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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14. Thirteen

The rest of the week seemed to fly by without warning and Percy was growing more and more fearful for Friday. He couldn't get the plan he had out of his head and he kept picturing it every time he closed his eyes. It had been like a Playlist on repeat ever since he came up with it the few days before and he wished, more than anything, he was would just be able to turn it off. But he couldn't. He was constantly being more and more overwhelmed with thoughts and worries that he kept bottled up inside for fear of making Nico angry with them. His biggest fear, though, was something he didn't just keep bottled up. No, he did something worse. He dwelled on it. Day in and day out, he wondered: Was he really sure that he wanted to go through with it? The idea that he and Nico would lose their lives if he didn't was what pushed him to see this as no different than anything else he had ever killed, and just do it. But that didn't make the days before the deadline any easier to get through. And on passed the days. Thursday was bearable, but Thursday night was hell. The pictures Percys brain painted, the over and over repetition of the word he tried so hard to get out of his mind, and the smallest of small details from the plan he had crowding his brain were keeping the son of Poseidon from relaxing. So, needless to say, he was up much earlier than he would have liked to be Friday morning. He planned on waking earlier than normal anyway but, first, he would have had to sleep. But, since he didn't, he simply dragged his exhausted, sleep deprived body from the bed and grabbed a handful of clothes. He didn't pay much attention to the room and just made his way to the bathroom, thoughtlessly and really without realization he was even heading there. And he didn't really know what he was doing until he was turning the shower on and stripping his clothes off. He heaved a breathy sigh as he felt the first few droplets colliding with his body. The sound of running water itself was nice, but the feel of it was refreshing and seemed to wake him a little and take him away from everything going on in the world. Like he had done so many times before, Percy zoned out as the warm water cascaded over his body. He leaned against the shower wall and let his thoughts, fears, memories, and cares just fade away. Not a single thing resonated through his mind. It was the best feeling in the world. But, as always, the best things never last. Percy was brought back to reality by a loud banging on the bathroom door. He jumped and knocked the shampoo bottle off the shelf, cussing quietly to himself and bending to pick it up. He gave himself a moment for all of his proper thought processes to begin working correctly again before answering the knock. "What?" The word came out slightly harsh though he hadn't intended it to. "Hurry up." Nico tried to be calm and patient but he was on the phone, on a very important call. He was talking to Apollo about his oldest friend being killed and it wasn't really the best way to start ones day. "Apollo is on the phone and he has some more information for you." Percy sighed and felt a piece of him sink at the idea. He was really considering backing out and telling this Ares guy there was no way the hit was gonna happen. But he couldn't do that. He couldn't even think about it without feeling guilty. And he couldn't think about murder without feeling sick. But... his life... Nicos life... Those were what mattered and Percy felt like he seriously owed it to the son of Hades. Percy finished with his shower as quickly as possible and didn't bother dressing himself for fear that he would agitate Nico and Ares, and he didn't want that to happen. With a towel around his soaked body, Percy left the bathroom and accepted the phone Nico was handing to him. He never spoke a word as he put it to his ear. 'Kid?' Even Apollo sounded slightly dreary. He cleared his throat when Percy didn't respond. Still not a word slipped from the son of Poseidons lips. 'I'm assuming it is you, given the silence.' He spoke quietly, almost as if he was feeling the same way as Percy. 'It's fine. You don't have to say anything.' There was a slight pause before Apollo took a deep breath. For some reason, the sound seemed to sooth Percy. His comfort was short lived, however, and vanished as soon as Apollo started speaking. 'The hit is due today, you know that. Neither one of us have done much of anything to try to locate Horme until the fact that we literally have no clue where he is entered my mind a couple hours ago.' He silenced again. It seemed as though he was waiting for Percy to say something. But, Percy didn't plan on saying anything. Apollo continued. 'From what I've heard and read, he has a meeting with some fellas on the streets about the problem that's going on with drugs. At this point, it's cheaper to make them yourself than it is to buy them on the street. Not that you needed to know that.' He fell silent once again, if only for a moment, as he waited for Percy to say something. Anything. Just to give any sort of indication that he was still listening. The son of Poseidon remained silent still. 