And here we are, at the final chapter of Learning about Leo. I just wanted to thank everyone who has reviewed, faved or followed, I really appreciate the support that you all have given me. I have loved writing his story and I can't wait to begin the sequels. There will be some dark moments in this chapter so I'll put warnings in front of anything that I think may be a trigger. I also know that I said my song chapter would be the last of the music, however I have to use a song in this chapter for an idea that I think you'll enjoy. And for anyone who likes Nico, Will or Clarisse, my friend Chromatophobe has began a story called Concerning dragons so make sure to check that out.
Awesomesauce90 : You're welcome and I'm glad to hear that you are thrilled about the sequels.
Bluecookiedough : Thank you, I'm happy to hear that you love it.
IraTamashi99AmyliaZanpakuto : Thanks, and I can't believe that this is the last chapter either :(
Melancholy's Sunshine : Thanks and I'm happy that you're looking forward to the sequels. And thanks for that idea, I'll put it in for you.
Siddalee M : I feel honoured to have you as a reviewer, and you definitely deserve to be called one of my loveliest reviewers. And I can't give you a sneak peek, but at the end of this chapter I will be telling you what the sequels are about. I'm looking forwards to my surprise.
Enhisbeautiful : Thank you, and I love mentioning Jason's habit of getting hit on the head :)
Star-Crossed Rose : As long as I'm credited then it's fine. And I was so happy to slip a Supernatural reference in there.
Kittehx1 : Yep, and he didn't even remember until now :)
Epiphany Aria Grace : Thanks, and I'm sorry if the fight scene was a little unrealistic, I just got so carried away writing it that I kind of went overboard.
Mondmaedchen : Thank you :)
LadybugGirl7068 : I think that I like that version better ;)
Raccoon1113 : Thanks, but I can't do a memory of Calypso as the story's set before Leo meets her.
Catsrawesome : I'M SORRY THAT IT'S ENDING... but I'm happy that it was your favourite chapter.
Gigigirl1908 : That is quite a weird coincide.
FracturedSanity419 : Thank you, and I'll check it out if I get a chance.
Darkest Hour : Someone actually suggested that I do that scene, but I have seen the picture as well. I'm glad that you liked sassy Leo, and I'll put that in for you.
MarissaTodd : Then good luck with writing it (but if you use any of my ideas then please credit me).
Neon Wish Loves Peach Trees : *Sob* And now this is the final chapter.
Guest : Thank you, I'm happy that you like my story.
AmaebLEO : Thanks, and I'll put that in (even though it isn't Leo's memory). I hope that you get to Comic Con sometime, that was my second time and it's a great experience. I saw Iain De Caestecker, Nick Blood, Felicia Day and Willa Holland. I also saw some people in Camp Half Blood/Jupiter shirts!
Guest : Sorry for making you wait.
BlueCookiesCoke : Thank you, and I'm sorry for breaking you heart (if only I could employ Leo to fix it).
Abigaia the Drakoness : As long as they were good tears then that's okay.
Crystal 'Chris' Clyminstin : Thanks, and I'll try.
MiloIce : I can't believe that it's almost over, but I will keep on writing.
Zoethezany III : Thank you.
Iluvbooks : Teehee, I'm glad that you liked it.
Cupcake Gal : I like sequels as well ;) And I'm very happy that you liked it (I found the Bieber joke way too funny).
ObsessedwReading : Thank you :)
Towerlyfangirl : Ah, hearts were made to be destroyed by Leo feels. Thank you for the compliment, it's really nice of you to say that I'm talented.
TeamSolangelo : I feel so sorry for Leo. And, ironically, Nico is my second favourite character.
HoOisawesome : You're welcome, and I'm sad as well. Leo was born to defy all odds I think.
Bullkitty51 : You're welcome, and it's good to hear that you are looking forwards to the sequels.
Sidda : I'm going to reply to all of your reviews here to make it easier, I hope that you don't mind. And I agree that it is really frustrating when people act as if Leo takes nothing serious when he put so much effort into everything during both quests.
Bris38 : In this story he did :) And Luke was such an interesting character...
SolangeloForever : Although it is based on that scene, someone actually asked for that idea.
CaleoForever : An incredibly strange coincidence. And maybe I'll look into that.
Team Solangelo : I know that it's very unlikely, but people requested all three of those scenes. And I think that it's actually kind of plausible, after all Leo was pretty much the pivotal member of the quest. Hera spent a great deal of time/energy raising him to be a hero and all of the prophecy's lines can be applied to him pretty much.
Guest : I know, it's so upsetting that almost no one recognises Leo's true strength/potential. And I really do need to hire Leo to fix people after I break them.
Guest : I know that in canon Calypso was Leo's first kiss however I thought that was a little unrealistic for a flirt like Leo who met numerous people during his childhood. And this story is set before Leo's met Calypso.
Piper Mclean : I'm sorry Piper but you had to find out sometime.
TeamLeo'sVeryOwnFlinxShipper : Do you need Percy to cool you feels down? And I don't like Bieber either (hence the joke at his expanse. And we all know that Leo is a bad-ass.
Fantasiedreamar : Thanks, and I'm glad that I made you laugh.
Our Mismatched Socks : I am looking forwards to that sappy review :)
MakaylaCO : Thank you (I'm obsessed with Leo as well). And I'm sad that ths is the last chapter as well.
Sid : Ah, that would have been a good song for Leo.
Leo is ma BAE : You're all such lovely reviewers :)
Willowleaf : I'll try not to make you cry... too much ;)
Disclaimer : I wish that I could claim half of the stuff that I reference as my own but I can't, not even the quote from The Princess Bride.
Leo wasn't sure what to think of Hera at this point. Sure, some of the memories had been fun to share, but others had been sheer torture to let his friends watch. Though it was nice to be surrounded by his friends, he had to give his Tia some credit on that scale.
He just prayed that the next memory would be as good as that previous one had been.
Leo was again curled up in his Argo bed, face scrunched in sadness or in anger. He tossed and turned for a few minutes but then the screen started playing his dream.
"Young demigod, surely by now you have realised that it is fruitless to stand against my armies. Come forth and become my soldier and I will reward you when the Gods fall."
"I would have thought that by now you would have realised that I'm not going to betray my friends."
Gaia scoffed and she materialised in all of her dirt faced glory.
"So you still cling to that foolish, misplaced loyalty? Pitiful. Have you not yet realised that they do not care for your presence? That they despise your very nature?"
"LIES!" Leo jumped as Percy shouted at the screen. Said son of Poseidon was glowering fiercely at the screen as Leo massaged his poor ears.
"Jeez Perce, no need to deafen me." Percy turned towards Leo, and Leo felt a little surprised at the intense emotion on Percy's face.
