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Falling For You

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Percy shoved through the doors of the café, his black hair disheveled and his face pale and shadowed from sleeplessness.

“HAZEL!” he hollered, shoving his way through the crowded room to get to the front counter, slamming his hands down on the granite surface, making the petite girl behind the counter jump.

“Percy!” she yelped, smacking his shoulder. “Stop doing that!”

“I need coffee,” Percy griped, slumping over the counter with a pleading look. “Something strong.”

Hazel opened her mouth to say something, then was distracted by someone else screeching her name from the doorway.

“HAZEL MARIE LEVESQUE!”

Hazel’s face lit up and she waved energetically to the small Latino boy now struggling through the crowd. He disappeared for a moment under the wave of college students, then popped back up a second later next to Percy.

“Hey Percy!” he said brightly, slapping Percy’s back in a friendly way.

“Hey, Leo,” Percy said gloomily.

“Geez, who pissed in your coffee?” Leo said, poking the side of Percy’s face. Percy smacked his hand away and stood back up, straightening his hoodie.

“The last...eight and a half all-nighters I’ve had to pull this week,” Percy mumbled.

Hazel sighed, shaking her head and making her springy cinnamon curls bounce. “I told you not to procrastinate, Percy.”

“I know!” Percy growled, rubbing his eyes tiredly. “I just--” he sighed heavily. “Hazel, I need something strong. Really. Strong. Please.”

Hazel pursed her lips, looking over to Leo. They exchanged a silent conversation, then Hazel nodded. “Fine. One café latte espresso, coming right up.”

Percy sighed with relief, sagging over the counter and pressing his hands together in a silent prayer. “Thank you,” he whispered. Leo laughed.

“Man, you really are tired,” he said, collecting his own latte and giving Percy a salute before waltzing out the door.

“No kidding,” a new voice said. Percy looked up to see Frank, a tall Asian who’s muscles bulged under his black tee.

“Hey, Frank,” Percy said with a grin.

“Percy,” Frank said with a wide grin of his own. “What’s fresh?”

Percy shrugged, tugging on a lock of hair absentmindedly. “Tired and stressed as ever, still single, still an ocean nerd,” he said, his reply automatic since he’d said it a thousand times before.

Frank shook his head. “Dude. Like I said, you’ve got to get yourself a girlfriend,” he said, leaning over the counter. “It could help, I know it.”

Percy winced inwardly at the word ‘girlfriend.’ “I already told you, I haven’t found anyone my type,” he mumbled. Technically that was true, just not in the way that Frank thought. The only people that Percy had told were his younger sister, Piper, who’d promised never to tell anyone one pain of death(or a ruthless noogie), and his best childhood friend, Grover, who now lived in L.A. Piper had, however, gained special permission to tell her girlfriend.

Frank gave him a sympathetic look. “You’ll find her, man,” he said. “She’s out there somewhere.”

Percy gave him a forced smile, and was then saved by Hazel. “Your coffee, Percy,” she said brightly, standing on her tiptoes and giving Frank a kiss. Her boyfriend smiled as Hazel handed Percy his coffee. Percy grabbed the coffee and held it up to his face, inhaling the thick scent and sighing deeply, his eyes shutting in bliss

“That’s more like it,” he mumbled, his sea green eyes flicking open again as he smiled faintly at Hazel. “Thank you.”

Hazel waved him off. “No problem. Just pay next time, please?”

Percy chuckled lightly. “When I have more money than three cents, sure.”

Frank smiled at him as Percy straightened himself to leave. “Hey, remember what I said, alright?”

Percy managed a thumbs-up and a smile. “Sure,” he said weakly. “Bye guys, I’ll see you tonight,” he called back as he left.

 

Percy collapsed into his seat, dropping his head onto his desk with a groan. He was exhausted, both mentally and physically. Keeping up appearances was hard, especially to his friends. Maybe someday he’d be able to tell them, but as for now...he was too afraid of rejection.

“Percy!” a sharp voice called from the front of the classroom. Percy’s head jerked up, to see Professor Triton looming over him.

“Are you with us?” he asked. Percy leaned back from him and nodded vehemently, his green eyes wide.

“Good,” Professor Triton snapped, stalking back to the front of the room. Percy breathed a sigh of relief and settled back into his seat, silently sipping his coffee as he began to take notes.

An hour or so later Percy shoved his way out the door, getting clear of the students before dropping his skateboard on the ground and coasting away down the hall.

Percy sighed softly as he put his headphones in, the coffee, music, and always exhilarating feeling of gliding on his skateboard serving to relax him for a few minutes.

He coasted down the hall and through the entryway, jumping over the four stairs the led up to the main building and landing expertly on the pavement outside. He pushed off a few more times, then tucked his hands in his pockets as he went, leaning forward to balance out the weight of his backpack.

Percy headed to the commons, pulling out his phone and texting Piper while he wove through the crowd of students, using his excellent multi-tasking skills.

percyyy[11:06]: hey i’m on my way home
pipes[11:06]: good for u
percyyy[11:07]: need anything?
pipes[11:07]: like 5 gallons of md
pipes[11:07]: we’re going to game tonight
percyyy[11:07]: who’s we?
pipes[11:07]: reyna
pipes[11:07]: duh
percyyy[11:08]: okay okay whatever. See u soon

Percy shut his phone and shoved it in his pocket, looking up just in time for something to catch his eye.

A tall guy was exiting the building in front of him, talking to a smaller boy in a dark jacket. But holy shit...Percy stared at the tall guy, taking in everything in a split second. Spiky gold hair, bright blue eyes, tanned skin and a muscled frame that filled out his purple t-shirt in an unbelievably sexy way.

Percy was mesmerized. He was absolutely gorgeous. Then the guy looked up and caught Percy’s eyes, and his laughing gaze went wide as he saw Percy. Percy took his chance and grinned widely at the boy.

The guy smiled back--until the front wheel of Percy’s skateboard hit the curb. Percy yelped as he went flying, flinging his arms out in front of him as he tumbled to the asphalt, his face connecting with the pavement in a painful crack.

