HAPPY HALF BIRTHDAY GRACE! You have now survived another half year without being eaten by monsters or incinerated by an angry god or anything else that really doesn’t bear mentioning. To celebrate that, and because I happened to be rereading PJO for the seventh time, I have compiled a list of every quote that relates to our favorite couple: Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, or PERCABETH. Well, almost every quote. My sister managed to unmark almost every quote in Lightning Thief, but that was the book with the least amount anyways so don’t worry, every other book is more thorough. Here goes!
The Lightning Thief
“‘So if the gods fight,’ I said, ‘will things line up the way they did in the Trojan War? Will it be Athena versus Poseidon?’
She put her head against the backpack Ares had given us, and closed her eyes. ‘I don’t know what my mom will do. I just know I’ll fight next to you.’
‘Because you’re my friend, Seaweed Brain. Any more stupid questions?’”
“‘Percy,’ Annabeth said. ‘Don’t do this. He’s a god.’
‘He’s a coward,’ I told her.
She swallowed. ‘Wear this, at least. For luck.’
She took off her necklace, with her five years’ worth of camp beads and the ring from her father, and tied it around my neck.
‘Reconciliation,’ she said. ‘Athena and Poseidon together.’
My face felt a bit warm, but I managed a smile. ‘Thanks.’”
The Sea of Monsters
“In social studies, while we were drawing latitude/longitude maps, I opened my notebook and stared at the photo inside - my friend Annabeth on vacation in Washington, D.C. She was wearing jeans and a denim jacket over her orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirt. Her blond hair was pulled back in a bandanna. She was standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial with her arms crossed, looking extremely pleased with herself, like she’d personally designed the place. See, Annabeth wants to be an architect when she grows up, so she’s always visiting famous monuments and stuff. She’s weird that way. She’d e-mailed me the picture after spring break, and every once in a while I’d look at it just to remind myself she was real and Camp Half-Blood hadn’t just been my imagination.
I wished Annabeth were here. She’d know what to make of my dream. I’d never admit it to her, but she was smarter than me, even if she was annoying sometimes.”
“Now, under different circumstances, I would’ve been really happy to see her. We’d made our peace last summer, despite the fact that her mom was Athena and didn’t get along with my dad. I’d missed Annabeth probably more than I wanted to admit.”
“But whenever Annabeth talked about the time she’d spent with [Thalia and Luke], I kind of felt . . . I don’t know. Uncomfortable?
No. That’s not the word.
The word was jealous.”
“I almost didn’t recognize [Annabeth]. She was wearing a sleeveless silk dress like C.C.’s, only white. Her blond hair was newly washed and combed and braided with gold. Worst of all, she was wearing makeup, which I never thought Annabeth would be caught dead in. I mean, she looked good. Really good. I probably would’ve been tongue-tied if I could’ve said anything except reet, reet, reet. But there was also something totally wrong about it. It just wasn’t Annabeth.”
“‘Thanks . . .” I faltered. ‘I’m really sorry - ‘
Before I could figure out how to apologize for being such an idiot, she tackled me with a huge hug, then pulled away just as quickly. ‘I’m glad you’re not a guinea pig.’
‘Me, too.’ I hoped my face wasn’t as red as it felt.”
“She started to sob - I mean horrible, heartbroken sobbing. She put her head on my shoulder and I held her.”
“‘You’re a genius,’ I told Annabeth quietly.”
“The crowd cheered. Annabeth planted a kiss on my cheek. The roaring got a lot louder after that.”
The Titan’s Curse
“I looked nervously at Annabeth, then at the groups of girls who were roaming the gym.
‘Well?’ Annabeth said.
‘Um, who should I ask?’
She punched me in the gut. ‘Me, Seaweed Brain.’
‘Oh. Oh, right.’
So we went onto the dance floor, and I looked over to see how Thalia and Grover were doing things. I put one hand on Annabeth’s hip, and she clasped my other hand like she was about to judo throw me.
. . .We shuffled around for a few minutes. I tried to concentrate on little things, like the crepe-paper streamers and the punch bowl - anything but the fact that Annabeth was taller than me, and my hands were sweaty and probably gross, and I kept stepping on her toes.”
