A/N: So, a little warning. These might come a little slower because *sob* my school starts back this Thursday. So, of course I won't have too much time to write, so slower updates. Sorry guys! On another note, here's the beach one-shot. Original prompt from Felidaes' Tale. Thank you! This is just a ton of fluff and ridiculous beach times. Enjoy!
The Tannest Avenger Adventure
"No," I said. "No, we aren't going to the beach for a vacation."
"Come on," Clint, well not whined, but it was a near thing. "It would take us two hours tops to get to a private part of a California beach that Stark owns with his technology, and we all need a vacation."
I sighed. "It's not the vacation thing I'm arguing about. It's the where aspect."
"Your dad is Poseidon," Steve said, obviously confused. "Why wouldn't you want to go? There's water there. From the ocean."
I put down my sandwich and the others leaned forward in the chairs around the kitchen table, expressions intense. I frowned at them. "You know what happens when I go to the beach where sea animals don't know me very well? They swarm me. They either have problems that they want me to fix, or they want to meet me. Which is great and all," I said, holding up a hand and waving it around. "Don't get me wrong. But they never go away. So you'll have to deal with that. And my dad will come see us, which isn't a problem either."
"I'm not seeing a big unfixable problem here," Natasha said, her voice flat.
"Something's going to go wrong," I told them, pointing at them with a finger and looking at all of their faces. "I don't know what yet, but it will happen. Every single time I've tried to go on vacation since the age of twelve, I haven't gotten to relax."
"The beach is the best place to relax, Percy," Bruce placated. "And it would be interesting to see you in your…element." He adjusted his glasses.
"You guys don't have anywhere else to go for a vacation?" I asked, leaning back in my chair and completely ignoring my sandwich. "Nowhere else in this entire world to go."
Thor shook his head. "This will only be a quick day trip, Percy. I fail to see why you are so distraught."
"I'm not distraught!" I denied vehemently. "I just…" I just knew I wouldn't get to rest. A shark would have a problem with an octopus, or a dolphin would have a problem with a school of fish bullying it. I had been there, done that. And right now, when I was absolutely exhausted from the Avengers team doing overtime for PR, I didn't feel like fixing problems. I actually thought relaxing at the beach surrounded by water would be fun if I was actually going to be relaxing. I honestly just wanted to sleep for a day or two. "Tony doesn't even like water that much," I said for a last-ditch effort.
Tony smiled. "Out of luck for that one, buddy. I like beaches. And I especially like hot beach babes." He wrinkled his nose and frowned. "Or, at least I did before I was in a loving and committed relationship with the beautiful Pepper Potts." He blinked. "Anyway, the point is, I don't have a problem with beaches. Water there doesn't bother me so much."
I let my head fall against the back of the chair and looked up at the ceiling. "We have to go to the beach," I told it.
"Yes," the team answered for it.
"And there's no way I can get out of this or convince you otherwise."
I closed my eyes. "You pale folks just want to go for the tan. I know what you're up to.
I could practically feel Natasha roll her eyes. "You caught us," she deadpanned. "Not everyone can be naturally tan like you."
I heard their chairs scraping and footsteps. I opened my eyes as Steve clapped me on the shoulder. "We leave tomorrow," he grinned.
"Ugghh," I groaned. It looked like I had my work cut out for me. I idly wondered how much thought and effort would have to go into sabotaging this trip and realized I didn't have the energy or will power to do that. Besides, the team really did want to go to the beach. I couldn't stand to see their disappointed faces. I shook my head at myself. I've gone soft, I thought to myself.
I sat on the tiny hovercraft in swim trunks and a t-shirt and seriously considered jumping off of the moving hovercraft. I still didn't like flying, even if Zeus wouldn't zap me anymore. It just didn't feel right for me to be up thousands of feet in the air.
"Do you need sunscreen, Percy?" Steve asked from where he was spraying the sunscreen everywhere but his body, effectively distracting me from my thoughts.
I got up and took the spray bottle from him. "No," I said as I began to spray the SPF 60 all over him. "I don't usually get a sunburn. And especially not on the beach." I yawned. I hadn't gotten much sleep last night, instead feeling restless for some reason I couldn't put my finger on.
"Huh," Bruce said. He was managing to more successfully coat himself in sunscreen than Steve had been. "I guess you don't since it would immediately heal in the water."
