Percy and the rest of the seven walked up the hill of Camp Half-Blood, leaving their wrecked ship behind them, to stay where it was.
They had been through so much over the past eleven months. Yes, almost a year against Gaia and her forces. But now it was finally over.
They were all so tired and worn out, they were glad to have a safe place to stay, even if Hazel, Frank, and Jason weren't really living there, they needed a place to stay until Camp Jupiter was fixed. And Percy thought maybe after all they had been through together, Jason, Hazel, and Frank would want to stay at Camp Half-Blood.
The seven finally reached the top of Half-Blood Hill, and stood at Thalia's tree. Hazel stared upon the view with awe. After all the beautiful places they had been to, Hazel liked this one. "It's beautiful, Percy." The son of the sea god nodded in agreement, happy to be home.
They all walked down the hill, relieved that they were still alive. There was only one thing missing.
"Nico!" Hazel gasped as she raced pass the rest of the seven to go run up to her brother, who had made it back before them, waiting for everyone's arrival.
Nico let out a faint smile, that grew bigger and bigger as Hazel got closer to him. "Hey, Hazel." The son of Hades laughed with pleasure and excitement and let his sister give him a warm, tight hug. When they let go, everyone was just making it down the hill. Nico looked happy, yet still sad about something. Percy decided to forget about it. Worrying was the last thing he needed to do. If anything, he should be relaxing. But why couldn't he?
"Hey, Nico!" Percy gave Nico a 'manly' hug. When he let go, he dropped himself onto the ground and started kissing it like it was gold.
Everyone, including Nico, snickered with happiness and humbleness. For the first time in months, Percy felt like he could sit down without some giant attacking, or some pit to Tartarus to accidentally fall in. He got up off the ground and took a look around camp. His sea green eyes became a little bit darker and his smile seemed to drop.
"What's wrong?" Annabeth said to Percy, fear and worry thoroughly showing deep in her stormy grey eyes.
"Look at the camp." Annabeth, Hazel, Frank, Leo, Jason, and Piper looked around, Nico standing, left out in a daze of some kind.
"It's-It's wrecked." Piper noticed.
It must not have looked like it from far. The Big House toppled, burnt grass, trees cut down, no other demigod in sight, no Chiron or Mr. D in sight.
Nico's face fell, as if just realizing what Piper had said. "Yeah. From the war with Romans, Gaia, and friends. The Hephaestus kids are already working on a plan to fix it. But for now, there's nothing we can do." The son of Hades looked unusually uncomfortable. Percy knew what a lie was, and this one was big.
Nico knew something that everyone else didn't, and it was something important.
Hazel glanced at Annabeth and Percy, noticing how sad they must've looked. "No matter. It'll get fixed over time, but lets not let it get to us."
Annabeth gave her attention to Hazel, doubt spreading across her face like butter. "How can you say that? Our only home is ruined, Hazel."
Percy gave Annabeth a kind of shocked look. "Calm down, Annabeth. I think we're all just tired. We could use a rest."
Annabeth shook her head and pursed her lips with displeasure. "Where can we rest, Percy? What if our cabins..."
She didn't need to finish. Percy knew exactly what she was going to say.
"Look, we don't know that our cabins are ruined...yet. And there's only one way to find out."
Percy pointed his finger towards the way to the cabins.
They all started walking until Annabeth stopped in her tracks. "Nico," Athena's daughter started. "Don't you know if the cabins have been ruined?"
Nico looked ridiculously nervous and afraid. But of what? "No. I just got here an hour before you guys."
Percy could tell that Nico was lying about his arrival time, but he wasn't going to bring it up. He didn't want to ruin his time back home after 11 months of suffering monsters, evil Roman demigods, Tartarus, a horrible eating schedule, a whack of a sleep schedule, and... ugh, here it comes.... Octavian.
Percy needed to let it go so, he did… Or tried. They kept walking towards the cabin area.
Percy wondered where everyone was, but he decided not to bring it up, considering that he might say something to make everyone more depressed.
Things were different. There was snow in a bunch of different places, and Dionysus rarely let snow fall. There was another issue that had to do with that subject; it was Summer as far as Percy knew.
The seven and Nico finally reached the cabins.
"Holy Hades," Nico exclaimed, awe and sorrow washed over his face like an ocean wave. “2?"
Annabeth let out a quiet sob. "There's only 2 cabins that aren't destroyed?” She suddenly broke out into tears and buried her head into Percy's chest, leaving it soaked. Percy knew that Annabeth had been through a lot, and yet? He had barely ever seen her cry before.
