tarterus

Nightmare

Well Tumblr has me by the short and curlys cuz now I’m posting fan fiction on it. /facepalm. Anyway here’s a solangelo Fic.

Will loved Nico, he really did. The son of Hades, entranced will. But there was something about the way he held himself, the sad undertone when he smiled, the far away look in his eyes he sometimes got, that worried Will. But whenever he broached the subject, Nico shot straight into his shell. Will almost expected to get his head bit off, the first time it happened. But Nico just shut down, which was almost worse. Will tried a few other times, the result was always the same. So Will did what all doctors do. He poked around to see where it hurt.

First on his list was Hazel. As Nico’s sister surely she could give insight.

“Nico’s always been distant,” She replied to Will’s questioning. “Even with me.”

Through the Iris message Will could see the look of concern on Hazel’s face. He winced to himself, not meaning to worry her.

“Yeah but you’re his sister,” Will tried desperately. “You must have some idea.”

“Maybe he’s still adjusting to being accepted for who he is,” She offered. “Being gay was practically a death sentence back in our day.”

“I don’t think that’s it,” Will replied.

“Sorry Will,” Hazel frowned. “Nico is a tough nut to crack.”

Will thanked her and moved on. Maybe a love expert could help.

xXx

“It’s not a love issue,” Piper assured him.

They were sitting in the dining pavilion just after lunch when Will caught up with her.

“You sure?” Will asked both relived and irritated at the same time.

“Yeah,” Piper nodded. “I mean Hazel’s not wrong, Nico is still coming to terms with himself. But that seems to be peripherally related at best. I’m not sure what’s going through his head.”

Will sighed. Ok so Hazel and Piper were no help. So he decided to take this from another angle.

xXx

“You want me to tell you what’s wrong with di Angelo?” Leo asked exasperated. “Me? Seriously?”

His surprise echoed off the high ceiling of Bunker Nine. He was covered in grease fixing something on Festus.

“I’m desperate,” Will shrugged. “Something’s wrong with him, and you good at fixing stuff.”

“Yeah, “ Leo said rolling his eyes and tapping Festus. “Mechanical things, I don’t know how to handle people.”

“It’s true,” Calypso chimed in from one of the rafters above. “He’s terrible if it has nothing to do with wires and gears and fire.”

“Thanks for the support honey,” Leo called up to her sarcastically.

“I belive ina relationship based in honesty,” Calypso replied as she continued to scrutinize the Metal Dragon’s eyes.

Leo shook his head and smiled.

“Sorry man,” Leo said.

Will sighed and left the bunker.

xXx

Will was about to give up and admit defeat when he finally got a break. It was the next day, he was patching up a few demigods in the infirmary when Jason walked in. His face had a dozen fresh bruises, and he was walking with a limp in his right leg.

“What,” happened Will gaped.

“Fell off the climbing wall,” Jason said nonchalantly.

Will just shook his head and gestured for him to have a seat on one of the cots. Jason was a pretty well mannered patient, and after a few hymns and a sip of Nectar Will had him all patched up.

“Hey Jason?” Will asked as he put the Nectar away. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” Jason beamed.

“It’s about Nico,” Will continued making not of Jason’s change in demeanor. “He’s… distant.”

“That’s kind of his stock and trade,” Jason answered carefully.

“It’s more than that though,” Will insisted. “He’s opened up a lot, but there’s something he won’t tal about. He won’t even tell me what it is much less what happened. But I can feel the anxiety rolling off him. It’s killing me that as a healer I can’t help him.”

“Hey, hey” Jason soothed. “Cut yourself some slack Will. You’re good for him. He’s happier than I’ve ever seen him when he’s with you.”

“I can’t help it,” Will said slumping on the cot next to his patient. “Not helping someone feel better for me goes against my nature. It’s like asking you not to fly.”

Jason nodded solemnly. Then he slung an arm on his shoulder.

“Will, this is Nico we’re talking about,” Jason reasoned. “Asking him to open up is against HIS nature. He’s not used to people being supportive.”

