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Date A Nico

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Spirits.

Different life forms living in critical space and cause peculiar disasters upon manifestation on Earth for reasons unknown.

Strategy one: Annihilate them through military force and power.

Strategy two: Capture their hearts and make them fall in love.

Will violence repel their carnage or will they be overcome by love? The time has come once again as the decisions of humanity are put to test for the fate of the world.

||| D ate  a  N ico |||

A waft of a certain crispy scent tickled his nostrils as seventeen years old Percy Jackson walked down the winding street, passing along a crowded café on the way home one Thursday sunlit afternoon. A tiring day it was, and he stretched his aching back as he strolled alongside his friends, relaxing his tensed muscles and taking a deep breath of the pleasantly fresh air around them.

'Percy?' He turned his head around a tad to face the boy who uttered his name. 'Yeah, Jason?' he said attentively, noticing the blonde's startling blue eyes staring at him with an air of curiosity rippling across his face. Percy smiled.

'What's with all those flowers and floating hearts kinda thingy? And those clothes, laces and ribbons overloading that shop. Are they supposed to be decorations?' Jason Grace was yammering away incredulously, his right hand a blur pointing at the various scenes around them, twirling his body as he did so.

'Jason, those heart thingies are called balloons. And it's almost Valentine, for gods' sake!' said Rachel Dare, who was walking aside them, much to the blonde's bewilderment. 'Valentine?'

Oh, so it was already that time of the year. Manhattan's shopping district was bizarrely dressed in shades of pink and red, as florists ran amok the streets selling roses to desperate customers, gift shops were overcrowding with lovers, and restaurant employees diligently working on pretty embellishments and adornments for the upcoming festivities. One could say that love is definitely in the air.

Percy cast a furtive glance on his watch. It was the 12th of February. Two more days to go.

'Valentine is a day we celebrate love and affection, basically just a romance holiday,' Rachel elaborated the subject in a matter-of-factly tone. 'You know, like boyfriends burning their pocket money on dumb things for their girls.' Considering by teenager's standard, the day of romance ought to be known by all normal high-schoolers as basic knowledge. Adolescence was a time of hormonal frustrations, sexual attractions and the shattering of young hearts, after all.

'Earthlings are weird, celebrating love with shades of pink,' Jason grimaced at the idea. But that sounds –,' he paused and settled for a smile. 'Magical.'

Jason by all means is not even a human. He is a Special Disastrous Designated Creature, abbreviated as a Spirit; extraterrestrial beings that travel across dimensions before manifesting on Earth, much to the acknowledgement of Percy and Rachel. A dangerous being capable of triggering abnormal calamities known as spatial quakes, or spacequakes, seemingly out of their own will. Believing them as a threat to the planet, governments all over the world kept their existence a secret, away from humanity.

And hunt them down.

So the lack of information on Earthly subjects was excusable for his sake.

In all of a sudden, the Spirit wrapped his arms around Percy's torso, relatively obscuring his motion. 'Hey, dude!' he yelled, his cheeks tinged red as Jason giggled against the nape of his neck, tightening his grip a bit more.

'Does that mean you'll celebrate it with me?' the Spirit asked excitedly, causing the raven-haired boy to smile earnestly. 'Of course we will, along with Rachel, Nico and the rest.'

So much for being romantic.

As sudden as his gesture before, Jason roughly pushed him away, a pout forming on his face, his golden-rimmed glasses askew. 'You're no fun,' he said, much to Percy's amusement. Rachel snickered at Jason's antics, which was quite the contrary of who he really was; composedly matured and wise in his actions. Well, unless it involved Percy.

Pout still in place, he mumbled, 'Don't you love me?' The raven-haired boy grinned sheepishly, placing his arm around the Spirit's shoulders. He cleared his throat, stumbling over his words a little as he said, 'A–Always, Jason. Don't forget that.'

A smile graced Jason's features, much to his pleasure and relief. A sincere scarred smile that he deemed worth protecting. Taking extra precautious measure; which was to maintain Jason's good moods, they walked up to a gift shop and Percy got the Spirit a red heart-shaped balloon, who grinned with elation, never having such a thing before. Frankly speaking, it was quite sad to not have a normal childhood.

If he even have one, that is.

'Hey, we're almost there,' Rachel said, looking pointedly at another school complex that was coming into view. On the way home, the trio will always have to fetch their friend Nico everyday, who was studying in another school. The red-haired girl sighed heavily. 'This is getting rather tiring and troublesome, all these useless detours. For all we know, we could just make it home immediately after school! I have to arrange Nico's transfer with Ratatoskr as soon as possible.'

Percy's eyes widened. 'So he's going to our school soon?' he asked and the girl confirmed his speculation. 'There's already an available vacancy in his year. Just yesterday, a guy was kicked out of school, so I'm gonna have to alert Chiron on this matter soon enough.' Well, that sounded fun.

The Ratatoskr Organisation.

All in all, Ratatoskr is a top-secret organisation that deals with Spirits through peaceful means in a way of understanding the volatile creatures, as opposed to most governments' military movements around the world; who seek to exterminate them. The acting director of the United States' branch was no other than the great Miss Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who commandeered a legendary crew of professional officials residing in the airship Olympus, monitoring Spiritual activities and spacequakes occurrence around the designated area.

Jason was the first Spirit to be saved by Percy. No longer emitting Spiritual disturbance, he was monitored closely by Ratatoskr to ensure the progress of his acclimatisation in living amongst humanity on Earth. So far, there were no problems regarding his current existence, as no spacequakes has occurred lately for a few weeks.

'Oh, there he is,' Rachel's words interrupted through Percy's thoughts.

Sure enough, Nico di Angelo was perching on a tree branch, silently waiting for their arrival. Noticing the trio, he jumped off the branch with an elegant twirl, landing gently on the ground with a thud. Judging the impossible height of his position earlier, any normal human being would probably break a bone or two, but of course, Nico was no human.

Similar to Jason, he was another Spirit under the jurisdiction of the organisation.

'Percy,' he said, grinning broadly at the said boy before affectionately hugged Percy's left arm, much to Jason's dismay. 'Hey, get off him,' he huffed in annoyance, but Nico clung tightly to his saviour, all the while smirking victoriously at the blonde. Still fuming, Jason grabbed Percy's other arm, occasionally rubbing his cheek on the boy's bicep as they walked, very much like a fond oversized kitten.

Rachel shook her head upon the sight of two Spirits, who were always brawling and fighting for Percy's undivided attention. 'My, my, how popular can you be? I wish I have a boyfriend,' Rachel sighed mockingly, earning a glare from the boy.

'Alright, guys, you can stop now.' Both ignored him. Noticing that they were still in front of the school's vicinity, and students all around them were starting to give him suspicious looks, Percy decided to take off now, dragging along the two insistent beings clinging on him.

One do not get the privilege to see two guys fighting for Percy the boys-magnet everyday, especially since one of them (the tallest one, mind you) were clutching a balloon ridiculously tight like an anxious kid. That was more than a reason to get out of there, fast.

Skipping slightly, Rachel followed suit, smirking as she took out her phone, snapping a photo of the boys. Not to mention that her photo gallery was chock-full with the pictures of the Spirits' behaviour around Percy, strictly under the cause of expanding the study regarding the knowledge on Spirits' nature to a whole new level.

To be honest, not exactly.

She browsed through her collection of Percy's Moments photos in her gallery. Yesterday's was taken when his face was being severely tortured as Nico and Jason fought to kiss his cheeks. They were badly swollen; he had to sooth them with a bucket of ice. The day before, they managed to flood the bathroom fighting for the sacred intention of rubbing Percy's backside as he bathed. For their beloved's comfort, they have claimed. He was caught between the crossfire of their battle, and the aftermath was never pretty.

Rachel wondered if she can rake herself in cash if she sells the photo of the three wearing absolutely nothing in the bathtub to various 18+ websites. Or perhaps found herself charged with the crime of voyeurism. Well, they forgot to shut the damn door so who cares?

Admiring her friend's determination on keeping both Spirits under his protection to be pleased and contented living in this already messed-up world, her smirk widened.

'This is going to be hella fun.'

||| D ate  a  N ico |||

'You okay there, bro?'

A smile carved its way to his lips as he observed Jason cautiously arranging layers of mozzarella on the aluminium tray, his focus unwavering as his hands worked according to the task.

'Almost done here.' He had his tongue stuck out a little bit, focusing on his job to help Percy make breakfast.

Percy could not help but admired the way Jason's sky blue eyes squinted in concentration, his slanting eyebrows furrowed as his lips pursed; accentuating the scar on his upper lip that just made him so awfully adorable. His blonde short-cropped hair was a mess, leaving an obvious hint of sexiness that made his looks just irresistibly as delicious as the lasagna they were cooking. The raven-haired boy blushed at his own explicit thoughts.

Ironically destructive, Spirits are fascinatingly beautiful creatures. Great beings of splendour and magnificence.

