Annabeth leaned over the table from behind Percy, steadily bringing the match closer to the candlewick on the cake. Percy watched as the flame transferred onto the candle in a small blaze while Annabeth waved out the match.
"There," Annabeth smiled, satisfied, "this one's definitely an improvement from the brick Tyson and I baked you last year."
Percy laughed at the memory, tugging on Annabeth's arm to make her take a seat beside him on the small dining table in his apartment. "I'm sorry, but anything would be better than that."
Annabeth gave Percy a light push. "Just be lucky your mom and I baked you anything at all."
Percy slid the lit cake in between them, reaching forward for Annabeth's hand. "You didn't have to make me anything at all," Percy told her honestly. "Look, I know it's our anniversary or whatever is today too, and I don't want you to think I didn't plan anything-"
"Forget our anniversary, Percy! Do you really not get it?" Annabeth snapped suddenly.
Annabeth's fingers tightened around Percy's so tightly, she might have stopped his blood flow. "It's your birthday," she stated.
Percy suddenly felt like he was walking on egg shell. One wrong move and Annabeth could potentially explode. He tried to reason carefully only to be interrupted. "I never knew birthdays were that important to you-"
Annabeth took a breath. "Percy, I never knew if you were even going to have a seventeenth birthday. "
For a second, her light gray eyes blurred while staring into a sea of green. "A single choice shall end his days," she recited sadly, remembering the words that had haunted her since she was ten.
The candle flames flickered in between them as it finally clicked in Percy's head. "You don't have to worry about that anymore," Percy said softly. "It's over, alright?"
It took Annabeth a second to nod, ridding her mind of the struggles they had been through to arrive at this one moment- together, with hands intertwined, on Percy's seventeenth birthday. Annabeth smiled slowly. "You lived, Seaweed Brain," she said. "That's the only thing I care about celebrating today."
Percy stared at Annabeth.
Annabeth didn't know what he would have said, but she leaned forwards, whispering, "And Percy?"
"Your candles are almost gone."
Percy's eyes darted to the forgotten cake, where the candles had melted down to puddles of wax on the cake. He quickly blew them out.
Annabeth smirked. "Did you make a wish?"
"I did," Percy said, reaching next to him for two plates. "I wished that you could make it this easy for me every year for our anniversaries."
Annabeth ran one finger across the side of the cake, collecting a glob of icing. She smiled before putting it to Percy's lips. "Not a chance."
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