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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4. Three

Percy had fallen asleep in the car and Nico was happy for that. He couldn't imagine what was going through Percys mind and he knew the son of Poseidon must have had a million questions. Questions Nico didn't feel like answering.

Nico took advantage of the time that Percy was sleeping and made a phone call. He knew it was stupid to talk on the phone while driving but he needed to speak with the person privately. He could have made it any other time but he had the feeling Percy wouldn't have been too excited if he got left alone somewhere for an hour or so just so Nico could talk on the phone. He pulled the electronic device from his pocket and dialed a number before putting the speaker to his ear so he could hear the dial tone. It didn't take long for the person to pick up and Nico was actually relieved to hear his voice.

"Hey Charon..."

'Nico?'

"The one and only."

'What's up man? How ya been?'

Nico chuckled a little. "I'm alright. But I have something I wanna talk to you about."

'Talk away, kid.'

Nico sighed. "Do you remember a few months back, when I told you about that kid?" Nico really wondered if he should be talking about Percy at the time.

'The one you had a thing for?'

Nico laughed a little. "Yeah that one. Well, I found him."

'Are you serious?'

"Dead serious. But I messed up, man." His tone suddenly darkened.

'What did you do?' Nico could hear the panic and slight anger in his friends voice.

Nico started to panic. "He didn't have anything so I took him to buy him some clothes and stuff and we were seen."

Charon sighed heavily. 'By whom?'

"The Manticore."

'Shit. Where are you?'

"On my way out of Nevada." That was a lie. Nico had crossed the Nevada state line about three hours ago.

'You better be goin pretty far unless you want that crazy son of a bitch to find you.'

"I think I could leave the planet and it wouldn't be far enough away."

'Well, ya did kill his boyfriend.'

Nico managed a light chuckle, although it wasn't funny. His laughter ended quickly, though, and he got to the actual point of the phone call. "Charon, you need to get out of New Mexico.  If you can, get out of the country. He knows we've worked together. He'll kill you if he gets the chance."

There was a short silence before Charon spoke again. 'I'm not goin anywhere. That bastard can kill me if he wants. I'm not afraid to die.'

Nico shook his head. "Damn, man. You're stubborn as hell."

Charon laughed a little, but his tone quickly changed to one of total seriousness. 'Nico, I need you to listen to me. Word on the street is that the Manticore has been working with Typhon.'

Nico froze and stopped the car aggressively. Another honked their horn and drove around him, spewing cuss words as they did so. Percy woke up from the sudden stop and was a little scared to see Nicos expression.

"What?" Nico asked harshly.

Percy really wished he could hear the other end of the conversation, that way he wouldn't be totally confused.

"You've gotta be fucking kidding me."

Percy had heard Nico swear occasionally after they first met three years ago, but the agressiion which which he spoke was something new.

"Shit." The air tensed with the vulgar word.

Percy tensed. He wasn't sure if Nico knew he was awake but he figured he didn't because the phone call continued. A part of Percy wanted to know what Nico was so upset about, and who he was talking to, but another part of him was crazy scared to find out.

The son of Hades shook his head gently. "Thanks man, I guess. And um... if this is it... it's been a nice run."

Percy really wondered now what Nico was talking about. His words seemed to encase such a tension that Percy wondered how he actually spoke them without losing it.

The son of Hades hung up the phone and tossed it into the cup holder. He still didn't realize Percy had woken back up. He slammed his fists into the steering wheel and checked his rear view mirror before pulling back onto the road. That's when he noticed Percy was awake. He didn't say anything to him because, well, he didn't have anything to say. And, even if he did, he had no clue how to say it. So Percy spoke.

"Nico? Is everything alright?"

'Was everything alright? Seriously?' Nico forced himself to stay calm, although he hated that that was Percy's first question. "No, Percy, everything is not alright."

Percy looked away for a second as they drove on. "What's wrong."

Nico didn't want to tell Percy but he couldn't just leave him in the dark about his life being in danger. That would have been straight up stupid. So... here goes nothing. "Do you remember me talking about the Manticore?"

Percy nodded. How could he forget? The guy had threatened him, after all.

"Well, I just found out he's working with a guy we call Typhon."

... There's more of them?? "Who's he?"

"Everyone's worst enemy in my world. Unless you're working with him and, even then, you might not be safe."

