Got a few warnings! No character deaths (*whew*) but plenty of abuse by way of Kronos, and angst. Lots of angst. Language. OH, and slash. Yummy, yummy (but, sadly, not explicit) slash. ;D
Luke's dream started out like all the others.
He was running.
This was somewhere different than the last time, and Luke recognized it almost affectionately as northern Virginia, maybe close to Winchester, somewhere near the Blue Ridge. He, Annabeth and Thalia had a safehouse nestled up in the peaks close to Maryland. Luke idly knew all the trees. Dogwood, poplar, ash, elm. Last time, he was in a desert—Biblical, ironically so—and the time before, it was a New York street, West 34th, near Penn Station. He was always alone.
Luke Castellan soon came to the realization, like the times before, that he wasn't running like usual. Not for pleasure, like he did when he was a kid, racing down the street in front of his mother's house just to see how fast he could be. Not like his competitions with Percy, always starting with some asinine, testosterone-filled argument and ending with tackles and touches. He was running in mind-bending fear of whatever was pursuing him, running blindly and wishing, more than anything, he could get away.
His lungs were exploding, every fiber of the young man's being begging him to stop, but the familiar, dead chill in the air just goaded him on, faster and faster through the perennial carpet of dead leaves, over moss-encrusted logs.
One of them caught Luke off guard, and he tripped, fell, bled, and a voice that grated like time laughed in horrifying glee.
Now he tasted blood in the air, felt a knife in his side sink far, far below his skin and twist ever so slowly so as to inflict the most damage to every organ. Luke's muscles ripped apart, his bones splintered, and the voice got closer, his world slower.
"Luke," it—he—called, serrated and slicing at the young man's brain and over each inch of skin. "You are nothing without me, son of Hermes, nothing."
Luke cried out, the effort singeing his already-bleeding windpipe, when his fingers broke all at once. He dropped to his knees, the protest of every shattered bone sending him halfway to blindness. "Oh, Luke."
His name echoed in the wind, and for a moment Luke was certain that would be his only legacy. He watched his own blood, wine-red, pool around his knees, mind idled and almost calmed by it. This was how his world would end.
Something thick and strong wrapped around Luke—a snake? Rope? Arms?—and on instinct, he attempted to resist. He only became more tightly bound, and the Lord of Time chuckled. It smashed Luke's spine. "Luke. Luke, Luke, Luke."
The young man closed his eyes, facing the finality laid right in front of him. Tears leaked out from behind his lids and down bloodied cheeks. Luke felt his breathing become ever more shallow, and almost relished the fact that he knew what was coming next.
He squeezed his eyes shut tighter and imagined how royally pissed Perce would be when he found out how easily Luke had given up, and in his pained haze, almost laughed. Perseus Jackson would find a way to bring Luke back to life just to beat the living shit out of him for putting Percy through it in the first place.
He imagined the way Percy said his name.
It wasn't the first time Luke had seen him like this, and he knew (even if Percy didn't) that he wouldn't let it be the last. Blue-green eyes wide, lips open into a sinfully tempting 'o', Perce was a little shocked.
Luke smirked, dropping his ratty gym bag next to Cabin Three's front door. There wasn't really anything important in there—extra clothes, which his father felt necessary for his newly-regenerated son, and Chucks with wings that wouldn't drag anyone down to Tartarus. "That's what I said."
Clear emotions flit across the younger man's face, and Luke realized somewhere in the back of his head that this may not have been the best idea. He scratched his neck awkwardly, and bent back down to his bag. "I—I'm sorry. I'll just…"
"No." Luke glanced back up to Percy in surprise to see an unreadable look in his eyes. "I…uh…It's good to see you, Luke."
Luke let himself smile a little, not quite used to the feeling yet. "You too, Perce."
"The FUCK is wrong with you, Luke?"
The older male laughed. "You're such a pussy." Before them lay a huge manticore, the spiky tip severed and in Luke's hands. He offered it to his companion, but Percy just hiked his shoulders up to his ears, and an angry flush came over his cheeks.
"You are such a stupid fuck sometimes, Castellan," he ground out, chest heaving in irritation. "Gods, you could have gotten yourself killed!" Percy paused and threw Riptide, unmarred by manticore guts and gore, aside. " Right in fucking front of me! Again!"
Luke felt his eyes widen at the kid's turned back, but he didn't say anything. Instead, he reached his arm towards Percy, hesitating slightly before putting his large hand on the kid's shoulder. "Perce…"
But Percy just shrugged out of his grip. "I still haven't forgiven you," he muttered quietly. It was an unspoken truth already, something that kept them apart, but the fact that Percy even said it in the first place stung a hell of a lot more that Luke expected it to.
The younger man whispered another time. "Don't fucking die again."
Luke nodded. "I swear."
Luke was having trouble forming coherent thoughts, but he realized with a jolt that it must have been the swordplay. Considering his present state of—well, preoccupation, it was stunning that he could think of really anything. That had to have been it: Percy beating Luke, fair and square and literally to the ground, Riptide cool against Luke's Adam's apple and Percy's body pressed flush against his. That's where it started.
But then it continued. It led the pair, one clearly conflicted (and you can bet who that was), and the other feeling and seeing almost nothing but the want course through his veins, to the front porch of Cabin Three.
Percy stopped on the top stair and turned to Luke, like he'd come to a decision. Eyes bright and curious and, yes, still conflicted; he motioned for the man to follow him.
Luke just blinked in surprise and did as instructed, and was just as shocked to have Percy pull his face down the couple degrees that separated them to press his cool lips against Luke's own.
Luckily, Luke had a little bit of practice in this sort of thing. He was the one to yank Percy into the darkness of the son of Poseidon's cabin and to make the now-legal demigod sigh and scream Luke's name until they fell, exhausted, into each other's arms.
Luke was unholy. It was just a law of how his life before regeneration was, full of regret and death and a shit-ton of betrayal. But cliché or not, whenever and however Percy said that one syllable, it felt like a prayer for his soul. "Luke…"
He had no air left. Luke Castellan's lungs seized, but there was nothing there.
Oxygen flooded back to Luke's body, to his undamaged lungs, almost as welcome as the waves of relief he felt just by staring at the ceiling fan above him. But something still ensnared him and he struggled until recognizing the arms around his torso.
Luke spun to face a disheveled and confused-looking Percy, whose knit brows dropped automatically once he caught the terror in his boyfriend's eyes. He wasted no time in getting to the point. "You alright?"
The older male looked away, blinking hard. "'M fine," he managed around the bump in his throat.
Percy hadn't been in Luke's bed long enough to know about these nightmares, but he was not an idiot, especially when it came to his archenemy-turned-lover. He slipped his hand over Luke's shoulder, slick with cold sweat, like Luke had done to him what seemed like ages ago.
Luke glanced over at him, expression stoic, before breaking into a million pieces. He hung his head in shame, into the curve of Percy's neck and tried not to shake too hard while he dumped every single horrible thing, bitterly and apologetically, out in torrential tears.
Percy accepted it. He didn't say so because he didn't need to, but he accepted Luke's apologies and forgave him for everything, all the while holding his silky blond head faithfully.