Will relented with a sad nod.

“Just give him time,” Jason continued. “He’s been through a lot, but he’ll come around.”

And then it hit him. With those words Will knew exactly what was going through Nico’s head. And he knew who to talk to about it too.

“Yeah,” he agreed with Jason. “You’re right, thanks.”

Jason smiled.

“No problem buddy. Now let get to dinner. I’m starved.”

xXx

Will felt like a coiled spring through the meal. It seemed to drag on forever. When it finally ended he excused himself from the table and went searching for the people he needed to talk to. When he finally saw them he had to remind himself to keep calm as he walked up to them.

“Hey guys,” he waved to Percy and Annabeth. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”

The couple smiled knowingly as he approached. Will wasn’t surprised. He’d asked pretty much everyone else who knew Nico. Save Reyna, Frank and Coach Hedge.

“Let us save you some time,” Annabeth said kindly. “We don’t know what’s up with Nico.”

Will nodded expecting this.

“That’s ok,” Will continued undeterred. “I think I know. And I need your help.”

Percy and Annabeth both raised an eyebrow in surprise.

“How can we help?” Percy asked.

Will took a beat and readied himself for what would come next.

“I need you guys to tell me about Tarterus.” Will said flattly.

The reaction was instant, and much worse than Will was expecting. The temperature in the air dropped 10 degrees in an instant. The warm summer night lost all traces of it’s friendy, lazy, and inviting atmosphere. Percy blanched, he eyes as wide as saucers. Annabeth phisically recoiled. All of nthis happened within the span of seconds.

Will was tempted to drop it, and apologize. He had never seen either of them act like this. It sent his spine rattling to see two incredibly powerful demigods so afraid.

“Why?” Percy asked.

It was only a word but it spoke a world of meaning. Why did will want to know about that place, why was he asking, why should either of them recount that nightmare?

“For Nico,” was Will’s reply.

They softened, understanding in their eyes.

“Will,” Annabeth whispered. “It’s not that we don’t want to help…”

“We just can’t go back there right now,” Percy finished.

Will dropped his head in shame. He’s been so hellbent on solving the riddle of Nico’s distant nature, he hadn’t taken Percy and Annabeth’s feelings into account.

“Sorry,” Will said ashamed. “I didn’t mean to… I’m sorry.”

Annabeth and Percy exchanged a look then they each clapped a hand to his shoulders.

“It’s ok dude,” Percy said. “We get what you’re trying to do. It’s really noble of you. You must REALLY care about Nico if you’re willing to put yourself through that.”

Will nodded, still down cast.

It was a few minutes before Annabeth broke the silence.

“I might have an idea,” she said delicately. “But Will I need to warn you, if it works, you’re not gonna like what you see.”

Will raised his head and looked her in the eye.

“I need to do this,” he pleaded. “I need to be there for him.”

Annabeth nodded and voiced her idea. Will nodded, thanked them, then made a B-line for the cabins.

xXx

Will stood outside Cabin 15. His gut felt like stone but he knew he had to do this. He wasn’t going to leave Nico behind. He walked into the cabin and was assaulted with the familiar atmosphere of the children of Hypnos. Warmth from the crackling fire, the soft violin music, the smell of warm milk all pulled the wearies of the world from will like a heavy coat. Will suppressed a yawn as he looked around for Clovis. He spotted him in his usual armchair by the fireplace where the branch that leaked Lethe water dripped into a bowl on the mantle.

Will approached and shook the boy lightly.

“Clovis, hay Clovis. Wake up.”

Clovis slowly woke and rubbed his eyes. He blinked at Will sleepily, and squinted in surprise.

“Will?” he asked mid yawn. “What are you doing here?”

“I need a favor,” will said fighting the yawn welling up inside him with all his might.

Clovis tilted his head.

“Not many people need me for things,” he said drowsily. “Must be important.”

“It is,” Will nodded. “I need you to put me into one of Nico’s dreams.”

