Here’s the thing – Nico never goes to these things with the intention of getting laid. Honestly he doesn’t even really like parties, and ever since the Great Herpes Scare of sophomore year (who knew you could get pimples down there?), he had drastically cut down on the amount of strangers he had drunkenly fucked. So when Jason dragged him to the Stoll brother’s first party of the year, he hadn’t gone with the intention of picking anybody up. He was just planning on getting really, heinously drunk, not for any particular reason, but just because that was what you were supposed to do. College had rules, as he had told Hazel (before firmly instructing her not to follow any of them); college rules involved drinking a lot of alcohol even though it tasted awful and made you feel sick the next morning, and getting yourself involved in a handful of one night stands even though every morning you woke up feeling bad about yourself and still in love with your best friend.
Hey, he never said they were good rules.
Will Solace, on the other hand, had never even really done any of this. Will Solace did not like parties; Will Solace did not like alcohol, really (life was too short, he believed, to waste on drinking something that didn’t even taste good), and Will Solace was pretty undecided on where he stood with the Stoll brothers. Probably because he had known them both since high school, and he never really gotten over the lizard they had shoved down his pants in ninth grade.
But he has a very, very vivid image in his head of Katie Gardner taking his hand and telling him what they both knew had been coming for months, now, which was that this isn’t working and you deserve better and we both knew this was coming and I’m sorry. And okay, here’s the thing – he wasn’t even really that torn up about it. He had fallen out of love with Katie Gardner about six months ago, if indeed he had ever really loved her to begin with, but he liked routine, and there was something nice about having somebody to call your girlfriend, even if they hadn’t had sex in three and a half months and barely even kissed anymore. But you’re supposed to be upset when you get dumped, so Lou Ellen had brought him to the Stoll’s and had expertly mixed him a drink that tasted entirely like orange juice and nothing like vodka, even though he knows, by the way the room keeps rudely tilting, that there was definitely vodka in it.
Eventually the image of Katie Gardner dumping him gets less and less clear, but to be fair that might just be because everything gets less clear, significantly blurrier, and multiplied by three.
Hey, he’s a bit of a lightweight, okay?
Nico has taken up a very nice, very comfortable spot against the wall, which has gotten significantly less comfortable since Jason and Piper started making out next to him.
“Do you mind?”
They do not hear him. They are kissing too loudly. It’s quite obnoxious, really, but he can forgive them because they only ever do this when they have a lot of alcohol in them.
Eventually Leo finds them, stumbling over and taking Nico’s cup out of his hands, taking a drink, before turning red and coughing loud enough that Piper surfaces briefly to make sure he wasn’t dying. That was the kind of caring person she was.
“Holy hell, di Angelo, how the fuck do you drink that?”
He raises an eyebrow at him. “Slowly,” he says, taking it back.
“Have they been doing that all night?” Leo asks, joining him against the wall, gesturing to Jason and Piper.
“Why do you think there’s this much alcohol in here?” Nico tells him, holding up his cup. Leo grins.
“Feels just like high school, doesn’t it?”
Nico needs to be much, much drunker.
He has lost Lou Ellen. This might not be too much of an issue, except he’s lost Cecil, too. They are probably fighting somewhere. Or gambling. Do people gamble at parties?
He is vaguely annoyed. This had not been part of the plan. The plan had been for Will to get very drunk – like eleventh grade St. Patrick’s Day levels of drunk, which he had sworn, one hand on the Bible one hand in the air, that he would never do to himself again, but here he is. Will was going to get very drunk and Lou Ellen was also going to get very drunk and Cecil was going to get mildly drunk and make sure they didn’t do anything stupid, like accidentally snort cocaine or make out again (Will hates St. Patrick’s Day – because of the making out, not the cocaine. He should make that clear). Except here he is, and he is very drunk, and Lou Ellen is also probably very drunk, and Cecil is probably mildly drunk, just like they had planned, except Will is alone, which had definitely not been part of the plan.
Somebody pushes a shot into his hand, and he takes it, partly because he thinks, in that weird way drunk people think, that doing so will hurt Lou Ellen, even though it most certainly will not. It could very well have been Lou Ellen who had given him the shot.
Taking shots is so much easier when you’re already drunk. They don’t burn nearly as much. That’s the problem with shots. Shots are supposed to burn; that’s what ensures you don’t have too many of them.
