Fic: Ten Things Percy Loves About Having Sex [Percy Jackson][NC-17]
Fandom: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Characters/Pairings: Percy/everyone/the kitchen sink
Summary: Really, though, sex is not the most dangerous thing he could be doing on a Friday night.
Word Count: 11,200
Notes: This is not my Big Bang. Oops. Um. This is NC-17 bicycle!Percy fic, instead? It's not completely PWP, because I have this bad habit of plot, but it's damn closer than anything else I've ever written, ever. Contains a fair dose of het and slash and pr0n, as well as a (very) brief cameo from our new friends from The Lost Hero (although it hasn't come out yet, so all I really know are their names.)
This is also available @ AO3.
1. He loves how it changes the world.
It's ten in the morning on Saturday. Some Yu-Gi-Oh spinoff show is on Cartoon Network, the streets are flush with tourists and the sunshine has everything set to bright overlay, and Percy slips into his mother's apartment, catching his hand between the door and the jamb to silence its closing, trying not to attract attention to himself.
It doesn't work: there's a scrape of chairs in the kitchen as he's toeing off his sneakers, and next thing he knows, his mother's in the doorway, Paul at her shoulder, a bowl of oatmeal balanced in his hands.
They take one look at him, and Paul puts his spoon back in his bowl and says, "Told you. Walk of shame. Pay up."
"Damn," Sally goes fishing in her pocket.
"Thank you," Percy says indignantly, feeling like he should be offended by the exchange, but it's hard to muster up more than an awkward flush. He kind of wants to slink into the bathroom and lock himself in until Sally and Paul go somewhere else, but neither of them are looking at him with disapproval, which probably violates a rule or two in the parental handguide -- but whatever, he has the most chill parents ever, and since when has regular parenting applied to their family, anyway.
It's not like they don't know where he's been, either, judging by the wry quirk to his mother's mouth and the critical eye his stepfather gives yesterday's clothes. Sally's been extolling the virtues of safe sex since he was sixteen, taking every opportunity to tell him what a bright young girl Annabeth is and how promising her future's shaping out to be, and he's not sure if it's possible to be blueballed by your mom, but Sally certainly tried.
And anyway, it's not like sex with Annabeth is the most dangerous thing he can get up to on a Friday night. If his mom asked him, "where were you," he could answer, "sex and booze," and she'd probably go, "oh, thank God, you had me worried there for a moment."
So while he isn't necessarily ashamed after his walk of shame, he also really doesn't want to have this conversation right now.
"I'm a -- just," he offers, making a gesture towards the bathroom like it says everything for him, and escapes.
It's only when he's standing in front of the mirror, plucking at the collar of his stretched shirt, which is bunched up where Annabeth tugged on it hard enough to leave the imprint of her fist, that it truly hits him, and everything in the world just kind of tilts sideways, becoming softer and quieter and strange-lit like an overhead slide gone out of focus.
He goes around like that for the rest of the day, feeling strange and out-of-body, like everyone should look at him and know exactly what's different, what's changed; that yesterday he and Annabeth were hanging out, goofing off, doing nothing of import, and the next moment, it seemed like, she was stepping out of her underwear and sliding into his lap and he had no idea, no idea what he'd done to deserve it, just that he was terrified of screwing it up, of scaring her off, and now here he was, the next day, and nobody knew what he'd gone through, how much it felt like falling and flying at exactly the same time.
It's so weird. Something as big and tectonic as losing his virginity should show on a surface level, shouldn't it?
And really, how can the rest of the world be the same?
Does everybody go through this? he thinks, catching his reflection in the glass of the subway car. He pulls at the skin on his cheeks, pushes his tongue into them to make them distend, but he doesn't look any different, and it seems inconceivable.
When he gets home, his mom and stepdad are out, and the message light is blinking on the house phone.
"Hey, listen," comes Annabeth's voice, and dear Zeus's golden sandals, his knees actually go weak. Fuck. "You should come over. Katie's girlfriend has been monster-scouting out in the Midwest, so we got more maps from her, and I could use your help getting them scanned and put online. Okay, cool, see you, then." Click.
Percy heads into the study to log onto Facebook and tell her that yeah, he'd be over there, and there's no words, really, for the feeling that settles, ticklish and soft and swollen, inside his chest, but this, he thinks, this is how the first caveman must have felt, the first time he put ochre to the walls of a cave and made art out of a woman.
And you know what the best part is?
It never stops feeling like that, every single time, no matter how many times he has sex.
He can sort of understand why people say it makes the world go round.
2. He loves what people let him see.
"Dare," goes Clarisse without even blinking, sitting cross-legged with hands tucked around her ankles.
Looking at her upside-down from his position with his legs thrown over the back of the couch, Percy goes in an undertone, "yeah, 'cos that's a surprise," and snorts, which turns out to be painful because his sinuses aren't using to him doing that from this way up.
Annabeth tilts her head, considering, but she's got that look on her face that Percy knows better than the back of his hand, the "I know exactly where this is going and I'm just waiting for the rest of you to catch up" look.
"Kiss my boyfriend," is what comes out of her mouth, to the catcalls and low "ooohhhs" of everyone gathered around, a semi-circle of teenagers with beer and too much time on their hands and too many Truth or Dare ideas ganked from Google and bad teen fiction.
"Um," is Percy's input, and he quickly decides this is something he wants to be sitting upright for. He darts a look at Annabeth, but her tilted-up grin and innocent-wide eyes aren't giving him any pointers on what her agenda is: kissing other girls isn't exactly something she's ever encouraged him to do. If she's testing anything here, he figures, it's herself -- the first time someone behind the counter of a store leaned a little too close, touched his arm in a manner that even Percy understood, Annabeth's face went thoughtful and keen, full-on chess-playing strategy mode, and the expected retribution never came.
They're in the student lounge of his college dorm, which probably means they shouldn't have the beer right out for anyone to see, but it's not like the RAs don't do it either, so there's a hell of a lot of pots, kettles, and the color black going around. College, Percy has learned, is pretty much an excuse to do stupid shit faster and with less supervision.
And as much as he loves his parents and no matter how many times they insist that it's fine, they'd been looking to remodel the kitchen anyway, it's probably time he got out of their hair and let them live their own life, without the threat of unpleasant wake-up calls by mythological creatures with gastrointestinal difficulties. He moved out as soon as he got the reluctant acceptance letter.
(Of course, then he got kidnapped and got to spend a couple months in captivity before Annabeth and a son of Hephaestus named Jason broke him out. Compared to that, college's one step up from the Elysian Fields. Potatoe, po-tah-toe.)