"It's okay, Annabeth!" Percy reassured, petting her head like she was a dog. Everyone stared at Percy and Annabeth looking so sorry for Athena's daughter. Saying what Percy did, trying to reassure her, only made her cry more. Percy hadn't ever seen Annabeth this way, and he was ashamed of himself because he had absolutely no idea of what to do.
Annabeth finally stopped crying and took a deep breath, while she stood in silence with the others.
Nico broke the silence that stood for a few minutes. "Of course my cabin has to be one of the two that are still standing."
Piper shot an uneasy and annoyed look at Nico. "Lets work with what we've got," She started. "Girls in the Hades cabin, and boys in the Hermes cabin."
Nico glared at Piper, as if trying to tell her that she was an idiot. "Zeus, no! I'm sleeping in my cabin."
Piper shrugged, as if disappointed that she couldn't sneak around Nico's home and try to figure him out. "Fine. Girls, Hermes. Boys, Hades."
Annabeth decided to join in. "Wait. What about the other demigods. We can't just 'invade' their cabins."
Nico started to talk. "Would you all just rather crash at my place? We could all fit in there." Nico snickered after he playfully offered.
Everyone stared at him and nodded in agreement, then walked up to the Hades cabin. Percy stayed behind with Nico, who was standing there in awe.
He looked to his side, where stood Percy. "I was just kidding!"
"You need to work on your jokes, buddy." Percy playfully patted him on the back and followed the others.
Nico finally walked into the Hades cabin long after realizing that he wasn't the best jokester, to see Jason's stuff spread across his bed.
"Hey!" Nico shouted walking up to his bed and swiping all of Jason's stuff off.
"What was that for?"
"This is my bed, Jason."
"Ha," Jason laughed nervously. "I didn't realize y-you were so..."
Annabeth decided to jump in, trying to help Jason come up with the right word. "Territorial?"
"Exactly." Jason said, thanking Annabeth for the help.
"Well, I am," Nico admitted. "So get your paws off my bed and my things."
"Whoa," Leo started. "You sound like Spencer Hastings from Pretty Little Liars."
Everyone, including Nico, stared at Leo with surprise and laughter. "What?" Leo wondered.
"You watch Pretty, Little, Liars?" Jason asked, chuckling quietly to himself.
Leo started blushing, as if just realizing what he said out loud. "Umph, no! Wh-Who gave y-you that...idea...Pfft"
Everyone, including Nico, burst out in laughter.
"Aw, come on, guys," Piper defended him, still laughing slightly. "We've all watched it at some point."
Percy thought it was good to see everyone laugh, considering the circumstances and all the issues they had been through lately.
Hazel climbed up the ladder to the bunk that Nico slept in, while everybody else scrambled to random different beds trying to get some rest.
Annabeth gave Percy a peck on the cheek before falling sound asleep in her bed. Percy lay on the bottom bunk, under Leo, who made it warmer than usual.
Annabeth slept on the top bunk above Piper, and Jason slept on the bottom bunk under Frank.
Percy tried to fall asleep, the only problem was that the longer you spent time in that room, the more you feel like your energy is being sucked out of you. Depressed and alone, but eventually Percy's eyes became heavy, and the world didn't exist behind his nightmare.
* Nico stood in the forest of Camp Half-Blood, talking to a gorgeously glowing woman, who stood face to face with him, but it was extremely important, and Percy could tell. Nico had blood dripping from his left eye and tears falling down the other.
"Its not over yet, boy." The enchanting woman said, magic gleaming through her sparkling copper colored eyes.
"We've already closed the doors. What more do you selfish gods and goddesses want?" Nico asked, now crumbling to his knees, as if the woman was making him weak. The women gave a harsh smile, not welcoming or comforting at all, whatsoever.
"Take a look around, Ghost King. Your home is ruined, and it is because of dark magic. The narcissistic Romans came and fought, they lost. And you know who else came and fought. You haven't seen most of the Camp yet, darling. This damage can only be fixed by one of the most powerful items in Olympus."
"Zeus's Bolt." Nico guessed, becoming weaker and weaker by the second.
"No. I said one of the most powerful items in Olympus. Guess again, Ghost King," The woman, who was looking more and more like a familiar goddess, stepped closer to Nico and whispered in his ear seductively. "You know."
