sign that it was one of the rare moments that Annabeth cried.
"Do you want to hear how I'm a murderer then Percy?" she spat out the words like poison.
"No. I want to hear what accident happened."
She gulped. "I was six, almost seven. My birthday was in a couple weeks, and my mother wasn't going to be able to make it. So I threw a temper tantrum."
Even in the moment, he had to smile, imagining a little six year old Annabeth losing control, and causing an uproar in only the way that she could.
"So my mom promised that we would have an early birthday, because I was turning seven, and because she didn't want to miss it for the world. I remember how she left me smiling. I had tear tracks down my face, but I was excited because she always made everything better."
A sob escaped her throat. "But then I remember the wait. Even as a kid, I knew that it didn't take all afternoon to go to the grocery store, and bring the dog to the vet. The police knocked on our door towards dinner when Dad was barely eating, because she had forgotten her cell phone. They were so calm saying it." She cried. "Saying that my mother wasn't alive, and the dog, along with the other driver had died."
Percy hugged her tighter.
"If-if only I hadn't-"
"It's not your fault." Percy interrupted her. "Don't you dare think that it ever is."
"But it is!" she argued. "Percy, I said I killed four lives, and one was barely even started. I killed three family members. I was supposed to have a sibling. Either a Malcolm or a Zoe depending on the gender."
They sat in silence expect for Annabeth hiccuping.
"It's still not your fault." he said slowly. "Car crashes take two drivers, from what I've heard, your mom was a responsible driver. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and small things combined together to create a tragedy." He said, remembering what Argus has told him on one of his darker days.
He looked over at her. She had her face in her hands.
"I'm glad that you told me." He said, not quite sure how to continue. "So you met Luke after?"
She nodded. "We had both lost our mothers, and both of our fathers were useless. We were basically the same age, and we happily took care of each other. I was a dark seven year old. For a bit, I didn't even speak. People say that I'm an adult stuck in a teenager's body, because of the accident."
"Luke helped you heal." Percy murmured. "And then when your Dad fully betrayed you by marrying your stepmother, that was the final straw, wasn't it?"
Annabeth managed a laugh. "You'd be surprised what a seven and eight years old can do after recently watching Home Alone 2."
Percy looked down at her. "You didn't."
"One week." She said proudly. "Luke stole one of May's credit cards." She sighed. "He was always too comfortable with thievery."
"I know." Percy recalled one of his old happy memories with Luke. "We were seven. Luke said he was the best ninja out of all of us. We decided that if he could sneak into the cafeteria and take enough cookies for one apiece, he would win." Percy paused for the effect. "No sooner than five minutes later we were munching on two cookies each."
She laid her head on his shoulder, and he laid his head on hers. He shivered.
"Are you cold?"
"No." Percy was happy that the moonlight wasn't too bright. He was sure that his face would have been a tomato.
"Thanks Percy. I know you and Luke don't like each other, but hearing something like that. It's nice." She sighed.
"Just be quiet for a second, will you?"
"Sure." He adjusted his arm around her.
They sat in silence, except for the natural sounds of the outdoors. Occasionally Annabeth would sniffle from her cry, or wipe her cheeks.
He didn't know how much time passed. The moon was still high, so it couldn't have been long. But his butt was a bit tired from sitting on the hard roof.
"I think I'm going to go back to bed now."
"Thanks for being here when I needed you." She looked down at the ground, still not standing up. "You can trust me, okay? I trust you."
"I know you can't tell me whatever you want to tell me. I know you're rich Percy Jackson. I'm not stupid."
Percy felt his throat close.
"You're not going to tell me, are you?" she sounded hurt.
Her eyes flashed.
Then as quick as a flash, so quick that he wasn't sure it even happened, she leaned towards him, and he felt something soft lightly press against his check. When he looked up, she was already gone, getting down from the roof like a professional parkourist.
He forgot about how hurt she had looked.
He forgot about everything else.
His mind flew like he'd never experienced.
