Everyone Loves Percy

Thalia

She was naturally a competitive person.

She couldn't help it, really; after all, it was in her blood, her father being the King of the Gods, always trying to maintain his position as the top dog. The situation was even more tense with Zeus trying to prevent his brothers from getting any ideas about taking the spot. He, and his daughter too, in a way, had to keep on a permanent shield of impenetrable armor, one without a single chink. It was tough, trying to be the biggest, the baddest, the best: basically, the most powerful.

So whenever Thalia hung out with other children of the Big Three, she tended to be a bit more on edge than usual.

Nobody usually seemed to notice, usually, but every so once in a while, the campers and the Hunters would get together to play a game, and her competitive side would come out on its own, loud and boisterous. She would speak tersely, formal. She might do a bit of trash-talking. She might get physical and shove someone on the other team. She was never proud of pushing the competition, but at least they were always her opponents.

Well, except for that one time.

It had been before she joined the hunt, when she was still actually fifteen years old. Come to think of it, it had been only a few days before the winter solstice. Before they'd even left on the quest, because there hadn't even been a prophecy yet. As she walked down the pier to the dock, book in hand, Thalia's thoughts begin to wander to that fateful day, three years exactly from two or three days ago.

Sitting on the edge of the dock with her feet dangling over the frozen water, Thalia sighed. Normally, when it wasn't winter, waves would be splashing onto her pale feet (which she thought were too large), scenting her with the ocean's perfume, serving as white noise to which she could relax and just listen to the sound of the waves crashing down and around on the pier. Today though, Thalia quietly thumbed through her diary with only the light wind and a dusting of snow drifting down from the sky as her background noise. She found the date she'd been thinking of: December 19. Random thoughts she'd written down in the journal popped out at her as she scanned that day's entry.

I am so mad at Percy. Like, really mad.

This is the last straw, the last time I am going to put up with that Seaweed Brain. He almost cost us our entire mission at Westover Hall, running off on his own without even trying to find me and Annabeth. Instead, he went off by himself to try to be the hero like he does all the time. He is such an attention-seeker. Jerk.

As she'd matured and opened her eyes a little, Thalia had eventually seen that he always meant to do heroic deeds in good intention, always balking at the idea that he could even be considered a hero. She turned her attention back to the diary.

Maybe that's why I'm so mad. He's always the savior without even trying to be. He's just naturally the hero in any situation, way more than me anyway. But even his skill wasn't enough to stop Dr. Thorn. Haha.

No, of course not. The stupid Hunters of Artemis had to come in and save the day once again. Me and the others were left standing there like idiots while they charged into a battle consisting solely of the manticore and those high-brow hunters with their fancy bows and immortality. I hate them. They are all so stupid. I'm glad I'll never become one.

The irony was hilarious. Thalia now knew that she'd only felt that way out of jealousy. Back then she'd been so jealous over anyone who's powers rivaled her in the slightest- besides the gods, of course. So whenever the Hunters would turn up, she turned bitter. She used to think they had everything: a goddess to watch over them, fancy bows, amazing hunting skills, sisterhood for life, and, of course, immortality. Now, though, Thalia was no longer jealous. She was a Hunter now, after all, and she knew that they didn't have everything. For one thing, she could never grow old with a certain someone. She also knew that even before she'd joined the hunt, several of the Hunters, like Thalia, had died after also trying to become close to a certain unattainable someone.

Percy Jackson.

Feeling her thoughts becoming haywire and her face heating up, Thalia shook those present thoughts away and absorbed herself once again in reading the past thoughts of her younger self. That day's entry was over, so Thalia flipped to the next one from the following day on the 20th.

Now I'm even madder.

Ugh, Thalia thought. My grammar was atrocious.

Chiron somehow decided that it would be a good idea for us to play a game of Capture the Flag: Campers vs. Hunters. Now, Dear Diary, I'm sure you know how competitive I can be. Especially when those idiotic hunters are involved. Well, you can probably imagine how the game went today. Except it was worse than that, because Percy was involved.

Thalia flipped the page to continue reading. She was curious; she didn't remember this part.