The Spirit was wearing a sleeveless basketball jersey, so ogling Jason's exposed biceps made Percy sliced the tomatoes into slightly uneven sizes, and he was so entranced that he unknowingly let his guard down. Nico took his chance (albeit feeling envious) and crept soundlessly behind him.

Well, accidents do not come with a set of alarms and sirens.

'Gotcha!'

'Oh, shit!'

Nico abruptly hugged Percy from behind and nuzzled his cheek upon the boy's neck, giggling as he did so. Surprisingly for the Spirit, he yelped in pain, and Nico could not help but felt a little bit hurt. He had not anticipated retaliation, but rather at least a smile. That was obviously a gesture of affection, and he expected a return of similar ones.

'Oh shit, shit, shit,' muttered Percy, slightly groaning in pain, apprehensively flicking his wrist, a noticeable trail of a certain red liquid oozing across his palm from a small wound on his index finger. The sudden motion had him accidentally cut himself with the knife in use, spraying the tomatoes with dots of blood.

'Gods, love, I'm so sorry.' Guilt gnawed over Nico, condemning himself over his evident brainless and foolish action. Good lords, Percy was busy cutting tomatoes without a problem before he stepped in and ruined the pleasant atmosphere. Noticing the uneasiness on the Spirit's expression, the boy waved his hand off, reassuring that the ordeal that happened was out of anybody's control. 'No worries, man.'

Jason looked on from his corner of the kitchen, eyes demonstrating worry and anxiety. He remained stationary though, seemingly that it was just a small cut, far from being life-threatening or fatal.

Gently lifting Percy's hand to his lips, Nico blew small billows of air soothingly at the wound, minimising the dull throb of the pain. He licked the wound to clean away the clotting blood, causing the boy to raise his eyebrows in an alarming speed. At the sight of a single strand of saliva connecting Percy's finger to Nico's parted lips, the other Spirit huffed with displeasure and indignantly turned away.

Nico had no time to flash even a little smirk to mock his fellow Spirit when blood suddenly oozed out of the wound in a critically unexpected speed. Percy whimpered as the sharp pain grappled his conscience, although regretting it later on sight at the expression of sorrow and guilt present on Nico's face.

Accidents rarely gave insight to any possible consequences.

The surrounding of the room enveloped itself in gloominess and despair. The restless emotions encircled Percy in wisps of shadows. Tendrils of darkness writhed their way up his leg, inducing panic and dread up his chest. 'What the –,' he cursed under his breath. In the grim atmosphere, Nico looked aghast. 'I'm not doing anything, Percy!' he said desperately, flinging his arms aimlessly in attempt to take control of his agitated shadows.

Of course he's not, this is entirely my fault, his thoughts rebuked him.

Burying himself in Nico's embrace; much to the latter's astonishment, he sidestepped the table and let his wounded fingertip soaked by the running water in the sink. Relief surged through him in a whim, washed away by torrents of cold water. At one corner of his vision, Jason was parrying a wispy vine of animated shadow with a spatula.

The boy had expected warmth, but Nico was agonizingly cold. He was still chiding himself, whispering, 'Stupid, stupid, stupid,' all over again, gritting his teeth all the while. Percy gently nudged his chin with his forehead. The Spirit opened his eyelids, startled by the mirthful sea green eyes that twinkled upon his sight.

'Hey,' he sighed. 'There's nothing to worry about.' The darkness around them gradually dissipated within minutes.

The boy raised his unblemished finger, a smile in place. The wound was gone without a single scar.

||| D ate  a  N ico |||

 

Scraping her fork on the platter decorated with intricate motifs of stargaze lily and clustering leaves, Rachel complimented Percy for the hearty breakfast of lasagna. Besides her, Chiron, the analysis officer for the US branch of Ratatoskr, was sipping mint tea from his mug, his eyes inspecting the surrounding glow of the neat little apartment.

'So, let me get this straight. Nico's Spiritual powers will return to him if he's emotionally unstable. Is that what happened then?'

Chiron set the mug on the coffee table and nodded briefly. He kindly began the explanation that was repeated countless times before. 'To seal a Spirit, you must make him fall for you, am I correct?'

Percy nodded, involuntarily smiled at the memories.

'Almost all powers of a Spirit are sealed inside you the moment you kiss them. They will be no different than humans. The same rule applied to both Spirits you sealed; Jason and Nico.'

He made a swift single line of motion with his finger from the mug to the teapot. 'An existing bond will establish upon the sealing; an unseen connection known as the 'pass'. When Nico's mental state becomes unstable under certain conditions, it is through this 'pass' a leakage will occur; resulting in the return of his powers.'

Breathing in the soothing scent of the tea, Chiron continued, 'It was a little bit fortunate for us that Nico demonstrated his powers in a very small scale this morning, unable to be detected by anybody. Should the unfortunate happens, the Spiritual disturbance will trigger the security alarm of the city. We cannot afford DEM to be acknowledged by the Spirits' presence in their vicinity, can we?'

'So basically, they will be –,' Rachel paused, noisily slurping her tea. After an annoyingly suspenseful period of waiting, she gulped the enlivening liquor. 'Ah. Slaughtered.'

Percy tensed up. Glancing at the door, he began to reconsider his decision of letting Jason go with Nico for a morning walk without his supervision. The worried feeling seemingly would not leave him alone. He cannot forgive himself if those two were threatened with something as dangerous as the DEM Industries, whose sole purpose of establishment is to ruthlessly destroy Spirits.

'There's another thing, Perseus. We detected an anomaly in Nico's emotional stability this morning. Even though it's in a miniature scale, the risks of him emitting Spiritual waves are very high, considering many possible triggers around him,' Chiron explained, his face depicting a look proving the dire situation they had landed upon. 'Did something happen?'

Percy gave out an exasperated sigh. 'Yup, I cut myself and he almost went out of control.'

'You do understand how much they cared about you, right?' Chiron cleared his throat before moving on. 'So we need your contribution in a strategy we devised specifically for this problem.'

'You'll need my help?' Percy could not help feeling curious.

Rachel flashed him a mischievous smile. 'You have the rare gift in sealing Spirits, you know that? In fact, you are one of the only two known human under Ratatoskr who possess this specific ability to seal them,' she sipped her tea. 'Plus the charm to lure and woo our extraterrestrial friends into fascination,' she giggled at her own words, earning an alarmed glance from her best friend.

'Enough with the flattery. So… what about it?'

'Easy. Your Valentine date would be the Spirit known in the record as Spectre, Nico di Angelo.'

Chapter Text

Hands behind his head, Jason was strolling alongside Nico at the Central Park near their residence. Kicking a pebble on the gravelled pavement, his eyes stared the other Spirit's slightly crestfallen face.

'You okay there, bud?'

'I guess so.'

The awkward tension continued to thrive between them. Well, apart from constantly waging wars against Nico when it came to the battles of having Percy for himself, he made up for a pretty great friend. And friends undeniably need each other. Jason figured out that he has to at least cope with Nico's problems together.

'How do you feel right now, then?'

Nico hesitated, and then started to speak something of what Jason guessed as a confession.

'I'm scared. I'm scared of hurting Percy. Of losing him. You get what I mean?' Jason nodded. 'We both love him, right?' Nico asked, looking straight at Jason's eyes. He nodded again. There was nothing against that; they both loved the devoted boy to the core of his existence.

'So, like what you've seen this morning, I was kinda agitated when I saw Percy drawing blood on his finger. It was like this guilt was eating me alive. I'm just… ugh,' Nico groaned in apprehension, his hands pulling out at his black hair in frustration. He felt like an idiot, trying to seek his beloved's attention and ended up hurting him instead. He felt so useless. Especially when his powers made their appearance all of a sudden, all against his will.

He felt wrecked.

Thus he was startled when Jason gripped his shoulders firmly, his softened gaze swept across Nico's face and smiled in a reassuring way. 'Hey.' His tensed muscles gradually relaxed. 'Don't forget to breathe, dude,' Jason stifled the giggle making its way to his throat as Nico's face contorted with realisation and heaved out a sigh, fumbling his shabby sweater with his hands.

Draping the other Spirit's shoulders with his left arm, he led Nico to a bench. Sitting down at the same time, Jason sighed, 'That's more than a reason to protect him.' And Nico believed that the sentence was one of the truest arguments Jason could come up with.

'We owe him our lives, after all.'

||| Date a Nico |||

Annabeth Chase was doing fitness jogging with her best friend Piper McLean at the Central Park, appreciating the slightly breezy morning, which oddly enough, seemed to be losing its glory, dressing itself in gloom and dreariness.

That was kinda unfair, considering tomorrow is Valentine's Day. This sudden revelation prompted her into asking, 'Hey, Pipes? Found a date yet for tomorrow?' The said girl brushed away her brown choppy fringe out of her face, and panted, 'Nope.'

Annabeth nodded, choking up a little bit too much refreshing air as she said, 'Me neither.'

'So, you're waiting for Percy to ask you out, huh?'

'Well, a girl can dream.'