'Anyway, the meeting is to be held at a house in the... not so friendly part of town at around nine tonight. Horme is usually one of the last to show, to make people wait for him, and the absolute last to leave because he is so important and needs to keep up his rep. So, if you manage to get to that house and catch Horme before he's gone and outta there, you should have him hooked.' Another silence ran between the two ends of the phone call. Apollo sighed. 'Did you hear what I just said?' Percy took a moment and then spoke monotonously. "Yes." 'Good. You know what you're doin'. You have a solid plan. You'll pull it off. I know you will.' He sounded like he was trying to be encouraging, but he was doing a poor job at it. Another silence followed the words. Percy drew in a shakey breath. He knew Apollo was trying to reassure him, but he really could not have done a worse job and Percy almost felt worse than he had before. 'Good luck, kid.' And that's where Apollo ended the phone call. Percy hung up the phone and handed it back to a silent Nico. The son of Hades studied Percys face for a moment, soaking up every fear his every feature showed. Nico shook his head, wishing there was another way. He had been trying his hardest to convince himself that Percy could do it, but the dream he had had kept making him doubt the son of Poseidon. He didn't want to doubt Percy. He wanted to believe that Percy was just as capable of taking a human life as he was at taking the life of a Greek creature. But, Percy wasn't the same person he was before. Nico wasn't sure if the son of Poseidon would now even be able to do what he had done three years ago. Percy stood and swayed lightly back and forth in the middle of the room. The fact that he was standing, soaking wet with a towel around his waste in the middle of a hotel room never entered his mind. Nico had kept his eyes glued to Percys face as his expression grew gloomier with each passing second. Within only a few of those seconds, though, Nicos eyes unwillingly shifted to Percys chest. He took in the son of Poseidons collar bones, then his chest muscles, then the little hardened nubs. He paused there for a moment and he could feel his mouth salivating and his heart beating faster as a heat began to run through his body. He shifted his eyes lower to Percys ribs. He wondered if the son of Poseidon was as sensitive there as he himself was... Nico could feel his pants getting a little tighter with the thoughts that followed within just a fraction of a second. He willed himself to stop his eyes from wandering but they continued to shift lower. They focused on Percys abs and Nico traced every single one of them with his eyes, like he had done almost every single time he saw Percy shirtless. His heart began to race as he wondered how it would be to run his fingers along them, to feel them in his own hands. His pants continued to feel tighter as the thoughts continued on. That's when he moved his eyes a little lower, no longer trying to fight the urge to let them wander. He let them fall on Percys hip bones. They seemed to stick out and beg Nico to run his thumbs across them, to sink his teeth into them. Nico was close to letting loose a light moan with his thoughts. But, yet again, his eyes moved. To the towel. He wanted nothing more than to rip the fluffy, white fabric away from Percy and see what was hidden beneath it. Nico let his eyes linger on the towel for a few seconds before he wondered whether or not Percy knew what he was doing to the younger by standing there like that. The son of Hades darted his eyes to Percys and saw that he still held a blank expression. But that wasn't what caught his attention. It was the goosebumps that errupted on the older demigods skin. Nico imagined knowing what it felt like to run his hands along them, to cause them to show up on Percys skin with his own fingers. Or, even better, with his tongue. Nico forced himself to finally stop as he felt his hard on making itself more prominent. "Get dressed." He said sharply. "I'm gonna shower." Nico nearly ran to the bathroom, leaving Percy alone. The elder had heard the son of Hades' words so he began to move toward his bag, although somewhat mindlessly. He pulled out a set of clothes to change into as he heard the water turn on. Nico had stripped himself as fast as he could; he removed his pants to see something he knew had formed. He moaned quietly to himself, knowing he needed to learn to control his hormones at least a little better. He ran his fingers lightly over that part of his body and let out a heavy breath as he did so. He climbed into the tub so he could shower, as well as fix his hard on, and let his hands do whatever they pleased. He knew it was not the time or place to let something like that happen. But, come on... it was Percy Jackson for Zeus' sake. Percy got dressed and sat on the bed as the plan began to run through his mind yet again. The shower he had taken seemingly only truly removed that one thing from his mind. He was happy with that, though. But, now, it was back. He felt his heart beat race just thinking that, by the end of the day, he would become a murderer. Hopefully anyway... Percy almost had to chuckle that he was hoping to be a killer. The day floated by like the others had: for the most part, it