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We All Fall Down

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There was a absence in the room, an empty void, an object having gone missing and couldn't be found and everything miserable and horrible being packed into a box and shoved into that room. There was nothing save for the faint flickering and ripples of the green flame as it danced along the obsidian walls, shadows crawling and receding and mesmerizing the pair of deep brown eyes. The body just sat there on the bed, crouched and poised and hunched as if he had given up hope on everything.

He was all angles and bones, sharp and quick and angry and thin and lithe, much like a ghost. His olive skin had paled, the bags under his eyes like shadows and eyes a little too dark, a little too wide and large in the dim lighting, making him look like less of a boy and more like a skeleton with skin and peppery-black hair that curled in tight loops and tumbled and fell across his forehead with startling grace, like by an artist's stroke. His thin lips were pulled into a deep frown as the faint flicker of flame was reflected in his eyes that were too dark and saw too much and had experienced too much as a boy of his age.

But he's old and young all at once and it's slowly tearing him apart, because sometimes he feels old in his young body because he's lived a whole life in the casino and it isn't right, it shouldn't happen like that, but it did and now he feels only old and weak and miserable, just like this room. Just like his heart. Pulling the shroud of shadows tighter around himself like a blanket of darkness, he stares longer, his brown eyes still to wide and still too protected despite being alone now in his room even though it wasn't truly his room and probably never was.

This is not his home because it doesn't feel like it and his home is elsewhere, it'll always be elsewhere and his thoughts are jumbled and messed and he can't tell what time it is because it's dark - it's too dark - and it's scaring him and it's funny how it is because he's the son of Hades and stuff like that isn't supposed to be funny, isn't supposed to happen but it does. Now his chest is aching and his heart throbbing and he wonders if he's dying, if this is right because he can't think straight, can barely move without the coaxing of others and his heart hurts and is this supposed to hurt this much because it hurts it hurts it hurts and he can't stand it.

It hurts like nothing's ever hurt before and he's been hurt a lot by many people, been left alone and that hurts too, because he's truly alone now because Bianca's dead and oh gods was this what it felt like to die? Laughter rose up in his chest and it spills out, the sound maddening and causing his head to hurt and his ears to ring because it's too loud and too noisy and he hates himself all the more. It hurts and it hurts it hurts it hurts and will he ever stop hurting because he doesn't like to feel hurt but he feels it and he doesn't want to get used to it but he is and that just hurts him even more. He's used to being hurt and that thought makes his head hurt and then suddenly he's crying, laughing and crying because it hurts so much and Nico can't think straight anymore.

The shadows recoil from him but that's okay because he's used to being alone and that isn't a good thing. All he can really think about is how much it hurts it hurts it hurts and he wants to cry all the more because he's tired of hurting. His body hurts, his head hurts, his heart hurts, everything hurts and he hates that. Then he wonders vaguely if this is what people mean by heartbreak; why is it called that because it hurts, everything hurts and that doesn't seem right if it's only heartbreak but then he's crying harder and he lets the tears fall, even though he suspects the shadows will go and approach his father on the matter.

He's lonely and he's hurt. The thoughts are coming slower now, so slowly compared to the fast pace because that's what everything's always been, fast, so fast. Maybe it's because a demigod's life is so short and the fights are quick and painful so maybe that's why everything seems to fast. Being alone in his room doesn't help, though, and he just feels alone now more than ever and everything's so slow now. His heart is hurting less but the pain is still there and he thinks he might die.

But then the door to his bedroom opens and in steps a slim figure, a walking perfection of beauty and for a split moment, he murmurs out the first thing that comes to mind, his voice quiet and sharp, filled with disbelief but he's still crying out. "Mum?" Her step falters and he glances up into her eyes and realizes a bit too slowly - because everything was so fast and now it's so slow and he doesn't know why - that it's not his mothers, it's not Maria and maybe that hurts him just a little bit. But he doesn't lower his eyes because maybe it's okay to hope that she was someone that she wasn't. He half-expects her to slap him hard across the face, but all that Persephone - the sweet wife of Nico's father - does is reach towards him before faltering, and still Nico's mind is saying Mom, mom, mom but Persephone doesn't seem to mind because she still steps forward, as if a bit uncertain, looking a bit out of place with the shadows receding from her like she was the candle in the darkness.

