The Baby Theory

Ch 14: The Truth and Goodbyes

Percy's POV

Okay. What to do?

My conversation with Clarisse was…very awkward yet helpful at the same time. I hadn't honestly expected her out of all people to uhh, talk to me about things regarding courtship and whatnots. But I wouldn't dare tell it directly to her face that her words got through me. So yeah, that leads me to my current situation: thinking of the perfect way to ask Annabeth to be my girlfriend.

I stood up from my sitting position and dusted sand off my jeans. I'm heading towards the Aphrodite cabin to seek for their advice. I know it's totally unmanly, but hey, their mother is the Goddess of Love so they're pretty much the best people to seek advice from.

I stood in front of their cabin door, gathered my courage as well as dignity and knocked on the wooden door. The Head Counselor, Silena Beauregard, opened the door with a huge smile on her naturally beautiful face.

"Why, hello Percy dear! What brings you here? Have you finally decided to make a move on the lovely Annabeth?"

At the mention of Annabeth's name, Silena's half-siblings paused from their gossiping and not-so-secretly hid behind her to eavesdrop on our conversation. She must've noticed my discomfort since she closed the door behind her and smiled again at me.

"Do you want to talk somewhere else?"


We were sitting at a safe clearing for an hour now and still I haven't decided on what to do yet. I could tell that Silena's already frustrated with me since she's been giving me suggestions and I flatly refused them immediately. Some of her ideas weren't that bad; it's just that none of those fit Annabeth's likes and personality well.

Silena sighed for the hundredth time that day and stared at the grass. "I don't know anymore, Percy. What would you like to do?"

I shook my head, unable to answer.

"Yo, Perce, Silena!" Grover called out as he and Juniper held hands while making their way towards us.

"Yo, G-man.Hey Juniper." I greeted them half-heartedly as I traced figures on the ground using a stick.

"What's up with Percy?" Juniper asked Silena in that calm tone of hers as she stared worriedly at me.

"We've been trying to think of a way for Percy to confess his undying love to Annabeth." I scowled at Silena's comment while Grover snickered and Juniper gave a sigh.

"That's so sweet."

"Nu-uh, it isn't happening yet, Juni. Percy couldn't even decide how he's going to ask her to become his girlfriend, much less ask her out on a date."

"If that's the case, then they'll never get married! Poor Luke! He'll have to keep the family name Chase since he isn't legally a Jackson, neither is his mother!"

Juniper released her hand from Grover as she and Silena had a heated conversation about how it'll probably take me forever to ask Annabeth to marry me and I honestly don't even know how they arrived to that topic.

Grover sighed at the girls and sat beside me on the grass. "Can't you just come up with flowers and a poem?" He suggested.

I looked at my best friend as if he just said that he hated enchiladas. "Grover, I don't even understand literature itself! Gods, I'll probably end up insulting Annabeth without me knowing; you know how smart those Athena kids are. That, and or I'll be much worse than Apollo's haikus; no offense Lord Apollo! And the flowers thing sounds too cliché, don't you think so?"

The satyr kept quiet for awhile (probably imagining the prospect of one Percy Jackson writing a love poem for his muse) and burst out in laughter.

"You're right, Percy. You'll probably write the worst poem in the history of literature and bring shame to the readers and critics out there. And I totally agree with you on the whole cliché flower thing."

While Grover was still trying his best to recover from the idea of me writing a poem, the girls that somehow managed to discuss about any potential Jackson-Chase children after Luke stopped and turned to look at us. Weird, I know.

"What?" I ask them as Silena and Juniper shared a look.

"We just remembered something Percy." Silena started.

"Did you even check if Annabeth's not busy today?" Juniper finished for her.

I stared at them blankly. What? I was genuinely confused and clueless.

"Oh my gods, I remember Charlie saying that the Hephaestus and Athena cabins would be busy working together today regarding the additional cabins."

Grover groaned. "Holy enchiladas, it had to be the children from the two biggest workaholic gods ever. Knowing their godly lineage, they'll probably skip lunch and tend to overexert themselves." His words suddenly gave me an idea.

