A/N: I would like to thank giggling-ninja, Biggest Percy jackson fan eva, and Shorty and KG Inc. for this chapter. I know already PM'd you guys, but really if no one reviewed I wouldn't have the guts to continue.
Disclaimer- This is fanfiction so I don't know why I bother.
"Percy, I need my hat back," Annabeth said firmly, almost angrily.
Obviously she didn't want to talk anymore. Still, I didn't want to leave my first almost-conversation with Annabeth on a bad note. It was strange, but I didn't want her to hate me. For the first time in my life, I actually wanted to be friends with someone who didn't want to be friends back. But how could I maintain a friendly bond with her if I just gave her hat back without another word? Then I got an idea.
"That's cool. You can have it back." I smiled. "But first, let's see how it looks…"
I reached to place the hat on her head.
So okay, maybe I should've gotten the hint at "Percy, I need my hat back". Still, seizing my wrist in a death grip and twisting my arm back in a disarming maneuver was a bit much. What ever happened to good old It's not you—it's me?
I dropped the cap.
Annabeth snatched up the hat from the floor before I could blink. Without another word, she turned to face the front. For the remainder of homeroom she stared at the empty blackboard.
I stared at her.
I hated Anatomy.
It wasn't exciting enough for Dr. Boring to just pass out worksheets with diagrams on them. He had to pass out dead rats dripping in formaldehyde for us to slice up and inspect. Now that's what I call exciting.
I cringed as I stared down at the unfortunate pickled creature in my dissecting tray. His arms and legs were pinned down and his tail curled grotesquely. I squeezed my scalpel tight in my fist and gulped. I tried to ignore the smell.
"Just get on with it!" Grover blurted out, probably louder than he meant to. His eyes were shut tight and sweat beaded on his forehead.
"I am!" I said. Grover was my best friend, but I definitely did not appreciate having him as a lab partner. His weak stomach and love of the wild—even rats—left it to me to do all the work. Plus, he'd already passed out twice last semester.
I made an initial incision below the rat's chin. After a couple cuts, I managed to pry the surprisingly durable skin open. The inside was just lovely.
Grover held his breath and chanced a peak. I could tell he wasn't holding up too well.
"Hey man, you don't need to—"
"Hey nature boy what's the matter?" Clarisse teased from the table in front of us. "Sick to your stomach?" She picked up a rat stomach from her tray with the intestines still attached. She jiggled it in front of Grover's face.
I wanted to wring her throat. I probably would have too, if Grover hadn't passed out on the spot. I caught him, forgetting that I was still sporting wet plastic dissecting gloves. I'd leave that detail out when he woke up later.
"Dr. Boring!" Katie Gardner called.
I noticed the whole class had abandoned their rats to stare. Come on, people. This isn't anything new.
"Oh, Grover," Dr. Boring mumbled as he rushed over. "I'll take him to the nurse. Continue your work. I'll be back soon as possible."
Dr. Boring heaved Grover to his non-responding feet, which made them both almost topple over. He asked for some help, and Michael Yew rushed over to lend a hand. Together they lugged him away.
I turned to glare at Clarisse. She snickered back.
"You think you're really funny don't you?" I said. I felt the blood rushing to my face and muscles.
"So what if I do, punk?" she smirked. "You gonna write me an angry letter? 'Dear Clarisse, please leave my boyfriend alone.'" Her equally ugly lab partner started cracking up.
I was so angry I couldn't see straight. Clarisse had a knack for that. I was vaguely aware of the class still gaping at us.
"You know maybe I will," I said slowly, trying to regain my composure. "Dear Clarisse, I don't usually hit girls, but you're so big and ugly I might punch your lights out anyway. Best Wishes, Percy."
I distantly heard some gasps and a couple "oooo's". I looked over for a second and, by chance, caught Annabeth's gaze. She was staring at me seriously and intently, like she thought this was a bad idea, but she was leaving it up to me. I figured she wouldn't mind watching me get beat to a pulp. I did, after all, try to be nice to her and touch her stupid hat. Who wouldn't be offended by that?
I looked back at Clarisse, staring her straight in the eyes. She was grinning wickedly, not appearing the least bit offended by my comment. She was the cat and I was the mouse caught in her trap. I'd never show it, but I was actually scared.
She got right in my face. I knew she was going to punch me, so I went on defense. She backed me right up to the sinks. I gripped the counter so hard my knuckles cracked.
"Don't worry, punk. This'll just hurt a b—"
But Clarisse never got to tell me how much it would hurt. Through some bizarre turn of events, all four sinks behind me exploded, spewing water in heavy jets straight at Clarisse. The force was so great that she stumbled backwards into a lab table. She screamed and slipped, falling right on her butt. But even that wasn't enough to stop Clarisse. She got right up and came at me again, forcing her way through the water jets.
"Why, you little—" She muttered.
I panicked. Somehow—I don't even know where it came from—I jumped straight up over her head and landed on my feet behind her. Before either of us had time to wonder how any of this was even possible, she crashed into the counter with an "oof!" then quickly retaliated.
Clarisse turned and lunged at me again. This time I wasn't scared. I held my ground and extended my arms. I locked eyes with the enemy.
I was ready to take her, but I didn't have to. Before she even got close a massive tug wrenched at my gut. The automatic sprinkler system turned on. And this wasn't just a light sprinkle— it was a full blown hurricane. There was so much water I couldn't see more than three feet in front of me.
