I will try to carry on with my longer story soon, but I have become distracted this weekend and felt inspired to write this.
I'm really fascinated by Percy and Nico's powers, and I thought it might be neat to explore some of the ramifications of their status as they grow up. This was partially inspired by Kioko's amazing story "Lost and Found" which mentions Nico's need for sunglasses. I do not meanto infringe by taking up this idea- hope that is okay.
To set the scene: Nico is about 27 here, Rachel is around 30, and Annabeth and Percy are around 31.
Percy/Annabeth with a dash of my new favourite ship- Nico/Rachel
Nico di Angelo slammed his seventh bottle of beer down on the table with an angry glare. They had been at the pub for nearly four hours now and, several drinks and eighty dollars later, he still didn't feel even mildly intoxicated.
Like most people their mid-twenties, the young man had been hoping for a bit of alcohol-induced fun on his night but, despite his best efforts, that seemed impossible.
The only small consolation was that Percy appeared to be in the exact same predicament. It was oddly comforting to know that he wasn't the only complete freak in the room.
"Tell me about it." Percy said, leaning back against the old wooden chair he was occupying. "It seems like the older I get, the less I feel it."
Nico nodded grimly in agreement as his dark eyes surveyed the pub- it was busy now, much too crowded for his liking, and the band in the corner was wailing out some horrible emo songs (which, despite popular belief, he did not enjoy). He could see, however, that Rachel and Annabeth were still were enjoying themselves over by the bar and he decided that he could stick it out until they were ready to go. He would have hated to ruin their fun.
And besides, talking to Percy was always good- even if the room was a bit on the noisy side.
Nico sighed. "You know, when I found out I was a demigod, I never thought extremely high alcohol tolerance would be one of my powers."
"Nor did I." Percy began, taking a quick glace over at Annabeth- whose uncharacteristic giggling indicated that she did not share Percy and Nico's problem. "I guess it must be a "child of the big three" thing." He smirked. "Maybe, if we ask real nicely, Mr.D will conjure us some of that super strong wine the gods like to drink. We're bound to feel that."
The younger man sorted. "There is no way in Hades I'm asking him. I don't want to spend the rest of my life as a grape vine, thank you very much. That time Persephone turned me into a sunflower for three days was bad enough."
"Agreed." Percy replied with a nod. "Well then, cheers to a lifetime of sobriety."
They raised their beer glasses before taking another swig. Both knew that it wouldn't have any impact, but at least they could still enjoy the taste. Plus it was nice to pretend to be normal- even if they were anything but.
The son of Hades shifted in his seat and tapped his fingers on the worn wooden table. For a moment, they sat in comfortable silence, watching as groups of intoxicated mortals passed by- Nico couldn't deny it...sometimes, he envied them.
Sure, being a Demigod had certain advantages- and all of the powers that came with being a son of one of the big three were pretty cool. But the older he got, the more he realized the toll this would take, and he could no longer deny how fundamentally different he was from those around him. The alcohol tolerance was just the tip of the iceberg, and it had become harder and harder to live like a normal human during the last few years.
He knew that there was nothing he could do to change- this was who he was, and he had to accept it- but sometimes he wished that someone had at least warned him.
But, Nico supposed, the fact that so few offspring of the big three made it to adulthood probably meant that no one really knew what to expect.
At least he had Percy.
"Things have been getting worse lately."
Percy gave him a sympathetic smile, knowing exactly what his cousin was referring to.
"How so?" He asked.
The younger man ran his hand through is dark hair. "Well, it's not just my eyes that hurt when I go outside during the day anymore." He began, recalling his recent attempt to go outside on a particularly sunny afternoon. "I've been noticing that my skin sort of stings too- and it gets kind of...exhausting when I try to stay out too long."
Three years ago, around the time when he had turned twenty-four, Nico had begun to notice that he seemed to have an increased sensitivity to daylight. He had done his best to ignore it at first, figuring it had had something to do with spending too much time in the underworld, but it had eventually become impossible for him to go outside in the sun without a very strong pair of sunglasses.
Percy nodded, looking concerned but not surprised. "Ah, man, that really sucks."
