percy jackson & the olympians, luke castellan // percy jackson.
r, because i always use an inappropriate amount of language.
disclaimer, don't own.
warning, AU. pretty much ignores everything canonical, so if you’re looking for likeness to the movie or book, you… probably won’t find it here.
in which percy and luke are ghosthunters and chiron is sort of their boss. no, really.
totally cracky, and completely au!
because everybody has watched ghost hunters on sci-fi at least once in their lifetime, right? right?
for more point of reference, please see steve and tango. steve and tango are funny, funny guys who are deathly afraid of spiders and take their investigations very seriously.
or something like that ♥ .
i don't know where we're going,
but i know we've gone too far;
and i hope it isn't showing, but i think i love you.
“Take the basement,” Chiron says. Take the basement. Yeah, okay, it seems normal enough; a routine paranormal scare, vacant house with unexplainable noises heard by neighbors. It's dark and there's the faint smell of rust, but he's doing fine; better than fine, really.
Nothing matters, he says, he lives for this, breathes for it.
Percy flinches, walking into an intricate cobweb tangled between a series of pipes leading to the bathroom on the floor above. It doesn't matter how old he is, cobwebs are fucking gross. He's been in this section of the house for the better part of an hour, and Grover had wandered to the bathroom for an emergency situation, c’mon Perce, about twenty minutes ago. Grover isn't known for being the most productive member of the NCP team, honestly, but the guy was good, eager and willing to please. A real whiz kid in the tech department, too, but sometimes things could get to the head; mess you up and make you forget the most basic protocols involving what not to do and ending in how not to die.
Not that any of them would die, in any case. Not really.
Percy’s thought process stops when he hears a creak in the far left corner from where he is standing; only resuming his walkthrough when he dismisses it as the air kicking in. It's a common occurrence in these cases anyway. A few minutes ticks by, though, and Grover still isn't back, which is weird mostly because Chiron is really insistent that the team stick together, for god’s sake. Soon enough, it feels like a lifetime in the stuffy basement, and the air starts to get thicker and the dark seems to intensify, consuming, and it's so hard to breathe all of a sudden.
“Percy for Grover,” he calls on the two-way, receiving static, “dude, where the hell'd you go?"
Percy pauses, fingering the buttons on the handheld radio. Blinking when there's no answer, he takes a step towards the less ominous-looking exit and ascends the stairwell, only slightly hesitant. An obnoxious thud resounds from the area he had just been standing, and seriously? It's almost like a low budget horror film and Percy feels like the bad actor being paid to run up the stairs instead out of the front door like he should, which totally always held more logic.
Later, he would recall the cold first; because fuck, it was so cold, and hands push at his chest, his back, coming from everywhere and he can't see, oh god. An overwhelming sense of something comes over Percy, and he's falling, falling; down the stairs, a strangled half-shout making its way through his throat-
i’m sorry i didn’t mean to please-
“Take the basement,” Chriron had said.
Percy said, “Sure.”
Maybe that’s where he went wrong.
Percy has his first paranormal experience when he is nine.
It's not traumatizing, not really. He goes to the funeral of an acquaintance of his mother’s and it's open casket; an elderly woman all done up in pearls and too much cosmetics. He leans over the coffin, mother holding his hand, just to see, he's curious, and he feels something push him forward, hard enough to feel it and it doesn't hurt but it's still strange. He looks up and his mother is still there, looking down and patting his hand, encouraging them to move.
No one notices anything and, really, he couldn’t have been sure it even happened had it not been for the coldness he feels creep up and the voice that whispers in his ear, i’m okay i’m not sorry this is goodbye and let me go.
Percy likes to think he was still the same boy after.
By age twelve, though, Percy starts sneaking out of his second story window when leafing through worn copies of Greek mythology texts can't drown the burning in his head or the shouts coming from down the hall.
It’s funny, he thinks, funny in the way that he always had an aversion to the living, so he finds himself hanging around local cemeteries in the dark instead.
Percy is three months shy of sixteen when he meets Chiron.
