A/N: For some unknown reason I got the first sentence of this fic stuck in my head and it wouldn't go away until I wrote it down. And then this happened. I'm not saying I'm proud about this, but hey, it's not exactly my worst story. Besides, who doesn't like a soccer mom AU? And soccer mom!Nico? Anyway, please excuse me for the fact that I know absolutely nothing about soccer (football).
Please read and review and try not to judge me too harshly.
Nico has a thing for his daughter's soccer coach.
It's stupid, really. He's seen the guy less than five times, probably (nine, not that Nico's counting), and most of the times he's been too far to see properly. But even from his spot from the bleachers Nico can make the lean form of Coach Will (as the coach has the girls calling him), the board shoulders and bright smile and that stupid mob of beautiful golden hair that Nico just really wants to run his fingers through.
Nico knows he shouldn't be staring like that. He knows it's weird and creepy and totally inappropriate. He knows the lady to his left has probably noticed, or will in the next few minutes if he doesn't stop. But then the coach turns again and Nico gets a better view of his back and the curve of his ass, and no, he's not going to stop just yet.
"Which one's yours?" the lady asks kindly, and Nico spares her a quick look. She has curly blond hair that she has tied on a pony tail, and he's fairly certain he recognizes her from previous weekends.
Nico turns his eyes back on the field an points out Ciara. "There. Number thirteen", he says and doesn't bother concealing his pride as he sees her taking the ball from another girl and making her way to score. Nico doesn't know a thing about soccer if he's being perfectly honest, but he knows enough to know that Ciara is doing well.
From the corner of his eye Nico sees the lady nod. "She's got good leg work", she mutters, maybe more to herself than to Nico. "I'm afraid mine has just a little too much energy to focus", she points out a black haired girl that's mostly jumping up and down and running aimlessly around other players. "We thought soccer might help her channel her energy, but she seems to be even more vivid after practice. Takes after her father, I guess."
Nico smiles pleasantly as Ciara manages a goal and his eyes wander off to the coach again. Ciara high fives the coach and then turns around to give Nico a thumbs up. Nico returns it and slowly registers that the coach, too, has turned to look at him. Or maybe not him, but the parents in general. Could be even watching the traffic behind them for all Nico knows. But that bright smile is there again and Nico has to look away before he does something stupid like blush like an idiot. No one is supposed to smile like that while coaching a bunch of seven year olds.
After the practice all the girls run to their parents, and Nico is only slightly mortified as he notices he's the only dad there. It shouldn't bother him, he's often the only dad, and always the only parent and only family Ciara has. Has been for seven years now. But yes, sometimes it still bothers him, and on this particular Saturday afternoon he really has to work on his smile before Ciara reaches him.
"Did you see that last goal, Dad?" she asks him, excited and full of life and looking so much like Bianca that it almost hurts. Almost. "It was a tough one, I almost got tackled, but I feinted and then I ran like the wind just like Uncle Jason has told me to!"
"Yes, I saw", Nico smiles as he gives her a jacket, even though he isn't certain if he had been paying more attention to Coach Will or Ciara back there. He really needs to get a grip. "And Jason will be really proud of you when you tell him. Did I tell you we have dinner with the Graces tomorrow?"
Judging by her surprised reaction he hasn't told her, and that's basically all the girl talks about on their short walk home. Ciara loves Jason and Piper and their two year old son, and Nico has a feeling she really likes it when Piper does all that mother-daughter-stuff with her. Nico tries his best to give Ciara everything she needs, but he has long since accepted that he can't be a mother to her. Not really, no matter how hard he tries. But he sure will be the best damn father she could get.
"Oh, and Dad?" Ciara says as an afterthought once they have reached the door to their apartment and Nico looks for his keys. "Coach Will asked me to tell you that it's nice to see a dad on the bleachers for once."
Nico almost drops the keys but makes it look like he's doing it on purpose. He makes it a point to not look at his daughter right then. "Did he now?"
"Yeah, and then I told him that I only have a dad, and then Sophie said she only has a mom, and Hannah heard and said that she has two moms, which I thought was kind of cool, and then Coach said it's good for us to see that even if we have different kinds of families we can still play the same sports, and I don't really understand what that had to do with anything so…"
Ciara keeps talking, but as Nico opens the door and they proceed on their after-practice schedule, he can't really listen. He hates to admit it, but the fact that Coach Will has (although indirectly) talked to him makes his insides all mushy in a way nothing has in years.
It takes three glasses of ridiculously expensive wine for Nico to tell Jason about his stupid obsession. He's really grateful for Piper for offering to teach Ciara how to braid her hair by herself so that he can have a chat with his best friend – even if it means volunteering to do the dishes.
"And it's just all fucking stupid", Nico mutters, still a little afraid Ciara would hear him from the living room as he dries the plates. "I mean, I haven't ever even talked to him. I only see him on the soccer field. For all I know, he's probably married. He coaches seven year olds. He could have his own kid on the team. Isn't that what people do?"
"Yeah, or he could be really into you", Jason rolls his eyes. "Seriously, Nico, we've talked about this. You always assume the worst. That's why you've been single for – " He pauses and looks thoughtful. "Hold on, how long have you been single for, exactly?"
Nico resists the urge to throw the towel at him. "As in real relationships or flings?" he asks anyway, and grimaces as he realizes how long it's been. "Either way, years." Nico blames the wine, because had he been completely sober he would never have admitted that to Jason.
Jason stops what he's doing and turns to look at Nico. "Wait, are you telling me you haven't had anyone since Ciara was born?"
Giving him a nasty glare, Nico puts the plates in the cupboard. "Of course I have. Two or three. But that was still years ago."
"How many years?"
"I'm not discussing my sex life with you, Jason."
"Yes, you are. How many years has it been, Nico?" Jason looks like he's getting both angry and worried, and Nico would give anything to not be in this situation right now. "And don't even think about lying to me, I'll know."
Nico listens to the sound of Ciara's happy giggle coming from the living room, hears the childish babble of little Tom and Piper's laughter. He counts. "Five years."
Jason almost drops the pan he's washing. "Five years?" His voice is full of disbelief, and Nico just really wants to slam the pan to his face. It's a miracle they can both keep their voices low enough to keep the kids from hearing their conversation. "You haven't had sex in five years?"
"Shut up, Jason!"
But Jason lets out a huff, and Nico knows his wondering what it would feel like to not have sex for five years. Not good, Nico thinks bitterly and keeps his eyes on the dishes. "Seriously, di Angelo, that's messed up. We gotta get you laid. Soon. I don't even care if it's from that coach or someone else, you need to get some."
"No, Jason, I don't", Nico growls, even though the idea isn't all that bad. "I'm fine. Besides, it's not like I have time for that – I have Ciara, and my job, and I can't just go randomly hitting on guys – "
"Why not? It's what everyone else does." Before Nico can argue, Jason has already made the decision for him – like always. "Tell you what. Next Friday we're going out. Vodka and tequila and dancing, the works. There's a new club on Sixth Street. We'll go there; you, me, and Leo."
"No." Nico knows it's pointless to argue, but he has to try. It's bad enough he has admitted all this to Jason – it will be worse if Leo finds out. "No, you're not bringing Valdez into this. No way."
