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Creak. Creak. Creak.

 

Ethan thinks, for the first time in his life, he might actually commit murder.

 

Creak. Creak. Creak.

 

It’s gotten worse over the last few weeks. When Ethan first moved in, the noise was a rare occurrence, most likely due to an old bed frame and bad dreams. Ethan hadn’t minded it then, couldn’t blame the guy when his own bed groaned every time he fought his blankets throughout the night.

This, however, is different. Ethan knows this excessive noise isn’t just a bad night’s sleep, and it’s not the first night he’s laid awake listening to this. He knows exactly what’s going on below him and the occasional muffled curse or moan leave little to the imagination.

 

Creak. Creak. Creak.

 

At this point, Ethan isn’t sure how much more of this he can take.
Since Ethan’s moved in a year ago, he’s met the guy from the flat below only a few times, but it’s enough to supply his brain with ideas he most definitely shouldn’t entertain.  With every creak from below, Ethan’s mind conjures images of dark hair and piercing green eyes, red bitten plump lips and flushed cheeks. Most days, it’s enough to imagine the bubbly red-head Ethan’s seen in and out of the downstairs flat thrown into the mix to put him off the thought for the night – there are many things Ethan’s interested in but girls certainly aren’t one of them.

 

Creak. Creak. Creak.

 

With a huff, Ethan turns over and buries his face in his pillow, pointedly ignoring any and all interest his body might take in whatever is going on below. He’s had a long day, all he wants is to slip away into dreams that most definitely don’t revolve around unfairly pretty boys.

Ethan almost succeeds. He’s in that place just between waking and dreaming, where reality seizes to be a tangible thing and the stuff of dreams feels close enough to wrap his fingers around it.

 

“Fuck …”

 

The sound catches Ethan off guard, and in his dazed state the moan almost sounds as if it comes from his own room. It does things to him that Ethan isn’t proud to admit, especially when it’s followed by a higher pitched whine.

 

“Fuck this.” Ethan mutters and checks his clock. It’s half past 2 am.

For half a second, Ethan actually considers making the trip downstairs to tell this guy that most sane people sleep at this hour. Instead, Ethan grabs his pillow and blanket and leaves his bed behind in favour of his couch, where at least the moans won’t reach his ears.

 

~*~

 

The next morning, Ethan’s mood is sour even by his usual standards. He tries not to let it out on his furniture, but the clang of cupboard doors and drawers slamming shut gives his temper away. He pours himself a bowl of cereal and starts up his crappy little coffee maker only to open his refrigerator and find a depressing lack of milk in its door.

 

“Of fucking course.” He curses under his breath, turning away to slam the door shut. He should have gone to grab groceries days ago already, but he figured then that he’d be able to stretch leftovers and stale bread for a little bit longer.

 

Looking between his sad bowl of dry cereal and the gurgling coffee maker, Ethan actually feels tempted to just eat it as it is and put shopping off another day. Even for him, that’d be a new low.

 

Reluctantly, Ethan pushes away from the counter. He finds his jacket and keys strewn in the living area, then goes to grab his wallet from the table before he heads out the door.

Normally, Ethan avoids the outside world as much as he can. It’s not that he’s a loner, necessarily, but he isn’t fond of crowds and noise or the rush and bumble of the city. There is only so long Ethan can avoid this though if he wants to eat an actual meal anytime soon.

 

 He gets down only one flight of stairs before he hears voices and laughter and slows his steps. Ethan doesn’t want to eavesdrop, or be a creep about this, but there are neighbours he avoids seeing for the most part and today is not the day he is going to change those habits.

 

“I’ll see you tonight.” A manly voice says and Ethan has to resist the urge to roll his eyes. Out of all the people living in the apartment complex, of course he’d run into the neighbour keeping him up at night.

 

Knowing the guy won’t say anything to him though, Ethan continues his way down the stairs. As he rounds the corner and his eyes fall onto the door leading into the apartment below his own, Ethan falters in his step once more.

 

All this time, Ethan had thought that his neighbour was seeing the redheaded girl that always seems to be hanging around this place – but the guy kissing Ethan’s neighbour goodbye is neither a redhead nor a girl.