"I'll bet fifty bucks that Percy gets the tannest today," Tony called from the front of the hovercraft.
"Only fifty?" Natasha asked as she came out of the bathroom. She had changed into a simple black two piece, although she had a large scar on her stomach. She didn't seem to care too much about it. She pulled on her t-shirt and some shorts. "I'd bet a hundred."
"So, since the tan thing is a given," Clint said, "are we going to make bets on who will still be the palest?"
"Clint, if you say I will be the palest one, I will drown you," Natasha announced pleasantly.
"We're supposed to be on a vacation," Steve admonished. "Relaxing. No death threats allowed."
"I also agree with Steve," Thor said gravely, adjusting his red swim trunks. "This is a time to unwind and be at peace." Clint rolled his eyes and mumbled something about Thor and Steve "not being the boss of him."
"Whenever we get there, you guys are probably going to see a hippocampus or two," I informed them. "And probably my dad. Just a heads up."
"Really?" Tony asked from the cockpit.
"Yep," I confirmed. "Hippocampuses are really beautiful, actually. Horse in the front and fish in the back with a rainbow tail. I think you'll enjoy them. Maybe you can play with them while I go fix every fish in the sea and their fourth cousin-twice-removed's problem. And you'll probably have a very rousing conversation with my dad."
"Negativity is also banned from this vacation, if you didn't know," Clint chimed in. "None of your bad vibes, Perce. Sorry."
"Everyone have on their swim suits?" Tony called. "We're about to land in about five minutes. Bring your floaties, chairs, drinks, and food because no one wants to make the trip back in here."
I closed my eyes. It was going to be a long day.
"Natasha, you're going to fry out here," Tony snickered from his sand throne on the beach.
Natasha shifted in her beach chair to easily toss a handful of wet sand over Bruce onto Tony, who yelped and wiped it off his face. Tony frowned. "Not nice, Tasha."
"No sand fighting guys," Steve said, not moving from where he was laying out in the sun. "I don't feel like digging sand out of my trunks."
I sighed from where I was floating easily in the water. "You guys don't want to get in?" I asked, bored.
"We superheroes have to look good, Percy," Clint mumbled from his sprawled out position. "Let us get a tan first."
"I'm pretty sure you can get a tan better in the water." I looked out over the ocean. I was expecting the hippocampi to find me in another half hour at least, but then I thought for a moment. Why not call them now? The team would love riding them. "Well, if you come now, I might let you ride a hippocampus," I wheedled. I shot a few tendrils of water into the air before standing up.
Tony's sunglasses fell off he sat up so quickly. "Seriously?" he grinned.
I smiled and closed my eyes, concentrating. Hey, Dad. Think you could spare a few hippocampi for me to show off?
I turned back to the Avengers, who were now all sitting up. "They should be coming any minute."
I knew they were coming up quickly when I saw a few fish scattering and a white line that was their mane coming towards. I laughed as a particularly large one came right up and nuzzled me affectionately, almost pushing me over. "Rainbow!" I exclaimed, patting him on the head. His eyes gleamed at me happily as he neighed. "How've you been?"
The others came up closer and tentatively reached out hands to the five hippocampi. "They're amazing," Bruce breathed. He wiped off some water that had splashed up onto his glasses and rubbed one—I thought his name was Dappler—more firmly. Dappler neighed in appreciation.
"Yep. And you should see how fast they swim," I informed them. They all stared at me. "Well, what are you waiting for?" I asked. "Aren't you gonna ride them?"
A few minutes later and I was watching them gleefully ride the hippocampi. They did flips and turns and even went underwater a few times.
"I didn't know you were coming." I turned around quickly and smiled at my dad.
"It was short notice," I said, looking back at my friends. "They wanted to come to the beach, but I wasn't so sure." I wrinkled my nose at a school of fish that started to surround me.
"Afraid you'd be called to do some extra work?" he asked, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
"You know how they are," I told him exasperatedly. "And you know how I am. They ask, I say yes. It's inevitable." I shook my head and spun around to him for a moment. "They still call me 'lord'!" I exclaimed exasperatedly.
"That's probably why they like you best. And think of it as a term of endearment."
"Well, they can go like Triton best and call him 'lord,'" I replied grumpily. "He can probably do it better than me anyway what with him actually living underwater."
