“Percy,” he whispered in an urgent tone, “why, exactly, do we have to do this? I’m going to embarrass myself, and probably step on your feet.”
Percy reached over, taking his now-husband’s hand, and shot him an encouraging smile. “For me? Come on, Nico; do it for me?”
Nico opened his mouth to disagree further, then closed it, seemingly changing his mind. “Oh, alright. But, Percy, you know that I can’t argue when you make that face.”
Percy’s face melted out of its puppy-dog pout and into a wide grin. “Thank you! So, wh—”
“And now!” Percy’s comment was interrupted by Annabeth, who had taken it upon herself to be the MC of the event. “Now, the groomspeople will say a little something about the couple of the night.”
She gestured for Jason to come up first; he was the best man for Nico.
Jason took the microphone from her and began to speak. “When I first saw Nico,” he began, “I have to admit, I never thought that we’d end up being best friends.” Nico chuckled softly, and Percy smiled, squeezing Nico's hand. “I mean, at the time, he’d just been—both literally and figuratively—through Tartarus. But then, after the whole thing in Croatia, I got to know the dude, especially so after the war, and… well, here we are.”
Jason began to pace around the room. “I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been the greatest with words," he continued, a crooked grin spreading across his lips, "but I will say this. Nico is one of the bravest people I know. And as for Percy—” He whirled around as to face him, suddenly serious. “I am warning you, bro, if you hurt that little fluffy ball of happiness over there” –Jason pointed to Nico, who in turn rolled his eyes—“then I will hurt you.”
“Okay, buddy,” Annabeth said suddenly, plucking the microphone out of Jason's hand and patting him on the back, giving him a slight push towards his seat. “Next up, Grover, Percy's best friend since he was twelve years old.”
Grover walked up to where Annabeth stood, and she gave him the microphone. “Um,” he began nervously. “Okay, so when I met Percy, he didn’t even know that he was a half-blood. I was sent to his school to take him here, of course, but… Well, I realized that he was more powerful a demigod than I’d originally thought, so I called Chiron, who doubled as Percy's Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner.” Chiron dutifully waved from the other side of the room, and Percy smiled. “Anyways, I accompanied Percy—along with Annabeth—on his first quest. That was… actually, that’s a long story, so I won’t say anything more on the subject. But we have an empathy link, and I am, of course, a satyr, so I can pretty much tell how he’s feeling and why he’s feeling that way. Whenever Percy’s around Nico” –Nico shifted his gaze to Percy, who was smiling sheepishly, as if embarrassed—“then I can tell this much—what Percy feels for Nico, and what Nico feels for Percy…” Grover trailed off, looking at the two of them fondly. “It doesn’t get much more real than that.”
There was a short moment of silence. “Thanks, G-man,” Percy said, smiling broadly.
Grover smiled knowingly and nodded shortly at him. “No problem, Percy,” he answered. He looked back at Annabeth and handed back the microphone.
Annabeth smiled and said, “And now we’ll hear from Hazel, Nico’s half-sister.”
Hazel smiled graciously and took the microphone from Annabeth. She turned to face the newlyweds. “Well, how do I top what Grover just said?” she asked breathily. Everybody chuckled. “Okay, so when I first saw Percy, he was kinda beat down, grimy—that sort of thing.” She took a breath and turned slightly away from Percy and Nico. “He was also carrying some old hippie lady, who turned out to be Juno, so I knew that he was definitely powerful. Frank and I went on our first quest with him, and that was… intense, for lack of better word.” Hazel paused for a moment, then continued on. “Percy is also one of the most loyal, trustworthy people that I know, and I’ve no doubt that he and Nico will live a happy life together.”
The daughter of Pluto smiled at Percy and Nico. “And I’ll have you know, Percy, that I second what Jason said.”
Percy nodded, chuckling good-naturedly. Nico tried to contain a smile and failed.
“And now, it’s… Well, my turn,” Annabeth said. “Percy and I have known each other almost as long as Percy and Grover have, so I’d say that I know him pretty well. What can I say about him… Well, he’s loyal and trustworthy, as Hazel mentioned, but he can also be pretty oblivious. Like, this one time…”
Annabeth continued her speech, followed by Frank Zhang and Rachel Dare.
After the speeches were finished, it was time for the cutting of the cake.
Percy stood behind Nico, both of them holding the knife as they brought it down on the cake, which had two tiers: the top one being chocolate, the bottom one being vanilla. After they’d cut it, Nico took a small chunk of one slice and brought it up to Percy's mouth. Percy opened his mouth wide, and Nico gently flicked it forward, not getting any on Percy's face. In turn, Percy grinned and took another chunk of cake, this time for Nico. Nico opened his mouth, as Percy had done, and Percy tried to replicate what Nico had done with him, flicking it forward into his mouth.
Naturally, half of the cake ended up on Nico's face, crumbs falling down his chin. Percy couldn’t help but give a childish giggle at the sight. Nico rolled his eyes at him, a mischievous glint forming in his eyes, and he took another chunk of cake and lightly grounded it into Percy's cheek.
Percy picked up an entire slice of cake and was about to rub it on Nico's face, but was stopped by Annabeth and Piper, who placed a hand on either arm. “Knock it off, you two,” Annabeth said, trying to look stern, but it didn’t work out very well, as she was on the verge of laughter. Percy and Nico exchanged a glance, and they both smiled at each other.