Our team was winning, and we could've won if it hadn't been for that Seaweed Brain. My team and I were SO close to getting the flag, when all of a sudden, the idiot shows up and races off with the other team's flag. He was going completely against the plan!

"Percy! What are you doing?" I yelled, seeing him trip over something. In his hand he held the Hunters' flag, and I was so confused and astonished that I didn't notice the arrow shoot towards us. "No fair!" I complained as the fart arrow exploded, filling the air around me and my group with a rancid smell of rotten eggs. "Fart arrows are unsportsmanlike!"

As I fell onto the forest floor, coughing and gagging, I was mildly aware of Percy getting up with the flag and sprinting off to the creek. For a moment, when I was retching there on the ground, I almost thought he was going to make it. But then, of course, the bane of my existence, Zoe Nightshade, showed up and hurtled over the creek with the Campers' flag clutched tightly in her left hand. The smug look on her face made me want to puke. Maybe it was the fart arrow, actually. Or both.

Chuckling, Thalia took her attention off of her old diary for just a moment to think about her past hatred of Zoe. In truth, Zoe had actually been a great person, but she'd only realized it as the girl died. Sad, right? Thalia had ended up hating a girl, two girls, actually, her whole life just because they felt the same way about a guy. It was so stupid. And, as Thalia thought about it now, the other two girls had both been Hunters, so there was no way they could have felt that way about a guy, or else they would have lost their maidenhood. They'd probably lost their feelings for him as soon as they took the oath.

Shaking her head in dismay, the girl granted her attention once again to her dramatic diary with a sigh.

I don't really know what happened after the Hunters won, because I was still gagging from the acidic smell in the air, but I immediately confronted Percy as soon as I was able to stand.

"PERSEUS JACKSON!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, storming towards the villain. I must have looked really intimidating with my shield out, or smelled of rotten eggs really bad, because everyone cowered away from me after swiveling their heads to look. Everyone, that is, except Percy.

The nerve of him, not even bothering to cringe! I looked absolutely terrifying at that moment, and he didn't even wince, just flinched minisculely when I shouted in his face. "What in the name of the gods were you THINKING?"

Apparently then was not a good time to get onto his case, because he just balled his hands into tight fists and said through his teeth, "I got the flag, Thalia! I saw a chance and I took it!"

I was honestly very surprised. Still am, actually. I guess Percy had a bad day or something, because he usually just grits his teeth and bears it when I yell at him. He's only fought back once or twice, so I don't know what's up with him. But the idea that he was more upset than me really ticked me off, I think. See, told you I'm competitive.

"I WAS AT THEIR BASE!" I screamed, making sure the volume of my voice was louder than his had been. "But the flag was gone. If you hadn't butted in, we would've won."

"You had too many on you!" he said defensively. Nope, no excuses.

"Oh, so it's my fault?" I bit back snarkily. No way was I gonna let him off easy.

"I didn't say that," he said, trying to backtrack. This was it. I was gonna end the fight right now, before this escalated. I would have the last word, and I would win the argument as usual with him feeling miserable for feeling dumb and me feeling triumphant for being the winner of yet another debate. So I gave a slight yell, "Agh!", and then I shoved him.

When she read those words, Thalia grimaced instinctively, knowing what was coming.

I guess I got a little too rough, or got really upset, but I pushed Percy way harder than I meant to. I had meant to only shove him a foot or two, and even added in a little playful shock, but I guess I was way more upset than I thought, and didn't realize he was still wet from the creek, because the result was scary. Percy blasted backwards with the impact of the shock, and landed ten feet back in the creek.

I immediately felt terrible, of course, but the damage was done. The crowd went silent with a collective gasp, and there was a person or two in the back that dared to chuckle. I did my best to apologize, but knew it was no use.

""Sorry! I didn't mean to-"

A giant wave thrust up from the creek, resembling a hand too much for my taste; it was like Percy controlled the angry wave while it knocked me down, which wasn't too hard to believe. "Yeah. I didn't either" he said, standing up with a scowl plastered on his face, a new look that I hadn't seen before. His face right then was so foreboding and ominous that I would have wet myself if the wave hadn't done it for me.

