November 1st, 9AM
Annabeth forgets that Percy is sleeping next to her.
Annabeth forgets that Percy is naked in the bed next to her.
Which is why, when she rolls over and runs into something solid and warm, she wakes herself with a yelp and half falls off the bed.
“Wuzza – ‘Beth?” Percy sits up, throws an arm around her waist, and hauls her back onto her bed. “Why are you slapping me awake?”
“I didn’t mean to,” she replies, feeling her face burn red. “I kind of forgot you were here.”
He grins at her, then rolls over, throwing his arm over her shoulders. “You dope.”
“Not a dope!” Annabeth argues. “This is the first time you’ve stayed over.”
“I know,” Percy sighs, and he starts that thing where he just barely brushes his lips over her ear and, okay, this is so not fair.
“Percy,” she says, and she swears she’s trying not to laugh, “if you keep that up, I’m going to be late to class.”
He hums a little, pressing his lips behind her ear. “Which class?”
“It’s Latin, isn’t it,” he murmurs, and, again, not fair, because now his hands are glancing over her stomach.
She closes her eyes, leaning into his touch. “Maybe.”
“You know Latin better than the professor I bet.”
Annabeth rolls toward him, threading her fingers through his hair. His mom would say he needs to cut it, but Annabeth wants him to grow it out longer. It’s fun to tug it, just a little, for the reaction. “Probably.”
“And it’s after midterms,” he continues, pulling her on top of him. “You’re not actually learning anything new.”
“Correct again,” she runs her hands up and down his chest, trying to figure out how he’s still so defined with the amount of ice cream he eats from the dining hall.
“Not to mention it’s just a requirement class,” he says, hands on her hips, rubbing tempting circles with his thumbs, “I mean, one Latin class and you’re done. It doesn’t even count for your major.”
“Gods, I love it when you argue logic with me.” She leans down to kiss him –
“Aw, jeez, guys, sock on the door.”
Luckily, or unluckily for Piper, she’s seen this once or twice, so it’s not that big of a problem. “This is Percy’s fault,” Annabeth says, grabbing at the shirt that ended up under the covers, “he started it.”
Piper’s hand is over her eyes when Annabeth turns around, so Annabeth takes the moment to just slightly grind against Percy, enough to frustrate him.
“This is me,” Annabeth says, “pulling on my clothes.”
“And this is me,” Piper says, hands still over her eyes, “wishing I had gone back to Reyna’s.”
“Oh!” Annabeth says, turning around. “Is that where you’ve been all night?”
It’s impossible to gauge Piper’s reaction, as she is buried face first in her pillow. “That chemistry class is killing me, and she’s helping,” Piper explains. She sits up, eyes squinted and mildly red. “We were up all night writing up a lab.”
“Oh, is that what the kids call it now,” Percy says. Piper throws a pillow at him.
“You were about to make Annabeth miss class with your ‘lab’ yesterday at, like, four in the afternoon, whereas I was actually working,” Piper replies. “And while you were ‘studying’ this morning, I was at class.”
“No, we weren’t!” replies Annabeth, adjusting the waistband on the basketball shorts she may have just decided were no longer Percy’s.
“Yeah,” Percy adds, “We just woke up.”
“Ugh,” Piper groans. “That’s even worse. Go,” she waves her hand at the two of them, “get out of my sight and out of each other’s pants.” She drops her face back onto the pillow. “Also, I love you both and I wish you all the happiness in the world.”
“You really don’t have to do that every time,” Percy says, “we know you love us.”
“I gotta,” Piper replies, the mumble barely audible. “I just gotta.”
November 1st, 10AM
“Wake up, you dope!”
Magnus is used to this. Getting a pillow whalloped in his general direction isn’t the best way to wake up, per se, but it doesn’t suck, because it means Alex is waiting in his doorway.
Without even sitting up, Magnus reaches up to catch the pillow in midair, before it hits him.
“Okay, that was unfair,” says Alex, voice nearer.
Magnus sits up, blowing his hair out of his face. “What’s not?”
Alex throws her hands in the air. “What the fuck, Magnus.” It’s a statement, not a question. “Look at you. You catch the pillow I throw at you without looking. Your bedhead is hot.” She gestures to him. “And you wake up looking like a…like a…” She trails off. “Your shirt is off and that upsets me.”
Magnus can’t help his smile. “When are you going to admit that you’re in love with me?”
“Eventually,” Alex retorts, sitting on the bed next to Magnus, “usually it takes longer for you to be unbearably hot.”
Alex rolls her eyes. “That’s stupid. I know what you’re doing.”
“Trying to get you to kiss me?”
