Disclaimer: I don't own PJO...I hate putting these things up.
Warning: This is a PERLIA, so this fic isn't for Percabeth shippers or anyone else who likes a different pairing.
A/N: I'm debating whether to turn this into a short story or just a two or three-chapter oneshot. This fic is inspired by the book, Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves, and if you've read it, you'll understand why. This is AU, and the characters are a bit OOC, so sorry about that. If you ever looked at my other stories, you can see that this is the fifth story with a number in the title. I may be a bit obsessed with numbers...I hate math though.
"Well, there was no reason to believe she'd always be there…
But if you don't put faith in what you believe in…"
It was an odd selection for elevator music, considering most songs played on the elevator were voiceless and had some sort of jazzy/ritzy edge to it, but Percy didn't complain much about it. In his opinion, Phil Collins was a good singer. Leaning against the wall with his hands shoved deeply into his pockets, he pursed his lips and began whistling along to the tune.
The elevator barely made it to level three when it stopped, the doors sliding open, and letting a skinny girl through. She looked to be around twenty to twenty-one—in other simple words, his age. She was a small thing, not in height but rather in width, and she had a sickly pale color about her face. Percy wasn't one to judge since he too looked sickly pale himself. Her eyes were brilliantly bright though, captivating him almost instantly.
She noticed him staring. How could she not? They were the only two in the elevator. "Can I help you?"
"Er…" Percy looked away, his cheeks reddening instantly. He cleared his throat, trying to hide his mistake. "Which floor?"
"Sixteen." She couldn't help but smile in amusement when the tall man continued to look abashed.
The number sixteen was already pushed beforehand. He glanced at the numbers as Phil Collins continued to sing.
"You're heading to see Dr. Chiron?" Percy guessed, hoping he was right instead of looking and sounding like an idiot.
She blinked owlishly. "How did you know?"
"He's one of the best doctors in New York," Percy smiled at her good-naturedly. "And because I'm seeing him too."
The blue-eyed girl laughed after that, and the sound accustomed to Percy instantly. Still smiling, she is the first to introduce herself. "Thalia."
He took her hand, giving it a gentle shake. "Perseus," he responded, and he founded it strange that his skin was tingling just because he shook the hand of a girl he had never met before. "But just call me Percy. If you don't mind me asking, what are you here for?"
"I don't mind," Thalia reassured him kindly. "I have a heart disease."
Percy stared at her even longer than the first time. "You too?" he then asked, and at her astonished gaze, he figured she was surprised that not only were they seeing the same doctor, but they had the same reason for it as well. "I've only met you a minute ago. We both have heart disease, we're both going to see the same doctor, and we both have Greek first names," he paused for effect. "Where have you been all my life?"
Thalia laughed again, and Percy joined in after her. Even after the doors of the elevator opened to floor sixteen, the two still continued to laugh, slightly bewildering some of the people who got into the elevator right as they left.
In all honesty, Thalia was hoping this Dr. Chiron guy was as good as Percy says. She's tried many doctors, but they all seemed unable to help her condition. She had been sick all her life. Her heart disease was not like other heart diseases. Yes, there were similar symptoms like pain in the chest area, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea…the list could go on. But these symptoms happened in the strangest of situations.
For example, whenever she would go on a date with a guy, she would start to feel dizzy and her heart would jump—and it was not in the good way. Even worse, when the guy plucked the courage to kiss her at the end of the date, her chest would ache painfully in the physical sort, and she would vomit blood afterwards. But whenever she wasn't on a date or seeing a guy, she would be fine.
Maybe it wasn't heart disease. Maybe it was some sort of disease that forced her to stay away from the male species.
But as she chatted with Percy in the doctor's office while waiting, she didn't feel those symptoms she would usually feel with other males.
"So what school do you go to?"
Percy whistled lowly, impressed. "Best school in the state. Beats my NYU."
"NYU is a perfectly good school," she defended, and she had meant it. In fact, Thalia would have gone to NYU if she hadn't been accepted to Columbia University first. She vaguely wondered if she would have countered Percy there instead of here. "It's one of the top schools in New York."
"Smartie," he murmured and he chuckled when she passed him a perturbed look. "What's your major?"
"Writing," Thalia told him. "I'd like to become a writer after I graduate. I'm actually supposed to be writing a short story in one of my classes, but my inspiration is pretty nonexistent. This story counts as my whole grade in that class," she added, sighing with budding stress.
"I'm sure you still have time to write it. How many pages do you need to write?"
Thalia placed a finger under her chin in thought. "Um, sixty to eighty pages."
Percy looked at her wide-eyed. "You call that a short story? That sounds like a novel to me."
She shoved at his arm playfully, rolling her eyes. "What's your major?"
