Title: Shadow's Damsel

Summary: Every person, both good and bad, had a figurative Lois Lane. Superman Jr. had Venus. His sister, Midas, had Animal Man. Heck, The Augur had Oracle, and Shadow had no one. At least, he thought he had no one until he met Percy Jackson.
Rating: T

This is for Takara Phoenix's Nicercy competition... it's definitely not my best work. It's unbeta'd too. I tried though! I'm just so into Jasico at the moment. Che. This is a prequel to Hurricane's Shadow. I think this may have a sequel to because I didn't mention how certain person became certain hero in Hurricane's Shadow.

Oooh, who wants to guess who each hero and heroine is by their alias? It's pretty easy. ;)

Shadow's Damsel

Nico was pissed.

His father, Hades, as he liked to be called, had berated him for hours after he failed a multi-million-dollar heist. The hostages weren't hurt, he stolen no money, and there wasn't even a hint of property damage. It looked as if nothing had happened and nothing did happen because stupid Superman Jr. and his girlfriend, Venus, happened to be the superheroes on call that night.

Now, if Superman Jr. had been alone the heist would have gone without a hitch but noo… Venus tagged along. Venus was as beautiful as she was powerful. She had the voice of a siren, compelling even the most stubborn of people into doing whatever she pleased. She'd be a worthy addition to the dark-side if she wasn't so goody-goody.

Long story short, they kicked his ass, saved everyone, and left him thoroughly humiliated.

Hades just had to mention how Bianca/Melinoe wouldn't fall for such tricks. She was the epitome of villainy and never messed up her mission, and always took her hostages as collateral, and was ballsy enough to off a couple people when she didn't get her way, and she was a true evil villain, and Nico should aspire to be like her… blah… blah.

Nico walked down the streets of Gotham with a scowl. He was sure he emitting tons of death energy, but he didn't give a fuck. He knew he messed up and he knew he'd never be on the level of Bianca. He wished his father would see that he and Bianca were two different villains — even more that, they were two different people. He had his own strengths in comparison to his older sister.

He was glad that his younger half-sister, Hazel, was studying super-villainy with her mother, Queen. At least, he knew she was free to make mistakes and grow into her ow— "AH! Let him go, bastard! Let him go and take me!" a high-pitched voice pleaded… a woman, perhaps?

Nico only had to look up. He spied on the top of the nearest crap townhouse there were two people. One of those two people slowly moved toward the ledge. His father argued that one should ignore the weak. If they couldn't help themselves, then what use did they have? Under normal situations, Nico would've followed his father's reasoning, but he was feeling rebellious tonight.

He stepped from under the flickering lamp posts into the alleyway under the darkness of shadows. He only had to step on one and imagine his destination; in a second, he was there. In his arsenal of powers, the gift of clear sight even in the darkest of places was bestowed upon him. He stood behind them a few feet away, three people were on the rooftop. He hadn't noticed the woman before.

The woman, a petite thing, was crying and pulling a fat man's shirt trying to bring them away from the edge. The fat man had a struggling young man (boy?) in his hold. A large meaty hand wrapped around his neck. "Let him go!" the woman repeated and she slapped the man with everything she had.

As that usually angered people, Nico was not surprised to see the fat man rear back with an angry roar. He sent the woman flying to the harsh pavement with a jarring slap. "Mom!" the boy cried as Nico winced. That woman wasn't getting up any time soon.

The boy struggled even more violently in the man's grasp. Nico supposed this was the moment heroes usually stepped in. He glided forward, keeping casual. "Hey, fat man, I'd appreciate it if you let the boy go," he addressed the man calmly. The man turned to face him; Nico's nose wrinkled. He couldn't help the frown that followed afterward.

The man was hideous. He made Uncle Lester look like a male underwear model.

The dark did nothing to cover up the rolls of fat on his neck and arms, or his shit-brown eyes and the stubby hair that dotted his face. Ugh, he had a colony of pimples on both cheeks, a beer belly, and thinning white-brown hair. He needed at least ten paper bags to cover up that ugly.