She's going to tell me if she does parkour.
And did she just?
Nah. No way…
No, she did, she did Percy old buddy.
She kissed me.
She kissed me.
She kissed me!
He suddenly sprung to his feet and threw his fists up in the air. He barely contained his yell of joy. So he grinned like a maniac, so hard that it hurt his cheeks.
Percy clambered down from the roof, in record speed, and munched on a banana that he snagged in the kitchen. He flopped down on his mattress making the wood groan.
He threw the banana peel into the garbage across the room, and took his pillow from the floor. Percy flipped onto his stomach and settled himself comfortably on the bed.
Even though he thought we was too excited, drowsiness hit him. Before he knew it, Percy was breathing slowly, asleep.
Percy burst into consciousness for a split second. Then his head, shoulder, and knee hit the floor. Painfully.
"Frick…" he moaned.
He curled up on the floor, with the blankets that he had thrown off last night.
"Get up you idiot."
"Annabeth?" he said.
"Mm." Percy whined. "No."
"Wake up. Time to get up. We're going sailing."
"But I don't sail?"
Thalia gave a short bark of laughter. "Yes you do. I don't give two damns about if you don't like water. We're going sailing before we have to leave."
"What time is it?" Percy sighed, sitting up on the floor. He wiped some drool off his check.
"Time for you to get up." Thalia placed her hands on her hips. "And five to twelve. We let you sleep in."
"It was Luke's choice. You should thank him."
"Right." Percy got up. A couple bones cracked. "Ah, that feels so much better."
"C'mon old man, let's get some breakfast into you."
Percy nodded his head drowsily and followed Thalia to the kitchen. As always, Annabeth had a watchful eye over the food simmering in the pan. She was a devoted cook.
"Hello everybody." Percy called to nobody in particular.
Various forms of good morning, and hello sounded through the room before people turned back to their conversation.
"We're leaving in 20 minutes." Piper told him. "I trust you can eat fast."
Percy grinned. "I think I can do that."
Like it was rehearsed, Annabeth chose that time to place a place heaping with food in front of him. Sausages, bacon, waffles, and fruit towered each other, and the plate was barely seen.
"Thank you Annabeth." Percy sang as disregarded his utensils and went for stuffing a pancake in his mouth full. "Goo' as alwas."
Luke coughed from the newspaper. "Please don't speak with your mouth full."
Percy swallowed. "Sorry."
Over the past couple days they had become more civil with each other. At first, it had unnerved Percy, but the vacation from the stocks, school, and in general, life was doing its part. He was feeling the best he had in months.
"Oh yeah, thanks for letting me sleep in."
"Don't mention it." Luke said as he sipped his mug. He seriously acted like an older man sometimes.
Percy nodded, giving his meal the attention that it needed. He knew that with all the practice, Annabeth had to be a great cook. It was still nice though he mused. Perhaps he should introduce her to some chefs he knew. It might be a good way to show her more about him.
She was right.
He needed to tell her. Nico was right. He needed to tell her. Percy stopped eating for a moment. Why didn't he want to tell her? His mind raced through all the possibilities. Was he scared? Was he worried? He guessed a bit of both. Protection. He wanted to protect her.
"Is everything good?" Annabeth asked, not looking him in the eye.
"Yeah. Just thinking." Silently he cursed himself. He should have come up with an excuse.
"Whether or not I should go sailing today." Perfect.
"I think you should. We called in early, and Jason's found a great game for us to play. We're going to need to rent the boats."
Annabeth smiled. "Would you like to team up with me?"
Percy looked around the room. In total there were six of them, not including Nico who was nowhere to be seen.
"If Nico's going to play, we're seven."
"He's gone." Thalia said sharply from across the room. She looked angry. "He left last night. Took a backpack with him and supplies." She jerked her hand to the table. "Left a note though."
Percy disregarded the note, knowing his dyslexia would play its part. "What did it say?"
"He said he was sorry, and that he hoped we didn't mind that he took food and the backpack. Said he didn't belong." Jason muttered.
