Percy blinked open his eyes slowly and turned to face the alarm clock. The dim, red numbers read 3:47am. He winced and rolled over to face Annabeth. She was sleeping soundly, with her curls billowed out over her pillow. Percy kissed her temple gently and tossed off his covers, padding over to his closet. He pulled on his old CHB shirt and a pair of jeans. Slipping on tennis shoes, he carefully reached under his pillow and put Riptide in his pocket. Creeping out of the room, he shut the door quietly as not to awaken Annabeth.
They had lived in the Upper East Side apartment for three years now, and it had become part of their new life. Annabeth was in her final year of college at Columbia University and Percy was finishing his degree at NYU. They still went to camp during the summers to serve as directors with Chiron, but Percy still missed it everyday. He missed the smell of strawberries that blew in the wind, the training, the cabins, and the lake. Most of all, he missed the feeling of having a home.
Taking the stairs two at a time, he felt the counters for his keys until one of them stabbed the palm of his hand. He cursed and jerked back his fingers, shoving them into his pocket and making his way to the car. Cold rain drizzled onto the hood of his car and he shivered, quickly clamoring inside. His breath was frosty and the night was illuminated with the glow of the moon. Lifting his eyes, he made a small prayer to Artemis in thanks. Where he was going, he preferred to have a natural light.
It was about a hour drive through the city, and then another hour and a half to make it into the country side. He parked at the base of the grassy hill, where a thin layer of fog shadowed the earth. Grabbing a dark jacket from the back seat, he trudged through the slick grass and up towards a familiar pine tree. Percy could see the Golden Fleece glimmering brightly from a mile away, and it immediately took its effect on his mood. Taking a deep breath, he nodded curtly to the protective dragon and passed through the camp's magical borders. His sea-green eyes scanned the horizon, flickering over the various cabins. There was no one outside, not even the harpies.
He smiled to himself as he looked at the stairs leading up to the Big House. After the war with Gaea, all the campers dipped their hands in paint and pressed them to the wood. Annabeth's and his were in the middle, surrounded by the other five chosen demigods. Feeling at ease, he ran his hands along the porch, tracing the ridges of the chipped paint. He let out a small sigh and turned to walk back to his old cabin. It was still empty, except for Tyson on rare occasions, but he didn't mind. That just meant it stayed clean.
His throat caught when he looked at the large oak tree to the left of his cabin. Mrs. O'Leary was buried underneath it. She was killed in the previous war, saving Percy's life. He made a mental note to bring flowers tomorrow. Slowly making his way through the large, coral encrusted doors, the fountain in his room instantly brightened. The room got warmer and a rainbow was cast through the water. Percy was receiving an Iris message.
Curiously, he looked through the sheer waterfall, but all he saw was his own reflection. His eyebrows furrowed together and he reached out with a finger to touch it.
Percy jumped back, knocking over his lamp and crashing into his desk. Annabeth's annoyed face was glaring back at him, and his heart thudded loudly. She was normally cranky in the mornings, but now it would be even worse. He gulped and managed a weak smile.
"H-hey there, Wise Girl," he said meekly and steadily placed his lamp back in its place. Her nostrils flared and she shook her head in distaste.
"What are you doing?" She said slowly. Percy bit his lip nervously. When Annabeth was talking calmly, that meant trouble. The yelling he could handle, but not this.
"I just needed to come back. Clear my head," he replied halfheartedly. Annabeth's expression softened and she let out a small sigh. "Why don't you meet me here and we'll lay out by the lake?"
She rubbed her tired eyes and groaned. "I'll meet you in two hours," she muttered and held up her hand to disconnect.
"Wait! How do you get here in two hours? It takes me almost three!" he protested and crossed his arms. Annabeth smirked in reply and waved her hand through the rainbow. His fountain stopped and the room became dark. He shivered and waited for his eyes to adjust to the new environment. Sitting on his bunk, he picked up the Minotaur horn that was displayed on the wall. He ran his thumb over the tip and smiled at the memories. It was so fresh in his mind and yet it happened several years ago.
By the time Annabeth got there; which didn't take long, Percy was already laying on the cool sand, letting it fall through his fingers. Annabeth's hair was down to shield her neck from the cold, and she snuggled up closer to Percy. He shifted himself so she was sitting in between his knees and her head was laid back on his chest. He kissed her ear softly and she slipped her eyes closed. The moon reflected off the lake and small ripples splashed against the dock.
"Who says you can't go home?" He whispered quietly as he intertwined his hand with hers. He felt her cheekbones raise as she smiled. Annabeth turned her head slightly and kissed his warm lips, letting herself go.
"It really does feel like home, huh?"
Percy thought for a moment and gave a sheepish smile, kissing her forehead. "Only when you're here."