Percy immediately rolled onto his back and sat up, clutching his nose with a groan, doubling over and hiding his face in his knees.

“Are you okay?”

The voice reached Percy through a haze of pain, and he looked up, blood streaming down his fingers from his nose. His heart almost stopped as he saw who it was. The super sexy blonde guy was standing in front of him, blue eyes wide with concern.

Percy scrambled to his feet, grabbing his skateboard. “I’m fine!” he yelped, turning tail and booking it down the street. To his relief the guy didn’t follow him, just shrugged and turned back to his dark haired friend.

 

Percy ran the entire four blocks to his apartment building, nearly breaking the door down and racing up five flights of stairs before tumbling into his apartment and slamming the door behind him.

“Wow, you’re fast,” Piper’s voice came from the kitchen “I take it you got out--oh, my gods,” she said as she walked into the front room. “What happened?” she yelled, rushing over to him and grabbing him by the shoulders.

“I’m fine,” Percy said thickly, dropping his hand to show her his bleeding nose and scuffed chin. She grabbed his backpack and skateboard and tossed them to the side, shoving him into the bathroom.

“Take your shirt off and wash off the blood,” she commanded, leaving to grab him a fresh shirt. Percy rolled his eyes and did as she said, staining the sink pink by the time he was done. His nose kept dripping blood, so he kept his face over the basin.

Piper can back with antiseptic, his AHS hoodie, and a few boxes of bandages. “Here,” she said, handing him a kleenex. He took it gratefully and held it gingerly to his nose, tilting his head back so that Piper could clean and bandage his chin.

“What happened?” she asked again, frowning in concentration.

“I fell off my skateboard,” Percy said in a heavy, resigned voice. Piper’s frown deepened as she grabbed his face and pulled it down to reach his nose.

“That never happens,” she said accusingly, smacking his hand away so that she could assess the damage. "Was it to impress someone?"

“No,” Percy said, a smile coming onto his face in spite of himself. Piper tilted her head, prodding his nose and making him wince.

“Is he cute?” Piper said suspiciously, poking his side.

“Extremely,” Percy said fervently, rubbing his side in protest.

Piper laughed and punched his shoulder, making him wince slightly. “Your nose isn’t broken,” she said, gesturing to his face. “Just bruised. You’ll be good as new in a few days.”

Percy smiled gratefully. “Thanks, Pipes. You’re the best.” She rolled her eyes and handed him his hoodie.

“Now you have to tell me all about him,” she stated, grabbing him by the collar as soon as he had his shirt back on and dragging him over to the living room, shoving him onto the couch.

“Wh-what?” Percy stammered. Piper tossed her hair, making the beads that were braided into the locks chime musically.

“About the boy. Tell me everything.”

“Oh,” Percy said, settling into the couch and stretching out his legs. “I don’t know who he is, I’ve never seen him on campus before.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Piper said cheerfully, sitting down heavily on the couch next to him with an oof. “What did he look like?”

“Uh...tall, gold hair, gorgeous blue eyes...Pipes, he--” Percy was interrupted by someone opening the door, shutting it forcefully behind them.

“Oh good, Reyna’s here,” Piper said, jumping off the couch and running to the door. Percy sighed and made himself comfortable, slumping down on the couch with his long legs stretched out in front of him as he listened to the sounds of loud voices and laughter from the entryway. Eventually Piper came back, this time holding the hand of a tall, black-haired woman.

“Heya, Percy,” she said, smiling at him.

“Hey, Reyna,” he responded, giving her a wave back.

“Pipes told me what happened,” Reyna said, giving him a slight look of concern. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine now,” Percy said airily, waving it off.

"Good," Reyna said, sitting down heavily on the couch next to him and smirking at him. "Now, tell me all about this boy you met."

Percy sighed and told Reyna everything about the blonde guy, adding on details that he'd forgotten to give Piper. When he had related his story, Piper was laughing so hard that her cheeks were scarlet. Reyna managed to look dignified as always while giggling, and Percy suddenly remembered why he never told them anything.

"Guys, come on," he whined, giving Reyna an imploring look. "I seriously fucked up this time."

"Yea, you did," Piper wheezed, wiping away a tear as she came down from her laughing fit. Percy huffed silently, crossing his arms.

"Just take him out," Reyna suggested, still grinning.

"But he thinks I'm an idiot!" Percy wailed, burying his face in his hands. He jerked his head back a second later, wincing and rubbing his nose.

"No, he doesn't," Piper said firmly. "He doesn't even know you. Come on, going out for ice cream wouldn't be all that bad, would it?"

Percy opened his mouth to retaliate, then closed it slowly as he considered. "I guess," he said grudgingly. "How do I even ask though? The last time didn't really work out..." he trailed off awkwardly, and Reyna and Piper shared a sympathetic glance.

"You'll just have to figure it out," Piper said cheerfully, standing up and clapping him on the back. "Reyna and I have a date with my PS4."

Percy groaned softly as Reyna grinned and stood up, punching Percy lightly in the shoulder. "Don't worry, Percy. You'll do great."

"Yea, yea," Percy grumbled as Piper and Reyna disappeared into the next room. He sighed and got up, moving to his bedroom. There he sat down on the bed, slowly opening his laptop and staring at the blank screen for a while.

To google or not to google...

Percy opened the browser tab and started typing.

Chapter Text

Jason sat down at his desk, carefully setting his backpack down on the ground and taking out his notes. He tapped his pen against the side of the desk, a thousand thoughts chasing each other through his brain. Mostly they were about that cute Brazilian guy who had fallen off his skateboard a few days before.

 

Jason had seen him around campus a few times before, and had always thought that he was rather attractive. In all honesty, the blunder from three days ago had softened Jason’s feelings about him. He’d thought that this kid was one of those cocky skater guys, not a care in the world and always thinking they were the top of the dog pile.

 

This showed that he was still only human, after all.