Just hearing that made Percy wonder, could one guy really be that bad? He started to get a little paniky again.

"What does he do?" He studdered out.

"He does what I do, but he's much more brutal."

Percy wasn't sure he wanted to know, but he asked anyway.

"How so?"

"Percy, this guy makes me look like a pussy."

That wasn't really what Percy had wanted to know, so he repeated his earlier question, very softly.  "What does he do?"

Nico sighed. "I can tell ya this. When I first got into this life, he wanted information from a guy that was pretty well hidden. This guy only cared about one person in the whole world: his little sister. Typhon kidnapped her and raped her with a whiskey bottle until she told him where her brother was."

Nico already had Percy cringing.

"Once he found out, he sent her brother the the videotape he made of himself doing that. The girls brother got so pissed off, he went after Typhon."

Percy fought back the urge to gag. "What happened?"

"Typhon killed both of them. Her first, then him. He sent their heads to their parents."

Percy had wanted to gag before but now he wanted to throw up and forget he ever heard that. How in the world could anyone do that to another person? Was that what was in store for him?

Percy really didn't want to think about that. He leaned his head into his window and took a deep breath, trying, at least, to clear his mind. At first, Percy didn't notice anything different about the atmosphere, but when he did, he freaked.

"Where the hell are we?"

Nico was a little surprised that Percy had sworn at him. "California. Almost to L.A."

Percy tensed and freaked out, heart pounding incessantly in his chest."Los Angeles? Why?"

Nico spoke like it really wasn't that big of a deal. "An old buddy of mine lives out here. I need to talk to him. He's got some information I need. And you could it, too."

...Hold it!! Percy's mind went wild. "Me? What are you talking about?"

"You'll find out soon."

Gods, he hated not knowing things. "Well I wanna find out now!" Percy shouted.

"Chill. I'm a little pissed off right now as it is. So, unless you wanna get dumped somewhere, shut the hell up and do what I say. Got it?"

Percy was at a loss for words. Nico continued to drive and didn't pay much attention to the confused boy in the passanger seat. He had more important things to worry about than Percys feelings at the moment.

Silence enveloped the vehicle for a few minutes before Percy went far beyond uncomfortable. Everything had happened so fast over the last two days and he felt like if he had to sit in silence for anything other than to sleep, he would lose it. He did have to admit he feared asking but he needed an answer to at least one of the questions he had rattling around his brain.

"How long was I out for?"

Nico looked at him for a second and then looked back at the road, the image of Percys face imprinted on his brain yet again.

"About four and half hours."

"What?"

Nico couldn't take how often Per year would questions anymore. He sighed heavily. "It's typical for someone who just got out of the Lotus. When I did, Hazel and I would sleep for days at a time and think it was hours. It'll sort itself out after a few weeks."

It wasn't really a reassuring thing to hear, but Percy didn't take it as much of a surprise. Especially not after everything else he'd had to deal with.

Percy looked at the radio and saw it was about six thirty. He dropped his head into the seat behind him and took a deep breath. He really wanted to freak out, but Nico had already yelled at him once and Percy wanted to avoid that happening again at all costs.

Percy got used to the fact that Nico had driven to a different state while he slept and began to take in the scenery of California. He had been to Hollywood once before, with Annabeth and Grover, but that was at night and they were on their way to Hades, so he didn't pay much attention to how it looked. Now, he was with the son of Hades looking for a 'friend' that did only gods knew what, to Percy anyway. It may not have been the best time for sightseeing, but he had to do something to clear his mind a little.

Percy found his surroundings quite beautiful, once he got used to them. He had kind of forgotten what the outside world looked like so traveling through it was refreshing, to say the least.

Nico drove for about another forty-five minutes before he pulled the car into the parking lot of a night club and turned off the engine.

"What are we doing here?" Fear was evident in Percys voice. The building didn't look too friendly or inviting and the fact that it was clearly a night club was concerning.

"My friend owns the place."

Percy nodded gently. He wasn't really surprised, well not too surprised. He just hoped the place wasn't super sketchy and he would be able to get out if he wanted.

