So I’m taking a little bit of a risk here (I don’t normally display my writing, but I want to improve, so I’m gonna start writing more often), but here’s a little fanfic I wrote. I own nothing and all characters belong to Rick Riordan.
Just Watch the Fireworks
Author’s Note: So I’ve set this as the summer Last Olympian takes place (but before the book starts, since the events of that book basically cover the last week of that summer session). So this is set just after Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon (from the Demigod Files), during the 4th of July fireworks that Annabeth asks Percy to. Also, the title comes from the song by Jimmy Eat World, which I used to help me write this. Enjoy.
“See you at the fireworks?” She didn’t even wait for my answer before darting off into the woods.
I looked at Beckendorf. “Did she just… ask me out?” He shrugged, completely disgusted.
“Who knows with girls? Give me a haywire dragon, any day.” So we sat together and waited while the girls won the game.
So she had asked him out. She was going to the fireworks with Percy. Sure, it wasn’t really a new thing. She and Percy had been sitting next to each other and hanging out during the fireworks for three summers now. But she could tell from the way Silena Beauregard and several other campers had been smiling at her since, this wasn’t quite like those other times. She had made the first move, practically asked him out. At least, that’s how Silena Beauregard put it.
Sure, she’d had a crush on him for a while now, but that wasn’t something she was going to say out loud. He was one of her best friends, he was Seaweed Brain. He was her brave, funny, sometimes-kind-of-an-idiot, sometimes-really-annoying, best friend. There were times he could be downright infuriating, but then other times… well, other times, he kind of made her wish they could be more that friends… Needless to say, she was glad he hadn’t said no.
Not that you gave him much of a chance to answer back. She thought to herself. Well, he hasn’t said ‘no’ as of now, so I’ll take that as reassuring. This was definitely causing her to overthink things a little.
While Annabeth was doing her best to make as little of this as possible, the rest of Camp Half-Blood seemed to want to do just the opposite. They didn’t say anything to her, thank the gods, but she could see the way they were looking at her or how they were smiling at Percy. The way they were giving sideways glances and suppressing wider smiles, you would’ve thought two people going to the fireworks together was a new thing (it wasn’t). This seemed especially true of the Aphrodite campers. To say they were barely containing themselves might’ve been generous. What exactly do they find so interesting about all this? Even Silena was suppressing a smile, but that might have been because what Annabeth had agreed to.
Silena had begged her to let her help Annabeth get ready. After a decent amount of pleading, Annabeth finally gave in. “Nothing crazy!” she had told Silena. “Of course not.” Silena had said, a little too innocently.
Well, this should be good. Annabeth thought as she stood in front of cabin ten, the night after the capture the flag game, just after dinner. The fireworks were in an hour. She had already chosen her outfit (she had refused to let the Aphrodite campers pick out any clothes. That, in her mind, went into “crazy” territory). She was wearing a clean camp shirt, a pair of jeans she rarely wore, since she liked them and didn’t want them burned by lava or slashed by swords, her camp beads, her silver owl earrings, and her sneakers. She hoped the simplicity of the outfit would emphasize the nothing crazy rule. She might have been emphasizing that rule a lot, and it wasn’t really from worry that Silena would make her look bad… actually, she was grateful that Silena had offered to help. She remembered how Silena had helped Clarisse LaRue and Chris Rodriguez get together earlier in the summer (it was strange how in the middle of a war, people managed to still do normal things like dating), and it made her happy that she was willing to help her, too. The real reason she felt the need to emphasize this rule was more because she didn’t want Percy to react… weirdly (like laughing at her. That wouldn’t be good).
Sure she knew his fighting style, his strengths, his weaknesses, his thing with blue food… but she wasn’t entirely sure what he liked in a girl. Maybe he liked a girl who did her hair in some elaborate hairstyle that took hours and a girl who did her make-up more than once every year or so. Or maybe he thought that kind of thing was ridiculous… why hadn’t she asked? It seemed relevant, now. She could just imagine how that kind of conversation would’ve gone… maybe at sword practice or something like that-
So, Percy, are you more into a girl from cabin ten or… let’s say… cabin six?
Annabeth figured that would’ve been a bit obvious and little bit silly. Still, it might’ve helped.
You’re overthinking it, she thought to herself. Seriously, it’s just the fireworks… no big deal.
Annabeth sighed and stepped toward the cabin door. She knocked twice and Silena answered. Silena had obviously spent a decent amount of time getting ready, herself. Earlier in the day, Silena had followed Annabeth’s lead and had asked Charles Beckendorf to the fireworks. Annabeth couldn’t help but be happy that he had said yes, since it was glaringly obvious that the two of them liked each other. Silena was dressed in a pair of shorts, a dark blue top with silver designs flowing across it, and a pair of black, sequin shoes. She’d obviously curled her hair, pinning it up with a clip that was shaped like a seashell, and her make-up was done above and beyond how she usually did it, making her look at least twenty. Basically, she looked like she could be a model who’d walked off the pages of a designer clothing ad.
