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31 December 2011 @ 02:00 am
On the Fringe // Chapter Ten  
In Kirii is a fail at writing Annabeth, which is why it took so long this time. Annabeth and Kirii do not get along. It is Wiffle's job to write Annabeth, not Kirii's. Happy New Year's, readers!

Title: On the Fringe
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Luke/Percy, past!Percy/Annabeth.
Warnings: AU, slash (m/m and some minor mentions of f/f).
Author's Note: In which I finally change my author's note and should probably update any summary, but I am too lazy to do so. Just, yeah, anyone who has been following this fic knows the deal.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are copyright to Rick Riordan and if he had any idea what I'm doing with his characters, I'm sure he'd be out for my foolish mortal blood. I do, however, own the OCs.

Chapter Ten

As Annabeth followed him to Cabin Three so they could talk, Percy was absolutely certain that she had suddenly donned a black hood and wielded a huge axe. The campers who watched as a clearly displeased daughter of Athena walked with an obviously dejected son of Poseidon seemed to be passing a universal message of 'dead man walking' amongst themselves at the sight. Honestly, that's kind of what Percy felt it was like; he'd told Luke that the girl was going to gut him like a fish, but if the glare Annabeth had given him just minutes ago was anything to judge by, the daughter of Athena wouldn't be even that merciful.

Percy swore he could hear a funeral dirge being played. He looked around to see a daughter of Apollo playing a harmonica and threw a glare at her. She just gave him a salute and slipped the tiny instrument into her pocket before joining her siblings on their way over to the archery range.

Alima looked up from her bed in the cabin, smiling widely when she saw that Percy was back. She was about to go up to greet her half-brother and welcome him home when she caught sight of Annabeth behind him. Remembering what Percy had told her the night before he disappeared – well, she knew where he'd gone, since she talked to Travis and Connor – the younger child of Poseidon announced that she was going to go to the pegasus stables. Throwing her brother a look that conveyed a message of 'welcome back, hope you survive this', Alima dashed out the door to give Annabeth and Percy room to talk without her eavesdropping.

Standing in the middle of the cabin, Annabeth crossed her arms over her chest. Her eyes had gotten lighter, no longer the dark grey that foretold a storm brewing within the daughter of Athena, but the intensity was still there. She focused on Percy, everything about how she stood making it clear that Percy had better start talking.

So that's what Percy did. Everything came rushing out; how he'd come back to camp and tried to give Luke a second chance, how they'd started to become friends again – or for real, since Luke had only acted the part of being his friend that first summer, to betray him later. He told Annabeth about the dreams that had started off so strange, an unknown figure asking for answers. He told her how he'd finally figured out it was Luke in those dreams, as he and the son of Hermes got closer as friends. Percy wasn't quite sure how long he talked, but he covered as much as he could.

Throughout all of it, Annabeth remained quiet, her arms tightly folded across her chest. It was hard for Percy to tell what she was thinking, what feelings she might be having as he explained everything. There was a flash of emotion in the daughter of Athena's eyes when Percy finally told her where he'd run off to on the Fourth of July, just a couple of days ago.

"I saw Luke heading into the woods and I needed to talk to him, so I went after him," Percy told Annabeth, knowing she'd remember how he'd left her on the beach right before the fireworks were supposed to start. "I know I said I'd be right back and, yeah, I probably could have waited until the fireworks were over, but I had to talk to Luke. I had to tell him something. Only he beat me to it."

Annabeth arched her brow at that and Percy half-expected her to finally speak up and ask him what-in-the-name-of-Hades he was talking about, but her lips remained firmly sealed. He knew that he had to tell her what had been said that night, what had happened then and in the days since. This was simply the hardest thing he'd ever had to say to the daughter of Athena – who, despite the initial wariness because of their godly parents' rivalry, had become one of his closest friends. Percy took a deep breath, then closed his eyes, finally just blurting it out.

"Luke told me he was in love with me."

When Percy didn't even hear Annabeth deny it, tell him he was making this up, call him a liar, he cracked one eye open to peek at his friend before opening the other eye as well. Annabeth still had her lips closed, but her arms were folded tighter over her chest and she was shaking very slightly. Percy wasn't quite sure what the look in his friend's stormy grey eyes meant – Anger? Heartbreak? Resentment? Percy knew that Annabeth had loved Luke for a long time, much longer than she'd ever loved him, so he was expecting her to be hurt by the fact that the son of Hermes had fallen in love with Percy.