Nico climbed from his car quickly and walked to the door with Percy behind him. He opened the door and expected Percy to hold it open for himself, but the door closed when Nico let it go. He turned quickly, thinking something had happened to Percy. The son of Poseidon was still there, standing tall, and he looked fine. Well, physically anyway. His face was sheet white and small beads of sweat had broken on his forehead. Nico didn't really have time and he didn't want to be in the open for too long. He turned and let the door close. He stepped toward Percy slowly.

"Are you alright?" He tried to sound as caring as he could but still came off a little harsh.

"I don't wanna go in there."

Nico bit his lip. He knew exactly why Percy didn't want to go in. It made total sense. He had been stuck in a casino, night club thing for three years without knowing it. He was probably wondering if this place would be the same. Nico tried to figure out what he could say to Percy to get him to go inside, mainly because being outside made his nerves wacky.

"Percy, this isn't the Lotus. They're not going to drug you. When we're done here, we can leave. It's not like we'll be trapped."

Percy shook his head.

Nico was begining to get annoyed. With anyone else, he would have seriously lost his cool by now. But this was Percy. This is the guy he spent three years trying to find. He reached around his heart for what little bit of compassion he had left. "Percy you have to trust me. It's safe in there, I promise."

"It's a night club. I can't imagine it being too safe."

"It's safer for us than staying outside." His tone was a little harsher this time. "We could get killed out here."

"We could get killed in there, too." Percy stated.

The son of Hades shook his head in annoyance. "That's not gonna happen. I used to come here all the time and I'm fine."

"That's debatable." Percy never took his eyes off the building, wondering what was enclosed behind its walls.

The son of Hades shot the older male a look. Was Percy seriously dissing on him right now? Holy smokes... Nico forced himself to stay calm. "Percy, don't start. Just get your ass in there."

There was that hurt look again. Okay, maybe he didn't force himself to stay calm, but he tried.

"Please?"

Percy took a deep breath. As much as he didn't want to go into the building, he didn't want to stand outside of it alone, either. And he had a feeling Nico would leave him out there by himself if he continued to refuse.

Percy gathered up what little bit of courage he had left and nodded his head shyly. Nico relaxed. He had had a feeling that Percy was gonna fight until he got his way, and Nico wasn't too keen on leaving Percy out in the open, where his life was in danger, after he had search for three years to find the boy. So having him agree to actually go into the club was the highlight of Nicos day.

Upon entry, Percy was hit by a plethora of smells and sounds. Some were familiar, like the cigarettes and even the marajuana  as well as some of the alcoholic beverages that were being served up. Some, though, he couldn't put a name to and it made him a little nervous. He put his arm up to his face and tried to block out the scents. He took a deep breath in through his nose, smelling something he didn't expect to. He had almost forgotten he was wearing Nicos clothes so the scent he smelled was Nicos. It was a strong, manly scent but not an overwhelming one. To Percy, it definitely beat smelling the inside of the club.

Nico knew Percy didn't want to be in the club, so he looked behind him to make sure the older boy was okay and still following behind. He chuckled a little when he saw Percy with his face buried into the sleeve of Nicos hoodie.

He stepped a little closer to the boy before saying, loud enough to be heard over the music, "You alright?"

Percy pulled his face from the sweatshirt sleeve just long enough to say a few words, "It smells in here", before it was sent back to smell the clothes once again.

Nico shrugged. "You get used to it."

Percy scrunched his nose up into the shirt sleeve. He wasn't too sure about that but he did know he didn't want to spend enough time in a place like this to get used to it.

Nico gestured with a cock of his head that he wanted Percy to keep following him through the club. Percy was tempted to turn and make a run for it, but his common sense got the better of him. He took a few shakey steps so he was standing next to Nico. The son of Hades flashed a smile that showed he was pleased with himself and began walking.

Nico led Percy all the way through the club as Percys eyes wandered the small building. It was pretty packed although the line they were walking in was totally clear. Nico didn't pay any attention to anything, or anyone, around him, but that didn't mean that people weren't paying attention to him. Well, one person at least. Percy noticed him sitting at the bar. He was the only guy in the entire place that was looking at Nico instead of paying attention to the drink in his hand or having a girl dancing on his lap.

Percy didn't say anything about it. He figured the guy was just drunk and something about Nico had intrigued him for some reason. Nico kept walking and Percy kept following. They made it through the bar of the club, the other man's eyes never leaving Nico, and stopped in front of a black door. Nico racked his knuckles into the metal three times before it opened and the two were quickly ushered in with the door shut behind them.

