Disclaimer: Own nothing, own no one, yadda yadda.
AN: Not really sure what this is. Me coming up with something and it keeping me awake till 2 in the morning to write it. First ever PJatO fic (yet don't hesitate in any sort of criticism) and...yeah. Hope I didn't screw much up. -bites lip-
Warning/s: AU, slash, bad words, non-graphic sex.
All too often his room smells of sweat and puke, and he has to close his eyes and hold his breath because the pungent scent invades his nostrils. All too often, at night, he hears them talking; he hears him talking, hears the soft whimpers and cries, and the sounds, their voices, his voice, they make him want to yell, to rip his hair off.
He imagines it sometimes. The feeling of his fingers carding through the too long, too lanky strands of hair (streaked by gray, he sees) and BAM! the temptation to do that, the tingling in his fingertips becomes all too powerful.
Sometimes, they claim the scent disappears. Apparently, the opening of a window lets the air freshen up; that'll do just that. But it doesn't. Luke knows that. It's there, and it remains with him as he lays awake in his bed, as Mike or Mildred or whatever the hell his name is – his name varies with his mood – tosses and turns next to him.
It burns his nose, it reaches his throat and more than often he feels the need to puke, which only allows the scent to intensify, and he'll remain there, half-crouched on the edge of his bed, breathing heavily and glaring down at the view of his splattered insides, which sometimes consist of his dinner, but usually of water.
Other times, he'll just hold his nose, and not breathe, and just stare through the dark at the restless figure of Manuel. And he'll have to remember to breathe, but he's so lost in the constriction of his chest, in the tightness of his throat, in the safety of it all, that he has to pull his hand away from his nose with the other. Sometimes, he entertains the idea that maybe he does it on purpose. Like his left hand works of its own accord, thinks on its own, and it's trying to do him a favor.
Hey, buddy boy! How are you? Not too well, eh? Let me help you there. Come on, I can help.
"Let me help," he murmurs, on rare occasions, and glances towards Mark.
Mark doesn't answer; the sheets are all tangled up around him, and he's moaning into his pillow, and the sweat on his forehead glistens as light from outside leaks (an outside world, Luke thinks and almost laughs) into their world, into Mick's, who's dead in both anyway. His body moves along through everything; it's still and stoic through the day and it flitters at night, and it's the only sign of being alive that shows in him.
But he's not. He's not living. And so Luke ponders the disturbing thought of walking up to his bed, and leaning over the mess of brokenness and jerking limbs and ghastly white face, and the muscles in his forearms clench and his hands are mere inches away from Mack's neck.
The muscles clench again. Luke freezes, and the tip of his chipped nail brushes lightly against the pale yellow skin of Mack's neck. His muscles clench and his fingers flex.
Flexor digitorum profundus, Luke knows.
Sometimes he actually goes so far as to press the pad of his fingers against Manny's raging pulse point, but then, a second later, Luke realises that he's still either laying or sitting in his bed and those are only images created in his head.
Fake. Not real. Get them out.
Luke laughs. Only it's soft and cold and broken and his dry throat hurts, so he presses his lips together and rolls over so he faces the wall.
Merrick can sleep. Luke can't.
Live with it, buddy boy. Live with it.
Group's not Luke's thing.
When they all gather round in a circle, surrounded by beige and warm walls, he pushes his chair back furthest and watches the other people with vague interest.
Dr. Jones smiles and nods for Kenny to talk, and he does, and when he does, it's rapid and unintelligible and useless things, so Luke tunes him out and stares out at the window.
"The weather's nice today, isn't it, Luke?"
Dr. Jones's gentle, careful voice breaks through the thick silence thundering in his ears and he glances back. His blood thrums underneath his skin and the need to wipe that damned kind, calculated smile off Dr. Jones's face overwhelms his body.
And he can. He knows he can. He can lunge forward, right this second, and just secure his fingers around Dr. Jones's slender, pretty little neck, and just squeeze it. And in his mind he does it, and he feels all his pent-up anger and confusion and fury just going into that small pressure, and nothing, not even other people grabbing at his arms and yelling for him to stop can help.
Because he's there, and he's doing it, and Julie Jones's pretty face just puckers up in fear, and he feels alive, because the secretions of adrenaline just pump through him with every beat of his heart.
