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each dewdrop mirrored a star, his riding star, his universe while on the moonlit flowers at his side Pegasus grazed

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Luke laughs about it every time he visits. He just pops in, takes over Neal's space, and makes snarky comments about fathers, fates, and food.

Neal just rolls his eyes, tells Luke he knows where the fridge is, and pushes Luke's feet off the couch.

He never tells Luke to go, though. They talk about the old days, if Neal has the time, and usually, Neal will pull Luke towards the bed, because he realized in hindsight why he felt so completely disappointed when he learned Luke was the lightning thief.

Also in hindsight, he realized that if he'd had a little while longer to think everything over, he'd have been right there beside Luke, staring down Olympus.

If Dad knows what Neal is doing, he hasn't let on to Neal.

"You know," Luke says, shifting Neal around on the bed, making himself comfortable and ignoring Neal's half-hearted glare, "Annabeth asked me the other day what you were doing."

"What did you tell her?" Neal asks, shoving Luke over and stretching out against him, resting his ear on Luke's heartbeat.

"I told her you were makin' a name for yourself, and one day, you'd outshine us all," Luke murmurs, pressing a kiss to Neal's forehead.

Neal's almost asleep, listening to the lullaby of Luke's heart (it sounds like the tide, in and out, in and out), when he hears Luke whisper, "Sometimes I miss that earnest kid. You were so bright." He squeezes Neal just a little tighter, when he adds, even softer, "Now you're blindin', Percy. Sometimes it hurts my eyes just to look at you."

When Neal wakes up, Luke's gone and his phone is ringing: Peter, calling about The Cattle of Apollon, a painting that vanished overnight. "Seriously, Son of Hermes?" he asks, dropping his phone after hanging up.

He's still chuckling when he meets Peter at the art gallery, and he nearly breaks something trying not to howl with laughter when he sees the painting next to the empty space: The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy, with a post-it stuck to it, the words ride the lightning scrawled on it.

"What the hell?" Peter demands. When he turns to look at Neal, Neal shrugs.

They never do find that painting, or figure out who the message was for, much less what it meant.

But three nights later, when lightning is flashing across the sky, Neal stands on his balcony and imagines he can hear voices in the storm, if he just listens hard enough.

He was a hero, once. Now he's nearly a hero again, a thief caught and bound, helping to catch other thieves, lesser thieves.

And I if asked you for help, Son of Poseidon? he can hear Luke ask, like he did the first time he found Neal, a mere month after Percy ceased to be.

If you asked and meant it? Neal asked in reply that night, pushing Luke back onto the bed and straddling him. I'd help you.

Neal closes his eyes as the thunder growls, wind howling. He flew in a storm like this, once. When he was young and confused and held stolen lightning in his trembling hand.

But he's grown up now. He's learned. And he won't steal lightning again, but he knows that Luke has something planned, and eventually they'll steal the world.