“This one is coffee-flavoured milk,” the waiter said, presenting the little bottle in one hand. The white label read in a light brown font: COFFEE.
“Isn’t that just coffee with milk?” I asked.
“No, no, it’s coffee-flavoured milk,” the waiter shook his head and smiled. “There’s many more flavours, if you would like to have a look. We haven’t prepared a menu yet, so you’ll have to have a look yourself.”
It was a new place. I’d spotted it while on one of my midnight walks. There used to be a hardware shop here, but then it got shut down for a few months, and this restaurant popped up in its place. “A Dairy Situation”, the sign outside said, along with a cheap graphic of a Holstein Friesian cow.
I stepped towards the refrigerator and squatted to get a good look. The waiter was right, there was quite the variety. You had the usual varieties: cocoa, strawberry, mango, orange, vanilla, pistachio, cardamom, saffron and even some strange ones like chilli, chicken, beef, wasabi, and so on.
“You make these here?” I asked.
“Right there in the back, ma'am,” the waiter nodded, and pulled out a passionfruit flavour bottle. “This is the newest one,” he said.
“I’ll have it,” I took the bottle from his hands and put it to my lips. Before I could down it, the waiter said—almost yelled—at me to stop. I asked him what’s wrong.
“There is something very important you need to know,” he nodded, “As soon as you drink it, you will return to when you were a baby. Your life, as you have lived it until now, will disappear, never to return. You will be a baby again, but the circumstances of your life will change in minute ways, culminating in a butterfly effect.”
I looked at the bottle in my hands and at the waiter.
“I’ve been here before,” I said.
“Several times,” he said, and then waved at the refrigerator. “These many times, to be exact.”
“And I’ve tried a new flavour each time?” I asked.
I contemplated the flavoured milk. “And every single time, I’ve ended up here,” I said.
“Oh, we have branches in many cities,” the waiter smiled again, but it wasn’t the same humble smile as before. Now it was a knowing smile.
I nodded. Then I flung the bottle against the glass door. The glass of the bottle shattered, and the pale yellow milk splattered across the door. I opened the refrigerator and started chucking each of the bottles at the door. The waiter watched without expression as the door was covered in different flavours of milk.
At the end, there was one flavour left. It was plain milk, without a label. Just white.
“That one’s not ready, ma'am,” the waiter said.
I opened the bottle and chugged it down. Once the bottle was empty, I slammed it on the table and wiped my mouth with the back of my wrist.
“What was this going to be?” I asked.
The waiter’s mouth opened and closed as he answered my question with a smile. Even as he spoke his words, I felt them slipping away from my mind. My vision faded, and soon, all I could hear was the sound of my own crying, and the warmth of my mother’s breast.
Breakfasts from yesterday and today! On the top: oats cooked with soya milk, topped with dark chocolate, Scottish strawberries, and coconut flakes. And the bottom: oats cooked with cashew milk, topped with banana, strawberries, chia seeds, cocoa nibs, and coconut flakes. 😍😍 We don’t have internet at our flat anymore, so I don’t think I’ll be posting as often until we are settled in Spain on Friday. But we are in a cafe now, so time for some social media. 😜🍓 I also got the cutest strawberry tattoo just now, designed by my friend Rebecca!! Check my story on Instagram to see it all fresh. 😁
This took like an entire week but I finally got the outlines and colors done. To be honest I really didn’t want to update the sketch nor that I really want to shade this right now. So in the meantime I’m leaving this alone and I’ll be working on other things.
Otherwise I guess I like how this came out?
From Oldest to youngest
Java Chip: Known to be called as just Chip he’s the manager who runs the whole business. His personality is almost similar to a child who loves to screw off and make jokes but can be pick fights if he needs or wants to. As the oldest he is the tallest out of his siblings.
Carmel: Cam for short he is the second oldest alongside his look alike. Though he seems nice Cam can be sassy and have a hot temper if things don’t go according to plan. He isn’t exactly the type to joke around with and will try to probably beat the shit out of anyone who messes with his younger brothers.