"Of course I am. Leo's the best wingman you can get", Jason finishes with the dishes and turns off the tab. "Seriously, Nico, you need this. Don't argue. I'm only looking out for you."
"By throwing me into some stranger's bed? How very kind of you."
"You'll thank me."
Nico has a feeling he won't.
Nico may have a thing for his daughter's soccer coach, but if the man doesn't stop blowing the god damned whistle Nico is going to kill him.
Piper had offered to take Ciara to practice today, and right now Nico is thinking that might have been a better idea. But he's there, and it's too late. He swears he's never been that hungover before (he has, but it's been so long he has mostly forgotten), and it's all Jason's fault. And Leo's. Fuck, Nico is never ever going to drink tequila with Leo Valdez again.
The whistle splits the air again, and Nico flinches involuntarily and adjusts his sunglasses. He knows he looks terrible, and he can practically hear the soccer moms giving him scornful looks. ("You do realize you're basically a soccer mom yourself?" Leo's voice from last night taunts him, and he wants to hit something.) He's been the odd one out since the season started, being the only dad and also at least six years younger than the rest of them, but showing up hungover to the practice was a low blow even for him. Nico scowls and takes another sip of his coffee. He really should have let Piper take Ciara.
Nico looks up and sees the lady who had talked to him the week before. He grunts an answer, knowing he's being rude but not really wanting to engage in conversation that will probably just end in her telling him he's a terrible father. It has happened before, Nico doesn't need a recap.
But the lady sits down next to him anyway, inviting herself to his personal space, and Nico wants to tell her to fuck off. He doesn't.
"I don't blame you, if that's what you're thinking", she says after a moment, and when Nico glances at her she's looking thoughtfully out to the field. "God knows that I'd like a night off every now and then. We're only human, right? Even if we're parents, too."
Nico has been waiting for the patronizing and her telling him what to do with his life. So he's really surprised by her words, even if he's still weary of her motive. He looks at her profile, notices the proud stance and the way she keeps her chin up more than she actually needs to. Her hair is on a pony tail again, and Nico now notices that even if she's dressed in jeans and a button-up like the rest of the moms, she holds herself very differently from them.
"Why don't you?" Nico hears himself asking before he can stop himself. She turns to look at him. "Take a night off, I mean. Why don't you?"
She smiles a little at him; not the ridiculous, rehearsed smile the other moms sport throughout practice, but a real, genuine smile. Nico feels like this lady doesn't smile for appearance's sake. "It's hard to find time between running my own company and taking care of two over-stimulated kids. And between you and me", she leans in a bit closer, and normally Nico would have backed off but he's too nauseated to move, "alcohol wouldn't be the best idea with a third one on the way."
"Oh." Nico's eyes dip momentarily down to her abdomen, but her stomach is still flat. She's probably not further than three months yet. "Congratulations."
"Thanks", she smiles brightly like only a pregnant woman can. Then she offers her hand. "I'm Annabeth, by the way."
Nico shakes her hand. He wonders why he's even bothering – it's not like he's there to make friends. "Nico." But, he thinks as he turns his eyes back on the field just in time to see Ciara get tackled (rather sloppily), it won't hurt to have someone to talk to during the weekly practice.
"Pleasure. And if it makes you feel any better, you're not the only one who feels like throwing up."
They fall into a comfortable silence and watch their kids play. Or, Nico thinks, at least Annabeth is probably watching the kids; Nico soon finds himself looking at Coach Will again. The man looks ridiculously good in shorts and a bright orange t-shirt. It's a warm day, and even from the distance it's obvious the coach is sweating like a pig, and the shirt is sticking to his back like a second skin. And Nico can't get his eyes off him.
Suddenly all Nico can think of is the way he was panting in the bathroom stall last night, but instead of a complete stranger it's Will between his legs, smirking and licking and doing all sorts of unholy things to him. Nico feels his face heat up, and he has to get up and mutter some excuse about not feeling well to Annabeth before he can hide himself behind the bleachers. He can't remember any specific details of his partner from the previous night, but he sees Will there so vividly, and it's so real Nico knows that if he doesn't stop right now he's going to have a problem. A problem you do not want to have at a little league soccer practice.
Car crashes, Nico forces himself to think. He takes deep breaths and feels his stomach turning, the hangover making him feel even worse than he already is. Baby lions. The Declaration of Independence. He drops his coffee on the ground, and his sneakers are ruined. Serves him right. What the fuck is the capital of Arizona?
Nico gets his shit together just in time before the final whistle. He tells Ciara a little white lie about how they need to get going right away, and waves a small good-bye to Annabeth, who's giving him a concerned look. He taps his forehead to signal her that it's just the hangover, and she seems satisfied by that. Nico takes Ciara's bag and flings it over his shoulder, grabbing her hand and guiding her towards home before he can make a bigger fool of himself.
Nico is almost certain that Ciara's wrist is broken. She says it's just a sprain, like she's a medical professional, but Nico's pretty much freaking out inside. Ciara hasn't broken any bones before. Nico doesn't know how to react with broken bones, and he considers calling Piper. He's looking around at the emergency room, wondering why no one hasn't called them in yet, and the smell of the hospital takes his mind back to the day Ciara was born.
The day that was both the worst and the best of his life.
"Dad, stop", Ciara whispers, and Nico's attention turns to her in a flash. "You're making me nervous." Her wrist is covered with a bag of frozen peas and a t-shirt, and she's holding it in her lap gently. Nico suddenly realizes he's tapping his foot on the floor, and stops.
"Sorry." He pets Ciara's soft black hair away from her face. "Does it hurt?"
Ciara smiles, and Nico knows she's putting on a brave face. She always does, especially when he tells her not to. "Not so much anymore."
"Di Angelo?" a nurse calls just then, and Nico looks up to her. "Doctor Solace will see you know."
Nico and Ciara are taken to the examination room where the doctor waits, and as soon as Nico sees the doctor he knows he's screwed. All it takes is that one look. Ciara is delighted, but Nico just wishes they could have had any other doctor.
"Coach Will!" Ciara exclaims, and Doctor Solace smiles pleasantly at her. Nico hates the way the smile makes him want to smile, too. "I didn't know you're a doctor!"
"Well, I have to do something when you guys are at school, right?" Doctor Solace winks at her before turning to shake Nico's hand. "Mr. di Angelo. Pleasure to finally officially meet you, even if I wish it was under different circumstances."
"Right back at you." Nico prays to every higher being he knows that he makes it through the check-up without fucking things up. But the truth is that knowing Coach Will is also a doctor makes Nico's head spin. (Nico keeps telling himself he does not have a thing for doctors.)
"Now, what have you done to your wrist, young lady?"
Ciara has the nerve to look proud of her injury. "I was practicing the feint you showed me last Saturday, Coach. And I was doing really well, too."
Nico shakes his head at her. "Yeah, except you were doing really well in the living room and not outside like I told you to."
Nico hasn't been to Ciara's practice in two weeks. If someone asks, he has had work to do, he has been busy, and he truly regrets having to miss practice. But truthfully he's just been avoiding the coach. That day after his night out with Jason and Leo… Nico's never been more embarrassed in his life than he was hiding behind the bleachers, forcing away an erection.
But forgetting that thought about Will Solace hasn't been easy. In fact, it has proven to be damn near impossible. How many times has Nico now woken up sweaty, calling his name? How many times has he touched himself in the shower imagining Will was there with him? Nico hates himself for even thinking about it, but Will Solace is now a constant figure in his mind. Nico hates himself almost as much as he hates Solace for even existing.