"Sorry, but we all care for you Leo. We like you as you are." Leo felt his cheeks burn at the older boys words, and he turned his head back to the screen.
"Well I'm glad that you like me the way I am because changing is a pain in the butt."
"He never takes anything seriously!"
"I understand being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Leo always seems to be causing some sort of trouble."
"I don't feel very comfortable around his fire. And he always makes me the butt of his jokes, and he flirts with my girlfriend. How would he like it if I made fun of him for the way he always bursts into flames, or that he's stick skinny and short?"
"I understand that he isn't Sammy, but it still sort of hurts sometimes to look at him, the doppelgänger of Sammy and have him be... Leo instead."
The words echoed and on screen Leo stepped back as if he had been physically struck.
"Join me and I will appreciate your talents in a way that your so-called friends never will." Leo hesitated, and a dark look passed over his face as if he was considering the offer.
"You weren't really considering joining her were you?" Frank's voice quivered slightly, as if he were uneasy about asking such a question, and Leo felt ashamed.
"I didn't ever truly think about joining her, but I did think about leaving."
"But you..." Leo cut Jason off by placing his hand over his friend's mouth.
"Watch the rest before the interrogation." Jason nodded, and Leo wondered how his friend hadn't tried to lick his hand to get free, whenever someone put their hand over Leo's mouth he had to fight the temptation to not gross them into letting him go.
Suddenly the harsh words stopped replaying, and Gaia looked mildly bemused as different words replaced them.
"Thanks so much for helping me study for that maths test. I passed it thanks to you!" Piper's distinct voice rang out.
"Dude, Piper agreed to a date! Thanks for the advice bro, I owe you." This was Jason.
"Thanks for helping me with the toaster. I rally wanted to try these Pop Tarts that you guys keep raving on about and Percy said that magic plates don't do them justice." Hazel's voice.
"Sweet move taking out that monster." Percy.
"This ship really is amazing." Annabeth.
"Wow you made a living table! That's pretty cool." And finally Frank.
Gaia looked more annoyed than confused now.
"I've been trying to think of things to say to you when I finally get to face plant you in person, and I think that I've decided to go with a classic." Leo walked forwards so that he was practically toe to toe with Gaia.
"Hello, my name is Leo Valdez. You killed my mother. Prepare to die." This was said in a flawless Spanishj accent. Leo then set his fist on fire and slammed it through the face of the Earth mother.
"Nice, nice!" Percy guffawed and Leo smirked.
"That response was... inconceivable." Annabeth spoke up, and Leo turned towards her in shock.
"Annabeth... has... a... sense... of... humour. Now that is truly inconceivable." Annabeth glared at him.
"I happen to have a love of that film."
Nine year old Leo glared at a school board furiously. The board announced in large letters that the task for this lesson was to write a poem about a person that you love. His eyes were sad, but he looked to his page and began writing.
As time passed, his frown slowly lessened, though he did stop to scribble out words every now and again.
Then the teacher announced that some poems would be read out today, and that the rest would be read out the day after. He instantly zeroed in on Leo's panicked face.
"Valdez, perhaps you would like to start us of?" Leo shook his head rapidly, and the teacher chuckled.
"Come on Leo, you've been writing intently this lesson and I can't wait to hear what you produced." The teacher sounded slowly, and Leo made his way to the front of the classroom, though he winced with every footstep as if it hurt to move to the front.
Leo took a huge breath, and the teacher put his thumbs up encouragingly.
"My mother was a brilliant woman, the sun shone in her eyes
And though she had a youthful heart, her mind was clear and wise
I never knew my daddy, but my mommy made it up
By being really awesome, to this unruly pup
And though my mommy's gone now, I know this in my heart
She may not be here with me, but she still loved me since the start
So I will stop my crying, I'll wipe away my tears
Because mommy always promised that she'd protect me from my fears."
Sniffles were heard from all off the demigods, and Leo felt a little self-conscious.
"That was such a beautiful poem." Hazel wailed and Piper actually started crying properly.
"I bet that your mother would have loved it." Annabeth's words made Leo himself tear up a bit. He hoped that somehow his mother had heard his poem as he wanted her to know how much he appreciated everything that she had done for him. She could have followed Aunt Rosa's advice and put him up for adoption, or just not had him at all, but instead she had kept him and raised him with love. His mother really was a brilliant woman.
"Of course she was a brilliant woman, how else would she have caught the eye of my son." Hera sniffed disdainfully (Leo wondered if his poem had moved Hera to tears and she was just disguising it as a sniff).
"How did my parents meet?" Hera sighed.
"Well, even though this isn't a memory of Leo's, I suppose that I can show you."
A slightly younger Esperanza was working hard in a workshop. Grime and oil coated her body as she wrangled with a large piece of metal.
She kept anxiously glancing at the clock.
"I've got to get this done before tomorrow or I'll lose my job, and I refuse to go crawling to my sister!" She muttered angrily as she attempted to mould the metal into something new. Then, something clearly went wring as she threw the metal down in a huff, stalking over to the corner of the room in a huff.
Her eyes flitted to a pin board that was hung on the wall. On it, a postcard from Greece was pinned up with images of the Olympians featured on it. Her eyes traced the postcard until they fell upon the grizzled and disfigured of Hephaestus. She ran her hand over his cheek gently, before closing her eyes.
"My sister would kill me if she knew I was doing this, but please great God of the Forge, let me finish this project in time!" Her plea was heartfelt.
"You are a truly remarkable woman." Esperanza jumped and span around to face Hephaestus in all of his blemished glory. Yet instead of appearing disgusted, Esperanza merely looked shocked with the smallest tinge of relief shining through her eyes.
"He...Hephaestus." She stammered, and the God nodded.
"I heard your plea, and as you show so much potential as a mechanic, I couldn't ignore your call."
"Smooth dad. Smooth."
"So you will help me with my project?" Esperanza's eyes were shining (Leo wanted to know why his mom hadn't questioned the existence of the Gods yet, was she really so desperate for her project to be complete that she was going to ignore the fact that a supposedly mythical being was standing in front of her?) but Hephaestus shook his head.
"Then why are you here if you aren't going to help me?"
"Because you have shown such dedication to this art that my interfering would be demeaning to your skill. You need to finish this piece through your own merit, though I will clear your mind and allow your ideas to flow forth."
"Wow, my dad really knows how to flirt. I wonder if he will teach me his way with the ladies." Leo put as much sarcasm as he could into those words and was rewarded with quite a few snickers.
Hephaestus waved his hand, and Esperanza's face turned serene. Then she made her way back to her work station, picking up the metal that she had tossed to the floor.
As she worked diligently, Hephaestus watched with a hint of admiration. When the piece was finished, Esperanza turned to him with a striking smile.
"Thank you." Hephaestus scratched his cheek awkwardly.
