PJatO || Perleo || PJatO || Perleo || PJatO || Helping Hands || PJatO || Perleo || PJatO || Perleo || PJatO

Title: Helping Hands – I'd Do Anything For You

Fandom: Percy Jackson and the Olympians / Heroes of Olympus; AU

Disclaimer: All rights reserved to Rick Riordan for he created the awesomeness that is Nico di Angelo. And everything else related to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, likewise the Heroes of Olympus. Aside from the Gods, of course. They are all copyright by the old Greeks. The story in itself though is entirely mine. No money is made with this, though reviews are more than welcomed.

Warnings: shounen-ai, abuse, h/c, mutants, AU

Main Pairing: Leo/Percy

Side Pairings: Luke/Percy, Jason/Piper, Jason/Reyna (mentioned; one-sided), Gleeson/Mellie

Percy Jackson Characters: Perseus Jackson, Leo Valdez, Jason Grace, Piper McLean, Luke Castellan, Mellie Hedge, Gleeson Hedge, Tristan McLean

Own Character: Thomas Tristan 'Tommy' Grace

Summary: In a world with special people – with mutants – there are some who are just the tiniest bit more special than others. And one of them is Leo Valdez. All his life he had to try to cope with his ability to control fire and one fateful afternoon with his godchild will bring him what he always desired – someone as special as himself. But how can he help Percy? And yes, there's a high age difference between Jason, Leo, Piper and Percy. It's for the sake of the story. And hey, it's AU so I can do what I want. ;)

Helping Hands

I'd Do Anything For You

"Uncle Leo, uncle Leo, come look, come look!"

The Latino sighed and rolled his eyes. He had promised his best friend and said best friend's wife to watch over their son for a nice, peaceful afternoon, because it was their fifth wedding adversity. So Leo took the little boy with him to the park.

Times were hard. There were special people between the humans. People with mutations. Just like Leo. The Latino was able to control fire, had always been able to do so. And his best friend, Jason Grace, had the ability to control the weather. That was the reason why the two of them had always been inseparable. They were the only ones with such powers – as far as the two teens had known back then. The only ones with special abilities, the dynamic duo. And then Jason went and fell in love with a girl. With a pretty girl, he had to give him that. But the girl – Piper, her name was– had ruined their dynamic. They settled down, Jason and Piper got married and she became pregnant. The duo that had traveled through the whole country, only in their car and with the clothes on their body, listening to blaring music, manipulating the weather to their liking and setting fire to the desert. And now one of them was a faithful, obedient husband and the other was bored to death. The only reason Leo hadn't bolted away yet was that Piper and Jason were his only friends.

"Come and get back here, Tommy!", called the Latino after the boy.

And his godson. The boy was awesome, he really loved the kid. And right now said kid was not in sight. Piper will have his ass if he lost the brat. Cursing silently under his breath, the olive-skinned man jogged up to the lake where he had last seen Tommy. Worry spread through his whole being.

"Tommy? Where the fuck are you?", screamed Leo in panic.

"Uncle Leo, mommy said you're not allowed to curse!", chided the young boy with a giggle.

Relieve washed over the Latino and his dark brown eyes zoomed in on the child sitting on the bridge. He took slow steps up to the kid and came to a halt behind him.

"What's so interesting that you wanted me to look at it?", asked the fire-bender.

"The boy had been under water for at least five minutes now!", exclaimed the child in excitement.

Leo's eyes went wide and he stared down into the lake beneath them. And truly, beneath the surface was a mop of black hair and a body. Without thinking, the Latino jumped down the bridge into the lake, ignoring his deep-rooted fear of water. Fire was his element, water it's natural enemy. But there was someone in immediate danger. Holding his breath best as possible he dove deeper into the cold wetness until his arms found a warm body and he snatched the slender form, pressing the boy close to his chest and swimming back up.

He pulled the boy – a teenager, as he noted – up to the shore and smashed his lips against the others. Until he felt a hard push against his chest and a stinging pain in his cheek. Someone had slapped him. He blinked in confusion and looked down at the supposedly unconscious teen. Stunningly sea-green eyes were staring at him in anger and irritation.