"You might be right," Dad conceded, pulling at his beard. "He could certainly do it faster. But he's always a little short with the not so smart fish. He scares them off."
I tilted my head in his direction. "I guess so. How is everything down there?"
Poseidon hummed. "Better. Things are getting rebuilt quite faster than I imagined. Tyson has been a big help. It won't take as long to fix my kingdom as I imagined."
"That's good. Tyson's okay?" I hadn't seen Tyson for a while, and he and I had both been too busy to contact one another lately.
"He's better than okay. I sometimes give him an hour or two to ride the hippocampi. They get a little antsy when it's all work and no play."
"And Tyson's really good with them."
The others started coming in. "I love these," Tony proclaimed. "I'm pretty sure I've gotten at least forty new ideas from riding them." He noticed my dad with surprise. "Oh, hi. Er, Lord Poseidon." He said it more as a question.
Dad smiled at the team. "Just Poseidon is fine. Although the last time we met, I don't believe I introduced myself."
Natasha shook her head with amusement. "No, you didn't."
While they talked, I half paid attention and half looked out at the ocean. I frowned when I saw a line of dolphins headed straight for our group. "Oh gods," I muttered. I swam out towards them and met them halfway.
My lord! one of them said. We need your help!
The others called out their agreement. I tried very hard not to sigh. "What do you need?" I asked in defeat. "And Percy. It's just Percy."
Twenty minutes and three fishhooks accidently stuck in my skin later, I swam back to the team and my dad. My dad chuckled and plucked a stray fishhook out of my hair. "Another net mishap?"
"Another net mishap," I agreed. "The fishermen need to be more careful. And hopefully the last mishap of the day."
"I'll see if I can't run some interference for your day off," he said. "But now, I must be going. I have matters to attend to, and you have a vacation to enjoy."
"No rest for the weary," I told him. He laughed and clapped me on the shoulder. His hand was warm as he beamed at me.
"Stay out of trouble," he said, and dissolved into sea mist.
I frowned. "The sea is right here. You could've just waded in." I muttered quieter, "Show off." A wave slapped me in my back in retaliation, and I snorted.
I clapped my hands together. "So," I said. "Who's up for a chicken fight?"
The teams were split up like this: Natasha and Clint, Tony and Thor, and me and Steve. Bruce didn't play in case "the Other Guy wanted to have some fun, too." I figured that would be a downer if we all got crushed by Bruce's alter ego, but it would have been interesting to see the Hulk chicken fight.
"Ready?" Bruce asked. We all nodded, and I tried to glare menacingly at Natasha and Tony, who were sitting on top of their partner's shoulders. The effect was slightly ruined by me smiling, though. "Go!" he shouted.
And thus began the greatest chicken fight ever fought. Tony and I grappled for a while until Natasha sneakily came up behind him and pulled him off Thor bodily. Tony went down with a strangled yelp, and Thor tripped and tried to grab at Tony's flailing legs. "Man of Iron! Stay still!" Natasha smirked as Tony completely lost his grip on Thor and plopped into the water in a belly buster. He groaned as his head popped above the water again.
"Ugh, I'm gonna be sick," he said dramatically. Bruce rolled his eyes and dragged him out of the water, with Thor following behind reluctantly.
"Just you and me," I told Natasha.
Her eyes narrowed. "No using fishy powers."
"Oh come on!" I complained. "That's like saying no assassin skills! It's impossible."
"Try your hardest, sweetie," she said condescendingly, ducking my open-handed attack.
"Don't let her trash talk get to you Percy!" Steve encouraged, shoving at Clint's shoulders.
We pushed and slapped and prodded for quite some time before Natasha raised herself off Clint's shoulders with her hands and grabbed my upper body with her calves. She twisted and pointed her legs downward, forcibly slamming me down into the water. I resurfaced with an indignant "That's cheating!"
"Cheater!" Steve reaffirmed loudly, pointing at Natasha.
"Not cheating," she said smugly next to Clint. "You're just sore losers."
"You're supposed to keep you legs on your partner not grabbing me!" I argued, fighting a grin.
"You just can't accept the fact that we're better than you!" Clint denied.
I turned to Bruce. "Well, ref? What do you think?"
Bruce considered his options carefully. "Technically," he said slowly as Steve and I groaned. "She didn't really cheat. She did stay on Clint the entire time."