They still do when a stronger, larger figure grips him and pulls him away. The bodyguard holds his wrists firmly behind his back, and the pain, it makes him feel like he's there.
"That's 'nough, buddy boy," the bodyguard grunts.
Luke doesn't really hear him. All his senses are rushing with anger and excitement, and he can vaguely see Kenny and Janet and Howard all helping poor Jules up.
She stares at him in shock, her face all red and scared and teary (it's okay, Luke thinks, because she looks prettier that way), and he stares back. Then he spits at her feet, and automatically the bodyguard's grip tightens and she steps back.
He's not welcomed at group anymore.
At first, they couldn't really diagnose him. All they knew was that he was causing havoc and claiming the oddest, stupidest, most ridiculous things to people and beating them up when they wouldn't listen. After trying to convince a skeptical, amused accountant that yes, we're going to die, and he just laughed, laughed, scoffed in his face, Luke sprung and nearly killed the man.
He still remembers the policeman who dragged him off the so, so shocked and fearful and smug (so damned smug) man, and the way even he spoke to him. Heroes of the society, Luke remembers someone saying. Protectors of the society. Bringers of hell.
A day and a half later, Luke ended up in this dump with his new, mesmerized room-mate with the ruffled hair and dumb frown and confused smile and billions of personalities and names. A few weeks after, Luke's already got a name around there for trying to murder one of the hospital's best doctors.
Now he's in a room, all, all alone and he's strapped tightly to the bed and just gazing silently at the ceiling. It's all silent. The voices, the people, they're all gone.
For a while. Then they come back and things like come to me and help me and you'll be rewarded greatly and then screams, loud, shrill, torn screams.
It takes Luke a while to realize they're his own.
He rarely sleeps, and when he does, it's always restless and sweaty; and he dreams of many things. Things like glistening swords and hot summer haze and lightning bolts and scythes and they invade his mind like wasps, like a disease and he wakes up mere minutes later, gasping and sweating and – he hates this most – crying.
Once he's calmed down, he'll draw in deep breaths and raise his hand to his chest. He'll trace it upwards, and the wounds and bruises on his skin underneath will pulse, and then he'll reach the dip of his throat and his fingers will rest on his cheek. He'll feel at the jagged scar, and then he'll press against it. Sometimes he'll even dig his nails in it and just imagine that he takes it off, that the remnants of the tissue and skin will be in his hands.
Then he'll just fall asleep again and his dreams will be marred with visions of a woman who looks like him, of two girls, of a supernatural being who flies amidst all this and just stares at him, and he'll even glimpse remorse and regret in their eyes.
Most of all, though, Luke dreams of a boy.
And he sees that boy, a few times.
He comes to visit and Luke, so often, just stares at him listlessly and the boy stares back.
The black-haired boy doesn't speak and Luke doesn't find it in his power to either, so he just settles on gazing curiously and with slight annoyance at the boy who returns his gaze. Luke sees him biting his lip, and the urge, the temptation to lunge forward and wrap his arms around the lithe figure of this boy, to beat the living shit out of him and tear those lips off with his teeth is too strong. So to overcome it, Luke just takes a step forward towards the boy and the boy, unlike many other people, stands his ground and his gaze never falters.
Let me hurt him, Luke thinks and clenches his jaw and pierces his nails through his palms. He glances at the watchful, bulk guard and pleads, Let me kill him, let me tear that perfect skin off and rip his black hair off and let me break him.
Luke never does. Doesn't have to, it seems.
One day, the boy comes by and to Luke's surprise, talks.
"I'm – I'm sorry," the boy mumbles.
Luke looks him over and clenches his hands. He's realized by now that, even though the boy's got to be around sixteen or seventeen, he can't possibly be just a boy. The light behind his eyes falters with jadedness and the skin around his mouth is wrinkled with frowns, smiles, laughs, screams. He looks almost broken, and his thick, dark eyelashes press against the ghastly skin of his cheeks, and Luke wants to laugh, to gawk, when he sees wetness on his face, shining in the faint light of the lonely, white room.
Luke says nothing. He doesn't understand.
But it's okay. He doesn't want to.
All he wants is to ruin that boy.
"How are you feeling, Luke?"
The deep voice of Dr. Anderson wakes him out of his reverie, but he doesn't start. Doesn't look at the man. Doesn't react. It's better that way. Let them all think he's an unresponsive, useless object.