But, Nico couldn't focus on the man's ugliness. The boy was turning an unsightly shade of blue, and Nico was being good today. He had to save the boy. He stepped closer to the fat man. They had a foot of distance between them. "Who the hell are you?!" the man screamed, spittle flying toward Nico.

"I am your worst nightmare, your greatest fea—…," and Nico had to stop; that was his villain speech. He had to improvise. "I'm Shadow and I'm going to kick your ass."

For heroes, that usually worked. Most normies, those without mutant powers, were cowed by those clearly superior than themselves. But his father always said that normies were unusually stupid and well-versed in ignoring their basic survival instincts.

So, three things happened at once.

The man was clearly smarter than he looked. So, McFatso laughed cruelly. He hobbled to the edge, letting go of the boy. Nico moved like lightning and readied his powers, giving the man his Death Touch, and then, he dove over the edge like an Olympic swimmer. Maybe, Nico was a little panicky because: a) he couldn't fly and hadn't thought this through, and b) he only had seconds to spare to catch the boy and himself from becoming splats on the ground.

Thank the Unnamed God that he caught the boy, screaming his ass off, and still had sense enough to gather the shadows from the surrounding areas. Then, he thought frantic, racing, happy-safe-fluffy thoughts, and well, he was never so glad to be a mutant. They arrived in the middle of a pancake shop. Nico felt a lot of eyes on him and the boy.


Nico held the shrieking boy for the minute it took him to get himself together. He dropped the boy to the tile floor. "Shut up," he said, kneeling down to his height. He poked the boy in the cheek repeatedly. He noticed he had soft skin. "Open your eyes, idiot, you're alive."

"—I'm… alive?" murmured the boy, astonished. He opened his eyes and Nico's breath caught. They were a beautiful sea glass green. The boy blinked owlishly at him. Nico adjusted his black mask, suddenly very happy this boy saw none of his facial expressions.

"Yeah, you're alive," Nico confirmed. He eased to his feet, staring the brunet boy over. He had that sort of skater-boy appearance that spelled trouble. Pitch-black hair carelessly swept to the side, crooked smile, tall and slim with baggy skinny jeans, a blue beanie coupled with a thin jacket. Nico was almost positive the boy had a string of tattoos hiding. The boy was also most definitely older than him by a few years.

"So, I'll be leaving you." Nico started to inch away. "Enjoy the life I saved; try not to fuck it up too much."

"Wait!" the boy clambered to his feet. "What happened to my mother and Smelly Gabe?"

Nico raised an eyebrow. He left his mother knocked out cold and he killed the fat bastard presumed to be Smelly Gabe. Nico smiled a little sheepishly, not that the boy could see that… "Hang on, I'll be right back."

He was back in thirty seconds or less with the boy's mother. She was light, lighter than a woman should be, but whatever. It was the boy's problem, not his. He laid her down next to the boy's feet and got ready to go. He spied the clock on the pinstriped diner wall reading 10:50pm.

Bianca was going to kill him.

"What about Smelly Gabe?" the boy insisted. Nico cursed.

"I, uh, killed him," Nico muttered. "Sort of accidentally."

"How do you kill someone sort of accidentally?"

"Look! I saved your life and your mother's,so, you should be grateful to me. A little cheering won't hurt, vowing to be my newest sycophant is great too. Also, you're welcome whatever-your-name-is," Nico said in a rush.


"What?" asked Nico.

"Percy, my name is Percy," the boy—Percy repeated with a smirk. "Thanks for saving me and my mom…"

"Name's Shadow," Nico introduced. "Don't expect me to do this again." He waved awkwardly and stepped into the nearest shadow. He was gone in a blink and appeared in his living room in another.

Contrary to popular belief, super-villains and super-heroes didn't live in lairs, caves, or fortresses of solitude. They lived in regular suburban homes. Nico took off his mask with a relieved sigh. He tossed it unto the nearest couch, wanting nothing more than to make a sandwich and then, go to bed.

Of course, things didn't work out that way. His big sister turned on all the living room lights with a clap. She sat in their father's chair with her arms folded. Her dark brown eyes were narrowed and her posture stiff. She looked like an irate mother, their late irate mother to be exact. "Where were you? I was this close to sending out Bogey to find your ass. I know Father was harsh, but that's no reason to be out for two hours! What if—"

"Bianca!" He rubbed his face. He was tired. He wasn't in the mood to argue. "I'm sorry, I was out… doing something."

