Author's Note: Don't hurt me.
Warnings: Check the rating. I had to up the rating with this chapter. You'll find out why very quickly
Additional note: With the recent issues on with the purging of rated M fanfiction, I'm more than a little worried that my fics will be deleted. So for any reason my fics disappear, make sure to check out my AO3 account – it's the same pen name (Kirii). I am in the process of copying all of my fics there, just in case.
July continued as normal after everyone had returned from the Underworld; as normal as it got in a camp full of the children of the Greek gods. Chiron had convinced Mr. D not to turn the group that had left the camp into strawberry plants or dolphins and, instead, they'd all been given kitchen duty for the remainder of the month. Nico was the only one who got out of being punished because Dionysus had deemed the lamia poison punishment enough. The son of Hades stayed in the infirmary for two more days while he recovered from the poison, with Will supervising his treatment.
Predictably, the rumors that had started spreading from the moment Annabeth had stormed out of the Poseidon cabin the day Percy and the others returned to camp had escalated. There were rumors that the son of Poseidon had hooked up with Rachel – impossible, considering she was on a family vacation to Italy until the fifteenth and was, of course, the Oracle and, therefore, off-limits. Further rumors insisted that Percy had cheated on the daughter of Athena with one of the pretty naiads in the lake on the Fourth of July – another ridiculous rumor, of course.
Percy tried to put an end to the rumors, denying all of them, while Luke just laughed them off. The son of Hermes actually fueled a couple of them on, much to the chagrin of his younger boyfriend. Being the re-initiated head of the Hermes cabin, Luke was officially the ringleader of the biggest group of gossips in camp – followed shortly by the Aphrodite cabin – and, boy, did Luke know how to come up with whopping rumors. It was not helping matters at all for Percy, though Luke seemed to be having the time of his life.
It was a week before the rumors were finally dispelled, brought to a rather startling halt when word got out about what was really going on. Though Percy and Luke were trying to keep their relationship quiet and out of the spotlight, the facts were that the son of Poseidon was the camp's biggest celebrity and the son of Hermes the most infamous camper; secrecy was a privilege that neither of them were really allowed.
They'd hidden in the armory shed after a sword lesson, both of them worked up after the match they'd had to show the group of Aphrodite kids a new technique. Luke had pushed Percy up against the wall, the younger demigod's body caught by his, mouth claiming the son of Poseidon's when the door opened and Lacey, the youngest daughter of Aphrodite, had announced her presence with a shout of 'oh my gods, I knew it!' before running off to spread the news.
And, of course, when real news like this got out, it spread faster than any rumor ever could. Before either of them could stop it, the fact that Percy and Luke were an item had gotten through the camp and everyone knew. There was simply no stopping it; the Aphrodite children rivaled the Hermes cabin when it came to juicy gossip and a love affair between Percy and Luke was the juiciest to come to their attention in a long time.
"This was not how it was supposed to go," Percy complained, flopping backwards onto his bed. He and Luke had promptly abandoned their hideout in the armory shed and taken shelter in the Poseidon cabin instead.
"Oh, so you had a plan?" Luke teased, lounging on the bed next to his boyfriend. He seemed much more relaxed about being caught that Percy was. His hand rested on the younger demigod's stomach, fingers just teasing at the bare skin revealed from where the son of Poseidon's shirt had ridden up. "Perce, we both knew we'd be found out sooner or later."
"I'd prefer later." Percy had hoped that they'd have a chance to sort everything out before making their relationship public. Most of the camp had still been convinced that he and Annabeth were still a couple. Of course, it was now clear that they weren't.
"You can't be ashamed of me now, Percy." Luke's words had Percy looking up at the older demigod, pushing himself up onto his elbows. There was an all too familiar glint in Luke's gold-tainted eyes, a flash of pain mixed with anger, the same that Percy had always seen in the older demigod's eyes when they met in battle. "We've gone through too much for you to change your mind now."