This room wasn't as dark as the bar and Percy blinked a few times to make his eyes adjust to the light. He looked at Nico, who stood perfectly still, as two men approached them and held out their hands. Nico pulled the gun from the back of his jeans and placed it in the hand of the man in front of him. Percy watched Nico as he lifted his shirt up and turned in a circle.

"Hey, kid." The man in front of Percy had a deep, grizzly voice that made Percy jump. He turned his head toward the man quickly. "Do you have any weapons?"

Percy shook his head.

"Lift your shirt."

Percy's fingers slowly found their way to the hem of the hoodie he was wearing and pulled it up to his chest shyly and out of fear. Nico lowered his own and as the man in front of him began a pat down search of his lower body, he shifted his eyes to Percy. He wasn't disappointed that he had because the light in the room gave Nico a perfect view of Percys body. He outlined the older boys muscles with his eyes for a second and, when Percy slowly turned around, he focused them on the dimples in the small of the boys back. It had been too long since Nico had seen Percy.

Once he was facing the man in front of him again, Percy let his shirt fall. The man, who was clearly some sort of security, began to pat him down starting at his hips.

Nico had already stepped away from the door and was waiting for Percy to be cleared. He watched as the man patted his hands along the outside of Percys thighs and down his legs to his ankles. Percy looked pretty calm, for the circumstances, until the mans hands shifted their positioning to the inside of his legs. This time, he started at the ankles and moved his hands up. Percy was growing more nervous by the second and when the man's hands reached his knees, he had to fight back a tear. A tear caused by the fear he didn't know he was feeling. The hands continued moving up his leg until they reached the inside of his thigh. He tensed up and Nico had to cringe a little. Percy was so scared and it was clear to see.

Once the guard had finished his pat down and cleared Percy to continue, he walked toward Nico with a hurt expression. Nico smiled, a mix between and apology and reassurance. Nico turned and Percy followed along behind him, once again, with a little hesitation and the son of Hades led him to yet another door. Percy really hoped that no one who needed to search him down stood behind it. Nico looked behind him at Percy who was clearly already panicky.

"It might be a little... tense in there. Just a fair warning."

And without anything further, Nico turned the handle and pushed the door open. Right away, loud banging rang in Percys ears. His hands moved instinctually to cover them and block the sound out. Mixed in with the loud bangs was the sound of small pieces of metal falling to the ground. He could smell something burning and there was a thin fog of smoke filling the room. Percy didn't know where he was until he looked around, finally having the courage to open his eyes. Percy felt like he had sucker punched. ...He was in a firing range.

Percy froze in his tracks. He had never liked guns and now he was standing in a room full of loaded ones being shot at targets he had yet to notice were cardboard cutouts of people. He tried to move but his eyes focused on one of the targets that had just been shot. His feet felt like they were melted into the floor. The bullets, seeing as how the guy emptied the cartridge, hit the 'person' in the forehead, right between the eyes. The gunman whooped and shouted "Third eye, motherfucker!" while he high fived his friend, before he turned to reload his pistol. Before he got the chance to put a new set of bullets in, he noticed Percy staring at him. The man, who looked to on be not much older than Percy himself, cocked his head and held the gun up like he was going to shoot Percy. He pulled the trigger and the gun clicked. Even though it was empty, Percy still flinched. The guy, along with a few others, laughed. They were clearly amused by the new comers behavior.

Nico looked back at Percy and noticed what had just happened. He shot the other males a nasty look and told Percy to keep walking. Percy hadn't heard, though, so Nico grabbed onto his wrist and tugged on his arm. That scared Percy almost as much as the guys with guns had, but when he saw it was Nico, he relaxed a little. He may not have been too comfortable around the son of Hades just yet but he was better than a crazy, unknown man with a gun. His relaxation lasted only until Nico started pulling him along, across the room. The guns never stopped blazing around them. Nico was ignoring the sound, though, and Percy had become more concerned with where he was being towed than the guns.

They came upon yet another door and Percy was begining to wonder how many doors could be in one club. It made him feel like he was in a haunted house and a new horror or terror awaited behind every door. Nico knocked harshly as his hand slipped off Percys wrist.

