Disclaimer: I don't own Jason, or Piper, or Leo or anyone remotely cool like that. Sorry folks. I also don't own the title, it belongs to We the Kings.
A/N: I think I hate this. But I don't know. It's just, blech. The characters seem slightly OOC and it ended funky. I may just have to rewrite the ending. (By the way, I was totally going to have Leo die in this. So be (kindofsortof) thankful that I didn't.
Dedication: For Mulligatawny for not making me feel like a loon for seeing some Piper/Leo action in TLH too. Thanks hon. (If you want I can totally write you a better Piper/Leo fic later. Promise.)
Too Young, Too Crazy
Like a lot of good things, it starts abroad.
They're in Greece, finally, and Piper's sitting in front of a campfire that one of the younger Roman kids had made for themselves before Piper tells them to scram. The fire's hot enough to warm up her toes, but she still can't help shivering.
Reyna and Jason are talking, alone, and it's making Piper's head want to explode. She doesn't want to cry, especially because Jason's so confused, what with his memories finally coming back and his old buddies, the Romans, coming around. She doesn't want to hurt him.
But still, she doesn't want to watch them be together, doesn't want to see that look on Reyna's face when she looks at Jason. And, to be honest, she doesn't want to be the one to finally realize that Jason's reflecting that look back at the blonde girl.
So she's alone in front of a fire. Or at least she was before Leo decided to come and invade her personal space. But for some reason, she likes having him there. With him right beside her she finally feels like she's getting warm, which is something hard to do in the crisp mountain air.
"Hey, Beauty Queen, what's crackalackin'?" Oh, he just had to ruin the moment, didn't he? Piper has to fight her eyes to keep them from rolling, she's pretty sure that she just lost that battle.
"Leo, don't say things like that. I mean really." Piper has a urge to grab Leo's fingers and make them stop tapping on his jeans, but she knows that if she does he'd just do something else annoying and she doesn't want to know what else he has up his sleeve, not right now.
"What? You afraid that someone too cool might hear me say that?" Romans are surrounding them. Oh yeah, these people are real cool, Piper thinks and she stops herself just in time from saying that. Things are on precarious ground with the Romans and one wrong word and there just might be another Civil War.
Not that Piper would mind that. Her dagger is sitting firmly on her hip and she's fully ready to use it. Maybe to cut off Reyna's luscious golden locks… No, that's a bad idea. A really bad one. Or at that's what Piper tells herself at least. She doesn't want to appear jealous in front of Jason but oh- she is.
She is so much that she can't stand it. She's actually kind of surprised that she hasn't turned green and scaly yet, but that might just be the next big surprise. The saddest thing is, though, Jason doesn't even notice that she's jealous. He's over there, being dazzled by Reyna, and there's nothing that she can do about it.
So instead she lifts a corner of her mouth into a half smile because it's all that she can muster the energy for right now. "I just don't want you to embarrass yourself anymore than you already do."
"Trust me, Queenie, you can't make me do that anymore than I do myself. And believe you me, people have tried."
"Queenie?" Piper raised an eyebrow. That was something that he'd never called her before. Without even realizing it she scooted closer over to Leo, trying to soak in all his warmth. It was there in his eyes, in the temperature of his skin, in the fire that raged just below the surface. '
She was cold without him right next to her. Like Antarctica-I'm-going-to-cry-if-I-don't-get-a-jacket kind of cold.
"Yeah. Beauty Queen's pretty long and I'm kind of getting tired of it. So Queenie? Like it?"
"I think that I like Beauty Queen better."
"Hmm…" Leo put his head on his fist, taking a pose like that famous sculpture that Piper had read about, The Thinker. The fact that he was acting like he was thinking about this so hard almost made Piper laugh out loud, but she bit the inside of her cheek instead. "How about BQ?"
"Do you want me to sound like a fattening fast food restaurant?"
At that Leo actually laughed out loud. "I guess not. So Beauty Queen it stays, I guess."