Wearing an expression he can't decipher, Clarisse unfolds and comes towards him.
She works at a chain seafood restaurant, and her shirt says, "my waitress gave me crabs," and Percy reads it a couple times because he isn't sure he likes that look on her face, and he says, "um," one more time just so everybody's clear where exactly he stands on this, and then Clarisse is in his lap with her tongue slicking past his teeth and for some reason the sky hasn't turned to blood and there aren't locusts raining down from the heavens, because he's pretty sure the world's ending. He tries to keep his tongue to himself, mainly because he doesn't trust Clarisse not to bite it off.
"So," he says to Annabeth later, when the party's over and everyone else has more or less gone home to their respective beds.
She hears maybe thirteen out of the thirty possible questions Percy stuffed into that word, and just quirks her mouth at him. "She really does admire you, you know, even if she'd rather lick cat balls than admit it," she says, and he's so busy making faces at the mental image to catch what she's saying until it's too late, and by then she's taking her shirt off and he's distracted.
Annabeth's a bit of a control freak, which he could have told you from age thirteen onward, and he could also tell you that it made him uncomfortable, but then he'd be lying.
She's very brilliant at making everything turn out exactly like she planned it. It's one of the perks of having more brains than most of your peers combined.
He's not quite sure how it happens, but less than three days later, he finds himself chilling outside the Clam House, waiting for Clarisse to get off work. He's thinking he could take her for a walk, and maybe they could shoot BB guns at annoying-looking punks and terrorize gang members to the point of tears or something. When she comes out, she looks surprised to see him, even though she'd left a note on his Facebook Wall telling him to meet her at this exact spot, and then her mouth curves into that familiar condescending smirk that always makes him want to stuff her head down a toilet.
The speed with which she gets him on his back would embarrass him, he's sure, if only he wasn't busy trying to get their pants off at the same time, a feat which, on a good day, takes four hands, and somehow, he only has two, and neither of them seem to be doing what he wants them to.
"Are you sure?" he manages at some point. "You really want to do this -- I know you're rebounding from Chris, and I don't want you to regret --"
"Freakazoid," Clarisse cuts in, and he stops trying to be considerate in order to scowl at her, because, really? That stopped being an acceptable insult when they were twelve. "Shut up, yeah?"
And demonstrates her point by shoving her tongue down his throat. Again.
The aggressive, take-charge attitude thing he's anticipating, because it's Clarisse, but he's also expecting ... dirty talk, maybe, or something, like, sadistic (shut up, she's a daughter of Ares, he has reason to be concerned) and Percy could roll with that, so he's not altogether sure how to handle Clarisse when she's ... focused, the same head-down, straight-lipped intensity that comes with training for a fight, like it's a matter of life or death that she get this right.
He tries to catch her face to hold onto her and kiss her some more, slow and peaceful, but she shakes him off and pins him back against his bed, which fine, it was a long shot anyway, but she's still mostly dressed and he's not and she gives his hand a particularly hard twist when he tries to stick it up her shirt and --
"What?" he all but spits, squirming underneath her. "Holy hellhounds, what do you want?"
She doesn't answer, just skims her palms down his thighs, which makes them spread open almost without conscious direction from his brain. He feels a little betrayed by his own body, and judging by the self-satisfied curl of her mouth, she's thinking it, too, and then she's bending down, wiry ivy hair falling all around her cheeks and casting shadows into her eyes, and before he can make a sound, she's catching the head of his cock between her lips.
He's not sixteen anymore, but he's still young enough that sex pretty much trumps every other desire, including most survival instincts, so his head falls back like his neck's been severed and his hips pump helplessly, which earns him Clarisse's nails dug hard and reprimanding into his skin until he settles again, antsy shivering trembling up and down his limbs.
Percy's only ever gotten blowjobs from Annabeth before, and they tended to be surround-sound experiences; she's been growing her hair out since she doesn't need to keep it cropped short for monster invasions and the world ending and stuff anymore, and she usually has it pulled back into a ponytail (she doesn't like it getting in the way, she says, and it's gotten to the point where even the simple motion of her pulling her hair back is enough to make him hard) and he's fond of watching it move in shifts and waves as she bobs back and forth.
And Clarisse ... Clarisse isn't wasting time at all. She just licks her lips and gets straight to it, lips closing around him and tongue sliding wicked-curved around the stalk in the mind-buzzingly amazing kind of way that unceremoniously fells half of Percy's available brain cells.
She pulls back up, slurping around the flared head of his cock, and goes back down again, like it's nothing, like it's not single-handedly the greatest thing that's ever happened to him.
Except ... it takes him a minute or two, but the twist of her tongue ... that thing she's doing.
"Hang on," his head jerks up, because she is writing on his dick with her tongue. "That's the -- the what-do-you-call it. The second derivative test -- thing! From Calc II!"
"I know," she answers, swollen lips pulled into a smile. "Annabeth taught me."
"Holy shit," says Percy, and comes.
He's still a little dazed when he feels her hands on him, spanning his hips and flipping him over. He has no idea why she wants him on his belly, but he goes, shivering and panting glazed-eyed against his familiar sheets.
He reflexively jerks up onto his elbows when he feels the first curious prod of her fingers, and then they're sliding up inside him and holy crap, shit, fuck, what, she's got two fingers up his ass and yes, he knows that some kids do this, but when has he ever expressed interest in being fingered, and then her nails curve up and scrape against a bundle of nerves he didn't know existed. At his full-body twitch, she curls her fingers against that spot again, and then again, rougher, and Percy's haunched up on his elbows, shoulders pulled up like bat's wings, mouth stretched open, gasping, soundless.
When he comes a second time, it's almost too hard and too fast to be good, and what. Holy shit, what.
Clarisse makes a soft noise from behind him, something that's a snort and something else. "Yeah, thought so."
Percy flips over. "Can we do that again?" he asks in a dizzy pant, and then stops to think about it. "Later, maybe, when I'm slightly less broken. What in Hades ... you broke me."
And Clarisse smiles at him, full genuine smile, lips curling off her teeth and her eyes bright and crinkled at the edges and yes, yes, yes, Percy's a complete sap and he will do anything to put that expression back on her face.
It takes him two tries to stand up. Don't tell.
"Aren't you jealous?" he asks Annabeth the next day. He might have been in the middle of a self-crisis at the time.
She arches an eyebrow at him, an expression that's so familiar he's pretty sure he could tattoo it on someone blind; it's the look she gets when she thinks he's just said the stupidest thing she's heard since the last time he opened his mouth.