"I couldn't allow a lady with talents such as yours to give up and possibly lose her job." He turned to leave, and Esperanza's eyes widened.
"Lord Hephaestus, sir!" She called out, and Hephaestus turned back to face her.
"Can I call on you again?" She asked bashfully. Hephaestus' eyes widened comically and he shuffled his feet slightly.
"I suppose that I wouldn't hate coming to your aid again." He grumbled eventually, before disappearing, a layer of red dusting his cheeks. Esperanza giggled.
"I'll take that as a yes."
"Remind me never to take dating advice from your father." Percy laughed.
The screen showed a series of moments were Esperanza would invoke Hephaestus, and he would sit quietly and watch her work. In the later videos, they even worked side by side occasionally.
It was the end of one such night when Esperanza finally took the plunge.
Hephaestus was just about to disappear when Esperanza tapped him on the back. He swivelled around, and Esperanza caught his lapel before pulling him for a tender kiss.
"Eww, parents kiss." Leo groaned before being shushed by an irate Piper who now clearly shipped his mom and dad despite the fact that Hephaestus was technically cheating on Piper's mother. Ah, godly relationships, gotta love 'em.
Hephaestus stared at her stunned, and she smiled in the same impish way that Leo often did.
The screen again skipped ahead in time. Esperanza stood arms folded over her stomach and tears dripping down her face.
Hephaestus also looked devastated
"But why can't you stay here with me, we could raise our son together."
"My father - Zeus would never allow it. He wants us to interfere in the lives of demigods as little as possible, and that means that I cannot be here with you. I'm sorry, but I must be content with watching you from afar. No God can stay with a mortal."
"Then why? Why did you start a relationship with me if you knew that you would have to leave me?"
"Because you are special! You know what you like to do and you continue doing it no matter what anyone else says. I have loved you from the moment since you looked upon my hideous visage unflinchingly." Esperanza smiled then, sadly and wistfully.
"I have never once considered you to be ugly. I love you for what is in your heart and I will love our child no matter what they look like. But is there anyway for our child to be safe? Won't the monsters come after him?"
"He should be safe until he is around twelve, that is when most demigods first begin attracting monsters. Then, there is a safe place for children of the Gods. It's name is Camp Half-Blood and it is situated in Long Island South, though by that time a satyr will probably have been allocated to guide our child to the camp."
"Will they have siblings there?" Hephaestus ran a hand gently along her cheek, the way she had ran her's over the picture.
"Yes. Gods possess love for many beings, it has been that way since their first creation. I am sorry if this pains you..." Esperanza cut him off.
"Although I wish that it didn't have to be this way, I understand that as a God you could never fully bind yourself to me. At least they won't be lonely." Hephaestus kissed her gently, before drawing back.
"I will meet our child one day." Esperanza nodded as Hephaestus disappeared. Then her tears began to flow again.
"I love you, but how will I raise a child on my own?"
"That was so tragic yet so beautiful at the same time!" Piper was freaking him out a little with how she was mooning over his parents relationship. But a small part of him still felt angry that Hephaestus had left his mom pregnant, alone and virtually defenceless. Unless he had been the one to hire Hera as his babysitter...
"It was partially due to your father and partly due to your potential. Though my son seemed to disagree with some of my methods."
"Yeah, I wonder why that could be."
"I succeeded in toughening you up." Hera declared haughtily.
"No, you traumatised me. The streets toughened me up." Hera once again sniffed disdainfully after Leo said this.
"Ungrateful child." She muttered as the next memory began.
Leo and Jazz were chilling with the crowd that had been with them in the cafeteria. They were seated in a circle in a large bedroom, grinning at each other.
"Okay Leo, your turn to pick a card." Jazz nudged the Latino forwards, and Leo reached out to pluck card from the pile.
"Oh great." Leo grumbled putting his hand over his face.
"What's up?" Jason sounded concerned.
"I remember this. We're playing a game that me and Jazz created together. Everyone writes out a set of eight cards, four of them good things to do and four of them bad things to do. The cards would then be shuffled and every round someone would pick a card and do what it said."
"I'll assume from your reaction that you didn't get a good card." Leo groaned.
The younger Leo turned over the card. His face dropped as he thrust it at Jazz to read out.
"Leo must dress up in a cheerleaders outfit and perform a cheer to Gwen Stefani's Hollaback girl." All of the boys burst into laughter.
As did the demigods of screen, Leo really hated his friends sometimes.
"Where am I even going to find a cheerleader costume?"
"My sister has one that she grew out of I'm sure that it will fit you."
The video skipped.
Leo was standing in a black cheerleading skirt with a hot pink band just above the bottom and a matching top that cut off above his navel. The top was sleeveless. Shiny pom poms were clutched in his hands. Leo glared at his friends who were giggling hysterically.
Just like he was doing now.
"Just be glad that I found shorts that could go under this so that I don't accidentally flash anybody." Leo stated tetchily.
Cue Hazel turning beet red.
Leo stood in the back garden (Leo thanked all of he Gods that the garden was huge and that no one else had witnessed his humiliation) looking very angry.
"Lea doesn't look to happy right now." Frank laughed. Leo turned his head towards him, ramping up his dark aura. Frank gulped and shut up so Leo assumed that he had looked pretty intimidating. Good. Perhaps he wouldn't lose all respect after this clip.
"Just play the damn music." He growled, and Jazz scurried to obey his order. Jazz then went to take his place in the audience, aka sitting in the grass in front of Leo with the others.
"Uh huh, this my shh. All the girls stomp your feet like this." On "shh", Leo put one finger to his mouth in the universal sign for shush, before throwing both hands out to the side and wiggling his pom poms.
"Few times I've been around that track so it's not just gonna happen like that. Cause I ain't no hollaback girl, I ain't no hollaback girl." At first, Leo lead himself through a turn with one outstretched pom pom before slamming his foot down. He waved one arm in front of his face, sassily moving his hips with it, before doing the same with the other arm.
"Few times I've been around that track so it's not just gonna happen like that. Cause I ain't no hollaback girl, I ain't no hollaback girl." Leo repeated the same motions.
The CD supplied the line "Ooh, this my shh, this my shh" four times and Leo placed his hands palm down in front of his chest and popped his chest forwards in time with each one, rolling his hips into the motion, each movement perfectly timed to stop with the beat.
Then the real routine began.
"I heard that you were talking shh, and you didn't think that I would hear it." Leo put his leg up vertically and used that to turn, slamming his foot down on the word "shh", following through with a jump stomp so that his feet were equally paced. He then dipped forwards with his hand to his ear and swayed across as if trying to listen.
"People hear you talking like that getting everybody riled up. Leo jumped up and did teh splits, but turned while doing it. He the threw one hand up in the air (still clenching his pom pom) And bent his front leg at the knee so he was facing his audience side on with his leg bent upwards, his foot hovering near to his thigh.