"Marine Biology," he answered firmly, and this time, his sea green eyes were sparkling as he talked about it. "I've always been obsessed with the sea…and things that are blue. Like your eyes for instance." Did he really just say that? As she blushed, he quickly searched his mind to say something else. "I like blue furniture, blue paper, blue cookies—"
Thalia arched an eyebrow. "Blue cookies?" Her gaze trained on him with scrutiny as though she was saying: 'Blue cookies? There's no such thing.'
She shrugged. "I didn't say they didn't exist."
Percy liked this girl.
Both heads turned to the nurse dressed in white, who stood against the opened door. Thalia nodded at the nurse before she slung her bag over the shoulder. "Good luck," Percy whispered.
"For what? It's just a check-up," Thalia informed back.
"I don't know about you, but I don't go to the doctor's unless I have to," Percy said, leaning back against the chair. "Every time I come here, I feel like I'm going to die. Ironic, isn't it?"
Thalia smiled knowingly. "That you feel like you're going to die when the doctor is supposed to save you? Oh, yes, very ironic, Percy." With another wave over her shoulder, she followed the nurse in.
Dr. Chiron chuckled. One of his patients, Percy Jackson, was never one for subtlety. "Good morning, Percy. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but it is nice to see you again. You haven't been here in a while."
"The aches started coming back," Percy explained. Not just aches, but full on pain.
"Ah," Dr. Chiron managed to say in the lapse of silence. "The young lady before you had a similar problem…"
"You mean Thalia?" Percy cut in promptly.
"Yes." He passed the younger man a suspicious look. "You know her?"
Percy smiled fondly. "I just met her actually."
Dr. Chiron hid his smile by turning around to check Percy's medical folder. By gods, the boy sounded in love.
"Well, Percy, I'm going to do an x-ray on you," Dr. Chiron finally decided. "I'll have Anne schedule your next appointment should it be necessary, and I'll give you a call if I find anything wrong."
"Alright. Thanks, Doc."
During his lunch break, Dr. Chiron took the time to kill two birds with one stone—not literally, of course. Digging into the super delicious ham and cheese sandwich his wife had made him, he overlooked the x-ray with Thalia Grace's name labeled at the bottom.
She had an enlarged heart centered at her chest that if it had been any larger, it would have fractured her small bone. As he looked closer, he could find findings of an aneurysm involving the aorta, which was the major blood vessel that arose from the heart and supplied oxygenated blood to the body. In her case, not enough blood from her heart was flowing into her body system.
As for Percy Jackson's x-ray, Dr. Chiron found that his heart was just a bit smaller than the normal size of a standardized heart. In his case, the boy had arrhythmia, which meant that he had an abnormal heart rate. His heart rates were too slow—less than fifty beats per minute and obviously below the normal heart rate. This was caused by the last heart attack Percy had, which had been less than a year ago.
The doctor couldn't help but sigh quietly. It was disheartening to see young patients such as Percy and the new girl beforehand being diagnosed with cases such as heart disease. They were just so young. It would be more understandable to him if they had been over fifty or sixty.
Now that he thought about it, he considered it amazing at how long Percy and Thalia had lasted in their conditions. He had treated people with heart disease before to know how boggling it was that the two were still living.
Both hearts didn't fit the owners at all. He was sure there wasn't an easy fix to either of their conditions. It would be nice if he had extraordinary powers to take away their heart diseases with just a snap of his fingers, or at least maybe switch their hearts—
Dr. Chiron paused, his head tilted to the side in thought. Slowly, he put the two x-rays together. Observing the pictures all at once, he imagined Thalia's heart in Percy's body, and Percy's heart in Thalia's body. He wasn't thinking heavily on the subject, deeming that there was no such way to do so, but the more he looked and thought about, the furrowed his eyebrows drew. His mind did the measurements of each heart and how it would fit.
He stared gapingly, his ham and cheese sandwich forgotten.
Thalia entered the small apartment, closing the door behind her. Fatigue was straining against her body, causing her inability to stay awake in any of her classes that day.
Her roommate of the apartment and architect major, Annabeth Chase, walked in with a widespread grin. Her curly blonde hair was in a sloppily- made bun atop of her head, and judging by the apron she wore, it was obvious that she had been cooking something. Annabeth had always looked strong. Thalia did not. It was a difference, considering they were about the same height.
She had met Annabeth in Columbia University during her freshman year and the two had hit it off. Within a month of knowing each other, the blonde girl had moved into Thalia's lonely apartment and they had been living with each other for two years already, reaching their third. Annabeth was way too focused on her schoolwork, so Thalia didn't have to worry about walking in on her with some other random guy.
Annabeth smiled proudly. "I made lasagna."
"It's not burnt, is it?" Thalia narrowed her eyes.
"Oh, give me a break. This isn't like the last time," Annabeth rolled her grey irises. "Last time, I forgot to check the time."
Those eyes then widened. "I forgot to ask about your doctor's visit. How was it?"
