Disclaimer: I do not own Percy Jackson and the Olympians or the Heroes of Olympus series, nor do I own the characters. All rights to these matters belong the the amazing Rick Riordan. This is a fanfiction about the characters in the series, written for fans by a fan. Enjoy!
Nico di Angelo sat atop the hill overlooking Camp Half-Blood, his back to the camp and staring and Thalia’s pine angrily. It had been almost a month since the Giant War had ended in a relatively short but bloody Battle of Half- Blood Hill, and things were (mostly) back to normal. And for the first time in his life, he had friends and he had a home. Nico should, in theory, be happy. But he wasn’t. He couldn’t seem to stop thinking about shaggy blonde hair and sun kissed skin. About deceptively strong arms and big blue eyes that were both gentle and bossy.
Hot tears began to spill down his cheeks as he hit at the ground like a child. He hadn’t asked for any of this. He hadn’t asked to be born son of the god of the Underworld. He didn’t ask to be shunned and treated like an outcast. And he certainly didn’t ask for this. Why did he have to have this damn sickness inside him? Nico remembered how hard it had been with Percy, when that monster Cupid had first shot him and forced him to fall in love with the son of Poseidon. Gods, had that arrow even pierced the skin? Because this pain was so much worse, so much deeper. If he came across Cupid again, he would shove that stupid bow down his throat and the son of Hades would find some way to send him to Tartarus, where he belonged. He couldn’t sleep without the son of Apollo sneaking into his dreams, a bright, welcoming lifeline among the sorrow and regrets of his past, and yet forever out of reach. He couldn’t think clearly. He could barely even breathe.
Because there was no way Will would ever love him back. He was beautiful, and kind, and selfless. Nico had seen first hand how he risked his life to save the people he cared about during both the Titan and Giant Wars. He was brave, and generous, and open. Warm and friendly and amazing… He was everything Nico wasn’t. Nico was cold and distant and closed-off, and sometimes he could be mean without meaning to be. He made people uncomfortable just by walking into the room. He had killed people before. He had let others die when he could have saved them… He had let Octavian die. He’d let him blow himself up, and Will had watched. The thought of the Roman augur still haunted him. Will probably hated him for that…
The young demigods thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps running up the hill behind him. “There you are,” Jason panted as he came to a stop behind him. His hair was a mess and his glasses were slightly askew. He frowned a bit when he noticed the way Nico’s shoulders sagged and how he trembled slightly. The grass around Nico had started to wilt slightly and was beginning to turn brown.
Nico didn’t turn to look at him as he hastily wiped away his tears with the sleeve of his leather jacket, which Thalia had given him as a late birthday present. His voice was a hostile when he spoke, a natural defense against his true feelings. “What do you want, Grace?”
Jason seemed unphased by the anger in Nico’s voice. He ran his hand through his hair so that it stuck up in places, hoping to take Nico’s mind off whatever was bothering him. “We were getting ready to start a game of capture the flag and I was wondering if you wanted to join in. It would be you, Hazel, Percy, Leo, Cecil and I against-”
Suddenly Nico turned to face him, giving him a glare that made his skin crawl. When he spoke, his voice dripped with ice. “I don’t want to play games.” He just wanted to be left alone right now.
Jason couldn’t take it anymore. He was used to Nico being closed off and distant, and maybe a little moody, but the kid had a lot of skeletons. He couldn’t blame him. But in the month since the end of the War, the son of Hades had slipped into a melancholy so deep you could practically see the shadows radiating off him. And to be perfectly honest, he was worried. All thoughts of capture the flag now gone, he sat down in the grass beside the younger demigod and draped one arm around his shoulders. “What’s wrong, Nico? Honestly.”