"I'm not changing my mind," Percy protested. He couldn't change his mind about his feelings for Luke; not after he'd finally realized them, acknowledged them and had them reciprocated. In just the week and a half since that confession and kiss at the stream, Percy had comes to terms with himself and his feelings for the older demigod. "Luke, there's a lot of people who aren't going to be happy about this."
Luke pulled his hand away from Percy's stomach and flopped back against the mattress, tucking his arms behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling. "I stopped caring what the rest of camp thinks of me a long time ago, Percy. They can take their opinions to Tartarus, as far as I'm concerned."
Percy heaved a sigh. He knew that Luke was still angry about being lied to; from the beginning of summer, perhaps even before then, the son of Hermes had been looking for answers. Luke had told Percy that they were on the fringe of a tapestry of lies and that he'd intended to unravel the truth. Colorful imagery aside, wasn't that the reason the older demigod had gone into the Underworld in the first place? To get answers? After talking to Mnemosyne, it seemed as though Luke had given up that path, but Percy knew that Luke didn't just quit something he'd set his mind to.
Silence settled between the two of them for a few minutes, neither of them taking the conversation any further. Any further and Percy was sure it would just escalate into the same argument they'd had the first time Luke brought up how the rest of the camp treated him. That was the last thing he wanted. He'd already irreparably hurt his relationship with Annabeth, doubted that the daughter of Athena would even want to be friends anymore, and he didn't want to do the same thing with Luke.
Finally, Percy moved and sprawled over Luke, leaning in and kissing the older demigod. Luke jumped slightly beneath the son of Poseidon, pulled out of his own reverie by the kiss, before bringing his arms to wrap around Percy's slim waist. The kiss was apology enough for both of them; for Percy's hesitation and Luke's frustration. The silence was much better when it was because their lips were occupied, even more so when Luke's hand started running up and down Percy's spine.
"Mm, Luke," Percy broke the kiss to murmur against the other demigod's lips. "We should..." Whatever he was about to say was completely forgotten when Luke's hand purposefully came to brush over that spot on the small of Percy's back. The same jolt as before struck with a vengeance and the son of Poseidon's body moved on it's own, hips rocking into Luke's in response to that touch. "Luke!"
Luke gave a rather wicked grin and his fingers teased that spot again, brushing and pressing, fingernails grazing against the hypersensitive point on the younger demigod's body. Percy was completely at his mercy, breath caught and eyes rolling back in his head at the ecstasy coursing through his body, the curse of Achilles enhancing the pleasure that was already overwhelming him. There was really no way for Percy to describe how it felt. All he knew was that it was exhilarating, intense, and dangerous; this was his link to what made him mortal.
But the way Luke was manipulating that small point on Percy's back was the most mind-blowing sensation the son of Poseidon had felt in his life. Just the way those fingers moved against his Achilles spot had the younger demigod hard and in need of release, pre-cum already dampening the boxer-briefs Percy wore beneath his cargo shorts.
Luke finally relented by the time Percy was little more than a gasping, shaking mess of a demigod. The son of Hermes lips were curled in a smug smirk, quite proud of himself for finding this hypersensitive point on his boyfriend's body. Whether he realized what it truly was or not, it was very clear that he liked this find. His blue eyes were dark with want as his fingers moved from the small of Percy's back to the fastening of the younger demigod's shorts, long fingers pausing at the catch there as he looked up to Percy for permission.
"I won't do anything you're not ready for yet," he told Percy, voice an octave lower than usual.
Percy gave a nod. As many dreams as they'd shared, as intimate as those dreams had gotten, they'd been dreams; this was real, completely different, and Percy was not ready to go all the way. He may love Luke, but they hadn't been together that long and there was still so much to work through. Still, they had to do something, with Percy so worked up and Luke no doubt the same. He was no stranger to the needs of his body, having to find release on his own after some of the more intense dreams he'd been having since the beginning of summer.
"We'll start with this, then," Luke mused, giving Percy a rather seductive smile as he made quick work of unfastening the younger demigod's shorts and tugging them down. He left the boxer-briefs alone for the moment, taking the chance to switch their positions, pinning the son of Poseidon against the wrinkled sheets covering the mattress of the bed.
