Anyway, this week I've got Percy Jackson!AU Seventeen. I've (re)read. So many of Rick Riordan's books in the past 9 days...it's actually a little terrible, but we've got this fic so at least there's that? (In all seriousness I'm excited about it and it's going to end up so fluffy
“He must continue forward five spaces, pass go, and collect $200,” Chan intones gravely, voice raspy and deep as he moves his silver racecar to Mediterranean Avenue.
“I swear one day the Oracle’s going to predict your death just for the disrespect you've accumulated, and it's only June,” Minghao says conversationally, holding his hand out for rent.
Chan hands over his fake money, grinning. “You'd miss me if I died, don't give me that.”
Minghao just shrugs, and Junhui smiles. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees something metal light up from the sunlight.
It's the gold inlay on a Stygian iron sword’s hilt, and when Junhui looks up, his dark green eyes meet deep, black ones. Jihoon smiles back at him from where he's sitting near the lake, and Junhui makes the grass grow up and tickle the hand resting on the gleaming sword’s sheath. Jihoon just looks down, smiling more widely and watching the grass weave around his fingers.
The first time they’d met, Jihoon had just arrived at camp, and everybody had been intimidated by the darkness in the boy’s expression, so Junhui had volunteered to show him around camp. Jihoon wasn’t much of a talker, but he nodded to show he was listening to Junhui, and when Junhui showed him the cabins, his eyes had just barely widened, but it was enough to remind Junhui that although the boy looked like he could kill someone even without a sword, he was still a twelve-year-old boy too.
Jihoon’s first night at Camp Half-Blood, he’d stayed with the Hermes cabin. At dinner, Junhui watched from the Demeter table as Jihoon shyly started smiling at Seungkwan’s jokes. Their eyes had met at some point, and the glow of the fire caught in Jihoon’s eyes, making them look almost like ink. Junhui had grinned and made the flowers in the center of the table grow to rest next to Jihoon’s hand, and he’d been rewarded with even wider eyes looking up at him in astonishment.
Jihoon was claimed when he was alone one day, and when he told Chiron he was a son of Hades, the whole camp had whispered about it for days. When he sat at the Hades table alone that night, Junhui had willed the flowers to gently curl around his wrist, and when he looked up, Junhui swore he’d never seen darkness look so warm before.
Now, making plants grow for Jihoon had become a habit of Junhui’s, and while he'd gotten some weird looks at first, everyone had learned to expect to see Jihoon with leaves in his hair or flowers in his pocket.
“Jun.” Minghao prods him.
“If you'd stop making eyes at Jihoon, you'd know it's your turn,” Minghao says, rolling his eyes with a tiny grin.
Junhui exhales through his nose. He doesn't need this right now. Can't a boy like someone in peace? Luckily, Minghao is saved from what definitely would've been a brutal comeback when Chiron calls them in for dinner.
Apollo’s kids are enthusiastically leading the sing-along that night when Junhui hears a rustle behind him. It’s not the usual wind through the bushes thing, though (as a son of Demeter, he’s usually pretty good at noticing the difference), and when he feels a light tug on his sleeve, he grins. Looking back, he sees the flames of the bonfire reflecting in black eyes, and he quietly follows Jihoon into the woods.
“What’s up?” he whispers, but Jihoon doesn’t say anything, so Junhui just moves his hand so their fingers are intertwined. Jihoon, accustomed to this by now, just squeezes his hand.
When they’ve reached the stream, Jihoon stops and turns around.
“I’m leaving camp.”
Junhui hears the words, and he understands what they mean, but his tongue is numb. He looks down, and the grass sways back and forth, like a metronome set to the beat of his heart.
“It's not permanent, but I've been here for five summers already, and I’ve been doing my thing for most of the year for the past four years. It’s not a big deal, I'll still come by, but my dad mentioned that I'm technically an adult now and he has work that needs doing, so I figured it makes sense to go, you know?” When Junhui just nods mutely, Jihoon adds “I promise I'll come visit you a lot.”
Junhui hears the softness in Jihoon’s voice, a quiet plea for reassurance that this is okay, they'll be okay.
“Did you talk to Chiron already?” Junhui finally looks up. The trees have spread their branches so they have more moonlight to talk, and it paints Jihoon’s eyelashes silver.
“He had no objections,” Jihoon said. “It seems like a pretty good decision to be honest. I mean I don't really belong here, and a child of Hades has never stayed at camp nearly as much as I have, and from being here five years, you're still the only one who’s really tried to be my friend.”