“I couldn’t believe Annabeth was gone. And as angry as I was at Thalia, I had a sinking feeling that she was right. It was my fault.
What had Annabeth wanted to tell me in the gym? Something serious, she’d said. Now I might never find out. I thought about how we’d danced together for half a song, and my heart felt even heavier.”
“He went on asking questions. Did I fight a lot with Thalia, since she was a daughter of Zeus? (I didn’t answer that one.) If Annabeth’s mother was Athena, the goddess of wisdom, then why didn’t Annabeth know better than to fall off a cliff? (I tried not to strangle Nico for asking that one.) Was Annabeth my girlfriend? (At this point, I was ready to stick the kid in a meat-flavored sack and throw him to the wolves.)”
“‘I have to go,’ I said. “I need to be on this quest.”
‘Why?’ Zoë asked. ‘Because of thy friend Annabeth?’
I felt myself blushing. I hated that everyone was looking at me. ‘No! I mean, partly. I just feel like I’m supposed to go!’”
“[My mom] always knew when something was wrong. I told her about Annabeth. The other stuff too, but mostly it boiled down to Annabeth.”
“As I watched the sun go down, I thought of Annabeth.”
“Bianca nodded. ‘I hope we find her. Annabeth, I mean. She’s lucky to have a friend like you.’”
“A warm wind blew through the canyon, rustling the trees, but I kept my eyes on the skeletons. I remembered the General gloating over Annabeth’s fate. I remembered the way Luke had betrayed her.
And I charged.”
“‘Well then, why are you on this quest?’
‘Artemis has been captured!’
. . . ‘But my dear Percy, that is why the others are on this quest. I’m more interested in you.’
My heart pounded. I didn’t want to answer, but her eyes drew an answer right out of my mouth. ‘Annabeth is in trouble!’
Aphrodite beamed. ‘Exactly!’
‘I have to help her,’ I said. ‘I’ve been having these dreams.’
‘Ah, you even dream about her! That’s so cute!’”
“‘Seven hundred feet tall,’ I said. ‘Built in the 1930s.’
‘Five million cubic acres of water,’ Thalia said.
Grover sighed. ‘Largest construction project in the United States.’
Zoë stared at us. ‘How do you know all that?’
‘Annabeth,’ I said. ‘She liked architecture.’
‘She was nuts about monuments,’ Thalia said.
‘Spouted facts all the time.’ Grover sniffled. ‘So annoying.’
‘I wish she were here,’ I said.”
“A voice inside me was screaming Ask about Annabeth! That’s what I cared about most.”
“‘[Annabeth’s stepmom] smiled at me. ‘Nice meeting you, Percy. I’ve heard a lot about you.’”
“‘But thank you for rescuing me.’
‘Hey, no big deal. We’re friends.’
‘You didn’t believe I was dead?’
“‘...I must have a new lieutenant. And I intend to choose one. But first, Father Zeus, I must speak to you privately.’
Zeus beckoned Artemis forward. He leaned down and listened as she spoke in his ear.
A feeling of panic seized me. ‘Annabeth,’ I said under my breath. ‘Don’t.’
She frowned at me. ‘What?’
‘Look, I need to tell you something,’ I continued. The words came stumbling out of me. ‘I couldn’t stand it if . . . I don’t want you to -’
‘Percy?’ she said. ‘You look like you’re going to be sick.’
And that’s how I felt. I wanted to say more, but my tongue betrayed me. It wouldn’t move because of the fear in my stomach. And then Artemis turned.
‘I shall have a new lieutenant,’ she announced. ‘If she will accept it.’
‘No,’ I murmured.”
“[Annabeth] studied me with concern. She touched the new streak of gray in my hair that matched hers exactly - our painful souvenir from holding Atlas’s burden. There was a lot I’d wanted to say to Annabeth, but Athena had taken the confidence out of me. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut.
I do not approve of your friendship with my daughter.
‘So,’ Annabeth said. ‘What did you want to tell me earlier?’
The music was playing. People were dancing in the streets. I said, ‘I, uh, was thinking we got interrupted at Westover Hall. And . . . I think I owe you a dance.’
She smiled slowly. ‘All right, Seaweed Brain.’