"Doing what?" she prompted. Her eyes were still narrowed, her voice lighter.

"I saved someone…s… and I killed a guy," Nico confessed quietly. He didn't even realize. He acted on instinct… and the fat bozo was his first victim. It was a bit numbing.

"Oh Nico!" Bianca made a move to get up, probably to give him a hug, but he held up a hand.

"No, I'm just," he yawned. He was drained.

"Ok, little bro. Go take a shower and brush your teeth," this time she did get up while ordering him around, letting out a small yawn of her own. "Then bedtime, Nico; I mean it. No Mythomagic forums, tomorrow is a big day."

Nico glared at her. Bianca laughed. "The start of sophomore year for my wittle Nikki," she sighed, ruffling his dark hair. "You grew up so fast."

So there he was! His first battle against a real superhero, Sunbeam, and he won. He felt like shouting for joy and jumping in glee. His father would be so proud, he defeated Sunbeam — son of Apollo, one of his father's strongest enemies.


He kept his wits. He considered what he would do with Sunbeam and then he heard it: the screams, the yells, and the gunshots. Nico scowled. Who had the balls to ruin his victory? He snapped his fingers, watching the shadows creep toward the unconscious blond. They slithered up his body like snakes and coiled themselves around Sunbeam.

His enemy wouldn't be getting out of those bonds any time soon. He stalked out of the dirty warehouse and went to the left where a small corner store was located. He chose this spot for the reasons that nobody would be here to help Sunbeam or interrupt Nico. This part of town was virtually deserted, or so he thought.

He opened the store's door; the bell gave a cheery little chime when he set foot in the establishment. It was squeaky clean inside. Small, cheap ticktacks were to the right and isles of cheaper food on the left. The store wasn't that big. It was easy to see where problem was: on the right, near the ticktacks and knickknacks, behind the small purple counter was a stereotypical burglar, black ski mask and all. He shakily held a small handgun. A tiny bullet hole was located on the opposite wall. He missed, lucky for his hostage.

A hostage that Nico couldn't fucking believe. His first and last act of heroism. Percy was dressed in a gaudy blue vest with a few pins dotting the starch fabric. Dammit.

"Hey there," Nico interrupted cheerily. The burglar and Percy faced him. The burglar trembled as if he were on the edge of a breakdown while Percy looked as happy as pie.

"Shadow!" Percy yelped. "Thank God!"

Nico snorted and headed to the counter. He rested his elbow on the fixture pointedly ignoring the outrageously ecstatic hostage. "So," he addressed the burglar. "Whatcha doing here?" he started, cordial.

"Obviously robbing this store, and not doing a very good job!" Percy chimed in.

The burglar shifted his gun toward Percy, still quavering like a leaf in the wind. "Y-y-y-ou s-s-hut u-u-p-p, b-b-ef-for-e-e I–I m-make y-you," he stuttered.

Percy rolled his eyes. "M-m-ma-a-ke m-me, t-t-th-e-n-n," he mocked. For the umpteenth time, Nico was grateful his smile and laugh was hidden behind his mask. Percy had cheek and a stupid amount of courage. He liked that.

"Yeah, you can make him later," Nico spoke up. "I need you to go now. I don't care where you go, but I need you to leave. I'm kinda in the middle of—"

"I-I-I'm n-not leaving, y-you f-fuc—" the burglar only got so far. Nico did not like to be cut off, and to be cut off by a lesser being was even more of an insult.

He leaned forward and pressed his finger on the first piece of skin he saw. The burglar instantly dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

Nico slid back in place, glancing at Percy, "Keep it down, please."

"Wait." Percy hopped over the counter. Nico stood up to his full height. He groaned. He barely came to Percy's shoulder. "You're so short," Percy snickered.

"My, what great observation skills you have," Nico commented dryly.

Percy laughed, airy and light. He grinned as if he hadn't just watched someone die in front of him. As if he wasn't a dangerous person. Nico shivered. It was a little unnerving to be honest. Percy shouldn't be so trusting, so casual.

