Percy’s first instinct, when he jolts awake to find his arms empty, is to panic, especially after the dream he’s just had. Fear’s still pounding in his veins, snatches of the nightmare still fading from his vision - golden sunlight turning to ash, the agony of his muscles being set aflame, the burn in his own throat as a single, distant cry of his name reaches his ears and he realizes he’ll never make it in time to relieve her pain.
Luckily, as usual, all it takes is a few moments for him to regain his bearings: he’s still tucked safely away in their fortress of an apartment, and reaching a hand out to Annabeth’s side of the bed finds the sheets still warm, and there’s even a light on down the hall, silent except for the coffeemaker gurgling as it gets to work. Nothing out of the ordinary. Able to breathe again, Percy leaves Riptide under his pillow and gets up to confirm his suspicions, just to be absolutely sure, because he knows he won’t be sleeping again any time soon if he doesn’t check - probably won’t be sleeping again anyway. To ward off the winter chill, he grabs one of the extra blankets off the bed and wraps it around his shoulders before heading to the kitchen.
Just as expected, Annabeth’s hovering at the counter, drumming her fingers impatiently while she waits for the coffee to finish. Her laptop’s open on the kitchen table, casting a dim blue glow onto the opposite wall. The light on the microwave is turned on, and its clock blares 4:17. Could’ve been worse, he thinks.
"Hey," Annabeth says softly. "Did I wake you up?"
"No." He leans against the counter next to her. "Bad dream."
She heaves a sigh. “Me too.” The glance they share is one of understanding - of not needing to say anything because all they need is the other standing here in front of them, close enough to touch, warm and alive. “You okay?”
"Yeah," he says slowly, still deciding on it as it leaves his mouth. "I’m fine, I just…"
He hesitates for a moment, but then the concern in her face and the silver in her eyes at this time of night, almost as though reflecting the moonlight on the snow drifting past the windows - he’s barely turned toward her when she opens her arms and lets herself be folded into his embrace, all-encompassing, like he’s trying to wrap his very existence around her. Doesn’t matter if he succeeds - all that matters is the sweetness of her hair against his nose as he kisses the top of her head, and how he feels fire where she rests her hand at the base of his spine.
Breathe. Just breathe.