She had some major issues in her life.
As proud as she was, Athena was wise enough to admit that much. Many of them weren't even her fault. But nonetheless, the fact that there were problems in her life didn't change because they were simply "not her fault." Even now, as she leisurely flipped through her daughter's book of sketches, she had no trouble coming up with a list of such problems.
Well, the first issue would be the fact that she was rifling through her daughter's belongings without her permission. As much as it would hurt and shock Annabeth if she found out, Athena's curiosity won out in this situation. She just had to know what her daughter thought about the famous Percy Jackson.
Which, speaking of, was another one of the many conflicts she was facing at the time. The son of Poseidon. He was a huge thorn in her side, in more ways than one. True, he'd saved the world numerous times, and certainly helped her and the other gods a hundred times over, yet there were other things about him that were mighty inconvenient for the goddess of war.
Grumbling to herself as she put the sketchbook back on Annabeth's desk, Athena strolled over to the trunk at the foot of her daughter's bed and opened the lid with a creak. After sifting through a few random tests that were likely left over from the school year, the goddess found something that might actually be considered an item of interest: Annabeth's diary. With a trembling hand (she couldn't help it: she was nervous), Athena drew it out of the trunk and closed the lid tentatively.
It was a simple leather-bound book, small and light when she weighed it in her hand. When she opened it up, she immediately caught a whiff of that smell she loved, a smell that could only be found in books that had been loved and well-worn with age. It was a scent that carried the magic of the ages with it, of yellowed pages and faded ink. She knew many of her children shared her love of books, but Annabeth was certainly the most passionate about them in addition to architecture.
Athena loved all of her children, no one could deny that claim, but she certainly held a fondness in her heart for Annabeth that exceeded the rest. She wasn't usually big on favoritism. In her mind, everyone should be treated as equals, and no mother should ever love any of her children more than another, no matter what. But Athena had long ago come to terms with the fact that she seemed to care more in her heart for the daughter she shared with Frederick Chase.
The girl's father was one reason. He had been so unlike the usual mortal men she'd met that were crafty and sneaky, always trying to take advantage of her. But Frederick had loved her merely on an intellectual base. And for that, she had loved him back with the same intelligence and affection. Their marriage and conceivement of Annabeth had been more of a joining of minds and brains, rather than two people coming together that loved each other. But Athena didn't mind that. In fact, she'd left Frederick after Annabeth had been born, both for fear of hurting him and for the sake of Annabeth. The man's brain, as strong and intelligent as it was, might overload with the idea of spending the rest of his life with a goddess. Even the most fair-minded of men might be subject to the occasional whims of the opposite sex, a fact that Athena could not blame the poor man for. So she left him out of mercy, knowing that it was the best and wisest choice.
Yet whenever she saw Annabeth now, there was always a bit of Frederick in the girl that the goddess cherished and held on to. Some of that insightful thinking and intelligent mind that she could claim as her own through her daughter. She even saw some of her ex-lover in Annabeth's handwriting, which marked the pages that Athena now flipped through. True, there was differentiation in the techniques, but she could still trace some of the similarities between the scribbles that were scrawled over the yellowed paper in the diary.
Athena was deep into the reading, having just gotten to a juicy tidbit in her daughter's journal. Somewhere in the back of her mind, a voice was shouting at how wrong it was for a mother to invade her daughter's privacy like this. But the voice just made Athena giggle, for she couldn't help but think of how her own mother had once actually been a voice in the back of her father's head, back when Metis had been trapped in her father as a fly.
To prevent herself from taking a tragic trip down Memory Lane, Athena once again immersed herself in absorbing as much of the diary as she could before someone could come back into the Athena cabin.
A name that she passed over while reading made her stop and do a double-take: Percy Jackson. She quickly read back over the neat, cursive writing and tried to process the words that her eyes were seeing. "...love of my life..." and "perfect for me..." and "...together forever" and "...dream guy" Athena had trouble comprehending what this meant. Over and over again, she spotted phrases that expressed just exactly how Annabeth felt about the son of Poseidon.
The goddess, dreading what she had been fearing all along, turned the page and gasped. There was an entire page, back to back, that was filled with sketches, drawings, and doodles featuring everything from hearts with arrows piercing them to stick figures with a family of people that were easy for Athena to guess the identity of. Her hand shook as she turned the page, and she was beyond shocked by what she saw. The name Percy appeared everywhere in the diary.
