When Percy woke up on his birthday, he was feeling pretty happy.
Two weeks on from the war with Gaia, and life was slowly returning to normal. Well, as normal as it could be for a demigod. Percy was enjoying his down time with Annabeth, without the war looming over them.
And when he wasn’t spending time with her, he was catching up with his life.
Over eight months… It had been so long since he had been in this place, since he had talked to his friends, since he could just chill. He wanted to soak up every bit of camp life now.
From the moment Percy stepped out of his cabin, his day was hectic. In the morning, he had approached the breakfast pavilion, only to be surrounded by people wishing him happy birthday. Percy was surprised everyone remembered, but it felt pretty good. Then he spotted Annabeth.
She rushed over to him, throwing her arms around his neck. He grinned, and leaned in to kiss her.
“Happy Birthday, Seaweed Brain!”
“Thanks, Wise Girl.” He smiled at her, staying there for a moment, soaking her in. Despite the fact she was just wearing the normal jeans and Camp Half-Blood t-shirt, her blonde hair casually tied in a ponytail, Percy thought she looked beautiful. Her wounds from the war had faded, leaving only the faintest of scars. Percy was so glad that nothing had happened to her during the war. He wouldn’t know what he would have done if he’d lost Annabeth.
He noticed that the pavilion was more crowded than usual. Annabeth opened her mouth to explain, but another voice spoke instead.
“Well, we decided to drop by and wish you a happy birthday.” Percy spun round, and saw Hazel grinning at him, Frank next to her, standing just a few feet behind Percy. They rushed forward to greet him.
“You guys came just for my birthday?” Percy asked, delighted they were here.
Frank nodded. “Not just us. A lot of people came. The gods arranged the visit.“
“Yeah, I wouldn’t feel too good about yourself. If it was too much effort, we wouldn’t have bothered,” Reyna added teasingly. She had just approached them from the side. She came forward and wished Percy, hugging Annabeth.
Percy wanted to spend more time there, but he had to go and teach a sword-fighting class. Annabeth kissed him goodbye, and Percy sped off.
He saw Piper on the way to the sword-fighting arena, leading her cabin to Ancient Greek. Camp Half-Blood had gone back to its usual schedule, as had Camp Jupiter. Now the seven, and all the demigods, were back to normal camp activities. Camp Half-Blood had luckily suffered little damage. It was still the same as Percy remembered. The only thing that changed was the absence of a few demigods, brave heroes that had died in the war…
Later on, when Percy was teaching his class to some first year campers, Jason dropped by. Percy sparred him for a while. It was a long fight, but eventually Percy managed to disarm him.
Percy grinned. “Told you I was better.”
Jason smirked. “How do you know I didn’t just let you win, because it’s your birthday?”
“Oh, be quiet, Grace.”
The day passed quickly. The camp was busier than ever. New recruits were coming in all the time, and Reyna hadn’t been exaggerating. Almost half of Camp Jupiter came for the day. Grover visited too, but could only stay till tomorrow morning, before he had to go back to all the nature-y stuff Grover did, like eat leaves.
When evening came, he quickly went back to his cabin, took a shower and changed into some fresh clothes: a smart pair of jeans, and a blue t-shirt. Annabeth had told him she wanted to spend the evening with him. He made sure his hair was presentable, before walking to the Athena cabin, knocking on the door.
Annabeth answered. She looked stunning. She was wearing a white blouse and a red shirt, with a carefully fitted pair of jeans. Her blonde hair curled over her shoulders. The pendant Percy had given her hung off her neck, glinting in the evening sun. Her grey eyes were shining bright.
She beamed at him.
“So, where are we going?” Percy asked, as they walked out of the cabin area, towards the dining pavilion and the beach. Annabeth had hinted she had something planned for tonight, but she had refused to tell Percy.
Annabeth smiled teasingly at him. ‘You’ll have to wait and see,” she said mysteriously.
As it turned out, Percy didn’t have to wait very long. They walked towards the beach, though Percy wasn’t exactly sure why Annabeth was taking him there. Soon they reached, the glittering blue water lapping the silky sand of the beach. Percy didn’t notice the marquee till there was a loud chorus of voices.
