Shout out to Mission to Marzipan for being awesome, writing some of the best fics in the Percy Jackson fandom, and letting me use one of his ideas in this story. Thank you so much!
There are several concepts, characters, and real life things that I use and/or mention in this chapter that I don't own. These include but are not limited to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Paul Blofis, Sally Jackson, Nico di Angelo, Percy Jackson, and eBay.
A/N: Just a random plot bunny I couldn't get rid of.
IN THIS CHAPTER: Moderate adult language
Paul sat up slowly in the bed, trying not to wake Sally.
Dammit. He wasn't sure why, but he had been waking up every two hours that night, and at this point he was wondering if he should even try to go back to sleep.
I need to sleep.
He sighed and decided to go get a glass of water from the kitchen. Maybe that would help.
Probably not, but at least it would give him something to do.
He carefully extracted himself from Sally and padded out into the hallway toward the kitchen.
Paul stopped and heard…footsteps. He flipped the switch on the small lamp in the corner of the living room and looked around, alarmed.
He was losing. his. mind.
And then he saw a bunch of shadows shift in the opposite corner.
"Who's there?" he yelled out.
Someone cursed in a foreign language (it sounded a lot like the Spanish word for "shit" but he wasn't sure), followed by "I really need to work on that sound concealment thing."
He crossed the room quickly as the shadows swirled again and a figure stepped out.
A kid, no, teenager, clad in all black stood in the corner of the room giving him a blank look. Paul waited for him to explain, and when the kid made it clear that's he wasn't planning to he tried to think of a reason why an emo teenager would be creeping around the living room at two in the morning.
Paul took in his appearance again, praying that something would be familiar, or at least give him a reason to think that he had something to do with Percy and his whole scene with the gods, camp, etc.
Everything about the kid made it seem like he'd been through hell and back; the way he carried himself, the calculating look in his eyes (which seemed to be completely black, but it could be the crappy lighting), the fact that his face put him at sixteen while the rest of his body made him look thirteen tops… He was wearing a leather aviator jacket, black skinny jeans, and a pair of combat boots. Upon further inspection the hilt of a sword could be seen peaking out of his jacket collar.
He must have been wearing a back sheath.
"Are you wearing a back sheath with a sword in it?" Paul wasn't sure why of all the questions he could have asked that was the one he chose. 'Why the hell are you in my apartment?' seemed more appropriate in hindsight.
The kid nodded. "That way, when the monsters try to come eat me I can send them back where they belong," he said bitterly.
Oh, thank God. Or thank the gods. He's a demigod; probably knows Percy.
"So you're one of Percy's friends?"
"You could say that. I think we're actually cousins, but the gods don't have DNA, and he's really more like an older brother to me, so—"
He must have realized that he was rambling because he shook his head.
"ADHD, sorry. And yeah, Nico di Angelo, nice to meet you," he says, and Paul detects a touch of sarcasm in his voice by the end.
"Yeah…Paul Blofis, Percy's stepdad. Anyway, you said your Percy's cousin technically, right?" he asks, thinking back to the impromptu Greek mythology lessons he's gotten over the last three years. "So you could be a son of Zeus, Hestia—"
"Doesn't have kids," Nico interrupted.
"Okay, not Hestia. Zeus, Demeter, not Poseidon obviously, Hera—"
"Doesn't have kids either."
"So Hestia, Poseidon, and Hera are out, so there's Zeus, Demeter, and one more…Hades! You're a son of Zeus, Demeter, or Hades."
He nodded tersely.
He raises an eyebrow. "You can't tell?" As he says it he lifts his hands. In general he could stand to see the sun more, he's white, but now Paul notices that he's wearing a ring on each hand. On the right it's a silver skull, and on the left is something black that he swears is moving, but he again can't see it in the bad lighting.
Maybe he should turn the main light on.
Then again, if his suspicions were right, which they obviously were seeing the rings, the kid was probably more comfortable in the dark, which is why he never turned on the light himself.
"I'm going to guess son of Hades?"
"Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner," the Hades kid deadpans. "The one and only son of Hades appearing in your apartment in the middle of the night. How lucky are you," he says, sarcasm dripping.
Paul shakes his head. "Speaking of that, how did you get in here? I mean, it's fine, I'm not going to kick you out or anything, but we don't want burglars getting in the same way you did."
Nico smirks. "I doubt that will be happening anytime soon. I shadow traveled in. It's a method of transportation for Hades, his kids, and a few other people, animals, and…things. The shadows are tangible to me and I can disappear into them and appear…anywhere else with shadows. In this case from the Musée de Louvre in Paris to here."
Paul's eyes widen. "You were at the Louvre? And you decided to come here for the night?"
The son of Hades sighs. "Someone had already taken the park bench that I always sleep on while I'm in Paris, and getting a room at the hotel across the street would have required stopping at a bank first because I'm not stupid enough to carry that kind of money on my person. Paris is expensive, that's why I don't go there much. But I was there, and I wasn't spending the night there, so I tried to come here but I screwed up the shadow travel and ended up in London. Then I was too tired to shadow travel here, and it was almost morning in Europe anyway, so I crashed in a furniture store that was left unlocked by its idiot owner. I had to get out of there before they opened, and that's how I ended up here."
Paul just stared.
"Sally, Percy, and I have an…agreement, more like a pact, on rules of me showing up in the middle of the night. Or when they're not home. As long as I follow the Rules it's fine."