was a total blur to Percy. A few things did seem to stick out, like the fact that Nico had turned the cartoons on and bore with them for a few hours as he sat on his bed. Percy had watched them, sure, but he didn't laugh as much as he normally would. He found it very hard to find the shows funny at the moment and he really wasn't even paying much attention. He did, however, smirk every so often at what he did see. Nico had egnored the shows that played before him, the shows he hated almost more than anything, by keeping a continuous eye on the son of Poseidon, who never spoke a single word. He sat on his bed as the hours wore on, the occasional laugh slipping his lips and the occasional smirk playing on his face. That smirk had always drove Nico crazy: made his mind fuzzy and his heart beat faster. Nothing had really changed. As time went on, the cartoons became the most important thing that processed in Percys mind and helped to keep him relaxed. Another thing that processed was that Nico literally had to force Percy to eat. Yet, all the son of Poseidon managed to do was pick at the slice of pizza Nico had gotten him. Just like it had to see Percy when he had just gotten out of the Lotus, it hurt Nico to see the son of Poseidons state: he seemed almost dopey. And the son of Hades was well aware of what that looked like... Nico, too felt out of it (although not as bad as Percy) but, he tried to hold himself together, for Percys sake as much as it was for his own. Percy had been going back and forth between the cartoons and his notes all day and, finally, the sun had threatening it's descent, indicating the near end. But day wasn't what Percy was nervous for. Night was. As he looked out the window and saw the colors of the sunset slowly fading away, he felt a lump forming in his throat. He swallowed it down and forced himself to look away from the slowly darkening sky outside the hotel window. It was a little before nine when Percy grabbed Nicos attention and told him, without words, that he thought they should get going. Percy, however, fought lightly against them both going. He suggested that he take Nicos car and go alone, since it was all too clear the son of Hades didn't really want to go. But the younger demigod shot the idea down as soon as it was in the open air. He said that 'just because he wasn't going to go through the hit with Percy didn't mean that he didn't want to be there for the son of Poseidon'. And the elder dropped it at that. Percy was sure to gather together everything he thought he might need (Riptide, a small razor knife, and a small bottle of water burried in the cargo pocket of his jeans) before he and Nico left the hotel. The son of Poseidon gripped his hand tightly to his pocket and felt, to his relief, Riptide concealed away beneath the fabric. But he wasn't really sure what else he was expecting, since the pen was always there. It was just nice to know sometimes. The two demigods climbed into Nicos car and started on the short journey to the house this meeting was to be held at. Percy was growing more and more nervous with every turn and stop light they ran into: he had never done anything like this before and it was getting under his skin. It made his head swirl, his ears ring, and his stomach churn. And that was just the thought of it. It was all starting to make sense to him, though, why Nico was the way he was. He couldn't let things like murder bother him so he formed a barrier. A barrier that was put up against everything. It must have been how the son of Hades kept his sanity. The directions Apollo gave the two were a little lacking and Nico was having a hard time following them. The street names didn't match up and some of them either didn't even exsist or ended in dead ends instead of the other street that was supposed to be there. Nico found himself cursing lightly every few minutes and swearing up and down that he was going to get a new contact. Soon, though, the two reached the street and Nico mumbled something softly about it taking them long enough to get there. Percy looked along the long line of pavement that had run down, cookie cutter houses lining it. Apollo had said that the part of town was 'not so friendly' and, just by the looks of it, Percy found himself agreeing. It seemed to him the place someone like a drug dealer or a gang banger would find comfortable, though, and they were looking for one after all. So, he guessed, it was the territory that came along with their lifestyles. Nico clicked the headlights off before he turned the car down the street and drove until Percy tapped on the window, hoping that would be enough since he couldn't bring himself to speak. Nico shifted his eyes to the passanger side of the car and saw the house number that Apollo had given them. He chuckled dryly and mentally took back everything he had said about Apollo and finding a new contact for such things. His directions may have been the worst, but they got the two to their destination. Almost instantly, men began to make their way into the small house. There was only a few at a time but no one ever entered alone, nor did a single one smile or talk or show any sort of emotion for that matter. That all made Percy a little nervous. He had to think: What if Horme didn't go alone