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Little Soldier

Chapter Text

It was a normal day at camp.

Haha, just kidding. A day at camp is anything but normal.

But the day Piper McLean was having so far could have been mistaken for normal. There was a new but unclaimed camper that she was tasked with showing around. Her name was London Maxwell, and it was kind of a long story how Nico and Grover had found her while the seven of the prophecy plus Reyna, Nico, Thalia, and Grover were visiting Sally Jackson, so we'll skip that.

The young demigod Piper was showing around was swivelling her head everywhere, soaking up the sights as Piper was pointing out landmarks. "Over there's the Aphrodite Cabin, my cabin actually, and that's the Big House, and if you look hard enough you can see Zeus' Fist just over there." She pointed at the massive rock and was about to show London the strawberry fields when Percy and Jason came sprinting out of the woods.

"Who are they?" the little girl piped up. She was about six, with wavy black hair. "Oh, that's just Percy and my boyfriend Jason. They're kinda the big-shots around here so-"

"RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, PIPER!" Percy shrieked.

"What…?" Piper furrowed her brow.

"HE'S COMING!" Jason shouted, glancing back over his shoulder wildly.

"Who? I swear to the gods, I will charmspeak both of you to slap yourselves depending on the intensity of whatever stupid thing you did this time if you don't tell me what the Hades is going on," Piper threatened. To think she could have one almost normal day was so naive of her.

Percy spared a quick look back at the forest over his shoulder. "Oh shit…."

"C'mon, man, we can barricade ourselves in Cabin 1 until it's over," Jason offered.

Piper and London stared at the forest. An absolutely drenched Leo Valdez came sprinting out of the woods, hands aflame.

"I'LL KILL YOU YOU LITTLE SHITHEADS!" He screeched at an inhumane pitch as he threw a fireball in their direction.

"Oh gods." She turned to London. "Come with me for a minute, I'm so sorry sweetie." London followed her to the Zeus Cabin and Piper knocked on the door. "What did you morons do this time?"

"Well you see…" Percy began nervously, his voice muffled from behind the door.

"We may have, um-"

"Sorta-"

"Possibly-" Jason coughed and Piper could almost see him sheepishly twiddling his thumbs.

"Kinda-"

"Flooded Bunker 9."

Piper groaned and facepalmed as Leo hollered in the background, "GET BACK HERE SO I CAN KILL YOU PERCY JACKSON AND JASON GRACE!" and started a small forest fire.

London was quiet from shock for a good thirty seconds. Then she asked, kind of nervously," Is this normal?"

Piper smiled and rumpled the younger girl's hair. "You should have seen the time when Hazel and Frank loaded the Athena Cabin with spiders. Chiron was asking why it sounded like a mob was going on a killing spree at 3 AM," she said, stifling a snicker.

"Or- or- that time that Percy, Jason, and Leo all worked together to trap Nico in a closet, locked it, and put the key on a hook gour inches above Nico's head.Oh gods… when he got out, he was furious. He raised a dozen skeletal armies to capture them, wound up in the infirmary for a month, and still wouldn't let them go. It was rich. Just don't get Nico mad like that. He'll kill you unless you're Hazel."

London frowned a little. "Mr Nico is really nice. Don't talk about him like that."

"I know he's nice, London," Piper said soothingly, remembering how much the younger girl looked up to the son of Hades.

"Then why are you saying that stuff about him?"

"He's not mean. He's been through a lot. It's just- he gets mad sometimes. Everybody gets angry sometimes," Piper tried her best to explain.

"Oh. Okay. I think I understand that," London said slowly.

"I'm glad. Besides, we all know Nico's a dork in real life. He still collects Mythomagic figurines, you know." The younger girl looked at her with wide eyes.

"Are you two talking about me?" a sly voice said from the shadows. "Piper, you have got to stop exposing my dirty secrets to this child."

"Mr Nico!"

Nico dropped a bag of McDonalds on the grass, glancing at the forest fire. "Oh gods. What did Percy and Jason do this time?"

"They flooded Bunker 9." Piper shook her head.

Nico snorted. "Morons." He looked at London and smiled. Not a creepy smile, a tender smile, like she was the world in his eyes. "Hey, little soldier. What you been up to?"

"Piper's showing me around camp, Mr Nico," she said eagerly. "Did you know that they wanted to name Zeus's Fist the Poop Pile?" Nico gave Piper a nasty look.

"Stop corrupting my innocent child." Piper only shook her head.

"No can do, sorry Neeks."

London looked at at the bag of McDonalds on the grass with a strange look on her face.

"Mr Nico, would you think I was weird if I told you this?"

Nico knelt down on the grass, placing a hand on her shoulder. "You know I'd never judge you for anything, London."

