A/N: This story is pretty random. It's based off the book The Lost Hero, and it's a Jason/Piper story. Enjoy!
It was hard for Jason to tell if he was dreaming, a down side of being a demigod: all those prophetic dreams mixing themselves up with cravings for nachos, snippets of things that may or may not have been memories, and maybe that crush thing going on. She looked like her, you know with her hair purposely unevenly cut and her huge snowboarding jacket on. But, if this was prophetic it was definitely a good thing, because Piper was smiling…and nothing was on fire for a change. There was actually snow on the ground. The thick, slushy stuff was a few inches deep underneath their feet…or boots really. And that's when he noticed he was wearing an equally massive jacket with thick gloves that he noted were waterproof when he touched a shingle of powder on one of the wooden slots of the bench next to them. There was a faint outline of a sidewalk and a lamppost behind the bench, like they were in a park. It seemed familiar, but he didn't know why other than the glittery sparkle to the snow made him think some sort of magic was involved.
"Jason." Her voice seemed to trigger a blizzard, white lumps slanting towards them, but they were as dry and light as Styrofoam. "It's too cold now."
He nodded, crossing his arms to squeeze more heat into his winter gear.
"Let's go," she said. Her hair was getting icy.
His teeth started to chatter, and he was looking at the flakes on her eyelashes when he noticed her face was so close. He couldn't do more than take a breath of plastic-tasting air when she gave his cheek a tingly, ice-cube cold kiss as his jaw vibrated like crazy. Then she was running, and he was running too.
There was a wall of white before he tripped on something hard and fell hands first. The first thing his palms touched was pavement. The sidewalk was visible although covered mostly in leaves so charged with color he was suspecting card-shaped people were marching around painting them. The grass looked bristly and dead. Piper was sitting on the bench, wearing a thinner version of her jacket and sneakers instead of boots.
"Better, right?" Piper said. The hood was pulled over her head, jagged strings of her dark hair flat against her shoulders like weirdly cut licorice.
It was still cold, only now just brisk instead of freezing. He opened his mouth to say so but nothing came out. There wasn't even the normal slick sound of his tongue pressing against his teeth to make words. This was feeling a lot like a nightmare, and it didn't help when Piper gave him a little grin, as if she knew what was going on and he didn't. It was something her mom would do, or her other Aphrodite siblings. It was scary and annoying. He wondered if his dad would send some wind his way to knock the smugness out of her, but that was a little difficult to do when he was having a hard time figuring out if his dad was Zeus or Jupiter or exactly what the difference was.
"Relax," Piper said. She closed her eyes.
Jason wasn't sure what a normal reaction should have been, but he definitely felt even more freaked out. Then the sidewalk started to shake, slow at first until it was ripping itself away from the grass, dislodging chunks of dirt. He was thinking this must be Gaia, or some left over fear of her, but the concrete glowed, grumbled, before puttering to a stop.
The leaves were gone, revealing grass green enough to advertize fertilizer. The bench looked as if it had a new varnish on the wood. The lamppost didn't appear to be on, something he hadn't paid attention to since the snow. And now it seemed to be useless with the sun so bright, feeling like warm, clammy skin compressing against the back of his neck.
"Jason, you can get up now," Piper whispered.
So the sun was actually Piper's hand, he was close enough. After she pulled away, he sat up to see a sprinkling of purple flowers he'd forgotten the name of.
"You're favorite color, remember?" she said.
The word 'remember' made his body strain in a way that put the discomfort in his scraped hands to shame. Because it was something everyone was saying. You saved this person, remember? You're from San Francisco, remember? You helped destroy Kronos in that giant battle, remember? We're dating. That one was the hardest- having a girl convinced they dated for months, but he didn't even know her name when she first brought it up in the back seat of that activity bus. And there was her trying to separate events from the mist that was probably the creator of everything that she did claim to have happened. Having his memory gone sucked. Gods knew what his favorite color was.
He shrugged, glancing at her to see she was wearing the same sneakers only now paired with denim shorts that came to her knees and a long-sleeved grey shirt. Her shins were tan, probably from her dad's Native American genes. Jason was wearing the same jeans from before and shoes, but with a black zip-up just thin enough for the weather.
Or it was before she was playing with his hair, running her fingers through his bangs with a look in her eye that made him think this was something she'd seen herself do in the mist. She was so relaxed with herself. It made him twice as squirmy. His lips pushed against each other, trying to form the "P" in her name, but she wasn't looking far enough down on his face to notice his attempt.
She scrunched her nose. "Do you think blonde counts as a color?"
It made him blush. Since when was Piper so fascinated with his blonde head of hair? He looked away, unavoidably focusing on those stupid flowers. From his peripheral vision he could see her looking at the flowers too, frowning, sighing.
"This isn't working," she said. "Come on." She stood and pulled him up with her, still frowning.
He smiled, hoping it would cheer her up a little, especially since he was pretty sure he was mute and couldn't ask her what the Hades wasn't working. His attempt made her chuckle. Then she was holding his hand. There was a swirl of wind around him and he could feel himself floating, something that would have been terrifying if his dad weren't the god of the sky. Plus, he already knew he could fly. That was like so last week…month…some time ago. What he didn't know was how they were flying when he wasn't in control of it, or why the wind was so thick that he couldn't see anything beyond a layer of blur swirling around him.
