Title: Only so Long

Author: CS_Nacht

Pairing: Percy/Nico, Percy/Annabeth (past)

Rating: R

Summary: Nico has loved the hero of Olympus from afar for as long as he remembers (well, as far as the other bed at least). However, it isn't until Percy breaks up with Annabeth that Nico does something about his attraction. It doesn't go as he would have liked.

Notes: Dedicated to the lovely Amethyst Grey. Let me know what you think; I'm trying out a new style of writing and it's the first fanfic I've written in a while.

Part One

Nico flounders, slightly off-kilter as he shadows into the kitchen and stiffens, senses on high alert. It was like he never left home – a thick, coiling darkness pervades his house; he draws his Stygian sword from its resting place and rushes to the shared bedroom.

His keen eyes pick out a lump on the bed nearest the door and thinks that it could be Percy – if Percy had decided to camp out on his bed for some reason. But, he knew better, if Percy were here, there would be two lumps on his own bed – or none at all.

Annabeth was visiting that weekend; Percy had specifically booked a hotel room for the weekend but Nico had opted to return to Hades to get some more training in – just in case. That and he hadn't wanted to be here even upon Annabeth's arrival.

Since moving in with Percy after the war, Annabeth had visited four times. In about as many years – except that one time where there was only a lull of four months – Nico had kept close track over their relationship. (Percy didn't know this of course.)

Still, he had watched Annabeth greet Percy with a hug and a chaste kiss the first time. She then proceeded to make herself comfortable in their kitchen and Nico felt something akin to anger. He didn't understand why even as they all sat down to dinner. There was edible food, a home cooked meal that didn't come from Sally, and he didn't understand why he couldn't just enjoy it. Or why it tasted like ashes in his mouth. He then lingered long enough that it was decided that the two would find another abode for the night.

It wasn't that Nico didn't want Annabeth to visit – except, that was just exactly it.

The second time, Percy had all but demanded he get out of the house for the weekend; spend some time out in the fresh air, and really, just where was he supposed to find that in hell? That had caused a monumental fight between the two that ended with Percy capitulating only because Nico actually didn't understand why he shouldn't be there. After all, Percy was his best friend and they shared living space.

Not to mention a room. (Nico would have liked to share a bed, but that probably would have been a hard sale to the hero.)

Nico had hovered in the umber of the living room that night, the shadows concealing him, as he watched Annabeth. Her greeting was much friendlier this time; while much too level-headed to actually squeal and jump on him, Annabeth did hug Percy fiercely and the two shared quite a deep kiss – four, he might add, with tongue – before Nico finally managed to get his body working and shadow out of the apartment complex.

He hadn't quite been able to contain his rage that night. (In fact, he accidentally raised a zombie army and demolished half of the park before finally regaining control over his body.)

That encounter had probably been what first alerted him to the fact that the swooping sensation that he feels every time he sees the son of Poseidon and the way his own moods changed to suit that of his more mercurial companion, wasn't just the idolatry he thought it to be, but love. He kicked himself hard when he realized that.

Shaking his head to rid himself of such thoughts, Nico silently stalks toward the lump – he could see it moving rhythmically up and down now that he was closer – and pulls the covers down slightly with the edge of his blade. He's understandably confused when the sleeping countenance of his roommate greets him. (Percy looks like an angel – albeit an unkempt and slightly ripe one.)

"Jackson!" he snarls, as he lowers his sword and whacks the hero across the head with it.

Percy raises his hand to his head sluggishly, and in that time, Nico had gone to turn on the lights.

"Nnhh!" Percy lets out a pitiful moan that cut through Nico's heart and he promptly turns them off. Not like he needs them anyway. The darkness had always been his constant companion and it suits Percy well.

"Nico?" comes his name a few moments later muzzily, as Percy surfaces from the bed. Nico's sharp eyes had long since adapted to the lack of light and he watches as the son of Poseidon twist on the bed, trying to bury his face in further before relaxing as he realized that the glare of the light faded.

At the same time, Nico is hit by the realization that Percy is on Nico's bed. And his brain sort of short-circuits at this point.

He comes to halfway through Percy's speech. "– sheets in the wash. They still smell like her."

The way that Percy says "her" is kind of reverent and exasperate at the same time and Nico knows immediately that he's referring to Annabeth.

Then, the beginning of the conversation comes to him and he sucks in a sharp, little gasp. (He's not quite sure if it was delight, but he's willing to call it shock.)

"Are you okay?" Nico asks carefully, willing to try and act the part of the concerned best friend. (Somehow, he didn't think that Percy would appreciate it if he danced up and down for joy.)

Percy beckons him closer and Nico can feel warm little puffs of air from Percy's lips as he leans forward, can see the chapped lips perfectly as they part, stain of whiskey heavy on his breathe, "Don't ask stupid questions."

Reality hits Nico like ice water. This wasn't one of his dreams where Percy realized that Nico was so much better for him than Annabeth and waits for him on a bed; this was Percy lying on his bed because Annabeth had crushed his heart to pieces and Nico's bed didn't remind him of her. (Nico didn't much want to think of what they were doing before the break-up.)

He clears his throat and makes a peace offering, "Bacchanal wine?" Normal alcohol doesn't quite affect demigods as much as mortals. The bottle of whiskey that Percy more than likely downed like water, had probably only succeeded in making him drowsy. (Though, the end result wasn't something Nico minded all that much. He quite liked Percy on his bed.)

Percy nods fervently.

Nico flits to the kitchen and finds the stock of high-proof alcohol and spends the night commiserating with Percy. Or rather, he listens as Percy inserts random comments about his relationship with Annabeth – and how they shouldn't have extended the long distance portion for as long as they did.

Still, Percy can't seem to get over her that quickly. He gave up immortality for her. (And, Nico's own mind adds, she's how he even survived the trip through Styx.)

Later, when they're both three sheets to the wind – an expression that Nico really can't comprehend at the moment - Nico lands a sloppy kiss on Percy's cheek, and drags his lips further down to taste Percy's lips. And there's the taste of Percy underneath the wine.

And even later, as Nico gets on his knees in front of the intoxicated hero and tastes the bitterness of Percy's release – his palpable evidence that Percy enjoyed himself – he doesn't complain.

Percy was too good for him anyways. He didn't belong in the same darkness as Hades' children, no matter how much the darkness covets him. He didn't belong to the darkness at all.

And certainly not to Nico.

Even so, Nico couldn't stop the solitary tear that slips down his cheek as Percy falls into slumber with Annabeth's name on his tongue.