Piper shook her head, smiling at her friend drowning herself in ecstasy. Annabeth had been intensely falling head over heels with that Jackson guy ever since she had known her.

A girl can dream, huh?

She would not want to argue against that one. Percy has not even returned the slightest bit of a feeling to Annabeth, so the whole crush was entirely one-sided. That was why when she saw Annabeth's face lit up at the sight of the sea-green eyed boy smiling dazzlingly at her random courtesy, swooned when Percy waved her in greeting in the hallway, or being not quite herself in his mere presence; Piper could not help but feeling sorry for her friend's futile approaches.

So she let Annabeth dream on.

'Hey, it's kinda weird that our Beauty Queen hasn't found her Valentine yet,' the blonde piped up smirking, catching Piper off guard.

'Actually, most of the guys who asked me out are all shitheads, assholes and of the similar species. I never met a guy who truly accepts me by who I am, not just by my looks or my three sizes. Ugh, guys are jerks and –,' Piper stopped dead on her words. Annabeth glanced at her quizzically before lifting her glance towards the view her friend has been staring at.

Oh, sitting on a bench underneath a lowly stooped oak were Jason Grace and another black-haired guy she could not recognized, but somehow she felt like she had met him anywhere before. Like a déjà vu.

'Look at that hot jock. Meow…' Piper the heartbreaker of boys incredulously mewled like a cat in heat very much dreamily, gaping at the sight of the boy. Annabeth could not believe her eyes as her friend distinctively lowered her guard just for that particular guy. She did the otherwise, though.

Because Jason Grace was the top in her list of suspicious fiends you should be aware of all the time.

The reasons were realistically logical enough. Firstly, the blonde boy was Percy's desk mate for several classes in her timetable. One could say that there was nothing wrong on that particular matter, but when that guy gets so touchy-feely with her crush, Annabeth would deliberately always felt the pang of jealousy in her guts. Those quick pecks on the cheeks and forehead were downright suspicious, and those unnecessary touch, like how he would always wrapped his arms around Percy during reading sessions in the library, made her felt like killing someone.

Secondly, how he changed personality immediately in the presence of Percy, from a calm neat-freak, well-composed and matured kind of man to a totally different creature desperately anxious for attention and busying himself adoring the raven-haired boy. This extremely made Annabeth wanted to puke. Twice. Every time. Of course; from envy. Two-faced bitches must all be avoided at all costs. She concluded this in her study of hypocrisy in human beings. Yes, people said she's been overreacting (Jason's not that bad) but who the damn cares?

Relatively the third reason was the main pillar for the foundation of her mistrust for Jason. The evident and palpable fact that he resembled a being Annabeth resented. A creature worth annihilation. His resemblance with a Spirit whose data stashed in the records of DEM 'most wanted' was endearingly alarming.

Spirits. The disaster killing the world.

When Annabeth met Jason Grace in their school library for the first time, the resemblance of the boy to the Spirit codenamed Thunder in DEM's files was breathtaking. When that happened, she was surprised that no alarm was sounded, not a soul running to the government-prepared shelters for direct evacuations. No spacequakes. Just an ordinary student who, bizarrely enough, was fawning over Percy that time, like he could not get enough of him.

After school, she immediately made her way with her friend Reyna Avila Ramirez-Arellano to the main headquarters of DEM Industries, a huge building located just northern of New York City, getting there with a cab.

Well, she has been working at DEM for more than two years. In secrecy, of course. Joining the sorcery service along with Reyna, Piper and her half-brother Malcolm.

Deus Ex Machina. The world-leading company dedicated to the industrial efforts of developing technology in warfare. One of the first industrial companies to discover how science and magic can fuse together to make the most lethal weaponry, the wonder core of modern armaments called Realizers; equipping military movement around the world.

The reason was only one; exterminating Spirits, fiends from the alternate dimension and harbingers of destruction and imbalance.

Alerting her superiors of her suspicions earned her praise for being an 'attentive and wise' Wizard, allegedly supporting the company to further realise the ambition of a Spirit-free world. She went home smiling.

'I got you this time, Thunder.' She was sure he was already within her grasp.

A few days later, she was in for bad news. Investigators from DEM have confirmed that Jason Grace is just a mere civilian of New York City. There was nothing worth suspicion of his background or his family tree whatsoever. That day, one of the laboratory windows was shattered when she throw a brick she found just to show how frustrated she was.

She would not simply let her guard down after the revelation. Jason Grace resembled Thunder too much that if they got rid of his glasses and clad him in the Spirit's astral raiment, there would be no different at all. The DEM Wizards would blast him into pieces right then.

Alas, that was not meant to be.

'Hello, Annabeth Chase,' Jason greeted her coolly, snapping her out of her train of thoughts. The calming tone annoyed the hell out of her. 'Grace,' was her response, cold and emotionless.

Piper went into seduction mode level one. 'Hello, there! I'm Piper and I'm so lonely for tomorrow,' she hinted a direct proposal complete with the bonus set of eyelashes-battings and hips-swaying. Her doe-like kaleidoscopic eyes were glazed with desire as she leaned down and arched her back that would give any man 'shiver me timbers', her hands twirling a strand of choppy brown hair that tousled past her shoulders, so sophisticatedly beautiful.

'Not interested.'

The direct refusal was accompanied with a polite smile playing on Jason's lips, his fingers twiddling with his glasses apologetically. And thus that was how Piper McLean, beauty queen, cheerleader captain, and ace Wizard of DEM's frontline fighters experienced her first ever rejection by a boy she had finally took interest in. It was simple in its own brutality.

Annabeth decided to ignore her gaping friend, whose face displayed a tinge of red, getting ready for seduction mode level two. She transferred her attention to the other boy, who was silently judging her with those dark eyes, filled with what seemed to be contempt.

Strange. It was as if the gloom that tainted the dark morning was encircling around the mysterious boy. She was sure she had met him somewhere.

||| Date a Nico |||

'So Percy, got that note Nico gave you?' asked Rachel right after Percy put on the miniature intercom in his earlobe.

'I knew it was you.'

'Duh. I don't have a date with you. I'll be here at the bookshop with Jason, having a date of my own. Woohoo!' he could hear the commander dancing exaggeratedly by the muffled rustling sounds in the intercom. Not a romantic date of course. Just another excuse to keep the other Spirit out of the way from Percy's date. 'I'm keeping a hottie. I'm keeping your hottie,' Rachel sang with her voice unnaturally out of pitch. He could only smile. Somehow he knew that Jason will blow Rachel's purse dry with his passion for books. 'All right then, I'm going to the rendezvous site now.'

'Oh, I love this part.' Rachel cleared her throat and Percy could hear her nodded. 'The operation will commence momentarily. All personnel, kindly self-report for duty at the main control room,' from the intercom, Percy heard one of Olympus airship crew, Frank Zhang, announced. A girl he distinctively knew from her kind voice, Hazel Levesque, started the countdown. 'Operation Date a Nico will commence on the count of ten, nine, eight, seven…'

While the countdown proceeded, Percy strolled towards the park where he would be meeting with Nico. He tugged at the sleeve of the baby-breath blue sweatshirt Rachel has made him wear, along with the dark blue jeans and a pastel grey beanie. The countdown ended, '… three, two, one.'

Rachel's voice was full of flourish and excitement. 'Now, let the date begins!'

As he waited at the piazza, Percy decided to kill the time by treating himself with a blueberry crepe at one of the food stands. Naturally, blueberry tasted delicious and he has a hard time eating something so scrumptious with table manners. Heck, he's not even sitting by the table, but rather on a bench right now.

He was so engrossed by the heavenly taste of the crepe that he did not notice a figure taking their seat beside him. 'Hey, starting the date without me?' a familiar voice regarded him. Momentarily surprised, he turned his head around just a tad and his eyes settled for the grinning face of Nico, who has slotted a blue rose between his lips.

'For my prince.'

Accepting the blue rose from his date, Percy could not help but wonder at the beauty of the artistic piece, seemingly sculpted from glass, shimmering from how the sunlight of the clear morn caught inside the crystalline petals, unleashing a mysterious yet alluring approach from his beloved Spirit.

'Nico, I –,' his words were halted when the said Spirit gently placed his finger onto the boy's lips, silencing him. 'You're always making a mess when you eat,' Nico chuckled as he wiped off a smudge of cream from the corner of Percy's mouth before licking it away. 'Yum.' The boy felt his cheeks burnt at the sudden touch.

The Spirit offered his hand, which Percy accepted with a smile. The Spirit's raised the boy's hand to his lips, and the kiss resulted was soft and tender, making him blush even more.

'Shall we?'

'I – I guess so.'

As they walked, Percy clung tightly to Nico's hand.

||| Date a Nico |||

Rachel sat on one of the couches in the bookshop, a tablet on her lap displaying the image for the surveillance camera following on the progress of Percy's Valentine date. 'Show me Nico's stats.' The crew members were supervising the operation aboard Olympus, 15000 feet in the air above the city, along with all the necessary equipments and state-of-the-art technology as to gain the upper hand in case anything happens. Not that anything would go wrong today. 'Yes, Commander.'

