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Time's Shadows - (A Percy Jackson Fanfiction)
thank you for reading - feedback is welcome
Nico struggled to his feet. Blood was dripping from the gash in his forehead, but he didn’t let it bother him. He stumbled over the rubble of the office building, gripping his jet-black stygian iron blade tight in his sweaty hand. The hilt almost slipped between his fingers, but he caught it before it could clatter to the ground. The monster was a hideous many headed wolf-like creature, stronger than anything Nico had ever faced, especially as his energy was drained from Shadow traveling Will and a wounded Couch Hedge out to safety. Both had wanted to stay and fight, though he’d managed to convince them to go.
But he’d had to come back. Rayna was still battling the creature, and there was no way he was going to leave her there.
He ran towards the monster, sword in the air at his side, his trainers scuffing on the crushed building dust that now covered the concreate floor. The wolf-creature was snapping and snarling at a purple blur hopping around its form, keeping just out of reach. The creature stopped growling for a second, its many ears swivelled, and one of its heads lifted and sniffed the air. Nico froze, careful to make no sound, but it was too late. The creature reared and leaped around at him, an easier, slower target. Rayna took the opportunity and thrust her spear into the creature’s undefended side.
The creature yelped, and bent a head to lick its wound, which was already dripping golden ichor. But it wasn’t enough, the monster turned, agitated, back to its roman prey. This time Rayna wasn’t fast enough. The monster lashed a giant paw out at the praetor, its claws ripping through the straps of her armour, and through her shoulder. Rayna gasped, but maintained her ground, raising a rod of metal that had fallen from the structure of the building as a weapon. The monster howled, a horrible blood-curdling yowl that dug its way under Nico’s skin and vibrated into his bones. That was the signal, he knew, that the creature was about to kill.
No! Nico’s thoughts screamed. “Hey,” he said, or rather croaked, his mouth dry. “Hey! I’m over here, you great big oversized puppy!” He yelled, louder this time. The wolf ignored him. It had made its mind up, and it wasn’t going to let its food go that easily.
Nico wouldn’t be able to get there in time.
Rayna was going to die.
No. She. Was. Not! Nico insisted. He commanded, he was Son of Hades, the Ghost King. He could control an entire army of skeletons, for Zeus’s sake! No one was going to die unless he let them.
Mustering the last of his strength, he stepped back into shadows. The darkness folded around him; he could feel the layer of black resisting like it was a solid object he had foolishly attempted to squeeze his body through. There was a moment of panic, as he watched the wolf-monster knock Rayna to the ground, a moment when he thought the darkness would just consume him, and he would never escape again.
But then he was out on the other side, in the space between Rayna and the beast, sword out, teeth gritted, staring the monster in the eye.
The creature was startled for a millisecond. Luckily that was all the time Nico needed. He gripped Rayna’s arm tight, gave the monster one last death glare and disappeared, back into the shadows.
Nico collapsed into the dark. He struggled to breathe, to stay conscious, to concentrate on where he wanted to go. the furious adrenaline from seconds before had pumped itself out of his blood stream, and he was left weak and exhausted, wishing he could just fall over and sleep. But he fought the urge to black out mid shadow travel. He had to get Rayna back to Camp Half Blood…
But there was something wrong. He has stayed in the darkness way to long. A deep freezing cold lingered at the edges of his senses, light spots flickered in his vision, a horrible stabbing pain shot through his skull. Something was definitely wrong.
And if that wasn’t enough, Rayna’s fingers were slipping out of his grip. No. No, no, no!
Nico didn’t know what would happen if he let go, maybe she would end up in a random place somewhere in America, maybe she would stay in this strange shadow realm, never to see light again.
His fingers fumbled, his stomach squeezed, lights and colour and faint voices flashed through the nothingness of the dark. Nico was flung through dark and light and flashes and sound and fragments of picture that all whizzed by so fast his head swam. Finally, he tumbled out the other side, into fresh air and cool grass and familiar scents. He only registered one thing from his new surroundings before he gave in and let his eyelids droop and his body take over again.
Rayna was gone.
When Nico woke, he found himself lying sprawled on damp grass under the cover of a dark shady canopy of foliage. He reluctantly turned himself, so he looked into the branches of the trees above, bright yellow shards of afternoon sunshine where peeking through the comforting shade of the leaves and burning themselves straight into Nico’s innocent eyeballs. Nico groaned and blinked his eyes shut, turning away from the sun and wrapping an arm over his head.
And then it all came back to him. He jumped up, eyes wide, alert.
Rayna Wolf creature Dead Oh no Stuck in the darkness Oh no Help No… Where the Hades am I?!
