I'm not really sure what to put in this author note. Yes, the story was taken down, and yes I'm going to put it back up. As you can see. I am surprised that a lot of you noticed it so fast. And before anyone asks, I'm not really upset. Sure I lost the number one spot in the fandom and a year's worth of reviews, but they are all just words, right? It's also giving me time to work on my two Halloween fics while I get the chapters back up. I'm sure I won't have 700+ reviews by the time we get back to chapter 30, but what are you going to do? If I was doing it to get all that, I would be doing it for the wrong reasons. You guys enjoy the story, and that's what it's all about.
I will take this time to announce that I now have my own blog, which the link can be found for on my page. Now, what I'm trying to decide on is how I want to fully use it. I could post a few chapters here, and then just move completely there, or I could just use both. As expected, if you want the unedited stuff, you'll want to go to my blog. And one more thing, I have a request or two for my most dedicated readers.
Warning: Language. Dark content. Innocence lost. Brief nudity(can't get reported for that, suck it).
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters.
Three months. That was how long Nico had been out on the streets after his family kicked him out. His father hadn't about to tolerate a "queer" living under his roof. The man had never been loving, anyways. The bruises that had faded were proof of that. His stomach growled for what seemed like the hundredth time in the past hour. Nico hadn't eaten anything in almost a week. His body was shaking from his lack of sleep, just wanting to collapse wherever he might lie. Most nights he sat in dark alleyways, crying and flinching anytime a noise was heard nearby.
He would have rather been miserable lying to his family than being out here alone. Other homeless people were not friendly. He couldn't go to them, asking for food or shelter. He stayed away from them at all costs, to prevent being rolled for the clothes on his back.
The streets of L.A. were now his home. How was he supposed to survive in such a place? Gangs, rapists, drug dealers, the possibilities of getting killed were endless. Did his parents care so little for him that they had no problem tossing him out into this place? Nico felt the tears building up in his eyes again. Why was he fighting the inevitable? If he just curled up and died this would all be over. He could probably find some broken glass in a dumpster.
Nico bumped into someone roughly. In his weakened state it caused him to fall to the ground, landing in a pile of trash bags. The man that had bumped into him grumbled at Nico, brushed his shirt off, and kept walking. The tears started to fall from Nico's face as he lay in the pile of trash. Why was this happening to him? What had he ever done to deserve this? He was a good kid. He had made good grades in school. He had stopped going after being kicked out. What would be the point in going? Nico was never one to get in trouble. His sister, Bianca, often teased him about how innocent he was. He hadn't even had sex yet, and he was nearing seventeen. So, why had fate deemed it necessary for him to suffer like this?
Sniffling, Nico pulled himself out of the pile of garbage. He stumbled, nearly falling into a streetlight. He looked around at his surroundings. He appeared to be in the high-class part of the city. Maybe he could get lucky and find some leftovers behind a restaurant. Rich people wasted food, right? Nico could only hope they did.
Trying to will his tears away, Nico continued down the sidewalk. He wasn't really familiar with this part of the city, so he wasn't sure where he could go looking for food. He doubted he could find a generous restaurant employee or manager willing to give him a free meal. Not in this city. As Nico was making his way across a street, a taxi sharply turned the corner, Nico dove out of the way, but was splashed by some water as the car drove by. He shook his head, trying to shake the murky water out of his hair. It wasn't like it was going to worsen his appearance. He was already covered in dirt. He hadn't bathed in days. The only chance he got was finding some random source of water and simply drenching himself. He missed his warm shower. He sighed and continued on his way down the busy streets.
As he reached the heart of the rich district, he took notice of a tall hotel building. He estimated it to be around seventy or eighty floors. He wandered closer to the bright building, looking in one of the windows. The room he was looking at was a restaurant, a very nice one. It could be no less than five stars. The people were eating lobster and steak as they carried on in their conversations. It made Nico's mouth water. He forced himself to look away, knowing he couldn't have it. He glanced up at the hotel sign. The Lotus Hotel.
