Hey, guys! So... I kind of meant to post this on the 28th for Nico's birthday, but stuff got in the way, and I was unable to finish it in time... but I have it for you now! So I hope you enjoy it! I tried to put as much Solangelo in it as possible, honest!
UPDATE (18/03/2016): So I've gone through the story and actually made a few edits to it, just to make the story flow better. I hope y'all still enjoy it!
Will sighed as he tapped his fingers on the top of the desk, thinking deeply.
The son of Apollo didn't usually think this deeply. In fact, he was the type of person who usually let life and thoughts pass him by, deeming them unimportant unless it was a life and death situation or he had someone's life as part of his responsibility. So, usually when he was working in the infirmary.
But he wasn't really working in the infirmary. Not then.
No, the reason for his deep thinking was a certain son of Hades that happened to be sorting out sterile equipment onto shelves in the supplies cupboard not too far from him.
In a couple of days, it just so happened to be that guy's birthday, and Will Solace had no idea what to do for him or get him. After all, Nico di Angelo never really asked for much, so what could he do? He was pretty sure that getting him a skeleton as a joke wouldn't be considered that funny… not by Nico, at least. And he definitely didn't seem to be the type for sappy chocolates and flowers. So what could he do?
Before he came up with an answer, however, there was a loud knocking on the desk in front of him.
Will jumped, blinking a good few times before looking up and blushing sheepishly.
"Wake up, Solace! You got a whole day ahead of ya!" Piper sang cheerily, a wide grin on her face.
He'd forgotten that he was the one on reception duty today.
Damn Kayla getting sick again.
He blonde cleared his throat a little to recollect himself, before he spoke. "Is there anything you want, Piper?" he asked, giving her a smile that was as genuine as he could make it after being so rudely interrupted.
Or maybe that interruption was necessary.
"How many beds have you got free?" she asked, trying to sound innocent.
Will looked down and checked the register. "Uh… two free, with another probably being available within the next ten minutes if Austin does his check-up quickly." He frowned as he looked back up at her. "Why?"
Piper paused for a couple of moments, seemingly considering how much she should tell him, before answering.
"Well, Leo may or may not have got himself, Percy and Jason injured whilst getting Nico's birthday present…"
Will was about to say something about them getting injured (again) when he stopped. Birthday present? "What birthday present?" he asked suddenly, sounding curious.
Piper hesitated, a little bit confused about the change of subject. "A motorcycle," she answered slowly, pursing her lips a little. "Or, rather, a moped? He's turning sixteen, right?"
Will frowned and shook his head slowly. "No… fourteen."
Piper cringed. "Damn. Well, I'm going to have a tough time telling them that Nico can't legally use it yet…" She frowned a little. "He looks older than fourteen…"
"So you guys are getting him a present?" Will pressed, tilting his head to the side a little.
Piper nodded, leaning against the desk casually with her arms folded in front of her. "I think I'm just gonna get him a book, and so will Annabeth. I have no clue what Reyna is sending over, but Hazel said she'd be coming with some new stuff for him."
A wide smile grew on his face. So there'd be quite a few people getting him stuff. Great. Perfect, actually.
Piper raised an eyebrow at Will, moving off the counter. "What?" she asked suspiciously.
Will rested his elbow on the desk, his chin in the palm of his hand.
"How do you feel about helping me to throw Nico a party?"
"You want me to what?"
Will sighed, resisting pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. He didn't get what was so difficult to understand about what he just said — he thought he'd made it pretty clear. "Nico, you heard me. I know you're not stupid."
Nico just continued to stare at Will incredulously, before shaking his head and walking away, hands in his pockets. "This is ridiculous."
The blonde pouted. "Come on, Nico!" Will whined, grabbing his arm before he could get out of arm's reach. "It won't be that bad!"
"I'm not wearing a suit to go and have dinner for my birthday!"
Will sighed in defeat. "Fine… I'll let you wear a leather jacket."
Nico seemed to hesitate at that, contemplating the offer. "No," he said finally, after a few moments of thinking. "I still won't do it."
That seemed to win Nico over, and the son of Hades took the suit from Will, before going to put it on in the bathroom of his cabin, only grumbling a little.
