Today is Mod Rach’s birthday, so here’s her present; have some Percabeth everyone! Read it here on AO3.
When Annabeth opened the door to their apartment, she expected a lot more noise than the sound of the radiator running. Man, did they have to get that thing fixed, it sounded like the Minotaur with a head cold.
Percy wasn’t exactly a quiet housemate. He was always up and doing something, whether it was sitting on the couch and playing video games or singing “Part of Your World” at the top of his lungs as he cooked dinner. The quiet in the apartment was eerie. Annabeth let her bag fall off her shoulder to the floor and kicked off her shoes before entering.
She checked all the usual places that Percy might’ve left a note: the refrigerator, the XBox 360, under a fancy paperweight they had gotten in Greece. Nada.
There weren’t any signs of Percy in the living room or kitchenette, which left the bedroom and the bathroom. Percy was the kind of person to fall asleep while taking a bath, though luckily he couldn’t accidentally drown from it. Annabeth wouldn’t worry yet.
She found him in the bedroom. At the sight of him, she got worried.
Percy was curled up on himself in a fetal position, one arm covering his head. His body was a small bump in a mountain of blankets piled on top. For a split second, Annabeth was more than a little impressed that Percy managed to construct a blanket fort of such size…but a fort like this would mean…
“Percy? Are you feeling alright?” Annabeth asked softly. The lump that was her boyfriend moved a bit as Percy curled up tighter at the sound of her voice.
“Percy, please, talk to me.” Annabeth tried again. She walked to the bed and sat down, placing one hand on Percy’s shoulders. “Please tell me what’s wrong.”
“Don’t feel good.” Percy said, almost inaudibly.
That could’ve meant a number of things when it came to Percy. She checked the back of Percy’s neck for a fever but didn’t find one. Goose bumps rose to the surface of Percy’s skin, and he pulled away a little. “Cold,” He muttered.
“Sorry,” Annabeth said, pulling her hand away. She rubbed her hands together to get some blood flowing to them. “This isn’t sick-not feeling good, this is PTSD-not feeling good.”
It wasn’t phrased as a question, but Percy nodded anyways. “Today is a bad day.” He said from under his blankets.
He squirmed under the covers for a second to shift and look at Annabeth. She took in the sight of his red-rimmed eyes, unshaven face and the frown tugging the corners of his mouth down. He looked so small and so upset, Annabeth felt the overbearing need to hold him and never let go.
She thought back to their time in Tartarus (she’d like to say she’d forgotten about it, but she can’t and probably never will) when Percy was giving his all to keep her safe. Of course, she wasn’t exactly a damsel in distress but everything he did, he did it to make sure she was safe. She’d done a fair share of saving his ass, of course, but maybe it was time to start a new tab.
Percy had taken his PTSD diagnosis with a sardonic chuckle and an offhand comment of, “We can add it to the list of things that fuck up my life. A triple threat.”
But later that night, with a panic attack so severe Annabeth had had to call Sally to talk Percy out of it, they both realized that maybe this was bigger than the both of them.
Being a half-blood is dangerous. Most of the time it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways. Other times, it causes things that are even worse.
“Do you know what triggered it?” Annabeth asked. They had a list going of Percy’s triggers. The list wasn’t huge so far, but the stuff that was on it was common enough that they sometimes had trouble learning to adjust around them.
“Burned myself making some fucking eggs. All of a sudden I was back at the River Phlegethon.” Percy said, bitterly. “I fucking hate this. I want to get better.”
“You will,” Annabeth said, “You will. Probably not right away, and it might never go away but one day you’ll get to a point where you have more good days than bad ones and you don’t feel so controlled by this. You’re not your diagnosis, Seaweed Brain.”
“For a pep talk that made me feel even shittier.” Percy said, covering his face with a blanket.
“Can’t help that I’m better at impromptu speeches than you are.” Percy said, poking his head back out of the covers. There was a small smile on his face, showing the barest hint of Percy’s usual grin. The knot in Annabeth’s stomach lessened a little.
Percy raised the mountain of blankets up enough to make room for Annabeth to slide in, “Cuddle with me?”
Annabeth leaned down to kiss her boyfriend’s forehead, “Yeah, ok.”
She shucked off her t-shirt and jeans because Percy had a vendetta against cuddling in bed with clothes on. Down to her underwear, she slid in and slotted herself against Percy. He was down to his boxers, his Flounder ones that he’d been given a Christmas before as a gag gift but quickly became his favorite pair.
They settled so Percy could put his face between her breasts and wrap his arms around her middle. It was Percy’s favorite thing to do when they cuddled and Annabeth didn’t mind, even if his stubble was kind of scratchy. She could kiss the top of his head like this and massage the back of his neck, which made him breathe out, long and slow.
The tension in his muscles gave out as he relaxed into her. For the moment, the crashing tide inside of Percy had calmed down to a gentle roll of waves on the shore.
“I love you,” Percy mumbled into her chest.
“Me or my boobs?” Annabeth laughed. She felt Percy smile against her before he said, “Mm, both.”
“We all love you too.” Annabeth said. Percy laughed, quietly with a small shake of his shoulders. He pulled her closer to him. She threw one of her legs over his side.
They fell asleep like that, hopelessly tangled and hopelessly in love, but a little less hopeless in how they would figure everything out.