Chiron is awesome in that chic-geek sort of way in which he is actually a total badass underneath the completely differential demeanor. It's merely happenstance they even come across one another, but it is a beneficial move on both of their parts when years later, the New California Paranormal team becomes more than a joked idea in passing. Chiron has his own experiences that he loves to talk about but never specifies on. He's generally a fountain of useful information on everything ranging from the practical to the inane, too, and he has a little anecdote for mostly everything even remotely sci-fi in nature. Overall, Percy thinks he’s a pretty straight guy, like a premature father figure he's never had but always dreamed he could depend on.
Still, the NCP is mostly just a joke. In the beginning, at least. Chiron implies a lot, but Percy isn't talented at guessing what people really mean and there are only so many times Percy could handle the we were made for something better than this that rests on the edge of their tongue. In the end, though, it's the best investment Percy ever makes when he indulges Chiron, even just a little bit, because at eighteen, Percy is third head of the investigative team, just under Chiron and Mr. D.
If Chiron is like Percy’s surrogate father, then Dio (call me Mr. D), whose real name is unknown to them, is definitely the annoying uncle; they are dysfunctional, but awesome all the same. Mr. D becomes a permanent fixture after a chance meeting in a WeHo bar when Percy is a rebellious seventeen year old with a fake id. Being older and definitely ten times the wiser than Percy, Mr. D runs the other half of the logistics that Chiron doesn't direct.
It's a haphazard partnership, but Percy wouldn’t have it any other way because for the first time in forever, Percy feels like he belongs.
Before there were others like them, before the hype and the craze, there was the NCP. There was Percy and Chiron and Dio and the shaky foundation of their hopes and dreams. And then there was Luke. Percy first meets Luke Castellan a few months after the start of the team. He had moved to California from New York under the pretense that there were more paranormal activities on the west coast, where he had a run in with Chiron at a local haunt in L.A. Caught in a discussion on whether the K2 meter was actually a credible source for gauging activity, they immediately hit it off and he was introduced to their makeshift team less than two weeks later. The thing about Luke, though, is that he is amazing in a way that Percy isn't; he's intelligent and belligerently charming, yet he can be unexpectedly subdued.
“He’s the silent, dark type,” Chiron offers one afternoon in his kitchen.
“He’s the awkward, weird type,” is Percy’s rebuttal because Luke is neither dark nor silent. Ever.
And Luke isn't really all that weird. More like quirky in that annoyingly charming way, but Percy’s mind is only trying to associate with what he can't explain. Because of this, Percy and Luke’s relationship begins in a standoffish, odd way. Mostly, they don't seem to get along. Mostly, Luke insults Percy’s intelligence and Percy huffs indignantly before politely excusing himself. And by politely excusing himself, he means storming off in a tizzy before he roundhouse kicks Luke in the forehead.
So they’re not off to a great start.
Whether Percy admits it or not, arguing with Luke is still ridiculously fun. They banter a lot and ostentatiously disagree about everything, but it's Percy and it's Luke and they are almost friends but not quite.
But as fun as it all is, it is still pretty tiring. Luke must have felt the change, because a few months later he calls truce, handing over a chocolate chip cookie like he knows it's Percy’s total weakness.
“Peace offering,” Luke says.
Fingering the sweet, Percy catches a striking color from underneath his hand.
“Blue? You colored it blue?” Percy asks, surprised, “You are possibly my favorite, ever. I would’ve bought you flowers or something equally as significant if I’d known.”
"It's the thought that counts. And apparently only you would eat that hipster concoction. Glad I was right," Luke is smiling, but the connotation hangs.
"Who're you calling a hipster? You have holes in your jeans. And is that a cardigan?"
"No." Luke sounds almost cutely petulant.
"It's like, ninety degrees out. The things you do in the name of fashion, I guess, huh?"
Luke raises an eyebrow delicately and laughs. It's like they were meant to be this way and the rivalry is still there, but it takes backseat to the easy camaraderie they instantly form. Percy finds himself liking the picture he makes; a lot, actually. Which is pretty inconvenient seeing as they just called truce and all, but Percy never does anything half-assed anyway. So he smiles brilliantly, all teeth, and watches as Luke stuffs his hands into his pockets, angling his head toward Percy.