Annabeth and Piper looked at the newly married couple, then at the other. They both sighed at nearly the same time. “C’mon, lovebirds,” Piper told them, throwing an arm half-heartedly at their seats. “Annabeth and I will take care of the rest of this; just go sit down and… well, try not to break anything.”
Annabeth chuckled softly, smiling at Piper. They shook their heads marginally, then continued putting the cake on plates for all the people that had came to the wedding.
About half an hour later, Will Solace and his boyfriend, Mitchell, were over by the speakers, borrowed from Olympus. As they played around with the settings, Annabeth announced, “So, as you all probably know, it’s time for the newly married couple to dance with each other!”
Percy held out his hand to Nico, who in turn took it, and together they walked out to the center of the room. The music began playing—a soft, slow song that neither of them had heard before—and Percy placed both of Nico's arms around his waist, and he put his own arms around Nico’s.
They began sort of swaying back and forth slowly, occasionally shifting the positions of their feet, in time to the music, and Nico rested his forehead on Percy's shoulder.
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” Nico whispered into the thick cloth of Percy's suit.
Percy smiled, resting his cheek atop Nico's head. “It’s okay; Rachel had me take dance lessons before this. You know how she gets. Just follow my lead.”
Nico nodded slowly.
They continued their slow dance for several more minutes before the song ended. Sally and Hazel made their way over shyly, and Sally went off to dance with Nico. Hazel and Percy joined hands and stood an awkward distance away from each other. The song had changed to a faster, more upbeat song, and Percy and Hazel changed their pace to match that of the music’s.
“So,” Percy said, in an attempt to make conversation. “Um, how do you like the wedding so far? I mean, you’re having a good time, right?”
Hazel laughed. “Of course I am, Percy!” she replied brightly, relaxing marginally. “It’s my brother’s wedding day. I couldn’t be happier.”
Percy and Hazel continued chatting amiably until the song ended. As it did, Percy and Nico found each other, arms circling around the other’s waist as if they’d been doing so their entire life; although in reality, they’d only done so a few times prior. Hazel and Sally joined hands and began swaying across the room in a silly manner, while Piper, Jason, Annabeth, and Reyna got up, taking their partner’s hand respectively, and lead them over to the middle of the room, where they too started dancing. Nico smiled fondly at the Sally and Hazel, then turned back to Percy.
“So, your mother told me some lovely stories about you as a kid.” Percy groaned, but he was still smiling. “I’d always wondered why you liked blue food so much.”
Percy grinned. “Yeah,” he replied softly, dipping Nico slightly. “She told you about Smelly Gabe?”
Nico nodded, making an affirmative noise somewhere in the back of his throat. “I think that what she did was pretty cool. I mean, the way that your mom handled that,” he told Percy, who chuckled softly.
“Yeah,” he said again. Then, more seriously: “She’s pretty cool.”
Nico smiled, albeit sleepily. It’d been an extremely busy day for both himself and Percy, and the moon had already begun its trip across the night sky
They continued to slow dance for a little longer until somebody tapped on Percy's shoulder.
He turned around; it was Hades, who at some point in time had shown up. He smiled—which looked slightly odd and mildly creepy, as Percy was used to seeing Hades frowning or scowling, or any other kind of unhappy expression—and asked, “May I… borrow you for a little while?”
Percy, sure that he’d turned pale, looked over at Nico, who nodded nervously. “Y-yes,” Percy stammered. "Sir," he added as an afterthought.
He and Nico separated, and Hades offered Percy a hand. This is extremely weird, he thought, but complied nevertheless. They stood an awkward distance apart.
“So,” Hades drawled after a while. “I suppose that I can’t smite you now, what with how… happy you seem to make my son.”
Percy nodded slowly, slightly confused. “Good to know,” he noted cautiously.
Hades continued as if Percy had never spoken. “I will admit that we’ve had our ups and downs, as have Nico and myself.” He chuckled. “But Nico is a good young man. Perhaps with not the best” –Hades eyed Percy up and down disdainfully—“taste, but… it's his funeral."
The son of Poseidon wasn’t sure whether to be offended or pleased with what his father-in-law—uncle—oh, gods, Percy really had to stop thinking of the Olympians like that—had said, but he nodded all the same. “Thank you,” he said in a formal manner.
Hades smirked. “Not at all a problem,” he replied breezily, his gaze shifting over to his son, who was busy dancing with Hazel.
As if he felt his father’s eyes land on him, Nico turned around to face him and Percy, then cringed visibly. He quickly turned to Hazel, saying something that Percy couldn’t hear to her, and let go of her hands, making his way over to them. Hazel smiled, the corners of her eyes crinkling, and walked over to her boyfriend Frank, who was standing awkwardly by the tables.
“Father,” Nico said to Hades formally, nodding slightly to the god in front of him.
Hades, deadpan, examined his son. Then he smiled. “I approve, Nico,” he told him, and Nico's cheeks turned slightly pink.
Nico looked down, kicking the ground with the toe of his shoe. “Thank you,” he said.
Hades nodded curtly. “I wish you two the best with your marriage, and may you have a long and prosperous life.” He looked over at something on the side. "Now, if you will excuse me."
And the best part was, he didn’t sound sarcastic at all.