To be frank, Nico di Angelo was somebody who fascinated Will in every way and form. He was quiet, dark, mysterious, not to mention unbelievably hot. Wait, what? Never mind.
The point is, not much was known about the Italian boy who was branded an outcast by society. Will would have given his right arm to be able to know him better. After all, the boy had been in Will's class every year since the 4th grade. They were due to start college, now, though Will had no idea which one Nico was going to.
Will could remember a time when Nico di Angelo was a jumpy, excitable, olive-skinned and happy child. He had a distinct Italian accent that mainly became revealed when he was stressed. Then one day in late October in 5th grade, he came in noticeably paler with red, puffy eyes. Then, in the spring of that same year he came in with ghost white skin, dark bags under his eyes, sunken cheeks and a shaggy mane of black hair tied back in a loose, sloppy ponytail.
After a while, a change had occurred so slowly Will couldn't remember when it had started and when it had finished. He only remembered sneaking glances at Nico during their Chemistry class, and realizing something was different.
Was it the way his skin had developed an unusually healthy sheen after so many years of being sickly pale? Was it the way his eyes had regained just a little sprinkle of light and life after so many years of being dull and soulless? Maybe it was how his nose wrinkled at the edges when the blonde haired, blue eyed Jason Grace told him an especially bad joke, or the way he bit his lip to suppress a smile when the regal, dignified Reyna Ramirez-Arellano rumpled his hair with her noogies after every class. It might have been the way his eyes flooded with tenderness as he draped his aviator's jacket over the shoulders of the kind hearted, golden-eyed Hazel Levesque on an especially cold day. Or maybe it was the way the corners of his mouth twitched ever so slightly when the professor reprimanded Will for stargazing at Nico and told him to get back to work.
Will wanted to know more about the brooding young man that unknowingly held his heart hostage. No, scratch that. He knew so much about Nico di Angelo but yet so little. He knew the little things about him but not the large things. Like what, for instance, had happened in the fall and spring of fifth grade that had changed him so.
Why am I thinking about him? Will shook his head, frustrated with himself. It's been thirteen years and he still hasn't noticed you, so stop pining!
He absentmindedly wondered who he'd be rooming with this year, since he was going to a college that was farther away from home. He stacked his boxes on top of his swivel chair and pushed it down the hall with a little effort to Dorm Room 394. He wiped the sweat off his forehead as he stopped in front of his designated room, and what he saw nearly gave him a myocardial infarction.
Nico di Angelo was standing outside the dorm room with Jason, Reyna, and Hazel, who were assisting him in carrying his boxes in.
"You guys, you don't have to help me. Nobody even asked you!" He was complaining as he tried carrying three boxes at a time.
"Yes, that's because you're too stubborn to ask, little bro! So we decided to ask ourselves for you, and we generously accepted." Jason commented as he plucked a box out of Nico's arms.
"Give that back! I'm more than capable of carrying-" Nico made a mad swipe as Reyna snatched another box.
"Sure you are, baby brother. You look like you're going to collapse under all this weight!" Reyna snatched a box and stepped inside the room.
"Hazel, you're better than this, don't you dare, come on- AGH!" Hazel laughed as she pulled Nico's hood over his head and grabbed the last box, skipping inside.
"Lighten up, big brother, you know you love us!" She sang as she helped him untangle himself from the hoodie.
Will felt extremely awkward standing there. "Ahem…" He coughed a little. That elicited no response so he coughed a little louder. This time, all four heads snapped up.
"Um, hi. I'm Will Solace, and I was assigned this room. I suppose one of you would be the person I'm sharing with?" He tried not to sound or look as uncomfortable as he felt.
"That would be Neeks over here." Reyna gripped him in a headlock and gave him one of her famous noogies.
"Reyna! Get off of me right now or so help me God, I'll-" Reyna let go of him abruptly and he tumbled onto the floor in a very angry heap.
"I'm just gonna leave you all to do your thing and-" Will shoved his swivel chair inside the room and started unpacking on the side that didn't have boxes. He was vaguely aware of the snickers coming from outside but brushed it off as nothing.
After a few hours of unloading boxes, Will slumped against the newly made bed's frame and adjusted a photo on the bedside table. It was of his father, the famous doctor Apollo Solace, his mother, Naomi Solace, his sister and brother, Kayla and Austin, and himself. They were a good family, no matter how dysfunctional they could be at times.
Footsteps caused him to look up. Nico was entering the room, flanked by his friends.
"No offense, guys, but please go away." Nico groaned. "Please?"
"Are you sure you're going to be okay?" Jason asked.
"Yes, mom, I'm going to be fine." Nico made a 'gag me' gesture.
"Well then, see you in four years." Reyna shrugged as they made to leave.
"You're about as funny as Jason and Percy combined, Reyna." Nico snorted as he crossed his arms.
