Neither of them knows exactly how it started, but suddenly the air around them is filled with anger. Will is looking at Nico from the other side of the room. There's a storm waging in his eyes. Usually blue like a summer-sky. His fists are clenched at his side and his whole body radiates frustration.
And it's all Nico's fault.
If he didn't have to be so damn proud, Will would've never gotten mad at him. If Nico could just act like a normal human being for once, none of this would've happened. He isn't sure how exactly it has come to the point of yelling at each other, but he knows that it's his fault. He knows that Will only tried to do what he thought was right. He knows Will only wanted the best. He knows all that, but he just can't help it.
'Why do you keep pushing me away?', Will asks him. 'I thought we were past that.'
We'll never be past that. Nico is fucked up and he'll never change.
Nico doesn't answer so Will keeps on talking. 'I just – I don't know if I can do this. Not if you don't want me in your life. Why can't you just trust me?'
'Don't take it personal, Will.'
'But that's the problem! If you act this way towards everyone, how can I know that I actually mean something to you?' Will runs his hands through his hair and looks at Nico. 'How do I know I'm not just wasting my time?'
It feels like he's been stabbed. This hurts more, though. And pain never made him stronger. It only makes him weaker and messes with his head. This is the reason he has trouble getting close to people. Because then they can hurt you. And Nico has probably endured more than one person does in a lifetime. And it is enough. He doesn't want to give people the power to break his heart. He let things go too far with Will and now here he is. Getting stabbed by invisible swords.
'You don't.' And he speaks the truth. Nico isn't changing. He'll always be complicated and he'll keep on hurting Will. That will never change. It's better if Will knows it now.
'Aren't you going to at least convince me that I'm not? Wasting my time.'
Nico just shakes his head in response.
'Goddammit, Nico! What am I doing here?', Will asks loudly. He groans and continues in a lower voice. 'If you can't even do that, maybe I should just go.'
'Yes!', Nico snaps. He isn't really angry with Will.
No, he's angry with himself. He's angry with the entire concept of love. He's angry with the gods for laughing at them from their safe haven above. He's angry with the whole fucking universe. But he takes it out on Will. 'Maybe you should!'
He doesn't want to lie. He's not sure if Will isn't just wasting his time. Time he can use to find someone else. Someone who deserves all of Will's glory. Someone worthy of Will's beauty. Someone normal and equally as good as Will. Someone who realizes just how damn lucky he is to have Will.
Not Nico. How did they ever believe this could work? Nico is a son of Hades. He's meant to destroy. He's meant for the shadows and Will's filled with sunlight. Nico's basically the son of death and Will spends his time making sure people don't die.
What a match they make!
Will looks at him like Nico let him down. Which he probably did. The anger in his look fades and is replaced with disappointment. And maybe a little bit of disbelief. Blue eyes lock with brown ones.
Will turns around and without saying another word, he steps outside. He closes the door behind him. He doesn't even slam it shut. Nico would've preferred if he had. It would feel like Will was still mad and fighting. This feels like he has just given up already.
Nico stays like that, looking at the closed door. For how long? A minute? Five? Three hours? He has no idea. It's as if time has left with Will. The sun sets too, and Nico's left alone in the dark with his thoughts and regret as his only company.
After a while, he goes to bed because he figures he has to eventually. He doesn't bother taking off his clothes. What's the use? He faintly realizes there is a campfire tonight and that his friends are probably wondering where he is. He doesn't care. He doesn't care at all. Will's gone and Nico didn't even try convincing him to stay. He probably thinks Nico doesn't care about him. Which is not true. Not one bit.
Nico cares more than he ever thought he would.
He stares at the ceiling. He feels kind of empty inside. As if Will took his heart with him. He doesn't even feel like crying. Because, what's the point of crying, really?
He stays like that, watching the sky turn from pink to orange to purple to black with stars to purple to red to orange to blue.
Nico doesn't want to get up, but he doesn't really have a choice; someone knocks on his door. He wishes that it's Will, but knows it's not. He gets up and opens the door. There's Jason, looking way too cheerful; it hurts Nico's eyes. He has a smug smile on his face.
'So, I noticed you weren't at the campfire yesterday and guess who else wasn't? That's right. It was Will – ' Nico visibly flinches at the name and Jason stops talking. His smug expression turns into concern. 'Are you okay?' He takes a closer look at Nico. 'You look – '
'Like shit?', Nico interrupts him.
Nico enters his cabin and Jason follows him.
'Did you sleep at all last night?' Nico shakes his head while pouring himself a glass of water. 'What happened, Nico?'
Jason looks around. 'It's clearly not nothing.'
Nico sighs. Jason won't leave him alone until he understands what happened and until he makes sure Nico's okay. 'Me and… Will', he has trouble saying the name without breaking down, 'we fought. Yesterday. That's all.'
Jason squints his eyes at Nico. 'Do you want to talk about it.'
'I really don't', Nico answers, laughing bitterly and pouring his water back the way you take shots.
'Did you break up?', Jason asks cautiously.
'Probably.', Nico puts his glass down with a thud. 'I'm pretty sure we did, actually. But, like I said, I don't want to talk about it.'
'Yeah, sure.' Jason shakes his head and smiles at Nico. 'Are you coming to breakfast?'
'No.', Nico answers truthfully. He doesn't have the energy to face Will. It's painful enough without having to actually see him and realizing just what he's lost.
'You should eat something.'
'And you should leave me alone.' If Jason's hurt by these words, he doesn't show it. He just raises his eyebrows.
