Imagine your otp gently touching foreheads with half lidded eyes and soft smiles while they gaze lovingly at each other, holding each other’s hands delicately. Now imagine one sneezing and smacking their heads together.
In the Percy Jackson fandom we have a lot of important moments. You drool in your sleep, dam, the underwater kiss, bob says hello, etc. But nothing will ever, ever be more iconic than Percy ignoring until finally answering the door to a beaten-up olympian and saying absolutely nothing but “why?”
Nico: Reyna, why are the guys texting me pick-up lines? Even, Valdez. Reyna: Oh gods, I told them not to disturb you! Those hungry wolves— Nico: HOLY HADES, REYNA WHERE ARE YOU GOING—??!!
Older Nico! Puberty was good to him and he doesn’t know the effect he’s causing. The constant whispers of “That’s Nico di Angelo. The Son of Hades. Prince of the Underworld. The friggin bloody Ghost King. Heard he survived Tartarus. All. By. HIMSELF!” when he passes by–completely oblivious to everything. He just came back from his long stay at the Underworld so he visited Camp Jupiter only to be flooded by messages, and he’s so confused. He has no idea how kids flirt these days. Bless his old soul. Based on this.
Alternatively, things that people forget ignore about Percy and Nico’s relationship and are also totally ignored in Heroes of Olympus.
This is all 100% in the canon and doesn’t have to be shippy unless you want it to be.
Percy spoke up about Nico when Bianca was deciding to join the Hunters, because he felt terrible that she was leaving her little brother behind
Percy took full responsibility for all of Nico’s (questionable) actions during Battle of the Labyrinth because he blamed himself for Bianca’s death
Percy stepped up and claimed the Great Prophecy as his own at the end of Titan’s Curse so that Nico wouldn’t have to do it
Percy lied to Chiron (and everyone else) about Nico being a son of Hades so that Nico wouldn’t be in any more danger
Nico cursed Percy and ran off after Bianca’s death, and Percy responded by scouring the country for Nico
Annabeth and Grover are both uncomfortable with Percy searching for Nico and claiming the prophecy, probably because they don’t want Percy to be the prophecy kid because he’s their friend and they don’t want him to get his soul reaped, and Grover even protests that “this kid hates you and wants you dead” like, maybe you shouldn’t go looking for him? And Percy shoots that bullshit down so fast and immediately defends Nico and convinces them to keep searching for Nico throughout the next couple months
Percy offered for Nico to stay in his cabin at the end of Battle of the Labyrinth
Literally nearly all of Battle of the Labyrinth somehow involves Percy fussing over Nico’s safety
Percy is constantly thinking about Nico all throughout that book, and every time he hears of danger, his thoughts immediately turn to Nico
Percy finds a fast food wrapper in the Labyrinth leftover from Nico summoning the dead, and takes off running through the Labyrinth, which is insanely dangerous, with Annabeth, Grover and Tyson struggling to catch up to him, because he’s so desperate to find Nico
Percy begs Nico to leave Geryon’s ranch and come with them on the rest of the quest. Nico refuses, and Percy only accepts this because Eurytion promises that he’ll look after Nico
Bianca straight up tells Percy that the reason she felt like she could join the Hunters was because she knew Percy would take care of Nico
Bianca sends Percy Iris-messages about Nico’s whereabouts in the beginning of Battle of the Labyrinth because she trusts that Percy is going to track down Nico and talk some sense into him
Nico runs away from Geryon’s ranch and back into the Labyrinth because Minos convinces him that Percy is in danger and needs his help
Nico passes out after summoning skeletons to help fight the Battle of the Labyrinth, and Percy immediately rushes over to his side, kneels down next to him and tends to him until he’s confident that Nico is fine
When Nico shows up on Percy’s fire escape on his fifteenth birthday, Percy feels really sad for Nico and wonders if he’s ever had a birthday party before or ever been invited to a birthday party, and then invites him inside for cake and ice cream
Nico is the one who convinces Percy to take on the curse of Achilles, because he’s so worried about Percy’s safety in the upcoming Titan War
“I’m sorry if I’m being too pushy, but two years ago my sister gave her life to protect you. I want you to honor that. Do whatever it takes to stay alive and defeat Kronos” more like stay alive because I care about you and I want you to live
Nico panics when Percy climbs out of the River Styx because he thinks that he’s hurt, and right before Percy’s about to go in Nico gets really nervous and tries to talk him out of it, even though it was his idea in the first place
Nico breaks Percy’s trust by turning him over to Hades in Last Olympian, and spends the entire rest of the book trying to earn it back. And he really honestly was trying to help and didn’t want to betray Percy; Hades even tells Percy that, “I’m afraid Nico was quite sincere in wanting to help you. The boy is as honest as he is dense.” Hades definitely knows that Nico has a colossal crush on Percy and that’s what he meant by “dense,” I guarantee it
Percy and Nico obviously kept in touch between Battle of the Labyrinth and Last Olympian because Percy knows that Nico has been searching for a lead on his family and like this is an extremely personal subject that Nico doesn’t talk to anyone else about
Percy and Nico are friends?????? Like, actual friends who laugh and talk about real stuff?????? Like, Percy knows Nico well enough to tease him about stopping in to visit Juniper, and teases him about needing to take a nap after he shadow travels, and Nico has this sarcastic sense of humor that he quips back with? “With great power comes… great need to take a nap. Wake me up later.” Like this is witty and funny??? Nico doesn’t talk like that to anyone else
NICO DESIGNED HIS OWN CABIN. this isn’t really relevant to their relationship but it annoyed me that this was apparently forgotten.
