Nico should really try being a little more subtle. He was honestly surprised no one was giving him questioning looks, because he was blatantly staring, maybe even swooning a little, but no one would ever have to know that.
The head counsellor of cabin 13 was currently focusing most of his attention on Will Solace from across the dining pavillion. Wistfully imagining fantisies of him sitting over with the other boy, instead of over here at the Hades table with his two cousins Percy Jackasson and Jason Disgrace, who were currently arguing over battle strategies.
Part of Nico was mindlessly listening to their conversation in the back of his brain, but it was easy to get caught up in Will. The head medic had the brightest blue eyes that-Nico felt like a huge cliché when saying it- he wished he could look into forever. Too bad whenever Will so much as brushed his hand he was reduced to a blushing mess.
Liking Percy had always fight like a burden, he didn't want to like Percy, it was hard on him, and he never really enjoyed the way the Son of Poseidon could make him feel with a simple smirk.
With Will however, it was different, liking Percy had felt like something to be ashamed of, but with Will it was impossible to feel bad about liking someone like him. Someone who lit up a room everyone time they walked in, someone who made it their mission to know something about everyone and make them feel like they mattered. The kind of person who asked about your day, and generally cared.
That was why it was so difficult for Nico to figure out if Will like him back or not. Were the smiles and casual touches Nico always blushed at worth blushing for, or was that just the way Will was with everyone? Or were the reserved just for Nico? He really hoped it was the latter. Those small grins or light brushes of fingertips on wrists, made Nico feel so alive.
And he really hoped they meant as much to Will as they did to him. Maybe he was overreacting. Maybe Will was just a really nice friend, you know no-homo man. But it didn't feel that way. From the McDonald's runs in the city, to the watching movies in the Hades cabin, Will seemed to like spending time with him. Nico could only hope he felt the same way.
Plus, Percy explained that Will had come out as Bi a couple years ago and gone into the city for a Pride parade- something that Nico still wasn't entirely sure was- with some other kids at camp. So that's why it didn't seem so far fetched that Will might like Nico back.
" So who were you thinking we should join with for capture the flag tonight?" Nico was pulled out of his thoughts by Percy's question which had obviously been directed at him. The Big Three Cabins usually teamed up for capture the flag, every Friday and made it a habit to sit together at lunch to plan, an appetizing meal of spaghetti. But Nico clearly hadn't been paying attention, and as Jason followed his line of sight to the Apollo boy Nico knew that Jason knew why.
Jason had been one of the most supportive people when he had found out about Nico's crush, so it was really no surprise that he had picked up on Nico's not so subtle glances at Will Solace. But, he was also Jason Grace, so on top of being a supportive best friend, he was also a troublemaker who's favourite activity was to mess around in Nico's live life.
"Actually Perce, Nico was just telling me at the campfire the other night about how he thinks the Apollo cabin would be a great asset to our team". Percy pondered Jason's response for a minute, while Nico angrily mimed murdering his best friend. "Well their cabin does have it's benefits, they're the best archers at camp, and if anyone on our team got hurt we would have Will and the rest of the healers to help out". Jason nodded his head in agreement, and smirked at Nico " Ya I think we should definitely make a deal with them, Nico and can go ask right now".
Nico was seriously considering committing murder, he could see the headline now "Di Angelo Suffocates Grace With Spaghetti Because He Tries To Play Cupid" . But instead he followed Jason over across the pavilion to the Apollo table, muttering to the Son of Jupiter the entire way there about how he was 'never confiding in him again'.
Soon enough they were both standing beside the rickety picnic table that should have been too small to hold so many brightly dressed campers. Around 15 pairs of big round eyes peered up at Nico, all of different colours, though none of them held the same enchanting blue as Will's did.
"Jason, Nico what can we help you with?" Will's spoke out in between the chatter of the dining hall, and the aimless tune of a nearby radio. If it wasn't his imagination Nico was sure that Will had lingered on his name a little. Oh and good Lord, now he was looking directly at Nico a small grin present of his lips. Nico quickly ducked his head as a blush spread across his face.
"Well you see Will, as you know Percy, Nico and I usually team up for capture the flag, and we think that we could take the win tonight if we had them help of your cabin on our team, whaddya say?" Nico thought Jason could make a very convincing sales person, if this demigod thing didn't work out.
The Apollo table moved together into a formation that Nico had once heard Jason call a 'football huddle' -he felt that him and Jason were probably thinking of two different types of football- and appeared to be conferencing.