"Why should I be?" she answers, which isn't fair because it's a question and therefore not much of an answer. She pushes herself up on tiptoes to kiss his cheek. "There's no point -- remember when I got jealous of the virgin Oracle for doing nothing more than hang out with you? Yeah, no, I'm not so selfish I'm going to keep you all to myself. You love everyone too much."
She delivers this so matter-of-fact that he's having flashbacks to the time she told him that, oh hey, the Great Prophecy more or less stated he was going to croak, no harm, no foul, right?
"Um, okay," he manages, and pulls her in close, because it seems like a hugging moment. "Just ... if you want things to just be us again, tell me, yeah? I want you to be happy."
"I rest my case," she murmurs, and lifts her mouth for a kiss.
Around the time he turns nineteen, he moves into his own apartment: a brick-walled studio flat that'd been put on the market super-cheap because somebody's throat got slit in the room above and put a permanent brown stain on the ceiling in the front room: it's the first thing you look at when you walk in. It's got a high, broad window that looks out over on the parking lot of a church, and there's always a group of kids that comes down to sit in the bed of their truck on Monday nights and smoke pot and yell for the sake of yelling.
Rachel helps with the payments, saying it's the least she can do to keep him from putting another roommate in therapy for the rest of his life. Percy gets the feeling he's never going to live that down.
3. He loves that no one else knows.
It's like getting freaking steamrolled, the first time it occurs to him that maybe everybody's like this: maybe the girl sitting behind the wheel of an Oldsmobile who waves him across the crosswalk when she's trying to turn right had her cunt sucked on last night by someone with a tongue ring; maybe the guy who smiles at him in the mini-mart and asks "paper or plastic?" has a fantasy of picking up a high school girl in uniform and taking her home to fuck her senseless; maybe the perfectly ordinary-looking person who goes to the left of the sidewalk when Percy goes to the right secretly likes it when someone calls him a whore and yanks on his hair.
Percy doesn't know. Percy will never know.
And likewise, no one's ever going to look at him and be able to tell, instantly, who he's wearing all over him. They'll smile, give him his change, tell him to have a nice day, and never know that the hand they just tipped quarters and pennies into was tugging on a dick that wasn't his own less than twelve hours ago, thumb rubbing up over the slit again and again until it got red and swollen and flared at the head. It's Percy's secret to keep.
At work, he and the boys shrug on their hazard vests and do rock, paper, scissors to determine who gets to drive the truck today. Henry wins, like he usually does -- they're pretty sure he cheats, although they can never call him on it: he just always waits until they're distracted in some other conversation and then springs the game on them, so they're too startled to think strategy and go with the same thing they always do; Percy and Jorge are both scissors men, so Henry wipes the floor without even trying -- and gives a triumphant snort as he hauls himself into the driver's seat.
As much as he bitches, Percy doesn't actually mind all that much: time goes by a lot faster when he's on pick-up duty, lost in a haze of leap down, heft up trash bins, empty them, toss them haphazardly in the general direction of the curb, and hop up as the truck starts to rumble up. It beats sitting in the cab, getting honked at by cars trying to go around on narrow Manhattan streets. At the end of the day, he's semi-permanently unable to breathe through his nose and he needs a shower before he's allowed in a ten-foot radius of anybody, but it's not a bad job. And anyway, what with his education being a little less mainstream, it's not like he can actually aim any higher than garbageman and expect to get there. Not with his record.
"So, bruddah," goes Jorge, picking up a thread of conversation that they dropped awhile ago, but Percy knows instantly which thread it is. He grabs two tan trash bins and hauls them across the asphalt. "Like, me and Maria were at the Hell and Hound last night, and there were these twins -- stacked, but dun tell Maria, she'll cut my balls off -- and it got me thinking, man. Twins. Like, everyone always talks shit up about how hot it would be, but if you got them in bed together, they're still twins. Isn't that, like, incest? And illegal?"
"Where the hell does your mind get this stuff, man?" Percy replies, lobbing the empty trash bins back towards their lawn.
"Shut up, dude, I'm being serious." They haul themselves up onto the back of the truck with a practiced, flourished move. "We all fantasize about twins, so does that mean we're pedophiles for thinking about sisters getting it on?"
"Pedophilia is children, Jorge, not twins."
"Still creepy-ass, bruddah."
Later, at lunch break, they all gather around the same picnic table they usually do, still wearing their orange vests and unwrapping sandwiches that'll taste vaguely of garbage, no matter what they do. Percy flinches when he sits down, immediately opting for a lounge-legged sprawl to ease the pressure, which catches Henry's attention.
"What's your problem, Jackson?"
"I think I pulled something last night, man," he answers, and tosses a wink at Jorge. "Twins."
"Your bullshit does not amuse me," Jorge goes, deadpan, but there's a faint flick of ... something in the corners of his eyes, and Percy grins, wide enough to show his molars, feeling a little sly and a little smug, because Jorge knows Percy well enough by this point, and now he's always going to wonder. He spreads his legs a little more in a deliberate move, feeling it in his thighs, and gets a kick in the shin from Henry.
"Dude, I'm trying to eat," the guy complains, and Percy obediently goes back to his sandwich.
They'll always wonder, but they'll never know, and Connor followed Travis into Percy's bed, saying, "I don't like the idea of him knowing something I don't."
The difficult thing about threesomes is that it's hard to balance them properly: someone usually always winds up getting more attention than another, leaving someone to feel a little unwanted and used, which could sour things faster than a SourPatch Kid and a pair of scissors. It works best with two girls and a guy -- girls are better at multitasking and making sure that everyone's satisfied, whereas two guys just turn everything into a selfish grab it while you can, and you're definitely asking for trouble if you take more than one control freak and get them naked together. So he usually avoids them -- they're more trouble than the sex is worth.
But Travis was the one who leaned over in the ShopKo parking lot, sunset a sloppy mix of fuschias and slate and ambers behind him, curling his fingers in Percy's corded necklace and pulling him in and saying, hey, boy.
And Percy had tilted his head into the kiss, slow lip slide and flashing glimpses of tongues, and felt electric with the weight of Connor's attention, leaning against the passenger side door with his arm looped over the sideview mirror and just watching as his twin crooked his finger's into Percy's belt loops and tugged him in that last distance.
Hey, Percy said back, and curled a hand around the back of Travis's head, tilting his head back to suck on his jaw.