A sharp wind broke through Nico, and the woman had disappeared. Nico fell to the ground, weaker than ever, and laid there for a while. He squirmed and constantly vibrated on the dirty ground for what seemed like hours, tears rushing down his face. But not normal tears. Red tears. Blood. And it left scars and burns in his skin, as if it was fire.
Percy tried to yell for him and run up to him,, but he had no voice and he couldn’t move. It was like he wasn’t even there. Then Nico finally stopped struggling. He got up and there were no scars, no burns, no blood, no tears, and the wind completely stopped. The only problem left? A small cut right below his left eye.
Had this already happened? Or is it going to happen later? Percy felt sick and his face became green while his eyes drooped horribly low.
Then his dream changed.
He was standing at a train station, while his girlfriend, Annabeth, looked like she was trying to put a puzzle together, but it was the hardest thing she had ever done. Nico, Jason, Piper, Hazel, Frank, and Leo all stood behind Percy and Annabeth, looking tired, yet, completely and unnaturally shocked and curious.
Annabeth suddenly dropped her thoughts, and decided to run right into a wall, then she disappeared, and Percy was left completely clueless, as usual.*
Percy woke up with Leo on him, shaking his shoulders non stop. "Percy! Percy! Wake up!"
Percy heard loud booms from outside the Hades cabin. He opened his eyes and saw half the cabin burned away. "What happened, Leo?"
Leo was sweating like a pig. That was new. "Come on, Percy! I'll explain later, but now we have to go!"
Leo hopped off of Percy and ran out the door yelling something about a purple duck...? It sounded like Get off Pipers head, you fat purple duck! Oh, well...
Percy jumped out of bed and scrambled out of the Hades cabin. When his bare foot touched the ground, it was like he had dipped it in lava.
He held back a loud scream, and looked around at the camp; loud explosions, fire burning what was left of the Camp, every random demigod that Percy could see screaming and running for their lives.
"Percy Jackson!" A concerned centaur shouted, clumping up to Percy.
"Chiron! Whats going on?"
"Something very important to Camp-Half-Blood has been misplaced"
"Well, what is it?"
"We don't know."
"How could you not know what important item's been misplaced, Chiron?"
"Child, all I know, is that it is important to this camps safety. I do not have a clue what it is or where it went." Just as Chiron said that, a small fire erupted behind him. The man-horse ran off to see the now problem.
"I know who does." Percy muttered under his breath, then ran to find Nico Di Angelo, who was hiding behind a large rock, covered in burnt grass and mud.
"Whats the missing item, Di Angelo?"
"Good Morning to you, too." Okay, really? Of course Nico is joking around at the wrong time. And he never jokes.
"Not now, Nico. I know about the conversation you had with that women in the woods. Who was she and what item was she talking about?"
Nico's expression darkened, as if remembering the exact pain that he had went through in the woods. "Hecate. Goddess of Magic."
"Ha. I knew that she looked familiar. What about the item? The item that could save the camp?"
"Look, Percy. How do you even know about this?"
Percy gave Nico a look, saying It's so obvious with his sea green eyes. "I'm a demigod, I have dreams, Di Angelo."
Nico suddenly looked a disgusting shade of green in the face, and his showing skin grew goosebumps. Wait. Were his goosebumps, growing goosebumps?
"I-I don't know what the item is Percy. All I know is..."
Why didn't Nico just say it?
"A map," Nico finally admitted, dodging a huge rock that came flying out of nowhere. "Thats all I can say right now. I'm a bit busy trying not to die, here.”
A map. That’s all Nico could manage to spit out? A map?
“We need to find a map to save the camp? A simple map?”
Nico sighed heavily and rolled his deep brown eyes, peeking over the rock, as if trying to find the enemies. “No, Percy.” He started. “There’s a map that we need to use to find the item to save the camp.”
“So, where is the map?”
Nico suddenly looked uneasy and a bit too nervous. “I-I don’t know…”
What? “So, wait. We have to find a map to help us find an item”
Percy started to think. Why did it have to be him to find the map to help find the item that could save the camp. He had already suffered for 11 months, and the only thing he could remember was Annabeth when he had first met Hazel and Frank.
His mind drifted to the dream he had earlier.
Him, Annabeth, Jason, Leo, Piper, Frank, Hazel, and Nico, all standing together in a train station, and then the part when Annabeth ran straight into a wall, and vanished.
Annabeth. Oh no. “Nico,” Percy started, getting more and more worried every second that he was away from his very own Daughter of Athena.
