Finally! After five years of fandom, I have my own PJO story!
Takes place in March, three months after Jason, Piper, and Leo's quest.
Inspired by Christina Perri's song A Thousand Years.
WARNING: This story drips fluff like Medusa's severed head drips green goo.
Heart beats fast,
Colors and promises.
How to be brave?
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.
Piper sat in the dark, staring into the dim flicker of a bronze brazier. It was past curfew, and she knew she could get eaten by harpies or some other something if she was caught, but she didn't care. Darn Aphrodite. Seeing possibilities might be helpful, but right now it felt more like a curse. She didn't want to keep seeing what could have been; she wanted to forget the past and move on. She was tired of the dreams and fake memories that haunted her, filling her head with futile wishes and meaningless, Mist-induced dreams. Half of her wanted to track down Hera and imprison her again in retribution, but the other half was pathetically grateful to the goddess for letting her meet Jason.
Back to Jason. No matter what she did or how busy she kept herself, no matter how tired she was, Piper's thoughts always came back to him. She shredded a clump of grass between her fingers and threw the scraps into the fire. She watched them shrivel and turn brown before crumbling into ash.
Gods, I'm being such a drama queen! Mom's fault.
The truth was, she loved Jason. Even if he hadn't really been her boyfriend, she had fallen in love with him all over again in the three months since the Grand Canyon Incident. He was kind and sweet and ridiculously, adorably awkward at times; his smile made her heart do gymnastics. He was a good listener, and fiercely loyal. He had seen her cry, seen her sleepless in three-day-old clothes, listened to how she had planned to betray him, but still he trusted her. He was smart and powerful and good in a fight. And, of course, he wasn't exactly ill-fated in the looks department either.
She loved him, and it hurt. His memory was coming back slowly, in bits and pieces, and it was infuriating him. It was confusing and nerve-wracking, and often led to a heated conversation with Chiron or Leo or herself, followed by an intense session of chop-the-dummy-to-pieces-with-your-gladius. Watching the toll it took on him was almost as painful as the ache in her chest.
One of his earliest recollections had been of a girl named Reyna. The knowledge had eaten at him for a while before he had confessed it to her. She had swallowed hard before asking if Reyna had been his girlfriend, and Jason had looked guiltily at he and told her he couldn't be sure. He had told her eight weeks and four days ago (not that she was counting), and the other girl had felt like a silent presence whenever Jason and Piper were alone. Jason still couldn't answer her question, still couldn't remember what Reyna had meant to him. It was driving Piper mad. She wanted so badly to try, just to give dating Jason for real a shot, but she didn't want to make the blonde boy do anything he'd regret. She saw how desperately Annabeth mourned Percy; she didn't want to think what Annabeth would do if they reached the Roman camp to find him in the arms of another girl. She didn't want this Reyna to feel like that, if Jason really was hers. She didn't want to betray Jason by having him cheat on a girl he couldn't remember.
But the gods could strike her down if she wasn't tempted. If she had a golden drachma for every time in the last three months that she had desperately wanted to kiss him, she could probably buy out the camp store.
Piper threw another fistful of grass into the brazier. She wished she could sleep.
The sun beat down on Jason's back as he walked down the Via Principalis, heading toward his house. When he arrived, he saw Reyna sitting on the front step, her mane of dark hair surrounding her face. "Nice day," she said.
Reyna was talking about the weather?"Hey," he replied. "What's going on?"
She hesitated, biting her lip. Jason's thoughts churned. Reyna neverhesitated. "Can we talk?" her voice was oddly subdued.
"Sure. What about?"
"This." Reyna got up off the steps and walked toward Jason, stopping when they were inches apart. Then she leaned in and kissed him. He kissed her back for a moment, then pulled away, eyes wide.
"Reyna, I—I like you, but I don't know if…" How could he explain? He liked Reyna, sure. He respected her. The two of them had similar values—duty, responsibility, courage. But the affection he felt toward her wasn't what he would call romantic. How to tell her?
Finally, he settled for saying that he wasn't sure if he wanted to be anybody's boyfriend right then.
"That's alright, Jason, if you don't like me like that," she replied, unfazed. "I'm willing to wait. If you ever change your mind, I'll be there."
I'll be there…
The scene changed. The sun still shone on his back, but that was the only similarity. Piper sat beside him on a bench, wearing jeans and a Camp Half-Blood t-shirt. She looked nervous and hopeful and a little sad. "Was she your … girlfriend?" she asked.
"I'm not sure," Jason answered. A strange feeling of guilt filled him—he wished he had a better answer. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be." she replied. "You'll figure it out. And when you do, I'll be there. Promise."
Jason sat up so suddenly that he cracked his head against a stone wall. His eyes flew open. The events of his dream flooded through his head. But it wasn't a dream—not really. He wasn't sure how he knew it, but he was certain. It had been a memory. He'd remembered Reyna.
He rubbed his head, struggling to get his bearings. He was in the Zeus cabin, in Thalia's old alcove behind the hippie statue. He looked up at the starry ceiling and judged the time to be somewhere in the middle of the night.
He'd remembered Reyna. Jason sighed and leaned back, resting his head on the side of the alcove. Then he reached over and pulled on a shirt. Piper. He had to find Piper.
There was a rustle outside the glow of the brazier. Piper jolted to her feet, wondering vaguely if charmspeak worked on harpies.
Then Jason stepped into the small circle of firelight.
Piper quickly regained her composure. "Whoa; Jason Grace, out after curfew? I thought you Romans didn't have a break-the-rules gene."
