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Glowing Shadows

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Nico had been in the underworld for quite a bit of time now, it was always so dark and gloomy that any sane human being would grow insane of all the dark and fog but Nico thrived in it. Obviously he did have a love for sunsets and rain and fields of strawberries, but sometimes Nico just wanted to lay in the land of the dead free of shame and fear.

That would’ve been easy to do at Camp Half-Blood but Nico geniusly kissed Will Solace out of absolutely nowhere in the medic office, which caused Nico to panic at the idea of Will looking at him, breathing near him, just the idea of Will. Nico immediately shadow traveled to the Underworld and spent his time there. He’s planning to head to Camp Half-Blood soon. Surprisingly, he missed having the sun on his skin. Nico was walking through the valley of the underworld, seeing all the souls and dead people wandering.

Nico was contemplating if he should ever go back, he didn’t want to but he definitely did at the same time. He missed the people he fought so hard to be around and protect; Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Frank, Piper, Jason, Reyna, Hazel, and lastly, Will. Nico missed Will, he knew he messed up bad with the fact that he kissed him, but he knew he couldn't hold that forever.

Nico soon emerged from the shadows in cabin thirteen. Nico felt surrounded by obsidian and green glow, it felt rejuvenating but also empty. He was alone again. Nico set his backpack on the floor next to his designated bed against the wall. Nico sat on the bed, to mentally prepare himself for the torture he was about to go through. Said torture was having to see Will again. The coffin-shaped beds seemed very appealing for Nico to be buried in, he would much prefer that than to face Will. Nico gently pet the dark red velvet blankets, they brought back so much pain. 

Memories of crying in his bed, wanting to stab Percy in the throat for letting what happened to Bianca happen. He’d grown far, far past that at that point. Now he needed to find the motivation to find joy in his life. Bianca kept him safe from the world, and now he was alone, he must face it alone. Nico looked up to the small altar for Hades, it was surprisingly small in comparison to Zeus’s. 

Nico forced himself to rise after quite a long moment of silence. Nico passed the altar and gently placed his hand on the smooth onyx. Nico let out a quiet word of gratitude to his father. Nico headed towards the door of his cabin, opened it, and stepped outside, heading down the path through camp. He immediately noticed the stares of those who either knew him already or didn’t know him but were afraid of the fact that he wore all black. Nico saw Annabeth marching over with Percy in tail, he felt dread immediately. She grabbed Nico by the collar of his shirt and basically lifted him into the air, she glared darkly into his eyes. The storm festering in her irises, Nico felt fear deep inside, but she dropped him to his feet again and crushed him in a bear hug which caused Nico to yelp. Percy smiled at him, he immediately thought this was so suspicious. 

He was then scolded about how he’s been gone for so long which was quite uncomfortable for Nico since he wasn’t used to hearing people scold him for not being with them. He was used to people not caring about whether he was there or not. Annabeth grabbed Nico by the chin and forced him to utter out where he had been for so long which Nico had answered that he was with his father. She let go and told him that if he was to leave in the future that he would tell her, which he agreed to. Percy happily welcomed him back, giving him a whack to the back which made Nico lurch forward. Annabeth laughed at Nico flying at Percy’s contact and told him she’d inform Chiron he was home. Nico nodded solemnly and soon he was alone again. What was strange was while he spoke, he felt weird vibrations in his body as if it was constantly moving and shaking every time he was spoken to. As if he couldn't control his words.

Nico looked out at the strawberry fields, he wasn’t sure which cabin was picking but he was glad he never got assigned to it since he was the only child of Hades. Nico was gazing off into the distance when he felt a hand touch his shoulder. Nico jumped a foot in the air at the action, turned around harshly, and put his hand on the hilt of his sword. The person who intruded on his personal space put their hands up laughing. Nico felt a deep anxiety building in him along with the vibrations, standing behind him was no one other than Will Solace himself. Then, Nico felt a giant wave of nausea rush over as well as lightheadedness. He stumbled backward which Will immediately gripped onto Nico’s forearm to keep him from splatting to the floor. His vision turned black as his hearing blacked out into ringing. Nico began to breathe heavily as his heart raced for help, he felt his brain and vocal cords form and tear as he felt a deep wrenching in his gut. Nico’s vision cleared and his hearing sharpened back to normal. Nico re-stabilized himself again, he felt strange. There was a constant feeling of warmth and goosebumps, which was certainly uncomfortable. Nico then realized that Will Solace was in fact real and right in front of him.

Shit.

Will gave a bright smile that nearly blinded Nico, he felt a warmth spread all over his body. Will held the smile while Nico seemed to just stare at him blankly, Will let out a gentle chuckle as he acted as though he was waiting for a reply and waved his hand in front of Nico’s face, Nico popped back to life.