You're young, like fourteen-fifteen," Percy said. "I'm seventeen."

Nico shrugged. "Fifteen. How'd you guess?"

It was Percy's turn to shrug. "Your voice. It gets all pitchy when you speak and cracks in awkward places. I'm glad, my time has passed." Nico blushed hot under his mask. Bianca and Hazel always teased him for that, not like he could control it. Gods, it made life that much harder when he faced his adversaries.

"Well, you have phenomenal observation skills. Hopefully, I won't be seeing you." Back to villainy Nico went.

Percy, the stupid idiot, desperately wanted his attention. He uttered a soft "Shadow." and against Nico's better judgment he stopped. His scuffed his converse against the squeaky tile floors. He faced Percy, staring him over.

"Don't you want to hang out or something? You did save my life two times."

"No, I have plans."

Percy sagged at the rejection. "After your plans, then?" He perked up, stupidly hopeful.

Nico whipped back around. He stepped to the left where a puddle of shadow laid. "Goodbye," he said and then he was gone.

They stepped it up this year, Nico noted. They were in a rented ballroom. The lights were dimmed. The round tables were crowded with darkly clothed older children and teens. All of them wore differentiating masks and eyepieces, and all of them shifted uncomfortably as they gave their undivided attention to the front of the room where a stage was located. The stage held a panel, which consisted of the greatest villains still living in blessed infamy. (Kronos, Tartarus, Sisyphus, and Tantalus… to name a few…).

He was at the Junior Association of Villainy, and it was the week of finals for sophomore year. Nico sat all dressed up in his super-villain outfit. He wished he could take off his mask, it was too hot. He felt sweat pooling at the base of his neck.

Bianca was faring better than him. She was on his right making the effort to actually look as if she was interested. Hazel was on his left, tapping out jewels. She too was doing better than him.

It was so boring. Nico was sure he'd die right now from Nemesis' sermon on villainy or the stifling heat. He did this every year since his powers came into fruition at ten. It was fun when he was younger; these conventions were held the last two weeks of school when everybody was gone. However, he was in high school now and he was actually trying to get somewhere in life — and fuck, who was he kidding?

He didn't care about his education that much, he wanted to be anywhere but here. It stopped being fun years ago.

"… We'll take a break and reconvene after lunch," Nemesis ended. Nico blew out. Immediately chatter sprang up from the excited teenagers. If there was anything people enjoyed about these annual meetings, it was reconnecting with old friends from all over the world.

"I saw Siren!" crowed Bianca, a large smile blooming on her lips. "I haven't seen her since The Golden Gates Incident!" Nico rolled his eyes. Siren, his sister's Harley Quinn to her Poison Ivy. He waved her off before she had the chance to spout more praises on her best friend.

Hazel reached over to grab his hand. She squeezed, giving him a lipped smile. Nico already knew what she was going to say or ask. "Go on. Animal Man is waiting for you." he shooed her gently. His sister gleamed like a thousand drachmas. She really loved the kind-hearted mercenary.

Hazel gave him a tight hug and he kissed on her cheek before she was on her way. He was left pathetically alone. He made it a point every year to promise himself that he would find a friend or an ally at these things but the promise fell through every year.

He couldn't be friends or allies with these idiots. They were either too arrogant or too narcissistic, all of them hell-bent on conquering the world. Their powers were also weak in comparison to his. Nico wasn't the type to brag or to think he was better than anyone else. He knew that overconfidence usually got people killed, but he was an omega-level mutant.

Most villains and superheroes were delta and beta mutants. They had powers, sure, but their powers would never measure up to his if he went all out. These villains would ultimately be more of hindrance than helpful to Nico in the long-run. He guessed he was fated to be alone like The Augur prophesized, which wasn't really bad…

"I didn't know you were a villain," a new voice, a familiar voice, said. Nico fiddled with the checkered table cloth as the person — Percy sat down in Bianca's former seat.

"Why are you here?" Nico grumbled. His felt uneasy around the guy. He had saved Percy a dozen times over in the past year. He saw more of him than he did his own principal.