His legs screamed in pain as he tried to walk again. His body was so tired. Just curl up and die, he thought again. It would be easier, and his parents wouldn't miss him. Nobody would. He collapsed against the wall of the hotel, slowly sliding down it until he sat on the ground. He pulled his knees up to his chest and began to cry again. He buried his head into his knees so people wouldn't see him cry. He heard a door swing open, but didn't look up. He looked underneath his arms at the person that walked out, only seeing up to the stranger's knees.
"No, everything is going fine." It was a guy. "Yes, he dropped the package off a few hours ago. I'll ship it over to you if you want." The guy sighed. "No, it wasn't like that." Another pause. "No. He tried grabbing her ass while she was on stage. There was no negotiation with me." He paused again. "Yeah, I...informed him as to the instability of his company's stocks ."
Nico scolded himself for picking this spot to collapse. He didn't want someone to see him like this. People passing by were different, this was someone up close. Something about the boy's voice pulled Nico in, though. He wanted to look up and see who was talking, but didn't want to chance him making eye contact. He would rather the stranger just ignore him and go back inside.
Nico figured he should get up. Try to get away unnoticed. When he moved to stand his head began to spin and he collapsed on to the pavement. His cheek was now throbbing, but he didn't care. He just wanted to lay there. His eyes became heavy and he let them fall shut.
Nico let out a groan as he blinked and found the figure leaning over him. He felt a warm hand brush his bangs out of his face. "Are you ok?" he heard the voice from a moment ago ask.
The door opened again and Nico could make out a smaller figure come out and approach the previous stranger. "Percy, Luke was asking for you. What are you doing out here?"
"Talking to the boss." Nico felt arms reach under him. "Can you get the door for me, Leo?"
The smaller figure stood back up and moved over the door. Strong arms wrapped around Nico and pulled him up to the stranger's, who's name must be Percy, chest. "Sure, boss, but what are you doing with him?"
Nico groaned again, blinking up at this Percy. His face was lifted, so Nico couldn't really make out many features, other than dark hair. "Taking care of him. He looks like he needs food and a place to sleep."
"No buts. You act like this is something uncommon around here."
Nico made out the figure of Leo. He was around the same height as Nico. He was of some Hispanic origin. His eyes were peering up at Percy. Percy made his way into the hotel and Nico had to screw his eyes shut from the bright lights above him. Nico heard an elevator ding open and figured they had stepped inside of it. He unconsciously shifted closer to the warm chest that he was being pressed against. Nico blinked his eyes open for a moment. They were in an elevator. Leo looked over at him, giving him a friendly smile. "He's conscious." Nico looked up at his rescuer. Percy glanced down at him. Nico's eyes began to shut again. The last things he saw were warm green eyes staring down at him.
Nico blinked a few times, allowing his eyes to adjust to the bright room. He was in some kind of fancy suite. His nose immediately caught scent of something cooking. He glanced down at the sofa he was laying on. Everything in this place was nicer than anything his family had back home. He heard a plate clatter against a surface. Out of curiosity, Nico pulled himself off the couch and shuffled through the doorway, lurching towards the smell of food. He found himself in the kitchen. A few loafs of bread sat on a small plate. There was a pot of what was probably soup on the stove. Standing in front of an opened fridge was the tall boy that pulled him off the streets.
He had his back turned and was digging inside of the fridge for something. He finally pulled back, a bottle of water in his hand. He turned back around and immediately noticed Nico in the doorway. "You're awake," the boy said, sitting the bottle on the counter next to the bread. He watched Nico curiously as the small boy stood there, staring at the stack of bread. "It's for you." Nico's eyes snapped up to the tall boy in front of him.
"Wh-What?" Nico choked out, his voice irritated from the lack of use.
The black haired boy turned around and pulled the pot off the stove, pouring its contents into a bowl. He grabbed the bowl and sat it beside the bread and water. "Eat." He gestured at the food in front of him. Nico was going to say no, but his stomach protested. The boy gave him a sympathetic smile and gestured at the food again. Nico silently shuffled on to a stool and pulled the food over to him. He picked up a piece of bread first, slipping it into his mouth. He moaned as it slid down his throat. The other boy silently watched him with interest as Nico ate. "So, what's your name?"
