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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21. Twenty

Nico had no idea what Hazel and Frank had told Percy on their drive but he didn't like how reclusive Percy had become in the days since then. The only person he was actually talking to was Leo and that made Nico beyond angry. After what Leo had said to Nico the day the others weren't there, the son of Hades hadn't trusted him and kind of wanted to pummel him into the pavement. But, since Leo was the only one not involved in all the stuff Hazel and Frank had told Percy, he was the only one the son of Poseidon was truly comfortable being around at the time.

Being left alone, for the most part, gave Nico plenty of time to think. He continued working on the plan to rid he and Percy of the other three demigods if they needed to and was quite pleased with how things were coming together. But it wasn't easy to be pleased with murder plans for old friends and family. He wondered if he could even really call them friends now. He technically didn't know them anymore and he had to keep reminding himself of that. They were strangers and it shouldn't bother him one bit if strangers died, even by his hand.

But it did, and it also made him think of a little more than just murder. Knowing how dangerous things were at the time, Nico felt like he had to be prepared and keep an open mind about things. That meant that he had to continue to think they were dangerous but also consider the fact they might not be. It was a lot to have on his mind.

Hazel and Frank, too, had their thoughts occupied. Occupied with Percy and how he would handle Nico. They were keeping an eye on the son of Poseidon almost constantly, wanting to see things begin to unravel between he and the son of Hades. And that was far from easy for Hazel, who still wasn't comfortable with hand holding and kisses. But she was concerned for her brother and would do whatever she could for him, even if he didn't believe she was who she was. So, if 'anything she could' included helping to get him with the guy he wanted, so be it.

But helping Nico get Percy would have to wait until a little later. Hazel even knew that. Her brother was the most important thing to her right now but Frank was next. Knowing Nico was as safe as he could be, yet not quite content, she let herself focus on Frank's problem. The son of Ares had hired a guy to take his place in a weapons deal that was supposed to go down about two weeks ago but the dealer rescheduled because of a problem collecting the merchandise in the first place. The guy Frank had hired skipped out when he heard this and Frank was left with no one. He would have used Leo if the son of Hephaestsus would have been able to keep his cool long enough to actually pull off the job. But, having that not be the case, Frank was left with very few options.

There was no way Frank was doing it himself and he didn't know very many people who would be capable. He considered Nico but Hazel said no before her half-brothers name could even fully leave Franks lips. Nico would not have been able to get away without being recognized and the guy Frank was dealing with knew what every inch of the son of Hades looked like. And Hazel made sure Frank knew how stupid it was to even bring the son of Hades up as a possibility. But he wasn't the only possibility. 

Hazel might have disagreed with Nico doing it because it would hit too close to home, but Frank was sure Percy would be able to go through with it with no one knowing who he was. And there was no reason for Hazel to fight the idea. So there was no reason for him not to bring it up.

The conversation had already been started. Leo was there, too, but only because they didn't need him saying something stupid to Nico or Percy before Hazel and Frank were ready for them to know. During all this, Percy was sleeping and Nico was working away at his plan for the other three demigods, both in their own room. Hazel and Frank were sure neither of the two boys would have heard.

"Are you sure we can't use Nico?" Frank questioned.

Hazel shook her head. "No. We're not using him when he's so well known. You know what went on, you heard the stories. Do you really think it's the best idea to send Nico out, face to face, with this guy?"

Frank sighed. He had a plan all set up already. He wouldn't tell Nico who he would be dealing with and the son of Hades would find out on his own. Considering their past, Frank figured one of them would end up dead. Considering it was Nico who had been left, Frank was able to figure the son of Hades would have gotten away unscathed but with blood on his hands. And, after all that, he wouldn't have to worry one bit about paying for this shipment because there wouldn't be anyone left to pay...

But Hazel said no and Hazel wore the pants in their relationship. So, it would have to be Percy. And when Percy was gone, Hazel would tell Nico what was going on. That was what they both knew had to happen. But neither wanted to bring up using the son of Poseidon, even if it was the only thing Frank was thinking. No one except Leo.

"If Frank can't do it, and Hazel won't let Nico, neither of you will let me, then we only have one choice."

Frank responded quickly. "Okay, first of all, don't say 'we'. The only reason you're even involved right now is because you have a big mouth and we don't need you blabbing to Nico. Secondly, Hazel and I will decide when we have only one choice. Just because you're here, doesn't mean we want your input. Got it?"

"He's right" Hazel said quietly once Frank finished his rant.

The son of Hephaestsus was taken aback. Hazel had never agreed with Leo before, ever. It was and shock to hear, even if Frank knew he and Leo were thinking the same thing. "What?"

"We do only have one choice." Hazel answered. "And both of us know what that is."

Right away, Leo piped up happily and said "Percy Jackson, ladies and gentlemen." ...Not like the other two needed him to say it out loud, though.

"I swear to all the gods, Hazel," Frank said right away "if he opens his mouth again I'm gonna send his teeth into his throat and make him choke on them."

Hazel nodded, feeling about the same, and shot a disapproving look toward the son of Hephaestsus. And that was his cue to calm down a bit. But both still knew he was right. They had known it before he even said a word. It was just the issue of Frank admitting that Leo had taken time he words right out of his mouth.

Things were silent for a moment until Frank spoke up. "Are you really gonna send Percy out?" He knew it was right but he hated it. He hated it now time he hat it was actually out in the open more than he did when it was his own silent thought.