"So I'm ready to attack, gonna lead the pack, gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out. That's right put your pom poms down, getting everybody fired up." Leo's foot again touched the floor as he punched out with one hand before leaping into a one handed cartwheel that ended in a touchdown position. Leo sprang up, Punching both hands out with one hand crossed over the other and his pom poms sparkling.
He shook his pom poms before sliding down so that his hands were on the grass. He then lifted his legs so that he was doing an approximation of the splits with his hands still on the floor. He flipped up after the next line, over his pom poms which remained on the ground.
"Few times I've been around that track so it's not just gonna happen like that. Cause I ain't no hollaback girl, I ain't no hollaback girl. Few times I've been around that track so it's not just gonna happen like that. Cause I ain't no hollaback girl, I ain't no hollaback girl. " On the first repeat of this verse, Leo carried out the same moves as the other time, minus the pom poms. Then he pulled his arms up in front of his chest, however his elbows remained crooked. he then threw his hands out to the side and performed a back flip, with a twist added in. He landed solidly on his feet, just in time to slide one foot sideways and forwards so he was once again side on to the group. As he did this, his hand made a tight wave motion forwards and then snapped to the side with a finger snap so he was facing forwards. He repeated this for the next line.
The CD played the line "Ooh, this my shh, this my shh" four times again, with Leo sticking to the same body pop movements.
"So that's right dude, meet me at the bleachers, no principals, no student teachers. Both of us want to be the winner but there can only be one." Leo threw himself into a front handspring, his foot connecting with the ground on the line "bleachers". He wagged one finger in warning, leaning forward with his other hand resting on his hip. He straightened, throwing the hand that had been on his hip into the air before leaping into an aerial cartwheel that ended with him sideways and holding up his hand with one finger raised.
"So I'm gonna fight, gonna give it my all, gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you. That's right, I'm the last one standing and another one bites the dust." The hand that was pointing out turned into a fist which he used to punch the air. He the front flipped and punched the ground before using that hand to cartwheel forwards . The hand then swept behind him dramatically.
He then repeated the chorus with the same steps.
"Let me hear you say this shh is bananas B.A..N.A.N.A.S. This shh is bananas B.A..N.A.N.A.S." Leo's hands went up to his head and he did the universal motion for crazy with both of them. He then performed a series of flips, landing with both hands on his hips.
"This shh is bananas B.A..N.A.N.A.S. This shh is bananas B.A..N.A.N.A.S." Leo then threw himself into some intense arm movements.
"Few times I've been around that track so it's not just gonna happen like that. Cause I ain't no hollaback girl, I ain't no hollaback girl. Ooh, this my shh, this my shh. Ooh, this my shh, this my shh. Ooh, this my shh, this my shh. Ooh, this my shh, this my shh." He went through another, more complicated series of flips and ended the routine with one leg held in the air next to his head and his other hand pointing at the boys.
They applauded him, looking mystified. Jazz simply snorted.
"That was more of a dance routine then a cheer." Leo growled at him.
"So let's make a list of things that Leo is not." Percy was giving him an evil look, and Leo was certain that this was karma for all of the pranks that he had pulled on the seven.
"He isn't tall." Frank was straight in, and Leo hissed.
"Damn Frank, it's lucky that fire doesn't hurt me or that would have burned."
"He isn't tidy." This was Jason, and Leo turned to him.
"Hey, I thought that what happened in the room stayed in the room." Jason smirked at him.
"He isn't normal." Piper said this with a wink, and she ruffled his hair to show that she meant it in a good way, which was how Leo was going to take it.
"He isn't a complete idiot." Annabeth gave him a small smile, and those words really meant a lot coming from someone who was as smart as Annabeth.
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I've lost some pieces along the way." Of course, he couldn't let them all see how much those words got to him. He did send Annabeth her own secretive smile. Apparently she understood as her own grin widened.
"He isn't Sammy." His head snapped towards Hazel, who was staring at him with absolutely no hint of longing for Sammy, for her past. Leo sent a smile her way as well. It would be nice to truly become friends with Hazel Levesque, instead of just being her substitute Sammy. He was sure that his bisabuelo would agree that it was for the best that Hazel and Leo became friends on their own terms, instead of clinging to a remnant of the past.
"And most importantly... Leo ain't no hollaback girl." Percy rounded this off with laughter, and they all joined in, even Leo.
"So now you've dressed as a girl three times. Is there something that you aren't telling us Leo?" Frank's voice was filled with mirth, but Leo couldn't let his friend gain the upper hand in their verbal sparring.
"So a few memories back you admitted that you found me pretty, is there something that you aren't telling us Frank?" Frank spluttered in the back ground, but Leo knew that the older demigod would be unable to comeback to that.
When the screen suddenly sprang to life, everyone leapt about a foot into the air as they hadn't expected it to come back on at that moment. As they settled down and tried to stop their hearts from beating out of their chest, the memory began playing.
Inside of Bunker nine, Leo had fell asleep in a very odd position. He was dangling form the ceiling upside down, wearing a safety harness. It was evident that he had been working on the Argo and that he had fallen asleep like that.
"Isn't that sort of dangerous?" Piper glanced at him worriedly. He sent her his best devil may care grin.
"Pssht, I'm in a safety harness aren't I?" Annabeth narrowed her eyes at him, and Leo prayed that she wasn't going to commence another lecture on personal safety. The memory took care of that for him.
As with most of the other sleep memories, the screen began to focus on Leo's dream instead of his corporeal self.
However, this dream didn't seem to centre on Leo (or even Gaia), but it instead looked towards... Beckendorf.
Percy stiffened next to him, and he heard Annabeth gasp.
"Beckendorf..." Percy's voice was sad, and Leo understood that Percy probably still blamed his self for the death of Leo's older brother.
"Who's Beckendorf?" Hazel looked to Percy, Annabeth and Leo.
"He was a hero." Annabeth replied.
"He was my older brother, but I never met him." Sadness crossed each face as they all mourned for the loss of a fellow demigod. It hurt, but it was also a common occurrence and the fact sickened Leo. They all were forced to mourn far to often. He swore to himself speechlessly that at the end o this quest, neither camp would be forced to mourn the loss of any of his friends. He would do whatever he needed to in order to keep them safe.
Festus was advancing on Percy angrily, and Leo watched his dragon friend in surprise.
Yet, just before the metal dragon could destroy Percy, Beckendorf leaped onto his back and clung on like a cowboy.
Leo's half brother tinkered away in an attempt to fix the mechanical construct. And then it was done, and Beckendorf was smiling down at the now docile creature.
Dream Leo's face had fallen as he watched his brother work.
