|Cookies In Black
Author: Musafreen PM
Nico finds that baking cookies is harder than it looks. Alternatively; people talk in the Jackson-Blofis household. Post TLO oneshot.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family - Nico A. - Words: 2,527 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 103 - Follows: 6 - Published: 07-18-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6153876
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Um. Hi. It's me again, with another oneshot. *waves*
I'd be the first person to admit I could have put a little more effort into this. But still. This is meant purely as a pointless little peice, as usual exploring/making up relationships between the PJO characters. This can be considered as a sort-of sequel to Blue Christmas, because there are a lot of similarities. Or so I thought.
On pointless notes; I could not use the word 'chargin' without thinking of Twilight. Also, using the word Percabeth in a non-parody fanfic was a defining moment. It's catchy, y'know.
Cookies In Black
(ie, people talk in the Jackson-Blofis household)
"Not again, dammit."
Nico Di Angelo, the almost-fourteen year old Son of Hades, Ghost King and demigod extraordinaire was facing off against the most stubborn foe he had encountered in months. Unfortunately, his by-now-famous-in-monster-circles death glare was completely ignored by the Jackson oven.
The thing was old. Ancient. Almost as old was he was. And that was talking legally.
Sally had apparently inherited it from her uncle, who in turn had inherited it from her parents. There had been a large batch of dough and chocolate chips and blue food coloring mixed up. Enough for four sets of delicious pre-Christmas cookies, which he had been charged with baking. So far, three batches had come out of the oven, beautifully singed.
Percy couldn't stop sniggering.
Nico grimly pulled on his mitts and slid the last tray into the oven. He was not going to get beaten by a malicious hunk of steel.
It began with something lurking in the shadows near the building, stretching and deforming the darkness into something more sinister than the average shades dotting the cityscape. Then there was a thud, a muffled yelp, and what sounded like an adolescent boy cursing under his breath.
In the year following the battle of New York, Nico had spent an inordinate amount of time in the Jackson-Blofis household. It wasn't just because Percy was probably his favourite cousin, either. It turned out that people formed a bond if they were grouped together during a monster massacre, even if the group had been as incongruent as an English teacher, a clearsighted mortal and a Son of Hades. Paul and Sally tended to welcome him with warm smiles and cheery dispositions, which was a lot more than he got in the Underworld with a grouchy father and an evil stepmother.
And she was evil, no matter what his father said. He was really, really sick of dandelions.
"Good evening, Ms Jackson," Nico said once Sally had opened the door, "Can I come in?"
"Nico," her face lit up, "Of course. You really don't have to ask."
He grinned back and stomped out as much snow as was possible from his black sneakers before stepping in. And stopping.
The tiny apartment was decorated with as much Christmas cheer as it was possible for it to hold. The air smelled of cookies and roast meat, and everywhere you looked there was green and red and white. This would have been less remarkable if it weren't the second week of December.
"Uh… season's greetings?" he suggested.
"What?" Sally asked, "Oh. You can blame Percy for that. He said that if the baby was going to arrive anytime this week, it'd be sad if she didn't come home to Christmas. Do you want some cocoa?" Sally was at the end of her pregnancy, as evidenced by her large stomach and slow waddling.
"It's fine," he assured her quickly, "I had something before I left. Are you sure you should be walking?"
Sally patted her stomach and laughed, "This? Believe me when I say Percy was a lot more problematic. At least this time I have two overprotective maniacs waiting on me hand and foot. I can never quite decide if it's a good thing or a bad thing, though."
On cue, Percy slid into the living room, spotted Sally up on her feet, and practically screeched "Mom!"
"I'm sitting, I'm sitting," Sally raised her hands in surrender and sat down, rolling her eyes at Nico in the process.
"Good. Don't move from there," Percy instructed, "Hey, Nico."
"Merry Christmas," he returned brightly, just to be obnoxious, "What's today's date again? December sixth?"
"Ninth," Percy said sourly, "Are you going to help me out or just stand there being irritating?"
It was a tough choice. Nico had to consider it for a few seconds.
"Sure," he said finally, "What do you want done? Couple of sea monsters? Zombies in downtown Brooklyn?"