Hazel hesitated and nodded.

Gods, did Frank hate the idea now that Hazel had admitted to it being the only option. He still agreed, yes, but he hated it. He hated it because he knew that it would happen now and it probably wouldn't turn out very well. He wondered if he could get his girlfriend to change her mind since, in the end, it was her choice. "Hazel, this guy is no joke. He can tell a fake from a mile away, you know that. If Percy gets one word wrong, he's dead. If he accidentally brings up Nico, he's dead. If he takes too long, or short, of a time to answer a question, he's dead." Frank shook his head. "It's too dangerous."

Hazel put her hand up for silence and Frank quieted quickly. "That's enough," she said softly. "I see the danger, but I also see the need for this to be done. Percy will have to do it."

Frank let out an exasperated sigh and tossed his arms into the air. He wouldn't have cared one bit about this if it wasn't himself who would lose his head if the whole thing turned out badly. He shook his head.

Hazel ignored it, though, and kept speaking. "Come eleven o'clock tonight, you'll take Percy out. Leave Leo and I here with Nico and we'll tell him everything. You're only job is to get Percy through the whole thing, get those weapons, and find out where Typhon and the Manticore are. All the tech is in the trunk still. I suggest you spend the rest of the evening preparing Percy." Hazel left their side of the suite to join her half-brother.

Once alone, Leo chuckled darkly. He loved the idea of putting Percy in danger. He didn't hate the son of Poseidon, by any means, but he did hate the fact that Percy had been the center of everyone's world since forever. Especially Nicos.

Frank went into Nico and Percys side of the suite after his girlfriend and looked at the two. He tapped Percy on the sholder and motioned for the son of Poseidon to follow him out of the hotel room.

Percy nervously tucked his hands away into his pockets as he stepped along with Frank. "What's going on?"

The son of Ares took a few more steps away from the door and down the hall before speaking. "I'm gonna need some help with something. And I want you to help me with it."

Percy paused mid-step but placed his foot down with a tension spreading through his body. He was really not liking the way Frank spoke. It made this 'something' seem really sketchy. The son of Poseidon licked his lips. "What is it?"

Frank took a deep breath and prepared himself for whatever would come from Percy after he spoke. "You get to pose as me." He half sounded like he felt Percy should be honored. But he had done that on purpose. He couldn't let Percy see how much this bothered him because it would then, no doubt, bother Percy even more.

Contrary to the way Frank made things seem, honor was far from what Percy was feeling. He spoke in a scared tone. "Why do I feel like that's going to be really dangerous?"

Frank nodded gently, being calm despite how frightening he looked. "Probably because it will be."

Percy shook his head at the son of Ares' words. His voice even shook a bit when he spoke. "Whatever this is, Frank, I don't wanna do it."

Frank, again, spoke in a very relaxed tone. After all, he didn't feel nearly as bad as he had before he told Percy what he would have to do. Actually, he didn't really care that Percy wasn't liking his idea. It had seemed bad before but once he got it out, he knew he had to make sure it would happen. "That's the thing, Percy." Frank crossed his arms. "I don't care."

Percy made a face, not appreciating Frank's lack of compassion for the son of Poseidons lack of knowledge. Still, thought, the son of Ares showed no emotion and led Percy all the way out of the hotel and to the car he and the other two demigods shared. He popped open the trunk and watched as Percy's eyes widened and his face paled. The entire trunk was filled with notebokls, wires, electronic boxes, knives, guns, and explosives. Frank chuckled deeply at Percys reaction.

"This is my arsenal. These are my tools. Welcome to my world."

Even not knowing what exactly was going on, Percy was scared. If Frank's world included so many guns and bombs, Percy didn't want a part in it. But something told him he had just been tossed into it head first.

Frank bagged up everything he knew and figured he a would need and had Percy help him carry it all into the hotel. They got a few stares from people but Frank didn't even notice them. Percy was worried about what they might be thinking; after all, he was carrying a huge, black canvas bag. He knew without a doubt that people had seen enough movies to be able to make a guess about what was in it.

From the moment they entered the suite on, Frank was explaining a number of things to Percy. From how to use and reload automatic weapons to how far away from a bomb you need to be before you can safely set it off. Frank had to keep telling the son of Poseidon that all that information may not have come in handy but that he would be more at ease about the situation if Percy knew. Percy wasn't pleased with how the whole thing sounded, but he didn't have the guts to tell Frank he wouldn't do it. At the moment, he was feeling more afraid of the son of Ares than he was of what he may face.

There were two things, above all, that Percy really wanted to know about the situation, though. And they were what will he be doing and when will it all happen. But he didn't want to interrupt Frank to ask. The son of Hephaestsus looked like he was really into talking through all of this stuff with Percy...

Frank stopped for a second before he began packing everything back into the bags. He felt like he had done a pretty good job of explaining everything and nodded his head pridefully. He had told Percy the only thing he got to carry in with him was a hand gun and Riptide but told him how to use the guns if he would need to for the deal. Although Frank did suggest strongly against it because he didn't want Percy's fingerprints all over the weapons if they were to be found. There wouldn't be many that Percy would need to bring back with him, just a few AK-47s, Franks favorite gun, a couple of Magnums, Hazel's favorite gun, and ammo for both. But, the dealer might require Percy to try them anyway.

After everything was put into the bags, Frank looked back at the blank faced son of Poseidon. He sighed. "What?"

Percy took a second. "When's all this gonna happen?"

