They all sat around at the first level of the concrete Amphitheater, around the campfire side. The sun shone brightly, the beams gently grazing where the fire would be blazing if it were night. Reyna, Hazel and Frank had snuck away from Camp Jupiter for the weekend. Piper and Jason sat next to Frank, Percy and Annabeth between Hazel and Reyna. The rest of the campers were all busied with their usual activities.
The crew of the Argo II laughed at one of Percy’s lame jokes.
“Reyna!” two figures made their way up to the campfire, the smaller figure in front of the larger one. It was covered in black from head to toe. As the figures drew closer to them, Percy could see that it was Nico di Angelo, with Will Solace behind him.
Nico’s Stygian Iron blade, which was almost three feet of wicked metal, black as nightmare, hung from his jeans. He was dishevelled, and he wore a black wife beater with a skull printed on, black jeans and an impractical pair of Converse high tops.
His raven locks tumbled across his forehead and Annabeth’s black hairband with a tiny grey owl was on his pale, left wrist, a bottle of water in his right hand.
Will on the other hand, wore a khaki pair of cargo shorts, a blue button-up, matching his big, blue eyes under an orange Camp Half-Blood t-shirt, even more impractical flip-flops and his wavy, surfer-boy hair was neatly brushed above his forehead.
Reyna got up and hugged Nico tightly.
“Hi,” Nico greeted, a small smile on his face, “What are you guys doing here?“
“Well, Jason here told us someone got promoted to Camp Half-Blood’s Sword-Defense Master,” Reyna smiled.
“Please,” Percy snorted, “That’s only because I’m not around.”
“Don’t you wish,” Nico rolled his eyes, sarcasm lacing his every word, as he and Will sat next to Reyna, “Besides, that’s just a fancy title for training thirteen year olds. It’s a tedious process.”
“How did you learn to sword fight?” Hazel inquired, eyebrows quirking curiously.
Nico’s cheeks heated, “Kept the wrong company for a while and I just sort of picked up a couple of tricks.”
“You just got back from the Arena, right?” Jason asked.
Nico nodded and said, “Yeah, I was finishing up my last batch of lessons for the day, and Will had just completed his daily archery lessons. Some Aphrodite girls told us you guys were here.”
Then, he opened his bottle of water and took a sip. And Percy couldn’t help but poke fun at him.
“Hey, Nico,” Percy grinned, “I didn’t think Fiji water WAS YOUR TYPE!“
Nico groaned and put his head in his hands, “Holy Hades, not this again.”
Percy’s grin grew, but Nico knew he was messing with him. Very few people knew his secret and they were the seven and Will. Will had been the first outsider Nico ever told, but he and the son of Apollo had a surprisingly good relationship and he knew Will wouldn’t stand in the middle of Camp with a banner written, “Nico di Angelo is gay!”
“Wait, Nico,” Piper frowned, “Really though, what is your type?”
Nico bit his lip, nervously, his cheeks tinting pink.
“I don’t have a type,” he shrugged after a while.
Annabeth frowned, leaning foward, “What do you mean you don’t have a type? I mean, everybody has a type!”
Nico’s cheeks flushed a deeper, more delicate pink.
“I just never considered, you know, who I might be attracted to,” Nico continued biting his lip and tucked his ear behind his ear, shrugging, “Back in the ‘30’s people like me weren’t as free to be open about it then as they are now.”
“Nico,” Jason said sternly, enunciating his words to drive his point home, “It’s okay. You deserve to be happy. You practically saved the world, man. You can’t stay by yourself forever.”
Nico cast his eyes downward, “I know.”
Will Solace surprised everyone by snapping, “Hey. Leave him alone. When he’s ready to settle down, he will.”
“No harm, no foul, dude,” Percy held his hands up, “We’re just trying to speed up the process.”
Will rolled his eyes.
“So, Nico,” Reyna grinned, “Let’s find out what’s your type.”
“Nico here is a small little ray of darkness that looks like he could kill you and probably would kill you,” Percy smirked.
“Hey!” Nico interrupted, “I’ve worked really hard on curbing my murderous tendencies!”