Percy wondered what exactly went through Nico's head. Nico had lost somebody like him, and he was all angsty and dark, and to be honest, a bit annoying. Bristling, Percy remembered what Nico said, saying that he shouldn't run anymore. Hypocrite. It was these moments when Percy wondered what exactly he was doing with his life.
"Oh." Percy said. He had wanted to talk to him more.
"So you'll be my partner?"
"Sure." Percy said.
He snuck a glance at Annabeth. How was she doing it? Being so calm after last night? Was she acting? Did the kiss not mean much to her? He wished he was as calm and composed as she was.
"The teams are Thalia and Luke, along with Jason and Piper."
Percy finished off the Belgian waffled and moved over to his muffin. "What's happening?"
"We're playing a fun game that I like to call 'Traders'." Jason said. "Simple really."
Percy's ears perked at the word traders.
"There will be twelve tennis balls. Four per boat. They act as either cargo or bombs, depending on what you do with them. When they're in your boat, they're cargo. When you're throwing them at other boats, they're bombs."
"Bombs." Percy said. "Right."
"They objective is to get as many tennis balls as you can. If you hit any part of the boat with a tennis ball that you've thrown, they have to tip their boat, and throw away half of their balls. If it's an uneven number, you throw the smaller half. You don't need to give them to whoever hit you."
"What if you catch the ball before it hits your boat?" Annabeth asked.
"Then it doesn't count. It's your cargo now. If you miss the boat all together, it's a free for all as to who gets the ball. Rigging, the sail, and the rudder of the boat count." Jason grinned. "And you're allowed to jump out of your boat."
Luke put down his paper. "You're jumping into the water Thalia."
She glared back at him. "I'll throw you off first."
"Do you need to trade partners?" Annabeth asked.
Luke looked hopeful.
"I don't mind." Percy said smugly, looking at Luke. "You can partner with Annabeth."
"Hell no." Thalia said. "I'm not going in a boat with him."
"Would you rather be with Luke instead Thalia?" Annabeth challenged.
"Get over here Kelp Head." Thalia had figured out many different variations of his nickname.
Percy gave her a salute.
"We're leaving in seven minutes." Piper said, checking her watch. "Get ready."
Percy set down the glass of milk and patted his stomach. "Amazing breakfast Annie."
Annabeth grinned. "I aim to please."
"I can't believe you ate all of that." Luke said, eyeing the empty plate.
"Well it's not like I'm getting fatter so…"
"Just change into your shorts Percy." Annabeth snapped the dishtowel at him playfully.
"I'm in my shorts. I forgot to change." He said, as he headed up the stairs. "Be back soon."
Fifteen minutes later, due to many hold ups, they were in the car heading towards the small marina where you could rent boats and the like.
"Hello." Piper said to the man at the desk. "I'm McClung, for 3 Lazer Picos?"
As always, they slightly altered their last names.
"Right." The older man said jovially. "They're all yours. Don't hurt 'em though." He had a New Zealander accent. "Nobody else is lining up for them, but do be back by four."
Piper flashed a smile, and opened her purse, she took out her wallet. Percy remembered what he was told to do by Argus and Peleus if he ever went back to Olympian. Pay in cash when you can. Credit cards show real names.
The man looked suspicious when Piper handed him a wad of twenty and fifty dollar bills, but took them without a word. "Have fun."
The shop allowed the customers to leave their towels, and any other valuables in small lockers at the hut. They quickly dumped their belongings in the location. Jason reminded them to buckle up their life jackets and soon they ran down to the dock, vying for the best boat.
A little deck bobbed on the waves of the ocean. No doubt, in a place where even if it was low tide, it would still float and be safe for the boats. Various small sailboats lined it, and Percy saw half a dozen small 3 person Lazer Pico sailboats.
Annabeth was the first on the deck. Her time at California wasn't wasted, and she headed for the best looking Pico out of all of them, and started attaching to boom to the mast, and unfurling the sail.
