Shoot me. I can't stop writing these fics.
America wasn't what Nico di Angelo had been expecting. The mental picture he had was of grandiose landscapes and cowboys and a gun store on every corner. However, what he got was far less than the Hollywood flashes of extravagance and patriotism. In fact, his very first American meal had been a crappy dinner from McDonald's.
It hadn't really been exciting. They had them in Italy, after all, but for some reason his new roommate, Jason, was adamant that Nico had an original 'All-American' burger. Nico had barely been in the country for twenty-four hours, or known his eccentric roommate for more than three, and he was already being whisked off campus and into town and into a red building with the telltale golden 'M' arching out front with a group of strange people.
Nico couldn't help but look around. He was in America. He was in a whole new country. So sue him if he was a little curious. In fact, he was too busy stewing over said curiosity to notice that it was his turn to order. "Yo, foreigner, you're up," Jason's friend said and urged him forward. Nico was pretty sure his name was P-something. Percival? No, just Percy. That was it. He pushed Nico right up to the counter and spoke slowly with a lot of hand motions, as if talking to a toddler, "Order. Food. Here."
Percy's girlfriend, some blonde with a wicked right hook, as displayed by how she clonked him over the head, glared at him. "He speaks English, you moron!"
"And he really doesn't like bodily contact!" Jason called helpfully from the drink station. Beside him, his other friend, Leo, had his head underneath the soda dispenser, no shits given, and snuck a mouthful of Mountain Dew.
At that point, Nico wondered if it had really been such a smart idea to study abroad.
He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. He really hoped he wouldn't be stuck with these people all year. He looked up at the worker behind the counter, who was biting his lower lip and trying very hard not to laugh. Nico blushed. This complete stranger probably thought he was an idiot. He glanced back up. This completely attractive stranger.
Truthfully, the worker was too good-looking for the black polo shirt and visor that was enforced by the restaurant's management. His skin was a perfect tan, clear and with just the lightest dusting of freckles spreckled across his nose and cheeks. His eyes were a crystalline, sky blue, which were smiling along with those thin lips and blinding teeth. His hair stuck out messily over the visor in a carefree, almost windblown way. Nico suddenly couldn't find his voice.
The worker cleared his throat and put on a large grin. "Welcome to McDonald's!" he sang in a loud, deep voice. Nico's resolve began to crumble. "May I take your order?"
Nico blinked. "Er…"
The other boy's smile turned sheepish. "You really do speak English, right?"
Nico's look of awe turned into a sharp scowl on a dime. "Of course I do!"
"Oh, good," he sighed, visibly relieved. "Because I can speak, like, two words of Spanish and I slept through high school French so… Anyways, yeah, are you ready to order?" The cheesy grin was back.
Nico didn't like how easily that smile affected him so he flashed his gaze up to menu above them. He ordered quickly and the other boy nodded and tapped the screen in front of him. Nico caught a glimpse of the silver name-tag stuck to his chest.
Apparently, someone had had fun labeling his.
The worker – Will – glanced back up. "Is that everything for today?"
Nico nodded and paid and Will handed him a receipt. Nico mumbled a, "Thanks," and hurried over to where his dumb roommate and his even dumber friends were standing.
"I'm so proud," Jason teased. "His first American meal."
Nico huffed, plugged his hands in his pockets, and leaned against the wall as they waited for their food. The others talked to him and Nico only half paid attention to what he said because the other half was stuck on the McDonald's employee as he helped another customer – a mother and her two young children. Will ducked down for a moment and pulled out a couple of small plastic-packaged bags. The kids nearly climbed up the counter in their rush to pick out a toy and Will only laughed when the mother apologized. "I've got a lot of siblings," he said, waving her off. "It's fine."
When their food was ready, Will handed him the tray personally, smiling a little bit more softly that he had with the other customers. "Have a good day," he said even softer and Nico could only gape into those pools of blue and nod mutely.
"Er… Yeah, you, too," he got out lamely, ducked his head, and immediately sat down in between Jason and Percy. He looked up at the counter occasionally only to – more often than not – find the other boy's stare already on him. Every time he was caught, Will quickly made it look like he was busy wiping the counter or counting cups or some other random thing. Nico hid a smile behind a fry.
And that was how his addiction to McDonald's started.
Granted, it helped that Jason and his friends seemed to have chosen the place as their unofficial 'hang out' zone and would spend hours at a time sitting at the same booth, talking and doing homework and causing mayhem in the playhouse attached to the building. Nico had become an honorary member in no time despite having nothing in common with the rest. He supposed they just wanted to make him feel welcome, and he was grateful for that.
The best days were when Will was working.
The second time Nico came into McDonald's Will had been looking down at the screen when Nico approached the counter. "Welcome to McDonald's. How may I help—?" He raised his gaze and broke off, staring widely at Nico as if he had three eyes. Then, he broke into a brilliant smile. "Hey!" he greeted warmly.
Nico, quite aware of Leo's curious stare on the back of his head, used all his willpower not to smile back. "Hello."
Will smiled at him for a few more awkward moments before he jumped slightly. "Oh, right! Sorry. You probably want to order." His shoulders rose a bit apologetically. "What can I get you?"