Athena immediately disapproved of what she saw. For one thing, he was too good. He seemed too fake, too perfect. Like he shouldn't exist. There had been tons and tons of Greek heroes over the years, all exactly like Percy Jackson. And yet... in some ways, they were so unlike him that she was sometimes astounded that he could even be counted as a tally mark in the plethora of heroes that had come before him.
Why, the boy had turned down immortality for the gods' sake (and her own)! No hero, mortal or demigod, had ever refused such an offer. The idea of it was unfathomable! Why would anybody not want to live forever? And at such a ripe age too! Percy Jackson was at the perfect age in his lifetime to be frozen forever: extremely fit, very healthy, exceedingly powerful, fairly strong, and with enough knowledge and experience under his belt to last a long time, not even considering the fact that he had an infinite amount of years left to gain even more experience. And with the amount of power that the son of Poseidon possessed, he would have been one of the most powerful gods yet, that much she could tell. There was no doubt in her mind that he was the most powerful demigod in this day and age, possibly one of the best ever. So, she asked herself again for what seemed like the hundredth time, why didn't Percy Jackson choose to accept the gods' offer of immortality?
One look at her daughter's journal was all the confirmation Athena needed to know why. The hearts and doodles were obvious reminders of a fact that Athena had been trying for years to ignore, even prevent when she had the chance.
Annabeth was in love with Percy Jackson.
The shear magnitude of the situation and all that it encompassed made Athena's head feel light. Her daughter, her daughter, little Annabeth, was in love. With Percy Jackson.
This was so unfair. Even if she tried, the goddess could not think of a more inconvenient situation- for herself, at least. Nothing about this seemed like a good thing. Most mothers would be delighted at the thought of her daughter finding a good boy like Percy to take care of her, but not Athena. This was not good. This was soooo not good.
Here she was, a powerful goddess who, when she so desired, could have any man that she wanted. She was aware of her attractive good looks and stunning beauty, and knew that her brain and powers were enough to draw many men in. Yet there was one boy that she could not have, and that was Percy Jackson. All because her daughter, whom she loved very very dearly, fell in love with him first, and in turn received his affection of equal enormity.
It was the perfect example of a YA novel love triangle, like one of the rare examples that could be found in Annabeth's secret collection of such books. Except the situation was slightly more complicated and odd than normal, since one of the three involved was another's mother. And Aphrodite would have found it hilariously entertaining. Athena could practically hear the love goddess's taunting voice in the back of her head, and she resisted the urge to form a plan to humiliate the goddess somehow.
Too many thoughts were racing around Athena's mind, and it was enough to give her a splitting headache. With my luck, she thought, I'll be like Zeus and give birth to a child through my forehead. She tried to force her thoughts to settle, but she had no such luck. Her heart began to speed up as well, beating faster and faster in her chest. I'm a powerful goddess, she said to herself, scolding herself for being so silly and acting so ridiculous. A little headache and heart troubles never bothered me.
But she thought of her daughter marrying the son of Poseidon one day, buying a home with him, raising a family with him, growing old with him. And then Athena, being the ultimately honest goddess that she was, would come along and visit her daughter on her deathbed, and tell her how she had felt something for the son of the sea god at one time too, and her daughter's eyes would grow wide, and her pulse would speed up, and Athena's fragile daughter would die from the shock of knowing that her mother had had feelings for the love of her life. And it would be Athena's fault.
The thought of such a thing happening, as silly and ridiculous of a scenario as it was, was enough to speed up Athena's heart until she felt like the feet of the entire Trojan army was racing inside of it, round and round so she could practically feel the hammering of the heavy beat. The steady stampede only grew stronger, like the buildup of an adrenaline rush, and Athena attempted a standing position.
She needed to breathe, she needed to be out of this building, to get outside and catch a whiff of fresh air, for right now she could barely register the flow of air to her heart and her head. The diary was still in her hand, so she tried to toss it back onto the bed but couldn't make herself do it. She stumbled to the door and was twenty feet from it when it flew open in a wide arc, letting a cascade of beaming light come in. The shock of being caught red-handed in her wrongdoing was such a shock to her excited heart that she keeled over backwards, the journal still clasped firmly in hand. The last thing she saw before she passed out was a dim outline in the door frame, a shadow of a hybrid between a horse and a man...
Athena was back in the throne room on Olympus. What am I doing here? she wondered. Even though she had passed out, she hadn't quite lost consciousness, but just lost control of her body momentarily. It was one of the perks of being a goddess, you could say.
