Luke Castellan had learned to hate many things.
He hated dragons. He hated apples.
He hated himself most of the time.
But he had learned to hate one thing more than anything else. Blue eyes. Now, that's kind of hard, especially since he had blue eyes himself. He couldn't help it though. His mom had blue eyes.
Most of the time.
Luke shook his head. He would not allow himself to think of her. Not now. Not ever.
It was too painful.
He rather focus on Fiona Baker. Fiona had hazel eyes.
It was silly. Ridiculous, even, for something as small as blue eyes to cause him such pain.
But they reminded him of home.
It was a foreign word to Luke now.
Home could've been Camp Half-blood. Home could've been Mount Tam. Home could be Elysium
None of them really were though.
Home was Connecticut.
Luke couldn't think about that either.
Fiona deserved his attention anyway.
"Luke?" Fiona asked. She was standing near a bare tree, brushing her light brown hair behind her left ear. Fiona was a petite girl, short and stick thin. But what she lacked in appearance, she made up for in character.
"Hmm?" Luke turned his head towards her.
"Are you coming?"
"Yes," he replied, joining her underneath the leaf-less branches. It was winter after all, though the temperature was not affected in the Underworld, there were little signs here and there. Fiona gave him a small smile and reached for his hand.
Fiona was a daughter of Iris. She died two years before, as a unclaimed camper in the battle of the Labyrinth, as the campers called it.
Both Luke and Fiona were uncomfortable talking about it.
It was just another thing that Luke couldn't think about. All the mistakes he made. He would never forgive himself…
He still didn't understand how Grover, Percy and Annabeth had forgiven him.
His mind drifted back to Annabeth, and then, Thalia.
No, Luke thought sharply. He curled his fingers around Fiona's and smiled back at her. He refused to think of them.
His runaway family. Small and pathetic yes, but it was his. And his only.
"How are you feeling?" Fiona asked, in a small voice. They both sat against the trunk and Luke pulled Fiona against his chest. She put her hands on either side of his face and ran her right thumb along his scar.
"Fine," he answered.
"Are you sure? You seem distracted," Fiona blushed slightly as Luke removed her right hand and kissed her palm.
"Do I?" he asked.
"Yes," Fiona scooted on to his lap and leaned against him, her head fitting perfectly in the crook of his neck. He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment, focusing on the rhythmic sound of Fiona's breathing. He reopened his eyes when she pulled on his collar
"I'm sorry," he turned his head to peer down into her hazel eyes.
"What are you thinking about?" she stretched her legs out in front of her and poked his nose.
Luke didn't know what to say.
He couldn't tell her about Annabeth or Thalia.
He couldn't tell her about the war.
He couldn't even tell her about all the things he hated.
"Do you ever think about home?" he asked her. He knew he had caught Fiona by surprise when her eyes widened and a shocked expression crossed her face. She turned to look out around the park. It was a small park, in the back of Elysium. During the winter it was almost completely empty.
"Always," she said softly.
"Do you ever resent me for what happened?" Luke murmured. Fiona nodded.
"Sometimes. But then again, it wasn't much of a home anyway. Luke, are you thinking of home?" she looked back at him. When he winced, she pulled on a strand of his blonde hair to get his attention, "Are you?"
"I try not too," Luke said after a moment.
"Why not?" he shook his head. Fiona sighed and said, "You don't have to tell me right now. But it helps to talk to someone."
"It's all my fault," Luke said suddenly, "I wanted revenge on my parents for the wrong reasons. I made so many bad choices."
"Everyone makes mistakes, Luke," Fiona offered.
"But I almost destroyed Olympus to the point of no return. I tried to kill someone I had known half my life, many times! I-" he was interrupted when Fiona suddenly kissed him. Just a soft, little peck.
"Let's leave it at everyone makes mistakes," Fiona said, her cheeks a rosy red color.
"Not enjoying my ranting?" Luke questioned.
"I just wanted to tell you something," she bit her lip.
"I love you," Fiona said quietly. Luke suddenly remembered something.
"Mommy?" five year old Luke cautiously peered around the corner. His mother appeared at the closet door in an instant.
"There you are!" she scooped her son into her arms. Luke hesitated but wrapped his arms around her neck and nestled his head into her shoulder.
"I love you," he told her quietly, afraid that if he waited too long, she wouldn't be his 'mommy' anymore. Luke didn't like it when her eyes started glowing. It was scary.
"I love you too, Luke," May Castellan responded, hugging him tightly.
Luke closed his eyes for a while.
Fiona watched him as he let out a ragged breath. She was shocked when the smallest tear escaped and ran down his cheek. She did not flinch when it fell off his chin and landed on her thigh.
She did not need to know that Luke was thinking of Camp Half-blood and the campers. Or his first quest. Or the bad decisions he regretted now.
And she especially did not need to know that for the first time in a long time, Luke allowed himself to remember his home, and everything about it. The good and the bad. The way the porch swing creaked. Or the scent of cinnamon that lingered in the kitchen.
Luke finally realized he missed his mom. He actually missed her.
"C'mon," Fiona muttered. She stood up and tugged on Luke's hand. Luke would've protested but it was hard to say 'no' to Fiona's face.
"I love you too," Luke said finally. He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers.
And for awhile, Fiona led him around the park.
When Fiona did leave, long after the rest of Elysium had gone to sleep, Luke sat under the same leaf-less tree.
Suddenly, it occurred to him that he couldn't have been the only one to go through this.
Even the worst of people had to return home some day.
Luke had to agree with himself.
With a final sigh, he stood and trudged to his house. Never truly a home, but it would have to do.
Luke Castellan had learned to love a lot of things.
He loved his mother and her burnt cookies. He loved his runaway family, even if they hated him.
He even loved all the campers, and his brothers and sisters.
But he especially loved Fiona. And her hazel eyes.