did you mean it?
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It’s a total of 3 significant events that led to this, her forehead knocked against his, breaths heavy and mingled, eyes wide and hearts bleeding.
It’s a total of 3 significant events that led to this, her forehead knocked against his, breaths heavy and mingled, eyes wide and hearts bleeding.
The first event isn’t really an event at all. It’s a prologue, necessary context to truly understand the monumentalism of this moment. It’s the memory of her eyes, piercing and reproachful, being the first thing that he saw after losing his mother. It’s shared trauma and oreos while they’re young and naive. It’s truces and training and growing up too soon together. It’s stargazing and stupid jokes saving eachother in every possible way. It's the culmination of the years Percy spent growing, learning, and being with Annabeth, and the unknown and therefore repressed feelings that came with it. Feelings are like the sea in that way, they don’t take well to being restrained. Percy has found that you cannot box in oceans or sentiments, they always find a way to spill over and out, with no regard for the destruction left in its wake.
The second event is Dionysus deciding on a whim that the inhabitants of his camp are ‘uncultured pests’ and taking it upon himself to set up a field trip for campers to the Ancient Greek Cultural Center in New York. (Percy thinks it’s really just to distract kids that were still shaken up about the battle at camp and the losses it caused. But, Dionysus would never say so. He’s far too proud to admit to caring for the children he’s been assigned to look after.) Argus loaded all the kids he could fit into the strawberry vans, as Chiron listed all the reasons this was a terrible idea. As it turns out, his worries were in vain as miraculously, no monsters attacked, and no mortal asked too many questions. No, instead, the only hitch in his plan was the glaring inaccuracies of the Center sending Dionysus into a fit of rage. He ranted for so long, their 2 hour long field trip ended up lasting until the place closed.
Event the third is the ridiculously long line leading to the mens room at the rundown gas station they’ve stopped at, causing Percy to traipse into the woods, deep enough to know that no one other than the squirrels were watching, and pee there. Unbeknownst to him, Annabeth had decided to take a quick walk in the forest as well, (in the opposite direction of his peeing endeavor) with the purpose of clearing her head. Both returned to the parking lot after 10 minutes, with no truck in sight. The gas station lights are turned off on the inside and the door sign has switched decidedly to closed. They look at each other in disbelief.
“They didn’t. They wouldn’t.”
“I think they would.”
“They would never-”
“I have pretty solid evidence to the contrary.” Annabeth deadpans, casually letting her hair loose and hopping on top of the miniature gas machine for motorcycles.
“But, how did-”
“No Argus.” Which means, no all-seeing eyes to double check the headcount. Percy begins to pace.
“Two trucks.” Both of which are probably assuming Percy and Annabeth are on the other.
“Leave them out of this.”
“Which ones?” She asks. He looks up and she’s fighting a smile. He pointedly doesn’t notice the way her mouth curls up, or the way her hair falls around her shoulders and down her back, or how pretty she looks lit up by the neon red lights of the gas stations prices, which apparently doesn’t turn off when they close.
“Do you know something I don’t?”
“I know lots of things you don’t.”
“Ha-ha. I mean about how to get out of here.”
“Ohhhhh, let me think.” She wrinkles her nose in faux concentration, tilting her chin up towards the sky. Percy is too annoyed to think it’s adorable. “Nope, not a clue.”
“Left it on the truck.”
“Percy, it’s dark as shit.” The laughter she’s been holding in comes pouring out. Nevermind that he feels his chest sigh in relief at hearing it for the first time since their quest, this is serious.
“Just a little.”
“You’re telling me, you don’t have a brilliant plan to get us on a truck.”
“So, we’re stuck here.”
“And you’re laughing?”
“You’re just really funny when you’re stressed.” She giggles. He can’t remember the last time she giggled. He missed it. He hates her.
“Oh my gods.”
“Okay, okay, look, I’m sorry. We’re halfway to camp right?” He nods. “I’m sure they’ll figure out we’re missing before they get all the way back to camp, but let's say, worst case scenario, they don’t-”
“And they make it the rest of the way back to camp. It took us four hours to get to the center, which means camp is two hours away, so if they make it the two hours back to camp before they realize we’re missing, and they drive back up-”
“C’mon ‘Beth, you know I suck at math.”
“We’re stuck here for five hours at most.”
“And that's if no passing cars let us use their phones to hurry the process up.”
She’s laughing again. “Seriously, what is so funny?”
