“So, Perseus Jackson, what will it be? Will you accept our generous gift?” Zeus demanded, his eyes flashing with barely contained lightning as always.
The gods had just offered me to be…well, a god. One of them, immortal, powerful, not having to worry about any other stupid prophecy. Who could say no to that?
I glanced back to see Thalia smiling at me serenely but the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. My eyes wandered around the room and gazed at the mighty faces of the Olympian gods. Apollo, Ares, Aphrodite, Demeter, Dionysus – did I want to be like them? Poseidon, my father, Athena – I stared into her stormy grey eyes and was reminded of the one person in the room that grounded me to my mortality –Annabeth.
I turned to find her staring intently at the ground, hands clenched into fists, and avoiding my gaze. And then, I knew my answer.
“No.” I said as I turned to face Zeus. “ I just turned 16, I have my whole life ahead of me and I’m not sure that I want to spend the rest of my mortality or…immortality, whatever…being a part of…this. I think I ward in enough trouble and complications, without being a god.”
“Your-your rejecting our very-very gen-generous offer!?” Zeus sputtered at me incredulously.
I shrugged nonchalantly feeling that if I said anything more, I would be at the wrath of the gods. I stole a glance at Annabeth and saw her do the same. She seemed to be fighting a smile and her beautiful –er I mean, stormy grey eyes shone with newfound glee. I smirked at her and looked back to Zeus once more waiting for the verdict and wondering if he would just fry me right there.
“The boy has decided.” Poseidon said in his deep booming voice. Eyeing me with interest and glancing at Annabeth.
“Yes, please can we get this over with and get the party started?” Asked Dionysus. Bored. As always.
I nodded, eager to finally relax and celebrate as well. After laying down some very important ground rules for the gods and the way they treated their half-blood children and after getting disapproving glares from several pairs of eyes in the room, I walked out and let the gods be….without me. Hey I was still the hero that had saved their sorry butts from eternal doom. They couldn’t kill me even if they wanted to –yet.
After the gods argued some more, finally the Olympian party got started. I was patted, petted, praised, passed around and also had a slightly disconcerting chat with Athena. But, I was really only looking for one person.
I found a quite spot in a courtyard so I could sit down and clear my head. The war was finally over. Luke was dead, died as a hero. Which meant that Annabeth wasn’t going to be so conflicted anymore. But did she know what I felt about her? I heard some footsteps approaching from behind me and turned to find Annabeth walking up to join me. My heart did a little relay race as she approached, she looked beautiful. This was the first time I had seen her genuinely happy and healthy after what felt like forever. Her golden locks cascaded down her shoulders held up with a wreath of flowers perched on her forehead. She was wearing a flowing lavender gown and silver bracelets lined her arms. As far as I was concerned she was more beautiful than any other goddess I had seen today in that throne room. I saved her eyes for last, knowing that my already muddled thoughts would become inevitably more jumbled. I met her eyes as I smiled and she sat down.
“Hi.” She said
“Hi” I replied. “Someone cleans up well.”
She nudged me and looked at me. There were so many things that I wanted to say to her. But in that moment with the sweet smell of victory and Olympian nectar in the air…I just wanted to enjoy the peacefulness and bliss of the moment.
Feeling like a guy out of one of those cheesy romantic comedies that girls always cry over; I whipped up a purple orchid growing next to me with a flourish and knelt in front of Annabeth.
“Annabeth Chase…I started. Trying hard to keep a straight face. “Would you like to grace me, Percy Jackson, with the pleasure of one dance?”
Annabeth grinned, making me blush. “As long as we aren’t interrupted by another hellhound, sphinx, or any other horrid creature…for the rest of our lives.”
“I’ll save you.” I winked
“Please Seaweed Brain, I will save you.” She replied taking the flower and placing her hand in mine. This time however it wasn’t to save her from a raging monster, or from tumbling down from Mount Olympus, or from some other effect of a fateful prophecy. This time it was to hold her and I had no intent of letting go with ease.
As I pulled her into my arms, instead of dancing like I had suggested, Annabeth surprised me and hugged me tightly. I rested my head on top of hers smelling the lemon scent from her hair and pulling her closer.
“Thank you, Percy.” She whispered. And I knew that she didn’t mean thank you for the flower I had just given her, but for everything. After everything we had been through I was just happy to hold her in my arms, both of us marveling at the simple fact that we had both survived.
It felt very natural for me to press my lips to the top of her head.
“Anytime, Wise Girl.” I replied.
Annabeth lifted her head to face me and before I knew what was happening, she pressed her lips to mine. They felt soft and I realized how long I had been waiting for this. I hugged her close as her hands slid down to rest on my chest. The kiss made my heart pound out a jagged rhythm and it felt like I would explode from the bliss of the moment. It filled me with warmth to the very tips of my toes and I knew that I would not be the first to pull away.