The door was opened shortly by a tall, thin man. It took him a second, but he smiled and ushered Nico into the hall and then, who would've guessed, another room. He gave Percy a questioning look as he followed behind Nico like a little puppy. The man closed the door and gestured for the boys to sit.  Once they had, he proceeded to lean on the edge of his desk and pull a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket. He grabbed  one and offered another to Nico who accepted it greatfully and trapped it between his lips. The man lit them both before he looked at Percy then back at Nico.

"Nico in the flesh. Or should I call you Hades?" The man flipped a picture of himself and a woman onto it's face. "I mean, everyone else does."

Nico wasn't amused but he was pleased the man hadn't mentioned the job Nico had pulled off for him. "Very funny, Paul." He noticed the picture move but couldn't have cared less about it.

The man, Paul, didn't look too pleased with his own name and was quick to change the subject. "Apollo, kid, you know that." After that, he changed the subject yet again. Who's this?" He motioned toward Percy.

Nico never looked away from Apollo. "A friend."

"Does your friend want a smoke?" The man kept his eyes glued to Percy and even bit his bottom lip, smirking. He may not have been gay, which was clear to see from the picture of himself kissing a beautiful woman (the picture he had flipped to it's face) but he could find a man very appealing.

"No."

Apollo was surprised that Nico was the one who answered and he shot the son of Hades a confused look. He didn't look back at Percy, though.

"How bout a drink then?"

"No." He gained another questioning look. "Neither one of us want a drink."

"Then what do you want?" Apollo's voice was a mix of agitation and slight concern.

Nico trapped the cigarette between his lips and took a long puff on it before speaking.

"A few things actually."

Apollo took a puff of his own death stick and Percy began looking back and forth between them. He felt really out of place with these two males.

"One could only figure as much. So... what is it I can do for ya?"

Nico took a deep breath and spoke as he let it back out. "I need a few things."

"Lemme guess. Guns and money."

Nico nodded. "That and some information."

Apollo widened his eyes, seemingly in surprise. "On who?"

"A couple of people." Nico shrugged. "One fellow goes by the name of Manticore. The other by Typhon."

Paul tensed when he heard these two names. "And why would you want information about them?" His voice was low.

Nicos voice matched Apollos in volume. "Cause they wanna kill me."

Percy stared wide eyed at Nico. No matter how much time he spent with the son of Hades, he had never, and probably would never, get used to how straight forward he was.

A few more silent seconds passed before Apollo spoke, diffusing some of the tension that had formed. "You shoulda figured that after what you did."

"Well, I at least figured Manti, but not Typhon."

Apollo shrugged and sat at the desk instead of on it. He put the cigarette between his lips again before he started typing away on his computer with clearly shaking hands. After a couple of minutes of looking through old files and new research the man clicked the mouse and a document popped up. He blew a cloud of smoke out of the corner of his mouth and began to talk around the tobacco roll in his lips.

"Alright. Let's start with Manticore. All these guys went crazy and started changing their names legally so... oop. I got a full name for ya. Martin, or Marty, Axwar. He was born in Persia and moved here with a missionary when he was a baby. It says he currently resides in Chicago but something makes me seriously doubt that. Other than that, I got nothin. No credit card receipts, no arrests, nothin."

Nico nodded. He had already gotten more information about the Manticore than he had expected.

Apollo returned his gaze to the computer screen. "Let's try Typhon. See if we can be as lucky."

Percy warched the man at the computer. He had a question running through his mind but he had been a little scared to ask, feeling as though it would have caused more of a problem. Now, though, he couldn't hold it in any longer. "Um..."

Both Nico and the Paul turned to look at him. It was almost as if they had forgotten he was even there and their eyes made him feel a little edgy. He stopped.

"What?" Apollo was kind of curious.

"You can ask." Nico said softly, earning himself yet another strange look from Apollo. He told himself that was the very last time he was gentle with the son of Poseidon when he spoke to him.

Percys voice was small. "I just wanted to know, if it's so easy to get information on these guys, why hasn't someone gone after them or called the police or something."

There was a few seconds of silence before man with the computer laughed loudly, making Percy jump a little. "No one is that stupid, kid. Unless they have a death wish."

Well, then... "O-oh. Okay..."

