a/n: i haven't written for pjo in a long time — just a drabble or anything; and that's mostly bc of my HP forum obligations and my signing up for a ton of fics. now that those challenges are over, i will be writing for pjo a lot more.

. . .

Darkness is not the opposite of light.

Darkness is different altogether. Darkness is dark because there is no light in it.

No one seems to understand it, Nico muses. Maybe it's because nobody is as immersed in darkness as he is.

They don't get it — they don't see it. Darkness is not supposed to be something to fear. Darkness is darkness and darkness hides everywhere. And nobody seems to know what to do with it.

. . .

Nico likes the dark. Nico has always liked it. It feels like home.

Sometimes there are voices in the dark, and they whisper comforts to him.

"You are not alone in spirit."

"We are your home and we are here."

It is more than a human; it is more than a god. It — it's the darkness that doesn't leave.

The beauty of the darkness is that one can see it, but they can't.

Others, they scorn the darkness because they cannot see.

Not Nico. Nico appreciates the darkness. He sees it. He breathes it. He lives it.

. . .

Will Solace is one of those people, he knows as soon as he sees him. The kind of person who cannot see or understand the darkness and the kind of person who stands in the light and has a straight, unwavering moral compass, set ideals of what is right and what is wrong, and no sense of gray.

"Di Angelo," he implores, "you need to get in the light!"

"Nico," he mutters, "you need to stay in bed!"

He's all sunny and all blond hair, blue eyes and such an Apollo kid.

While admittedly Nico doesn't want the darkness to swallow him whole and make him a part of it, it's not something he can just let go of. How does one even move on from their only home?

"Come on," Will tells him. "You need to get out, experience the sunlight —"

Nico snaps. "And maybe you need a taste of the darkness and the gray, the parts that aren't all black and white and yellow and dark, hmm?"

Will blanches. "What?"

"Be a little less Apollo kid, will you? Stop telling me to 'see the light' when you haven't even looked past your own."

"Yeah, and maybe I do," concedes Will. "But you need to look past your darkness, too."

"Maybe." Nico looks at him, suddenly. "How do you do it? Stay in the light like that and never look beyond?"

"Light is like my home. You can see everything. How do you do that, stay in the darkness and never look beyond?"

"Darkness is my home," replies Nico. "I — I don't feel alone with the darkness, you know? I was just born with it. The beauty of the darkness is the ability not to look beyond. You just kind of live."

"Maybe —" Will starts to say, but pauses, a little unsure. Nico gives him a look like Go on. "Maybe we can help each other."

Nico studies his face, then. He doesn't seem like he's joking; more like he's apprehensive. Scared of Nico's reaction.

He doesn't have to be. Darkness isn't scary once you can see it.

"I — I think I'd like that."