"Great, not only did I ruin Festus' body, I also screwed up one of my brother's greatest achievements. How am I meant to measure up to him as head counsellor? If I can't even keep Festus together, how am I meant to keep our cabin together?"
The dream visited a few more of Beckendorf's greatest exploits, including him comforting a crying Nyssa and his sacrifice.
Leo sat down and faced the floor as the memories faded away.
"How can I be anything compared to someone so selfless?" He sobbed after a few minutes.
"Oh, Leo. No one expects you to be just like Beckendorf. They chose you to be head counsellor because they thought that they were up to the task. You are their brother in your own right and you should never feel inadequate because of Beckendorf." Annabeth was giving him a soft look, and Leo felt a warm tingle at how Annabeth had finally stopped treating him like a criminal over the Eidolon incident.
"Thanks Annabeth. But me and Beckendorf actually worked out a few of my issues together." Leo was certain that Percy had just given himself whip lash.
"How?" Leo gave him a forlorn look.
"Watch the dream."
"Hey." A voice caused Leo to look up in confusion. This confusion trebled when the Latino realised that the speaker was in fact Charles Beckendorf.
"What?How?Why? But your dead1" Leo's questions were fired of rapidly, and Beckendorf looked momentarily overwhelmed.
"And yet I'm here. I'd say in the flesh, but that doesn't really apply here." Leo gaped at him for a moment, before some of his attitude returned.
"How about in the plasma?" Beckendorf chuckled at Leo's remark.
"Actually, that's not entirely accurate either. As I'm, well, inside your head, I don't exactly have any substance right now, plasma or otherwise."
"Well that's comforting." Leo still appeared a little spooked, but he gestured to the floor in front of him, giving Beckendorf permission to come and sit with him.
"It sounded better in my head."
"Well as your in my head right now..."
"But I am still capable of separate thoughts."
"This conversation isn't getting any less weird." The half brothers remained silent for a short stretch of time.
"Why are you here anyway, shouldn't you be in Elysium or something?" Leo sounded a little put out, and Beckendorf shifted uncomfortably.
"I don't really know how I'm here, but I've been watching over the camp and..."
"Wait, your still watching over the camp? I thought that you would have been living it up with your girlfriend."
"Oh, I am in Elysium, and I am with Silena, but we both still keep an eye on camp."
Leo heard a muffled sniffle from Percy's direction, and he placed a hand on his knee to show that he was there for him. Leo knew that Percy had looked up to Beckendorf and that the thought of him still watching over the camp with Silena despite the fact that they had made it to Elysium was equally heart wrenching and uplifting for the Son of Poseidon. Annabeth was in a similar situation, and Piper also looked a little misty eyed at the mention of the deceased sister whom she had never met.
"We especially like to keep an eye on our siblings and friends, and so we both watched your quest to rescue Lady Hera intently."
"Oh," Leo muttered "then you know about what happened to Festus." Beckendorf placed a hand on Leo's shoulder. It was a little amusing to see Leo dwarfed by his older brother.
"We were both proud during that quest." Leo instantly stared at Beckendorf as if he was a few wires short of a mechanical dragon.
"I messed up so many times."
"You also saved your friends with your quick thinking may times. You even saved Lady Hera. And now your going to be part of another huge quest which means that you must be pretty, um, amazing."
"I'm glad to see that our father was fair and gave you the same level of people skills as the rest of us."
"I am just like the rest of you if you ignore the dead part."
"Kind of hard to ignore. And I'm nothing like you. Your a real hero, a true son of Hephaestus." Now it was Beckendorf's turn to be puzzled.
"And so are you."
"I'm nothing compared to you." Beckendorf seemed completely shocked by Leo's lack of self esteem.
"What do you mean?" Leo turned so that his back was facing Beckendorf, and he began tracing patterns on the floor.
"I'm just a kid who's good with his hands and can occasionally light himself on fire." Beckendorf's expression softened.
"And I was just a kid who was good with his hands." Leo whirled on him as if to contradict this statement, but Beckendorf raised a hand to show that he wasn't finished.
"Seriously, Leo, why are you building me ups so much in your head when you've already surpassed me?" Leo once again looked to protest and Beckendorf once again shut him up with a raised hand.
"I know that you will probably not believe me, or at least you wont believe me for a long time, but you are a hero in your own right and an accomplished son of Hephaestus. I mean, just look at your ship! I could have never built something like that. I wish that I could help you out with it." His face turned wistful for a moment as they gazed upon a dream image of the Argo.
"I wish that you could as well." Leo stated, and honesty filtered into his voice.
"Anyway, I've got to go now, little brother. Good luck with your quest and please don't tell anyone else about this. I don't want them worrying about me popping into their dreams at a time like this."
Leo woke up with a jolt that caused him to swing back and forth in his harness. As he swung, he seemed to contemplate Beckendorf's words.
"I don't know why you were proud of me last quest, but this time I'll definitely give you a reason to be."
"I'm sure that he is proud of you." Percy's voice was warm and Leo blushed. He didn't feel like he really deserved the pride of his brother, he'd messed up so much on this quest. But at the same time, it was nice to know that Percy thought that he deserved it.
Leo was in the training room, carefully aiming jets of fire at the dummies. His face was scrunched in concentration.
A familiar laugh rang out , mocking and yet also...sleepy. Leo instantly span round, and his fire was sent in the direction of Gaia's laugh. But Gaia wasn't there, and his flames licked the panelling of the room. In some places he wood caught alight and Leo's face became panicked.
And then the image of Gaia was behind him, laughing into his ear.
"You are a weapon of mass destruction, demigod. Don't forget that." Leo once again caught fire, and even more dread was visible in his eyes as he tried to stop the ship catching on fire. He ran over to the already blazing wood and began patting it down, trying to stop the fire from raging. The only problem was that different parts of Leo kept catching on fire and Leo had to continually pat himself out as well as the wood.
Once all the fires had been put out, Leo was left staring at the charred and blackened wood in dismay.
"I'm going to have to replace that before anyone else sees it." His tone was apprehensive.
"How did you manage to lose control that badly?" Annabeth's tone was far from accusing, in fact it was more concerned then anything else, but it still lanced Leo's heart. He knew that he had some of the worst control on the Argo, but he had despised his powers for so long and he had loathed to use them so maybe his control wasn't excellent, but he was trying.
"I thought that Gaia was attacking and I freaked out."
"You know that Gaia hasn't risen yet and that she can't attack us physically?" Frank's words tipped Leo over the edge.
"Pero estuve preocupado y Gaia me distrajo. Por eso perdí el control de mi fuego! (But I was worried and Gaia distracted me. That's why I lost control of my fire!)" They all stared at him dumbly, but Leo wasn't finished yet.