This is what Percy learned: Travis has rougher stubble than Connor does. Connor has a light, furry growth on his upper lip and along his chin, but Travis's spreads as a tawny-dark wave over his cheeks and down his throat, turning his lips ruby-red as he scrapes kisses along Travis's jugular. He shaves every day, but after five o'clock, it's easier to tell the brothers apart.
With twins, it's a little surreal: up close, it's near impossible to tell who's who when he's sucking on whatever body part comes close to his mouth; they smell the same and are shaped the same and even their cocks look alike, naked and flushed up close to their bellies, so much so that Percy gives up using that as a point of distinction. They've spent their whole lives moving in each other's spaces, and navigate it well even in bed, picking up on nonverbal cues and it leaves Percy delirious and desperately turned on.
Fucking Percy had been Travis's idea, and not one Connor had been keen on, but fair play has been instilled in Percy since he was twelve years old, watching Luke betray everyone they knew: no half-blood should go ignored, no half-blood should go unloved, and nobody should be pressured into doing something out of obligation or honor.
Come here, come here, let me make it worth your while, gonna make you come so hard you feel it in your fingers and toes, he said, over and over, tugging Connor in for a kiss every time his eyes started to wander away, fucking his mouth with his tongue and later flipping him onto his back, holding him down and sucking a clean, egg-shaped mouthprint onto his flank while Connor squirmed and sweated and begged, toes curling and flexing in the sheets. And afterwards, he got to watch them, the Stoll brothers curled up close around each other, legs locked over thighs and fingers stroking through hair, murmuring into the other's ears in a series of half-statements and nonsensical words, a language Percy didn't grow up speaking.
"You guys going to share everybody you sleep with?" he remembers asking at one point, rocking back on his heels and wiping a stray string of come from the corner of his mouth. "Even in your old age?"
"We're not going to make it to old age," Travis laughed back at him, and this is how Percy will always think of him: hair afire and tousled, everywhere around his sweaty face, body flushed even to the fingertips, bruises coming up posy-red on his chest and hips. "We decided that a long time ago -- too many things out there that are gonna kill us. Might as well do everything together: more fun that way."
Three people can't fit on Percy's bed very easily, and they give up after awhile, mixing it up with the floor and the counter in the kitchenette and once, even, the toilet ("dude," had been Percy's remark at that one, before Travis spun around, slammed the toilet lid closed, and pulled him onto his lap, calling for his brother to get in here and join them,) and when they're done, Percy's grateful for the mega-container of Clorox disinfecting wipes that Annabeth brought over from Costco ages ago, tongue in cheek. He lays back in the sheets and lets Travis clean his belly off with his tongue, twitching feebly with a pathetic noise when Travis mouths shallowly at his cock; he wasn't aware you could get stubble-burn on your dick, but there you go.
"You should take today off work," Connor mutters into his hip, sometime after he twitched awake at his usual time, alarm clock not necessary. "Stay in bed with us all day. Maybe all week."
And Percy smiles, cards his fingers through both brothers' hair: this is his secret to keep.
4. He loves that bodies really have nothing to do with it.
You can talk innuendo about size and what, exactly, men who drive pick-up trucks are compensating for until Apollo's sacred cows come home, but really, the biggest organ involved during sex is the brain. It does all the hard work; sex starts in the head, lives in the head, finishes in the head, and the rest of the body is just along for the ride.
Once you figure that out, then the bodies themselves stop mattering as much -- whether they're thin or fat, boy parts or girl parts, black or white or the human shade in between. Hot or not is all in the head, and you can be shallow about it and stick to a very specific list of criteria, or trust your brain to find someone that works and to hell with the rest.
There are a whole list of cliches Percy could trot out at this point, but he's already dug himself a hole with this line of reasoning and would probably only dig himself deeper, and anyway, there's the whole tangle of brain, body, and heart he still needs to sort out. Sometimes, it all feels like they all want different things. So, you probably shouldn't listen to him.
"Dude," he calls over the back of the sofa. "Get in here, man."
"No," says Grover firmly, from where he's been entrenched in Percy's less-than-impressive kitchen. "There's a code about this sort of thing, bro. You are violating it so badly right now, I can't even --"
"Oh, come on. It's not like I'm going to whip it out in front of you, geez. Look, my hand is firmly in my shorts."
There's a strangled noise, like a chicken choking on a chicken bone. "That's exactly what I mean."
"Come onnnn," Percy whines. On the computer screen, the camera wobbles inexpertly closer to get a shot of the as-of-yet faceless guy stroking the girl's hair out of her face, giving an unhindered view of her mouth stretched around his cock, lips curled down over her teeth and cheeks pulled taut. "Dude, get in here, you're going to miss the best part."
"I'm really okay with that."
"Grover. If you don't get over here, I'm going to make every single joke I know about satyr phalluses."
"You don't even know what that word means." Grover's voice is closer -- his indignation is drawing him out of the kitchen.
Immediately, Percy says, "Cock. Dick. Member. Penis." He draws the last one out to adolescent lengths, just to hear Grover give a short, annoyed bleat.
"What am I saying, of course you know what that word means."
"Just come sit down already."
He drops his head back down onto the sofa back, dragging two of his fingers up the underside of his dick and letting his knees fall wider apart in response at the feel-good shivers that run through his thighs. For a minute or two, there's no sound except for the low, soft scrape of his knuckles against the fabric of his boxers, and the wheeze of his laptop's fan as it labors with playing the porn video at full-screen. The porn itself is muted, because Percy knows all the moaning is theatrical at best and just detracts from the whole feel of it.
Finally, finally, Grover comes around the arm of the sofa and plops down onto the cushions, propping up his sneakers on the imported (and empty) box of Guiness that Rachel thought would be an artsy substitution for a coffee table. The "This Way Up" points despondently towards the carpet.
Grover fidgets, reaching down to tug at his grey, dirty shoelaces until he can kick his sneakers off, putting his hooves back where they were.
Another couple of moments tick by. The couple on the screen change positions without exchanging any words at all, just a brief, toothy grin from the girl as she rolls a nipple between her fingertips.
"I feel extremely uncomfortable right now," Grover announces.
"I could find a video of goats doing it, if that's more your speed. I'm sure the Internet has it."
"For the love of everything Pan, stop talking."
"Fine," he goes, and reaches out, hooking his free hand behind Grover's head and pulling him in.
Grover jerks away, snapping out with one hoof to kick Percy squarely in the shin and snatching at his hand, yanking it away. The whites of his eyes are showing, a blatant "what the hell" all over his features.
Percy resists the urge to kick back, because bitch, that smarts, even if the Styx-curse will keep him bruising. "Dude!" he yells, more forcefully than he was meaning to. "Just chill out and trust me."