So I took her hand, and I don’t know what everybody else heard, but to me it sounded like a slow dance: a little sad, but maybe a little hopeful, too.”
The Battle of the Labyrinth
“‘Think positive. Tomorrow you’re off to camp! After orientation, you’ve got your date -’
‘It’s not a date!’ I protested. ‘It’s just Annabeth, Mom. Jeez.’
‘She’s coming all the way from camp to meet you.’
‘You’re going to the movies.’
‘Just the two of you.’
“Somebody else slid next to me on the bench: Annabeth.
‘I’ll tell you what it’s about,’ she said. ‘The Labyrinth.’
It was hard to concentrate on what she was saying, because everybody in the dining pavilion was stealing glances at us and whispering. And Annabeth was right next to me. I mean right next to me.”
“Despite how serious [Annabeth] was acting, I was happy she wasn’t mad at me anymore. And I kind of liked the fact that she’d broken the rules to come sit next to me.”
“Quintus kept rattling off the names until he said, ‘Percy Jackson with Annabeth Chase.’
‘Nice.’ I grinned at Annabeth.
‘Your armor is crooked’ was her only comment, and she redid my straps for me.”
“Annabeth’s hand slipped into mine. Under different circumstances I would’ve been embarrassed, but here in the dark I was glad to know where she was. It was about the only thing I was sure of.”
“[Annabeth] turned to me. ‘Will you come?’
I didn’t even hesitate. ‘I’m in.’
She smiled for the first time in days, and that made it all worthwhile.”
“Then [Annabeth] did something that really surprised me. She blinked back tears and put out her arms.
I stepped forward and hugged her. Butterflies started turning my stomach into a mosh pit.
‘Hey, it’s . . . it’s okay.’ I patted her on the back.
I was aware of everything in the room. I felt like I could read the tiniest print on any book on the shelves. Annabeth’s hair smelled like lemon soap. She was shivering.
‘Chiron might be right,’ she muttered. ‘I’m breaking the rules. But I don’t know what else to do. I need you three. It just feels right.’
‘Then don’t worry about it,’ I managed. ‘We’ve had plenty of problems before, and we solved them.’
‘This is different. I don’t want anything happening to . . . any of you.’”
“‘Percy, I was kidding myself. All that planning and reading, I don’t have a clue where we’re going.’
‘You’re doing great. Besides, we never know what we’re doing. It always works out. Remember Circe’s island?’
She snorted. ‘You made a cute guinea pig.’
‘And Waterland, how you got us thrown off that ride?’
‘I got us thrown off? That was totally your fault!’
‘See? It’ll be fine.’
She smiled, which I was glad to see, but the smile faded quickly.”
“‘Put your cap back on,’ I said. ‘Get out!’
‘What?’ Annabeth shrieked. ‘No! I’m not leaving you!’
‘I’ve got a plan. I’ll distract them. You can use the metal spider - maybe it’ll lead you back to Hephestaus. You have to tell him what’s going on.’
‘But you’ll be killed!’
‘I’ll be fine. Besides, we’ve got no choice.’
Annabeth glared at me like she was going to punch me. And then she did something that surprised me even more. She kissed me.
‘Be careful, Seaweed Brain.’ She put on her hat and vanished.
I probably would’ve sat there for the rest of the day, staring at the lava and trying to remember what my name was, but the sea demons jarred me back to reality.”
“I wished I had a plan. I wished I hadn’t been lying to Annabeth. I’d wanted to get her out safely, and I hoped she’d be sensible enough to do it.”
“‘Hephestaus,’ I said, ‘what’s going on? Is Annabeth -’
‘She’s fine,’ he said. ‘Resourceful girl, that one. Found her way back, told me the whole story. She’s worried sick, you know.’”
“Annabeth turned to face the audience. She looked terrible. Her eyes were puffy from crying, but she managed to say, ‘He was probably the bravest friend I’ve ever had. He . . .’ Then she saw me. Her face went blood red. ‘He’s right there!’”
“‘WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?’ Annabeth interrupted, shoving aside the other campers. I thought she was going to punch me, but instead she hugged me so fiercely she nearly cracked my ribs. The other campers fell silent. Annabeth seemed to realize she was making a scene and pushed me away. ‘I - we though you were dead, Seaweed Brain!’”
