The rights to the series have been disclaimed.
Nico di Angelo crept up the fire escape,careful to avoid the creaky parts. Typical to his luck, it had to be on the fifth floor, and every foot of altitude gained increased the sinking feeling in his stomach. It wasn't that he was afraid of heights, as such...but you could never be too careful. From what he knew, his father had come down like a ton of rocks on the Thalia girl. The gods had a lot to be annoyed about right now, and he really didn't want to be a metaphorical punching bag.
Then again, Percy had survived for this long. If he could do it...
Nico climbed the last two stairs and leaned over to the windowsill. He fiddled with the latch for a couple of seconds,and managed to get it open. Percy really should be more careful about this. Relying on only the smell of mortals to keep them away was stupid, especially now that he popped in so often. Who knew good food could be that much of a lure?
The moonlace was glowing faintly, bigger than last time. It's brightness seemed to be in inverse to the stages of its' namesake. The room inside was empty.
Nico groaned. Typical. Three hours of sneaking about in the cold and his cousin wasn't even there. If he ever saw three old ladies knitting clothes, he was going to have a serious word with them. Or maybe the god/godess of luck. That had to be there- there was one for doorknobs, for Hades' sake.
Wondering what a deity for doorknobs would do in a fight, Nico climbed into the room. He pushed the skateboard on the bed to one corner and sat down. A rain of one of those old knocker things would hurt, but do they count as doorknobs? I mean, you can pull doors open with them, right? Still, much easier to just summon a few rebels from the French Revolution. Amazing how well oppressed peasants could rise up to innovative violence when the occasion called for it. Of course, they had to know they were winning but- A small fishbowl, complete with two goldfish, caught his eye. Nice touch. Can he talk to them? How good are goldfish at conversation, anyway-
His body tensed before his brain could figure out why.
There was a...sound. Muffled and indistinct, but he could still hear it. It was harsh, grating and ear-piercing for the most part, but interrupted by an unsteady sequence of tinny, even more ear-splitting squeaks. A raspy, fingernail-on-the-blackboard grating followed each squeak.
It sounded like some sort of torturous chant. Hecate. Her servants.
Nico drew his sword. Percy was family. One of them he actually liked, dangit. No way this was happening.
His strained ears caught the sound more clearly. Something like a chant, but with screeches instead of actual words. A sort of voice, accompanied by a rhythmic background sound. It was strangely continuous, a long sequence of faint beats in rapid succession. Reminiscent of falling raindrops...
Or a shower.
One minute later, Percy walked out of the bathroom, his hair damp.
Nico got straight to the point. "You're a horrible singer."
"You're horrible. Absolutely, definitely, like-Tartarus horrible. I was tempted to summon a few skeletons and drag you out, but I really didn't want to have to deal with the view. So I was considering jumping out of the window."
There was a pregnant pause.
"I thought some horrible ancient monster was using you as a spell ingredient!"
"Umm..." What exactly did you say to that?
"It was driving me crazy!"
"Yeah. I see."
Percy changed the topic. "So, you didn't come here to tell me that, did you?"
"No, but obviously this is more important! Swear on the Styx you'll never sing again!"
Percy went on the defensive. "Stop overreacting!"
"Did you listen to yourself? I did."
Percy opened his mouth-
"And this was in the shower! Don't dare sing on land!"
"I am on land!"
"I don't care! Just don't sing!"
"Oh come on-"
"What's going on here?" A new voice asked. Nico looked at the doorway to see a man in pyjamas and a dressing gown, blinking sleepily. Ms. Jackson had been following closely behind him, but pushed to the front when she spotted him.
"Nico? What's going on?" Sally Jackson asked. "Percy?"
"He's getting hysterical about me singing in the shower!"
"Why wouldn't I get hysterical?! I had to listen to it!"
"Calm down, dear." Sally straightened his shirt (Nico flinched slightly) and looked at the man. "Paul, would you mind getting a couple of glasses of coke? And this is Nico, Percy's cousin."
Paul shook the sleepiness out of his eyes and stared at Nico, taking in his black clothes and skull ring. He apparently reached a conclusion, then blinked furiously.
"Paul?" Sally asked pointedly.
"Right. Be right back." He walked into the living room.
"Ms. Jackson, Percy's a horrible singer." Nico said. Amazing how that voice could concentrate the mind.
"Oh come on, nobody can be that bad-"
"Yeah, that what I thought too."
"Please, boys." Sally said, smiling slightly. "Nico, I don't think-"
"He's horrible! I'm not kidding!"
By this point, Percy was looking incredibly bewildered. Who knew singing could be such a problem?
There was a slight pause.
"Percy, please sing something."
"No!" Percy yelped.
"Argh!" Nico opinioned.
"I think we have to settle this. Just one verse." Sally said. "Percy?"
Blushing deep pink, Percy quickly sang through a verse of Green Day. Sure enough; the pitch was off, the words were mumbled and the tune was mercilessly mutilated. But-
"It wasn't that bad." Nico mumbled.
"Really? You don't want to stick to your first opinion?" Sallys' lips twitched slightly. "I'm not so sure that's a good idea-"
"But I swear, it was like hearing a banshee-" Nico trailed off at the look on Percys' face. "Ye gods, I must be going crazy."
Nico let himself be lead to the kitchen. In the next two hours, the refrigerator became half-empty, Sally having theorized lack of food was making him perceptible to auditory hallucinations.
For the next few weeks, the goldfish (who, contrary to popular opinion, have memories of considerably more than three seconds) in the bowl wondered what had happened to their almost-daily free concert. So he wasn't a great singer, but being entertained by the son of the sea god was something to tell the grandchildren.
Authors' Note: I astound myself sometimes. In this case, it was by deleting everything except the first four paragraphs of the story at a point where only the conclusion was left. The following minutes were sheer agony. I managed to type it again, but I don't think the deleted portion came out as well, because I was doing a weird mix of memory and modification (HA!) which is a giant potential hazard to the flow. The end version with conclusion turned out to be shorter than the original without, which is enough to make me moan again.
I'd like to thank the muses, who came to me in the form of my brother singing (chanting) Linkin Park songs. But jokes aside, he's surprisingly good as a muse. (I just hope that joint project he inspired makes it through the first chapter.) I'd also like the gods of creative(ish) plagarism, with whose guidance I sneaked into Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to whisk off a golden egg.
Ah, anyway. Enjoy the story, and try not to roll your eyes at the title, please.