Hey guys!

Time for another prompt in response to Camp Jupiter (link in my bio if you want to check it out.) This time, I'm honouring Pride parades because I couldn't go to the one held in my city a few days ago.

Cohort: Fifth.

Prompt: 7. "I don't care if you don't want my help, I'm doing it anyway."

Disclaimer: I do not own this characters. Also, the title of this one-shot is directly taken from The 1975's song with the same name.

Hope you guys like this! Cheers for reading and remember to fav, follow and review :).

"Loving Someone."

Nico didn't expect to feel so conflicted.

Pride parades were experiences in which he wasn't unnerved by the huge amount of color in the streets. For once, the crowd around him was welcoming, instead of intimidating. The music that resonated from the loudspeakers - all of them strategically placed throughout the length of the parade - was cheerful instead of annoying.

Still, Nico was an introvert. He would admit so proudly to anyone who asked but it didn't mean public gatherings such as Pride parades took a toll on him. The fact that he didn't mind crowds so much on those days didn't mean that they weren't exhausting. Also, him not minding the loud music or the cheerful atmosphere around him didn't mean that he wasn't utterly drained by the time he got back home.

So, just like every year, the time to hold the annual Pride parade arrived but this time, Nico had made his choice. He wouldn't go out to the streets.

He would stay at home.

Considering that this year, the parade marched right through his street, it really wasn't that different from the usual experience. Also, the balcony of his apartment on the first floor had a perfect view of the crowd below him so Nico figured it would be alright.

Still, as he sat on the cool floor tiles of his balcony, a beer in hand and his eyes on the scene before him, Nico couldn't help but feel nostalgic. He took in the laughter that seemed to be erupting continuously from the crowd, people of all ages and sizes getting their faces and bodies painted with bright colors or dancing without a care in the world.

From time to time he could distinguish the epic tunes of 'Born This Way', 'Vogue' or 'Dancing Queen' while clouds of multicolor confetti enveloped the attendants every few minutes. From where he sat, Nico could sense the undiluted, pure joy that enveloped the vivid, brilliant crowd and before too long, the familiar knot of anguish was tangible in his throat.

Nico cleared his throat self-consciously and reached for his beer. It went without saying that the problem wasn't his home, for he felt perfectly comfortable in his small apartment. The problem was that, while he had reckoned he would feel better by doing what was comfortable for him, he still felt as if he should be out there. It was Pride, after all.

The sudden ringing from his cellphone startled him out of his thoughts. Rolling his eyes as he recognized the intro song from the She-Ra' series, Nico slid his finger across the screen of his I-phone to take the call. "Really, Reyna? Putting 'Warriors' as my ringtone was the best prank you could come up with?"

"Well, no." Nico could hear the smirk in his best friend's voice. "But it was actually Thalia's idea. You know she still hasn't forgiven you for mocking Mermista."

"Tell your idiotic girlfriend to stop messing with my phone, will you?" Nico snapped moodily, the scowl darkening his features deepening as he heard Thalia's distant cackle as Reyna delivered the message. "Are you guys on your way to the parade?"

Reyna and Thalia were co-leaders of an activist group called The Huntresses, which was dedicated in advocating of LGBTIQ+ community' rights and the rights of women in general. Every year, they were essential parts when it came to organizing each parade.

"We have just left the Huntress Headquarters," Reyna confirmed, her voice slightly distracted. Nico was sure the klutz that was her best friend was trying to lock the office's front door while she also talked to him. "Are you there already? Tell me where you are and I'll meet you there."

"Um," Nico stammered as he raised to his feet, panic extending through every inch of his being as he realized he hadn't told Reyna about his plans. "So, about that…"

"Nico Di Angelo, what did you do?"

Nico gulped nervously as he took in his friend's threatening voice. Reyna had only used that voice on a number of occasions and each time had been downright terrifying for him. "I'm actually not going to the parade this year. I'm watching it from home."

Nico bit his lip in an anxious manner as nothing but silence came from the other end of the line. Then, his eyebrows raised when Reyna didn't reply to him, but rather began to bid her farewells to the other girls.

"What are you doing?" Nico asked, his voice tense with dread.

"I'm going to your place," Reyna replied in a tone that suggested he should have guessed. "Do you have food at your place? I'm getting us some pizza if you don't."

"But Reyna you worked hard to get everything ready for the Parade, you should be there!" Nico argued with a stubborn huff. "I don't need your company or your help or anything, I promise I'm okay."

"I don't care if you don't want my help, I'm doing it anyway." Reyna retorted, her stubbornness matching his. "Now, do you want pizza or do you want me to make a trip to the McDonalds near your place? Also, do you have beer at your place? We are not celebrating Pride without beer."

Nico sighed, sitting on the floor of his balcony with a resigned smile on his face. As much as he tried, he would never be able to match the obstinacy of Reyna Ramirez Arellano. "Fine, I'll order the pizza while you're on your way but I refuse to watch She-Ra while you're here and I don't care about the obsession you and Thalia might have with it."

"We'll see," Reyna's voice was smug. "See you soon."

Nico lowered the phone from his ear after Reyna finished the call but, as he was going to lock its screen, he realized with a confused frown that he had a new text. Opening it up, he realized it was from Reyna.

'Really, dude. There are lots of ways to celebrate Pride but I don't know a better one than the one in which I celebrate with my best friend.

P.S: If you drink all the beer before I make it there, you're dead.'

Nico snorted with a fond roll of eyes as he realized the knot in his throat was long gone. As it turned out, Reyna was right. There were many ways of celebrating Pride.

A moment later, Nico found himself sprinting into his apartment and towards his kitchen.

Only the Gods knew what would happen if he was out of beer.