About an hour and a half later, the two were heading out of camp (to a shadow a whole lot nearer to the borders, of course — Will said he would only let Nico travel them if they were closer to the venue than his cabin was, which was fine by Nico; after all, he needed to get his travelling up to scratch again, since it had been a few months and he felt a whole lot better now) to the restaurant, and were waiting outside when the others arrived.
The first to arrive were Jason and Piper. Piper wore what seemed to be a pink dress that glimmered a little in the light, the skirt of her dress reaching down to her knees. The sleeves of the dress went down to her elbows, and (only if you were looking) you could just about notice the leggings she'd pulled up under the dress itself to hide. Her hair was left down in curls by her ears.
Jason looked pretty uncomfortable in the crisp white shirt and black tie that Piper had obviously told (forced) him to wear, as shown by the fact that he kept trying to loosen the tie ever so slightly only to have Piper shoot him a dark glare, but somehow he'd managed to get away with wearing a pair of black sneakers, just as Nico had. He smirked at the son of Hades.
"Couldn't handle the dress shoes, huh?" Jason asked, a slight grin on his face. He ignored the frown that Piper shot him as she looked down at their shoes.
Nico smirked slightly and shrugged, gesturing to Jason's feet. "Looks like you couldn't either."
"Oh please; they felt like Hades on my feet."
Leo and Calypso were the next to arrive. Leo wore what seemed to be a pair of black jeans, with a shirt that had the top button left undone and a pair of sunglasses perched on his head (despite Calypso's protests, Leo refused to get rid of them just because it was the middle of winter and was already dark out – he claimed that it made him look "awesome", even if she just said he looked foolish).
Calypso wore a sleek black dress that only reached her knees, a pair of black flats on her feet and a silver hair band holding her cinnamon hair up in a ponytail. Her dress kind of sparkled in the light, and it was only then that Nico realized that the dress actually looked like the night sky – it had stars in it. The couple greeted Nico with birthday wishes, Calypso offering him a hug and Leo only wanting to go as far as a fist-bump. He did, however, give Will a playful punch in the shoulder, only to have Jason mess with his hair by ruffling it about – something that he was none too pleased with.
Moments after, Percy and Annabeth headed over from what had probably been Percy's mom's apartment.
Annabeth wore pretty much the exact same outfit as Piper, although instead of pink she wore a dark grey dress and had tights on instead of leggings. Her hair had been tied up into a neat bun, curls of her fringe framing her face.
Percy stood beside her, quickly loosening his tie and undoing his top button whilst ignoring the looks Annabeth was giving him as she greeted Piper and Will and wished Nico a happy birthday. He wore a pale blue shirt with a dark blue tie, black trousers, and… well, it seemed as if he hadn't quite got away with wearing sneakers, if the black dress shoes were anything to go by.
At Nico and Jason's sniggers, the son of Poseidon huffed, sending them a small glare. "My mom made me!" he whined, pouting. "I had no choice!"
"I should get some tips from her," Piper mumbled with a small smirk, sending a side glance at Jason, whose grin immediately melted off his face at that.
Annabeth and Nico laughed at the sudden change in Jason's expression, and Percy would have joined in had it not been for the fact that he had to suffer what Piper was joking about, and it really was no laughing matter.
Will smiled reassuringly at Percy, giving him a pat on the shoulder in an effort to comfort him, even though it was pretty clear that he wasn't doing much to help the green-eyed guy at all. In an effort to change the subject, he started, "Well, I think we should head in—"
Just then, there was a loud thud, and the demigods tensed, Percy immediately reaching for his weapon in his pocket and the others reaching for various daggers they had hidden on their person (and if the way Nico was twisting his new skull ring was any indication, that Stygian sword must finally been enchanted and was about to pop out at any second). The group began to move almost instinctively, standing between the direction of the thud and Nico, the youngest of them.
Nico gave them an exasperated sigh, rolling his eyes. "Guys, I can defend myself, you know."
"Defend yourself from what?"
Three figures emerged from what probably had been a small alleyway right next to the restaurant, and as soon as he saw who they were, a smile lit up on Nico's face – that smile he reserved for people he actually liked.
"Frank's here too!" the other demigod piped up, causing the others to laugh.
"I didn't think that you guys were coming."
Reyna offered Nico a small smile as she ran her fingers over the menu in front of her, not exactly sure what she should pick. "Well, I couldn't exactly miss your birthday, now, could I?" she asked him, an eyebrow raised.