Carmel Cocoa Cluster: Being the same height and exact look alike of Cam, Coco is the exact opposite. With a loud personality he is usually happy but can get cocky. He’s also quite the asshole if you get on his bad side but otherwise he’ll be chill with family and friends. Coco also enjoys things such as music and dancing.
Green Tea: Smiling all the time Glen is the most quiet out of all of him, being the reason that he’s mute. It doesn’t bother him much but it is hard grabbing his brothers attention. Glen is known to be more calm and relaxed out of his siblings which is why he rarely get’s angry. If he does then it’s probably from bottled up stress.
Strawberries and Creme: As almost the youngest out of the family Berry isn’t like his other siblings. Being more nervous and clumsy he’ll panic over the slightest mistake and will get anxious around people. This will usually cause a lot of stuttering and squirming. Just like Glen it isn’t that easy to get him angry, he’ll more likely cry or stress over the problem.
It was an autumn night in Australia and the air was cool and crisp. Your boyfriend of 2 years, Digger, and you had taken a walk about two miles out from your home to star gaze. This was something the two of you did at least once a week.
You were sitting in a patch of grass with a content smile on your lips as you watched your love. Digger stood about five feet in front of you throwing one of his boomerangs in the air and catching it as it returned to him. He always loved boomerangs. Always had one in his pocket, in case he ever had a few minutes to waste and he’d throw one around. He claimed it was good exercise but you know he just found it fun.
Solangelo one-shot, 2,778 words, general audiences. It goes through three casual moments in Will and Nico’s relationship. Set in canon!verse, not-spoilerish. Low-key inspired by a conversation I had with the lovely @ynysafallon, in which we shared some Solangelo headcanons. Hope you enjoy!
The day was exceptionally hot. Perfect for staying inside the Arts & Crafts building or having a picnic under the shadow of some tree. Maybe taking a nap in a hammock. Nico wouldn’t have minded any of those options.
Instead, Chiron thought it was a great idea if they all “enjoyed the beautiful day outside”.
(And of course Will agreed with him.)
“C’mon, it can’t be that bad, Death Boy.” Will said, distracted, while dragging Nico towards the volleyball court. By now, Nico was used to touch, and even welcomed it. It didn’t mean it had stopped feeling electric when Will was the one to do so. Nico was equal parts glad and annoyed by it. “It’s better than wrestling with the Ares cabin.” He motioned to his right with his head, where Clarisse was shoving someone’s head into the dirt.
“I could kick her ass.” Nico informed him.
“Volleyball is better. Besides, Jason is the one who invited us to play. And Piper.” He said as they entered the court. That caught Nico’s attention. His friends were visiting for the weekend. Nico had no particular interest for sports, but it was only fair that he spent more time with them, even if this was what they wanted to do.
He sighed. “Fine. But don’t we need more people? Say, six on each team?” He reminded Will, who shrugged.
“Not beach volleyball, no.”
“Nico! You actually came!” Jason yelled from the other side of the court, delighted. He started to run to the newcomers while Piper stayed behind, observing them as if confident they would go down.
“Listen, I already talked to Piper and everything, and you can totally be on my team.” Jason offered, his hands in fists. He looked as if he’d start bouncing with excitement at any moment.
“Oh, um… Nice, but listen…” Nico started, then paused, thinking about how best to reject the offer. “Um, do you mind if I stay with Will, this once? I mean, you have Piper, right?” It sounded ruder than in his head, but now it was late to take it back. Jason didn’t seem offended, though. Only surprised, his eyes wide and taken aback posture. He glanced between Will — who was absentmindedly stretching beside the son of Hades — and Nico as if just realizing something.
Nico scrunched his eyebrows, thinking back to what he said and not finding anything shocking at all. What could he—
You have Piper…
As I have Will.
“Not like that, Jason.” He hissed, clenching his hands in tight fists.
“I mean it.”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“You thought, and… you’re wrong. We’re just friends.” He muttered the last part.