In return, Percy bites his lip and shifts his hips.
Luke's voice is low when he says, "This is the start of a beautiful relationship, my friend."
"Yeah," Percy replies, "Yeah, definitely."
After the truce, which Percy and Luke both like to refer to as the best fucking idea ever, the team really starts coming together.
Chiron and Mr. D come into contact with a landlord renting out trailers from old Hollywood sets and they work out a deal where they can rent the trailer as office space in West Hollywood until the lease ends the following year. Despite the circumstances, and the team’s lack of money, the space serves its purpose really, really well. It’s small and cramped, and there are only so many places to put the equipment and store the digital recorders without someone breaking something, and jesus, Percy, do you know how much that cost?, but it is as close to home as he ever felt.
And no, Percy doesn't know how much that thing cost, but whatever, the place is pretty cool.
In the end, the team even starts receiving cases. Their first is a house near Echo Park, where a woman and her two kids reside. Afraid of the noises they’ve been hearing at night, and scared for her children, the woman immediately calls NCP when she hears about them through a mutual friend. Arriving at the supposed paranormal home, Chiron and Dio fumble through the introductions while Percy and Luke attempt to set up the equipment they stashed in Dio’s van.
Luke knows little about the actual set up, and Percy even less but it’s to be expected, though, that they work through the kinks on their first real case. Maybe eventually, they could invest in hiring a technical manager or expanding the team so as to lessen the actual work load.
But the premise of NCP is pretty simple, Percy thinks while unfolding a plastic chair for the surveillance table; investigate location with digital recorders for imaging, voice recorders for EVP work, and K2 meters for EMF work, while simultaneously debunking any possible paranormal activity. After investigating, compile all files for hours of evidence review where the team decides if the place actually contains paranormal activity or not. It’s all actually pretty scientific when it comes down to it, and Percy is kind of really, really proud.
Luke also thinks it’s totally ten shades of awesome, though he doesn't admit it.
"Ghost hunting can be risky business, though," Percy comments on their first sweep of the house. Chiron suggested that he and Mr. D stay to monitor the equipment while Percy and Luke investigate the house, so they head for the living room where the daughter saw a shadow by the television.
"Oh, yeah, totally," Luke indulges him.
"No, no, I'm serious. Can you imagine the shit you could get up to in the dark? It's a liability, I’m sure."
"It's a job hazard, I'm sure." Percy rolls his eyes and gives his partner a pointed look. Luke sighs, looking put upon, but Percy likes to think its affectionate exasperation, "Okay. Like what, Perseus?"
"Shut up. And I don't know. What if you’re in an abandoned building? You have no idea what's been crawling around over there, and it's really fucking dark, and just when you're stalking through the underground tunnel or whatever, you hit an area with some kind of gas leak. Next thing you know, you’re laid out in the hospital with six months to live. It’s crazy!”
Luke blinks and Percy kind of stares at him expectantly.
"Okay," Luke drawls, "the possibility of that actually becoming reality is about eight hundred to one."
"Oh, now you're just making stuff up," Percy replies.
“What do you want me to say, then?” Luke asks.
“I don’t know,” Percy continues, “maybe we could just have a little fun for once? Seriously.”
Just then, Luke's foot catches on the leg of the coffee table where he takes a dive over the couch and onto the floor. Percy can't fault him for it because all of the lights in the house are off, and it's tough to see anything. Percy pulls the mini-light out of his pocket and flicks it on, looking at Luke sprawled on the floor. "Ow, fuck," Luke groans, "Perce, c'mere. Help me up." Percy laughs loudly instead and Luke has the grace to blush.
"Totally risky business."
"Shut up, Percy, come on."
But Percy isn't listening.
"Chiron," Percy calls on the two-way, "Chiron, send help. I think Luke's pride has been severely injured."
