This is for Takara Phoenix Valentine's Day contest.
I should warn you now, the end of the first chapter is pretty dark. It has mentions of drugs and death. (I promise the rest of the story will be much more fun) BTW, I made up the address; if it actually exists I promise that it was not intentional.
(P.S. the spelling of two in the title is intentional.)
Important thing to note... This will be yaoi (boy-boy). Don't like? You do not have to read.
Disclaimer- I do not own Percy Jackson and the Olympians or the Heroes of Olympus series. (One can dream though) All rights go to the proper parties.
Nico ran a hand through his hair. He was already bored and the meeting had just begun. It was on days like this that he almost regretted accepting his father's offer of immortality. He enjoyed being his father's herald but when Zeus yet again began fighting with Hera, it made him question if it was really worth it. It wouldn't have been so bad if Nico only had to go to Olympus once a year like his father but Hades had decided, since he couldn't be there for the meetings, he would send his son.
Having no interest in listening to the fight, Nico looked around to the other gods in the room. Ares was sharpening his knife. Apollo and Hermes were whispering in low voices. The looks they were tossing Hephaestus promised trouble for the god of the smith. Artemis and Athena were both too busy glaring at Aphrodite to notice anything else. Demeter was leaning back in her throne, idly spinning her scythe. Nico snorted in amusement, she looked almost as bored as he was. No one enjoyed listening to the two of them fighting about yet another one of Zeus's affairs.
Nico's eyes were drawn to Aphrodite. It was her fault for causing the argument in the first place. The goddess of love looked far too happy. Then again, it was her favorite holiday. Every February 14th she would take it upon herself to give the other gods a 'gift'. That usually translated to some pretty little mortal that she had found, which was why Hera, Artemis, and Athena had grown to despise Valentine's Day. The only other god that looked as pleased as Aphrodite was Dionysus. The goddess of love had the lovers and Dionysus had all of the lonely people trying to drown their pain. It was a good day for those two.
Nico's eyes finally found the last god in the room. Poseidon was staring at the ceiling lost in thought. The son of Hades took in his tan skin, his black, windswept, hair, and sea green eyes. Even after nearly two centuries, Nico still saw someone else when he looked at the god of the sea. He turned away with a frown.
Nico had taken many lovers over the years. He had even become semi-friends with Eros, though he still wanted to kick his ass from time to time. Yet no matter how many times he fell in and out of love, he could never completely get over his first crush.
Percy Jackson was the greatest hero that Olympus had ever known. He was strong, brave, and loyal. He had been the first demigod that Nico had ever seen in action. The son of Poseidon was the spitting image of his father. He was the only hero to ever be offered immortality twice. He had turned it down both times, first to make sure that all demigods had a home, then again in order to ensure that the gods would never again close off Olympus and abandon the demigods to fight a war alone.
Percy had married Annabeth, a daughter of Athena, grown old, and eventually died. Nico still remembered the feeling of Percy's life leaving his body. He had never before or since felt a death as strongly as Percy's. Percy, Annabeth, and all other members of the seven had achieved Elysium after their deaths. Nico had once seen them there, sitting together on the bank of a lake, Percy's arm around Annabeth's shoulders. They had looked so happy. Nico had left before they could notice his presence.
The son of Hades had told Percy and everyone else that he was over him. Yet no matter how hard Nico tried to make it true, the sight of Percy with the daughter of Athena still sent a shot of pain to his heart. He thought that after Percy had died it would get better, yet the opposite seemed true. Knowing that his first love was going to spend eternity in Elysium with the girl he had always loved was painful. True, the pain had faded a little but Nico doubted that it would ever be truly gone.
The son of the underworld had gone out of his way to make sure that he would never have to feel Percy's spirit again. It took nearly 50 years of effort but Nico had developed the ability to shut out spirits. He had never regretted learning that ability. He had originally thought that it would only be useful in helping him get over the one he had loved but it turned out that he could ignore all spirits in the underworld. It helped him focus better when he was staying in his father's palace. Also, without the spirits constant murmurs distracting him, he had far better control over his powers. Yet it hadn't served its original purpose.
Nico sighed and tried to clear his mind. He didn't want to dwell on the one he had loved the most.
I think it's time to find a new lover...
The thought shocked the son of Hades. Nico frowned and turned a glare on the goddess of love. He had a feeling that Aphrodite was screwing with his emotions again so that he would be willing to go meet whoever she had chosen for his gift this year. He rolled his eyes at the thought.
The goddess of love really didn't seem to understand Nico's type. Last year she had even tried to set him up with a woman. Aphrodite had thrown a hissy fit when he refused to even speak to the girl. He laughed at the memory.
His laughter caught the attention of Zeus.
The king of the gods glared down at him, "Is something I said amusing you?"
Nico raised an eyebrow at the god's attempts to intimidate him. He was the son of Hades, he did not scare easily. "Yes actually. I think it's faintly ridiculous that we all have to sit around and witness your wife putting you in your place. I'm certain I speak for the entire council when I say we have better things to do than listen to the two of you bickering."
