Hell And High Water

Ever since the first time Nico set his eyes on the son of Poseidon, he wanted him. Not just as a friend, or even just a boyfriend, but he wanted him. After he admitted that it was Percy he had been crushing on, Percy left. He snuck away from the Argo II in the dead of night. Nico goes after him, of course, but things don't go as Nico thought. What seemed like an easy task turned into a three year hunt for the son of Poseidon. So, what happens when Nico finally finds Percy? Will things explode in his face or will they pay off abundantly? Read and find out.

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9. Eight

It was a good number of days before Percy was able to do much of anything on his own. He had gotten pretty beat up sparring at camp and even on quests but getting shot was different. He knew the bullet wasn't in his body anymore but there was such an intense pain that seriously made it feel like it was.

Nico, to the extreme displeasure of both boys, had to help Percy do almost everything. The son of Poseidon tried to do it himself but everything hurt. Walking was easy, but sitting up, getting dressed, even trying to bend over to pick something up proved to be challenging.

Nico didn't really mind having to help Percy. He was just glad that Percy was alive. There was something that struck him, though, during those days. Why? Why had he done anything he had done? The first why was why had he gotten Percy from the Lotus? He had asked himself that over and over again. He had made his life so complicated in the last three years and Percy added to it. The next why was why hadn't he taken Percy back to Camp Half Blood? The answer to that was pretty simple: he knew that if he showed up there, Hazel and Frank would try to get him to stay. The biggest why, though, was why had he brought Percy on the hit with him? He could have just dropped him off at a hotel and that would have been it. But no, he had to bring him along and then Percy got shot. It was Nicos fault. And that's why he was taking care of Percy.

Nico did what he could for Percy and did everything in his power to not get angry at the son of Poseidon for not being able to do very much.

As the days passed on, something began to really bother the two demigods. Once Percy started healing more, certain things became harder for him to do. The day he came to, he was able to shower without a problem. But, now, he found it hard to lift his hands to wash his hair. His body still ached but he tried not to baby himself because he knew it would get him absolutely nowhere.

Nico had been focusing plenty on the son of Poseidon and basically the only time he had to himself was spent on the phone. The son of Hades had received a number of phone calls since the failed hit that he ignored but heard about through voice messages. Most all of them were from Ares and there was no way Nico was in the mood to deal with him.

 

It had been almost two weeks since Percy was shot and things were extremely hard for him. He would either lay awake all night or cry in his sleep from the pain in his torso. Every time the tears started, Nico would sit on his own bed and watch Percy. The sounds of the son of Poseidons sobs were heart wrenching to Nico, considering it was technically his fault. He felt as if he should have known better than to get Percy involved. Percy had never been one to be afraid or back out of something. Nico had hoped Percy wouldn't have backed down, originally, but now he was wishing the son of Poseidon would have been a baby. At least he wouldn't be hurt right now. This wasn't Percys fight, it was Nicos. But Percy had taken a bullet for it.

Nico had been taking care of Percy, barely letting him do anything, for over a week, almost two, and he was begining to get annoyed. Despite his annoyance, he would bolt to Percys side whenever the son of Poseidon would make any indication of pain, and Percy knew it.

Sometimes, it made Percy uncomfortable. The only people Nico had ever been like that with was Bianca and Hazel and now him. Being well aware of that, Percy was trying to force himself to do more and more on his own and not be a baby. Sometimes, though, he couldn't manage. Like when it came to washing his hair.

Percy tried to stretch his arms out to be able to apply his shampoo but the stretch pulled on his muscles and caused the spot on his back to ache and spasm. He dropped his arms down to his side quickly and let out a little bit of a moan that Nico could hear from the desk in the hotel room. He dropped his pen and ran to the bathroom.

The son of Hades knocked gently on the door. "Percy?"

"I'm fine."

Nico sighed. He had learned to take Percy word for it so he began to slowly turn away from the door. He stopped when he heard Percy make another noise of discomfort.

"What are you doing in there?"

"Nothing." Was Percy's quick reply.

Nico sucked in a deep breath. "Percy, if you need help with something, just tell me."

