Camp Half-Blood could never be truly peaceful. Annabeth had known that for quite some time. Even if there weren't battles and prophecies and that ever-troublesome Perseus Jackson, there was always Capture the Flag and rock climbing and archery and monster fighting and, she could never forget, the trouble-making gods themselves.
Still, there were times Annabeth was quite positive they all deserved a little peace. They had fought monster after monster for so very very long and now she just wanted a little rest. Every time she told Percy this, however, he simply snorted, raised an eyebrow, and said, "Camp'll never be peaceful." Thank you ever so much.
She and the aforementioned smart aleck were making their way through all the cabins. As per their usual, she was doing cabin inspections while he sorted mail. The mail stack had been particularly short that day, however, so now he was dedicating his time to persuading Annabeth to give Poseidon's cabin just one more point.
"Come on, Annabeth," Percy pleaded, giving her doe eyes. She shook her head in amusement. "Why not?"
She laughed. "Seaweed Brain, your cabin is a wreck! There are clothes all over the floor and your bed looks like it hasn't been made in a week."
"If I go back and clean it now, will you give me another point?"
Annabeth rolled her eyes and leaned over, pecking him on the cheek. "No. But nice try."
Percy sighed sadly as she shook her head. A moment later, a gargantuan yawn escaped her. Percy shot her a slightly concerned glance.
"That's got to be the tenth time you've yawned in the past five minutes. Are you okay?"
She waved him aside. "Of course. I just didn't sleep so well last night."
"Or the night before."
She furrowed her brow and shot him a questioning glance.
"You've been so tired lately. I'm half-afraid you're going to fall asleep standing up. Have you been getting enough sleep?"
Annabeth rolled her eyes in response. "Look who sounds so concerned!"
Percy stopped her. "I'm serious. Are you okay?"
She couldn't help feeling a little touched. "Of course I am, Seaweed Brain. I've just been getting to bed a little late recently. Don't worry about me." She smiled and turned back to the task at hand, giving Aphrodite's cabin top marks.
Percy seemed a little doubtful, but he stayed by her side.
Soon, Hypnos was the only cabin left. Annabeth hesitated just outside the entrance, making Percy stop as well. "Dinner will be ready soon. Do you want to go clean your room up while you have the time?"
He grinned. "Will you up my score if I do?"
She couldn't hold back a laugh as she shook her head.
He jutted his lip out in an adorable pout. "Fine. But I'm not cleaning up my room."
Annabeth's grin was bright, but it faded a little as she glanced at the cabin door. With a slightly reluctant step, she entered the cabin.
She sighed a little in relief when a disarmingly awake Clovis greeted them. Good, now she wouldn't have to wake him.
"Percy, Annabeth! Come for cabin inspections, then?" They both nodded, and Annabeth took a quick glance around.
"It's only a little messy. Just be sure to fold those blankets," she said, gesturing towards a heap of the cozy-looking woolen fabrics. "Otherwise, good job."
Clovis smiled sheepishly. "Sure thing. Hey, Annabeth, how are those remedies working?"
Percy looked at her curiously.
"Actually," Annabeth began slowly. "I needed to talk to you about that. Do you have any other recommendations?"
Percy looked confused. Clovis said, "Others? Have any of them worked so far?"
Annabeth gave a little shake of her head abashedly. Clovis frowned. "None? How about chamomile? Essential oils?"
Annabeth shook her head. "Have you been staying off the caffeine? What about electronics? Try reading before bed instead."
"I tried that," she insisted.
"Wait," Percy interjected. "Are you having trouble sleeping?"
Clovis cut across him. "This is weird! Those herbs I gave you?"
She shook her head again. "Huh! Have you used those sound-blocking earplugs? Those have never failed."
She shrugged apologetically. "Nothing seems to work."
Clovis was evidently surprised. "I swear by those earplugs. However, if they're not working, they're not working." He gave her a smile. "Don't worry, we'll figure something out. Sleep is the specialty here at Hypnos' House."
Percy managed to cut in. "You're having trouble sleeping?"
Annabeth looked a little embarrassed. "I can't sleep at all, actually. Whatever I do to try and fall asleep, I just can't do it."
Clovis looked serious. "Okay. I'm going to figure this out. Can you remember the last time you had a full night's sleep?"
A slight blush tinged her cheeks. "Er, yes. It was quite a while ago. Several weeks. I have slept since then, but never for more than an hour. I haven't slept at all the past week."
"That last good night's sleep: can you tell me if you did anything special to ensure your sleep? A certain type of mattress, for example?"
Her blush increased. "No, nothing special. Actually, I, er, was sleeping on the ground."
Comprehension unraveled across Percy's face and he shot her an undecipherable look. His cheeks looked a little pink as well.
Clovis continued. "Did you have a cot, or a sleeping bag? What did you use for a pillow?"