Your number, for starters, was Nico's go-to thought, but instead he just gave his order, identical to last time. That time, when the other boy handed him his change, their hands grazed ever so slightly and Nico almost spilled coins all over the floor. He retreated at once so that Leo could order, ignoring the smirk on Valdez's face as he went.
"Hey, Nico," Leo teased later on as they walked back to campus, "are you McLovin' it? Or, should I say, him?"
"What?" Percy snorted.
"Oh, come on! Di Angelo, here, was totally making goo-goo eyes at the blonde worker guy!" Leo batted his eyelashes at Nico, who envisioned wringing his hands around Leo's neck and squeezing—but, instead resisted. "Hey, maybe you should tell him you like his hot buns."
Scratch that. Nico darted for him, yelling curses in Italian, but Leo just let out a whoop of laughter and ran like lightning.
The third time was just as awkward, and this time – thanks to Leo's loud mouth – his entire group of friends observed their interaction very closely. Nico was blushing bright red the whole time and even Will seemed to be a bit nervous. He kept glancing back at Nico's friends and looking at his own appearance as if worried there was ketchup on him or something. But, no, Will looked as perfect as ever, and Nico resisted the urge to throw ice cubes at a laughing Leo and a perplexed Percy when he sat down.
"He goes to our school, you know," Annabeth told him. "I think he's a junior. He's in my anatomy class."
Great, now he was cute and smart. Nico just groaned and dropped his forehead to the table. Annabeth patted his arm while Jason stole a fry.
The seventh time was when, finally, there was some actual interaction between them. It was just Nico and Piper. The others were meeting up with them later on. Nico felt much more relaxed without Leo making kissy sounds as they walked in or Jason practically chaperoning Nico to the counter in order to watch their interaction with a warning in his stance or Percy asking horrifyingly loud questions. "Wait. So… Oh, is THAT him? That's the guy?" Annabeth tried to help, but Nico could hear her detailed explanations clearly from the front of the restaurant.
But, now, none of them were here. The restaurant seemed a lot bigger and quieter. Piper ordered a salad and gave him a quick smile before going to sit down by the window. She didn't look back up, and Nico breathed a sigh of relief. He shyly approached the register.
Will smiled easily and leaned his elbows against the counter. His hair fell in front of his eyes a bit. "Got a small crowd today, huh?" he said. "Where are the rest of your friends?"
Nico rolled his eyes. "They're all idiots."
Will laughed. Nico's chest tightened up. "Yanno, I've seen you in here a lot. I know Annabeth and Leo from class. But I don't know your name."
"Nico," he said a bit too quickly. "Nico di Angelo."
"Di Angelo," Will repeated. "Wow. That's actually a pretty cool name." Nico felt a rush of nerves render his vocal chords useless. "My name's Will."
The corners of Nico's mouth twitched. "I know."
"What?" Will blinked before lightly slapping himself on the head. "Right, duh, name-tag." He grinned cheekily. "I got to print the label out myself."
Well, that explained the smiley face.
The laugh Will gave him was well worth having to endure hearing Leo make kissy noises all week long. Will pushed himself upright and prepped his pointer finger at the screen. "So, Nico di Angelo, getting your regular?"
Nico cracked a smile. "Paying attention to what I order, are you?"
Will snorted. "You get the same thing every time."
Nico raised an eyebrow. They shared a look and then Will tapped a few buttons on the screen. Nico laughed. They made small talk until his food was ready. Will handed him his tray, letting their fingers brush, and winked. "Enjoy, Nico."
Nico smiled back. "See you later, Will." He confidently walked away and sat down. "Not one word about this to the others," he grumbled as she beamed at him. "I mean it." He made her promise and ate triumphantly. It tasted better than usual.
About a week after that, midterms struck. Nico found himself swamped with too much work with not enough time to do it all. American universities were considerably more difficult than he was used to. "Dammit," he murmured as his stomach growled.
He needed a break.
He really hadn't thought about it until he was suddenly there, walking through the glass doors and hearing the static-filled radio music. Somehow, his legs had carried him to the fast-food restaurant before his mind caught up with him. Even stranger, he felt immediately better when he saw a mop of blonde hair standing behind the counter, looking bored. The restaurant was dead; not a single customer in sight.
Will's eyes turned to the door and, Nico was pleased to see, he brightened up immensely. He straightened up, a dorky smile on his face, and put his hands on his hips. "Just can't stay away, can you?" he teased when Nico walked up.
Nico rolled his eyes. "It's not my fault you secretly lace your food with narcotics."
Will chuckled. "The food here is definitely not worth the health hazard," he said with a grimace. "I can barely stomach it anymore."
Nico raised an eyebrow. "Should you be saying that to a customer?"
Will grinned. "Ah, but you're not just a normal customer, though."
His heart might have just stopped. "Then, uh, what am I?"
That freaking smile. He just gave a coy shrug and a wink. "Getting the regular again?"
Oh, god, his heart seriously might being going into cardiac arrest. And not from fatty foods. Nico managed a smile. "You know me so well."