As Luke moved and brought his lips against the head of the younger demigod's hardening length, mouthing at the son of Poseidon through the thin fabric of his boxer-briefs, Percy had to slap a hand over his mouth to keep his moans from becoming too loud. Sensitized from Luke's treatment earlier with his Achilles' spot, Percy was sure that he wasn't going to last long. Luke's mouth kept working him through the cloth covering him and Percy looked down, just in time to see the older demigod's hand slip down to work himself as well. Just the sight of that had a wanton moan escaping the son of Poseidon.
That moan seemed to only encourage the son of Hermes and he doubled his efforts to bring his younger lover to the edge, finally tugging those boxer-briefs down and wrapping his lips around Percy's length. Percy jerked beneath the older demigod, pleasure shooting through his body as Luke's tongue swirled over him. It didn't take much more to bring him crashing into ecstasy, crying out his lover's name as he came. Caught in the rush of his climax, Percy's vision going white, the son of Poseidon nearly missed it when Luke came a few moments after him, soft groans slipping from the older demigod's lips.
When Percy's senses came back, Luke was above him again, eyes once again holding that rather smug light of a Hermes kid that had stolen something they'd had their eyes on for a long time. The older demigod barely gave Percy the chance to fully catch his breath before pulling him up for a deep kiss, one that Percy could taste himself on. It lasted just long enough for Luke to take Percy's breath away again before he pulled back, lips quirked into the slightest of grins.
"Y-yeah." Percy gave a nod and slipped his arms around Luke, pulling the son of Hermes in for another kiss, this one just a soft brush of Percy's lips against Luke's, thanking the older demigod. He gave a slight smile of his own. "So, ready to face the camp?"
Luke looked rather thoughtful, considering his options for a moment before he caught Percy close suddenly and made the younger demigod lay down again. "Nope," he told his boyfriend, a light, playful tone in his voice. He flopped himself down on the mattress next to Percy and let his head rest on the teen's chest. "Now, it's nap time."
Percy had thought that the dreams would stop, now that he and Luke were together. For the last week, he'd been free of strange dreams of an empty camp, free of interfering gods and soft, whispered questions. The only dreams he'd had were the usual, nonsensical dreams of the average teenager - of winning the Olympic gold medal in Mario Kart after surfing across the Hudson using Captain America's shield; nonsense like that. None of this mystery and confusion stuff, where he had no idea what was going on.
And then this dream had begun.
He was in a room built of pale marble, a temple, perhaps. Old Ionic columns held the ceiling up and were decorated with gold cloth, wrapped around and hanging between columns. Against the wall, a display held gifts and offerings. Incense burned from somewhere, a sweet scent wafting through the air as murmured voices echoed from the halls.
An oath to keep...
Percy whirled around, the words sounding from behind him. Never knowing what to expect from a dream like this, it was his first instinct to go for his sword, hand slipping into the pocket of his jeans. He stopped himself a moment later, the sight now before him more than a little shocking.
Sitting on high tripod chairs in a half-circle were five females, all of different ages. Each of them held a branch of laurel, sacred to Apollo, in one hand and a small clay bowl of water in the other. Percy was reminded of the painting Rachel had shown him in the museum once, done by a man whose name brought to mind images of Lassie running to rescue Timmy from the well. It was rather eerie, truth be told, and if Percy's gut feeling was right, truth was all that could be uttered here, in the temple of Apollo.
Two of the five sitting in front of Percy were complete strangers, but the other three were all familiar to him. On the right sat none other than his friend, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, her face smudged with charcoal and her bright red curls pulled back with a pale yellow head scarf. Next to her, sat May Castellan. The mortal woman, mother of Luke Castellan, sat straight and proper. She looked healthier and stronger than when Percy had met her at her home in Connecticut last year. Her white hair had grown and now curled around her face in a short bob and her eyes, so crazed the last time Percy had seen them, were clear and the same, soft shade of blue as Luke's.