"Y no soy el único que ha perdido el control de sus poderes (and I am not the only one who has lost control of his powers.)" He perceived the way they were all peering at him as an insult, that they were all denying what he was saying. And then Jason spoke up.
"Um, Leo. We have no clue what you are saying." Leo replayed his rant in his head and realised that he had spoke entirely in Spanish. He felt mortified, but after letting that out he felt a little calmer.
"So what were you saying?" Piper queried, and Leo became aware of the fact that he was probably going to have to repeat his entire petty rant again.
"It doesn't matter."
"If t didn't matter then you wouldn't have said it." Jason's logic was really unappreciated right now.
"I was saying that Gaia distracted me and that I'm not the only one who's lost control of his powers." The others all looked ashamed as they realised that Leo's words were true.
"I'm sorry." Annabeth sighed, and Leo could feel the mood darkening again.
"You guys really are a pathetic bunch." He stated cheerfully. "Cheer up." Not for the first time since this weird situation had started, his friends all gazed at him as if he were insane.
Leo was sitting and pouting, his face turned away from the leaders stubbornly. He was covered in small scrapes and bruises, a few of which looked quite nasty.
"So instead of just running away from the other gang - the members of which were both older and bigger than you - you chose to fight them! What were you thinking? You could have been killed." Darien's voice was fraught with emotion, and whilst Cedric beside him looked impassive, his shoulders practically thrummed with tension.
"But at least I can actually defend myself, what if they had attacked someone like Flora, Angel or even Ellis?"
"Yes but now you've antagonised them!" Leo flinched at Cedric's yell, and the camera twisted a little bit to reveal Jadon in the background, holding a little girl in his arms, a girl who looked suspiciously like Darien.
"What good would it have done for me to just ran away like a coward?"
"It would have helped to avoid a gang war! They want your head for apparently provoking their members and the beating them up."
"Bull! They attacked me."
"But there's no proof of that!" Cedric roared, causing Leo to jump and stare at him with hurt eyes.
"There's no proof of that, and now there demanding that we hand you over for a beating or they'll start an all out war. Why didn't you just stop to think?" Leo hung his head. and Cedric clicked his tongue angrily before he and Darien turned to leave. Darien shot the small Latino a worried look on the way, before calling to Jadon to follow them.
The little girl made her way over to Leo, retrieving a first aid kit as she did so. She began tending to his scrapes with care that belied her young age.
Leo's head lifted, and he stared at the child with hollow eyes.
"Hee, why is it that you or Jadon are al ways looking after me Aura?" The child, now named as Aura, fixed him with a no nonsense stare.
"Because we love you." She declared calmly, as if that was a well known fact.
Leo remembered that he needed to add Aura to his drawing, and commenced the epic drawing again, whilst silently begging Hera to not show what happened after this, after he left the gang.
"I love you too. You, your brother, Cedric, Jadon and everybody else. I love you all." Aura pulled back from where she was sticking a plaster (one of the Hello Kitty variety) on Leo's knee.
"You're going to do something stupid aren't you?" Her voice was way to mature for a child of her age and it held a growing sense of alarm.
"You know me so well." Aura looked at him, taking no comfort from the fact that Leo didn't deny her statement. She knelt in front of Leo, judging him silently until Leo finally cracked under the pressure of the child's intense stare.
"I'm leaving the gang."
"What!" Aura shrieked, her tone shrill. Leo swiftly hushed her.
"I've caused too much trouble and It's time for me to leave." Leo was obviously aiming for a placating tone. Aura didn't buy it.
"You can't. I wont let you. I'll... I'll tell Darien and he'll stop you."
"I've made my mind up Aura. I'm leaving no matter what. I'm sorry but I have to. Will you do me a favour though? Please?" Aura shook her head, body shaking with sobs. Leo drew her into a hug, and she clung to him.
"Is there nothing that I can do to get you to stay?" She whimpered.
"I'm sorry." Her sobs intensified, however she soon regained her composure, an impressive feat for someone so young.
"Then what do you need?" Her tone was subdued, but it was clear that she was giving Leo her permission to leave, albeit reluctant permission.
"I want you to hand this letter to Cedric or Diggory, right? I wrote it when I got back from the fight, when I knew that I had to leave and it should explain everything to them, as well as it being my goodbye to them. Tomorrow I'm going to pack and then I'm going to tell Jadon that I'm leaving. Could you give this letter to them the day afterwards, and say that I hid it somewhere in your room." The child nodded, agreeing to help Leo yet her eyes still shone with unshed tears.
"I'll miss you, Leo." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed Leo's forehead. Leo hugged her close.
"And I'll miss you and all of the others." The scene ended with Leo still consoling his little friend.
"And that's why you decided to leave the gang. The memory were you told Jadon was the day after that.." Leo confirmed Piper's theory, inwardly relieved that Hera wasn't showing what happened after he left the gang. Of course, he was a poster boy for irony as just after he thought this, the screen showed the words "Two days later." Leo knew that this was going to be bad.
Leo stood in front of a group of boys who were eyeing him up as if he were scum, as f he was no better then dirt.
"You didn't hand yourself over!" Annabeth's sounded outraged, and Leo winced. Yep, this was going to be bad. He hoped that he'd be able to play this one of.
"Well, yeah, I couldn't let them take on my old gang because of my mess."
"How did you know that they wouldn't just beat the crap out of you before turning against the gang anyway?" Frank was definitely distressed, and Leo was certain that it was only going to get worse as the video played out.
"They took promises very seriously. If I could gain their word that they wouldn't harm my friends then I knew that I could trust it."
The leader, a girl dressed in very gothic clothes, stepped forwards.
"So you're the child who beat up some of my men. Interesting. You look as if you couldn't beat a teddy bear." Leo winked cheerily, as if unaware of the danger this girl represented.
"It's those stuffed paws that get me every time, they really pack a punch." The girl snorted in amusement, before walking over to Leo.
"I didn't think that I would be seeing your face in my territory, not voluntarily at least." Leo looked her straight in the eye, and cut to the chase immediately.
"I heard that you are someone who values promises immensely. I wish for you to give me your word that you and your gang will not touch the gang that I was previously affiliated with." The girl's smile took a cruel turn at these words.
"And what, pray tell, makes you think that I will give you my word on that subject?"
"I offer myself as payment for this promise. I will submit to any form of vengeance that you wish to exact upon me for injuring your men, as long as you promise to leave the gang alone."
The smile turned predatory.
"Very well. If you submit to our punishment then you have my word that we will leave your gang alone."
"They could have murdered you!" Jason was clearly displeased with Leo's decision, and Leo rolled his eyes.
"No they weren't. If they murdered me then they'd have to deal with the police and no gang wants that." Apparently no one found that explanation satisfactory, but the memory played across any arguments that they could have put forth.
Warning : Memory contains violence but nothing too graphic.
