Hours. Days. Weeks. Nico lost count on how long the tall, dark-skinned teenager-who looked vaguely familiar, yet Nico couldn't quite remember his name- stood there.
Not that the security ghouls hadn't tried to move him- they had.
"You can't stay here, kid. Elysium awaits you," the ghouls would insist every time.
The boy would shake his head stubbornly and twist the white fabric of his T-shirt anxiously, then bite his lip. "I'm waiting for someone," he would answer back, too, every time.
He had been judged not long ago, and as soon as they veredicted Elysium for him, he gave a brief, white-thoothed smile toward the judges and proceeded to make his way to the paradise's gate. But that was it; he refused to go in.
Nico squinted to see better- he had seen this boy somewhere. Still, he kept himself pressed against one of the dark, jagged rocks that seemed oh-so-abundant in the Underworld, doing his best to not be noticed by him.
One day, not too long ago after Beckendorf (was that his name?) had been judged, a black-haired girl arrived to the Underworld. She had an orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirt stained with dried blood. Nico winced. A camper? Probably.
She looked somewhat dazed, as if she couldn't quite believe where she was.
Her blue eyes scanned the crowd aimlessly to then focus on the judges' table. She made her way towards them.
The Judges looked at each other; William Shakespeare rose his eyebrows, King Minos frowned, and Thomas Jefferson just stared at the new girl with something close to insecurity.
After what seemed like an intense discussion, the judges finally agreed on something. Nico listened intently, and managed to catch some words to get an idea of what was the matter- "spy" "for the better" "was tricked" "heroine's death" "innocent".
Finally, one of the judges- King Minos- turned to speak to her, and albeit Nico couldn't make out his words for their tone was not as high as when they had been discussing, he somehow knew it was Elysium. He let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding and relaxed against the rock.
The girl's clothes had transformed from the blood stained shirt and ripped jeans into a white, flowing Greek dress that brushed the floor gently, a gold belt around the middle part of her torso- Elysium clothes.
She nodded absently at the judges when they told her to proceed and ignored the change in her appearance, then let her eyes gaze around again. Suddenly her face brightened considerably as her vision went abruptly into focus, staring intently at the boy outside the gates. An excited "Charlie!" pierced the quiet air as she began to run towards him with entusiasm, lifting the dress a little so it would be easier and to avoid tripping on the dark, irregular floor.
He noticed and smiled brightly, if somewhat sadly, to her. Nico could tell why: yes, he had been waiting for her, was happy to see her so soon... but sad at the same time because it meant her death had come earlier than he had ever thought it would.
But Beckendorf didn't waste any other second, for he run towards her faster than Nico thought was humanly (or demigodly) possible- and then he wrapped her in his arms.
Sobs racked her back as she cried against Charlie, her head in the crook of his neck. She buried her face in the crook of Beckendorf's neck and inhaled softly. As she tried to let out an exhale, it became a sob.
More and more sobs racked her back, until she was shaking uncontrollably, her black hair bouncing on her shoulders, and Nico could hear her whispering:
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, " over and over again. Beckendorf shook his head and whispered her name -Silena- and then said that she had nothing to be sorry about, that she had done the right thing in he end. He caressed her hair gently, not letting go of her once.
The ghouls seemed to understand what was happening, and now the boy didn't say a word as they let themselves be carried into Elysium, arm in arm.
Silena gave a laugh full of mirth when they were in the midst of endless blue skies and green, green grass, as the promise of a safe future settled over both of them and made any sad emotion impossible.
Now they had their backs to Nico, but he could still see when Silena leaned forward and planted a kiss on Beckendorf's lips, and as he entwined their fingers together, walking off towards Elysium.