Ch 8: Athena Pays Them A Visit
"Ooh! Silena dear that was a nice way of distracting them! Mommy's so proud of you!" Aphrodite giggled several times when she realized what an ingenious move her daughter had made. She grinned madly and thrashed around like an excited teenager after watching Percy's internal struggle against himself. Ahh, the things people do when strongly in love but still in denial.
Suddenly a knock resonated through the door and Aphrodite hastily made herself presentable before responding in that graceful tone of hers. "Come in." Athena entered and flinched when she saw the whole room decorated in nothing but pink. She carefully sat down on the bed beside Aphrodite and sighed as if she'd rather be somewhere else.
"What's wrong dear?" The beautiful blonde goddess asked after a minute of silence.
Athena heaved another sigh. "My talk with Frederick came out rather finely that what I've expected. It turns out he supports them as much as everybody else does, or so you claimed."
Aphrodite gave an ear-deafening squeal. "Oh my! That's great news!" Insert Athena's glare and she sobered up. "Anyways, what's the problem dear?"
"The problem is that I still do not understand why my daughter fell for that idiot. That and I wanted to know if they got into trouble or if Poseidon already lost."
"No worries, Athena! Nothing dangerous had happened and neither you nor Poseidon had lost on the bet yet. Regarding your question about sweet Annabeth falling for Percy, I think it's best if you take time to get to know him better and not judge him based on his appearance and family background. I heard a mortal quote: 'Never judge a book by its cover.' I think your daughter learned this the hard way."
Athena raised an eyebrow. This was probably the first time Aphrodite had talked to her about serious issues and not the usual I-met-a-really-handsome-mortal blabbers she would often spout. "I am actually quite impressed on what you said, Aphrodite. I wish you'd often talk to me about serious topics even if it involves romance. Anyways, you gave me an idea."
"I did?" She asked, completely bewildered.
"Yes. I will visit them as soon as possible." Athena said with finality and stood up; Aphrodite followed with a horrified expression.
"W-Wait! Athena dear! Please don't go down to Camp and see them! You might possibly ruin any chances of them dating!"
The Wisdom goddess gave a seething glare. "Do not insult me, Aphrodite. As much as I hate seeing my daughter and the idiot spawn of Poseidon act mushy and lovesick in front of everyone, I am not that low to destroy their chances of 'hooking up'. Besides, I just want to see my supposed grandson and confirm if Perseus Jackson really is good enough for my daughter. You will not stop me."
Aphrodite sighed in relief. "Good. I thought you're going to turn Percy into an animal or something. Anyways, you'll be glad to see little Luke; he's so adorable! I'm actually very proud that I made him. I'll be watching you along with them here on Olympus; I do hope that by the time you'll come back you're satisfied with Percy for Annabeth."
"I do hope so, too. I decided to trust your judgment on couples this time, Aphrodite. But really, I must go now; I'm looking forward to seeing them react. I would actually be lying to you if I said that I don't enjoy making Perseus struggle and act completely scared in front of me."
Percy had the worst night. After Annabeth showed and mentioned the closet incident, he hadn't had a wink of sleep. Because every time he dare close his eyes, the horrifying (but wonderful) images of Annabeth wearing the scandalous clothing would suddenly pop in his mind. He also hadn't moved from his spot, to which his back is facing Annabeth, for fear of losing over his desires and do…what a rapist would normally do.
Dawn was almost approaching when Percy finally succumbed to sleep. He vaguely remembers seeing a dark-haired woman standing over the bedpost wearing an angry expression but shrugged it off since his eyelids started to feel really heavy.
A few hours later, conch horns blasted from outside of Cabin Three and the residents of said cabin dared to ignore the noise outside. Percy buried his face deeper unto the soft pillows and grumbled incoherently. An irritated woman's voice suddenly blended in with the noises and that only made Percy grumble even more.
"Go away, Mom. I'm still sleepy."
"…nacle Breath's-….idiot…drools!" The voice started increasing in volume but the son of Poseidon completely tuned out everything. Only when the woman screamed in his ear did he jolt up.
He fell face-first and hastily got his butt back on the wooden floor despite his vision still hazy. When enough time had passed, his vision cleared and focused on the intimating dark-haired woman with gray eyes. Wait, gray eyes? There's only one woman who had gray eyes but not a blonde. Oh, Hades.
"Finally coming to your senses now, are we?" The woman asked in a sarcastic manner.
"LADY ATHENA!" Percy shrieked. Apparently he said that way too loud since Annabeth stirred from her sleep and poor Luke cried from shock. When Annabeth managed to calm the infant down, she turned to where Percy was and prepared to give him the ultimate scolding of his life but then her throat quickly dried down after she saw the goddess.
"M-Mother?" She asked with wide eyes as Luke sucked his thumb and looked at their guest. Athena ignored her since she was too busy looking at Percy's terrified face.