Percy froze for what seemed like minutes. He hadn't actually washed his hair in days because he couldn't get his arms high enough to. He felt so gross because of it and had told himself he would wash his hair no matter what pain he was going through. But it was too much. But Nico was offering to help him. He could use the help.

"I-I can't wash my hair."

Nico tensed a little. He had helped Percy do a lot but washing his hair? Nico wasn't sure if that was the best of ideas.

"Why can't you do it yourself?"

Percy felt pretty embarrassed that he had to say that he couldn't do it and now Nico was making fun of him.

"Never mind."

Nico sighed. He had been helping Percy for quite a few days and he wasn't about to stop now. He might not have wanted to help Percy wash his hair, he might not have wanted to see Percy fresh out of the shower, sopping wet, but he felt like he had to help. Well, he did actually want to see that but he didn't really trust himself to keep it at just seeing. He would, without a doubt, let his mind wander, worse then he was already.

"Finish up with what you can and put your pants on then open the door." He paused. "I'll wash your hair for you."

Percy was was a little surprised by Nicos answer but he couldn't do it himself so he figured it wouldn't be so bad to let the younger help. He washed his body and made sure to rinse himself down completely before he climbed out of the tub. He threw his boxers and jeans on, not without letting a few noises of pain, displeasure, and even anger slip passed his lips, before contemplating for a few more seconds to open the door. It was against his better judgment to let Nico into the bathroom, but he really needed his hair washed. Before he could think about it too much, he whipped the door open and told Nico he was done. Nico was sitting back at the desk and he dropped his pen when he heard Percy.

Nico pulled the desk chair with him and sat Percy in it before he leaned the elders head back into the sink.

"Does it hurt to sit like that?" Nico asked softly.

Percy shook his head, surprised by Nicos gentle tone, and the son of Hades nodded before grabbing the shampoo and conditioner. The younger turned the water on and made sure it would be warm enough before he held Percys head under it.

Nico had never washed someone else's hair before and the fact that it was Percy was probably not a good thing. He had had moments when he was unable to control himself, like when he had kissed Percy, and this was testing him. Ideas began to run through his mind. What would Percy do if he grabbed onto Percys hair and used it to... NO!

The son of Hades shook his head st himself and silently cursed his own thoughts.

Nico made sure to get the soap all the way through Percys hair before starting to rinse it. The water was just the right temperature and Nicos hands felt so perfect being massaged into Percys hair. He let out a low hum of content that he didn't even really realize. Nico realized it, though, and the sound was slightly alarming. The alarm only lasted for a second before Nico started to wonder what other sounds he could get Percy to make. No! He really had to stop letting these thoughts pop up.

He finished rinsing out Percys hair and left the bathroom without a word. Percy was pretty grateful that Nico was being so helpful but he still felt a little awkward asking for help washing his hair. But it agitated him that Nico would do almost everything possible to help and now he just walked out without a single word. He shook his head and put his shirt on, with difficulty, before walking back into the room.

Nico was sat in his usual spot: the desk chair. He was writing something in a notebook and going through all sorts of stuff on his phone. And there was a lot to go through.

There were so many phone calls that Nico hadn't actually bothered to answer and he was writing down the numbers and the time that they called. The son of Hades had expected them to leave voice mails but not everyone did.

Ares was one of the ones who left a voice mail. Ares was a pretty chill guy, for the most part, until you pissed him off. And Nico had managed to piss him off.

'You really aren't as much of a hard ass as you pretend to be, are ya? Or maybe you're just an idiot for not going in and just killing him. You had to try to tortue answers out of him. You aren't as good as many people say you are. I'm ashamed. So much for the magnum. I'll just keep it for myself and use it to kill Herc, since you couldn't manage. Then, maybe I'll come after you and your new boyfriend. I heard you used him. You should really know better than that. So, after I kill Herc, I'm coming for you for fucking up. You and your boy toy, too. See ya soon, kid."