"Jeez, what the hell is wrong with you?", grunted the teen. "First you pull me out of the lake - I don't even know you and you disturb my swim! And then you kiss me like a hungry hyena? Really, your kissing sucks. And how dare you kiss me! I don't even know you!"

The boy was pointing an accusing finger at him, still glaring. Damn, the guy looked hot when he was angry. His shoulder-long, raven-black hair was clinging to his cheeks and chin, those sea-green eyes – a color Leo had never seen before – were looking at him fiercely. A slender frame, wrapped in a wide denim-jeans and a blue t-shirt, both wet and hugging his body, sitting cross-legged on the wet grass. Regardless of how hot, or cute, the boy was looking, Leo still huffed in annoyance.

"Excuse me for trying to rescue your life!", spat the Latino angrily.

The teen in front of him froze for a second and blinked wide-eyed, before he had the grace to blush and look away, biting his lower lip.

"Sorry for lashing out on you like that...", muttered the green-eyed boy. "I'm good at holding my breath, I guess I sometimes forget that it's not that... natural for others." The teen looked up at him with a sheepish grin. "Thanks for trying to rescue me, even though I didn't need any rescuing."

The teen looked cute, he was blushing furiously in embarrassment, his eyes were big and apologetically. It didn't take half a second for Leo to forgive the boy. He grinned broadly and fell backwards into the grass, stretching his legs out in front of him. Brown eyes looked sideways to the teen before he extended a hand for the smaller male to take.

"Name's Leo Valdez", grinned the Latino.

"I'm Percy Jackson. It's nice meeting you, even though it was a strange first encounter...", smiled the teen and shook the offered hand in greeting.

"Not strange for me", objected Leo. "I always jump into lakes to catch me pretty merboys."

"Really?", chuckled Percy, sitting up some and folding his arms over his knees. "So you got a pond with Ariel and her siblings in it?"

"No, no. I only catch myself pretty merboys", corrected the Latino with a wink.

The teen next to him blushed again and coughed slightly to cover his surprise.

"You're rather straight forward", noted the green-eyed male.

"Naw, nothing about me is straight", objected Leo again, grinning at the teen. "But everything about you is pretty." He winked at the other again.

"I think I should make one thing clear before we converse any longer", started Percy and shifted a bit. "You're hot."

"Oh, you have no idea", laughed the taller male.

The teen rolled his eyes with a half-smirk. "You are hot, but I'm not interested."

"Why's that?", asked Leo curiously. "I mean, not gay can't be the reason, because I've never met a straight boy who blushed that often while talking to another guy."

"I have a boyfriend", answered the sea-green eyed boy shortly.

"Lucky guy", snorted the Latino, looking the teen up again.

"You're cute", grinned Percy with a twinkle in his eyes.

"That's a compliment I can only return", hummed the fire-bender. "I've scarcely met anyone as cute as you, actually. You know what? If you have a boyfriend, that's okay, but I'd still like to get to know you better. Friends?"

"That sounds reasonable", agreed the boy after a short reluctance.

"I know. I guess it is the most reasonable, because I'm sure you'd get me into jail otherwise."

"Excuse me?", blinked Percy surprised.

"There's no way in hell that you are off-age and if you'd kiss me properly and you got a taste of the awesomeness that is me, it won't stay a chaste kiss", explained Leo with a straight face.

The green-eyed teen blinked again before he burst into laughs, holding his stomach.

"First of all; I doubt you're that good either at kissing or in bed. You're overly self-confident, that won't end well. And secondly; I'm seventeen. I'll turn eighteen in two months."

The Latino's grin grew some more as he leaned over some, staring into those sea-green orbs.

"Mh... If you don't have a boyfriend anymore when you've turned eighteen, then I'll rock your world and show you just how awesome I am", breathed the fire-bender.

"You're hot, Leo Valdez, but there's a connection between Luke and me that we'll never have", declared Percy before he stood and left.

The Latino would have loved to follow the teen, but his godson interrupted his attempt.

"Uncle Leo, why did you pull Percy out of the lake?", asked Tommy confused.

Dark brown eyes lingered on the retreating figure of the beautiful teen while his body moved on it's own account and followed the kid in front of him slowly out of the park.

"You know him?", Leo blinked in surprise.