All perimeters based on the Spirit's moods are in balanced. It seemed that everything was turning out fine. 'We're going to crush this petty problem once and for all, people.'

'Rachel, look at this book on avia– What are you doing?' asked Jason, raising one of his eyebrows in curiosity as the girl fidgeted in her seat, her fingers swiping on the screen to open a new tab in the browser. Smiling feebly, she managed, 'Just researching some Greek mythology on oracles and all those craps for the history project.'

The Spirit grinned and took a seat beside the commander, flipped open the book and started to read in silence. Rachel took the chance to position herself facing away from the blonde as to ensure that he would not be seeing the activities undergoing right under his nose. What a close call.

'Hey, Rach – whoa!' A voice yelled before groaning in pain when Rachel hit a certain figure crouching behind her with the tablet. The brute force of it will certainly cause bruises. Leaning down, her gaze met with a very disgruntled Annabeth, now sprawled on the floor. 'What was that for?'

'Hey, Annie! So sorry but you surprised me,' the red-haired girl apologized for her paranoia, standing up and offering her hand to Annabeth. The blonde girl took it gratefully and heaved herself upwards.

'So, a date with Grace, huh?' her voice was cold as she glared at the oblivious boy-presumed-to-be-a-Spirit, his concentration ever unwavering. 'What? No, just keeping Jason's company while we shop for bestsellers.' And burning my pocket money off, Rachel kept that thought silent in her mind. 'Where's your date, Annie?'

'I'm alone, like any other year. I wonder if the goddess of love has cursed me or something, it's always the same every Valentine,' Annabeth sighed. 'Hey, can I hang out with you? Just gonna look out for books on modern architecture.'

'Sure, babe. You can find them at that corner.'

A sealed Spirit and a highly-trained Wizard in the same area seemed not to be a good idea, and she was stuck between those two mortal enemies who were always seeking a chance to slit each other's throats. Sighing, she moved to another couch and continue her surveillance in peace, much to the other two's chagrin. The day could never have been any better.

||| Date a Nico |||

'How do you like our date, Percy?' asked Nico, his eyes bore through the said boy, who was sipping his blue caramel latte. 'I'm having fun, man,' he grinned, earning himself a loving look from the Spirit.

Even without the help of Ratatoskr's crew, the date was going along fine. The couple was having fun, visiting the aquarium, wasting time at the arcade, and hitching a ride around the beautiful gardens of the city. Right now, they were having lunch in a Cherry Blossom Café, which served the most delectable desserts Percy had ever tasted.

'Here's your extra-large fruity sundae delight, sirs.'

'I'm going to kill myself eating this,' the raven-haired boy marveled at the gigantic cup in wonder. 'That's it. We're sharing.' Nico chuckled at the sight of Percy's widened sea-green eyes, his face forming an adorable pout as he considered whether to devour the piece of Elysium right then.

'Open wide, ah,' the boy mused as the spoon he was holding pretended to be a soaring airplane, landing softly into the Spirit's mouth, who clamped it down along with Percy's finger. 'Hey!'

'Nothing. I just felt like biting you.'

Percy hit him on the shoulder, his cheeks turning a shade of pink as he watched Nico laughed. Deep down inside, his heart swelled with warmth at the pleasant sight. He rarely sees the Spirit muster even a tiny smile before when he was first sealed. Upon manifestation on Earth, the Wizards of DEM had assaulted him right after the spacequake he has unknowingly caused.

As Nico shoveled the gravelly ice-cream with the spoon he shared with Percy, the boy committed the image of the Spirit earnestly smiling into his long-termed memory. Early when he had first encountered Nico, the Spirit's skin was death-like pale, a dark hood covering the grim face, the brooding black eyes observing him with mistrust and disdain.

Here, under the shimmering light of the sun peeking behind the nebulous clouds, Nico's skin was flushed with colour, his dark hair, cut short at the back, combed neatly with a few strands straying away on his forehead, looking very much like a handsome Italian. Even the way he sat on the love seat they were sharing hinted the regal demeanor of a royal, his style out-of-the world. The dark hoodie he was wearing accentuated his wiry yet sturdy built, along with the skinny jeans and grey sneakers that gave off a strange air of an emo, yet attractive all the same.

'Earth to Percy, Earth to Percy,' a calm voice snapped Percy back into focus, noticing the dancing spoon in front of his eyes. Nico has an amused smile gracing his thin lips, his fingers still waggling the spoon in front of the boy's gaping face, resisting the urge to pinch those soft cheeks.

'Sorry, just got a little bit distracted.'

'Yeah, right. What's distracting you?'

Percy blushed, and Nico realised how the sudden change in colour sent his heart racing almost out of his chest. How can he help it? The boy was a beauty amongst humanity, in both appearance and that carefree mannerism in his recklessness.

Nico allowed himself to drown in amazement. Those eyes tinted with swirling hues of sea green captured Nico's very heart, once clouded in darkness, how the pupil of the left one was pearly white, a tiny island inside the transient colour of green and blue, invaded through his soul. The crooked grin formed on those sweet-looking pink lips and the mess of hair underneath that grey beanie, added up to the things most significant in all of his existence. And that smudge of cream on his nose as he shoved the sundae down his throat. That was just plain adorable.

Percy is perfect in Nico's eyes, and letting him be hurt in any possible way, even the slightest bit, was unforgivable.

'Um, Percy?' his voice wavered a little bit as Nico acquired for the boy's attention. 'Yeah?'

The Spirit started to fumble with the hem of his hoodie, his mouth twitching downwards. Percy guessed that it was not a good sign.

'Happiness level is decreasing. He's starting to feel frustrated, dude. Ease out the tension,' Rachel evaluated the situation through the intercom. 'Roger that.'

Shuffling his body to the left until his side met Nico's; Percy sluggishly leaned against the Spirit, resting his head upon his date's shoulder. He could feel Nico's tensed body relaxed if only a bit. 'This is more like it. Is there anything wrong?'

Twiddling his fingers amongst Percy's soft curls, Nico began, with his voice equally grim, 'I'm sorry for the other day, for hurting you. Jealousy took the best of me. I – I felt so…' His voice trailed off as those oceanic green eyes suddenly gazed through his soul, demanding for silence.

'Nico, look at me.' He raised his head off the Spirit's shoulder and sat upright. Nico slowly brought his head to face his beloved. 'How can I assure you that I'm okay?' Percy posed the unanswered question as Nico shrugged it off; his face looking very much disappointed with his very self.

'I said, look at me, Nico,' he demanded softly, his fingers idly supporting the Spirit's chin from falling down. 'It doesn't matter how many times I was hurt back then. Hell, it's only a small cut! Accidents happen, don't make it such a big deal, man.' Suddenly everything turned from romantic to serious, but Percy had to get his point across.

'So,' he jabbed a finger on Nico's chest. 'Don't ever think you're useless and all the usual shit, okay?' The tone of his voice softened when he whispered the promise he would always declare to every other Spirit he encountered.

'Because even if the whole world rejects you, I will just accept you even more. For you, a thousand times over.'

The smile he saw was probably purer than any gold in mines all over the world.

'Great job, Juliet! Your Romeo's stats reached more than eighty percent. This operation is a success. Good job, people!' squealed the commander from the other side of the intercom, along with the wolf-whistles and cheers from the crews on Olympus. Percy grimaced at the dumb name-calling. 'Uh, Jason, I'm talking to myself, ignore me and get your butt across to Annie – sorry Perce, Sparky's getting suspicious.'

Percy heeded no words from Rachel. Right now, it appeared to him that a moment like this; cuddling up to his Spirit, feeling their heart beat with a single unified rhythm, felt more eminently important than everything else in the world.

Of course, Rachel has to be the party-pooper. 'What's the sitch, Frank? Oh, what the fu –.' One of the crew pressed on something that sounded gravely dangerous. 'Foreign signals intercepting the radar, Commander.' Percy felt himself raised his head in alarmed, surprising Nico.

'Secure your guard, Percy. DEM readings just a few meters from your location.'

Absolute crap.

||| Date a Nico |||

'So, I guess we Wizards are just too hot to have dates on Valentine or we're just plain gross in the eyes of the society.'

'You do realise you're talking to your captain, Malcolm Pain-in-the-Ass.'

'What? Heck, we slaughter living things for a living.'

'I don't think those monsters are even considered as living things. And at least we work for the government.'

Malcolm chuckled at Reyna's snide reference on those volatile Spirits. Somehow the combination of his higher-up's steel-hard demeanor and displeasured bitching would always bring him to stitches. His half-sister was nowhere to be seen, probably running off moping with Piper on their bad luck of having no dates.

He would rather hang out with his captain than with Annabeth right now, seemingly that they share the same crush they have been drooling over ever since he could remember.

'Hey, is that Percy Jackson?' Reyna inquired, her brown eyes staring through his soul as the girl pointed her thumb to a certain figure at one of the love seats on the Cherry Blossom Café's outdoor booths. Not exactly, but rather two figures intertwining with each other.