While Doctor Solace examines Ciara, Nico works hard to keep his eyes in his daughter. Turns out it really is just a sprain, and she happily spares him a look that clearly says "told you so". Nico just rolls his eyes in return. Doctor Solace seems to have a way with children, and his voice is very pleasant. He cracks a smile easily, Nico notices, and his laugh sounds like a hundred bells in summer wind. It's all something Nico hasn't noticed during practice. Solace also has a face full of freckles, and his eyes are bluer than anything Nico has ever seen, and Nico just really hopes Ciara will be treated quickly so that they can get out of there because he would really like to kiss her coach slash doctor.
"Well, looks like you're good to go", Doctor Solace finally says, and Nico almost lets out a sigh of relief. "Keep the bandage on for a week, and if the pain gets worse give me a call. You have my number." There's that wink again, this time directed to Nico, and the dark haired man has to look away to keep himself from blushing. He has looked at the number on the soccer team time table for more times than he cares to admit. "And I think a follow-up next week is also in order. Be sure to make an appointment with the nurse on your way out."
"Will I be able to play on Saturday?" Ciara's voice is worried, and Nico curses. She has her first real game coming up. He feels such a crappy father for forgetting.
Doctor Solace looks regretful. "I'm afraid that as both your doctor and your coach I must advice against it." Nico sees him glance at him quickly before continuing, "But I do hope to see you both there. We can never have too many people cheering for us."
"Oh! We'll be there, won't we, Dad?"
Nico swallows dry. It's a lost case, because he couldn't possibly deny his daughter like that while she is injured. And he hates how he wishes to see Coach Will in a sweaty shirt again.
"Yeah. Yeah, we will."
By the time dinner is finished, Nico has made the decision to never talk to Jason ever again. Especially about his love life – or lack of it.
"Now there's a plot twist", Jason says and sends a meaningful look at Nico's direction as Ciara finishes her story about the bandage on her wrist. She has made a big deal of showing it off, and Piper has even lent her some sparkly stickers to glue on it. "Who would have guessed Coach Will is also a pediatrician?"
"You keep your mouth shut", Nico hisses to him as Ciara turns her attention to Tom, who has just mastered eating with a spoon and is making a huge mess at the other end of the table. "Don't talk about him like that when she's in the room, okay? This is horrible enough as it is."
"Anything I can do? I mean – I don't mean to brag, but my advice kind of did work last time."
Nico looks at the water in his glass and wishes he could drown in it. "No, it actually didn't. If anything, it made things worse."
Jason is silent for a long time, during witch he keeps staring at Nico in a way the younger man is very accustomed to during the many years they have known each other. Still, it is a very annoying surprise when Jason finally opens his mouth and says, "Piper, dear, I think me and Nico can take care of the dishes again."
Piper laughs a little and Nico hits his forehead on the table. "You should come around daily. I had no idea you had such a passion for washing plates."
"Believe me, neither did I."
And that is how Nico finds himself once more in the kitchen of the Grace household, holding a towel like a weapon and trying to make Jason stop laughing. He doesn't understand why the other man finds this so funny (okay, he does, but it doesn't mean he finds it funny at all). It takes five whole minutes and three smacks from the towel for Jason to calm down.
"You seriously got a boner in the soccer practice?"
"No – I almost got a boner, but – oh for fuck's sake, Jason, this is not funny!"
Jason wipes his eyes and grins as he looks at Nico. "You have to admit, it's a little funny. You'll laugh about it one day." He turns back to the sink and shakes his head. "So – what? Now you just keep picturing it? You fantasize about Will Solace the soccer coach and pediatrician?"
"Shut up, Jason." Nico glares at his so called friend, but neither confirms nor denies anything. "I can't believe we're even discussing this."
"Oh, but this is good, Nico. Real bro-bonding. We haven't had that since…" Jason thinks for a while and grins. "Since senior year of high school. Man, that's a long time... Yeah, you didn't want to talk about this stuff anymore because you were seeing that college guy. Athlete, if I remember correctly. What was his name? Mike?"
"Right. Michael. A pre med, wasn't he?" Nico doesn't have to say anything, his blush does it for him. Jason starts laughing again. "You know, I was only joking back then, when I said you had a thing for doctors. But apparently I was right."
"Fuck off", Nico mutters. He's not even slightly tipsy this time, so he can't blame alcohol for what he has told Jason. Why the fuck is he making such stupid things these days? "You're missing the point here. It's not even about Solace being hot anymore. I think…" Nico stops and dries two plates before he continues. "I know it's fucking ridiculous, I haven't even really talked to the guy more than two times, I think, but – "
"Oh my god." Jason has stopped to even pretend that he's doing the dishes, and he's turned to fully look at Nico. "You have a crush on him, don't you? An actual sixth-grade crush?"
"What? No! I – " Nico tries to think of a better word for it. But what do you call it when you want to simultaneously kiss a person in the moonlight and fuck their brains out? "It's complicated, okay? Besides, he's Ciara's coach. And we've already discussed this, he's probably straight and married anyway."
Jason scoffs. "Yeah, and I still think you shouldn't place your verdict so quickly. You of all people should know that looks can be misleading. I mean, I wouldn't have guessed you to be gay in a million years if you hadn't told me."
"That's because you're a blind idiot, Grace."
Jason keeps talking about how Nico shouldn't just assume everyone to be straight, but Nico doesn't listen. The real reason he stopped talking about these things with Jason wasn't Michael the pre med. He hadn't even seen Michael for more than a few times. The truth is that he hadn't talked about his sex life with Jason since Ciara came to the picture. It was all so unexpected, and he was a huge mess back then, and there was just no proper time to even think about having sex with someone when you were planning your sister's funeral while changing diapers.
Nico is sure Jason knows that. Hell, it was Jason who kept him sane during the first year. And Nico is actually really grateful for Jason not bringing up Bianca as much as he did before, because all it does is make Nico sad and Ciara confused.
After the dishes are done, Nico walks to the living room to inform his daughter that it's time to go. Ciara is a kind and obedient child, but none of that applies when they're having dinner with the Graces, apparently, and so she pouts and huffs and stomps all the way down the hall.
"Can't we stay the night? Just this once", she tries. Nico sees that she's tired out of her wits, but doesn't say anything. "I want to make blanket forts with Uncle Jason. He promised we'd do blanket forts."
"Next time, kiddo", Jason says as Nico glares at him. "Pinky promise."
Ciara wrinkles her nose, but links her pinky with Jason's briefly. Then she turns back to her shoes ("I can tie my shoe laces now, Dad, you don't have to help me") and mutters, "Uncle Leo would have let me stay."
"Then I guess it's once again a really good thing Leo Valdez isn't your father", Nico replies and shudders at the thought. True, he will never be sure about who Ciara's biological father is, but he's 110 per cent sure it is not Leo Valdez. "Come on, champ. Let's get you home before you fall asleep on the floor, yeah? I'll give you a piggy back ride home."
Nico knows he spoils his daughter. He knows she has him wrapped around her little finger from the moment she was born. But he also knows he would not have it any other way.
"I think he's bisexual."