“It’s just-” Her cheeks are red and she’s very poorly attempting to suppress her smile. “You’ve been calm in so many life or death situations, and being stuck at a gas station is what finally breaks through.”
“It’s nighttime.” She stares at him for a moment and then she’s laughing again, full bodied real laughter, and he's laughing too.
And it’s as if this gas station became their own personal Ogygia, an oasis, a resting place for them to be stupid kids again. And they don’t talk about the battle, or Rachel, or the volcano, or any of the million things set on tearing them apart. They talked about his mom getting serious about his new boyfriend, about Tyson’s underwater adventures and Grover’s searching shenanigans.
They smack talk with no real heat about who the better fighter is (Oh please, Seaweed Brain, I've been training since before you could tie your own shoes.), and argue about which ancient hero had the greatest journey (Hercules, are you kidding? Did you even read the myth?). They break into the gas station for snacks (What the fuck, Annabeth, where’d you learn to pick a lock? No, I wouldn’t prefer you break the glass, you psycho. Oh my gods, can you really break the glass?), and dissolve into giggles as they try to fit five drachma into the cash register.
They end up back outside sitting on the gas machines facing one another from three feet away.
“Your mom called me the other day.”
Percy, who’d been lazily squinting up at the murky sky, searching for any sign of stars, whipped his head to look at her. “What?”
“She called me on the phone. We talked for a bit. She said she wanted to make sure I was alright.”
“That sounds like something she would do.” He sighs and hops down from the machine, turning away from her, hoping to hide his blush from the dim light. “She cornered me on one of my off weekends, asked what was going on with us.”
“Oh.” He hears the shifting of fabric and assumes she followed him in sliding off the gas machine.
“Yeah.” It’s silent for a long time before she responds.
“What did you say?” She asks, her voice smaller than it was moments ago. He hears her scratching at the flat metal top of the machine. “When she asked, what did you say?”
He runs his finger through his hair, and one gets caught in a particularly large snarl. “Doesn’t matter.”
“It matters to me.” She whispers and gods he’s terrified but he really doesn’t have a choice when her voice wavers like that. Her words shake and every ounce of his being tells him to do whatever it takes to soothe it.
“I said we were fighting. That there wasn’t one sole reason for it, just a bunch of little reasons. I told her that I scared you when I….went away for two weeks last summer. And that you didn’t like bringing Rachel on your quest. I told her that we….. disagree about how to best handle Luke. That I probably wanted to protect you more than I wanted to listen to you.” She laughs softly and he blames what he says next on her laugh. It is the catalyst for everything that follows.
“I told her that we’d be okay. Because no matter what happens I’m always gonna love you.”
He hears her breath catch. He doesn’t have to look back to know she’s turned to face him fully. “Did you mean it?” She calls. He doesn’t answer. The words haven’t caught in his throat, they’ve spontaneously combusted in his vocal chords and he doesn’t think he’ll ever speak again.
The sound of gravel crunching gets closer until suddenly she's beside him, and he didn’t tell his torso to twist toward her, he thinks she might just be his center of gravity.
“Did you mean it?”
She’s looking up at him, and her hair smells like lemons, and her cheeks are pink, and her eyelashes go on for miles, and her sunspots are better than stars. And it’s as if she pulls the words right out of him, he’s hypnotized by everything about her.
“Of course I meant it.”
She exhales and closes her eyes and while he mourns the loss of the sight, his body moves on it’s own accord again and he’s edging closer and closer and she opens her eyes and here they are.
Their noses brush, and this time he closes his eyes, and their noses brush just so, and…
He was wrong, it wasn't just those three significant events that to her forehead knocked against his, breaths heavy and mingled, eyes wide and hearts positively bleeding. It’s clear he’s been waiting his entire life for this moment at this shitty gas station.
Waiting for this. Waiting for her.
They kiss for a moment or an eternity, and they fit. His hands are on her hips and hers clutch at his shirt before sliding up to his throat, and it’s like his soul is whispering, oh there you are.
And then she’s pulling back, so she has just enough space to shake her head without disconnecting from his forehead.
She's breathless when she whispers, “This is a bad idea.”
His hands trail up and down her forearm of their own accord, and when he whispers back he’s breathless too. “Yeah, really bad idea.”
Her hands slide up from his chest to his shoulders, and then she’s kissing him again, with purpose, and he’s kissing back like his life depends on it because he thinks it might, thinks if he lets go of her he’d die on the spot.