Annabeth glanced around, ensuring that the other Hypnos children were asleep, before stammering, "I didn't - um - no, I slept directly on the ground. When we were on a quest, you know. I - er..." She swallowed dryly. "I was using someone else as a pillow."
Both her and Percy's cheeks were ablaze. Amusement sparked in Clovis' eyes as well as understanding. His eyes flickered to Percy and back to her. "I see!"
She burst out, "Don't take it the wrong way! We weren't - we weren't doing anything, or anything like that - we were just sleeping -" Clovis couldn't hold back a grin.
Hopelessly embarrassed, Annabeth buried her head in her hands.
Percy burst out laughing. He was quickly followed by Clovis. Miraculously, no one in the cabin awoke.
Annabeth groaned as their laughter increased. "It's not funny!"
She lifted her head as the boys reined in their laughter. "Sorry," Percy was quick to reply. "You just looked so mortified-"
Clovis snorted in laughter. Percy repressed his grin.
Annabeth shook her head, choosing to ignore her crimson cheeks. "Do you have another remedy I could try?" she snapped at Clovis.
The boy nodded, his chuckles subsiding. "The human nature is quite curious at times. I have a feeling that if you recreate the scene of your last good night's sleep, your mind and body will be relaxed enough to slip off to the Land of Nod."
"What does that mean, 'recreate the scene?'" Annabeth inquired dubiously.
He grinned. "Have the same sleeping arrangements. Except, I wouldn't recommend sleeping on the floor. Rather uncomfortable."
Percy asked with a chuckle, "So, just keep the same pillow as before?"
Annabeth protested, "I can't...'keep those sleeping arrangements' - we're not allowed to leave our cabins at night, you know that."
Clovis shrugged. "Then ask Chiron for permission. If your health is at stake, he'd surely be willing to bend a few rules."
Just then, the conch shell sounded, announcing dinnertime.
"Well, then," Clovis said, getting ready to rouse his cabin. "Have a good night." He grinned, then shooed them out the door.
Percy caught Annabeth's arm before she could rush off to organize her cabin. "If it would help you sleep, Annabeth, I think we should try what he said."
Taking her embarrassment into account, he continued, "I'll sleep on the floor, if you'd like. Maybe me just being nearby will do the trick."
She shook her head. "Just - we'll talk about it later, okay?"
"You still have to tell Chiron!" Percy said as she pulled away. She looked up at him for a moment before nodding. Then she was running off towards the Athena cabin.
After dinner, Annabeth tried to work up the courage to give Chiron her request. She waited until most of the campers had gone down to the campfire before she moved towards the centaur.
He noticed her instantly. With a fatherly smile, he said, "Hello, Annabeth. Do you need something?"
She nodded. "I...I haven't been sleeping very well at all lately, so I asked Clovis what to do..."
Chiron nodded, indicating that she should continue. "And he thinks I might be able to sleep if I...if I go over to the Poseidon cabin and sleep in there. Just sleep!" She insisted.
Chiron looked a little alarmed. His face quickly softened, however. "Do you think it will help?"
"Honestly?" She thought for a moment. "I think it might."
"Then, you may. I presume Percy knows about this?"
"Alright, then." Chiron smiled down at her. "Sleep well, Annabeth." He patted her on the shoulder before going to join the campfire.
Annabeth heaved a little sigh before following him down.
She found Percy right away. She gave him a sheepish smile, then sat down next to him. He leaned over and gave her a quick kiss on the forehead before attempting to sing along with the group.
Annabeth shook her head at his horrid singing voice, a smile creeping over her face.
The campfire was soon over, and Annabeth was more exhausted than ever. She yawned countless times as the flames were extinguished and the campers began to disperse. Percy began to head towards the Poseidon cabin. Annabeth stood in front of the main cabins, suddenly unsure of what to do. Percy made his way back over to her, his gaze questioning.
"I should go get ready for bed first, I suppose," Annabeth said.
He nodded, smiled, and said, "See you in a bit."
Annabeth headed over to the Athena cabin. She changed into an old t-shirt and a pair of faded pajama pants. She brushed her teeth, combed her hair, washed her face, and then stood awkwardly by her bunk.
One of her siblings noticed her inner conflict. "Annabeth?"
She snapped her head around, frantically brainstorming excuses. "Oh, um...I'll just...I wanted to say...I...I'll be out tonight. Chiron's asked me to...sleep somewhere else...as a test. Top secret. I can't really say much."
The girl grinned. "Where is the 'test?' The Poseidon cabin?" Another sibling across the room burst out in laughter, though she quickly tried to muffle it.
Annabeth's cheeks grew akin to tomatoes for the umpteenth time. "No! I just...no! That's not...that's...gah!" She threw her hands up in the air and stormed out, braid flying behind her and grey eyes smoldering like a volcano on the brink of eruption.
