6 || THE MESSENGER OF TRUTH

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The two boys traipsed through the dusty aisles, going through every single object in their line of sight. They had been at it for hours, to no avail.

"Why don't you just get him some ambrosia?" the first boy asked, exasperated, as he followed his friend through the unkept store. The younger boy, turned to glare at him, his gaze almost deathly. "What a great idea!" he exclaimed, his tone reeking of sarcasm. "Happy Birthday Percy, here's some ambrosia."

"How about these then?" the blonde suggested, appearing unaffected by the sour mood of his companion. He pulled a small box off of the shelf closest to him, being careful not to inhale the dust that decorated the lid, and offered it to the other boy.

"Those are bandaids, Will."

"Well, if you want to get him a good gift, I don't think you're going to find it at a gas station," he said, replacing the bandaids and coughing slightly.

"And the camp gift shop is going to have something better?" Nico retorted.

"This is ridiculous," Will exclaimed, following Nico out of 7 Eleven. "You already have a present, why do you need to buy him anything else?"

"Look, I don't want your help and even if did, I still wouldn't have asked. Why don't you just go back to camp, Solace?"

"Regardless of whether you want my help; you're still in unstable condition. I can't let you walk around for hours all by yourself. It's my duty as head of Apollo cabin to take care of you and make sure you don't run into any trouble."

Nico muttered profanities under his breath and entered the next store, a painstaking process he had repeated all day. In and out of each shop, moving in a line. Half the time, he didn't even look up to see where he was actually going. At one point, he had accidentally set foot inside Victoria's Secret. He was thankful that Will was nice enough not to tease him about it.

Fortunately, the next shop wasn't as bad, although it was doubtful that Percy would want any of the mini dresses on display. Nico had to refrain himself from strangling everyone within range. He snuck a glance at Will, who had let a small smile slip its way onto his face.

"Fine," Nico scowled, giving him a look that said are you happy now? "But for your information, I think he would love this dress," he pointed toward the mannequin on his left which was sporting a tight, fluorescent pink dress.

"Yeh, it would really outline his curves," he snorted.

Nico's anger dissipated, temporarily at that comment and he plonked down on one of the coarse leathery couches by the window, which were nowhere near comfortable. Sighing, he twisted the ring on his figure, distracted. "You don't even know what I bought him. How do you know if he'll like it?"

"For the last time, I'm sure it's fine, it's not like you're proposing!"

"I could be!" Nico exclaimed, finally getting fed up with his companion.

"What?"

"What?"

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The irritating sound of the doorbell ringing echoed through the apartment. Much to Percy's dismay, the person ringing seemed to be quite impatient, as when no one came to answer the first time, they rang again, and again, until Percy thought his ears were about to implode.

"Could you get the door please, Percy?" Sally shouted from the kitchen, not even sounding slightly annoyed.

"Sure," Percy said, getting up from his position on the couch, wondering who could possibly be that desperate to be let in. He unlocked the door, and flung it open a little too hard. It reverberated against the wall, making a loud bang.

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