Frank looked at the clock. "Eleven o'clock tonight."

Percys jaw dropped. He had less than three hours.

"I suggest you get some sleep before then." Frank dropped the bags onto the floor and walked into the bathroom.

Percy slowly got off the bed and walked into his side of the room. He went to the bathroom and stripped his shirt off before he crawled under his blankets. Nico saw him and wondered why Percy would be going to bed so soon. Then the fact that he had been with Frank for the last couple of hours entered his mind. He stood from his bed and stormed into the other side of the suite. Hazel followed behind him and Leo just chuckled.

"Frank Zhang! Where the hell are you!?"

The toilet flushed and Frank left the bathroom. "Calm down, killer. What do you want?"

Nico ignored the way Frank spoke to him and made his own tone to show he was a bit angry. "What did you do to Percy?"

Frank shrugged. "Who says I did anything to your boyfriend?"

Nico groweled at Frank for calling Percy his boyfriend but contained his anger at the son of Hephaestsus' stupidity. "Number one, he's not my boyfriend. Number two, he's been with you for the past few hours and now he looks pretty fucked up and is in bed."

Frank chuckled. "That's cause he's gonna need his sleep."

Nico groweled once again; Frank's comment emcompassed a number of possibilities. Possibilities Nico didn't like. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Frank opened his mouth to speak but Hazel shot him a look that screamed not to. Instead, she said something. "Don't worry about that right now, Nico. I'll explain everything later."

Hazel had expected that to work but Nico still shouted back. "No! You'll tell me now or I swear I'll make you all into maggot food!"

"Knock it off!" Hazel had kind of forgotten how bad Nico could get sometimes, but, gods, he was dramatic.

But Nico didn't think he was being dramatic. He was rather appalled that Hazel would speak like that to him. She may have been in charge of Frank and Leo but Nico was in charge of himself and wasn't about to let his half-sister boss him around like a child.

"Don't ever tell me to calm down ever again, got it? Now tell me what in all the gods names in going on!"

The room was quiet for a moment. No one spoke, making Nico even more angry. He really did hate not having his questions answered. Hazel led him from the room, telling him that he would find out exactly what was going on in decent time, as long as he kept his mouth shut and was patient. Patience was hard for Nico but he had a feeling Hazel would never tell him if he kept bugging her about it, so he didn't have much of a choice.

Nico never actually calmed down but his outburst of anger had tired him out and it only took a couple of his songs to lull him to sleep. After a shower and a few new ideas for his plan to get rid of the crew of three, that is. He fell asleep looking at Percy in his own bed. The son of Poseidon looked scared, even in his slumber, and Nico felt desperate to know what Frank had told him.

 

It wasn't long before Percy was being gently shaken awake. He groaned and tried to push whoever it was away. For the first time in a long time, he was having a good dream. He was taken back to when he was young, before he knew he was a demigod and even before Gabe came into the picture. He and his mom were at the beach on a warm summers day. Waking up now was not really his idea of an actual good dream.

Percy was shaken again and his dream, as well as his mother and the beach, faded away. When he opened his eyes, he saw Frank standing next to his bed. He let out another moan and rolled over to his other side. Frank groweled. He understood that some weren't good at waking up but this was more important that the typical trip to the bathroom that was reason for a normal persons waking. He knelt down next to Percys bed, knowing he was now awake, and spoke softly as to not be heard by anyone but the son of Poseidon.

"Percy, we have things to attend to. Unless you want them to come after me and find you and Nico in the process. But, I highly doubt you want that because you'll end up dead if that's what happens."

Percy heard every word and wished he hadn't. The idea of dying wasn't a very fun one and was a good reason to get out of bed. He rolled over to his back and rubbed his face with his hands. It took a little more time for him to sit up and Frank smiled and said "Good boy" when he finally did.

Frank left Percy to get himself up the rest of the way and went back to his own side of the room to wake Hazel. He sat on the bed and brushed her hair gently out of her face. He leaned his face down and  kissed her cheek softly. The hot breath that brushed against her neck woke her. She saw Frank sitting on the side of the bed smiling down at her lightly.

"Is it time already?" Hazel yawned as she spoke.

Frank nodded and kissed her cheek o ce again before standing and kicking the couch bed Leo was sleeping on. The whole thing shook and Leo woke with a start.

Frank watched as Percy left the bathroom and told him, softly, to get dressed in dark, simple clothes. Percy raised his eye brows. All he had anymore was dark, simple clothes because that's all Nico let him wear, too. He nodded gently and clad himself in a grey hoodie and jeans before looking back at Frank who was loading a gun full of bullets. Only then did the realization that this was a very bad idea come to the son of Poseidon. He was scared, and he could admit it. He didn't want to do this. He didn't want to know what was going on. He didn't want to use these weapons Frank showed him or even ever have to look at them again.

Percy swallowed and felt a tremor run through his body as his heart began to race.

"Frank?"

The son of Ares looked in Percys direction.

Percy was shaking his head. "I don't want to do this."

Frank sighed. He knew quite well this was coming and he had prepared for it. He motioned for Percy to follow him into the bathroom he, Hazel, and Leo shared. He closed and locked the door before speaking. "I understand you don't want to have a part in the shit that goes down in our every day lives. But, you can thank Nico for that. You weren't my first pick for this but you are kind of the only choice we have. Trust me, Hazel and I have done plenty of thinking about this. We haven't come to this decision lightly. Your job is simple but I'd rather talk more about it when we're out of the room. I'd prefer to be gone before Nico wakes up and freaks out again. So, if you please, let's go so Hazel can wake him up and explain everything."