Clovis smiled slyly.

“Dream date?” he asked mischievously. “Day light hours not enough for you?”

Will shook his head somberly.

“I need you to show me his trip through Tarterus.”

Suddenly Clovis was more awake than Will had ever seen the son of Hypnos. His eyes flew open as wide as they could go, and threatened to go wider than that. His face paled and his eyebrows disappeared into his light blonde hair.

“Why in Hades would you want to see THAT?” Clovis sputtered.

“I have my reasons,” Will said resolutely.

Clovis just looked aghast at Will for a moment then shook his head.

“There are easier ways of getting to know your boyfriend you know.” Clovis tried to reason.

“Not with this,” Will retorted. “The only people who know what it’s like don;t need to relive it.”

“And YOU don’t need to live it at all,” Clovis argued. “Has it occurred to you that Nico doesn’t want you to suffer? That that’s why he’s keeping you out?”

“I didn’t come for a lecture Clovis,” Will snapped. “Can you do it or not?”

Clovis sighed as he got up out of his chair. He gestured for Will to take his seat then crossed over to a table off tot he side of the fire place. Will sat and waited patiently. When Clovis came back to stand in front of Will, he had a glass of warm milk in his hand.

“If you’re going to insist on that hell,” he said offering the milk. “You’re gonna need this.”

Will took the offered drink and drank it down. It was the most delicious beverage he’d ever had. His eye lids began to droop.

“Once it starts, you’ll have to see the vision through,” Clovis warned. “If I pull you out mid dream it might hurt Nico.”

Will nodded.

“You’re crazy for doing this,” Clovis jabbed. “You know that right?”

“He’s more important than anything this dream could do to me,” Will replied. “Now shut up and do it.”

Clovis nodded and placed his hand on Will’s brow, and Will went out like a light.

xXx

Will knew he was in the nightmare instantly. He was falling through darkness towards a ruddy glow. The air was hot and thick like the breath of the world’s biggest monster. But the worst thing was the sound coming from right next to him, one that broke his heart into a million pieces. Nico was screaming his lungs out.

The world opened up into a landscape that made Will’s worst expectations look like a meadow of flowers. An underground hell stretching farther than Will could discern with creatures that made Will’s skin crawl. There was heavy fog everywhere, and the ground was black as night and heading right for them. As they hurdled through the open air, a hot gust of rotten egg wind blew them to the right. They landed in an icy black river.

Through Nico’s senses Will could feel the chill of the river sapping his body heat, and his will to live. Will knew it must have been a river of the underworld but he couldn’t remember the names. The current threatened to drag he and Nico down, but then it shifted rushing them to shore. They flew onto the black beach like they’d been spat out. That’s when will noticed two things. The beach was made of glass shards, and Nico was crying.

“P-p-please, n-no” Nico sobbed.

Will thought his heart was broken before. Turns out he knew nothing. Here he was in the middle of the worst possible place any live soul could end up, with a million dangers and tortures. But the worst torture of all was the scene before him. Nico was curled up into a ball the glass digging into him sobbing into his knees.

“D-don’t leave B-binaca.” he wept. “Please don’t g-go.”

Will felt a tear run down his cheek. He felt like he was intruding. He wanted to reach out and comfort Nico but when he tried the scene shifted.

Now they were at the bottom of a canyon. Nico was knelt on the shore of yet another river. This one was made of fire. Nico gripped the edges of the jagged rock and took a deep breath. Before will could shout in protest the son of Hades dunked his head into the fire. Will squaked and ran to him to pul him out. His hand passed right through Nico. Turns out it didn’t matter. Nico cam up for air choking on the liquid fire. He looked… better?

“What?….” Will tried to ask but the scene shifted again.

Now Nico was being attacked by winged ugly harpy looking things. They had long sharp claws and dove in from the air to hack and slash. But every time Nico slashed one to dust with his sword, he doubled over in pain.

