The Pool of Shadows

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

By: Natilie Sawada

My first PJO fanfic!!

DISCLAIMER: If I owned the characters, Nico would've been shipped with ME a long time ago. Copyright of the characters and everything go to Rick Riordan.

~~Takes place after the Last Olympian. Things have settled down, Percy and Annabeth are dating, but life for a half blood can never be that easy right? There are always monsters to fight, and Gods' arguments to occupy our young friends' time so Camp Half Blood still continues. When we catch up with Percy, school has just gotten out for the summer.~~

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Chapter I – Death Interrupts My Makeout Session

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In my dream I stood in darkness. It was cold and black and empty. I'd been here before.

The Underworld.

Now not many demigods can say they've been to the Underworld and made it back alive. I figure I'd had to have inherited some luck from my namesake, Perseus, who was one of the only heroes to have a happy ending, considering I'd gone there and made it back twice.

Some invisible force was pulling me forward, like a rope secured around my waist gently tugging me forward. I placed on foot in front of the other, feeling the invisible rope guide me through the darkness.

Step by step I felt my way through the darkness. When I'd visited Hades' kingdom before, I'd had no trouble seeing, but for some reason now, it was just black on all sides.

Then slowly as I walked forward, something emerged from the shadows.

A small lake. Around it small trees of all kinds bloomed with flowers and fruit and bright green leaves. Large patches of flowers were scattered here and there on the grassy bank; shocks of bright pink and yellow and lavender along the shore. On the glassy bright surface of the lake, swans swam gracefully through the water without making so much of a ripple. Farther back from the lake, past the small trees and brush alight with green leaves, huge towering willows and maples and oaks extended their branches, tall and strong, over the surface of the lake. All around it, they encircled it as though to defend it from the darkness pressing in on it from all sides.

How could someplace like this exist in the Underworld? This wasn't Isle of the Blest because that was the opposite of this; land surrounded by water, not water surrounded by land. And I didn't think I was Elysium because I couldn't see any of the sub divisions, smell anything barbecuing on grills, or laughter.

All I could hear was the small gurgle of a tiny stream running down off one bank into the lake, feeding it fresh clear water, and the almost inaudible rustle of the leaves on the trees.

Suddenly it felt as if the darkness on my back suddenly was stifling. I had to get to the lake, be free of the suffocating darkness, so I willed my legs to run towards the peaceful sanctuary. The tug of the invisible rope had disappeared, so I assumed this was where it had been leading me.

But as I reached the edge of the trees surrounding the little oasis in the darkness of the Underworld, the colors began fading, as if someone was tuning down the color in a computer monitor to grayscale. The leaves and flowers wilted. The swans paddled to the bank and limped up the slope of dying grass and lay down awkwardly. The color of the water turned from a clear aqua blue to a sickly dark acid green.

I reached out a hand desperately, now sprinting through the darkness towards the lake. But it was if the image of the lake and the trees were being sucked into a tunnel away from me into the darkness.

"No!" I shouted, but the tugging cord I'd felt earlier now tightened around my waist and yanked me backwards, pulling me away from the disappearing image. It was so dark! I tripped and fell, descending down, down into the darkness as the sight of the dying lake disappeared into the darkness above me…

"Percy!" My mom's call from the kitchen along with the sharp buzz of the doorbell woke me so suddenly I fell out of bed.

"Ow," I muttered, rubbing the back of my head, and then called "Yah, Mom?"

"Annabeth's here!" I jumped up from my bed, careful not to trip and fall on my face or something. Annabeth has been one of my best friends since I first learned I was a demigod…the summer I turned 13. But last year, we started dating. "Come on in, dear!" My mom yelled to Annabeth. She was probably in the middle of washing dishes. I ran past the kitchen and screeched to a halt in the front hall and saw Annabeth standing there in the doorway. She had her honey blonde hair swept away from her face in a pony tail. She wore her orange Camp Half Blood t-shirt and worn denim-shorts that showed off her long, long, long legs all the way down to her tattered Reeboks.

She looked me up and down, blushed, and then seemed to have a sudden fascination with my mother's blue drapes.

I closed my eyes and silently prayed I had pants on. I sneaked a quick look. Thank the Gods for jeans. And a shirt too. Bonus! I smoothed my hand over my hair, although that probably didn't do anything to help my hairdo. My hair always stuck up and out and sideways…pretty much anyways but down.

"Hey," I said, and flinched when my voice broke. Stupid puberty. Annabeth stifled a grin.