"Of course! Mommy often takes me to this park and I've met him plenty of times! He's pretty cool."

"And why's that?"

"Because he can stay underwater for like forever!", replied Tommy with wide gestures. "And he talks to fish and he can even bend the water! But you're not supposed to tell, because I wasn't supposed to tell anyone either but you can do such awesome stuff, too, so I thought it's okay to tell you, isn't it?"

"Talk to fish? Bend water? What are you talking about, Tommy?", blinked Leo curiously.

"I've met him for the first time when I got separated from mommy and sat on the bridge and cried. He tried to cheer me up and told me what the fishes were saying. He said he had always been able to understand them and he always dives for minutes! And he showed me that he can even bend it! Just like you did with the candlelight yesterday! He's really awesome!"

The Latino froze for a second and blinked wide-eyed. He turned around swiftly, brown eyes scanning the area for the mop of black hair, but Percy obviously had left already.

"You say you met him here? Does he come here often?", asked Leo.

"Mh..." Tommy got a thoughtful look on his face. "Only if he's troubled..."

"And what does troubled mean?"

The fire-bender grabbed the boy's hand so his godson wouldn't run off again now that they were out of the park and in the wide and dangerous city.

"He always has a bruise or a split lip or something like that when I meet him...", answered Tommy, a dark shadow passing the child's face. A shadow that was unsettling considering his age. "I've asked him who did it, if he has trouble with someone at school, because we have some mean bullies, too, and they beat the weaker students, too. But then I saw the bad man."

"Bad man?", repeated the Latino, knitting his eyebrows in worry.

"Yeah. He was tall and blonde and had a scar in his face. And I think Percy called him Luke..."
The fire-bender tensed at that. He recalled that the pretty green-eyed teen had said something about a Luke. His boyfriend. But there was no way such a strong, witty beauty would be together with an asshole that would treat him like shit.

From that day on, Leo went to the park whenever his job and his social commitments allowed it. Jason and Piper were suspicious and worried.

"Look, it's not that I'm not happy that you spend so much time with Tommy, but...", started Piper.

"You don't spend any time with us anymore and I have the feeling you spend more time with our son than we do", ended Jason, crossing his arms over his chest.

The Latino shifted awkwardly and sat down on the couch after one hard glare from Piper. The Native American and her husband sat opposite him.

"What do you want from me?", grunted the fire-bender irritated.

"We want to know what's wrong", clarified the woman with knitted eyebrows.

"You've acted strange ever since we've asked you to take care of Tommy last month", pointed his best friend out. "You're unfocused when we try to talk to you. You keep gazing out of the window with that strange dreamy expression. And the strangest thing of all: You spend hours staring into our pond. Even though you hate water, because you're fire."

"We've collected all the evidence. Now spill the beans, Valdez", demanded Piper.

"Uncle Leo is in love!", giggled Tommy, jumping down the stairs to interrupt the adults.

"In love?", repeated the couple wide-eyed.

"Go outside and play", grunted Leo annoyed. "That's none of your business."

The woman giggled and stood, walking up to her son and kneeling down in front of him.

"Tommy dear, tell me everything you know", grinned the brunette.

Brown eyes swept from the child over to the two other adults. A capitulating sigh escaped the Latino's lips and he leaned back into the soft cushions. He stood no chance against his two best friends if they were determined to get some kind of information.

"You remember Percy? From the park? The one that found me back when I got lost and you were so worried that you even called grandpa Tristan?", asked Tommy.

"The one with those rather unique green eyes, yes...", nodded Piper after a short time of thinking.

"That's the one! Uncle Leo and I met him last month in the park and uncle Leo tried to rescue Percy even though Percy wasn't in danger and I think that uncle Leo tries to find him."

Jason's blue eyes bore into his best friend before he nodded to his son shortly.

"Tommy, how about you go and play some with Mellie?", suggested the blonde man.

The child nodded vigorously, loving the woman that often took care of him. He ran up the stairs again to look for her, leaving the three adults alone.

"What's that rescue-business?", wanted the blue-eyed man to know.

Again the Latino shifted and looked at his best friend.

"I thought Percy was drowning when we first met, but Tommy explained to me later on that Percy seems to be able to breath under water and talk to fish. And to bend water. He's like us, Jason."