Percy was right behind her, armed with the same knowledge. He might be a parentless child, although he was the son of Poseidon. He knew his boats.
"Over here!" He called to Thalia, as she jogged up to him.
"What do I do?"
Percy pointed behind him where he knew the mast was. "Unfasten the clip, and unfurl the sail. Turn the mast clockwise if you don't know how to do that."
He was attaching the boom and prepping the needed ropes the way how he liked them. Or at least, how he remembered liking them. Eight years was a long time to forget how to sail.
"Done." Thalia said as she handed him the edge of the sail, it flapping in the breeze.
He looped the clasp through the end of the sail, attaching it to the boom and tightened the rope. Percy ducked at the boom swung over, almost hitting him.
"You've got to be careful about that." Percy said. "Rule one on boats; Don't get hit by the boom. It hurts a lot."
"Aye, aye Captain." Thalia said as she hoped on the boat, taking the tiller position, and controlling the rudder.
Piper handed him the four tennis balls, and he took them and threw them into the boat.
"Ready for takeoff?" he asked, not waiting for a response. "Turn the rudder so it's facing away from you when I tell you." Percy commanded, untying the knot keeping the boat attached to the dock.
His fingers quickly loosened the rope, like the rope wanted him to. He gave a massive push from the dock. "Now."
Thalia shifted the rudder, and the boat turned to their right, facing the bay. The wind hit the sail and they were flying forward. Annabeth and Luke's boat left second behind theirs, with Jason's and Pipers shortly after.
Percy clambered to the back, and forced Thalia to give him the tiller, and gave her the rope to the sail. "When I need you to tighten it, do, and when I need you to let it open, do it."
Thalia glared back at him. "I know how to manage at least this."
"Good." Percy said, avoiding an argument.
Jason yelled from his boat. "Okay! GO!"
"We're going for Jason and Piper." Percy said. "They'll be the easiest marks."
Thalia grinned. "I'm throwing the balls."
"I get to throw at least two."
He steered them towards the boat, avoiding the boom, and eventually taking the rope for the sail from Thalia.
"Aim carefully." He said. "Don't waste one."
Thalia nodded, and took a tennis ball from the boat, and crawled to the front. Shakily she stood up.
"Hold onto the mast!" Percy yelled, "We need to turn!"
He shot the boat to the left, making a hard turn, and Thalia barely kept on. "Hit them when we're passing. "I can't slow down, since Luke and Annabeth are near, so be ready to jump out and grab them."
"I'm not jumping in."
"Well I'm not either." Percy snapped, losing his cool for a moment. He was dangerously close to the water.
They held a small staring content before Thalia submitted. "You're buying me an ice cream."
"Done." He said without hesitation.
Thalia readied up and threw the ball at the boat. Piper tried to catch it, but she was too short for Thalia's high throw, which hit the sails and plopped into the water.
"You've got to tip!" Percy roared gleefully as he maneuvered the boat towards their ball in the water.
Thalia leaned down and got their ball back as Jason tipped their boat on purpose, but not before throwing two of their balls in complete opposite directions.
"Go!" Percy yelled at Thalia who jumped out of the boat towards the floating tennis ball. She had already picked up the one they had thrown.
She sped towards the bobbing ball and threw it to Percy, who let go of the rope and held it with his foot for a moment to catch the ball.
"Nice one!" he yelled as he rounded to pick up Thalia. Luckily Annabeth and Luke had gone for the other ball instead.
Thalia caught the edge of the boat and hauled herself back on. "That was fun. Actually."
"Good." Percy said. "We're tied for first with Luke and Annabeth. Time to hit them."
Thalia's grin couldn't have been bigger as she dodged the moving boom as they changed directions.
The two boats sped towards each other, with the same intent.
"You better be good at throwing far." Percy warned. "Luke probably can throw better than you."
"Is that a threat Olympian?" she used his last name when they were the only ones together.
"Take it how you will Grace."