But the air settled, and he was in the park again. The flowers were gone, which he was grateful for, except it was about thirty degrees hotter. He was glad to see he was wearing his orange Camp Half-Blood t-shirt instead of the hoodie. It was almost too hot for even that. The sun looked like a sizzling sore next to the thin, streaky clouds, as it oozed out heat.
"More like California." Her voice sounded distant.
She was leaning against a palm tree he hadn't seen before, wearing a black bikini top with a neon paint splotch design and a pair of black board shorts. Her arms were crossed over her bare waist, and she looked slightly uncomfortable.
"Well, it's a least a little more like L.A. I know Frisco can get a lot cooler, but…." She paused, biting the inside of her cheek. "Aren't you going to say anything?"
He opened his mouth, testing his vocal chords with a cough that was silent. Pointing to his face, he gave her a downtrodden expression.
Piper rolled her eyes, seemingly at herself. "Right, forgot about that. I'll give you a yes or no question. Do you like it here?"
Of course his answer had to be more complicated. He thought for a second before fanning himself, hoping she would understand.
"Ah," she said, nodding. "I might have something to fix that." She turned away from him and started walking.
He followed, taking notice after the first step that he didn't have any shoes on. Even the grass was warm. He was wishing for a pool or something on the other side of the tree but it turned out to be a picnic blanket and a pitcher of lemonade. Piper was sitting on the red cloth with a glass ready for him. He was surprised that her fingers were colder than the drink. The actual lemonade was lukewarm, but he managed to only squint as he sat next to her.
He hesitated before fanning himself again.
"Just lose the shirt," she said. She had her head tilted back, drinking in the same sun that was almost melting his flesh off.
And he was blushing again.
"I'm in my bathing suit. It's like we're at the beach."
Her words seemed to trigger his hands to the hem, and he was wondering if she was charm speaking him out of his clothes. She was more like her mom than she liked to admit. But, once he pulled the sticky material over his head, he knew it was a good move because he didn't feel like passing out anymore.
"Better." It wasn't a question this time. She was staring.
There was this confidence Jason wasn't too familiar with when it came to Piper. He wished he could talk, ask her where they were, why he couldn't talk. It disturbed him when he thought of the way her eyes rolled in recognition when he reminded her of his current speech issue as if she was the one who did it. But he didn't understand why she'd want to pull a Little Mermaid with his voice box. There was a slightly salty smell in the air that he swore was the ocean, and he was thinking of dancing crabs when she touched his finless leg. He jumped.
"None of it was real, was it?" she asked. His spasm didn't seem to concern her. "When we met, being friends, the other stuff?"
Now he was frustrated, because this wasn't a yes or no question at all. And how in Zeus' name was he going to answer when a slight movement of his head didn't help? He wanted to tell her that while her memories probably never did happen, probably in that she was asking the dude with some amnesia, the mist wasn't totally evil. It was at least right in something that he'd been coming to slowly, and it was that he liked her. He was pretty sure he wouldn't be getting a chance to say it out loud any time soon. The smell of salt he was sure about. It was stronger now, like someone was holding a plate of French fries under his nose, except without the potato scent, which only half made sense even to him.
He squinted, trying to concentrate. She looked upset. Thinking of the simplest thing he could do, he grabbed the hand that wasn't on his knee because that one seemed like it was happy there, and he was going to need at least one of them. Feeling like Tarzan with her as a curious Jane, he positioned her hand over his heart. His next step was supposed to be some sort of meaningful eye language, but when her palm touched his chest it was like a frosty zap, the sensation branching out instantly to every part of his body. If he could have made any noise, she would have heard him groan. Instead his mouth just opened a little, and he glanced down to see he was sweating unnaturally heavy. The saltiness was coming from him. He really was melting away. It felt amazing.
Her icy hands appeared only to speed up the process, so he reached for her other wrist. She was touching his abdomen before he could get there. Another chill like icicles expanding in his lounges made him close his eyes. There was a draft on his shoulder that felt like someone opening the door to a refrigerator. Then he could feel her cheek against his neck and he knew it was her breath.
"Jason, you're dreaming. It's ok."
He opened his eyes, feeling her hands slip up his slippery skin, seeming to move her face back so he could pull her forward again, so he could caress her waist with the knuckle of his thumb, so he could kiss her. It could have been his first kiss, but he didn't really think so because his mouth knew what to do more than he did. The rest of his body seemed to have memories stored in it as well because while he was focusing on kissing, he was vaguely aware that his hands were pushing her down. They were horizontal just as her lips were opening wider. Then his tongue was getting involved. His palm was smoothing over her ribs, feeling like they were liquefying against her when he met the mesh material of her bikini top. She was struggling. He stopped, pulling back.
"Jason?" Piper eyed him, horrified, flushed, confused.
His face was a few inches away from her, and he could tell that this wasn't what she'd seen in the mist. It made him wonder what exactly he'd been doing back in San Francisco. The who paired with the what made him feel guilty.
It must have been showing because she shook her head, lightly touching his elbow. "Promise you won't be mad at me?"
He again didn't know what she was talking about. She looked desperate. But, before he could even attempt an answer, the ground seemed to sag. Piper started sinking in front of him as the ground sucked her further away. He grabbed for her. Then it was dark. He continued his grabbing motion to get a handful of something soft. It took him a few minutes for him to understand he was gripping a mattress. It was his new bed in the Zeus cabin at Camp Half-blood.
A/N: I might do more chapters, but I'm not sure...review...maybe?