"Mh, it was only a matter of time before we'd encounter another mutant", muttered the blonde thoughtfully. "After all, even the news acknowledge our existence by now."

"There's something else to that story", sensed his wife.

"I've asked Tommy how he knew Percy and he said that... Percy sometimes comes to the park when he had trouble. Bruised trouble. Your son overheard that the guy beating Percy is someone called Luke and when I've been talking to Percy he mentioned his boyfriend Luke..."

"And now you think that he's in an abusive relationship and want to help him", concluded Jason.

"You should have seen him", sighed Leo. "He got the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen. Such a deep green like the ocean's deepest point. And the way he smiles – his eyes light up like the first sun-rays hitting the sea. His laugh rings like bells and his hair shines... He's a bit skinny I guess, but his ass is perfection... He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen..."

Piper and Jason exchanged a meaningful look.

"Tommy's right. Leo is totally and absolutely in love", grinned the Native American.

"But you know you don't have to take our son with you as an alibi", chuckled Jason.

"Ah, but we haven't had a family trip in a long time!", hummed Piper. "And I'm really interested in this Percy. Need to know Leo's future husband, after all."

The woman giggled and ran up the stairs to collect her son, leaving the two men alone. The two best friends stood in silence until the blonde looked up with a meaningful glare.

"If you're right, if he's really in trouble, he can stay here, you know", Jason paused, something akin to guilt passing over his face. "I've kind of forced you to settle down when I met Piper. And I'm sorry for that. You're my best friend and I wish for you to find the same love I have with Piper."

"Boys, come on! Let's get going!", interrupted Piper them.

She held to her son's hand and ran past them to the door, the men soon following her. Their little family headed over to the park, where Piper spread a blanket out in front of the lake.

"Mellie made us some lunch", said the Native American and sat down.

"That's great!", cheered Tommy. "No cooking done by mom!"

The two men grinned at each other and nodded in silent agreement while the brunette woman huffed in annoyance and pouted. The four of them sat down and started eating. After a few minutes of chewing on the sandwiches, they made themselves some more comfortable. Piper leaned against her husband, feeding him some grapes absentmindedly while reading a book. Jason played pinocle with his son and his best friend. Their joyful afternoon was interrupted as screaming voices neared the lake. The family went silent, sky-blue and dark brown eyes scanning the area for the origin of the sounds. Screaming never meant anything good. Mostly, it meant trouble. For them, it mostly meant gangs or police. They knew it all too well from their time alone on the road. Instead of said kind of trouble however, there was a black-haired youth hastily entering their view. Right behind him was a tall, blonde man, with a deep scar running down beneath his left eye, his posture angry.

"Come back right now!", screamed the blonde.

"No!", replied the teen equally angered. "I... I'm sick and tired of coming back!"

The taller one grabbed his arm in a bruising manner and whirled the boy around.

"And where do you want to go? I'm all you have left. Or do you want to go back to your stepfather? Don't be an idiot, Percy!"

"I'd rather live out on the streets on my own instead of being threatened like shit by you!"

"I get the feeling we're having this exact discussion every fucking week! You're a freak, Percy. Look at what you do, look at what you did. No one will ever accept you aside from me!"

Percy tilted his head down, shrinking some more in his stance. His boyfriend pulled harshly at his arm, causing the teen to stumble behind him. One look was all that Leo and Jason needed before they stood and walked up to the couple, blocking the blonde's way.

"What do you want?", growled the scarred man.

"The boy doesn't look like he wants to go with you", commented Jason, crossing his arms over his chest, leaning against his best friend.

"It's none of your business", replied the blonde man.

"But we're making it our business", countered Leo, his eyes sweeping over to Percy, but those beautiful green eyes were fixed on the ground.

"And why? What does it matter to you what I do with my boyfriend?", demanded Percy's boyfriend to know. "I can do to him whatever I want! He's mine!"

While he was still speaking, he could feel a fist connecting with his yaw. In his surprise, his hold on the one he considered his property loosened. His face burned, in more than just the pain of being hit. It felt strangely warm.

"He's not your possession. He's not a thing you can throw around the way you like! He's a human being, he's bright and he is beautiful and he deserves so much better than you!", declared the Latino with fire in his eyes.