He puts the plastic shot glass down on a table and decides to go and find Lou Ellen.
Nico and Leo are playing a fun game called ‘let’s see how many things we can throw at Jason and Piper until they stop sucking face.’ This is a game they had started in eleventh grade – Leo is winning six to three, probably because Leo is inherently more annoying than Nico ever could be. Sure enough, Leo goes above and beyond by trying to pick Nico up to throw at them, which might work if Leo were slightly bigger, or slightly stronger, or slightly more sober. As it were, Leo was none of these things, so he kind of awkwardly shoves Nico too far to the left, so that he bumps rather painfully into Piper’s shoulder before falling ass first at somebody’s feet.
“Valdez!” He shouts, his drink all over his front. Leo fist pumps.
“Yes! Seven-three!” And then he burst into a horrible off key rendition of We Are the Champions, except he changes the we to I.
Nico becomes aware that the pair of legs behind him have not moved. He looks up to see somebody looking down at him curiously.
“Hi,” the stranger says. He seems really tall, although that might just be because Nico is literally sitting at his feet. Nico throws his now empty cup at Leo, although it falls rather harmlessly a few feet from him.
And then there are hands under his arms, lifting him to his feet, and when he turns around to bitch the stranger out for touching him, he sees that he is really tall, but – perhaps more importantly – he’s also really hot.
“Hi,” the stranger says again. “I don’t know where my friends are.”
“You can have mine,” Nico says, gesturing behind him to where Jason and Piper have resumed their make out sesh against the wall and Leo has resumed throwing things at them. The stranger looks at them with interest. And then he smiles. And Jesus Christ, Nico is too drunk for this.
“They seem nice,” he says. His words are slurred and his eyes are really, really blue. Like disturbingly so. Like holy shit, Nico has never seen eyes that colour.
“They’re not,” Nico mumbles. The stranger has freckles speckled across his nose. It’s all too much for Nico, honestly. He had just wanted a nice night out. Some fun with his friends. Not Tall-Hot-and-Blond grinning down at him.
And the freckles. Jesus. This was ridiculous. And unfair. I’m too drunk for this, he thinks again.
“For what?” THB (tall hot and blond) asks, and Nico realizes he has said this out loud. Oops.
“For…” Nico gestures at him. “All that. You. Freckles.”
“You know,” Nico says impatiently. And then – honestly, he really cannot stress how fucking drunk he is – he reaches out and taps THB on the nose. Well, he accidentally hits slightly left of his cheek first, finger flailing awkwardly in the air, but he readjusts and smacks THB right on his goddamn nose. “Freckles.”
THB is still grinning at him. Nico wants to kiss that grin right off of his face. But, like, Christ, if anyone had ever been more solidly out of his league, Nico hasn’t meant him. Nico would probably have a better chance with Percy.
Fuck, that was not a train of thought he was interested in. That is very strictly Not Allowed. He can’t think of Percy like that. Because Percy was Married. And Straight. And a Father.
He’s not drunk enough for this.
“Bye, Freckles,” he mutters, disappearing into the crowd in desperate search for more alcohol.
He doesn’t think there’s enough alcohol in the world to get Percy Jackson out of his head.
Will is having something of a crisis.
Here’s the thing – Will had realized sometime around the time the first Captain America movie came out that he was interested in guys as well, but it had never been a real, tangible thing. His crushes on guys had never seemed as real as the ones he had on girls, possibly because he never did anything about them. So theoretically he knew he was bi, but technically the only action Will had ever had with members of his own gender was that dream he had had when he was 17 about Chris Evans. Honestly, he was kind of scared. It was totally new to him, and it seemed safer to just continue to date girls while acknowledging that he occasionally felt the same kind of feelings towards men. He had been happy with that.
But wow, okay – this angry dude glaring up at him from the floor, as if Will was the one who had knocked him over – he’s doing something very funny to Will’s insides. And yeah, he’s pretty fucking drunk, but he’s almost one hundred percent certain that he had called Will hot. And he liked his freckles. That had to mean something, right?
He hadn’t gotten the stranger’s name, partially because he was a little shoddy on names right now. He could barely fucking remember his. And there was Lou, who was somewhere, and he knew her name, although he was having a hard time picturing what she looked like, because every time he tried to picture her he finds himself thinking of dark, dark eyes and hair that was only slightly too long and a hand floating in his face, poking him in the nose, and the way those lips had formed the word freckles and yeah, Will is definitely having a crisis.
