House of Hades Spoilers
"I hated myself, I hated Percy Jackson. I had a crush on Percy. That's the truth. That's the big secret. Happy now?"
It wasn't bad enough he was a son of Hades. It wasn't bad enough he was in the wrong century. He had to be...he couldn't even say it.
And of course, he had to develop a crush on Percy Jackson.
Nico remembered that day. It was a friday, close to Winter Break. Not that it mattered anyway. Bianca and him are probably going to stay at Westover Hall for Christmas. They had nowhere else to go. It was one of Westover Hall's middle school dances. Not that Nico cared. He was in the bleachers playing Mythomagics - gods, Nico still couldn't believe how obsessed he was with those cards - and Bianca was telling him to stop playing. Then, Dr. Thorn was bringing them down a corridor. He was mumbling about something like Nico didn't hear, or wasn't paying attention to. Bianca was right next to him. Suddenly, Dr. Thorn was gone. Neither Nico or Bianca were really sure where he went. Now, Nico understood that Dr. Thorn is a manticore so he probably had the ability to just vanish like that but at that time, it was plain scary.
Percy Jackson appeared at that point. He opened the door holding a 3 feet long bronze sword and lowered the weapon. "It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you." He said. "My name's Percy. I'm going to take you out of here, get you somewhere safe."
Nico laughed bitterly. 'I'm not going to hurt you.' Nico knew Percy never intentionally hurt him, he never meant anything. He didn't know how Nico felt about him. He was clueless yet he can do so much harm.
Even at the age of 10, Nico knew he was gay. The only other person who knew was Bianca. It made sense as Bianca is the only person Nico could trust. Nico could trust Bianca with his life if he needed to. That's why Nico was so desperate to keep his sister safe. Without Bianca, he was left with nobody. Bianca was all he had left. He thought he could trust Percy Jackson with keeping his sister alive and well. Percy Jackson was a hero, after all. He is like the Hercules of the modern world. Percy Jackson seemed like one of those heroes from his Mythomagic demigod cards. Nico thought if anybody is capable of keeping Bianca safe, it got to be Percy.
Apparently not. The Fates had other plans for his sister. Nico resented Percy for letting his sister die. He was dead to him but he couldn't let him die. When the skeleton warriors showed up, Nico thought Percy was trying to kill him. First it was his sister, now him. Percy didn't seem like a hero to him anymore but Nico still couldn't bring himself to watch him get hurt. He wasn't sure whether or not he trusted Percy Jackson yet Nico got rid of the skeletons for Percy.
"Go away! I hate you! I wish you were dead!" Nico yelled as he ran into the woods, out of Camp Half Blood. Away from Percy Jackson. It was all he thought he could do. He couldn't be close to Percy anymore. He felt so betrayed by someone he thought was a hero. Somehow, he had to find Bianca. Only Bianca could understand.
After he got away from Camp Half Blood, Nico di Angelo wasn't expecting to see Percy Jackson so soon. He wasn't expecting Percy to also pay a visit to Triple G Ranch at that time of the year. Percy tried saving him but Nico didn't want to be in his debt. He refused. He didn't want Percy to do any favors for him. Percy did kind of save Nico by killing Geryson anyway. Nico still wasn't able to forgive Percy for letting Bianca die. He held grudges. All children of Hades did. It's their fatal flaw. It seems like Percy is going to be his fatal flaw.
It didn't especially improve his temper when Bianca decided to show up only when Percy is around. "It's not Percy you're mad at, Nico. It's me." Bianca had said. Nico didn't want to believe his sister. Percy was the one who could have prevented Bianca's death. He could have somehow saved her with his camp training or whatever demigods do. Percy promised Nico that Bianca's going to be alright. It's Percy's fault. However, Nico knew deep inside of him Bianca was telling the truth. He had to get over this grudge.
"Goodbye, Nico, I love you. Remember what I said." And she was gone.
That wasn't the end. Nico tried letting his grudge go. He tried treating Percy as a friend, whatever that means. He tried ignoring his feelings. It's obvious Percy had a thing with Annabeth. Percy would never like him the way Nico hoped he will. "It hasn't been easy, you know. Having only the dead for company. Knowing that I'll never be accepted by the living. Only the dead respected me, and they only do that out of fear." Nico told Percy in the labyrinth.
"You could be accepted. You could have friends at camp." Percy replied. He really had no idea. Really? Nico wanted to ask. Could he still have friends if people knew he was the son of Hades? Would people like him if they knew he wasn't even from this century? Would people accept him for being…gay?