And that wasn't even half of what had been going on while she'd been away.

"The thing is...I'm in love with him, too," Percy added, his voice soft. He still wasn't quite sure how he'd wound up in love with Luke, but he knew he was. Eros had said that Percy and Luke were meant to be in love, that Aphrodite had been playing with him much more than he'd realized. What hurt the most about knowing that the goddess of love had been playing with him was knowing that she was playing with Annabeth at the same time. It wasn't fair to the daughter of Athena, any more than it was fair to him.

Looking at Annabeth, it was hard telling just how she was taking Percy's confession; he could tell she was upset, but there was so much more to it than that. The son of Poseidon had never been terribly good at telling his friend's emotions, even when they'd hang out much more often, but he was having even more trouble differentiating Annabeth's feelings now, perhaps because he was so conflicted as well.

"I'm sorry," Percy told her. "I never wanted to string you along or anything like that. I never thought I'd fall in love with someone else, much less with Luke, when you and I were together. You're one of my best friends, Annabeth, and I don't like hurting you. I'm really sorry."

A moment of silence fell between the two of them. Percy watched Annabeth for her reaction, seeing the mix of emotion in her eyes, the way her lips were beginning to pale with how firmly she was holding them closed. Her fingers were digging into her arms as she held them crossed over her chest. The whole time, she kept quiet. It had Percy worried for her, scared that she was never going to talk to him again. Though he may not love her the way he now knew he loved Luke, Percy still loved the daughter of Athena; she would always be one of his best friends, one of the few people he wanted to keep in his life. So when she still refused to say anything, Percy became a little desperate.

"Annabeth, please, say something," he pleaded quietly. "Tell me you get it, tell me you don't. Say you hate me and never want to see me again or you're happy for me, but not really. Just say something."

Annabeth's hand dropped from where her nails had dug into her skin, leaving crescent-shaped indents in her arm, and struck Percy's face hard. The resulting clap echoed in the far-too-quiet cabin as Percy stumbled back a step, bringing his hand up to touch his cheek. Had he not carried the curse of Achilles that made him invincible, his face would undoubtedly be swollen, possibly bruised. As it was, Percy's cheek still stung and was slightly red. Invincibility only went so far when it came to an upset girl.

"Don't," Annabeth told Percy sharply when the son of Poseidon opened his mouth to try to say something more. "Don't even. I don't want to hear anything more, you...you stupid...!"

She couldn't seemed to decide on what to call the demigod that would be enough, so she left her words at that as she pushed her way past Percy and threw the cabin door open. Before Percy could even get a chance to try to get out the door after her, Annabeth slammed the door back closed, leaving the son of Poseidon in an empty cabin, hand still pressed to his cheek and heart aching because, despite as much as he'd tried to make things easier on her, he'd still hurt his closest friend.

Alima had left to give him time and privacy to speak to Annabeth. Annabeth had just stormed out with a broken heart. Nico was in the infirmary, poisoned and delirious. Percy wasn't even sure where Luke and Tayen were. Were they still in the Underworld or had they gotten out? One of the Aura twins had said that Luke would get them home, but Percy had no idea how the son of Hermes intended to do that. At any rate, Percy didn't have anyone around right now. He was alone and he hated that.

With nothing really to do, he heaved a sigh and moved towards his bed, flopping down and wishing he could get away with smothering himself into his pillow.

* * * * *

When Percy finally emerged from his cabin again, an hour later, with his cheek no longer red after given some time, he headed straight for the infirmary to check on Nico. The last he knew, Will had been muttering something about diktamos and tilium, which Percy could only assume were medicines – he wasn't familiar with the various cures and herbal medicines that the children of Apollo used in their healing arts; he only knew very basic first aid and, when in doubt, nectar and ambrosia always helped. Percy had no idea how his cousin was doing.

Crossing the cabin green again, Percy was more than aware of more people watching him now than when he'd led Annabeth to Cabin Three. Clearly, there had been witnesses when Annabeth had stormed back out and those witnesses had, no doubt, started whispering rumors. Something would have to be done about that. Any time rumors started around Camp Half-Blood, those rumors tended to spread like wildfire in a thirsty wood and, given even half an inch, they'd become monsters not unlike those in the camp's forest. For now, though, Percy couldn't be bothered.