He tried to control himself and it was Jason's hand on his shoulder that calmed him down some. The piece of shit in front of him raised his hand to strike the Latino, but a slender hand gripped his wrist and stopped him mid-strike.

"Don't, Luke. You don't want to get into a fight. Let's just... go home...", whispered Percy.

Luke turned around in irritation, freeing his hand and by doing so striking his boyfriend square in the face. The sea-green eyed boy went down, hitting the ground hard. In the next second, Jason lunged at the other blonde while the Latino bend down and helped the teen up, pulling him to his chest and holding him close.

"No", interrupted Leo bothered. "You're not going back with that bastard, Percy."

It was the first time the black-haired boy looked up. Surprised green eyes locked with brown ones. Luke snorted as the other blonde easily broke his nose with one strike.

"What do you even want? Believe me, it's not him", grinned the scarred man wickedly. "He's a freak. Once you know what he does... you'll just toss him back on the streets and he'll return to me anyway. Why not skip that part and let him go with me?"

Percy flinched at the insulting name, shrinking in Leo's arms. The Latino tightened his hold on the teen some more, trying to control his anger best as he could as the boy tried to wriggle free.

"He's... Luke's right... It's none of your business, just get back to your family and leave us alone... You wouldn't... want to have anything to do with me...", muttered the green-eyed male.

Thunder rumbled through the clouds and cold rain started to break down on them. Jason regarded the scarred man with a furious glare as the wind whirled around him.

"You have no idea how much I hate the word freak", growled Jason.

"The only thing he is is special", muttered Leo, his fingers gliding through the black silken hair, his eyes glaring at the disgusting blonde. "And you will never even come near him, much less touch him. If I ever see your face again, you'll regret it more than anything before in your life."

He talked himself into a rage, the cold rain hitting him causing his heated skin to steam. Wide green eyes stared at him in awe and wonder as the Latino grabbed Luke's collar and his hand caught fire.

"Did you understand me, asshole?", asked Leo pointedly.

"Yeah, asshole. Did you understand him?", repeated Jason with a smirk, the rain and wind whirling around him meaningfully.

Luke stared from one to the other, his eyes wide in fear and disbelief.

"You... You're like him...", breathed Luke. "You are all freaks!"

The blonde freed himself and stumbled away, running as fast as his legs could carry him. Another pair of disbelieving eyes stared at him and Percy backed off slowly, fearfully. Jason flickered his wrist and the storm subsided.

"Percy, calm down", whispered Leo with raised hands.

"But... What... How... I've never met anyone like me...", muttered the teen confused.

The water of the lake rippled, waves building up until they swept over the shore to kiss Percy's feet. The teen looked nervous and frightened, causing the water to act up.

"We're mutants, yeah", answered Jason slowly. "I can control the weather and Leo can bend fire."

"Uncle Leo! Daddy! Is everything alright?", interrupted Tommy's worried voice them.

"Yeah, buddy, we're fine", reassured the Latino.

"Then how about you come back here so we can eat in peace? And bring our guest with you!", called Piper over to them.

"I'm Jason Grace, Leo's best friend. I've heard that you already met my son Tommy. And this beautiful woman over there is my wife, Piper", introduced Jason, leading them back to the blanket.

Piper smiled up at the teen and patted the spot next to her. Uncertain green eyes searched for Leo's, a silent question being asked before the Latino took his hand into his own and pulled him down.

"Don't worry so much, Percy", whispered Leo into the boy's ear, his thumb caressing the teen's hand, the fingers of his other hand slowly stroking Percy's face, tracing the spot beneath his eye that certainly would bruise.

"Bu... But does she know...? Or... is she one, too?", whispered Percy back.

"She knows. But she's not like us", replied the older male.

"Boys", chided the Native American. "I'm here, you know. Don't talk like I'm not."

"I—I'm sorry, ma'am!", apologized the teen hastily.

"First things first; never call me ma'am again! I'm Piper. And don't look so scared, I won't bite. None of us will bite you, Percy", smiled Piper.

"Yeah. Daddy said you'll stay with us now, Percy!", cheered Tommy and jumped the teen.

"Wh—What?", gasped Percy in utter disbelief.