and he had to work around someone else? Nico could see something begin to make itself very evident on Percys face but he tried to ignore it. He knew if he paid too much attention to the son of Poseidon, he himself would call off the hit and the two would go to Camp Half Blood, which was honestly the last place Nico wanted to go. Percy perked up in his seat a little seeing someone cross the street. All the other men had come in pairs but now, there was a single person walking up the front steps of the house. Percy had no doubt it was Horme, since he was alone, despite the fact he had been told the man would arrive first. His suspicions were confirmed when he looked over at Nico and saw his face pale and his eyes drop. Percy had to remember he was sent to kill Nicos oldest friend... Percy looked at the clock as the door closed behind Horme. It was just after nine. Apollo had been right. Then he wondered if Apollo might have been in on it. He looked over at Nico, who was looking up at him, with another fear filled expression. Nico said nothing, expecting Percy was just overly fearful because he had seen the man he had been sent to kill. But he thought differently when Percy spoke. "Can you trust Apollo?" Nico cocked his head, wondering where such a question had come from. Then he had to think... he had never been given a reason to not trust Apollo, so the answer must have been a yes. He nodded lightly. But why had Percy asked? "Is there a reason you wanna know?" His voice came out very quiet and calm despite the way he currently felt. Percy shook his head, even though it was kind of a lie. Nico sighed. He had thought that, maybe if he got Percy talking, it would diffuse the tension a little. But, no luck. Or maybe there was. "It just seems a little suspicious that he would know all this. Ya know, the meeting, when, where, who'll be attending. It seems a little too good to be true, if you ask me." Those words had been the first Percy had spoken all day and the son of Poseidon already had Nico thinking. Could there really be a possibility that Apollo might have been in on it? If he was, then Nico would definitely have to get a new contact for more than just better directions. The conversation died away and time passed on. Percy tried to occupy himself in any way except thinking about why they were sitting in the car. He managed as best he could by mentally reciting song lyrics, but his thoughts would always stray to the plan. He would focus on the details for a while, in the order of which they fell, but then he would think of something else. That one word he had never wanted to hear in the first place... decapitation. That's when he would shake his head slightly to clear his mind and the cycle would start all over again. It was shortly before ten o'clock when Nico handed Percy a cigarette and a blue zippo lighter. The son of Poseidon looked at the items questioningly, remembering how Nico had reacted when Apollo had offered him a drink. He wasn't sure why Nico would be giving him one of the death sticks after he had a fit about alcohol but he figured there must have been a reason, otherwise Nico wouldn't have handed them over. Sensing Percys confusion, Nico felt the need to elaborate. "It'll make you look like you fit in more." He paused and examined Percys expression further. The son of Poseidon still looked beyond confused. Nico sighed. "If you plan on getting his attention, you're gonna need to look the part. This'll help." He gestured at the cigarette and zippo in his hand. Percy looked down at Nicos palm and fingers and the son of Hades pushed his hand, and its contents, a little closer. Percy unfurled his own hand from his pocket and took the cigarette and lighter from Nico, looking at them for a few more seconds. Fear and confusion overwhelmed him as the thought that he wasn't even really sure how to smoke a cigarette came into his mind. Percy studied the zippo in his fingers for a while before he flipped the lid and looked at the wick on the inside. He flicked the flint wheel and the lighter errupted into flame. He watched it for a moment before he lowered the lid again to put out the flame. He looked back at Nico. "...Thanks..." Nico nodded. It was a little past ten when people began to leave the house again. Many of them left with bags in their hands, bags they didn't have when they walked in, and they were all large, black, and filled to almost breaking the zippers. Nico hadn't watched the people go in, but he was definitely watching them come out, keeping his eyes open for potential problems. The son of Hades recognized a few of the guys leaving the house and he had to force himself not to laugh out of shame and disgust. Horme had once been doing pretty well when he was hanging with him and Apollo but the guys who were coming out of that house, some of his new associates, made him look like he had been demoted to little league. Nico, honestly, found it rather amusing. Still, though, Horme wasn't one to be underestimated. Like Apollo had said, Horme was the last to leave the house and shortly before he did, by sheer chance, Percy climbed from the car and moved away. Nico started the engine and drove, leaving Percy alone to face what he was sure could have been his certain demise. Never before had the son