After everything they’ve been through in the last ten years, everyone naturally expects Annabeth to end up with Jason Grace when the saving the world from Kronos bit is all said and done.
He’s her oldest and dearest friend, after all – they cried on each other shoulders the day she arrived at camp, the same day he had been so close to regaining the sister he had been taken from, and they've been shadows of each other ever since. It’s rare to see one of them without the other, and they're so much alike, it's uncanny. He's her teammate, her partner, and the coveted hero of Olympus – he'd do anything for her and she for him.
On paper, they're perfect for each other and everyone agrees.
Annabeth's mother has given her plenty of nudges in Jason’s direction, dropping hints that a son of Zeus will forever be in need of a daughter of Athena’s guidance, and practically giving her blessing for any relationship the last time they spoke. Thalia’s even giving her consent, jokingly telling her to guard her brother’s purity in a conversation that left Annabeth's cheeks bright red and her mouth stuttering excuses that no, she didn't think of Jason that way, please shut up.
And while Jason is handsome and strong and would certainly make a smart match in the long run, she can’t bring herself to think of him in a romantic sense in the slightest. She certainly tries, because it's her duty as a daughter of Athena to experiment with all variables, but it's just strange. When she and Jason exchange kisses and experimental touches, it doesn't feel anything like the romance novels Silena Beauregard used to smuggle her said it should. In fact, Annabeth's almost always bored when Jason's tongue is her mouth.
She might be not be as in touch with her baser emotions like some children of the gods, but she knows enough about hormones that being bored during a make-out session is not a good sign for a future couple.
Even though he very clearly enjoys the new physical side of their relationship, Jason doesn't seem all that romantically interested in her either. Her mother says that will come with time, that sons of Zeus are notorious for guarding their feelings, but Annabeth prays with all her might that conversation between them will never come about. She doesn't have it in her to break Jason Grace's heart.
Her prayers are answered that winter, when Jason goes missing just before the winter solstice, and Annabeth is left with crushing guilt and a sense of failure.
She goes out of her mind with worry, doing everything she possibly can to try and get him back. But that's apparently not enough for the gods because, instead of finding Jason, she stumbles across an amnesiac son of Neptune in the Grand Canyon, of all the things, and discovers she'll be stuck with him for the foreseeable future.
Annabeth finds this – this trade to be a completely unacceptable arrangement, and does everything possible to make Percy Jackson's life at Camp Half-Blood miserable. She thinks her mother would agree with this strategy, no matter how much they may need to show a united front with the Romans. He's the son of her sworn rival, and there's precedence for her dislike of him.
And boy, does she try to dislike him.
Percy Jackson is stubborn, annoying and ridiculously kind for a Roman; he’s also very good with sword and strategy, even if it’s a little fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants for her tastes, and he's certainly not afraid to challenge her with sarcasm when he manages to gather his wits together to form a complete sentence. His list of accomplishments is almost as long as her's, but he's not arrogant and she's heard rumors that he he turned down immortality at the end of Titan war.
If that's not enough to deal with, there's also the problem that Percy Jackson is... well, very good looking. He and Jason both have that in common, at least, but where Jason is stocky and obviously muscled, Percy is leaner, taller and has a much more subtle build. She caught sight of the flat plane of his stomach once after his t-shirt rode up as he pulled the a sweatshirt over his head, and the image sticks in her mind for a week straight, teasing her with possibilities.
He also has this stupid smile and that makes her stomach churn whenever it gets directed her way – which is very rare, considering she tries to limit their interaction to to sparring lessons, cabin head meetings or the rare moment when Leo wants their help with Argo II.
Percy’s the very opposite of Jason – he’s not the sensible choice, the smart, safe choice – but Annabeth craves his presence much more than she cares to admit.
So when Percy knocks her on her back during a particularly rough private training session one day, pinning her to ground and growling at her to, “Yield, Annabeth, yield,” she has some idea of what's coming next.
What she doesn't expect, however, is the blistering, aching hunger that comes when Percy Jackson's lips settle over hers. It takes her breath away, makes her gasp into mouth and arch into his calloused hands as they slip under her shirt, spanning her back and pulling her tight against him.
This is what kissing is supposed to feel like. This is how your match is supposed to make you feel, like your heart just learned to start beating for the first time.
May Olympus and Jason forgive her, but this –
This is the right choice for her.