When Luke sweeps Percy's legs from under him and he goes crashing down, he thinks it's pretty fair payback.
Where Percy is fighting against Luke at every turn in the beginning, Luke is contemplating whether or not it's okay for him to totally have a crush on a kid seven years his junior.
Despite the age difference, though, it seems as if they naturally click and things had been left to fall into place by the sheer force of fate ever since. Percy is a born fighter, yet he doesn’t look for confrontation, seeing as trouble always seems to follow not far behind instead. So, it’s nearly expected for Luke and Percy to not get along after their initial meeting. It also doesn’t help that Luke sees Percy when fired up and he definitely likes the results, either.
He feels like a total pervert.
But it's impossible to miss when Percy looks so good; all taut skin and flushed cheeks set in a sweet face, biting his tongue to hold back what would surely be a stinging retort. And, yeah, Luke doesn't want to pass that up. So he might be the one drawing Percy into arguments, and he might be the one to switch Percy’s cup of coffee for a coke filled with hot sauce, and maybe he's the one who keeps stealing Percy’s lucky pen, but whatever.
The kid is really attractive, pretty fucking intelligent, and extremely good at his job.
Luke is sold the minute he clasps Percy's slender hand in his own and says hello.
Eventually, NCP lands a seasoned investigator and a tech expert from their neighboring team on the east coast.
Annabeth and Grover come to consult on a difficult case involving the team’s second visit to a penitentiary, but end up becoming permanent fixtures. Despite the fact that the team is now overrun by relatively young people, Chiron doesn’t let it get him down.
“It’s like a new generation of would-be heroes,” he remarks to Dio.
Mr. D grunts in return, “They’re just a bunch of brats, whatever.”
Chiron just gives Mr. D an amused look.
In reality, Annabeth and Grover prove to be great assets to the team as a whole. Work load lessens considerably and their outgoing personalities provide comfort for clients and workers alike. Annabeth sometimes seems a little too self-righteous, but Percy mostly views both of them as surrogate siblings anyway, and siblings always think they’re better than the other.
Percy thinks his pseudo-family is nearly complete, if not for the fact that he has no idea where Luke fits.
If it comes down to it, Luke is like the hot, distantly removed cousin that you want to simultaneously make out with and punch in the face. It’s wrong because they’re sort of family, but you still really, really want them to get you alone in a dark closet somewhere.
The more Percy hangs out with Luke, the more he begins to think that he is totally okay with that.
A while passes, marking Percy's ninteenth birthday, and the team comes accustomed to the workings of the job. They gain experience and are frequently driving around all of California, and some neighboring states, to consult on a case. Luke and Percy's relationship improves and they become the best friend they never had.
It isn't an easy life and it sure as hell isn't a simple one either, but it's all Percy knows and he feels confident for the first time in forever.
So it's a bit of a surprise when Percy comes to and he's not in the basement (or dead), but a hospital bed with an iv attached to his arm.
His head is pounding, he's tired, and his vision is blurred but overall he feels okay, if he could only just remember what the fuck happened.
He feels dead weight across his lap and looks down to see a head of tousled hair as Luke sleeps with Percy’s hand in his own. Shifting to accommodate the weight and his awakening senses, Percy winces. In turn, Luke wakes slowly, casting shamed eyes at Percy’s pale face.
“Hey,” Luke croaks.
“Hey.” Percy grimaces when he replies, his throat sore. “What happened?”
“Uh, what do you remember?”
“Nothing much, just,” Percy squints, “the investigation. I was waiting for Grover in the basement. Seriously, what happened?”
“I just,” Luke trails off. “I’m so fucking sorry, Perce.”
“For what?” But Percy is already falling asleep again, medication working at its finest.
“Just sleep, okay, Percy?” Luke smiles, but it looks strained. “Everything’ll be better when you wake up.”
“’Kay,” Percy closes his eyes. He knows he probably shouldn’t, should probably talk to Luke, but he feels so fucking tired and it’s a losing battle.
When Percy finally drifts off, Luke rises from his chair. Leaning over Percy, Luke brushes dark hair from a relaxed face and whispers, “Sorry, kid.”