Percy nodded hesitantly and allowed Frank to lead him back out of the bathroom. The son of Ares gave Percy a hand gun and told him to wait by the door. Percy followed orders and Frank went over to Hazel. She was sitting up on the edge of the bed, talking to Leo, waiting for Percy and Frank to leave so she could wake Nico. Frank put a finger gently under her chin and lifted the girls face up so they could look into one another's eyes. Hazel looked somewhat afraid herself. Percy could hear a small whisper of "Be safe" before the two kissed. Percy hadn't realized how much he missed human contact until he saw that. He began to wish he had someone with him to kiss him goodbye, too.

Frank ushered Percy out of the room and to the car. He began, almost right away, to explain how he expected things to go down. Percy was grasping most of it but he was mainly trying to keep his brain from going into overload. Frank told him all the guys to expect there and what they looked like so Percy could pick them all apart. He was wishing he had pictures, and more time, to help prepare the son of Poseidon for this, but he didn't. He was stuck with less than a day and vague physical descriptions.

 

Back in the hotel room, Hazel had managed to wake Nico. She was the first one he saw but Leo followed. The son of Hephaestsus was smoking a cigarette, making Nico wish he had one for himself. That thought went away quickly, though, when he saw that Percy's bed was empty. Nico looked at his half-sister with a much less than pleased expression. He felt as though the son of Poseidon wasn't in the bathroom or anything like that since Hazel looked like she was dreading something.

"Where the hell is Percy?"

Hazel spoke in a small voice. "With Frank."

"Where the hell is Frank?"

"On his way to meet Eros."

Nico stiffened. That name was one he knew all too well. The man was named after the god of desire and love and protector of homosexual love. That name was the street name of the only human being that was able to make Nico forget Percy, if only for a short time. And now the two were about to meet. This was a very bad idea. Eros was not a friendly individual and Nico got to see, first hand, just how aggressive the male could be. Nico didn't know why the two were dealing with one another but he was one hundred percent positive Percy wouldn't walk away from the male without being harmed in one way or another.

Through gritted teeth, he asked. "Why?"

Hazel began to tell Nico everything. She started all the way back when Frank had met Eros. It was in that very city, before he and Nico had split up. The two had planned a weapons deal for a certain date because Frank had a job he had to pull off. The deal never went through, though, because Eros' shipment came in late, so Frank had to do the job without the proper weapons. He tried to tell the guy he no longer needed the weapons but Eros threatened to kill not only Frank but Hazel and Leo as well. When the shipment finally came in, the day after the five demigods had been reunited, Frank was threatened again. He was given a certain time and date to pick the shipment up.

"So," Nico said angrily "if Frank's the one that fucked up getting involved with that stupid son of a bitch why is Percy suffering for it?"

Hazel told her brother to relax. She knew he didn't like Eros much but that was a little harsh. She continued on to tell him that because Eros had never seen Frank, and the son of Hephaestsus wanted to keep it that way, that they needed to use someone else.

"Why not Leo?" Nico shouted.

"We would have," Hazel said calmly "but he's too impulsive."

Nico shot Leo an angry look and fought the urge to strangle the son of Hephaestsus with his bare hands.

 

Frank and Percy drove for about a half an hour before they pulled up to a large house. Frank pointed to another a little ways down the street.

"That's where you wanna go." He spoke softly. "The owner of the house, Eros, will not be the one to answer the door. It will probably be a woman but she'll lead you down to the basement. Just remember what weapons I told you to get and try to keep your cool, alright?"

Percy nodded and took a deep breath. This couldn't be that bad, right? He had fought monsters and faced titans and gods before. A back alley, sketchy as hell, weapons deal couldn't be worse than that. Could it?

Percy climbed out of Frank's car and watched as it drove away. He walked slowly to the house and stopped at the stoop. It looked like every other house on the block: simple, inviting, and cozy. But something told Percy being in the suburbs was just a front. Percy drew in a shakey breath and knocked harshly on the front door as he gathered himself together. He forced himself into 'demigod mode' and was ready for anything. A woman answered the door shortly and she looked Percy up and down.

"Can I help you?" She smiled warmly but it made Percy sick.

"I'm here to see Eros." His voice was deep and somewhat monotonous.

The woman cocked her head to the side. "Name?"

Knowing he wasn't Percy Jackson at the moment, or even one of his aliases, he answered the woman with "Franklin." That was the name Frank told Percy to use, so that was the name he used.

The woman tossed him a smile. "It's nice to meet you, Franklin." She turned and Percy made sure he had both Riptide and the gun right handy in case he needed them.

 

Nico still couldn't believe that Hazel had sent Percy out to deal with Eros on his own. But that wasn't the only thing she had to tell him.

Once the son of Hades had finally calmed enough to listen to her, Hazel asked a question. "Are you ready for the bad news?"

Nico perked up. "What?" He was wondering how in the world anything could get any worse. 

Leo chuckled.

"Shut up, Valdez."

He put his hands up in defeat, jokingly, of course.

"Leo, why don't you go and... I don't know what." Hazel said in annoyance. "Just go away while I finish briefing Nico."

...Briefing? Why did that make things sound so serious?