She crawled up to the front of the boat again, and readied herself.
Thalia lobbed the ball but Luke jumped from the boat, and deflected it, landing in the water, and picking it up.
"Damn." Thalia yelled, and flipped him off. She was really getting into the game.
"We'll have our revenge Thalia." Percy grinned. "I'm just going to need you to steer for a moment."
He turned the boat, and followed Luke and Annabeth, gaining on them. They were side by side in seconds.
"Thanks Thalia." He said as she leaped to steer the boat and keep it running.
Percy leaped from his boat and landed on the enemies.
"No pirating!" Annabeth yelled.
"Those weren't in the rules!" he said as he took hold of the mast, and tugged it down. He was going to tip their boat.
"Percy Jackson I hate you!" she yelled as she tried to get him to stop.
It was no use, they were tipping. Annabeth jumped off of the boat, but Luke tried to stay on with the tennis balls. It was what Percy counted on as he let go of the mast, and scrambled to the side of the boat that wasn't in the water, with a ball that Luke hadn't protected.
"Thalia!" he yelled, and by miracle, she sailed over, yelling as she was learning by the second at how to sail a boat on her own.
Like it was a movie, Percy jumped for the tipped boat back onto his, with a tennis ball in his hand. He dropped in their boat as they sailed away. Percy high fived Thalia.
"You're insane you know that?"
Percy shrugged and looked down smiling. "I didn't even get my shorts wet."
Thalia laughed as they avoided Piper and Jason looking for revenge.
The afternoon slipped away as Percy and Thalia had to tip their boat twice, with Percy somehow managing to never get more than half of his body submerged in the water, but they still won anyways at the end, holding seven of the twelve balls.
"I hate you, you know that?" Annabeth grumbled as she dried herself off before putting on shorts.
If anything, there was one amazing thing that came out of the vacation. Swimsuits. If he ever voiced his opinion to anybody, he would probably die of shame. Solace and some of the other guys would clap him on the back, and slip a swimwear magazine in his gym bag. Argus and Peleus would share knowing grins. Jason and Grover would laugh awkwardly, while any girls would laugh at him. Annabeth would most definitely hit him and call him a pig.
It wasn't his fault though. She was the one who had decided to wear a bikini. She should own up for it. He threw his shirt over his head and slipped on flip flops. He shook his head.
"You're just jealous that I won." He smiled. "You can't stand losing, can you Annie?"
She frowned at him, as he threw his arm around her shoulders. "I'll be nice enough and let you bask in the glory of my awesome winning self."
She glared up at him, "Shut up Percy."
"You know you love me."
"Sure." She said. "Dry your damn hair." And she walked off.
Percy grinned as he headed towards the car, since they would be going to airport almost immediately after the got back to the house.
The scramble to pack everything up, and make sure nothing was left behind. Passports were double checked, and bags were zipped up, and Thalia gunned the gas to get them to the airport on time.
The airport staff gave them glances as they walked into the Gulfstream for the ride back home. Percy was in his full beach regatta, and the others were in similar style. Luckily California was warm all the time.
Still, he felt unnerved when a staff pointed at them and whispered frantically to her friend.
Percy said hello to the stewardess and settled back into the seat that he had sat in for the previous flights. Annabeth sat next to him, like it was already a routine. Luke sat near them, but he was typing rapidly on his laptop with headphones on. Like the previous flights they were given loads of room from the others. Thalia blasted music at the back, and nobody liked to hear the music through her headphones. Jason and Piper normally just slept during the flight, or watched movies together.
"What are we watching?" Annabeth said.
Percy concentrated on the movie selection, ignoring the sound of the engine.
"Calm." Annabeth commanded. She knew what was up.
"Calm…" he repeated.
"That's right." She said. "We've been over the facts of airplanes before, haven't we?"
He felt like a stupid six year old being calmed by a mother.
"Rolls Royce engines-"
"Don't even." She said.
"Yes Ma'am." He said, leaned his head back on the chair, letting Annabeth's presence next to him calm him, and her hand on his knee was nice and warm.
