A/N: This story originated from a list I made. Specifically ships. One of my friends looked over my shoulder and wrinkled her nose: 'Piper and Leo? Seriously? That's so wrong.' Turns out I was thinking Charmed and she was thinking Percy Jackson. Best part? I thought to myself: Hey. Confusion. I could use that!
So... Please let me know what you think.
Leo was at the end of his rope.
Well, not really. His life was great. Gaea was gone for good, he had found his way back to Ogygia and left with Calypso, and eventually found his way back home. After his friends got over being angry he didn't tell them he was alive, Leo found a nice cozy niche in New Rome with Calypso. They opened a shop (Leo and Calypso's Repair Shop and Café), and Leo went to college (with Percy and Annabeth, no less!). Frank and Hazel were a stone's throw away in Camp Jupiter (with Frank ruling as super-awesome supreme praetor with Reyna), and Jason was in and out as ambassador (usually with Piper, of course)… even Nico had settled down and found a boyfriend. It seemed like everyone had gotten their happily ever after. Life was great.
But, Leo was terrified. Life as a demigod was rough, and he constantly expected all manner of evil to jump out at him. Demigods didn't get happily-ever-afters. They died tragically. Usually alone. Sure, the Romans had been getting by for generations in New Rome, but Leo wasn't convinced. He didn't have that kind of luck. What if Gaea wasn't truly gone? What if the Titans or the Giants tried to rise again? What if Tartarus had something up his sleeve next? Or what if the gods dissolved into chaos against each other again? Or for that matter, how stable was the Greek-Roman friendship? How could one quest heal centuries of bad blood?
Despite his worries, everything was peaceful. Well, as much as could be expected. There were no world ending plots, just the odd quest and blood-hungry monster. But…. No way could any of this last. It was too awesome.
The son of Hephaestus's worst fear was losing Calypso. He thought for sure that a grumpy old god would pay them a visit someday, sending Calypso back to that dreaded island and squashing Leo into demigod mush. After all—there had to be some sort of rule against dating a perfect immortal girl who happened to be the daughter of a Titan. Or… what if Calypso wasn't satisfied? What if she left? Leo would do anything to keep her happy, but he was just a hyperactive, annoying, and often grimy, tinkerer. He still couldn't understand what she saw in him. She had fallen in love with some of the most epic heroes in Greek and Roman history, like Odysseus and their very own Percy Jackson.
He needed some serious advice. Surely someone could tell him he was insane.
So, when he woke up to Calypso's cheery laugh and two familiar voices, Leo jumped out of bed like a jack-in-the-box. After hastily changing into a Camp Half-Blood shirt (a guy's got to show a little graecus pride) and jeans, Leo rushed out into his apartment's living room and straight into the back of Jason Grace.
"Whoa, buddy! You're going to trip and kill yourself!" the son of Jupiter steadied the flustered mechanic.
Calypso smiled at her boyfriend, "What's your rush? Remember, we don't need to open the shop today!" She turned to the fourth occupant of the room, "I'm visiting Camp Jupiter on special request! Reyna and Frank asked me to do a guest history lecture in preparation of the coming anniversary of the Final Battle against Gaea. Rachel and Ella are going to be there too!"
"Calypso!" Piper beamed back, "That's great!" Leo couldn't help smiling at that too. Calypso got along famously with the Oracle of Delphi and the book-obsessed harpy.
Jason gave Leo a thwack on the back, "You ok there, man?"
Leo made a show of huffing and straightening his simple garb like it was one of those death-trap curtains the Romans wore to senate meetings. "Ruffled, but raggedly handsome, as usual, Grace."
"Glad to hear it." He turned back to the group as a whole, "I've got a packed day at Camp Jupiter too, Calypso. Maybe I can walk you there."
Calypso nodded enthusiastically, "And Piper, maybe you and Leo can hang out—make sure he doesn't die of boredom on his day off and all."
"I keep myself plenty occupied, thank you very much!" But Leo couldn't help grinning at the daughter of Aphrodite. This was perfect. Absolutely perfect. Not only would he get to catch up with his old friend, but he could get a first-hand opinion from the best love-goddess-child he knew.
"So," Piper ventured once Calypso and Jason had left, deep in conversation about teaching ADHD demigods, "What do you think about a field trip?"