Nico looked at the son of Poseidon apologetically yet again. Apollo, however, raised his eyebrows and went back to his computer. He typed a few more things into the electronic box and made a face. He clicked the mouse a few times and made another face. It was obvious he was getting agitated about something.

Percy looked over at Nico who was studying the walls around him and tapping his fingers on the chair arms. Each time, some of the ash fell from the death stick and onto the floor. Nico had barely taken two puffs on it and Percy actually wondered if he was really a smoker or not.

"Okay."

Pauls voice startled Percy and the man had to cough a laugh when Percy jumped a little.

"He was a little harder to pull anything up on. I do have his real name, though. Seth Egypt. He was arrested for... manslaughter. Twice. Both times, though, he was found innocent. Must have had a damn good lawyer." Apollo chuckled. "Along with that, he is the leader of the Coutry wide, Country renowned gang called The Tèras. Translation is The Monsters. Although they haven't been up to much lately and it seems like they might be disbanding. But, they're still an issue for plenty of people."

"It sounds so much more bad ass in Greek." Nico scoffed.

Apollo cocked his head. "You knew that was Greek? Wait, do you speak Greek?"

"Yeah." The son of Hades nodded. "And Italian, too."

Paul raised his eye brows again. "Ya learn somethin new every day."

Once again, Nico felt a change in subject was in order. "Well, you've given us information. Now, we need guns and money."

"Yeah." Paul scoffed. "That's the easy part."

He stood and led the boys out of his office and back into the hall. A man entered from the firing range.

"Hey, Apollo c'mere man."

He sighed and looked at Nico and Percy. "Just wait here."

"Apollo?" Hearing the two names and confused Percy but he hadn't wanted to question  pit when the man was still around.

Nico nodded. "His real name is Paul but most call him Apollo because he can dig up anything on anyone. Apollo is the god of truth and prophecy so it's kind of fitting."

Percy nodded once and 'Paul' came back into the hallway within the next few seconds.

"Sorry about that."

'Apollo', or whatever people called him, ushered them down the hall and to yet another door. He opened it and Percy saw a room full of guns. He was NOT going in there.

Apollo entered first and Nico followed behind, wide eyes like a kid in a candy store. They went straight for a table on the other side of the room. The table was full of tons of hand guns and Nico reached out and grabbed one without hesitation.

".38 special. Beautiful."

He continued on, with the pistol in his hand, to another table with all sorts of semi automatic guns. Nicos face lit up. He picked one up and gawked at it.

"I figured you'd like that one."

"Glock 18. Semi-auto switch, thirty-three round capacity, 1200 rounds per minute, barrel length 4.6 inches, front and rear sight. As close to perfection as one could get."

"That's a nice ass gun," Apollo agreed. "Speaking of perfection, where's your friend?"

Nico looked around and noticed Percy wasn't there. He wasn't in the room at all.

"Shit." He laid the guns on the table and ran toward the door. He was beyond relieved when he opened it and saw Percy leaning against a wall.

"Percy!"

He turned quickly to face Nico. "What?"

"What the hell are you doing out here?"

Percy hesitated. "I... I didn't want to go in there."

Nico made a noise that was a mix between a sigh and a scoff. "That doesn't mean that you can just stand out here on your own. Gods, Percy, you scared the hell out me."

He had scared nico? "...I'm sorry."

Nico pushed his hand into his face and closed his eyes tightly. "It's fine. Just get in here, please." He wanted to be mad at Percy. He wanted scream at him and tell him how stupid it was to do what he did. But he couldn't. Percy was a very hard person for Nico to be mad at right now.

"I don't wanna go in there." Percy was persistent, shaking his head cutely... it was almost child-like. If there was one thing, in the whole world, Percy hated, it was guns.

It took Nico a moment to get over the way the son of Poseidon looked. "Percy, c'mon. Seriously?"

"I don't like guns." He was still shaking his head in the same manner.

"Fine," Nico said. "Don't look at them. Just please go back in there with me."

It took a minute for Percy to answer. He wanted to keep fighting it, to keep saying he wasn't going to go in that room. But Nico was practically pleading for him to. And he truthfully  didn't feel anymore comfortable outside the room than inside it.

"Fine. But if you're not ready to leave when I am, I'm coming back out here and waiting for you."

Nico was relived. Again, Percy agreeing was the highlight of his day. "Fine. That's fine."

