Chapter 12

Author's Note

Oh my goodness, I feel like I haven't updated in forever! I swear I meant to update sooner, but I got caught up in work (which has been hell lately) and since uni is starting up again, I have had to go through the grueling process of re-registration and getting my textbooks and paying fees... Basically, real life sent me crashing and burning. I think I'm going back to my weekly updates. Before I start ranting and bore all of you to death, here is the twelfth chapter, and I hope you enjoy!

And of course, thank you for all the love regarding my engagement! You guys are awesome!
Remember those reviews, I love seeing them!

Reviews

TheProudPearl24- Thank you! We're planning for July 2022. :) And I was having it as a slow-burn Percabeth, but... In this chapter you'll see how the tables have turned with Piper in charge! My next Percabeth story (which is in the works, another modern AU because I'm a sucker for those) is going to be a super slow-burn, just a little hint hint! Thank you for your review!

Annabeth777- Thank you, lovely!

No One's POV

The next few weeks, without Rachel breathing down his back, was incredible. Mind-blowing. So freeing.

He was able to wear sweats if he wanted to. And he could grab donuts for breakfast if he wanted them. People invited him more, asking him to sit at lunch tables with them or hanging out at the park.

Of course, Rachel was popular, but she was also mean. Nobody wants to be friends with a mean girl. Percy liked the feeling of being free from her clutches.

He sat at the theatre table, the theatre kids more open with him now, although Rachel still glared at him from afar and gossiped loudly about him to one of her closer friends. It didn't bother him.

Not when Annabeth was sitting next to him, laughing when he came up with a witty joke.

"You're so dumb." she murmured as she twisted open her water bottle.

"Am not!"

"You so are."

"No, I'm not!"

They glanced at each other, bursting into another fit of laughter, and Piper grinned suspiciously.

"Hey, Percy, come with me."

"That sounds sexual." Nico observed and Jason yelped. Piper smacked both of them on the back of their heads.

"No, you idiots. I am going to become the best person to ever exist in his world by executing my flawless romantic match-making skills on him."

"Oh, are you going to execute Plan AP?"

"Yes, I am, Will!" Piper high-fived the blonde.

Meanwhile, Annabeth's eyebrows furrowed and Hazel patted her shoulder, which confused Percy. Why was Hazel comforting Annabeth? And what did Piper mean by match-making?

He was pulled out of his daze when Piper waved her hand in his face. "Come on, Perce."

Percy followed Piper out into the hallway, where she pointed back into the cafeteria. "You like Annabeth again, don't you?"

Percy squeaked. "What? No! Of course no-"

"You're a terrible liar," Piper said matter-of-factly. "Here, I got these tickets to the architecture museum. The one in downtown? I was going to bring Annabeth, but I figured it'd be better if you did."

"What makes you think I like Annab-"

"I already said you're a terrible liar, Percy. Listen, I know you two had a kind of rocky… Um, past. But that's the past. And as her best friend, I know she's warmed up to you. Which is saying a lot, that girl holds grudges like there's no tomorrow," Piper rolled her eyes as she shoved the tickets into Percy's hand. "I think she's willing to try again."

"I don't know if I want to try aga-"

"Percy! I'm trying to do you a favor here! I want to be Annabeth's maid of honor at her wedding, but she's never getting married if she doesn't get herself someone to marry her. And… Well, to be honest, I think you guys are still good together. Great chemistry. Miss Bree agrees too, well, after the whole tension fiasco. I want to see her happy, and I want to see you happy, too."

Percy stared at Piper, his mouth agape. Piper had always been like a cousin to him, even during the dark times where he and Annabeth had been at war. He'd known her almost as long as he'd known Annabeth, the three had been quite close. She always wanted the best for him, just as he always wanted the best for her, which is why he became friends with Jason, partially because he needed a guy friend and also to watch out for her.

It meant a lot that Piper cared this much about them being friends again.

And, she was probably right.

Percy sighed. "O...Okay. I'll give it a go."

"That's my man! And if she does say yes, Will owes me fifty bucks."

"You bet on us?"

"Oh, Percy." Piper laughed, returning back to their table. Percy rushed after her, noting how Annabeth had shifted so far away from him that she was almost falling off the bench.

She didn't meet his eyes for the rest of the lunch period, and he was confused as to why.

But the tickets were in his pocket. And they were going to be used.

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"Hey, Annabeth?"

"Hi, Percy." Annabeth said softly as she shut her locker. She leaned against it, her gaze lowered to the floor.

"Um, are you okay?"

"Yeah… Yeah, I'm fine! Why wouldn't I be fine?" Annabeth laughed nervously and Percy knew she wasn't fine, but he didn't say anything. He stuck his hand into his pocket and pulled the tickets out, handing them to her instead.

"What are these?" Annabeth read the labels and she gasped. "Oh, I've been wanting to go there! How did you get these?"