"I'll have you know my bro Percy and I are very funny!" Jason acted shocked. "You've wounded me!"
"Your ego could use a kick now and then." Nico shrugged apathetically.
"Whatever, Nicolò Stefano Marescotto Cesare Guientoli Davide di Angelo. I'm out of here." Jason pretended to flip his hair as he stalked out of the room.
"That's not even my name! I don't even know how you managed to come up with that!" Nico yelled after him.
Reyna and Hazel followed suit with their respective good-byes and I-love-yous. Just outside the door, though, Jason paused and stuck his head back in.
"Watch out for flying projectiles when you're around him!" he called cheekily to Will, then ran like death was chasing him as several objects pierced the air where Jason was standing seconds before.
"I told you again and again, Nakamura should've watched where the vase was flying!" he shouted after them.
Will stared dumbly. "Who's Nakamura?"
"A guy whose eye I took out." Nico responded casually, bending over to pick up the items he had thrown at Jason.
Will did a mental double take. "You took out… someone's eye?" he asked incredulously.
"Accidentally! I was at one of Jason's parties in eighth grade and Nakamura was being a little shit. So I got fed up and threw a vase at him." Nico's accent was becoming more and more distinct with each word he said. But that would mean he was stressed, Will thought, and why would he be stressed?
"Oh." Was all he said, and he could feel the tension in the air becoming more and more palpable with each passing moment.
Nico sat down on his bed, and I was faintly aware of a number dialing.
A few second later, I heard," Yeah, Jason? It's me. I changed my mind. Tell Hazel and Reyna to get their sorry asses over here because I'm trying to socialize and it's not working."
A pause, and then," What do you mean, you're still wounded I told you you weren't funny? You know what, next time you and Percy fight about who's better, I'll vote for him!"
I faintly heard a voice shouting from the phone," So he is your type!"
"No, no he isn't! I was fourteen, Jason, do you really want me to tell Piper you used to like Reyna? Yeah. That's what I thought. Fucker." He hissed and the dial tone sounded.
Will wasn't sure exactly what he'd heard. "Y-you're gay?" he asked, trying not to sound excited.
"Yeah…" Nico responded slowly. "Why?"
"Nothing. It's cool." Will debated telling Nico that he himself was gay.
"You're not freaked out? Not weirded out that this emo creep of a roommate is gay and could start crushing on you at any time?" Nico wrinkled his nose. "Especially when a guy like you must have ladies tossing themselves at you left and right."
Did he just indirectly call him cute? Will thought. "First of all, I've known you since fourth grade. You're not an emo creep. Second, I don't particularly care for the ladies." Will stretched and propped himself up on his pillows.
"You're- you're-" Nico stuttered. Nobody should be allowed to be that awkwardly adorable, Will thought.
"I feel like a gay secret agent when supposedly straight people assume I'm one of them." Will looked at him from his upside down position on the bed.
Nico cracked a smile. "A lesbionage."
He laughed. "Bi spy."
Nico was laughing freely now. "It's an ace case."
Will doubled over laughing. His stomach was beginning to hurt. "A secret gaygent." he choked out.
Nico stopped laughing and looked right at him. "I think I'm going to like living with you, Solace."
After the first semester of school was over, Nico and Will stumbled into their dorm like drunkards and collapsed on their beds.
"Professor Maxwell is a demon, I swear it!" Nico complained loudly.
"You should talk, Death Boy." Will snorted.
Nico flipped him the bird and Will smiled. It had been a long roller coaster of a ride but he had finally gotten to know Nico, but it had been worth it. He was even more fascinating now that Will knew him better. Even though they knew of each other's homosexualitiness (is that a word?), they didn't push things past the point of what they already were. Unfortunately.
A box was waiting on Nico's bed.
"The hell is this?"
Will shrugged. "Open it and find out."
"Wait, it has a name on it. To Nico, From Hazel, smiley face, smiley face." Nico sighed and tore the box open.
"Will, get your ass over here and look at this." Nico was staring at the contents of the box in awe.
Will complied. Leaning over, he peered into the box. Inside were quite a few huge tupperwares of food, several photographs, several packages of junk food, a bouquet of dandelions, and a book. The title was A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the First: The Bad Beginning.
"Did she save food from every meal for the past week just to send to me?" Nico's eyes were wide as he examined a tupperware with Spicy Shrimp Gumbo with White Rice written on it in black cursive Sharpie.
"Well, you always did say she was extra." Will shrugged. "What does the letter say?"
"It says, Dear Nico, I decided to send you some food and junk because Lord knows you aren't eating anything at college. I hope you're having a nice time and making friends. I packed some extra food for your blond friend. Jason says he hopes you haven't been in possession of any vases lately or else your friend is in trouble. Dad says hello, and Seph also sends her love (and a bouquet of dandelions). Have fun, be safe, Hazel."
