Will didn’t know Nico hated Valentine’s Day. Despite being his friend for about three years now, there were things Nico simply didn’t see a reason to talk about at all – the middle school incident involving being outed on Valentine’s Day being one of them. And so, because Will didn’t know, he made plans to declare his undying love for his best friend. On the most romantic day of the year. Because what could possibly go wrong?
If only Nico hadn’t expressed his distaste for grandiose gestures of love, Will might have been tempted to hire a violinist to perform ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ for the object of his affection, but that would only end up with Will in the hospital – in the role of a patient instead of the doctor’s.
So he decided to work with the basics. Flowers, chocolate, something more personal. Simple and direct. His subtle flirting in the past few months ended up being too subtle, but he was sure Nico wouldn’t miss the meaning of all this. Hopefully not.
Will was able to keep his cool until February 14th.
Because then it hit him: he was going to tell Nico how he really felt, and Nico would either say yes or laugh to his face and break his heart. He had to give it his best shot. This was it.
He bought a bouquet on his way home from work – and he had not spent one hour researching flower meanings so as to make the perfect bouquet.
Roses were a good, obvious choice that even Nico wouldn’t be able to misunderstand, so he picked some blue ones (“a person who receives the blue rose is the subject of much speculation and thought”). White daisies meant loyal love, innocence, and beauty, so he added those too. Will also knew Nico liked pink, despite dressing and behaving like Wednesday Addams most of the time, so he got some pink orchids as well (pure affection, strength, and love).
The end result was… okay. The orchids’ vivid color caught more attention than the other two, so the palette wasn’t exactly harmonious, but the message was more important than anything, so Will thanked the florist for her great job, tipped her, and set the bouquet carefully on the passenger seat before driving home.
It was 7:04 PM the moment Will stepped inside, flowers in hand and breath irregular from walking up the six flights of stairs – the stupid elevator was in maintenance again. He gently set them on the counter, beside Nico’s favorite chocolate, ran to put the lasagna on the oven (“please be edible, please be edible ”), then hurried to take a shower. Nico should arrive any minute now. Will’s heart was thumping in his chest, wild and anxious – he wanted to believe it was nerves from his soon-to-be-confessed feelings, and not because he had to take the stairs.
Fuck, he was doing this!
He ended up pacing around the living room, rehearsing his speech one more time. He checked his phone and the playlist. The oven was turned off and his house smelled pleasantly of Italian food. Now, if Nico only–
Nico rang the bell.
Will’s immediate reaction was to jump, his mind momentarily going on a desperate string of “SHITDAMN, HE’S HERE!”. But then he composed himself, took a deep breath, and opened the door.
“‘Sup, man.” Nico greeted, raising his fist to a bump Will casually gave him. “It’s hell outs– why are you dressed so fancy?”
“This isn’t fancy.” Will said. “It’s just… pants. And this old shirt.” He had bought both last weekend.
“Well, yeah. On a normal day you’d be in those ridiculous boxers of yours.” Nico gesticulated with his hand while he stepped into the apartment. He put a plastic bag on the table and opened it to reveal Japanese takeout.
“My boxer shorts are amazing.”
“I refuse to have this conversation with you again.” He declared, pointing an accusatory finger at Will, who just stuck his tongue out at him. “Seriously, dude, did you use hair gel?” Nico squinted, standing on his toes to get a better view of Will’s hair. “What’s going on?”
And before Will could open his mouth and explain everything, before he could get the chocolate and the bouquet and pour his heart out to his friend, Nico proceeded to say the worst thing he could have possibly said right now. It made him hold his breath. It broke his heart.
“Did Valentine’s Day mess with you? ‘Cause it’s just a stupid holiday, dude. It’s not important. And it’s okay if you, you know, don’t have anyone. Yet. Doesn’t mean you’re alone or… whatever.” He awkwardly finished his mini-speech with a shrug, looking at some point above Will’s shoulder. Talks about feelings had never been Nico’s thing.
Will was just trying to remember how to breathe.
“You…” He cleared his throat. “You don’t like… Valentine’s Day?”
“Nah.” Nico shook his head, frowning. “It’s just another day made for capitalism’s sake based on people feeling bad about themselves. It creates this stupid pressure on people to do things they wouldn’t normally do. Like, it makes them feel like shit for being alone, o-or it gives them hope to confess their feelings to someone. And people act like there’s magical love powder in the air that’ll solve everything, but in the end, everything’s the same. People are shitty, you get rejected and heartbroken, and it’s just another day.”
Will wasn’t sure how desperate his expression must have been, because when Nico looked up, he was instantly alarmed.
“Oh, shit, what did I say? I’m sorry if I offended yo– Oh!” His hands flew up to his mouth. “You believe in the magical love powder of February 14th, don’t you? Will, I– I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean–”
“It’s okay.” He forced the words out, ignoring that his voice was an octave higher than normal. “Really, I’m– It’s okay. You just… hate Valentine’s Day.”
“Sorry.” He whispered. “Believe it or not, I am trying to be more positive about it. Or just… less bitter, I guess.” Another shrug.
That gave Will his answer, he supposed. He could not confess to Nico on the day he apparently loathed the most.
Great. Where would he hide the flowers?
Maybe the safe solution was to throw them out the window.
“Okay. Hm.” He said. “I gotta go do this thing. It’s real quick, you should put a movie on or something.”
“...Will you be really mad if it’s something unromantic?”
“Go crazy on the horror movies, man.”
Nico gave him a half-guilty, half-thankful look, but Will was already turning away, hurrying toward the kitchen.
The disharmonious bouquet waited on the counter.