Right now, he had to get to Nico and check on the son of Hades. Nico had done a lot for him by helping him go after Luke. Actually, Percy realized, Nico had done a lot for him in the last couple of years; it was Nico who helped him in the Labyrinth most of all, Nico who'd given him the invincibility he'd needed to survive the battle in Manhattan last year, Nico who'd helped turn the tide of that battle by bringing some sense to Hades and, just a couple of days ago, had told Percy where Luke had gone. Nico had done the most for him these last few days and Percy felt he had to do something in return, by sticking to the younger demigod's side until he was better.

Ignoring the looks being thrown his way, Percy hurried over to the infirmary, knocking once before opening the door. He didn't wait for any of the healers to give him the okay or not, he just walked in and crossed to the back, where he could see Nico laying on a bed. Already at his side were Travis and Connor. Percy had to arch his brow, seeing the two sons of Hermes there; he vaguely recalled the two of them hanging out with Nico before, during the first part of the summer. He spent so much time with Luke that he hadn't really paid a whole lot of attention to his other friends, to be honest, but now that he really thought about it, part of him had realized that Travis and Connor had become friends with Nico.

"Hey guys," the son of Poseidon spoke up, keeping his voice soft. It was a rule, posted on a carved board that hung from the rafters: quiet in the infirmary. Percy grabbed a chair and brought it over to the other side of the bed Nico was resting on. "How's he doing?"

Connor looked up from where he'd been playing his DS. "Will said he'll live," he told Percy, relief in his voice. He gestured to a bandage just under Nico's elbow. "He couldn't draw out the poison, but he gave Nico an anti-venom."

"He said he had no idea when the fever would break, though," Travis added. He had his own DS out and was playing what sounded like a Pokémon game. He had a third DS sitting in his lap, black with a skeleton sticker on the top cover. Percy could only assume that it belonged to Nico. "We're supposed to give Nico some kind of tea whenever he wakes up."

"That tilium stuff," Connor muttered, dividing his attention between his game and the conversation. He looked up at Percy again, giving the son of Poseidon a small smile. "He'll be fine. He's not getting out of trading me his Glaceon that easily."

Percy couldn't help giving his own small smile. "I'm surprised you're not stealing it," he said, pointing to the black DS on Travis' lap. "Couldn't one of you just play his game to trade?"

"We could, but you know Nico," Travis pointed out. "He'd probably send us straight to his dad if we pulled a stunt like that on him."

"Damned to eternity over a Pokémon." Connor wrinkled his nose and stuck his tongue out. "I know we tend to cheat, lie and steal to get what we want, but eternal damnation in the Fields of Punishment over a bunch of pixels? Thanks, but no thanks." He set his game down and crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned back in his chair. "So, what's up, Seapup? We heard Luke didn't come back with you."

Percy heaved a sigh and slumped in the chair he'd brought over. "We had to split up," he explained. "When the lamiae got Nico, Luke and Tayen told me to get him out, so I did. I haven't heard from either of them, but - " he sat upright again and gave a shrug, " - you know. It's Luke and Tayen. They'll be fine. Luke will get them home."

"Duh." This was from both of the Stolls. Connor continued to speak while Travis played his game. "It's Luke," he told Percy. "Admittedly, he's the best of us. No matter what he did on the other side of the war or how much he used to hate being our dad's son, he was always the best of Hermes' kids. I mean, come on, he stole Zeus' master bolt! That takes some serious skill!"

"And major balls," the older Stoll brother interjected.

Connor gave a nod of agreement. "Even if it almost brought war, you have to admit, that was pretty damn awesome." He grinned at Percy. "We know Luke's going to pull some awesome Hermes kid stunt and get home. So relax, would you?"

"Hey, I'm perfectly relaxed," Percy pointed out. "I know Luke's going to come home. The only thing I'm worried about right now is my cousin being poisoned, feverish and unconscious."

"And Annabeth being pissed off," Travis added for the son of Poseidon.

"And Luke not being home yet," Connor put in.

"And how you're going to explain to us that you may or may not be being ridden like a seahorse by our brother."

