A/N This took a while to write. Maybe about an hour, mostly because I haven't read Coraline in a while and I've never seen the movie. I want to see the movie, but it's not at the top of my agenda. So basically I had to keep checking the wiki in order to make sure I had everyone in character. I'm afraid Coraline's a bit too outspoken - then again, this takes place a year after the book, so yeah. Also, I was mad that there was only one PJO crossover with this when I've done some thinking and they cross pretty well.
Also, I couldn't remember if Coraline took place in England or not. I think it did. I might be wrong.
This is a oneshot. Maybe it'll turn into a multichapter. Not until I finish my other four multis, though.
A Not-So-Simple Conversation
"Son of Hades, huh?" she asked, her hands jammed in her pockets, protecting them from the English wind.
"Yup," he replied, standing next to her on the crest of the hill. "Anything having to do with death I can master," he continued proudly. Maybe not master, something inside his head said. He figuratively shrugged and brushed the thought away. No need for her to know that.
The girl – what was her name? Caroline? – nodded. "Very funny," she said. "I thought for a minute you were only a demigod. Did Hades die and make you king?"
Nico frowned. Gods, this girl was good. Smart for her age. Twelve, was it? Normally people he told were so impressed that they completely ignored the fact that there was a bigger god out there, who could kill you and send you to Tartarus with no qualms at all. Nico was fairly certain this god – his father – didn't know where he was, or what he was saying, because otherwise he'd be in for a long talk when he got back. Again. "No," he said in reply, "he didn't. I just..." he trailed off, realizing suddenly that he didn't have an explanation to give her.
Caroline grinned. "Yeah, I thought so," she said. "And the name's Coraline, by the way," she added rather bitterly.
Nico blinked and completely retraced his line of thought. Yes, the name "Caroline" had come up a few times, but nothing major – how did she know he'd forgotten her name? Was she a mind-reader? There wasn't such a thing as a demigod mind-reader... was there? He instinctively began thinking of explanations for the comment. The names were similar? He knew another girl like her named Caroline? He'd just forgotten?
"Most people hear 'Coraline' and think, 'Isn't it supposed to be Caroline?' and then they say it that way. But it's not. My name is Coraline. And I can tell you forgot it." She chuckled merrily. "Not that it's obvious. It just takes a while for people to remember my name. You're actually a pretty decent liar, I'll give you that."
Nico found that he had no idea what to make of the girl, of Coraline. She was a strange one, after all. Whenever he told someone of the existence of gods and goddesses and of their potential divinity, they didn't believe him. Not that he told many people. Maybe one out of a million would believe him. He'd gotten those ones a couple of times, but the rest... yeah. He wasn't too lucky. Nico narrowed his eyes. Why was it that Percy and Annabeth got the believers? Was it because they were just so cool? He was cool, too – just in a bit more of a literal way.
But anyway, Coraline had believed him immediately. Actually, her frank conversation regarding mythology and stuff like that had led him to tell her about demigods in the first place. She'd nodded, said of course, she knew something like that had to be real, and wouldn't he take a walk with her? Then he could tell her all about the gods and goddesses. He'd been suspicious at first (four years of fighting monsters could do that to a guy), but he'd said that she was a twelve-year-old girl, small for her age (he was small for his age too, but still bigger than her), and unarmed – or so he could tell. And he'd defeated thousands of monsters in his time, he'd fought a war with Cronos for Zeus's sake, and he could probably take on a little girl, monstrous or no.
"I'm a good liar, huh?" he said, not really in a questioning tone, but only in the sense that said he was asking after her assessment.
Coraline cocked her head. "I've met some really good liars in my time," she said simply. "Most of them tried to kill me."
"Monsters will do that," Nico agreed.
Coraline shook her head. "No, the Beldam wasn't a monster per se; at least, not the kind you're used to," she told the son of Hades, staring off into the distance. She sounded irritatingly superior as she said it, as if she knew several things that he didn't (which was probably true; but nevertheless it was enough to make him seethe).
