You think you are funny?
Something comes over her at breakfast that morning. She sits beside Malcolm and listens absently as he explains his latest ideas for updated Camp defenses–chews on a piece of toast, taps her fingers against the table, makes vague sounds of agreement–but she feels inexplicably giddy today, for perhaps no other reason than being alive under a beautiful, sunny sky.
Plus, Percy’s got a terrible case of bedhead, and his shirt is on backwards and inside-out, and she can’t help but smiling as she watches him, three tables away, falling asleep in his cereal.
“Sounds good,” Annabeth says, bumping her shoulder into Malcolm’s as she gets to her feet. She tugs her baseball cap from her belt loop. “Show me the plans later.”
Malcolm sighs. “Because you only heard half of what I said. Don’t cause too much trouble?”
“You know me.”
“That’s the problem!”
She pulls her hat on and slips from visibility, makes her way towards Poseidon’s table, where Tyson is humming along to a song one of the Demeter kids is singing. Percy is too easy a target–his chin rests in his palm, his elbow at the edge of the table, and he’s already nodding off. She sneaks up behind him, safe and grinning beneath her hat, and pushes the at back of his head.
He face-plants in his cold bowl of cereal.
Campers around him erupt into laughter as Percy comes up gasping, milk dripping down his face and cereal clinging to his cheeks. He looks accusingly at his half-brother, who raises his hands in innocence, before taking a handful of scrambled eggs and smashing them into Tyson’s hair. The Demeter kid stops singing. Someone gasps. Malcolm–wise, exasperated Malcolm–groans.
A familiar voice at the Ares table yells, “Food fight!”
Annabeth is safe from the initial volley. Invisible, she ducks behind Tyson’s broad shoulders, misses a glob of jelly that flies right by her head. She’s content to watch the chaos–Will Solace wields bottles of honey, and Hazel flings waffles like discuses, and Piper is cackling as she shoots sausages from her cornucopia. Goblets topple over and stain the white tablecloths. French toast and bacon sizzle as they land on the central brazier. Campers duck beneath tables and slip around the pavilion and toss muffins at one another like dodgeballs.
She thinks Clarisse is the one that ends up landing the hit that gets her found. It’s a splatter of strawberry jam, and it lands right at her jaw. She reels back from the force of it, reaches back to catch herself, probably makes some sound of surprise.
And Percy, ever in tune with her, whips his head to the side.
She crab-walks backwards, hand after foot, as if that’s going to save her. A huff of breathless laughter escapes him. He stares at her, through her, the smear of jam across her jaw, the only thing of her that he can see. There’s a flash in his eyes before he’s throwing himself from the table. He lands on top of her in a mess of limbs, wrestles his way up her body, pins her to the ground.
She can’t help but laugh.
“You think you’re funny?” Percy asks, grinning. He reaches up and pulls her hat from her head, reveals her face in its strawberry-covered glory, kisses her forehead and nose and cheeks until she aches with happiness. “You did this!”
Annabeth wraps her arms around his neck and rubs her face against his, smears jam across his cheeks, his chin, his mouth. She kisses it, sweet and tart, from his lips. She thinks her heart is going to burst from happiness, from love. “Good morning.”