The difference starts right after Nico calls up the ground to swallow those skeletons. Except this time, Percy runs after him when he starts sprinting toward the woods. Percy has been training for a while and he’s several years older than Nico. He catches him before Nico gets too far. Nico is yelling and crying, but he’s only 10. He’s not that strong, nothing Percy can’t handle. “Nico, NICO, look I get that you’re upset but there are monsters in the woods you’re gonna get hurt.” Nico’s rush of anger has faded and now he’s just bawling and whimpering about Bianca.
Percy doesn’t really know how to deal with him. But there are plenty of people at camp who do. Percy takes him to the Big house and Chrion lets him go into the back room for a while to cool off. Chrion asks Silena if she’ll look after him for a bit. And of course Silena does, because she’s a sweetie. She’s a child of Aphrodite, so she can feel all of the emotions swirling through this poor kid.
It takes a really long time. But she helps him sort through those emotions one by one. This isn’t a few hours, but over the course of several weeks. Now matter how nice Silena is though, Nico still misses Bianca so badly he can’t stand it. He wakes up crying sometimes at night. He’s trying to be as silent as he can, but there are a lot of people in the Hermes cabin. He still stays there because Hades hasn’t officially claimed him and Hades doesn’t have a cabin anyway.
The Stolls, although immature, are head counselors for a reason. They have to deal with a lot of kids anyway, many of them coming from rough backgrounds. Tears in the middle of the night is nothing new to them. Connor is a lighter sleeper than Travis, so it’s normally him who ends up taking Nico out on the front porch, giving him some (stolen) candy, and telling him crazy Hermes kid stories until Nico has stopped crying enough for him to get back to sleep.
Nico discovers his powers the same way most campers do, on accident. He falls into shadows sometimes and pops out somewhere else. He gets angry and suddenly skeletons are clawing their way to the surface, ect.
Nico still plays Mythomagic. He ends up teaching Cecil, who sleeps right next to him, how to play. They stay up really late at night sometimes and play. Slowly some other people come around to playing as well. A couple of Athena kids, A Demeter kid, A couple more Hermes kids, ect. It’s a pretty good group once it evens out. They meet by the lake once or twice a week to play and eat unhealthy food that the Hermes kids had snuck into camp.
He still gets a crush on Percy, and he starts getting angry with himself over it. But Silena can kind of tell. She is having none of Nico’s angry attitude and she forces him to sit down and talk it out with her.
Later Nico meets this other year rounder with pretty blue eyes and blond hair. He’s kind of laid back but he’s also really blunt. He sings really badly at the campfire and carries band aids with cartoon characters in his pockets. He works in the infirmary. Nico starts getting little injuries on purpose, not to go see him of course. No way. But he does have a really cute smile. He smiles at Nico when he comes into the infirmary. “Hurt again Death boy? If I didn’t know any better I’d think you’re doing this on purpose.” Sometimes Will asks him to help when the infirmary is busy. He just cuts bandages and wipes of counters, that type of thing. They become friends, but Nico always gets a fluttery feeling around Will. A couple years later Will asks Nico to be his date to the 4th of July fireworks show.
Everyone knows Nico is the son of Hades, by now he’s been claimed and even if he wasn’t it’s super obvious. Yea some of his powers are scary but… Nico? Scary? It’s a little hard to be intimidated by a little brown eyed Italian kid that freaks out over playing cards and trips over his own feet. He’s such an obvious dork. Everyone gets that he’s powerful, but he’s Nico.