The leader gestured two of her men forwards.
"Remove his belt and use it to bind his wrists." She ordered and the men followed the order roughly yanking the belt out of Leo's pants and looping it around his wrists. Leo shifted, uncomfortable with having his hands restrained and evidently not relishing the vulnerability, but he needed to allow the them to beat him as much as they liked or his former gang were in danger.
"Is that why you prefer suspenders to a belt?" Piper already seemed unnerved and the memory hadn't even properly started yet.
"Belt's are easier to use as a method of restraint." He replied and he watched the expressions of disgust, worry and fear that played out on his friend's faces. Sometimes they really were too easy to read.
"Punish him, but not too harshly. I respect his courage." The leader then left Leo to the mercy of her subordinates. The boy looked at each other and shrugged.
"No hard feelings kid, it's just that if you mess with our gang, even douchebags like the guys you beat up, then your going to have to expect some retaliation." Loe grimaced bitterly as a foot landed in his gut.
"Please excuse me if I harbour some hard feelings." He panted after receiving a fist to the ribs. His hands had been bound in front of him, they obviously held him to his promise of no resistance, and Leo was forced to lean his weight into them as the bigger boys started on his back. Yet his weaker wrist obviously couldn't take the strain, and it gave out which lead to him falling to the floor face first.
He was yanked up by the boy who had yet to speak and the beating continued.
Fists and feet flew and Leo was left helpless in a storm of pain, grunting and occasionally moaning from some particularly vicious hits.
And then it was all over, and the boys were picking him up, dusting him of and removing his restraint. They handed the belt back to him, but his hands were shaking to much to put it back on. They eyed him with something akin to pity, and one of the boys pried the belt out of his hands and laced it through the loops of Leo's pants.
Leo was visibly shaken, and the pity in the older boy's expressions morphed into regret. As Leo staggered away, thoroughly punished, the previously silent one leant towards his companion.
"Did we got to far?"
"I don't know. The kid seemed strong. He didn't deserve that in anyway, but it was the leader's orders."
They all seemed to be in a state of sever shock as they just glanced at the screen.
"I would have thought that was obvious!" Jason yelled, frustration spiking in his face and tone.
"They had to follow their leader's orders." The glares that Leo received for his neutral assessment of the situation were truly terrifying.
"They beat a little kid up. There's no excuse for that." Percy's voice bordered on dangerous, but Leo still had to protest.
"I had beat up some of their members."
"Members who had attacked you first and who even they saw as douchebags!" At any other time, in any other situation, Hazel saying the word douchebag would have been hilarious, but all of the demigods were to riled up to acknowledge the humour.
"I know, and I didn't exactly enjoy the experience, but that's how the streets work. If I hadn't taken that beating then, innocent people would have been hurt due to me. And I couldn't allow that."
"Why are you so self sacrificing?" Jason sounded so perturbed, and a dark under current ran through his words. He was looking down so that his eyes were covered by his shock of blond hair. Then, he looked up, and his eyes were so tortured that the breath was stolen from Leo's lungs. All of his witty retorts and joke replies disappeared at the sight of his best friend looking as if everything he cared about was about to be ripped out from underneath him.
"Because I'd rather sacrifice myself then lose anyone else ever again." The raw honesty burnt his throat, he wasn't used to revealing so much about himself, but Jason's pain warranted this truthfulness, this admittance. He couldn't leave his friends in pain.
"Don't you know that we feel the same way as you?" Percy's voice reflected the sheer agony in Jason's eyes, and Leo turned to him.
"Then you understand my sentiments."
"That doesn't mean that we have to like it." Piper stated lowly, and Leo once again turned to observe the pain on one of his friend's faces.
"Well I don't like the thought of one of you sacrificing yourself for me, so if you can honestly promise me that none of you will sacrifice yourselves for me, then I wont sacrifice my self for any of you." The room remained silent, and Leo celebrated mentally. Although he hadn't told his friends everything and although he was an experienced liar, he didn't enjoy betraying his friends trust and he was sure that crossing his fingers behind his back while making that promise would have constituted as lying.
"Well with that all cleared up." Leo watched the screen pointedly, and Hera complied as the next scene began.
Twelve year old Leo sat contentedly scribbling a design down in a very noisy room in an orphanage. The noise and bustle didn't even cause his relaxed smile to waver.
"What are you doing?" One of the workers asked, and Leo broke out of his stupor.
"Designing a cool watch." The camera zoomed into the design to reveal a list of functions that had been written down with instructions to how each would be achieved.
The workers eyes widened as he observed Leo's blueprint and he whistled under his breath in awe.
"You should send those plans into a big company and you could be recruited." Leo smiled at him.
"Maybe I will."
"Did you?" Percy asked, and Leo was glad that they were moving on from the gang incident.
"Really, don't you recognise those functions from any adverts?" Annabeth exhaled noisily.
"Apple." Leo nodded, and pouted.
"They ripped of my design and didn't even give me credit."
"Well that sucks." Frank commiserated. Leo shrugged.
"They miss out actually, because I have a spankin' hot war machine and they don't."
"True, though I wonder if Steve Jobs was a demigod." Percy's contemplations were interesting, and Leo made a mental note to ask his siblings about more famous children of Hephaestus.
Eleven year old Leo was swaying to the music at what looked to be a school disco, amicably chatting to a couple of boys, and clutching a plastic cup of punch. As they talked, a shy looking girl made her way forwards.
"L...L...Leo." She stuttered, tugging her white dress nervously.
Leo began adding another figure to his picture, which was now bursting with memories.
"Hey Heather. What's up?" The girls face immediately flared crimson, and Leo watched her in concern.
"Would you like to dance with me?" Her question was asked so quickly that Leo almost didn't catch it, but when the words filtered into his head, his cheeks also glowed with colour. Some of the boys he had been talking with started chortling, and the girl eeped and backtracked, apologising for the request.
When Leo's hand wrapped around hers, she was prevented from moving.
"I'd love to." He declared, paying no heed to the boys behind him.
He lead the girl over to the dance for, weaving past couples and friends until they had reached an empty spot.
One hand gently claimed her waist, and her free hand snaked onto his shoulder. They danced slowly to the song, and they showed a surprising amount of skill as they waltzed around the floor.
Just as the Heather was beginning to settle into the dance and look comfortable, the slow song ended and a fast song replaced it. Heather's face fell, and she removed her hand's form where they had resided for the duration of the song.
Leo tugged her back gently.
"Leaving already, was I that bad of a dance partner?" Heather once again lit up like a beacon as she furiously shook her head.
"No, of course not! I just didn't think that you'd stay and dance with me to a song like this."
"Why not?" Leo laughed before he started dancing to the new beat. Heather seemed to deliberate for a moment or two before she threw caution to the wind and joined in on this new, faster paced dancing.