Percy sighed and walked toward the door. Nico reached around him and turned the handle. Percy looked at him warily and he nodded a little to get Percy to walk into the room. Nico let the door close behind him and ushered Percy to the gun table with a hand on his back.

Percy seemed tense at first but after a second he relaxed and Nico could tell. They walked back to the fire arms and Percy wouldn't go any closer than ten feet to the tables. Nico sighed and looked at Apollo.

"Where are the knives?" He hoped Percy would be okay with them.

Apollo gestured with his head and Nico led Percy to that section of the room for the boy to look at the knives.

They spent another half an hour or so in the room before Nico was ready to leave. He went to Percy to tell him and saw the boy oogling over a blade in his hand. Nico froze a little. Percy had taken a liking to the only knife in the world Nico really didn't want him to have.

"C'mon," Nico said softly. "We gotta go."

Percy looked at Nico as if the son of Hades was his parent or something. "Can I have this one?"

Nico looked at the blade for a few seconds. Why did Percy have to ask? Why did he have to want that one? "No, Percy. You can't have that."

"Why not?" The only word Nico could put to Percys reaction was a temper tantrum. "You get guns but I can't have a knife?"

Nico wasn't in the mood to deal with it at the time. "Percy, let it go."

"Hey hey hey," Apollo broke in. "If the kid wants the knife, he can have it."

Nico turned to face the other male, anger burning in his expression. "Apollo, I swear..."

Apollo smiled at Nico. He turned to Percy and saw that he, too, was smiling a very wide smile. He had never seen a smile like it before. He found himself agreeing to Percy taking the knife without even realizing it. Percy jumped a little, clearly excited, and both Nico and Apollo gave him odd looks.

Nico thanked Apollo, and called him a collection of curse named ps because he had given Percy a knife, and the two sons of gods left. Nico stuck the bag of guns into the trunk of the car after looking around to make sure he wasn't being watched.

As they drove to a fast food restaurant, Nico looked over at Percy. "Why did you want that so bad?"

The son of Hades was fiddling with the blade. "Why didn't you want me to have it?"

...Percy was still a clever S.O.B. no matter how strangely 'cute' he had seemed around Apollo. Nico scoffed. "Touchè."

They pulled into the drive through of McDonald's and ordered food. It was already pretty late and Percy had a really hard time keeping his eyes open as he ate. He fell asleep as soon as his burger was gone, although he almost wore it on his face once.

Nico checked into a hotel and tried to rouse Percy from his sleep. The boy wouldn't wake, though. Nico sighed heavily. He stuck one of his arms behind Percys back and the other under his knees and carried him into the hotel. It may not look it, but not eating anything but sweet flowers for three years had made Percy as easy to carry as a todler would have been. Weight wise, ayway. Carrying Percy bridal style actually drove Nico to madness, or close to it.

Nico got a few strange looks from the woman at the counter but he ignored them. He carried the older boy into the elevator and held him all the way to the sixth floor. Percy moved around a little in Nicos arms and Nico hoped he was waking up, but, of course, he wasn't that lucky. Percy moved enough to bury his face in Nicos neck and wrap his arms around the son of Hades neck and Nico was able to smell him. He smelled like the ocean... Nico actually liked the ocean. He could feel something inside of him- Nope! No! No!No! He forced it to go away.

The elevator finally came to a stop and Nico made his way down the hall and dropped Percys feet to the floor so he could unlock the room. He thought Percy might wake up but the boy stayed asleep. Once the door was open, he picked Percy back up and carried him to a bed. He took the boys sneakers off and considered doing the same with his jeans. A split second of rational thought put that idea out of his mind, though, and he simply tucked Percy under the blankets.

Nico stood back and looked at the sleeping male. He smiled because Percy looked the same as he had three years before. But the smile faded when he thought about how much Percy had actually changed. Then Nico shook his head, stripped down to his boxers, and went to bed.

 

 

**Crazy note for ya'll here: I came up with real names for the two crazy, psychotic men that want Nico dead based off of mythology from different cultures. The Manticore, in early middle Persia anyway, is called Martyaxwar. So, his name became Marty Axwar. When it comes to Typhon, the Egyptian version is a creature called Set, or Setekh, Sut, Sutekh, Sety, and, what I chose, Seth. So, in case you were wondering, now you know!!**

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