"I just wish I knew how bad it was going to get." Nico continued. "I mean, am I going to have to stay inside with the curtains drawn all day? Or walk around in the sun with long sleeves and an umbrella- like some sort of freaky Michael Jackson clone?" He paused, remembering his earlier conversation with a certain desirable redhead. "Rachel says I'm turning into a vampire, though she didn't seem to think that such was a bad thing for some reason. Urgh."
His cousin chuckled. "Well, hopefully it won't come to that." He began optimistically. "I noticed that with me, the complications stopped getting worse once I made it to twenty-eight. And even if being in the light feels weird, I'm sure you'll still be able to manage. Just wear sunscreen and don't take any outdoor jobs."
Nico felt slightly better. Percy's response to his concerns had been much better than his father's ("Ah, excellent! You're more and more like me every day").
"So, nothing new has been happening to you then?"
Percy shook his head. "The sea mist travelling was the last thing- and that was nearly three years ago. Plus that was a useful development." He paused. "I still need to spend at least an hour in the ocean every day but, as long as I do that, I can live pretty normally."
"Glad to hear it." Nico replied.
Percy, being the oldest, had been the first to realize that being a child of the big three had certain consequences, and Nico could remember his cousin being pretty freaked out when he realized that he literally couldn't live without the ocean anymore. As he grew into his mid-twenties, Percy had been overcome with fatigue, and had said that his body simply felt too dry to function. Annabeth, always the logical one, had started reading up on the old legends and come to the conclusion that, as he developed and came into his full powers, his need for his godly realm had grown too.
Stories about children of the big three usually stopped in early adulthood- usually because the demigod had died but (if that was not the case) because they had completed their mythological tasks. Very few recorded what happened next, and neither Percy nor Nico had prepared themselves for this.
Luckily for Thalia, being stuck as a hunter in her fifteen year old body had spared her from the boys' fate- but once Nico saw Percy struggle to deal with the consequences of his divine nature, he had feared the worst for himself.
So far, things had been tolerable- aside from the sensitivity to daylight, he had discovered that his body temperature had dropped significantly, he now killed plant life on contact (so much for salad) and freaked out any animal within two yards of him- but he had been able to deal. This new development was a bit disconcerting, however, and Nico knew he wouldn't be able to relax until he reached his thirties.
And there was one other thing that had been nagging at him...though he had hoped that it was just part of his imagination...
His cousin nodded, indicating that he was listening.
"This might sound odd- but do you ever feel like the sea is...sort of...calling you? Like you're always aware when you're not there, and only really content when you are?"
Unfortunately, Percy's answer was not so reassuring this time.
Nico sighed and have a disheartened nod. He definitely hadn't been imagining things. "I figured."
Percy frowned. "You too?"
"Yeah." Nico confirmed, taking another useless swig of his beer. "That feeling has been getting worse too. Though I wish it was the ocean in my case as well. Sadly, it isn't."
After another pause, he felt Percy give him a comforting pat on the shoulder. "Ah, come on- don't get too down. You'll get used to it."
"I suppose." The younger man muttered, looking down at his deathly pale hands before taking another glance around the room, hoping to distract himself from his yearning for the underworld.
He smiled briefly as a cute brunette caught his eye and gave him a small wave. If he hadn't been feeling like such a freak of nature, he probably wouldn't have gone over there to say hi- but he simply wasn't in that state of mind tonight.
And besides, she wasn't...
"That girl is definitely checking you out, man." Apparently Percy had noticed too, and he attempted to nudge his cousin in her direction.
Nico, however, was not ready to give in.
"Nah, not tonight." He muttered. "Beside, the last girl I took home couldn't get over how cold my skin was- and kept going on about some guy named Edward. It was all very weird." He paused, trying to push the incident to the back of his mind. "You're lucky to have Annabeth, you know." He mused, tuning back towards Percy. "She knows all your secrets- she understands what it's like. The girls out there...well, let's just say I don't imagine they'll stick around when I tell them I'm the son of death himself. It's not exactly a turn-on."