Beside May was the Oracle host that had been cursed by Hades upon the death of Maria di Angelo. She looked the same as she had when she'd been cursed, twelve years old and nothing like the mummy that had finally crumbled to dust at Rachel's feet when she'd finally been set free. Her eyes were no longer sad, but they held a serious gaze on Percy as he stood before the group. The other two, Percy could only assume, were the Oracle hosts before her; a brunette girl about twelve in a dress that looked straight out of the Titanic movie he'd watched with his mother and a girl a little older than him, wearing a frilly dress with a bustle at the back, white gloves on her hands and a wide-brimmed hat over her tight, blonde curls.
Five hosts of the Oracle of Delphi – four, really, and one partial host. Percy knew this dream couldn't be anything good. All five Oracles looked to the son of Poseidon, silent, as if waiting for him to ask. What he was supposed to ask, though, Percy wasn't sure. Whatever was going on, there was one thing he knew for certain; he wasn't going to like this. None of his prior experiences with the spirit of the Oracle of Delphi, no matter who was host, had been particularly pleasant. Percy took a deep breath and exhaled a moment later, focusing on the Oracles.
"What do I need to know?"
The first Oracle, the blonde in the frilly dress, spoke first. Under the hat she wore, her eyes glowed with the familiar green light of the Spirit of Delphi as she looked to Percy. "An oath to keep in rising vain..."
"The truth you hide for a hopeful gain," the little Titanic girl continued.
"The brazen betrays," the next Oracle added as the glow of the Spirit of Delphi passed to her, "and from memory shall rise..."
May's eyes glowed now, but where she'd been manic in her prophetic fits before, the mortal woman was calm. "The gold of time, from death defies..."
Percy turned to Rachel now. There was a certain sense of urgency filling him and he knew that this line was the last, the most important line. Rachel sat on her tripod, hands folded neatly in her lap with her laurel branch clasped between her fingers, eyes closed for a long moment. When she opened her eyes, the glow had passed to her and Rachel's mouth opened to deliver the last line of the prophecy.
"And claims in requital - "
"Percy! It is our turn to swim with the nai – oh."
Percy's eyes shot open as his sister's voice cut through his dream and woke him from the sleep that had overtaken him. Alima stood in the doorway of the cabin, eyes covered by her hands, even though she had her head turned away. Only after Percy realized his position with Luke did the son of Poseidon understand. Considering their activities before settling in for a nap, it wasn't the best situation for his twelve-year-old half-sister to catch him in. It was no wonder, he decided as he quickly threw a sheet over Luke and himself, that Alima had covered her eyes.
"Alima, I - "
"Are you covered, brother?"
Alima's hands dropped and she looked to Percy, face still bright red. The younger child of Poseidon gave a cough, clearing her throat before she addressed her brother again. "So what Lacey said was true?" she asked, her voice soft now. She could see that Luke was still asleep.
Percy gave a nod and looked down to his boyfriend as Luke continued to nap for the time being. In sleep, Luke looked rather peaceful, something that Percy wasn't sure he'd actually seen before in the older demigod. There was always something that seemed tense about the son of Hermes, especially since he'd started trying to figure out what the rest of the camp was hiding from him. Seeing the way Luke's face was so completely relaxed, all the anger that was usually there if Percy was looking hard enough gone, it was as if the whole trouble with Kronos had never happened.
"Is that why Annabeth left?" Alima pressed for answers.
"You're not bothered by this?" Percy arched a brow at his sister.
"Aside from the lack of trousers, no," the younger half-blood replied. "I read the myths in our camp course. Why should I be bothered by my brother being with another man when even our father had Pelops?"
Percy blinked in surprise. Their father had had a male lover? Had he really not being paying that much attention to the camp's mythology course that he hadn't known about Pelops? Giving a shake of his head – really rather not wanting to think of his father with a male lover – the son of Poseidon looked to his sister again. "Annabeth loved both of us," he told the girl. "She loved Luke first, then me. Losing both of us, even to each other, hurt her. I don't think she'll ever forgive me."