Dr. Anderson's eyes study his face carefully, and Luke can instantly tell he isn't fooled.
It's okay, buddy boy, you are a useless object. So, come on, just hurt him. You know you want to.
Sometimes, during these talks, Dr. Anderson likes to reach over the table of his neatly adorned and homely office, and maybe even touch the back of Luke's hand with his fingertips and smile kindly. But not this time. No, never after poor Julie was attacked.
"You need to talk to me."
Dr. Anderson's voice is even lower than usual and he leans forward in his couch, and Luke feels a twinge akin to fear go off in him. His broad shoulders hunched forwards and his eyes dead and chillingly serious, his face coldly still and passive; Dr. Anderson reminds Luke of a wrestler.
But it's all right. If Anderson ever does to decide to attack him, Luke will respond and he'll gladly lay a punch on his annoyingly knowing face, no problemo.
Luke stiffens and finally turns his face slowly to look Anderson in the eye. The thought's brought a new bout of adrenaline and excitement in him and he wants the man to lunge forwards.
Dr. Anderson never does. He leans back, looking grotesquely satisfied for no reason whatsoever, and sends a patronizing look in Luke's direction.
"Why did you do that?"
He doesn't bother to beat round the bush. Luke likes that.
Luke knows, and he knows Anderson knows he knows. But it's all right. Play dumb until they believe you. Pretend to take their medications. Pretend to actually improve. Pretend—
Dr. Anderson doesn't smile. He looks even sterner and it takes Luke a second to realize he's smiling. In fact, his mouth is stretched so much the corners reach his ears and he raises a hand to touch his fingers against the scar on his cheek, crinkled so much it accommodates the inhumane grin on his face.
"Why?" Dr. Anderson presses.
Luke looks away. Julie Jones would always comment about how nice the weather is, and even suggest they go out for some fresh air. Luke finds he disagrees. The sky outside is a light blue and the soft breeze beats against tree trunks, but for Luke, always, the sky's dark and gray and the trees fall from the harsh, thundering force of the storm.
Caught in the crossfire, they are. Kind of like you, huh, buddy boy? So come on, just step over to the other side and strangle him.
"She's pretty," Luke answers.
He feels the same grin break across his face and looks at Anderson, who frowns uncertainly.
"She is," he agrees. "Now why?"
"I like her."
"Is that reason to attack her?"
Luke hears a laugh tear from his throat and it's his turn to lean forwards. He places his elbows on his thighs and his grin widens as his eyes take in Anderson.
"I want to fuck her, Dr. Anderson," Luke whispers. He lowers his eyes to his lap. "I want to fuck her, bad. You ever felt that way?" He raises his gaze back and smiles again. "Like you want something so bad, but you know you can't have it, so you decide no one should? Like they should just…stop existing?"
Dr. Anderson doesn't answer.
Luke knows he's definitely not in his books.
On Friday, August 26th, seven PM, Luke is in his room, and someone's trying to force the IV into his veins, and Luke laughs in their face.
Seven hours later, Saturday, August 27th, Luke's lying in a soft bed with a softly lit light glowing behind his closed eyelids and soft hands caressing his skin – softly.
He doesn't understand. Softness, he's never known it. Only calloused skin and hard beds and tight grips and forceful touches but never, never softness.
Luke's not sure why, but he enjoys it.
He's wrong, he finds. He doesn't want to fuck Julie Jones, not anymore. The soft, silky blonde hair tied in a supposedly stern bun in the back of her oval-shaped, perfect face with warm, light brown eyes adorning; that's nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the new perfection staring back at him with eyes so hard, so tortured, brimmed by tears
"Are you okay?"
The black-haired boy reaches forward and touches Luke's cheek with the back of his hand.
Luke closes his eyes at the touch, unsure whether he wants to tear it off or simply relish in it.
Tear it off. Tear his skin off. Tear him apart. Destroy him. It's all you can do, buddy boy. It's all you could ever do.
Luke opens his eyes and stares curiously at the black-haired boy who just bites his lip again and steps back. Luke's overcome with the temptation to yell, to drag the boy's smaller, taut body under his and just enter inside him, and fuck him till neither of them know who they are anymore.