 

Jason was broken out of this reverie by a small paper airplane bumping against the side of his textbook and slipping off onto the floor. He frowned at it then bent over and picked it up, studying it. The pale red paper had graphite smudges on the edges, so it was probably from someone who drew a great deal.

 

He unfolded it carefully, revealing the messy handwriting that sprawled across the surface.

 

Want to go out for ice cream? (the cute guy who fell in front of you a few days ago)

 

Jason couldn’t help but laugh a little, setting the note down on his notebook. So he had a sense of humor as well. Though, Jason had to wonder where the note had come from. He glanced around the classroom as discreetly as possible, tapping his pencil rapid-fire on his notebook.

 

At first he wondered if the guy had just thrown it in through the open door, but then he recalled that it had come in the direction of the back of the classroom. Twisting around in his seat, he spotted a tall, dark-haired young man with his feet up on the desk, texting. A blue bandage was plastered across his chin, and a green one was draped across his nose.

 

Jason turned back to the front of the classroom, glancing back down at the note again. Actually, ice cream sounding really good right then.

 

He scrawled a note on the back of the paper, then refolded it and turned back to toss it back at he guy. He didn’t wait to see if it landed where it was supposed to, but whipped back around to the front of the room, adjusting his glasses as his ears slowly turned pink.

 

A moment later, the paper airplane hit him in the back of the head. He swivelled around and picked it back up.

 

Meet me outside right after class.

Jason grinned to himself, tucking the note into his binder. Now he just had to wait for...he glanced up at the clock. An hour. Sigh.




The hour passed much to slowly for Percy. He didn’t usually attend this class, so he had no idea what was going on. Which wasn’t unusual for him, but they were chattering on about aerodynamics and flight patterns and God knows what else. Percy preferred to deal with water rather than air, so he put his headphones in and drifted off to the sounds of his favorite bands.

 

The bell rang abruptly, jerking Percy out of his reverie. He scrubbed his tired eyes, jerking his headphones out and stowing them away into his backpack. Standing up and snatching his backpack off the floor, he spotted his date heading out the door.

 

Shit! Percy bounded down the raised platforms of the classroom, skidding slightly on the bottom row as he skirted around other students and wriggled through he crowd standing in front of the door.

 

As soon as he was free of the throng, he took a deep breath, running a hand through his hair. Not that it did anything, only messing it up more. Oh well. He couldn’t see the blonde guy yet, which worried him a little.

 

“Hey,” a voice said from behind him. Percy jumped and whirled around to see the blonde guy smiling behind him.

 

“Hey!” Percy squeaked, grinning nervously. The guy’s smile disappeared as he frowned and tilted his head at Percy.

 

“Are you alright?“

 

Oh, God, Percy would do anything to bring that smile back.

 

“I’m alright,“ he said, his voice still a little higher than usual. Damn, what was wrong with him? Play it cool, Percy, play it cool. He brushed his hair back again, toning his crazed grin down to a light smile.

 

“So. Know any good ice cream places around?” Percy asked, tucking his hands into his hoodie pocket and relaxing his stance.

 

Jason’s stiff posture also loosened along with Percy’s. He normally kept upright at all times, but there was something about Percy that just gave off an air of relaxation. An easy smile slid onto his face, much different than the normal forced grins he usually portrayed.

 

“I think there’s a pretty good one down the street,” Jason said in response to Percy’s question. Percy nodded and crooked a finger at Jason, encouraging him to fall in step beside Percy as he began to walk towards the main doors of the Science Building.

 

“I’m Percy, by the way. Percy Jackson,” he added, almost as an afterthought. Stupid him, forgetting the most basics of manners. Damn. The guy must think he’s an idiot.

 

“Jason Grace,” Jason replied, chuckling a little at the hurried way Percy used to introduce himself, as if he’d forgotten. Percy nodded, filing the information away. Well, so far, things were going well. Hopefully Percy wouldn’t fuck it up as usual.

 

“So, Percy,” Jason started. Percy jumped a little at being addressed directly, but it wasn’t obvious enough for Jason to notice.

 

“What are you doing, going around and breaking your nose at random around campus?”

 

Percy’s ears turned scarlet, and he gave a nervous giggle. “Oh. Heh. That. Um, that was an accident.”

“Well, obviously,” Jason replied coolly.

“It, uh, doesn’t happen often,” Percy said nervously, twisting his hands in his hoodie pocket. “I got distracted.”

“So I see,” Jason replied with a small laugh. Inside he felt a small pang of guilt for being the cause of Percy falling off his skateboard, but at the same time it was pretty amusing. Laugh later, Jason. Woo cute guy now, he told himself firmly.

 

“So...what are you majoring in?” Percy said, running Jason’s train of thought off the tracks as he beat him to the ‘asking questions’ punch.

 

“Uh, Astrophysics,” Jason replied after a moment, a tired looking frown creasing his eyes for a moment. “It’s not too hard, I suppose, but only when you understand the concept. Otherwise it’s just a mess.”

 

“So...it’s like space study right?” Percy asked, his tone tentative as he really didn’t know very much about the subject.

 

“Something like that,” Jason said with a chuckle. “It’s really more like… the theories about star and planet structure, along with theories about the universe’s creation.”

 

Percy blinked slightly. It sounded way more advanced than Jason’s easy tone suggested it was. “Wow. So you’re all… smart and sciencey and stuff.”

“If you say so,” Jason chortled. “Anyway, what about you? What’s your major?”

 

“Marine Biology,” Percy replied promptly with a small smile quirking up one corner of his mouth. Jason was so momentarily distracted by the dimple that appeared in Percy’s dark skin that he missed his next words.

 

“Ah, sorry, what was that?”

 

“I said that it’s what my dad majored in,” Percy repeated, his grin widening.

 

“Oh, ha, sorry,” Jason said with an embarrassed laugh. “Anyway, uh,” Jason cleared his throat, “That’s really cool. What exactly does a marine biologist do?”

 

“Well,” Percy started as he pushed open the door to the ice cream place that they had abruptly arrived in, “Order your ice cream first and then I’ll tell you.”