Then she reaches him; Nico's gaze flickers and then the shadows recede almost completely, withdrawing with his dark thoughts and horrible mutterings just for a moment and everything seemed to be okay, even if just for a moment. They're staring at each other, her breath tickling across his face and smelling of mint, despite the distance as she sits down, her thin hair cascading down her shoulders like a waterfall of shadows. Her eyes are brown, but a completely different shade than his and for a few moments, he divulges in the thought of Persephone being seen as his mother but that doesn't feel right, not exactly. Her eyes are soft and wary, like she was looking at a jar of broken glass that she couldn't quite put back together, or pieces from two different puzzles that just don't fit and maybe that's okay, because she's at least looking at him.

They both have high and sharp cheekbones, both with dark hair that glints lazily with strands of brown and deep brown eyes, both too wide and maybe a bit naive, both with small and thin lips, long and curled lashes. They were both quick and lithe, slender and tall and if anybody hadn't known better, they'd have guessed the relation between the two. But the shade of brown was all wrong, the features a bit too sharp in Nico's body and Persephone was just endless curves - but in a good way - and her eyes held a light all of their own, while Nico was almost emmiting darkness. The shade of brown was all wrong, too different in their eyes, because her eyes were lively and bright and open and more of a caramel-brown, whereas his was dark and moody and guarded and too muddy to be considered pretty. The shade of brown was wrong and maybe they could have fooled each other both but he noticed how her eyes never left his, how closed up she reacted and how hesitant she was when she reached out to him.

He felt long strands of hair whisper across his face as she leaned towards him and he closes his eyes, and then with a soft whisper of lips against skin, she presses her mouth to his forehead in a comforting gesture and then he knows that it's all in the eyes, because then she's whispering. "You have your mother's eyes," and he knows it hurts both of them and he almost wishes that he was her son so then maybe he wouldn't feel all this hurt and pain, maybe he would be as lively as her garden and maybe not as gloomy but he can't bring himself to open his eyes again for a long moment because this has been the closest they've been to each other in a long time and he misses it gravely, even though they're both there and it's happening right now. He doesn't know how she knows what his mother's eyes look like but he doesn't have time to ask because she's talking again, and her voice is soft and gentle just like a flower and her breath smells like peppermint and her hair smells like lavender and then he vaguely realizes that she's hugging him. "I'm sorry."

His eyes open and with uncertainty, he raises his own arms, notices how frail and thin he looks compared to her, but he fools himself and states plainly in his head that it's okay and he's okay and everything's okay when it's not. Then he's gripping the back of her golden gown with such a force that rocks him and then he's crying again, his shoulders shaking and his chest heaving and his vision getting blurry as he desperately stares at the closed down, and for once, he actually almost believes that everything's alright. But then she's leaning away and her scent of lavender and mint and fresh soil is gone and he tries not to miss it too much but he can't see her face because his eyes are blurring and he can't breath because he's hiccuping and he must look like a pitiful mess right now. But she holding on his hand with a tight grip, making soft pleasant murmuring noises.

"It's okay," and "I'm sorry," was all he heard from her until his sadness quelled and he could finally think straight and his heart didn't hurt as much, even though his chest still aches and his head still pounds from his bouts of insomnia but for a moment he believes her words, even if she's only saying them and not meaning them. The fog in his thoughts clears a bit but there's something soft in her eyes, like a tenderness of a mother's love - but they're not mother and son - and he wants to hug her again.