Their moves were good, skilled even, and a small crowd observed the way they twirled and slid with joy.
They danced the night away, and by the time a teacher had called the night to an end, they were both sweaty and out of breath but their smiles remained unaffected by their dishevelled state.
They turned towards each other, and Heather boldly gathered all of her courage.
"Goodnight." She sweetly murmured before kissing his cheek and darting of to find her friends.
Piper's grin was a little creepy, and Leo braced himself for an onslaught of Aphrodite-esque babble. When none was forthcoming he released his breath, but once again his relief came to soon as Piper immediately began harping on about their cuteness as soon as Leo had relaxed.
Once they had all gotten the teasing, squealing, etc out of their systems, the next memory began.
Warning : Car accident and death of an animal
Ten year old Leo was seated in an alley next to a huge dumpster, hugging his skinny legs to his chest and humming in an attempt to stay cheerful. Everything about him from is matted hair to is dirt encrusted clothes screamed street kid, but the expression on his face was mostly happy. That was when he heard a strange keening noise.
He cocked his head to one side and focused on what the noise could possibly mean. And then a small puppy limped forwards, in a worse state then Leo himself. The young dog was clearly too skinny and his leg was bleeding slightly. Yet he still walked trustfully towards Leo, nudging his hand lovingly with his tiny black fur covered head and licking it with his rough pink tongue.
"Hey buddy." Leo opened his arms, and the dog jumped onto his lap, nestling into the warmth of the demigod.
The screen showed a montage of images in which Leo was playing with the dog and nursing it back to health, even falling asleep curled into each other.
And then that fateful day came.
Leo was relocating as the owners of the restaurant which lead into the alley were becoming suspicious. His little friend was nuzzled into his arms and Leo was merrily making his way along a near deserted street.
He reached the road, and looked both ways, before stepping out when the coast was clear. Before he was even half way across, the puppy shifted in his arms, and Leo took a moment to readjust his hold on the small animal.
That was when the car hit him.
Leo was knocked across the road, rolling to a halt a good few metres away from the car which had pulled to a stop.
But he had lost the grip on the puppy.
A man got out of the car, clearly he had been quite intoxicated but hitting a kid had sobered up.
Leo blearily looked at the car, and then he noticed the puppy lying in the middle of the road, unmoving.
Leo wasn't a stupid kid, or even a dumb one so when he saw no signs of movement, a tear trickled down his face. The man was standing over him now, trying to inform a hospital about what happened, but Leo was only focused on making his way to the puppy. The man tried to stop him, but most of his attention was on directing the medical staff.
Leo cradled the puppy in his arms, crying fully now.
"I'm sorry buddy. I'm sorry." he the lost his grip on consciousness.
Leo tried to stifle his sniffles, but he really was fed up of watching everyone and everything that he had cared about being ripped away from him again.
Percy yanked him into a hug, and for once Leo didn't even bother resisting. He simply cried into his friend's shoulder, to upset and frustrated to feel shame.
They were all crying, but Leo knew that he was the loudest, another fact that he couldn't care less about at this time.
Once he had gotten it all out, he simply gestured at the screen to continue.
Leo and Hazel were in front of a group of nymphs and a boy who blurred the line between masculine handsome and feminine beauty.
Leo's hair had been greased back goggles rested on his forehead. Both sleeves were rolled up, and a tattoo adorned one arm saying "hot stuff" with a skull and crossbones underneath.
"Narcissus." Hazel giggled, and Leo had the feeling that Hera had chosen this scene specifically to lift the mood, or to prepare them for an even worse memory after it. It was Hera, so ?Leo was more inclined to lean towards the pessimistic view.
Leo began extolling his virtues (the fan favourite seemed to be "I invented scrawny.", with Echo repeating his words. He also dissed Narcissus repeatedly.
The clip showed the entire incident, including the great escape (and yes, Leo did hum the theme)but it ended just before the two boarded the ship with the celestial bronze.
"So that's why the nymphs were chasing you." Percy managed to say between laughs.
Leo shrugged modestly.
"What can I say, they all wanted a piece of me." This brought on another bout of giggles.
Then Hera's voice startled them all out of their joviality.
"This has been a long experience, but you have endured it well young demigods. There is now only one more memory remaining, and it is quite pivotal in understanding Leo."
The screen started up as the demigods marvelled over this whole experience ending soon.
The scene revealed Hazel and Leo standing in front of Nemesis.
"Erm, why are you standing in front of Smelly Gabe?" Percy was incredibly confused sounding and Leo quickly explained that it was Nemesis, though he was intrigued to discover that the effect worked even when being shown through a memory.
"And as for you, child of fire. Your worst hardships are yet to come. You will always be the outsider, the seventh wheel. You will not find a place among your brethren."
The final memory cut of there, leaving it as one of the shortest, yet also one of the ones with the most impact.
Everyone instantly began protesting these words, but Leo chose to truly think about them instead. And he came to a conclusion.
"I think that she was right in some things. I will never find my place and I will always be the seventh wheel."
"No, just listen for a second. I don't need to find my place, because you guys have shown it to me. And even if I am the seventh wheel, I'm still a necessary part of the machine." They all stared at him, stunned for a moment.
"That was so deep." Annabeth remarked, before they were all blinded by a bright flash of light.
Hera left them sitting on the deck of the Argo, blinking to try and remove the spots from their eyes.
As they sat up, Leo heard a rustle of paper, and found that he was still clutching his picture and that Percy was eyeing it hungrily.
Leo unfolded it, revealing the picture of all of the people that he had cared about in the memories. And right in the middle of the picture was the seven.
They all commented on how it was amazing, but the moment was spoilt by a very confused Coach Hedge who was wondering how they all managed to appear on the deck simultaneously.
"You cupcakes best not be playing a prank on me." He warned, and they all confirmed that they weren't with some laughter. Though each one was internally digesting all that they had learnt and revising their opinions of Leo. They truly had changed with this experience.
The seven now had a much better understanding of their friend that had been forged through watching him suffer and grow.
And even Leo now had a better understanding of his place in the group and how his friends felt about him. It had been an unorthodox method of getting to know him, but it had worked. And the group were glad for the experience, though they regretted the experience.
And up on Olympus, Hera was crowing about the success of her plan to anyone who would listen, unaware of certain Goddess who happened to disagree that her work was done.
So Learning about Leo has finally drawn to a close and it is now time for me to move on to the sequels. The main sequel will be a fic where three Leo's from the past are brought onto the Argo. It will be set after Mark Of Athena so Nico will be there but SPOILERS Annabeth and Percy will still be onboard. The second sequel may contain spoilers for the books as it will be a series of oneshots in which Leo reunites with the people from his past. Thank you for all the support that you have given this story and I hope that you enjoy the sequels.