"Do you really think that?" Alima came over to sit on the edge of her own bed, facing Percy. "You said she loves you both. She is hurt, but if she loves you, I think she will forgive you, in time. I do not claim to know her mind, but you and Annabeth were friends for a long time, yes?"
"Since my first summer here."
"Then I think you will be alright," Alima smiled. For a twelve-year-old, she seemed to be rather mature for her age. "Friendships like yours and Annabeth's do not break so easily."
Percy thought on that. He and Annabeth had gone through a lot in the last five years. Between all the quests, the life-threatening situations, the life-changing decisions, the friendship they'd built between them had grown incredibly strong. While he had realized that he didn't love the daughter of Athena as she'd wanted to be loved, he did still love her. She was one of his closest friends and he was one of hers. They'd have to work things out eventually, but there was no doubt that it would take time before Annabeth was ready to trust him again.
She'd given Luke chance after chance after his original betrayal, because she'd loved him. Percy could only hope that she'd give him another chance, too. He still wanted to be her friend, after all. Just because they weren't a couple anymore, it didn't mean they couldn't still be friends.
"In any case," Percy spoke up, "Annabeth knows the truth. The rest of camp doesn't yet. Luke and I are going to have to face them." There was going to be a lot of disappointment to face, he was sure. Most of the campers knew about Luke's past, about the war they'd fought against the son of Hermes. Hero of the Great Prophecy or not, Luke had been their enemy and Percy had been their leader. No doubt, there was going to be some contempt. "It's not going to be easy."
"Since when is anything in our lives easy?" Luke asked, startling Percy a bit. The son of Hermes grinned up at Percy from where he was still laying on the bed, half-covered by the sheet the younger demigod had thrown over them when Alima had come in. "We're demigods, Perce. We're not supposed to have it easy."
Luke pushed himself up and sat straight before reaching for Percy. He pulled the son of Poseidon in and pressed a kiss to the younger demigod's lips. Alima politely looked away so she wasn't intruding on the moment. It wasn't a long kiss, just a brief, reassuring kiss. When Luke pulled away, Percy could see the smile on the older man's lips. "What say you we get our clothes on properly again and get this over with?"
"Sounds good to me," Percy replied.
Percy had been right in thinking that there were plenty of campers that were not at all pleased that he and Luke were together. The same campers that had thrown him and Annabeth in the lake last summer were not about to repeat their stunt with Percy and Luke. Connor and Travis were alright with it, since they knew already, but Clarisse, who'd been the leader of the eavesdropping demigods last time, was the least likely to give any sort of congratulatory cheer for Luke as she had with Annabeth.
No, the daughter of Ares was as far from pleased as it got. Percy knew she held a grudge against Luke for Silena's death and for what had happened to her own boyfriend in the Labyrinth a couple of years ago. The oath they'd all taken when the gods decreed Luke would be given a second chance kept her – and the rest of those who were upset about the son of Hermes – from doing anything to Luke. Most of the others simply accepted the fact that it wasn't up to them to decide who Percy dated; they held no sway over the son of Poseidon's heart, after all. Clarisse, though, made it clear with the death-glares she shot towards Luke that she did not approve.
Not that it meant much to Percy. He did consider her a friend, but that didn't mean Clarisse had any say in who he dated. He and Luke had been through their first major trials and, gods willing, they'd get through any other trial that was thrown their way.
Percy knew there would be other trials. That same feeling of apprehension he'd had in the infirmary several days ago was back, stronger than before. Perhaps it was the dream that he'd had earlier, with the Oracle hosts and the unfinished prophecy. He had no idea what to make of what the dream had meant, why he had been given yet another prophecy. The fact that the dream had been interrupted at what he'd felt was the most crucial line in the riddle had Percy incredibly tense.
What had Rachel been about to say? "And claims in requital..."
Claim what? What was the spirit of the Oracle trying to warn him about? Percy was sure that the prophecy was a warning. Something big was definitely coming, but he had no idea what or when. That was the problem with prophecies; they were usually vague, shrouded in mystery. Percy had no way to tell what it had meant or when it would come to pass and he hadn't heard the complete last line.