"I know," she whispers, her voice still soft and sweet like a dove's gentle wings. "I know how you feel about Percy." Nico doesn't even attempt to deny it, doesn't even bother trying to prove her wrong, because her eyes are too wide and too knowledgeable and almost pitying and he finds himself hating that look. He's not broken glass, he wants to scream but the words die in his throat. The son of Hades doesn't look up at her because how could she possibly know how wrong this all feels? His heart hurts and he knows that isn't how love should be. "I know," she states, more firmly, with more pressure on her words and Nico still can't meet her eyes. Because she's right but his feelings are wrong, but they're true and pure and maybe that's what's killing him? Can you die by a broken heart? He doesn't know and he doesn't want to talk to Eros or Aphrodite about it either because it's their fault - no it's his but he's not willing to accept that in this state - and he really doesn't want to see them.

But then she's getting up and his thoughts are disturbed and he just stares, his eyes bloodshot and making him look more human than ever and he just stares, but she's already leaving, her gown of spun gold spilling across the floor gracefully. He doesn't call her back, doesn't beg for forgiveness for calling her 'mother' because the words die on his tongue and he knows that she wouldn't appreciate it. Perhaps this was a one time thing, but he doesn't care at the moment about that because she knows and ... and she didn't seem thoroughly disgusted by it. Persephone didn't talk much about anything else but she simply knew how he felt and came to console him. That revelation startled him but when he looked up to ask her, he noticed the door ajar and her back to him.

Gradually, she turned towards him and smiled a bittersweet smile that graced her face and didn't do her justice but then she held out her hand, and then he noticed a few seeds in her palm that wasn't there before, but she's the maiden of spring hood so - why was she here? It's spring but he didn't care so he didn't ask and - it didn't really surprise him. There was a rapid growth until in her hand sat a lone pomegranate. Her eyes were gentle as she set it on a nearby table that was stationed in Nico's room.

"I bit it to end a war, because it was my choice," she states flatly, her voice no longer soft and sweet like honey but a bit bitter and sharp, and he realizes quickly that she's offering him a choice. "Gods do not need to eat food; I had no reason to. It was my choice and mine alone. You can bite it out of love, if you'd like." Then she's glancing up at him, a sad and wilted look in her eyes and he doesn't say anything as she leaves him alone, and he just stares at the pomegranate because it's strange and new and familiar all at once because no real plant survived in his room before, and even though he's tasted seeds of the pomegranate before to enter a comatose state, it didn't have the sheen that it did now, and he knew, that if the pain got too great, if his love grew too strong, he could make the choice of spending the rest of his days in the Underworld.

He wept again, because Persephone had invited him to the choice and he's never been given a choice before and maybe this is his chance. Maybe this is his chance to make everything alright because it hurts it hurts it hurts so much and maybe, maybe, people will remember him as someone good and wonderful but it's okay if they think of him as only the son of Hades, because at least he'll be remembered. He doubts it, though. Maybe he'd go to the Casino and live the rest of his days there, because it hurts again and he just wants to forget. Or maybe he'll stay here, where he actually has a place to go to and maybe then he'll forget about his crush and them maybe he'll feel better - but he's doubtful and unsure and it seems unlikely but he's willing to give it a shot - and if Persephone is giving him the choice them maybe she doesn't mind him as much as he wants.

Maybe it'd be best for everyone if he just left, without a word. Maybe it'd be best if he just disappeared and maybe the pain will disappear too because it hurts too much for him to bear and maybe the pomegranate will keep away the pain ... nobody would know, nobody would care, either. Maybe he'd disappear or die and maybe nobody would care - he's certain of that - and suddenly the pomegranate is looking mightily appealing. For the rest of the day, he just stares at it, crying and laughing because it hurts it hurt it hurts and finally he comes to the conclusion that maybe the pain will go away someday. But he stares at the pomegranate and wonder if he's meant to eat it, because it's there and Persephone offered it and maybe then he'll finally be happy, even if he spends half the year here, even if he has to be cooped up in his room, even if he never sees Percy again, it might be worth it. Because it hurts, it hurts so much and he can't stand it anymore.

It hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts...

If it's called heartbreak, why does everything hurt? It hurts and he's all alone, he'll forever be alone. Then Nico cries again because the truth hurts, too.