He had just gotten up from standing on his knees at the lake, splashing some cold lake water in his face so his eyes would wake up, when he noticed his reflection wasn't the only one staring back at him.
He got to his feet quicker than he would have if he was alone, and stared into the green eyes of the son of the sea god. "Fancy meeting you here. I guess."
"What's up Nico?" Percy gazed over the lake and then met Nico's eyes. "It's not the first place I would except to see you in. How's Hades nowadays?"
"Oh you know." Nico shrugged. "The usual." He decided it was not a conversation he wanted to have right now.
Percy sat down in the cold grass, letting his feet touch the water in the lake. He could, Nico thought to himself. If it was himself doing that he would be cold and sick within minutes. But of course the sea god's son could do anything including water without getting sick. What a prat.
"What do you mean? Everything?"
"It's just so boring now. Not that I complain, it's good not having monsters chase after you every single minute of the day…" Percy grinned. "… But I still miss it. Sometimes. You know. At least, life was never boring back then."
"Life is boring now?" Nico took a look down the lake, noticing how dark it was getting. "I don't know. Life never gets boring to me."
"It's because you live with the dead." Percy gave him one of those looks. "Try living with new campers."
Nico grinned back.
"You're such a jerk Percy."
"Am too. I thought you would've grown out of it by now. Or that Clarisse would've beaten it out of you. I guess I was wrong."
Percy shook his dark hair out of his eyes and stood up again. He smiled gently.
"Oh you should take that back, or else."
"Or else what? You gonna fight me?"
"Well…" Percy grinned. "It's been a while since I had a decent fight."
"Oh. But a fight between you and me wouldn't be that decent." Nico tried to cover up a huge grin. "You know I would kick your ass."
"Dream on. While you've been playing with the dead I've been training with demigods. You're going down."
"I thought you said they were a pain."
"Oh they are. But still good for your sword arm, you know."
Nico looked into Percy's eyes. He looked dead serious about having a fight but he could still see a playful spark in all that green. Nico didn't know what to make of that.
"Well I'm not gonna fight you here. All this water? No way. You would so cheat."
"Nico!" Percy tried to look shocked. "You know I would never cheat. I'm better than that."
"Oh sure." Nico shook his head. "Don't you remember that time when…"
Before he could finish the sentence Percy had attacked, striking so hard Nico fell to the ground, mostly because of shock of the sudden movement.
"Don't talk about stuff like that, it's all old." Percy grinned. "Now, you gonna get to your feet or just lay there all day?"
As quickly as he could, Nico got up, feeling his pride sort of hurt in one way. He gave Percy a dark look, and then reached for his sword.
"You'll spend a lifetime regretting that."
"I highly doubt it. Now come on, dead boy."
He attacked. Nico was surprised how easy the fight came to him, all his reflexes was still on top, even though it had been a long time since he last fought someone, at least someone as well trained as Percy. He was careful not to let Percy have access to the water. The fight was playful but he could feel with every strike, it got more intense.
"I can see the Underworld does give you some training." Percy grinned and took some deep breaths. "You're not half bad, actually."
"You're just mad because I'm gonna kick your ass. Starting… now." Before Percy could react Nico jumped and they both fell to the ground, the swords were tossed aside and they were wrestling in the cold grass. Nico couldn't tell who was winning. He wanted to believe he was, but as the thought crossed his mind Percy had gotten hold of his arms and Nico found himself on his back again, Percy holding him down with unbelievable strength.
"Hey now you're cheating again!"
"I'm not! Why would I have to cheat when I can beat you in a second?"
Nico muttered something.
"Whatever. Can you let go of me now?"
Percy looked stunned as if he for a moment didn't realize he was still holding him down, and then he let go of the grip he had around Nico's wrists.
Nico sat up, slowly. He watched Percy carefully, as if he just waited for a reason to attack him once again. Percy just sat there though, staring.
"Is something wrong?" Nico didn't know what to do, since Percy seemed to have wandered into a world of his mind that was not a part of the one he was currently involved in. Nico got the sudden urge to touch his cheek, just to get some sort of reaction but he figured it was the wrong time and place.
And why would he want to do that in the first place?
Nico got up, while Percy was still sitting there like a piece of wood, or something else that wouldn't move that much. Nico coughed.
"Well I should leave. Things to do, places to go, you know the drill right?"
He knew he sounded pathetic. He just didn't know how to handle this situation. Suddenly Percy looked up at him. He looked dazzled.
"Oh you're right. Of course. I should get going too obviously, since I'm late and… Well I'm late. Catch you later Nico."
And he was gone. All Nico could do was stand there, looking after the boy he thought he knew but somehow had just turned his whole world upside down.