Thalia Grace was sixteen years old when her washed-up, alcoholic, failed actress of a mother kicked her out. Thalia had stuffed her clothes into a duffel bag, grabbed three bottles of vodka, a box of granola bars, and her mother's credit card. She made it as far as the corner store at the end of her street before she realized she didn't know where to go.
So she sat down on the curb and munched morosely on a granola bar.
"Great planning, Thalia," she muttered to herself, "Way to go." She began a list of people who she knew well enough to ask for shelter.
Annabeth - her house was already full to the brim.
Percy - she loved her cousin, but no. His mom couldn't support another teenager.
Nico and Bianca - again, Thalia loved her cousins, all of them...but her aunt Maria would just insist that she try and make amends with her mother.
Grover - he was a vegetarian, like the rest of his family. There was no way Thalia could convert to that lifestyle.
Luke - he was already living on his own...actually...
It was a lightbulb moment. Thalia leapt up from the curb, slung her bag over her shoulder, and began the trek to Luke Castellan's apartment.
It took her almost an hour to reach his door. She rapped her knuckles against the wood and waited impatiently for him to open it. When he finally did, she pushed by him and tossed her stuff into his living room.
"What the fuck, Thalia?" Luke exclaimed, shutting his door. He yawned, wiping his eyes.
"My mom kicked me out," Thalia explained, "And I thought that, maybe, I could stay with you for a while?" She smiled hopefully at him. Luke looked at her, taken aback, and ran a hand through his hair.
"Uh, you want to stay here?" He clarified. Thalia nodded, biting her bottom lip. Luke sighed.
"I swear, I'm actually a really good housemate," she insisted, "I can clean, and I'll find a job and help pay for rent, and I can cook a mean lasagna!" She grabbed his hands and looked up at him. "Please, Luke."
Luke shook his head. "It isn't that I don't want to help, I do," he explained, "But I can't support you. I don't even have another bedroom for you to stay in. I live off of takeout and cheap beer, which is illegal anyways." Thalia shrugged.
"I'm cool with illegal," she said, "My mom is a heroine addict, I pretty much grew up with illegal!" Luke rolled his eyes and shook his head.
"No, Thalia," he said firmly, "You can't live with me. Call your dad. Go stay with him." He folded his arms across his chest and gave her a stern look.
"I hate my dad." Thalia replied smartly. "Besides, he wouldn't want me. He has Jason, the golden boy." Luke tried to ignore how sympathetic towards Thalia's situation he was. He looked at her set jaw, determined eyes, and firm stance - the perfect picture of stubbornness embodied in a pixie-sized sixteen-year-old.
"Okay," he sighed, "I give up. You have exactly one week to find somewhere else to stay." He scolded himself for being such a softie and went to sit on his couch. Thalia bounded after him and jumped on him, her thin arms wrapping around him and her face pressing into his neck.
"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" She exclaimed, kissing his cheek and beaming at him. Luke fought back the blood rushing to his cheeks.
"You have to sleep on the couch," he warned, doing his best to ignore how close their faces were, "And I mean it, Thals - one week. I want you to call your dad."
Thalia frowned and moved to sit beside him. As soon as they were no longer touching, the January chill seemed to rush right back into the room. "I told you, I hate my dad. He's a no-good, lying, cheating son of a bitch, and I want nothing to do with him."
"Thalia," Luke said, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you should never give up on family." He met her angry blue eyes with his earnest gaze, and watched the anger dissipate slowly.
"He's never been there for me," she mumbled, looking down at her pale hands. They twisted around each other in her lap, and Luke gently covered them with his much larger hand.
"You're going to have to let him."
Thalia looked up at Luke and took in his familiar face. Her partner-in-crime, her shelter, her best friend. He was the representation of all the good in Thalia's life.
"Can we talk about the sucky stuff later?" She asked, reaching in to her bag and bringing out a bottle of vodka. "I brought the party." Luke laughed and took the bottle from her. As he struggled with the cap, Thalia shivered, wrapping her arms around herself. With a small eye-roll, Luke grabbed a nearby blanket and wrapped it around her shoulders. She smiled at him and tried unsuccessfully to stifle a large yawn.
"We don't need alcohol tonight, Sparky," Luke said, calling her by her childhood nickname. "C'mon, let's go to bed." He got up and held out a hand to Thalia.
"I thought I was sleeping on the couch?" Thalia asked, her voice beginning to thicken with tiredness.
Like sighed, "You can't expect me to let a damsel in distress not sleep with a valiant knight by her side to ward off bad dreams, can you?" He winked at her, causing a stir of flurries in her stomach.
"You'll have to carry me, o valiant one," she laughed.
Luke reached down and gathered her into his arms, carrying her bridal-style into his bedroom. He set her down on the bed, and went to his dresser.
"D'you want some pyjamas?" He offered.
"Yeah," she answered through a yawn. Luke found an old, very large T-shirt with 'Your wallet is in my pocket' printed across the faded black material in dirty white. He chucked it over to the girl on his bed and changed himself into a pair of flannel plaid pyjama pants, discarding his shirt. He went back over to the bed to find Thalia already curled up under the duvet in his shirt, her breathing evening out.
"Good night, Thalia," he said as he slid under the covers. She turned to face him and smiled through her sleep haze.
"Good night, Luke," she answered, "Thanks." She shuffled over and turned, pressing her back against his chest, fitting her head beneath his chin. He let his arm drape over her waist and breathed in the smell of Thalia; a mixture of three things that had no specific name, but together combined to form a scent that smelled like maybe, just maybe, Luke had found a sort of heaven on earth.
"By the way, Castellan," Thalia muttered, "We are going grocery shopping tomorrow. You're bat shit crazy if you think I'm starting to live off takeout."
Luke laughed, and Thalia felt it rumble through his chest. "I assume you'll want a cheeseburger at some point?"
Thalia linked her fingers with his. "You know me too well." Luke laughed and smiled to himself as she nestled in next to him, and he closed his eyes.
A/N: Aw, these two. Sorry for the wait, I was very much a busy person. Hope you enjoyed this one, I know I did!
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