Nico glanced up at him as he swallowed a spoonful of soup. "Nico." He took a swig of water, pulling his eyes away from the other's stare. Percy's gaze was piercing, and and the way his eyes watched him made Nico feel uncomfortable. "Th-Thank you for all of this."
The boy waved it off. "Don't mention it. It isn't an uncommon occurrence around here." Nico went back to chewing on some bread. "I'm Percy by the way."
"T-Thank you, Percy. I guess I'll be on my way after I finish eating."
Percy looked at him curiously. "Why?"
What did he mean why? "Because, I-I don't want to be a burden."
Percy smiled at him, chin supported on his palm. "You are welcome to stay. I don't really feel right tossing you back on the street." His gaze traveled up and down Nico. "How would you like a job? You'll get a free place to live."
Nico nearly choked on his food. This guy he just met was going to offer him a place to live and a job? "I-But you just met me."
Percy shrugged. "Like I said, it isn't an uncommon occurrence around here. Most of the people that work here came from where you were. Now, how old are you, Nico?"
Percy nodded. He mumbled something under his breath. "Well, I suppose I can put you in the bar. How do you feel about being a busboy?"
Nico's eyes widened. He nodded his head eagerly. "Yes! That's fine. I'll do whatever you want!"
A sly smile spread over Percy's lips and Nico noticed him bite down on his bottom lip for a brief second. "I'm sure," Percy said with a wink. "Now, finish eating and we'll get you cleaned up. You can stay here tonight, and I'll find you a place to stay in the morning."
Nico nodded. He went back to working on his soup as Percy stepped out of the room. He heard Percy move around in another room. When he was done he went in search of the taller male. He found Percy setting some clothes on the sink in a very large bathroom. The centerpiece of the room was a large square Jacuzzi styled bathtub with two shower heads and a variety of dials coming out of the walls that stood over the tub. Percy looked over his shoulder at Nico and motioned for the boy to come in. Nico rubbed his arm as he walked forward, clearly uncomfortable. He hadn't really had any social interaction since he had gotten kicked out, and it felt odd to him now.
He came into the bathroom and stood in front of Percy. He now noticed how tall the boy was. He had to be around six foot three. Nico barely came up to the boy's shoulders. He smiled down at Nico before lifting the boy's shirt over his head. Nico turned red as his shirt was tossed to the floor. He squeaked as he felt Percy's hands on the button of his pants. He tried to pull the hand off, but Percy swatted Nico's hand away. "Relax. I'm not going to rape you. Your body is still exhausted, though. You probably aren't going to be comfortable with it, but I'm going to stay in here to make sure you get cleaned up. I don't want you passing out while you are in the tub." Nico gulped as he stared up into Percy's eyes.
Percy finally got his pants off, pulling each of Nico's legs up and tossing the jeans next to Nico's shirt. When he moved for Nico's boxers Nico instinctively clutched them. Percy let out a chuckle. "I-I can do this myself."
Percy moved his hands back, holding them up defensively. "Fine, but I'm still going to watch and make sure you get yourself cleaned up."
Nico nodded his consent. Percy stepped around Nico and stood in the doorway. Self-consciously, Nico slid his boxers off, feeling Percy's gaze on him. When he moved to turn on the water Percy stopped him. He adjusted the water to what he felt was appropriate and stepped back once again. Nico slowly lowered one leg into the water, flinching a little at the warmth.
As he slid the rest of his body in, he let out a long sigh. He could already see the dirt coming off of him and dirtying the water. A rag was lowered in front of his face. "Thanks," Nico mumbled as he took the rag from Percy. There was a long silence as Nico went about cleaning his body. "Why are you doing this? You don't even know me."
Percy had an unreadable look on his face as he stared into Nico's eyes. "I don't have to know you to know what you have gone through." The two went back to silence after that. When Nico set his rag down, Percy stepped forward to drain the tub. Nico's eyes widened as the boy slid his shirt off.
