—dejas ar mani {dance with me}

I. Forget love – I'd rather fall in chocolate!

"Hey," Thalia Grace tells a certain Nico di Angelo, "how you been?"

"Um, fine . . . Thalia, why are you here?" A pause. Thalia does not know how to say this. How to . . . what? Confess her undying love for Nico? Tell him that she loved him so much as to leave the Hunt? No, too blunt; too . . . unsubtle. Besides, he never said he loved her.

"I'm . . . Artemis let me off for a few days, you know? To reconnect and all, seeing as it's our first year after the war." {Since when do you call your Lady by her first name? Why is there no endearment?}

"That's . . . great." Nico seems uncertain, as if he could blow up (or electrocute, rather) at any moment. Which, let's face it, he can. And he knows he can, too.

"Yeah . . . I guess." It's the awkward silence again. And then there's that gods awful sound that's like she's choking on her laughter; like a choke and laughter combined. "What's wrong with you?" Nico asks, looking at her funny.

Thalia just shrugs and puts her hand over her mouth. "Allergies."

After a long pause Nico says, "Bullshit. That's bullshit."

Thalia looks at him strangely. "What?"

"You don't have allergies. You told me that once."

Well, damn.

II. Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species.

"Hey, I wanted to talk to you, di Angelo." Nico turns to her.

"About . . . ?" he trails off, unsure.

"I got ki—um . . . I got tickets to Linkin Park," Thalia says meekly, cursing herself because this was the perfect moment. "I was wondering if you . . . wanted to come with me. Percy said no." Actually, Percy Jackson said nothing of the sort, but it's not like Nico would mention it.

"Cool. When?"

". . . er, tomorrow."

III. Hate leaves ugly scars, love leaves beautiful ones.

"Look, di Angelo, why'd you take me out to eat?" Nico shrugs, like this is the best answer that he can give. Thalia sighs.

"I wanted to talk to you."

"And you couldn't talk to me like a normal person?" she demands.

"C'mon," he whines, "where's the fun in that? But, honestly, why are you around so much? Shouldn't you be with Artemis or something?"

Thalia just walks away, leaving Nico speechless and with the bill.

IV. The art of love . . . is largely the art of persistence.

"Hey, it's Thalia. Look, I'm either not in right now I don't want to talk to you. Leave a message; I probably won't listen to it." Thalia doesn't care that having a house phone attracts monsters; she'd much rather attract them, now, so she can take her frustration out on them. Nico uses a pay phone in Tokyo.

"Look, Thalia," Nico runs a hand through his hair, "why have you been avoiding me? Honestly, I know you've been around because I just talked to Percy and he said you visited yesterday. Is something wrong? I know that . . . something happened with the Hunt. I don't know what it was, but I'm here for you, okay?" Nico sighs, and hangs up.

V. Without love, what are we worth? Eighty-nine cents! Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals walking around lonely.

"Why are you stalking me, di Angelo?"

Nico gives a brief face of shock, amusement, and surprise. "You avoided me, so I took matters into my own hands. I learned that from you."

"You learned to be stupid?"

"No, I learned to take what I want and not take 'no' for an answer. You can be pretty demanding, you know."

And that's when Thalia Grace realizes she has lost herself; lost herself within the Hunt, and within trying to tell Nico that she had left the Hunt. You can't exactly be snarky and pessimistic when serving under the moon goddess herself, but you're about as close as you can get, certainly.

The one word to describe Thalia Grace would be superior. And even that was taken away from her, like her youth or her right to love. The gains outweighed the losses – the speed; the almost-immortality; the freedom – certainly, but you cannot be superior when you have a superior yourself.



"I left the Hunt."