The tattoos always started on the non dominant wrist. While they might move around later, they always started in plain sight. Annabeth’s first appeared when she was 5. She sat and stared at it for a bit, trying to work out what it was meant to be, and what it symbolised. It appeared to be a cookie, but it was blue. She had never heard of a blue cookie before.
Percy’s appeared when he was 7, it was a spider crawling up a web. He got the shivers just from looking at it. He immediately showed it to his mom. She had looked at him with a sorrowful look on her face and told him that the marks only appeared either when you first met your soulmate, or when something awful happens to them and they need to know that they have someone out there for them. Percy nodded solemnly and when he went to bed that night made sure to think of his soulmate and send them his best wishes.
Percy’s was the first to change, soon it became a bronze dagger, glowing in the dark. He wondered about his soulmate, and what kind of life they must have to have that as a mark. All he wanted was for them to still be ok, and hoped he would get to meet them soon.
Later that year Percy’s became a pine tree, and for the first time it moved. It now sat right over his heart, meaning it obviously meant something important to his soulmate. He wondered what it meant.
When Annabeth was 10 her mark finally changed, it became a blue streak in her hair. She wore it with pride, deciding to make it in remembrance of Thalia, whom she still missed. She did stop to wonder what it meant though. Was her soulmate a rebel? Didn’t they fit in?
When she was 12 her mark changed twice, first into a fury, which she didn’t like the looks of. What type of demigod would bring a fury out of hiding? The last time one came out was for Thalia, was it another demigod child of Zeus? If so how had they managed to stay hidden for so long?
After that annoying son of Poseidon was claimed she knew. She had watched it change into a trident, meaning it had to be him. She hated it knowing that he was her soulmate. She tried to avoid him, keeping her distance. Why were they soulmates when their parents were rivals? And yet he stuck to her like glue. Quests brought people together, which meant she considered him her friend. She already knew that would be her downfall.
Percy understood now, the dagger, the tree, his soulmate must be a demigod, one who went to Camp Half Blood. He didn’t know who though, he didn’t know everyone well enough after only two summers, in which he had either been on a quest or in the infirmary for most of the time. When he was 13 his mark changed again. It became lightning bold and brash, and he knew the mark on his shoulder must be about Thalia. He realized his soulmate must know her, care for her to be so happy about her return. He was jealous, jealous that his soulmate cared so much for her.
As he flew to join the rest of the quest to help save Annabeth, he felt the mark on his shoulder change into a strand of grey hair. He was grateful, for it meant it wasn’t about Thalia anymore. But he continued to wonder what it could mean? Why would his soulmark be grey hair?
Annabeth felt her tattoo change and move as she sat, captured by the General’s forces. It moved from where it had been sitting on her wrist to a place above her heart. Written on it along with a giant statue was the name Bianca, and she cried. What was Percy up to? Did he love this ‘Bianca’ more than her?
Later she noticed that the tattoo had two more additions, stars speckled around the statue, and another name ‘Zoe’ and she felt relieved. Of course her Seaweed Brain would feel guilty over their deaths, of course they would become his mark. Another addition appeared when she got back to Camp, ‘Nico’ who was a skull (somewhat appropriately). She knew then that his fatal flaw was personal loyalty, who else would sneak onto two quests to help their friends, who else would have a soulmark of those they thought they had failed?
Percy’s tattoo changed again as they entered the Labyrinth, he got a maze, on his wrist, as if it was a map. At nights he sat and stared at it, trying to help Annabeth with this quest that was so important to her. As he sat on Calypso’s island, recovering, he watched the tattoo become a shroud of sea green silk, and he knew before Hephaestus came that Camp thought he was dead. He knew that his soulmate was waiting for him.
Annabeth stared at her now red hair surprised. She had never heard of anyone with two soulmarks before. Yet when she looked down at her chest, not only was the old mark still there but it had a new addition, Calypso, and a flower which Annabeth knew was moonlace. (She was surprised to note that at some point Nico had disappeared). Her strand of red hair was annoyingly the exact same shade of red as Rachel’s hair. She knew what that meant and she hated Percy for it. He had been to Ogygia and spent weeks with Calypso. Once he returned he had to instantly meet with Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who obviously knew as soon as she saw Annabeth’s hair what that oblivious idiot didn’t. Annabeth boiled, what did that rich, funny, creative, clear sighted mortal have that she didn’t?