 

The stairwell the woman led Percy down was the longest he felt he'd ever walked. Each step he took, the laughter and talking coming from the basement got louder. All the voices were deep so they were all males. Percy ran through all the men's names once again and tried to imagine what they would look like from the descriptions Frank had given him. Upon finally reaching the basement, Percy looked around and saw five males.

"Sir," the woman who had walked Percy in said.

A single man turned his head.

"You have a guest. Says his name is Franklin."

The man shooed the woman away and stood. She bowed before she went back upstairs.

"Well, hello, Franklin. It's a pleasure to meet you in person. I am Eros."

Percy remembered Frank telling him to be respectful but not overly so. "The pleasure is all mine."

Eros cocked his head. "You don't sound like you did over the phone..."

Percy felt a little nervous. What if this plan fell through? But Frank was sure it would work, so it would work, so he answered with what Frank had told him. "My assistant. I hate talking on the phone." 

Eros squinted his eyes. "Your assistant? He sounded kind of big for a desk jockey."

Oh gods, this guy was going to find him out. Percy was going to die. But, Frank had that planned out, too. "He doesn't do desk work. He does my dirty work. And, for me, that includes taking and making phone calls."

Eros looked impressed. "I need one of those. Come in handy much?"

Percy relaxed a little. "More than you know."

Eros chuckled deeply. "Well, now that we've gotten through the pleasantries, why don't we get down to business?"

Percy nodded, his relaxation fleeing from the room and, probably, even the house.

Eros nodded at the other men and they all left but returned shortly with carts full of weapons.

Eros opened his arms and gestured at the carts. "Everything you asked for is right here."

Percy nodded as he looked the carts up and down. He may have had a gun and a sword with him but that didn't mean he was comfortable enough around them to be surrounded with fire arms, knives, and explosives. But he had to keep his cool. Frank was trusting him with this and Percy couldn't let the son of Ares down.

"Would you care to give them a try?"

Percy shook his head and held his hands up, making his fingers dance. "I don't do the dirty work, remember?"

Eros chuckled and nodded. "Fair enough. Mind if I do?"

Percy shook his head and took a deep breath. Frank had requested that he keep his hands clean and he definitely planned on it. "Have a blast."

"Good man." Eros smiled widely. He picked up, what Percy guessed was, some sort of hand held machine gun. He motioned for one of the other men to do something and he stood to move a curtain out of the way. Behind the curtain was something Percy hadn't been expecting. A body. At first, he thought the body was lifeless and he honestly wasn't too bothered. But, when he saw the person's leg move, he panicked. He tried to keep his cool but he was seeing a man, tied up, stripped naked, and looking like he had been that way for a while, before him. He began to wonder exactly what kind of people he was dealing with.

 

Leo had left the room, after some arguing, but left his cigarettes. Nico lit one up, not really liking the taste but needing the escape, and motioned for Hazel to keep talking.

The daughter of Hades sighed and opened her mouth. "In this world, you know you need to know the right people to make it."

Nico nodded.

"Eros knew that well." She paused until Nico motioned for her to keep talking. Apparently, he couldn't tell what she was getting at. "These days, the right people are the bad guys." Another pause was played before Hazel shook her head and kept talking. "And the bad guys are Typhon and the Manticore."

She fell silent again. She watched as her half-brothers face grew more and more confused by the second. He looked like he was trying to figure things out but he couldn't put two and two together and get four. Hazel groaned. She hadn't wanted to say it, but she would have to. "Nico, Eros is working with them."

