Nico di Angelo had had enough. He had been having this insecurity for weeks now, and he didn't know how to overcome it. He tried talking to people like Jason Grace (this guy was so useless about feeling-related things), Piper McLean (her advice was pretty good but since she could use charmspeak, Nico didn't trust her much. Nico did feel better after he talked to her, but few hours later, his insecurities came back and hit him harder than before), and Reyna.

From all three, Reyna's advice was actually the best. Instead of assuring him that his insecurity was just an absurd thought, she said that Nico should talk to someone who had had similar feelings, and ask them how things turned out.

So, that was why Nico was standing in the middle of the woods now, throwing Happy Meals onto the ground in a circle. After he recited the summoning spell, a ghost appeared in front of him, and Nico gasped quietly when he realized how similar the ghost's face was to his. The curly dark hair, the dark eyes, and the skinny face. Only the ghost was transparent.

"Patroclus," said Nico, calling the ghost's name.

Patroclus looked at Nico. "Who are you?"

"I am Nico di Angelo. Son of Hades."

"And for what reason have you summoned me?"

Unlike the other ghosts Nico had summoned before, Patroclus was not angry or rude. Most ghosts didn't like being summoned but Patroclus seemed really easy to talk to.

"I… I have something to ask."

"And what is that?"

"About you… and Achilles."

When Patroclus heard Achilles' name, a soft smile appeared on his transparent face. "Ah, Achilles," he said. "The most beautiful person I'd ever encountered. As bright as the sun. What about me and Achilles?"

Listening to Patroclus' describe Achilles, Nico couldn't help but smile. "Did you ever… ever feel insecure about him leaving you? Did you ever think about why he chose you because he was so beautiful and you didn't think that you deserved someone like him?"

Patroclus didn't answer Nico's question immediately. He just floated there, in front of Nico, examined Nico with his dark-transparent eyes. Nico was afraid that Patroclus would snap at him because of his impishness, summoned him and asked him those sensitive questions. But then Patroclus smiled and Nico could feel his transparent hand on Nico's shoulder.

"I was far younger than you when I first met Achilles. He was a prince and I was an exile. I also thought that he was beyond my reach. Even his mother hated me."

Nico stayed still, listening.

"But if Fates wanted two people to be together, together they would be."

"Did you ever doubt his feelings?"

Patroclus touched Nico's hair. Nico pretty sure that Patroclus was around his age because he still had this teenager's look. Hero's lives back then were more difficult, so it was not weird to die young.

"Your insecurities are absurd, Nico di Angelo. Parting is a common thing. Just embrace what you have now."

Nico opened his mouth again, but before he could say something, Patroclus disappeared, and Nico swore in ancient Greek. He should've brought more Happy Meals.

"Just like he said."

Nico alerted himself but before he could attack his unknown visitor, he recognized him. It was Apollo himself who appeared before him.

"Lord Apollo," Nico managed to watch his attitude.

"Nah, drop the formality. Just call me Apollo. So, about what you've consulted to Patroclus, I agree with him. You don't have to worry."

Nico avoided Apollo's gaze. "I don't understand."

"Oh, come on, Nico. You don't have to play dumb in front of me. I know that you and my son, Will Solace, are in a relationship right now. And a good one too. I don't oppose that."

Nico's eyes widened. Apollo knew that one of his sons was not straight and he was okay with that?

"Don't be so surprised," said Apollo again, Nico felt like Apollo was reading his mind. "I myself have a history. You know the story between me, my dear Hyacinth and that jerk Zephyr. If it was not because of your father let me to keep Hyacinth body and turn him into a very beautiful flower, I could never move on."

Nico didn't know how to respond to that. Knowing that his father even involved in Apollo's love life was even more shocking than the fact that Apollo was okay with his relationship with Will.

"So, back to the topic. Stop your insecurities, Nico. If only you could look at yourself from Will's eyes, you would definitely stop over thinking about everything."

"What do you mean?"

Apollo smiled and caressed Nico's cheek. "Will talked to me about you."

Nico could only stare.

"Since the first time he saw you in the camp during Battle of Manhattan era, he's grown to love you. He prayed to me about that. He was so sincere about his feelings towards you. And I believe you also feel the same."

"But…," Nico stuttered. "You might be okay with us, what how about my father?"

Apollo laughed and something about his way of laughing reminded Nico about Will. Like father like son. "You don't have to worry about that. I talked to your father already."

This time, Nico thought that his heart stopped beating. "My father knows?"

Apollo nodded. "He loves you, my dear. He just wants you to be happy. And when I brought him the news, he was so happy he let Persephone visit her mother in Olympus for the day. Well, he also told me that if my son ever hurt you in any way, he would torture him in ways that death would make death look better, but putting that threat aside, he is okay."

Nico couldn't talk for a moment, and when he found his voice, "I still don't think that I deserve Will."

Apollo wagged his tongue. "If I say that I would gladly take you under my wings if my son wasn't so smitten about you, would it increase your confidence?"

Nico blushed at Apollo's words, made the God of Son caressed his cheek once again. "You really are cute. You remind me of Hyacinth and you can also see your resemblance of Patroclus. I just hope that this time, The Fates will be kinder so your fate won't end tragically like my dear Hyacinth and Patroclus."

And with that, Apollo disappeared, leaving Nico alone in the middle of the woods.


"Where have you been?" pestered Will when Nico came back to the camp. Will was already waiting for him in the border between camp and woods. He looked worried and also a little bit offended.

"Um, my father needed me so I had go to go to his palace. Sorry for not telling you about that."

Will sighed and without warning, pulled Nico into his embrace. He didn't even care there were some campers around and staring at them.

"I thought you were leaving me."

Will's words made Nico realize that Will had insecurities too. In the back of his mind, he could hear Apollo's voice, 'See?'

"Don't ever do that again, okay? At least tell me where you go next time so I don't worry so much. Doctor's orders."

Nico chuckled, and let Will lead him back to the camp. "Let's have dinner and let me cuddle to you tonight," Will said, giving Nico a quick kiss.

Everyone was right. His insecurity was nonsense.

Disclaimer: Rick Riordan

I guess I just love writing about insecurities. And, guys, you should read The Song of Achilles.

(Originally posted at Ao3. December 31, 2014)