AN: Yes, this is my new story. Yes, the title is weird, but may make more sense when you read the whole story. (Yes, it is finished, updates will be weekly on Saturdays.)

This story has nothing to do with In the Stables or Strings of Fate. Some parts are lifted from or adapted from the works of Rick Riordan, obviously, those parts aren't my work.

The main thing I'm going for is trying to have a sense of realism in the relationships, despite this world having soulmate-identifying marks. It'd be great if you could give me some feedback on that!


Hazel Levesque stepped into Olympus High School's main building, a black backpack on her back and her arms full of books.

Hefting the backpack more securely onto her shoulders, she glanced around, hoping that her brother Nico was somewhere in sight.

No such luck.

(It would be terribly out of character for him, to be someplace so visible and public, so she wasn't really expecting him to be there.)

She would have to go further into the school.

She didn't really like that idea. She already felt very out of place, like she didn't belong.

And she didn't.

Hazel was thirteen years old and in the 8th grade. She attended Olympus Middle School, just across the road.

Her brother (well, half-brother) Nico di Angelo was a year older and in the 9th grade. He was the one who attended Olympus High.

He was also the one who had forgotten (or neglected, more likely) to bring his school books, stationery, lunch, phone and keys.

Although, she thought, remembering the argument between Nico and their father Hades (yes, his name really was Hades) that morning, she didn't blame him.

Neither she nor Nico had a terribly good relationship with their father, to say the least.

Nico had been much closer to his mother, Maria, and his sister, Bianca, now both deceased (don't ask for the story).

Hazel was the product of an affair between their father and her now-also-deceased (don't ask for that story either) mother, Marie Levesque.

Hades had married Maria and had two children with her, and then he'd gone down to New Orleans on business, met Marie, and along came Hazel.

He'd ultimately chosen Maria and their family, leaving Hazel and her mother. Safe to say, that had resulted in a significant amount of resentment towards him, on the part of both of the siblings. (Never each other. It wasn't his fault. It wasn't her fault. It was Hades' fault, if anyone.)

It was probably a little ridiculous that this whole fiasco could occur in a world where people had soulmate-identifying marks that spontaneously appeared when they met their soulmate.

But, as everyone, including Hazel, knew (after all, the marks had been around forever), soulmate relationships were no easier than all other close relationships. In fact, they might even be harder. They were not immune to the problems that other relationships faced. Some might say that they had it even worse.

(Just look at Hades and Maria di Angelo.)

Hazel sighed as she walked through the hallways, past a set of lockers. There was no point dwelling on it. She had to find Nico. (She had to try and let go of the past, as hard as that was.)

She was so busy searching for him that she didn't watch where she was going.

She walked into a strong, large, athletic boy. He looked to be a Junior at least, maybe a Senior. He was built like a football player.

He also didn't look very happy with her.

Neither did his friends.

'Watch where you're going, shrimp!'

Hazel's heart skipped a beat fearfully. But she fought to prevent it showing on her face, and stood up to her full (not very significant) height.

'I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention and bumped into you. But it was just an accident, and no harm was done.'

'Oh, really, and how would you know that, shrimp?'

(Well, she thought, it was kind of obvious. Like a little slip of a girl like her could do much harm to him anyway. Some darker thoughts entered her mind, something from the past, but she pushed them back down.)

'What're you doing here anyway, shrimp?'

Hazel stood firm.

'I'm looking for my brother.' She indicated the books and the backpack.

'Oh, your big brother, eh? Well, little girl, this is a big and scary school, no place for a shrimp like you. Why don't we take these off your hands? We'll make sure your brother gets them, won't we, boys?'

He and his cronies descended on her.

'Stop that! Give those back to me! Stop!'

Yet, despite her best attempts, they successfully seized Nico's things.

Hazel took a deep breath.

(She would not cry. She would not. And she didn't.)

She heard a voice behind her. A male voice.

'Give those back, Dylan. They don't belong to you.'

She turned.

A bulky Chinese boy, who appeared to be about 15 or 16 (or maybe even 14, she thought, looking at his baby face), stood behind her. He was somewhere between chubby and muscular, and bore a resemblance to a teddy bear with muscles. (Or, she thought, he probably would if he had a softer expression on his face than he did right now.) He was also rather handsome, and he was standing up for her...Hazel quickly pushed those thoughts away. Now was definitely not the time. (Curse you, puberty and hormones.)

Dylan scowled.

'Fine, have it your way, Zhang.'

He and his gang tossed Nico's things onto the floor and sauntered off.

Hazel's saviour let out a breath that he'd apparently been holding.

'Oh, thank the gods they're cowards...if they hadn't walked away...if he'd said or what...I don't know what I'd do...'

He knelt down and started gathering up Nico's things, and handed them to her.

They locked eyes. Hazel smiled at him.

'Thanks. That was very brave of you...um...'

He blushed and looked down.

'Umm...Frank...Frank Zhang.'

Looking at him, her heart started trying to tap dance. (Or at least that's what it felt like.) Her face grew warm, and strangely, so did the region around her heart.

'I'm Hazel, Hazel Levesque.'

He smiled.

'It's nice to meet you, Hazel.'

Her smile grew wider.

'It's nice to meet you too, Frank.'