It's been about five years since Percy and Annabeth went off to college to get there degrees. Percy decided he wanted to become a Marine Biologist while Annabeth pursued her love for Architecture. About two years ago Jason and Piper started to go to college also, while Leo and Calypso opened an auto shop. Jason is getting his degree in Classics while Piper thought becoming a teacher would be a great idea. A little less than a year later, Will decided that he would pursue a double major of Doctor and Therapist. Frank and Hazel still have a few more years before they can retire. After that Frank wants to become a Veterinarian, while Hazel was thinking about getting a degree to become a Jeweler. As for me, well … I haven't figured it out.
I still go back and forth between the Underworld to help father out, and help transport demigods when need be, but other than that, I don't know what I want to do. Everyone else has an idea, and are working towards it or already achieve it. Will says I shouldn't worry too much about not knowing. I can take all the time I want to figure it out.
I think that's where my problem lies though. I feel like I'm stuck, neither moving forward or backwards, while everyone else seems to be leaving me behind. It's starting to feel like I'm back to being by myself again, even with everyone around. I'm watching all my friends starting to have normal lives, normal enough when you're a demigod, while I'm over here watching for a distance. If only I had something to work towards I might not feel this way, but if I don't even know what to work towards, how will I work for it?
I guess I just have to put on a face, and seem like I'm fine. Today is the first time everyone is meeting up again since Percy and Annabeth went to college. We are meeting in the couple's new apartment. After college, they got a job, and saved money up until they could buy their own place. So I guess it's also a house warming party? Why people have those, I will still never understand.
"Hey babe, you ready?" I look up to see Will leaning on the door a smile on his face. "Yeah." I get up and go over to him. He wraps his arms around me, and we disappear into the shadows.
I guess I should mention, Will and I started dating two years after the fall of Gaea. It took a long time for me to trust the son of Apollo not to leave me when he gets bored, even when I tried to push him away, he always came back. Once I started to trust him, our friendship bloomed quickly. Soon after that Will told he his feeling for me. At first I didn't believe him. Who could love a son of Hades? He told me that he actually like me when he saw me fight in the Titan War. That he was scared to tell me, but that I had the right to know, and his feeling for me will not disappear, but only grow stronger. Of course his confession scared me and I Shadow Traveled to the Underworld for a few days. When I came back I went straight to Will, and told him I liked him too, but was scared having someone close to me. I didn't want another Bianca. That dummy understood me, and just said that he understood why I let, but want to try anyway. Will now live in the dorms while he goes to college, but I visit so often I pretty much live there too.
We step out of the shadows, and I have to keep Will from kissing the ground. No matter how many times we travel this way, he can't get use to the feeling. I guess only children of Hades/Pluto are regularly fine with Shadow Travel, everyone else gets sick once we land. We stand in front of an old-ish looking apartment complex, and start walking to our destination. It doesn't take long to find and soon Will's knocking on the door.
Who other than Percy Jackson to answer the door with a huge grin on his face, acting like a puppy that hasn't seen his owner in a few days? "You made it!" He practically screams. "Percy! What did I say about disturbing our neighbors!?" I hear Annabeth yell from inside somewhere.
"But it's Will and Nico." Percy whines, like it's a valid reason to bother others. Ignoring the sigh from inside, Percy turns back to us. "Dude! It's been forever! How are things!?"
Will chuckles. "We're alright, but how about you let us in before we start having a conversation at your front door?" Of course Percy doesn't realize that we are still standing outside, because at Will's comment he looks guilty and sheepish. "Right. Come in." Percy finally calms down and moves out of the way for us to come in.
The apartment isn't very big, I wasn't expecting it to be, but has a homey feel to it. We soon find Annabeth sitting on the sofa with a book in her hands, before looking up. "It's good to see you guys again." She says, putting the book down and walking over, pulling us into a hug.
Soon everyone else gets there and the whole place is noisy. I didn't know how much I missed it, until I hear it again. "How having jobs?" Jason asks Percy and Annabeth.
"It's amazing! I get to be in the water a lot of the time, or help out the injured animals. Most of them are so glad we are helping them." Percy says bouncing up and down.
"It's good. I still help build things for the gods once in a while, but mostly I just have stuff going on down here." Annabeth has a small smile on her face. "What about school? How's that going?" She turns the question around to everyone else.
Jason groans, while Piper pats his back. "It's hard. I'm glad I picked something I already know and grew up with."
"Becoming a teacher is a lot of work, but so far it's worth it."
"Tell me about it. I'm double majoring, but I'm glad." Will pipes in. He has a huge sunny, bright smile on. I'm proud of him. I know it's hard to go back to school, and even harder to have more than one major, but Will seems happy to be able to do what he loves.
"You must be crazy to do that." Percy said. "I would never be able to add a minor let alone another major." Will just chuckles.