The god of the skies glared at him. Thunder started booming in the distance. He was certain that he was going to have to hear yet another of Zeus's self-important speeches when Aphrodite cleared her throat.
"Forgive me but the boy is right. Today is a very busy day for me. So many wonderful mortals, all searching for a chance at true love," She giggled. "Oh I love Valentine's Day."
Nico rolled his eyes but chose to hold his tongue. He was willing to go along with her if there was the slightest chance that he could escape the meeting early.
Zeus glared once more at the son of Hades before he gave in, "Very well. This meeting is dismissed."
Nico grinned. Before any of the other gods could react, he flashed out.
Nico was in fairly good spirits. He walked down the streets of Olympus and watched the sun just beginning to set. He had managed to get out of a boring meeting early and he hadn't seen the love goddess at all since. She had yet to corner him and try to coerce him into dating whoever she had picked this year. All in all, it was shaping up to be a good Valentine's Day.
He felt that he should have known it wouldn't last.
"Hey Ghost-y, wait up!"
Nico scowled and kept going. A man with black hair and pure white wings, armed with a bow, caught up to him a few seconds later. Nico sighed, "What do you want Eros?"
The other god rolled his eyes, "You know that I prefer to be called Cupid."
Nico smirked. "True and you know I call you it just to annoy you. Now I'm only going to say it once more, what do you want?"
Cupid smiled at the young god of the underworld. Without missing a step he drew an arrow and shot it at a young nymph. Her eyes widened as the shot struck home. She looked at the satyr across the river from her and started to run towards him, completely overcome by desire.
Nico rolled his eyes, stupid love magic...
Cupid put away his bow and winked at him. "I just wanted to give you an address."
The son of Hades scoffed, "Oh really? And what, pray tell, is at said address?"
"Someone that my mother and I think you might like to meet."
Nico shook his head, "Not interested."
"How do you know that if you haven't even seen the person?"
The son of the underworld came to a complete stop and turned to glare at the god of love, "You proved to me long ago that neither you nor your mother have the faintest idea of what I want in a lover."
"You liked that brown haired mortal we set you up with, the one with the blue eyes. What was his name, Chris or Kevin or something?"
Nico scoffed, "Keith? That was nearly 80 years ago. Every single date has that you've helped with since has ended badly. Hell, last year you set me up with a woman!"
Cupid shrugged, completely unfazed by his anger. "Hey, she was hot. Mom thought you might like her."
Nico rolled his eyes, "Unfortunately she was missing a very important piece of anatomy. I like men. If I wanted a girl, don't you think I would have found one by now?"
"Whatever, you don't need to worry about that this year. She learned her lesson. This is a boy, not a girl."
The son of the underworld tossed his hands in the air and began walking away, "What part of 'I'm not interested' aren't you hearing?"
Cupid reached out to stop him. The instant his hand wrapped around Nico's arm, Nico went on the attack. He grabbed the love god's wrist and twisted it painfully behind the older gods back.
"Don't touch me Eros."
The god of love struggled a little but when Nico tightened his grip further, he stopped. "Okay, let's cut a deal. You go and meet this one..."
Nico groaned and pushed the older god away. "Fuck off Eros. I'm not going to meet him."
Cupid huffed and stood up, "Just hear me out. If you go and meet him and you don't like him, I swear on the River Styx that neither I nor Aphrodite will try to set you up with anyone else. Deal?"
Thunder crashed across the sky sealing his oath.
Nico's eyes widened. He was hesitant to accept the offer. He had learned long ago that if it sounded too good to be true, it was. "So let me get this straight. If I go and meet this guy and don't want to date him, that's it? The two of you will stay the hell out of my love life?"
Cupid tilted his head, "That's not quite what I said. I said if you meet him and don't like him, then we won't try to set you up with anyone else again."
Nico narrowed his eyes, "How is that any different from what I said?"
"Simple, you can like someone without dating them. I am positive that you will like this boy but I doubt that you will want to date him, at least right away. This one will take time."
"Why do you say that?"
Cupid gave him a mischievous smirk. He passed Nico a slip of paper. "Meet him and you'll see."
Nico couldn't understand what he was doing. He knew that a deal like this had to be more than it appeared. Why else would Eros be so confident that Nico would like the stranger?
He looked down at the piece of paper and double checked the address against the street sign in front of him. The note had led him to a dirty part of Miami. Looking around at the broken windows and the overgrown yards made Nico wonder just what kind of guy Aphrodite was trying to set him up with.
The herald of Hades had already passed several shady characters, the kind mortals moved to the other side of the street to avoid. Nico used his dark aura to keep people away from him. He had no desire to fight mortals. Nico looked down once more at the address and shook his head.
14382 Broadmoor Avenue,
Nico reached the address and stared up at the old apartment building across the street. He frowned and tried to decide if he really wanted to do this. He stood there, watching as people came and went.