He doesn't. He falls asleep a second later.
"Aren't you hungry? You should eat."
The unnamed black-haired boy is pressing the tray of food into his hands and Luke simply stares down at the swirling soup in the baby blue plastic cup and the dry, yet so solid bread on the edge of the cracked tray. Luke doesn't take it. He's not hungry.
He looks up at the boy and frowns slightly, and the black-haired boy sighs and seems to give up.
"Okay," he says resignedly. "But if you're hungry just…just ask, okay?"
"Percy! What on earth did you think you'd accomplish from that?"
A shrill, angered female voice breaks over the silence. Luke's eyes spring open, but he stays put and closes them a second later, his hands gripping the pillow underneath his fingers.
"Perce." Male. Calmer. Fearful. "This is…it's ridiculous, don't you think? I mean, you could get in trouble."
Ah. Finally. The still cracking voice of the black-haired teenage boy with the sea green eyes and nervous habit of biting his lips and running the pointed, pink tongue along them.
"But no one's gonna know, are they?"
"But Percy…I mean, come on." Female's voice falters and suddenly Luke feels three sets of eyes on him, on his back. "It's…I mean…what if he – you know – remembers?"
"He doesn't. I know he doesn't. I've seen it in his eyes. It's just…blank. It's got to be. Annabeth, please, just listen to me. I've brought him back, just like you wanted! He's here, isn't he? Why can't you just be…happy?"
Two sets of eyes. Luke imagines the female shutting her eyes and hears her inhaling deeply.
"This isn't him, Percy." Her voice cracks. "It's not. It can't be."
A thud of footsteps, and in his mind's eye, Luke sees the black-haired boy gripping the female's arm.
"It is, Annabeth. Please…just trust me. Okay? Both of you, help me out. We can…we can help make him Luke again."
Female's voice turns lower, cracks, turns cold.
"Why do you care so much about him? You never did seem to."
"I…" Pause. Then, "Please. You want him here. I want him here."
"Hey – what about me?" says a feeble voice; the other male. "Doesn't my opinion matter?"
A breathy sort of laughter. Cold draught in the room. Sharp intake of breath.
"He's bleeding, Percy," the female whispers and Luke notes fear in her voice. "He's bleeding."
"He'll – he'll be fine. Fell down a couple of hours ago. Just give him some ambrosia or something. Grover?"
Footsteps which sound more like hooves hit against the ground and then Luke feels his chin being lifted by none too gentle hands.
"Take this," the other male says quietly.
Luke feels something pressing against his lips and for a second thinks that he shouldn't open his mouth, that he should refuse, but when it's forced open, he can only take the cube-like thing and chew.
It tastes salty. Of sweat. Sweet. Minty. A second later, Luke realizes it tastes of the black-haired boy's lips.
The girl named Annabeth stares at Luke and Luke stares back impassively, not at all fazed by the fear and remorse in her eyes or the tentative way she sometimes opens her mouth, only to close it shut a second later and look away.
He sees something flash in her expression. Emotions. Then she looks back and – yup – there they are again, cold and conflicting and sad and most likely painful.
She's also got this knowing look in her gaze. It reminds Luke of Dr. Anderson's all too knowing, all too kind look, only this girl, no, she's not kind and she knows much more than Anderson.
She knows him, something even Luke doesn't know.
They all do, and Luke's the only one oblivious.
The boy named Grover. He's weirder than her. He's got horns and he looks like a goat and more than often Luke sees him glancing back at him nervously, with great apprehension seeping into his expression when Luke meets his eye.
Grover likes to chew on cans. And he doesn't hide it.
Luke feels the need to sometimes grab the can out of his hands and shove it down his throat and hear him choke on it.
He never does. For the black-haired boy's sake.
It's not love. No. Love – that thing doesn't exist in a world like this, and Luke knows it too damn well. And Luke wouldn't know what it felt like anyway. All he's felt in the last few months, in which it's like he's been suddenly shoved in this world with no warning whatsoever; well, it's emptiness. And rage. And excitement. And adrenaline. And lust.
The lust is new. The lust began when the black-haired boy – Percy, he says his name is, Per-cee – saved him from that godforsaken place.
It's, pure and simple, desire. White-hot, overwhelming desire, which Luke feels burrows deep underneath his skin as he props himself on the bed with on hand and with the other grips Per-cee's waist and his cock rams right into the tight and hot entrance of the boy.