 

Jason rolled his eyes as he stepped into the cool store, the scent of raspberries and chocolate chip cookies swirling around them in the light breeze that came from the vents overhead. Inhaling deeply, he let out a soft sigh.

 

“I love this place,” he said softly.

 

Percy glanced around the small shop, taking in its almost cozy nature. Percy normally disliked places like that, the cutesy little coffee shops and fuzzy cafes, but this was nice. It had a very minimalist air, with dark wood floors and long trailing plants hanging in the corners. There were also plants in the centers of the glass topped walnut tables, tiny succulents with round green leaves and small pink flowers.

 

“Cute,” Percy commented. “This is a… ice cream shop?”

 

“Yea, I know,” Jason replied, walking up to the counter. “It looks too nice, right? But I think it’s because it used to be a pub back in the eighties.”

 

“Makes sense,” Percy murmured, his gaze now fixated on the many flavors of ice cream arrayed under the glass counter.

 

“Ey, welcome back Jason!” Someone yelled from the back room. A tall blonde man with a long scar down the side of his face and a wide grin waltzed in from the back room.

 

“Hey, Luke,” Jason said with a grin of his own. Luke slid over the top of the counter and grabbed Jason’s hand, pulling him into a warm bro hug for a moment before pulling away and spotting Percy.

 

“Ey, who’s this?” Luke said with a curious scowl, poking Percy’s nose like he was an interesting breed of dog. Percy was offended until Jason said,

 

“That’s Percy, my date.”

 

Luke instantly brightened up again. “You’re dating again?”

 

Jason shrugged, his ears turning slightly pink with embarrassment. “Y-yea?”

 

Luke chuckled and slapped Percy good-naturedly on the back. “He’s cute! Where’d he pick you up at, eh, Percy?”

“I uh, I actually broke my nose in front of him a few days ago,” Percy said nervously, Luke’s positive attitude a little smothering.

 

“Ooh, ouch,” Luke said with a wince, letting go of Percy. “Well, you two have fun. I’m off to meet Annabeth. Have fun gays--I mean, guys,” Luke called back to them as he walked out the door, laughing to himself at his joke.

 

“Luke seems…” Percy started slowly, still a little flustered.

 

“Overeager?” Jason suggested with an embarrassed chuckle.

 

“I was going to say friendly,” Percy laughed. “But that works too.”

 

Jason shook his head, smiling absently in the direction of the door where Luke had disappeared. “He doesn’t actually work here,” Jason confided in him. “He just likes to annoy people who come in.”

 

“Sounds like something Leo would do,” Percy mumbled, shaking his head in false shame.

 

“Hey, you know Leo?” Jason said, his tone switching to something like genuine interest.

 

“Yea, we’ve been pals for about a year now,” Percy responded, tilting his head curiously at Jason. “Why?”

 

“He and I have been friends since we were kids,” Jason said excitedly, his grin widening.

 

“No way--really??” Percy exclaimed, a laugh surrounding his words. “Small world.”

 

“Yea, no kidding,” Jason snorted, shaking his head.

 

“Are you boys ready to order yet?” A new voice floated in between them, and they both jumped slightly. A small woman with red hair stood at the counter, her eyebrow raised.

 

“O-oh, yea, sorry,” Percy said, his ears turning red.

 

“No problem, my dude,” she said, waving it off. “Just tell me what you like.”

 

“Uh,” Percy and Jason exchanged a glance before Percy turned back to the counter.

 

“I’ll take mint chocolate chip,” Percy told her.

 

“And I’d like that weird foreign sounding one right there,” Jason said, pointing. “Is that new?”

 

“Absolutely,” the woman said, sliding up the doors on the back of the counter. “It’s German, I believe. It’s way good.”

 

“Awesome,” Jason murmured as she expertly scooped up their ice cream and handed it off. Percy nodded his thanks and paid, to some protest from Jason.

 

“You can pay for the next date,” Percy teased as they left the shop. “That is, if there is a second date.”

 

Jason shook his head with a laugh as they started walking down the streets of the small town. It was fairly quiet and peaceful, which Jason loved but Percy hated, since he’d grown up in the bustling cities of New York.

 

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” Jason finally replied a few hours later when they were standing at Percy’s doorstep. They’d walked around the town for a while while they ate their ice cream, then Jason insisted that they go window shopping, which had turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable.

 

“I really liked spending time with you tonight,” Jason continued, a soft smile playing across his lips. Percy brushed his hair back and looked delighted.

 

“Me too,” Percy replied, his throat going suddenly dry. Oh, this was the doorstep scene, wasn’t it. Oh dear.

 

“Can we go out next week?” Jason asked tentatively.

 

“Are you kidding? You couldn’t keep me away if you tried,” Percy said with an easy laugh. Jason smiled in relief.

 

“Alright. Next week it’s my turn to plan, then,” Jason said softly.

 

“Alright, whatever tickles your fancy,” Percy responded, chuckling as he turned to unlock his door.

 

“Oh, and, Percy?” Jason added. Percy turned to him just as Jason leaned down and placed a light kiss on Percy’s tan cheek. Percy’s green eyes widened as Jason pulled away and cleared his throat.

 

“Thank you,” he said quietly as he gave Percy one last smile as he turned and walked off into the growing darkness. Percy stood frozen on his doorstep for who knew how long, then flew up to his apartment so fast it was like he was on wings.

 

“Piper! Piper!” he shrieked. “Piper, I have something amazing to tell you!”

Chapter Text

Percy had no idea what was going on.

 

Okay, granted, he never really did know what was going on anyway, but this time it was different. Like spinning out of gravity, head pounding, blood rushing, confusion in every muscle of his body not knowing.

 

Yes, it was because of Jason. No, he didn't fucking know what to do about it, why do you ask?