Slowly, Grover relaxes enough that Percy can tug him in again, telegraphing his moves very, very clearly. Whatever Grover thinks he was going to do, he doesn't, because Percy genuinely likes and respects Juniper and it's not about that. Not with Grover. He arranges them so that their foreheads touch, his and Grover's, skin pressed to skin and his hand a warm weight on the back of his neck, and --
There it is. Underneath everything else, there's the emphatic link, the deliberate thread between them that Grover put there, knowing full well the Prophecy said Percy was going to die at sixteen and not knowing what that meant for him, now that they have this bond.
Now that he's found it, he worries at it, like a dog trying to chew down its own nails, focusing until he can feel everything filtering through Grover's brain: his confusion and residue panic at Percy's seemingly freakish behavior all milling around on the surface, and underneath it, a bone-deep stress from his newfound duties, the worry that he isn't cut out for it, that Juniper's going to think he loves his work more than he loves her and leave him, that no one's really taking him seriously, because if Pan couldn't save the Wild, then how in Hades's name is Grover supposed to do it.
"Chill," Percy says again, pressing in harder, both physically and mentally, and all but shoving his own current emotions through the link into Grover: his lazed, fucked-out limbs and the pleasure humming at the base of his spine and the idle why-not bliss that comes from having nothing more to do than sit around and watch porn and jerk off, a well-respected teenage past-time since the dawn of story-telling.
It clangs and reverberates and jars against the frantic-busy hum of Grover's thoughts, making them both grit their teeth. Grover tries to pull away a second time, but Percy clamps down harder, brushing his thumb reassuringly through the hair at the base of Grover's neck.
It starts out slow, a faded echo of his own peace coming back through to him, and Percy coaxes at it, letting the anxiety fade away underneath it, until there's nothing swirling around on top except for that languid, wanna-come no-hurry state, moving back and forth between them through the emphatic link.
"Couldn't you have come up with a less creepy way of doing this?" Grover murmurs finally, rolling his head a little bit against Percy's, loose curls tickling across his forehead.
"Yeah," he breathes back, grinning, the porn on his computer screen nearly forgotten. "But this was more fun."
5. He loves that it can't be used against him.
"Ow. Fucker," Percy goes, breath escaping him in a vehement hiss as she pulls the thing out of him with a impersonal pop. The muscles in his thighs leap in protest, quivering. "There was no actual reason you had to use a rectal thermometer, was there?"
"Nope!" Rachel chirps, giving his ass a cheerful slap, which he takes as permission to pull his pants back up. "But we have them lying around, so I figured, why not."
She pulls the latex gloves off and lobs them in a perfect arc towards the trash. He watches her scribble on his chart for a minute before he says, "Usually I take a girl to Burger King and a movie before I let them stick something cold up my ass, you know."
"Mmm, don't worry, I make everyone lose their inhibitions," Rachel says, deadpan. "Now, have you used condoms and/or spermicide in every sexual encounter since your last visit?"
"My partners and I use protection," he asserts.
She doesn't even bat an eyelash at the plural, although she does give him a wry smile. "I highly doubt that. You have to admit, you tend to rush into things."
Forced to admit the point, he absent-mindedly runs his tongue over his bottom lip, thinking. It's been instilled in him since he first hit puberty to always use a condom with a girl, because outside of making her come (more than once, if he's worth his salt) it's probably the nicest thing he can do for her, but on the other side of the fence ... well, there's something to be said for the feel of a cock twitching in his ass, veins throbbing with orgasm and come leaking out around the rim. It's not quite the same wearing a rubber, although he knows he should insist. It's just not usually on his mind, is the thing, when he's being bent over a mattress or the kitchen table or the hood of a car.
"Right," goes Rachel, voice so absolutely dry she could probably give the Clear-Eyes guy a run for his money. "I'll just take a blood sample, then, shall I, and get it tested. Make sure I don't need to set New York City to plague status."
"Rachel! Your slights at my alleged promiscuity cut me deeply," Percy says immediately, without the slightest change of tone. "I thought you were my friend."
The thing is, you have to be ashamed of something to let someone use it against you, and this -- no. Percy will never be ashamed of this. This isn't something that can ever be used to hurt him, because it's something he'll never take back.
"You'll be singing a different tune after you have to tell your 'partners' that you have gonorrhea."
Percy isn't altogether sure if the Styx's invincibility clause covers STDs. That's why he's here. "Well, that depends, doctor. Are you going to make them take a thermometer up the ass, too?"
"No, you're special."
He's still leaning forward on his elbows on the exam table, so at that, Percy takes the opportunity to rock his hips back, arching his spine in a slow, deliberate roll that's unmistakable: a movement that has no place in nature for anything other than sex. It's not the kind of movement he can pull off with his mouth closed, either; he's well aware of the picture he makes.
Rachel looks completely unimpressed at the display. "I'm the virgin Oracle of Delphi. Your wiles have no sway over me."
"Alas," is Percy's reply. He props his chin up on his hand and grins at her. "I'll just keep trying, then."
"Good luck with that." She plants her feet down, like she's going to push her rolling chair away from the table, but she wavers for a moment. "And Percy," she goes lowly, suddenly completely serious, and reaches out to lay a hand on his flank, thumb brushing against his skin. "Take care of yourself, okay? I can't foresee every bad thing that happens to you, and -- and you have 'partners,' but you also have friends."
He catches her hand; the skin over her knuckles is cracked from too much antiseptic, and the tips of her fingers smell like the ink from her ballpoint pen. He kisses them.
He answers, "You're all one and the same."
6. He loves the evidence.
His brief, ill-advised affair with the River Styx leaves his skin untouchable and immaculate -- he hasn't had a paper-cut, a skinned knee, or acne since he was fifteen, which means that as hard as anyone sucks on his neck or chest or thigh, no matter how hard they hold him still by the hips, he will never bruise. He has nothing to cover up with turtlenecks and hipster scarves, nothing to finger in bored moments to make it twinge and remind him of his extracurricular pursuits.
He finds other ways instead.
He showers in the afternoons these days. Contrary to the movies, sex actually takes some forethought and preparation, unless you're one of those people that always goes around prepared to have sex with anything, with clean privates and no need to take a shit (in case you wind up doing anal, which you should never do without having voided first, sorry, unromantic fact of life) in which case, you should really be paid, because that's way more work than Percy ever wants to put into daily routine (and he can't even imagine what girls have to go through, what with the shaving and the smelling nice and the whatever.)