of Poseidon been so afraid. Not while he battled mythological creatures, not when he faced gods, not even when he found himself in Tartarus. Percy forced himself to remember the plan that was currently escaping his thoughts. He couldn't get it off his mind before and now, when he really needed it, he was struggling to remember it. The son of Poseidon cursed his ADHD... As the details started coming back to him, Percy focused his thoughts. He pushed his mind to a state he hadn't experienced in three years: total demigod thinking. He pulled the cigarette, lighter, and his phone from his pocket before he began to play the plan. Percy trapped the death stick between his lips and lit it with the zippo before dropping the lighter back in his pocket. He took a short drag on it and tried not to cough but the spoke burned his throat and the taste made him want to gag. The cigarette was truly the most descusting thing he had ever tasted in his life. The son of Poseidon put his phone to his ear and put on the most distressed expression he could manage, which wasn't difficult for him at the time being. "What the hell are you talking about?" He nearly wined into the speaker, although no one was on the other end to hear him. Percy had no idea if anyone around was listening to him or not but he didn't care at the moment: he had a plan and he had to stick to it. Even if it didn't work. But, after a few seconds, when he turned to face the house, he saw Horme leaving. Now he really had to play it up. "No." He spat through gritted teeth. "That is not acceptable." He was silent a second. "Listen here you son of a bitch, if you don't either give me back my money or give me what it now rightfully mine, it'll be the last thing you ever do." Another silence. "I'll go to someone else! Do you think you're the only dealer in San Francisco?" Horme looked up and their eyes locked onto each others for the slightest of seconds before Percy turned his away. He continued to yell into his phone. "Listen to me. You jipped me out of everything. You owe me. You have a week. You understand?" Percy may not have been talking to anyone but he hoped that Horme couldn't tell. "I'm glad we're on the same page." Then Percy shoved his phone back into his pocket. He put the cigarette back between his lips and took a longer drag than he would have liked before he noticed Horme approaching him. He turned and tried to pretend he didn't and took his phone back out and acted like he was texting. Percy could hear foot steps approaching him from behind and a man's voice call out to him. He turned, knowing very well that it was Horme. "You alright?" The demigod tried to think on the fly, remembering the lingo and such he had learned from Apollo. "Yeah. Dealer just skimped me out of a trade off. He said he'd get me the merchandise but I had to pay in advanced. So, I did. Last week. And I have yet to receive what I paid for." Horme raised an eyebrow in a slight bit of confusion. He had never seen the kid around but he seemed to know what he was talking about. It was clear to Percy the man had a few cogs and wheels going in his mind and the demigod wondered what Horme was thinking. "Were you legit about finding a new dealer?" Horme spoke a little quieter and Percy figured he had turned his thoughts into words. The son of Poseidon gave a nod. "If I can get my hands on the stuff I need tonight for a decent price, I'd be more than happy to take it from just about anybody." He took another light drag, trying his best to keep the smoke from his lungs. "Well," Horme smirked slightly, "I may be able to be of assistance. I'm always looking for potential buyers and business deals." Percy gestured toward Horme with his cigarette. "It looks as though we could help one another." "It sure does." Horme agreed happily. "There's just one problem. I don't like doing business with fellas I don't know the names of." Percy had never thought of that. And now he had to come up with a name for himself... He knew he couldn't use Don because he had used that name with Herc and Horme had probably heard all about that. He considered using Poseidon but he didn't want to seem like too much of a big shot. Percy panicked, feeling like he had nothing. Nothing but an idea. "I'd rather not tell you unless I know we'll be doing business." Horme scoffed. "Smart kid." He played a light pause before letting a little smirk appear on his features. "If I tell you my name, do I get the same courtesy?" Percy shrugged, happy that things were so far going the way he had hoped. Or, at least happy Horme hadn't figured him out and killed him. "They call me Horme." The man stuck his hands in his jacket pocket. "From what I hear, he was a god of impulse. It makes me feel... unpredictable, I guess." Horme smiled. Percy did not like the sound of that. "How 'bout you?" The demigod had been given plenty of time to think and had come up with an idea he hoped would do him well enough. "Pan." Horme made a face. "Pan?" Percy shrugged. "People tell me I 'fish' for the good stuff. I guess Pan was a god of fishing. Apparently it fits." Horme nodded, although it did seem he was fighting back a laugh. "So what are you fishing for today?" "A deal." Horme smiled at Percys choice of words, no longer feeling like the kids name deserved