“Hey.” Percy muttered as he walked into Annabeth’s apartment.
“Hello.” She said. She was beaming. “How was your class?”
“Oh, gods.” He said. “I don’t even want to go there.” She glared at him. “Fine.” He said, setting his bag down and sitting next to her on the couch. “Mostly test results… final paper reminders… that sort of thing.”
“Percy…” she said. “What did you get?” He sighed and put his arm around her waist.
“Oh, a terrible score.” He said.
“Percy!” Annabeth said. “Just tell me!”
“Annabeth.” He said, building tension. “I. Got. A. 99.” She smiled so wide he thought it would probably stretch her cheeks out if it was any wider. She punched his arm.
“I’m so proud of you, Seaweed Brain!” She said, squeezing his hand.
“But, really, Wise Girl. It’s terrible. I didn’t even get the extra credit points!” He said sarcastically. “Well, enough about me. How were yours?”
“Amazing!” She said. “Gods, Perce, I got the highest score in class!” She beamed. “I got valedictorian!” Percy smiled.
“I never doubted you would,” He kissed her forehead. “Annabeth.”
She smiled and kissed him. “I love you.” She whispered.
“Me too.” He replied. He pressed her head against his. “You know, I think we should celebrate tonight. Maybe go to the beach for a picnic?”
She laughed. “You always want to go to the beach.”
“That’s because I love you.” He said, pouting a little bit.
“What?” She said. “How?”
“Because I make it exiting.”
She sighed. “I guess you do, Seaweed Brain.” she paused. “You want to go get pizza for lunch? Then you don’t have to make anything.”
“Yeah.” He said. “You know, I’m kind of exhausted. Let’s just watch that new season of Stranger Things.”
“Fine.” She kissed his cheek. “The money’s on the table.” She smiled. “Be back in fifteen, Percy.”
“I will.” He said. And with that, he was out the door again.
Annabeth stared down at her hands. She knew all to well that Percy was planning something. The way he was smirking when he walked in— plus, he asked her to go on a date. They didn’t normally do that anymore.
She had a small hunch of what he was planning… but she decided that the smart thing to do was not get her hopes up. Nevertheless, the corners of her mouth twitched up in a small smile. She couldn’t wait.
“Oh, gods.” Percy said when Annabeth came down the stairs. She raised an eyebrow.
“You look so pretty.”
Annabeth blushed. “You don’t look too bad yourself.”
He took her hand. “Come on,” He said.
“Which one are we going to?” She asked.
“The usual one,” he replied, and slid his arm around her waist.
“Oh.” She said. He looked at her. “No—I mean— is didn’t mean…”
He laughed. “It’s okay. I know it’s not the best one…”
“It is!” She said. “I love it!”
“Okay…” He kissed her head. She smiled.
After a few minutes, they came to the small beach at the edge of Camp Jupiter. Percy set out the blanket and sat down. Annabeth sat next to him, leaning back against his chest. “Percy—“ She said. “Have you ever thought… gods, we’ve known each other for… what?” She paused, doing the math. “13 years? Percy…” she laughed. “We’ve known each other for most of our lives.”
“Huh.” He said, running his hand through her hair. “And to think— you hated me.”
“Well, to be fair, I kind of saved your life.”
He sighed. “I guess so. And every time our relationship got better, one of us got kidnapped.”
She kissed him. “Well, thankfully, that hasn’t happened in a while.”
“But, seriously.” He said. “I mean, first you basically asked me out, then you fall off a cliff. Then we start dating, and I get kidnapped by Hera.”
Annabeth winced at the mention of Hera. She hated her. “Yeah.” She said. He handed her a plate of salad. She raised an eyebrow. “Salad, Seaweed Brain?”
He shrugged. “It’s really the only thing I can trust myself to make without messing up.” He said with complete seriousness, which, to be honest, is something he rarely did.
She took a bite of the salad and pressed her body against his. She didn’t like space. She thought back to when she didn’t care, when she made it seem like she hated that little boy, the cute one with the pretty eyes. Now, she couldn’t really imagine not caring about Percy Jackson.
He had turned from the boy she never wanted in her life to the boy she couldn’t live without. He put an arm around her and held her close to him. “Annabeth… in Tartarus…” He whispered. She buried her face in his chest at that word. “I think… that was when I realized.”
“You know how people say that you never know how much you need something until you lose it?”
“Yes…” she said softly.
“Well… I think that in Tartarus… when… you know…”
“When I was blind?” She muttered.
“Yeah.” He kissed her forehead. “I thought… you know, deep down… that you would be like that forever…” he choked a little bit. “And that’s why it really broke my heart… when you thought I left you. Because at that point, that was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. That— that was when I realized I really loved you.”
She sniffled. “Percy… I love you too.”
He smiled, then stood up and took her hand. The waves lapped at the shore a few feet away from them. The sound was comforting.
Then he knelt down in front of her. She gasped. “Percy… oh gods… what are you…” he pulled out a little box from his pocket. “Percy…” she sobbed.
“Annabeth Chase,” He whispered, opening the box. Inside was a beautiful ring, Celestial Bronze, with a stone the same color as his eyes set in the middle. She sobbed into her hands. “Will you marry me?”
She looked up at him. “Gods, Percy, why would I say no?” She flung her arms around him and sobbed into his shoulder. She pulled away from him after a moment, and he was beaming. He slid the ring onto her finger.
“Wait.” He said. He took it off and pressed it into her palm. It extended into a dagger. Her dagger. The one Luke has given to her. The cursed blade. The same one she had lost in Tartarus. She gasped. It was perfect.
“Percy!” She exclaimed. “Oh my gods, you didn’t!” She laughed. She was crying, and her laughs were coming out more like sobs than laughs.
“Here.” He said, taking it gently out of her hand. “The diamond’s right there.” He pointed to the bottom of the dagger’s hilt. The sea-green diamond glinted in the early moonlight. “You just tap it,” he tapped it, and it assumed it’s form as a ring. “And it goes back.”
“Gods, Percy… I love it!” She said, still crying. He slid it back onto her finger and wrapped his arms around her. He buried his face in her hair.
“I love you, Annabeth.”
“I love you too.” She whispered. She tackled him into the water, laughing.
And it was pretty much the second best underwater kiss of all time.