“‘So much for being the bravest friend she ever had.’
‘She will calm down,’ Chiron promised. ‘She’s jealous, my boy.’
‘That’s stupid. She’s not . . . it’s not like . . .’
Chiron chuckled. ‘It hardly matters. Annabeth is very territorial about her friends, in case you haven’t noticed. She was quite worried about you. And now that you’re back, I think she suspects where you were marooned.’”
“Annabeth laughed. It was the first time I’d heard her laugh in a long time, and it was nice to hear.”
“‘Annabeth’s not usually like this,’ I told her. ‘I don’t know what her problem is.’
Rachel raised her eyebrows. ‘Are you sure you don’t know?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Boys,’ she muttered. ‘Totally blind.’”
“‘I have to check it out,’ I said.
‘Percy, no.’ [Annabeth said.]
‘Luke could be right there,’ I said. ‘Or . . . or Kronos. I have to find out what’s going on.’
Annabeth hesitated. ‘Then we’ll all go.’
‘No,’ I said. ‘It’s too dangerous. If they got ahold of Nico, or Rachel for that matter, Kronos could use them. You stay here and guard them.’
What I didn’t say: I was also worried about Annabeth. I didn’t trust what she would do if she saw Luke again. He had fooled her and manipulated her too may times before.
...Annabeth took her Yankees cap out of her pocket. ‘At least take this. And be careful.’
‘Thanks.’ I remembered the last time Annabeth and I had parted ways, wen she’d given me a kiss for luck in Mount St. Helens. This time, all I got was the hat.”
“‘This could be it,’ [Annabeth] said.
‘Nice fighting with you, Seaweed Brain.’
“Annabeth stood as still as a statue. She could’ve said thank you. She could’ve promised to throw some barbecue on the brazier for Hera and forget the whole thing. But she clenched her jaw stubbornly. She looked just the way she had when she’d faced the Sphinx - like she wasn’t going to accept an easy answer, even if it got her in serious trouble. I realized that was one of the things I liked best about Annabeth.”
“‘Listen, Annabeth -’ I thought about Mount St. Helens, Calypso’s Island, Luke and Rachel Elizabeth Dare and how suddenly everything had gotten so complicated. I wanted to tell Annabeth that I didn’t really want to be so distant from her.”
“‘You’d better go,’ Poseidon said. ‘But, Percy, one last thing you should know. That incident at Mount St. Helens . . .’
For a second I though he was talking about Annabeth kissing me, and I blushed, but then I realized he was talking about something a lot bigger.”
The Demigod Files
“Beckendorf walked up to me with his helmet under his arm. ‘She likes you, man.’
‘Sure,’ I muttered. ‘She likes me for target practice.’
‘Nah, they always do that. A girl starts trying to kill you, you know she’s into you.’
‘Makes a lot of sense.’
Beckendorf shrugged. ‘I know about these things. You ought to ask her to the fireworks.’”
“I usually listened to [Beckendorf] about stuff, but the idea of asking Annabeth to the Fourth of July fireworks down at the beach - like, the biggest dating event of the summer - made my stomach do somersaults.”
“Annabeth came up to me and squeezed my shoulder. ‘Hey, Seaweed Brain, you okay?’
‘Fine . . . I guess.’ I was thinking how close I’d come to being chopped into demigod hash in the dragon’s mouth.
‘You did great.’ Annabeth’s smile was a lot nicer than that stupid dragon’s.
‘You, too,’ I said shakily.”
“I had to go barefoot, because the acid had eaten completely through my shoe. When I kicked it off I realized the goo had soaked into my sock and turned my foot red and raw. I leaned against Annabeth, and she helped me limp through the woods.
Beckendorf and Silena walked ahead of us, holding hands, and we gave them space.
Watching them, with my arm around Annabeth for support, I felt pretty uncomfortable. I silently cursed Beckendorf for being so brave, and I don’t mean for facing the dragon. After three years, he’d finally gotten the courage to ask Silena Beauregard out. It wasn’t fair.
‘You know,’ Annabeth said as we struggled along. ‘That wasn’t the bravest thing I’ve ever seen.’