"That's it!" I cried out in glee. Silena, Juniper and Grover jerked from my sudden outburst and gave me a glare. I grinned sheepishly at them in apology. "I could just set up a picnic on the beach when they all decided to take a break and then ask Annabeth out after eating!"

They blinked for a few minutes and finally smiled. "Great idea!"

"Ooh, picnic by the beach! It's cliché but definitely sweet and soooooPercabeth!" I'm sure you all know who said that. Should I mention the ear-deafening squeal that came along the statement?

"It's simple yet romantic; a very good decision, Percy." Juniper smiled warmly at me.

Grover came and I honestly thought he'd say something deep and or something very helpful for my situation but all he said was: "Don't forget to include enchiladas on your picnic basket."

Juniper huffed and slapped him on the arm lightly. "You totally ruined the moment, love."

And that is how I'm planning to do it later.


Lunch time came and sure enough, the tables for Hephaestus and Athena were empty. I sighed as I made my way to my respective permanent table spot. I already knew that the whole Percy-is-finally-going-to-ask-Annabeth-out-later fiasco has spread throughout camp since the guys all gave me a 'good luck' pat on the back when they passed while the girls would giggle whenever they would turn to look at me.

Clarisse and the rest of the Ares children smirked and shoved me from my seat. The Stolls discreetly approached my table and slipped a pack of 'protection' in my jeans pocket which immediately painted my face a deep red. I sputtered and blushed like the idiot I am and gave an indignant huff as they cackled and left.

New campers stared as they passed by. One of them, most likely a daughter of Aphrodite since her beauty is naturally stunning despite being young (but of course I personally think Annabeth is way better than the goddess herself; though don't tell her that), whispered quietly to her companion. Well, I wouldn't consider it as whispering since I could hear her from my position, which would be a good eleven meters away.

"Is that big sister Annabeth'srumored boyfriend?"

Will Solace, who was then talking to his new half-brother, turned and winked at me; obviously having heard of the girl's question. He approached her and stroked her hair in an affectionate brotherly way.

"Rosie, big brother Percy and big sister Annabeth aren't together yet. Well, they will be if he doesn't screw things up later. Now come along everyone, I'll show you your respective tables."

The youngsters' eyes lit up when they sensed excitement and smiled at me as Will ushered them away. I couldn't help but smile back even if I felt like the carrying the world again. It was that suffocating.

Feeling completely nervous, I pushed my uneaten plate of food to Grover who was then trying his best not to choke on his tin can. I mentally prayed to my dad and to Lady Aphrodite to help me later.

I scanned the crowd to search for Luke since I missed the kid's presence. I started worrying when I didn't see a mane of curly black hair and stunning gray-green eyes and was about to ask some camper when I felt a tap on the shoulder.

I quickly turned to see Nico di Angelo smiling slightly with Luke in his arms.

"Hey. Sorry 'bout the kid; Katie just handed him to me when I arrived after her siblings called her to help with the cooking. And oh, congrats on getting Annabeth knocked up."

My face flushed an unhealthy red as I hurriedly took Luke from his arms and covered his innocent ears. "Nico!" I yelled. "Don't taint Luke's innocence!"

Nico blinked calmly as he stuffed his hands into his jacket - which was brand new leather and definitely adds up to his 'coolness' and emo-ness.

"Why? The kid's smart. He understood me when I explained what you and Annabeth did for him to be created…"

"What the hell, Nico?!Why would you tell Luke that?!" My face felt ten times hotter than before.

"Look who's cursing in front of his kid. Relax, man. I was just saving him from having 'The Talk' later in his life. By the way, I told Luke –the real one that's in Elysium – and he told me to send you his congratulations and thanks for naming the kid after him."

"Well, okay…Wait what? You told the real Luke? When? How?"

"Yes I told him. I went to the Underworld this morning via shadow travel with the kid tagging along with me. I figured that he might as well deserve to know. And, before you start yelling at me for taking the kid and having him experience shadow-travel and see the Underworld, I just want to say that he's naturally smart and adapts very quickly.He got over the aftereffects of shadow travel and he did not cry when he saw the place. Glad to know he's more of Annabeth in terms of brains than you do." Nico said as he mumbled the last part to himself.