"Good." Suddenly a thought occurred to her and Piper decided to let it pass her lips. Lately Piper hadn't been saying much of anything other than was absolutely necessary, or things that didn't really mean much of anything. "So, why'd you really come over here? And I know that it's not because you want to give me a new nickname."
Leo kicked some rocks into the fire and watched the flames flicker before he turned to face her. She could tell that he was debating between making a joke, which was almost always his default setting, and telling the truth. "You just look so miserable over here, I figured that you needed a little one on one time with the Leoster."
So a bit of each, the truth and a joke. Piper shouldn't have expected anything less of him, but she was also glad that he felt like he could tell her the truth, at least a part of it. "The Leoster, huh? I think that you need to work on your nicknames."
"Don't diss my mad skills," Leo said, obviously trying, and failing, to sound like a gangster. Piper tried hard to keep herself in control, but she couldn't. For the first time in two months she laughed without caring what anyone else thought.
"Look, Piper…" Jason ran a hand through his hair, frustrated. "I'm sorry, but I just can't right now. I have to coordinate all of these battle strategies and fighting techniques and I'm about to pull my hair out."
"Then let me help you relax," Piper pleaded, hating herself for having to do so. Why should she have to practically get on her knees and beg for her almost but not quite boyfriend to talk to her?
"He can't," Reyna said shortly. "We need him to be focusing right now." She gave Piper a thin lipped smile, one that Piper didn't return.
That wasn't right because Percy and Annabeth were spending plenty of time together, even though that might be to help trigger Percy's memories, which still seem to be kind of hazy, unlike Jason's, that seem to be have almost all come back.
It just wasn't fair. She'd barely seen him since they got back to the States, and he was going back to Camp Purple, or whatever that stupid camp was called, soon. She should have had to even have asked, he should have wanted to be with her.
"Fine," Piper finally replied coolly. "I'll be in my cabin if you need me." She could take a hint and she knew when she wasn't wanted. And she wouldn't, wouldn't, cry in front of these people. She refused to. So she smiled fakely and walked out the door of the Big House blinking her eyes hard.
She started to walk towards Cabin Ten, but then she changed her mind and turned around and started walking around camp in circles with no destination in mind. If she kept moving she wouldn't be able to sit down and sob the way that she wanted to, especially about something that Jason probably didn't even spend two minutes thinking about after she walked out the door.
She didn't want to be thinking like this, about this, but she couldn't help it. Every time she tried to clear her mind so that she could think about something else it seemed like the images of Jason's frustrated face and Reyna's simper popped up again.
Eventually Piper found herself staring at the edge of the woods, which was still stocked with all sorts of creatures that Piper felt no need to discover the need to. She decided to sit down and wallow in self pity.
Jason was going back to the Roman camp soon and she had been hoping that by know they'd be officially together, but that wasn't the case. If only he would-
"Hey, you alright?" A familiar voice cut through her thoughts like a knife. Piper jumped slightly and then laughed at herself for being so jumpy. It was only Leo, she had no reason to be afraid.
"Define alright," Piper replied, plucking a piece of grass. Summer was undeniably here now, and everything was green and the camp had reached its full capacity. There were at least four new campers in the Aphrodite cabin alone, and Piper had no idea how many the other cabins had even though there were probably quite a few if the crowd in the mess hall was any indication.
"Well, I think alright is still having all limbs attached to your body, not being in a mental hospital, and being able to eat every night with a roof over your head." Leo smiled crookedly at her and Piper smiled back automatically, as if she was one of his machines that he could command to do something with just a press of a button.
It was funny, because before that time in Greece had shifted their relationship she hadn't thought of Leo as funny. In fact at times he could annoy her slightly. But now she understood why he joked so much, and if she was being honest with herself (which was something that didn't happen very often she was slowly realizing) some of his jokes were pretty hilarious.
"I'm alright then," she replied, wrapping her arms around the legs that were pressed to her chest in an attempt to make herself smaller.
Suddenly the joking light was gone from his eyes. "Seriously, though, what's wrong? You've just seemed so… down lately."
