A/N: A short, crappy, and VERY ambiguous piece of angst my keyboard puked out at, like, 1 am at night in a moment of insomnia, serious feels, and my weird obsession with obscure rock bands. Since most (*ahem*ALL) of the Lazel writers are doing post-War oneshots, thought I'd give it a try.
Inspired by the song "The Grey" by Icon for Hire. Not necessary to listen to it, but it's amazing nonetheless.
Written for and inspired by CoffeeLazelMockingjaysO.O aka the ever-awesome Ives: who read this over beforehand, and promptly made me blush via excessive smiley faces and exclamation marks. From one admiring aspiring author to another. :)
Also, fair warning: character death and A LOT of angsty Leo/Hazel ahead. Don't say I didn't warn you. Sorry for the long AN. All typos are mine. Happy(ish?) reading.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own HoO. Because we all know it's Frazel. And RR would not do what I did.
"You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not."
― Jodi Picoult
The wisps of smoke that curled into the air were like dancing swans: delicate and ethereal. The strands of white were like streaks of paint as they made their way across the lavender evening sky, the sun occasionally weaving in and out of the clouds.
The endless screeching of metal against the earth didn't relent, as burning embers and debris were cleared away, the bodies of the dead taken out of sight - for the prospect of death was too much to handle for those who had already faced much worse.
At long last, those wearing tattered orange t-shirts held out hands to those of barely-there purple t-shirts, all enmity forgotten, as shoulders were offered to cry on, and hands were offered to be held. Words of comfort and consolation were whispered, and soon the rivalry between the two dissipated involuntarily.
There was only one thing in the entire world that could build walls between people as well as take them down.
It was like a speeding bullet, ripping through the fabric of whatever relations the camps had built between each other. The wrath of Gaea and their minions had been faced, and the Giants power had never dwindled, as day by day, the cracks grew between camps, and slabs of stone were sealed for Mother Earth. In the end, evil rose, and darkness fell upon the light. There was no hope and no happiness. There was nothing but the endless grey.
The girl sat alone; her back hunched in an aberrant arch, on the steps of one of the few cabins that had survived the destruction. Her arms were on her knees, concealing her face that was buried within them, as she let out all the emotions she had been keeping for so long. Too long, some may have said.
There were people around her; too many to notice her presence. After all, being one of the seven who had closed the Doors of Death didn't matter more than being assured that the ones you cared for were still breathing. Well, at least for now.
Even though the War had ended, she knew the price was too great. There were too many deaths and too many tears. And she'd lost too much, more than she had before, but this time she knew she was never going to get a second chance.
She was the golden girl; the one who rarely cried, and the one always who had high-hopes; the one who was ready to fight and had a person of her own. She was fierce, headstrong, and slightly stubborn; but that was what made her who she was.
So when everything went wrong, she didn't know whether she had the permission to break down.
It seemed that the people around her had forgotten how smiles can mask pain; how even those with the most cheerful of stances could hold a much darker – and broken – persona. They knew she was strong – and she truly was – but sometimes she wished everyone didn't think so highly of her.
She'd never forget him; and his face, his eyes, his lips. He was there with her, not there, but in her heart, a place where one too many people had ended up.
She knew her problem. She cared too much for too many people. So when one of them left, she took it too hard. She broke. And now all her fierceness was gone. No longer was she made of steel – now she was glass: flimsy, fragile, breakable glass.
And it had never felt worse. Even when they tried to help her.
All those hugs, those kisses, those whispers. Nothing, absolutely nothing helped her. Even when she saw him in her dreams, there was nothing to help her grief. He was gone, and there was nothing she could do about it.
And she wasn't willing anyone else to, either. Especially not him.
He was a spirit of effulgence; his smile never wavering, even in the most brutal of battles. He was ready with a riposte, a joke, or even a pick-up line whenever necessary. She didn't know how he did it, but he always managed to keep hope . . . even in the darkest of times.
So when he offered her his hand, she had no choice to take it. Even when she knew the consequences would be severe.
With guilt, a part of her knew that he was the one. It was his arms that should've encased her, his hands that should've been squeezing hers, his lips that should've been against her own. Not the other one's. Not Frank's, but Leo's.
However, when Frank called her, cried out for her, even in pain, she never looked back. She never looked at what she was losing. And now she didn't regret anything more.