He finally finds Cecil, who is talking to one of the Stoll’s – Will isn’t sure which one. He isn’t sure they’re aware half the time.
“Cecil,” he says, grabbing on to him as if he had been meandering alone in a sea of drunk people, unaware of which way was up.
“Solace!” The Stoll says. He grabs Will around the shoulders and hits him in the chest. “Remember that lizard in ninth grade? That was fucking hilarious.”
“Yeah. Hilarious.” Cecil snorts.
“Are you still dating Katie Gardner?” The Stoll asks him, eyebrows waggling. Will swallows.
“So she’s available, then! Nice! Does she still hate me?”
“Which one are you?”
“Would it have mattered if it was Travis?”
“No, she hates you both. I just didn’t know which one you were.”
Connor laughs and slaps his chest again, and Will decides he needs more alcohol.
An hour later and Nico is back against the wall, although it is a different wall, this time, and everything is double and also a weird shade of green. He isn’t sure why. He is watching the party progress around him, and so far has seen four fights, three couples start making out, two couples break up, and THB quite a few times.
Nico isn’t exactly looking out for him, but it’s hard to miss him, due to the fact that he’s, you know, tall, hot, and blond. He doesn’t think he notices him – Nico blends in nicely, and THB looks like he’s looking for someone. One time he sees him with a girl on his arm; Nico is annoyed to find that he is disappointed about this.
Out of your league, di Angelo.
Jason and Piper are still, presumably, at the Wall, and he doesn’t know where Leo is. Probably either trying to pick up a girl, or recovering from being turned down after trying to pick up a girl. Nico is debating going home soon. He’s drunk, but he isn’t happy drunk, and he can’t stop thinking about freckles and eyes the colour of the sky and how much he wants to take THB home with him.
He really needs to stop this thing he has with straight guys.
“Make a move,” Lou Ellen tells him. He laughs. Because that is ridiculous. And there’s no way he would ever.
“Make a move,” Lou Ellen tells him, two shots later, and he thinks, yeah, okay. That sounds like a totally sane and logical thing to do.
He finds the guy leaning up against a wall, surveying the party with drunken disinterest. He’s gorgeous, really. Will is drawn to him in a way he’s never been drawn to another person before, guy or girl. He wonders if it’s much different, kissing a guy compared to kissing a girl. He wonders if he’ll find out, or if the beautiful stranger will tell him to pound salt and to get the fuck away from him.
Lou Ellen shoves him forward and he leans against the wall next to him, and the stranger looks up at him in surprise.
“Freckles,” he says in surprise. Will is trying to remember how to make a move. How does he know if this guy is even interested in men? Is there some kind of gay code?
Will grins. “Hi.”
Stranger’s eyes flicker to his mouth. He thinks that’s probably a good sign.
“I don’t know how to do this,” he finally says. Honesty is the best policy, after all. Stranger’s eyebrows furrow.
“Don’t know how to do what?”
“How to make a move,” Will says impatiently, as if this should be obvious.
“Is that what you’re trying to do?” The stranger asks, bemused. Will nods.
“I’m not good at this.”
And the stranger smiles, and it’s just a slight curve of his lips, but it is breathtaking. Will can’t look away. It brightens his whole face and he looks up at Will and his eyes are dark but they are dancing with amusement, and he picks Will’s drink out of his hands and takes a sip, eyes never leaving Will’s. “So am I,” he says. Will thinks he might actually die on the spot.
Will Solace is not generally an impulsive person. He is not the kind of person to pick up a person at a party. He is not the kind of person to pick up a person at a party almost two weeks after being dumped by your girlfriend. He is especially not the kind of person to pick up a guy at a party almost two weeks after being dumped by your girlfriend.
Will Solace does not believe in fate. He does not believe in soulmates. He does not even believe that he will ever see this guy after tonight. But he does believe in the desire that is pooling, hot in the pit of his stomach, and he believes in the fact that there is something here, Will isn’t sure what, but it is something that is pulling him inexplicably to this stranger and Jesus fuck, Will just wants to shove him against the wall and kiss him until he can’t remember his own name (which, to be fair, probably wouldn’t take much at this point).
So he does.
Long ago, Nico had come to the belief that the universe hated him.
