It's a quarter to midnight when Piper finally realizes that, after an hour of tossing and turning, sleep probably isn't going to come easily to her tonight.

Heaving a sigh, she swings her legs over the side of her bed and stands up, blinking a few times to adjust her eyes to the dim light. Every muscle in her body feels like it's been repeatedly worked over with Leo's flaming hammer.

Now that I'm awake, where do I go?

Piper considers the main deck (where Leo is surely still awake despite the fact that he must be exhausted from the fight at the Doors), but decides against it. She's only wearing a thin Camp Half-Blood t-shirt and a pair of pajama shorts that Lacey let (read: forced) her to borrow—an outfit that doesn't provide much protection against the cold temperatures that the ship tends to hit at this altitude.

That leaves the lounge, which is kind of dark and creepy at this hour of night, although it does have the benefit of a twenty-four/seven hot chocolate supply. Resignedly, she crosses to the door and eases it open, then slips through into the hallway outside.

At first, when she enters the lounge, she believes it to be empty. That's when she sees Percy, his gaunt face washed in the light from the television on the opposite wall, curled up in one of the massage chairs.

"Oh—sorry, Percy," Piper says hurriedly, taking a step back through the doorway. "I didn't realize anybody would be in here—"

"No, no, it's totally fine." Percy starts to sit up before hissing in pain and pressing a hand to his ribs; he falls back against the chair, his face white with pain.

"You should be in bed," Piper whispers, taking three long steps across the room to avoid making too much noise (thank the gods she remembered to put on socks) and dropping to her knees beside Percy's chair. "Let me look—you busted yourself up pretty badly."

"That's an understatement," he mumbles, pushing his hair out of his eyes with one hand and tugging his shirt over his head with the other. "And I know I should be in bed, but I just can't sleep."

Piper skims her fingers over the bandages covering Percy's ribs and waist—they appear to be undisturbed, with no sign of the injuries underneath reopening. "Are you having nightmares, too?"

"Yep," Percy says, popping the p. "And they suck. I wanted to go find Annabeth—I think the dreams wouldn't be so bad if I had her with me—but she really needs to rest, and I don't want to wake her up just because I'm having nightmares like a six-year-old."

She doesn't know quite how to respond, but Percy solves that by patting the space next to him invitingly. "Come sit with me."

Piper eyes the chair—it's fairly wide, but she'll be pretty squashed against Percy if she does sit down. Her exhaustion gets the better of her, though, so she drops down and wedges herself into the corner of the seat.

"What's on TV?" she asks, mostly to break the silence that's fallen over the two of them.

Percy, who's flicking through channels on the giant flatscreen, gives a noncommittal grunt. "Some crappy made-for-TV movie... a Supernatural marathon... Pawn Stars... the Weather Channel?" He glances over at her. "No?"

"No," she says decidedly. "Let's keep looking."

He obligingly passes a couple more channels. Piper doesn't notice anything of interest until—

"Holy Hera, it's Lilo and Stitch!" She turns excitedly to Percy. "I haven't seen that movie in forever!"

Percy laughs. "It's an oldie, but a goodie. Want to watch? It's just starting."

"Was that a rhetorical question, Jackson?" she replies, grinning at him.

They sit through the movie and laugh at each other and sing along to the background music (Piper is surprised at just how well Percy knows his Elvis Presley songs). By the end, Percy's got one arm around Piper and she's got her feet in his lap—as if they've known each other for years.

"Thanks for that, Pipes," Percy mumbles, his voice thick with exhaustion. "It really helped clear my head."

On impulse, Piper lurches forward and kisses Percy's cheek, like a younger sister might. "You're welcome, Perce. Now go to bed before I sic Coach on you."

He laughs, disentangles himself from her, and gets up, heading down the hallway back to his room. Piper stands in the doorway and watches him go, and she can't help the smile that settles onto her face.


I guess this is sort of a companion piece to "Of Milk and Being a Hero". I imagine Piper and Percy being total bros, bonding over a shared love of surfing and their records of juvenile delinquency :D

Anyway, hope you guys liked this, and don't forget to leave a review!