“Obviously, we’d pair him with a ball of sunshine. Opposites attract,” Piper grinned as if Nico hadn’t spoken, “So someone from Demeter, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, maybe Athena, Hecate or Hermes…”
“Demeter is technically my step-grand-mother,” Nico tried again, disgusted, “That’s a no.”
“And he’d have to look the exact opposite of Nico,” Annabeth put in, “Because Nico looks as if he didn’t know a barber existed, he’s never seen the light of day and there’s no other colour but black.”
“He also needs someone who’s able to easily diffuse his anger,” Jason added, “And his attitude. Because this little Italian is one of the most sarcastic, mouthy persons I know. Forget Persassy, Nico di Sassangelo is the next big thing.”
“What did you call me?” Percy stared blankly at Jason.
“Percy!” Annabeth smacked his shoulder, “This is not about you!”
“And I do not have an attitude!” Nico said, indignantly, “My mother and sister raised me to be a gentleman!”
Will, who was sitting quietly while they argued, suddenly got up and walked away.
“What’s wrong with Solace?” Jason asked, “He normally isn’t this snappy.”
“I’ll go check on him,” Nico frowned, “I agree with Jason. He’s not being himself.”
Nico left the fire-side, his tiny legs unable to keep up.
“Hey Will!” he called after the son of Apollo, “Wait up!”
Will froze and Nico used this to his advantage, grabbing Will and dragging him behind the Hades Cabin, which was the nearest cabin, and which was the cabin that kept them both out of sight. Nobody would see them arguing.
“Okay. Spill,” Nico demanded.
“There’s nothing to spill,” Will said, simply.
“Will, c'mon. What’s up?” Nico pushed, “That out there, that wasn’t like you.”
Will knew it was petty, but deep down, he was jealous. The thought of Nico with somebody else didn’t settle well in his stomach.
“Nothing, alright. I’m fine,” Will snapped, “Just leave me alone, Nico.”
Nico summoned up the fiercest glare he could and sent it in Will’s direction. Will stubbornly glared back at him, until Nico broke eye contact, sending his gaze to the ground.
“Gods of Olympus,” Nico said, softly, “How do you do that? None of the other campers can keep eye contact with me for more than two seconds.”
“I’m not afraid of you like most campers, Death Boy,” Will replied, equally as soft.
“Will,” Nico whispered, making the mistake of looking up at Will.
Nico’s breath caught in his throat, all the words he’d wanted to fling at Will flying out his head. Will was gorgeous.The sunlight highlighted all the small, golden flecks in Will’s eyes blue eyes, his blonde hair glimmering. Nico saw the freckles that splashed across his nose and cheeks, like little red galaxies and his lips…
Before either of them knew what was happening, Nico was pinned up against the wall of the Hades cabin, practically melting against Will, whose lips were moving gently, wildly, passionately against his. Will’s lips were as soft and plump as they looked. Nico’s eyes slipped shut, allowing him to revel in and enjoy the moment. Sunbursts bloomed behind his eyelids. Will tasted like a warm summer day, like gentle, calming sun rays, like home. He gasped slightly when Will gently bit down on his lower lip.
As if he realized what he was doing, Will pulled back, his entire face red.
“I-I’m sorry, Nico,” Will stammered, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
Nico was still reeling in shock. He ran back to the Hades cabin, still processing. He was unaware that Will was following him.
Will Solace kissed him. Will Solace stole his first kiss. And by the gods, he wanted Will Solace to kiss him again.
He let the door of his cabin slam shut, biting his swollen lips, fanning his hand against his cheek to cool the heat and giggling softly to himself. His first kiss.
“Nico, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I won’t do it again,” Will pleaded, banging on the door. Nico looked through the peek hole. Will looked nervous and angry with himself.
“Look, you asked me what was wrong and the truth is, I was jealous, okay? I mean I’ve liked you for a while now and you never seemed to notice,” Will forced a smile, “But I’ll pretend that it never happened, if that’s what you want.”
Will began to walk away and Nico realized that he had to fix it. And then he realized that he really, really wanted to give Will a chance.
The door flung open, and Nico yelled, “Will, wait!” Before pulling him inside his cabin, slamming the door shut.
Ten minutes later, Percy returned to the fire side, grumbling angrily as he, Annabeth and Piper paid Jason and Reyna their winnings.