  Eros began walking Percy through what all of the guns were capable of before he even picked up one to use. He showed him all the secret things about the knives and Percy recalled the blade he had gotten from Apollo. He wondered if he would be showed one like it, one with a hidden blade in the hilt, but no such knife popped up. Percy figured it was a one of a kind weapon and would never find another like it. He smiled inwardly knowing he had something no one else had. Once Eros had finished his 'introduction', as he called it, he picked up one of the smaller guns and loaded it, walking Percy through that, too. The son of Poseidon recognized the gun as one that Frank showed him and asked to bring back. It was the one he said was for Hazel: a .44 magnum. Eros pointed the gun at the tied up man on the floor, pulled the cock back, and pulled the trigger.   Nico recoiled from the words. All he really heard was that Percy was dealing with two of the most dangerous, psychotic people in their world. He could have hit Hazel. No, he could have killed her. If she wasn't his half-sister, he probably would have, too. She had allowed this to happen. Nico had been looking for Percy for three years. Three years! And Hazel was handing the son of Poseidon over to the people who wanted Nico dead, and Percy in their hands, on a silver platter. "How could you be so stupid, Hazel?! What the hell is your problem?! These people don't mess around! He's gonna end up dead! You know that! And you still did this! Damnit Hazel! How could you do this?!" Hazel allowed Nico to rant, although she wished he wouldn't shout, before she spoke again. "I understand you're upset." Nico opened his mouth but Hazel held up a finger. "Don't speak. I realize you probably hate me right now and I don't blame you. But, you have to consider a few things. Number one, Frank didn't send Percy in there blind. Number two, Percy is a smart kid. And number three, no one knows what he looks like. He's safer than any of us would have been, I can assure you of that." Nico gritted his teeth and breathed shallowly. "You're right. I do hate you. But, before I totally lose it, I wanna know who's there." Hazel nodded and began to run through names. She started with Eros, then the woman who she knew would answer the door, Eros brother, his woman friend (although she might not have been there), and then she gave the names of the people Nico least wanted to hear. "And... Typhon and Manti." Nicos eyes went wide, "I swear to all the gods, I will fucking kill you."   Percy tried to keep himself from vomiting. Eros had already used three guns and four or five knives. The guy was long dead by this time, without a doubt, but that didn't make it okay. Eros started at the man's legs and moved up. He made sure to avoid important arteries and not to send the knives in too deep to avoid too much blood loss. But the man still died. And Percy knew he was dead. The final blow had come when Eros knelt down, forcing Percy to do the same, and sunk one of the blades into the man's stomach repeatedly.  He let out strangled moans of pain every time the weapons penetrated his skin. Percy fought every urge to throw up, often closing his eyes and making himself think it was a telchine or whatever he needed so he didn't have to think of it being a human.   Nico held his hands in such tight fists that his palms were beginning to bleed from his finger nails. "Did you know they were going to be there before?" Hazel kept quiet. She new, even if she lied, that Nico would figure her out. He wasn't stupid when it came to this stuff. When she didn't answer, he stood from his bed quickly, grabbed her by the collar, picked his gun off the night table, pushed his half-sister into the nearest wall, cocked the gun, and held it to her head. All in one fluid motion. It honestly happened so fast Hazel didn't see it coming. But she stayed calm. "You wanna shoot me? Shoot me. But when Frank and Percy come back perfectly safe, you're gonna feel pretty stupid." Nico took a second before growling and pulling the gun away from his half-sisters head. He knew people would hear it, he knew it would make a mess, and he knew he wouldn't have a choice but to kill Leo, too, because he would have known what happened. That was, truthfully, too much for Nico to have to worry about at the moment. He dropped his head to face the floor and shook it as he laughed darkly. Hazel was shocked at hearing laughter leave his lips but she figured there was a reason and went with it, not questioning things.   It was only a short time longer of the brutality inflicted on the dead body before Percy was told he had nothing more to be shown. He was relieved he didn't have to see anything more and turned away from the dead body that had been riddled with bullet holes and stab wounds. He was still trying to keep his cool but he had literally just seen a man shot and stabbed to death. Sure, he had killed a man before. He used Riptide and 'made Horme shorter by the height of his head', as he heard Hazel say it once, but this seemed different. What Percy had done was fast but this, shooting and stabbing a man over and over, was slow and painful. And Percy had watched it from start to finish. Eros was blind to how Percy was feeling and asked the son of Poseidon what he thought and what he wanted to take home with him. Percy tried to clear his mind and remember what Frank told him they needed. But the dead body in the room was making that difficult. The son of Poseidon managed to tear his eyes away, though, and look back at Eros. He just hoped he didn't look as shaken up as he felt. Percy managed to make his way to the racks of weapons and Eros motioned for the other men to carry the dead body away. Percy watched and cocked his head in their direction. "What are you doin' with him?" He felt stupid for speaking because his voice shook slightly. Eros looked at his men carrying the dead body and shrugged. "The bay, probably." Percy nodded and saw two men come down the long flight of stairs, but not the two men that carried the body away. Eros smiled widely and clapped his hands together once. "Finally! Franklin, I would like you to meet two of my associates. The taller one is Typhon, and the bulkier one is The Manticore. You've no doubt heard of them, yes?" Percy froze but managed to nod lazily. He couldn't believe he was face to face with the two men that wanted Nico dead and he himself with them. Did that mean this was his day? Did that mean this was it? He took a deep breath and told himself he would embrace whatever happened. He couldn't be afraid. Something told him these men could smell fear. Eros looked over at the two men as they stepped closer. "Guys, this is Franklin. He's the one I was afraid would fall through on the deal. But, here he is. Just like me and his assistant discussed." The one Eros called Typhon recoiled a bit. "His assistant?" The mans voice sent fearful shivers through Percy's body. It was deep and cold and lacking emotion. Eros nodded, still looking impressed. Percy was begining to feel like saying he had an assistant was a bad idea. He felt like it put him too far up on the totem pole. Percy did everything in his power to keep up his act and not break in front of the men but it was becoming more difficult with each passing minute. He spent another hour in the basement, talking with the three men (since the others hadn't returned yet) about various things. The topics continued to deepen and each bothered him more than the last. From robberies, to drugs, and from guns, to everything that happened when the police came after Typhon and Manti. The two men laughed and smiled broadly when they talked about what they did to their captives. How they removed each finger, each hand, each arm, and each head. Percy wondered if he would ever be capable of such, and hoped not.   