"I feel like I know you form somewhere," she said carefully, eyes screwed shut, body tense. "But whenever I try to remember I get a weird headache. And I keep having these dreams where there's a girl who tells someone to tell 'him' she was sorry. They're in a fight with a robot and she goes inside it to shut it down and later her friends keep calling her name but they never find her, and, and-"

Piper noticed how distressed London was becoming just from talking about this. It was normal for demigods to have dreams, but for London to be having this recurring, obviously traumatic and stressful dream about people she didn't know? It was beyond weird, especially for a six year old. Before she could offer anything- advice, comfort, whatever- Nico leaned in and wrapped his arms around London. His expression was pained, but it was obvious he was trying to mask it.

"Hey, hey, it's alright." He waited a few beats for her to calm down, then said, "If you want to answer- and only if you really want to answer- what happened after?"

"Nothing. I always wake up after that," she sniffled.

"Is there anything else you can remember?" Nico asked her calmly, still holding her. Piper was impressed by the way he was handling this situation, especially since he claimed not to be good with feelings.

London looked as if she were concentrating very hard. "They- they only said one name and no one else's name. I think- I think they kept saying 'Bianca'. They were calling the girl Bianca when they were looking for her."

Nico inhaled so sharply Piper thought he was having an asthma attack, but before she could question it he went back to his previous demeanor.

"Listen, little soldier. I don't know what to do here, I'll be honest with you. But I can ask the Hypnos cabin if they have anything for dreamless sleep. If you want to talk, you know who to come to, alright?" London nodded, and Nico smiled again. "Now, I have a surprise. How about you go to the weapons closet? I think it's about time you got your very own sword. Or bow and arrow. Or spear. Or- whatever it is you want. Then we can train. Sound good?"

London nodded excitedly, looking calmer and more at ease as she ran to the weapons closet. It was a good thing Piper had showed her the location of it.

Nico sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Be with you in a minute!" he called to London. 

"That was... strange," Piper commented.

Nico said nothing.

"I've never known kids that young to get weird prophetic dreams."

Nothing.

"Nico, are you alright?"

He let out a huff of air. "No. No, I'm not alright."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

He shook his head but started talking nonetheless. "When I was ten, a little while after finding out I was a demigod, my sister joined the Hunters of Artemis died on a quest a little while later. She was twelve and my whole world, my only family- my everything. Percy promised to keep her safe but she died to save them and when I found out I was so upset and griefstricken and confused that I ran away from camp."

"And?" Piper prompted after a moment.

"Piper. My sister's name was Bianca di Angelo," he whispered, and Piper felt her eyes widen slightly.

"Oh. Oh."

"She chose rebirth," he continued. "And when Thanatos was captured I went to see if I could get her back, but I found out she had applied for rebirth. And I think... I think that London might be her reincarnation. I don't want to believe it, but why else would she be having these dreams? Truth is, I'm scared, Piper. What if I lose her too? I couldn't protect Bianca and I can't bear losing her again, even if it's her reincarnation, but-"

"Hey. You'll be alright. She'll be safe at camp. You'll be here to train her to keep herself safe. She'll have lessons and she'll learn. You don't need to tell anyone. This can stay between us, alright?"

Nico nodded, still looking stressed, but significantly less so. 

"You go help that girl choose her weapon now. Go on."

About ten minutes later, London ran up to Piper, a long-ish black blade in her hand. It looked kind of like a spatha, only the blade looked almost paper thin and was needle sharp. It looked incredibly deadly, like it could hit the places no other ordinary blade could, and have a thousand pounds of iron thrown on top of it with little to no damage done whatsoever. For some reason, Piper had her doubts about letting a six year old child with no prior training wield it, but Nico looked confident in her choice. She supposed she couldn't really judge- after all, she had nearly chosen a gun, after all.

"Nice weapon," Piper said.

Nico looked like a proud parent. "It's Stygian Iron, like my own sword. It's really dangerous. I haven't ever seen one designed like that, but she insisted. I think she can handle it. She looks like a worthy little fighter, and that looks like a warrior's blade." He turned his attention to young London. He spoke with a fondness Piper hadn't ever heard from him. "So, little soldier, what're you gonna name it?"

London looked at the blade curiously. "Name it?"

"So it's officially yours. It's a mark of ownership, I guess."

She thought for a long time. "Reaper," she finally said. "Reaper. It feels right."

"When you're a demigod, always trust your instincts. Reaper sounds perfect. Now, how about we go start your training? Piper can finish her tour later. Or, rather, I'll finish it for her so she can't reveal any of my dirty secrets to you." 

Piper knew he was talking about the Mythomagic thing and not the reincarnation thing, so she rolled her eyes in an over exaggerated way.

"You wound me! I would never-"

"Yeah, right. I'm taking over from here. Come on, London." 

That was fine with Piper. Come to think of it, she had more important things to do- like stopping Leo from murdering her boyfriend and her best friend's boyfriend in cold blood.