Chapter One:

Summary: It was just a normal game of capture the flag for Leo. But something happens, and he finds himself in a world where nothing makes sense, and he can't have one girl who actually loves him. And there's no way out.

A/N: So, I was looking through PJO fanfiction, and I realized something; Leo Valdez is a completely neglected character. Everyone's always writing about Percabeth, Thalico(don't get me wrong, I love Nico. He and Leo are tied for my fav. character), and Traite. But what about Leo? So, I'm writing a story 'bout The Great Valdez. My first PJO fic, so...flame me if you want. Constructive criticism rocks :)

Disclaimer: If I owned PJO and THoO, there'd be a Nico di Angelo movie, a book just about Leo, and The Mark of Athena book on shelves. So, ya. Me no own.

Leo was never a big fan of the dark. After so many years of sleeping in alley's with nothing but your thoughts and the dark, anyone could see why.

That's why he hated capture the flag. Instead of working on the Argo II, surrounded by machines, light, and PEOPLE, he had been coerced into running around a pitch black forest alone. Sometimes, Leo wondered about himself.

"Valdez!" someone hissed in the darkness. Leo jumped, nearly falling down the steep incline he was patrolling. "Cool your jets, fire boy, it's just me." Leo breathed a sigh of relief as Piper stepped out of the shadows and knelt next to him.

"Gods Piper! Why don't you just push me off the cliff next time?" Piper cracked a smile. "Remind me why I let you talk me into playing capture the flag?"

"Because you love me."

"More like you charmed me." Piper made an offended face.

"Mui? I'm offended, Leo, really." Leo rolled his eyes and they laughed together. "I think it's because you wanted to get away from the Argo II." Now it was Leo's turn to be offended. "Don't give me that look, Valdez. You work day and night on that boat. When was the last time you ate with your cabin? Or played capture the flag? Or SHOWERED?" Leo fiddled the grip of his new sword guiltily. It felt heavy and clumsy in his hands. What was he supposed to do? Only he knew the plans for the Argo, and it needed to be finished by summer. He had no choice but to work on it. It was the only thing he was good at.

Piper snapped her fingers in his face. "Earth to Leo! You're not a machine. People need to rest, eat, bathe, and have fun. You'll thank me for this." Leo rolled his eyes again at Piper's teasingly smug face. "Maybe not now, but you will."

"Ya, sure Beauty Queen. Right after pigs-"

A twig suddenly snapped, and Leo's face turned serious. "Perimeter breech."

"Right after pigs perimeter breech?" Leo ignored Piper's failed attempt at humor and scanned the trees for red or orange plummed helmets. For tonight's game, the camp had been divided into three teams. Team 1 was just Apollo, Ares, and Hermes wearing red helmets. They might seem like a small group, but together, they made up 1/3 of the camp(1). Demeter, Athena, Iris, Tyche, Hebe, and Nike made up the third team with orange helmets. And finally, team two, the loser team: Zeus, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Dionysus, Hypnos, Nemesis, and Hecate. His cabin would do fine, Leo was sure, and Piper and Jason were pretty decent players, but the other campers? The Aphrodite kids(minus Piper) just walked around complaining about how ugly armor was, Dionysus only had one child, and Clovis and his siblings fell asleep wherever you put them! The Nemesis and Hecate kids were better, but they were loose cannons. Having kids of Nemesis with bones to pick and psychotic magicians running around turning people(sometimes there own teammates) into bushes and bunnies isn't exactly a team advantage. Not like having Ares of Athena on your team, or Tyche and Nike. I mean seriously, one team gets the children of Victory and Luck? Where's the fairness in that?

"Archers at two o'clock!" Piper ducked into the forest, her Katropis drawn.

"Piper, wait! I don't know what that means(2)! Piper-"He cursed Piper under his breath. She was gone, melted into the shadows, leaving Leo. Alone. In the dark. Darn you Piper.

Cautiously, Leo hopped down the steep dirt incline. A small overhand hung over the clearing in the woods, providing perfect hiding place. This ledge was new, discovered when some campers had gone exploring to find more territory. After the first Titan War, there had been a huge influx in campers, since the gods couldn't ignore their kids anymore. The camp was running out of space for capture the flag, so they'd gone searching. Leo had heard horrible stories of the campers who had gone in and never returned, eaten by monsters that many had forgotten roamed the forest. Leo always wondered where the stories came from if barely any campers came back. And where the monsters would hide. As if on cue, some horrible creature wailed in the distance. Leo shivered.

There was a rustling above Leo. He ducked, pressing himself against the ledge's wall. With his stupid sword, he REALLY didn't feel like fighting off Ares or Athena's cabin. He didn't hear the footsteps of a camper, though. He heard something louder, like an elephant walking on creeky steps. 'Boom boom boom'. Something large, smelly, and definitely NOT demigod lumbered around above him. Leo's breathing picked up. Wasthis one of the monsters that ate demigods for breakfast? He could imagine whatever this thing was picking itty-bitty Leo bits out of his teeth with one of his rib bones.

The monster snuffed the air noisily. "What do you smell?" A high-pitched, annoying voice that did not belong to the huge, lumbering creature above hissed. Funny, Leo hadn't even heard a second creature. There was a feral growling, more sniffing, and a yelp. Then a deeper grunt.

