Chapter 9-Back To Beaufort

'Nico! Buddy, can you hear me,' When there was no answer I felt my heart rate speed up, I was convinced it was going to thump right out of my chest, tears streamed down my face as I chanted my cousins name over and over again tears cascading down my cheeks in an endless stream. I fell to my knees when I saw Thorn advance towards Nico at a terrifyingly fast pace, all I knew was that I needed to be there, I wanted nothing more than to be there so I could protect him, keep him safe, I could hear no sound over the loud, continuous thumping of my heart, gods I needed to be there, I cried harder at the fact I couldn't, there was no way I could save Nico now, none whatsoever, I needed a miracle.

I sobbed desperately into my hands, there was nothing I could do, he was there, wherever there was and I was here, on a secluded, deserted island in the middle of nowhere where I couldn't do a damn thing.

And suddenly I could, I couldn't explain to you how it happened because honestly I didn't know myself, somehow, by some unseen miracle I was with Nico, I was there, I could do something other than sit down and cry over the fact, the kid, that in the past week and a bit had become my brother was probably dead.

I wasted no time in uncapping riptide and charging at the Manticore head on, I only got a couple of slashes in before he roared in pain and took to the sky, knowing if he stayed any longer I would kill him without a second glance. I tossed Anklusmos to one side and sprinted towards Nico who was lying far too still on the ground.

'Nico' I said softly, scooping the battered boy into my arms and cradling him to my chest, 'I'm so sorry' I choked out 'This is all my fault'

'Percy?' a weak voice said, at the sound of the timid, gentle voice more tears streamed down my cheeks.

'Yeah Neeks, I'm here, I've got you!'

'You're okay!' I saw Nico's brown eyes flicker open

'Yeah kiddo, I am, and so are you!' I knew ambrosia and Nectar wasn't enough to help him this time, I needed to get him to a hospital, and I needed to get him there fast.

I think Nico noticed my terrified expression, 'P-Perce, a-am I g-going to die?'

I shook my head so vigorously I was sure it was going to fall off my shoulders. 'I'll die myself before I let that happen.'

Tears streamed down his battered up cheeks, 'P-Percy I'm scared'

I was too but I couldn't admit it, not when Nico was depending on me like this. 'Everything will be fine, big brothers going to protect you' I don't know what possessed me to say it, everything was far from fine, but I knew, as far as I was concerned Nico was my brother in everything but blood, just like Thalia was my sister. Oh gods, Hades! I didn't know how he'd react but I needed to Iris Message them when I got to the hospital.

'Big brother always does' Nico replied, his voice getting quieter and before I

could stop him he let out a shuddering breath, snapped his eyes shut and went limp in my arms, I immediately assumed the worst. I tried desperately to find a pulse, tears streaming down my cheeks blurring my vision; finally I found it, weak but fading. I held him tighter in my arms. I needed to save him, I knew if I didn't it'd kill me.

I had almost forgotten about Blackjack until I heard a voice in my head. 'I'm sorry boss, I tried to help, honestly I did!'

'It's alright Blackjack' I answered, my voice breaking as more tears slid down my cheeks,

The Pegasus nuzzled my shoulder as I sniffled loudly, 'Boss, won't ambrosia help him?'

'Not this time Blackjack, he needs a hospital'

'Well hop on, 'Ol Blackjack will find one for you and death boy, yes siree, don't you fret boss'

I attempted a smile as I climbed onto his back holding Nico tightly to my chest and we flew into the air.

It turned out that the nearest town with a hospital was the one on the outskirts of Beaufort, where this whole mess began, needless to say, I wasn't too keen on going back there, but I needed to get Nico to a hospital fast, so that was our only choice. Blackjack touched down at the back of the hospital and I grabbed Nico tightly and ran as fast as I could into A & E.

Everything that happened next was nothing but a blur; someone whipped Nico from my arms and wouldn't let me see him, they ushered me in a different direction than him, I remember crying and screaming that I needed to be there with him, that he needed me but they wouldn't listen. So I was left in a deserted waiting room, curled up in a ball and crying desperately. Then I remembered Hades, I needed to tell him what happened, I needed to tell Thalia what happened.

I remembered seeing a fountain of some sort at the back of the hospital and I ran to it, digging into my pocket for a couple of Drachmas and wasting no time in throwing them into the fountain, saying the usual words and waiting for it to show me Thalia, eventually I saw her.

'Thals!' I shouted, my cousin whirled around,

'Perce!' she exclaimed, looking relieved to see me, 'What happened?'

'N-Nico is in a bad way' I replied, tears filling my eyes again, 'Are you still with the gods?' she nodded, tears in her eyes too. 'Get Hades, I need to tell him what's happened to his son.'

'Oh Percy, are you alright?' She asked softly,

I shook my head 'I've never been more scared in my life, they won't tell me anything,'

'I'll go get Hades Percy, stay strong okay, Nico'll be fine' I wasn't so sure but I nodded anyway.

A couple of seconds later, Hades' face appeared, 'what is it Jackson'

'Sir, N-Nico's, Nico's in a bad way'

'What on earth are you talking about Jackson! What's happened to my son?!' I explained everything, getting more emotional and upset by the second, when I finished I was in tears and Hades expression had never even wavered.'

'What hospital are you both in?' he asked, voice monotonous.

'Beaufort' I answered

'I'll be there soon, just until then, keep an eye on my little boy' and it was then I realized that Hades loved his son a lot more than he appeared to. I nodded promising I would, swiped my hand through the message and went back inside, curling up on the hard waiting room chairs, to find out what would happen next.

It seemed like forever until a nurse came out saying 'Family of Nico Di Angelo' I nodded and walked up to her, 'H-how is he?' I questioned, terrified to know the answer.

It was then when Thalia, Hades, Zeus and Poseidon ran through the doors, Hades demanding to see his son.

'Well, Mr Di Angelo, this boy here got him here just in time' she explained gesturing to me, 'he's currently in a coma though, it could be hours, weeks or even months before he wakes up, but he's stable, there is a high chance he'll wake up, but it's completely up to him when he wants, or even if he wants to wake up' I almost collapsed to my knees in relief and would have had Thalia not caught me.

'Hey he's okay seaweed brain, no more tears' I clung to Thalia and sobbed into her shoulder,

'Thank the gods!' I sobbed, 'thank the gods'

Thalia gave a tearful laugh and rubbed my back comfortingly, 'You saved him, you got him here in time, he's okay and he's got you to thank'

'H-he called me his big brother' I said softly, smiling, 'I promised him I'd protect him, he told me I always do'

Thalia smiled, 'Percy everything's going to be fine now'

I nodded but stopped when I saw Hades come towards me when he finished talking to Nico's doctor, I expected him to yell at me for letting his son get hurt, but instead, he put his hand on my shoulder and looked at me, his nearly black eyes filled with sincerity. 'You saved my son, if it wasn't for you he'd be dead, I can't believe I'm saying this, but thank you. Y-you can, um, you can go see him if you'd like' I nodded weakly and walked into Nico's hospital room, my legs almost gave way when I saw him, he looked so much smaller, weaker, like he was made of china. Cautiously I walked towards him taking his hand in mine and giving it a gentle squeeze.

'Gods Nico' I said weakly, I saw all the tubes that surrounded his body, the different wires and machines he was hooked up to.

'This is all my fault, I'm so sorry' tears streamed down my cheeks, I let go of his hand, my eyes were blazing with anger as I thought back to who was the cause of Nico's numerous injuries.

I was going to hunt down Dr Thorn, and I was going to kill him.

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