*You can be hurt by love
Or Healed by the same
Picking flowers was not exactly on Percy's list on best ways to pass his time but nevertheless, here he was in the middle of a secluded meadow with Annabeth picking daisies. Well, that isn't true. He was here to pick a flower called Hypericum Perforatum. Once picked, the flower would redevelop within two hours.
It was rather common plant outside of the mist with long green stem and tiny yellow flowers that help heal the ill. Yet within the mist the flower took on a somewhat mildly different appearance with a long stem with thorns that can pierce the skin in which, allowed sap into the blood stream that then induced short term fear hallucinations. This all could be avoided by picking the flower at the very base of the stem where the thorns were lacking.
The stamen of the flower would lash out at the victim with tiny mouths and teeth that would cause temporary numbness where ever it bit so careful handling was indeed repeated by Annabeth to a point of annoyance.
Still the purpose of the flower remained the same, to heal. A flower like that was in constant use in the medical ward of the camp and Annabeth had volunteered herself and Percy to go out and pick the flowers.
Percy would do anything for Annabeth, as time has proven and this task would have been a perfect excuse to be alone with her. Things normally don't work out like that. Others had joined their flower search such as Hazel and Frank who were visiting the camp (since they saved the world, campers were free to visit each camp). Hazel was nice enough to drag her protesting brother, Nico along as well. Naturally, Leo would also tag along with false pretence, from Frank, of the need of fire. Well from this point, it would have been a shame not to invite Piper and Jason to tag along.
It was an hour when they decided to break from picking the flowers and serve lunch. The true reason for the break was to give Leo and Frank time to recover.
Frank could no longer feel anything in his legs at all because of a mishap that involved Leo and a shove. Thus, Frank had been brutally attack when Leo accidentally (the story has it) stumbled into Frank who then fell into a bush of Hypericum Perforatum.
As luck would have it, Frank wasn't pierced by any of the thorns so he did not experience fearsome hallucination. Leo wasn't as lucky for as he had tried to pull Frank to his feet and to safety as he laughed; his bare leg had made connection with a few thorns. For this, Leo had several times tried to save his friends' lives as well as his own, from the two headed mud serpent aka his shadow.
If that was all life had to throw at the group things would had gone very well. Life has proven its lack of kindness several times in the past and had no reason to change its direction at this point.
You see, unknown to the little group and earlier that day….
"There you are," A godly voiced hummed amusingly as his fingers gently touched the Akoniton Rose's petal that grew near the Hypericum. "A lovely flower such as you will serve me well." The god grinned as he plucked the flower from the ground. He turned the flower around with a twist of his fingers, admiring its purple funnel blossom. "I need you to seek out my little pawn. Strike quickly and aim wisely my pet." The god brought the flower to his lips, kissing it softly. A magic power was exchanged and the flower now turned into a purple jewelled serpent with small wings behind its jaws that looked quite like the petals it once had. It wrapped its body around the arm of the god, its tongue slipping out to taste the air. The god grinned as he gently put the snake back on the ground. "Hide for now and know when the time is right."
And now it would seem the plan from the cunning god was coming to play….
"Who's turn is it to catch Leo?" Frank asked as Leo picked up a stick and started to indulge in a mocked sword fight with his shadow.
"Can't we let him tire out?" Jason groaned, sprawled upon the blanket with his hand covering his eyes. His ribs were still sore from the last interference he had made when trying to stop Leo from making a rock catapult that would surely kill his shadow or...the serpent. It depended which eyes were looking at it.
"Like that will happen," Hazel muttered as she started to get up but at seeing her brother, who was a bit quicker to his feet, start for Leo she sat back down.
"Well this will get interesting," Frank grinned and watch as Nico carefully approached Leo.
"Stand back!" Leo warned Nico in a whisper as he approached him. He stood with his mighty sword, which he pulled from the magic stone, pointed to the ground and the other hand out for balance. "You have to be on guard! It blends with the shadows."
Nico stopped shortly from Leo, his brows rising slightly. "Is that so?"
"I can almost see it…" Leo slightly turned his head, catching the brief glance of his shadow behind his back. He quickly jumped into a turn so now his back was in the opposite direction and he stabbed continually at the dirt. "Die! Die!"
"Did you get it?" Nico asked as Leo pulled his sword from the gut of the serpent.
"For now," Leo wiped his hands on his shorts. "But it'll be back, I'm sure of it."
Nico took the remaining steps that separated him and Leo. "Well why don't you leave your stick…"
"Sword," Leo corrected him. "It's a sword."
"Leave it here and when the creature comes back you can fight it again," Nico took the stick from Leo's hand and dropped it on the ground.
"Hey!" Leo frowned at his sword. "That's no way to treat a well-made weapon!"
Nico gave Leo an annoyed look before rolling his eyes and reaching down to pick the stick up.
That is when the god's pet recoiled from its hiding place among the flowers, seeking its fangs into Nico's pale skin.
"The mud serpent!" Leo shouted, picking up his sword as Nico snatched his hand away from the snake and cradle the injured hand to his chest while stepping back from the creature. He watched as Leo repeatedly hit the snake with the dull stick.
"Leo," Nico winced as a burning pain shot through his arm and down his side.
Leo pulled a ball of fire into the palm of his hand, spraying against the snake that was slowly turning back into a flower.
Nico turned back towards the group, stumbling a few paces as the air became harder to breath. The pain grew intense that he couldn't even call out. Darkness was closing in, his vision blurring as he reached out with his good hand.
"Nico?" Hazel who had been watching noticed her brother's odd behaviour. "Somethings wrong," She grasped at Franks' shoulder in a silent plead for him to follow before racing towards her brother who was now falling to his knees. "Nico!"
Frank reached Nico in time as he collapsed in Franks strong arms. "Nico?" Frank carefully laid the boy down on the ground, checking to see what was wrong with him.
"The mud-serpent bit him," Leo came up to the group that was now surrounding Nico. "I'm sorry, Hazel. I tried…"
"You did good, Leo. Real good," Jason patted the boy on the back.
"He's not breathing right," Frank had placed his head on Nico's chest, hearing a rattle noise within. "We need to get him back to camp!"
"He has a bit on his wrist," Annabeth ripped a small piece of her shirt end off, bounding it above the wound. "A snake bite?"
Frank stood up, with Nico still in his arms as he started to race to the camp. Hazel was sopping at his side as she reached out to touch her brother's curls. Annabeth running ahead to alert the healers within the camp.
"Leo," Percy put both hands on Leo's shoulders to keep the boy from wandering off. "Can you describe the snake? We need to know what bit him."
"Yeah," Leo nodded his head. "Yeah. It was big and blue! It lives in the mud and…and." Leo blinked with confusion.
"It's no good. He's still under the flower's influence. We will have to see if we can find it," Jason turned to where Nico was attacked.
"I killed it!" Leo told them.
"Just stay right there!" Percy told him before turning to follow Jason.
"It changed into a freaking posy!" Leo yelled after them. "A posy."
Piper patted Leo's arm.
"It was a posy, Pips." Leo muttered.
A/N: * Title is a bit of lyric from Timing Means Everything. It's a rush job, sorry about that. I had the hardest time finding a way to start this story.