"Hey, yourself." She had that smug look on her face that said that she was thinking "What an idiot" to herself. I stood there awkwardly for a minute. I mean, we'd been dating since last summer but I was still really shy about it. I knew it was Annabeth, but she was just so…perfect all the time. Like she didn't even try. I was always disheveled and had no idea what I was doing.

Annabeth cleared her throat. I looked at her questioningly.

"Aren't you gonna give your girlfriend a hug hello?" She asked, holding out her arms. I bet Apollo's convertible wasn't as hot or red as my face. I strode forward and hugged her around the waist. The feeling of Annabeth's weight against me, her head rested on my shoulder, the smell of her hair…

"I missed you," I said softly, unable to resist the lift my hand to stroke her blonde hair.

"Yah," Annabeth replied and sighed contentedly. After a moment she looked up at me, and my ADHD noticed every little detail about her face: the freckles she'd gotten from being in the sun, the way her skin accented the honey color of her hair, the way her grey eyes looked like the sky above the sea, the perfect curve of her lips…

Our lips met and I wondered why I hadn't just rushed to her and kissed her the moment she walked through the door? Maybe Annabeth's right. Maybe my brain is full of seaweed. It certainly felt like it right now.

I bet you're expecting me to say "we stayed like that for minutes on end and time seemed to stop" and blah blah blah romantic gushy stuff. Of course, I'm not saying I didn't want it to…cough.

But this is my life, right?

Nothing's ever that simple.

I heard a loud sigh and someone clearing their throat. But it wasn't my mom. Or even my step dad Paul Blofis. I jumped almost two feet in the air, breaking apart from my kiss with Annabeth and wheeled around to find a shimmering Iris message floating in the middle of my living room.

The Iris message showed the slightly annoyed face of Nico DiAngelo, his arms crossed across his chest as he blew a stay piece of jet black hair away from his face.

Nico and I had been on horrible terms until the last year. Well if you mean by horrible terms, hating my guts and wanting me dead, then yah. But even though we'd become better friends, its not like we called each other everyday and got together and braided each other's hair or anything. We were pretty much on a "we're friends, but contact is mainly for business purposes only" relationship.

"Uhm…uh," was all I could mutter at first. I think my face was just going to be permanently stained red from all the blushing.

"Uhm, hi Nico," Annabeth said, and the slight tinge of pink colored her cheeks too. But it looked cute on her. I probably looked like a haggard marathon runner, what with my flyaway hair.

Nico sighed. "Well if you two are done smooching, I need some help."

"What is it?" Annabeth and I asked in unison.

"I'm at Central Park," Nico said, "And I—"

"Woah, woah, wait," I protested, holding up my hands, "You're in Manhattan? I thought you were spending time with your dad this summer." Nico sighed.

"Percy…I've spent more than enough time with my father this year." Nico paused, looking down anxiously at his feet and muttered, "No disrespect intended." He focused his eyes back on Annabeth and me. "Anyways I just got here. Train got in yesterday. But I got…um…caught up in Central Park."

"What do you mean?" Annabeth asked.

"Well, let's just say that you need to get down here or Central Park is gonna look a lot less green." I glanced over at Annabeth whose face mirrored my confused expression. "Look," Nico said sharply, running an aggravated hand through his hair, "just meet me in Central Park South in an half an hour. By the Grand Army Plaza." And with that, Nico waved his hand through the mist and the Iris message evaporated.

I looked over at Annabeth, eyes wide and confused.

"Oookay," I said. Annabeth hit my shoulder.

"Come on Seaweed Brain," she scolded, "grab your sword and whatever else you need."

"Do you have your sword and cap?" I asked her, already sprinting to my room to grab a backpack I always kept in the closet for situations like these. It was stocked with some cash, plastic baggies of ambrosia squares, a thermos of nectar, two changes of clothes, some granola bars and other things.

"Yah," Annabeth replied, leaning against the doorway to my room. Apparently she'd followed me. "I always come prepared." She held up a backpack of her own. I rolled my eyes.

"Of course you do."

Once I had all my things packed, Riptide in my pocket, and Annabeth at my side, I told my mother about Nico's Iris message. My mom dried her hands on a dishtowel nervously and sighed.

"Percy, you have to do what you think is right. Just try not to end up dead, all right? Annabeth, try to keep him out of trouble." Annabeth laughed.

"I do that on a daily basis."

"Hey!" I protested, but Annabeth grabbed my arm and hauled me away from the kitchen.

"C'mon Seaweed Brain," she scolded as she dragged me towards the door. "We've got a date with the prince of darkness."

~End of Chapter I~

Reviews and ideas. I have the basic plot mapped out in my head, but I need detail suggestions. Also, how did you like it so far?

That would be wonderful! I'll try to update soon!