Nico almost falls off his seat when Annabeth sits next to him with such a greeting, one hand on her now slightly more visible baby bump. Yes, he has been looking at Will Solace again, but the coach is far across the field so it would be impossible to tell.
"W-what?" he splutters, holding his take away coffee cup more tightly to keep his hands from shaking. "Who are you talking about?"
Annabeth rolls her eyes, but there's a smirk on her lips that Nico quickly learns to hate. "Don't act stupid, Nico, I know you're clever. I'm talking about Will. I think he's bisexual."
Nico considers for a moment before replying. He could be a jerk and ask what it's got to do with him, but he thinks he would be mocking her intelligence if he did. She's smart, Nico has learned that much, and there's no way she hasn't picked up on his pining after the coach.
It's been six weeks since Nico and Ciara saw Will Solace at the hospital, and since then Nico has built a sort of relationship with the man. Well, it's not actually a relationship. They're acquainted now, and they say hello, and they do small talk after practice like normal parents do with their kid's soccer coach. Nico has run into him twice in the supermarket, and made a point to do small talk even there. Which is weird, since Nico hates small talk and avoids it with everyone else.
Nico has mostly gotten rid of his horny teenager –state when it comes to the coach (mostly, but not entirely), but that doesn't mean his heart doesn't flutter every time Will smiles. Or that he doesn't enjoy looking at the man on the field. Or that he doesn't dream about how it would feel to run his fingers through that hair. (Or have the coach panting on a bed. You know, for science.)
"And what makes you think that?" Nico asks Annabeth, keeping his eyes on the field and noticing that Ciara has really made progress with her shuttle. He's proud of himself for learning to notice little things like that.
"I went to high school with him. I was a senior when he was freshman, of course, but I remember him. He was dating the captain of the girls' volley ball team back then, but for the past two months you're the only one he's had eyes for, no matter how much mascara the suburb moms apply."
It takes Nico a ten seconds to fully register what Annabeth is saying, and when he does, he turns to look at her with eyes the size of plates. She can't be serious. Sure, Nico has been staring at Will ever since the season started, but there's no way Will has been… that Will ever would… Nico feels his face burn red, and that annoying smirk on her lips just gets wider.
"Well, to be fair, they do look ridiculous with that much make up", Nico tries and clears his throat when he hears how high his voice has turned. "Not that I'd know much about that, obviously. Or care." He's pretty sure Annabeth is smart enough to have noticed him being gay ages ago, so there's no need to even pretend with her.
Annabeth shrugs and glances at the other moms, sitting a few rows in front of them and evidently gossiping – something Nico has never understood. "I bet most of them have ruined whatever brain cells they had with too much hair products. And the rest are just unhappy with their marriages. I know for a fact that Drew's husband has filed divorce papers." Nico nods, but doesn't say anything. He has no idea which one of the moms is Drew, nor does he care to find out. "But the real question is what you are going to do about this?"
Nico pales. "Me?"
Annabeth sighs and starts to sound annoyed. Something tells Nico he doesn't want to see her get actually mad. "Yes, you. Nico, I'd have to be blind to not see how attracted you are to Will. I've been sitting right here for the past how many weeks and watched you undress him with your eyes – don't deny it", she adds when Nico opens his mouth to speak, and he snaps it back closed. He's lucky Annabeth keeps her voice down so the others don't hear. "It's really getting frustrating. You're driving me nuts, and you need to do something."
Nico huffs. She makes it all sound so simple. It's easy for her to say – she has her husband and her kids and her apple pie life, and she has never had anyone tell her she can't be interested in someone because they're the wrong gender. "And what do you suggest I do, then?"
"Ask him out. Or respond to his flirting, at least. He's terrible at that, I know, but just let him know you're into him, okay?" She sighs again and rolls her eyes. "If not for me, or for yourself, then do it just to shut those women up. They need to get a grip."
Nico glares at her and resists the urge to throw his coffee at an exceptionally loud mom. "He's not flirting with me."
"Sure he is. Gosh, I thought you might be dense, but I didn't think you were blind, too."
Nico doesn't say anything anymore, and neither does Annabeth. They sit in silence for the rest of the practice, and when the kids start walking to their parents he doesn't say anything as he stands up and walks to meet Ciara half way. She's out of breath and sweaty, and she complains her legs hurt so much he has to carry her home, and he just laughs and rolls his eyes.
"You did good today", he tells her and hands her a bottle of water. He's told her a hundred times to remember to drink during practice, but she never does. "Nice work with tackling number six."
"Yeah?" she grins, and Nico finds it was worth paying attention to see her smile like that. "Isla's good, but she doesn't focus. It was petty easy. I hope she didn't mind, though." Her eyes search worriedly the crowd until they find the target. "Dad, can I run real quick to ask her if she's okay? It won't take long."
Nico watches her go, and soon recognizes Number Six as Annabeth's daughter, the one that takes after her father, apparently. Annabeth nods at him and winks, and Nico raises his hand as a way of both greeting and good-bye before he hears someone walk to him behind him. His breath catches in his throat.
"Nice to see you again, Mr. di Angelo."
Will Solace is gorgeous, Nico decides as he turns around. The coach looks stunning even in the team orange, the sunlight making his golden hair glow and the freckles on his cheeks stand out. There's a drop of sweat running down his temple, down the side of his face, down to his neck, and Nico has to stop right there before he thinks of anything inappropriate. Again.
"Please, call me Nico", he says, his voice small like it always is, and he's happy to notice it sounds more or less normal. "Mr. di Angelo makes it sound like I'm thirty – which, I know realize, will be true in a couple of years. Oh my god." Nico wants to bury his face in the sand like an ostrich. Maybe then he'd stop saying stupid shit. "Not that I'm saying there's something wrong about being thirty. No. I just – can't I just stay, like, twenty-five for the rest of my life?"
The coach grins, and Nico doesn't care about rambling anymore. For a split second he doesn't care about anything, really. "You're twenty-five?"
"Twenty-six, but who keeps up after twenty-five, anyway."
"True." They just stand there, and they're both staring, and Nico kind of sees where Annabeth draws her theories about mutual interest, but surely he's mistaken. "Twenty-six is still kind of young to have a seven year old child, don't you think? No offence."
"None taken", Nico says. He doesn't know why, but for the first time since Ciara was born he feels the need to explain things. But he never has before, so it's hard. "She's not actually – I mean, it's complicated. She's my daughter, but she's not mine. Biologically. It's a really long story, to be honest."
He knows it's hard to believe, since Ciara looks so much like him. At least to other people – to him, Ciara is and always will be a splitting image of Bianca, and it kind of breaks his heart.
There's a twinkle in Solace's eye that Nico can't really explain. He hears most of the soccer moms leaving with their kids, but doesn't turn around, because Will Solace is looking at him and he can't look away. He feels like it's only a matter of seconds before this is considered to be awkward, but he still doesn't look away, and neither does the coach.
"You know", Will starts, and his voice isn't quite as confident as it was before. The smile is still there, and so is the twinkle, but Nico sees his neck turning red and feels his own face heat up instantly. "We should get coffee sometime. I mean, we could. You know, if you, maybe, want to tell me about it. The long story, I mean. Over coffee."
