It was only as he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror whilst walking down to the Camp’s fire that Nico saw what Will had been constantly talking about. He found himself stopped in his tracks, staring at his reflection. Across his forehead a lock of midnight black hair hung limply, a stark contrast to the way his skin seemed almost transparent. Frustrated that Will could have been right, Nico swept a bony hand through his hair, where for a moment it stayed in place before dropping back over his face. Again he tried to move it, attempting to pull it in a different direction, but was hurriedly let down as it settled itself back. Angrily he ruffled his whole head of hair, letting out a grunt of anger as he did so.
‘Nico?’ A hand was laid on his skinny shoulder, and the touch had become so familiar he no longer shrunk away from it. Nico shrugged in response to being addressed. ‘Come on, get back to bed.’ With a sigh he turned to face Will Solace, whose hand dropped to his side, slightly brushing Nico’s as he did so. Nico tried to ignore how aware he was of the proximity of their hands, and the fact that the sensation of their skin touching still lingered.
‘I don’t need to go to bed.’ He muttered, looking into Will’s baby blue eyes, but having to look away. ‘I’m fine. I want to go to the fire.’
‘You’d bring the whole mood down if you went, you know that.’ Will winked at Nico whilst placing an arm around his waist and guiding him back to the bed he had just emerged from. ‘You most certainly aren’t well enough to be wandering around, you’ve barely been in bed two days! And now you’ve seen yourself, you can see that you look like death.’ Nico glanced at Will Solace, raising an eyebrow.
‘Well gee, aren’t you a ray of sunshine.’ He was pushed down onto his bed again, leaving him looking up at the child of Apollo.
‘Go to sleep, or else.’
‘Or else what?’ Nico allowed the flicker of a smile to skate across his face, before he brought it back to its original expression.
‘Or else you do what I say death boy.’ Will beamed at the son of Hades, placing a hand on his shoulder again.
‘Make me sunshine.’ Colour rushed into Will’s face. Nico laughed lightly at his suddenly bashful appearance.
‘Oi you, I’m on duty.’ And with a smile on his face, Will turned from Nico, his ears burning red like they always did when he was flustered. Nico wondered, not for the first time, where his ease with Will had truly come from. Perhaps it was from the nights where Will would rush in to tend to him when he woke in a cold sweat, or the way he’d linger his hand near Nico’s face after checking he hadn’t flared up with a temperature.
Comforted by the memory of the care of Will, and the knowledge that not going to the Camp’s fire meant he could spend more time with Will, he lay down on bed to sleep.
‘Hey.’ Will’s hushed voice crept into Nico’s dream, slowly rousing him from his slumber. In the moonlight his soft blonde hair seemed to shimmer, and his eyes danced.
‘Did I wake you?’
‘Not at all.’ Will Solace’s shoes were up against his bed, and he was now dressed in slouchy pyjamas with Ghost Busters on that Nico couldn’t help finding funny. ‘Those pyjamas.’ He muttered, the smile still audible despite the sleep that still clogged his mind. ‘If dad could see those.’
‘Mum and I always watched it together.’ Will’s voice got closer as he shuffled into bed next to Nico, their arms and shoulders comfortably touching. Nico turned his tired face so they were looking at each other. ‘I love how your hair looks when you’ve just woken up.’ Will murmured, so quiet Nico was unable to hear him.
‘Nothing.’ For a moment they lay in the silence, Nico enjoying the darkness of the evening, but also basking in how the moon oozed silvery light into the room through the window next to his bed. Their foreheads pressed against each other, the warmth rushing through Nico like electricity.
‘Yeah?’ The words hovered in the air between their lips.
‘Why don’t you avoid me like everyone else?’ Will Solace’s face was the picture of indignation.
‘No one avoids you.’ He stated plainly, keeping his eyes fixed on Nico. Nico opened his mouth to retort that actually they had, but Will placed a finger to his lips. ‘People become distant from those who distance themselves. And since you spent a long time trying to be a dark cloud on a sunny day, people felt sad to be around you.’ There was a pause for a bit whilst Will let that sink in. They could hear only each others breathing, and feel the warmth of it against their faces. ‘I don’t see the darkness as being who you are I guess. Like sure, it goes with your whole underworldy business, but past that, well I can tell from one look, you-‘
‘Thanks.’ Nico interrupted, once again glad for the darkness as it concealed the way his cheeks had burnt a brilliant red despite their pale colour. Their bodies turned almost instinctively, so Will found himself wrapping his arms around Nico’s waist, his head buried into the nape of his neck. Nico shut his eyes, focusing only on the hold Will had around him.
‘Goodnight Death Boy.’ Will whispered into Nico’s shirt. Nico bit back the urge to tell him not to call him that, and instead relaxed against the chest of Will Solace.
‘Sleep well, Sunshine.’