He doesn't shower in the mornings, so he takes the night with him when he wakes up. Smell is his most powerful evidence: the wet-fish scent of Clarisse's cunt on his fingers when he's shoving a Hot Pocket in his face on the way to work, or the faint whiff of Connor's deodorant where it's rubbed off on his skin. He doesn't even really mind when there's jizz on his clothes or if he's rubbed one off in his pants from something Annabeth said over the phone, because the smell sticks with him, stronger whenever he sits down or something. It's not a dirty feeling -- it never is.
Sure, maybe someday he'll get respectable, or, gods forbid, discreet, but not any time soon.
He saved the world. It can deal with him a little bit longer.
He loves the way his apartment smells when he gets home -- you get desensitized to spunk and sweat when you're living in it, but coming back to it is just like getting hit in the face with it all over again, pungent and unmistakable. Hey, some people like the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking when they come home. Percy's tastes run a little different.
He does laundry often enough, but there's something just satisfying about a wrecked, ripe room.
His mother disagrees with him, of course, but she doesn't have to live with it and anyway, she routinely keeps him in supply with Febreeze, so he's not going to complain, either.
The other thing that lingers after a semi-immortal demigod gets laid?
Oh, don't look at him like that, he's not slob enough to skip brushing his teeth in the morning, and anyway, come is kinda gross-tasting, no matter if it's a boy's or a girl's, but the sense memory of it is one of Percy's favorite things, right up there with whiskers on kittens and raindrops-buttons-whatever.
Between Annabeth and Clarisse, he's got eating out girls down to an art, because there's no way they would untie him from the headboard until he got it right. Cocksucking, on the other hand, he more or less had to figure out through trial and error, since none of his guy friends were particularly patient.
It's one of the most awesome things to take with him afterwards -- that feeling at the back of his throat like he's coming down with a cold, or like he swallowed something down the wrong pipe, the raw, used feeling that makes his voice come out raspy and hurt-sounding. It's better than the bow-legged walk he gets when he's too sore to walk straight, because he forgets about it up until he has to talk to someone, and then it's like, oh yeah, and he has to stop himself from smirking, especially when Henry or Jorge or somebody gets concerned (well, concerned for a New Yorker, which is basically, what, fucker, you get too girly at the Justin Timberlake concert?)
He and Jason -- the son of Hephaestus with the hero complex almost as big as Percy's -- share the same subway stop in the afternoon, Jason heading uptown to that pretty Native American friend of his's studio flat and Percy heading the other way, back to his place, smelling of garbage and Henry's filtered cigarettes and aching in the shoulders and back.
When he's got the time and doesn't feel like he smells like a nuclear waste dump, he sidles up next to Jason on the platform and greets him lowly, in that fucked-out cocksucker voice that acts as a nerve ending straight to the dick. Even looking at him sideways, Percy can tell the moment Jason's pupils swell, breath cut short.
Jason reminds him a little bit of how Nico might have turned out, had he not broke Percy out of the Underworld to fulfill the Prophecy; he's only a few years Percy's junior, but he looks so small sometimes, uncertain and trying not to show it and wanting so bad to make everyone proud; friends first, family second, and blustering his way through when it's not working out.
Percy admires him; of course he does.
He also does the best job of fucking Percy's throat so he'll feel it hard the next day.
"You know," Jason goes, tone amazingly conversational for all that his eyes are lust-blown and he's currently astride Percy's hips -- he's sure the friend in uptown has given up on him coming by tonight. "The first time I saw you, you were in chains."
"Yeah, well, she was a kinky kidnapping bitch," Percy replies, trailing one finger down the accordian of Jason's spine to probe, ever-so-gently, at the ring of his asshole, stretched tension-white around his cock. "Although," he adds, lowering his voice a register at Jason's shift and protesting moan. "If you wanted to, you could have me like that again. Would you like me in handcuffs -- fuck my mouth with them on me, maybe?"
Jason's cock jerks at that, leaving a wet streak across Percy's belly, and he throws his head back and laughs for the sheer joy of it, until Jason grabs him by the ears to kiss him quiet.
In general, though, just because no one can leave a physical mark on him doesn't mean he can't return the favor.
"Was that a hickey?" his mother goes one day during a get-together at their (newly-remodeled, sorry about that) home. Startled, she ducks close to Percy to speak to him in an undertone. "What the hell is Nico doing with a hickey? He's just a little kid!"
Percy glances at her sidelong. She has a bowl of something in her hands: it looks like ice cream with chunks of ham in it, and whatever, he can forgive her, she's six months pregnant and it's okay if he doesn't think about it.
And yeah, Nico practically has a constellation of bruises, Percy's mouthprints, the separate and distinct ridges of his teeth branded into his neck and chest and hips, but only one of them's showing right now, dark above the collar of his jacket.
"He got into a fight with a vacuum cleaner," Percy says blithely.
Sally rolls her eyes, and puts another spoonful in her mouth just to see him blanch.
7. He loves that sex can be love as well as its complete antithesis. (shut up, he knows what the word means.)
"You gotta avoid trading love for sex," she says, and her mouth makes a strange shape over the words, like she's thought about saying them before but they hadn't actually been vocalized until just now. "You can't fuck someone into loving you, you know."
She lifts one shoulder in a shrug, a bird-like movement that sends her small breasts moving underneath her tank top. "Sure, it can get you attention for awhile, but it's kind of like chewing gum. You keep swallowing this flavor, but you're not actually getting anything substantial out of it and after awhile, it stops tasting good."
He nods as her eyes flick over him again, checking for signs of participation in the conversation. He is listening, honest, it's just taking a half-heartbeat to process the words; she's a ginger, like Rachel, with the kind of skin that will bruise if he looks at it too hard, and he can already see the swaths of mottled purple he'll make up the column of her neck, ones that will fade to the same kelly-green of her tank top in a few days, matching her eyes and bringing out the streaks of cinnamon in her hair, which is messily knotted up underneath a stretch of nylon.
"Yeah," he goes belatedly, but fortunately, she doesn't call him on it.
"Just like you can't make love all about sex. Love is what's left when you're done with the sex, when you don't want it anymore but you still want to be there anyway. It's not a bad thing to have one separated from the other. It's certainly a lot less messier." She's sitting on his desk, ignoring his completely empty chair, and poking with faint irritation at her thighs, which have gone all squished-looking and fat now that she's sitting down, but Percy doesn't actually mind; she gives her leg an absent-minded swing and he catches her foot, running his thumb along the arch in a movement he can't help.
Her foot jerks out of his grasp, but he pretends not to have noticed, absorbed in the course syllabus and worksheets he had spread out across his bed. Some of them are hers.