Instead, he stared at Percy and asked. "Do you really believe that, Percy?"
Maybe all Nico needed was Percy to believe he wasn't so different at all. He could be one of them, a demigod trained at Camp Half Blood. As normal a half blood could ever be.
Even after Nico defended Camp Half Blood, he knew he couldn't stay. He managed to contact Bianca to say good-bye to her one last time and was ready to leave when Percy showed up. "I'm not staying, Percy." Nico told him.
"But…you can't just leave. It's too dangerous out there for a lone half-blood. You need to train."
"I train with the dead. This camp isn't for me. There's a reason they didn't put a cabin to Hades here, Percy. He's not welcome, any more than he is on Olympus. I don't belong. I have to go." Nico said. He knew being Hades' son isn't the only reason he's leaving Camp Half Blood. Camp Half Blood is Percy's home and Nico realized he couldn't be in the same place as him.
It seemed as if Percy understood that Camp Half Blood wasn't for people like Nico di Angelo too. He had to go.
That wasn't the end either. Nico happened to know the only way Percy could beat Luke Castellan. He also needed to know more about his past. Who is he? Who is his mother? There are so many questions only one person could answer and that person is Hades. Hades wasn't exactly the best father Nico could have hoped for. Nico knew he wasn't as smart, as competent as his sister Bianca and all Hades did was repeat that Bianca could have done a better job. Nico knew that. Nico didn't need a constant reminder than he was essentially a burden to Hades and the only reason Hades kept him around was so he could be the demigod in the Great Prophecy. Nico wanted to prove himself to his father, he needed to know more about himself and he needed Percy. He had to go find Percy Jackson again.
Nico di Angelo hated himself for leading Percy into Hades' trap but that was the only way he could have learnt about his mother, Maria di Angelo. He hoped Percy would understand. He did help Percy escape his father's dungeon and led him to the river of Styx so he could be immortal like Achilles. He hated himself. When Percy was about to go back to New York, he told Nico to go back to Hades. Nico couldn't have been more hurt. Hades hated him. Nico betrayed his own father. It was a suicidal mission yet Percy ordered him to go.
"You mean you don't trust me anymore." Nico said miserably. He couldn't bear the fact knowing Percy didn't trust him. The worse thing was, Nico understood why Percy didn't trust him. If Nico was Percy at that time, he would have not trusted himself. He hated that.
It was for Percy, Nico convinced Hades to join the war. He needed Percy to trust him again. He needed Percy on his side again and he had a feeling the only way he could achieve that is if he convinced Hades to help in the Second Titan War. It worked and Hades was satisfied when he got a hero's welcome in Olympus. It was because Percy urged Nico to go back to Hades, he managed to persuade his father to help in the war leading Hades to be proud of him. His father was proud of him. Nico loved making his father proud but he couldn't have done that without Percy Jackson.
It must also be because of Percy, for once, Nico felt accepted in Camp Half Blood. People were congratulating him even though he was the person who led Percy to Hades' trap. He seemed to be apart of the demigods. He was no different to them. Being from another century, being a son of Hades, being..gay, didn't matter anymore. Obviously nobody knew he was gay. Nico knew there was a rumor around saying he had a crush on Annabeth. A crush? More like he's jealous of her. But for that moment, it didn't matter. Thanks to Percy Jackson, he felt he wasn't so different after all and he couldn't thank Percy enough for that.
So Nico decided to build a Hades cabin in Camp Half Blood. Something to symbolize Camp Half Blood as his home. The same home Percy has. Nico supposed the only reason he could even build a cabin in honor of his father is because of Percy.
"But your children should not be left out. They should have a cabin at camp. Nico has proven that." Percy told Hades back in Olympus. Percy understood Nico, at least a tiny part of him. Nobody else did. Percy knew Nico was left out and don't belong in camp. He understood that Nico wasn't like any other demigods but he gave him a chance to become like one of them.
Really, Percy is his only friend. His best friend and it seems like Nico is going to screw that up. He doesn't like Percy as a friend. He likes him much more than that.
That September, Nico went to find Bianca di Angelo again. He heard rumors of the Doors of Death being opened so anybody who died can come back to the mortal world. He can finally save Bianca again but she was gone. Bianca decided to reborn. Nico felt like something stabbed his heart. His own sister, she could have at least told him she was going to reborn. It didn't make sense. Nico didn't know why Bianca chose that way. Now that she's reborn, Nico has no idea where in the world she could end up. Instead, he took Hazel Levesque to the mortal world and following Hades' instruction, led her to Camp Jupiter.