The wind was snapping her hair around her face, blowing from behind her, and created a rather ethereal effect, Nico thought. Her hair was black, like his own, except hers had a sort of bluish tint to it, and looked indigo in the overcast glare. The world around them looked flat (the lack of obvious sunlight could do that to a country) and the yellow of her raincoat and boots looked very dull. But it stood out against her dark clothing despite the blandness of it all. It wasn't very attractive at all, Nico thought, amused. Her hair will be a mess and it's a good thing we're not at camp. The Aphrodities would flock...
(And then, as per usual in an ADHD-diagnosed male demigod's mind, Nico's train of thought went off on a tangent that was filled with beautiful girls on the various times he'd seen them – he didn't go back to camp just to see Percy and Annabeth, after all.)
"She's more like a nightmare." Coraline's voice, however distracted it sounded, jerked Nico back to the present. He blushed and then cursed himself; he didn't want to show any kind of embarrassment or humiliation in front of this girl who acted so much like his superior.
"A nightmare?" Nico asked, kind of confused. Sure, the monsters he'd fought had been nightmares, but the way Coraline said it he wondered if she was talking in a description or... or something else, something darker.
"Yeah, a nightmare. Kind of hard to explain," she continued, staring off into the distance. She sounded like she was lost in memories now, the way Chiron would sometimes get when you talked to him about a hero he'd trained.
They were silent for a few minutes. Then Coraline said, "So what brings you to this part of the world? It can't be me, I know for certain I'm not a demigod. Blood tests and all that."
Nico tried to think of something to say; he hadn't known that blood tests could determine divine presence in mortals. Though now that he thought about it, it was pretty obvious. After all, if gods didn't have DNA and you needed DNA from both parents to make a kid, then if doctors took a blood test on a demigod they'd be pretty surprised to find half the DNA missing. A medical marvel. That was something he didn't think many people had considered, though he could be wrong. Apollos annoyed him too much for him to pay much attention to the ones into medicine.
He could always say that he'd just shadow-traveled there on accident... but then Coraline might say that if he's been shadow-travelling for as long as he has, wouldn't he know how to avoid unwanted destinations? And why would he show up at her house, specifically? And the real reason, the whole sensed-a-strange-abnormal-presence sounded way too ludicrous to actually use at the moment. Coraline had a strange soul, he'd give her that (he was the son of Hades, after all, he could sense souls). It was almost like... like Bianca's, he guessed. Maybe it was like Bianca's. Child of Hades? She had the looks for it. But that didn't make too much sense; it'd been two years since Percy had made people start claiming. Hades might want to get it over with.
Then again, he'd failed to actually claim Nico and Bianca, so maybe he was just too annoyed to. On the other hand, Persephone hated it when Hades had kids that weren't hers (please. As if Persephone would have kids) and tended to call to attention every single one he'd had in front of Nico (if he was unlucky enough to get the way). So if they were siblings, shouldn't he have heard of Coraline beforehand?
And while her soul was different from normal mortals', it wasn't divine enough to be a demigoddess's. So... what was it?
"You're taking a long time to answer," Coraline said suddenly. "I've got to be home for dinner soon."
Nico blinked. How long had it been? No more than two minutes, surely, but maybe Coraline's sense of timing was different. She was twelve, after all.
You were twelve once, and your sense of timing was almost perfect, said the little voice inside his head commonly known as a conscience. Nico just called it annoying.
"I guess I'll see you later, or not at all, depending on where you're headed," Coraline said, beginning to trot off down the hill they way they'd come. Looking back, Nico couldn't even remember why he'd told her he was a demigod. Why was it? There was a strange blank in his head of the last half-hour. That was unusual. "Good-bye, Nico di Angelo," Coraline said cheerfully, skipping away once she got down the hill.
Nico just stood there, blinking. What happened? Maybe she'd seen him shadow-travelling... yeah, that was it. Why was he heading here in the first place, though? Wrong turn? Okay, that explains everything.
Unsatisfied with his answers, but figuring it was better to just get moving and forget this entire thing, Nico headed for a certain patch of shadows and let them fade around him, heading back to New York or wherever it was he'd intended to go. Yes, forgetting about it was probably a good thing to do.
And that's precisely what he did.
A/N Anyway. Review. Reviews make me happy. Especially good ones. But only if they're honest and (gasp) written with proper grammar.