"Sit down on the bed, boy." She said sternly.
Percy quickly obliged out of fear as he sat down in a kneeling position (kind of like the Japanese formal way of sitting) with Annabeth copying his actions. Athena eyed them with her intimidating and calculating gray eyes until it rested on her daughter and the child.
"Who is this?" She asked. Percy and Annabeth both tensed at that.
"Um, Mother, this is Luke Perseus Jackson." Annabeth replied cautiously. "Your, uh, grandson."
Athena's jaws clenched and she seriously looked so scary right now Percy felt like he would pee his pants sooner or later. He gulped when she shifted her gaze to him as if saying that everything was his entire fault, which was true, but at least only three-fourths of it.
"Why does the child have your last name when you both are not married?" At her inquiry, Percy gave a determined look.
"I'm taking responsibility for my actions and his last name would show that I completely acknowledge and accept him in my family. I'm willing to do everything if it means to make both Annabeth and Luke happy."
The goddess nodded in approval, obviously impressed. "Very well. I will talk to Chiron about everything that has happened between you two since you need to go and eat breakfast right now and I'm sure you're all hungry. And just this once, I will turn a blind eye over your scandalous way of dressing up for sleep, Annabeth." With that, Athena opened the door and stepped out, earning immediate bows and greetings made by the surprised campers.
When the goddess was out of earshot, Percy turned to Annabeth. "Your mother really terrifies the Hades outta me. I was so close to peeing my pants."
She smiled. "I know; she scares me sometimes too. But did you really mean what you said?"
He blushed and held her gaze. "Of course. I could swear on the River Styx if you want me to."
That brightened her up. "No need, Seaweed brain. The gesture's understood and it's really sweet of you." And Annabeth kissed him on the cheeks. Percy looked red as he offered a hand for Annabeth. He was glad she hadn't released hers even as they started making their way towards the dining pavilion.
Percy and Annabeth didn't care even when all eyes turned to them. Percy was still on his night shirt and shorts (he changed his pajamas) while Annabeth hadn't bothered changing both hers and Luke's.
"Ooh, nice clothes!" Silena giggled at Annabeth. The blonde glared at her.
"Shut up, Silena. I'll get to you sometime later." That shut her up.
Breakfast was subdued that morning thanks to Athena's presence over the head table with Chiron beside her. They were engrossed in a deep conversation that made the campers and the residents wonder about their current discussion.
Percy smiled as he watched Annabeth feed Luke solid food while making cute expressions on her face. He forgot to bring the magic basket and almost made his way back when Annabeth told him that Luke's ready to eat some solid food since he has teeth. Speaking of Luke, the kid's impossibly adorable right now. He keeps smiling and giggling as Annabeth feeds him tiny portions of food while she coos at him and makes encouraging noises.
"Hey, you need to eat too."
Annabeth stops mid-scoop as she raises her brows. "What?"
"You need to eat." Percy said as if that answered everything. Annabeth gave an exasperated sigh.
"I know, Seaweed Brain. I'll eat after Luke's full."
"Nu-uh you need to eat now since breakfast is almost over." He said defiantly as he crossed his arms. She sends him a glare.
"As you can see, I'm a bit busy here." Cue Luke opening his mouth.
"I'll feed you!" He said in glee.
"No way in Underworld, Percy. That's just embarrassing."
Percy pouted. "Oh come on, Annabeth! You need to at least eat. Besides, I think we're now both prone to being stared at." Annabeth looked at him skeptically as he pleaded with his sea green eyes. Finally, she sighed in reluctance.
"Fine. Sit here so that it would be less embarrassing."
It was quite a rare sight for everyone at Camp Half-Blood to witness. Percy was happily feeding a red-faced Annabeth as she, in turn, fed adorable Luke. As everyone 'oohed' and 'ahhed' at them, Annabeth realized that Percy was right about them already being prone to be looked, gossiped, and pointed at.
After breakfast and showering up, Percy led Annabeth and Luke again back to the canoe lake. Annabeth was wearing the clothes she received which composed of a simple pink tank top, black cardigan, baby blue skirt with shorts inside and her gray Converse. It was only part of the few clothes she deemed 'toned down' and had worn it only because it was cute and the tank top and shorts had bubblegumcolors.
Percy had offered to carry Luke since Annabeth was busy looking over the blueprints for the 7th added cabin over Daedalus' laptop which was now turned into an I-pad. She welcomed the prospect of freedom for a whole year since she could focus on architecture for a bit.
As a gift for saving the world and their home, the Gods offered to give them free time to spend it however they wanted. The gods basically slowed time all over the world. The only place unaffected and with real time flow is Camp half-Blood itself; a few months there would equal to a few days or hours in the real world. And because of that, no one needed to go to school for a whole year. But of course, the only people who knew about this time paradox thing are the campers and their mortal parents.