And Nico knows his face is burning red like a tomato or Christmas apples, but he still can't look away. He can feel his heart beating and hear the blood rush in his ears and he's positive his hands are sweating, but none of that matters to him because did Will Solace just ask me out on a date? Is it a date? Or is it just two guys getting coffee? Or is it a coach having coffee with a parent, because Nico would actually really hate that, but is it?
Nico is quiet for three seconds too long, he thinks, because the blush has now reached Will's ears, too. "Shit", the blond mutters under his breath. He looks away and runs his fingers through his hair nervously, and Nico wants to slap his hand away because I want to do that. "I just ruined this, didn't I? You're not actually – "
"I am", Nico says quickly – maybe a little too quickly, but he's reached the point of not caring anymore. "And we should. Get coffee, I mean. Are you free tomorrow?"
Will visibly relaxes and turns his eyes back to Nico, which the latter is really happy about (even if he probably looks embarrassing and his face could be mistaken for a red pepper). "Yeah. Yeah, I am. Uh, three o'clock?"
"Sure. The coffee shop across the street?"
"It's a date." Then, when they both kind of freeze, Solace quickly continues, "Or not. It doesn't have to be. I mean, it's cool either way – "
And Nico doesn't know where he gets the sudden burst of courage, but he lets out a laugh that doesn't sound as nervous as he feels and says, "It's a date."
Will smiles brightly at that, and Nico grins back. He doesn't get to say anything more, because just then Ciara comes back and announces she wants ice cream, and also that nico has to carry her bag home, and could he pretty please give her a piggyback ride too? Nico doesn't turn to look back as they walk, but he feels Will's eyes on him and, for the first time since he saw the coach, Nico relishes the feeling and cant wait to see him again.
Fifteen minutes into the date Nico finds himself pinned against the bathroom wall in the small coffee shop with Will Solace breathing hot against his mouth.
They haven't even got their coffee yet. Nico isn't one hundred per cent sure who leaned in first, but from the second their lips touched it has been fireworks. And fire. And boiling steam, and earthquakes, and maybe one or two volcanoes exploding. And Nico doesn't want to bother himself with things like who started what and how they managed to get to the bathroom, because Will's lips are firm and hot against his and he's finally running his hands through that incredibly soft hair and he basically thinks he's in heaven.
Will's hands seem to be everywhere at once; on Nico's sides, in his hair, against his chest, up his thighs. And Nico knows this can't happen here, not in this bathroom and not like this, but he can't stop or even think clearly as Will's lips trail down his neck to suck on his shoulder. When Will's leg presses between his thighs and creates delicious pressure, he lets out an embarrassing noise he will definitely try to deny later.
"Will", he breaths as he grabs the golden hair tightly, and hates himself for what he's about to say. "Will, please, slow down. I – " Will has stopped kissing his neck but keeps his lips there against the sensitive skin, and the hot breaths are driving Nico crazy. "I want to do this right. And I hate myself for stopping you, I really do. But this…" Nico swallows and lets one of his hands run down Will's muscled back. "I don't want it to be just a fling."
It takes a few more deep breaths and a slowing heart rate before Will raises his face from Nico's shoulder, and oh for fuck's sake Nico is all ready to keep doing what they just stopped doing just by seeing that face. But he keeps his breathing steady and his hands in appropriate places (hair and back, that's appropriate in this situation, right?) when Will looks at him with eyes half closed.
"Yeah. Yeah, you're right." Will is still breathless, and his voice is low, and Nico bites his cheek to not shiver. The blond pecks his lips softly and leans back. Nico immediately misses the body against his. "I want to do this right. Although I also kind of hate you for stopping me, too." And as if that isn't enough to make Nico's pulse skyrocket again, Will winks at him before turning away to look in the mirror and adjust his clothes. "The things I want to do to you, Nico… you'd probably be offended."
Who is this man and where has he been all my life? Nico thinks as he growls and buries his face to his hands. "Fuck, Solace. Stop saying stuff like that. I'm not the kind of guy you get to screw on the first date, but if you don't shut the fuck up – "
"Don't tempt me, Nico." There's a smirk in the voice, and when Nico peeks from between his fingers, he sees Will grinning at him. "Come on. I promised you coffee, and I will get you coffee."
After that the date goes like most fist dates go. Well, mostly anyway. There's coffee and smirks and lingering looks, and they talk about their interests and the ridiculous prices of pumpkin spice latte. Nico learns Will started coaching soccer back in college, and lets his eyes drop to the pink (and now slightly bruised) lips as the man talks. And when Nico tells Will about the record store he runs, it takes all his willpower to keep his voice steady as he feels Will's foot against his calf.
But there isn't any funny business, which Nico is both grateful for and really sad about. It's all just borderline daring and an intense look every now and then. Nico really enjoys his date with Will, and Will is funny, and clever, and he cares a big deal about a lot of things. And before Nico knows it it's almost six, and the coffee shop is closing and he has to be at the Graces' in twenty minutes.
Nico stands outside on the sidewalk with Will for a long time, and they're so close he can feel the other man's body heat. They're so close that when Nico looks up, their lips are only inches apart, and when he gets on his toes he can capture the other's lips with his. And it's nothing like in the bathroom. The fire is still there, burning low in the back of his head, urging him to deepen the kiss, but he keeps it slow and sweet, and Will's hand comes up to cup his cheek, and it's all kind of perfect. Nico still wants to take Will home and feel every inch of that tanned skin under his hands. Nico want's to go a lot of things, but he walks away and smiles, because he feels Will's eyes on him, and the lingering heat on his lips.
"You fucked him in the coffee shop bathroom?"
"No, I didn't. Jason, you need to shut up!"
As soon as Nico walked through the door to the Grace household, he told Jason he needs to talk to him. He doesn't know when the whole talking to Jason thing has become less like a pain in the ass and more like therapy, but right now he doesn't care. Jason is the worst listener, though, and so while they sit on the counters in the kitchen behind closed doors, Nico has to constantly tell his friend to shut up. Nico has made Piper promise to keep the kids out of ear shot, but Jason is loud.
"I can't just shut up, Nico", Jason says and looks like Christmas has come early to him, "because you just fucked a guy in a coffee shop bathroom."
"I said it was close, not that it happened", Nico glares at him and throws an oven mitt to his face. "Pay attention. I'm starting to regret telling you a word."
Jason quickly sobers up. "Sorry. Please continue. You almost fucked but then for some unknown reason decided to stop, like two morons. Seriously, Nico, that was your chance!"
"One more interruption and I cut you out entirely. I mean it, Grace."
Nico gets to tell about the rest of the date in silence from Jason's part, which is practically a miracle in itself. What makes Nico wonder, though, is the fact that when he's done, Jason doesn't start asking questions or laughing or making fun of him. Ever since Jason got married he has made it clear he is to continue living his life through Nico and Leo, and that includes a lot of details.
Nico starts to get worried when the blond man hasn't said anything in two full minutes. Jason never shuts up. Especially when it's about someone else's love life.
Just as Nico is ready to call for Piper to check on him, Jason finally opens his mouth. But his voice isn't teasing or annoying like it normally is. "You really like him, don't you?" And when Nico doesn't say anything, "I mean, it's pretty clear that you do."
Nico rolls his eyes but can't stop the blush from creeping on his cheeks. "It's been one date, Jason. I barely know him."
"You know him well enough to want to fuck him in the bathroom."