Silena smiled at Annabeth and waved her inside. “Come on. Let’s get you ready.” She said, smiling wider. She led Annabeth inside towards one of the mirrors (there were quite a few of those in the cabin). Silena sat her down on a chair that had been put in front of one of the full length mirrors. The chair was set facing away from the mirror, so Annabeth would have no idea what Silena would be doing. Silena waved forward one of her sisters, a newer girl Annabeth didn’t know by name, and the girl began gently brushing out her hair, dividing it into sections.
Silena grabbed a suitcase-sized make-up kit and pulled out several different palettes, brushes, eyeliners, and lip glosses- creating a small stack of make-up at her feet. At least Silena didn’t plan on using the whole suitcase worth of make-up. Who needs a suitcase full of make-up? She thought to herself. While Silena worked, she made conversation with Annabeth, asking her why she’d asked Percy to the fireworks (“just seemed like a good idea”), had she been planning it (“not really”), and if she was planning on kissing him during the fireworks (Annabeth didn’t answer that one). While she worked, Silena talked about how excited she was to be going with Charlie (apparently, she was allowed to call him that), and how she hoped to kiss him tonight at the fireworks. Annabeth couldn’t help but wish she were that confident about her and Percy. Annabeth may have been an expert at battle strategy and fighting monsters, and if you threw her into anything related to architecture, she’d spout every fact she knew about it, but when it came to boys and dating… well, that was more Silena’s territory
“Done.” Silena said triumphantly after a final swipe of eyeliner. Annabeth felt the girl doing her hair snap a gold-colored hairtie on her now-braided hair. “Turn around and see.”
Annabeth turned and looked into the mirror. Silena had certainly followed the “nothing crazy” rule. She had only used eyeliner, pale eye shadow, and a faint pink lip gloss. But the way she had made it look was amazing. She had emphasized Annabeth’s eyes with the eyeliner and eye shadow, bringing out a stormy intensity in them, and making her look about eighteen. Her lips were now a pale, glossy pink, and her hair had been braided into a fishtail braid that now hung down one shoulder. It was simple style, nothing compared to what Silena had put together for herself, but it was definitely fitting for her. “Do you like it?” Silena asked.
Annabeth nodded. “It’s amazing. Thank you.” Annabeth said sincerely.
“You’re welcome. Now come on,” she said, pulling Annabeth out of the chair. “The fireworks are gonna start soon, and you’ve got to go knock Percy Jackson dead.”
Annabeth gave a small laugh as Silena led her out of the cabin.
Beckendorf was waiting for Silena outside of cabin ten, and surprisingly, so was Percy. Annabeth guessed a certain daughter of Aphrodite had told Percy to meet her here instead of in cabin six. He was standing in front of the cabin with a blanket underneath his arm. Percy was dressed similarly to Annabeth, wearing a clean pair of pants, his usual sneakers, a new Camp Half-Blood shirt and his camp beads. He looked surprisingly at Annabeth, which made blush creep up her cheeks. She stepped up to him. “Hey, Seaweed Brain.” She said as naturally as she could with him looking at her the way he was. Percy seemed to compose himself a bit (at least some of the surprise had left his expression). “Hey… you look nice.” He said. She felt the blush creep a little higher on her face. Lucky its dark out here… Seriously, it’s Percy, not one of the Olympian gods. “Yeah… Silena helped.” She answered lamely.
“Well, you look good. You ready to go?”
“Yep, let’s go.”
As they walked, Percy wordlessly took her hand. She gently squeezed his hand back, smiling a little at the gesture. Maybe things would go really well tonight.
They walked to the beach facing the Long Island Sound and found a good spot in front of one of the dunes close to the ocean. There was a half-moon out tonight, casting a silvery glow across the waves. Percy spread the blanket out, offering her a spot next to him. She sat down, hyperactively aware of the warmth of him next to her. She looked over at him, feeling awkward. Her tension eased a little when she saw that he looked a little uncomfortable, too. This is new for both of us. She reminded herself.
“So…” he said, trying to relieve some of the strange tension that still hung over them.
“So,” he said, seeming to wrack his mind for a subject for a moment before adopting a slightly annoyed expression. “Are you happy that you won capture the flag without the help of the Poseidon cabin?”
“I’m happy, but I can’t say I’m surprised.” She answered teasingly.
“Of course not.” He said, grinning that sarcastic smile of his. Annabeth smiled a little wider. Percy glanced down, looking a little bashful, suddenly. Annabeth couldn’t help but find it incredibly cute. Percy didn’t normally look awkward nowadays, so it was a little endearing when he did. When he looked up again, she found herself feeling the need to look down at the sand for a moment, too. It’s just Percy, she reminded herself.
“I just realized something.” Percy said as she looked up again.
“That this is the first time we’ve gotten to, y’know, hang out all summer. Like hang out normally, I mean… Not killing monsters for quests…”
“And trying stop the Titan Lord and his army from destroying the world, yeah.”
