There's a low murmur of a party upstairs; a woman laughs, bright as breaking glass, and below, in the foyer, Annabeth is four seconds away from planting her fist in the door attendant's face, because his passive-aggressive politeness is pissing her off and she's never really been known for her patience anyway.
He's saved from a newly-rearranged nose by a sharp, "Adam!" from the top of the grand staircase. Rachel appears, half-hanging over the railing. "Adam, let them go. They're all right!"
"Madam," says the butler, deferential. He inclines slightly, stepping to the side and looking for all the world like he hadn't just been about to (respectfully) manhandle three Manhattan teenagers out the door.
"Thank you!" goes Annabeth, snippy, and they meet Rachel half-way up the staircase just as she's on her way down, a little unbalanced in stiletto heels. She grabs at their arms, steadying herself. Her hair is loose and wild around her face, tumbling down her bare shoulders and the curving slope of her back. The snow-white halter dress she's wearing swishes around her legs, and she smells ever-so-faintly of perfume. This picture, put together with the wideness of her eyes, like a deer in the headlights, makes her look practically sacrificial.
"What is it?" Percy asks, low with urgency. "Rachel, what's wrong?"
"I had a vision," she starts with a tell-tale gravity to her voice, and then, "Not here. Come on, there's a parlor on the first floor we can talk in."
She ushers them back down the stairs, and, bringing up the rear, Nico chimes in, "So, what, you have a room in this house specifically designed for delivering prophecies?" because sarcasm is their tried-and-true way of coping with the fact that she'd sounded strange and strangled on the phone and she's making them nervous.
"It's a huge house. I have a room specifically designed for stashing the bodies of obnoxious sons of Hades too," Rachel retorts, deadpan, and Annabeth and Percy smirk despite themselves.
She winds them past what has to be, like, three linen closets and a bathroom big enough to have its own fountain, before they come up a sitting room, with smooth marble floors, two modern wine-red sofas that look about as functional as a sombrero, and a sprawling view of the Dare estate. She shoos them inside, closing the door behind her with a twist of the lock.
They stand facing each other for a moment, Rachel with her back to the door and her toes slipping out of her heels, and Percy, Nico, and Annabeth shoulder-to-shoulder, hands hovering close to where they keep their weapons, waiting.
She takes a deep breath. Then another.
"What's going to happen, Rachel?" Percy says, startling them all. "What have you seen?"
"We're going to die," she starts in a rush, pauses, realizes how that sounded, and tries again, words tumbling all over each other, "Unless we have sex. The four of us, I mean. Together. Or something. Um, yes. We need to have sex right now or we're going to die."
There is a pause while they wait for the punch line.
When it's not immediately forthcoming, Nico says, "... okay." And shrugs. "Sure."
Annabeth, who hasn't had any practice in how to deal with being propositioned by the Oracle of Delphi, does have practice in dealing with Nico being a moron, so she rounds on him in a heartbeat, smacking his skinny shoulder and going, "Oh, you would, you pig." He makes an unattractive face at her. "Don't you have any respect whatsoever?"
Rachel heaves a long-suffering sigh, because really, demigods, why doesn't she get paid for this. She pushes herself off the door, striding across the room to them with a click of her heels, using her momentum to grab hold of Annabeth, hands and arms locked around her face so she can kiss her without reserve.
"What --" starts Percy, and shuts up pretty fast when Annabeth's hands slide up the naked slope of Rachel's back to tangle in her hair, and she's tilting her head that little bit, and suddenly they're kissing.
Like, really. In real life.
There are two hot girls, kissing, like, right in front of them. Girls, the kind with full lips all glossy and open and Rachel herds Annabeth backwards a few steps, until her knees hit the sofa and then they're buckling downwards. They go down in a tangle, giggling messily, and Rachel's thin fingers coil around Annabeth's wrists, pinning them to the sofa arm, which is only kind of the hottest thing Percy has ever seen in his entire life, because Annabeth doesn't let anybody pin her to jack shit.