He tried to comfort her, but it became evident she missed him. She missed him too much for her to forget. And the sight of Percy and Annabeth didn't help. Nor did Jason and Piper. She was cold and alone. Nothing left but herself, and herself only.
Or so she thought.
He came just after she let the tears fall. She didn't know how he came just then, but she didn't care, even after he called her name more times than he needed to.
That was it. She couldn't take it anymore. After all that time listening to the way her name was said through hislips, listening to it from another pair was too much for her. She wasn't afraid of him watching her, and she didn't reply – not because she didn't want to, but because she couldn't.
And then he sat down next to her, the warmth of his body against hers, trying his best to say words of comfort, to tell her things would be okay, even if they were all blatant lies.
"Hazel, please." His voice was hoarse and exhausted, and she knew why. She wasn't the only who had shed tears. "Please look at me. Hazel."
But she never did. And she didn't want to either.
Even when he shook her, cried out her name, and did everything he could, she didn't look at him. Because she knew if she did, he'd see how weak she had become and have walked away. She was afraid of losing the only person she had left. The only person who cared. The only person alive.
"Hazel," Leo whispered. "I know that – it hurts, but . . . oh, gods, Hazel, just please. Come on, Hazel. Please." He sounded close to tears himself, maybe out of desperation, or maybe out of fatigue, but it was clear he needed her. And she needed him.
She just never realized it, because the memories of himkept playing over. The way the flames danced around him like vines of red and yellow, the way they licked him and his face, the way his mouth formed his last word – her name – before being engulfed by the monster.
And the way he looked when he saw what he had done, and the way he broke when she fell to the floor, not crying, but frozen.
He regretted not saying anything then. He regretted not holding her as she cried. He would've tried now, but he knew if he did, she'd turn away. Away from the monster he was: the repugnant, dejected monster who had killed one of his friends . . . all because he couldn't control his powers, because he fell for the enticement of power; for everything.
So when he saw the blotches of wetness expand on her shirt sleeves, the customary shaking of her shoulders, and the muffled heavy breathing, it was then he knew what to do. He didn't speak, and neither did she, but it was of both of their unspoken accord did he wrap his arms around her, and pull her into his shoulder, his sobs resonating throughout his entire body.
He felt his lips brought down to her forehead, and her fingers finding his before entwining them tightly. He didn't care that she was soaking his already-tattered, blood-stained, and half-ripped shirt. He didn't care that his friends were shooting both of them looks, asking unsaid questions, minds racing in assumption. He especially didn't care when she brought one hand to his shoulder, pulling him closer and closer, seeking nothing but reassurance that he would be there, perpetually.
And right now, he was surer of that than anything.
As Hazel's sobs racked through her tiny body, Leo felt the need to say something, anything to her about how he felt. About the way he felt his heart race when she smiled, the way his world lit up when she laughed, and the way he felt like breaking when she cried.
He wanted to tell her so many things, but managed nothing but her name. He breathed in her scent: blood, dirt, burnt clothing, and all, and had never found anything better. He wanted to stay like this forever, never letting her go, and never feeling nothing but her.
So when she finally ceased her sobs, and removed her head from his soaked shoulder, he had never felt worse. But it was only when she brought her lips to his ear to whisper one and one thing only, he was sure of everything. And nothing at the same time. Because all she had – and still was – whispered was simplest of all litanies: his name, and nothing more.
In a way, he thought she wanted to assure herself that he was still there, or maybe she simply wanted to say the name of someone she cared for. Either way, he knew she said it best.
And she knew that the next time she'd break, there'd always be someone to pick up the shards and slowly put her back together, no matter what.
A/N: Sucked, didn't it? Didn't expect any less. Sorry if you were seriously confused, but to clear it up:
Leo complied, Frank died, and Hazel cried. The "he"s in italics were referring to Leo. So, yeah.
Anyways, thanks for putting up with my horrible attempt at angsty Lazel. I just had to deal with the random onslaught of feels. This was kind of cathartic, I guess. And this will be my last Lazel one-shot(ish thing) for a quite a while. Taking a PJO hiatus. So I might as well go out with wet hugs and overly used "broken" metaphors. Poll on my profile. Check it out.
Random question for readers: what are your thoughts on a Broken!Leo fanfic? Or is it overused?
So, tell me what you thought, give me feedback, and of course: REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW. Whether it's a simple smiley face or a page long novel, reviews make my day so much better. I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts on my half-assed attempt at writing!
Until next time, fanfictioners,