Percy choked and gaped at Travis and Connor, who had said that last addendum together, voices in perfect unison. The two tricksters wore identical looks of amusement, their blue eyes twinkling with a knowing light.

"Don't even try to deny there's something between you and Luke," Travis told the son of Poseidon. His grin widened. "You can't lie to us, Percy. We're the children of the Lord of Liars. We know every tell that will give you away." He held up one hand and started counting off a few examples. "Avoid making eye contact, touching your face, your expressions are forced. Things like that."

"Also, there's the fact that you just flat-out suck at lying," Connor pointed out, giving a shrug. "At any rate, no, you can't deny that you and Luke are doing the horizontal tango or will be eventually."

Percy crossed his arms over his chest and frowned at the two sons of Hermes. "Luke was right," he told them. "You guys have been corrupting Nico."

"Hey, the kid's actually pretty fun to hang out with," Travis said. "Even if he's only thirteen."

Percy wrinkled his nose. He'd thought Nico was twelve. Looking down at the son of Hades, Percy realized that he didn't even know when Nico's birthday was. Despite being the closest cousin he had, he didn't know a whole lot about the younger demigod. That needed to be changed, sometime. Just as Percy would have to learn more about Luke while he got closer to the son of Hermes as their relationship evolved, so would Percy have to learn more about Nico if he was going to be friends with his younger cousin.

"So?"

"So what?" Percy asked, when Travis prompted him.

"Are you or are you not being banged by Luke?" the older Stoll brother queried, determined to get an answer out of the son of Poseidon.

"I don't see how it's any of your business," Percy pointed out. "Just because he's your brother doesn't mean I have to tell you whether I'm sleeping with him or not. For the record, there's still that rule. We're not allowed to be alone in a cabin."

"Cabin, true," Connor mused, lifting one hand to stroke his chin. He looked extremely thoughtful for a moment. "But, you know, nothing's really stopping you from doing it in the storage sheds, the stables, the armory – though that one's a little tricky."

"I don't even want to know," Percy muttered.

"Neither do I." This came from Nico. The son of Hades' voice was soft, hoarse, but it was clear that he was awake and had been for a while. The younger demigod shifted under the blankets, straightening from the ball he'd been curled up in. He cracked one eye open to look at his cousin and friends. "I'm trying to sleep here."

"No, you're not," Connor told the younger demigod, point blank. As goofy as most people took the Stoll brothers, and their other siblings, to be, when given something serious to do, they were serious about it. "You're sitting up, you're drinking the nasty tilium tea Will told us to give you - "

" - and then you're giving me your Glaceon for my Mismagius," Travis added.

Nico muttered something under his breath, but he pulled himself up into a sitting position. He looked up at Percy with tired eyes, blinking a couple of times, not seeming to comprehend what was going on. The son of Hades brought his hand up to run over his face and brush back his unruly black bangs. "How long have I been out?" he asked.

"A couple of hours, at least," Percy replied. It had taken a long time to get Nico to the exit of the Underworld after the son of Hades had passed out. What should have taken ten minutes at most had taken almost twice that with Percy half-dragging, half-carrying the younger demigod out. It had only been a few minutes after getting out that Emma and Ella had arrived to take them back to camp. "You've still got a fever, apparently."

"My head feels like a herd of centaurs stomped through," Nico grumbled. He dropped his head into his hands with a small groan. It was a long moment before he looked up again, this time because Connor was handing him a mug of tea. "Did Luke and Tayen get out of the Underworld?"

"I don't know yet." Percy still wasn't pleased about it. Where were they? Why was it taking so long to get back? Had Hades discovered them and sent the Erinyes after Luke and Tayen? "I haven't heard from either of them. I did talk to Annabeth, though."

"And how'd she take the news?"

Percy gestured to his cheek. "She hit me," he said. "I think if I wasn't invincible, I'd have a broken jaw."

"Athena's girls do know how to hit." Once again, the voice that spoke up wasn't anyone who'd been in the conversation previously. Standing in the door of the infirmary was Luke, one arm around Tayen's waist while her arm was over his shoulder. The son of Hermes guided the daughter of Hecate into the infirmary as Tayen hopped on one foot.

"Luke!" Percy stood, but kept himself from running over to the older demigod. "What happened?"