 

The tall blonde doesn’t even spare Ethan a second glance, just leans down for another quick kiss to the other’s lips and the realisation that it was the two of them making all this noise the last few weeks causes something inside Ethan to snap.

 

“I don’t deserve this.” He says, not meaning for it to come out aloud but he cannot stop the words before they tumbled over his lips.

 

Even worse, it gets Ethan both men’s attention.

 

“Excuse me?” The dark-haired one, Ethan’s neighbour, says and he thankfully looks amused rather than offended.

 

Ethan opens, then closes his mouth. There is no way of talking his way out of this and he doesn’t think he’ll make it better by simply fleeing either. He takes a few steps further down the stairs, but the others’ eyes aren’t leaving him.

 

“You…” Ethan says, and points a finger at the dark-haired one. “You need to get yourself a new bed.”

 

It’s not what he should be saying, not by a long shot, but Ethan is past the point of rational decision.

He gets no reply, but the guy blushes brightly giving away that he knows exactly what Ethan is getting at. Before either of them can say anything after all, Ethan pushes past them and hurries his way down the stairs and away from the conversation.

Chapter Text

When Annabeth pulls into the parking lot, she’s already fifteen minutes late. It’s not a rare occurrence that she doesn’t get out of work in time, but usually she still has enough of a cushion to still make it to her daughter’s primary school by the time little league training ends.
Fifteen minutes isn’t a terrible delay, but Annabeth always gets anxious at the thought of leaving her daughter wait alone for any period of time. She hurries out of the car, crossing the parking lot to the school’s gym in record time.
The lights are off already and Annbeth can’t help the anxiety that rises in her chest. Her hand reaches for the door handle and pulls – but it doesn’t budge. Annabeth’s blood runs cold and panic tries hard to make itself known. She’s only fifteen minutes late, they can’t all have left yet –

“Mommy!” A little voice shouts, then a small body flings itself against Annabeth’s legs, arms coming up to wrap around her. Relief makes her gasp audibly and Annabeth knows it must look dramatic when she falls to her knees to hug her child to her chest.

“Practice was cancelled.” Another voice, and when Annabeth looks up she sees her daughter’s coach stand there, watching them with a gentle smile. “Pipe burst in the gym. I tried to call all the parents but – turns out I don’t have your phone number.”

“Piper took me to the park!” Her daughter says excitedly, then pulls out of Annabeth’s arms to look at the other woman. “I asked her to stay for dinner, but she said we have to ask your permission first.”

Annabeth slowly gets to her feet. Her daughter’s safe and more than that, she’s happy.

“I think it’s the least we could do, hm?” She agrees quietly, then raises her eyes to meet Piper’s eyes. “And I’ll make sure you’ll have my number for next time too.”

Chapter Text

 

 

When Jason had left his dorm this morning, it'd been sunny. He isn't even sure when the weather had changed, but now that he was making his way home rain was pouring down in sheets.

Jason wasn't dressed for this, hadn't anticipated either the wind or wetness, and by the time he rounded onto his street his clothes were soaked and uncomfortably sticking to his skin while the wind chased the chill to Jason's bones.

 

Jason would like to think it wasn't his fault when he collided full frontal with a smaller guy, sending them both stumbling onto wet pavement. The other cursed in the same breath that Jason apologised, scrambling back to his feet (and now he was both muddy and wet) before offering the guy a hand.

 

The rain doesn't relent and by the time Jason has pulled the other to his feet, even an umbrella can't save them anymore.

 

“I'm really sorry.” Jason repeats again. In his defence, his glasses spotted with rain had made it a little hard to see where he was going and being so close to his warm bed and a hot shower had made him careless.

 

“It’s.. uh.. it's fine.” The other grumbles and looks up at Jason for the first time. Recognition takes a moment to spark, but when it does it brings a bright grin to Jason's face.

 

“Wait, you're… Will, right?” Jason almost has to shout to be heard over the rushing rain. “We've got Biology together?”