I pointedly ignored the last part and sighed. "Whatever. Thanks for looking after him. Anyways, what are you doing for the rest of the day?"

The Italian only shrugged as he and I started making our way to the sword arena. "I don't know. My purpose for coming here was to check upon Annabeth's design for the Hades cabin and maybe help out for a bit. But I guess it'll have to wait; you'll need everybody's help for later, right?"

I smiled nervously at the son of Hades and nodded. Nico shrugged again as he took Luke from me and carried him in a more cool and stylish way than I could ever think of which earned squeals from his fangirls sneaking around.


Normal POV

"Okay, people! Here's the drill: the Ares cabin is in charge of security and giving our dear couple their well-deserved privacy. They have the right to beat you up if you ever cross the fifty-meter distance limit." Silena said in a firm manner as she glanced at the children of Ares. Beside her, Juniper nodded her head feverishly.

"Yes. And the Hermes cabin is in charge of videotaping the whole event. Make sure you guys are scattered and well-hidden around the vicinity so that we'll have an excellent video outcome."

"Don't forget the Demeter cabin for the cooking, Dionysus for the non-alcoholic beverages, Aphrodite for making the place beautiful and presentable, Apollo for Percy's speech, Hades for distracting the Athena and Hephaestus cabins and…everybody's help to keep a voice record or so for us to hear. The naiads, dryads and satyrs are not allowed to skulk and or show themselves to the couple and I think that's everything." Grover finished as he looked up from Silena's to-do list.

The so-called event organizers all stared at everyone as they in turn nodded their heads in understanding.

"By the way, don't tell darling Percy since you'll end up making him even more nervous than he already is. Now let's get to work, everyone!" Silena said with a loud clap and everybody went to their respective tasks to do.

"Silena? Who will tell Nico his assigned task?" Juniper asked worriedly after all became quiet again. Grover grabbed her hand, squeezed it lightly and smiled.

"I'll take care of it. I think he's with Percy and Luke at the moment."

The girls both smiled at him.

"Ooh! I can't wait!" Silena squealed in excitement.


Percy's POV

This is it.

I nervously ran my hand through my hair for the hundredth time that day. My other hand went back to my pocket where a crumpled piece of paper was shoved into. It was my 'speech' or what the Apollo kids claim to be, and I honestly couldn't have the heart to tell them that I wouldn't be able to use them on the actual event.

They should've known that my brain cells die whenever I'm in front of Annabeth, but oh well; I still appreciate their help and effort.

I saw Nico approach Grover and the latter in turn gave me an 'okay' sign. It was my signal that Annabeth's coming. I involuntarily gulped.

"Hey buddy. Wish me luck, okay?" I said to Luke as he played with his ball. Yes, people, he's with me.

Luke turned towards me and smiled in that cute baby way of his. That one made me laugh and made my spirits lift a bit.

I saw Katie drag an exasperated-looking Annabeth. Uh-oh, there goes my nerves again. I quickly scooped Luke in my arms and stood to greet them.

"Thanks, Katie." I said as soon as they reached us. I handed a solemn-looking Luke to the daughter of Demeter and saw Annabeth giving her a curious glance.

"What is this all about, Seaweed Brain?" Annabeth asked me in the same curious manner. I nervously rubbed the back of my neck, completely unsure how to start things off.

"Lunch, Wise Girl. I uh, noticed that you weren't there at the pavilion during lunch and I'd figured to give you a picnic because ah, uh, err, I know you'll be hungry."

Stop. Stuttering. Please. Spare yourself from complete embarrassment!

Annabeth smiled in that cute way of hers and kissed me on the cheek. The brief kiss left a lingering feeling on my cheek and I'm as sure as Hades that I'm blushing like a tomato. Gods.

"Thank you, Seaweed Brain. This is rather sweet of you."

I just said nothing since I don't trust my voice at the moment and gestured for us to sit. I opened the basket and gave her food and drinks inside. I just watched as she ate normally, as if she isn't bothered with me practically ogling her every move.