"I'm turning on Tangled."
"Okay." He said, eyes closed. Maybe he would sleep.
Her arm moved as she pressed the button on the remote. The video and sound turned on, with the classic Disney music.
Percy opened his eye a slit, and saw Annabeth grabbing an inflight blanket. She draped it over herself, and Percy ended up pulling the corner over on his side a bit. He loved these moments. If anybody saw them, and Annabeth said they were just friends, he knew eyebrows would be raised. He smiled. Screw Luke. They were friends. Maybe even approaching that awkward phase that all of the chick flick movies seemed to portray.
Listening to the movie ended up making him watch it was he watched the movie for the first time. Rapunzel was quite the character. He enjoyed it; she wasn't the princess to wait for prince charming to swoop her up by her feet. Sure she was misguided, but all considering, it made sense.
"Her hair like yours." He murmured to Annabeth.
She dug her elbow into his side for a second but then smiled, "I guess."
"I like yours better though." Percy said. He felt her tense so he back tracked. "I mean, imagine carrying around all of that hair. That would just be troublesome. Yours is a nice length."
"Thank you." She said. Annabeth sounded happy. "Yours is getting a bit long though, isn't it?"
Percy blew upwards, the wind hitting his bangs and lifting them before they fell back to just above his eyes.
"I guess." He fingered a couple strands, pulling them down, and they got to his eyes. "But I'll wait a bit. I'm never one for haircuts.'
Annabeth chuckled and they went back to their movie. While Annabeth continued to watch, Percy laid his head back on the seat, and felt his consciousness drip away. How comfortable he was. For the second time in a day, he fell asleep quite quickly.
His dream was confusing as always. He either dreamed of nothing, or the past. Most of the time, he could barely remember what it had been about, and in minutes, he had forgotten.
Percy woke up to the sudden cold on his left side. Annabeth was gone. He was on his side on the couch, lying on the side. The in flight blanket was resting on him. He sat up, looking around. The plane was flying smooth, and he heard the sound of soft music, like wind chimes and piano coming from the back of the plane. He tried to move his neck, but in a horrible moment he couldn't. He tried again, and pain flared in his neck. He had gotten a stupid crick.
"Idiot." Thalia sang. She was next to the bathroom at the front of the plane. She laughed. "Crick in your neck?"
Percy scowled. "Yes. I do."
Thalia took a sip of ever present cherry Coke. "Stretch it out." Then she walked past.
Percy groaned at sat up. He had a strange headache coming from the fronts of his head. It pulsed annoyingly. He summoned his strength and got up, and his back cracked. He must have pushed himself too hard sailing.
He didn't want to raise concern, so he found the First-Aid kit near the cockpit and dug out some sort minor pain relief. It looked like Advil. Percy gulped down the two minuscule pills and shook his head. Splashing water on his face helped wake him up, it took away his grogginess.
He turned to see Luke at a table. Headphones were around his neck, enabling him to talk. His laptop was at high brightness, and a bit of the light cast itself on his face. The scar looked heavenly. The light caught on it, and it was bright white, almost glowing. But it still was eerie.
"Hey." Percy said. He never knew what Luke was going to say. He was too hard to read. Too irregular.
Luke stared at him. "Just wanted to say hi." He smiled. "I'm going to be busy soon. I'll miss school."
Percy shrugged. He was sick of being angry of being at Luke. He hadn't done anything recently to anger him. They might not be on the best of terms, but it was better than being at each other's throats.
"Well I hope that you'll come back soon. Annabeth will miss you."
A flash of surprise crossed Luke face. Then it was gone. "Thank you. I'll try to."
"How many hours left? I was sleeping."
"You drool." Luke said. He checked his watch. It looked fancy. "A bit less than two hours."
"I slept for nine freaking hours?"
Luke's eyes darted back to the screen, and he typed rapidly before turning his attention back to Percy. "You did. Mind you, many of the others did too. I'm staying up to help reset myself to the jet lag."