A month later, Percy Jackson disappeared. Nico didn't know whether he was relieved by it or deeply saddened by it. A part of him was desperate to find Percy. He needed to know Percy is safe. He needed to know where Percy is. Then again, without Percy, he had nothing to worry about. He could pretend his feelings for him were nonexistent. He could go on believing he was more normal. Nico supposed it made him a bad friend to think like that but if Percy really wanted to be found, he had Annabeth for that. He had the whole Camp Half Blood organizing search parties for him. He didn't need Nico di Angelo anymore and it hurts knowing that. At least he's gone and his crush on him could hopefully go away.
June 19th. Nico can never forget that day. He thought it was going to be another normal day in Camp Jupiter until Hazel bought him quite an unexpected visitor. The moment he recognized that jet black hair and sea green eyes, he knew it has to be Percy Jackson. He could be wondering many things such as 'what was he doing he?', 'is he okay?' but that wasn't the first thing that came to his mind. Nico panicked. Percy's back into his life whether he likes it or not and Nico needs to face his crush. He couldn't hide forever. Camp Jupiter is the last place Nico expected to see Percy especially with the whole Greek and Roman difference thing but he found Percy there. It's impossible to hide from that guy.
"Pleased to meet you, I'm Nico di Angelo." Nico pretended he didn't know Percy Jackson. He knew Hazel had a feeling they've known each other. Even Percy knew. "I-I know you." He said. At that point, Nico figured out it must be something the gods was messing around with. Percy's memory was really gone. If Percy recognized Nico more than a 'I know you', he would have demanded some kind of explanation to what Nico was doing at Camp Jupiter.
Some part of Nico didn't want Percy to remember. Maybe they can start off fresh. Maybe Percy forgot about Annabeth. Nico knew it was selfish of him but what can he do? It's not like he wanted to have a crush on Percy in the first place. All Aphrodite's fault.
Nico knew he had to get away from Camp Jupiter so he went back to the Underworld. This time, he had a mission to find the Doors of Death. As a son of Hades, Nico thought he could go anywhere in the underworld. It only made sense. It is his father's territory. It's not like there's a part of the ocean Percy couldn't go to, a part of the skies Thalia Grace couldn't go to. So why can't he go anywhere in the underworld? But the underworld has it's own laws. Nico got way too close to Tartarus and was pulled into the pit.
When people talk about Tartarus being terrifying, dark and tormenting, they weren't lying. They weren't over exaggerating either. Nico felt like he was going insane down there. As a son of Hades, he probably saw Tartarus for what it really was - not whatever other people wanted to see. The air is acid, the water is misery and fire, it was designed for it's captives to go insane. Even as a son of Hades, he didn't make it back to the mortal world without being captured by Gaea's minions. He was given to the twin giants Otis and Ephialtes and imprisoned in a bronze jar. Nico ate Persephone's pomegranate seeds as a last resort to keep him alive but he knew those seeds couldn't last a long time. He trusted Hazel would come to his rescue, and maybe Percy, but why should he? Nico was nothing to Percy. Besides, they needed to save the world. Nico was nothing compared to the whole world.
Nico was more than grateful when they did turn up to save him. He told them everything about the House of Hades he know. The one side in Tartarus and the other one in Epirus, Greece. Even back in the mortal world, out of the bronze jar, he was weak. He needed to rest but he couldn't. Not since what happened next anyway. They went to rescue Annabeth.
Nico knew Percy loved Annabeth and Annabeth loved him back. They were probably one of Aphrodite's triumphs. They were perfect for each other. They would do anything for each other and Nico was so jealous of Annabeth. He wanted to be like Annabeth. He wanted Percy to love him but he knew that would never happen. All he could do is sit back helplessly watching a relationship between them blossom.
"Percy, let me go. You can't pull me up." Annabeth had told Percy when she knew she was going to fall to Tartarus.
Percy couldn't let that happen. "Never. The other side, Nico! We'll see you there. Understand?"
"But-" Nico tried protesting. He already knew Percy's mind was made and gods, he is stubborn. Nico knew Percy would not let go. There's no point arguing but it hurts watching the person he cared for most fall to Tartarus for Annabeth Chase, the person Percy cared for most.
"Lead them there! Promise me!" Percy shouted.