'Oh man, I thought he's into blondes!' groaned Malcolm in displeasure at the sight of the couple cuddling each other in their arms, their gaze locked together, deeply in pleasure and contentment. 'I'm not gay for nothing, for the love of Athena!'

'Stop your complaint, that's just a side note,' said Reyna to a pouty Malcolm. She was peering to his crush's date like a lone wolf stalking its prey. 'Let's get over there.'

Percy seemed to have noticed them from afar, his expression unreadable, yet sending out cautious vibes all over. 'Hey, Reyna and Mal! I didn't expect you guys to be here,' he greeted with that adorable mischievous grin of his. The black-haired boy besides him was deathly silent, his dark eyes judging their presence with suspicion.

Realisation nearly knocked him senseless when Reyna had her face contorted with recognition. That boy. Malcolm was still somewhat unsure, but from the lower part of his face, the boy looked no different from the hooded Spirit he had fought against a few weeks prior.

Spectre.

After a few worthless chit-chats with the couple (well, only with Percy, actually), Reyna nodded her head goodbye and turned to leave, Malcolm in tow. He waved goodbye to his crush, smiling feebly as the boy waved back. Percy's date gave a ghost of nod, seemingly only for courtesy and nothing more.

Walking astride Reyna once more, Malcolm noticed the girl frowning as her fingers tapped the screen of her phone furiously. She halted, assessing the surrounding before beckoning the blonde to sit with her on one of the love seats a few meters away from the couple.

Malcolm finally figured out the gist of the contraption his captain was working with. 'Reyna, seriously?' His surprised tone earned a death glare from the said brunette. 'Shut up, Mal. I know what I'm doing. I'm gonna shoot this just a little bit on his shoulder or any other body parts that won't harm his life, just a little bit pain enough to trigger something to prove he's a fucking Spirit. If he's a normal civilian, well, I can handle a month's suspension off-duty.'

'You're fucking out of your mind.'

Raising her phone with a weird assemble of the Realizer-armed gadget attached in position, she took her aim. The shot of the laser-like projectile went true, hitting the target. There was a yelp and the thud indicating a person falling to the floor. However, the name uttered seemingly was not predicted on the list.

'Percy!'

When the spacequake alarm blared deafeningly throughout the city, Malcolm saw the demented smile on Reyna's lips. 'We have a Spirit to kill.'

 

Chapter Text

Until he saw the blood trickling down Percy's side, Nico has already dared to envision the future. Of him and his beloved treading the path of life, grateful of the little things they have, overcoming whatever obstacles that may come across their journey, for a search of their own happiness.

The Spirit has earnestly believed that with Percy by his side, he could overcome anything. He would triumph over everything.

Alas, that was not meant to be.

And when he saw droplets of blood oozing down a path from the terrible gash on Percy's torso, staining the torn baby-breath blue fabric into a dark shade of crimson, he stumbled upon a cruel realisation.

That he will never find a place in this unforgivable world. A dangerous unstable being resented by life itself. This world has brutally denied him of his own existence.

He was foolish; trying to tempt the Fates to change what has always been the force of nature; the law that he, and all the Spirits, will never be accepted here.

For only a moment, for only a minuscule period of time; the world was black. And when light dared to give way for his vision to gradually clear up, a dreaded feeling clutched through his stomach in an iron-liked grip.

Percy was gone.

At that moment, all Tartarus has broken loose.

||| Date a Nico |||

Percy has not expected an ambush.

Particularly from two persons of the small knit-tight group of misfits he considered as friends. But when a mysterious bullet-like projectile hit him squarely on the left side of his stomach, its sharp end tauntingly glinting and protruding through his side of torso, he did not even get the concept of friendship that was supposed to exist.

All he felt was betrayal. And the white-hot pain gnawing at his side.

It took a considerably large amount of effort to raise his head and another to consciously grin, despite the pain, at the grief-stricken face that was Nico's. 'Its g – gonna be alright, really.' Of course the Spirit will never be convinced.

Especially when his mouth spouted out more blood, the red warm liquid trickling down his chin to his neck, his throat constricting as they clotted.

The agony he was enduring was probably so little in comparison to the anguished look on Nico's face. As so to the shadows swirling around the boy in a halo of darkness, and the sudden drop of temperature as the surrounding atmosphere froze in grave anxiety.

The operation that he and the crews of Ratatoskr have carefully devised, the date that he has thoroughly anticipated with bliss, all was useless. They were totally in vain when he saw the green laser dot targeting his Spirit, when he pushed his date away from the improbable danger, when he took the shot for his own risk.

'A spacequake has been detected in the area. All civilians, please evacuate to the nearest shelter. This is not a drill. I repeat; a spacequake has been detected in the area.' Accompanying the automated repetitive announcement, the blare of the siren was deafening as it echoed throughout the city, proving the calamitous situation that was about to unfold.

'Nico, don't –.'

He saw the sudden burst of black, and he thought that he has already lost consciousness. But when his sight focused back into sharpness, the ground was already about fifty feet below him. That was quite surprising for him.

He looked up and saw the grim face of Malcolm. The boy was carrying Percy bridal-styled, soaring through the cold air whipping past his face. Percy remembered the fact that he was a Wizard, highly-trained militaristic personnel serving the DEM Industries to fight Spirits. Through the technology of the Realizer, Wizards are capable of impossible feats for a human being like flight, handling destructive weapons and improvised strength. Malcolm was now clad in his winged Advanced Wiring Suit, equipped with an Advanced Combat Realizer-Unit, and two revolting-looking gun. Getting all the fancy gadgets from the government, he supposed. How he managed to change his outfit on such short notice was beyond Percy, though.

'Hey, Malcolm! Get me down there –,' he spurted blood on the blonde's cheeks, temporarily obscuring his speech. The serious look the Wizard sported did not betray a hint of disgust or revulsion, though. The stormy grey eyes just bore through him, seemingly worried.

'Shut up for a sec, please. You need medication.' Malcolm frowned. 'And what were you actually thinking, Perce? Trying to approach a Spirit and bringing him in to the public. That was stupid.'

Percy flinched. 'Oh, just stop your nonsense, smartass. You guys are the ones who hurt me.' It was Malcolm's time to flinch. 'I'm not that stupid to even risk seeing a Spirit. Wait, what were you trying to imply here, huh?' Percy coughed some more, weighing his options. Somehow he instinctively knew that Nico's identity should never be revealed. In pain, he did what he knew through expertise; playing dumb. He managed to sputter angrily, 'Nico is my date, and last time I checked, he's a normal human being.'

'Are you sure?'

'Yes, smartass, until that Spirit wrecked up our date! And now I lost Nico when you decided to play hero.'

Malcolm looked mildly surprised, uneasiness starting to show in his frowning face. And was that a blush, that faint red tinge on his cheeks? The blonde cleared his throat. 'Damn that Reyna. I told her not to do anything stupid. That's a rare one.' He chuckled darkly. 'She's cool, but when it comes to those damned Spirits, she couldn't fight the urge to kill. Even risking her friend's life.'

Percy rolled his sea green eyes at the Wizard. Malcolm looked at him back, an apologetic smile tugging at his lips. 'I'm kinda sorry?'

'Whatever, babe. Now, will you kindly get me back to the ground? Preferably an area with water.' He winced at the grappling pain. 'I – I have to find my sweet Valentine.'

||| Date a Nico |||

Immersing herself in the glorious knowledge of architecture was quite thrilling for a pretty nerd like Annabeth. Smiling slightly while reading through the facts on stability of constructions and artistic muse of ancient architects, she was mildly annoyed when her phone buzzed in frenzy. Lifting the iPhone up, Annabeth was surprised by the message she received.

Her superiors have declared a mission downtown, needing her assistance as Lieutenant Chase. There was a Spirit running rampant, emitting off a fair amount of Spiritual waves enough to alert the headquarters.

On a separate couch in the bookshop, the intercom was blaring in Rachel's ear, and so was her tablet, the screen now blinking red and signaling emergency. As if on cue, the whole area was deafened by the siren and the automated announcement urging them to evacuate into the shelters that were located in various parts of the city. 'Damn it.'

Jason, who was totally engrossed by the book on aviation that Rachel has finally bought for him (with a fair amount of persuasion), perked his head up, looking alarmed and slightly confused.

'Commander! The Spiritual powers flowing from Percy to Nico has reached a critical level! At this rate –'

'I know. The whole city's facing the risk of destruction. Nico would even destroy himself. For all we know, Percy's in danger. Transport me back on Olympus, now.'

'Yes, Commander.'

She has not noticed the blonde besides her, his scarred lips forming a thin line, staring apprehensively at the redheaded girl. Annabeth passed by their couch, bolting out through the bookshop's entrance whereas everyone was evacuating for the high-security shelters.

'Rach, where's Percy right now?' Jason asked, his tone of voice eerily calm. 'Uh…' Rachel's tongue went numb. Technically, they lied to the Spirit so he would not interrupt the operation. 'He's not in private tutoring, was he?' One of his eyebrows cocked upwards as he watched Rachel who has gone too silent.

