A/N: I know, I shouldn't be starting another story when I still have another one in progress. But this is in idea that I haven't been out of my head for a while, and I decided to finally start it. This'll be a three part series, and, obviously, this is the first part. Note/warning: this is very angsty. Disclaimer: I don't own the Heroes of Olympus books, and certainly don't own the characters.
For months, people don't stop asking Nico about Percy and Annabeth. In fact, they seem ask more and more as the days went on. Everyone is worried. Everyone is scared. Their time—and Percy and Annabeth's time is running out. And it seemed that every time he looked at someone, the question, are percy and annabeth still ok? was in their eyes.
Nico doesn't admit it to anyone. But he wishes that everyone would stop asking him if Percy and Annabeth were ok. No, not wishes. Wants. Needs. He feels tired and sick from being asked all the time, reminded all the time of his failures.
It isn't that he isn't worried about them. In fact, he's probably much more worried than everyone else. He's known Percy and Annabeth far longer than Frank, Hazel, Piper, Jason or Leo had. Percy had been the first person to actually break through his barriers after Bianca died. He's never said it aloud, but he considers Percy and Annabeth family.
But he can't stand to being reminded all the time. Can't stand to see the desperation in their eyes, because he knows his desperation and fear was ten times as worse. Can't stand it because he knows he's supposed to be strong. He's supposed to reassure everyone it would be alright. That Tartarus was survival-able. Everyone needs him to do that, as the only person who would know better. But he's never weaker than he does now.
He has night mares still. He hears the voices of Otus and Ephialtes in his sleep, and sometimes during the day. He dreams every night of the jar they'd kept him in. He sees the scratches he'd made on the glass under his eye lids. He feels the air tighten in his throat as he tries to fall asleep at night.
Sometimes he thinks day time is just as worse. At least at night he knows what to expect—the same cold laughter of Gaea, the jokes of the giant twins, the jar, the fights he had with monsters lived over and over again. But in the day time, the voice of Gaea comes to him when he's least expecting it. She taunts him, she mentions Percy and Annabeth and then refuses to say anymore, laughs. But what's worse is when she sings. He sees the deaths of hundreds heroes who died at the hands of her children. And the screams of those heroes in his ears.
He knows that the reason why Gaea is tormenting him so much is because of Tartarus. She has a special connection to there, the place where her champions are imprisoned. And because he's been there now too and escaped, he has a connection to her too. She hates him more, for getting away.
One of the worst parts of it is the fact he's supposed to be good at this. He's a son of Hades. Death and the underworld are supposed to be his element. He's not good at anything else, but at least he should be good at this. At least he should have been able to save Percy and Annabeth. Sometimes he even starts to doubt that he can even really tell that Annabeth and Percy are still alive.
Nico can't stop his thoughts. He can't stop thinking about the claws of monsters that barely missed his skin, and the feeling that his chest was about burst from lack of air. He can't stop hearing the voice of Gaea in his mind. Those thoughts are under his skin and inside his mind and he can't get them out, no not now and probably not ever.
Nico's heard people say that Hades has gone a bit crazy, living down there with all the dead. Heard them say that living with so much loss and fear messes with a person's mind and ruins their brain forever.
And he knows now that they're right. Because Nico may have escaped Tartarus, but he can't escape his own mind, and he can't stop himself from falling apart now, either.
A/N: That's the first part. Thanks for reading and please review!