Nico frowned slightly at her in confusion. "But… your Praetor duties…" he started.
"The Centurions were willing to take over once I explained the situation."
"And what exactly did you tell them?" Piper asked curiously, looking up from her menu at Reyna.
"Family emergency in New York," Frank said, concentrating on the menu in front of him. "They bought it."
The three demigods had, obviously, come for Nico's birthday, which the son of Hades had definitely not been expecting. With Reyna and Frank as the Praetors, and Hazel as a Centurion, the three of them were often busy with work around Camp Jupiter and rarely had time to communicate with the group at Camp Half-Blood as it was. Nico didn't even know that Will had Iris Messaged them a couple of days before to inform them about the celebration, which was why Frank had gone and pulled the "family emergency" card and not sorted it all out properly.
What kind of demigod went on a family emergency in a suit, anyway?
Hazel wore a wine dress that flowed down to below her knees (she wasn't that comfortable with anything higher), and had her frizzy curls held back by a gold Alice-band that had a little bow on it. She wore a pair of black tights with those, and was also wearing a pair of plain black ballet pumps.
Frank looked… rather dashing, Nico had to admit. Unlike Jason and Percy, he wasn't actually that uncomfortable wearing a shirt and tie, and had his properly done up, not loosened like theirs. He wore a pair of black trousers and dress shoes to go with the outfit, which had made Percy feel a little better about himself until Frank had told him that he'd chosen the outfit himself and wanted to wear it. Percy had been far less than amused.
Reyna looked almost regal in her dark, floor-length purple dress, her hair curled ever so slightly as it draped over one shoulder. She wasn't wearing any makeup, and yet she still looked stunning, which Jason had pointed out, only to get a raised eyebrow from the Praetor and a glare from his girlfriend. His protests that he was "only being nice" did nothing to lighten the situation, and both females proceeded to ignore him. On her feet, she wore a pair of silver sandals – she was now regretting this, due to the cold January weather of the North East.
"So, what are we going to eat?" Will asked as he squinted at the menu and tried to read it, before glancing over at his boyfriend, who was doing the same thing with his menu. Nico shrugged a little, having no idea what to pick (from what he could read, anyway).
"Do they have anything blue?" Percy asked absentmindedly as he attempted to read what was written on his menu.
"Percy, these people are normal, not you," Jason jabbed with a smirk, earning a glare and a huff from the other demigod.
When Percy pouted at Annabeth, the blonde just shrugged, not even bothering to look up at him from her menu. "He has a point."
Nico rolled his eyes a little at Percy's behaviour, but had a smile on his face. Heh, Percy really wasn't his type… he didn't know if he could deal with that.
Leo cleared his throat. "Well, I don't know about you, but I could really do with some tacos right now," he said, rather loudly (and earning looks from a couple of people on other tables).
"Leo…" Hazel started, frowning at him a little, "they don't have tacos here. It's a restaurant with more…" she lowered her voice and leaned close to him, "…refined foods."
Leo frowned at her. "What's a good restaurant without tacos?"
"Obviously, this rather successful one," Piper muttered, smirking slightly at the unamused look that Leo gave her.
Will sighed, resisting the urge to slap his palm against his forehead. Honestly, all he'd asked for was a normal birthday dinner for Nico, but would the others give that to him? No.
He was startled out of his internal grumbling by a snigger coming from beside him, and he turned to see Nico with his hand to his mouth, trying not to giggle.
"Are you giggling?" Will asked, the corners of his lips beginning to quirk up slightly.
Nico immediately stopped and dropped his hand, his face flushing red when the others turned to look at him. "N-no!"
Will grinned widely. "Yes, you were!"
"N-no I wasn't!"
"Yes you were!"
The son of Hades was cut off mid-sentence when Will pressed his lips against Nico's, and the son of Hades was blissfully unaware of the whooping and gagging coming from the others until Will pulled away.
At the grins on the others' faces, Nico cleared his throat awkwardly and tried to calm his bright blush before going back to his menu. "So… let's order!"