Finally after a short while of Nico staring at the back of Will's broad-gorgeous-shoulders underneath his shirt, and hiding from Jason's knowing looks, the Apollo cabin turn around the face them and informed the that they would be accepting their offer.
Nico was sitting in his cabin, having an internal war with himself. He had just come back from recruiting the Ares cabin to be part of their team, and then teaching a beginners sword class with Percy in arena. It had occurred to him how close it was to dinner and then capture flag, and be would be on a team with his crush. Will was nice to talk to, he was easy to talk to, but there were certain moments when Nico was such a stuttering mess, that he just wanted to scream "I LIKE YOU" and walk away hands waving. I might just have to come to that if no Nico didn't get his act in gear.
"Okay so originally we planned that Percy would stand by the creek and guard, while Clarisse, Kayla, Nico and I went and attacked while the rest of you created a diversion in two groups. However, we have information from a reliable insider that Piper will be positioned on the other side of the creek as the red teams guard, so this means she will probably try to use her charmspeak on Percy".
Jason rambled on for another 3 and a half minutes about how powerful his girlfriend was, with Percy jumping in about how everyone should watch out for Annabeth as well. Nico wasn't really paying attention. He was too busy staring at Will from across the group, who just so happens to be staring back. They were having an eyebrow war, and Nico was thinking about how nice it would feel to smooth the crease above will nose with his fingers when he heard "So change of plans" now he was interested. " To avoid Piper charmspeaking anyone, Percy is gonna switch with Nico".
Nico was fine with this. It wasn't unusual for him to guard, it was usually a child of the big three who took this spot and he could he was good at sparring. However when Jason shot Nico a sly grin he knew that he had something up his sleeve. " But the thing is, Nico you have a tendency to overuse your powers and we want to have someone there with you in case you collapse".
Jason knew full well what he was doing, he knew Will would volunteer.
"Oh well if it's Nico overusing his powers your worried about then maybe I should guard with him, I've stopped him from fading before." Will gave Nico a smile eyebrows raised " purely for medical purposes". Okay, now he was just downright flirting. And Jason looked like a proud mama who was seeing her son off for his first date.
Suddenly the conch horn blue, and the rest of the blue team scrambled to their assigned spots, as will dragged Nico to the creek. By. The. Hand. Nico tried to control his racing heart, because he knew that Will, being a healer who feel his increase on heart rate. But it was clear Will had noticed, and Nico could see with a small grin, that he didn't seem to mind.
Will had held his hand a couple seconds longer after they got to the stream and Nico was internally jumping up and down, euphoric because of those few seconds, and a little disappointed that he had let go at all. Because for those few seconds he had love the way Will's hand have felt in his. He loved the way their skin contrasted: his a light, tan sort of color, covered with freckles just like his face, and Nico's a shade darker regaining some of his Italian olive coloring.
After positioning the flag Will and him slumped down on some nearby rocks near the creek, but didn't see Piper. She must have been father down stream. The shouts of the campers and the steady gurgle of the river surrounded them but neither boy was talking. It wasnt an uncomfortable silence, it never was with Will, yet Nico spoke up. "Thanks for volunteering to stay with me, for guarding. I know you would probably rather be out there, where the actions at". Will shrugged "I mean sure if by action what you mean is GASP healing a broken wrist, sure".
Nico let out a snort of laughter and Will's smile at seeing that he had made Nico laugh was worth a million dollars. "What about you Nico, why did Jason say the charmspeak doesn't work on you?"
Nico thought about it for a second this was venturing into touchy territory. It had to do with stuff he didn't usually like to talk about, but will didn't seem like the type of guy who would go spilling secrets. So Nico took a deep breath.
"Have you ever had charmspeak used on you, Will?" He shook his head no. "I try to stay on the Aphrodite cabins' good side". Nico laughed lightly, then continued "Well when you talk to Aphrodite she takes on the characteristics of the woman you admire most, romantically". Deep breath "Well, if a girl charmspeak to you, and you're a guy, their voice sounds like the woman who you admire most, romantically". Here comes the confession. "Well since I don't really admire any woman romantically" Will brightend "It took on the voice of the girl I admire most platonically. Which was my sister Bianca" Will paled. "It sounds like her, but I know it's not really her because she's dead".
