~December 31st, 2012~
Her fingers tapped against the wooden table, drumming a staccato rhythm on the polished mahogany surface as she waited impatiently for her fiancée to get home. Percy had gone out, claiming he had to 'run a couple of last-minute errands before the new year', and had promised that they would spend the rest of the night planning their upcoming wedding as soon as he got back. It was only four months away, and there was still so much left to get done before then... But what kind of errands could Percy possibly be running on New Year's Eve? "Annabeth!”
The blonde-haired young woman looked up at the sound, a smile forming on her face as she noticed the upper body of her best friend waving cheerily at her through a shimmering rainbow that had formed in mid-air above the table. "Piper! How's the quest going?"
"We did it! We found Ogygia and freed Calypso, and we're on our way back now. In fact, we should be back by the end of the week".
Annabeth's smile widened. "I'm glad to hear it. I'll let Percy know when he gets in".
"Speaking of which, where is he? It's rare to see the two of you apart, ever since... well, you know... Rome"
Annabeth almost winced at the mention of Rome, which had led to both her and Percy falling into Tartarus. "Running a couple of last-minute errands before the New Year starts, apparently. He suggested that I stay here and look over the plans we’ve made for the wedding so far”.
Piper smiled mysteriously, which made Annabeth suspect that the daughter of Aphrodite knew more about what Percy was doing than she was letting on. “Percy told you what he’s planning, didn’t he?”
Her friend sighed slightly. “I spoke to him yesterday. He wanted my advice on something, and I asked him what he had planned. He wouldn’t tell me everything, but yes, he did tell me enough that I know what he’s doing”.
“Are you going to tell me?”
There was a pause while Piper considered the question, during which Annabeth could hear the door open and then shut again, followed by Percy’s voice from the doorway. “Annabeth, I’m home!”
Piper sighed. “I’m sorry, Annabeth, but I honestly can’t. I promised him that I wouldn’t tell you. He was really adamant that he be the one to tell you”.
“Is that Piper?”
Percy stepped into the room, a small shopping bag in his hand, and smiled when he noticed Piper, or at least the image of her upper body, there. “How’s the search going?” he queried.
Piper grinned. “We’re on our way back, actually. We’ll be back at Camp Half-blood by the end of the week. Anyway, I suppose I should go. Don’t worry, I’ll tell Jason and Leo that you guys said hi. And Happy New Year to you both!”
With that, she slashed her hand through the rainbow, and the image dissolved into mist. Annabeth turned to her fiancée, raising an eyebrow questioningly. “What exactly were these errands you had to run?”
Percy sank down onto the chair next to her and smiled slightly, letting the bag fall gently from his hand to the ground. “I swung by camp to see Chiron and to check on a couple of other things, then I stopped in to wish Paul and my mother a Happy New Year. On the way home I stopped into the jewelry store to pick up those wedding rings that we had our eyes on the last time we were in there (the ones that we requested be engraved with ‘A Seaweed Brain’s Wise Girl’ and ‘A Wise Girl’s Seaweed Brain’), as well as something else as a special surprise for later… Oh, and I ordered pizza while I was on my way up. It should be here in about twenty-five minutes”.
“Good. That gives us plenty of time to go over these details then”.
-About five hours later-
As quietly as was humanely possible, Percy reached into the small shopping bag and pulled out the leather-bound grey box before joining his fiancée on the couch in front of the TV. He’d been keeping an eye on the contents of the box for a while before finally buying it, but only the day before, after the conversation that he had had with Piper over an IM, had he actually really thought about how perfect the item within would look on the woman he loved more than anything else in the world. He placed a gentle hand on the young woman’s shoulder, offering the box to her in one hand as she raised her head to give him a questioning look. “Open it”.
As she did so, a piece of folded notepaper fluttered out, landing on the ground beside the couch. Before she could lift the lid of the box any further, Percy reached down and grabbed the paper, handing it to her. “I think that you should read the note first, Annabeth”.
His fiancée shrugged. “If you say so”.
She unfolded the note and glanced over it, her eyes widening as the words registered. Wise Girl. There are no words that are accurate enough to describe what you mean to me or how extraordinarily amazing I think you are, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t intend to spend the rest of our lives together trying to find them. I hope this small token of my appreciation goes even the smallest bit of the way to repaying you for all the good memories you’ve given me over the past seven years and all the ones we have yet to make together (but we will, we definitely will). I love you, now and forever. Sincerely, Percy.
Her stormy grey eyes filled with tears at the love that was obvious in each and every word written on the small piece of paper, and they only intensified when she finally opened the box to find a pair of owl-shaped golden hoop earrings. “Percy… Just… wow. These are absolutely gorgeous”.
“Only the best for you” Percy replied softly.
Whatever he was about to say next was cut off when she leaned in and pressed her lips to his in a fiery kiss that would have probably turned into a heavy makeout session if it hadn’t been for the fireworks that began to explode in the distance outside of their apartment. Annabeth smiled warmly at her soon-to-be husband. “Happy New Year, Percy”.
His dazzling sea-green eyes stared straight back at her, and he returned her smile. “Happy New Year, Annabeth. May this year bring us plenty of new surprises”.
“I’d like that”.
As they stood, and as Annabeth followed Percy down the short hallway that separated the lounge, dining room, and kitchen from the bedrooms, she looked down at the earrings that lay in the small leather box in her hand. Yes, she thought. If they’re all like this, this year will be even better than 2012…