A silence hung over them, and Percy ended it. "See you later. Just call if you need a favor." He left Luke.
Percy sat down on the couch again, almost like it was his territory. He was pretty sure that he had figured it out. If he wanted Annabeth, he had to give her Luke. But still convince him that he was the best of them. Unfortunately Luke hadn't really done anything to get Annabeth's attention. It was strange. Unnerving.
Percy was starting to feel the Advil working. The headache was receding, and he felt energy in his bones. To give his legs a stretch he walked to the back. Jason was sleeping, and Piper was next with a book, but she was talking to Annabeth. Thalia was like her brother and was out for the count. Funnily enough though, she had music blasting from her headphones. He could make out the song, All Star from a couple meters away.
"The dead awakes." Annabeth said. "We just woke up one hour ago."
"Hey." Percy said. "Food?"
Piper high-fived Annabeth. Annabeth tipped her head up triumphantly. "I told you. Always, and every single time. He always asks for food."
Percy shrugged. "Normally I don't go more than nine hours without food. At school I only get about eight hours of sleep. Or less."
Annabeth pointed her finger to the back. "I packed some cookies, although the flight food is nice. You can have that."
He walked over to the table and helped himself to the wide variety of fruits and muffins. It was a continental style breakfast.
The rest of them woke up at various points in the following hour and half, although it was obvious that they were getting a bit bored. All of them were anxious to be on the ground and spend a day in Los Angeles. Piper and Thalia promised Annabeth to take her out and show her some nice living. At first Annabeth refused, but it was obvious she excited about it.
"It's Los Angeles! Where all the famous and rich people live! The prices must be marked up like crazy." She shot a glance at Thalia, who ignored it. "You're burning a hole in your wallet."
"Been there, done that, with a baseball bat." Thalia sighed dreamily. "Gorgeous signed bat by the New York Yankees. Definitely worth it."
"We're going to be landing shortly." The steward announced at the front. "Please seat yourself in the seats, and sit upright. Also, please keep your phones on Airplane mode, and use the given entertainment. Otherwise, please keep calm and we'll be landing shortly. Thank you." She turned back, prepping herself for the landing.
Percy who had been sitting on the floor walked back to his couch, and Annabeth plopped next to him.
"Are you good?"
"Never been better." He smiled, but his stomach was swirling like a washing machine. He never liked flying. Even as a kid. Unless it was a helicopter. That was a different story altogether.
She smiled at him, and kept conversation going until the touched down. He knew she was trying to distract him, but it was still a nice gesture. The plane came to a stop, and headed towards the gate. Aeolus was already waiting on the tarmac with earphones on to protect his ears from the planes.
The steps came down, and two men in suits were at the sides. The children of the richest men and women in the world never went anywhere without somebody following them. Percy had noticed a man calmly eating his steak at Wolfgang Puck's a little over a week ago. He was definitely security detail. Well blended in though.
They stepped down on the tarmac and were escorted inside. Aeolus looked displeased, and his eyes lingered on Percy. "Follow me." He said curtly.
Jason picked up. "What's wrong?"
Aeolus turned around. "I suggest you follow me to your cars. We needed to call in a team to help."
Piper looked worried. "What happened?"
"See for yourself."
The six followed Aeolus, and he escorted them to the side of a hallway and they turned the corner. Luke's butler was there, and Luke quickly followed him, barely even giving a goodbye to all of them. True to his word, he was busy with his work.
Most surprising was Argus. Percy frowned. His hair was styled like he had it when serving Poseidon, and he was wearing a suit with a butler lapel and pin on it.
"Argus? What the heck are you doing here?"
Argus's face looked grim. "The world found you."
Argus took Percy by the shoulders and stared at him. "There are reporters outside of that gate and down the escalators after the baggage claim. We'll have your baggage ready, but you getting to the car is going to be a bit different."
He felt all eyes on him.