"One of the lamiae tackled Tayen and broke her ankle," Luke explained, helping Tayen get over to one of the empty cots.

"I broke her nose in retaliation," the daughter of Hecate grinned, unable to help herself, despite the pain she was in because of her ankle. "Then I turned her to monster dust with a broken arrow."

"Let me get Will," Luke told her. "You keep that ankle elevated."

"Yes, Mom."

"What else happened?" Percy asked, joining Luke as the son of Hermes moved to back of the infirmary, where Will was undoubtedly doing an inventory check – the eldest child of Apollo, since becoming the head of the infirmary, had become incredibly anal about his inventory. "How did you guys get back here?"

Luke looked to Percy with a raised brow, as if the son of Poseidon should know exactly how they'd gotten back. "I teleported us from Central Park," he replied. "We had to get out of the Underworld first, since the fight with those lamiae attracted a lot of attention. It wasn't easy, with Tayen's ankle, but we managed. Once we got up to the surface, it was easy to teleport back."

Percy, for a moment, was confused. Luke could teleport? He remembered the day that Luke had first left Camp Half-Blood, when he'd sliced at the air with Backbiter and created a portal to escape. At the time, Percy had thought it might be some additional power granted to the son of Hermes by Kronos, but now that he thought more about it, it was more likely to be a power inherited from the god of travelers; it actually made more sense than being a power from Kronos. That in mind, Percy realized that, of course, Luke would probably use it. It was the only way Luke could have beaten them to Central Park so quickly, considering it was over a hundred miles between Camp Half-Blood and Central Park. He, Nico and Tayen had taken pegasi there and it had still taken them a couple hours.

Luke caught Will's attention and had the son of Apollo going over to check on Tayen's ankle, then he turned to Percy and snagged the younger demigod close. "So, I assume you told Annabeth about us and that's why she hit you?"

Percy gave a nod in response. "Yeah," he murmured. He still felt awful about it. Annabeth was one of his oldest and closest friends. He knew how much she loved him. Honestly, he couldn't even begin to imagine how she must feel right now, after he'd told her about the relationship budding between him and Luke. She still only knew the bare minimum; he didn't dare tell her about the other dreams that he'd been having, the dreams that had clued him into his feelings in the first place. "She wasn't really happy."

"Obviously," Luke said. "She hit you. And Annabeth hits hard. Believe me."

Percy arched a brow at the older demigod. "She hit you?"

"Right after I came back to camp," Luke nodded. "I'm not entirely sure what I did to deserve it, but she must have had a reason. She doesn't hit people she cares about unless they've done something to hurt her or worry her. I guess my disappearance must have really gotten to her."

"Disappearance. Right." Percy still had a hard time remembering the cover story for what had happened to Luke. It didn't feel right to him, continuing to lie to Luke about what had really happened. Tayen had said that knowing would only cause the son of Hermes more pain. Nico had told Luke that there would be memories that the older demigod would not like. Even then, to just keep everything that defined who Luke was hidden away from the son of Hermes just...it wasn't something Percy was sure he could do.

"Hey."

Percy looked up at Luke in time for the older demigod to give him a quick peck on the lips. Considering they still stood in the infirmary, he was a little surprised that Luke would be so forward, but then, it never struck him that Luke would be the type to really hide. Still, there were so many campers who would not be pleased at all that there was something going on between Luke and Percy, especially when so many of them had made it clear how much they supported Percy and Annabeth as a couple just last summer.

"Stop that," Luke told the younger demigod, a serious tone in his voice, but an amused light in his eyes. "You keep scrunching that nose up like that and I won't be able to stop myself from ravishing you, right here in this infirmary."

"There are rules against that, bro!" Travis called from his place at Nico's bedside. He'd given the son of Hades the DS and the two of them looked like they were busy trading Pokémon, but the younger son of Hermes had still heard his older brother. "Remember? Unwritten Hermes cabin rule number two!"

Luke gave a snort and rolled his eyes, before leaning in and whispering to Percy, "'Thou shalt not get it on in the infirmary.'" He grinned at Percy and bounced his eyebrows suggestively, laughing when the son of Poseidon gaped at him.

