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Chapter 7: S is for Sweets and StudyingEdit

Annabeth know's exactly how to help Percy with his studies and with her extended knowledge of pastries and sweets there is no way Percy Jackson will fail his next math test.

Percy isn't going to object to her methods.

  • (See the end of the chapter for notes.)


It's the day after the window-rock-poetry incident when Percy goes trudging into Bake & Cake with his head downcast, hands shoved into his pockets and his face a clear picture of misery. He sighs and plunks himself down in one of the much too hard chairs then frowns at the table which is slightly scratched in one corner. "You're a stupid table," He informs the piece of wood. "You'll never amount to anything 'cause you'll never go to college."

The table, wisely, does not say anything back but Annabeth does.

"I take it your math test didn't go too well?" Her voice startles Percy and if he wasn't so depressed he would have fallen over.

Alas, currently he can only slowly tilt his head so he can meet her eyes and give her a long sad look.

Annabeth bites her lip for a moment then starts undoing the straps of her apron and pulls out the identical chair across the stupid table from Percy and takes a seat. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Percy does want to talk about it, but at the same time he doesn't. He shifts his weight in the chair as he tries to think of a not-awkward answer, because he doesn't know exactly why he came to Annabeth after failing his math test. He shouldn't have bothered her. He should just go, yes that would be best for the both of them.

For some reason, instead of getting up to leave, out of his mouth tumble the words: "Yeah, I guess."

Ugh.

Annabeth leans closer so she's even with his drooping head and says in probably the most gentle voice he's ever heard from her: "What was your score?"

Percy almost wants to flinch at that. Anytime anyone mentions grades, school, or education he has the urge to jump off a bridge and never resurface. But it's Annabeth, and if there's anyone he feels safe talking about school with, it would be her.

"54," He utters as quietly as he can. He hopes his face isn't turning as red as he thinks it is, he can feel his cheeks flushing with heat and embarrassment. He hates that feeling almost as much as Smelly Gabe.

"That's over half, which proves you know more than half of the material," Annabeth nods easily, her features giving nothing away. If she was surprised or dissapointed by his math grade, she didn't show it.

That small detail helped, a little.

"Annabeth..." Percy hesitates, knowing that either way he says this will make him feel worse, but it must be asked. "Am I..." He pauses, takes another breath, then dives straight into the question, rushing it out with one breath. "Why is school so easy for you? I don't understand what's wrong with me because I'm trying but I never get any decent grades and I don't get it."

Annabeth's elbows find their way onto the table and suddenly she's scooting her chair closer so she can place on hand on Percy's arm. Her arm is very cold.

"Percy, school is not easy for me by far." The blonde shakes her head and heaves her own sigh. "I wish it was, but to get the grades I do I seriously have to work my butt off."

Percy frowns. "But you said you like school."

"Liking it and doing well in it are two different things." His girlfriend, officially decided as of last night, points out.

Percy lets himself slide down so he's resting on the table and staring up at Annabeth. His thoughts trail away and he get's an inkling of a brilliant idea. "Annabeth?"

"Yeah?"

"What if... what if you helped me with math? Like, tutoring or something? I swear I could pay you or something..." He clears his throat and tries again. "I'm getting tired of going home to my mom after a bad school day, getting a cookie and a speech about 'keeping on' and 'persisting.' I just...I just really want to go home for once and show her a good test score and have her really be proud of me for once."

Annabeth's eyes soften at that and a smile starts fighting its way to her lips. "Of course I'll help you, and you can pay me back by acing this next math test." She gets up and scoots her chair in with her knee. "When is it?"

Percy stands as well, and straightens his hoodie so he can get into 'professional' and 'school' mode. "Mr. Chiron said I can retake this math test for full points back since he knows I need it. So, that's tomorrow."

Annabeth pales at the word 'tomorrow' and nearly takes a step backward but she recovers quickly and smiles again to cover up her shock. "Oh, uh, alright. Of course, yes we... we should probably get back to your apartment so we can hit the books."