“Hello? Earth to death boy? You there? I asked you a question.” Will teased Nico playfully, which brought Nico’s anxiety to a calm, “Of course I’m here, I’m right here.” Nico let out those words which felt strange, he hadn’t meant to say that aloud. What just happened? Will chuckled some more, “Sassy! I like it. But what was that just now?” Will asked him and Nico gulped, “I dunno. I think I got possessed or hit by something.” Nico blurted and felt the heat rise to his cheeks. Will snorted and shook his head gently, he sighed, “Well, where have you been?” He asked and walked closer to Nico, closing the distance more so that they stood just about a foot apart. Nico gulped, that was strange.

Will broke the silence again, “I asked you a question, Neeks.” He said with a playful tone, which Nico found the vibrations coming back to his skull, “I was in the Underworld with my dad.” He blurted out, he clenched his jaw tightly. Why the hell am I just saying all this? Nico asked himself. This was really weird and confusing, is he saying all this on purpose? Will gave a short nod, “Well don’t do it again without telling me. You scared me, man!” He said and hit his arm, “Don’t act like you wouldn’t try to change my mind.” He said sharply and Will put his hands up with another sweet and warm chuckle, “Damn Neeks, sorry. You aren’t wrong though, just trying to make sure you’re safe is all.” Will replied and grabbed Nico by the upper arm, “Don’t be a stranger.” He gave a wink and walked away, off to the strawberry fields. Nico finally tore his eyes away from Will’s crystal blue eyes and sunflower freckles to realize he had the strawberry picking gear. Guess the Apollo cabin was picking.

 

Nico let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. Nico walked towards the big house to find where Annabeth, Percy, and Chiron supposedly were since apparently Annabeth was gonna tell Chiron about Nico. As he reared towards the building, he could see Chiron, Dionysus, and Annabeth on the porch. Nico came close enough to be within ear-shot to hear Annabeth, “Yes the Underworld.” to which Dionysus rolled his eyes, “He’s always runnin’ away-” to which Annabeth cut him off, “He fought for you and your immortality. Don’t forget that.” Dionysus glared daggers into her which did silence her but the glare she adorned herself didn’t waver.

Chiron looked up to see Nico, “Nico! You’re back. What have you been doing?” He asked calmly as Nico slid into a chair across from him. Chiron and Dionysus were sitting at a circular light, wooden table on the porch playing a card game Nico didn’t care to find out. Dionysus was in his classic gear of a leopard print shirt with cargo shorts and his ugly purple sneakers. Whenever Nico looked at him he felt shivers, his outfit choices made Nico want to implode into a black hole. Chiron looked like any other hipster professor; shoulder-length brown hair, thick eyebrows, chiseled facial features, and a full thick beard that wasn’t too long to become Dumbledore. Nico used to always strive for Chiron’s attention and affections, now he’s given up on that with everyone. Well, everyone except for one person who is so obvious that he needn’t be named. Nico was just sitting next to Dionysus and across from Chiron with Annabeth a foot away next to Chiron. 

Nico let out a sigh as his body involuntarily let out the words, “I was in the Underworld doing almost nothing except for small errands for my father.” He said immediately, Annabeth raised an eyebrow at Nico’s words that just flowed out of him. Nico swallowed thickly, Chiron nodded his head, “May I know why you left for this vacation ?” Chiron asked him calmly, which only sent shivers because Nico wasn’t used to the calm. He was used to intimidation or cold and callous. 

Nico immediately blurted out, “I kissed Will so I left because I don’t want to be near him.” He said immediately, which caused Nico to feel bile in his throat. Nico gulped, Annabeth was watching him with even more analysis and calculation in her expression. Nico’s body and brain were vibrating as the warmth seemed to get warmer and even possibly hot. Chiron furrowed his brows, finally seeming to catch onto Nico’s strange confidence, according to them. Even Dionysus eyed Nico suspiciously, which caused Nico to believe that they probably thought he wasn’t even the real Nico, even though he was. Nico gulped, abruptly getting out of his chair, “Thanks for the talk but I feel as though I’m about to get murdered.” Nico blurted out and he quickly rushed away from the building and straight back to his cabin, slamming the door behind him.

Why in the literal FUCK did I say all of that to them!? There was literally no reason to , he thought to himself. Nico felt quite frustrated, why was he like this? What was this? Why was his body jittery and shaking with energy constantly? That was not normal in any way shape or form. Nico was normally tired and sick of the bullshit, not shaking with electricity (not literal) and joy of some weird kind. Nico didn’t understand any of this until he was suddenly touched on the shoulder and saw a super, super dark aura that cast Nico's shadow on the wall of the cabin which warped with the darkness. Nico turned on his heel to see the god Hades himself.