On the beach was a huge marquee, tables lined up in it. There was a big crowd standing under it, full of Percy’s friends. Above them hung a huge black banner, with the words Happy Birthday, Seaweed Brain! painted in on green.
“Wha- how?” Percy gaped. He turned to Annabeth. “You did this?”
Annabeth nodded, her eyes sparkling. Percy kissed her, not caring a whole crowd of his friends was watching. There was a wolf-whistle in the crowd, and everyone laughed. Percy grinned as he turned to face his friends.
The party was a blur. It went on for hours. Music started playing (from where Percy didn’t know), and it started to get the party going (thankfully Chiron wasn’t allowed to choose the music). Percy talked to his friends, enjoying his birthday party- the first proper one he had ever had. At one point, Jason tried to chuck him in the water, with help from Leo and Frank. That wasn’t too clever. Luckily for them, the naiads agreed to help dry them out (Percy was too busy cracking up).
Leo kept making jokes, demonstrating his fire powers to Roman onlookers. He told people his story about how he managed to find Calypso again with great enthusiasm. Despite the fact Calypso was rolling her eyes behind him, there was a smile on her lips.
Later on in the night, slow music started playing. Percy walked up to Annabeth. “May I have this dance?” he asked, holding out a hand. Annabeth raised an eyebrow.
“You sure you know how to dance, Seaweed Brain?”
Percy smirked. “Well, how about we find out?”
Together they waltzed around the beach. They were surrounded by couples doing the same. Percy saw Tyson asking Ella, his cheeks red. Grover danced with Juniper. Leo was talking rapidly and Calypso, next to him, was laughing. Jason and Piper danced near them, and Percy could see Frank and Hazel smiling at each other too.
Percy spotted Reyna sitting down at a table, watching, a content smile on her face. Percy realised there were a group of boys standing nearby, glancing at Reyna, trying to work up the courage to ask her for a dance. Nico sat next to Reyna, talking to a few campers, involved in a discussion with Will Solace and a few campers from the Hermes cabin.
Watching them, Percy felt a surge of affection for his friends. They had all been through so much. The seven, fighting the battle in Athens, and the fighting that had taken place just outside of Camp… They had all suffered, and they deserved this moment, this summer, to enjoy themselves.
The atmosphere was very tranquil. Percy gazed at Annabeth. He remembered the last time they had danced, in Westover Hall. That had been, what, three years ago now? It felt like centuries. They had come so far since then.
Annabeth rested her head on Percy’s shoulder.
“Thanks for this,” Percy whispered into her ear, his chin hanging above her hair.
“You’re welcome,” Annabeth whispered back. Together, they grinned at each other. Percy’s heart skipped a beat.
Several kisses later, all the demigods gathered around the centre table.
Clarisse raised her sword. “Time for a game of capture the flag! Greeks and Romans!”
There was a cheer of assent. Annabeth looked at Percy, who just grinned.
“Why not?” he asked, laughing.
Annabeth stepped forward. “Ok! Lets divide into two teams. All of the camp can be used as playing ground.”
The campers divided into two teams, each team a mix between Greek and Roman. Percy was leading one team with Annabeth.
The two teams went their separate ways. Percy could hear Leo shouting, “Chef Leo will always win, suckers!”
Annabeth planted their flag down, hidden in sight by a couple of trees. She delegated jobs, her strategic mind already at work.
Percy smiled as he settled down next to Annabeth, ready for the game to start.
“You better not make me lose, Seaweed Brain,” Annabeth said.
“I’ll try my best, Wise Girl.”
The horn sounded to signify the start of the game. The wind rushed past him as he ran forward, Annabeth at his side. Percy felt great. Right now, his life was pretty good. The war was won, the monsters were lying low. He could enjoy time at camp with his friends, and could look forward to spending next year with Annabeth. Even now, he was enjoying a game of Capture the Flag after his birthday party, his beautiful girlfriend at his side. Yep, life was definitely good.
And he had a feeling it was only going to get better.