"Cookies in the oven," Percy replied, jerking a thumb at the kitchen, "Think you and your necromancy can handle that?"
"You just watch me," Nico said confidently.
In retrospect, he wondered if Percy had planned this. Annabeth must have been rubbing off on him.
Once the first batch was in the oven and he'd set everything according to Sally's instructions (shouted from the living room), he'd come back to inspect the decorations.
"It's umm…better than last year." Better was better than mind-numbingly intense.
"Paul and Percy went nuts," Sally told him, "We have two extra boxes of baubles up on the wall this year."
"I hope the baby doesn't become colour blind."
"Yes, so do I," Sally smiled, "How's school?"
"You know, school," He'd learnt the hard way that allowing a spirit of retribution to choose your place of education was a bad idea. "Boarding sucks."
"Ah," Sally smiled sadly, "Percy didn't like it much either. He kept complaining about… well, everything, really."
"Yeah, that sounds like him."
"I like to think he missed me," Sally unconsciously put a hand over her belly again (he wondered if she realized how often she was doing it), "But that's probably the baby talking. It's been- he's so big now."
"Um," Nico said. He thought it was a very good comment, too.
"It's been so long. He was tiny, you know. And so cute… I used to put him in the bath and watch him splash around. And he was adorable…"
Were there going to be embarrassing baby stories? Because he could use them.
"It was strange, you know, to know my son was a demigod. I used to see all these other women with babies and think about how my problems were so much different from theirs. There was this one time when he was about two, I think. A snake which crawled into his cradle; thank god he managed to strangle it. I don't know what I would have done if-" Sally exhaled, "I'm glad he's safe. And happy. It's nice to know I didn't damage him permanently."
"Oh, I'm sorry, sweetie," Sally leaned over and ruffled his hair, "You tend to act older than you are, you know; and sometimes I don't remember that. I really shouldn't be babbling at you like this."
"It's okay," Nico said, actually allowing her to touch him, "I mean, kinda weird. But whatever."
They sat in silence for a while, Sally picking up her notebook and Nico looking around aimlessly.
"Ms. J?" he said finally
"You know you'll make a great Mom, right? I mean, again?"
There was a pause.
"Thank you, Nico."
"Anytime," Nico sat back, happy he hadn't bungled it. Then he smelled the burning.
He was on his second batch (the first was just mildly singed at the edges, and Percy could stop laughing because there was a reason Sally had banned him from the kitchen) and determined to keep a closer watch on it when the doorbell rang again. By the time he and Percy had made it to the living room, Sally had her hand on the doorknob.
"Mom!" Percy said again.
"I'm opening the door, Percy," she said, sighing, "It's not usually dangerous."
"Not quite. It could have been an axe-murderer or something," Paul said darkly, stepping into the room with an armful of parcels, "Or monsters looking for Christmas treats. Sally, should you be-"
"I'm sitting," Sally waddled back to the couch, "There. You can all stop worrying."
"You should be more careful," Paul insisted, "Oh- hello, Nico."
"Mr. Blofis," Nico gave him a wave.
"Aren't you supposed to be in school?"
Teachers. All the same.
"It's okay; they don't check the dorms till eleven and I can always travel back to LA-" He stopped once he realized there was no point. Paul had sat next to Sally, and both of them had ridiculously peaceful smiles on their faces. He felt like an intruder just watching them.
"Can you help me move my table?" Percy asked him, his tone low, "I don't want to ask Paul."
"What's in it for me?"
"One less broken arm?" Percy suggested.
"Good enough. Let's go."
Nico followed Percy into the disaster Zone that qualified as his room, and they spent some time dragging his heavy table from one end of the room to the other. It was a fairly short distance, but still winded Nico enough to have him collapse onto Percy's bed afterwards.
"You need to work out more," Percy told him. He was barely out of breath, the invulnerable creep.
"I'm thirteen. Give me a break," Nico panted out, "And why couldn't you have just moved it yourself?"
"I'm invulnerable, not Hercules."
Percy rolled his eyes, "We both know who we're talking about. You're as bad as Annabeth sometimes."
