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Come lie in my shadow
on those hot, hot summer days
when immeasurable bitters
leave you parched

Take refuge beneath me
when tempests rage
and winds howl
choked emotion

Put me on like a coat,
or a glove or a shoe
anything, everything
to prevent bruising

Drift with me in solace
and understanding
When you’re hedged in shrubbery
and the clippers won’t snap

Spinning and twining
cut the ties
break your band
Let them fall to dust

Grasp my hand and follow me
as I raise the dawn
Drenching you in honeyed rays
embracing paradise

Feel free to receive
rest and reprieve
Let’s traipse, let’s waltz
spellbound self education

Find pleasure in my pasture
Take nourishment from this
sweet cup, filled full
of my youth – only for you


Will Solace's face breaks into a bright smile as Nico approaches.

"So you're not an idiot and you keep your promises."

Nico can't help the warmth rising in his cheeks. He feels on fire right now, nearly ready to dance, and that's just odd. Nico isn't one for dancing.

"Three days huh? What sort of torture do you have in store for me?" Nico asks, looking suspiciously at Will's tall figure in the Apollo Cabin's doorway.

Am I actually flirting with this guy? Is that even allowed? Do I care?

At the sight of Will's eyes sparkling with mischief and the smirk forming on his lips, Nico decides that the answers to those questions are yes, fuck it, and not a bit.

"I don't know about torture, but don't think I won't hesitate to stick you under a sun lamp and dispel every last shadow in the room if I get even a hint of you itching to use your underworld powers. I get three days, no powers; doctor's orders."

Nico absently rubs at the back of his head, then winces. The dratted gouges Lycaon left in his arms seem to think that now is the perfect time to hurt.

Will frowns, narrowing his eyes. He steps away from the door and points toward the big house, leaving no room whatsoever for Nico to argue. Strangely, Nico finds it rather comforting.


It's no longer comforting. Nico has been forced to shower sitting in a shower chair, as Will doesn't trust him not to fall over – And don't even think I won't barge in and take over if you fall on your face – and then to don a seriously uncool hospital gown and pajama bottoms.

"Yellow, really?" Nico says, plucking at the thin cotton with distaste.

"Shut up, shadow boy. I think a bit of sunshine will do you a world of good."

Nico reluctantly obeys, which is how he finds himself sitting up in an admittedly comfortable hospital bed, propped up with at least four pillows, and answering Will's questions one at a time. He sighs. "Why do you need to know the date of my last vaccine?"

Will's at the desk across the room, writing Nico's responses on a chart and making a horribly annoying flapping sound with his flip-flops. He's got nice calves though, Nico will give him that.

Will turns on his wheeled stool and rolls over to the side of Nico's bed. He's holding a clipboard. "I need your medical history, or as much of it as you can recall. Standard procedure."

Nico's not sure if the humorous look that crosses Will's face is him dicking Nico around and wasting his time or not. But Nico's too tired to bother reading into it. He yawns.

"They gave Bianca and me vaccinations when we were enrolled at Westover Hall. About four years ago." He sinks into his pillows and closes his eyes. He'll be out in a few minutes. He can feel sleep tugging his consciousness down. Then Will will have to rant and rave because he won't be getting anymore answers out of Nico.

Will jots the information down and moves on to the next question. "Date of birth?"

Nico opens one drowsy eye. "Huh?"

"What day were you born?" Will asks. His eyes look more concerned than they had a moment earlier. "Stay with me a few more minutes."

Nico grumbles and forces himself to sit back up. There's no way he can not fall asleep when lying back on all the pillows. He yawns again. "January 28th, 1930."

Will snorts. Nico opens his eyes the rest of the way and glares. "What?"

The look he gets from Will sends a thrill of pleasure through Nico's system.

"It's just, damn!" Will purses his lips and whistles soft and low, an impressed sort of whistle. "You look damn fine for your age."

Nico doesn't care that he's half asleep, doesn't care that he's secretly thrilled at being told he looks damn fine; he grabs the nearest pillow and throws it at Will's head.

"Hey!" comes Will's chuckling shout. Nico hisses as the werewolf scratches burn. It feels like acid's been spilled over his skin. If he lies still, doesn't move his muscles much, it mellows into a tolerable burn, but without the adrenaline of battle, they burn worse than fire, worse than drinking from the Phlegethon. "Alright, enough questions," Will says, tossing Nico's pillow on the foot of his bed. He stands up. "Take off your gown."

"What? Why?" Nico splutters, though he's so tired and so sore, he really can't find it in himself to put up much resistance.

"I need to treat those gouges on your arms. I know you're hiding them from me; I can feel them burning from here."

Nico nods his head forward, chin to chest, and allows Will to untie the gown and peel it off him.

"Di Angelo," Will says, and Nico looks up, meets his eyes. They're so close, so friendly, he feels like he's falling into them. He'd love nothing more than to go swimming in the blue of Will Solace's eyes. He's so far gone with fatigue, he's gotta be hallucinating. "You're one lucky bastard."

Nico shakes with silent laughter. Lucky? Him? "Whatever," he says. He shivers as Will's warm hands touch his arm. Will applies a thick green salve to the gouges, the acid burn mellowing into a dull ache – a pleasant dull ache – the sort of ache that would have him humping his mattress if he had any energy to spare. He kills that thought.

Will guides him back onto his pillows, a really comfortable arm supporting his back, and then treats the other arm. Nico succumbs to the pull of sleep to the feel of Will's strong hands on his body, and he doesn't even flinch. Sometimes, he supposes, it feels good to be touched.