Percy was in the middle of battle when he noticed his mark streaming up his arm. When he looked at it back at the hotel he noticed it was where Annabeth had taken the knife for him, and it was an image of him standing over her, pure power in his eyes, the air a shimmering sea green around him. That’s when he realised that he was in love with his best friend.
She knew when he bathed in the river Styx, she could feel it tingling as it moved from her hair (Oh, how glad she was to get rid of that stupid mark and what it symbolised) to the small of her back. She had read about what you saw in the Styx, and she was scared to see what it would represent. So she went on, pretending not to know, but dropping hints. And if she already knew, well he didn’t need to know that, did he?
When Annabeth appeared with a cupcake later, he knew. He knew that she knew (of course she knew, she always knew before him) and that they needed to talk about it. He didn’t know how to say it until she was laughing at him and then leaning in to kiss him, and he realised he didn’t need to.
In the lake they both felt their marks change and smiling at each other knew they didn't need to check. They knew what they would show, the two of them, under the lake, sitting in a bubble, kissing.
When Percy disappeared, Annabeth took solace in her marks. There they were, clear as day, all three of them. Because Percy always broke the rules and she loved that about him. The one on her chest had faded slightly, like the grey in her hair, but she knew he would never forget those he felt he had failed. The girls from earlier, and the ones who had later joined with their own symbols. Lee’s bow, Beckendorf’s dragon, Silena’s spear, Luke’s dagger, they were all still there.
Percy kept his memory of Annabeth alive through the image on his arm. He spent hours staring at it, knowing that he loved this girl, and she was out there, somewhere, looking for him. When the new mark appeared he knew it was somehow, a hint of where she was. The flying ship with it’s dragon figurehead that he knew looked familiar, was coming for him, with her on board.
When yet another mark formed, Annabeth felt like crying. There it was, the sign she was looking for, SPQR with a trident for Neptune. He was there! She knew it. She left her forearm bare with the mark out in the open, to give everyone hope. The atmosphere lifted considerably around Camp as everyone who saw the mark kinew what it meant. The addition of Reyna (with a purple cape billowing), Hylla (she didn’t want to know why Hylla was a forklift), and Nico again (she was going to kill him when she next saw him) to the mark on her chest couldn’t even dampen her spirits.
When Percy finally saw the ship and reunited with Annabeth, he couldn’t stop laughing. Instead of the underwater kiss he now so fondly remembered, he had Annabeth judo flipping him, displayed prominently on his upper arm. He did worry over the angry red owl that had replaced the Argo II though.
Annabeth knew why both Percy and Jason seemed to have agreed to alternate between Camp Jupiter and Camp Half Blood t-shirts as often as possible while on board the Argo. This was a clear reminder of why they fought as they got to know each other. As the Argo developed on her other arm with lightning and a dove, a hammer, jewels and a spear, and at the bow, an owl and a horse. She knew why they would continue to fight together. They were all family. Percy would fight until his final breath to protect them all. That tattoo was a silent promise to them all ‘an oath to keep with final breath’.
As they fell Percy felt an image with their hopes and dreams form above his heart. He hoped it would be an image of their future. Of a house in New Rome, a kid with her hair and his eyes, or perhaps the other way around. One he could take to the baths and teach to control water. An impossible dream of the future.
As they rose through the Doors of Death, Annabeth knew that if she had looked at her tattoo, it would have the additions of Bob and Small Bob along with Damasen (who would be a draken). She fought back a sob as she remembered their valiant friends, who had sacrificed their lives to help them escape.
After Leo’s name had been added to the tattoo on Annabeth’s chest (flames(what else would it be for Leo Valdez Bad Boy Supreme)), Percy had sat with her in the Dining Pavilion and told her about the soulmark that had appeared as they fell into Tartarus. There it was, his dream, and apparently hers as well. To go to New Rome Uni, and to be safe, to just enjoy each other’s company and be together. As they sat there, he asked his soulmate to promise him that someday they would marry and make his dream a reality.
Annabeth smiled as she saw that they both had new tattoos forming. There on both their fingers, she saw matching rings. A promise for their future. Laughing as yet again, new and old friends, burst out from various hiding places, she felt it was a time of new beginnings, and endings. She knew the others wouldn’t wait for them to come up this time.