He stumbled to his feet, head aching, thoughts disfigured, and leaned against a nearby tree hoping to whoever would listen it wouldn’t suddenly turn into a nymph.
He glanced around. It looked like he was in the middle of a forest, if he was lucky in was the forest at camp half blood, if he was unlucky, which was more likely, he was probably on the other side of the world or something. Either way, he needed to get his energy levels up. He reached into a pocket inside his coat where he kept a plastic bag of ambrosia. He took out a piece and nibbled on it. It tasted blissfully of strawberries, and melted dark chocolate. Instantly, his body was refreshed, his head wasn’t aching, and his legs weren’t threatening to buckle underneath him. Nico ate a bit more of the god-food before exploring his surroundings. So far everything was standard forest – trees, shrubs grass, the normal plant life you’d expect in such a place. Nico wandered for a while, looking around for signs of the camp, or else any other buildings that might be nearby. If he was alone in the middle of nowhere, he would have to gain enough energy to shadow travel again, and hopefully find Rayna – wherever she was by now.
He walked a little further through the forest. He thought he could recognize some of the scenery by now – maybe he was imagining it, but that tree seemed familiar…
Suddenly in the place of the oak was a pretty green skinned nymph. The nymph looked down at him disdainfully. “Ugh, a Hades kid. Thought that handsome blond boy might be back.”
Nico decided to ignore her comment. “Is this camp half-blood?” He demanded.
The nymph wrinkled her nose. “Where’ve you been, under a rock? Course it is.”
Nico sighed in relief. “Which direction?” He asked.
The nymph rolled her eyes. “Seriously, do you know nothing? That way.” She pointed through the trees in the direction Nico had been going.
Nico nodded a numb thanks at the nymph before turning and heading the way she had pointed.
“Hey, wait! Hades’ boy! Didn’t I see you just the other day… only, you were much younger, and…”
Nico spun on his heals. “And what?”
“And smaller. Like a tiny shrimp or something.”
“But I haven’t been at camp for the last four days…”
The tree nymph smiled with all her teeth. “Oh, never mind. I must have mistaken you for someone else. You know I might be rethinking… you’re actually quite handsome – in a weird dark emo way.” She giggled.
Okay, now it was time to leave.
When Nico came to the edges of camp, near the dining pavilion, he thought things looked a little bit off.
And that was before people started to come for dinner.
He had walked up to one of the pillars surrounding the pavilion and leaned his shoulder against it, his energy exhausted, waiting for everyone to come. He didn’t bother walking up to the big house.
It was strange that no one was there yet. Usually there where a few kids hanging around the place.
Cabin 8 arrived first.
Which was strange because as far as Nico knew, the hunters weren’t at camp.
Which was also strange because there were some dead people walking towards the Artemis table.
Including Zoe Nightshade.
Zoe was dead. She had been dead for years. Now she was alive and walking and talking and looking as stern as ever.
How on earth –
Nico quickly ducked behind the pillar. His blood froze. A thousand strands of questions and thought burst inside his brain.
How? How was she here? She’s dead. She’s DEAD.
Bianca took a seat at the Artemis table with her hunter friends, chatting and laughing and making herself at home. The hunter next to her cracked a joke, and Nico could hear her giggle out loud.
A flare of steady fiery anger rose inside him. it was like he was ten years old all over again.
How could she leave him?
It wasn’t fair.
She abandoned him. She ran away from him. For them, for the hunters. She left him with people he barely knew. And then she went and died, and now… now she was here again.
It was like a dream and a nightmare come true.
Do not judge him.
He slipped away from the scene, making sure he wasn’t spotted, before bolting.
Running didn’t turn out so good anyway. Not considering who he barged straight into.
Yeah, of course he had to slam headfirst into his old crush while running away from his dead older sister, who was now younger than him, and who also was alive.
Nico stumbled, struggling to keep his balance, and failing spectacularly. When he finally gathered his senses and managed to lift his head, he gave a start.
The son of Poseidon was like thirteen years old.
He couldn’t help remembering in that moment how Percy had saved them. How Nico had developed a crush. How this was the boy, waves of black hair, sea-green irises, who had first caught his attention.
Percy’s bright ocean-coloured eyes looked down into his own. He held out a hand to help Nico to his feet. Nico declined and lifted himself up. He was peeved to find that though Percy was now years younger than him, he was still about an inch taller.
“Sorry mate.” Percy said. Even his voice sounded younger. “Uh... you’re new here, are you?”
Nico decided, that yes, he was new here. Wherever, or rather whenever, he was.
Because he had figured it out. Somehow, by some way, he had managed to travel not only through space with the shadows, but through time.