"How often did I tell you not to eavesdrop on us?", scowled Jason before turning to Percy. "Yes, I did tell Leo that if you don't have a place to stay, you can always stay with us. We should stick together."

"But... But you don't even know me!", protested the green-eyed male.

"And you don't know us", replied Piper with a shrug. "How about we change that?"

Leo nodded and leaned back some, his eyes locking with Percy's.

"Jason and I met as teens. His mom was a constantly drunk and his sister ran away with sixteen, joining a girls gang called the Hunters. He ran away and we met. I've been on the way for some time back then. My mother had died in a fire I had caused when I was young and couldn't control my powers. I've been handed from foster home to foster home and ran away again and again. We were teens and hit it off right away. We stole a car and traveled through the country, working here and there to get some money. Until we've reached Los Angeles and met Piper. That lovesick puppy next to me couldn't leave her side again and we settled down. They got married and Tommy came, the end", paraphrased the Latino.

"You... you caused...", started Percy, but he stopped himself.

"I caused my mother's death", nodded Leo. "I've been guilt-written for the longest of times, but I now know that it was hardly my fault and that she loved me."

"What about you, Percy?", asked Piper genuinely curious.

The teen averted his eyes, shifting awkwardly. "I've always been... different... And that had scared my stepfather... He used to beat me and when... my mother first found out, she packed our stuff and wanted to leave with me... But it was winter and the streets were frozen and she was in such an angry hurry that she lost the control and... our car hit the lake, frozen lake... She... drowned next to me while I couldn't understand why I was still breathing... After some time, I've been able to free myself, but it was way too late for my mother... If I would have been faster..."

"It's not your fault, Percy", whispered the Latino, wrapping one arm soothingly around his shoulders and pulling him close. "What happened then?"

"I... I thought they would blame me... or worse... that they would send me back to my stepfather... So I ran... I've been twelve... I ran for months on my own, until I met Luke... He... took me in and even though I'm different... he still stayed at my side... He said... no one would... accept someone like me and that he would protect me from others... But he changed... I thought he was genuine, but then... He started so see me as a valuable possession..."

Leo tenderly stroke the teen's arm, wrapping both his arms around the younger male's waist.

"And when did he start to beat you?", murmured the Latino, a shadow passing over his face.

"I don't know... I think it was... two or three years ago when other boys started to look at me... He was very jealous and... I often tried to run away, but... there was no place I could go to... I'm a minor and there is no one... So I always came back to him...", answered Percy.

"But you don't have to return to him anymore. You can stay with us for as long as you want to", offered Leo with a soft smile.

"I don't want to intrude, I'll gladly take you up on your offer, but only until I'm eighteen. My mother's testament will be opened at my eighteenth and with the money I can start a new life. I promise I won't be a bother for you."

"I'm sure you won't", grinned Piper. "And now eat something. You're way too skinny."

Percy blinked up at her and took the offered sandwich.

It had been four weeks now.

The initial shock of the McLean Mansion was hard to overcome, but after a few days of waking up in a bed as big as his former bedroom and in a bedroom as big as his former apartment, he got used to it. Percy spend most of his time outside in the park-like garden, talking to the fishes in the bond.

The Grace-family introduced him to the different servants of whom he got along with some more than he did with others.

There was Tommy's nanny Missus Lupa, a scary woman that reminded him of a wolf. Percy was sure she would eat him alive if they were ever alone, so he tried to stay away from her.

The Hedge-couple was living at their place, too. She was the cook and he was the gardener.

At first Percy had been intimidated by Mister McLean, the master of the house and Piper's father. But he soon learned that the man was soft and lovingly. He was surprised at how fatherly the man was to him even though Percy was a complete stranger.

There was a woman – Miss Reyna Anderson – coming and going frequently. She was probably the strangest woman Percy had ever met. Rather cold and hard, but with fond eyes when she looked at Jason. It didn't take long for Percy to understand that Reyna was in love with Jason. And that Piper would love to get rid of Reyna, but she and Jason were partners at the corporation they were working at. And the love between Piper and Jason was strong enough to withstand the temptation of the beautiful, cold woman.

Jason was the one helping Percy the most – at least with his powers. The weather controller and his rain were a perfect opportunity for Percy to train his ability.