Junhui sees the moonlight swimming on the dark green leaves, focuses on the sound of the stream flowing through cattails. He sits down, and without looking up, he has a blackberry bush reach out a branch and pull Jihoon down next to him.
“I'll miss you a lot,” he finally says, and his whisper hovers in the clearing for a second before dissolving like dandelion seeds in the wind.
“I’ll miss you too, but I'll come back and visit. And I can shadow travel remember? I can come see you wherever you are.” Jihoon’s always had a habit of twisting his rings when he's distressed, and now, his fingers draw black ribbons against the moonlight on the grass.
“Yeah. That's true.” Junhui exhales, and he feels the grass fall against him gently, almost as if to comfort him.
“You're my best friend, Wen Junhui. I'll be back until you don't want me around.” Jihoon’s smile is a sad one, as if he expects that time to come sooner rather than later.
This time Junhui reaches out himself to hold Jihoon’s hand. He stills Jihoon’s fingers with his own, quietly threading them together.
“Good luck with your dad. I expect you to visit regularly or at least send me dangerous Underworld creatures to sabotage the other team in capture the flag. And I’ll send you Iris messages when I'm bored, because you can't get rid of me this easily.”
“This easily?” Jihoon cracks a smile. “Going to the underworld and doing the business of the god of death is easy?”
“I know what I said,” Junhui replied, flicking the back of Jihoon’s hand.
Jihoon laughs for real, and Junhui smiles unconsciously before trying to bring back the poker face. His lips twitch when Jihoon’s thumb brushes against palm, though, and he knows he’s lost this battle, so he lays himself on the ground, looking up through his eyelashes at Jihoon.
Jihoon raises his eyebrow, and Junhui grins. He shifts himself over so his head is in Jihoon’s lap, and their fingers are still intertwined. Jihoon’s other hand comes up and gently brushes through his hair, and Junhui closes his eyes and pretends that time doesn't exist.
It feels like a small eternity later that Jihoon whispers “Jun?” and Junhui opens his eyes. Gazing back at him is the warmest, most beautiful darkness he's ever seen.
“I think they might start looking for us if we don't get back,” Jihoon whispers with a small smile.
“Well they can fuck off,” Junhui says, unable to look away. He can't help feeling like a man on death sentence savoring his last meal.
“You should try telling Soonyoung that,” Jihoon laughs.
“That's a terrible idea. Could you imagine the pout?”
“Yeah, it'd be like kicking a puppy.” Jihoon’s laugh sounds more like a cackle this time, and Junhui has never been happier or sadder. He sighs, and starts the process of getting up.
They head back to camp, and Jihoon lets Junhui hold his hand again without saying anything. He's usually not this quiet about Junhui’s love for skinship, and Jun can't help but hold on tighter, knowing this is Jihoon’s way of making goodbye less sad.
“When do you leave?” Junhui’s voice is soft like a leaf fluttering in the wind, and it takes Jihoon so long to reply that Junhui’s not sure he heard.
“What?” Junhui stops walking.
Jihoon won't look at him. “I don't have any specific time but when you go to bed I'll leave.”
“What if I don't go to bed?” Junhui feels like a child, but he doesn't care.
“Then I'll leave before breakfast, but I'd rather not have people see me leave.”
“Junhui, come on.”
Junhui lets himself get tugged back to camp, but he keeps a tight hold on Jihoon’s hand when they reach the Demeter cabin.
“I'll see you soon,” Jihoon says softly.
“Can you stay a bit longer?” Junhui feels selfish for asking, but he figures if there was ever a time to be selfish, this is it. Jihoon’s hesitant, he can tell, because most children of Demeter are wary around children of Hades; the whole death thing tends to put them off a bit, and the idea of going into their cabin… Junhui knows Jihoon doesn't like it.
“Never mind,” he says after a few seconds. “Hug though?” Junhui holds his arms out, and Jihoon sighs with relief, wrapping his arms around Junhui’s waist and squeezing a little. Junhui rests his head against Jihoon’s dark hair and sighs.
“Be careful okay? If you die I'm going to get a quest to go to the Underworld and yell at you.”
“Oh the horror,” Jihoon says wryly, but he rubs Junhui’s back comfortingly, and Junhui feels his heart clench a little.
He lets go, and they step apart. With a small smile and a wave, Jihoon melts away into the darkness.
you're up cairistiona :)