You would think that six months on Olympus would make Nico forget his friends at camp.
You would be wrong.
The main problem was the prayers. There weren't as many in the winter, but they were still there. Nico normally liked answering the prayers of demigods. Help my mom get the job. Done. Bring my dad back from the war. No problem. Please, let me make a friend. Easy. But everyday, he got one prayer that wrenched at his heart.
Come home. Clear as a bell, the thoughts of Will Solace would float up into Nico's ears. The one prayer Nico wanted to answer more than anything, and the only one he couldn't.
Either Nico's powers weren't as strong as he'd thought, or Will was ridiculously powerful. Nico's magic worked for a while, and Will seemed to have accepted Nico was never coming back. That worked for a month, but then Will started praying to Nico all the time to come home.
It was getting very hard to ignore. He couldn't describe how badly he would have liked to shed his wings and go back to camp, but he just didn't belong. It would feel like a lie. Besides, he had a job to do on Olympus.
He couldn't focus as long as it kept happening so he decided to just get it over with and talk to Will directly. "καλέσει Will Solace!" he shouted, and the blond boy appeared in a puff of smoke, looking very confused.
"So I stabbed him, but he didn't - what in Hades?! How did I-" he started having around at the throne room, until his eyes met Nico's. "Nico. Did you bring me here?"
"We need to talk, Will," Nico said. "We can't keep doing this."
"The prayers. I can't focus with voice in my head all day! And they're fruitless, you know that, don't you? I can never come back." Nico's voice was quivering. He wasn't about to break down. He couldn't.
"But you can, Nico! No one cares that you're a god now. You're still one of us. You're still my friend. Nico, I love-" Will's tongue seemed to trip for a moment, and he stopped speaking.
Nico's ears perked up. "You love what, Will?"
"I don't...I mean...we love you, Nico, all of us back at camp. Please, please, come back!" Will pleaded. Nico turned away.
"Will, I want you all to forget about me. Forget I ever existed. I'm just like Zeus to you now, a distant god. I'm not your friend, no matter how much I'd like to be your friend." He turned to Will and walked close, placing his strong hands on Will's shoulders. "I'm going to send you home now, Will. And please, don't ever-" Will interrupted him by surging forward and pressing his lips against Nico's.
Nico didn't know what to think, but he let himself enjoy the kiss. The soft caress of Will's lips was like heaven, far better than Elysium. Then Will pulled away, and the weight of the world came crashing down. What had just happened? Had Will really kissed...him? Impossible. Maybe Nico's powers were acting strange, making Will feel something unnatural. Maybe he felt bad for Nico for having to live alone. But he certainly didn't...well, he couldn't have meant it.
"Uhh," Nico stammered, staring at Will with wide eyes.
"Sorry," Will said sheepishly. "But if I'm never going to see you again, I wanted to make sure I did that at least once in my life."
"You didn't...I mean, you don't really-"
"Nico, I've had a crush on you since I first met you at the Battle of Manhattan," Will explained. He was blushing like crazy, and Nico could feel that he had a red face to match. "I wanted to get to know you, and being your friend these past few months has been great. And I think I might be in love with you, Nico. I don't want to lose you."
They stood there in silence, staring at each other. Nico couldn't see, to find the words he wanted to use. "I, uh...I like you too, Will. I mean, more than like, like, I - well, I think you get it. But this - you and me, I mean - it can't work. I'm a god, and you're mortal. That doesn't work well."
"It can, though! Just look at Dionysus and Ariadne! A mortal and a god, head over heels for each other."
Nico thought about how Dionysus had been punished for being unfaithful to his wife and going after a nymph. "Not exactly a fairy tale romance," Nico said.
"Well, maybe it can be for us," Will whispered. He reached out and took Nico's hand, sending a shockwave down his spine. He interlocked their fingers and squeezed.
"Maybe," Nico mumbled, though more to himself than Will. Will kissed him on the cheek and Nico felt like melting.
Cupid was a sick, cruel god, but his magic sure was beautiful.