Even asleep, Percy feels the hot press of lips against his aching forehead.
Turns out that when Percy wakes next, Luke is back and tells him the whole story.
Back at the house, Grover had been taking too long, and Chiron, who had heard Percy on the two-way, told someone to catch up with him in the basement. Luke, feeling pent up liveliness from the monitoring station, volunteered. When Luke had reached the top of the stairs leading down into the basement, he had seen Percy’s outline against the darkened backdrop.
Luke, being Luke, quieted his walk down the incline until his reached his target. Percy, in the middle of turning to ascend the rest of the stairs, had been startled when he felt the length of another body push up against his back. He had twisted on his heel; one foot caught on the step below as he took a dive right down the rest of the stairway.
In a panic, Luke made a grab at Percy but only caught the whisper of his clothing against his hand as his partner tumbled. Luke had run after Percy yelling incoherent apologies, coming to a stop to examine the crumpled heap on the basement floor.
Frantic, Luke had radioed Chiron, who in turn called an ambulance, since there was a small formation of blood dripping down the front of Percy’s unconscious head. Luke had been extremely worried for the kid and had barely given a coherent response when asked what happened.
They arrived at the hospital, where the doctor said it was only a flesh wound, nothing to worry about, but since it was on Percy’s head, they wanted to keep him for observation in case of complications.
All in all, the story makes Percy’s head spin when he hears.
The doctor claims that after a final examination, he’s pretty much free to leave if there are no problems. He feels okay and the pounding sensation has receded, so all he can do is stare at Luke’s disheartening face.
“I’m sorry,” Luke says again. And again.
“I know.” Percy sighs. Looking at Luke now, he can barely bring himself to blame him. Luke looks three parts genuinely apologetic, scared, and shamed.
“I didn’t mean it. I was just playing around.”
“I know,” Percy says again. “Listen, it’s okay.”
“What?” Luke exclaims, “The hell it is! I must be the most horrid fucking person alive right now and holy shit, I could’ve killed you.”
“But you didn’t. And you’re here now, aren’t you? Doesn’t seem so horrid to me.”
“Perce,” Luke starts, but his voice is weak.
“Luke, seriously. I’m fine now, just a bit of a headache, alright? It’s okay. I just—thank you.”
“For being here, y’know? S’nice to see.”
“I, uh. Yeah, yeah. You’re welcome.”
Percy nods, and leans back against the pillows of his bed. Luke, relieved, smiles slightly, “So, you’re really okay?”
Percy laughs, “I’ve got you, don’t I?”
It’s an inquiry and it feels as if every moment in their lives has been leading up to this single point. It’s exciting and it’s new; it’s Percy and it’s Luke and it’s a new beginning for something they obviously want more than anything.
“Yeah.” Breathless. “Yeah, you do.”
And it’s enough for both.
After Luke returns from his one month investigative suspension, tensions run high.
When it comes down to it, Luke caves first. Percy likes to hold it over his head but quits after he finds his lips captured in a teasing kiss.
Besides, Percy knows he won anyway, since teasing kisses always lead to heavy petting, and heavy petting usually leads to a fulfilling night of sex. Yeah, Percy isn’t complaining much.
Luke isn’t complaining nearly as much as he lets on, either. He might’ve made the first move, but he feels that if he didn’t, they probably would’ve danced in circles around each other for years. It’s easy, too, the way they just fall into each other. It fits so perfectly into their complex relationship of give-and-take. Though the rivalry is still there, it only serves to intensify their enthusiasm at night. Or during the day even, as Percy bends over while Luke thrusts into him, flushed and so fucking beautiful it hurts.
This is how they were meant to be and they feel it in a way they never knew they could. It’s here and now, a culmination of all their previous decisions to make a future they both need. They are finally turning nothing into something and they're ready for it.
So no, Percy thinks as Luke strokes a curious thumb over the skin of his hip and kisses a line up the back of his neck, he really isn’t okay.
He’s fucking amazing and it's more than he can ask for.