'You know Chiron will come check on you if you don't show up.'
Nico groans in defeat. Jason has a point. And the only thing worse than Jason checking on him, is probably Chiron checking on him.
So he follows Jason to the dining Pavilion. He quickly looks around but Will is nowhere to be seen. He sits down next to Jason. The rules regarding the tables changed after the war. People are allowed to sit wherever they want and not exclusively with their siblings.
The others soon follow. Annabeth and Percy holding hands, Leo with his arm around Calypso and Piper, escorted by some of her siblings. She tells them something, but leaves to join her friends.
'What's up with you?', she asks Nico after kissing Jason on the cheek.
'What's up with me?', he echoes, trying to play dumb. He wants to avoid talking about what happened at all cost
'I get this dark vibe from.'
'And you look like shit!', Percy adds. Annabeth hits him on the arm.
Piper continues. 'You know I can sense heartbreak. My mother' the love goddess.', she says kindly. 'Did something happen between you and Will?'
'He doesn't want to talk about it, guys. Leave it.', Jason interferes. Nico sends him a thankful look.
But then Will arrives. He's talking to Lou Ellen and when he sees Nico he freezes before turning away. Like it hurts him to look at Nico. Like he looked straight at the sun for too long and his eyes are burning. Ironically. And Nico can't take it. It hurts too much.
So he gets up and, ignoring his friend's complaints, goes back to his cabin.
When he gets there he smashes the lamp on his bedside table to the ground. He crushes the glass with his feet. He punches the wall. He kicks it, too.
And eventually he sinks down against said wall until he's sitting on the ground. Then he starts crying. At first it's just a tear out of the corner of his eye, but it quickly escalates to full-on sobbing. He can feel it in his chest and it's burning with every breath he takes.
He hasn't cried like that since… he doesn't even remember. And what's the point? There is no point except letting his anger and frustration and sadness out.
A knock on the door pierces through the room.
'Go away, Jason!', he cries. He has trouble talking and forming words. His breathing is uneven and stuck in his throat.
'Are you crying? Let me in!' And it's not Jason, but it's Will and Nico doesn't understand how he can still sound concerned.
He doesn't know what to do. His tears don't stop falling and his breathing doesn't even out.
'I'm coming in.'
Nico silently curses Chiron for not allowing locks on the cabins. The door opens and there's Will. Beautiful Will.
When he sees Nico curled up in a ball crying his heart out, he hurries over and crouches down in front of him. 'Hey, Nico. Are you okay? Look at me.'
Nico removes his hands from his face and looks up into Will's eyes. They are glistening and it looks like he's about to cry too.
'I'm so sorry, Will! Please, please – ', Nico's almost hysterical. He's grabbing Will's arm and stuttering some words.
'Shh, shh. It's okay. Breathe, Nico. Breathe.' He keeps whispering soothing words to Nico until he calms down.
Nico's breathing fast and there are still tears falling out of his eyes, but at least he can think straight.
'It's okay, Nico. It's okay.' Will is still calming him down and Nico notices that a few tears have escaped his eyes too. 'It's okay.'
For a long time they just look at each other. Not the way they had done at breakfast, more intimate and without turning away. Nico's the first one to break the silence.
He asks: 'What are you doing here, Will?'
Will is silent for some time before answering. 'I don't really know. I guess I just wanted to see you.'
'Did we break up?' Nico's voice is weak and if it weren't completely silent in the cabin, Will probably wouldn't have heard him.
'Not if you don't want us to.'
'I don't. But maybe we should.'
At this Will watches Nico in disbelief. 'Why?'
'It's just – I can't promise you that I'll change because I don't know if I ever will. I don't know if I can.' Nico sniffs before continuing. 'And you deserve someone who can love you right. I don't know how to do that. All I do is ruin everything. And you were right. Maybe you are wasting your time when you could spend it with someone who actually deserves it instead.' At this point Nico has started crying again, but he keeps talking. 'And I'm me and you're you and you're so incredibly kind and caring and good. And I'm – '
'Stop that.', Will interrupts him. 'Stop thinking so low of yourself.' He takes Nico's hand. 'I'm in love with you, Nico. You know that. And I want to be with you. Only you. Why do you think you don't deserve me? Of course you do. You're probably the one that deserves better. You've been through literal hell. Don't you think you deserve some love. Don't you think it's normal to act the way you do after all that's happened to you? Because it is. So just stop and start believing that you're worth it. Because you are, Nico. You are.'
He takes him in his arms and hugs him. They just hold each other and find comfort in the other's arms for a while. Nico wants to stay like that forever. Without worrying about anything and just drowning in Will's touch, but they can't. The two boys pull back and look at each other.
'I'm sorry for the things I said yesterday. I know it's hard for you sometimes and I should've been more careful.'
'And I'm sorry for pushing you away sometimes. I do care about you. I love you. You know that, right?', Will nods. 'And I hate making you feel like I don't.'
'Well, I guess we're both sorry then. You don't really want to break up, do you?' Will actually looks concerned. Nico shakes his head and kisses him. Deep and passionate, filled with all the things he wants to say to Will. How sorry he is. How lucky he is to have Will and just how much he loves him. And Will kisses him back. With all the things he wants to say. And they both understand, because it's a language only they speak. And no one else.
'I thought you'd left me. And I couldn't bear the thought of having to lose you too. I lost my mother. I lost my sister. I can't lose you too, Will. I just can't.'
'You don't have to. I'm not going anywhere.'
And Nico thinks that Will is probably the best thing that's ever happened to him.