The window's open, bringing in the late summer smells of flowers and rot, the sharp underlying sting of cut grass, the drone of humming cicadas. "Sorry," she blurts suddenly. "About the random lecture. I'm a psych major, you know."
"Really?" he goes, before he can help himself, and this time, the look she gives him is darkly amused.
"Yeah. Unlike some people I can mention, I actually stayed at Yancy and completed my education."
Percy feels his face light up. "You do remember me," he goes, and knows he sounds far more pleased than he should under the circumstances, but if she knows who he is and hasn't tried to drown him in a fountain yet, he's pretty sure he's past the danger of her doing so.
"Yes, Percy Jackson, I remember you," Nancy Bofett says. "You only maybe, possibly murdered our pre-algebra teacher in the sixth grade."
"Oh, yeah," goes Percy, who'd forgotten that. "Good times."
She rolls her eyes, and reaches out with her foot, toes curling over his kneecap. He covers it with his hand, fingertips brushing over the ridge of dry skin underneath her anklebone. She's looking at him now, and the full brunt of her attention settles on him, electric enough to short out his breath. He really wants to get his mouth on her skin; it's like a phantom feeling, his lips tingling raw and he hasn't even touched her yet.
"The last thing I want is a complication," Nancy goes, warningly, and there are so many ways to take that, Percy doesn't even know what to do with it.
"You should kiss me," he offers, because she followed him home from campus and she's sitting on his desk and he remembers what it was like to hate this girl so much he wished he had fangs just so he could bare them at her, and where sex isn't love, it can be worth, and appreciation, and he really, really wants to give her both because she's come so far, and so has he.
She looks annoyed, and it's so familiar on her face that he smiles without thinking, stretching himself forward a little bit in clear invitation.
She one-ups him, of course, because she's Nancy: pushes himself off his desk and straddles his lap in one long twist of her legs, and suddenly he can't put his hands on her fast enough.
8. He loves how no matter how much sex you have, you want it still.
As he falls asleep, Nico keeps muttering, "seven-thirty seven-thirty seven-thirty" under his breath, seemingly unaware that he's doing it. Percy's bemused, and scoots over to kiss him quiet after a minute or two, but it makes sense when Nico wakes him up at 7:34 in the freaking morning, teeth bared in a cat's grin against the underside of his jaw.
He grumps at him, trying to roll away, because dude, time, but Nico persists, skimming his palms up and down Percy's flanks and mouthing at whatever piece of flesh is within easy reach. It's not annoying, exactly, just continuous, and it's keeping him from falling back asleep, and finally, he flips back over, boosting himself over Nico and flattening him down with dead weight.
He cracks his eyes open blearily, catching the edge of Nico's shit-eating grin, all triumphant, ha ha, made you look.
"Fine," he goes, words slurring and morning-raspy. He shifts, tugging at Nico's knees until they form a cradle around his, catching each other's cocks in the divet of their hips, pinned to their bellies, a move that has them rocking against each other instinctively. "Morning sex it is."
Nico makes a smug sound, nosing at Percy's cheek until he turns his head, catching his mouth up in his.
The kiss has that swooping half-asleep feel to it, like they're kissing and nodding off at the same time, half-here and half-not, and Percy likes it like this -- there's no finesse, no technique to morning sex, just the need to get off with as little effort and as much enjoyment as possible -- and keeps on kissing Nico long after their mouths taste the same and his lips feel rubbery.
They stretch out together on the bed as they go, catching on stiff patches where come's dried into the sheets, limbs twining easily, snake-like.
"Wanted time for this," Nico breathes out, tilting up so Percy can slide his hands along the fault line of his spine, the tectonic plates of his shoulder blades, hips rolling up with a movement like incoming waves. It's easier going now, their cocks slippery-wet, flushed red. "Always want more time for this."
Percy has no idea what Nico does for a living these days, if he goes to school or if he works for his father or if he just terrorizes the country-side on random; it's not the line of conversation Nico encourages often -- it doesn't really occur to him, Percy thinks, that people might want to know what he's up to. Either that, or he's got nothing he thinks will impress anyone. And he only comes by every couple of months or so, as if by staying away he can prove that he doesn't need Percy's help, or anybody's for that matter, but when he does show up, it's the kind of ordeal where you cancel all other plans. You apologize to dates and call in sick to work and you stay home.
They're on their second day already, Nico waking him up early so they can thrust lazily together, nosing and kissing and petting aimlessly with their hands.
"Percy, Percy, Percy," Nico's whispering, the name a sibilant hiss falling from his mouth, leaving it stuttering and open and Percy kisses him like that, can't not, slicking their tongues together and tickling the sensitive soft spot at the roof of his mouth. His jaw aches: contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as too much making out.
Half-blood and prophecy kid though he may be, Percy doesn't have the energy for the kind of marathon sex Nico always seems to want, like if he doesn't get it now it's going to be snatched away from him. It doesn't seem to matter to Nico, either, hasn't since the very first moment he slid up next to Percy, fifteen and scraggly and awkward with limbs every which-way but lifting his mouth and going, you should kiss me, I think you'd like it.
Because Nico's pushy like that, never having grown out of being a little brother: he can make Percy come once, come twice, his hands and his mouth and the impossible wet-squelch noises of their cocks smearing through the mess of jizz on their bellies when they press up against each other, before and after and on whatever surface. They can come again, a third time, a fourth, until they've gone from thick, creamy squirts of come to a half-hearted trickle, vocalizing it in panting yells until the lady downstairs takes a broom to the ceiling, and still, Nico presses up, hooking an ankle around him and lifting into him, saying, more, Percy, one more time, come on.
Nico demands -- it's what he does best. Percy has gone to the Underworld for him, bathed in the River Styx on his say-so, fought an army of the undead and still, even still, Nico demands more of him, more from him, like somehow he hasn't given enough.
And Percy can't let him down. Not even in this.
Nancy will be the first to tell him that that's not love, that's being in love, which any fool can do, but Percy can't bring himself to care what it is, exactly, because he is crazy with the need to get his hands on Nico, to get his mouth on his neck or his chin or his lips or anywhere, really, to keep him inside and keep him in bed and kiss him until he's forgotten how to do anything else.
Afterwards, Nico curls up against him, exhausted, head tucked up under his chin like a child, and yeah, Percy likes him best like this.