to be criticized. "Let's talk." Before Percy knew it, he was in Hormes car and they were driving silently down a collection of sketchy side streets. Percy was overly curious to know where they were going but he never said anything; his fear to learn the answer slightly overpowered his curiosity. When Horme stopped the car, he did so in front of a warehouse: Hormes 'storage facility', as he called it. And the place did do an awful lot of 'storing'. There were boxes upon boxes laying all over the place and it was pretty messy. "You'll have to excuse the mess," Horme said rather loudly. "I received a shipment this morning and I've been too busy to do much organizing." Percy nodded absent mindedly as he looked around the large room filled with boxes containing, no doubt, weapons, drugs, and other parfenlia. Horme led the teen all the way to the back wall where a number of tables were set up with weapons spaced out on them in a very elegant, and oddly appealing, way. There was an overwhelming number of tables with guns but that wasn't all Percy saw; some had knives while others had Kevlar vests, ammunition, and explosives. "You just have everything, don't ya?" Percy knew, from what Apollo had told him, that he couldn't leave too much of a lull in the conversation or else Horme would grow suspicious. Percy would have to keep Horme on his toes, just as much as he was being kept on his toes by Horme. Horme shrugged. "I like to be prepared." He paused for a second. "So, what do ya say, Pan? You wanna make a deal?" Percy nodded. As he looked around more, he remembered what had been said about Horme being good with guns and that the demigod should try to keep the man away from them. And at that very moment, they were standing in a room full of fire arms. If Percy were to make a move now, he would have less than a snowballs chance in the Underworld of making anything work. So, once again, he forced himself to really think. His demigod thoughts and ways were coming back to him and he was feeling like he had a strategy forming in his mind. Percy nodded to himself, feeling a little better than he did just moments before. "I like what I see. But, before I seal the deal, I would like to know a little more. It's my... policy, I suppose." Horme raised an eyebrow. "A policy? You like when things run smoothly." He nodded, seemingly pleased. "What do you propose?" Percy shrugged. "A bar. A club. Somewhere with private rooms and plenty of alcohol." Percy had no intentions on actually drinking anything, but Horme didn't need to know that. He did, however, hope that keeping things going, and possibly getting Horme intoxicated, would make it all easier in the end. "I could go for a drink myself," Horme agreed easily. "And I know the perfect place." Horme led Percy back out to his car and the two headed on their way to this 'perfect place' Horme was talking about: a night club. Horme ushered Percy though the door, and all the way through the crowds of people staring at the pair, to the back room; it seemed as though every bar Percy had been to in the past few months had one for business deals and such. Then the thought that he shouldn't even be at a bar registered in his mind. The back room, where the son of Poseidon had been led, looked like a VIP lounge or something of the sort. It was small but furnished with a couple of couches smothered in pillows. The walls were a deep red and there was a small self-serve bar against the back wall. That wasn't the first place Horme went, though. Right away, he trotted to a little cabinet with an open drawer and closed it quickly, but not before Percy saw that it was filled with condoms, tubes of lubrication, and all sorts of other little trinkets that Percy tried not to think about. Instead, he looked around the room. The best part about the place was that it had plenty of floor space for Percy to- "So," Horme distracted Percy from his thoughts "what do you want to know?" Percy was shaking a slight bit but he did his best to hide his fear and adrenaline rush. "Drink first, then talk." Horme stuck his first finger out and shook it up and down like he was scolding Percy but said "You are a perfect person to deal with." Percy smiled weakly as Horme stood from the couch he had flopped onto and went to the bar Percy saw positioned against the back wall. He began to poor some sort of alcohol into a couple of glasses before dropping an ice cube into each. And that's when the son of Poseidon decided to make his move. Percy looked straight at Horme and pulled Riptide from his pocket before uncapping the pen and letting the blade extend to its full length. He was still shaking more than he thought was possible and a small sweat had broken on his forehead. When Horme turned back around, he saw that Percy was holding a sword in his hand. He looked at the male in front of him, who he now noticed wasn't much more than a boy, and smiled at him. "You plan on trying to kill me, don't you?" He spoke the words as if they were nothing to him. Percy stayed silent but he was begining to feel really defeated. Horme opened his arms, causing the ice to clink against the sides of the glasses. "Well, I must admit this is a shock." Percy still said nothing. "And a sword. I've never met a person who kills with one." Hormes