While her husband trained him, Piper did her very best to tend to the teen. She forced him in a friendly way to gain some weight and dotted him like a mother hen. Needless to say, Percy bathed in the attention.

And little Tommy was like the adorable little brother he never had. The two of them played together all the time, pranking everyone in the house – except for Lupa because they were both too scared of her. But they were having much fun together.

The last one in the household was Leo. Percy was grateful, because if it wasn't for Leo, he would still be with Luke. Though it disturbed Percy how much he relied on the Latino by now. He tried to spend as much time with Leo as possible, enjoying every second. Their conversations – about their powers, about their mothers, about everything – were so much more real and honest than anything he ever had with Luke. And with each and every day he felt himself falling more and more for the fire-bender. Leo was witty, funny and handsome. He was strong and he was practically Percy's other half. The fire to his water.

"Do that again!", cheered Tommy loudly.

"What are you two up to now?", interrupted Jason irritated, entering their living room.

Tommy and Percy were in front of the chimney, the teen whirling some pearls of water around the fire while the little boy giggled highly amused.

"Nothing!", answered the duo in fake innocence.

Both shrieked away as the flames burst up some, causing Jason to laugh loudly. Leo, emerging from behind his best friend, chuckled lowly.

"Don't play with fire, Percy. It could burn you", warned the Latino with a small smile.

The green-eyed male huffed in irritation and stood, walking up to Leo until they were nose to nose. The olive-skinned man blushed slightly at the close proximity. It took everything for Leo to hold back in the past weeks and really, Percy made it darn hard.

"No", objected the teen, his eyes sparkling with mischief. "No fire would burn me as long as you're close, Valdez."

The electricity between them was hard to deny, but the moment was ruined as cold water poured down over the Latino and Percy laughed softly.

"Payback is a bitch, Valdez", grinned the teen and ran, closely followed by Tommy.

As soon as the two boys were out of the room, Leo turned around to face his best friend, who handed him a towel to dry himself. Cursing in Spanish, he rubbed his hair.

"You got yourself a vixen, Leo", commented his best friend.

"I got myself nothing", grunted the Latino. "We're just friends. There's nothing more."

"That's because you're too dumb to make the first step", interjected Piper, entering through the window doors connecting the living room with the garden.

"You're right with that one", agreed her husband.

"He's a minor! How am I supposed to do the first step? It's not legal and why in the world should he want me?", growled Leo desperately. "Besides, if I would have started hitting on him, how would that have looked? Like I've just helped him to get into his pants?"

"You should trust his instincts some more, Leo", noted Piper's father, who came in after his daughter, his arms crossed over his chest, a mild smile on his lips.

"What do you mean, sir?", asked the Latino with pleading eyes.

"The boy knows humans, he's good at measuring one's character", explained Tristan. "And I have to agree with Piper and Jason. You should make the first step soon. He's a pearl, even though he's been through hell, he's still such a bright and happy person. He won't wait for you forever, you know that, right? There are plenty of others out there who could snatch him away from you if you're not cautious. I'll give you this advice because you're like a son to me. He can be your one. I see the way you look at him and I know that look, it's the same I had when I was looking at Piper's mother. You shouldn't let him slip away from your grasp."

"I... I guess you're right", smiled Leo and nodded.

"And I know the perfect opportunity!", grinned Piper broadly.

"Really now?", snorted the Latino and rolled his eyes.

"Yeah. Mellie had been planning this birthday party for days now and it's the perfect opportunity to declare your undying love!", giggled the Native American.

"Perfect plan", nodded her husband supportive. "You heard that, Valdez? You're going to do what she says."

"Because it's not enough that you do whatever she says?", grunted Leo with a half smirk.

"No, because my daughter is a bright young woman and she's always right", grinned Tristan.

"Exactly!", agreed Piper with a cheeky grin.

"Alright, alright, I submit to your higher level of intelligence and your masterplan, oh great and awesome Piper!", laughed the Latino. "I'll tell him tomorrow."

The curly-haired man shook his head hand left the living room. It got late and his friends would soon tuck their kid in anyway. Why not hit his cushions early, too? The sheer thought of telling the beautiful teen how much he was in love with him was exhausting in itself.