"Wh-Wha-What are you doing?"
Percy reached down and pulled Nico up into a standing position. He reached out and turned on the shower head. Nico flinched as the water hit his skin. He hated being this exposed in front of someone he had just met, but Percy was at least being nice enough to keep his eyes averted from his lower body. "You need to wash your hair and finish getting off any dirt off your body." Percy handed Nico some shampoo.
The entire time Nico washed his hair, Percy kept a calloused hand resting on his back. After he was done, Percy leaned Nico's head forward to wash the shampoo out himself. After that he shut off the water and stepped out, handing Nico a large towel. Nico sighed into it as he pressed it against his face. He heard Percy chuckle. He raised the towel to his hair and quickly dried it the best he could. After that he quickly wrapped the towel around his waist, finally glad to be covered once again. "Thanks again," Nico said politely.
Percy gave him a lopsided smile. "I laid you some clothes here. You can borrow some more of mine in the morning. I'll have Leo go get you some stuff to hold you over for a few days until you can support yourself here."
"Thanks," Nico replied, brushing his black hair out of his face. Percy nodded, turned around, and walked out of the bathroom. Nico sighed in relief. Percy made him uncomfortable. He was a stranger sure, but his eyes were just so seductive. Nico didn't even think Percy was trying, he just radiated sex appeal. He was definitely the most attractive guy that Nico had ever laid eyes on.
Nico picked up the clothes that Percy had laid out on the sink. A dark blue shirt, a pair of blue boxers, and some black track shorts. Nico removed the towel from around his waist. He grabbed the pair of boxers and had just slipped them on when Percy returned. He smiled at Nico before reaching down and picking up Nico's clothes. "I'll wash these for you. If you want to keep them," Percy said, looking at Nico.
Nico shrugged. "I guess. So, I don't have to burden you for clothes."
Percy looked back down at the clothes. "Well, they are pretty torn. I think I'd prefer you wearing mine. I'll just toss them." Nico nodded and Percy left again, clothes in hand. Nico slipped the rest of the clothes on and went to find Percy again. He felt like a lost puppy.
He nearly bumped in to Percy as he made his way down the hall and back into the kitchen. Percy smiled down at him, causing him to blush. Damn him and his sex appeal. Percy held the water out to him. Nico took it and mumbled his thanks. Percy grinned wider at Nico's shyness.
Percy moved into the living room as Nico followed closely behind. He sat down on the couch, patting it for Nico to sit. As Nico sat down beside him, Percy flipped his TV on. It was bigger than all the TVs in Nico's parents house combined. It had to be at least fifty inches. Percy silently flipped through the channels trying to find something to watch. "You'll have to work on your shyness," he said while keeping his eyes on the TV. "You'll be dealing with a lot of people up in the bar."
"Ok," Nico mumbled. "What do you do around here?"
Percy hummed to himself. "I...sort of run things around here. I manage everything at this hotel, as well as some of the other branches."
"How many are there?"
Percy laughed. "Well, they are all over the world, but I am in charge of the ones here in North America." Nico gaped at him. The person in charge of this place had taken him in? "I found a lot of the workers here like I found you."
"You just take them in off the street? What if they robbed you?"
Percy eyed him funny, trying to hide a smile. "Are you going to rob me?" Nico shook his head, and Percy burst out laughing. "I was kidding. No, I don't worry about that. My boss, she kind of has a way with people to make sure they know to behave. She's cool, though. You'll love her. She is the one who started the hotel chain. She is the only person I have to answer to, which is cool. She visits, from time to time, but her main facility is in Germany." Nico nodded, trying to fight a yawn. Percy smiled and patted his leg. "I'll let you get some sleep," he said, turning off the TV.
He walked out of the room and came back soon after with a blanket and a pillow. He handed them to Nico and went into the kitchen to turn off the light. "Thanks again, Percy. This means a lot."