Like even after they save Olympus and the battle ends and everything, even after Percy and Annabeth start dating, Percy still keeps an eye out for Nico. He takes note that he’s sitting at the base of Hades’ throne during the council after the war, because he cares about Nico. He also talks specifically about Nico’s cabin being built, because he’s been trying for years to get Nico to stay at camp.
Because Percy cares about Nico. Like, Percy is a complete mother hen about Nico and doesn’t ever pretend to be otherwise. Did I mention that he literally cannot stop talking about Nico’s safety for all of Battle of the Labyrinth, where, simultaneously, he was also worrying about Annabeth and Tyson and Grover and Camp Half-Blood, but still finds lots of time to worry about Nico, because Percy cares about Nico
Percy and Nico are friends. Like, they don’t have a “rocky relationship” anymore, like it says in Mark of Athena. They had some rough patches and they worked through them, and Percy was mildly miffed that Nico didn’t tell him who he was in Son of Neptune, but holy shit like Nico went missing and almost died and Percy thinks about this, like, maybe twice, which is totally out of character for him
So you’ll have to excuse me if I really don’t accept that Percy was sort of indifferent to Nico going missing and getting trapped in a jar guarded by two giants, because if Percy was actually in character, he would have spent half of Mark of Athena obsessing over Nico just like Hazel
I’m eternally annoyed that Percy didn’t say anything to stick up for Nico when Jason and Leo were like, “Hey maybe we shouldn’t go searching for him because he might be a traitor” because, like, Percy always sticks up for Nico and it’s really not like him to just shrug his shoulders and not care that Nico is in danger
And I absolutely will not take the excuse that Percy was too preoccupied with other things to obsess about Nico because Percy is always preoccupied with other things and still finds time to obsess about Nico
EVERYTHING THAT REYNA, JASON, HAZEL, WILL AND WHOEVER ELSE DOES TO HELP NICO IN HEROES OF OLYMPUS WAS ALREADY DONE FIRST BY PERCY. PERCY SAVED THIS KID’S LIFE SEVERAL TIMES OVER, AND EVERYONE LOVES TO FORGET THAT PART. ESPECIALLY RICK, APPARENTLY.
And you’ll really fucking have to excuse me if I don’t accept “Not my type” as a way to close out their relationship because THAT IS MOTHERFUCKING BULLSHIT, THEY’RE FRIENDS, AND THEY CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS A LOT MORE COMPLEX THAN THAT STUPID ONE-LINER MADE IT SEEM
Bianca sat with [the Hunters], leaving her little brother to hang out in the front with us, which seemed cold to me, but Nico didn’t seem to mind.
“This is so cool!” Nico said, jumping up and down in the driver’s seat. “Is this really the sun? I thought Helios and Selene were the sun and moon gods. How come sometimes it’s them and sometimes it’s you and Artemis?”
-Rick Riordan, The Titan’s Curse
Nico, Age 11:
“I am the son of Hades,” Nico insisted. “Be gone!”
Minos laughed. “You have no power over me. I am the lord of spirits! The ghost king!”
“No.” Nico drew his sword. “I am.”
He stabbed his black blade into the floor, and it cleaved through the stone like butter.
“Never!” Minos’s form rippled. “I will not—” The ground rumbled. The windows cracked and shattered to pieces, letting in a blast of fresh air. A fissure opened in the stone floor of the workshop, and Minos and all his spirits were sucked into the void with a horrible wail.
-Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth
Nico, Age 12:
“Son of Hades.” Kronos spit on the ground. “Do you love death so much you wish to experience it?”
“Your death,” Nico said, “would be great for me.”
“I’m immortal, you fool! I have escaped Tartarus. You have no business here, and no chance to live.”
Nico drew his sword—three feet of wicked sharp Stygian iron, black as a nightmare. “I don’t agree.”
The ground rumbled. Cracks appeared in the road, the sidewalks, the sides of the buildings. Skeletal hands grasped the air as the dead clawed their way into the world of the living. There were thousands of them, and as they emerged, the Titan’s monsters got jumpy and started to back up.
-Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian
Nico, Age 13:
Hazel felt like she’d just introduced two nuclear bombs. Now she was waiting to see which one exploded first.
Until that morning, her brother Nico had been the most powerful demigod she knew. The others at Camp Jupiter saw him as a traveling oddball, about as harmless as the fauns. Hazel knew better. She hadn’t grown up with Nico, hadn’t even known him very long. But she knew Nico was more dangerous than Reyna, or Octavian, or maybe even Jason.
-Rick Riordan, The Son of Neptune
Nico, Age 14:
Nico wasn’t exactly a sunshine person, but for once he welcomed the warmth. It made him feel more substantial – anchored to the mortal world. With every shadow-jump, coming back got harder and harder. Even in broad daylight his hand passed through solid objects. His belt and sword kept falling around his ankles for no apparent reason. Once, when he wasn’t looking where he was going, he walked straight through a tree.
Nico remembered something Jason Grace had told him in the palace of Notus: Maybe it’s time you come out of the shadows.
If only I could, he thought. For the first time in his life, he had begun to fear the dark, because he might melt into it permanently.
-Rick Riordan, The Blood of Olympus
Nico, Age 15:
“Nico,” I said at last, “shouldn’t you be sitting at the Hades table?”
He shrugged. “Technically, yes. But if I sit alone at my table, strange things happen. Cracks open in the floor. Zombies crawl out and start roaming around. It’s a mood disorder. I can’t control it. That’s what I told Chiron.”
“And is it true?” I asked.
Nico smiled thinly. “I have a note from my doctor.”
Will raised his hand. “I’m his doctor.”
“Chiron decided it wasn’t worth arguing about,” Nico said. “As long as I sit at a table with other people, like…oh, these guys for instance…the zombies stay away. Everybody’s happier.”
Will nodded serenely. “It’s the strangest thing. Not that Nico would ever misuse his powers to get what he wants.”