“Okay. Okay, right.” Jason said, lifting his open palms in a defensive posture while walking backwards. However, his expression was amused. His eyes gleamed in a way that said he was probably thinking about his best man speech for Nico and Will’s wedding. He winked and gave Nico thumbs-up.
The son of Hades considered himself to be relatively polite, but right then he felt tempted to flip him off.
For his contentment, Jason tripped on his own feet and fell on his butt on the sand. Will breathed out a laughter beside him.
“Serves him right.” Nico mumbled, still too annoyed to even smirk. It wasn’t like that.
(Which didn’t mean Nico didn’t daydreamed about how it would be.)
(But that was completely normal.)
(…Gods, he needed a break.)
“Okay. What was that about?” Will asked after a moment of silence between them. Nico gathered up courage and looked up at the other boy, but he didn’t need to worry; Will wasn’t looking at him. He was instead glancing at Piper and Jason, who was saying something to his girlfriend. He was frowning, confused, and there was something unreadable in his eyes that Nico wasn’t sure he wanted to decipher. It seemed… sad. It looked wrong in the healer’s face.
“Nothing.” He said too quickly, which brought Will’s attention back to him. Will’s look was searching, and Nico instinctively tried to make his expression neutral. It was a stupid tactic, of course. His face looked annoyed per usual, and trying to make it blank tended to make Will see right through him.
It wasn’t different this time, although Nico wasn’t sure what the healer had found in his face to make him smile that brightly. Gone was the undecipherable look in his eyes, and Nico couldn’t help but feel quite relieved. He felt his heart clench in his chest at the sight of that grin; he should be over it by now, but now and then Will managed to take his breath away again.
“You like me, don’t you?” Will said slowly, testing the words, unsure about them. His smile didn’t falter, though. Instead, his gaze became even more curious as he looked into Nico’s eyes. The son of Hades couldn’t think very straight.
“If I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t be here, you idiot.” He added for good measure, but his voice sounded shaky and nervous nonetheless, and Will threw his head back and laughed, delighted.
“You do.” He sounded almost awed now, and Nico opened his mouth to deny it, but the words never left. He knew the precise moment when he lost control of his expression and let the panic show, because Will’s happiness faltered and his eyes grew serious. “It’s a good thing you like me, because I do like you. A lot. Like, like like you.”
“Are you ten?”
Will waited, observing as Nico looked away from his gaze and focused on taking deep breaths, as Will had taught him, so as to avoid hyperventilating.
Finally, Nico looked up, his eyes still showing some fear.
“It doesn’t freak you out? Not a tiny bit? I mean… I’m a guy.” His voice was low in the last part.
Will pondered, serious, before answering.
“Hi, A Guy. I’m bisexual.”
“Yeah. It doesn’t freak me out.” He suddenly grinned. “Wait, does that mean you really like me, then?”
Nico rolled his eyes and looked away.
“I did, but now I’m reconsidering it.” He mumbled, which made Will laugh.
Were 3-weeks anniversaries supposed to be special? Nico didn’t have a clue, and he didn’t really care. All he knew was that Will let him sleep until 10:30AM (Nico fell in love with him all over again), woke him up with kisses, then dragged him to their making-out spot in the woods, carrying a basket with him. He then proceed to lay out a picnic blanket on the grass and serve the food — sandwiches, strawberry scones, grapes, cocoa balls, and juice. Nico didn’t know where Will had gotten all of that, but he felt so relaxed, so content as Will beamed and rambled on the important of 3-weeks anniversaries, that he didn’t even ask.
After eating, they made out — of course.
It was very good. Nico was very happy. But there was a thought bugging — that stupid voice that dragged him down after the war with Gaia, and still did sometimes. What if Will didn’t think Nico was as invested in this relationship as him? What if he wanted Nico to change, to show more affection in public and call him those annoying couple names? It wasn’t something Nico was comfortable with, and they hadn’t talked about it yet, but Will seemed to know his limits, until now… But still, for how long would he accept them?