"I can't believe you guys have that rule," Percy muttered. He didn't remember any rule like that from the time he spent in the Hermes cabin. It had been a pretty short stay, admittedly, but he remembered Luke saying there were no real rules in Cabin Eleven.

"Yeah, you wouldn't have heard it," Luke explained, slipping his arm around Percy's shoulders casually. "The unwritten rules are for Hermes kids only. If you'd been claimed by my dad, you would have been given the unwritten rules. Not that there are a lot of them. But that one's Adam's fault. He was the cabin leader before I was. He and one of Athena's daughters did it and we've been banned from doing it since."

Percy was still pretty sure he didn't really want to know. As wonderful as the dreams he and Luke had been sharing were, there was no way he was ready for that stage of the relationship. Were they even official yet? There were only five people in camp who knew about them at this point; Nico, Tayen, Travis, Connor and Annabeth. Percy's half-sister only knew that he was in love with someone who wasn't Annabeth, though he could bet that Alima had a guess who at this point, as well. It wasn't like Percy was trying to hide it that much, either. There was so much further he felt they had to go before he and Luke reached the point in their still new relationship.

He was about to bring this up when Luke gave his shoulder a hearty clap.

"Well, anyways, it's time I got cleaned up and headed for the arena," he announced, breaking away from Percy. "I've got a training block to teach and children of Hebe to wipe the floor with. Tayen, keep off the ankle. Travis, Connor, remember that Nico's still a kid, no funny business."

"Spoilsport!" Travis and Connor called in unison.

Luke just grinned at his brothers before looking back at Percy. "See you later, Perce," he promised, winking at the son of Poseidon.

Percy couldn't help a small smile at how at-ease Luke seemed to be, now that he'd returned from the Underworld. At the same time, it seemed a bit strange that Luke was so upbeat when, just a few hours ago, things hadn't been quite so bright. He supposed it was just in the nature of a child of Hermes to thrive on jokes and laughter, Hermes being a trickster god in his own right. Travis and Connor certainly seemed that way; it only made sense that Luke would be the same.

Despite the fact that things were beginning to settle and lighten up, Percy couldn't shake the feeling that something still wasn't right. He had no idea what might be giving him that feeling of apprehension, but, if previous experiences were anything to judge by, he was sure that something would happen, something to throw things into tumult all over again.

After all, the summer wasn't over yet.

Author's Note: Again, super sorry for the super late update. The whole ordeal with Percy and Annabeth gave me a ridiculously hard time. Annabeth is not my favorite character to write, obviously. But we'll be seeing more of her. The story isn't over and Annabeth's part isn't over yet, either. Things aren't settled yet.
 
 
 
yamipenguin: Happy Holidaysyamipenguin on December 31st, 2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
Stolls...
What do you mean Annabeth's part isn't over yet? I thought Percy just told Annabeth that he's in love with Luke! Love Travis and Connor's lines! Poor Percy! Since it looks like the Stolls and Nico may be becoming a trio after all...The campers already have to deal with the Stolls, they don't really need a third prankster...Love the nicknames Travis and Connor gave Percy! Seapup indeed!
*LOL* Love the rules! Now I understand why that rule! But I really would love to see Luke break that rule! I can see him doing it. Since i doubt he will able to resist the urge. Percy tends to be tempting...
How many more chapters until Luke and Percy lemon?
Kirii: PJO // You break me again and againxaefryl on December 31st, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Stolls...
Haha, I can't just leave things between her and Percy like that. Yes, he's confessed, but remember that Annabeth's his best friend, after Grover, so they're both going to hurt until things can be repaired between them.

I actually took 'Seapup' from an RP with chizwiffle. It's stuck in my headcanon that the Stolls give Percy nicknames. Actually, a lot of RP headcanon made it into this chapter. That's where the rule came from, too. XD;; And Luke would only break it if Percy agreed to cancel out the rule because Percy's a child of Poseidon, not Hermes.

Honestly, I don't know when the lemon will be. This fic has extended itself a few chapters, so it may yet be a while.
yamipenguin: Calling Cardyamipenguin on December 31st, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
chapters???
How many more chapters? PLEASE don't make this fic hit 50 or 100 chapters!
And as for Luke actually breaking that rule? Have the Stolls and Chris ever been tempted to break that rule? Because I read somewhere that Chris Rodriguez IS one of Luke's brothers...