He chuckled. "And what's your excuse? You're a head counselor. Aren't you supposed to be setting an example?"
"Got me there."
"Were you expecting someone?"
"Harpies," she admitted.
"Really, Piper. What's the matter?" He came a little closer and sat down on the ground, close enough to be considered siting next to her but too far to touch.
She dropped her gaze. "Couldn't sleep."
She nodded. It was close enough to the truth. "You?"
"Same." He seemed to be thinking hard about a complex problem.
"What did you dream ab—" she started asking at the same time as Jason said, "Piper, I have something to—no. Nevermind. You first."
"What did you dream about?" she asked.
Jason seemed almost relieved, as if he'd wanted to say something, but hadn't known how to start, and she'd just given him an opportunity.
"You remember that girl I told you about? Reyna?"
No, she thought to herself. Of course I haven't been thinking about what is probably the biggest obstacle in becoming your girlfriend. Well, other than me being Greek and you being Roman. Oh, and the rising of the giants, and Gaea, and… Whatever."Yes," she said aloud before Jason could notice her silence. "I remember."
"I dreamed about her," he said, and it sounded like a confession. "I remembered who she was. Is."
"And…" Piper trailed off, half-dreading the answer. All the theories she'd had about Reyna's identity flooded to the forefront of her mind. Was she another Roman? Was she a mortal friend, like Percy was friends with Rachel Elizabeth Dare? And, of course, Was she his girlfriend?
Darn Aphrodite for her overactive imagination.
"She's from Camp Jupiter," Jason said. "She was the other praetor." He hesitated.
"Was she your girlfriend?" Piper asked the same question she'd had the first time Jason had told her about Reyna.
"No," he said, and Piper froze. This seemed to make Jason nervous, and the rest of his explanation came out in a rush. "She liked me. She even kissed me once. But we never really dated. It was kinda one-sided…" He blushed as red as a strawberry. "Piper? Are you okay?"
Piper couldn't move. Couldn't think. Couldn't breathe. Reyna wasn't his girlfriend. Jason had no reason to feel guilty about dating Piper. Piper had no reason to feel guilty about that constant urge to kiss him.
"Piper? Piper, talk to me." Jason's face was inches from hers, his expression anxious, the firelight making his eyes glow a midnight blue.
"Jason," she gasped. Then, without her consent, her hands came up and gripped his face. The distance between them shrank to nothing as she pressed her mouth to his.
For a moment, he didn't kiss her back, and she worried he'd push her away in disgust. But then his body came to life, and his arms wrapped around her, and he was holding her like she was his lifeline and kissing her like he needed it more than breathing.
But he did need to breathe, and she did, too, though she wished she didn't. Piper thought she would happily suffocate if she would die kissing Jason.
They pulled apart, breathing hard, their foreheads pressed together and their noses touching. Piper's eyes met his and they were glowing with the reflection of the fire.
"Jason," she whispered his name again. "I think—I think I might be in love with you."
Jason let out a shaky breath, like a laugh. "I think I might love you back," he said quietly.
This time, he was the one who kissed her. His lips were warm and firm, and they molded against hers, a perfect fit. He tasted like green apples and honey and something else that was purely his own. He had an arm around her waist and a hand behind her head, holding her close like she was a treasure. It was a good thing, too, because Piper felt like she might float away, buoyed by her own happiness, if he let go. She didn't want him to ever let go.
She must have said the last part out loud, because his lips left hers and moved to her ear. "I won't," he said. "Not unless you want me to."
"I don't want you to," she confessed. She felt like a live wire—all exposed ends and sharp edges and full of energy. She twisted towards him, pressing her torso against his so he had no choice but to fall backwards. A small sound escaped Jason's lips, setting her insides to tingling. She propped her elbows on the ground on either side of his shoulders, pinning him. Their lips came together again and the kiss was long and deep and searing. It felt so real, so right, that it made Piper want to shout. "I love you, Jason Grace," she whispered over and over.
After a long while, they pulled away. Piper lay curled on top of Jason, her head tucked under his chin while his fingers played with the pieces of hair that had escaped her braids. She kept on reaching up to stroke his face, and every once in a while he would kiss her fingertips. They talked as they lay there, simply for the pleasure of hearing the other's voice. Finally, Piper asked, "What do we do now?"
Jason sat up, taking Piper with him, his arms still wrapped around her. "Now," he said, brushing his lips across the back of her neck, "we go back to our cabins." He kissed her below her ear. "We get some sleep." He kissed the underside of her jaw. "And I'll see you at breakfast." He pressed his lips to the corner of her mouth.
"And then…" Piper asked, her breath shallow with anticipation of another kiss.
"We see how it goes." He tilted her head till their mouths met, and the world ceased to exist for Piper except for Jason.
She felt him smile against her mouth, and then a laugh rumbled through his chest. "What is it?" she asked.
In the firelight, his face looked years younger, and so handsome, he took her breath away. "Nothing," he said. "I'm just… I'm so glad I met you, Piper McLean."
Piper didn't think it was possible for her to be any happier. "I'm afraid I'm going to wake up and find this was all a dream," she murmured.
She leaned in and kissed the base of his throat. He hissed, then, in a sudden movement, shifted his hands from her hair to her waist and rolled over. His mouth on hers covered her shriek of laughter and surprise. "I love you," he whispered in her ear.
"Love you t—" she froze, as she heard another rustle from outside the light of the brazier.
It looked like she was going to find out if charmspeak worked on harpies, after all.
Happy reading! I hope you liked it!