 

Will frowns, then nods slowly. He’s picked up his umbrella, and even though it’s futile at this point, he opens and raises it over the two of them.

 

“Jason, isn’t it?” He asks and when Jason nods, Will smiles. “Do you always run over people in shit weather like this or am I just having a particularly bad day?”

 

Jason manages a small apologetic smile. “Bad day,” he decided. “Hey, uh… since this is my fault… I live really close by if you wanna come dry off before you catch a cold?”

Chapter Text

“Who visits their sister on valentines?” Percy teases, leaning a little more into the guy sharing his table. “Worse, who gets ditched by their sister on valentines?”

“Rub it in, why don’t you.” The stranger replies, but the blonde hardly seems to be taking it personally. He’s smiling at Percy amused, leaned back in his seat with his glass in hand.

When Percy found him a few minutes ago, Jason had looked like a lost puppy. A stranger to the city, left to his own devices in an overcrowded student bar where he didn’t know a single person – Percy can’t blame him for having felt a little freaked out.

“Aw, don’t be like that.” Percy says even as he gets up, not missing the way Jason’s eyes instantly follow the movement. “I’m getting us a drink, okay? I’m not gonna run if there’s someone this handsome waiting for me.”

It’s meant to be a joke, but the way Jason blushes at the comment makes Percy want to really mean it. He’d be lying if he said Jason wasn’t attractive, but that wasn’t something Percy had on his mind when he dragged himself out of his dorm earlier, moping about being alone on a day like this.

Percy must have been stalling for a second too long, because Jason raises a brow, then a grin slowly spreads on his face. Ignoring the way it makes his stomach flutter, Percy finally manages to tear himself away and move to the bar.


Percy isn’t as much hungover as he’s tired when his phone wakes him the next morning. It takes him a second to find it within his sheets, weighed down by an arm around his waist and another body pressed against his back.

Percy’s heart misses a good few beats when he realises he is not alone, before his brain catches up and he remembers what happened the night before.  The arm around him tightens, Jason mumbles something incoherent – probably about the phone still vibrating somewhere in the bed.

It stops the second Percy manages to fish it out of his sheets, but not for long. He doesn’t even have time to check his call history before the buzzing starts up again. Percy doesn’t bother to check the name before he accepts the call.

“Yeah?” He mumbles, which makes Jason groan again. Maybe he’s feeling a little more hungover than Percy does.

“Percy! Do you know how many times I’ve called you?” Thalia hisses from the other end. She sounds livid, and Percy is already going through everything in his mind that might have gotten him onto her bad side.

“I was asleep.” He defends himself half-heartedly, then shushes Jason when the other complains about the noise again. “What’s going on?”

“I…” Thalia starts, and Percy hears her shift around before she continues. “I lost my baby brother.”

Percy barely manages not to snort, because he knows exactly how that is going to bode for him.

“Your baby brother?” He asks. Behind him, Jason has given up, turned around and buried his head in Percy’s sheets. It’s painfully adorable and Percy has a difficult time resisting the urge to just hang up on Thalia to cuddle close. “How do you even do that?”

“This isn’t funny, dickhead.” Thalia grinds out and Percy curses himself for letting the amusement sneak into his voice. “I left him in town yesterday. Reyna got off work early and… well, he said he’d be fine?”

Percy falls silent and turns his gaze back to Jason in his bed. Thalia is going to murder him…

“Percy?”

“I think I know where he is.” He says quietly. “His name’s Jason?”

It takes Thalia a second to reply, and Percy can practically hear the gears turning.

“You fucking didn’t, I swear to god, Percy, if you –”

Percy doesn’t let her finish, he already knows where this is going. He pulls the phone away from his ear as he speaks, knowing it’ll be easier to give her time to cool down before he faces her wrath.

“I’ll drop him off at your flat later, love you, bye.”

Percy pulls a face as he hangs up, only to find Jason next to him turned back toward him. He looks more sheepish now, smile small and cheeks flushed, hair sticking up in every direction and a dark hickey low on his throat.

This time, Percy doesn’t resist the urge to lean close and brush their lips together.