As soon as she finished everything, I took a shaky breath to calm my nerves and heart, and held both of her hands. Annabeth looked at me in confusion while I focused on her beautiful gray eyes.

"Annabeth, I need to tell you something." I can do this; I can do this…I…can…do…this? Okay dude, calm down. Deep breath now.

"I…I like you."

Wow, really? Straightforward much? If I wasn't holding her hands, I'd probably smack my head or give myself a huge face palm.

Annabeth looked taken aback, probably because of my straight-forwardness, and I started blurting everything out; the Apollo kids' prepared speech completely forgotten. Hey, I did tell you it'd be useless to me anyways! Don't look at me like that!

"I'm sorry if I hadn't said this a long time ago since I was too scared that you'd reject me. But, I later realized that even if you'll reject me, it won't matter anymore as long as I've said what I feel towards you. Luke's arrival made me realize just how much important you are in my life and I honestly like the idea of us being parents. So uhh…Wise Girl, will you be my girlfriend?"

I mentally danced and skipped at that. I really meant all the words that came out but I still hope she won't reject me. Anyways, I said it! I finally said it and now I think the burden's being removed and I think I did an okay job and –

"Took you long enough, Seaweed Brain. But keep in mind that I'll never make things easier for you."

Oh. Oh. Oh! So she's not rejecting me? OH MY GODS!

I did what felt like natural to me: I hugged her. When my brain cells finally managed to connect together, I realized that oh my gods she said yes and hugging her probably wouldn't suffice.

Since my mom practically drilled me to become a gentleman, I decided to initiate our first kiss as a couple. And no, I'm not going to become sappy since I'm not that girly. Okay, scratch that: I will become sappy because Paul's right – this really is worth the trouble.

Kissing Annabeth feels so good and so addicting and so… I don't know, the feeling's completely indescribable. It's just…wow. I also like it when her hands managed to tangle themselves through my hair.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. We broke apart because our damn lungs need the freaking oxygen. Suddenly, loud cheers and whoops surrounded the lake and I groaned internally. I should've known they were eavesdropping, but oh well. I'm too happy at the moment to care. We shared a smile as I hugged her again; my body already missing hers. Oops, I think that sounded wrong.

Suddenly, a worried-looking daughter of Demeter approached us while panting heavily. Katie gasped for a bit before turning to face us. I immediately knew that something's off.

"What's wrong?" I asked her as my grip on Annabeth's waist (and somewhere in the back of my mind noted the hourglass curve she possesses) tightened.

"It's Luke. Something's to him."

Oh no.


Annabeth's POV

Dread filled me when I heard our beloved baby's in trouble. Percy and I shared a worried look as we hurried after Katie.

We then reached the Big House with Chiron waiting for us by the door. There's definitely something wrong since he wouldn't even turn to look at us directly. Percy gripped my hand tightly and together the three of us entered the Big House, leaving Katie by the front porch.

"Chiron, what's going on?" Percy asked as we kept walking in silence.

As predicted, he didn't say anything. I could feel my heartbeat racing as I thought of a million things happening to poor little Luke. Finally, finally, after a few minutes of that suffocating walk, we reached the infirmary where Luke lay.

The darling cherub is drenched in sweat and kept fussing around as if he couldn't find a comfortable position. Percy and I immediately went by his both sides and desperately tried to help him to become more comfortable.

I suddenly felt the urge to cry; it hurt me to see Luke suffering. If I could, I'd rather take his place anytime, I thought as I wiped off his sweat by my handkerchief. His entire body is really warm, like he's being burned or something.

"Chiron, tell us what's wrong with Luke!" Percy demanded rather harshly. He must've been hurt seeing him in this state too; after all, Percy's grown to love the little guy as much as I do.

The centaur in which I consider as my second father swallowed and looked at us gravely. "I'm afraid I have some bad news to tell you. Wait here for a bit."

Suffocating silence engulfed us as we waited for Chiron to come back from gods-know-where. My gut feeling told me that Luke might die, just like the one that I loved like a brother and is currently in Elysium, and I scolded myself for thinking such things. But I couldn't deny the fact that my gut feeling is usually correct most of the time.