Percy laughed. "Ah, come on." He replied. "You've been with plenty of girls who are into the tall, dark and broody thing you have going on. And who knows, maybe you'll end up with someone who already knows all of your secrets too."
Nico could have sworn that his cousin's eyes had darted towards the bar- towards Rachel- but he did his best to ignore it. That was impossible anyway, and he had worked very hard over the years to repress his stupid teenage crush.
"Now come on," Percy continued with his usual dash of optimism. "How about I order you another completely useless beer? On me."
The son of Hades smiled- leave it to Percy to pick him just when he needed it.
Maybe, being a powerful demigod wasn't all bad- even with all of the unexpected complications it involved.
At least it meant that he had friends like these.
"Ah, come on, he is going to notice you starring at him." Annabeth giggled. She had had a few drinks too many and, unlike her fiancée, she wasn't immune to the effects. "You think he's H.O.T." She hiccupped. "Hot."
Thankfully, her companion was just as drunk, and the two young women had been having a very uncharacteristic girly gab fest at the bar for nearly twenty-minutes.
"I can't lie." Rachel replied with a quiet laugh. "I've got a weakness for the tall, dark and broody ones. Especially if they happen to be Italian." She glanced back towards Nico with a far-away look in her intoxicated eyes. "Mmmm."
Annabeth hiccupped again. "Nico's not bad on the eyes. Not bad at all." She grinned mischievously. "But personally, I prefer the clean-cut surfer type."
"I hadn't noticed." Rachel replied, playfully rolling her eyes. "I could see you mentally undressing your Seaweed Brain a few minutes ago. Save it for the bedroom, will ya?"
The blonde giggled again. "Oh, I'll do it for real there. Soon enough."
Rachel pretended to gag, only to receive a light punch on the arm from her friend.
Soon after, however, Annabeth's expression turned serious and she leaned towards Rachel's ear. "Want to know something?" She asked quietly, as if she didn't want anyone in the noisy bar to overhear.
Rachel's curiosity was peaked. "Sure."
"There are lots of good things about dating a demigod."
The redhead laughed. "Alright, if you say so."
Annabeth nodded vigorously, still leaning forward as if she was letting Rachel in on the biggest and best secret in the universe.
She began to elaborate.
"For starters, the guys always have awesome bodies under those clothes. And not just because they train. Percy hardly works out anymore, but he still had a killer six pack. Not too bulky, but just right." She paused for a moment, as if recalling her last pleasurable glance of what she was describing. Rachel could tell she was tempted to tear her fiancés shirt of right then and there- thankfully, she managed to regain her self-control.
"And..." Annabeth continued with a sly grin. "They can go for hours- if you know what I mean."
Rachel, of course, didn't know from experience, but she had read enough raunchy novels to understand.
"No human can top that sort of godly libido." The blonde asserted.
A pleasurable shiver ran down Rachel's spine as her thoughts drifted back to the man she had been ogling minutes before. To picture him...like that, doing that. It was almost unbearable.
Gods, it made her wish she had never become the damn Oracle.
"And do you want to know the best bit?"
Rachel knew she should have said no- there was no point, if she could never act on her desires-but the temptation, and alcohol, was simply too much.
She nodded, and Annabeth's grin widened.
"It may not be true for all demigods...but..." She giggled again, a slight blush creeping across her cheeks. "Well, let's just say that they're not called the sons of the big three for nothing..."
Unbeknownst to the girls, their companions had approached the bar just in time to hear Annabeth's last statement.
Nico looked mortified, but Percy simply grinned.
"Yeah," he said as he swooped in to give his fiancée a dramatic kiss, "...being a son of one of the big three definitely has some sizable advantages."
And if the look Rachel was giving his cousin at the moment was any indication, he was willing to bet that Nico would soon come to the same conclusion.
A/N There you go! Stupid plot bunnies are killing me this weekend. I hope you liked it, and I hope you will leave a review.
I'd happy to write more slightly cheesy one-shots if I know I'm not the only one enjoying it!
Also- yes, I know Rachel can't really act on her desires- but I threw the last line in anway. Let's attribute it to Percy's optimism.