“Not until you brush your teeth,” Alex chirps, but she does offer a little peck on the cheek before she tugs him up and shoves him toward the bathroom.
When Magnus comes back from his shower, Alex has on one of his shirts.
Alex turns around, and Magnus realizes he shifted to male. “Yeah?”
“Oh,” Alex says, and the fake innocence is so stupidly transparent that Magnus wants to burst into laughter. But he holds it. “Should I take it off?”
Magnus tries to control his voice. “I mean, you’d probably get cold.”
Alex quirks an eyebrow. “Oh, you’re good,” he murmurs. “I bet you could keep me warm.” He walks toward Magnus, and Magnus thinks there’s an eighty percent chance the entire nine worlds can hear his heartbeat right now. It’s been months, and there’s still no controlling his feelings around Alex.
“GUYS THEY BROUGHT IN ONE OF THOSE GREEK HELL – oh, gross.” Mallory, wrinkles her nose. “You guys are supposed to have the door closed when you’re having one of your weird moments.”
“Coming from the woman who was practically doing it with her boyfriend on the battlefield last night,” Alex replies.
Mallory blushes red. “And? You didn’t look away.”
“Yes – yes I did!” Alex replies, and, this time, Magnus has to laugh. “Wait, no, you’re supposed to be on my side!”
Magnus can’t stop. “I mean, the look on your face. Nobody could keep a straight face.”
“You have the least straight face since Freddie Mercury,” Alex fires back.
Magnus shrugs. “When you’re right, you’re right.”
Alex deflates. “I have lost this battle of wits. You guys came with knives to a gunfight of wits and you still won.” He walks out the door.
“I think we devastated him,” Mallory says, tears in her eyes.
“Have not!” Alex shouts back.
November 1st, 12PM
Annabeth returns to her dorm to find Percy and Piper passed out with the two beds pushed together, the end credits of The Ring playing.
“Weirdoes,” she mutters. She turns off the television and kicks off her sneakers, trying to figure out a way to snuggle in between the two of them without waking either up, because she could really use a nap before the drive up to Boston in a couple hours.
She manages to shove Percy over onto her pillow and he splats like an octopus, taking up possibly more room than he had been before.
“Typical,” she sighs. But neither of them wake up. Piper, however, curls around Annabeth like a starfish, and she wonders why her two favorite people resemble sea animals this frequently.
“Hi, Wise Girl,” Percy murmurs, “Piper’n I were watchin’ Ring.”
“I know.” She kisses his forehead.
“We gotta never watch a VHS.”
“You say that every time.”
Percy hums in agreement, then grabs Annabeth’s arm and wraps it around his waist. “Lil’ spoon.”
Annabeth responds by snuggling up to him as best she can with a Piper attachment, and dozes off, finding the situation surprisingly comfortable.
November 1st, 1PM
The comfort ends abruptly when the beds finally fail and break apart, taking the three of them to the floor with a low thud.
“The fuck?!” Piper hollers. She tries to get up, but she’s tangled in the blankets. “Oh. Floor. Bed.” She turns to look at Percy and Annabeth. “Sleep.”
“More than one word is possible, or did you hit your head?” Annabeth asks. For her, it’s her tailbone. She’s going to get a bruise on her ass, and not for fun reasons.
“Is it possible to get a concussion from nap injuries?” Percy asks. “Also, Piper, you kick.”
“You insisted on being little spoon and pulled Annabeth away from me during snuggle time,” Piper replies, “I make no apologies for how I retaliate.”
“You guys are the strangest humans,” Annabeth says, shaking her head. “Are either of you hurt?”
“Probably,” Percy says, standing up. “But mostly, I’m hungry. Can we get lunch?”
“If we stop on the way,” Annabeth replies. “Did you shower yet?” He grins like a goof. “That’s a no. Go do that.”
November 1st, 2:15PM
They would have been out of there by 1:30, but the bathrooms are unisex and Percy couldn’t figure out how to turn on the shower and, well. Where else would this go?
“Have fun, lovebirds,” Piper says as they leave the dorm. “I’ll be here. Alone. Lonely. All on my own. For a whole weekend.”
“Go hang out with Reyna,” Percy suggests, and the wink he sends is ridiculous.
“Nevermind,” she deadpans. “I changed my mind. I hope you have a terrible time.”
“We love you too!” Annabeth shouts as Piper closes the door.
They get a to-go meal from the dining hall before they get into Percy’s car, and then set off for Boston. They get stuck in traffic in Connecticut, where Percy has to take over because Annabeth keeps swearing to the point of danger.
“You’re going to get us killed,” Percy says, bluntly, as they stop for gas. “I’m driving the rest of the way.”
