Disclaimer: PJO and its characters belong solely to Rick Riordan, I simply borrow his characters with love. This story is for entertainment purposes only; no money is being made from it.
This story is Rated O for Orange, read at your own risk.
[EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK]
Chiron glanced at Nico. "Grover, perhaps you should take our young friend to the den and show him our orientation film."
"But… Oh, right. Yes, sir."
"Orientation film?" Nico asked. "Is it G or PG? 'Cause Bianca is kinda strict—"
"It's PG-13," Grover said.
"Cool!" Nico happily followed him out of the room.
A few years had passed since that precious memory, and both boys were now much older – 18 years, to be exact – and were very capable of handling a Rated-R movie. Or so they thought.
"What are you doing?" Nico inquired, leaning on the counter top next to where Percy was working with a plate of oranges. The son of Hades along with Annabeth were visiting Percy and his mom at their villa for the weekend. Originally, he had only invited Annabeth, but… Nico had just recently admitted to Percy that he was, in fact, interested in males and in an attempt to show Nico that Percy was absolutely fine with this new piece of info, he had invited him over as well. He didn't want Nico to feel that anything between them had changed – they were still close friends, in his eyes.
He wasn't aware that Nico saw Percy a little more than a friend, however.
Percy eyed the dark-haired boy as he invaded his domain – i.e, the kitchen. He glanced at Nico with a raised eyebrow. What he was doing was rather obvious. "Peeling oranges," the demigod stated the obvious anyway with a hint of exaggerated patience.
"For Annabeth?" Nico inquired immediately, his look darkening just a little for some mysterious reason.
Percy was a little surprised that Nico had guessed that rather than assuming Percy was doing it for himself. He was right, actually. Percy had discovered that Annabeth did not peel oranges. He wasn't sure entirely why, but he had a feeling it had to do something with the fact that it made her cuticles all orange and smelly. Whatever the reason, Percy had simply gotten in the habit of doing it for her.
"Mmm-hmm," Percy distractedly responded to the affirmative as he continued separating the peel from the fruit. It was one of those particularly stubborn oranges that allowed you to only remove the peelings in tiny chunks. Annabeth was busy helping his mom outside. Percy was bringing her an afternoon snack, since otherwise she would probably forget to eat until dinner.
"Then you're doing it wrong," Nico said flatly with a hint of that superior tone in his voice that was guaranteed to set Percy's teeth on edge, even if he did consider the son of Hades a friend now…most of the time. Nico plucked the orange out of Percy's hands, starting to do it himself.
"Look at the membrane you're leaving behind, you have to get that all off. You probably don't even take the seeds out…" The dark-haired boy mumbled. There was a definite, faint hint of jealousy in his tone.
Percy shot the other half-blood an incredulous and annoyed look, snatching the orange back. Honestly, he liked Nico, he did, but the boy was really too much sometimes. "You're insane," he said flatly. "There is no wrong way to peel an orange. Annabeth likes the way I do them. And of course I take the seeds out." Or I'm going to this time, anyway…
Nico snorted in blatant disbelief. "There is a right and a wrong way to do everything. You can't just give Annabeth—…uh, Percy?"
Percy's face had darkened. This was getting old, and he did not appreciate Nico interfering that he was careless about anything that pertained to Annabeth, even if it was over such a completely ridiculous matter.
The kitchen sink began to slightly quiver, and the unwashed dishes inside started rattling as a result. There was a gurgling sound, and Nico quickly placed the orange on the counter. Too quickly. The orange rolled to the ground, and Percy just about had enough.
Water began seeping out of the kitchen sink handle, and Nico immediately picked up the orange and held it in front of Percy's face.
"Chill, chill! Jeeze, you're going to flood the place," Nico mumbled, though he was pleased to see that Percy's glare had softened and the kitchen sink stopped shaking. That was a close one.
But it wasn't over in Percy's eyes. He'd ruined Annabeth's orange. This meant war.
"Forget the oranges. Wanna go find a movie to watch or something?" Percy asked, using a sickeningly sweet voice. Nico had been around the other boy long enough to know that was the tone he used when he was about to do something stupid. Like the time he took Nico out on a surfing trip because of that one time he'd asked Percy if he could surf really well. Or the time Nico had asked Percy to sing so that the portal to hell would open – his voice had been sweet, but also like an avalanche.
Though, Nico had to admit…Percy did warn him he'd sound like an avalanche.
But that's not the point.
"I…uh, alright…" Nico finally mumbled, figuring it was better than getting drowned by kitchen sink water.
The two boys left the kitchen and made their way to the living room. While Percy rummaged through the piles of movies he had laying around, Nico settled on the couch in front of the TV as he made an attempt to hide his anxiety. He never really had any time to watch movies – in fact, the last time he watched an actual movie was with his sister, who was gone now.
There was also that one time he watched the camp-half-blood orientation film, but that didn't really qualify as a movie.