The meal, fortunately, didn't take too long for them to finish. Since it was a pretty expensive place, each of the demigods had only brought enough for one meal each, and once they'd eaten they collectively decided to head to McDonald's for some ice cream and smoothies as dessert. (And no one missed the sly grin that Percy gave Nico at that suggestion, to which the son of Hades replied that no, he wasn't addicted to Happy Meals anymore, nor had he been addicted to them in the first place, and that Percy should just drop it.)
When they reached the restaurant, they all ordered their McFlurries, sundaes and shakes, and moved to sit at a large bench, up on the stools facing the window.
"So… happy birthday, Nico!" Jason cheered with a slight grin on his face as he dipped his spoon into his Oreo McFlurry and took a scoop, popping it into his mouth. "You having a good time?"
Nico blinked at the sudden question, pausing halfway through a slurp of his chocolate shake, before shrugging. Was he having a good time? He didn't know – he thought he was, but he wasn't always right about these things.
Just as he was about to give Jason an answer, there was a loud roar from outside, followed by something that sounded eerily like a pterodactyl screech (not that Nico would know how that sounds – he wasn't that old…).
Percy sighed as he put his half-finished M&M McFlurry cup down on the table. "I knew this was too good to last," he grumbled, though he didn't sound as sour as he was exasperated.
Leo did the same, standing up and stretching before giving the others a mock-salute. "Well, it was nice knowing you guys."
"Leo, we're not going to die," Piper deadpanned, rolling her eyes at the son of Hephaestus.
"But we're obviously not going to make it back to camp."
The others hesitated as they stood from their stools, placing their various desserts (most of which had not quite been finished yet) on the table. Leo was right. Camp was too far right now, it was late, and there were monsters right outside the door. They'd be too tired to get there.
Nico bit his lip, looking down at his hands. "Maybe I should—"
"No," Will cut him off forcefully. "You are not shadow-travelling us all to camp. It could… no, it will get you killed!"
"And the travel is horrible," Reyna added, "I would not suggest shadow travel so soon after a meal." She smirked when Percy shuddered in agreement.
"Then what do we do?" Frank asked as he looked between the others, frowning a little. "We can't just stay in here."
The cogs were turning in Annabeth's mind, and a few moments after, her eyes brightened as an idea hit her. "I have an idea…"
Percy crouched down beside the wall one side of the door, Jason on the other, both of their weapons at the ready. The two glanced at each other, before glancing back.
Behind them were Leo and Frank, both of them hiding behind small barricades of tables — Frank with his bow and arrows (where he'd managed to hide them, the others had no idea), and Leo holding what seemed to be a fireball in his hands.
At the back of the restaurant, close to the ordering counter, the others stood, daggers and sword (Nico's sword, which had actually been enchanted) prepared just in case they had to fight. (Somehow, they'd managed to evacuate the restaurant. It involved a screaming Hazel, and a rat that looked suspiciously like a son of Mars everyone knew.)
Annabeth's plan was to get the group out of the fast food restaurant and down the street, as far away from the monsters as possible. Since Percy and Jason had the strongest scents, they would join the group last, Frank and Leo covering them before racing off to join the others. Provided that worked, Annabeth would then lead the group to the only other place in the city she felt was safe.
Percy's mom's apartment.
Now, she didn't know much about Sally's current position with having many demigods around, since it was usually only herself and Percy around with one or two others every once in a while, but she doubted she would kick them all out. Maybe make them cookies and let them stay for a few hours until they recovered, but not get rid of them.
When there was another growl from outside, followed by a screech, Percy and Jason shared a glance, nodding.
3… 2… 1…
The glass doors of the restaurant were broken with a smash (automatic doors were far too slow for their liking), and Percy and Jason jumped out, ducking as arrows and fireballs flew out behind them. Two of Frank's arrows lodged themselves in the monsters, turning two to dust, whilst Leo's fireballs practically incinerated another.
That was all it took for the monsters to snap out of their shock, and soon enough Percy and Jason were fighting their way through the beasts, destroying as many as they could to clear a path.
The others crowded around Hazel as she muttered a spell, and a cloud-like mist settled over the demigods as they made their way out and down the street, a little way down from where Percy and Jason were fighting the monsters.
And then the cloud vanished.
Nico blinked, looking around with wide eyes in confusion. "What the…?"
Hazel shot him a pointed look. "I told you I could only get this thing to last so long," she said, as if she was proving a point.
