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we found love in a hopeless place

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Rain poured down in Oakland Hills, California as every demigod stood outside to mourn, and remember their praetor, for the proud leader he was. Piper McLean stood by his casket, still upset about the loss of Jason. Sure, they weren't dating, but Jason was still her friend. At least she preferred to believe they could nevertheless be friends. Despite trying to be civil, the thought of him did one of two things: it either made her miss him, or it made her really angry because they broke up. Piper attempted to control the urge to cry because she shouldn't want him. She broke up with him, and they pushed on. Why would she need him now? With all of the tension and silence, Piper couldn't figure out what she wanted nor how she felt anymore when left to her own thoughts. Beside her, someone else stepped up, shocking Piper out of her own head.

It was Reyna Ramirez-Arellano, the other praetor for Camp Jupiter, who had stepped up. She placed a hand on Piper's shoulder, causing Piper to spin around to see who it was. "Oh, it's you," she said, relieved.

"Am I not good enough?" Reyna joked softly, trying to ease the tension. Piper chuckled a little, wrapping her arms around herself. "He is greatly missed, Piper, you know that." The brown haired girl nodded. "So why do you look so blue, Piper McLean?"

"I'm just... confused, I guess," Piper confessed. "I know we weren't dating at the time, but it still hurts. I don't understand why. It's not like we were friends or anything."

"You still like him," Reyna concluded monotonously.

"I... I don't know." Piper muttered some curses in Ancient Greek, stepping away from Reyna. "I'm sorry. My head is... a mess." Reyna nodded, understanding as Piper turned and ran off. Annabeth stepped up to Reyna, both of them watching Piper run away.

"Talk to her, Reyna," Annabeth encouraged, nudging Reyna. "You and I both know what she's going through. She's confused and scared. Talk to her, you understand her, and she'd like to have you be there for her." The rain gradually got heavier as the mood continued to dampen with Percy, Hazel, Frank, Annabeth, Leo, Nico, Will, and Reyna all standing in front of Jason's casket with the rest of both camps behind them. Annabeth stared at Reyna, trying to motivate her to chase after Piper. Reyna caved and chased after the girl, finding her in a bathroom.

"Piper, I-" Reyna started to speak but was cut off by Piper.

"What do you do if you don't know who you are?" Reyna betrayed her better judgment and hugged Piper, who buried her face in Reyna's braid.

"You talk about it, think through it, and figure it out," Reyna whispered, stroking Piper's hair softly. "I'm a lesbian." Her voice cracked, tears threatening to spill out of Reyna's eyes. She knew it would be okay, but still, she feared.

"You're... what?" Piper glanced up at Reyna's face, wiping tears from her own eyes. Reyna didn't say anything. She didn't have to. Piper had heard her correctly, and it had overcome her with emotions. "You... really are?" Reyna bit her lip, nodding slowly. Piper hugged her tighter. "That's great!"

"Why don't we take our leave and head back to the others? Everyone's probably stressed about where we are. Camp Half-Blood campers are receiving rooms in the barracks, but if you want to stay with me in my room, you're more than welcome to." Reyna let go of Piper, leading her back to the others where it had lessened raining only a little. "Everyone," Reyna commanded, her aura drawing the attention of all the campers. "Centurions Hazel Levesque, Dakota, Leila, Hank, and Larry will take our Greek counterparts and place them into one of the five cohorts we have for the night. Their planes leave tomorrow, pending weather. We will let them rest as much as possible. Praetor Zhang, please help them. They won't be able to do it themselves. I have other business to take care of." Reyna made eye contact with Annabeth, who gave her a big thumbs up. Annabeth then caught Percy's hand again, following him to the cohort they would stay in. Reyna rolled her eyes and led Piper to her room, closing the door behind them. "Welcome to my room, it's cozy but... it's home." Piper analyzed the white room, noticing little to no personalization put into it. The bed was neatly tucked in, and the floor was clean, not a single speck of dirt on it.