Piper was at her wits end. How on earth was she supposed to raise three kids, and run a restaurant?
Well, when you put it that way, it sounded easy. It was not. Not when her three little babies (10, 9, and 6 years old) were young whitelighter-witches learning to use magic, fight evil, and become the new Charmed Ones. Just last week, Wyatt and Chris had snuck off on their own to vanquish some demon or another. It was maddening! Phoebe and Paige didn't have this much trouble! Although, Piper's two sisters had started families a long while after she had. Melinda (Piper's youngest) was the same age as her eldest cousins. Little kids were so much more manageable…. before they start coming into their powers and orbing all over creation.
Piper sighed and looked at herself in the mirror. This was going to be a disaster.
She hadn't been anywhere but home, magic school, and work for weeks. Now, she was leaving her three troublesome children in the care of Billie (their de-facto babysitter, and fellow witch), while she had a day out with her husband.
Almost as though he could read her mind, the ex-whitelighter called up the stairs, "Piper! You ready yet? It's not like we're going out to eat, or anything!"
A day out in San Francisco. What could possibly go wrong. Demons? Probably. Running for your life? Almost guaranteed. Although—maybe she was being pessimistic. Piper has had plenty of pleasant days roaming the city, especially since she and her sisters (aka the Charmed Ones) finished their last destined battled seven years ago.
Everything was going to go just fine.
San-Fran-Cisco! What a place! Leo stared down the lop-sided street that curved up and down and all around. Every building was unique, but every street looked the exact same. Man—this place was like a non-magical (and considerably safer) Labyrinth!
Beside him, Piper finished her ice cream cone with a satisfied crunch. She smiled over at Leo, "Your hand is going to get all sticky."
He looked down at his melted ice cream and mushy cone, "Ah, by Tartarus!"
Piper laughed, "That's what you get for being Mr. Spacey!"
Leo proceeded to make a big show of disposing the melted treat in a nearby trash can, as though it were made of greek fire and gorgon's blood. Leo grinned back at his friend, who was practically rolling on the floor. He flourished a bow. "Thank you," he bellowed in an announcer's voice, "Thank you very much."
"You—you sound," Piper gasped for breath, "You sound like Otis or Ephialtes!"
Leo smiled back on the memory of the two anti-Dionysus giants and their idiotic—but deadly—idea of a show in Rome as he licked his hands clean.
"What do you say we head down to the bay?" Piper suggested. When he nodded, she continued, "Maybe you can get around to spitting out what you want to talk about too."
Leo stopped, tongue still hanging out of his mouth, and stared at the daughter of Aphrodite.
"It's about Calypso, isn't it."
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised," Leo sighed.
"Nope!" she popped the 'p', "Come on!" She threw her arm over Leo's shoulder and started down the street.
"You were right," Piper sighed, leaning against her husband and watching the boat traffic ooze by soothingly on the bay. The midday sun shone against the exposed metal.
Leo smiled down at her, "Aren't I always?"
A smile quirked the corner of Piper's mouth. "Maybe…" she murmured mischievously.
Leo chuckled. "Nothing but the sun and a refreshing breeze. Not a demon in sight." He gestured around them.
Piper sat up quickly and slapped him on the arm. "Don't jinx it!" she complained.
He chuckled before becoming deadly serious, "You need to relax, Piper. You're nearly as bad as when every demon under the sun was after Wyatt, or when you faced the Ultimate Power…. We're safe, now, Piper, and we need to enjoy it."
She sighed, "Why do you always make sense?"
He smiled, "Well, I am a few decades older than you…"
"Oh, shut up!"
They fell into a comfortable silence. Piper leaned her head on her husband's shoulder.
Life was good.
"Leo!" Piper's head shot up at the unfamiliar voice. Beside her, Leo jumped.
"You've got to be kidding me!" the voice—a girls'—continued, "You're such an idiot sometimes!" Piper and Leo relaxed. There was just some kid with Leo's name.
A pair of kids came into view as they walked past a tree. The girl, who had feathers braided into her hair and a tee-shirt with some kind of native American-like design on, had her companion in a head lock and was ruffling his hair. The boy, who seemed to be of Latino descent, was grunting indignantly as he tried to wiggle away. He wore a bright orange shirt and a tool belt.