Percy gave him a sad smile. "Don't thank me just yet, kid." With that he turned off the light and went back into his bedroom. Nico just lay there in the darkness for a while. What did that mean, "yet"? Nico didn't have long to dwell on it, as he felt his eyes grow heavy and he quickly drifted off into a deep sleep.
Nico was startled awake by the sound of the door closing. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. He stretched, allowing his bones to pop. He swung his legs over the side of the couch. He heard a loud clang come from in the kitchen and decided to go check it out. The short boy from the night before stood in the kitchen, currently flipping pancakes. "Morning," he said cheerfully.
"Morning," Nico mumbled back. He shuffled to the stool he had sat on last night and watched the boy work. "Are you Leo?"
The boy flashed a bright smile. "Yep, that's me. Percy told me to get you some breakfast."
"Was that him leaving?" Nico asked, gesturing towards the front door. Leo nodded. He sat the pan with the pancake on it back on the stove. He pulled off another pan with some bacon on it. He scooped them off and placed them on a plate, sliding it towards Nico.
"Percy told me to tell you to eat that slowly, least you wish to throw that back up. Your stomach is gonna take some time to get used to eating again." Nico nodded. He picked up a piece and broke off a small piece into his mouth.
"So, what is it you do around here?"
"I'm Percy's secretary. I run errands and answer some calls for him. Deal with emails for the hotel. Basically, I just make his job as easy as possible. I'll drop you off with your new boss after you eat and get cleaned up. Percy said he left you a change of clothes in the bathroom."
Leo picked the pancake pan back up, gave it one more flip, and scooped the food out to put on Nico's plate. He slid some syrup over for the boy to use. "My boss?" Nico asked, mouth full of bacon. "Percy isn't my boss?"
"Well, yes and no. He's the boss of everyone around here, but he has people running parts of the hotel. You will be working with Chiron, the bartender. He's really nice. You'll like him." Nico nodded.
"So, Percy does this a lot? Take in people from the streets."
Leo gave a nod. "Yeah, most of the young people around here, which are most of the people you'll be working with."
"Why does he do it?" Nico asked, cutting a small piece of his pancake.
Leo fumbled with the spatula. "I-I don't know if I should talk about it. Long story."
"Oh." Leo cleaned up the kitchen while Nico finished eating. He took Nico's plate when he was finished, and Nico got up to go get a shower. Sure enough there was a change of clothes sitting on the sink when he arrived.
He showered as quickly as possible without exerting himself too much. He looked at himself in the mirror when he stepped out. His body had suffered from those three months on the streets. His ribs had begun to show, and there were dark circles around his eyes. He looked so frail. He got dressed so he wouldn't have to look at his body.
The clothes were obviously too big for him. The shirt was probably one of Percy's old shirts, because it was only slightly big on him. The pants, however, were threatening to fall off his waist. He walked back into the living room and found Leo on the couch watching TV. "I need a belt," Nico stated. Leo looked over at him and hopped off the couch.
"I think I can find you one. Wait right here." He disappeared down the hall and into Percy's bedroom. Nico was curious as to what it looked like, given the extravagant look of the rest of the place. Leo emerged moments later with a black belt. "Here you go." Nico took the belt, sliding it through the loops of the pants. "I actually brought you something from my room." Leo walked over to the front door and pulled a pair of shoes from the floor. "I didn't think you'd be able to wear Percy's shoes, so I brought you some of mine."
"Thanks," Nico said with a smile. "Is everyone nice around here?"
Leo rubbed the back of his head. "Everyone except the Castellan brothers. You'll meet them eventually. For now, try and stick to me and Chiron. Apollo is really nice too, if you can find him."
"What about Percy?"
"You'll probably have the hardest time seeing him." Leo gave Nico a look. "You don't...have a crush on him, do you?"
Nico felt his cheeks heat up. "N-No! He just saved me, that's all."
