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19 October 2013 @ 12:46 am
I never thought it would be you  
Title: I never thought it would be you
Author: twilight_rush
Fandom: Percy Jackson & the Olympians
Summary: If Katie had it her way, she’d have the whole Demeter cabin evacuated and a bomb squad called in.  Things associated with the Stolls shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Pairing: Connor Stoll/Katie Gardner
Rated: G
Disclaimer: Rick Riordan owns PJO.
Note: Conkat 5ever.

Katie was a smart girl, no doubt—she could give some of the Athena kids a hard time in things like Scrabble or Jeopardy—yet she didn’t anticipate the surprise waiting for her at her cabin, after coming back from the strawberry fields. When she opened the doors, confetti hit her face the same time a chorus of voices yelled, “Happy birthday!” in her ears. Someone blew a horn, and others clapped cheerfully. Katie pulled a streamer from her hair, laughing.

                “Oh my gods, you guys.” A banner spelling out Happy 18th B-Day (she ignored how a red sharpie was obviously used to cross out the 16th and scrawl a 18th above it) hung on the walls. Green balloons littered the floor, and a table was pulled up in the middle. On it sat a cake, yellow frosting and white trimmings. An arm slugged around her shoulders, and she looked to see it was Miranda. She hugged her as Miranda said, “Happy birthday, sis.”

x x x

They ended up eating the entire cake (chocolate with a cream-filled middle—yum), and Katie received a few gifts from her half siblings. She took the items over to her bunk, to set them aside on her desk, when she noticed a bomb on her bed. If Katie had it her way, she’d have the whole Demeter cabin evacuated and a bomb squad called in. Technically, she could—she was head counselor—but she wasn’t so irrational that she’d choose such an action. Still, things associated with the Stolls shouldn’t be taken lightly.

                All right, so it wasn’t a bomb, as far as she knew. It was square, like the size of a shoebox, wrapped in orange paper with a red bow on top. Attached to it was a small card that read: From Connor to Katie. Congrats on your birth.

                “Connor was here?” she exclaimed. “When—how—did he get in here?” She’s developed a Stoll radar since being at camp. She could tell where either brother was within a hundred miles radius. Her siblings shrugged. No one remember seeing Connor come in. Katie huffed, peering at the present, but not touching it. Of course, he had to find out it was her birthday, and devise a plan to prank her. What a jerk. Well, joke was on him. She was going to make him open it, and risk having something explode in his face. Like a can of fake snakes or a whipped cream pie.

                After prodding it to make sure it wouldn’t go off, she picked up the box. It wasn’t heavy, but she felt something shift inside. Katie marched out of her cabin, and walked straight to the Hermes’ cabin. A few campers stared at her as she entered. One guy muttered, “Oh boy,” while another person snickered. Katie rolled her eyes and sighed. “Where’s Connor?”

                A group of voices immediately followed. “Connor! Katie’s here to kick your butt.” Seconds later, Connor emerged from the back, walking up to Katie. His curly hair was more disheveled than usual, and he had a slight smirk on his face. With his hands stuffed in his jean pockets, he stopped in front of Katie, looking down at her. Gods, she hated how annoyingly tall he was. How could he be scared of her glare if she didn’t even reach his shoulders?

                “Can I talk to you—in private?” she asked. Whatever was in the box, she didn’t want to be humiliated in front of the entire cabin. He cocked an eyebrow, but she began walking outside before he could say anything. “Don’t worry, guys,” he said, following her. “She wants to kick my butt in private as to not traumatize you all.”

                They went around to the side of the cabin where it was a bit quiet, and no one was hanging out. Katie shoved the box at Connor’s chest. “What is this?” she asked, crossing her arms.  He looked slightly hurt, but the expression passed away quickly enough for her to pretend it wasn’t there to begin with.

                Connor cleared his throat, tugging on the tag. “If you look closely, it says ‘happy birthday.’ And today’s your birthday. And it’s wrapped with a bow, so obviously it’s a birthday gift.”

                “Don’t talk to me like I’m dumb. I can see that. But I know it’s not just a gift,” she said. “So what’s in it? A stink bomb? Chocolate Easter bunny? Both?” Connor sighed, looking like he couldn’t believe the conversation was happening.
                “If you open it,” he stressed, “you’d see it’s a normal gift.”

                On no, if Connor thought he was going to pull a fast one over her, he had another thing coming. “I’m not falling for that.”

                Connor groaned, more annoyed this time. Usually he tried to joke his way out of confrontations with her. For a moment Katie wondered if he was telling the truth.


                “I can’t give a girl a gift on her birthday without being suspected of something?” he asked.

                “You and Travis prank me all the time,” she said. “You expect me to believe this isn’t one of them?”

                “Yes!” She jumped, her arms falling to her sides. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to yell. But seriously, Katie Kat—“

                “Katie Kat?”
                “I swear on the River Styx this is not a prank,” he said, holding the gift back out to her. Oh wow. He actually swore. The annoyance Katie wore slowly dripped away as she took the gift, watching Connor the entire time. He smiled—not smirked—at her, and it looked good on him. She liked that.

                “. . . Fine,” she said, tearing the wrapping carefully. “If this is a joke, so help me—“

                “It’s not,” he told her, voice calm, and Katie shut up. She finally worked the paper off, letting it drift to the ground.  She breathed in deeply as she took the lid off. Nothing exploded or sprayed in her face. She reached inside and pulled out a black, plastic picture frame. It framed a simple photo of Connor, grinning widely, with his arm around Katie who he had pulled into the photo. She was staring at the camera like she had given up on the world.

                It was kind of funny.

                “I don’t . . . understand?” Connor shrugged, looking at the photo.

                “I heard Miranda saying this is your last year at Camp. You won’t be here year-round since you’re starting college soon . . .” Katie wasn’t sure how to feel about the way he trailed off; like it was something he didn’t want to bring up.

                “It’s just NYU,” she pointed out for some reason. “Not so far away.”

                “Pretty close for a visit,” he added, and said, “But, uh, anyway. I was looking through my camera and found this, thought it’d make a good gift, because we both know you’re gonna miss seeing my face every day.” Katie laughed abruptly, cheeks flushed, as she shook her head.

                “You’re such a dork.” His figure leaned over, face close to hers, and Katie only had time to feel how quickly her heart rate sped up, before she realized he wasn’t kissing her. He simply had his cheek pressed against hers. Was it hers or his cheek that was super warm?

                Katie couldn’t say what she would have done if Connor had kissed her. (Wait, why would Connor Stoll ever kiss her? No way, nuh uh—.) Her hands were clammy and she stood stiffly, still anticipating him to tilt his head a few inches.

                He never did. “Happy birthday, Katie,” he said, hot breath hitting her ear. When he pulled away she stopped holding her breath, and kept herself from asking, “Were you going to kiss me? Why were you? Why didn’t you? That was anticlimactic.”

                He stepped aside, and started to leave, till Katie called him. She walked up to him and hugged him, squishing the box and photo between them. He didn’t hug her right away; he was too shocked like she was. Eventually he did, and neither one of them acknowledge how well they fit together, despite the height difference.  Or that Katie smelled really nice, or how good Connor’s arms felt.

                Katie’s known Connor since she first came to camp. Him and his brother always annoyed her. Sometimes she thought Connor was nothing but a jokester, and other times she could call him a friend. Sometimes her emotions were so over the place she didn’t know what she felt for Connor. He probably didn’t know what he felt for her either.

                Whatever. He was still a dork.

                “Thank you,” she said. “I like it.”

                “I knew you would,” he said, grinning. Katie rolled her eyes, and told him to shut up.
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