"The doctor's nice. I only had to do an x-ray."
"Well, speaking of doctors," Annabeth let out slowly, her hands winding at her back. "Some man named Dr. Chiron, I think, called you."
Thalia gaped at her. "You tell me this now?"
"Wha—When would you want me to tell you?"
"As soon as I get through the door!"
Annabeth scoffed and crossed her arms. "Well, excuse me for making small talk with you after such a long day. You do realize best friends do that, don't you? Talk?"
Thalia ignored her, running to the phone. "This is my heart we're talking about, Annabeth." She replayed the message, and she listened.
Annabeth shifted nervously as she watched Thalia's stilled form with the phone. Thalia was a beautiful girl, and it was very evident at that, but sometimes she looked way too ill. It looked as though her friend would collapse any minute. There were times where Annabeth would do things and errands for Thalia, just so that the other girl wouldn't have to do it. It makes the blonde distressed to know that Thalia's been having this heart problem all her life.
The blue-eyed girl put the phone back when the message was done. She turned to her best friend with a look that instantly worried Annabeth. "What's wrong?" the blonde was the first to speak.
"I have to go back to the doctor's office." Thalia turned and picked up the bag she had dropped on the floor. "He said there was something urgent he needed to talk with me."
"Urgent?" What could be more urgent than heart disease?
Thalia reached over and hugged Annabeth softly. Same size as they were, Thalia seemed so frail and breakable in Annabeth's lengthy arms. "Save me some lasagna," she murmured before exiting through the door.
It wasn't as though Annabeth could eat anyway.
All that time would be spent worrying over her friend.
As long as he had known Dr. Chiron, it was rare for Percy to get called back to the doctor's office on the same day as his x-rays. The callbacks were usually a week or two later. He was scared of the outcome, but he was still determined to remain positive.
When he rounded the corner of the hall, he bumped into someone.
His hand reached out and caught the person's wrist before the other one fell over. The familiar chills swept over his spine and for some unknown reason, Percy knew exactly who this person was without even looking.
The girl looked up, eyebrows furrowed. "Percy?"
"Are you stalking me?"
She grinned at him before straightening her form. "I got an urgent call from Dr. Chiron."
"Strange," Percy murmured so quietly, Thalia had to strain her ears to hear him correctly. His seawater gaze was fixated on her as though he was trying to figure out a puzzle. "I got a call back too."
A long pause. "The similarities between us keep continuing, don't they?"
Percy grinned. "Agreed."
In unison, the two twenty year olds walked towards Dr. Chiron's office on the sixteenth floor for the second time that day, marking it a record for the both of them. Before they had a chance to sit in the same seats they had sat in the duration of their morning, the same nurse stopped them.
"Mr. Jackson, Miss Grace, Dr. Chiron requests to see the both of you immediately."
Percy cocked his head. "Both of us?"
"Yes," the nurse responded, nodding.
They shared a deep glance with each other, eyes flickering in different colors, before they made their way inside, with the white-clothed nurse guiding them. She stopped by a wooden, arched door, which would probably have to be Dr. Chiron's main office of the place. She knocked.
"Come in." The voice inside was muffled by the thick walls.
The nurse opened the door, nodding at the two to enter.
Thalia hesitantly entered first, electric blue eyes darting all over the place in attention, as Percy trailed in after her, his sea green eyes hiding a distinct emotion within those pools, his hands once again shoved into his pockets.
Dr. Chiron stood up at their entrance. "Please, sit," he gestured to the two chairs in front of his desk.
Another steady glance was passed between the two before they willingly sat down.
"Doctor?" Percy questioned, his tall body leaning in. "What's this about?"
"Is there a problem with our conditions?" Thalia added, a hint of anxiety in her tone.
"No, none of the sort," Dr. Chiron folded his hands under his chin, gazing at the two younger ones. In all honesty, they would make a good-looking couple, but a side of him pushed the irrelevant thought away. "On the contrary, I may have found a way to cure your heart disease. Both of yours, in fact."
The doctor swore he heard crickets chirping the background.
"But…" Thalia's hand reached to the back of her neck to scratch it. She did this whenever she was nervous. "All the doctors I've seen have told me that heart disease is incurable." Percy's nod at the end of her statement told the doctor that he agreed with her.
"That may be true, but the both of you have heart diseases for all the wrong reasons," Dr. Chiron replied earnestly. "It is very convenient that the two of you have met, otherwise one would be spending a long time searching the other in order for the procedure to undergo."
Two identical blank looks met Dr. Chiron.
"The wrong reason…?" Percy repeated, trying hard to piece it together.
"I've overlooked both of your x-rays, and I found the most phenomenal thing in them," Dr. Chiron said, smiling to prove the young ones that this was a good thing—that their diseases would be curable. "The reason for your heart diseases is the fact that the both of you contain each other's heart."