Nico has been in Tartarus. He knew what it was like. The chances for them to get out of there is so small, it's silly to even think they're going to make it through. Falling to Tartarus is falling to death. "I-I will." He promised. He had to. If that was Percy's last wish, he had to do it. He had to honor Percy Jackson.
Nico gave up on Percy Jackson when he fell down to Tartarus with Annabeth. "We're staying together. You're not getting away from me. Never again." Percy promised his girlfriend when he let go of the ledge. Nico didn't even know why he bothered liking Percy. Percy had that thing with Annabeth nobody can interfere with. Having a crush on Percy is hopeless. He had to give up.
Giving up on a crush is never easy. He tried convinced himself he didn't like Percy that way anymore. He tried telling himself Percy is just a friend, nothing more. Saying 'I don't like Percy anymore' out loud a hundred times doesn't change how he feel. It wasn't the first time he denied his feelings and Nico knew it wouldn't be the last. It certainly was hard though. Percy has played such a big role in his life for the past four years. Nico couldn't let go of Percy that easily.
But he had to. Percy already had Annabeth. Percy is a hopeless case. He's in Tartarus, for gods' sake. And facing Cupid didn't help.
Favonius had told him right before they met Cupid. "Nothing? The one you cared for most…plunged into Tartarus, and still you will not allow the truth?" Favonius is a god. Nico didn't expect him to understand. He tried not caring for Percy but he couldn't stop himself. He couldn't let the truth out. Being gay wasn't something Nico was proud of. In the 1940's where he is from, people are ashamed of being gay. They try to hide it. Being gay was illegal in the 1940's. It was immoral. If people knew, they would try to cure him with all their silly ways. Favonius could be gay like Nico di Angelo but they don't have the same struggles.
After Cupid slammed Jason Grace across the street, he said. "Oh, did you expect me to play fair? I am the god of love. I am never fair." Nico hated Cupid. He hated love. Love wasn't fair. Love is a challenge harder than anything Nico has ever faced.
"Tell him, Nico di Angelo. Tell him you are a coward, afraid of yourself and your feelings. Tell him the real reason you ran from Camp Half Blood, and why you are always alone. Will you hide among the dead, as you always do?" Cupid had taunted him.
Nico knew Cupid was right. He is a coward. He did hide among the dead because he couldn't face the living. He couldn't face Percy. Nico was afraid of himself. Why did he like Percy, of all people? What does his feelings for Percy even mean?
"I left Camp Half Blood because of love. Annabeth…she-" Okay, Nico was only half-lying. He did leave Camp Half Blood out of love. He didn't know what to do. He was so confused but it wasn't because of Annabeth.
The god of love knows everything. Cupid knew. "Still hiding. You do not have the strength."
"Nico, it's okay. I get it." Jason told him. Nico knew he was trying to make himself feel better but Jason had no idea. He didn't know who Nico is. Jason Grace wasn't a son of Hades, he wasn't from another century and he wasn't gay. Jason seemed to have it all. He was the son of Jupiter, he's straight and he has love, he has Piper McLean.
"No, you don't. There's no way you can understand." Nico said. The only person who can understand is gone. Bianca chose to reborn.
Cupid knew how he felt. "And so you run away again. From your friends, from yourself."
"I don't have any friends! I left Camp Half Blood because I don't belong! I'll never belong!" Nico screamed. It was true. He would never belong. He isn't like the other demigods in camp. He's too different to belong and call Camp Half Blood home. "I-I wasn't in love with Annabeth" He couldn't hyhide anymore.
"You were jealous of her. That's why you didn't want to be around her. Especially why you didn't want to be around…him. It makes total sense." Jason figured it out. There was no point denying anymore. It was time to face Cupid. Time to face love.
Nico knew he still couldn't let Percy know. Jason might know but he isn't Percy Jackson. Nico had to lie. He had to pretend he really didn't like Percy anymore - like he tried to when Percy fell into Tartarus with Annabeth. Jason would have to understand.
And Nico would have to just give up on Percy Jackson.
"I don't feel that way any more, I mean…I gave up on Percy. I was young and impressionable, and I-I don't…"
AN: When I was reading the House of Hades, I thought Nico's confrontation with Cupid was really brave and I decided to write something about him and his struggles of being who he is. I hope you guys liked it!
And ugh, I can't wait for the Blood of Olympus but at the same time, I don't want it to come because it's pretty much the last book where we'll see Percy and stuff :/