Annabeth should have been used to blood and life-threatening situations by now, she supposed. She'd seen Percy injured several times, she'd even thought he'd died one time. She had seen Jason lying on the floor bleeding and she had known that this could be the end for him. She herself had been injured multiple times and had once been poisoned really badly. For the gods' sake she'd even been to Tartarus. So, she should have been used to blood and life-threatening situations. Still, there was something so disturbing about watching Nico being stabbed by the Empousai that she couldn't stop herself from screaming. She watched as Nico, the boy she considered as something of her little brother, she watched as his mouth formed into a surprised “Oh” as his face went pale and all the color drained from his skin. And then he fell down as if all the strings which had held him up were cut.
The Empousai hissed and Annabeth could do nothing but stand there and watch as the monster hovered over Nico, ready to finish him. That's when Percy, gods Percy how Annabeth loved him, burst into action and with one outraged cry cut her in half and all of her fellow monsters who had invaded their camping place as well.
The sounds of the battle quieted down and Annabeth still hadn't moved. Her eyes were fixed on Nico and some part of her mind, her useless mind which could not help her now, told her that he truly looked like an angel, now that he was so close to dying. He had always had to dark skin to fit into her image of an angel but now with all the blood gone from his face he was so pale, he was almost white only on his lips was a single drop of blood tainting them red.
Percy fell to his knees next to Nico and whispered useless, meaningless things and Annabeth wished she could help but her smarts which had always helped her, when she had been on quests with Percy, when she had been wandering through Rome alone, even when she had been in Tartarus and now on this quest, her smarts which had always helped her would not help her now. It was too late she knew it. Annabeth looked away from Nico's lifeless body.
“His heart is still beating”, someone yelled.
Confused Annabeth looked back to Nico and saw that her cousin, the gods bless Magnus and his healing powers, had dropped down beside Nico and was pressing his hand to his side.
“Annabeth, get Will”, Magnus ordered. “I cannot heal him, but Will can.”
Annabeth couldn't move. She couldn't leave Nico alone, she had to be there when he died. It's what friends did, wasn't it?
“Annabeth!”, Magnus yelled. “Now!”
Annabeth nodded and ran.
It was bad, Magnus could feel it. Nico was so close to dying, it was only a matter of minutes if even.. Magnus didn't know the boy that well but he had come to like him quite a bit, especially Alex had grown rather fond of him. Magnus knew, his boyfriend would kill him if anything happened to Nico after Will, Annabeth and Percy had killed him.
Nico's heart stumbled under his glowing, healing hands.
“Focus”, scolded Magnus himself. He could not let himself get distracted. One tiny slip, one false thought and everything would go downhill.
“Nico”, someone whispered.
Magnus looked up and saw Will with wide shocked eyes stumbling towards them. He dropped down on his knees beside his boyfriend.
“No, no, no, no, no!”, Will said desperately. “Nico, please!”
Tears started to stream down his face and his hands began to tremble.
“Will”, Magnus said but the other boy didn't hear him.
“Nico, wake up, please! Don't – don't leave me!”
“Will”, Magnus said louder this time but it was no use. Will had his eyes on Nico and just on Nico. He hadn't even noticed Magnus was there.
Magnus reached up with one hand, keeping the other firmly on Nico's body with a constant stream of healing magic, and slapped him hard across his cheek.
“Will”, Magnus said again, Will's eyes slowly focused on him, “Nico isn't dead. Not yet, anyway. His heart is still beating. I can't heal him, but you can.”
Desperately Will shook his head. “If you can't, I can't either.”
“You know as well as I do that love affects our healing powers. I can't heal him but you can.”
“I can't. I can't, Magnus. This is too severe. I can't heal this”, Will whispered panicked.
“Will, focus”, Magnus said. “You can do this. I've seen you doing amazing things, you can do this.”
Will shook his head. His blond hair, streaked with blood and dirt from running and hiding for weeks without a proper shower, flew around his head.
“Put your hand here”, Magnus ordered and mentioned toward Nico's chest. Will obeyed hesitantly, his hand still shaking.
“Do you feel his heart beating?”, Magnus asked. Will closed his eyes and nodded.
“He's still here, Will, he isn't gone. But he will be if you don't do anything. Understood?”
Will exhaled and nodded once again.
“You can do this”, Magnus said.
Will nodded and his eyes slowly lost their panicked gleam.
“I can do this”, he said determined.
“Good, what do you want me to do?”, Magnus asked and the ghost of a smile flew across his face.
“Thank you for earlier”, Will said quietly.
Magnus sat a few feet away from him and watched as he stroked his boyfriend's hair with so much love and admiration it would've made Magnus envious a few months ago. Now he had Alex and he knew Alex would stroke his hair the same way had he been injured.
“I panicked. I've never panicked this badly before but seeing Nico-”, Will cleared his throat. “Thanks, man. You saved him.”
“There's nothing to thank me for”, Magnus answered. “You would have done the same for me had it been Alex.”
“Yeah, but thanks anyway”, Will said.
“No problem”, Magnus said and stood up.
He brushed the dirt from his trousers and left the cave where they'd put Nico after his condition had stabilized.
It was just rainy outside just enough to wet your face but not enough to turn the turn the solid ground into mud. Magnus smiled as he saw Alex sitting a bit away in the wet grass his face turned towards the horizon. He started to go to him when somebody grabbed his hand.
“Magnus”, Annabeth whispered her voice still raw from crying.
“I – You're a hero, Magnus”, she said. “Everyone panicked back there, when –. But you, you didn't.”
“I'm not more of a hero than you”, Magnus said.
“I should have been able to help him, Magnus. I did courses, so many courses. First aid and stuff but-”, she shrugged helplessly.
“You couldn't have helped, Annabeth. This was beyond first aid and you knew it. You saw it.”
“I know but-”
“Everybody has their talents. Me, I have my healing powers. And you, you have your flawless brain. You saved us more than once these past weeks, Annabeth and Odin only knows how often you've saved Percy in all those years you knew him. If I'm a hero than so are you.”
She didn't look convinced but she nodded anyway.
“And now excuse me I have to go see my boyfriend and tell him that I love him”, Magnus said.
Annabeth laughed. “Sometimes I wonder how we can be related, you're such a softie!”