Nico finished the last part quietly. His eyes were glossy, but he didn't feel like he needed to hide any more, he had been honest with Will. Nico laughed " Wow. I really know how to lighten the mood. Good going Nico, way to woo a guy".
Will had probably just reevaluated his impression of Nico from 'pretty cool guy' to 'Jesus this dude needs help'. But when he laughed it was music, and Nico realized he didn't need to completely give up hope.
"Man I am feeling pretty wooed, I might have to take some tips from you". Nico glanced up and Will moved closer. "You see there's this guy I've kinda got a thing for." "Short. Dark hair. Italian. Freckles, but only if you're really looking. Bad temper". Nico was smiling now. "Maybe you know him his name's Nick or something?" Will was right in front of Nico now, their foreheads pressed together. He shuddered, it was like a dream.
"I don't wanna mess this up Will" he paused "I really like you". Their lips were ghosting over each other. "I really like you too Neeks". Nico let himself be enveloped in a world that they had created, Will's hand on his waist, Nico's arms hooked purposely around his neck. "And I don't plan on going anywhere" Will said.
Once when Nico was on a mission for his father, he shadow travel to a small town in Arizona. He stayed at an inn, with a name that rhymed, but he had forgotten. It was run by an elderly couple, who had lived there all their life. They told him about how ir had been weeks since it rained, and if it didn't come soon the farmer's crops woudl die. Nico was paying his bill on the last day, when the sky darkened and in the air became charged and heavy with mositure. It began to pour. That was what this kiss was like. Waiting and waiting and waiting and when it did happen, it was electric and all around you, making you feel so alive.
He wanted to say that it was perfect. But in reality they were a fumbling mess, of hands unsure of where to go, both smiling into the kiss. They kept returning, tongues shyly peeking into mouths. Neither boy seemed to have much experience (Nico thought that was fine, more room for practice). As far as first kisses go, he was glad it was with Will. Yet, just as fingertips were gently meeting the skin at Nico's hips, they heard shouts and the sound of boots running closer. Remembering what they were supposed to do, they pulled apart and grabbed their weapons.
They were both on high alert, yet Nico kept on sneaking blushing glances at Will. Who was red faced, red lipped, and hair missed, Nico imagined he probably didn't look much better, though with Will's naturally curly hair, he could pull it off. Seconds later, the footsteps hot louder, Jason, Percy, Clarisse, Kayla and the rest of the blue team trickled into the clearing by the creek. "What were you guys doing?! Where's the flag?!" Nico and Will both wide-eyed, turned to each other, and then looked behind them to were the flag had been positioned between two rocks, just ten minutes ago. It was gone.
They looked back to each other, and then began to laugh. Clutching their stomachs, full blown laughter. Percy however was furious "What were you doing?! How did you not see them?! Nico I've seen you take down an entire army yourself, and Will I've seen you make a monster collapse just by cutting a certain point on its body! How did this happen?!"
Nico and Will both gazed at the ground, red faced and embarrassed. "We uh-" Nico started "-might have gotten a little distracted" Will finished.
"What could you have possibly gotten distracted by, your in the middle of the woods, with nothing around you but trees and each other?!" Percy shouted.
Finally it was Kayla who connected their red faces to the missing flag "Oh I see". Nico worriedly raised his head " You do?" She smirked at him, and he blushed even more. She turned toward the rest of the team "They got distracted" she paused for dramatic affect. "Because they're in the middle of the woods with nothing around them but trees and each other." She finished raising a smug eyebrow.
A look of realization passed over everyone's faces', finally both Jason and Percy lit up, all traces of anger gone. "Woo! I knew it! Way to be little cousin go get some!" shouted Jason. Now both Nico and Will were both blushing, as people came up and congratulated them with high fives, and claps on the backs, and 'I knew you'd be cute together's.
When everyone went to the campfire that night, people were still making fun of how great Nico and Will were at guarding, and Nico didn't even have the heart to send skeletons after them, because he was so happy, it was ruining his reputation.
But at the end of the night, when everyone was singing their loudest and the campfire was burning high above their heads. When the campfire turned a vibrant purple with the energy of the camp. If Will Solace grabbed Nico's hand from beside him and held it tight, well know one would have to know about how Nico heart began to soar as high as the campfire, or how he blushed but no one could see because of the flames. No one would have to know. And just when the campfire turned a bright blue, and everyone was bathed in the light Nico leaned over and whispered to Will "Wait. Did you call me short?"