Piper probably would have dismissed them entirely. However, something caught her eye—the girl had a knife of some kind hanging in plain sight from her belt. And the boy—he was holding some kind of steam-punk-tech bronze sphere.
The girl conceded to the struggling and let the boy go. He instantly started fiddling with his sphere, pulling out tools that should not have fit in his belt.
"I can't believe you're worried about Calypso. There's no way she'd leave you, immortal or not. She's head over heels for you, Leo. Just like you are for her."
Beside her, her Leo nudged her. "Immortal?" he whispered.
"Piper!" the boy protested. Piper felt her eyes widening. What are the chances of that? The boy, Leo, continued "That's not my only worry, and you know it. The gods hold grudges—I mean, what if they send her back? I don't know what I'd do."
"Why do you think something like that is going to happen?"
"It's been too peaceful since Gaea. Too quiet. I can't help feeling something is brewing."
The teenage Piper sighed, "Leo, just because demi—" She froze, staring at the couple on the bench.
"Piper?" teenage Leo turned. He scowled when he met the surprised looks of the adults, "What? Is my hair on fire? Can't two friends have a private conversation in the middle of a crowded city?"
Piper felt her eyes drift to the girl's wicked looking knife. Why did a teenager have a weapon? The girl shifted uncomfortably, trying to casually block the blade from view. The boy swallowed hard, his scowl suddenly replaced by a look of apprehension. Piper looked nervously at her husband. Something about these kids made her feel on edge, "Leo, honey, what's going on?"
Leo was staring, obviously at loss for words. He shook his head, and glanced at his wife. "Gaea? Gods? That—that's not possible," he murmured, "They're gone."
Teen Leo, who seemed to have recovered from the guy in front of him being called by his name, snorted. "You just keep telling yourself that, man."
"Leo!" teen Piper hissed.
Piper frowned, "Are you witches?" That might explain the strange conversation and the knife, but…
Now it was Leo's turn to protest. "Piper!" he complained in exasperation.
Teen Piper blinked at them in surprise, the combination of comments hitting her hard. "Piper?" she muttered.
"Witches?" teen Leo asked incredulously.
Piper opened her mouth to try again when Leo placed a hand on her leg, "Piper, I don't like this. We shouldn't be…." he glanced at the teenagers, "…sharing." He lowered his voice, "They aren't witches; I'd be able to tell."
As Leo spoke, the two teenagers drifted together instinctually. Piper watched them curiously; they'd been through a lot together.
"I don't know, Leo," she sighed, "They seem safe enough; they're just kids. What are they going to do? Drag us off to an insane asylum?"
Teen Leo slipped his sphere into his belt (goodness knows how it fit), and teen Piper's hand drifted to the hilt of her knife.
Piper turned to them, "I mean, you aren't demons are you?" The teenagers stared back, completely stunned. "They don't look like demons, do they honey?" she challenged Leo. "And I mean, what are the chances of two kids with our names walking past talking about immortality and gods? It can't be a coincidence."
Teen Piper frowned, "What do you mean? Are you demigods?"
"Careful, Piper," teen Leo said, though his tone was wry and joking, "They're probably gods in disguise or something insane like that. I knew it's been too quiet."
Leo frowned, "Demigods?"
"Yeah…" Piper stood slowly, "What does that even mean?"
"Only as crazy as that witch theory of yours," teen Leo shot back.
Beside her, Piper felt her husband stand.
Teen Piper, who was practically standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her friend, touched his arm, "Leo… maybe we should, you know, go. Head back to—" she stopped herself, "our… um…. Home."
"You know, I like the way you think, Pipes."
Teen Piper braced herself and looked at the adults, "We are just two ordinary teenagers out for a walk. We need to go now, and you should pretend you never saw us."
Piper felt a tugging sensation. Part of her desperately wanted to do as she was told. They were obviously just two jesting teenagers. Piper shouldn't concern herself. She should just forget they met.
Together the two teenagers turned to go.
Beside her, Leo tensed. "Magic," he whispered. "It's magic, Piper. Don't listen."
Piper blinked. Of course it was magic—some sort of coercion. The teenagers were already a good five feet away.
"Wait!" without thinking about it, Piper threw up her hands. The teenagers stopped. But… so did Leo. His mouth was wide open, as though he was about to say something.
Piper had to admit: he looked like a fish.
A/N: Should I continue? Let me know what you think!