 

They'd been on about three dates in the last two weeks, and yea, Percy was pretty smitten. Piper was already sick of Percy rambling on and on about oh, Jason said this, and then he did this, and have I mentioned that he's so fucking pretty it hurts? Yes, now shut the hell up before I duct tape you to the balcony. Percy got her back by reminding her that she did the exact same thing when she and Reyna started dating, which kept her quiet for a few days at least.

 

None of this was the problem, the problem was that every time he saw someone he knew, he'd stop holding Jason's hand. He would force himself not to kiss Jason. He choked on the words "he's just a friend," wanting, needing to say more. He wanted Jason so bad his chest felt like a sledgehammer had collapsed his lungs, and the stress headache was a constant companion now. It was like some god was laughing at him for wanting an actual fucking relationship for once. 

 

About a month into this mixture of both Heaven and Hell, Percy was in Hazel's coffee shop on the weekend, a white mocha espresso between his hands and the laptop with his newest essay plastered across the screen sitting on the table in front of him. He was so tired it hurt to breathe, and his thoughts were racing so fast that his coherent brain was about to shut down. 

 

He and Jason weren't technically dating, so could they even break up? What the fuck do micro-molecules have to do with the breathing patterns of algae? Did he just stop texting him even though that would be about the most dick move he could pull? Why couldn't he just be normal and straight and a regular white person-just kidding, he isn't white. God damn it. Are sharks gay? Do fish have love lives? Jesus fucking Christ Percy, pull it together.

 

He didn't notice when someone dropped into the seat next to him until his laptop was slammed shut and someone tugged gently on his ear buds. He took them out and looked up into the concerned espresso-dark eyes of Leo Valdez. 

 

"Hey, Jackson," Leo said, normally loud voice surprisingly gentle. "You doing alright?"

 

Percy sighed and tried to rub some tiredness out of his bloodshot green eyes, but it didn't work. He shook his head, some unknown emotion welling in his throat until he couldn't trust himself to speak.

 

Leo chewed on the corner of his lip, almost bursting with a thousand questions but not wanting to push Percy over to the breaking point. God, he looked awful. Dull eyes, grey hoodie with the hood up, shaky hands and a shadowed, sleepless face.

 

Unlike himself, Percy noticed that Leo looked...good. White shirt that made his skin glow warmly, an army jacket with the sleeves rolled up, curly hair shaved on the sides. Percy squinted at the new diamonds glistening softly in Leo's ears.

 

"Uh, Leo, what's with the new look?" he asked, suddenly feeling very self conscious that he hadn't showered in about a week; abruptly very hyper-aware that Leo smelled like peppermint and Axe. 

 

Leo shrugged, his slightly pointed ears turning pink. "You know me, I'm a free spirit. I'm very comfortable with change. And hey, do I not look good?" he raised an eyebrow mischievously, making Percy flush slightly.

 

"No, um, you look great," he mumbled. Leo dropped the flirty manner, turning uncharacteristically serious again.

 

"Okay, so tell me what's going on. Is it a girl?"

 

Percy laughed, voice much more harsh than he had intended. "If only it were that simple."

 

Leo frowned, obviously not liking his tone. "Percy. Chill out. You know me, I don't judge."

 

"It's not that easy," Percy mumbled, gaze dropping to the rim of his coffee mug. Leo grabbed Percy's laptop off the table and shoved it back into his backpack, standing up and holding out his hand. 

 

"Come on, let's take a walk. Maybe you'll tell me with no one else there."

 

Percy groaned softly and got out of his booth, though he was so tired he almost tripped. Leo grabbed his arm to steady him, then tossed a few bills on the table to pay for Percy's coffee, something that Percy only halfheartedly protested to. Leo dragged Percy out of the coffee shop and down the street turning into a small park that seemed almost out of place in the busy street. Leo pushed Percy down onto a bench, then crossed his arms with an expression that determined that there was no getting out of this for Percy. 

 

"Spill," the Latino boy commanded.

 

Percy took a deep, slightly shaky breath, closing his eyes briefly. He suddenly felt like he was about to cry. 

 

"Leo...I..." 

 

Leo waved a hand for him to continue, expression going impassive.

 

"I-I'm...I think...no, I-I am. Leo, I'm gay," Percy whispered, a hot sense of shame suddenly welling up in his throat. Oh God, he shouldn't have told him. Percy buried his face in his hands, trying so fucking hard not to break into tears. 

 

Leo knelt in front of Percy, taking his hands and gently prying them away from his face.

 

"Hey. Percy. Look at me."

Percy forced his gaze back up to Leo's face, the tears he'd been trying to avoid standing out sharply in the corners of his eyes.

 

"Listen to me," Leo said firmly. "I don't give a fuck that you're gay. That doesn't change anything about you, alright? Who the fuck cares that you love differently that someone else? It shouldn't make people think different of you. If they really love you, if they're really your friends like I am, they won't care either. Percy...your friends care about you. Hazel, Frank and I, we love you. They won't think of you any differently, I promise."

 

Percy hiccuped softly, a few tears escaping, much to his disgust. "I'm sorry," he said quietly, shaking his head a little. Leo sat next to him and put a warm arm around his shoulders, voice softening even more.

 

"Percy, it's okay. I swear. Look, if it makes you feel better, I'm bisexual."

 

That shut Percy up. He scrubbed away his tears with the sleeve of his hoodie and looked up at Leo in wonder.

 

"You...are?" 

 

"Yea," Leo said, a bright grin on his face. "That's part of my new look. I just started going out with a guy and I want to look the part. See? You're not alone. We're in this together, you and I."

 

Percy managed a genuine smile this time, not really realizing fully how much of a weight he'd been carrying around on his chest until it was lifted, replaced by a warm feeling like a tiny star had just been born in the core of his heart.

 

"Thank you, Leo....that means a lot to me."

 

"'Course, what else are bros for?" Leo teased, punching his shoulder lightly. He stood up again, holding his hand out once more for Percy. "Now come on, you're in desperate need of a shower. No offense."

"None taken," Percy mumbled, standing up with Leo's help. Leo let his hand linger on Percy's for a little longer than was perhaps necessary, making Percy's cheeks turn red in confusion. Wait. Leo?...