'Rachel Elizabeth Dare, what do you mean that Percy's in danger?' There was an obvious demand in his tone now, and the girl knew that Jason was getting restless as the seconds passed by, shifting into what she called as his 'praetor' mode. If she delayed him the truth, it would only agitate the Spirit more. That must not happen.

'Jason, don't be mad at me or the crews. Or Nico. We kinda stole Percy so that he would spend a romantic date on Valentine with him.' She had her lips pursed as the Spirit fell silent, a frown forming on his golden eyebrows. 'It was the only way to save Nico from being another hunted Spirit again.'

Whether he was considerate to her pleas or he really was a good-natured young man with a brave kind heart, Rachel would never know, the moment Jason huffed in disappointment, his voice brimming with worry. 'Why didn't you ask for my help? If it would save Nico, sharing Percy even seemed worthwhile, Rach. Nico loved him dearly for that. And he's my buddy, too. If it keeps him safe, I'll be glad to help, you know?'

'I'm terribly sorry, Jason.'

'As long as you keep this book safe for me.' With that, the Spirit bolted out of the entrance into the chaos outside. 'Jason, no!'

||| Date a Nico |||

'Captain Ramirez-Arellano to HQ. Requesting two legions of fully-armed Wizards. Identified Spirit: Spectre.'

'Roger, Captain. Prepare for level-one capture. If it's persistent, open fire when necessary.'

Smirking victoriously at her profound achievement, Reyna activated her Territory; the generative magical field fuelled by the CR-Unit, immediately transforming her clothes into her Wiring Suit. Lifting off the ground, she was first startled by the sudden burst of darkness that dimmed the sunlight, deterring everyone's vision.

When the surrounding has finally cleared off, she anticipated the sight of her prey. Spectre. She cannot help but cackled slightly. 'Found you.'

Spectre was hovering in the air, his face half-concealed by the dark hood of his astral raiment, the signature armour that protected the Spirits; each of them differs from the other. Spectre was always the mysterious hooded figure, unearthly pattern decorating his strange garments. Having fighting the Spirit before, Reyna somehow knew that his astral raiment looked unfamiliar now, resembling more of a dark hoodie, rather than the cloak rippling of lost souls that he has always worn before disappearing off the radar.

'You surely thought this through, haven't you, Wizard? Summoning me like this, I didn't really expect that you wanted to die that much.'

'Shut up, Spirit. You are the cause of death yourself. Speaking of which, there was no spacequake happening right now. I'm surprised.'

'You and your foolish judgements. Those calamities are beyond our will. It happens when it happens, and I am powerless against that.'

'I don't give a damn about that bullshit,' Reyna spat. She could practically see the manic grin she loathed playing on the Spirit's lips.

'Amusing. Now that we know how desperate you are, then in Tartarus you will rot. Hades!' his roar invoked terror in Reyna's heart, though she suppressed it. Heeding his words, the shadowy nebulous clouds swirling lazily about the atmosphere formed into a giant spectral bloodhound, leaping around the air before pouncing into Nico's raised hand, materializing into an ancient iron sword, its blade as black as the darkest night, the sharp end glinting menacingly at Reyna.

The brunette's determined expression faltered if only for a bit. 'He summoned an angel.'

'Roger that. Captain, we have another hundred meters to cover before we reach you.'

Angels are not to be dealt easily with. They are the epitome of a Spirit's power, the absolute shield that protects its master from any possible threat. Spectre's angel was Hades, the sword that splits his enemies into shadows and the unrestricted spell raising the dead against his foes. The sovereign of the underworld itself.

The captain wasted no time as she raised her machine gun the moment her two requested legions of Wizards arrived at the scene. 'Conditions are green. Troops, open fire!

'Such futile approaches.' Nico swung Hades into the general direction of port, releasing a wave of shadows thus obscuring the bullets from the attacking Wizards. Their assault was futile as it was, the majority of the bullets shot bounced off the Spirit as if they were repelled by an invisible force field.

Restless, Reyna swung her own Realizer-powered blade at the Spirit, bringing the matter on her own. The two enemies parried through the hour, her subordinates holding fire as they watched the two powerful foes clashed their swords, each of them wearing a murderous expression on their faces.

Proving true to his realm of power, whenever the captain delivered the killer strike, Nico faded into the shadows before launching a surprise attack on Reyna's exposed back just as the latter condensed her Territory, thus blocking the hit. This unprecedented dance went on as the other Wizards watched with anticipation.

'I can sense that you're wearing out, huh? Surrender would suffice.'

'In your dreams.'

Reyna was a girl with the mission to destroy Spirits once and for all. Her darkest memories were fed by the vengeance of her past that fell victim to one of those creatures. Her attacks were rogue yet swift thus giving a hard time for the Spirit, whose powers were mostly sealed, to cling on to her pace.

'Captain, I'm coming in,' shouted a familiar voice, and Annabeth jumped into the scene, wearing a determined expression as she joined in the carnage. Reyna has that demented smile gracing her lips again. 'Perfect timing, Lieutenant. We will end this once and for all.' Nico cursed under his breath as he parried two blades at once, willing the shadows to aid him within the sparks of clashing weapons. The dead were far underground for him to summon. He was outnumbered.

'We will never yield, Spectre. Until your blood stains our hands.'

'Neither will me, then.'

||| Date a Nico |||

Before he tripped on the second rubble of bricks, Percy's intercom was blaring so loud he thought his eardrums would burst.

'Olympus to Percy. Olympus to Percy. Answer me, Jackson!' Rachel was screeching at the top of her lungs, her voice was so ear-splitting that the boy fought the urge to crush the small device with his foot. 'Can you just not scream, Dare?' The commander giggled in response. 'There you are, I thought you were dead. Seeing that you're still kicking, go to Nico, now. And find Jason too while you're at it.'

'Oh gods. Where'd he go?' he could feel panic rising in his chest. The Spirits he held responsibility of should have a few sessions with a therapist. They must know how to control their emotions to keep their powers down. Preferably with hot chocolate. 'We're pinpointing his coordinates. He's moving in an impossibly fast speed, Perce. Guess he had his powers back, too.' Yup, definitely a therapist, hot chocolates. And marshmallows. 'Man, can't they just stop worrying about me a bit?'

'Perhaps they need more action in bed,' another voice piped in, and Percy could hear the fuss from the intercom, followed by a groan of pain. 'Please keep your dirty thoughts in your own mind, pervert.' Apparently Rachel had kicked her vice commander in the guts, judging from the obsessed cackle coming from Octavian as he received the hit.

'Okay, he's engaged in a fight. Against twenty Wizards. Their powers may return to them, Perce, but it's limited. Their astral raiment and angels will not be powerful enough to protect them. As soon as you're there, let yourself be seen. Apparently he lost control because you disappeared.' Rachel was slightly panicking, and it was not helping his composure. 'You can blame Mal for that.'

Percy winced at the dull ache on his torso, his hands running through his hair. He lost the beanie already, praying that Rachel would not kill him. As soon as Malcolm landed besides a small pool, he had jumped out of the Wizard's arms into the water, immediately found relief amidst the pain in his wound. He was never sure if the unique ability of self-generative factor and healing powers were perks of being a human who can seal Spirits like him.

Water seems to be his life force, his wound closing up as soon as it was immersed the element, leaving just a faint scar. He sneaked away from the distracted Wizard soon after. Another field of his many expertises; stealth.

'There! Yes, just another two hundred meters. Look out for Wizards,' the commander instructed him as he ran along the deserted alleyway to the location he was prescribed with. He prayed that he was not too late. 'His stats are less than twenty percent. Emotions are severed. Oh man, if we reach Category E –'

'Just shut it, Rachel. I know.' Percy kept the sob aching in his throat from bursting out, wiping his moistened eyes. If Nico's readings reduce more than negative, the hope that he will return to Percy's side is critically thin. The Spirit would lose himself.

Percy was not so sure if he would live with the loss. What he knew was that he would never forgive himself by then.

||| Date a Nico |||

He was on the verge of defeat.

A blast from the two Wizards hit him squarely on the chest and Nico was smashed against a wall, which crackled slightly under the brute force. He groaned as the sharp pain travelled throughout his spine on the pressure. His once invincible astral raiment was losing its powers and he lost Hades when Annabeth slashed it out of his grip.

'Finally. This is the end.' Smiling slightly, Reyna's hand clasped around the Spirit's throat. Under the sudden constriction, he spat blood on her face, still having the will to grin mockingly at the Wizard. Reyna seemed not to be bothered at all, raising her blade and slowly drawing a single cut on his cheek, chuckling with satisfaction. 'Die in humiliation it seems, Spirit?'

'A – At least I die avenging my love.'

His breathing was ragged and his voice was raspy as Reyna blocked air from travelling to Nico's lungs. The awful grin that was still plastered on Spectre's face irritated Reyna. Spitting in disgust, she raised her sword, ready for the kill.