"Jason – "
"I know, I know." Jason looks at him, and his eyes are smiling, and Nico remembers how once upon a time in high school he thought he had feelings for Jason. The whole idea seems impossible now, most of the time, but he still likes Jason's smile. "But you and I both know that you don't actually need to know someone to like them. Look at me and Piper. I told you, first time I saw her, that I'm in love with her, and how long did it take for me to even learn her name?"
Nico remembers. He has been Jason's friend since first day of high school, and Piper has been the only girl he has ever talked about. He smiles softly at the memory before he can stop himself. "Two years."
"Two years. Exactly." Jason looks like he has made his point clear, but Nico still doesn't get what he's trying to say. "I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. Did I know I was going to marry her? Of course not. I didn't know her at all. I didn't even know her name. And yet I knew I liked her. You're already one step ahead."
Jason's never been good at inspirational speeches, so the fact that this time it didn't go entirely to shit kind of impresses Nico enough to keep his mouth shut. But the cases are as different as night and day. They're not in high school anymore. Nico has Ciara to think about. He can't just bring a new person into the picture like that, without counting the risks.
Not that it's like that. It has, after all, been only one date. Nico knows it's a one in a million chance to find the right person after one date. He knows it's crazy to even think that he and Will could possibly make it to the point where he has to take Ciara's feelings into consideration. He knows he's being stupid and that he's over thinking everything, and that he really needs to stop thinking about Will Solace twenty-four seven, because it's not going to make things any easier.
When Nico goes to bed that night, he thinks about Will Solace. But not like he has before – not naked, not gasping for air, not hovering over him and making his skin burn. Nico thinks about how it feels to run a hand through his hair, about the hand that cupped his face outside the coffee shop, the eyes that seem brighter than a clear blue afternoon sky. He thinks about the knot in his stomach when Will presses their lips together, and wonders briefly what it would be like to feel that every day. Nico thinks he could live with it, if it ever comes to that, and the thought scares him.
Just as he is about to drift off to sleep, Nico hears his phone beep, signaling a text. And he thinks about waiting until morning to read it, but opens his eyes anyway and reaches for the phone. He's glad he does when he sees the sender.
From: will: [22:53] i can't stop thinking about kissing you
And it's stupid, and Nico kind of hates himself for grinning like a total idiot, but then again, who cares? Nico certainly doesn't.
To: will: [22:55] i can relate
To: will: [22:55] kind of makes me want to punch you
To: will: [22:55] or kiss you
To: will: [22:56] haven't really decided yet
As Nico waits for Will to answer (and watches the tiny dots appear and disappear, like Will is uncertain what to type) he drops his head back on the pillow and sighs. At least he's not the only one having trouble with this. He wonders if Will, too, was thinking about the possibility of kissing him everyday. Then he slaps his own face; he's being an idiot, that doesn't mean Will would be, too.
From: will: [22:57] really hoping for the latter. that way i won't look like such an idiot kissing you after
To: will: [22:58] never stop dreaming, sunshine
From: will: [22:58] i won't
From: will: [23:02] you know
From: will: [23:02] you never told me the long story about ciara
Nico had been avoiding the subject on purpose, but he doesn't want to tell that to Will. If he's being honest, he doesn't really think the circumstances of Ciara's birth are exactly first date material. Or second, or third, or maybe even fourth date material. It's a really delicate matter that Nico hasn't really told anyone. Ever.
From: will: [23:05] sorry if i'm over stepping. none of my business
But then again, Nico isn't sure that pinning your date against the wall and sucking on their neck is exactly first date material, either.
To: will: [23:07] we could make it your business if you want
From: will: [23:09] i'd like that
From: will: [23:09] a lot
To: will: [23:10] me too
From: will: [23:14] do you want to grab lunch tomorrow?
They go out eight more times before it comes up again.
It has been almost two months since their first date now, and Nico won't admit to anyone, but he has loved every second of it. Since then they have mostly met up in Will's apartment, though, because let's be real, they can't keep their hands off each other long enough for it to be publicly appropriate. And Nico loves the way Will opens the door and pulls him into a kiss without even a hello, because they have time for that later. And he loves how they can spend the first half an hour by the door, tongues battling and hands groping like they're teenagers, before they say a word to each other.
Nico has long since figured that Will is loaded like any doctor, but you couldn't tell by the way the man was living. By the time of Nico's third visit to the apartment (that was grand, of course, but wasn't brought to justice with the mismatched furniture and the lack of decoration) the slightly younger man was sure that Will Solace didn't even know how to cook. His assumptions were proved right when he promptly started going through the cupboards and cabinets.
"How do you survive, Solace?" he asked and looked at the other with real concern as he found nothing edible from the kitchen.
Will just shrugged and muttered something about take out and diners before enveloping Nico from behind and attaching the man's neck with his lips and tongue and teeth.
And so Nico finds himself in Will's apartment on what could be considered their tenth date (wondering if he should stop counting them now), cooking dinner and trying really hard not to show what Will's stare is doing to him. He doesn't trust Will with watching the sauce, so the blond is chopping tomatoes for the salad, but by the way his eyes linger on Nico, he isn't focusing on the knife as much as he should be.
"Keep your eyes on that knife, mister", Nico mutters, keeping his back turned so that Will can't see his smirk. "Wouldn't want to end up to the emergency room with you today."
A few minutes later Will is done with the tomatoes, and he's reaching for the olive oil. But the thing is that Nico's now trapped between Will and the counter, and he can feel Will's hot breath on the nape of his neck, and Will's hand is ghosting on his hip when the man whispers a low "sorry, dear" against his skin, lips brushing and barely even touching but still making everything burn. And it's only a second, but right after Will has turned back to the salad Nico takes out his phone and writes a few texts, his trembling hands making it hard to hit the right keys.
To: jay: [19:34] yeah so i'm taking you up on that offer
To: jay: [19:34] ciara's staying with you for the night
To: jay: [19:34] shut up
To: jay: [19:35] i'll text you later
He puts the phone away and tries to ignore the way it quickly starts vibrating with incoming texts from Jason. He doesn't need to read them to know what they're saying, and he can reply later. If ever.
They sit down to eat, and Will doesn't really have a dining table so they sit by the counter, so close to each other that their thighs and elbows touch. Their hands brush together when they reach for the pepper, and Nico thinks it's stupid to feel so giddy because Will has been sucking his face less than an hour earlier, but still he smiles and lets his looks linger. Like Jason, Will has an expensive taste when it comes to wine, and they drown half the bottle without saying much.
After dinner they do the dishes together, and Nico can't help but feel happy about how domestic it all is. He's never been one with big dreams of family and apple pie life – he's had Ciara, and they have been happy, and that has been enough. But when he hands the clean plates for Will to dry and their fingers brush and they smile, he starts wondering that maybe dreaming isn't so overrated after all.
And those thoughts make Nico sort of nauseous. He doesn't know what he's doing half the time, and the other times he's so fucking scared he could pass out. He wants to keep this up, what ever it is that he has going on with Will, but at the same time he's scared of ruining it, ruining everything. And while he wants to take Will home and be with him every day, he's so afraid of bringing a new person to Ciara's life, someone who might not stay, that he feels his breath catch in his throat.
Nico thinks that he should have figured Will would notice the change in his mood. Maybe that's why he isn't surprised when Will's firm hand takes his shaking one and leads him to sit on the couch in the living room.
