Fandom: Percy Jackson/The Heroes of Olympus
Characters: Annabeth, appearance of Piper.
Warnings: None if you’ve read TLH, otherwise spoilers
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine.
Summary: It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without Percy.
AN: Hera is found on the winter solstice, which is December 21 and I took it from there. The title is from the Christmas song, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), but the fic kind of changed on me. Oh well...
She feels like a complete idiot.
Four days have gone by since the Solstice. Three days have gone by since she learned the truth of what happened to Percy. The camp has been informed and it’s a flurry of activity to get everything ready on time. She feels bad for the Hephestus campers, who seem to barely sleep and attend meals – when they absolutely must – covered in oil and grease. As Leo put it, they were trying to complete a task that should take two years in a fourth of that amount of time, and it clearly took its toll on them.
Usually, Camp was full of snow ball fights and younger campers making snowmen. Hot cocoa was available in the dining hall no matter what time of day. Christmas carols blasted from stereos. The weather was cool enough to allow snow, but kept temperate enough that no one froze. The lake froze over enough that campers could skate, and games of ice hockey were just as common as other campers figure skating.
This year, the lake is empty. There are no snowball fights. There is no hot chocolate available in the dining hall. Even last Christmas, when the battle with Kronos was coming, the campers still managed to have fun. Sure, there were still archery practice and swordsmanship lessons and everyone was on edge, but there was also time to relax. There was time to be, well, kids.
Not this year.
Annabeth picks up a handful of snow with her bare hand and lobs it against a tree. There are so many other things she should be doing now: planning, strategizing, bothering Jason about his lack of memories and trying to plot the location of the Roman camp. She could help with the building of the boat – while the Hephaestus campers are the main masterminds, they welcome every other hand, even if it is simply to fetch tools or clean. Everyone at camp is working – everyone except her.
She just can’t bear to.
It starts to snow again. She leans back against a tree and stares up into the sky. The silence of the forest wears on her. Her mind wanders to Percy – like it has the past weeks. This would be their first official Christmas together, and even though they don’t really celebrate the holiday, well, it’s Christmas. You don’t have to believe to enjoy the holidays or what they stand for, and Christmas stands for family and being together and joy and all that stuff that she is definitely not feeling at the moment.
Percy’s absence is like an unhealed injury, one that always throbs, but sometimes, at just the right moment, something bothers it and it causes a wave of pain. Except you can always take nectar or ambrosia for an injury, and there’s nothing she can do about Percy’s absence.
She wonders if he remembers her at all. It took a few days, but Jason started to remember. Maybe Percy is the same? Maybe he knows who he is. Maybe he remembers her and just can’t remember where Camp is?
It doesn’t change the fact that it’s Christmas Day and yet no one seems to care or notice. It doesn’t change the fact that Percy isn’t here.
Get a grip on yourself, Chase. She stomps through the forest. He has amnesia, he’s not dead. And you have better things to do than pine over something you can’t do anything about.
"Oh hey, Annabeth!" Piper pops out in front of her. The daughter of Aphrodite may not be dressed like a fashionista as most of her sisters are, but somehow the snow falls just right, bringing out her beauty. "What’s up?"
"Not much." She shrugs. Just angsting over my boyfriend – again. Not that she’d admit that to the girl.
"Well, some Hermes campers stole some marshmallows from the kitchens and we’re roasting them over the forge." Piper smiles. "Oh, and if you’re not busy, we could definitely use your help. Clarisse and Nyssa are arguing about…something," Piper frowns. "I think it has to do with gun ports or something. I don’t know, but we could definitely use your opinion on the matter. I think it’s about to come to drawing weapons."
Annabeth rolls her eyes. "Of course it is. This is Clarisse after all." She sighs and nods to Piper. "Well, let’s go then." They start off towards Bunker 9 and she can hear an off-key, mangled version of The Twelve Days of Christmas echoing through the forest. Two other campers, two from Ares, have an impromptu snowball fight while the clang of metal echoes in the formerly silent woods.
Percy may not be here, and it’s perfectly okay to miss him. But life does go on, she realizes. And it’s still Christmas Day, all the same. Just…a little different than usual. She accepts the cup of cocoa from a daughter of Demeter and has time to draw a dagger and block Clarisse’s sword from beheading Nyssa – without spilling any cocoa. She does have a purpose.
She hasn’t forgotten about Percy. She can’t. But she can still do some good.
She doesn’t feel much like an idiot anymore.