'What love is there for you, monster? Never in this world, nor the next.'

In the blink of an eye, a white-hot lightning bolt arched through the heavens, striking Reyna and sent her soaring through the violent air. Her sharp senses worked just in time for her to activate her protective Territory, preventing herself from being entirely burnt by the sudden assault. Nico dropped to the ground, half-conscious and greatly weakened. All of the Wizards glanced upwards.

'Ah, you blocked? Nice reflexes.'

A rainstorm was brewing as thunder rumbled in a distance. Amidst the swirling dark clouds, a caped figure was hovering in the air howling violently around him. 'Come forth, Jupiter.' The angel heeded to its master's command as lightning struck his raised hand, manifesting as a golden gladius, crackling with a surge of electricity.

'Jason Grace.'

Annabeth narrowed her eyes. The boy, sans glasses, smirked at the sound of his name. Slightly licking his scarred upper lip, Jason swiftly evaded the Wizard's sudden attack. Sparks flew as their blades clashed. Running his fingers through his golden hair, the Spirit decided to play the game with wit and a fair share of taunts. 'I know you haven't found a date yet, but you don't have to ruin other people's Valentine.'

The frustrated scream that Annabeth released as she opened fire with her machine gun was enough to let Piper know how infuriated her friend was. Hovering along the other Wizards as she tended to the slightly injured Reyna, the second lieutenant was intrigued by the appearance of the Spirit, her cheeks tinged pink at the sight of her crush. There was a hint of uncertainty in her voice. 'All personnel, switch targets to Thunder.'

Serving the purpose of his intervention, Jason knew they would fall for the bait. The purple cape of his astral raiment, threaded with gold, flapped on his back as he soared through the violent wind with inhuman speed, nineteen Wizards tailing him, the sound of their guns drowned by the tempest. Too bad the bullets could not even reach him. Even if they did, his astral raiment would protect him while it last. Aided by Jupiter, he soared upwards through the heavens, sending bolts to the accursed pursuers and watching them plummeting to the ground.

The lieutenant was the only stubborn one to fall, or to die for that matter, casting him a murderous glare as she drew her blade. They were forgetting that he was in his realm, where he was most powerful. Jupiter crackled menacingly in his grip. 'I won't let you kill him,' Jason growled, pissed off by her determination. Annabeth responded, 'Likewise, I'm only interested in killing you.'

'I'm honoured. Hope you would catch up with me in this dance. Jupiter!'Annabeth has not even the time to evaluate his movements when Jason suddenly whirled towards her like a blast of lightning, jabbing her with the gladius. Agile as he was, the Spirit was not aiming to kill her, leaving enough time and sense for Annabeth to block the attack just in time. Except that there was a sharp smell of singed hair. The wizard shrieked furiously, 'Damn you!' earning an amused smile from her foe, who chuckled slightly.

The clashing sounds of a laser blade against an angel were enough to shake the heavens in terror.

Underneath the darkened sky and the reverberating sounds of weapons all around him, Percy dashed through the pouring rain, panting hard from the long-distance run. Looking all around him, Percy spotted the sprawled figure of Nico under a tilted column of a building. Relief surged through him that he almost sobbed, his lungs burning from the lack of air.

'Nico, you okay?'

'Wha – Percy? Is that you?' his voice was unrecognizable from its smooth tone, now raspy and gravelled. He could see that it took quite an effort for the Spirit to speak. 'You're… alive?' Hearing those words, tears were streaming down his red cheeks, and he softly hit Nico in the chest repeatedly (not helping) in relieving anger. 'You stupid, stupid thing! Of course I am. It's you we I've been worried sick! You could've gotten yourself killed!'

He cried feebly in Nico's chest, embracing him in a tight hug. 'If you die, how can I live with that, Nico?' his voice was muffled against the fabric, and Nico smiled (which looked more like a grimace), his fingers twirling the soft black curls. 'I'm sorry, mio amore. I thought you were gone, and I panicked.' Cupping the boy's face, watching the long eyelashes shading the somewhat reddened sea green eyes, he wiped a stray tear, despite the rain, off Percy's flushed cheeks.

The boy puffed his cheeks in annoyance. 'Forget you saw me crying,' he said stubbornly. 'Sisi,' said Nico affectionately, observing how sexily adorable his prince looked right now, with wet messed-up hair, blushing cheeks, his soft lower lip bitten in mock irritation. His sweatshirt clung to his wet body. The Spirit gulped, drowning himself in obscene fantasies, well, until they were rudely thwarted by a large explosion near them. Both boys perked up and evaluated the surrounding danger.

About fifty meters away from them, Reyna was regaining her strength, pushing herself off the ground to stand, albeit trembling slightly. Piper was gone to assist Annabeth battling Thunder. Turning her head around, her eyes zeroed in upon the slightly indiscernible sight in the heavy rain. The readings on her monitor showed highly concentrated Spiritual activity above them and a weak signal just ahead. 'Spectre.'

'Percy, the captain's closing in! Nico's powers are dangerously volatile; you might need to reseal him again.'

'R – Roger.'

He glanced up towards the sky and turned back to face Nico. 'Can you get Jason to be here?' he asked, and the Spirit nodded briefly. He raised his hands and manifested Hades once more, using what little strength that was left of him. The angel materialized in a swirl of shadows, its long blade pointed towards the darkened sky.

'You!' A familiar voice shouted, and they saw the silhouette of Reyna limping towards them behind the curtain of pouring rain, her blade unsheathed, her stance preparing to attack. Nico flicked his wrist. The ground crumbled underneath the captain who was advancing twenty meters from them. 'What the hell is this?' She struggled against the corpses rising from the ground, their limbs of rotting hands and feet grabbing her legs, obscuring her from moving forward. Nico had summoned the dead.

'Now, Percy!'

Nico swung the sword, releasing a dangerous blast of shadows that rushed in between the battle above. Both enemies was stunned as Annabeth was blocked by darkness when she was about to land a stab on Jason's vulnerable torso. The Spirit glanced downwards and saw Percy and Nico together. Heaving a sigh of relief, he plummeted towards the ground, leaving a trail of violent wind behind to prevent unwanted entities from following him.

'When Jason's here, we must leave.'

Percy grabbed Nico's shoulders and stared through his eyes, his lips parted slightly as he shifted his position on the Spirit's lap. His short hitched breaths warmed the Spirit's face. Brushing off the stray strands of hair from Nico's forehead, he said in tone softer than usual, 'Close your eyes.' The Spirit obliged, his heart hammering in his chest.

His lips were captured by the boy's soft ones. The kiss was smooth and warm, despite the cold all around them. Chaste and unguarded, like leaves twirling lazily in the summer wind. Mildly salty like the sea and purely sweet like sugary strawberries. As magical as their first. The kiss deepened when they felt the other Spirit approaching, Percy's beautiful eyes, as green as the border of sea and land, half-lidded and glazed with desire.

'Now.'

'Hades,' he whispered against the rosy lips.

What the Wizards could only see was the arc of lightning bolt vanished in a swirl of shadows and darkness before disappearing completely. He could only see dark when Percy lost his remaining consciousness into the void as they shadow-travelled away from the ruins of buildings.

'I need status this instant,' her teeth were gritted as Reyna felt her stomach boiling with rage and contempt, her eyes glaring at the charred and soot-blackened spot where the Spirits had vanished.

'Insufficient readings to continue tracking. Ma – Madam, targets are lost.'

The remaining Wizards winced as they endured Reyna's furious screams. 'Curse you, damned Spirits!'

||| Date a Nico |||

Percy woke up to find a sleeping Jason sitting by the side of his bed, his head rested on the soft covers near Percy's feet, lips parted as he snored softly. Leaning slightly to the left, he felt another figure lying by his side, the arms embracing his waist possessively. Nico, who was muttering gibberish in his sleep.

'They refused to leave your side.'

Rachel was carrying a tray full of each little pieces of Elysium he could ever wish for, a stack of mini plump pancakes drowned with maple syrup, crunchy French toast and a mug of hot chocolate with an assortment of marshmallows, all blue. 'Sally's worried.'

'Oh,' was all he could say, feeling a little bit guilty for not calling his mum this weekend. 'I told her you're fine. You're okay, right?' the commander inquired, her eyebrows raised. Nodding slowly, he licked his lips as Rachel sat the tray on his lap. He looked around to find all of them in Olympus' sickbay. 'How long have I been here?'

'Just a few hours. Look, Malcolm called.' His mouth was full of pancake as he looked at Rachel in apprehension. She flipped open his phone that was in her possession since gods-know-when. The girl continued, 'He said he apologised. Reyna too. They're worried.' He felt his lips cracked into a grin, syrup drooling out. 'Hm?'

'Yup. She told me so. "Rachel, can you tell Percy I'm sorry for almost killing him and his boyfriend?" And no, she didn't know Nico's identity,' she answered the silent question, looking at his shocked expression. 'Annie also sent a message. "Seaweed Brain, you owe me a salon hair treatment session and Jason Grace's head in a silver platter." She said it's for Piper, whatever that means,' said the red-haired girl absentmindedly. He felt himself grimaced at that. The said blonde shifted some in his sleep at the mention of his name.