It seems his theory might get tested when she pulls back again just far enough to whisper against his lips, “Is it always like that?”
He kisses her again, once, twice, because he can’t help it and whispers back, “I don’t know, you were my first kiss.”
He’d released any serious hold he had on her the moment she hesitated, but then she’s rocking back up to meet him halfway and his entire body thinks thank the gods. He actually sighs his relief into her mouth, as his hands desperately reach for her face, some fingers tangling in her hair, and their lips are magnets, opposites that don’t have a choice but to pull together. Despite how much he wants to keep doing this forever, he has to tell her.
“I don’t wanna lose you, again.” He means not ever, but he figures she understands the severity in his voice. She’s running her hand through his hair, and his slide up and down her back, and she knocks her nose against his as she answers, “I know, me either. I’m confused, this is confusing me.” And she tilts her chin just so, like she did a million years ago, and this time he kisses her.
They kiss for an infinity, he gets to taste her laughter when she giggles at the absurdness of it all, and it’s better than ambrosia. He kisses her until he doesn’t know anything else, until his entire universe is Annabeth Chase, with her cheeks and her curls and her lips. She is everything.
And then headlights penetrate their universe, voices bring an end to their infinity, and Chiron is speaking but it’s nothing, it’s all white noise because she’s no longer in his arms, and his center of gravity is being ripped away and he hears someone ask, “What’d you guys do?”
He’s still looking at her face when she answers, “You know, tried not to strangle each other mostly.”
But, she looks back before she turns all the way around and her gaze is charged and her lips quirk with the secret they share.
He is so screwed.
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The Sweetest Thing
A post-tlo percabeth one-shot
Percy smeared the bubblegum ice cream onto her nose.
She blinked at him, stunned.
“That wasn’t what I meant when I asked for a spoonful.”
“Well you should have specified,” he teased, continuing to lick the cone.
“I’m sorry, I thought my request was clear enough,” Annabeth replied, scrunching her nose as the cream began to drip down it.
The two were sitting on a bench in the middle of Central Park. It was their first date outside of Camp, but Annabeth didn’t count any of those as real dates. It wasn’t very romantic when you couldn’t escape the giggles and pointed fingers of your siblings.
“So what ideas does that big brain of yours have for Mount Olympus?” Percy asked, finally handing her a napkin to wipe the ice cream off her face with. She took it, cleaned her nose, and leaned forward to wipe the excess ice cream onto his face. Percy tried to dodge her hand, but was too slow and ended up with blue stickiness across his cheek.
She sat back, satisfied with her payback. Then she remembered the daunting question Percy had just asked: what ideas did she have for Mount Olympus? If Annabeth was being honest, her brain had hit a wall the past few weeks. How was she supposed to create something fit for the literal gods?
Percy seemed to pick up on her distress. Annabeth felt him staring and met his eyes, which contained a bright glint she had become familiar with.
“I know that look. What crazy idea do you have now?”
He shrugged. “Just that I know this cool park that I think you’d like. It’s across half of Manhattan, though, so it’ll take some walking.”
“We walked through the entire Labyrinth, I think we can handle a stroll.”
“In that case,” Percy said grandly, offering an arm. She sighed and stood up, stretching her arms above the head, the empty ice cream cup in her hand. She turned to the trashcan next to the bench on and tossed it in.
“You know you’re ridiculous, right?” she asked, turning to face him with her hands on her hips.
He pouted, still standing with his arm outstretched for her. She slipped her arm through his, making a show of rolling her eyes, but on the inside she felt giddy to be so close to him.
Percy led her through the city, pointing at different buildings they passed and telling her some of the history behind them. She was surprised that he knew so many names and dates, that wasn’t usually his forte. She decided to ask him where the sudden nerdiness had come from.
His face flushed and he scratched the back of his neck. “Well, after you first told me you liked architecture, I started getting a lot more interested in it. New York’s full of a bunch of cool buildings and stuff, so I did some research. I thought it might be nice to have someone to talk to who knew something about architecture.”
Despite her best efforts, Annabeth felt a stupidly-big grin spread across her face. She couldn’t help it. She looked at him, hoping she wasn’t blushing as badly as he was.
“It’s dumb, I know. I’m sure you’d rather talk to someone smarter than me about it,” he mumbled, looking down at the dirty pavement they were walking on.
“No, that’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me, Seaweed Brain.”
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