I heard screams, people rushing for the door. It wasn't just our room either. Screams came from every room in the building.
I stood where I was, petrified with awe. A few minutes later the water shut off. I stared straight ahead and felt my shirt sleeve. It was dry.
Classes were cancelled for the afternoon. After all, a swimming pool that used to be your algebra classroom isn't exactly a choice learning environment.
I slumped through the parking lot to Rachel's Mercedes. I felt strange. Maybe because I was half-expecting everyone to stare at me like I was strange. But no one did.
I spotted Clarisse who was still soaking wet. She was talking to her boyfriend Chris Rodriguez who, like everybody else, was also soaking wet. It was probably a stupid thing to do, but I strode right up to the couple.
"Hey, Clarisse," I said when I reached them. "Chris."
Clarisse glared at me, but not more than usual, which was a surprise. Chris nodded at me in acknowledgment.
"What do you want?" Clarisse said, scrunching her bushy eyebrows.
"I uh—I wanted to say…I'm sorry?" It was more of a question than an apology. Everyone was acting so normally, I almost wanted confirmation that everything that just happened…well happened.
"About what, loser?" she scowled.
My mouth dropped open. Was she too proud to admit defeat? But there were more than twenty other students who'd seen the whole thing. How could she pretend that it never happened?
"Th—the water!" I blurted waving my hands. I felt like a freshman girl, trying to convince her skeptical friends that she'd kissed the school's star quarterback.
"You pulled the fire alarm?!" she said with disgust.
I was about to yell at her again, call her a coward. Then I noticed her expression. Clarisse looked genuinely confused, maybe even concerned—well maybe not.
I heard a car horn beep twice.
"Percy!" Rachel drove up next to us in her Mercedes. Some 90's rap blared out the window. "Get in or I'm leaving you," she beamed. Then she noticed my company and raised an eyebrow in question as if to say, Why are you talking to them?
"I'm coming," I said.
Without another word to Clarisse or Chris I got in the car. I gave them a half-hearted wave, then shut the door and pressed the button so the windows rolled up.
Rachel opened her mouth to say something, but I didn't let her.
"You mind if I change this?" I pointed at the stereo. She shook her head.
I scrolled through the CD to find something, but Rachel liked really weird, random music. Eventually I settled on some White Stripes song that I forgot the name of.
After listening a few seconds, Rachel said, "Kick-ass day, huh?"
"Yeah," I said feigning enthusiasm. I really should've been happier, getting out of school and all, but I just felt like I was driving away from the answers.
We were silent for a few minutes after that. Rachel kept looking back and forth between me and the road. At one point she slammed on the brakes to avoid running over a pretty dim-witted squirrel who had decided New York City would be a great place to live.
"Wanna grab some lunch?" Rachel asked hopefully.
I looked over at her and felt a little guilty. Rachel didn't hide her feelings for me, and the jerk part of me didn't want her to. I knew it was wrong to keep her hopes up, but I also knew that if she ever dated someone else I'd be jealous. Maybe because I knew she'd be the perfect girlfriend—understanding, laidback, pretty—but we just didn't have the chemistry, and I was too stubborn to admit it.
"Maybe tomorrow," I said. "We are wet afterall." Before I left the building I splashed some water on myself to avoid drawing attention. It really came in handy now as a good excuse.
"Alright," she replied agreeably with a tinge of disappointment.
I was such a jerk.
That night, I had a dream.
I was standing in a narrow, dimly lit hallway with a wooden floor. Behind me stood a mahogany door, open just a crack so that the light inside spilled out. There were voices just behind it. Instead of running, I strained my ears to listen.
"Tell me what you've found, child." The voice was obliviously male. It was gentle but serious.
"He is one of us, that much I'm sure of," said another voice. This one was female and youthful. It was also painfully familiar, but I couldn't figure out whom it belonged to.
"Any suspicions or leads regarding his parentage?" the first voice spoke again.
"Unfortunately, yes. I don't want to jump to conclusions though." I wondered who these people were, and how finding someone's parents could be a bad thing. Maybe the poor guy's parents were dead, in jail, or something else of that nature.
"I see. That is probably wise," said the first voice. "It is always possible that he is not what he seems."
There was a pause and I held my breath. I prayed they wouldn't open the door and catch me eavesdropping.
"And if he is?" the second voice said at last.
"You are clever girl. I have faith in you," the first voice said with confidence. "And remember, if the worst happens you need not do it yourself. Another can take your place if necessary."
There was another pause—this one longer than the first. I was almost sure I'd be found out.
"No," the second voice said. "I have been chosen for this task for a reason—I always finish what I've started."
A/N: Sorry the hat thing ended up pretty anti-climacticly(is that a word?). Also, Sorry if your waiting for some Percabeth. I promise there will be tons of mushy, fluffy, heart-wrenching stuff soon. It would just be unrealistic, poor writing if I put it in too fast. But next chapter there will be a lot more interaction between them.
Review please! I take unsigned reviews too if you don't have an account or you want to do it anonymously. Just FYI the more positive response I get, the more likely I am to continue and update faster. Sorry I'm like that but I have anxiety and the last thing I want to do is post junk that people don't want to read and make a fool of myself. Perfectionism is my fatal flaw.