"Uh… My… Mom. Her… Uh, you know how she's a teacher? Yes, well, she got them from the principal. At the school. She works for."

Annabeth raised an eyebrow at him. "Uh-huh. Well, these are cool, Percy! Are you bringing someone?" Her words stuttered on the last bit and Percy scratched the back of his neck.

"Yeah.. I was hoping… Um, maybe you would want to go? I know you love your… Architectural stuff."

Annabeth blinked. "Me? But I thought Piper was-"

Percy groaned. "She was! She was trying to set you and me up. I figured.. Well, if you don't absolutely hate me, you'd want to go. It's totally fine if you don't want to, you can still have the tickets, maybe bring Hazel-"

Annabeth surprised him by squeezing his arm, a smile coming onto her face. "No, no! I'd like to go. With you, I mean."

Percy perked up. "Really?"

"Yeah! It'll… It'll be fun. Really fun."

The two stared at each other for a minute, then the bell rang, shocking the both of them. They laughed and Annabeth clutched the tickets.

"I'll… Hold onto these. Knowing you, you'd lose them."

"I wouldn't!"

"You totally would, Percy," Annabeth checked her watch. "Shit, we're already a minute late to theater practice. I'll race you!"

Percy stared in surprise as Annabeth turned and ran off. He yelled in surprise before running after her, their laughter ringing in the hallway.

Annabeth gaped as Will reluctantly handed Piper fifty bucks after she saw the tickets in Annabeth's hand and Percy following behind her, a big smile on his face. She turned to ask him what that was all about, but he only shrugged, winking at her before Miss Bree called for everyone's attention.

The butterflies in her stomach didn't settle for the rest of the practice.

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Percy picked up Annabeth at her house with a small smile and two cups of coffee in his hand.

"Percy, I thought you knew, I don't drink-"

"It's not coffee. It's a white hot chocolate, your favorite, right?"

Annabeth looked surprised. "You… You remember that I don't like coffee?"

Percy flushed. "A lot of people don't like coffee! Um, I just figured… Yeah."

Annabeth laughed as she took her drink, taking a tiny sip. "It's kind of sweet that you remember."

They walked in silence to the bus stop, where Percy insisted that he pay and fumbled with the change as he dropped them into the slot. Annabeth giggled at him the entire time and he laughed with her, the tips of his ears tinged pink.

They hopped off at their stop, making their way to the museum, where Annabeth began bouncing excitedly on her toes as they waited in line.

"This is so exciting. This museum combines modern-day architecture with inspiration from the Greeks and Romans."

Percy nodded as Annabeth continued to talk animatedly. He turned in their tickets and they made their way inside, where tall ceilings were supported by grand pillars. Percy grabbed a few pamphlets and handed them to Annabeth, who flipped through them quickly before deciding where she wanted to go.

The entire afternoon was a blur of laughing and Annabeth dragging Percy around, pointing out structures she recognized and pouring over the displays. It was nice and peaceful, so unlike when Percy and Rachel went out.

It was always a mad rush as she ran around, shopping like crazy, and all he did was watch and try to pay attention to what she was saying.

It was so easy to listen to Annabeth. She was passionate and talked quickly, but it made Percy feel nice.

Like he mattered enough for her to talk about one of her most favorite things in the world.

As they ended the tour and migrated to the souvenir shop, Annabeth hummed when she picked up two shirts.

"You're… You're a medium, right?"

It was Percy's turn to be surprised. "Yeah. You remember?"

"Um, teenagers… They don't usually grow much after 16, you're 17… So I just figured it'd be the same-"

"No, you're right."

"I always am," Annabeth held up one of the shirts. "Can we get these? We could match."

Percy grinned. "Sure."

They paid for their shirts and Annabeth got a thick book on the museum and its history and exhibits. She read through it as they waited for the bus to come by again, leaning against Percy.

"Hey, Annabeth?"

"Yeah?"

"Did you… Did you have fun today?"

Annabeth smiled as she shut the book, glancing up at him with her grey eyes. "Yeah, I did. It was cool. Company was nice, too."

Percy furrowed his eyebrows and Annabeth chuckled, slapping his arm. "That's you, Seaweed Brain."

"Oh!"

Annabeth laughed again, the corners of her mouth turning upwards. Her smile was beautiful.

Just like her.

"Do you consider this a date?"

He blurted it out quickly. He just wanted to know.

She was quiet for a minute then she smiled gently. "If you want to, then yeah."

"Really?"

"Percy, we've had our problems, but I can see you've changed. So have I. If you want to, I'm fine with it. I mean, it's… It's been really nice, just to hang out with you. And talk. And you know, not hate you."

They both laughed and Percy ventured out to wrap his arm around her. She didn't push him away.

Percy bit his lip then nudged her. "Would you… Would you be willing to go on a second date?"

Annabeth didn't hesitate when she answered.

"Absolutely."