"I got fired from my last job, and I needed the cash, so, I was hired to be a seat-placer-person-thingie," Percy shrugged. "You still haven't answered my question, Shadow. Why are you here? You act like a hero, saving—," Nico scrambled to place a gloved hand over Percy's babbling mouth.

"First, you're an usher. Second, are you crazy?" he hissed. Nico glanced around them, relieved that everyone was mindlessly wrapped in their worlds. "I'm a villain. It can't be known that I do goody-goody acts even if they are at random."

Percy arched a dark eyebrow as if to say 'Really?'

"Yes, really," Nico said. "I am the son of the Hades; the most feared villain since Kronos. I do not save people."

Percy's other eyebrow rose. Seriously, it read.

"Seriously," Nico persisted. He lifted his hand from Percy's mouth and rubbed it on Percy's tuxedo. He didn't want the boy's germs.

"You do realize that every superhero and low level criminal thinks I'm your girl," he placed air quotations around girl. Nico's eyes narrowed into slits. "It's a wonder no one else in your little club does."

"Every time I've saved you it's been a fluke. You just happened to be there," Nico argued fiercely. "You aren't my anything. I—You, ugh!"

"Calm down, Shadow-boy, it's cool," Percy tried to appease.

Nico fumed. The ground trembled beneath them. Stupid idiot. He didn't understand. His father would be more than angry if he found out about Percy. After he dished out whatever sadistic punishment on him, he would go after Percy, and there wasn't a mutant alive that could stop his father once he was targeted on someone. Not that he cared about Percy.

Nico curled his fists. "You'd better hope heroes aren't the chatty bunch," he snapped.

Percy raised his hands in surrender. "I hope so too."

Nico groaned. This was a disaster in the making, he knew that for a fact. Once a person got linked to a superhero or villain it was hard to unlink it. And "What?" Nico inquired when he noticed Percy was talking again.

"I said, how long have you been a villain?"

"Since forever."

"You guys don't get to decide if you're good or evil, you just are?" Percy asked, eyes widening in surprise.

Nico shook his head. "No, at least not usually. We usually stay with our family's side. My family has always been the evil-doers. I've never thought of being anything else, and I don't want to be anything else," he emphasized. He didn't want Percy to get any weird ideas about persuading him to the light.

"However, there are those that don't follow the norm. Like," Nico had to think for a bit. "You know the Heartbreak Sisters?" Nico waited for Percy's nod. "Their family has always been good if only a bit promiscuous. The twins, Venus and Siren Heartbreak, are polar opposites. While Venus is as good as her mother, Aphrodite, Siren is pure evil."

"Can someone be both good and evil, grey?"

Nico frowned, his brow furrowing. "Yes, someone can. The Augur is one of the few," he said. "I don't really like those types of people. They're flip-floppers and only choose the side that benefits them the most. There's no loyalty."

"Oh." Percy nodded like understood. He flowed to the next question. "So, what are your powers?"

At this, Nico glared and tensed. Why would a normie like him need to know? "A person can get killed for asking a question like that," he griped.

Percy winked. "It's in my employee contract. No villains are allowed to harm, maim, or kill the employees or said villains risk death or castration as punishment," Percy recited, rather smug.

"Doesn't change the fact. Why do you want to know?" he interrogated.

Percy shrugged, he liked to do that a lot. "I'm curious," he replied. Nico stared. He wondered if he really should trust the older boy. Every villain with any sense maintained that one had to keep secrets like those close. It worked like a safety net or an element of surprise.

Nico had sense in spades, but something in those sea-green eyes told Nico that he could trust Percy. Bleh, he was turning mushy.

"I'm must have been hit with Dr. Thorn's Orb of Stupidity…" he trailed off. He held up his fingers, listing his powers off. "I can travel using any type of shadows, I can manipulate shadows and fashion them into whatever weapon I please; my sister is going to teach me how to make my own shadow familia—"

"Whoa! You have a sister?" Percy interrupted, incredulous. Nico briefly wondered if the older boy thought that villains didn't have family.

"Yes, I have two sisters. Midas and Melinoe," he informed blandly.

Percy let out a squeal. "Your sisters are the Midas and Melinoe." He resembled a fanboy now. Cheeks flushed, eyes gleaming and searching the room for his idols. Nico told himself that spike of anger he had wasn't jealousy.