Taking the chance to return to his cabin after dinner, Percy dug a drachma from his pocket and went over to the fountain that sat in the corner of the cabin. He couldn't wait for Rachel to get to camp to talk to her – why had her father decided to take her all the way to Italy this summer, anyways? Throwing the drachma into the mist created by the fountain, Percy called upon Iris to connect him to the mortal girl.
The only problem was that Percy had forgotten a little thing called 'time zones' when he asked to be connected. What he got connected to was a pair of very sleepy and grumpy green eyes peeking out from kinky red bangs.
"Perseus freakin' Jackson, it's one in the morning," Rachel hissed at the son of Poseidon through the mist. "You're lucky my parents got me my own hotel room. How do you think they'd react if they saw a magical floating screen of mist over their daughter's bed?"
"Rachel, your parents can't see through the Mist," Percy pointed out. He at least had the sense to look guilty for waking his friend. "I just need to ask you a question about a prophecy."
"Percy, you know I can't just turn it on and off."
Percy shook his head. "I know. I don't need you to deliver a prophecy. Just repeat one. You can do that, right?"
Rachel gave a wrinkle of her nose and pushed her hair out of her face with a slight yawn. "If I delivered it, yeah. If it was something she said before I became her host, not so much. Not at will, anyways." The mortal girl gave a stretch and Percy could hear her back pop through the screen of mist. "Though I don't know why you'd want me to repeat a prophecy. I've only delivered three since becoming the host."
"Was one of those this afternoon?"
Rachel paused and looked at Percy. "What are you talking about?"
Percy explained his earlier dream to Rachel, telling her about the temple of Apollo, the five Oracle hosts and the prophecy that had been interrupted. As he spoke to her, the red-head gave a frown that increased with every line of the prophecy Percy had received in his dream. She didn't even have to say anything for the son of Poseidon to know that she had no idea what he was talking about; she hadn't been the one to deliver it.
"I wish I could help you, Percy," Rachel told him. "I can't finish a prophecy I never gave."
Percy gave a frown of his own. If Rachel hadn't given the prophecy and couldn't finish it, what could he do about it? "Well, thanks anyways. Sorry I woke you up."
"You'd better be. I was dreaming of that cute guy from Mr. Kellan's class."
Percy gave a grin. "I thought you were pledged to Apollo and sworn to be untouched by man?"
Rachel stuck her tongue out at him. "A girl can dream."
Percy laughed with Rachel before Iris' voice came through the mist, telling him he needed to offer another drachma if he wanted to continue chatting. "I'd better let you go. I'll see you when you get to camp."
"Yep. Good night, Percy. And good luck with Luke." Rachel gave him a wink right before she waved her hand through the mist to cut the connection.
Percy smiled to himself. Of course Rachel already knew about him and Luke. There was a distinct advantage to being the Oracle. At least with Rachel, he didn't need to gather up the courage to confess that he was in love with Luke. Rachel seemed to be just fine with the fact that Percy and Luke were together, too; she certainly hadn't made a fuss about it. Maybe she'd actually known all along that Percy and Annabeth weren't going to work out.
He and Luke were going to, though. Percy was going to make sure of that. Whatever the prophecy was supposed to mean, whatever the future had in store for them, he and Luke were going to work through it together. They'd already broken past Aphrodite's games, with a little help from Eros. They'd survived the trial to get through the Underworld and back. Luke's memories were slowly surfacing and the truth would eventually come to light. Percy was going to make sure that he was there to help Luke through that, too.
Luke had said that they were on the fringe of a tapestry of lies. Percy disagreed. There were lies, to be sure, but there was also a truth between them, a truth stronger than the lies. The lies were the fringe and Luke and Percy...
...they were the tapestry itself.
Author's Note: Finally. Finally finished this chapter. Hooboy. Well, I can't even begin to apologize enough for making everyone wait six months for this update, but you finally got it. This is the last chapter. The epilogue will come very soon – and I can actually promise that. I can also promise that the first chapter of the sequel to this story is in the planning stages. Keep your eyes on the lookout for it!