When they finally do pull themselves out of bed, it's hours later, more lunch-time than breakfast, but it doesn't stop Nico from making a beeline for the kitchen, shaking up Percy's box of Aunt Gemima's pancake batter like he does it all the time. He's pulled his pants up around his hips, like it's impossible to cook whiled naked or something, but he hasn't buttoned the fly, and although it doesn't strictly reveal anything, the idea of it is enough to make warmth pool low in Percy's belly.
He plops down on the sofa and flicks on the TV instead; an old Zenith with a dial for a channel changer and antennae that stretch way up like they're trying to broadcast to space. There's a bonsai tree sitting on top; some other artsy house-decorating idea of Rachel's.
There's a rerun of Criminal Minds on, which he watches with a wandering eye while Nico putzes around in his kitchen. He stretches out along the sofa, enjoying the fucked-out burn of his muscles and lazily running his tongue over his lips, raw and tender and he knows there are bruises on Nico that won't fade for days, not with skin like his. (He can hear Paul's dry tone going, "so, how possessed is his vacuum cleaner, exactly.")
On the show, some kid's setting fire to a rural town as punishment for driving him out oh-so-many years ago and separating him from his sister, who'd been orphaned with him when they were young. They relied solely on each other well into their teens, when the other people in town started accusing them of forming an incestuous relationship and driving them apart. When she got engaged to someone else, he came back to set fire to the town in revenge, and killed a whole bunch of people before the noble heroes stop him.
Huh, he thinks.
"Nico. Hey!" he calls, craning his neck around towards the kitchenette. When there's no answer, he persists in his best I am an ADHD kid with behavior problems voice, "Hey. Hey hey hey hey. Heeeeeyyyyyy."
"Oh, for the love of --" Nico leans around the doorframe. "What?"
Percy grins at him, lopsided, eyes hooded. "Hi."
Nico makes a disgusted noise and makes to duck back into the kitchen.
"Hey, no!" Percy goes. "Wait. Come back!" Which Nico does, looking extremely put upon, and at Percy's hooked-finger gesture, comes padding the short distance from the doorway to the sofa.
Percy reaches up, catching the soft curve of flesh underneath Nico's chin in the crook of his finger, pulling him in for a fish's kiss.
"Don't grow up to be a serial killer, kay?" he murmurs. "It's not cool."
Nico rolls his eyes, and swings himself over the arm of the sofa. "Yeah, okay," he says agreeably, and bears Percy down into the cushions, leaning forward to kiss him wet and fast, until Percy can't do anything but smile stupidly against his mouth and kiss him back.
9. He loves it when people don't need it to be happy.
"I know that you two -- while we were broken up. I mean --" Chris fumbles, eyes skirting to the side in embarrassment. He fingers at the arm of his wheelchair, achingly self-conscious. "What I mean is -- while Clarisse and I weren't together, I know that you two were -- and man, I'm not a fighter. I never was, so I don't think she took your -- um, your feelings into account when she decided to get back together with me: not that she doesn't care about your feelings. I think out of anyone, she probably considers you a best friend, kind of -- er, anyway, I'm trying to say that if you want to give it a shot with her -- you'll have to ask her first, obviously, but --"
Percy takes pity on him and grabs his wrist to get his attention. "You're good for her," he says softly. And while he's pretty sure everyone already knows it, Chris might be too caught in the middle of it to see the big picture, like when you press up so close to someone that their features blur like a Cyclops', even though you know how they really look, so he makes sure to add, "She loves you."
Chris's eyes stray over to Clarisse, who's standing out of earshot and trying not to look like she desperately wants to eavesdrop, and his face gets that look: the world-changing, caveman-drawing reverence, all breath stolen.
"Yeah," Chris says, and at the sound of it, Percy's chest fills like the pressure of an inflating balloon, an elated, deep-set joy that rushes through him almost better than sex. "Yeah, she does."
10. He loves what it makes him.
Percy Jackson was never supposed to live past his sixteenth birthday.
Annabeth knew it from the start (and he's still kind of miffed at her about that) and so did Chiron and everyone else clued in sooner or later. Probably the last person to figure it out was Percy, and it only truly hit him when he was up there on Mount Olympus, watching Luke-turned-Kronos come at him with a scythe: I'm not going to survive this.
In the end, Fate never got the message, so nobody really knew what to do when he lived, because, what the hell, the Great Prophecy could have been a little more specific on that point, and it left Percy wondering what the hell he was going to do now.
Seriously, though -- he saved the world. With a little help from his friends and well-timed self-sacrifice on Luke's part, of course, but more or less, he single-handedly stopped Kronos from turning the planet into a Titan fiesta, and waking up in the mortal world in the aftermath just kind of left him aimless, because for real, what do you do after you save the world? What possible other meaningful contribution could he give? What more is there?
He has two months to get really worked up about this question, most of which he spends sleeping and avoiding thinking about it, before Annabeth leans into him by the lakeside on his sixteenth birthday -- the day that, according to the Oracle, was supposed to be the end of the world -- and kisses a purpose back into him. Because the answer's exactly the same as it was before. Saving Olympus didn't change that, not at all.
Percy Jackson lives for his friends.
At fifteen, he stepped into the elevators in the Empire State Building fully intending on never coming back down, on dying for them, for the way Annabeth rolled her eyes and the way Thalia trusted him to do the right thing and the way Grover looked at Junpier and the way Clarisse screamed in rage as Silena died in her arms and the way Paul smiled crookedly and wrapped an arm around his and his mother's shoulders and said, this is my wife and my son. He would have died for them. He would have died gladly.
He would have given them his life. He would have given them everything.
And now he lives for them.
This, this is what he gives them instead -- his hands and his lips and his heart, all of it up on offer, because what else is there?
So, yeah, maybe that makes him a hedonist, drunk on the friends he pulls into bed, on the blowjobs and the sex and the long hours tangled up in another person, stroking their skin and thinking, I saved you, I saved you, you're here because of me and Luke and you're beautiful, you're so fucking beautiful.
He loves it. This is what he will do for the rest of his life; he will be Annabeth's best friend, he will be two hands for two brothers, a side for Nico to curl into when it gets dark, a mouth for Jason to kiss secrets down, a sounding board for Grover's self-doubts, a reminder for Nancy, because he's done what he can for the world, but them?
They have so much more to give.
"Geezo, are all half-bloods sentimentalist freaks, or are you just special?" goes Rachel, all affection, tugging him into her arms and kissing the top of his head like he's a damn kitten or something, dude, really. "Hell, let's just chop you up right now and call you the Giving Tree."
"Shut up, bitch," Percy says happily, butting at her freckled cheek with his nose.
Together, they slant their eyes against the sunlight and the New York City skyline, watching the colors bleed into light.