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Can't Find the Word

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***

There are, of course, so many things that Will loves about Nico. But Nico’s voice is on the top five of the list. There’s just something so mesmerizing about it. The way Nico stretches some syllables while pronouncing it makes his voice while talking sounds so melodious, almost like he’s singing.

That’s one of the reasons why Will likes to ask Nico to tell him stories. About his past life that he could remember. About the places that he has gone to while shadow-traveling, whether it’s accidental or no (Nico still refuses to talk about Albania, even though Will has pleaded). About the Underworld and Hades’ Palace. Yes, Will loves those stories because he loves knowing more about Nico. But listening to those stories also means listening to Nico’s voice. So that’s a bonus.

And that’s what Will is doing this afternoon, while he’s writing up some reports on his table in the infirmary. Nico is telling him about that one time when he accidentally ended up in a castle in Scotland when he was doing an errand for Hades.

“It’s a beautiful castle but I can feel that there’s … a very strong Mist around it,” Nico says. “And even though I was so intrigued I don’t want to-“

Nico pauses abruptly. Will lifts his head up and finds Nico waving a medium-sized journal at him.

“What is this?”

Will tilts his head to the left. He easily recognizes the bright red cover of the journal. “Oh, that’s our record for the injuries and casualties caused by the Hermes kids.”

Nico chuckles. “Why am I not surprised to find that you have a special record for Hermes kids?”

Will shrugs his shoulders. “Well, you know how a Hermes kid is a synonym for a prank. And let’s just say that the number of pranks that went wrong is quite…fascinating.”

Will goes back to his report while Nico makes his way to sit on another chair. He snorts as he flips the book open and goes through the pages.

“Of course. The only cabin that can cause almost as much explosion as the Hephaestus Cabin will be the Hermes cabin. Rash…Another case of rash…a dislocated shoulder… Rash…”

Nico turns his head to Will. “The infirmary also has to deal with a change of hair color? I don’t think it’s an injury!”

Will shrugs a shoulder but keeps on writing. “Some of the Aphrodite kids think that it is an injury.”

Nico rolls his eyes. “Yeah. To their dignity, I guess.”

Nico continues reading the record, giving a dry comment here and there, sometimes letting out a snort or a short laugh. And Will is content enough to listen to Nico’s melodious voice.

“I know that Hermes kids are fun to be with,” Nico says while his finger tracing the lines of writing in the book. “They’re nice people. Pretty cool people. Just don’t ever let Cecil know that I say that. But this record is just another evidence that they’re some pranksters who can be sly and devious and… and…”

It takes a few seconds before Will realized that Nico has just stopped talking. He lifts his head up from the papers in front of him, and finds Nico is glaring at the ceiling. The journal is now lying on the cot next to the chair that Nico is sitting on.

“Uh… Nico?”

“What?” Nico keeps glaring at the ceiling, his arms folded over his chest, like the ceiling has offended him and now he’s waiting for the ceiling to apologize.

“What is it? You suddenly just…become quiet.”

Nico lets out a strange guttural sound, like he’s frustrated about something.

“I can’t remember the word!” He exclaims, throwing his hands to the air dramatically.

Will raises his eyebrows, a bit amused. “What word?”

“The word that I want to use!” Nico says, snapping his head around to Will. He’s now glaring at Will like Will was just snatching away the last piece of his McDonald’s fries.

Will blinks He tries his best but he can still feel an amused smile creeping in to his lips.

“And you want to use the word to…”

“Hermes kids! What comes in your mind when you want to describe a Hermes kid?”

Reckless?”

“No! Not that one!”

Quick?”

“No!”

Wicked?”

Nico huffs and shakes his head. “No!” He starts to gesture wildly with his hand. “It’s like.. naughty but not like… exactly naughty but more…they have their ways to do prank-“

Prankster?”

“No! Argh. It’s… This word is at the tip of my tongue!”

Will scrunches up his eyebrows a little. “Uh…cunning?”

“No! And it’s not malicious either. It’s not  malizioso . More like…  birichino ?” Nico shakes his head again and lets out another groan. “Hermes! He’s the god of traveling and language and thieves and…”

“Hermes is also the god of trade and mischief…Oh!”

Nico’s face lights up as something clicked in Will’s mind. That’s it!

“Mischievous!” Will half-shouts, feeling a rush of pride for finding the word.

“Yes! Yes! That’s the word! Mischievous!”

In a split second, the glare and frustrated look on Nico’s face disappears, replaced by a bright satisfied smile. Nico picks up the journal from the cot.

“And as I was saying, this record that you have here.…” Nico just continues reading the journal loudly, as if he didn’t just have spent a few minutes frantically trying to remember a word.

From where he’s sitting, Will stares at his boyfriend, smiling fondly at the Italian.

“Hey, Nico?”

Nico stops reading. He brushes some dark strand of hair from covering his eyes as he lifts his head up, meeting Will’s eyes.

“Yeah?”

“You’re cute.”

Nico rolls his eyes and mumbles something that Will doesn’t catch. But Will is happy enough to see how his words make Nico’s cheeks turn into a dark shade of red.

Will looks back to his report, and smiles as he thinks about how he loves his cute boyfriend so much.

***