“It’s not my fault Connecticut can’t drive,” Annabeth grumbles.
Percy leans against the side of the car, one hand in his pocket and one on the gas pump, and she’s very annoyed that he can do something as simple as that and look good. That can’t be fair. “Yes, but it will be your fault if you get into a road rage situation and beat the hell out of some poor mortal.” He grins. “Though, that would be fun to watch.”
“Okay, fine, I get it. I’ll ride shotgun.”
“You are not allowed to backseat drive.”
“I won’t,” Annabeth says, flashing a smile. “Because I’ll be in the passenger seat.”
November 1st, 5:30PM
Magnus waits by Alex’s bed, reading the newest issue of Young Avengers, when he wakes up and says, “I hate you.”
“That’s the best thing you’ve ever said to me,” says Magnus, kissing the back of Alex’s hand. “Why this time?”
“I hurt,” Alex says, and, okay, there’s that pouting, which looks particularly pathetic with a bandage around his head. “What happened?”
“You decided you could take on Halfborn in a game of basketball and knocked yourself out,” Magnus checks the bandage, “looks healed now, though.”
“Okay, can we change that story, though?” Alex asks. “Because that’s really embarrassing. Can this be some massive battle to the death with a giant spider, or something?”
“Only if you admit to being a Harry Potter geek and a Hufflepuff.”
Alex’s eyes narrow. “Never.”
Magnus can’t help his laugh. “Well, get better soon. We have to meet Annabeth and Percy in, like, half an hour.”
“Well, it’s a good thing I’m naturally beautiful,” Alex deadpans, but Magnus thinks that’s pretty true. “Oh, no,” Alex says. “No, don’t take my dumb comment seriously – oh, god.”
November 1st, 6:45PM
They should have reached Boston before six, but, due to an accident on I-90 and Percy’s insistence that they stop at Sonic for slushies, it takes longer than that.
“Hey, Magnus!” Annabeth says, and she checks to make sure her phone actually works away from school. It fritzes out in a lot of places, namely Boston, Camp Half Blood, and any time she’s within ten miles of a monster.
“Where are you guys?” Magnus asks. “Get lost?”
“Accident,” Percy yells into the phone. “We’re here now!”
“We’ve been hanging out at Trident,” Magnus replies, “which we found a bit ironic. But it’s right across Boylston from Kings, and then it’s not a long drive to the Chase Place.”
“Great,” Annabeth says, “see you soon!”
It’s a little less than soon, as Annabeth reads the directions backwards and lands them closer to The Cheesecake Factory, but it’s barely a walk from the parking lot and they make it there while Magnus and Alex are still in line.
“Hey, Jackson,” Alex says, grinning. He – Annabeth is pretty sure he’s ‘he’ today, just because he stands a little different when he is male than when he’s female – holds out a hand and shakes Percy’s, then does a one armed hug that’s only slightly awkward. Annabeth responds the same, because Magnus has mentioned that Alex doesn’t exactly do touch normally.
“So, how are you at bowling?” Alex asks.
Annabeth shrugs. “I’m not great.”
Percy looks between the two of them, then over at Magnus. “Is he lying?”
“No idea,” Magnus replies. “Every time we’ve gone bowling he ends up doing something ridiculous, like trying to bowl while doing a handstand.”
“That’s a great trick, and you know it,” Alex chides. “Plus, I’m actually pretty good when I try.”
“Okay, because Annabeth is, like, ridiculously good.” He glares at Annabeth, and Annabeth suddenly finds herself offended. “What? You are!”
“Yeah, but now I have expectations to live up to.”
“Expecta – Annabeth, this is a double date, not the Olympics.”
“And now, apparently,” says Alex, picking up his pair of bowling shoes, “it’s a battle.”
November 1st, 7:30PM
“They are,” Magnus, stares at the way Annabeth is bowling, “way too competitive.”
“No kidding,” Percy says, and Magnus begins to wonder if he always looks this relaxed or only when he’s around Annabeth, or when he’s not the one Annabeth has targeted with her battle glare.
She’s kind of terrifying like this. Then again, so is Alex. Not a single handstand has been attempted.
“This has to be the last game,” Percy decides. “Because, otherwise, all we’ll end up eating tonight is greasy bar food and I really want to get cannoli at some point.”
“Good call. And get a lobster tail, too. Those things are ridiculous but so good.”
Alex whoops in front of the lane, while Annabeth stands never to him, staring daggers with her arms folded.
“Percy, your turn,” Alex says, sounding peppy as a cheerleader.
“I can’t believe you got two strikes in a row,” Annabeth grumbles, falling hard into the seat next to Percy. “That’s ridiculous.”