"Hah!" Clint crowed. "We win! In your—mmph!"
Steve and I laughed as a wave slapped Clint right in the face.
Clint wiped his face. "Oh, you're so on!" he shouted, tackling me into the water. Everyone joined into the impromptu water fight.
They really never stood a chance.
I cocked my head at my upside-down teammates. "Done?" I asked them with a smile.
Tony rolled his eyes. "Watch your back, Jackson."
"Psh, you're on my turf now. And you're upside-down anyway." I put them right-side up.
"What will we do now?" Thor asked, wiping his hair out of his eyes.
"I say we go snorkeling." I leaned in closer. "Without snorkels." The team looked at each other in excitement. This was going to be interesting.
"This is so cool," Clint gasped. "Look at that fish! Look at it! I swear it's looking right at me!"
"It says that it likes the color of your swim trunks but doesn't understand why you're in a bubble with six other people," I translated. Clint almost popped the bubble trying to get closer to the fish.
"It's like being in an aquarium," Bruce said, dodging Clint. "Except we don't have to worry about dying in an aquarium from people popping the bubble."
"It's time for a performance, I think," I told the team before squeezing out of the bubble.
Fish of all different colors danced around us in swirling patterns flashing scales. I directed the fish this way and that off to the side. The dolphins and a few hammerhead sharks joined in after a while. After I got them going, I managed to coax a few seahorses into our performance. I finished off everything with a flourish of fins and an explosion of fish. I thanked them for their performance and received a lot of Of course, my lords and My pleasure, my lords. I pushed the team to the surface and laughed at their awed looks.
"Just think," I told them. "A lot of sea animals haven't even been discovered yet. That was nothing."
"You're such a show off," Tony grinned, punching my shoulder. "Or, like, a fish whisperer."
"Well, I have to get it from somewhere," I said. "I'm thinking it's my dad."
Steve eyed the waning sun with disappointment. "Looks like it's time to pack up."
Natasha sighed. "Of course. We'll need to do this again." She twisted in various positions and looked around at her body. "Do I look like I got a tan?"
"If I squint," I told her. I ducked her flying hand. "Kidding! I was kidding!"
"Back to the hovercraft, kids," Tony said, slowly making his way up the beach. "It's time to blow this joint."
Once we were all in the hovercraft with dry clothes on, Tony started it up. "Okay, so contest time," Clint said. "Who got the tannest?" Before I could open my mouth, Clint pointed to me. "You don't count. Obviously you're the tannest. So you'll be the judge. Who got tannest?"
I glanced around at them. They had all gotten tanner for sure, but I knew who the tannest was. "The winner is…Thor!" The others sighed.
"Second place?" Clint asked curiously.
"A tie between you and Tony, I think," I said. "Not very sure. You all got a lot tanner. If that makes you happy."
"It does," Tony called. "We're all very vain superheroes. We like to look good while saving the world."
"So, if being tan means you're better looking, then that means I've got you all beat, right?"
"Shut up, Percy," the team said collectively.
"Hey guys?" I asked after a while, lying down on a few seats. "What were you talking to my dad about?"
The team smiled secretively. I picked my head up. "What? What did you talk about?"
"Absolutely nothing," Natasha said.
I dropped my head back to my seat. It didn't look like I was going to get anything out of them any time soon.
I considered the day. It was actually pretty fun, nothing went wrong, and the team really enjoyed it. It was a win-win-win. Weird enough, I found myself wishing for another vacation with the Avengers.
I sat up straight. "Tell me he didn't tell you in detail about that time I dunked my classmates into a shark tank and what the sharks said."
Their laughter was answer enough. Some things never changed. Apparently, dads that embarrassed you was one of them.
A/N: Whew, that was pretty long. I hope you liked it! It was fun to write, for sure. Next chapter will probably be either Percy and Steve friendship/hurt/comfort (whichever category you guys choose) or a Percy meets the Hulk thing. I'm open to ideas and very much appreciate them! Tell me which prompt you want first. And for those of you waiting on the Percy gets kidnapped chapter, I'm saving that one for towards the end of this collection of one-shots, which will be coming to an end in the next three of four chapters probably. Have no fear though! I will most likely be doing a sequel to The Art of Finding Yourself! More info to come later. Leave me a review! Thanks you muchly. :)