Well...That was fun. Nico knew Ares wasn't one to screw with and he had screwed with the man without meaning to. There was no way Nico was leaving, though, considering he wanted to get his hands on Typhon and the Manticore and they weren't far away. And, truthfully, he didn't care too much that Ares was mad. Percy had gotten hurt and that was Nicos biggest concern at the time.

 Nico didn't pay the slightest bit of attention to the room around him so when Percy came back out of the bathroom, he didn't notice. He was writing a few things in his notebook. He had lots of phone numbers, most with question marks next to them, and some names and even an address. There were a few people he dreaded having to bring back up in his memories but since they had called, he didn't have a choice. He just didn't know why they would call. Especially that one person. Nico hadn't spoken to him in a very long time. They hadn't left on the best of terms. They actually had a fight. A huge fight over...

"Percy, you scared the crap out of me!"

The son of Poseidon had been standing slightly behind Nico and he took a pretty quick step forward and kicked Nicos chair, startling him.

"Sorry..."

Nico shook his head and waited for his heart beat to slow again.

"What do you want?"

Nicos words came out kind of harsh and Percy responded with a whispery  "Nothing."

"Then go away. I'm busy."

Percy furrowed his brow but followed Nicos orders and left him to whatever it was the son of Hades was doing. There wasn't much for Percy to do and he was becoming restless after being cooped up in a hotel room for days on end basically doing nothing.

Nico went through how many times the person had called him; there were way too many to actually count. He called a few times every day since the news of the hit got around and even more in the days since Nico had tried to pull it off.

Nico continued through the missed calls and unread texts. He hadn't expected any messages from this person so he was beyond surprised when one call indicated a voice mail. His ears started buzzing and his head started spinning right away. He hadn't heard this persons voice in a very long time and, to be honest, he was a little scared to. He slowly moved his thumb and pressed the button to listen to the message and put the phone to his ear.

'Nico? What were you thinking? Why would ever take that hit? You need to back out. You know better than anyone that it is stupid to take a hit like this. And it's all for a gun? You can get a gun anywhere. Why would you risk your life? Nico, you can't do this. He's gonna kill you. He's got too many people working with him. Please, don't do this.'

The message ended there. Nico heard the phone beep but it didn't process. Why all of a sudden did he care? The next message on Nicos phone was the same number.

'What the hell is your problem? Did you not listen to my other message? Why would you do that? Nic, you need to get out of here. It's not safe for you here, anymore. Please. I don't want anything to happen to you.'

The message ended. At that moment, nothing else seemed to matter. Not the fact that he was in danger. Not the fact that he had a lot to worry about. Not the fact that Percy had gotten shot. Nothing.

Nico put the phone back on the desk as the guys voice ran through his head.

Percy could tell something was up but he didn't know what. Nico looked like he was in a daze. He just stared at the wall and he barely even blinked. For a few seconds, Percy had to wonder if Nico was even breathing.

"Nico? Are you alright?"

Nico turned his head to look at Percy with fire in his eyes. Out of all the questions, that one bothered Nico the most. And to add to it, hearing Percys voice was pretty painful. As much as Nico had wanted to find Percy, he wished, at that moment, that he wouldn't have cared. All Nico did was growl and get up from his chair. He left the phone on the desk before heading to the bathroom and slamming the door behind him.

Percy had never really been super nosey but Nicos phone being left out in the open was tempting. He picked it up with only slight hesitancy and immediately started going through texts. He saw one that hadn't been read yet and he opened it without thinking what it could be.

It was the longest text Percy had ever seen and whoever sent it must have been angry about something because there were a lot of all capitalized words and quite a bit of vulgarity. What was most surprising, though, was the amount of times the person said they were worried about Nico. There was no name attached to the number so Percy had no idea who it was. His first thought was Hazel. It made total sense. Until there was something about a promise they had made to each other about staying safe just six months ago. Nico hadn't seen Hazel in three years.

"What the hell are you doing!?!"

Percy dropped Nicos phone back to the desk and backed away from it.

"Were you just going through my stuff?"

Percy shook his head quickly.

"You're lying. What did you read?"

"Nothing." Percy was really hoping to convince Nico that he hadn't read anything. But Nico wasn't stupid.