"What day is it again today?" Percy asked as they settled on the grass facing the lake. Annabeth looked up from her gadget and was thoughtful for a moment before responding. "It's already the end of September but in the real world I think it's still August 20 or something."
"Cool. I'll never get used to this time thing but hey, I'm not complaining."
A comfortable silence engulfed them as Annabeth focused on her designs while Percy taught Luke about the ocean in soft whispers. Suddenly the silence was broken with a loud growl. Percy immediately took Riptide as he handed Luke to Annabeth and shielded them from any possible harm.
Three hellhounds emerged from the forest in different directions. Percy cursed in his head when he realized Annabeth had no ways of escaping. He also knew that she would not risk fighting when Luke is in her arms and might get hurt. Gods, this is such a difficult situation.
"Percy, call Blackjack and Mrs. O'Leary. Luke and I will ride Blackjack away from here and Mrs. O'Leary can assist you until I come back." Annabeth instructed in a whisper.
"Okay. But you don't need to come back since you have to stay with Luke."
"Please Annabeth. Luke's still a kid, he needs you. We don't have time to argue so please just listen to me." Percy then made a loud taxicab whistle as the hellhounds started to get closer. Annabeth swiftly and gracefully sat on Blackjack even before he could fully land and fled. Mrs. O'Leary pounded on her cousins as Percy started attacking the hellhounds.
Several scratches and bruises later, Percy lay on the ground panting with Mrs. O'Leary on top of him licking his face in glee. "Yuck. Okay, okay, I know you're happy now please get off me 'cause you're really heavy, girl."
When Percy wiped the stinking saliva of Mrs. O'Leary off his face, Athena suddenly appeared beside the hellhound and scratched her ears. He immediately stood up and was about to bow when the goddess gave a dismissive hand.
"Sit, Jackson, no need to be formal."
Awkward silence engulfed them as Percy waited for the goddess to talk. Athena stood beside him as Mrs. O'Leary started making her way back to camp.
"I saw what you did today and I must say you've managed to both surprise and impress me, Percy Jackson. You impressed me for thinking about my daughter and your child's safety before your own and you surprised me when you rejected Annabeth's offer to come back."
"Well, I think they're very important to me and I honestly would do anything just to keep them safe and unharmed." He answered sincerely.
"Do you really care for my daughter?" The sudden question made Percy blush.
"Yes, Lady Athena. Probably more than you can imagine." Athena only gave a slight nod as she stared at the horizon. After a moment of silence, she finally sighed.
"I honestly don't approve of you becoming close to her at first but now you managed to prove yourself not only to me but to everyone that you truly care for my daughter. I have been watching you since this morning and your actions and thoughts made me think twice of you. I suppose you're good enough for her; and since she's happy being with you, I don't think have the right to step in between you now."
Percy stared at the goddess in disbelief. Was she actually-
"Yes, you dolt, I'm giving you my permission and approval to court my daughter."
"I uhh, err…" No words could come out of Percy. He's busy being blinded with happiness and gaping at Athena. Said goddess scrunched her face in disgust.
"Honestly, boy, close your mouth! You really are a Seaweed Brain as my daughter claimed you to be. Just because you've managed to change my opinions of you in a few hours does not mean that I now think highly of you. You are still a complete coward for not asking my daughter out and you have this disgusting habit of drooling in your sleep!"
Athena huffed and continued. "You do not need to thank me. I already understand your feelings and saying it will only make me change my mind as fast as your winged horse can fly. I must go now since my purpose has been accomplished. Good bye and take care of my daughter, Perseus Jackson. If I ever hear her cry or see her get hurt, I will not hesitate to turn you into seaweed."
Percy turned and closed his eyes as the blinding light beside him disappeared. He stared at the position where the goddess was and smiled. "Thank you, Lady Athena." He couldn't control his smile as he dusted himself off and started heading back to camp.
"So, how was it, Athena dear?" Aphrodite asked as she led Athena to the garden to have tea. She, in turn, gave a sigh.
"I suppose he's alright for Annabeth. I can sense his deep feelings even if I do not specialize in romance. Now I know why people are eager for them to become a couple. I must say your judgment is really good and I praise you for creating an artificial life form. Luke is such a handsome one even though most of his looks are from Barnacle Breath's son; but nonetheless he has my daughter's intelligence so it's fine with me."
Aphrodite flashed her a bright smile. "Great! I'm so happy for them! And thanks for the compliment, Athena dear, you surely make me swell in pride. I'm going to invite Poseidon, would you care to stay for tea?"
Athena gave her a wry smile. "I suppose I could stay. And I must begrudgingly admit defeat regarding the bet we made since Perseus saved my daughter today."