 

Leo dropped his hand before Percy could wonder too much about it, gesturing for Percy to follow him. "Come on, I'll walk you home. You'll feel better after you get some sleep and some real food. You can come out to everyone else tomorrow, but right now you deserve a break." He walked off down the road to Percy's apartment, leaving Percy to wallow in confusion for a second before jogging off after him and following him home.

----------

As Percy lay in bed that night, his chest felt lighter with the relief of finally having come out to someone else, but his head still whirled with confused thoughts and intrusive feelings. 

 

Okay, so Leo was bi, and something in his eyes had captured Percy's attention. Did Leo have feelings for him? Did Percy have feelings for Leo? But what about Jason?? Percy was still absolutely head-over-heels for him, but was that all it was? Infatuation with a pretty face? Percy groaned softly, digging the heels of his palms into his eyes. 

 

Good God.

 

Stupid feelings.

 

Well, he knew one way to fix this. Go out to a bar, get roaring drunk, and stay holed up at home with a hangover for a few days. Yea, that sounded good. Mind still whirling too fast to have coherent thoughts but gradually numbing with exhaustion, Percy fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Percy’s plans for the next day were foiled by someone pounding on his doorway earlier in the morning than he wanted, that is to say, around 2 in the afternoon. He groaned softly and sat up, rubbing his temples and still feeling exhausted, though it wasn't as painful as it had been the past few weeks.

Since Piper had apparently already left the house, he slipped out of bed and hastily tugged a shirt on over his boxers, dashing over to open the door so that whoever it was wouldn't get too impatient. Leo had evidently been leaning on the door, because when Percy opened it, he shrieked and fell inside, sprawling on the tile.

“Shit,” he mumbled, standing up and brushing himself off. Hazel and Frank followed him in a more dignified manner, Frank’s arms full of take out boxes and coffee. Leo grinned at a dumbstruck Percy.

“I thought you needed a pick me up, so I brought some along,” he presented proudly, as Hazel rolled her eyes and set the boxes and coffees down on Percy’s coffee table.

“We were the ones who decided to come, he just wanted to tag along,” she told him, tossing her hair over her shoulder.

“That's, uh, fine, but could you at least have given me time to shower?” Percy said desperately, avoiding Leo’s eyes.

“Oh, we'll just wait here,” Leo said off handedly, plopping down on his couch and giving Percy an eyebrow wiggle. “Take your time. Or not, and make sure we don't eat all this sushi,” he said lightly, opening one take out box to show off his earnings in the form of a perfect sushi roll.

Percy’s mouth almost started watering. He had been too poor to afford sushi lately. “Fine, I'll hurry,” he grumbled, stalking off. Once actually in the shower, he wondered how he had managed not to shower for so long, it felt so good. He stayed in there for a bit longer than he meant, but when he finally got out, the take out boxes were still intact, and the three were sprawled in various areas of his living room, the sound of Leo’s loud laughter and Hazel’s musical giggle filling the small space.

Percy flopped down next to Leo, a sigh of relief escaping his lips. He reached for one of the takeout boxes and a pair of chopsticks, curling up in the couch and opening the box, inhaling deeply. “Damn. Thanks, guys,” he said gratefully, pouring spicy mayo over the top of his temptation roll.

“No problem,” Leo said easily, waving a hand. He picked up a coffee from its little cardboard cupholder, sliding it open and taking a sip.

“Yea, we know that you've been going through a lot lately,” Frank added. He was on the loveseat with Hazel, his arm around her shoulders. Percy gave them as big a smile as he could with half a sushi roll stuffed in his mouth. He swallowed, then said,

“Thanks again. I have no idea how I would've survived this long without you guys.”

“I don't think you would have,” Leo said with a laugh, stretching out over the couch. Percy glanced over at him and immediately wished he hadn't, since he looked fucking amazing today, which didn't help Percy’s torn gay heart. Today it was a white shirt with the one and only Elvis Presley on front, black jeans, and a deep red bomber jacket.

But then Leo dove for another box of sushi, and the spell was broken. Laughter, face stuffing, and friendly roasting commenced, and by the time all the food was gone and the last drops of coffee drained, Percy was in a better mood than he had been since the last time he and Jason had gone out.

A few hours passed and Hazel and Frank decided to leave, since they had to open the cafe for the evening shift anyway. Hugs were exchanged and promises to text put down, and the couple left, leaving Percy and Leo alone in the house, since at some point Piper had wandered out to do who knows what.

“So, Percy,” Leo said, in a tone that suddenly made Percy very nervous.

“Y-yea?” he said, turning back to look at Leo, who was still spread out over the couch. His expression wasn't quite what Percy had expected; it had mixed amounts of nervousness, concern, and a little bit of determination in it.

“Chill out. I'm not going to bite your head off. I was just wondering...how are things between you and Jason?” he asked tentatively, leaning forward and gripping the edge of the couch.

“Oh,” Percy said in a small voice. He looked down at his bare feet under his docked jeans, not completely sure about how to answer that question.

“I don't...to be perfectly honest, I don't fucking know.”

He sighed deeply and sat on the couch beside Leo again, tucking his hands between his thighs.

“I mean. I really, really like him, but I kind of get the feeling that he isn't as into as I am. I'm so confused by everything, because it's like one day he's all over me, and the next he barely texts me for a week. We aren't an item, I know that, but I want to be...and I think he knows that. Um. I just...don't know what to do anymore,” his words trailed off into an awkward silence, his gaze dropping sadly to his hands.

Leo bit his lip, rolling his bottom lip between his teeth thoughtfully. He fiddled with one of his new earrings, remaining quiet for a few more moments before speaking.

“Percy, I don't know what to tell you. I've known Jason since we were really little, and he's always been...careful. He's got a kind of...reputation to uphold. People know that he's pansexual, like it's not a huge scandalous secret, but he's still cautious about his choices. To see how they'll reflect on him. If he's acting like this, in your first month of dating, I think it's because he's just waiting to see how you two work together. If you're...compatible. Make sense?”