He wasn't certain how long he would have remained frozen if he hadn't felt someone's life force begin to slip away. He suddenly found his feet moving without his consent. He had a very bad feeling. He was across the street and climbing the stairs before he even had time to think his actions through. He silently prayed that whoever he was there to meet was unrelated to the death that he had just felt. As he walked closer to apartment 4D his heart started to beat faster. Whoever's death he had just sensed was behind that door.
He took a deep breath and tried the knob, surprised to find that it was unlocked. He stepped through the door and took in the state of the apartment. The sink was over flowing with dirty dishes and there was trash piled next to the over filled can.
His eyebrows pulled together in confusion, what kind of person are they setting me up with?
"Mommy? Come on Mommy, you have to wake up..."
Nico's eyes widened at the child's voice. He walked down the hallway to a bedroom. Lying on the ground was a woman around the age of 25. There was a used needle on the dresser. A little boy around five years old was kneeling next to the body, shaking her arm. Nico's heart broke for the child. The woman was already dead.
He stepped forward and the floor squeaked. The little boy turned around. He had tears running down his face. He jumped up and ran towards Nico. The little boy grabbed his hand. He looked up at him with pleading eyes.
Nico looked down at the little boy, completely stunned. He found his body kneeling to the floor without his consent. He looked into tear-filled, sea-green, eyes.
The messy black hair and tan skin of the child confirmed Nico's suspicions about the young child's father. Even without feeling the child's spirit Nico knew. He had never seen him at such a young age but the features were unmistakable. He took a shuddering breath and opened his connection to feel the boy's essence. The instant his mind brushed against the child soul Nico knew that he had been right. It had been decades since he had felt that soul but he would never forget it.
The young boy sniffled, "Please, I need help. My Mommy won't wake up."
Nico pulled the weeping child into his arms, "I'm so sorry piccolo. I cannot help her."
The boy started shaking with his sobs and threw his arms around the god. The son of Hades was disturbed that at such a young age, the boy knew the truth without being told. Nico closed his eyes and tucked the small body against his, trying to protect him from the pain that he couldn't stop. Nico sat rocking the child in his arms, whispering calming words, until the boy fell asleep.
Nico carried the sleeping child to the living room and laid him on the couch. He stood up to find a blanket for the boy but felt something tugging on his sleeve. The god looked down into pained eyes that held too much understanding for one so young. "Please don't leave me. I don't like being alone."
The son of Hades blinked and sat back down. "I won't leave you alone, I promise."
The little boy nodded and climbed into Nico's lap. He bit his lip and looked up at the young god. "Are you a friend of Mommy's?"
Nico swallowed and brushed a lock of hair from the child's eyes, unable to answer the boy's innocent question. "My name is Nico, what is yours piccolo?"
The child leaned his head against Nico's chest, "My name is Percy. Mommy... Mommy always said that as soon as my daddy saw me, he told her that was my name."
Percy started to cry again. Nico wrapped his arms around the boy's small frame and pulled him close. The son of Hades was unsurprised by the name; of course Poseidon would name him Percy...
He held him until the boy finally fell into a deep slumber. He set the boy on the couch once more and wrapped him in a blanket. He debated bringing the boy to Chiron immediately but decided against it. As much as it pained him to leave him there, he wanted Percy to have at least a small chance at a normal-ish childhood. He couldn't do that if he was at camp.
The aura of innocence Percy gave off, even in sleep, made Nico want to protect him. Percy had clearly already seen too much in such a short life. The son of Hades did not want to send a 5 year old child to a camp where they would train him to fight. Nico knew that he couldn't protect him forever but he could spare him such knowledge for a few more years at least.
Nico called the authorities. He waited with the small boy until he heard the sirens approaching.
The son of the underworld tucked the blanket closer around the child's small frame and placed a kiss on the boy's forehead, "I will see you again piccolo."
The young god of the underworld stepped back and flashed out just as the police arrived.
He reappeared in a garden on Olympus. Somehow he was unsurprised to find Cupid waiting for him. The son of Hades ran a hand through his hair, trying to come to grips with what had just happened.
The god of love smiled and walked over to his friend, "So what do you think of your gift?"
Rather than playing his game, Nico asked the question that was burning in his mind. "How did you know that Percy Jackson had chosen rebirth?"
Cupid shrugged, "My mother heard it from Ares who heard it from Thanatos. That's not what's important here..."
Nico scoffed, "I disagree. I think it's quite important." The son of Hades closed his eyes and shook his head, "Just... tell me why."
The older god gave him a sad smile. "This is your second chance at true love."
The young god of the underworld gave Cupid a disgusted look, "He's a child!"
The god of love brushed off Nico's reaction. "He won't always be. Give him another 12 years and you will see him differently."
"What makes you say that?"
Cupid gave him a surprisingly serious look, "Because I am the god of love."