“Ssssssso many curses for you son of Hades,” came a voice from everywhere. “Yes kill more of us. Let us give you our curses.”

“Just SHUT UP!!!” Nico bellowed.

A wave of dark energy rippled off of him. The Harpy things squawked in fear and flew away screaming.

The scene changed and now Nico stood before the ugliest woman will had ever laid eyes on. Her face was putrid, and streaked with tears and blood. She had a shield on her lap with the likeness of herself inscribed upon it. She smiled a sickly sweet smile that made Will want to gag.

“Oh son of Hades,” she purred? “How could I make your life worse than it already is?”

Before Nico could reply the darkness behind the woman laughed deep and cold. Then Nico was sucked into it like a spider in a vacuum cleaner hose. He didn’t even get the chance to scream.

When the world stopped spinning, Will could see Nico crouched in a VERY confined space. He was shaking head to foot fumbling in his pocket for something. He pulled out a tiny drawstring pouch opened it and dumped the contents on the floor before him. Seeds. He watched as Nico ate one, then made a slash mark on the wall of his prison. The bronze jar Will realized. After making the slash Nico slumped to the side and fell unconscious.

Will expect the scene to change again to reveal a new fresh horror. But instead it stayed as it was. Nico in a dark jar, waking periodically to eat a seed make a slash then fall back unconscious. The days felt real to Will, as if every second was happening in real time. But the worst part of all was yet to come.

It was day three in the jar. Will only knew because of the slash marks. Nico was having a particularly fitful sleep. And he began to sob again.

“Percy, please.” Nico whispered hoarsely. “Please help me. I’m so, SO sorry. Please find me, I need you.”

Percy. The name hit Will like a ton of bricks. Will wanted to feel jealous, he wanted to cry out that he was here. But he knew it wouldn’t matter. Nico wouldn’t hear him. And even if he did, Nico didn’t really know Will yet. Percy was Nico’s crush, the Hero he aspired to be. What Demigod didn’t? But it was more than that. Percy was Nico’s first EVERYTHING in the world of the gods. Will knew that. He’d probably call out for Percy to save him too.

The days wore on and one by one nico ate all of the seeds. Dispite knowing Nico had survived, Will was on edge with dread. Nico’s breaht was slowing, his skin was paling and, all his medical insight told him Nico was finished. Then a miricle. The world tipped sideways and the top popped off. Light flodded Will’s vision and his senses were overloaded.

xXx

Will gasped and jolted forward. He was back in Cabin 15. He was covered in sweat and his heart was threatening to hammer itself out of his chest. The soft atmosphere of the cabin no longer effected him. He was completely on edge.

Clovis stood over him scrutinizing him. How long had he been out?

“Will,” he said steadily. “You need to breathe. You had an intense experience and your body is trying to cope.”

Will tried to stand. He needed air. Clovis pushed him back down however. When did he get so strong?

“Will look at me!” Clovis demanded.

Will obeyed and locked eyes with the son of Hypnos.

“Breathe.” Clovis ordered.

Will did so. His pulse steadied, his heart rate slowed.

“How long?” Will asked.

“All night,” Clovis replied.

Will tried to process that. It felt like months. His body ached like he’d actually be through all that. His throat was dry as a desert. His head ached.

“I need to see him,” Will said.

“Oh NO!” Clovis said. “We’re going to the infirmary. Chiron’s already there.”

Clovis dragged Will out of the cabin and toward the Big House.

xXx

Nico awoke with a strange sense of foreboding. Something was amiss but he couldn’t put his finger on what. Shrugging to himself he got up, dressed, and sauntered out of his cabin to breakfast.

All through the meal he ate like one of his zombie minions. Chewing on a bagel without any enthusiasim. It was a pretty borring state of affairs until Austin showed up.

“Um Nico?” he asked tentitively.

Nico turned his head to see a very nervous looking son of Apollo. It took him aback because Austin was one of the few people not scared of Nico. Will had seen to that.

“What’s up Austin?” Nico asked.