Will snorted and the rest was routine. He tapped on the screen. Nico handed him some cash. Their hands touched as Will returned the change – though this time the amount of contact was a bit unnecessary but totally welcome. "So, you're lone-wolfing it tonight, huh?" Will asked.
Nico sighed. "Yeah. I needed a break from studying. I was going crazy just sitting in my dorm."
"I hear ya. Midterms have got me pretty swamped, too. But just standing here is even worse."
"Do you get a break?" Nico asked. What am I doing?
Will raised an eyebrow. "Yeah. Why?"
He shrugged. "Well, by the time I walk back to my dorm my food'll be cold. So I'm just gonna eat here."
Will picked up on his drift immediately. "Well, I couldn't let you eat alone."
And that was how Nico had managed to get Will to eat dinner with him in the empty McDonald's. He had a few more minutes before he could take his break, and told him to go sit down and he'd join in a moment. Nico took a seat at the usual place his friends ate at and waited, playing with the straw simply for something to do.
Will returned a few moments later with a salad and a water bottle in hand. Nico happily eyed his legs as he approached. He'd only ever seen the other boy behind a counter and, whoa, those were some seriously skinny jeans. Not that Nico was complaining. He sat across from Nico with a sigh. "Thank God!" he groaned. "Work sucks!"
Nico just scoffed. "A salad? Really?"
"What?" Will huffed. "I told you. I can't stomach the burgers here. I've seen things, Nico. Horrible things."
"I'd like to stay ignorant, please."
Will chuckled. "I don't have a problem with other people endangering their bodies."
Nico rolled his eyes. "I'm not endangering my body!"
"Dude, you eat here, like, once a week. That can't be healthy."
"And what makes you an expert?"
"I'm a pre-med student," Will said simply.
Nico frowned. "So, why's a pre-med student working at a fast-food restaurant?"
Will shrugged. "It's close." He took a sip of his water. "All right. So what about you? What's your major?"
"Forensics," Nico answered.
"Ah, well, bone analysis, mostly." He shrank in on himself. He was used to people telling him his major was creepy.
"So, you wanna work for the police and all that?"
"That's so cool!" Will lit up. "I have to look at bones every day in my anatomy class, and, boy!" He whistled. "Good luck!"
Nico relaxed. "Thanks," he said dryly.
"Oh, and, I've been meaning to ask, but where are you from exactly?"
"Italy. I was born in Venice."
"I figured from the accent it was something like that but, ugh, I'm so jealous. Venice just sounds so much fancier than Manhattan. Anyways, you've seen a lot of the city yet?"
Nico nodded. "My roommate has been pretty adamant on that, yeah."
"And does Mr. Di Angelo from Venice like what he sees?"
Nico had just enough courage to smirk, never looking away from Will's face. "Yes. He does."
A light blush colored those tan cheeks and Nico awarded himself with a fry.
They talked about anything and everything. Nico couldn't remember the last time he'd enjoyed himself so much. Nico lost track of time, too caught up in some story Will was telling him about his family, until a sudden thought struck him. "Crap! What time is it? Don't you have to get back to work?"
Will's eyes widened. "Crap!" He shot up. "I gotta go!" He took half a step then stopped and turned back. "Uh, I really liked talking to you. Um." Was he really blushing? "We should do it again. Soon."
Internally, Nico was screaming and doing a victory dance. Outwardly, he just smiled. "Yeah. Definitely."
Will's smile turned nervous. "But not at McDonald's."
The mental screaming stopped. Nico froze. "Wait…" He locked eyes with him. "Are you asking me out?"
Will raised his shoulders and shrunk back a bit, looking adorably nervous. "Yeah?"
Nico tried to play it cool. He really did. But the giddy smile ruined the effect. "Well, you could've asked for my number first."
Will visibly relaxed and suddenly everything was different but better. "So is that a yes?"
A bubble of laughter escaped him. He quickly silenced it and began to fish around in his overstuffed pockets for a pen. He grabbed a napkin and scribbled his cell number on it before handing it over to Will. "Do you work Saturday?"
Will took it as if it was a holy offering. "I'm off."
"Good." Nico stood. "Because I found this really good Italian place nearby. It's genuine."
Will held up his empty hand. "Wait. Am I asking you out and are you asking me out?"
Nico thought for a moment. "Both?"
Will blinked. "Both works."
"SOLACE!" an angry voice shouted from the back.
"Crap!" Will jumped. "I'M COMING!" He turned back to Nico. "Sorry. Duty calls."
"I get it." He shrugged on his jacket. "I should be going anyways. Midterms tomorrow."
Will nodded. "So… I'll text you?"
Will beamed and sent him another wink before wishing him a goodnight. Nico said a soft goodbye and watched as he disappeared behind the counter, no doubt getting yelled at by his boss.
He managed to contain himself as he left the restaurant but, as soon as the doors closed behind him, he pumped both fists in the air and made an excited noise that he would never, ever let another person hear.
America hadn't been what Nico was expecting at all. It was even better.
A/N: As you can see, I had too much fun with this. I may or may not write a second part. ...Maybe. X3