Percy yells at first. Then his breathing becomes even. Then moans tear through his throat and Luke feels he has the liberty to lean forward and grab Percy's ear between his teeth and bite down on the cartilage, as his lower body moves in sync with Percy's.
It's not love, but it's pretty damn amazing anyway.
"Who am I?"
Luke asks this on a bright Sunday morning, as the sun slices through the blue sky of New York and he sees color for once in what seems to be his life. He stares out the window, leaning back against the chair at the table as his hands grip onto the cup of coffee tightly and he feels Percy's intent gaze on his back.
Shuffling of feet. Percy clears his throat. No answer.
Luke slowly turns his head to look at him and, for once ever since he's been saved, he doesn't feel the need to fuck the boy senseless. No. Now, for once, he wants to talk.
"You know, don't you?" Luke says, narrowing his eyes. "You know. Otherwise you wouldn't have saved me."
Percy looks uncomfortable. Then he looks away and Luke sees something like pain cross his face, like the concept of him saving Luke is hurting him.
Luke doesn't want to hurt him. For once. He wants answers, goddammit, and Percy is too hesitant for his liking.
Luke stands up from the table. He walks towards Percy, and then pauses. He thinks of trying to take his hands, of talking softly and gently to him like he'd seen the doctors talking to them all back at the ward. He doesn't. Because if he even so much as lays another touch on any part of the black-haired boy, he feels the rush of hormones and lust in his body will explode and he won't be able to control himself.
Percy looks up, parting those perfect, thin, purple-shaded lips, then presses them together and hesitates.
"I…Do you really want to know?"
Luke can tell Percy is uneasy, can tell by the way the boy's Adam's apple bobs up and down.
Luke nods, slowly, carefully.
And so Percy tells him.
That's all you're good at, buddy boy.
What did you expect? To be a florist?
Server of evil.
Bringer of hell.
Kinda of like the cops, eh, buddy boy?
Demigod. Murderer. Hero. Savior. Right. All this time he's been right. Not insane. He's been right, about everything he's told Dr. Anderson and Dr. Jones and the policeman and the accountant.
He's not insane.
Not just, at least. Not just. Remember that.
He saves the world, Percy tells him. Saves the whole damn world after doing everything possible to destroy it.
Somehow, Luke isn't as surprised as he should be. Not really.
Percy still wants to have sex, much to Luke's surprise.
One night, when Luke's staring out in space and pondering the sayings from a few days ago, Percy walks up to him and grabs his wrist and pleads, please, Luke, I want to.
So Luke obliges. And he takes all his pent-up anger from before, all his aggression, all the rage and confusion about the new discovery and just puts it all into the fucking, into the power of his hips. And the sounds of flesh-on-flesh, of heavy breathing, of moans and groans and gasps fill the room in their sweetly alluring effect, and Luke happily greets the tightening of muscles around his cock as Percy pushes his head back against the pillow and comes.
There's no cuddling afterwards, like Luke sees in those TV comedy drama shows Percy enjoys watching. No, afterwards, Luke just rolls over in the bed and stares at the ceiling and listens to Percy's evening breathing and the pelting of rain against the roof of Percy's flat.
Luke finally understands the looks Grover and Annabeth so often send him, and the knowledge now makes him feel different; twisted, which he knows he's always been, but the reason why burns freshly in his mind and he has to clench his fists to not yell at one of them to stop it, because he knows.
Percy seems to notice his annoyance.
Grover and Annabeth never do look at him like that from then on.
Luke starts feeling something he's never felt – not since he's been "brought back" at least.
When Annabeth visits, sending wan smiles in Percy's direction and leaning forwards to kiss him on his lips, amid the envy and thoughts like he's mine, mine, mine, Luke feels it twisting in his lower abdomen. And not only because they're screwing with Annabeth's mind.
Because she's Annabeth. And he knows he should apologize for everything. Betraying her and the other girl (Thalia), for trying to talk her into joining Kronos's army, for sleeping with her boyfriend, for abandoning her when she needed him most.
Most of all, for feeling oddly satisfied at the looks depicting not so pure and not so simple love in his direction.