And then he has no idea where to look, because oh, gods, hot girls making out, with soft curves and breasts and high-pitched, breathless noises and Annabeth is bending down to undo the straps on Rachel's heels, toeing off her sneakers at the same time, and on her way back up, her hand strokes up Rachel's leg, pushing up the hem of her dress so high on her thigh that all higher function in Percy's brain shorts out in a desperate attempt to save itself, spare what it takes to ask, is Annabeth really undoing the string of that halter dress with her teeth -- oh, oh, oh.
Yes, she is.
"Ngnnnhnn," says Percy to Nico, meaning something in the general range of, "Holy shit, please tell me you are seeing this too and I am not hallucinating this."
"Hndksfps," replies Nico, meaning something in the general range of, "Hndksfps."
Annabeth wriggles her hips, throwing a leg over Rachel's and using it to flip them over, weighing her down into the cushions, chests pressed together and long eyelashes fluttering and hair everywhere, and it's only when Rachel slithers an arm out from in between them as Annabeth nibbles on her bottom lip, stretching it out to him and Nico, her golden hoop bracelets clinking together softly, that he remembers why they're here.
And screw the part where some wrinkled old corpse told him he had to save Mt. Olympus from the Titan threat or croak doing it, this has to be the best prophecy ever, and gods, nothing is going to top this as long as he lives. Really.
He sinks to his knees beside the sofa, wanting to put his hands everywhere and unable to decide where to start, paralyzed with it. "What do you want us to do?" he asks Rachel.
Her smile is slow, warming in her eyes and unfurling across her mouth, bitten raw. She reaches out, fingers brushing over the grey streak in his hair and down the lines of his face, surprisingly intimate. "Whatever you want," she says lowly.
Well, that does it. He falls into them with a noise like something dying, kissing whatever stretch of skin presents itself to his mouth first: Rachel's shoulder, Annabeth's fingers, her neck, her cheek and the corner of her eye. Their arms slide up his back, pulling him closer, their fingers tangling with each other's between his shoulder blades, locking him in.
He's half-joined them on the sofa before some kind of coherent thought process -- something slightly more involved than lick that and oh, gods, yes, her hand is really going there -- returns to him, and then Rachel pulls her tongue out of his mouth with this obscene wet sucking noise and turns away from him.
"What part of 'we all need to have sex or perish' didn't you get?" she demands huffily, and he follows her gaze to where Nico still stands off by himself, his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes dark. "You gonna get with the program sometime today?"
He scowls at her, opening his mouth to retort, but Annabeth plants a hand on Percy's shoulder and uses it as leverage to push herself forward and hook a finger in Nico's belt loop, dragging him the few steps to the rest of them, effectively cutting off whatever he was going to say. For a moment, they look at each other the way cobras do when being intimidating, and then, unmistakably, Annabeth slides her hand up the flat slope of Nico's stomach, rucking his shirt up around her wrist. She leans forward, her mouth and tongue fastening on the soft spot just below his navel.
He hisses sharply, lips parting and shuddering, and he stays like that a second, before he bends himself over Annabeth, grabbing her face and pulling it up, kissing her hard.
They go at this for what seems like forever, tugging on each other's bottom lips, slicking mouths open, long enough that Rachel stifles a giggle and Percy will never get the image of Nico di freaking Angelo with his tongue down his girlfriend's throat out of his head. Then, with a yank, she unceremoniously pulls Nico on top of them all, making them a heavy dogpile of heroes (plus one oracle, for variety's sake.)
And it's really very easy to lose track of things after that.
There's a reason why people usually do it in pairs, because four people make for a lot of elbows and knees in awkward places and it takes them about thirty seconds before Percy somehow slips out between them and lands on the floor in an ungainly and distinctly un-hero-like flop of limbs, because they really don't fit on one sofa, and everyone else shrugs and joins him. But there is definitely something to be said for what it feels like to have to identify the person licking up your spine by the feel of their tongue.
