Percy stared at the clock. Five minutes. Five minutes and class would be over. Five minutes and he'd have the entire weekend to spend with Annabeth.
The professor was talking, but Percy wasn't paying attention. Something about semester finals, something he said was very important. Percy didn't care though. In a few minutes, the person infinitely more important to him than any test would be right in front of him.
Oh no. The daydream had distracted him. He'd completely forgotten about Annabeth's exam. He'd seen the stress build up in her for weeks. She'd started to eat less and less. Even the blue feast he prepared for breakfast the other day hadn't coaxed her into eating more than a third of the food on her plate. Purple bags had formed under her ever-increasingly bloodshot eyes. Percy had realized that she wasn't sleeping well if she was even sleeping at all. It hadn't been this bad since- he forced his mind away from the subject. They had recovered. Mostly. But he still steered his mind away from thinking about those things.
He had thought, had hoped, that it was just a little extra stress. The exam date would finally get here and then she'd be back to normal. The nail in the coffin of his naive hope had been drilled through his heart four days ago. After school every Monday, they'd always walk to the Little Tiber and have a picnic as the sun set. Percy packed the food and walked upstairs to get Annabeth. She was in her study and the door was shut. Percy knocked.
"Hey, I've got the food. You ready to go?"
His fears were confirmed when he heard her voice. This wasn't a 'no, I need a few more minutes.' This was a 'no, I'm not going.' He froze, not knowing how to react. Finally, he was able to muster a response.
"Ok, I'm going to be in the living room."
He slowly backed away from the door. His senses dulled and his thoughts felt numb. The world seemed to hold its breath as Percy trudged to the couch and plopped down. There were a couple seconds of blissful suspension before the world exhaled.
Percy collapsed and started to quietly choke back tears. He felt so useless and inadequate at times like this. He thought back to the Argo II and the Mark of Athena. After they left Charleston, Annabeth was consumed by it, shutting him out. He had watched as she deteriorated day by day. Should he step in and risk alienating her and any support he could give her in the future, or step back and let her resolve it herself? It had kept eating away at his heart until she finally left the restaurant. Then it destroyed him. What if there was something he could've done? What if Annabeth died on her quest because Percy hadn't intervened to get her out of her own head? The guilt finally started to fade when they found her in the cavern. For a few wonderful moments, nothing mattered. He and Annabeth were together. He had failed her, but it was going to be ok. They were going to be ok.
Then the gods laughed and sent them to a place that made everything they'd been through to that point seem like his mom's delicious blue cookies by comparison. He shuddered as his mind got sucked back into the pit. He could feel another panic attack coming on.
Breathe, just breathe. You and Annabeth were together then, and you're together now…
Percy's thoughts shot back to the present. Annabeth was in her room all alone. She was struggling and Percy had failed her again. Abandoned her when she needed him most, again.
The panic attack faded. He was a mess, nowhere near worthy of Annabeth. He was all she had right now, though, so he had to be there for her.
He purged the remaining tears from his eyes and started to control his breathing. When he finally judged himself to be in a stable enough state to function, he got off the couch and crept to her door. His heart was racing, tears were threatening to fall again, and his legs felt like they'd just ran a marathon. He pushed all that aside. Annabeth needed him.
Percy took in a deep breath and opened the door.
She didn't even look. "What?" was all he got.
Percy hesitated. How should he respond? He realized that even though he had made the decision to intervene, he still had no idea what to say. Maybe… Maybe he didn't need to say anything. Maybe he just needed to let her know that he was there, that she didn't have to deal with her stress alone.
It had been a couple seconds since Annabeth asked the question and Percy hadn't responded. She turned towards the door, but ended up turning into Percy's chest. His arms wrapped around her and she was still. He was still. Her mind raced, trying to figure out what was happening. Then she realized that she was tired. So tired. She let out a sigh and slumped into Percy. Then her body began to shake as she cried. Percy tightened his arms, letting her know that he was there.
Annabeth didn't know what she'd do without him. She sobbed into his shirt as he held her, comforting her as she poured out all her fears and emotions. She'd done it again, she'd gotten so caught up in her thoughts that she'd retreated from the world. Worse, she'd pushed Percy away. Gods, she was so lucky to have him. Her breathing started to settle down. She was still a mess, but she could talk now.
"Thank you," she said as she looked up into Percy's eyes. It was so cliche, but his eyes seemed to wash all of her anxiety away (like an ocean wave, haha). She would stare into them and know that no matter what, Percy wouldn't judge her. He wouldn't abandon her. He would do anything in his power to make her happy, and Annabeth would gladly do the same in return.
"I- I get like this and push you away, and it's not fair it's not fair, I'm so sorry I'm like this, I just-" Percy put a finger to her lips, stopping Annabeth dead in her tracks. She didn't know it was possible, but she melted even more into him, even deeper into his arms.
"It's okay Annabeth, it's okay. You're just so smart that you get unhealthily obsessed with stuff sometimes. When you get like this, it's my job and pleasure to step in and dumb you down."
She smiled as she playfully pushed him away. "Well Seaweed Brain, you are pretty good at being dumb."
"What can I say Wise Girl, you were the one that gave me the name." He turned around and looked out the window. The bottom tip of the sun was starting to slide beneath the hills.
"There's still time to make it to the picnic." Then he turned back towards her. "If you want to go, that is. I'd be fine with a snuggle supper on the couch instead."
Annabeth smirked. "A snuggle supper?"
"Yup. When we finish eating we can lay there and you can tell me how awesome I am."
"Yeah, it definitely won't be the other way around."
"Ok, fine. Maybe we both tell each other we're awesome."
They smiled and held hands as they walked to the kitchen. The next couple of hours consisted of a little eating, a lot of snuggling, and enough loving banter to make a dozen rom coms.
(Back to present, still Annabeth POV):
It had been a couple minutes since she'd started hiding behind the corner. Percy was usually here anywhere from 4:18 to 4:22, but she knew he'd be rushing to see her today. She looked down at her watch. It was 4:17. She smiled and focused her ears. Then she heard it. Someone was jogging towards the corner. As the runner came closer, Annabeth smelled the ocean. Her smile widened as her muscles tensed. Right as the figure entered Annabeth's view, she pounced.
Half a second later, Percy Jackson was laughing while staggering around with a gleeful Annabeth on his back, arms wrapped around his neck.
"Wow, and I thought I was excited to see you!" Percy said as he caught his balance. Annabeth laughed and lowered her head to give him a peck on the forehead. Then she moved her lips to Percy's ear.
"If you get us home in less than 3 minutes, then we'll have a tickle fight after dinner."
Percy didn't even respond because he had already started sprinting.
This is my very first fanfiction, I hope you enjoyed it! I have plans to continue the story, but I'm extremely busy right now, so there won't be a consistent upload schedule. Have a great day!