I blinked. Had she been reading my thoughts?
‘Um . . . what do you mean?’
Annabeth gripped my waist as we stumbled through a shallow creek. ‘You stood up to the dragon so Beckendorf would have his chance to jump - now that was brave.’
‘Or pretty stupid.’
‘Percy, you’re a brave guy,’ she said. ‘Just take the compliment. I swear, is it so hard?’
We locked eyes. Our faces were, like, two inches apart. My chest felt a little funny, like my heart was trying to do jumping jacks.
‘So . . .’ I said. ‘I guess Silena and Charlie are going to the fireworks together.’
‘I guess so,’ Annabeth agreed.
‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘Um, about that -’
I don’t know what I would’ve said, but just then, three of Annabeth’s sibling from the Athena cabin burst out of the bushes with their swords drawn.”
“But Annabeth just smiled and put us in jail. As she was heading back to the front line, she turned and winked. ‘See you at the fireworks?’
She didn’t even wait for my answer before darting off into the woods.
I looked at Beckendorf. ‘Did she just . . . ask me out?’
He shrugged, completely disgusted. ‘Who knows with girls? Give me a haywire dragon, any day.’”
“I mean, he’s not dumb. He’s actually pretty intelligent, but he acts so dumb sometimes. I wonder if he does it just to annoy me. The guy has a lot going for him. He’s courageous. He’s got a sense of humor. He’s good-looking, but don’t you dare tell him I said that.
Where was I? Oh yeah, so he’s got a lot going for him, but he’s so . . . obtuse. That’s the word. I mean he doesn’t see really obvious stuff, like the way people feel, even when you’re giving him hints, and being totally blatant. What? No, I’m not talking about anyone or anything in particular! I’m just making a general statement. Why does everyone always think . . . agh! Forget it!”
“As we walked, I tried to think about positive things: my favorite basketball players, my last conversation with Annabeth, what my mom would make for Christmas dinner - anything but the pain.”
The Last Olympian
“Annabeth ran in right behind him, and I’ll admit my heart did a little relay race in my chest when I saw her. It’s not that she tried to look good. We’d been doing so many combat missions lately, she hardly brushed her curly blond hair anymore, and she didn’t care what clothes she was wearing - usually the same old orange camp T-shirt and jeans, and once in a while her bronze armor. Her eyes were stormy gray. Most of the time we couldn’t get through a conversation without trying to strangle each other. Still, just seeing her made me feel fuzzy in the head. Last summer, before Luke had turned into Kronos and everything went sour, there had been a few times when I thought maybe . . . well, that we might get past the strangle-each-other phase.”
“Annabeth wiped a tear from her cheek. ‘I’m glad you’re not dead, Seaweed Brain.’”
“‘You remember Briares throwing those boulders?’ I asked.
Annabeth gave me a grudging smile. ‘And Grover causing a Panic?’
We locked eyes. I thought of a different time last summer, under Mount St. Helens, when Annabeth thought I was going to die and she kissed me.
She cleared her throat and looked away.”
“‘No.’ I folded up the prophecy and shoved it into my pocket. I felt defiant, though I wasn’t sure who I was angry with. ‘I don’t need time. If I die, I die. I can’t worry about that, right?’
Annabeth’s hands were shaking a little. She wouldn’t meet my eyes.”
“‘Percy,’ Chiron said, ‘we didn’t want to tell you until you returned to camp. You needed a break with your . . . mortal friends.’
Annabeth blushed. It dawned on me that she knew I’d been hanging out with Rachel, and I felt guilty. Then I felt angry that I felt guilty. I was allowed to have friends outside camp, right? It wasn’t like . . .”
“I found myself staring at [Annabeth], which was stupid since I’d seen her a billion times. She and I were about the same height this summer, which was a relief. Still, she seemed so much more mature. It was kind of intimidating. I mean, sure, she’d always been cute, but she was starting to be seriously beautiful.”
“I shuffled uneasily and pretended to go through some more reports. Technically, even on inspection, it was against camp rules for two campers to be . . . like, alone in a cabin.