"What the hell did you read, Percy?!"

Percy had seen Nico get angry so many times but he was never really prepared to be the one Nico was angry at.

"Just a message."

Nico tensed. "A message from who?"

"Hazel. I think."

Hazel. Hazel didn't even have Nicos phone number. But, Percy thinking it was from her was probably better than him knowing who it actually came from. Nico snatched his phone from the desk and opened the hotel room door. He slammed it behind him and started his way down the hall. First Percy. Then the hit. Then this. A blast from the past Nico wished would have stayed there. He slammed a fist into the wall and dropped his head into it after. All of this was stuff he didn't feel like dealing with.

When he finally stepped away from the wall, his phone went off. He thought it would have been Percy, asking where he was, but it wasn't Percy. It was him. The one person Nico really didn't want to talk to. He couldn't talk to him. He pressed the ignore button and turned so his back was to the wall before sliding down to sit on the floor. A few seconds after, the phone vibrated once and his number popped up. Nico pressed the 'read message' button and immediately wished he hadn't. It was a picture. A picture of a picture, to be exact. It was the two of them. Nico remembered the very day it was taken. It was a warm sunny day in August. The first day he ever told Nico he loved him. The memories started flowing back from there and another message came to Nicos phone.

'Please. Meet me there at 9 o'clock tomorrow night. I need to see you. I'll be waiting.'

Why? This was not what Nico needed.

 

It was a few hours before Nico bothered to go back to the room. He found Percy reading a magazine just laying on his bed. An unexpected feeling welled up inside of him. It was a mix of anger and disgust, for both himself and Percy. He couldn't handle this. Hearing his voice and then seeing Percy.

"I don't want you to sleep in the bed."

Percy was beyond confused. "Why?"

"Because I don't want you to. I don't know what's so hard to understand about that."

Percy knew that when Nico said something, he meant it. But why he had said it, Percy had no idea. Had he done something without knowing it? Had he said something? Was Nico really that angry that Percy had looked at his phone?

"If you had any sense, you'd go somewhere I couldn't see you right now."

Nico was acting very strange. He wasn't 'normal' by anybody's standards but this was different. His whole demeanor had changed and the reason why was very unclear to Percy.

"But-"

"Just go!"

Percy grabbed his phone and a magazine and made way for the bathroom. He closed the door slowly and locked it, seriously hoping Nico wouldn't need the bathroom.

Neither boy had eaten anything all day but neither wanted to. Nico had too much on his mind and Percy was just all messed up from a combination of everything that had gone on since the failed hit. He hadn't really eaten very much since he had been shot.

His pain had subsided for the most part but he still wasn't fond of sleeping in the bathtub. He wanted a bed. But, at the same time, he didn't want Nico mad at him. And he knew that if he went back out into the other room, Nico would beyond angry at Percy for not listening to him. So, he opted for staying in the bathroom and trying to make himself as comfortable as possible.

 

The rest of the day, and the night, too, passed pretty quickly. Percy passed out playing a game on his phone and stayed that way all night. When he woke up, he stretched out and tried to relax his muscles. He still didn't think Nico wanted him to leave the bathroom so he chose to pass time a little longer and take a shower. The warm water relaxed his muscles and eased the pain in them. As the water began to run over his body, he started to feel revitalized. He wasn't quite awake until he felt the warm liquid flow over his body and strengthen his being. The shower was a pretty quick one and it wasn't until Percy had finished that the realization he had no clean clothes in the bathroom struck him. He wrapped a towel tightly around his waste and left the bathroom to rummage through his bag.

Percy only had one pair of clean clothes left in his bag, since Nico hadn't been finding it necessary to do his laundry any more, but he pulled them out and headed back toward the bathroom. He dressed quickly and figured he was safe to head back out of the bathroom since Nico had been sleeping when he went out before. But, of course, the son of Hades was awake now. Neither said anything to the other and Nico, like he had done very often recently, silently gathered clothes and made way for the bathroom. Percy shook his head and flopped onto his bed. It was relaxing to lay on it and Percy let out a slight sigh of comfort. He heard the water turn on and he closed his eyes, knowing he would have a decent amount of time to relax before Nico would come back out and yell at him about something.

