a/n: finally got around to finishing this fic

nico di angelo

Nico hates the stars. They're too bright. Too happy. Too painful to look at; they remind him of Artemis, and by extension, the Hunters, and by that extension, he thinks of Bianca, and then there's a well of sadness and an ache in his chest he tries, tries, tries to forget.

But out here in the middle of nowhere — he can only shadow travel so far, and doing tasks for Hades often sets him on this path — the stars are so visible and they remind him of everything he's lost, like camp and him and her.

Nico hasn't been to camp in two years. The stars are a thing about camp; they were always there each night. They give him too many feelings; remembering, remembering, remembering. Nico is remembering what happened at camp, the way she'd left him, gone on a quest and never come back.

Nico hates it. He hates it so much.

Nico misses her. He misses her so much and he hates it so much and he hates himself for not going, and he hates Percy Jackson because he needs something more to hate.

Nico hates hating everything.

But he looks up at the stars because there's nowhere else to look, and he sees a girl — for a moment he thinks it's her, but then he looks, and of course it isn't. No one would give her any stars. Bianca was a nothing, one more death in the midst of a sea of everyone else, and who was she to get stars of her own?

No, it's that lieutenant girl. Nico doesn't know her name; he might've, once upon a time, but that was so long ago that even if he had known it he's probably forgotten it by now.

But there is something that makes him look back at her. He doesn't know what it is, but Nico keeps looking at those forsaken stars and that sad look on her face. It's as if she's saying, I'm sorry. I get it.

A tear drips down Nico's face. No one gets it, he thinks. They don't know, no one's really alone but me —

But there is an apology. He hasn't gotten one from anyone that seems sincere — and Nico doesn't want apologies, he just wants his sister back.

Maybe it's the bright light, but Nico feels a little bit better. Maybe it's just that sad, sad look, but Nico accepts her sorries and he shoulders his pack and he moves on.