“That’s what I get for being fantastic, apparently.” Alex relaxes into the chair next to Magnus, throwing an arm over the back of Magnus’ seat. He starts playing, just a little bit, with Magnus’ hair.
Annabeth’s response is just to roll her eyes and watch Percy, who manages to knock down eight pins.
Which is more than Magnus manages on his turn.
“Three?!” Alex exclaims. “That’s the best you can do? That completely negates my strikes!”
“First of all, this is not a fancy enough place to use words like ‘negates’,” Magnus begins, “second, you are turning this into an annoying competition instead of a fun game. Chill.”
“Or no cannoli,” Percy interjects. “And I really want to get cannoli after not being kicked out of a bowling alley. Or Boston.”
Alex and Annabeth sigh in tandem. “Fine,” Annabeth says. “We’ll play for fun, I guess.” She shoots Alex a grin. “But first I have to try that handstand thing. Show me?”
November 1ST, 8PM
“This,” Annabeth says, looking down at the particularly angry hellhound in front of her, “was a bad idea.”
“Well, the bowling wasn’t,” Alex replies, and, goddamn it, he looks so relaxed right now, which might be due to the three cannoli he put away, “but this?” He nods to the side, at the snarling wolf, “I’m not a fan of.”
“Any chance you two can stop bantering and help out?” Magnus asks. Annabeth is a little thrown off, because, last time she heard, Magnus didn’t glow.
“Holy crap, Annabeth,” Percy says, staring down at Magnus. “He’s – he’s using his LiteBrite power to fix my stupid ankle.”
Alex snorts. “LiteBrite.” He pokes Magnus’ shoulder, “I’ll have to remember that one.”
“Okay, seriously, guys,” Annabeth draws her knife, “this is what I get for suggesting something up by you two. Who are we taking on?”
“I’ll take the hellhound,” Magnus says, eyes darting over to the wolf. Annabeth sees the lingering tendrils of fear float around him. She knows enough about Auntie Nat’s death to know that those giant wolfs did it. “Alex?”
“Nah, I’ll hit the wolf with Annabeth.” He turns to her. “You gonna freak out if I turn into a cheetah?”
Annabeth’s response is to just roll her eyes and charge, leaving the boys in the dust. She hears Percy behind her, yelling, “Wait up! You can’t just go killing monsters without us!”
Annabeth uses the hood of the car as leverage and vaults up to kick at the side of the building, propelling her directly onto the back of the wolf. As she slices her knife through the wolf’s throat, she says, “Watch me.”
Alex, now looking more like a miffed cheetah, just darts over to get the hellhound, Magnus hot on his heels. Percy jogs over to give the wolf a once over, then drives its sword through its head. “Double tap, you know.”
He holds out his hand and, even though she doesn’t need to, Annabeth takes it as she hops off the animal.
Magnus is wielding Jack while staring down the hellhound, getting its attention while Alex slinks up behind it, silent.
“They’re almost as good a team as us,” Percy muses, slinging an arm around Annabeth’s shoulders.
“Now if we could only get a double date that didn’t end in a slaughter.”
“At least it’s not ours.”
Alex’s claws rip into the hellhound, but, apparently, he was not expecting the speed at which the Greek monsters disappear. He falls to the ground, landing hard on the asphalt on the black fur left over.
Magnus runs over to him, leaning down, his hands glancing over Alex’s body.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Alex says.
Magnus doesn’t even seem to register Alex’s tone, “I think your ribs are broken.”
Annabeth watches in wonder as Magnus glows again, healing Alex’s wounds with a strange whirl of golden light around Alex’s chest,
“Are you, like, absorbing his memories?” Percy asks.
“He better not be,” Alex says, but there’s no bite or bitterness in the tone, just a glance up to Magnus that’s so sweet and so loving that Annabeth wonders if this is what people have had to put up with her and Percy for the past few years.
“You guys are cute,” Percy says, practically reading Annabeth’s mind, “like, almost too cute.”
Alex rolls his eyes.
“You are,” Annabeth adds, just because she knows it makes Magnus get a little glittery in the ends of his hair. “Seriously.”
Magnus moves his hands away from Alex’s chest, and Alex takes a deep breath. “My hero,” he says, beaming at Magnus.
“See? Even you had to see how mushy that was,” Magnus says, but he does so while pulling Alex to his feet and catching him in his arms.
“Next time,” says Percy, capping Riptide, “we go on a double date, though, we’re staying away from places with Greek or Norse monsters.”
“Duly noted.” Alex leans his head onto Magnus’ shoulder. “Let’s get back to the Chase Space before anything else comes to kill us. We can play Rummikub with some of the kids.”