Besides, double the number of people means double the number of good ideas, starting when Annabeth abruptly pushes herself off of them in order to strip off her shirt (her bra is red and green, Percy's ADHD brain notes cheerfully, all holiday appropriate, even!) and yes. Yes, that's right, Annabeth's brilliant, he knows this, yes. Get naked, that's probably the most brilliant thing anyone has ever thought of, ever, and it takes maybe four heartbeats before everyone is topless, and Annabeth looks amused and smug, which lasts only as long as it takes for two sets of mouths to start sucking on the soft skin that slips out from under her bra cups.
The next is when Nico's on his back on the marble floor, shirtless and the top button of his jeans undone thanks to somebody, shivering violently from the cold on his bare skin and complaining about it in no uncertain terms. He's doing that thing with his voice that on someone less grown-up would be -- oh, who are we kidding, he's whining. Full-out whining, and they tell him to shut up a few times, but when does Nico ever listen to anybody?
So one of the girls grabs Percy by the wrist and brings it to her mouth, tongue leaving a glistening wet stripe as she licks up his palm and sucks his fingers in, making sure to coat them as thoroughly as possible. What he's going to do with it next is fairly obvious to him, and the fact that she even knew to do that makes white noise fizzle in the corners of his vision for a moment, and he groans something that's mostly expletives and possibly a derogatory comment about somebody's mother. And then he's twisting around, sliding the same wet hand down in the V of Nico's open jeans, and oh, oh, this is absolute genius, because Nico stops mid-sentence, throat swallowing around some impossible noise, and they're going to have to remember this for next time he runs off at the mouth.
He shifts forward for a better angle to ease some of the strain off his wrist, and then a little more, until his hips slot into the cradle's of Nico's. The pressure is amazing, and his zipper against him is strange for a moment until he rocks forward a little bit, and then it's perfect, and he abruptly forgets how to keep his head up, the bones in his neck being the first to liquify.
He sees through the fan of his eyelashes that Nico's fingernails are scrabbling against the slippery floor, his head thrown back so all Percy can see is the bobbing line of his throat, until Annabeth comes around, kneeling over him. She dips with a smile that's all teeth, kissing Nico upside down, and okay, it was cute in Spiderman and it is absolutely amazing in real life, and the stuttering twist of Nico underneath him tells him just how motivated his hand got right there at the sight of it.
This could last forever as far as he's concerned, but it only lasts as long as it takes for Rachel to reach out, shoving at them with the ball of her foot and going, "Hey. I'm the one with the vision, remember? Can we get back to me?"
The three of them exchange looks -- the same tell-all flicker they use right before a monster comes exploding out of nowhere -- and lunge for her in the same movement, tumbling her onto her back and following their hands with their teeth and tongues, licking at her skin wherever they can get an open space. Rachel squeals with laughter against the onslaught, up until somebody figures out what to do with the skirt of her dress, and then it's fingers sliding against her -- through her underwear, of course, because nobody wants to have to explain to Sally and Dr. Chase that their children were vaporized for deflowering the virgin Oracle of Delphi on the floor -- and she stops squealing and starts keening, a flush rising to her face faster than it could take them to snap their fingers.
Right then, somehow, it stops being about the sensation of hands and mouths being places they'd never explored before and started being something else entirely, something with a purpose, that steals all the air for breathing right out of the room.
Somewhere upstairs, there's a great WHUMPH that makes the whole house jump. Above their heads, the chandelier sways ominously; the distant startled screams fade quickly into tittering laughter. It's not immediately followed by the tell-tale sounds of a panicking crowd, but they wait for it anyway, the four of them frozen in a physically improbable tableau; all half-sitting on each other, eyes lifted to the ceiling, Rachel's mouth on Annabeth's collarbone and Percy's fingers fisted in Nico's hair.
Annabeth's the first to voice what's all on their minds. "So, by 'we need to have sex or else we'll die,' you really meant, 'something heavy is going to fall over and I'd rather not be there when it does'?"
"It was a really boring party," says Rachel defensively, and then shifts her hips up pointedly, telling them to get back to what they were doing.
Which they do.