Leo gave him a cheeky grin. "If you say so. I'll just say be careful if you do have one." Leo cleared his throat. "Anyways, I should get you down to Chiron. I have to get going so I can do some shopping for you." Nico nodded and the two made their way out of the suite. They made their way down the hall towards the elevators. Leo pressed the button when they arrived. "If you do need to find Percy, or myself when I'm working, you'll find us here. Percy lives and works on this floor."
The elevator dinged and opened. They walked in and Leo slipped his keycard into the slot below the long list of buttons before hitting the button to the floor above them, the sixty-ninth floor. They stepped out of the elevator and into the bar. The bar itself ran the entire length of the far wall. Behind it were shelves covered in every type of alcohol in existence. There were expensive looking wooden tables all around the room, with chairs placed on top of them. In the two corners not being taken up by the bar were lounging areas with the same type of couches that were in Percy's living room. A few pictures hung around the walls for decoration. Five TVs sat around on the walls. Three on the outer walls and two behind the bar.
A tall man with a small beard stood behind the bar, scrubbing a glass. He looked up and smiled warmly at Leo and Nico as they approached. "I take it this is my new charge?" the man asked.
"Yep, he's all yours Chiron." Leo pulled out his phone to check the time. "Well, I need to get going." He patted Nico on the shoulder and headed back to the elevator. "Take care of him, Chiron."
Chiron chuckled and looked back at Nico. The man had a warm face. He had deep brown eyes that reminded Nico of a warm fire. His brown hair was well groomed. He was tall, taller than Percy. Probably around six foot five. If he didn't appear to be so warm natured Nico would have been intimidated looking up at him. He also had a small scruffy beard. All in all, Nico would have to say the man came across as a father figure. He already liked the man better than his own father, and this guy hadn't even spoken to him directly yet.
"Well then, shall we get you to work?" Chiron said, placing the glass back on to the bar. "More will be coming up to get to work soon. I just need to give you the run down before everything starts up around here." He placed his hands on the bar and smiled at Nico. "Now then, things will be very busy around here at night. You will work into the late hours of the morning, so expect to get off no earlier than three or four." Nico let out a groan. "Welcome to the night life, child." Chiron gave a chuckle.
"What kind of people can I expect? This place looks like it would be expensive."
"That it is. However, that means you'll find yourself with a nice paycheck. As for customers, we get all kinds of men and women. Businessmen, politicians, actors, musicians, you name it and we probably cater to them. Now, as I said, you won't be working alone. We are pretty busy at night, so there will be a few people running around with you. They, uh, change from night to night, depending on the schedules Percy gives them." Chiron clapped his hands together. "Now then, let us get you to work. I need you to start setting those chairs down. We will start seeing customers around lunch, so hop to it." Nico nodded quickly and set off to work.
So, you might be wondering how I'm going to go about uploading chapters. Well, like I said, I'm going to be busy this month with two Halloween projects. So, I'm going to post maybe two chapters a week until we get caught back up. And I know that will take some time, but it'll give me a chance to work on other things. Bragi and I have spent the day talking, and I might have some new surprises on the way. Remember to keep an eye on my blog. Also, I'm sorry I didn't get to reply to a lot of reviews before the story got taken down, I've just been busy lately. But, yeah, don't worry, the story isn't going anywhere and neither am I. I'm not angry and you guys shouldn't be either. It's just a story that can be put back up. I can also use this time to correct some grammatical errors that I found that slipped through :D
In other news, who has heard about the recent House of Hades spoiler? It seems our sweet little Nico is not as straight as believed him to be. I've said this before, if his sexuality is not stated, do not presume to know it. But yeah, if you have not heard, it seems like our Nico had a crush on Percy at one point, and still might. This is only still a rumor, until confirmed by the final release. But it's definitely putting everyone into an uproar. I started laughing, reading through some comments. Apparently, Percabeth fans aren't so secure in the strength of their couple. Sadly, I don't expect it to go anywhere, I just think it'll be Nico crushing on Percy and not having his feelings returned. That's just Nico's life.
So yeah, point being: don't worry, it's not a huge deal. I'll see you lovely people later. Don't forget to follow and favorite the story again, and feel free to leave me a review if you want.