Percy must've read my mind since I felt him scoot near me and snaked a comforting arm around my shoulder.

"Think positive, Wise Girl. Luke's going to make it."

I wanted to agree with him so badly it hurt, but I just couldn't.


Normal POV

Chiron certainly did not like the fact that he's going to be one telling them the news. It would break him to see his two favorite and skilled students deal with the loss of the 'child' that they practically raised and considered as their own. Actually, he's sure it would not be only them that are going to be devastated but the whole population of Camp Half-Blood as well.

He sighed as he reached by his table to retrieve the scented letter given by Lady Aphrodite weeks ago.

Lady Aphrodite, I hope you're happy with the outcome. You got your couple, but I'm not sure how they'll take it when the truth's out.

No response. The centaur left the room feeling as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders.

When Chiron came back, he saw Luke's condition has worsened. Annabeth looked ready to burst in tears at the moment but tried to keep a brave face for their sake. Percy, on the other hand, looked very frustrated with himself and he might've been the one causing the violent splashing of the lake water in the distance.

Annabeth noticed him standing by the door frame first. "Chiron, please help Luke! He's really burning up and Percy and I tried everything to cool him down but he just won't! I don't know what to do, I don't…"

Chiron approached his 'daughter' and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. Percy gazed up and pointed at the letter on his free hand. "What's that?"

He wordlessly hands them the letter and Annabeth scooted next to her boyfriend. Silently, they read the letter.

Dear Chiron,

I've decided to make you my partner-in-crime for my so-called Baby Theory. No dear, you couldn't and must not refuse a Goddess or you'll soon face consequences.

Anyways, I want you to make Percabeth (Percy and Annabeth's couple name- squeal!-) spend time together as much as possible until they confess and start dating. The baby will be the bridge of their soon-to-be relationship and you must force them to look after him (I mean the infant).

Oh, in case you're wondering, the lovely child isn't real; I've conjured him from a teddy bear and their DNAs and he'll disperse as soon as the task is done.

I will be watching the progress of their relationship here in Olympus. If you don't do your job properly, I'll turn you into a full-pledged horse, okay dear?

With Love,

Aphrodite

PS: The basket's magical. Just ask anything that you need for the infant and it'll just appear. Don't forget to tell them that. And oh, he doesn't have a name yet. XOXO

Percy was the first one to react since he's the one holding the said letter. He angrily crumpled the paper and threw it across the room.

"This is all crap. Luke's real. He's with us and he's living and breathing and –"

"Percy." Annabeth called out gently. She's crying openly now.

"T-This…this really is Aphrodite's writing. I-I saw her write on the blueprint and this is exactly the same handwriting as before."

If anything, Percy's jaw clenched in rage. "Does that mean she's toying with us all this time?"

Annabeth shrugged helplessly and stared back at the fussing Luke while wiping her tears. "Call her. Call Lady Aphrodite now, Chiron. Please."

"No need."


Aphrodite's POV

I appeared beside Chiron who looked like he could jump 100 meters any time now. Oops, I scared him again. I smiled slightly as he strutted away from the room.

Percy's mouth gaped open in shock, his anger momentarily forgotten. "W-Why do you look like Annabeth?"

I giggled to myself at his response. The boy should've really known by now that my looks varies greatly on how one defines and imagines the 'most beautiful'. It was rather unsurprising and cute that Percy thought of Annabeth like that.

I saw Annabeth elbow Percy and whispered a quick explanation; he, in turn, flushed after she smirked at him playfully. I wanted to squeal loudly at the sheer cuteness of it all so badly but I can't since it'll be inappropriate. I mentally thanked Annabeth for making Percy relax for a bit and for making me able to explain properly.

Deep breath now, gorgeous me and prepare for the drama that might come along with it. I calmly cleared my throat and mentally praised myself at how graceful that sounded and turned to them with a look of seriousness that I normally don't possess.

"I came here to tell you about Luke dear."

At my words, Percabeth's happy demeanor turned serious. I sighed to myself quietly.