It was quite a while before Nico left the bathroom and Percy had dozed off a little but hadn't really fallen asleep. Despite the fact that he hadn't drifted into an actual slumber, he was struck with a dream.

He was back in the warehouse where he and Herc had had their interaction and he was alone to begin with. Lights started flashing and loud bangs started ringing through his ears. They were familiar and Percy was not fond of hearing them. He felt a pain everywhere before he began to hear a scream that was terrifying enough to make Percy shudder on the bed. Herc appeared out of nowhere along with a large group of other men Percy had never seen before. Except for Nico. He was there but he was standing off in the distance just watching as the group of men circled closer to Percy. They all had guns or large knives gripped in their palms and they were all saying his name. They were all telling him it was his fault. They were going to kill him and it was his fault.

Percy forced his eyes to open to end the waking dream and he could hear the bathroom door opening. As Nico left the bathroom, he gave Percy an 'if looks could kill' glare which made Percy pretty angry. He wasn't sure where this sudden change in demeanor had come from but it was making him hate Nico almost as much as he had when they first met.

Percy tried not to pay too much attention to Nico and he climbed from his bed and grabbed his backpack as Nico went back to the desk where he had been spending pretty much all of his time.

"I'm going to do laundry."

Nico didn't respond and Percy grabbed his wallet off the night table before opening the door and heading toward the laundry room. It had seemed like a long day already and Percy was more than ready for it to be over. He had had enough of Nico over the last month, and, just when it seemed like Nico was relaxing a little, he ended up getting worse.

The laundry room was empty, thankfully, and Percy threw his clothes in the wash and sat down with his ear buds in. He sat for a few minutes with the music flowing into his ears before he started thinking about things. His first though? His mom. He looked at the screen of his phone for a few seconds and paused the song before pulling his ear buds out and pressing the call button. A number pad popped up and he slowly typed in his mom's phone number. Nico had voiced that he didn't want Percy to call anyone but right now, he was so mad at Nico, for some reason, that he would do it just out of spite.

Nico stayed in the hotel room for about an hour before he could no longer deal with the way he was feeling. He felt guilty, but, what for, he didn't know. He wanted to scream. To throw something. To break something. He had two people on his mind and the thoughts were conflicting with one another. It didn't really seem like that big of a problem but it was to Nico. He couldn't figure it out. And that's what was driving him crazy.

 He stood from the desk chair and slammed it into the floor. It made a loud crash when the two collided but it wasn't enough for Nico. He ripped a drawer from the desk and threw it across the room, spewing its contents over the floor. He wiped his arm across the desk roughly, pushing everything off of it, before slamming his fists into it hard enough to make a bang reverberate through the room. He grabbed hold of the notebook and threw it at the wall, wishing he never had to set eyes on the names and phone numbers ever again.

Nico had never thought his life before was simple, but he was longing for it now. He wished he could go back to being a kid  again. He wished none of this would have happened.

He plopped onto his bed as his mind swirled with thoughts. He remembered back to Camp, with Bianca and Hazel, and remembered that they always told him it was best to talk to the people you have a problem with. Nico really hated talking to people about what he was feeling but, they had both told him it worked so maybe he should do it.

Once his laundry was finished, and Percy had ultimately decided not to call his mom, the son of Poseidon headed back to the room. He ignored the look Nico gave him and just laid on his bed with his music in yet again. The two were truly begining to get sick of one another. Percy had been nothing but appreciative for everything Nico had been doing but the son of Hades always made him feel guilty for needing help.

Things were silent and calm as Percy folded all of his clean clothes and put them back into his backpack. He went to the fridge and grabbed some of the leftovers that were always there before sitting back on his bed and popping some of the food in his mouth while music continued to sound in his ears.

Nico had planned on talking to Percy but, since his ear buds prevented him from hearing anything, Nicos words went unnoticed. The fact Percy couldn't hear him made him angrier than he ever thought something like that could. He hated talking to people and the fact that the person he was trying to talk to had no idea...