"Yeah, Rules. Like no shadow traveling into bedrooms or bathrooms, no food unless it's a relative emergency, no using the shower for iris messages at night, I have to go out to the fire escape to have a communications with things relating to my father's realm, skeleton servants definitely relate to my father's realm—"
"You tried to bring skeleton servants into the apartment?" Paul asked incredulously.
Nico gives another scowly sigh. "Yes. I was totally prepared to spend the night in the Underworld, but I got pretty badly injured in a monster fight and going down there injured during the Winter is just asking to get turned into a dandelion when you're the bastard child of Hades. I decided to come here instead, so I shadow traveled straight to the couch. I needed some ambrosia, and I literally couldn't walk on the massively sprained ankle that battle had resulted in. I had my shorter sword so I couldn't really use it as a crutch, so I summoned the skeleton. I had it go get Percy's ambrosia from the first aid kit in his bathroom, but Percy was in said bathroom at the time, which I wasn't aware of, and he tried to kill it, which wasn't smart of him. My skeleton warriors are pretty persistent and can regenerate themselves in most cases. He ended up needing the ambrosia too by time I realized what was going on and got the thing off of him and, uh, a window sorta got broken too. A window not even in the bathroom."
"That's how the window got broken? Sally just said 'demigod stuff' when I asked."
He nods. "Yeah. I paid for the window, and then some just for the inconvenience, but I still felt super guilty. Sally's always been nothing but a mother to me, seeing as mine's been dead since the thirties, so I try to avoid destroying her stuff…"
"Your birth mother has been dead since the thirties? I know there's some crazy shit that comes with this whole demigod thing, but I kind of want to see how the heck you're going to explain that."
Nico sucked in a breath. "I'm not. Sorry, I don't have the emotional energy for that right now. Trans-atlantic shadow travel makes me tired."
He's wasn't kidding. The poor kid looked absolutely worn out.
"That's fine, wait, you paid to get the window fixed?"
The kid scowled again, but this time he actually looked annoyed rather than it being the "As the son of Hades this is my default look" scowl.
He wondered what he had said, but before he can ask the son of Hades almost sucks the shadows out of their little corner of the room finally allowing him to be seen properly.
The light only makes him look paler.
Nico held up his left hand and motioned toward the black ring. Paul could now see that it was a band of the shadowy moving stuff with two thinner and shiny black bands above and below the shadowy one and a thinner ring on top going around the center of the shadowy part.
He realizes that the thinner ring is most definitely bone.
"See this? Thirteenth birthday present from my dad, each piece represents part of his domain. The top is Stygian Iron, metal of the Underworld. That represents the Underworld, obviously. The second main part is compressed shadow. Representing the shadows, again, obviously. The thinner part is bone for the dead. And the last part at the bottom is black diamond. People always forget that Hades is also the god of wealth."
"So you just…conjure up some cash, and boom, problem solved? That's…convenient."
"No, I wish," the son of Hades grumbles. "Unfortunately when the House of Hades creates currency without going through a government agency it causes…problems. I mean, if I really need twenty bucks to eat dinner in some foreign city it's probably not that big of a deal, but dad gives me hell, no pun intended, about it, so I try to avoid it. What I can do though is sneak into my stepmom's garden, steal a few precious gems, and sell those on eBay. I have a whole fake identity as a gem and precious metals dealer, it's actually kind of sad. What's even sadder is how much mortals will pay for an itty bitty blue diamond. Or any colored diamond actually. It's ridiculous."
"Blue diamond? The Hope—"
"Yeah, yeah, the Hope Diamond, biggest blue diamond in existence, worth more than a hundred million dollars, blah, blah. I've seen it in DC and I've touched blue diamonds twice the size in Persephone's garden. And orange diamonds about three times the size. And there was that one pink one once…"
Paul was shocked. Seeing as he had bought a wedding ring not too long ago the Hope Diamond's forty-five and a half carats was huge for any stone, never mind a blue diamond. He supposed Nico was used to bigger and better things though…
"And what do you mean problems?"
"Is a major inflation problem that led to worldwide economic depression in the late twenties and the thirties ringing any bells?"
"The Great Depression? And I guess you would know since you seemed to imply earlier that you were born then…"
Nico holds up a hand. "Not discussing that. So yeah, Hades kids caused the Great Depression by creating currency so I don't do that, but I can 'borrow' a few diamonds, or rubies, or sapphires, sell them on eBay, and boom, Nico has ten thousand dollars all to himself. One thousand goes to Sally for the window, and for being awesome, one thousand gets exchanged for drachmas for various IM worthy emergencies, three hundred turns into a Visa gift card to stay on my person, and the rest goes to my offshore bank account aka my safe in the Underworld."
Nico's not sure why he's sharing his financial secrets with a mortal. Or anything for that matter. As he quickly recounts the conversation he realizes that he's shared in general way more than he probably should of.
"IM is the thing Percy does with steaming up the small bathroom and having people's faces appear, right?"
He nods. "Yup. You get the steam for a rainbow, pray to Iris and give her a drachma, and voila, instant communication to demigods, gods, and various other creatures involved in our lives like Chiron, satyrs, monsters-in-disguise occasionally, although that's always unfortunate, dryads, naiads…"
Dear gods, he couldn't shut up. He made a note to himself not to go weeks at a time without contacting anyone he knew if it was going to cause this.
Paul nodded. "Got it. Well, I guess you know what you're doing, so make yourself at home. If you need anything just let us know."
He nods. "Will do, thanks Mr. Blofis." He felt just a little bit bad for freaking the man out.
"No problem." Paul turned and walked backed to his room, slipping under the covers next to Sally.
He never got his water.
A/N: Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know what you thought.