The cool night air quickly calmed her irritated spirits. She took a deep breath. In the past few weeks, Annabeth had learned the beauty of the nighttime - something she had never before truly contemplated. A lack of sleep does fantastic things for one's mind. She knew she shouldn't be so embarrassed about the whole situation. It was just - she had fought so many battles and monsters! Why couldn't she conquer something so easy as sleep? She sighed.
She stood still for a moment, listening to the muffled talk of the campers, the hum and chirp of the nearby insects, and, faintly, the gentle lap of the waves on the shore.
Feeling more at ease, she started towards the Poseidon cabin. Percy had left the door open a smidge, letting Annabeth know she was welcome.
Despite the embarrassment she felt at her helpless situation and the lengths she had to take to try and fix her issues, Annabeth couldn't resist the contentment her heart felt when she thought of Percy. Her troublesome, ridiculous, stupid, handsome, brave, selfless boyfriend! With a shake of her head, Annabeth hesitantly peeked around the door.
Percy was laying in a pile of blankets on the floor, hands behind his head and eyes closed. Annabeth eased open the door before padding her way over to him. He cracked open one eye and smiled at her. She smiled in return.
"You do have a bunk bed," Annabeth observed. "One of us can sleep on top."
"True," Percy said, opening his eyes fully. "But then I wouldn't be very close to you."
Annabeth tried to fight her blush. She failed.
Percy seemed amused. "Go on, climb in."
She made her way over to the bed, stepping over Percy and trying not to trip over his blankets. She pulled back the sheets on the bed Percy had clearly only just made before settling down. She pulled the blankets up to her chin and trained her eyes on the bottom of the bed above her.
"Goodnight, Seaweed Brain," she said.
She could hear the smile in his words as he replied, "Goodnight, Wise Girl."
The flames that had lit the room blew out, and everything was drenched in darkness.
Annabeth closed her eyes, burrowed deeper into the mattress, and tried to sleep.
Five minutes later, Percy's breaths evened out.
Fifteen minutes after that, the noise from the Apollo cabin finally died down.
Twenty minutes after that, Annabeth heard the sounds of two harpies conversing down by the lake.
Half an hour after that, Annabeth's eyes snapped open in frustration. Why was this so hard?!
With an irritated sigh, she sat up. She looked over at Percy enviously. A shaft of moonlight had fallen over him, revealing his carefree expression and relaxed pose as he slept soundly. Annabeth couldn't help herself. Her eyes drifted over the handsome slope of his nose, the locks of hair that lay across his eyelids, the black lashes that skimmed his cheeks, and his lips...
Annabeth released another sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose. She was so tired! She couldn't think straight. What had Clovis said to her earlier? 'Recreate the scene?'
She threw the blankets off her legs and slid out of the bed. She knelt beside Percy and bit her lip before acquiescing to her desires. Trying not to wake him, Annabeth shimmied into the cocoon of blankets Percy had created. She sidled close to his body. With one final hesitation, she slid her arms around him and placed her head on his chest. Almost instantly, Percy made a snuffling sound and shifted. His arm came to rest on top of her and his body slid closer.
Annabeth took a deep breath, absorbing his scent and the steadiness that always seemed to emanate from him. The steadiness of the sea, and of the waves crashing upon the sand, and of the deep blue waters. Her eyes drifted closed, and she was asleep.
Something bright was hurting her eyes. It was too bright. She didn't want to wake up yet.
Cautiously, she peeped one eye open. She was met with an amused pair of deep green eyes.
"Sleep well?" A deep, smooth voice asked.
Her eyes widened. She tried to sit up, but something held her down. She looked. Percy's arm was wrapped tightly around her waist.
She looked back up at him. "Did I..." she grimaced. Her voice was thick with sleep. She tried again, "Did I sleep?"
He grinned. "Looks like it, Wise Girl."
She couldn't help but grin in return.
Her embarrassment didn't fade just because she'd slept, however. She still had had to tell Clovis (mild blushing), then Mr. D and Chiron (insufferably strong blushing), then spend the rest of the day shooting ferocious glares at anyone who said anything that sounded suspiciously like, 'Annabeth,' 'Percy,' or 'sleep' (suppressed blushing). Once night fell, she crept back to the Poseidon cabin. Percy had forfeited the floor, but eagerly patted the bed space beside him as she entered. And Annabeth slept another night.
The pattern continued much like this, although eventually word got out to people beyond the Athena cabin, and Annabeth had to endure more "Ooh, Percabeth!" jibes. The embarrassment faded over time as her sleep meter increased. Eventually she was able to mention her sleeping arrangement with nary a blush at all.
She never had a sleepless night again.
Well, at least not for many years. Then something happened that ensured she would have no sleep for quite a while... but that's a story for another time.