He was starting to get to know her to well was Piper's first thought. They had been friends, or something like it thanks to Hera and her manipulation, but she felt more at ease with him than she ever had with anyone- even Jason.
"It's just… everything. I don't even know."
"Jason?" Leo supplied helpfully, which made tears well up in Piper's eyes. Silently she nodded and a tear escaped her and fell down her cheek. "Hey, none of that now," Leo said nervously when he noticed it.
"I'm sorry." Piper took a shaky breath, trying to calm herself. It wasn't working, and her throat was getting tighter. "It's just… you know… I can't even describe it. It's just like he never even liked me in the first place, and I never even liked him for real. But then we went on that quest and it was just like…" She couldn't bring herself to finish. More tears came and she felt Leo put a tentative arm around her.
She put her face in Leo's shirt, not even caring that she was probably ruining it, and continued to cry. Leo patted her arm awkwardly, like every other sixteen year old boy would, and then he had to be Leo-ish and he told her a joke. "If it makes you feel any better my relationship with him isn't so hot right now. He hasn't visited me in about a month now."
Piper smiled slightly into his shirt again, even through her tears. She pulled herself together, though she knew that she was about as fragile as a sandcastle at this point. She lifted her head out of his shirt and wiped her eyes, but she realized that his arm was still around her. She was glad for that. It was quite possibly the only thing that was keeping her together. "You two had a relationship too? One I don't know about?"
"Yeah, you should have seen how hot and heavy it got after you fell asleep."
"That must explain all of the weird noises that found their way into my dreams then."
"Probably. We tried not to disturb you, but we weren't sure about how successful we were."
They sat silently for a while and Piper felt no reason to move. With Jason everything was shaky and uncertain, she never quite knew where she stood with him. With Leo, though, she felt as solid as a rock. And even though she wasn't quite sure where she stood with him either, it was a safer kind of uncertain. One she wanted to explore.
"Guys?" Jason's voice made them both jump, together, and Piper felt Leo's arm slid away from her. For some reason she wanted it back, but she decided not to protest in front of Jason.
"Oh, hey man," Leo said, getting to his feet and so Piper felt obligated to do the same thing. "We were just, well, it's just that we were…" Leo looked slightly guilty as he rubbed the back of his neck.
"What he meant was that I was cold and he was warming me up. You know, those violent wind spirits and all that." Internally Piper winced at the lie because it was stupid and unoriginal- violent wind spirits at camp? With no one else around? During the summer? What?- but it was the only explanation that she could give. Jason looked at them both strangely, but thankfully decided not to comment.
"Yeah, sure…" Jason just shook his head. "Anyway, Piper, can we talk?" He gave Leo a pointed look and the blacksmith threw up his hands as though to defend himself.
"Hey, I know when I'm not wanted," he replied and he walked away. Piper watched him go with a wistfulness that surprised her. She wished that he was staying, maybe he could help with whatever Jason was going to say.
"Sure," Piper decided to say, knowing that there was no other answer now that Leo had left.
"I just want to say that I'm sorry for being a jerk earlier. It's just that I've got so much stress on me and I don't know if I can really be a leader like they need me to be."
He continued talking, but Piper wasn't listening all that intently. He didn't seem to need her ears anyway, because all she had to do was nod and say affirmative things. Instead she was watching Leo walk away and wondering why it hurt so much to see that when they had meant nothing to each other than being friends.
"Piper?" Jason's voice stopped and Piper barely noticed the fact that he had stopped talking. "Are you listening?"
"Yeah," Piper replied, still watching Leo while he started talking to Will Solace. "Of course I am." Forcing herself to tear her eyes away from Leo's laughing form she looks at Jason and smiles.
If she wasn't a daughter of love it wouldn't be a pretty smile.
Jason goes away to the other camp and all of a sudden it's not Jason&Piper anymore, and Piper's (almost) fine with that.
If she's being honest with herself (which is something that's happening more and more now that the blonde Roman boy left) she knows that technically there was never a Jason&Piper.