"What is it, Nico?" Will's voice is soft, and Nico cherishes the firm way he holds both his hands in his tanned ones. "Did I say something? Did I do something? Because I swear I'm never going to forgive myself if I fucked this up – "
"It's not you", Nico whispers, and he realizes how much it sounds like a break up, and he rests his head on Will's shoulder and squeezes the man's hands. "It's – it's Ciara, I guess. And me. And the fact that it's always been just her and me and I'm scared as fuck."
Will keeps quiet. Nico can feel the slight movement of his body as he breathes. It's calming, and it fills the whole room. Nico knows that Will waits for him to speak, waits for him to explain something he should have explained a long time ago.
"My parents died when I was ten years old", Nico starts slowly, keeping his eyes on their hands. He tries to choose his words carefully, but it's hard to know what to say when you're never had this conversation before. "My sister, Bianca, had just turned eighteen, and she fought for custody, to become my legal guardian. She had always been a bit more than a sister to me, taking care of me when Mom and Dad were out of town… I sometimes thought of her as more of a mother than a sister. And so it was Bianca and me for years."
Nico doesn't have to see Will. He knows the man is curious as to what this all has to do with anything, but he has to start from the beginning to even try to make Will understand. It's a long and complicated story, and it's fucking sad, and Nico feels like he's going to cry. He hasn't talked about Bianca to anyone for so long he has forgotten how much it hurts.
"She got pregnant when I was nineteen. She never told me about the baby's father, just said that it was none of his business and he would never have any say in the child's life." Nico's mouth is dry. He feels the unfamiliar burn behind his eyes, he tries to clear his throat and continue the story like it doesn't make him want to kill himself.
"But Bianca had always been sickly and sort of weak of health, and she was taken down my an infection a month before her due date. There was nothing to be done. I had to watch her… had to see her like that and just know…" Nico swallows and takes a shaky breath. "It was the worst three days of my life. As her last request, Bianca made me swear to take care of Ciara, to raise her as my own. I would have done that anyway, but she made me promise. And when she died, I was left with a newborn girl, and I didn't know anything about being a parent and I had just lost my sister, my only family… and I already had a new one to look after."
Will's thumbs are making small patterns on the skin at the back of Nico's hands. A part of Nico wants to bury his face in Will's shoulder and cry, but he hasn't cried in so long, and he doesn't want to start all over again. In a way, it feels good to have the words out, to have told someone about Bianca. It feels good to have told Will. It makes Nico a little less scared, knowing that the other man has let him say all that and is still holding his hand. Kind of feels like Will could already be a part of his complicated story.
"I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't know what I'm doing", Nico laughs emotionlessly. He can see Will turn his head but doesn't meet his gaze. "Most of the time I think I'm an okay dad, and that I'm doing just fine. But then you came along, and suddenly I'm a mess, and you make me forget that I'm not supposed to be looking for a relationship. And I'm fucking scared to let anyone in, because letting someone in means letting someone into Ciara's life."
"I mean, it's been the two of us since she was born and – and before that", Nico swallows dry and stands up to pace around, letting go of Will's hands in the process. He doesn't look at Will in fear of really starting to cry now. He hasn't talked about this to anyone before. He hasn't had anyone to talk about it with. "Before that it was just me and Bianca for years, and I can't… I don't know how to be more than two again. I don't know how to do it, and it's fucking scary."
Neither of them say anything for a long while. Nico stands there in front of the TV, wanting very badly to look at Will but lacking the courage, and he can feel Will's eyes on him. His heart is beating fast, he keeps his fists balled to try and calm himself, and he counts his breaths.
A part of Nico is proud of himself for letting all that out. For sharing. For letting someone in. But a bigger part of him seems terrified, and he reists the urge to scold himself out loud. They were having a wonderful evening, everything was going smoothly, and Nico had to go and ruin everything. He runs both his hands through his hair and wonders if he has ruined his relationship with Will, too.
"I'd like to help you with that", Will says quietly, breaking the silence, and it's like Nico's whole body has stopped functioning. He's afraid to move a muscle in case he'd break some sort of spell. "Being more than two. I could help. I'd love to." And after a split second of silence, Will stammers, "I mean, if you let me."
Nico hears Will get up, but he doesn't move until the man gently touches his shoulder. He lets out the breath he's been holding, and relaxes his shoulders. When Will's hand comes up to caress the side of his face, he leans into the touch without a second thought.
It's fucking crazy, Nico thinks. He has known Will for a total of four months. He shouldn't be this emotionally invested on someone he has known for four months. But the fact that he has just bared his heart to this man, and that Will Solace has offered to be there with him, to teach him how to live with people again…
To Nico, suddenly three isn't that much bigger a number than two. Not really. Not anymore.
When Nico leans up to press his lips on Will's, he tries to pour his heart to the kiss in a way he hasn't before with anyone. Because Will isn't just anyone anymore. Will is someone he trusts more than anyone without really even knowing why, and it's fucking scary, but Nico decides it's time to let go of the fear and live. He has lived for Ciara for seven years, putting his life on hold to help hers begin, and he thinks he deserves this. Nico realizes it doesn't make him a bad father to want something more with Will.
And perhaps Will understands what he's trying to say with the kiss, because slowly their pace picks up, and before Nico understands what's happening he has his hands under Will's shirt. Will's tongue is in his mouth and he tastes the wine. He feels the soft fingers that draw circles on his lower back, going lower and lower on each round. When Nico leans to press their bodies tighter together, he's rewarded with a low groan that escapes Will's mouth and fuck it makes him tremble like a leaf.
"Nico", Will breathes, and it sounds a lot like a prayer. He dips his head to nib on Nico's throat and neck and ear. "Oh, you have no idea how many times I've imagined this, Nico. How many times I've panted your name against my pillow while picturing you here with me." The intesity of the words makes Nico's head spin and his legs buckle. It's crazy how they have both been waiting for this for too long. "How much I really want to pin you against the wall and fuck you senseless right now."
"Well if that's the case then what the fuck are you waiting for?" Nico doesn't care how he got this bold, because he needs Will, and he needs him right now, and if Will's hands get any lower he's going to lose all control over his body.
Nico can feel Will's hot breath of laughter on his face. "Bossy."
But after that it's pretty much all lips and tongue and limbs, and Nico really doesn't care how bossy he had to be to get this far, because the things Will does to him are worth it, they are so worth it. It's like Will knows exactly how to use every part of his body for maximum satisfaction, and Nico's a whimpering mess. It doesn't help that Will is so vocal, whispering all that stuff against Nico's skin that makes him want more, and breathing those provocative words to his ear.
Afterwards, when they're just a big pile of limbs on the bed and their hearts beat as one while Will uses his hand to stroke the hair from Nico's sweaty forehead, Nico feels better than he has in years. He wonders if it's because of all the sex; if it's because he's so fucking exhausted that he can't move a muscle, or because he can't remember the last time someone made him come four times, or because he can feel his skin tingle in all the places Will has touched him. He wonders if he feels better because, after so many years, he finally had some pretty amazing sex, not just a quickie in the club bathroom.
But then again, Nico thinks, it wasn't just sex. Not to him, at least. Sure, it started that way, but in the end it was so much more. Because Nico has given his heart and soul to Will, and now he has given his body, too, and just the thought feels so fucking good Nico can't stop a tired smile from appearing on his lips.