Nico smiled and set the paperback book, dandelions, and photos on the bedside table. He hummed as he pulled out two tupperwares of food and two plastic forks and opened them. He popped the lids off and set one down in front of Will.
Will picked up the lid of his and read the name. "Ragu with Spaghetti (Dad's Recipe)."
Nico was already swallowing down a bite of his food, which was the same as Will's.
"It's really good." A strand of spaghetti was dangling out of his mouth.
Will stared for a moment longer, then thought, fuck it. He spooned a forkful of the pasta into his mouth. It was surprisingly good.
"It is good." he marvelled, swallowing his bite.
"Wait till you try Seph's homemade wheat gnocchi." Nico said, grinning widely, eyes sparkling.
"Who's Seph?" Will asked, stuffing another bite in his mouth.
"My stepmom. You know, the one who thought you and I were a thing when I sent her that picture Jason took of us during movie night last week?"
"Oh yeah." Will nodded. "Her. You did tell her we were just friends, right?"
"Yeah…" Nico played with his pasta, sighing. "Ma davvero vorrei poter essere di più."
Will looked up from his food, smiling at an unspoken secret. "I love it when you speak Italian. It's really cool."
"Thanks." Nico smiled a little, swabbing a bit of sauce off the side of his mouth.
"Do it some more. Pleaseeeeee, Neeks, pleaseeeeee!" he begged, putting on his puppy dog eyes.
"Mmm… I don't- oh, fine!" Nico huffed.
He bit his lip anxiously for a moment, then mumbled," Mi fai venire voglia di cantare."
He paused to chew and swallow some more pasta, then continued. "Accendi il mio intero mondo più luminoso di qualsiasi altro sole."
He drummed his hands on his thigh. "I tuoi occhi sono di un blu più luminoso e i tuoi capelli più dorati di qualsiasi metallo tua anima mi ha catturato e rapito in un abbraccio infinito. Ti ho amato per anni e ti ho ammirato da lontano, non ho mai detto nulla perché sapevo che non avresti mai potuto, non mi ameresti mai comunque. "
He sighed deeply, looking into the other boy's eyes. "Immagino che questo sia l'unico modo in cui posso dirti quanto sono innamorato di te. Con me dire parole che ti sono solo suoni. Sei un ladro. Sai perché sei un ladro?"
He smiled thinly and said what Will knew would be the last line of that beautiful language. "Perché mi hai rubato il cuore, William Solace. Mi hai rubato il cuore e non lo sai nemmeno.."
Then he pushed his tupperware away. "Happy now?"
Will wiped away a fake tear. "Beautiful, absolutely beautiful." Then he paused and smirked devilishly. "Just for the record- you're a thief too."
Nico's face went from white to purple to green to red faster than a traffic light. "What?!"
"Oh, didn't I tell you? As kids, my dad had me and my sister and brother all take Italian. The three of us are fluent in the language."
"You little shit. You little fucking shit!" Nico was raising his voice and his accent was becoming more and more distinct. "You've been playing me for a fool, haven't you? I can't believe you! You-"
He was cut off by Will's lips against his. Nico melted immediately and would have fallen off the bed had Will not snaked his arms around his waist and pulled him closer.
Nico let Will's tongue slip into his mouth as he threaded his hands into Will's curly blonde locks and momentarily forgot how to breathe. Will couldn't understand why people compared kissing to fireworks exploding. It was more like a campfire crackling against the silky dark night, peppered with stars and the smoke rising into the air as an aftereffect of the fireworks everyone said went off during a kiss. This was different. This was different and if different was Nico then Will was more than okay with it.
They didn't hear the door creak open but they did hear Jason's scream. "OH MY GOD! REYNA, PERCY, AND LEO OWE ME FIFTY BUCKS EACH! YES! MY OTP IS CANON!"
The scrambled apart and Will fell off the edge of Nico's bed.
"JASON! You were betting on us?" Nico shrieked, picking up a textbook.
"Well, duh!" Jason frantically fumbled for his phone. "Yeah, Percy? SOLANGELO IS CANON, BITCH! YOU OWE ME FIFTY BUCKS!"
"What the hell is Solangelo?" Will asked from his position on the floor.
"Di Angelo+Solace! Solangelo because Willco sounded weird. I can't believe this! Oh my God!" He paused, then held the phone out to Will. "He has something to say to you. He says to put it on speaker."
Will did, and then Percy's voice screamed," IF I'M NOT HIS TYPE THEN YOU BETTER BE FUCKING PERFECT!"
Will dropped the phone and jumped back five feet. "Y-yes sir!"
Nico threw the phone at Jason. "GO AWAY!"
Jason caught the phone and continued ranting to Percy on his way out.
Nico helped Will up from the floor, a mischievous glint in his obsidian eyes.
"Now, I believe we were in the middle of something…"