It was always Jason&Reyna and then fate, or more like Hera, interrupted that. So now it's Jason&Reyna&Piper, with her name stuck on the end like a wart. Piper doesn't want to be a wart, she doesn't want to be in the middle of a love triangle. She just wants Jason to like her for real, and for some reason she doesn't feel like that's going to happen.
And technically she never liked him to begin with, even though she felt like she did. All those feelings she felt for Jason was just a battle strategy, a way for the Romans and the Greeks to be united.
So she starts spending more and more time with Leo (even in his forges, which she used to hate but now she loves because she likes the look on Leo's face when he starts working on a project), lovely Leo who makes her laugh and doesn't make her feel worthless. The one boy that she never would have thought that she would want to be with, but somehow she does.
It's a funny thing really how love, or the emotions linked to it, can come up and hit you from behind.
She kissed him first.
It hadn't been planned or anything like that, but he stopped letting her go to the forges for an unknown reason and even though that peeved Piper at first she let him get away with it.
And then one day they had been relaxing by the lake-feeling as though nothing was happing other than Piper&Leo because when it was just them it felt like there was no war going on, no words to be said or swords to be made- laughing. Her toes were in the water and he was trying to convince her to let all of the girls in the Aphrodite cabin go skinny dipping, and they were laughing when all of a sudden he said, "I made something for you. It's nothing special, but…"
He did that cute thing where he started scratching the back of his neck and he blushed slightly as he brought the whatever-it-was out of his pocket. It was wrapped in a slightly dirty white cloth, but when she ripped it away she had in her hand a bracelet, quite possibly the most beautiful bracelet that she had ever seen. It was silver and it had three small blue stones-Piper had no idea what the proper name for them was- set in it.
"Ooh," she crooned softly. "I love it." Her eyes flittered up to Leo's and he smiled almost sheepishly at her. "Why'd you make it for me?"
"Well we had some extra materials left over and I saw those and I thought of you and-" Leo blushed again and she smiled at him. "It's pretty and you're pretty."
And all of a sudden this urge came over her and she kiss-kiss-kissed him so hard that they rolled into the lake. They go under slightly and his clothes have wet sand on them but they're laughing so hard that she can barely breathe when he reminds her and then all of a sudden he reminds her.
"Jason." The laughter goes out of his eyes, as well as hers, and they just sit and stare at each other.
"I don't care."
"Well I do. He's my best friend. And your almost boyfriend."
"But he's not my boyfriend, not now and maybe not ever. He has Reyna, remember?"
"So this is what this is about. You just want someone to replace Jason like he's replaced you."
It takes all of Piper's willpower not to throw her flipflop at him. "No! That's not it at all." Piper, so good with her words usually, suddenly has nothing that she can say that would be able to make him understand that she likes the fact that he makes her laugh, she likes how he looks at her, she likes how she's positively sure that this is real and not imagined.
"This feels kind of wrong, Piper."
"No, you're wrong. This feels more right than anything."
So they get together, like together together, but for some reason neither of them can stand to say it. Piper's pretty sure she knows why.
What if it's all just a lie, like her relationship with Jason? She doesn't like imagining that lightening, or in this case, fake emotions, can strike twice, but what does she know about anything? She's only been a hero for a few months and she's known about the gods for only that long.
It's kind of a sad thing really, because she's so sure that this is real, but if it's not, well, they'll cross that bridge when they come to it.
"I don't think that we can do this anymore."
Piper turned to find Leo in the doorway of her cabin's room on the Argo II. "What? How can you say that?"
"Well we're going back to Jason today… and I don't think that I can do this in front of him. I'm sorry. But don't worry. You'll always be my Beauty Queen."
With that he walked away from her. Because of Jason. Again.
It hurts just as much as it did the first time.
And so it's just like before, with Leo&Jason&Piper, with Jason in the middle because he's the leader and he's the greatest.
That feels so right, but it feels wrong too, because Piper doesn't want to be by Jason's side anymore. She wants to be by Leo's.
(But that's not going to happen because it's just going to be Jason&Piper again. She knows it.)