Will sighed, then held them up and touched the petals, which were soft and slightly humid under his fingers.
He didn’t want to throw them away. It was stupid, and now he knew that Nico wasn’t interested in romantic gestures on the most romantic day of the year, period. And yet–
And yet he was reluctant to throw the flowers away. They could last another day. What if he tried again tomorrow? While Nico did sound kind of disdainful of the idea of love in general, maybe they weren’t completely doomed–
“Oh.” Came the surprised voice from behind him.
Will turned, wide-eyed. In the doorway stood Nico, just as startled as him.
He eyed the bouquet. Then his eyes traveled to the new clothes, to the blush on Will’s cheeks.
“You got flowers.” Will didn’t understand why Nico said it like that, in a broken, defeated whisper. Y-You... you went on a date? I–” He breathed out a sudden laughter, humorless and bitter. “I guess fucking magical love power does work.”
Will stepped closer, not thinking about anything other than Nico, unhappy, in front of him.
“That’s really not – it’s not what this is. I,” Oh shit. “I actually got them for you.”
Quiet. It got quiet after that, except for the wild beating of his heart and for the tick-tock of a kitchen clock Will wasn’t sure why he still had, since he hated the thing.
He briefly thought about throwing it out the window, along with the bouquet. And maybe himself too.
Nico opened his mouth to speak. Closed it. Opened it again. Licked his lips and pressed them together.
Looked up at Will. And then he spoke.
“You got me flowers?” He sounded confused, so Will nodded immediately, handing him the bouquet.
His blood raced and his mind got dizzy at the sight of Nico, wide-eyed and flustered, staring at the bouquet like he’d never seen one in his life.
“I had never gotten flowers before.” Nico buried half of his face on the flowers, hiding the blush of his cheeks. “This is nice.”
Thump thump. Thump thump.
“I got you chocolate, too.” It seemed like a good moment to hand him the box. “And made you a playlist.”
Nico’s fingers were trembling slightly when he took the fancy package .
“My favorite.” He mumbled. Will used Nico’s distraction to take his phone out of his pocket and turn on the screen, showing him the playlist. Nico had to put the chocolate back on the counter so he could hold the phone.
“You should read the track titles in order.” Will murmured. “It’s kind of a not-so-secret message.”
“‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’, ‘Because - Remastered 2009’, ‘Everytime We Touch’, ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’,” Nico mumbled slowly due to the dyslexia, the blush on his face deepening.
It took a while – at least a full minute in which Will fidgeted and cursed his entire stupid existence –, but Nico figured it out, taking in a sharp breath and giving Will a wide-eyed look that made his heart stop.
But then Nico smiled. Hesitant and slowly, but he did smile, and Will could breathe again.
“I wanna be your boyfriend, because everytime we touch, I can’t help falling in love with you. I wanna be yours, so be my valentine. P.S.: I love you.” Will recited by heart, his head so dizzy he was sure he would faint. Nico was beaming, radiant. That had to be a good sign, right? Nico still wasn’t laughing or walking away, so was that– Was that a yes?
Then he managed to punch Will in the arm.
“You absolute asshole! Now I’m feeling like shit for not doing anything nice for you.”
“You exist.” Was Will’s immediate reply. “You came over. You’re my friend. You’re nice to me all the time.”
Nico gave him a disbelieving, mildly concerned look, but he was visibly trying to keep from smiling.
“Light of my life.”
Nico drew his eyebrows together.
“Is that supposed to be an insult, William?”
“No insults!” He smirked, like he did everytime Nico called him that in that tone. “I thought we were just stating facts about each other.”
Nico rolled his eyes.
“You’re gonna be impossible to deal with, aren’t you?”
“In the case that we do date,” His heart short-circuited at those words. “I’d declare my love proudly and often, yes.”
Will didn’t really notice they were gravitating towards each other. He just appreciated how the already warm brown of Nico’s eyes seemed to go from teasing to happy, and how the other man had to look up to stare at him.
“Good,” He whispered. “‘Cause then I can do this, I think.”
Then Nico threw his arms around Will’s neck and kissed him.
And it was the single most amazing moment of Will’s life.
“Is that,” Will struggled to get the words out, since Nico refused to stop kissing him for more than a few seconds. “A yes?” More kissing, and then, “Boyfriends?”.
“This is the best–”
“I know. Same.” Nico was impatient as he guided Will so he was against the kitchen counter, where the flowers and the phone had been thrown. It wasn’t comfortable, and it kind of hurt, but Nico quickly distracted him again, so there were no complaints on his part.
Later that night, when they were both down to their underwear, lying in bed with the lights off, so tired that they were reduced to playing thumb war with their eyes closed, that’s when they talked. Nothing serious, nothing too silly. Every topic of conversation between them tended to sound normal when it was 1 AM and both were tired.
“I really want tibia your boyfriend.”
Nico stayed in silence for a moment, and then he groaned.
“ Ugh, that was awful. I’m breaking up with you right now.”
“Ouch, darlin’, don’t go breaking my heart.” Will pouted in the dark of the room, forgetting that Nico couldn’t even see him.
“Will, I swear to God–”
“It’s like–” Will fake-sobbed. “It’s like you don’t even love me anymore! Have you ever loved me? Speak the truth for once, you disgraced noodle!”
“Fine, you stupid jellyfish . I’ll have you know that,” He gulped. “That I’ve loved you ever since your first idiotic medical pun.”
“Nico, you’re gonna kill me like this.” Will whined.
“That was so cute! Who knew you were actually a hopeless romantic under that cold exterior of yours?”
“Will, for fuck’s sake–”