They ended up near the back of the Homestead, Percy all the while longing for a pillow to rest his head.
"Where are we going?" He finally asked, still feeling the weight of seeing those walls close, thinking about the Maze, the confusion and his fear.
Grover looked around, his eyes scanning the area. "The bathroom. I always have to go before bedtime...but uh...anyone could be in there. They might not let me do my business."
A strange sense of anger washed over Percy, taking him by surprise. He already felt so attached to this satyr, he would not be a happy demigod if someone tried to bully him.
Grover crept up to the back and peered into the glass, stepping up onto a big wooden box just under the window as he did so. Percy watched uncomfortably, waiting to see what happened.
Grover stepped off the box, clopping with his hooves. "I don't think anyone is in here. Could you uh, stand guard maybe while I go?"
Percy stood there blankly for a moment, before he realized what Grover was asking. "Uh yeah, sure man. Go ahead. I'll make sure no one goes in." He positioned himself just outside the door, fingering Riptide in his pocket again.
Grover grinned and bleated happily. "Thanks!" He turned and reached for the door knob, but it wouldn't open. His face turned pale. "Oh no, someone's in there." He quickly yanked back his hand.
A shout came from inside the bathroom, a toilet flushing and then the spray of water from a faucet. Percy cringed, braced himself for an assault. He could have run, he could have left Grover and stayed out of the whole mess. He didn't.
"Who's that!" yelled the boy from the bathroom, his voice scratchy and laced with anger. Percy sucked in a grunt of surprise, he knew that voice already. Nico.
Grover was still frozen at the door, staring at his hand and the door knob. Clearly he was afraid of using the bathroom, and it was obvious he was scared of Nico.
Percy grabbed his hand to pull him back just as the door swung open. "I swear Grover, next time I see you jiggling that doorknob with your precious hands I'll make sure you don't see another sunrise." His face was murderous.
Percy stepped forward, hands up. "Whoa Nico, hold up alright. You can't just go around killing people."
Nico shifted his eyes to Percy's. "Why not Probatio. Give me a good reason."
Percy closed his eyes, as if to think. He knew you weren't supposed to kill at random. "Because Nico, killing for fun is wrong. And, the thing is I don't like people who kill because it's fun." He stared directly back at Nico, his hand creeping to his pocket, getting ready to uncap Riptide.
The demigod only laughed. "I'm the son of Hades. I kill for a sole purpose. My self. Don't think sticking up for this goat legged idiot is going to make you a hero. I know who you are. I know what you are. And don't think your safe from me." He turned, shut off the lights in the bathroom and walked away into the shadows without another word.
Grover bleated nervously next to him. "Percy, Nico isn't someone you want as an enemy."
Percy shook his head, laughing for some reason. The laughter felt strange, as if he hadn't done it in a long time. "I have a feeling he and I would have been really tight or sworn enemies."
Grover stared at the bathroom then shook his head and led Percy back around to the front of the Homestead. "Let's go with sworn enemies," Grover settled down in a corner. "He's the son of Hades Percy. He's a child of the Big Three, he's a damned praetor of the Builders legion. He's a dangerous enemy."
Percy grinned, closed his eyes and laid back against the side of the shack. He got the feeling that he liked being outdoors, he especially liked it when...his forehead crinkled...when she was with him. He picked up a faint memory, a flash of blonde hair and laughter, grey eyes and then in his arms as he looked up at the sky.
He opened his eyes, suddenly unable to sleep. Something was going to happen tomorrow. He knew it.
"What is it?" Grover mumbled from his position next to Percy. "I don't feel like tucking you in."
Percy didn't answer, just lay in silence for the longest time, looking at the stars and listening to the soft murmurs of various conversations across the Glade. Sleep felt miles away, and he couldn't shake the feeling that something big was coming.
"Grover," he whispered. "What were those guys. The ones who Luke and Jason talked about earlier. Runners." He turned over on his side so he could see Grover.
The satyr muttered something about Hypnos not granting his sleep for once then opened his eyes. "They go out in the Maze," he said uncomfortably. "And well...they map the area. Look for a way out. Get back before the walls close on them. If you're out there at night the hellhounds will get you for sure and eat you."
Percy nodded, not feeling fazed at all. "I want to be a Runner." He said quietly after a few moments of silence.
Grover just nodded and rolled back over.
"I want to be a Runner." Percy repeated, louder this time.
Grover turned back over, not amused. "You don't know what you're talking about Percy. You can forget that little thought now."
Percy started to say something, but shut his mouth.
"You're kidding yourself though. Beckendorf wouldn't let you be a Runner in the first month- never the less the first week. Go to sleep."
Percy lay back down, knowing it was useless to try and talk sense to Grover. Something out there in the Maze, something felt familiar. He knew he had to do it, it just fit like several pieces of a puzzle that he'd just pieced together.
Sleep came much more easily then he'd expected.