"Yes, Midas is my younger sister. Melione is the oldest one. Now, do you want to know about my powers are not?"

"Yes, it's just wow, you're related to those Titans," Percy babbled.

"Yeah. Anyway, the shadows aren't the only things I can control. I can control a little bit of the Earth, although Midas, is the real powerhouse with that. I can see ghosts and rise the dead; but, there is no one better than my sister when it comes to waking the dead and commanding them." Nico subtly shivered, one didn't know fear until his sister raised her undead army.

"The only power that I don't share with any one of sisters is my Death Touch. It's a trait that only males in my family receive," Nico finished somewhat proudly.

Percy grinned him at him, the corner of his eyes crinkled. "Wicked," he praised. Nico's averted his own stare, shifting in his own plastic chair.

"I guess," he muttered, self-conscious all of the sudden.

They lapsed into a comfortable silence from there. He wasn't sure about Percy, but Nico was feeling odd around the guy. He was all hot and jittery, tongue-twisted and anxious. Almost like he was sick. He steadily avoided the Percy's stare thumbing the tablecloth. He hoped whatever he was feeling went away soon.

Nico didn't remember much.

He remembered the excruciating pain and the blood; there was so much that he felt like he was drowning in the thick, scarlet liquid. He remembered Her booming laughter and her echoing voice, egging them on — playing with them, cackling at their confusion and terror.

There was no way to escape. No way to escape at all, and then, Bianca. His fierce sister. She made a way to escape and then, she fought with everything she had and she told him to run and don't look back. She pushed him and distracted Her. He didn't know what to do. He stood in his precious corner, his escape route, where his shadows writhed, drenched in blood, shaking, and he prayed. He prayed to go somewhere safe and warm, some place that could help him. He didn't care where he just needed help.

And his beautiful shadows felt cold as they washed over him. Nico tried to remember where and what happened, but in the next memory all he saw were concerned green eyes and the deafening scream of his alias, and then nothing.

Nico choked. Oh his Unnamed God.

What happened to his sister? Was she dead? Taken as prisoner by Her? Nico's stomach lurched, he needed to find his sister. She could be waiting for his help and he had uselessly fallen unconscious for an unknown amount of time. Finally, he opened his eyes (when had Nico closed them?) and looked around.

He was in a room, a blue room in a blue bed with a blue comforter and a blue carpet. Absently, Nico thought the room needed a piece of art from Picasso's Blue Period or a Blue Dog.

What was he doing thinking about art?

Nico jumped out of the bed. He almost gasped in pain and nearly buckled to the ground with his sudden weakness. He swayed to the side, clutching onto a piece of the mattress. It hurt. It hurt so much, but he couldn't afford to stay there and recuperate. Bianca needed him!

He let out a whimper out as he steadied himself upright. Fuck. He gathered his powers, at least happy that they hadn't diminished despite him being weak physically.

"Shadow, you're awake!" Percy.

Wha— this was where his shadows sent him. To Percy? He was the one that screamed his name and looked at him with so much concern…? Just what…

Nico froze in body and mind. He noticed the item Percy held in his hand. His mask, albeit bloodied, he knew it anywhere. He styled it to be in Venom's likeness and Percy was holding it. His hands flew up to his exposed face as if he couldn't believe it. He didn't believe it.

"You took off my mask," he whispered. Betrayed and shocked. "You unmasked me," he continued, horror coating his words.

In all his years, he never broke the universally understood mutant rule: never take off your mask except with those you trusted. Nico didn't trust Percy, not in the slightest; just because he got those funny feelings around him didn't mean shit when it came to his secret identity.

"You took off my mask!" he shouted, cold fury now bubbling up within him. "How dare you! What right do you have? I should kill you!"

He meant to march over to Percy and to grab his mask back, leaving, but he fell to the rough carpet with a pained cry. "Shadow!" Percy skittered over to him. His hands went out to help him. Nico hissed at him, flinching back. He didn't want his hands on him.

He gritted his teeth and pushed himself up. He tottered to the bed. Damn. He was weak. He couldn't even walk. Damn. Bianca surely needed him and he was weak and helpless as a newborn babe with this mask-stealer.