Nico noticed the way his jaw tightened when he said her name, and groaned. Not another epic Percabeth clash; the least those two could do was to give everyone else some time to pick up the bodies from their last fight before starting another one.
"Please tell me you two aren't arguing again," Nico said, "I don't know how much more I can take before banishing you to Tartarus."
"She starts them," Percy said. Rather like a four-year old in a snit.
"I'll banish her too, if it makes you feel better. But the two of you might scare off the Titans and monsters. That'd make my Father angry."
Percy tried to suffocate him with a pillow. Nico grinned and dodged it.
"Can't you guys just make up already? Save us the bother and the melodrama?"
Percy snorted, "You're not qualified to talk about melodrama, emo-boy. It's-" he stopped, and sniffed the air, "Is something-"
"The cookies!" Nico screeched, and made Percy wobble as he darted past him.
The edges came out black. Nico loudly cursed Percy over it (in Greek, because there was no way he was going to swear in front of Ms. Jackson), until Paul walked into the kitchen to see what all the fuss was about.
"Cookies, Mr. B," Nico said tersely, his eyes firmly on the oven, "The last set came out a little… burned. This one is going to be more edible, I promise."
"Ah," Paul said. His voice had taken a mildly placatory tone. Nico wondered if he'd gone all wide-eyed maniacal again. It was perfectly possible; the oven was almost as evil as his stepmother.
There were a few long minutes in which the kitchen languished in silence. Paul and Nico stared at the oven.
After a while, Paul cleared his throat, "Nico?"
"Yeah, Mr. Blofis?"
"You are going to come around after the baby's born, aren't you?"
"Sure," Nico lied. He didn't trust himself near anything living and fragile, but no one needed to know that.
"Uh-huh," Paul said skeptically.
His father was right; he was horrible at deception. But at least he knew when to keep his mouth shut, unlike Percy.
"We wouldn't mind having you around, you know," Paul said finally, smiling, "Sally and I, I mean. We're pretty sure by now that you won't give us much trouble."
"And besides, we could use an extra babysitter on demand."
"No," his voice was curt, and clipped. And even though he was staring at the oven, he wasn't actually seeing it.
Paul looked a little taken aback, and Nico could practically feel his confused chagrin.
"Nico, I'm serious. We really like you coming here once in a while. It's not like the baby's going to change that."
Oh gods, did he really believe he was angsting over overdramatized abandonment issues? Again? This emo reputation was going to be really hard to live down.
"It's not that, Mr. Blofis," Nico finally tore his eye away from the oven, "I'm just… scared."
"What?" Paul sounded confused. Nico couldn't blame him.
"Babies. They scare me," Nico explained, "They're entirely too fragile, and I have a tendency to destroy things just by touching them, so…"
"Is that it?" Paul asked, somewhat skeptically.
"Mr Blofis, I don't think you get it. I'm the Son of Hades. Bringer of death and destruction. About the only person who can be as depressing as me would be Rachel; and at least she has all those bright colors to cheer things up. Even when she's predicting horrifying destinies."
"Okay. You're the Prince of the Dead. So?"
Nico blinked. The man had never struck him as dense before.
"Do you really want me around a newborn baby?"
"Admittedly, I've never seen these dark powers of yours in action," Paul rolled his eyes, "But I'll risk it and say yes."
There was a pause. Nico stared at the ceiling.
"I'm not holding the baby."
"Ever. Don't make me."
"I said okay already."
"Good. So long as we're clear on that."
Paul found that funny, and he ruffled Nico's hair before going out. Why did people keep doing that? It was like their hands itched from the moment they met him to ruffle his hair. It was degrading.
And then he smelled it in the air. It was a smell he'd become very familiar with over the course of the night.
There should have been books written about the precautions he took with his last batch of cookies. Nevertheless, he was very, very surprised when it came out unsinged. Because, you know, the fates had a way of screwing with his life. But amazingly, while the cookies may not have been Sally Jackson perfect, they were at least thirteen year old perfect.
The best part of it was displaying them to the rest of the Jackson-Blofis household. And sneering in Percy's face.
The Ghost King had surmounted the obstacle of the oven. And maybe got more out of it than just the cookies; but thinking like that was mushy.