"The room is... nice, but isn't it kind of boring and plain?" Reyna stared at Piper as if she had three heads, although that wouldn't actually be that unusual. "Not that it's not pretty!" She quickly added. "It just seems a little... hollow. Like it has no character. It's incredibly beautiful, though."

Reyna examined the walls, concluding that Piper was right. "Maybe I'll add something to it later. Perhaps you could help me with that?" Piper's face flushed as she nodded vigorously. "Now, dear Piper, would you mind telling me what's on your mind?"

Piper sighed, rubbing her eyes gently. "I guess I'm just confused about my feelings? I've always been able to control them as a daughter of Aphrodite, but now I'm just stuck. Is this girl just pretty, or do I want to date her? What would my dad say if I told him this? Do I exclusively like girls, or do I like boys too?" Piper's voice sped up as her heart rate did.

"Did you like Jason?" Reyna asked, helping Piper sit down on her bed.

"I did, at least it felt real."

"And do you find yourself attracted to girls as well?"

"... Yeah."

"Then you, my dear, are bisexual, or something along those lines. You can decide where you fit later, but don't try to deny it. You are valid, okay? You are perfect just the way you are, and this doesn't change anything. You're still the same person." Tears streamed down Piper's face, and Reyna continuously wiped them away. "Are you okay?"

Piper didn't speak but hugged Reyna tightly. "I'm fantastic, all thanks to you." Both girls' faces flushed, an awkward silence falling between them. "Y'know when you asked if I liked girls?"

"Yeah?"

"I currently only have eyes for one girl, and that's you," Piper flirted smoothly. Reyna cursed under her breath in Latin. "What do you say, Reyna?"

"You're really smooth, I'll give you that," Reyna grumbled. Piper smirked, her eyes flickering with a spark of mischief. "Are you sure you should be jumping straight into this? Two minutes ago, you were confused, and now you're flirting with me."

"Shhh, you're killing the mood, Reyna," Piper complained. "I want to see what this feels like. Are you really going to deny me that? Based on your body language, you don't want to turn me down." Reyna glanced down at the way she was sitting before meeting Piper's eyes.

"You might be right, but that doesn't mean I want you to get in over your head. You're sure about this?" Piper nodded, leaning across Reyna's bed to meet Reyna's lips with her own. They collided in a moment of passion before Reyna pulled back. "You must sleep. You have a flight to catch tomorrow."

"Do I have to go?" Piper flopped beside Reyna on her bed, huffing angrily. "I want to stay for another day."

"I'm sure we can arrange that," Reyna said, already looking at changing Piper's ticket.

"Wait, you really want me to stay?"

"Well, yes, I do not wish to be in a long distance relationship for longer than I must be."

"Wait, relationship?" Piper's heart fluttered. "You really mean that? You want a relationship?"

"Did I stutter?" Reyna exchanged the ticket and beamed. "You're flight is now changed for two days from when it was first scheduled. Now we get two more days together, and yes, I do wish for a relationship with you. Once you graduate from high school, you can come here and go to college with me. We can get coffee, study together, meet other demigods and legacies. Is that something that interests you?"

"It does, Reyna. It does." Reyna laid down beside Piper, smiling.

"Then will you be my girlfriend, Piper McLean?"

"Yes, Reyna Ramirez-Arellano. I will!" The girls hugged, before changing and getting back into bed to go to sleep.

The next two days flew by, making Piper never want to leave. Reyna forced Piper to take the tickets and get on her flight. "Piper, I'll see you in a few weeks. School is almost out for the summer. I'll visit you in New York, my dear."

Piper held Reyna's hands in her own, not wanting to catch her flight back to JFK. They stood outside the Oakland International Airport, the wind ruining their hair with its speed and direction. "Thank you, Reyna. Don't forget to text me and call me, okay?"

"I won't," Reyna promised. The two girls' foreheads pressed together before Piper had to take her luggage and run. "I miss you already!" Reyna called, getting a sweet smile from Piper as she boarded the plan. "Two months can't pass fast enough."