voice was full of distaste and condescension, making the son of Poseidon hate the man a slight bit. Percys fear inched away from him in that moment. He felt strong and undefeatable as he looked at the mere mortal before him. He felt like he had the right to feel accomplished before he even finished the hit. Percy managed a somewhat disturbing smirk. "It's not what I can do with the sword that should bother you." Horme gave Percy a very confused look yet his smirk remained. He didn't understand what this kid had up his sleeve, though there was no way he would show any emotion. And he sure as hell wasn't about to let it 'bother' him. Horme watched as Percy twirled Riptide in his hand once, very skillfully, and then thrust his other one toward the glasses. Horme only had a second to be confused before the two ice cubes floated from the cups. Hormes mouth hung open at the bizarre sight before him, which was perfect for Percy. He thrusted his hand foreward and the ice cubes found their way into Homes mouth and down his throat. Percy knew the cubes would melt before Horme choked on them so he rushed the male that had fallen to his knees, readying Riptide as he moved. Percy forcefully pictured Medusa before him instead of a mortal man. It seemed to make it easier to swing Riptide through the air and bring it to Hormes neck before the man even had time to process exactly what was going on. Percy felt a slight resistance as the sharp blade slid through the flesh, tissue, muscle, bone, muscle, tissue, and then flesh again. It was harder to get through the bone than anything else but Riptide never faltered, and neither did Percy. Blood splattered the wall behind and to the two sides, as well as Percys own shirt, as Hormes head rolled off his sholders and toppled to the ground. The man's headless, lifeless body flopped foreward right in front of the son of Poseidons feet. Percy stood for a second, taking in the scene. There was a lifeless man laying before him without a head. The demigod instantly began wondering what he had done. ...He had killed someone. He had done it for his own protection, but he had still killed someone. And then the inner battle began: He would have lost his life he didn't do that. ...He was a murderer. No. It was technically self defense. Wasn't it? The son of Poseidon tried to rationalize but the dead, headless man in front of him made that pretty difficult. Percy looked at the blood soaked carpet before him and gagged. Then he looked to the headless body on the carpet and wished he hadn't. The he looked at the body less head. The eyes were still open and they seemed to be watching him. He felt like he was losing it and that he would never rid himself if that moment. He turned and ran from the room, Riptide still wide open and covered in human blood as he did. He ran back through the bar and ignored all the screams that followed him out the door. He didn't know where he was going, he just knew he couldn't stay there. He pulled his phone from his pocket and did the only thing he could think of doing: he called Nico. His hands were shaking as he dialed the number and it was kind of hard to see the screen. After just a single ring, the younger demigod picked up the phone. 'Percy?' The son of Poseidon tried to open his mouth but he couldn't say anything. 'Percy' Nico said a little more forcefully 'are you alright?' Regret plagued him as he let the scene run through his mind again. "I did it." Percy sounded as if he were about to either cry or throw up. 'You did what?' Duh. He did what... Nico felt pretty stupid. The elder demigod almost tripped over the words. "He's dead." The line went silent. Percy started panicking even more and he actually began to cry. "Nico?" Nico hadn't expected to hear that. He was happy, yes. He was over the moon happy; his and Percys lives weren't in as much danger anymore. But Percy had just committed murder and Nico was blaming everything on himself. Nico swallowed so hard it actually hurt. 'Percy, relax.' He himself was trying to remain as calm as possible. He recalled what Percys notes had said and began to wonder exactly how Percy went about it. Had he used water? Had he really used Riptide and... He forced himself to stop thinking about it. Percy wasn't entirely sure where he was or what was going on but he managed to sit on a curb and put Riptide away. He placed the pen back in his pocket with shaking hands. He looked at his shirt that had blood splattered across the front of it, not paying attention to anything else. Nico had been talking to him still, but Percy didn't hear a word the son of Hades was saying. 'Percy! Percy are you alright? Where are you? Tell me where you are!' Percys mind stilled for a moment. Where was he? He wasn't sure. "I don't know." He panicked. "I don't know." 'Percy, relax.' Gods, Nico hated having to be the strong and calm one. 'What's around you?' Percy managed to look around him. It was totally dark but he was able to see a few things. There was a gas station and a grocery store. 