Thalia leaned back on the pier, drawing her feet up onto the dock and her fluffy coat cushioning her back from the hard wooden planks. She distinctly remembered the expression on Percy's face that day. It was truly one of the most terrifying things she'd ever seen, and, thankfully, it had never been directed at her after that incident. Thalia's memories of the fight, however, were scarce after that. She knew she had been too stubborn to let it go at that, so she eagerly flipped open the diary again, ready to know what happened next. It was almost like her life was documented in a book, maybe even a series, and she was reading about it now.

But one thing you should know about me, Dear Diary, is that I hate being wet. It's common knowledge that water and lightning don't mix well, and when they do, they create a storm. So that's what me and Percy conjured up.

Against Chiron's wishes, I thrust out my spear and gestured to Percy. "You want some, Seaweed Brain?" I taunted. I knew he hated it when I called him that.

"Bring it on, Pinecone Face!" he returned. My nostrils flared. Although we usually teased each other with those nicknames, they didn't seem so funny at the moment. A few people in the crowd laughed at his insult, and I snapped. I was Thalia Grace. Nobody insults me.

Gods, Thalia thought with a shake of her head. I was so cocky.

I let loose a battle cry of rage, my hair standing on end as I thrust my spear towards the sky and called down a massive lightning bolt. The blast made Percy's sword look so pathetic as it fell out of his hands, his hair and clothes singed from the deep-frying session.

"Thalia! That is enough!" Chiron ordered. He turned to Percy as the son of Poseidon stood up, calling forth a typhoon of icy water from the tiny creek, drying it in an instant. "Percy!" He implored.

Percy was about to let the waves crash down around me, no doubt an experience that would be similar to that of the night the Titanic sank, when he released the water and-

Thalia closed the book at that point. She knew what happened after that, her memory of that day now fully intact. The Oracle, the Prophecy, the quest, Cheez Wiz. She didn't need to read the diary anymore to figure the rest out.

Moral of the story, Thalia thought to herself bitterly, is to never fall in love with Percy Jackson. You'll just get your heart broken.

She had gone for quite a time with an intense crush on Percy. Then the Prophecy happened. She made up the story about joining the Hunters for the sake of the Prophecy. Percy would be the hero. She would not. And that was partially true: she didn't deserve to be the Savior. Percy did. But truthfully the only real reason she joined the hunt was to get away from him.

Thalia had once thought that she could join the hunt to stop herself from falling in love with Percy, and it had actually worked for a while. But then he'd gone and gotten himself kidnapped by Hera, and she realized how much she missed him during those unbearable eight months.

Sure, she had been accepted as a Hunter of Artemis, trusted by the goddess, surrounded by a dozen sisters who could never fall in love and keep their maidenhood, supposedly. But that didn't seem true anymore. Thalia was certain that Zoe Nightshade and another Hunter had both died in love with Percy. She secretly suspected that Artemis knew of their feelings for Percy, maybe even sympathized with them, though why she had no idea; otherwise, the goddess would have certainly kicked the three girls out of the Hunt. So Thalia supposed an oath was just an oath, one that she had to uphold; apparently her heart didn't care about oaths. It did what it pleased.

"Thalia!" she suddenly heard someone call. She froze and turned around, very, very slowly.

"Percy!" she cried, leaping into his outstretched arms. He was much taller than her now, since he looked a year older than her at age sixteen. Sometimes being fifteen forever really sucked.

"What's up?" she asked curiously. She tried to seem nonchalant, but really she was taking in everything about him: his excited green eyes, his windswept, jet black hair, his flushed pink cheeks. She sighed quietly to herself.

"Come with me," was the only answer he gave. Mischievously, Thalia noted.

They walked along a trail back towards camp and stopped at the steps of the Big House. He took her hand in his and grinned like a kid on Christmas morning. "You're going to love this," he whispered in her ear before pulling her in through the front door. The room was dark, and Thalia was momentarily frightened, so she was already in a battle stance when the lights flicked on, bodies burst out, and there was a tremendous shout. She had already grabbed her bow and was notching an arrow when she heard:

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

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