"Now isn't the time to be arguing, guys!" Will interrupted before Nico could say anything, grabbing Nico's arm and beginning to run.
The others ran soon after, Annabeth weaving around and making her way to the front of the group, and leading them to an apartment block about a street or two over from where they'd started.
"Up here!" she called back as she led them round the side, to the fire escape. Nico hesitated at the sight of it, remembering the last time he was up there, before he followed the others up, Will right behind him.
Just as Nico began climbing up the ladder, he heard a growling and a snapping coming from behind him, and he spared a look down only to see a telkhine snapping at Will's legs. He paled a little. "Guys…" he warned.
"Move faster!" Will called up, trying not to panic at the same time as he was trying to kick the monster in the head and away from him. He missed a couple of times, and ended up screaming when his foot was grabbed. "Guys!"
Nico quickly swung around on the ladder so that he was hanging onto one side and slid down, his sword slicing the beast as soon as he reached it. Will quickly shook the dust off his foot, before climbing as quickly as he could, Nico hot on his heels.
"Keep moving, keep moving!" Nico yelled up at the son of Apollo as he risked a glance back, realizing there were more of them coming.
"I'm going, I'm going!"
Soon enough, they'd managed to join the others just outside Percy's bedroom window, and Reyna began to open it, listening to Annabeth's warning of "don't smash the window because Sally may get mad". Eventually, she got it open, and the group piled into the room.
It was a shame that them actually getting into the room wasn't that graceful at all, and ended up with them all piled on the floor, Nico on top and Will somehow right at the bottom.
"Could you all please stop crushing me?" the son of Apollo groaned out, trying to push them off.
At just that moment, a woman walked into the room, looking very confused, and then startled at the sight of the six demigods. She stared at them in shock for a good few moments, before Annabeth spoke up.
Before Sally could answer, there was a loud screeching noise from outside the window. Nico didn't even hesitate before thrusting his sword out of the window, turning the beast to dust, and then slamming the window shut.
The woman stared at the pile of demigods on her son's bedroom floor for a few moments, before turning to call out into the corridor.
"Paul! We have… guests!"
Once Paul had been informed of the rather sudden appearance of their guests, the demigods were all herded to the living room and seated on the couches. The only one in the group that even looked slightly comfortable was Annabeth, who had offered to help Sally with the drinks.
As soon as the drinks had been served, there was a knock on the door, and Paul answered it, yelping in surprise when Percy, Jason, Leo and Frank appeared covered on monster dust and looking fairly tired. The four were ushered into the living room to join the others.
"So… I'm assuming there was a monster attack?" Sally asked with a raised eyebrow, looking between them all.
"Yeah…" Percy answered.
"You could say that," Annabeth commented.
Paul frowned slightly as he looked between the teens in the room. "But from what I hear… at least three of you are Big Three kids, right?"
That elicited a nervous laugh from Percy when he got a glare from his mother.
"You shouldn't be all travelling together if it's not safe!" she exclaimed, almost glaring at all of them. Percy spoke up.
"We were fine, mom. We had weapons."
"That is not the point! It was dangerous!"
"It's Nico's birthday!" Percy pointed at the son of Hades. "We wanted to have a good time!"
Sally turned to look at the demigod, who had ended up shrinking slightly beside Will, before sighing, her face softening. "Happy birthday, Nico."
Nico gave her a slight smile. "Uh… thanks."
"So, Sally…" Annabeth started, leaning forward a little to speak. "We've run into… a bit of a problem. See, we're all kind of tired, and camp is quite a distance from here—"
"You can stay the night," Sally told her, and she couldn't help smiling at the relieved looks on the other demigods' faces. "But you'll need to do something about those monsters."
"We'll keep watch," Jason said, speaking up for the first time. "Take turns going out in pairs."
"The monsters will mostly be coming through the fire escape, right?" Hazel pointed out. "Let's have that place guarded."
"Which means that there have to be two people in Percy's room at all times," Annabeth said.
Percy frowned. "Wait, what about my stuff?"
"Don't worry, we won't go snooping about in your underwear," Nico said whilst rolling his eyes, causing Leo to gag jokingly and Percy to glare at him, and making the others laugh.
Sally shook her head a little at their antics, before standing. "I'm assuming that I should put a couple of batches of cookies in the oven for you all?" she asked. She noticed how Percy's face lit up and shook her head a little, smiling. "I'll take that as a yes, Percy."