Nico shifted his eyes back and forth, between the explosions in front of him and Percy, his eyes hallowing out with pain and struggle. “The last time I saw her, she was running behind Frank, Jason, and Leo into the forest. And, Jason and Leo were holding Frank.”
“Thanks.” Percy caught Nico’s gaze at him as Percy turned his head back to check, after leaving him to run towards the forest that Annabeth had ran through with Frank, eyes filled with worse than worry and anger.
Percy turned his head back into the direction he was running towards.
He dreaded running through miles of nothingness in the forest, but he had to see if Annabeth was okay.
He tripped a few times, before he finally found Annabeth, Jason, Leo, and a passed out Frank, at bunker 9.
“Annabeth!” Percy yelled, as he watched Annabeth’s long, blonde hair lift off of her shoulders, her head turning fast at the sight of the son of the sea.
“Percy!” Annabeth through her arms over Percy’s shoulder, squeezing him as tight as she did when she found him at Camp Jupiter.
Annabeth let him go slowly, and turned her attention back to a passed out Frank, who lay on a wooden table, sweating and heavily breathing.
“What’s wrong with Frank?” Percy asked, debating on whether or not he really wanted to know at all.
“His life-stick thingy,” Annabeth started. “A piece of it burned off.”
Oh, gods. “But, what about that anti-fire cloth?”
“We don’t know what happened to it,” Leo joined in. “It was there last night, but now all we have is a small piece of it.”
Percy knew exactly what happened to it. But why would Hecate want to do this to Camp Half-Blood, or the ones who saved Olympus (and the whole entire universe), from Gaia and friends? “Is he breathing?”
All of a sudden, Leo started looking around all of bunker 9 like a crazy person. He finally stopped when he stepped outside, and broke a glass fountain with his hammer. He grabbed a piece of the glass, brought it up to Frank, and held it under his nose. “He’s still breathing.”
Jason decided to join in on the conversation. “Only a piece of it burned off, right? So, maybe he’ll just be sick for a while. Maybe he won’t…”
His voice drifted off, but he didn’t need to finish. Percy knew exactly what he was going to say. ‘Maybe he won’t die.’
Annabeth stepped closer to Frank and put her hand on his shoulder.
She shook him lightly and gently.
Frank moved slightly, but he wasn’t completely awake yet.
“Frank? Please wake up!” Annabeth shook him a bit harder less gently.
Frank’s almond shaped eyes fluttered open, and he started gasping for air, muttering random things that didn’t quite make sense to Percy.
“What-What happened? Where’s Hazel?” Frank bolted upright, and he wouldn’t stop asking what had happened or where his girlfriend was.
“Frank,” Jason calmed him. “Hazel’s fine… I think. Calm down!”
Frank relaxed his shoulders and wiped the sweat off of his forehead, then fell back onto the hard, wooden table. “What happened?”
Annabeth sighed, not willing to have to tell. “A piece of your life-stick burned off, and we don’t know how or where your magic cloth protection is.”
Frank sighed, not looking very satisfied with his answer. “What if the whole thing burns next time?”
Everyone was completely silent and still, like if they had made one movement or noise, someone would die.
Breaking the long moment of silence, Hazel and Piper ran in, Piper with tears rushing down her tan skin.
She ran up to her boyfriend, Jason Grace, and sobbed, Hazels hand petting her back slowly.
“Pipes,” Jason started, worried of his girlfriends reason of tears and sadness. “What happened? Are you hurt?”
Piper didn’t answer, but Hazel decided to help. “Her half-sister, Lacy. She-She’s…”
“She’s dead!” Piper shouted, burying her head deeper and harder into her boy-friends muscular shoulder.
“Pipes,” Jason ran his fingers through her dark hair. “I’m so, so sorry.”
It became silent again, and the only sound that echoed in bunker 9, was Piper’s loud sobs, that then turned into small tears as she slowly pulled away from Jason’s tight grip.
“Guys,” Leo started. “What the Hades has happened, here?”
Percy gulped, his hopes of everyone having the same dream—nightmare of what Percy had, flushed down the toilet.
“Okay,” Percy started. “I have something to tell you guys. All of you.”
Annabeth nodded like she understood.
Percy began to explain all about Nico talking to Hecate, the magic item to save the camp, the train station, Annabeth running through the wall, and the talk that he had with Nico behind the rock.
“So,” Hazel started. “Does this mean that we have another quest to save the universe?” She shrugged and sighed deeply, not really ready to take on another fight to the death.
“Yes, Hazel,” Percy explained. “I think it does.”