“Will,” He broke the kiss, reluctant and breathless, but the voice was irritating him too much. Will glanced down at him with confusion, still a little dazed. “You know I like you, right?”
He hadn’t meant to say that, but Will narrowed his eyes, as if processing those words was a complex task.
“Well, I have to say… I’m glad you’re making out with someone you like instead of, I don’t know, a mortal enemy or some—” He laughed when Nico slapped his arm.
“Stop being an idiot.” He said before he could think about the words, then his smile — he didn’t know he had been smiling; it was amazing that it didn’t hurt anymore — faltered. This was the exact type of behavior that he should avoid. “I mean, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, okay? About the insults and my lack of enthusiasm for… life, in general?” He breathed out, arms still embracing Will’s neck while his boyfriend straddled him on the ground. “I don’t think you’re an idiot. I just… I like our relationship the way it is, all of it, but I’ll understand if, if you don’t—”
“Honey, are you trying to make me leave on our anniversary? Seriously? You have the worst timing ever.”
Nico gave him a look. Will sighed.
“Nico, I know you don’t think I’m an idiot. I know this is your way of being, and guess what? That’s the Nico I fell in love with. My annoying brat friend who can’t pretend to be nice to save his life.”
“Hey! I’ll get you for that.” Nico said, his voice more affectionate than he’d planned. Will ignored that remark, choosing to lean in closer, until he was an inch away from Nico’s earlobe.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, darling.” His voice was low, and it sent a shiver down Nico’s spine.
Nico didn’t think there was any ideal condition to meet Hades in a pleasant way. This, though, didn’t even reach his low expectations.
They’d needed an army from the Underworld to defeat the giants. And the aid of the five children of the Big Three, along with the other four Heroes of Olympus. And the Greek and Roman armies.
Nico was tired. He was filthy, and thirsty, and felt like lying down and not moving for about three days straight. The children of Apollo were already fussing over those whose had been injured. Will, on the other hand, was using his healing powers on Percy’s poisonous lacerations.
Seeing Will using his powers was both fascinating and horrifying. Fascinating because beautiful golden light was expelled from his fingers in threads, reaching the wound and curing it; and horrifying because Will got visibly weaker after using it — paler, out of breath, trembling. He was much better at it than years ago, in the Battle of Manhattan, but he could still cure about seven people this way without exhausting himself, and Percy was the ninth.
“Stop it, you idiot.” Nico muttered, stepping closer to him. Even in his tired state, his mind computed that Will hadn’t been wounded, and he was relieved.
“This is the last one. Kayla can take care of the rest. I just—” He narrowed his eyes, and the brightness from the healing light vanished as Will stopped making it. He fell on his knees on the floor, panting. Nico knelt beside him in an instant, dropping his sword and embracing his boyfriend instead. He saw Percy give him a thumbs-up, indicating he was already fine, thank you very much.
“It’s okay. You healed them. No one’s dead.” Saying those words felt like a miracle, like a blessing. He would make sure to comfort Will and then help the other healers. He’d like everyone to return to camp safe and sound, for once. He kissed Will’s cheek, murmuring comforting things as his boyfriend hugged him back.
And that’s how Hades found them.
Will was the one who saw him first, and he froze. Nico looked behind his back, and said “oh”. It was a way of describing the situation.
None of them said anything for a while.
Then Nico stood up, helping Will up as well. He gave one look to his boyfriend, who nodded and managed to lift up one side of his lips for a fraction of second, silently giving him permission.
“Thanks for the army, dad.” Nico started.
“No problem. These are just some skeletons I had lying around the place, so.” He shrugged, shifting his glance between Nico, Will, and the ground.
“So… this is my boyfriend, Will. Solace. He is great, really.” He paused, then added, “He’s my best friend.”
The last part sounded somewhat more honest than the rest, even though it was all true. He hoped his attempt of securing a spot in Elysium for Will wasn’t too obvious.