"How's the shop going?" Hazel looks over to Leo. He's already building something and he's only been here for ten minutes. I just shack my head at him. Leo looks up, not stopping building whatever it is, an answers. "It's going well, with my girl here to help out, nothing going wrong." We all look over at him and raise an eyebrow. Leo and nothing wrong do not go in the same sentence. Calypso must have caught on because she begins to laugh. "Something always goes wrong. Yesterday he messed with the toaster, and it started sending fire everywhere as soon as you plugged it in." We all start laugh with Calypso.
"What about you two? How's still being in service?"
"It's good. Nothing major has happened, so that's always a good thing. I moved up in rank a few months ago." Hazel says, while Frank just nods along.
"How much longer do you have?" I ask. I know they want to start their lives as soon as they get out.
"I have four more years." Hazel replies.
"I still have five." Frank says. He seems a little bummed about that, but I can understand. Hazel puts her hand on his knee. "I'll wait until you finish your time before going to college." Frank just nods, but I can tell he's glad for that.
Everyone goes back to talking about what they have been up to since the last time everyone talked. I get up and go to the kitchen. I know I shouldn't feel like this, but I can't help but still feel like an outsider. I need to get away, so they can have time with each other. I pull out a cup and fill it up with water, then walk over to the counter and sits on top of it, cup in hand. I look down in to it, not realizing Jason walked in.
"You alright?" He asks, voice laced with concern. I just nod, not looking up. "You can tell me what's wrong, Nico. I'm here to listen."
"I know." My voice is small, kind of how I feel right now. He walks over to the counter and leans on it, and waits for me to say something. I don't know what to say. Like everything make sense in my head, but I don't know if I would be able to make it make sense to Jason or anyone else. I sigh. "Everyone else has an idea what they want to do with their life or already achieved it, while I'm stuck still figuring it out. I don't know. I guess I feel like everyone is moving on, while I'm just static." I don't look at Jason when I try to explain to him everything that's going on.
"That makes sense." He says and my head shoots up, eyes wide. I really didn't think that made any sense to anyone but me. Jason gives me a small smile, to comfort me, before talking again. "You feel like you have no purpose while everyone else is working towards something they love. I think that's why you feel left behind."
"How …?" How can Jason say exactly how I feel and actually make it make sense? That's not fair, but I'm glad he got it. I stare wide eyed at him still though.
"Do I understand?" He finishes my sentence for me. I nod my head mouth open. "Well, probably because I felt that way for a while also. It took me a long time to figure out I wanted to get a major in classics. All I have ever known is being at Camp Jupiter, quests, and my time becoming Greek. I didn't know what to do with myself until Piper suggested working on something I already know stuff about and go from there. And that's it. I felt so stupid not being able to figure it out myself, but I have a purpose now. So it's all good."
"So I should just pick something I know how to do and jump in?" The son of Jupiter just shrugs his shoulders. That didn't help me at all. I glare at him. "Talking to Will might help." He says instead. Before I can say anything else, Jason walks back to where everyone else is.
I sit there for a few more minutes before finally jumping down and joining the others again. The rest of the time, we all had fun. It was a little sad that we had to leave, but we said that we need to do this again soon, or our ADHD will wreak havoc on the city.
I Shadow Traveled Will and I back to his dorm room, landing softly on his bed. Instead of letting me go, Will cuddles me closer. I hear him mumble something into my collar bone, but I couldn't quit make it out. "What?" I say into his golden hair. I feel a smile on his face, before lifting his head up.
"I asked if you are feeling better." I blink at him. He must have got my confusion, because he starts talking again. "You've been down a little bit lately, and then you disappeared for a while. After you came back it seemed like you felt better."
"Oh. Yeah. Jason talked to me a little bit, and helped me through how I feel." I saw Will's face fall at that, so I quickly add. "But I do want to talk to you about something." He lights up again waiting patiently for me to continue. "Um … yeah you noticed how I felt down. It was because I don't have a purpose to work towards, so that's what Jason said, and it makes sense. You all have something you are working towards, and I felt like I was still stuck in a place not being able to move." I stop to make sure Will understand. He nods and waits for me to talk again. "Well, he also mentioned that I should maybe do something I know things about, and that talking to you might help me figure it out."
Will smiles up at me, and I can feel the warmth, and affection radiate off his body. I can't help but smile back at him. "Well, you are good at things related to death, but you also protect the demigods you pick up with your life. Which makes me worry, but I know you will always come back." Will has a stern expression on, and I can't help but chuckle at. He swats my arm playfully. "So you could become a mortician, a homicide detective, a trainer at camp. Though those are only some suggestions. What do you think about any of those?" I make a face like I just ate a lemon, and Will just laughs at me.
"Alright, so no."
"I see enough death every day I don't think I need to see more, and I can't train many demigods with a sword. I have my own style that only works with shorter people." I say truthfully. The son of Apollo nods, and goes back to thinking. "Well." He starts out slow, like he's still thinking the idea through. "You could always run a safe house for runaway demigods."
