VIDEO GAMES AND DECLARATIONS

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"Video games?" Nico tilted his head confusedly as he bit into a pomegranate. "You mean arcade games like pin ball or Pac-man? I've played those before."

Cecil rolled his eyes. "Seriously, di Angelo? I'm talking about Call of Duty and Halo."

"Never heard of them."

"They are games that you can play with multiple people on a gaming system called a PlayStation or Xbox. Those are the ones Lou Ellen, Will and I play whenever my siblings let me borrow the game room. Do you want to join us tonight and learn how to play?"

Nico nodded. He had learned about a lot of modern thing since his time in the Lotus Hotel, like portable music players, flat-screened televisions, a thing called the Internet, and much more. One thing he hadn't quite explored was the concept of video games. Sure he'd seen stores like GameStop or browsed through the section they had at Wal-Mart, but he never really had the time to actually purchase or play a game. How machines got so small and tiny little disks held so much information was beyond him.

"Cool! I totally know what mode we're going to play on," Cecil said with a grin.

Hours later, after they had eaten dinner, Will, Nico, and Lou Ellen met Cecil at the Hermes cabin. He let them in and brought them to a secret area downstairs that Connor and Travis had added on years prior. The room was basically a group hang-out spot with beanbag chairs, couches, multiple televisions and gaming systems, stereos, mini-fridges, and much more. Cecil led his three friends to one of the loveseats before handing them all controllers.

"The buttons are so tiny," Nico commented as he fiddled with it. Suddenly the controller started flashing and he shoved in into Will's open hand. "I think I broke it."

The blond-haired boy laughed, handing it back to his boyfriend. "No, Death Boy, you just turned it on. That means you'll be second player since Cecil is already first. Your character will be in the upper-right section of the screen."

"Okay..."

After everyone was sitting down, Cecil began explaining what buttons did what as he chose the specifics of the game they were going to be playing.

"Endless zombie Nazis mode," the son of Hermes said as the loading screen disappeared and the fighting began. "Basically we just see how long we can last against an endless army of enemies, so just keep killing the zombies."

Nico frowned, feeling guilty that he was killing creatures that looked like dumb Hollywood versions of Jules-Albert. "This game is offensive to zombies everywhere. I mean, I know they're not much for video games, but real zombies are not like this. And Nazi zombies? Really? None of my half-brother's followers were and are not currently zombies. I would know."

Lou Ellen paused the game, turning to Nico in shock. "Hitler is your half-sibling?"

He shrugged. "Unfortunately. I've never actually met him, although I'm sure I've heard his screams from the Fields of Punishment. Dad doesn't like talking about him. He's a big disgrace in the family."

After playing for a few more hours, switching to fighting each other and Nico quickly becoming very good at knifing people, they decided to put in a movie.

"Have you ever seen The Rise of the Guardians?" Lou Ellen asked as Cecil put in the movie. They had seen it over a dozen times together; it was their favorite movie. "It's so good! I just love Jack Frost; he reminds me of a funny trickster I know," she said as she waggled her eyebrows at Cecil. The boy's cheeks turned a little pink, but he said nothing.

"They are so into each other," Will whispered to Nico.

He smiled. "I know. Jeez, I'm glad we didn't edge around each other like that."

"I know, right?"

Halfway through the movie Will had fallen asleep. The sun had set hours ago and his internal body clock caused him to find a comfortable positon resting against the couch. It didn't help that he was cuddling his boyfriend like a teddy bear either. Nico sighed, leaning against Will tiredly before shutting his eyes and simply listening to the movie. Lou Ellen and Cecil must have thought he fell asleep two, because minutes later Cecil started talking.

"So, Lou."

"Yes?"

"I was wondering, well, since we spend most of our time together anyway, if..." His voice trailed off uncertainly.

Nico heard the layer of happiness in Lou Ellen's voice as she spoke. "If what, Cecil?"

"Would you want to go out with me?" He said in a rush. In response, Lou Ellen gave a small squeal and the couch shifted as she gathered him into a hug. "I'm taking hugging me as a positive sign."

"Of course I want to go out with you! I've only been waiting weeks for you to ask."

Cecil chuckled. "Sorry about that. I just wanted to be sure so I didn't make an idiot of myself."

"You are an idiot, but that's one of the things I like about you. Anyway, now we can go on double dates with Will and Nico! Or even quintuple dates if his friends come."

"That sounds awesome," Cecil smiled before hugging Lou Ellen to his chest. She smirked at him as she ran a hand though his hair. He sighed in content before the two continued watching the movie. Neither of them saw the faint grin of approval on Nico's face.

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