Point is, Nico still had it engrained in his memory that he was only allowed to watch rated PG-13 things – thanks to Bianca's constant reminder that he wasn't ready enough for 'adult stuff'. So when Percy suddenly stood up with a DVD in one hand and a smirk on his face, Nico felt a dark chill run down his spine in slight shock. He recognized the DVD cover, some movie called 'Immortals'.
Definitely a Rated-R movie.
"Um, Percy? Is that PG-13? PG? G?" Nico asked helplessly, his voice turning into a squeak with every question.
Percy shook his head as he plugged the movie into the DVD player and grabbed the remote before taking a seat next to Nico on the couch. Nico lowered his face to hide the small, rosy blush that ran across his cheeks when he realized how close Percy was sitting next to him.
"Rated R," Percy said, slightly rolling the 'R' as if to emphasize that this was pay-back for ruining Annabeth's orange. He was allowed to watch Rated R movies. As was Nico, but the boy wasn't really ready for them yet, as it appeared.
"But Percy, you know I'm not—"
"Shh, shh, it's about to start!" Percy said, cutting the son of Hades off before he could hear his excuses. Nico glared defiantly at Percy for a moment before turning to the screen.
The first few minutes of the movie weren't too horrifying. In fact, Nico sort of enjoyed it a little. Besides the several non-explicit references to a woman's virginity, there wasn't anything too rated-R concerning the movie. Some people looked like they were getting beat up, but whatever. Nico and Percy had definitely beat up a few people in their lifetime.
Relief had just barely flooded through Nico's thoughts, when the scene changed sometime in the middle of the movie, to reveal a scene with naked people. Naked people. The girl was naked and was kissing some guy, revealing some of her breast. Both Nico and Percy blushed at this, but neither said a word or dared reach for the remote. If this was payback for ruining Annabeth's orange, then Nico wouldn't back down.
So much gore appeared on the screen, causing Percy to cringe a few times though his eyes never left the screen. He would show Nico that he was capable of handling a Rated-R movie, unlike him. Ha, a son of Hades, unable to handle a Rated-R movie. Good one.
Nico wasn't disturbed in the slightest bit by the gory details. Something was intriguing about the way people's heads were hit and removed and, well…yeah, you get the picture. He was sort of into it. He couldn't help but glance at Percy to see how he was handling it. A small smirk appeared on his lips when he realized the silly sea-weed brain was turning pale at the sight of eye-gouging and blood.
When a character was seen being smashed and stabbed and torn apart by the Titans, Percy just about nearly hurled. Grabbing the remote, he paused the movie and released a shudder, trying to keep his nausea down.
Nico blinked, raising an eyebrow at his friend. "Why'd you stop it?" He asked innocently, stifling a small grin. He couldn't help but to add, "Can't handle a Rated R movie?"
Percy straightened his face, but he could practically feel Nico's silent amusement radiating from beside him. Before he could do anything, though, the front door burst open and Annabeth stepped inside along with Percy's mom following closely behind. Annabeth was giggling about something, but both of them froze when they saw the two boys on the couch, watching a movie that was paused at a scene revealing a massacre of some sort.
Annabeth rolled her eyes.
"Percy, don't tell me you let him watch a rated R movie…" Annabeth said, sliding her shoes off at the door before slipping inside. "You're such a seaweed brain."
Nico couldn't help but chuckle under his breath, turning on the couch to face her, "Don't worry, it wasn't too bad. But you might want to give him a hug or hold his hand before he sleeps at night. I think he got a bit scared."
Percy felt his body heating up in embarrassment as he shot Nico a glare.
"Oh boy," Annabeth mumbled. "So what exactly made you two decide to watch this?" She asked, stepping around the couch to peer at the empty DVD case that Percy had left on the arm of the couch.
Nico and Percy looked at each other again, both of them flushing a little this time. It sounded so ridiculous to actually say now, after the fact.
"Um….well…." Percy stalled. "It, uh…had to do with a disagreement about…um…"
"About the right way to peel an orange," Nico finished, applying the just-get-it-over-with principle since there was no way to make it sound any better.
Annabeth's clear, amused laughter rang softly in the living room. "An orange?" She hadn't expected it to be anything earth shattering, but the matter seemed so incredibly trivial it surprised her.
Nico looked completely abashed, Percy had resigned himself by this point to the fact that it was going to be one of those days where he just went around perpetually feeling the urge to hide.
"Yup," the sea green-eyed said simply. "An orange."
"Not just any oranges, your oranges!" Nico blurted, obviously still feeling it was justified and needing to vindicate himself.
Percy rolled his eyes. Oh great, Nico just had to go and spell it out.
Suddenly understanding dawned and Annabeth realized with fond amusement and surprise that they had in actuality, been to some degree fighting about her. That was both touching and embarrassing and she wasn't sure if she wanted to thank them or bop their heads together. She already knew about Nico's crush for Percy, but the fact that they'd argued meant that Percy had made it clear he was into her.
She had a feeling that the day Percy Jackson finally admitted to having a crush for her was the day Nico would admit to having a crush for him.
"I know this really cool movie about a love triangle," Annabeth said, hiding her amusement. "It's Rated R, who wants to watch it?"
Both boys turned pale.
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