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Fighting Dirty

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It’s not often Percy gets one over on Annabeth during a sparring match. They’re both skilled; Annabeth seems to think he’s replaced Luke as the greatest swordsman of their time, not that it’s a title he’s willing to claim for himself, but she’s been practising since she was seven years old. Annabeth is terrifyingly fast, the short blade of her knife allowing her to dive in close, strike fast, steal victories from right underneath her opponent’s nose. She has lightning reflexes and a sharp mind, able to judge in a split-second whether or not a risk is worth taking.

And, admittedly, she seems markedly less concerned about injuring her boyfriend than Percy is about injuring his girlfriend. Call it the old-fashioned chivalry that Sally had drilled into him, but he’s reluctant to maim the girl he loves. She has no such worries.

But sparring with her is so fun. No one else pushes his boundaries quite as far, no one else tests the limits of his physical strength purely for the sake of combat. Clarisse gets him too angry, the other campers don’t match up. But Annabeth is a challenge, every time, one that usually ends in a draw, dripping sweat, neither quite defeating the other.

Percy hadn’t planned on playing dirty, too. Annabeth had sealed her own fate last week, pulling out whatever judo shit she’d been practising with a few Ares kids in her spare time. She’d won without question, but fairness had certainly been removed from the equation.

So, revenge.

His chest aches with exertion as he circles the training ground, a good twenty or so minutes of intense sparring already behind them. His face is hot and wet, lungs screaming, but his mind remains resolute. Annabeth comes at him again, a gleam in her eyes, and he blocks her strike with his sword, holding her off until she’s forced to concede and step back, too awkwardly positioned to force Riptide from his hands.

Gods, she looks beautiful like this. Panting, sweating, red-faced, determined. Her eyes are wild, turned mad with storms of ambition and victory brewing behind them. Her curls are tied back into a braid, but the flyaways around her face stick to her skin despite attempts to huff them out of the way. There’s something special about getting to see her like this - he might well be the only person who gets this view, the full glory of Annabeth in battle without the terror of knowing she’s going to kill him. It’s a unique privilege, one that allows him to take in her beauty as he simultaneously assesses her weaknesses.

Seizing his opportunity, he charges, bringing his sword down in an arc that forces her backwards, rushing into defence. He can see the cogs turning in her head, trying to predict his next move. She’s incredibly good at that, so much so that his plan is totally out of left field, purely for the element of surprise. As she tries to regain the upper hand, arms trembling with the effort, he suddenly pulls back, ducking down as her retaliating force sends her careening forwards, and at the last minute grabs her legs to pull her over.

Sure, he overshoots a little, and ends up toppling himself in the process, but it doesn’t matter; Annabeth lands in the dust with a thud and a surprised groan, her knife clattering off somewhere to the side, and Percy lands on top of her moments later.

He’s very proud of himself. His face must say so.

“You asshole.

Her entire left cheek is streaked with dust. She tries to glare at him, but he just laughs, still in disbelief that it had actually worked.

“You overbalanced! I think that means I win,” He crows. It’s his right to, after all - she does it all the time.

“You’re gonna win my fist in your face,” She grumbles, making no attempt to get up or shove him off her. “That was so dirty. I’m kinda impressed.”

Percy laughs. “I knew you would be.” He kisses her cheek (the non-dusty one, facing him and glinting in the sunlight.)

She falls quiet, evidently catching her breath after such an intense fight. Naturally, the peace doesn’t last long, as a voice from somewhere behind them suddenly calls out:

“Are they like, making out? Ew!”

Annabeth lets out a sigh that can only be described as defeated, yet uncaring at the same time. “I… didn’t realise anyone was watching us.”

“They always do, babe.” As much as he hates it, a lot of the campers still find a novelty enjoyment out of watching two of their brightest in any kind of battle. Percy’s never really enjoyed the attention, but it’s something he’s gotten used to ignoring, at least.

She groans again, but still doesn’t move or push him off. “I hate you. They think we’re like, dry humping down here.”

Percy scoffs, mock-indignant. “You don’t hate me, quit lying to yourself. And I’ll have you know, I am not remotely dry. I am marinating in sweat right now.”

“What a lovely thing to tell me when you’re on top of me.”

“Aww, you’re welcome, honeybun!” Percy lays it on thick, hamming up the stupid nickname as he shuffles himself even closer on top of her, wrapping her in his arms. He probably smells and feels gross, but she’s just as bad, and it’s his job, nay, his duty as a boyfriend to be the bane of her life. Annabeth shrieks, wriggling and attempting to escape, but he traps her and cackles with delight.

“Get off of me!”

“What, you don’t like my musk?”

“Is that what you call it?” Annabeth laughs, pretending to gag, “Oh my gods! I’m going to die here!”

“What a wonderful way to go, don’t you think?”

She rolls her eyes, giggling. “It’s not the hero’s death I imagined.”

He nods. “But it’s the one you deserve.”