That rule had come up a lot when Silena and Beckendorf started dating. And I know some of you might be thinking, Aren’t all demigods related on the godly side, and doesn’t that make dating gross? But the thing is, the godly side of your family doesn’t count, genetically speaking, since gods don’t have DNA. A demigod would never thinkg about dating someone who had the same godly parent. Like two kids from Athena cabin? No way. But a daughter of Aphrodite and a son of Hephaestus? They’re not related. So it’s no problem.
Anyway, for some strange reason I was thinking about this as I watched Annabeth straighten up.”
“‘You know . . .’ She brushed her hair behind her ear, like she does when she’s nervous. ‘This whole thing with Beckendorf and Silena. It kind of makes you think. About . . . what’s important. About losting people who are important.’
I nodded. My brain started seizing in on little random details, like the fact that she was still wearing those silver owl earings from her dad, who was this brainiac history professor in San Francisco.
‘Um, yeah,’ I stammered. ‘Like . . . is everything cool with your family?’
Okay, really stupid question, but hey, I was nervous.
Annabeth looked disappointed, but she nodded.”
“She threw down her scroll. ‘I knew we shouldn’t have showed you the prophecy.’ Her voice was angry and hurt. ‘All it did was scare you. You run away from things when you’re scared.’
I stared at her, completely stunned. ‘Me? Run away?’
She got right in my face. ‘Yes, you. You’re a coward, Percy Jackson!’
We were nose to nose. Her eyes were red, and I suddenly realized that when she called me a coward, maybe she wasn’t talking about the prophecy.”
“I was losing the fight. The pain was too much. My hands and feet were melting into the water, my soul was being ripped from my body. I couldn’t remember who I was. The pain of Kronos’s scythe had been nothing compared to this.
The cord, a familiar voice said. Remember your lifeline, dummy!
Suddenly there was a tug in my lower back. The current pulled at me, but it wasn’t carrying me away anymore. I imagined the string in my back keeping me tied to the shore.
‘Hold on, Seaweed Brain.’ It was Annabeth’s voice, much clearer now. ‘You’re not getting away from me that easily.’
The cord strengthened.
I could see Annabeth now - standing barefoot above me on the canoe lake pier. I’d fallen out of my canoe. That was it. She was reaching out her hand to haul me up, and she was trying no to laugh. She wore her orange camp T-shirt and jeans. Her hair was tucked up in her Yankees cap, which was strange because that should have made her invisible.
‘You are such an idiot sometimes.” She smiled. ‘Come on. Take my hand.’
Memories came flooding back to me - sharper and more colorful. I stopped dissolving. My name was Percy Jackson. I reached up and took Annabeth’s hand.”
“This time, Annabeth picked up.
‘Hey,’ I said. ‘You get my message?’
‘Percy, where have you been? You message said almost nothing! We’ve been worried sick!’”
“‘Last thing.’ Hermes looked to me. ‘[Athena] said to tell Percy: ‘Remember the rivers.’ And, um, something about staying away from her daughter.’
I’m not sure whose face was redder: Annabeth’s or mine.”
“‘Maybe you should blame yourself!’ I should’ve kept my mouth shut, but all I could think about was turning his attention away from Annabeth.”
“‘I’ll go with Percy,’ [Annabeth] said. ‘Then we’ll join you, or we’ll go wherever we’re needed.’
Somebody in the back of the group said, ‘No detours, you two.’”
“I drove with Annabeth behind me holding on to my waist.”
“‘Wait here,’ I told Annabeth.
‘Percy, you shouldn’t go alone.’
‘Well, unless you can breathe underwater . . .’
She sighed. ‘You are so annoying sometimes.’
‘Like when I’m right? Trust me, I’ll be fine. I’ve got the curse of Achilles now. I’ll [be] all invincible and stuff.’
Annabeth didn’t look convinced. ‘Just be careful. I don’t want anything to happen to you. I mean, because we need you for the battle.’
I grinned. ‘Back in a flash.’”
“I kept my eyes on Annabeth.
She nodded reluctantly. ‘All right. Get moving.’
Before I could lose my courage, I said, ‘Don’t I get a kiss for good luck? It’s kind of a tradition, right?’
I figured she would punch me. Instead, she drew her knife and stared at the army marching towards us. ‘Come back alive, Seaweed Brain. Then we’ll see.’