The past four weeks had been horrible. He enjoyed every single second with the green-eyed boy, training with him, talking with him, just sitting together with him. The two of them would sit on the bench in front of the pond and watch the sunset, playing with fire and water like those two belonged together. Percy was cute and joyful – even after everything that had happened. Leo had once asked him why he was still so full of life and the reply he got was stunning. Sally Jackson, Percy's deceased mother, had thought her son that everything in life happened out of a reason, to make one stronger. And a Jackson never lets life win, a Jackson always laughs in the face of sadness. Leo was impress by this inner strength. And those beautiful green eyes, they were haunting the Latino in his dreams for nights and nights to come. Just like this night.

The hours passed way too fast for his liking, all spend dreaming of Percy's eyes and laugh and body and how good the slender boy would feel beneath him.

"Leo, Leo, wake up!", was the first thing he heard when waking up.

The Latino groaned and blinked in irritation at all the faces in front of him and all the voices talking at once. There were Tristan, Jason, Piper, Tommy, Mellie, hell even Gleeson.

"Valdez, get your lazy ass out of bed!", grunted Gleeson irritated.

"Why? What's the matter?", grunted Leo annoyed.

"Percy is not there!", declared Tommy teary-eyed.

"What's that supposed to mean?", asked the Latino, suddenly wide-awake.

"While we've been busy preparing everything, Tommy couldn't stay put so he ran into Percy's room to wake him up, but Percy wasn't there", answered Piper, her expression troubled.

Leo practically fell out of bed as he tried to get to Percy's room as fast as possible. He stumbled into the bedroom to receive the most disappointing surprise of his life. The bed was neatly done – as always, because Percy never wanted to bother anyone. But there was no sign however that the pretty teen had ever been there. He only had one bag when he moved in and said bag was missing. A single piece of paper was placed on the middle of the bed. In utter disbelieve picked the Latino the paper up and stared at it.

"Am at my mother's probate...", read the curly-haired man to himself.

"Oh Leo, I'm so sorry", whispered Piper behind him.

"Can... Can you leave me alone for some time?", muttered Leo, crumbling the paper in his hand.

"Take your time, buddy", nodded Jason and led his wife out of the room.

Throwing the letter in a corner, he let himself fall onto the bed. This just couldn't be true! The day he decided to tell Percy about his feelings couldn't be the day the sea-green eyed beauty disappeared from his life forever! He should have calculated that differently... Percy had said from scratch one that he'd only stay until his mother's probate. He stayed in the bed for the rest of the day until the sun set again, ignoring his friends' attempts to get him out there.

"You know, if you won't get out of that bed soon, you'll miss one hell of a dinner."

"What?", exclaimed the Latino wide-eyed, bolting up into a sitting position.

"The food? I've heard Mellie working in the kitchen when I came back...", drawled Percy.

"What... are you doing here? The note...", muttered Leo confused

"The note?", chuckled the teen, slowly walking up to the Latino. "It just said that I went to my mother's probate. Not that I won't return. After all..." Percy paused, standing in front of the older male and slowly straddling Leo's hips. "There's something worth returning to here..."

"You talking about me?", smirked Leo and tilted his head up, burying his hands in the soft hair.

"No, I meant Mellie's cooking. Haven't eaten that good in years", replied Percy, before laughing softly. "Of course I've meant you. You know you said that once I've turned eighteen and if I'm single at that time, you'd rock my world... You going to stay true to your words?"

"Why, I wouldn't have thought you'd be that straight forward", muttered Leo surprised.

"I've waited for you to make the first step for way too long now... So... I'm going to kiss you now and then we'll go downstairs for dinner, because I've heard that Mellie had a full-blown party all planned out... And then... You're going to keep your promise...", suggested Percy with a grin.

"I think... I agree to that plan", nodded Leo with a very broad grin.

His hand on the teen's neck pulled the water-bender down into a soft and passionate kiss.

"I love you", breathed the Latino against the swollen lips.

"I don't know if I love you just yet", replied Percy after a short pause. "But I like you very much and I like spending time with you... If that's enough for you for now..."

"I can wait as long as you need time, Perce", reassured the fire-bender.

~*~ The End ~*~