Athena's subconscious form stood in the throne room, surrounded by the twelve Olympian gods (including herself), plus a few demigods, a satyr, and a monster. Everything around her was in full color, and as she glanced down, she saw that her body appeared in a faded black and white hue. Judging by the fact that she was shaded differently by the others present, the others in the room were ignoring her, and she could see another form of herself across the room in regal throne, she knew she was in a flashback, a form of a vision for immortals. Flashbacks were only visions from the past, anyway.
Athena turned her attention back to the situation at hand at the sound of Poseidon's strong, bellowing voice. "PERCY JACKSON!" The name reverberated around the room. Athena shivered. Judging by the disdainful look on Past Athena's face and the demigods present at the time, Future Athena had no trouble placing what memory this was.
Percy approached his father, and Athena was immediately reminded of why being with Percy was such a bad idea. There was feud between Poseidon and Athena that was centuries old, and as a result, that same competitive nature was passed on between their children. It would be degrading to be seen with him, no matter his strength, because he would show that was weak because of a man, and had collapsed through the grudge that had been going on for years. She would not be weak, that she was sure of. Yet how was it possible for Annabeth to love Percy then, with such a feud existing? It made no sense, so the goddess turned her attention back to the memory, and watched the scene unfold, just as she had a little over a year ago.
"Rise, my son," said Poseidon after Percy had knelt at his feet respectfully. "A great hero must be rewarded. Is there anyone here who denies that my son is deserving?" Nobody made a sound, and Athena was tempted to hold her breath, although she knew it wouldn't make a difference.
When no one said anything, Zeus continued, "The Council agrees. Percy Jackson, you will have one gift from the gods."
Percy, unsuspecting of what was to come, asked, "Any gift?" to which Zeus nodded.
"I know what you will ask. The greatest gift of all. Yes, if you want it, it shall be gods have not bestowed this gift on a mortal hero in many centuries, but, Perseus Jackson-" Athena flinched at the use of his full name, mirrored by Percy in the vision, "if you wish it-" She tensed, "you shall be made a god." She let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding. "Immortal. Undying. You shall serve as your father's lieutenant for all time."
Athena watched Percy's face transform. His initial expression of shock and stun morphed into one of confusion. He said, incredulously, "Um... a god?"
"A dimwitted god," Zeus said sarcastically. "But yes. With the consensus of the entire Council, I can make you immortal. Then I will have to put up with you forever."
Ares added smugly, "Hmm. That means I can smash him to a pulp as often as I want, and he'll just keep coming back for more. I like this idea."
To her shock, Future Athena heard her past self saying, "I approve as well." She followed the gaze of her other form to Annabeth, who looked stricken.
Athena was surprised by the shocked look on her daughter's face. She hadn't really paid attention to her daughter's reaction at the time. In truth, she had mainly supported the boy's immortality at the time for her own selfish purpose: to keep him for herself, and, although she hated to admit it now, to keep him away from Annabeth. She watched the version of herself that sat on the cold, hard throne, and studied her daughter from across the room to see how much of an interest she had in the son of Poseidon, not caring how her daughter felt about the situation.
Now she wished she had.
For as she vigilantly watched the look that passed between Percy and Annabeth when he turned to look at her, she knew now that there was nothing she could do to prevent the love that flourished between them, nor should she. Their love was meant to be, and it would be a "moral wrong," as one of her children, Abraham Lincoln, had once said. Who was she to step in between that love, and try to take it away from either of them? Percy Jackson was everything that Athena sought in a man: strength, courage, battle skills, loyalty. He was a warrior, which was what she looked for. But he was a true hero who had been through so much, and he deserved all the happiness in the world. And Annabeth Chase was her daughter, her dear daughter that she loved with all her heart.
Having come to terms with that, Athena sighed peacefully and inhaled a deep breath. She had already begun to slip away from the flashback and return to her conscious body when she heard the word she knew Percy Jackson would speak, a word that made all the difference in the world to her and Annabeth.
Athena was awaken by a gentle shaking on her shoulder, and the calling of a voice she recognized.
"Athena, my lady. Please, wake up."
She opened her eyes.
"Ah." The voice said, sighing with relief. "You're awake, my lady. Are you alright?"
"Yes, Chiron," she said, sitting up to face the old centaur. "I am fine."
He looked doubtful, but he moved on anyway. "I have just received wonderful news, and I thought you should be the first to know before the campers come back from the games."
"Oh?" she said, raising an eyebrow. "What has happened?"
The centaur nodded enthusiastically. "Word from Rome has just arrived; your daughter and the other members of the quest have retrieved the Athena Parthenos! Isn't that wonderful?"
"Yes," she said, smiling faintly. "It's wonderful."