I figured it was the best offer I would get, so I stepped out from behind the school bus.”
“We’d almost made it to the middle of the bridge when something strange happened. I felt a chill down my spine - like that old saying about someone walking on your grave. Behind me, Annabeth cried out in pain.
‘Annabeth!’ I turned in time to see her fall, clutching her arm. A demigod with a bloody knife stood over her.
In a flash I understood what had happened. He’d been trying to stab me. Judging from the position of his blade, he would’ve taken me - maybe by sheer luck - in the small of my back, my only weak point.
Annabeth had intercepted the knife with her own body.”
“‘Percy!’ Jake Mason clapped me on the shoulder. ‘We’re getting reports -’
‘Later,’ I said. ‘Where’s Annabeth?’
‘The terrace. She’s alive, man, but . . .’
I pushed past him.
...‘Annabeth . . .’ I choked up. She’d taken that knife for me. How could I have let that happen?”
“Silena threw her arms around me. Then she pushed back awkwardly, glancing at Annabeth. ‘Um, sorry. Thank you, Percy! I won’t let you down!’
Once she was gone, I knelt next to Annabeth and felt her forehead. She was still burning up.
‘You’re cute when you’re worried,’ she muttered. ‘Your eyebrows get all scrunched together.’
‘You are not going to die while I owe you a favor,’ I said. ‘Why did you take that knife?’
‘You would’ve done the same for me.’
It was true. I guess we both knew it. Still, I felt like somebody was poking my heart with a cold metal rod. ‘How did you know?’
I looked around to make sure we were alone. Then I leaned in close and whispered: ‘My Achilles spot. If you hadn’t taken that knife, I would’ve died.’
She got a faraway look in her eyes. Her breath smelled of grapes, maybe from the nectar. ‘I don’t know, Percy. I just had this feeling you were in danger. Where . . . where is the spot?’
I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone. But this was Annabeth. If I couldn’t trust her, I couldn’t trust anyone.
‘The small of my back.’
She lifted her hand. ‘Where? Here?’
She put her hand on my spine, and my skin tingled. I moved her fingers to the one spot that grounded me to my mortal life. A thousands volts of electricity seemed to arc through my body.
‘You saved me,’ I said. ‘Thanks.’
She removed her hand, but I kept holding it.
‘So you owe me,’ she said weakly. ‘What else is new?’”
“‘So,’ [Annabeth] said, ‘are you going to argue about me coming along?’
‘Nah. You’d just beat me up.’
She managed a laugh, which was good to hear.”
“‘I guess I understand how you feel,’ I said. ‘But Thalia’s right. Luke has already betrayed you so many times. He was evil even before Kronos. I don’t want him to hurt you anymore.’”
“But Annabeth was in no shape for jumping. She stumbled and yelled, ‘Percy!’
I caught her hand as the pavement fell, crumbling into dust. For a second I though she was going to pull us both over. Her feet dangled in the open air. Her hand started to slip until I was holding her only by her fingers. Then Grover and Thalia grabbed my legs, and I found extra strength. Annabeth was not going to fall.
I pulled her up and we lay trembling on the pavement. I didn’t realize we had our arms around each other until she suddenly tensed.
‘Um, thanks,’ she muttered.
I tried to say Don’t mention it, but it came out as, “Uh duh.’
“My only thought was the keep [Kronos] away from Annabeth.”
“I surged forward and scooped up her knife. I knocked Backbiter out of Luke’s hand, and it spun into the hearth. Luke hardly paid me any attention. He stepped towards Annabeth, but I put myself between him and her.
‘Don’t touch her,’ I said.”
“She looked at me, like she was drinking in the fact that I was still here. And I realized I was doing the same thing. The world was collapsing, and the only thing that really mattered to me was that she was alive.”
“I glanced back. Annabeth was trying not to meet my eyes. Her face was pale. I flashed back to two years ago, when I’d thought she was going to take the pledge to Artemis and become a Hunter. I’d been on the edge of a panic attack, thinking I’d lose her. Now, she looked pretty much the same way.”
“‘I’m honored and everything,’ I said. ‘Don’t get me wrong. It’s just . . . I’ve got a lot of life left to live. I’d hate to peak in my sophomore year.”