"As you can see, darling Luke's literally burning up. This is because he's done his purpose and is now at the stage of disintegration."

Wow, disintegration? How uncharacteristically smart of me! Thanks for drilling the word into my mind, Athena dear!

"Why would you do that, Milady?" Annabeth asked quietly.

"I was sick of your slow progress, you see. You and Percy are the greatest couple in this generation made from a tragic life and messy backgrounds. I couldn't resist not helping you; as the goddess of love, this is exactly my job description. Creating Luke was the solution to your situation."

"I asked Ares to visit and cut a bit of your hair for the DNA samples, Annabeth darling. As for Percy, I got yours from the duel you challenged against my lover years ago. The ripped cloth was bloodied and it stuck at the tip of Ares' weapon. I asked Hecate to teach me a bit of magic and memorized Hera's spell when I sneaked in at her temple. The result of all those was a handsome and intelligent baby in which you named as Luke Perseus."

"What about those explanations we had about how Athena children procreate?" Percy asked while hiding his expression through his bangs.

"Those were purely coincidental. No campers were aware of my plans. The only ones who're truly involved are Chiron, Paul and Sally Blofis, Frederick Chase, Athena, Poseidon and of course, the gorgeous me."

Percabeth gaped openly at me. I couldn't help but let out a giggle or two. "Yes, your mortal and godly parents are in it. Haven't you ever wondered why they immediately believed your 'explanation' and why Frederick did not go in full-Battle-mode at you, Percy?"

A cry from the darling cherub interrupted us and made Percabeth react immediately. Annabeth flung herself beside him as she started crying and held his tiny, tiny hands. Percy turned to them for a second before finally held my gaze in worry and desperation.

"Can't you help him? Like, relieve him from the pain and or save him in general? Please! We might be angry at you for toying with our love life but we are truly grateful for allowing us to spend time with Luke. We're completely attached to him now and so is everyone here at camp and we couldn't bear losing him. Please Lady Aphrodite, save Luke! Don't make him disappear!"

His intense love and loyalty towards Luke struck my whole being and I myself am on the verge of tears. This is truly far too tragic.

"I'm sorry Percy dear, but I can't do anything. He's not a real human and his life is temporary. Children are more of Hera's forte and she found out a few days ago. She told me she wouldn't allow someone like Luke to live in this world knowing he wasn't made by her and had broken the sacred rule of human creation. Besides, you're both too young to take care of an actual baby; you still have so many things to do and experience as teenagers."

"N-No way…"

I took pity at Percy's devastated expression and Annabeth's grief-stricken face. "I can extend the time for his disintegration as well as make his temperature back to normal, but only for two hours. That'll be enough to say all your goodbyes, right?"

I saw Percy hesitate for a bit while approaching Annabeth. She nodded her head and he kissed her lightly on the lips for reassurance. It was gentle, full of love and just plain romantic, but surprisingly, I'm not in the mood to act happy. I guess their sorrow is rubbing on me.

"Thanks." Was all they said in a solemn tone.


Camp Half-Blood's mood that afternoon was very glum. Everybody's expressions were serious and the campfire was dull. Nobody, not even the children of Hermes, was in the mood to be jolly and or attempt to lighten things up. That just shows how much they've grown attached to Luke.

For once, Annabeth was grateful that nobody cried in front of her and Percy since she couldn't trust herself to keep her emotions in check. The couple just watched in a sad expression as everyone took turns to hold and hug Luke for the last time in his short life.

Silena was the last one to hold Luke and her lips trembled after giving the infant a last kiss on the forehead. She silently cocked her head, signalling the rest to give the couple some privacy, laced her fingers with Beckendorf's and left in hurried strides.

"So…is there really no way for us to keep Luke?" Percy said in an attempt to distract himself from the dreaded goodbye. He watched as Annabeth tightened her grip on Luke's right hand.

"No, Percy. The gods would surely find Luke even if we try to hide him. Besides, Lady Aphrodite was right about too young to take care of an actual baby."

Mild anger sparked inside Percy. "But it's us, Annabeth! We can do anything as long as we're together! Don't you…don't you trust me as a parent at all?"