“Yes! I love that game!” Annabeth starts walking toward the car.
“Oh, no,” says Percy. “No, no, no. We are not subjecting children to the two of you being competitive over a board game. We’ll play something more chill.”
November 1st, 10:30PM
“That’s slander and you know it!”
“Oh, that’s rich, coming from the guy who hid the card.”
Annabeth looks over at Alex. “Did – did you have any idea that Clue could get this intense?”
Alex, who is staring at Magnus, Percy, and Blitz with a look of both horror and interest, shakes his head slowly. “Annabeth,” he says carefully, “I can honestly say I have never seen two demigods, a dwarf, and a group of disenfranchised youth play Clue in such a competitive manner.”
“Did you see that, Annabeth?!” Percy says, and he’s using those unfair seal eyes again. “Magnus is hiding the cards!”
“I’m not hiding them!” Magnus argues back. “Come on, cuz, back me up here.”
“Oh, no.” Annabeth holds her hands up in front of her. “I’m not getting involved in whatever is going on with this. I plead the fifth.”
“Technically it’s not hiding the cards if you don’t look at them long enough,” Blitz says. Hearth, who is sitting next to Blitz, nudges him. “Oh, yeah, buddy, it’s your turn.”
Through a flurry of signs that Annabeth can’t catch, Hearth grins triumphantly.
“What?” Percy asks. “What just happened?”
“Hearth thinks he won,” Alex says. “Which – did you?”
Hearth shrugs, and then reaches for the packet in the middle of the table.
“Wait, who do you think it was?” Annabeth asks. She checks her list.
Hearth signs, and Blitz translates. “Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick.”
“See, that’s slander,” Alex says, holding up his game piece, “as I have done no such thing in a library. Other things that may be scandalous, however –”
“And let’s just see if anyone can prove Hearth wrong,” Magnus says, blushing a bright pink.
Annabeth checks her list. She can’t prove Hearth wrong. And neither can anyone else.
With a grin, Hearth picks up the envelope and, with a flourish of his hands, pulls out the three cards.
“Professor Plum,” Blitz says as Hearth places the card on the table. “Candlestick. And – well, damn. Library.” He throws his cards down. “I can’t lose to him a third time. I’m out.”
“I’m tired,” Alex says, not looking tired at all. “Let’s go to sleep.”
Magnus’ eyes go wide, but he follows Alex like an excited puppy.
The living room slowly loses kid after kid, demigod after mythical humanoid, until it’s just Annabeth and Percy in front of the fire.
“You guys did real good with this place,” Percy says, pressing his lips to the top of Annabeth’s head. They’re curled around each other on the couch, in a way that should probably be uncomfortable, but Annabeth couldn’t feel better than she does right now. She’s safe, and warm, sitting in the living room of a major accomplishment she shares with her closest family member, in the arms of her favorite person who, somehow, loves her too.
“We did,” Annabeth says, feeling the warmth of the room envelop her. “It’s the kind of place I’d wished I’d had as a kid.”
“You needed it, so you built it.” He hugs her tighter. “A true architect of change.”
She grins, burying her face into his chest. “That sounds so badass.”
“Just like you,” he murmurs, and she has to stand up and grab his hand to go to her room before they both fall asleep on the couch. They’re asleep in minutes.
November 1st, 11:45AM
“Sometimes I think of the Queen song Who Wants to Live Forever,” Alex says, curled into Magnus, his eyes closed but breathing steady. “And I wonder if that’s going to be us.”
Magnus feels his heart go cold. “Like – breaking up, us?”
“No.” Alex sits up, and stares into Magnus. “I mean like, Ragnarok us. Einherji us. The world only has one sweet moment set aside for us, and all that.” He leans down, pressing a soft kiss to Magnus’ lips.
“I’m glad I get to spend whatever moment that is, however long it is, with you,” Magnus says, and he brushes a little piece of green and black hair out of Alex’s eyes, to get a better look at him.
“That’s cheesy,” Alex says, but he leans down and kisses Magnus again, and it’s lazy and slow, a promise of nothing but now. “And I’ve decided.”
“Decided what?” Magnus asks.
“After all this time, I think I love you too,” Alex says, and Magnus feels his heart race. “Yeah, I’m sure. I love you.”
“Really?” Magnus says.
Alex rolls his eyes. “Have for a long time, dingdong. Just needed to be able to say it.”
Magnus can’t control his smile, but he doesn’t realize it’s that obvious until Alex says, “Hey, LiteBrite, you’re literally glowing right now.”
“Your fault,” Magnus says, but he keeps on smiling.