The gods were glaring at me, but Annabeth had her hands over her mouth. Her eyes were shining. That kind of made up for it.”
“‘Well, Percy,’ [Athena] said. ‘You will stay mortal.’
‘Um, yes, ma’am.’
‘I would [like to] know your reasons.’
‘I want to be a regular guy. I want to grow up. Have, you know, a regular high school experience.’
‘And my daughter?’
‘I couldn’t leave her,’ I admitted, my throat dry.”
“‘Hey.’ Annabeth slid next to me on the bench. ‘Happy birthday.’
She was holding a huge misshapen cupcake with blue icing.
I stared at her. ‘What?’
‘It’s August 18th,’ she said. ‘Your birthday, right?’
I was stunned. It hadn’t even occurred to me, but she was right. I had turned sixteen this morning - the same morning I’d made the choice to give Luke the knife. The prophecy had come true right on schedule, and I hadn’t even thought about the fact that it was my birthday.
‘Make a wish,’ she said.
‘Did you bake this yourself?’ I asked.
‘That explains why it looks like a chocolate brick,’ I said. ‘With extra blue cement.’
I thought for a second, and then blew out the candle.
We cut it in half and shared, eating with our fingers. Annabeth sat next to me, and we watched the ocean. Crickets and monsters were making noise in the woods, but otherwise it was quiet.
‘You saved the world,’ she said.
‘We saved the world.’
‘And Rachel is the new Oracle, which means she won’t be dating anybody.’
‘You don’t sound disappointed,’ I noticed.
Annabeth shrugged. ‘Oh, I don’t care.’
She raised an eyebrow. ‘You got something to say to me, Seaweed Brain?’
‘You’d probably kick my butt.’
‘You know I’d kick your butt.’
I brushed the cake off my hands. ‘When I was at the River Styx, turning invulnerable . . . Nico said I had to concentrate on one thing that kept me anchored to the world, that made me want to stay mortal.’
Annabeth kept her eyes on the horizon. ‘Yeah?’
‘Then up on Olympus,’ I said, ‘when they wanted to make and a god and stuff, I kept thinking -’
‘Oh, you so wanted to.’
‘Well, maybe a little. But I didn’t, because I thought - I didn’t want things to stay the same for eternity, because things could always get better. And I was thinking . . .’ My throat felt really dry.
‘Anyone in particular?’ Annabeth asked, her voice soft.
I looked over and saw that she was trying not to smile.
‘You’re laughing at me,’ I complained.
‘I am not!’
‘You are so not making this easy.’
Then she laughed for real, and she put her hands around my neck. ‘I am never, ever going to make things easy for you, Seaweed Brain. Get used to it.’
When she kissed me, I had the feeling my brain was melting right through my body.
I could’ve stayed that way forever, except a voice behind us growled, ‘Well, it’s about time!’
Suddenly the pavilion was filled with torchlight and campers. Clarisse led the way as the eavesdroppers charged and hoisted us both onto their shoulders.
‘Oh, come on!’ I complained. ‘Is there no privacy?’
‘The lovebirds need to cool off!’ Clarisse said with glee.
‘The canoe lake!’ Connor Stoll shouted.
With a huge cheer, they carried us down the hill, but they kept us close enough to hold hands. Annabeth was laughing, and I couldn’t help laughing too, even though my face was completely red.
We held hands right up to the moment they dumped us in the water.
Afterward, I had the last laugh. I made an air bubble at the bottom of the lake. Our friends kept waiting for us to come up, but hey - when you’re the son of Poseidon, you don’t have to hurry.
And it was pretty much the best underwater kiss of all time.”
“‘Won’t change anything,’ I said. ‘You’re still my best friend.’
[Grover] grinned. ‘Except for Annabeth.’
‘Yeah,’ he agreed. ‘It sure is.’”
“Annabeth, thank goodness, would be staying in New York. She’d gotten permission from her parents to attend a boarding school in the city so she could be close to Olympus and oversee rebuilding efforts.
‘And close to me?’ I asked.
‘Well, someone’s got a big sense of his own importance.’ But she laced her fingers through mine. I remembered what she’d told me in New York, about building something permanent and I thought - just maybe - we were off to a good start.”