The others laughed again at the sheepish grin on Percy's face, and Sally left the room to get a head start on the cookie making.
There was silence in the room, until Frank spoke up.
"I guess we won't get to give Nico his presents after all."
Nico's ears perked up at that, and he frowned. "What presents?" he asked slowly.
"Your birthday presents, of course!" Hazel said with a bright smile.
"I… uh… do I really need them? Or, rather, deserve them?"
"Nico," Reyna started. "I tore off the lower part of my dress for you. What was once floor-length is now knee-length. I think you deserve presents more than any other demigod."
Jason nodded in agreement, grinning slightly at Nico. "We're your friends, Nico. We're gonna give you birthday gifts."
Nico smiled, noticing their hopeful faces. "Thanks… I guess." His cheeks tainted a faint pink. "Thanks a lot."
Nico sighed as he pulled his sneakers off, sitting on the edge of the couch. The others had managed to fall asleep not too long before, with Percy and Annabeth voting to take the first watch. (Leo had doubted that they would actually be watching for monsters, but then Percy reminded him that his mother was in the apartment, and he didn't exactly want her walking in on a make-out session between himself and Annabeth, so that convinced him.)
Just as he was about to turn and lie down beside Will and catch a few hours' rest before it was his turn to watch, he heard him speak.
Nico turned his head slightly, his eyes adjusting to see a pair of blue orbs staring at him in the dark. He smiled slightly, shaking his head. "I thought you were asleep?"
"I can't really sleep easily in a foreign place…" the blonde sat up, sighing. "Which is kind of a problem when you're a demigod, to be honest."
Nico frowned ever so slightly, though he couldn't help but agree with Will's statement. "Anyway… what are you sorry for?"
"For the gods-awful birthday dinner."
Nico had to hold back a laugh, managing to suppress it to a snort.
"What so funny?"
Nico smiled widely at Will, quiet for a moment or two before he explained. "It's just that… well, I've never really celebrated a birthday before," he admitted. "Either that, or I don't remember it. This is the first time that anyone's ever really done anything like this for me."
Will's eyebrows rose at that. "Really?"
"Yeah. And… well, it's the best birthday I've ever had."
"Even with the monster attack?"
"Will, especially with the monster attack. I mean, look at where we've ended up." He gestured to the room around him, where all of his friends lay, sleeping. Hazel was curled up at Frank's side, her hair serving as a pillow for him. Reyna had a whole couch to herself, which she had won only after three games of rock-paper-scissors with Leo (granted, she'd thought it stupid at first, but when she'd won, she deemed the game accurate and announced loudly that Victory favoured her over the other demigod, which hadn't pleased Leo at all since he'd been there to save Nike in the first place), Jason and Piper were curled up together on the floor by Reyna's couch, Piper dozing on his chest whist he rested his head on a pillow, and Leo and Calypso had a blanket draped over them.
"I've ended up spending my birthday with my friends – all of my friends. Even if it's at Percy's mom's house. Do you really think I'm disappointed about this?" Before Will could continue, he lay down on the couch, pulling the son of Apollo down with him. "Besides, I get to curl up beside you for the whole night, right? Do you really think I'd be mad about this?"
Will chuckled slightly, rolling his eyes at Nico, before ruffling his hair a little. "Okay, okay, you have a point."
Nico grinned, before resting his head on Will's shoulder. "I know."
Will scoffed, and the two lay there quietly for a few moments, just relishing in the silence within the room.
"Thanks. For everything."
"…You're welcome, Nico."
"Good night, Nico."
The next day, at camp, Nico did receive the presents as promised:
A couple of new black t-shirts from Piper, a dagger designed by Annabeth that had been crafted by Leo along with The Exorcist, a sketch of himself from Hazel (co-signed by Frank, as the male had had no idea what to get Nico), some homemade shirts from Calypso (which were also black and actually very comfortable), a pair of what seemed to be very sturdy boots from Reyna (in black… pretty much everyone knew that Nico loved black)…
…and, from the two males who clearly hadn't got the memo, a moped from Percy and Jason.
Not that Nico didn't love the skull designs on the vehicle itself. It was just that, well…
"Guys, I'm fourteen."
"Whoops – our bad."