Will's chest is rising and falling slowly under Nico's head. It feels a little awkward to lie there naked with him, but Nico doesn't care. He tugs the sheets up just a little bit more and nuzzles against Will's side, letting out a contended sigh. The last thing he feels before drifting off to sleep is Will pressing a soft kiss on his forehead and taking hold of his hand.
From: jay: [19:36] omg
From: jay: [19:36] omg nico i told you so !
From: jay: [19:36] i fucking told you so, nico, why do you never listen to me
From: jay: [19:37] don't worry about ciara, we'll take care of everything
From: jay: [19:37] it's not every day i get to have her over while her dad's getting laid
From: jay: [19:37] make the most of it, you hear me ;)
From: jay: [19:37] i want details later!
From: jay: [20:49] where the fuck do you keep your spare key, di angelo?
From: jay: [20:51] never mind, got it
From: jay: [20:54] i'm not breaking in i swear. just came to get ciara's toothbrush and PJs
From: jay: [20:54] which reminds me
From: jay: [20:55] please at least change a shirt before picking her up tomorrow. that kid's smarter than you give her credit for
Nico is in love with his daughter's soccer coach.
He knows it as soon as he sees Will that Saturday. They have been seeing each other for months now (four, not that Nico's counting), and Jason's still pretty much the only one who knows. And Jason has probably told Piper, but that is to be expected. However, Nico hasn't said a word to anyone. And if he has understood correctly from their conversations, neither has Will.
It's sad, in a way. Nico feels like he should be more open with his relationship with Will. And maybe he would be if the situation was different. Nico knows it's stupid to even think about it, but he wonders how the other parents on the bleachers would react if they found out he is the one Coach Will subtly refers to when he's talking about a date or agreeing that "my partner does that, too". Nico has a feeling that not all the moms would be too happy about it.
And then there's Ciara to think about. Nico can't even think about telling anyone else about him seeing Will before letting his daughter know. But how do you tell your seven year old daughter that her father is seeing her soccer coach?
But it's different now, Nico feels it. He loves Will. He's in love with Will. The thought fills his head as he watches the golden curls drip with slight rain, the bright smile never wavering and the proud posture of a soccer coach never once showing signs of tiredness. The love Nico feels for Will fills his heart and makes it pound against his rib cage and jump to his throat every time Will as much as looks at his direction. It makes Nico's mouth dry and palms sweat and knees buckle, and he's really happy he's sitting down because otherwise he would be lying in the wet grass.
"Ciara's getting better with the feints", Annabeth notices next to Nico, who nods in agreement. She's really showing, now, the baby bump evident even under her rain coat. Nico has learned last week that she's expecting a boy, and sharing that information has made her calmer, in a way. And Nico is happy for her.
They sit in silence for a while, as they have done through many soccer practices before. Nico likes the silence. He likes the fact that he has a friend (is Annabeth his friend?) who doesn't expect him to share every detail of his life every minute of the day. And he appreciates the silence even more now that his head is pounding with the realization that he actually loves Will Solace, soccer coach and pediatrician and his boyfriend of four months.
Nico wants to shout it out to the world. He wants to let everyone know that he loves Will, that he wants to be with him now and next month and for years to come. He wants to scream that he has never loved anyone like this before.
But he's Nico di Angelo, so he sits there in the cold rain and watches the practice, keeping his mouth shut.
"I've noticed you took my advice", Annabeth says then, and Nico turns his head to look at her, not understanding what she's talking about. "About Will. I mean, you two are still so painfully obvious it makes me want to hit something, but at least you're doing something." Nico feels himself blush, wondering if Annabeth has actually any idea how much something they have been doing lately. "Although I still think you should ask him out. You two would be perfect together."
And Nico doesn't mean to say it. He's not sure what he was originally going to say, but when he opens his mouth all that comes out is, "We are."
Nico quickly turns his eyes back to the field, trying to ignore the way Annabeth is now gaping at him. He wonders if it would be too obvious to leave now and come back in twenty minutes when the practice ends. Maybe thet way he would be saved from further humiliation.
"No way", Annabeth breathes in shock, and a part of Nico wants to roll his eyes. Surely it wasn't that surprising. "For how long, exactly?"
For a fleeting moment Nico toys with the idea of denying it all. But Annabeth is way too smart – he'd never be able to convince her, not after that fucking stupid comment he made. "A few months, now", he says, trying to sound nonchalant about it all, but the spreading on his lips betrays him. "But we're keeping it in the down low for now."
Annabeth asks a few more questions (Nico has never thought her to be this curious before), and Nico answers while trying to keep as many details to himself as possible. He makes her swear not to say anything to anyone until they make it public, and she smiles at him and agrees to that – but points out that now that she knows, a lot of the looks Nico and Will have been giving each other make much more sense. She even adds that she wouldn't be surprised if the others have caught up already, and once again Nico wants to disappear. Badly.
But then Will glances at the bleachers again and their eyes meet for a split second, and inside Nico the fireworks erupt again. He feels so stupid for acting like a fucking school girl with a crush, but he can't help it, because he loves Will and wants the world to know.
Nico doesn't tell the world. Not for a few weeks. But when the practice ends that day and Nico meets with Ciara on the field to exchange a few polite words with Will, he has to bite his cheeks to not grin like a maniac.
"Good to see you again, Nico", Will smiles, and Nico wonders if others can see that sparkle in his eyes, too.
"You too, coach", he replies, and when they shake their hands Nico feels a tingle down his spine. He tries to force his heart beat down, but doesn't have much luck. "I'm looking forward to the game next week."
Will's smile is more like a smirk when he looks at Nico then, and Nico wonders if it's the rain or his new realization about love, but the blue eyes seem even bluer than usual. "Me too."
When Nico takes Ciara's practice bag and they start their way home, Nico feels his phone vibrate in his pocket and wishes it wasn't raining so he could read it, because he just knows it's a text from Will. They walk in silence, until Ciara squeezes his hand when they wait to cross the street across their apartment.
"Dad, why did Coach Will look at you like that?" she asks, and Nico has to lean down a little to hear her over the traffic.
Nico really hopes that his voice is steady as he asks, "Like what?"
But Ciara confirms all Nico's nightmares when she answers, making it clear to him that it's time to let his daughter in on the secret. "Like the way Uncle Jason sometimes looks at Aunt Piper when he thinks I can't see."
It is in that moment that Nico decides to not dance around the subject anymore. And to tell Jason to keep his bedroom eyes in check when Ciara's around.
"That, sweetheart", he answers and holds her hand a little tighter, "is a really good question. And I'm going to let Will answer that to you when we have dinner tomorrow."
From: will: [15:14] you look hot when you're all flustered
To: will: [15:38] shut it solace
To: will: [15:39] cancel your plans for tomorrow, you're having dinner with me and ciara
From: will: [15:41] breaking down the news?
To: will: [15:41] long overdue, don't you think
To: jay: [15:44] would it be too much to ask to keep it in your pants when ciara's around
To: jay: [15:44] seriously grace, and you say i'm the horny teenager
From: jay: [16:25] i don't know what she told you, but i can assure you i have a good explanation
A/N2: Okay I lied a little. I sort of hate this. But please review anyway. I'll go crawl in a hole now.