There it was again, the war. Nowadays, you couldn’t go very long at camp without hearing about it. The threat of all-out war and an attack like the one the camp faced last year hung over everyone’s mind like a storm cloud, everyone holding their breath waiting the first lightning strike. That was especially true for Percy. For the past few years, Percy had known that there was a prophesy that said a child of one of the Big Three sons of Kronos (which Percy was, being a son of Poseidon), would make a decision that would either save or destroy Olympus when they turned sixteen. Now, Percy would be turning sixteen at the end of the summer. Annabeth could see how much the idea of it weighed on Percy’s mind, but Percy had decided a few years back, after their friend Thalia joined the Hunters of Artemis (ensuring that she would never turn sixteen), that the Great Prophesy would be about him. That he wouldn’t let this fall on anyone else. He was stubborn like that. Still, even when he fought and killed monsters to stop Kronos’s plans and when he was encouraging the others to be brave, she could see how the whole thing scared him.
“Then again” said Percy. “We’re usually fighting for our lives and just hanging out is not really the norm for us.”
“Maybe it doesn’t have to be like that,” she answered. “Maybe we can hang out more often… and do… normal things” she found herself saying. She didn’t know where it was coming from, since demigods rarely did “normal” teenage things…
“Like what?” Percy asked.
“I don’t know, Seaweed Brain” she said, feeling a bit flustered, suddenly. “Maybe… eat lunch together… or something”
“But… aren’t we not allowed to sit at the same table?”
This. Boy. Is. Hopeless.
“Ok, then what do you think we should do?” she asked, turning to him. He was a little closer to her than she had thought. He smiled that same, sarcastic smile again.
“I don’t know… do I look like I’m any good at thinking up things to do that don’t involve Celestial Bronze weapons?” he said, laughing a little bit.
“Better at it than I would be” she said, smiling in spite of his hopelessness. Was it just her imagination, or was he getting closer? Or was she leaning in closer? Annabeth wasn’t sure. She could smell the scent of the ocean on him. The pleasantly salty, slightly sweet smell on his breath made her feel a little dizzy, and she could almost see the light from the moon reflected in his sea green eyes… he was getting closer. She could hear her heartbeat drumming in her ears. She could almost feel his lips on hers…
The sound of the first firework going off made them both jump. The explosions of red, white, and blue lit up the sky, and soon, the firework show was in full swing. Frames of animation blazed through the sky, lighting the beach as brightly as daylight. They watched scenes of Perseus saving Andromeda from the giant sea monster, Hercules fighting the Nemean lion, Amelia Earhart flying across the Atlantic, and of course, George Washington crossing the Delaware (that one seemed to be a favorite). The two of them watched the show, their moment of an almost-kiss nearly forgotten. She wanted to be annoyed with the kids from cabin nine on the off-shore barge for interrupting, but then Percy shyly put his hand over hers and well… she decided it was better to just watch the fireworks light up the sky (occasionally glancing at Percy, who seemed to be just as enraptured by the fireworks as he had been his first summer). Towards the end of the show, Percy leaned over and whispered to her “Is this a good ‘normal’ thing we can do? The fireworks, I mean.”
Annabeth smiled. “Sure.” She answered. His question made her feel hopeful. She couldn’t help that maybe… just maybe… he might like her, too.
As the fireworks show drew to a close and the crowd applauded, there came a second wave of cheering from the group to Percy and Annabeth’s left. They looked over and Annabeth realized that Silena and Beckendorf were a few blankets down, just breaking away from a kiss. They seemed to suddenly realize that the second bout of cheering was for them and Silena giggled a little, hiding her face in her hands. Beckendorf put an arm around her, looking a little bashful, too.
“’Bout time,” Percy said. Annabeth looked over at him. “What?” he asked. “They obviously like each other.”
“Yeah, they do.” She said, looking down at the sand. This boy is really hopeless.
Percy and Annabeth walked back up to the commons area together, talking about the fireworks. They passed by Silena and Beckendorf in front of cabin ten as he was kissing her goodnight. It was obvious how happy they were together. Seeing them together, she couldn’t help but feel a little jealous at how well it had gone for Silena. She looked over at Percy and realized that he was looking at her. He smiled a little sheepishly. Give it some time. He can be kinda clueless, sometimes. She smiled back and he walked her back to cabin six. They stopped next to the door, so they wouldn’t be in the way of the door.
“I had a good time.” Annabeth said.
“Me too… that was…” he struggled to find the right word. Without letting him finish, Annabeth leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. It wasn’t like that one time she kissed him in Mount St. Helens (long story), but it was all she could get herself to do. She was rewarded with a small smile from Percy. “Goodnight, Seaweed Brain.” she said.
“Goodnight, Annabeth.” He said smiling a little wider. He turned and walked across the central green toward cabin three. Annabeth watched him as he walked back, wishing that the fireworks had waited just a few more seconds before going off.