Percy blinked a few times at Leo, eyebrows raised. “Oh,” was all he said, his brain still working on processing the information he'd just received.

“But that's just from what I know from past experiences,” Leo said, voice almost nervous.

Percy suspected he was blushing, but his dark skin made it hard to tell.

“And….I've been meaning to ask you...um. If...if things between you and Jason don't work out…”

Oh yea. He was definitely blushing.

“Do you want to go out with me?”

He said the last words in a rush of pent-up breath, shrinking back a little as if afraid of being rejected. Percy could do nothing but stare and stammer, feeling his own face flush deeply.

“Like. Go out, go out? L-like a...boyfriend?” Percy said, words stumbling over each other as they shoved from his brain and out onto his tongue.

“I, um, yea. Th-that's what I was trying to say, um, I guess.”

Leo never got flustered like this. Hell, Percy never got flustered like this. His heart was seized up in his chest, tongue twisting into knots, breath coming in stuttering pants like he'd just run a triathlon with a weight vest filled with sand strapped to his chest. In short, it was exactly the same feeling that he'd had when he saw Jason for the first time.

Jason…

Percy’s racing thoughts came to a screeching halt. There was a moment of confusion of when they bumped into each other and went sprawling in the dirt, but once the dust cleared they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and mumbled, oh yeah...Jason…

Percy twisted his hands into the bottom of his hoodie, a look of distress obvious on his tanned face, even though he didn't know why he was stressed out. It was only if he and Jason didn't work out, right?

Nothing more.

Nothing more…

But even that little question meant that Leo did want more...even though it was innocent enough.

Percy realized that Leo had been waiting for this for a long time. The new look in his brown eyes wasn't new at all, it had been there for years silently yearning, crying out for Percy to answer, begging him for sweet relief from the love sickness that had taken over his heart.

God, Leo, why didn't you just tell me…

All this took place in the split second that he had hesitated for his answer, but when he finally opened his mouth to speak his thoughts weren't collected at all like he'd been trying to do.

“Yes, I think I'd like that,” he found himself blurting out, though he had meant to say well, we'll just have to wait and see, right?

Oh no.

Leo's eyes lit up like lighthouses, the ship of hope that had been lost in the fog of uncertainty steering back towards the little light that had been kindled.

Oh no…

“Wow. Um. Okay, then,” Leo breathed. Now it was his turn to twist his hands together, eyes dropping to his shoes in a sense of disbelief and more than a little ecstasy.

“I uh. Well. I-I-it's a plan, right?”

Percy nodded, biting his tongue. He wanted Leo to know that he cared for him desperately, but he wasn't sure where his attractions lay at the moment. It was making him somehow more stressed than he should be, since the whole purpose was to reassure him.

“Awesome!” Leo beamed, standing up and pulling on his jacket. Grabbing his shoes, he gave Percy a little salute. “Just text me. Whenever you need me, okay?”

“Okay,” Percy whispered, remaining on the couch while Leo tied his shoes.

“I'll see you around, then,” Leo said cheerfully, grabbing his motorcycle gloves from the hooks near the door and flouncing out of the apartment, leaving Percy in a much more desperate state of confusion than he had been before.

Oh, God, Leo...

Percy kind of just flopped over onto his side and curled up in a tight ball, holding his head tightly like it would fall off from the pressure pounding on it. He suddenly felt like he wanted to cry, though there was absolutely no reason for him to.

He took a deep shuddering breath, then his phone rang. He fumbled, picked it up, and answered.

“Hey, Percy.”

Jason! Percy’s heart yelped, thumping against his chest.

“H-hey, Jason.”

“How are you?”

All it took was that one question, and Percy broke down, starting to cry like a child.

“Percy? What's wrong??” Jason said, the alarm evident in his voice even through the phone.

Percy didn't even try to speak, just continued to cry.

“Okay, hold on, I'll be there in five minutes.”

He hung up.

Percy wrapped himself in his hoodie and kept sobbing, breath stuttering in soft hiccups, crying from exhaustion, stress, confusion, and numerous other things that basically wanted him dead from over exposure to toxic material. Namely, his thoughts.

Not that long passed before there was a knock on the door, just as a warning before it opened. Percy didn't look up from his small puddle of misery as Jason sat next to him, an arm as warm as a ray of sun wrapping around his shoulders.

“Percy, are you okay?” Jason whispered quietly, gently pulling Percy into his lap. Percy didn't even question as he threw his arms around Jason’s waist and buried his face in his chest. Jason held him close until he had finished crying, doing nothing but gently rubbing Percy’s back and just being there.

After a while Percy pulled away, scrubbing his face with the sleeves of his hoodie.

“S-sorry,” he stuttered, not looking up into Jason’s face yet.

“What's wrong?” Jason asked again, gently cupping Percy’s jaw with both hands to make him look up at him.

Percy shook his head, pulling away a little. “N-nothing.”

Jason’s eyes were concerned but his face was soft, biting the corner of his bottom lip. Percy suddenly couldn't stop staring at it.

“If you don't want to tell me, that's okay. I just want to help, okay?”

Percy nodded, then his gaze dropped a little. “Actually, there might be something that might make me feel better.”

“Yea?” Jason queried, tilting his head a little.

Percy held his breath for a split second. He needed this confirmation desperately, needed to know that Jason was the person who would be there for him, needed to know if this was real.

He let out a breath of air, then leaned forward--

--and kissed Jason.

Chapter Text

At first Jason didn't reciprocate, blue eyes widening in shock. Not that Percy noticed, because his eyes were firmly shut.

 

But after a second he relaxed, realizing how much he actually enjoyed it.

 

Placing his hands on the smaller boy's waist, he gently held him closer as he kissed him back. Percy kissed him with a kind of desperate need, lips too pushy and actions too feverish. After a moment Jason put his hands on the side of Percy's face and pulled him away, blue eyes kind and soft.