It had something to do with an absent father, a dead sister, a sneer on top of a cafeteria table and Percy Jackson’s eyes haunting his dreams. So when THB came up to him, slumped against the wall and smiled down at him and told him he didn’t know how to make a move, he thought the universe was mocking him.
Ha ha. Very funny universe.
But THB doesn’t burst into laughter, and he doesn’t pull back, and he doesn’t act like this is the joke that this undoubtedly is, because people like THB did not grin down like that at people like Nico. But Nico plays along, because Nico is drunk. Because Nico is drunk and this guy is really, really fucking hot, and if the universe is going to be a dick Nico might as well make the most of it.
So when THB steps forward and kisses him, Nico lets him. THB’s lips are a little bit chapped and Nico runs his tongue over the roughness of them. He tastes like orange juice and cinnamon, which should probably be disgusting, but Nico wants more, more, more.
“Will Solace,” THB breathes into his mouth, and Nico likes that, likes those words, likes that name, and he says it back. “My name.”
“Will Solace,” he says. “Will Solace.” Will Solace kisses him hungrily, traps his name in Nico’s mouth, and his body is flushed up against him and there is a wall at his back and he wants to kiss his way down every inch of Will Solace’s skin, wants to count his freckles, wants to hear what it sounds like when he comes.
“Will Solace,” he mutters again. Will Solace is smiling against him. “Come home with me, Will Solace.”
And Will Solace pushes his hips against Nico’s and moves his lips to the skin beneath his ear. “Okay,” he says.
The walk from the Stoll brother’s apartment to the strangers is not long, but it takes much longer to get there than it probably should because they keep stopping to make out against any flat surface they can find. Somewhere in the back of his mind he is aware of the fact that he does not know this guy’s name, and he has not even asked, but honestly he is having trouble remembering how to do anything with his mouth that does not involve sucking marks into this guy’s skin. Was there another reason for lips?
Somewhere, in another area at the back of his mind, he is aware that this could end very bad, like being brutally murdered bad, but the arrogant part of his brain tells him he could probably take this guy, and the horny part of his brain tells him it would probably be worth it. So he follows the stranger a couple of blocks, and he kisses the back of his neck as he fiddles with his keys, and when they get into the elevator Will is painfully, painfully hard. He hopes they don’t run into anybody on the way, but who really gave a shit, anyway? Nothing mattered except the space that was between Will and his… date? Partner? And how much he wanted to get rid of that space, to press himself right against his body and kiss stars into his skin.
He is running his fingers across bare skin – cold, very cold, Will wants to cover him in warmth – as the stranger unlocks his door, and when he dips his fingers beneath the waistband of his jeans he mutters, “That is very distracting,” hands fumbling with the keys, and when Will wraps a hand around him he audibly gasps and almost drops his keys, and this is probably the stupidest thing he’s ever done, but he never wants to stop.
Finally the door is open and Will is dragged roughly into an apartment that tomorrow morning he will register as being way too nice for a college student. He is shoved into a bedroom and he kisses the stranger against the door, trying to undress him as quickly as possible, dropping clothes onto the ground, anxious to get bare skin on bare skin. It isn’t until they are on the bed and Will is kissing marks into his thighs that he remembers how to form words.
“You never told me your name,” he says. Hands card through his hair, gripping lightly.
“Nico di Angelo,” he says, half gasp, half moan. Will repeats it into pale skin. His drunken mind supplies him with the knowledge that that is an Italian name. “Nico di Angelo,” he whispers. “Nico Nico Nico.” Nico yanks on Will’s hair and drags him upwards, back to his lips, and it is like air, like sunlight, like everything Will wasn’t aware he was missing but now that he has it he’s aware of that emptiness in his chest where Nico di Angelo is supposed to be. Will wants him everywhere; he wants to be everywhere, wants to memorize every line and curve. Will whispers Nico’s name again, and Nico whispers his, names battling inside their mouths, searing onto their skin. Nico moans into his mouth and it goes straight to Will’s groin, and he grinds against Nico, teeth pulling at his lower lip. Nico drags his fingernails lightly down his back and Will kisses down his body, desperate to hear that noise again, to drag it out of him. Nico gasps and clutches at him and Will wants nothing more than to unravel him completely with his mouth.
Nico cries his name and it echoes in Will’s ears, and it is the best sound Will has ever heard in his life. He will dream of that sound. And then Nico pulls the same sounds from him, and Will stops thinking about anything other than Nico’s mouth and fingers.
Nico wakes up to the sun.