The daughter of Athena used her free hand to cup Percy's cheek. "I do trust you, Percy, and you might not know it but you are a great father. It's just that we're barely children ourselves; we can't handle the responsibility yet. And there's the fact about us being demigods. We tend to endanger everyone that surrounds us, most especially Luke if he stays with us."

Silence.

Annabeth sighed as she released her hand from Percy's cheek and settled on tracing Luke's features to engrave it permanently in her mind. She knew Percy's anger was caused by stress and worry brought from the events that happened and soon to happen. She kept whispering 'I love you baby' as Luke stared at her with watery eyes.

"I'm sorry."

She turned to look at Percy and smiled slightly. "It's okay; I understand how you feel about Luke's…" She couldn't even say it without feeling emotional. Percy just nodded and grabbed the infant's free hand.

"Thanks, kiddo. You were… I mean, you are the best thing that has ever been ours. I won't go sentimental since it's very unmanly and I don't trust my emotions at the moment, but we just want you to know that your Mommy and I are grateful that we've met you and that we love you even if our time spent together was short."

Percy bit his tongue hard so that he wouldn't start bawling right then and there and embarrass himself in front of Luke.

They saw Aphrodite walking slowly towards them a few meters from their position by the lake. Annabeth wanted to just let it all out but she and Percy both swore on the River Styx that they'd smile until the end for his sake.

She kissed him on the cheeks, forehead, nose, hands, and hugged him as tight as she could muster. Percy didn't do the same but instead, he stood and lifted him and smiled slightly as Luke laughed and squealed for the last time.

Aphrodite finally approached them looking teary-eyed. "I'm sorry, but it's time to go."

Percy wordlessly hands her Luke and wraps an arm around Annabeth's waist.

"Thank you for creating him, Milady." Annabeth says gratefully and smiles. The goddess smiled too in response.

"And thank you for being the best mortal couple I've ever met and match-made. I'm sooo looking forward to your progress as lovers. Ooh!"

They smile so genuinely at Luke as he, together with the goddess, was engulfed in a blindingly bright light.

When the light disappeared and Percabeth opened their eyes, there was no sign of Aphrodite and Luke. Instead, a fluffy brown teddy bear with a gray and green bow and a white scented letter attached to the bow lay in front of them.

Percy released his hold on Annabeth's waist as he curiously opened the said letter.


Congratulations on finally becoming a couple! Thank you for helping me out on my theory and as a token of appreciation, I'm giving you Luke's 'body'.

I'm also happy to tell you that you might get a present from me, your godly parents, and some generous Olympians out there in the future. We know you'll immediately love it when you'll have it.

Sincerely and with love,

Aphrodite XOXO

PS: Athena says that she'll turn a blind eye on you when Annabeth cries. Just for this time though, since you're not the reason of her sadness. But she says she won't hesitate to kill you the next time her beloved daughter cries.

PPS: Your father sends his congratulations and wants to celebrate together with the new law passed by one of Athena's sons which is a leader in your world.

PPPS: Poseidon overdid it again. He taunted Athena too much and thus resulted in another epic battle. But don't worry, they'd still allow the two of you to date. Oh, in case you're wondering, they made a bet on you.


"What does it say?"

At Annabeth's sudden question, Percy hurriedly stuffed the letter in his pocket and smiled nervously.

"N-Nothing much. The goddess just sent her congratulations and that the teddy bear is Luke's remains."

The light mood awhile ago disappeared when Percy mentioned the name. As if it was a trigger, the dam that kept Annabeth's emotions finally broke thus making the blonde become a crying mess.

Percy swallowed the lump in his throat as he held the small teddy bear that was once the cute, intelligent and very adorable baby in which they thought as their own.

A few tears rolled down to his cheeks before Percy wiped it by his arm and finally faced his girlfriend. He gives the teddy bear to Annabeth, settles them on the ground comfortably and hugs her fiercely as he listened to her cries.

It would take them time to recover and think of Luke without ever breaking down, but one thing's for sure: they'll never forget that impossibly adorable baby.
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