'What are they called.' Percy read the names and relayed them to the son of Hades before he heard Nico yell something that was kind of incomprehensible. His end of the line went silent and then began to beep. Percy never hung up his own phone and, save for the beeps of a dead line, silence filled the air around him. The son of Poseidons mind continued to swirl. He looked down at his blood soaked shirt. He hadn't been able to smell it before but as soon as he set his eyes on it, the smell of iron filled his nose. Percy stood and stripped his shirt off and tried to wipe the splattered blood off his hands and arms but only managed to smear it around. But, most of all, he was trying to remain calm. Percy wasn't sure how much time had passed when Nico drove up speedily in his car. The son of Hades stopped at the gas station and looked around until he saw Percy sitting on the curb, staring at the blood soaked shirt in his hands. The younger demigod drove across the street and climbed out of the car, not bothering to turn the engine off. Nico approached Percy slowly, taking in what he looked like at the time. The son of Poseidon was sitting on a curb, his blank, expressionless face splattered with blood. His shirt, also newly blood stained, sat in his hands and his eyes seemed to be glued to it. "Percy?" Percy looked up at him slowly. His face was hard to read and that fact was rather concerning. He didn't look angry, or scared, or disgusted. He didn't look anything. Nico held an arm out to him and helped Percy stand on his shakey legs. Neither said anything as Nico ushered Percy to the car and sat him in the passanger seat, gently closing the door behind the elder demigod. Shortly after Nico started driving back to the hotel, his phone rang. The caller ID gave a combination of numbers Nico was able to recognize as Ares'. The fact the man was calling so soon was angering and Nico tensed. He waited until the fifth, and final, ring to answer the call. There was a few seconds of silence before Ares spoke. 'Congratulations, kiddies.' He chuckled dryly. 'You both get to live.' Nico looked over at Percy and saw that the son of Poseidon continued to stare blankly out the front window, blinking ocassionally now that his shirt was no longer in his hands. Nico had considered putting the phone on speaker but decided against it since he didn't think Percy needed anything else at the moment. "What do you want?" Ares scoffed. 'Simply to tell you that you get to keep your pathetic little insect lives.' Nico was silent for a little longer. Ares sighed heavily with his deep voice. 'I don't suggest you plan on leaving San Francisco. You could come in handy again." Then he hung up. Gods, Nico hated that guy. More than anyone and anything. But, instead of thinking of Ares, the son of Hades thought of Percy. The elder demigod still stared out the window as Nico continued to drive back to the hotel. It made Nico nervous enough to tap his fingertips on the steering wheel of the car, which is something he only ever did when he listened to music. When they got back to the hotel, Nico had to practically sneak Percy in so no questions about his bloodied jeans and snaekers or lack of a shirt were even able to be asked. The first thing the son of Poseidon did when they walked through their hotel room door was strip down to his boxers, leaving a trail of blood splattered clothes leading to the bathroom. Without hesitation, or a single problem, Nico picked up each article and bundled them together. Percy spent longer in the shower than he ever had before as he tried to wash the blood, and its smell, off his skin. He felt as if he had bathed in the hot, red liquid. It was nauseating to see it coating his body and he fought the constant urge to throw up all over the tub. It was worse than nauseating when he thought about how it wasn't his own. But, the very worst part was the thought of why it was there. He hated the fact that he, himself was the reason he was covered in it. The son of Poseidon washed and scrubbed and tried to get the mess off of himself. More so than the blood, though, Percy was trying to wash off the shame and disgust that came along with it. The whole time, Nico sat on his bed waiting for Percy to come back out of the bathroom. He just hoped the son of Poseidon wasn't doing something stupid while he was hidden behind the locked door. He considered checking on the elder but knew Percy probably wouldn't take to it very well if he barged in on him showering. So, he let it go. Percy made sure that he washed every speck of blood from his body and scrubbed his first layer of skin off before shutting down the hottest of hot water he could get out of the shower and climbing from the tub. He wrapped a towel around his waist again, without bothering to even try to dry, and left the bathroom. He grabbed a pair of boxers from his bag and slid them on under the towel before dropping it to the floor. He crawled into his bed and covered every inch of himself in his blankets before he closed his eyes, only to be met with the image of what he had done just an hour before. He fell asleep that way, wishing things could have been different. Nico had watched Percy as he left the bathroom and climbed into bed. He saw how the son of Poseidon covered himself in the blankets. He shook his head, feeling really stupid for starting everything. It would take him a while to come to terms with what he had done. But, he knew very well, it would be much harder for Percy.
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