Hades considered this information with a thoughtful expression. He frowned his lips, but seemed only pensive instead of angry or distressed; he scratched his chin.
“Child of Apollo, huh?” He nodded once. “I guess I understand the appeal quite well.” He murmured, glancing to his right. Nico followed his gaze and saw Persephone kneeling down, examining a warrior’s sprained ankle. “The summer… The warmth, can be very welcome to us.” He looked back at them while Nico scrunched his eyebrows.
“Dad, it’s not like that at all.” I mean, sure he liked to cuddle with the ball of warmth he called boyfriend, but that wasn’t relevant. He didn’t date people based on their body temperature. What the actual Zeus?
Hades gave him an amused look, one corner of his lips lifting up, and Nico had the funny impression he’d misunderstood his father’s words.
“I know.” He said, then all the amusement vanished from his face and became a glare the second he turned to his son’s boyfriend. “William Solace.”
Nico felt his boyfriend tense up beside him, but still Will stepped forward — slowly, still not recovered from all that healing —, and knelt down, bowing.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure to finally meet you, sir.” He said. It was clear to anyone hearing him how nervous he was, but he didn’t flinch or backed off. Nico felt a surge of pride and affection in his chest, and he felt like smiling a little.
Hades’ expression changed for a second, bewildered and unsure, and he considered Will with new eyes.
“Well. I hadn’t heard anything like that for a while.” He sounded satisfied, and motioned for Will to stand up, which he did, slowly. Nico walked forward and grabbed his hand, interlacing their fingers, silently supporting him. Will squeezed it once in acknowledgment.
Hades sighed quietly, nodding once again.
“Okay. I won’t interfere. I want to talk to you in private, though.” He pointed at Will.
“Sure.” Will’s voice was tremulous. He was undoubtedly visualizing his fate as an eternity in the Fields of Punishment.
“It doesn’t have to be now. I see you are all suffering the consequences of battle.” He motioned to the drained warriors and healers running with supplies and stretchers. Nico couldn’t feel anyone in immediate danger, though. “I would invite you to dinner,” His voice was uncertain, just like it got when he talked about mortals’ habits. “But then you’d have to stay in the Underworld forever, and I believe you’d like to live a few more years?”
“That would be great.” Will said, his voice low and in a higher pitch than normal. Hades nodded again.
“Meanwhile, keep doing whatever it is that you’re doing to make him happy.” He motioned his head to Nico’s direction. “I see his health is improved.” He commented, and Nico could sense the shift in Will’s posture; how he stood a bit taller, and his voice was no longer tremulous, now that the conversation topic was something health-related.
“He is much better, in all aspects. He’s still stubborn with some things,” Glare at Nico. “But he is headed in the right direction, sir. I assure you that.”
Hades raised his eyebrows, probably taken aback by Will’s sudden boost of confidence, then sent Nico a pointed look.
“Stubborn, huh? We’ll talk about that.”
“Look what you’ve done.” Nico hissed so that only Will heard.
“I have to go now.” Hades said as Persephone appeared beside him, looking tired.
“Ready to go?” She asked, offering her hand. He took it and squeezed it once.
“Sure.” He said gently. He glanced at the boys one last time. “I’ll see you soon. Nico. Will.”
And then he, Persephone, and the hundreds of skeletons in the field disappeared.
Will almost fell on his knees again, relieved.
“I’m alive.” He said as if it was the most unbelievable statement of history. Nico laughed quietly, hugging his boyfriend.
“Of course you’re alive, dummy. I like you, he wouldn’t kill anyone I like.” Then he thought better and frowned. “Probably. Maybe. Okay, you know what? Let’s celebrate your survival.”
Will laughed and hugged Nico back.
“I love you.”
Nico held on tighter.
“I love you too.”
Will smiled a little, still looking exhausted, but happy.
“Good.” He said, and kissed his boyfriend.
Just to make it clear… What Hades meant was people with sunny, warm personalities and auras. Not elevated body temperatures. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!