Percy stares at her. "We want to study the books Annabeth, not hit them."

Annabeth gives him an unimpressed look and Percy cracks his own little grin (Persassy: 1 Annabeth: 0) as she walks around the store and starts explaining to (the only three) customers, sitting at their own tables, that Bake & Cake would be closing five minutes earlier than usual and she was terribly sorry for any inconveniences.

Percy watches her go behind the counter, shuffle around the back and put something in her backpack before joining him at the door.

As the couple leave the pastry shop, Percy's eyes find the table he'd called stupid and he can't help but give it a nod, as if in apology for calling it names.

♢ ☠ ☮ ☯ ♤ Ω ♤ ♧ ♧ ♥ ♡ ♢ ♢ ♔ ♕ ♚ ♛ ⚜ ☄ ☾ ☽ ☼ ☀ ☁☠ ☮ ☯ ♤ Ω ♤ ♧ ♧ ♥ ♡ ♢

Percy's absolutely one hundred percent done with learning for the rest of his life. His head swims with positive and negative numbers, equations, lines, and shapes and as he buries his face in his arms he can almost see a linear equation floating before his eyes.

"One more problem Percy," Annabeth coaxes, her voice drawing him back into the land of education. "Remember what I said? Get three in a row right, and I can reward you."

Percy hesitates slightly before lifting his head. He is curious about whatever this 'reward' might be, and heck he could use something nice in his life right about now. With only minor difficulty, he picks up his pencil and lets his eyes travel to the math book and read the next question.

Are the lines with equations 2x + y = 2 and x - 2y = 0 parallel, perpendicular or neither?

He drags his gaze back to the piece of lined paper that Annabeth has provided for him and starts solving it. At one point, his eyes begin falling shut and Annabeth gently pokes him to get him to concentrate once more. Percy's eyebrows knit together as he focuses and soon he presents his answer (perpendicular, for anyone who cared).

Annabeth takes his paper and looks over his work before smiling. "That's it, Percy! I knew you could do it," And from behind her back comes a glorious blue frosted cupcake, and Percy could swear it descended from the heavens along with a chorus of angels singing 'hallelujah!'

His greedy hands are on that cupcake in less than two seconds and it's gone in seven.

"Do you want another cupcake?" Annabeth asks sweetly.

Percy wipes his mouth before answering as quickly as he can, "Heck, yeah."

"Hmm... it looks to me as if problems 23 and 24 aren't solved."

Percy doesn't need her to say anything else. He's already grabbed his pencil and started scribbling down the problem. He's done with both in under five minutes, which Annabeth notices is a definite improvement.

She checks his work then hands him another cupcake. "Eat it slower this time," She advises but her words of warning fall on ears that are not listening.

♢ ☠ ☮ ☯ ♤ Ω ♤ ♧ ♧ ♥ ♡ ♢ ♢ ♔ ♕ ♚ ♛ ⚜ ☄ ☾ ☽ ☼ ☀ ☁☠ ☮ ☯ ♤ Ω ♤ ♧ ♧ ♥ ♡ ♢

Even after the cupcakes have long since passed (RIP) Percy's still at it, solving math equations as if his life depends on it.

"I'll get you a whole 'nother box tomorrow," Annabeth promises and true to her word she does.

The next morning as Percy takes his test in Mr. Chiron's he looks up through the window and to his own, delighted, surprise he sees Annabeth standing in the hallway holding a large box of blue cupcakes in her hands.

Needless to say, Sally Jackson was very proud of her son.


Notes:

They're just so cute as study buddies.

Annabeth's got her own little opinions in the next chapter and pretty soon the plot needs to get to some actual climax so the drama can start happening and then an awesome story can take place. (That's adorable, you thought Annabeth's jealousy in the last chapter was the climax, or maybe Percy's less than stellar grades?)

I'll let you know when I figure out what that awesome climax will be.


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