My eyes shine with want. That's perfect. It's something I would be able to do, and it's a long goal that I would have a purpose for a while. Then I meet Will's eyes. They seem a little sad, and my spirit gets crushed a little. "Do you not like that idea?" I ask him. If he doesn't like it, then I would pick something else. I don't want to lose Will for something to do.
"It's perfect for you, Nico." Will avoids the question.
"But you don't like it."
"… No." He knows that he can't lie to me, even if he does, I find out right away.
"Well you would have to leave." At first I didn't understand, but then everything fit together. The son of Apollo liked having me living with him, having me around all the time, just like me. I smile softly down at him. "I want you to come with me. I can wait until you are done with college, but I don't want to go anywhere without you." My voice becomes soft, and I say the three little words that I have never been able to get out. "I … I love you."
Will's eyes widen, and blink a few time before smiling, brightening the whole room. "I love you to, Death Boy."
"Are you sure this place is alright? We can pick somewhere else if it's easier for you."
"Love, this place is fine. We are semi-close to a few different high schools, that's when most demigods start attracting attention of monster, and the college is a 10 minute bus ride."
"Nico! It's fine! I came and helped pick it out! If I really didn't like it, I would have told you before we bought the place!" Will laughs. We are standing in front of our first place. It's not very big, only have three bed rooms and two full bathrooms, but it's perfect. "My only question is where you even came up with the money to buy this place outright." Will continues.
"Well, the time Bianca and I were in the Lotus Casino and Hotel we racked up a good amount of cash, and Hades is the God of Hidden Wealth. He gives me allowance/pays me for the jobs I do for him."
"So you pretty rich."
"Yes. I have told you I would be able to pay for your school, but you shot me down. Where did you think I would get the money for that?"
"I thought you were being nice! I didn't think you would actually be able to pay!" I just shake my head and head towards the front door. "Angel!" Will cries before chasing me.
Settling in isn't too hard. I bought most of the furnisher before we moved it, so it was all there when we got there. All I really needed to do was put up a Greek and Latin sign up to let demigods know this is a safe house. Once that was done, I went throughout the city looking for monsters that might be stacking some poor demigod.
The first few days I did this, I didn't find anyone. It wasn't until Friday night, that I saw a cyclops chasing a girl that looked to be thirteen or so. I quickly chased after them, and soon we found ourselves in an abandoned building. Before I had time to take out my sword, the girl turned around and throw a rock at the cyclops. Of course it didn't do anything, but she didn't look scared.
Before the monster could do any damage, I slashed my sword through his neck. He exploded into gold dusk. The girl looked shocked that the monster exploded, but didn't seem scared of me. "Who are you?" She sneered.
"My name is Nico di Angelo. You?"
"Why should I tell you?"
"I'm not going to hurt you. I can take you somewhere safe, so monsters don't keep attacking you."
"How do you know about that?"
"For one, you are a demigod, that's why the cyclops was following you. Second, I have been to Camp Half-Blood, the safe place, and you will get training so you can fight for yourself."
"One of your parents is a Greek or Roman god or goddess. Well I doubt Roman. If you were, Lupa would have already trained you."
"So my father is a god?"
"If that's the parent you didn't have growing up, then yeah." She glares at me for a while. "Who is your parent?" She finally showed interesting in this conversation.
"Hades. God of the Underworld."
I finally got Ann, the girl I saved from the cyclops, to come to my house. Will greeted us without looking up from his homework. "I found one." I told him, as we got further inside. That got him to look up and over to us. Jumping up, Will walked over to her, and stuck his arm out to her. "Hello. My name's Will Solace. Nico told you about demigods already, right?" She nods. "Great. I'm a son of Apollo."
"I'm going to IM camp, and let them know." I told Will before heading off to call.
"So, which parent raised you?" Will turned back to Ann.
"My mom." Will nods. They slowly start to get into a conversation, before I came back. "Let's go." She looks over at me, and nods, before heading to the door.
"Where do you think you are going?" I ask her. Ann looks at me confused. I quickly grab Will and Ann's hand before we disappear into the shadows. Once we step out both my travelers feel to the ground. "Next time worn me." Will complained. Ann looked up, and her eyes got wide. "Where are we?" She asks.
"Welcome to Camp Half-Blood." As soon as the words left my mouth, a red spear appeared over her head. She is bathed in red, making her look up to see why. I hear her gasp. "Looks like your father is Ares."
I visit camp every few months, or when I need to drop off new demigods. When I got to camp, I saw Ann and Clarisse sparing. I smile a little at that. Ann admires Clarisse beyond compare. It was nice to see them getting along so well, and fighting.
Finally, I found what I have been missing since the wars. I finally found my purpose.
"Ann, daughter of Ares. She's the typical Ares spawn and admires Clarisse beyond anything." – was donated for me to use by charlottefrey from AO3