Nico was laying on his bed in the Hades cabin, on arm hanging off the bed, looking up at the ceiling. Eye's hazy, not processing anything he sees. He couldn't believe, Golden Boy, Jason Grace is dead. That it was his fault. He wasn't quick enough, he wasn't the one to go in first.
They were on a quest. Nothing fancy. It was a simple quest, go in kill monsters, and get out. Nothing was supposed to go wrong. Of course as demigods, something will always go wrong. Neither of them expected it. Neither of them so it coming till it was too late.
They were killing the monsters pretty quick. They only had a few left, and they ran into a barn, closing the door behind them. They crept up to it, standing on either side of the door. Jason nodded to Nico in a sign to see if he's ready. Nico nodded back. Jason opened the door, and quickly went in, Nico right behind him. Before Nico would take more than two steps in though, Jason turned around and shoved the son of Hades out, and shut the door behind him.
As soon as Nico fell onto his back, the barn exploded. Flames and shrapnel flow everywhere. Nico covered his face, and waited for it to stop. A buzzing filled his ears. Not the type of buzzing he was expecting from an explosion, it was the buzzing he got when someone dead. Nothing registered. No pain. No anger. All Nico felt was emptiness.
He wasn't entirely sure what happened after that. He must have killed the rest of the monsters, found the remains of Jason Grace's body, and shadow traveled back to camp. Nico didn't hear what Chiron told him. Couldn't hear the anger and sadness when someone said something to him, and him never responding. The pain never registered. Didn't feel the burns litter his skin, shoulder dislocated, hand broken, or his ankle sprained. He didn't see Will Solace and other Apollo kids dragging him to the infirmary. Didn't see any of his friends' faces, as tears streamed down them. Absolutely nothing. He was just an empty shell.
A knock on the cabin door brought him out of his memories. Before he could even answer, the door opened and the morning sunlight came through. "Hey." A male voice called into the room, but not moving from the threshold. "The ceremony is about to start."
"Alright." Nico voice cracked, but not getting up. The person at the door sighed, and slowly made his way to the son of Hades' bed. A hand is set on top of Nico's shoulder. "We all miss him, Nico." Nico finally looked over to see Will staring down at him with sad, summer blue eyes. "It's not your fault. Demigods die young every day."
"But I was there. I could have prevented it. I should have been the one to go in first. I should have -" Will cuts him off. "And what! Be the one to die instead! You both knew the risks of going! You could have both gotten killed, but Jason was fast enough to push you out of harm's way! HE WANT YOU TO LIVE, NICO!" Tears slid down Will's face, and some landed on Nico's pale skin. "Jason loved you, and wants you to live. Don't waist this gift." Will wiped his eyes, before turning around and walking back to the door. "We will see you out in a few minutes." And closed the door behind him, not waiting for the Ghost King to say anything else.
"Hey, camp fire's going to start soon. You coming?" Will asked. Nico turned around to face him, his face etched with sadness. He looked back at the stone once more before nodding his head. "Yeah. Let's go."
"He choose rebirth." It wasn't a question. They both knew Jason would pick it, but Nico answered anyway. "Yeah."
They started walking to the camp fire, neither saying a word. When they almost got there, Will grabbed Nico's arm to stop him. "You are getting better. I'm glad." He then looks up to see the stars winking at them. "The pain never leaves. Only way is to learning to deal with it."
"Yeah. I fell in love with this guy. He's been there for me, even when all this crap happened. I wanted you to know."
"So did he give me his blessing to date you?" A blond haired demigod, walked up to the smaller demigod sitting on the ground. Nico leaned his head back to look into Will's face, both of them smiling. Look down again, Nico's eyes softened, a mixture between sadness and happiness. "Yeah. I think he did."
Nico stood up. Will took his hand and they walked away, back to camp, leaving behind a stone, with etchings upon it.