Nico di Angelo's relationship with Percy Jackson made as much sense as a monochrome rainbow.
It was a strange, messy little thing complete with backstabbing, lying, and saving each other's ungrateful hides even though whichever one was a damsel in distress didn't deserve it. Their "bond" rivaled even that of Thalia's and Percy's in the violence category and was something of a legend among the newer campers, but—regardless of popular belief—it wasn't always like that. It wasn't always a Percy vs. Nico; they weren't always so emotionally constipated towards one another.
Their relationship shifted on multiple occasions, but two things remained the same: they were still friends and they were horrible at keeping their promises. And despite what most people would think, Percy broke his oath first.
When he was ten, Nico practically kissed the older boy's shoes. With a watch and pen that was a shield and sword, Percy looked so much like a hero from the old Greek myths Nico cherished so much that he couldn't help but fan boy. Just a little.
"Cool! Does it ever run out of ink?"
"Um, well, I don't actually write with it."
"Are you really the son of Poseidon?"
"Can you surf really well, then?"
"Jeez, Nico, I've never really tried."
"Do you fight a lot with Thalia, since she was a daughter of Zeus?"
"If Annabeth's mother was Athena, the goddess of wisdom, then why didn't Annabeth know better than to fall off a cliff? Does blonde hair have something to do with it?"
"Annabeth was pretty, was she your girlfriend?"
Looking back on it, Percy's performance when Nico first met him wasn't very impressive compared to what the demigod was capable of now. But when Nico was ten, Percy was his hero and there was no denying it. Poseidon suddenly became Nico's favorite god even though the sea god only had 580 attack points and Zeus had 600 (Nico turned the 5 into an 8 later on).
But people always over exaggerate their hero's accomplishments and skills. So when Percy promised to do his best to bring Bianca back to him, Nico believed with all his heart that she'd return safely. Not even the nightmares could convince him otherwise. Bianca was in good, capable hands—a hero's hands. She'd be okay, no doubt about it.
But then only a satyr and two half-bloods returned (the ones that always do) and Bianca wasn't one of them. Nico was in denial until all Percy had to show for his promise was the Hades action figure Nico used to covet. Ironic that she died for a toy he'd just lost interest in it.
Most kids go through their dark and depressed phase somewhere around their teenage years, but not Nico. No, he was an early bloomer. His thoughts and fashion sense darkened at the tender age of eleven, the year most boys were tiptoeing into snapbacks and skinny jeans and just starting to realize that girls looked nice.
When he was eleven, Nico could've killed his "hero." His name left a bitter taste in Nico's mouth and for all his armor and weapons did for him, he suddenly looked like a kid playing dress up. A joke. If that was the gods' idea of a hero, then Olympus was screwed.
Nico kind of figured it was a bad call to trust Minos, but this was Nico. His grudge clouded his judgment and, gods, what is someone supposed to do when their hero lets them down? Nico took the first half-baked scheme he came across and did whatever it took to accomplish what his idol couldn't. That included heeding the advice of a bitter, vengeful ghost.
The path Nico chose was a long, twisting one that led straight to the Labyrinth and resulted in someone no one could really trust. Nico lived up to the true, stereotype son of Hades and promises became empty, bitter things and remained that way even after he forgave Percy. Never quite managed to look at the son of Poseidon the same way.
Some oaths they kept. Most they broke, and it always, always funneled down to the very first promise they shared.
Unlike all their other issues, that one was completely Percy's fault, and it was a guilt the son of Poseidon carried to his grave, into Elysium and the River Lethe.
Decades later, when every veteran from the Wars had the peaceful deaths they deserved and entered Elysium, only Nico di Angelo, old and withered but still carrying around his dark sword like the paranoid demigod he was, would remain along with Thalia Grace, still young and fiery as ever. Poor man.
He'd be the dark, scary old grouch children would dare their friends to speak to, the mysterious neighbor garbed in dark clothes living next door yet so far away. Nico di Angelo would be the only one left, surprisingly. He would live alone in a compact apartment styled as if he lived in the 1900s, he would sleep, get up, and hobble along to the supermarket leaning heavily on his cane.
It was a dull routine, but it was the most normal thing the Fates had ever graced him with, and it was more than he deserved. No more quests, running for his life, no ungrateful gods, or Lotus Casinos, just normal. And Nico di Angelo had never been more bored in his long, confusing life.
On one particularly humid Saturday morning, after a long week of enduring Poseidon's hurricanes and Hades's earthquakes, Nico would come across a young boy, no older than eight, with dark messy hair, childish features, and sea green eyes that Nico, not even with his fading memory, could ever forget. That boy would be holding hands with an even younger girl wearing a green hat and shy, sweet smile that would bring Nico back to childhood lullabies and bedtime kisses.
Nico, nervous and frail, would peer down at the children, making an effort to be friendly because if they got frightened and ran…on his old, unsteady legs he'd never see them again. Least not in this life.
Nico, who had claimed on several occasions to have been born without a paternal instinct, would demand bluntly, "What are your names?"
The girl, hiding a little behind her companion, would mutter a soft, "Olivia," and Nico would think in the back of his head, Wrong. She was Bianca di Angelo, and she would've spit on the name Olivia.
Nevertheless, Nico would turn his gaze onto the boy. He was young, younger than Nico had ever seen him, in both senses of the word. His eyes would be light with innocence and face relaxed and carefree, and Nico would silently appraise him. "And who might you be?"
Startled but not backing away, the boy would answer, "I'm Peter Johnson."
Once again, Nico would think, Wrong. But Dionysus would be pleased.
"Oh?" Nico would say, feigning disinterest as he looked between the two children. Between his family and, for once, he wished Thalia was there with him to complete the reunion. "And where're your parents?"
Bianca's—or Olivia's, lips would tremble, and Peter would take her little hand in his. And eyes darkening, eight year-old face suddenly looking much older and solemn, like he'd seen things already. And knowing Percy's luck, Nico wouldn't put it passed him even in his new life.
"We don't have any," Peter would whisper. "It's just us." His green would bore right into the son of Hades's, and Nico would feel like the little boy. "It's just me and Olivia now, and it's my job to take care of her." Peter would straighten with steely resolve. "And I will."
And that is when Nico di Angelo would draw back as if he had been slapped because, just for one moment, Peter Johnson was Percy Jackson, and he had every intention of keeping his promise. The one that started it all. Even if it wasn't in the right lifetime. And with a wry smile, Nico di Angelo would think, I knew there was a reason you were my hero.
Their new relationship still wouldn't make any more sense than their last one.
It would be a strange, messy little thing complete with yelling, rebelling, and saving each other's ungrateful hides even though whichever one was playing the damsel in distress really, really didn't deserve it. Their "bond" would rival even Cara's (a strikingly familiar looking daughter of Ares) and Peter's in the violence and profanity category.
Their relationship would still shift on multiple occasions, but now, two things would be different: now they were cousins and they were brilliant at keeping their promises.
(Hobbling home that night from the supermarket, Nico would stumble upon a young blond with stormy grey eyes hiding in an alley. And, without hesitation, Nico would invite her into his home with open arms and keep her safe from the monsters because, really, he didn't need a promise to bind him to do that.)
Kind of just popped into my head an hour ago, so I thought, why not? Feel free to tell me what you think and check out my other stories.