Austin shifted, and Nico realized he wasn’t scared, he was worried.

“Have you seen Will?” Austin inquired. “He didn’t come back to the cabin last night and I haven’t seen him all breakfast.”

Nico perked up at that. Will never missed a meal.

“No I haven’t,” Nico replied anxiously. “Not since last night at dinner.”

“He’s in the infirmary,” Clovis said startling them both. “Come on I’ll explain on the way.”

Nico followed Clovis towards the Big House.

xXx

Will sat on a cot in the infirmary with Chiron standing over him.

“Was it worth it?” Chiron chastised as he made Will drink a terrible concoction.

Will unfortunately knew exactly what it was, and what was in it.

Before Will could retort, the door to the infirmary swung wide open to reveal a nervous Clovis and Austin. And one very upset Nico. His eyes were livid, worried, soft, vicious, and a thousand other emotions that will didn’t have time to process.

Nico marched right up to Will and stood there looking Will over head to toe.

“Guys,” Nico said in a strangely level voice. “I need a moment alone with my boyfriend.”

Austin, Chiron, and Clovis all exchanged a look.

“Ok,” Austin said. “Just don’t kill him.”

Nico didn’t reply as they filed out.

When they were alone, Nico’s face broke into an image of endless sorrow. He lunged into Will, buried his face in his chest, held him tight, and shook with grief and worry. When he pulled back his face was tear streaked and his eyes shone with sorrow and pain. And for the umpteenth time, Will’s heart broke.

“What were you thinking,” Nico sobbed. “Why would willingly put yourself through that? It could have killed you.”

Will smiled meekly and hugged Nico back into him chest.

“I didn’t want you to be alone,” Will said. “I knew I could never make you talk about it, but I still had to know.”

“I didn’t WANT you to know,” Nico sobbed into his boyfriend’s warm chest. “You should never have needed to see that.”

Will Pulled Nico out to face him. He cupped his hands around the son of Hades’s face.

“You were alone.” Will said softly. “You had no one who knew what you went through. Annabeth and Percy have each other to comfort. I wanted you to have someone too. I’d go through that a million times for you.”

Nico didn’t speak. He couldn’t. So he just did what he normally did to shut Will up. He leaned in and kissed him deep and passionately.

When hey broke the kiss Nico looked him dead in the eye.

“You’re an idiot,” he proclaimed. “And I love you too.”

xXx

Will and Nico sat hand in hand at the campfire that night. They sang along to every song. Across the way they caught Annabeth and Percy’s eyes. A silent message exchanged between the four of them. They nodded to each other. Will may never really have set foot in the Pit, but it didn’t matter. Not to Nico, or Percy, or Annabeth. He was part of a very select group now.

As they walked back to the cabins neither said anything. They stopped at Cabin 13, and Will said good night then turned to leave. But Nico held on to his hand.

“You didn’t have to do that to feel closer to me you know,” Nico said.

“That’s not why I did it,” Will replied.

“Then why?”

Will paused embarassed.

“I saw the jar too,” Will explained. “I hear you call for Percy.”

Nico blushed.

“I know you were crushing on him, I know you didn’t really know me yet,” Will continued. “But I wanted it to be my name you were calling for. I want you to be able to come to me when you have a nightmare about that place. I want what Annabeth and Percy have. That silent understanding of what they went through.”

Will put a finger under Nico’s chin and lifted it to eye level. He stared into those endless depths.

“Nico I want to be able to shoulder your burdens,” Will said softly. “I would have dove into the pit with you without even thinking twice. You don’t have to tell me everything, just know that I’m always gonna be here for you.”

Nico smiled. A soft sad smile.

“Well I have plenty other nightmares,” he admitted. “Care to stay the night?”

Will smiled.

“Lead on death boy.”

The two walked into Cabin 13 hand in hand. And when they shut their eyes, neither had any nightmares to speak of.

ghostystarr I want you to know that I had to stop multiple times while writing this cuz of the hell I put Will through.