Out in his car, Frank was feeling beyond stupid. He didn't realize he hadn't equipped Percy with an ear bud like Hazel had asked until he started getting nervous because Percy was taking so long. It had already been almost two hours and Frank had only expected less than one. He never told Hazel or even Percy that and he was now happy he hadn't. He knew Hazel would have said something to Nico and Nico would have lost it with Percy being gone so long. But, that was the thing. Nico was losing it anyway.   "Where the hell are they!?" Nico had been trying not to get angry or show fear but the fact that Percy was away from him still was hell. "I bet they're fine, Nico." Hazel tried to reassure him but it wasn't working. She was calm, messing around on her phone. Nico had been sitting on his bed but had since stood and begun to pace. He kept running through his mind the fact that he had spent three years searching for Percy and the son of Poseidon was now possibly facing his death. The fact that no one had even told him about it before hand made everything even more tense for him. Leo bothered Nico more than Hazel did, though. He had returned to the room and wore an expression that seemed too calm. He looked too relaxed. He looked almost happy. Nico was really begining to hate Leo with everything he had in him and now he vowed to make the son of Hephaestsus' murder plan a little more brutal and include a few more steps of torture, just for the hell of it.   Percy was trying to find any way possible to get out of the house. Not knowing all the people the men were talking about wanting dead, the son of Poseidon had stayed decently calm. But that all changed when they brought up Nico. They never used his real name and instead called him Hades but Percy knew who they meant. It seemed as though all the men hated him with a passion and the plans they had to kill him, and yes they had more than one, were disturbing to say the least. From electrocution, to water boarding, to slow and painful and poisoning without an antidote and everything in between. Then the three men did the unthinkable. They spoke of 'the guy Hades had trapesing around with him'. Percy tensed and pinched his eyes shut. Thankfully, no one noticed his action so he got away with it without question. If that hadn't been the case, though, Percy feared he would have lost his life in a way similar to what they had planned for the son of Hades. The conversation about Percy continued, causing more and more fear to course through the son of Poseidons body. "He seems like a rookie but he also seems pretty smart," Typhon said. "I mean, seducing Herc isn't an easy thing. He has a temper when people he doesn't want want him. So I can only imagine what would have happened if Herc hadn't liked him." Percy began to feel a desperation welling up inside of him. He needed to get away from these guys. The Manticore nodded and brought up another topic, still pertaining to Percy. "That could come in handy for just about anyone these days." The others nodded and things went quiet for a second before Manti spoke again. He seemed like he was trying to cover up a fear but some of it still seeped from his words. "I know it's already out that we want Hades dead so we can get his friend and find out what he's actually capable of, but" he paused, "do you think we have anything to worry about?" "I can't imagine why," Typhon told him, sensing his partners fear but not blaming him for it. Manti nodded in agreement, content with the response. Percy, on the other hand, did not agree and was not content. He wanted to get as far away from these guys as possible, he didn't want to know what he was capable of, and he didn't care if the others had things to worry about, even if they were about him. In his desperation, the son of Poseidon quickly thought up a way to get himself out of the situation he was in. All the stabbing, shooting, and talk about Nico being killed and he himself being used was making his heart race. He had no clue if it would work or not but he needed to do something. He quickly pulled his phone from his pocket and speed dialed Frank's number. He tried to make it seem like he had been called, though, and his phone had vibrated a ring in his pocket. "Hold up, guys, I gotta take this. The assistant." He began talking right away, even though he was speaking to a dial tone. When Frank picked up, after about three rings, he sounded scared. 'What's wrong?' The son of Poseidon wanted to make it seem like he hadn't initiated the call so, instead of saying anything that would tell Frank exactly what was happening, he said "Now?" It took the son of Ares a moment to catch on but he learned what Percy was doing quickly. 'Are you sure you're done? You have everything?' Percy scoffed, making himself look totally calm in the eyes of the other males. "Do you think I'm stupid?" Frank returned the noise 'You are so lucky this is fake, or else I'd beat your ass for talking to me like that. Percy dropped his head into his hand. Under any other circumstances, he either would have laughed or been scared. But neither of those was going to happen. He continued to play it up. "Fine. I'll be there as soon as I can. Just don't let him do anything stupid." Percy hung up the phone and shook his head. "That sounded lovey." Eros chuckled. Percy nodded. "Yeah, well, I wish I could say it was." "I take it that's your cue to leave?" Typhon asked. "I'm afraid so." All four males nodded, Percy feeling much more at ease now that he was able to leave. "Well, it's been a pleasure, boys. I'm glad we got the shipment worked out, it could come in handy today." There were a few light chuckles and Eros pressed a button on the wall by the door. A few seconds later, a bell sounded. A couple minutes after that, painful minutes in which Percy packed the weapons into the duffle bag he had carried in, the woman entered the basement. She led Percy back up, after one final farewell and even a good luck, and out of the house. The son of Poseidon breathed in the fresh air and let it fill his lungs before he began to panic immensely. Percy slowly walked down the street, with a slight weave from a spinning head, to the place where Frank had first dropped him off. The car wasn't there right away and Percy wobbled back and forth for a few seconds until the vehicle pulled up beside him and a concerned looking Frank ran out. He was quick to grip onto Percy's arm and hold him upright, preventing him from falling, and ushered him to the passanger seat. Frank ran to his own side of the car and drove very quickly back to the hotel. He tried asking Percy what had happened during the drive but the son of Poseidon kept shaking his head and tearing up. Every time that happened, Frank would push his foot a little further into the floor. The two reached the hotel quickly, in about half the time the drive to the deal took, although Percy hadn't even notice how much time had passed. He mindlessly sat in the car until Frank opened his door and spoke his name