'Apparently they didn't find out that the unknown civilian outside the shelters sitting on Spectre's lap was you. Heavy rain Jason caused there. Nico wore his hoodie, and you convinced Malcolm that he's not what he's supposed to be. And yeah, Jason's not wearing his glasses, so he looked just like Thunder. No reason to suspect him, as well. Even if the unfortunate happens, Ratatoskr can back him up.'

The commander cleared her throat. 'Speaking of which, we did manage to cover up the tracks you left for DEM to sniff out the Spirits' presence. Even though both of them,' she motioned at the two sleeping figures besides him, 'are still in the list of most wanted, our dearest archenemy decided on focusing their Wizards to Vengeance, the one-eyed Spirit, whose Spiritual waves were detected in this city quite often lately. Rest assured, we have a moment of rest for ourselves.'

Percy found himself heaving an exaggerated sigh of relief after realising that he was holding his breath. That was too good to be true. 'Thank the gods.' He glanced at the sleeping face of Nico, tracing the Spirit's jaw with his fingers, merely brushing against the smooth skin. 'He's safe now?'

Rachel flipped open the leather cover of her tablet, nodding briefly. 'I had Octavian and Chiron looked into this matter. The anomaly's gone. You managed to reseal him the moment you arrived here with that disgustingly intense kiss and yeah, all is well.' Her fingers were a blur as she swiped on the screen furiously. 'What had me surprised was that Jason's powers were gone as well.'

'I didn't kiss him, did I?'

'Nope. I figured that he managed to obtain and return his powers at his own will. His emotional state was stable all along, so our theory is that he kinda borrowed his powers from you through the 'pass', due to his determination in protecting you. Same case happened with one of the sealed Spirits in Japan. It's all still undergoing research.'

It took a minute for him to process the non-stop information he received in his brain. Getting a lot of different topics to think was not helping his ADHD. Sensing his troubles, Rachel giggled. 'I'm going to leave you scatterbrains peacefully, okay? Rest well, Perce.' She turned her back to the door.

'And don't be naughty with your boys, eh?'

Percy felt his cheeks burned. He threw a pillow at the girl, who cackled with glee upon being hit at the backside of her head. 'Dumbass!'

He rested his head on the pillow once again, setting the tray on the table besides the bedpost, his eyes watching the night sky glittering with a milky path of stars outside the window. They did it. Nico was saved, and all that was left was to paint life to be as inviting and colourful for his Spirits. And all the other Spirits waiting to be sealed and freed from the cruel reality of this world. He would save them, not just to prevent the spacequakes, and looking past the scars and the taints, to also show them how beautiful this world really is.

He shifted on the bed and lied on his side, facing the calm expression of the sleeping Nico. As if in a trance, his head tilted forward, indulging their breaths, his lips quivering at the warm sensation. Nico's dark eyes suddenly blinked open. 'Why did you stop, bello?' he asked with a smile, noticing the gaping face of Percy, who halted his face just in time. He blushed and nodded, before his lips were captured by the Spirit's in a hungry kiss, all tongues and licks and the clacking of teeth.

'Did you have the rose?' The question hung in the air as Percy was caught off guard when both were catching up their breath afterwards. Feeling for his pocket, his hand retrieved the crystalline art piece, sadly shattered into two pieces when he fell down from the shot.

'I'm sorry, Perce. I should've given a real rose. But absolute blue roses are not real, they're either painted or lack pigmentation in a real rose. They wilt. I learnt glass-blowing in the art class at school, and I thought I would give it a try. A glass rose will last longer.' He sighed, his fingers twirling at the broken piece of the stem, while Percy fidgeted with the flower. The boy was prompted to ask, 'Why did you choose the colour blue?'

'Well, firstly, it's your favourite colour.' Percy found himself nodding enthusiastically at the truth. 'Secondly, a blue rose is a symbol of rarity and extraordinary. You are extraordinary beautiful, my prince. You're mysterious and unpredictable, adding up to your charming traits. I love you for that.' Percy snorted, although his blushing cheeks betrayed his frowning face. When Nico became poetic, he felt very unguarded and vulnerable. 'You keep calling me beautiful. Come on, I'm handsome, and smoking hot.' Nico chuckled. 'That, too.'

'Well, it's a good thing it's broken. Nico, you meant well, but from my point of view, despite being extraordinary and mysterious, the blue rose is not real. Being a rose of fantasy, it's…' he struggled for the right word, '… unattainable. Unreachable. Our love must never be that.'

'And you're saying I'm sickly poetic,' deadpanned Nico before both laughed softly.

It was true. The shattered piece has not lost its beauty, but being broken means that what lies as a possible threat for their relationship will never be true. It will always stay that way, preserved, mysterious and forever attainable.

'Gods, I love you.' Nico drowned himself in Percy's scent, salty and demure. He felt hunger in the pit of his stomach, the need to touch.

His tongue traced the shell of the boy's ear, eliciting a whimper. It trailed downwards, lips nipping the earlobe before finding its way to Percy's exposed neck. He was shivering, the Spirit realised, as he planted feverish kisses on his prince's jaw line. Making its way back at the neck, he licked against the smooth skin and –

They were rudely interrupted by a fake and exaggerated cough.

'I'm right here, dude.' Jason did not look pleased at the sight of Percy's red kiss-swollen lips, at his mussed hair and the sneaky hands of Nico exploring their beloved's well-toned body. The other Spirit ignored him and proceeded on sucking at the exposed skin joining the neck and shoulder, eliciting a moan from the boy, Nico's eyes half-lidded and glinting mischievously at Jason. His cunning tongue left a mark on the sun-kissed skin, much to the blonde's chagrin. 'Is that a hickey?'

Frustratingly messing his golden hair, Jason wiped his face roughly with his hands before taking in a deep breath. 'You. Had. Him. For a whole. Fucking. Day.' Nico smirked, obviously pleased to throw Jason in a state of envious rage. 'Did I? Yay.'

Jason took three more consecutive deeper-than-normal breaths to withhold the building anger. Deliberately unbuttoning his shirt, his arms splayed on the bed, the Spirit whispered at Percy in the most charming manner possible. 'Don't you want me?' The boy could not just say 'no,' to the half-lidded electric blue eyes, gulping his drool at the sight of the broad shoulders and toned pale chest.

Nico pushed the blonde away with his foot. 'No, we're not interested,' he said, earning a snarl from his friend. Percy decided to intervene before any battle commence. 'Boys, stop it. I need to rest.'

The look on Jason's face was disturbing when an idea hit his cunning brain. 'Let's have a little competition, di Angelo.' Nico smirked, sensing that Jason's idea was exactly brewing in his mind as well. 'Bring it on, Grace.'

'Whoever turns Percy on will have the rights to his body tonight. Methods are not limited, and you're so gonna lose.'

'Really? I can see the evident result already.'

'Why do I feel like I'm being the whore, here?' Percy piped in annoyed.

Calypso, the medical officer on duty aboard Olympus, was busy scribbling notes on her notepad before verifying her identification code to the entrance of the sickbay. Humming a melodious tune as a little entertainment for herself, she opened the door to find two stark naked Spirits doing gods-know-what at her patient.

The scream was enough to alert the whole crew at the main bridge. Watching the poor girl with her caramel braided hair in disarray running around hysterically informed Rachel enough. 'Get my camera!'

'And you're telling me I'm a pervert.'

'Tavy, sweetheart, go burn your teddy bears before I whack you senseless with this hairbrush.'

Under the pale moonlight and the pleasant warmth of his lovers' bodies, Percy Jackson the saviour of Spirits, had the hottest Valentine night never like before.

He was just glad Nico was there for him.

||| Date a Nico |||

One human walks down a dangerous path alone.

To save the Spirits.

To bring them to his side.

To the side of the Spirit who subdue other Spirits.

||| End |||

Terminology (that I hardly press in this fic) of the Date a Live universe:

Angel: The absolute shield that protects the Spirits. Its form, ranging from monsters to weapons, all reflects upon the Spirits themselves. Unlike the original angels in the novels, which are named after the Abrahamic religious angels, I took the privilege of the names of our heroes' godly parent as their respective angels.

Astral raiment/dress: The Spirits' armour or clothing created by their power. Upon sealing, they will disappear along with Spirits' power, but can be retain if the Spirits demonstrated the power they retrieved from the sealer in a small limited form and a much weaker state.

Territory: Sphere of influence created by a Wizard's CR-Unit allowing them capable of feats normal human being cannot achieve; flight, barrier creation, improvised strength, weaponry attacks, trap etc.

Spacequake: A large-scale disaster caused by the large bend on the walls between dimensions when Spirits arrive in this world.

Source: Date a Live wikia.

Glossary of what little Italian that was mentioned:

Mio amore: My love.

Si: Yes.

Bello: Beautiful.