Luke still has dreams, but for once they're dreams, and no, not nightmares. Kronos doesn't appear, the godly-like person (who's a god, Luke is sure) doesn't appear, but Percy still does, and his sweet, sweat-slicked skin does and so do his black, shiny, glistening hair and soft, heavy breathing and panting.
It takes his own real heavy breathing and real panting for Luke to realize, seconds later, that no, he is not dreaming, and yes, this is real, and yes Percy is there and holding onto him and pressing his cheek against his. Luke doesn't like this behavior normally, not when Percy sometimes does it, but now, during sex, he hasn't the heart to push him away.
"We should tell her."
Percy doesn't look away from the TV. His eyes remain fixed on the screen, as his hands grip at the Chinese takeaway they ordered a few hours before when Percy came back from work.
Percy's voice is even.
"Why should we?"
Luke shifts and presses the flats of hands against his thighs. He takes a deep breath and says, "It's not right. Not on her. Not on you."
Percy switches the TV off and turns slowly to face him. His face is controlled, calm, but behind the brilliant sea green of his eyes, Luke can see waging waters and storms. He's not turned on, not this time, by the evident anger in Percy.
"Since when do you care what's right and what's not?"
Luke smiles dimly. Doesn't answer. That's that.
Annabeth breaks up with Percy one day.
Percy comes home, and he's wounded and injured, and he's tired and sad and angry and guilty.
Luke doesn't comfort him. Doesn't know how to. He wants to tell Percy that it's good, because he doesn't have to tell her about them, doesn't have to feel guilty for keeping it a secret, but Percy looks angry enough he could send all the oceans on him and Luke doesn't want to take the risk.
Luke sneaks out every day, goes about through the streets with a hood pulled over his head (and the rain is convenient, seeing as he doesn't get weird looks from anyone) and just roams around.
The day Percy told him the truth, he gave him a weapon. Said it would help him, in case he came into contact with any monsters.
Luke does a few times, and he's not so surprised and not so shocked when he finds that he can defeat them easily, no problemo. Slashes with his sword, pierces through their flesh, watches them dissipate; easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
After all, destroying is a hobby of his. And the hobbies you're taught, well, they're hard to get un-used to.
Luke knows why he has no recollections, apart from the ones Percy told him, about before he was reborn. Apparently, the day he arrived on this earth, stark naked and weak and dazed, he hit his head.
Fell down a cliff or something. And just like that – BAM! – memories, buh bye. Insanity, what's up, haven't seen you in a looong time.
"What am I going to do with my life?"
Percy says nothing.
Luke shuts his eyes and draws in a steady breath, the hands behind his head clenching and his fingers digging into his scalp. He remembers the urge to rip his gray-streaked, blond hair off. Not anymore. He very much likes Percy doing that.
"I have no life, do I? Am I just going to run away the rest of the years?"
"You like doing that," Percy murmurs and rolls over to face him.
The darkness makes it hard for Luke to gauge the boy's face.
"Always have," Percy whispers and runs a finger down Luke's cheek, across the jagged scar.
"I know. But…"
"Look. Just – live, okay? That's all I want, that's all Annabeth wants, and that's all your dad wants. That's enough, okay? Breathe, eat, sleep, talk…fuck me. And everyone's happy."
Luke feels a smile curl over his lips.
"What about my mother? Doesn't care much if I live or not, does she? Insanity seems to pass down in the family, huh?"
Percy doesn't answer.
Luke, to his immense surprise – not the only one, buddy boy, not the only one – does do something with his life. Ends up working on Olympus.
Annabeth's there and it pains them both to be working together, and sometimes Luke feels her gazing at him knowingly, like she knows what he's thinking and that he's fucking her ex-boyfriend. One day, when he finds her looking, he turns around and she meets his eye and he raises his eyebrow and her lips conjure a small smile and she nods vaguely as if to say, it's okay, it's all right, I know, and I don't care.
Luke tries to smile back.
Forgiveness, Zeus said. First step.
Second step. Redemption. No problemo. He'll do it, he doesn't mind, he'll work and—
You're wrong. You know you are. You're still crazy, you're still insane, and no one forgives you and no one ever will.
Luke allows himself to believe otherwise. It's okay. He can do it. He will do it, and he'll try to make things right. He'll force himself to believe it, if he has to. He can manage.
After all, he is a master of deception.