quietly. The son of Ares had never seen a person act in such a way, and had never expected it from Percy. It really made him anxious to know exactly what happened in that house. He helped Percy out and the two, Frank with bag in hand, entered the hotel. The door man smiled at them but the expression was quick to fade when he saw Percy. He never asked questions, though, and Frank just kept walking the son of Poseidon into the building. Frank stuck Percy in the elevator and let the machine carry them upwards until they reached their floor. He led Percy slowly down the hall and unlocked their door, warily. He was worried about what he might see and be met with considering he knew how angry Nico would have been. But he pushed the door open, anyway, and the two males were met with three pairs of eyes upon entering the room. Hazel quickly jumped to her feet and ran at Frank. He dropped the bag and embraced her, picking her up into the air, spinning her around, and kissing her lips. Leo looked the two up and down and turned his eyes away again, not finding either one very interesting. Percy meandered slowly to his bed and plopped down onto it as a single tear rolled down the apple of his left cheek. Nico saw this and he stood, slowly approaching the son of Poseidon. "Percy?" He didn't look at Nico so the son of Hades sat on the bed, about a foot away from him. "Percy what happened?" Frank heard all of this and sighed, having the feeling Nico wouldn't get much out of the son of Poseidon. Percy shook his head. Nico looked up at the other demigods and spoke a firm "Out" to them, causing them to enter their own side of the suite. Nico locked the separating door and knealt back down in front of the bed. He looked at Percys state and knew something was very wrong. "Percy, you need to tell me what happened." All of his rage and anger was gone, seeing Percy alive, but it was replaced by fear of the reason Percy seemed, once again, so distraught. Percy looked up at him and just stared for a few minutes before he slowly began to fill the son of Hades in on the occurrences of the night. It wasn't the best way to spend the wee hours of the morning and Percy made sure Nico knew he would have rather done it any other way with his looks and the way he reacted to his own words. The tears heloed, too: small ones continued to flow at times and Nico would just brush them away. He cringed every time he did so, though, because being gentle and soft wasn't him. But it was what Percy needed. Once the son of Poseidon finished talking, and was close to balling, Nico shook his head. He knew what Eros was capable of and, now, Percy did, too. The son of Poseidon had heard of what they had planned for both he and Nico in detail and that would have messed anybody up. Not really knowing what else to do, and wanting some way to help Percy clear his mind, Nico began to caress the son of Poseidons face. Like wiping the tears away, this wasn't typical for the son of Hades and he tried not to cringe at himself. But since Percy closed his eyes and breathed deeply, seeming to relax, Nico knew it had worked. And he knew he couldn't stop. And, plus, being able to touch Percy was a win for him, too. Nico shook his head gently. "I'm sorry, Percy. I'm so sorry. If I would have known, I would not have let them make you do that. And with him, none the less. I know this guy. He's not one to be messed with. He's crazy. I'm so sorry." Nico hoped he hadn't gotten too carried away. Percy was still crying but he nodded his head. He wiped away his own tears this time and brushed his hair back with his fingers. "You should try to get some sleep." Percy nodded again and Nico leaned away from him to stand but stopped, wishing there was something more he could do help Percy at the time. Without thinking, Nico began to untie Percys sneakers. This was yet another action that wasn't normal for the son of Hades but it felt right for him to do it. His fingers moved slowly and both himself and Percy watched as the laces came undone. It was a totally innocent gesture but it seemed to mean so much. Percy had thought before about longing for such things. Longing to feel needed and important. And even with something as simple as slipping off his shoes, Nico had made the son of Poseidon feel that way. Nico tossed Percy's sneakers somewhere in the room and looked back up at him. He still held a, mostly, blank stare but it had a tinge of something else in it. Nico tried to smile but couldn't get his lips to move anywhere but closer to Percys. The son of Hades was really wishing he could control his impulses, but he couldn't. So, he whispered, yet again, that he was sorry. The apology was both for what had happened earlier and what would happen next. Nico moved a little closer to Percy and pushed his lips into the son of Poseidons softly. He half expected Percy to pull away, but the male on the bed didn't move. Nico ended the kiss quickly and moved back, feeling slight regret. Neither said anything right away but Percy played his puppy dog eyes, possibly without even knowing it, and quietly whispered a very soft "Don't go" at the son of Hades. Nico was taken aback and, once he fully registered the words, gave Percy a moment to consider changing his mind. But, since he never did, Nico nodded lightly and leaned in and kissed him again. He moved his lips a little, hoping not to push it, and felt Percy's move, too, if only slightly. Nico moved his hand to hold gently onto Percy's face so he could deepen the kiss. He parted his lips slowly and brushed his tongue across Percys bottom one. The son of Poseidon opened his mouth just enough for the wet muscle to slip in and Nico took advantage of the opportunity, causing a heavy breath of air to escape Percy's mouth and enter Nicos. After that, there seemed to be no stopping. Nico stood enough to slowly lay Percy down. He sat on the side of the bed for a moment as the kiss continued. He felt Percy's hand soft on his arm and thats when he knew this was really okay. He had told himself he had to be careful not to rush but this was Percy's doing, it was all Percy's doing. So, Nico stood from the bed and threw one leg over Percy's torso gently, and talentedly, before he leaned into the older male softly. He kept his body away from Percy's for a moment until he felt the son of Poseidon grip tighter onto his arms. Nico was trying not to move too fast and overwhelm Percy, especially after everything that happened earlier that night. But Percy seemed to be asking for it. Nico caressed Percy's sides through his shirt for a few moments, enjoying the soft breaths Percy would breath when his ribs were brushed, before reaching down to the hem of the fabric and putting his hands underneath it. They hovered above Percy's body but could feel heat radiating off of his skin anyway. Nico pulled away from Percy's lips and kissed his cheek gently. "I have a question." He kissed the corner of Percys lips. Percy noded. "Can I touch you?" Nico kissed Percy's jaw line. Percy hesitated slightly. He had to keep reminding himself this was what he had wanted. This was the contact he had been longing for. Who cared who it came from? He gave Nico another soft nod and the son of Hades kissed Percy's neck, sending the son of Poseidons body up in goosebumps, and lowered his hands so his soft fingertips could ghost over the skin on Percys abdomen.

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