Nico was tired.
Sick of pretending, hiding his feelings, staying in the dark corners. His father whispered "destiny" while the Argo crew whispered "creep". He wasn't sure which word for him more- labels had chained him for so long, he felt like he could never break free.
There was one person, though. One who's light and joy was so bright it hurt Nico to be around, like staring straight in to the sun. That was it, that was accurate. Being around Will Solace made Nico long for sunglasses to shade his eyes, and maybe something for the erratic beating of his heart...
He'd learnt a lot in his last five years as a "regular" kid, and it was easy to see that things were different now. But some lessons are hard to unlearn, and hating himself seemed to be woven in the fabric of Nico's being. It's not that camp half blood was unfriendly, bigoted, mean. Nico couldn't help but notice, though, how... Straight everyone was. He had tried, of course, to fit in. It was what he'd been doing for his entire life- he even dropped heavy hints that he liked Annabeth, when he found himself pining for Percy. But Percy had faded from his life, over time, an old photograph worn by time.
Will Solace was sun, he was light, and Nico always found his gaze gravitating towards him, even when he tried to pull away. His hair was like honey, his eyes were deep and the color of the flute Nico played in Italy. His laugh filled the room with melodies, melting Nico's heart and raising the room temperature a good 8 degrees. He was-
"Oh, shit." Nico muttered, wondering if it was worth it to get out from under his shady tree. Will was, well, heading straight towards him.
He was right there. Right there, hunched over against the maple tree, pale skinny fingers fidgeting in the grass. He wasn't the type of guy Will usually went for- Nico was quiet and brooding, and Will knew enough about hurt to tell that the guy had been through some hell, both literally and figuratively. There was something about him, though. Something that made Will's breath catch in his throat, and a blush creep into his cheeks when he caught Nico staring.
Nico did stare at him, he could tell. It wasn't obvious, and it sure didn't seem to be something Nico was comfortable talking about, but Will knew. It was enough to put a spring in his step as he strode across the camp's "hub". The flat, grassy land was surrounded all the cabins, as well as the dining pavilion, training arena, lake, and forest.
Will waved to Denise, his younger sister, as he continued towards Nico. The two were close, and she knew about his crush- which would be why she was wiggling her eyebrows and grinning suggestively when he indicated his destination. He flipped her off, trying to ignore the flush creeping up his neck. He didn't mind her, but he was nervous enough as it was.
Damn it. Nico had seen him. He watched him tense up, face suddenly guarded and apprehensive. Will sighed. This... Was not going exactly as he had planned. What had he planned, anyways? Will thought as he continued walking, flashing a smile to Nico that betrayed none of his internal panic. He'd hoped for a miracle, really. That he'd see Nico and nothing would be awkward, they'd talk and at the end he'd ask him, ever so casually, if he wanted to catch a bite to each some time- together, of course. It had all seemed so simple in Will's mind.
"Will." Nico looked pissed, and sounded... Will wasn't sure what he heard in Nico's voice.
"Hey, Nico. How are y- I mean, um, wassup?" Will cringed.
"Excuse me?" Ice trickled from Nico's tone, and his face was a mask of stone.
"I- I'm really sorry for bothering you." Will stammered, backing away. "This was all a bad idea."
"No, wait." Nico said, so softly that Will could barely hear him. His heart jumped, even as he told himself to stop being so dumb. Nico didn't care about him.
"I'm sorry for being such a jerk." Nico said, looking at the ground and downright ripping up grass.
"It's okay." Will replied, turning to leave. But Nico looked up.
"Wait, Will. I really am sorry about that. It's just... I'm kind of stressed right now. Sorry."
"It's fine, I told you, I don't mind." Will said, his eyes meeting Nico's own.
"Look, I'm still going to feel bad. I was raised to be a gentelman, okay?" Will nodded, allowing himself a small smile. Nico spoke again, with uncertainty in his voice.
"Maybe... I could make it up to you? We could go the Italian place about half a mile from here- I'm friends with the owners, and their pasta is phenomenal."
"That- that'd be great, actually. I, I'll see you then." The two smiled for a moment- shyly, awkwardly, before Will turned to leave. He waved back at the boy under the Maple tree and grinned.
He wasn't quite sure how, but he had a date.