"Give it back," Nico demanded hotly, glaring daggers. "Give it back! Now!"

Percy's adam's apple bobbed and he nodded. He offered the mask wordlessly to Nico who swiped it back greedily. He stared at his mask for a couple of seconds, slipping the stretchy black fabric back on. He allowed himself to take in the small comfort his mask brought him.

"Shadow, I'm sorry," Percy apologized quietly. "I didn't know it meant so much, if I had…" he couldn't finish.

Nico gave him a scathing snort in response. "I'll be gone in two days' time," he said icily. "Don't bother me in the meantime if you value your life."

Maybe Percy wasn't such an idiot. He sent him one lasting look and then he was gone, out of the room. Good for him. Nico fell back onto the bed and stared up at the blue ceiling. "Bianca, hold on,' he mouthed. 'I'm coming.'

(True to his word, he was gone in two days.)

Nico was sort of miserable.

He had a stupid argument with Bianca (yes, his sister was still alive. Dad had come to the rescue in the nick of time) and he had left the house to cool down. He walked the streets of Gotham. It was nippy and drizzling. He burrowed deeper into his aviator jacket.

What a way to spend his sixteenth birthday.

He kicked a tin can down the cracked sidewalk. It was only fun for so long. He sort of wished something exciting would happen. Even if it happened to be something cliché, like a certain person getting robbed for the billionth time, he'd welcome it.

"Give me all your money and you won't get hurt," threatened someone as Nico passed by a dark corner. It was virtually deserted aside from the random hobo.

"Screw you, loser," a very familiar teenaged boy vehemently denied. Nico briefly glanced up to the cloudy heavens in disbelief before jumping into action.

"Maybe later, slut," the man leered. Of course, he was holding a gun and wearing the typical thuggish smirk.

"Yeah right," Percy snorted. He was dressed as he usually was in blue. Defiant and deviant as ever.

Nico was as quiet as a ghost. He crept up to the man and tapped him on the shoulder. The man crumbled down in an unmoving heap. Nico wasn't in the mood for idiots tonight.

"By the Unnamed God, you're like Little Red Riding Hood, always finding trouble," Nico teased. He offered his hand to Percy. He took it.

Percy smiled weakly. "Shadow, I haven't seen you since…"

Nico nodded. "I know."

"I'm sorry," Percy blurted as they walk back into the safety of the lights. He held Nico's hand, warm and tight.

"I know… I forgive you," Nico said quietly. Percy beamed. All happy and shit. He was a weird type of normie.

"Thank you."

Nico nodded again. He wasn't too keen on the subject matter and wished they would move on. They walked in silence, something, Nico considered to be even more boring than kicking the tin. He cleared his throat. "You're my girl now," he said randomly.

Percy's very expressive eyebrows, Really and Seriously, made another appearance.

"Yes." Nico chewed on his bottom lip minutely. "I've decided that it wouldn't be so bad to have one and Father can't do anything now about it since I'm sixteen and all. Plus, you need someone to protect you— well, you don't need—"


Percy stopped.


"Shut up and kiss me," Percy said.

And Nico did. Okay, no, he didn't. His mask was stuck to his skin and he struggled to curl it upwards. When he finally got it up where he wanted too, he leaned up to kiss Percy. They bumped noses several times before they actually got to the kissing part. Their kiss disgustingly wet with more than a little gawky maneuvering.

Nevertheless, Nico pulled back, dazed. "We'll work on it."

Percy rubbed his nose making a noise of agreement. "That we will Shadow-boy," Percy said. "I hope you know since I'm your damsel in all, I expect you to walk me home five nights out of seven, and to meet my mother next weekend."

Nico gaped, punted out of his pleasure-filled daze with the boatload of information. "You're my what, and I have to do what now?"

Percy grinned, still walking briskly. "Damsel. I'm Shadow's Damsel and you heard me, I'm not going to repeat it."

"I didn't sign up for this," groaned Nico. He was feeling a headache coming on.

"Yes, you did, now chop-chop," Percy ordered. Nico groaned some more. Who knew having a damsel could be so demanding? Was it too late to take back his decision?