Nico stood from his bed and stopped beside Percy for a second before pulling one of his ear buds out.

"What the hell is your problem?" Percy shouted.

Nico knew that if he wanted to talk to Percy, he was going to have to remain calm no matter what Percy said to him. "I wanna talk to you."

"About what? How you 'saved my ass from the Lotus and want some sort of thanks for it'? Is that what this is about? Have I not thanked you enough already?"

Percy's tone was pretty harsh and Nico was having a hard time, as always, controlling the anger that was welling up inside of him. Percy pushed every button Nico had, even the buttons he didn't know he had. He contained his anger to the best of his ability before he started speaking again.

"I wanted to apologize."

"Oh, so you're finally admitting you've done something wrong?"

Nico gritted his teeth. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"You got me shot!"

He had a point. Nico had already come to terms with that. "Okay. I should have apologized for that a lot sooner but I figured everything I was doing for you was enough of an apology."

Percy tossed the food gently onto the bed beside him. "Really? You dreaded every minute of all of that. You couldn't stand helping me. A blind person could have seen that. And you want my thanks? The comments were enough to drive anybody mad, even if they were rare. But your attitude, the fact that I could literally feel the hate radiating off of you whenever you were around, it made me want to curl up in a ball and wish I would have just stayed on the Argo and dealt with all the shit back then."

Nico paused for second. He wondered if that's really how Percy felt.And if Percy really thought he felt that way. His voice softened. "I don't hate you."

Percy shot him another glare. "Really? Cause that's what it feels like to me."

Nico shook his head. "I wouldn't expect you to understand."

"That's good, because I really don't."

Nico growled. He had been fighting to avoid blowing up but he was done. "It's you."

Percy made a confused face. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"You are the reason you feel like I hate you!"

That was one of the most ridiculous things Percy had ever heard, even coming from Nico.

"You don't get it, do you?"

Percy stared at him, confused.

"You asked me why I saved you from the Lotus. It was because, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get over you. I couldn't forget you. I tried, but I couldn't do it. My feelings for you never changed. I hated myself for that. And then, having you here, with me, made things even worse!"

"Are you saying this is my fault?"

Nico shook his head. "It's no one's fault."

"You're not explaining yourself!"

Nico knew that. He wasn't entirely sure how to explain himself, though. "Never mind."

Now Percy was angry. "Don't even start with that. You brought this up, you said you wanted to talk, now talk!"

"You really wanna know?!"

"Yes!"

"I came for you because I liked you. You already knew that. Once I found you, and realized you hadn't changed, the way I felt got totally out of control. Everything you said or did made it so hard for me to control myself. And then you got shot and I had to help you. I had to carry you into the hotel and fix up that damn whole in your side that would have killed you otherwise. You have no idea what it did to me to have to do that. And add to it the fact that I had to help you get around, get dressed, and wash your hair... I felt like I was going crazy."

Percy was still confused. "What does all of that have to do with it?"

"Everything!" Nico hung his head. He knew that, in order to get the whole thing through Percys thick ass skull, he was going to have to come right out and say it. "You've wanted things before. You know how hard it is to have what you want right in front of you but to know, at the same time, that you can't have it. I know you know what that's like. Everyone does. And, right now, that's how I feel."

The son of Poseidon said nothing but he didn't have to. His face was plagued with the same confused expression he had worn so many times before. Nico was literally going to have to come right out and say it. "It's you. You are what I want. I have you right in front of me but I know I can't actually have you. All of the times I've helped you with things, like washing your hair, you have no idea how hard it's been for me to control myself."

Percy was utterly awestruck. Was that supposed to pose as some sort of confession? What was he admitting to?

"Gods, you still don't get it, do you? You are so stupid. I can not deal with you right now!"

Nico turned his back to Percy and walked toward the door, the room silent behind him. Once Nico left, the only thing Percy heard was the sound of the heavy metal door slamming closed behind him. Nico had left Percy alone and neither knew where the son of Hades planned on going.

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