Argus handed him a bag. "You might want to look a bit better than that." He pointed to the restrooms. "You all might want to."
Aeolus had multiple bags ready. "They're casual, but nice." He gave Piper two bags. "Lady Aphrodite wished me to pass on a message. She said that she had fun with Miss Annabeth's clothing."
The two girls looked at each other knowingly. Thalia smiled as Aeolus's tips of his lips twitched in a form of a smile as he handed Thalia her bag. "I made sure it was to your liking."
They went in their respective washrooms, and Percy opened to bag to find fitted black jeans with tight fitting T-shirt. A pair of sunglasses and a comb with hairspray was also issued. Fresh shoes were at the bottom of the bag, with a note from Peleus saying that he didn't need to do anything with his hair if he didn't need to.
Jason was slightly different. Instead of a T-shirt, a light blue button down, with khaki jeans was in his bag. Casual but not what the average teen would wear. Percy noticed Jason frowning at the note in his bag. It must have been from Zeus.
"You okay man?" he asked Jason.
"Yeah. Zeus is being Zeus." But he pocketed the paper quickly.
Percy had to grin as he looked at himself in the mirror. The clothing with the sunglasses made him look at least seventeen. Jason looked sixteen easy, instead of their respective ages.
"I feel like a doofus." Percy said. He looked at Jason. "I don't really understand. Do you?"
Jason shook his head. "I don't. I wish I did."
"We're all idiots." Percy sighed as he stuffed his shorts into the bag, and opened the door. Jason shouted a cry of protest since he was buckling up his belt.
Annabeth was waiting for him. She had jeans that were tighter than she might wear, and her hair had a sparkly clip that he knew she was resisting stomping in half, but otherwise she looked normal. Thalia was still the same, but Piper had glammed up a fair bit.
Argus and Aeolus ran a careful eye over the teens. "Let's go." Aeolus said in grim determination.
Argus took to the front while Aeolus went to the back. On the way up, he gripped Percy's shoulder. "Good luck."
They headed down the hall tensely. The jovial mood from the plane was gone, and replaced with a feeling that would go hand in hand with a funeral parlor.
They headed for doors, and Percy could hear noise behind them. He just noticed that it had been strangely quiet while walking over. Normally airports were bustling. Especially Los Angeles.
Argus looked at all of them. "I trust you all know how to handle yourselves in these situations. Annabeth, this will come as a shock to you, and I'm truly sorry. I suggest you walk beside Thalia."
Percy shot Annabeth a sympathetic look as she saddled up next to Thalia. Thalia whispered something in Annabeth's ear that sounded like 'you'll do fine' but he wasn't sure.
Argus smiled. "Please don't mind the noise."
At last, he opened the door, and Percy didn't move for the first couple seconds.
Reporters. Journalists. TV crews. They all were milling about, but he felt their interest spotlight Argus as he opened the door and led the five down the ramp.
They were assaulted with flashes of light. Cameras.
"Perseus! Look over here!"
"Do you have any comments?"
Percy looked to a woman who was thrusting a microphone at him, blocked off by some flimsy rope. She seemed happy that he was looking her way and used it as an advantage.
"Are you Perseus Olympian?"
It took every piece of willpower that he had to look forward, and keep walking.
Well aren't I just great.
Taking long to update. And updating with this. It was fun writing it though. :)
OH. And one last thing. I had a bit of a freak out after last chapter.
GENIUS OF THE STOCKS NOW HAS 300 FOLLOWERS AND 400 FAVORITES! *wipes tears*
you guys are great. I never planned on this story actually lifting off. I thought I was only going to get about 5 reviews each chapter if I was lucky, and that I would barely get in 20 chapters. But look at my little (but not so little) story now! Thank you so much guys. I can't even start about what this means to me.
So, lets try and get to 500 reviews! It's just 16 guys. 16 of you 300 followers to type something.
In fact, I really hope that you guys review. Especially with anger at my general direction for doing something like this. LET ME FEEL YOUR FEELS!
So on that note,