 

“Hey, slow down a little, okay? I want this to last,” he whispered, brushing the pad of his thumb over Percy’s bottom lip. Percy shivered then nodded, looking a little embarrassed.

 

“Sorry,” he said sheepishly, ducking a little. “I got a little ahead of myself.”

 

“Don't be,” Jason said, shaking his head as he leaned forward and kissed Percy again.

 

This time it was much slower, soft lips and warm hands, hearts racing in time to each other as their bodies pressed flush together. Percy’s hands remained on Jason’s shoulders, thumbs rubbing his collarbone softly. Jason had his hands roaming over the smaller boy's body, over his shirt, softly exploring every line on his back. He made sure not to overstep his boundaries, not going below the waist or over to the chest.

 

That is, until Percy broke off, green eyes bright with a sense of hunger.

 

“Touch me.”

 

Jason almost immediately obeyed like he'd been waiting for permission, hands going under Percy’s shirt to stroke up the lines of his stomach, capturing his lips in another, slightly hungrier kiss. Fireworks were exploding in Percy’s chest, a sparking electricity that he hadn't felt in a long time crackling through his body. He moaned softly against Jason’s lips, and Jason took that as a green light.

 

Percy gasped slightly when Jason’s fingertips swiped over his chest, which made Jason’s left hand pause and lazily draw the pad of his thumb in circles around Percy’s nipples. He smirked softly against Percy’s lips, taking Percy’s bottom lip between his teeth and rolling it softly. Percy slowly began to whine, chest arching up into the blonde man's touch.

 

“Can I take your shirt off?” Jason whispered, breath warm and vanilla smelling against Percy’s lips. Percy nodded, completely breathless from the heat by now and unable to ignore the situation in his jeans. It was becoming more of a pressing issue, figuratively and literally, as Jason slowly peeled his shirt off, going slow enough to make it feel something like a strip tease.

 

Jason let his warm hands run all over Percy’s body, occasionally flicking a finger over Percy’s nipples. Percy kept gasping against his lips, until he pulled away to imploringly tug at the bottom of Jason’s shirt. Jason wasted no time in pulling it off and going straight back to making out with the marine biologist, pulling him straight up against his chest.

 

The skin to skin contact was a lot to take in. Percy could feel himself melting into Jason, so close that he could feel everything happening in the other man's body. Jason's heart was racing a million miles and hour, skin so warm and soft against Percy's that he kind of felt like he wanted to pass out from the ecstatic feeling of finally.

 

Jason was almost shivering, strong arms wrapping around Percy's waist. Percy's lips tasted like salt, like he was fresh out of the ocean. Jason found it absolutely delicious. He let his hands map out every inch of Percy's skin, every scar from surfing, every line of his muscles, every ridge of his bones.

 

Percy whined quietly, throwing his arms around Jason's neck and digging his fingers into his hair. Jason pushed his tongue into Percy's mouth, and Percy reciprocated in kind.

 

Percy was about to ask for Jason to touch him in some more suggestive places, but the doorknob rattled and opened.

 

“Percy? I forgot my...jacket...”

 

Percy and Jason jerked apart to stare at Leo, who was standing in the doorway with a dumbstruck look on his face. Percy’s eyes widened as he froze in place, tangled around Jason like they were trying to become the same person. He swallowed thickly, knowing what a mess he looked like and for some reason, he felt a little guilty.

 

“L-Leo, I--”

 

Leo shook his head and stepped back, looking almost frightened. “Keep my jacket, I-I gotta go.” He turned and slammed the door shut.

 

Percy groaned and slid off of Jason, grabbing his tee shirt off the floor and jerking it on. Jason looked confused.

 

“Percy? What--”

 

“You need to go,” Percy said, sounding close to tears. Jason didn't question it, just stood up and pulled his own shirt back on, pressing his lips together anxiously.

 

“If...if I did something wrong, I'm sorry,” Jason said quietly, leaning forward and pressing a light kiss to Percy’s cheek. Then he was gone, leaving a smell of vanilla lingering behind him.

 

Percy sighed softly, gathering up empty take out boxes and coffee cups and dropping them in the trash can. It was almost nine by now, and Piper wasn't home yet. Percy made sure the apartment was clean, then retired to the bathroom.

 

His excuse for showering was that he needed to clear his head, but as soon as he dropped his boxers to the floor, it was apparent that it wasn't the only reason. Stepping into the shower, he stood under the hot water for a moment, letting it was over his flushed skin and washing his hair over his face.

 

Leaning against the wall, he slowly wrapped a hand around himself, closing his eyes. Jason came to his eyes, and Percy quickly lost himself in the rush of a daydream and hot water.

 

----



Jason was confused. Well, confused could be taken as an understatement. Why did Percy react so harshly when Leo showed up? It didn't really make sense, unless...there was something between them.

 

Oh, my God.

 

It was like the puzzle pieces suddenly clicked together in his head, fitting the little bits together that he could recall from the years he'd known Leo.

 

They'd gone to high school together until junior year, when Leo's family moved districts and Leo went to one of the neighboring schools. Jason vividly remembered Leo telling him about a kid with messy black hair and bright green eyes who made Leo realize he wasn't quite as straight as he thought he was.

 

Oh my God. Could it really have been Percy? It felt like a stretch but at this point Jason didn't know what he'd believe anymore. Both Percy and Leo had seemed almost scared of each other, like there was something in between them that they were afraid of.

 

Jason sank down in the seat of his car, letting his head drop onto the seat. What was he supposed to do now? He really, really liked Percy. A lot. That kiss...he'd never felt anything like it. It was insane. He'd never felt so...well, let's just say he felt something like fulfilled.

 

No one else had ever been able to elicit such pleasure from Jason by just kissing in a long time. It felt so good. He'd really love to maybe even take it a little further with Percy, but he sensed that now wasn't the time.

 

But by the way Percy was acting, he didn't know if that would ever happen. And with Leo…

 

Jason sighed. He didn't want to think about that anymore. He could just call Percy once he got home, see what was up. It'd be fine.

 

Right?