"Hmm...doggy says air smell bad. Smell like fire." Funny, he hadn't heard a third creature either. Was there some monster party he hadn't been invited to? A slight breeze started blowing, and Leo caught the smell of the monsters. He gagged. It was a combination of wet dog, rotting meat, and stale popcorn. He covered his nose to keep himself from throwing up.

"And you think I smell bad." Too late, Leo slapped a hand over his mouth. The three monsters went silent. The high-pitched voice purred with pleasure.

"Our Fire-breather is near. I can feel his presence." Leo paled. Fire-breather...he had a feeling they weren't talking about Festus.

"Hello meat-bag." Leo jumped. What was this, scare-the-crap-out-of-Leo-day? Three huge, burly guys from Ares stood around Leo. He frantically pressed a finger to his lips, gesturing for silence. But, of course, the Ares kids being the BRANIACS they are, just laughed. "What? You trying to...uh..." The biggest kid frowned, trying to thing of a good insult. Leo shook his head vigorously, pointing upwards and mouthing 'MONSTERS'. "Stop being a...a weasel! Ya, a weasel. Face your fate like a man, Valdez."

A howl sounded right above Leo. Feet pounded on the ground, and a hideous creature jumped down from the overhang and landed in front of Leo. It slowly turned around.

It was tall, taller than any man Leo had ever met, with a scrunched in nose and a layer of fine chestnut brown hair-or was it fur?-all over his body. From the waist up, he could pass as a normal, very hairy, very smelly man. With donkey ears. But below the waist, he was anything but. He wore tight white and red pants, like an acrobat might wear, but the backside was completely cut out. Coming out of it was a bushy brown tail. Leo couldn't tell if it was a donkey or horse tail. Maybe a combination. The monster gnashed it's yellow and brown teeth at Leo and stomped it's HUGE feet, each one the size of Leo's face. The three demigods from Ares were in a state of shock, holding their spears weakly at their sides. Leo tried to pick his sword up, but could barely got it off the ground.

"Aww screw it." He tossed the sword aside and pulled his hammer out of his enchanted tool belt. This three-pound hammer was definitely more his style. "Come on Ugly! Let's dance!"

This seemed to snap the Ares kids out of their trance. "Ares, attack!" The three guys ran at the Donkey-creature, spears pointed at it's chest. The monster turned to snarl at the campers and flung his arm out, knocking them all back. None of them got up. It turned back to face Leo. He raised the hammer. "Guess it's just you and me. Don't worry, meat-breath, this hammers big enough to crush in your ugly face. And you're going down! Leo style!"

"Oh, we'll have none of that little Fire-breather." Leo looked above him to see a hag leaning over the ledge. Her face was a disgusting barf-green color with flecks of mud brown. It was all shriveled up in a cruel smile, like she was planning just how she was going to cook him: grilled, broiled, or fried. "Laelaps?" Leo heard a low, bloodthirsty growl. "Fetch." A huge dog jumped down from the ledge in front of the creature, it's black lips raised in a snarl. Leo backed up, hitting the wall of earth way too soon. The dog approached him, his mouth dripping with foam. Leo held his hammer up, ready to strike the dog.

"Leo?" He took his eyes off of the dog to see Piper standing at the woods edge. Right then, the dog pounced on Leo. He swung his hammer, hitting the dog square in the jaw. It fell to the ground with a yelp.

"Piper, run!" He tried to keep his voice from trembling. "Get Jason or Annabeth or Chir-" The donkey man grabbed Leo's throat, crushing his windpipe in his beefy hands. Slowly, Leo felt his feet leave the ground and he was hanging from the monster's fist. Desperatly, his hands clawed at the pressure around his neck, but it didn't ease. He tried to summon fire to his hand and burn the monster, but he couldn't manage it. Black dots danced in his vision as Piper stared in horror.

"Can I crush fire-breather's neck? Just a little?" The hag shrugged. The donkey man smiled a toothy grin. Leo turned his face towards Piper, trying to be strong, and mouthed one word: 'Go.' With tears in her eyes, Piper turned and fled. Fingers clenched around Leo's neck harder, cutting off his breathing completely. His lungs screamed for air he couldn't give it. The hag floated down from the overhang as if she could fly, or was he just hallucinating. She approached with that smile of hers, like a cat examining a cornered mouse.'"Don't worry, my little fire-breather. All will be over soon. You will be the masterpiece of my collection." Her face swirled like an apple smoothie, and world faded around Leo, everything eventually fading to black.

A/N: 1- I guesstimated how many campers were in each cabin, and combined the teams so each one was 1/3 of the camp*silent thank you prayer to Camp Half-Blood wiki, perfect spot for Fanfiction writers going research. Had really awesome info on cabins, campers, etc.*.

2- I don't know what that expression means either. Just that people say it a lot :) So, if you're an expert on the use of 'o'clock' expressions, sorry if I used it wrong :P was it? Too fast? Too slow? Too short? Too long? Any tips help, good or bad. So, PLEASE REVIEW! Oh ya, I put some very helpful hints in this story about where Leo's being taken. If you can tell me where he's being taken and the three hints I left, I'll give you a special mention next chapter and let you make up a OC for the place he's going. Reviews make me update sooner so...






It's easy and free!