Papa Don't Preach

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

"The key to it is to really put your back into it."

Apollo had been putting his back into it the entire time. His neck had become so stiff that he couldn't move it if he wanted to, not to mention his arm felt like jell-o.

"No pain no gain; you'll never amount to anything if you don't learn to put in a little elbow grease"

His head was spinning from the fumes, and with every stroke he felt his shoulder pop. How long had he been at it now? Two hours, maybe three?

"Come on, you're a big boy now, you can do this."

It didn't matter, he was being held prisoner. He was a slave to a man who wouldn't even shave in the morning and hid his messy hair underneath an old, dirty, hat.

There was a loud bang coming from the front of the office, forcing Apollo to lose his balance and fall head first into the toilet he was cleaning.

"We're home!" called a feminine voice. "Nick, are you here?"

"We're in the bathroom," Phoenix called, still leaning against the doorframe of the bathroom. He turned his attention back to his protégé, "I'll give you a ten minute break, but you're not off the hook yet."

"Nick," Maya sighed, placing a few bags on the sofa. "You're not making him clean the toilet again, are you?"

"Of course I am," the tall man said with a smile. "How else is he supposed to earn his keep?"

"Maybe I could, oh I don't know," Apollo pointed his toilet brush at Phoenix for dramatic effect, "Defend!"

His moves were so quick that Apollo didn't even notice that Phoenix had snatched the brush away from him until he was bonked on the head with it.

"That's no way to speak to your teacher," he said as he rapped his pupil on the head with the dirty brush. "And besides, you can't defend anyone if you don't have any clients."

"You should listen to Daddy, Polly," Trucy said as she entered the doorway, arms filled with bags and Pearl on her heels. "He'll make sure to get you some clients."

Apollo was not listening; he was too preoccupied trying to snatch back the brush from his bizarre, self-appointed mentor.

"What's in the bag?" Phoenix asked, as he raised the brush above Apollo's head. He found a sinister amusement in messing with the young attorney.

"Girl stuff," Maya answered, and turned to the two girls behind her. "Speaking of which, you two should hurry up. He should be here soon."

Trucy gasped and hurriedly pulled Pearl into her bedroom. With a bang, her door closed, leaving both Apollo and Phoenix in the dust. Phoenix sighed and gave his ex-assistant a lazy stare, which she returned by sticking her tongue out. Defeated, Phoenix handed Apollo the toilet scrubber, and sat at his desk to finish he magazine he had begun reading that morning.

"Whatever it is, you better not be corrupting my daughter."

Maya hopped on the desk, "What do you mean by corrupting her? I'm surprised she's so pure having a bum like you as a father."

"And what makes you think I'm a bum?"

"For starters, to buy all this stuff I had to use Apollo's credit card, since you can't even afford to have one anymore."

Apollo, hearing his name and use to his credit card, stopped his scrubbing and glared at the spiritual medium, "You did what?!"

"Second," Maya continued, ignoring Apollo. "You play piano at a smelly old Russian bar, when you can easily just take the bar again and get your badge back."

"Correction, I play piano and poker at a smelly old Russian bar. If you're going to insult my profession, you could at least get it right. And anyway, I've already scheduled the exam, so your argument doesn't hold water, Ms. Fey."

In a huff, Maya crossed her arms and began to mumble some profanities that were surely unfit for the Master of Kurain village to use.

"Uh, Maya?" the young attorney asked from his station in the bathroom.

"What?" she snapped and Phoenix grinned, knowing he had ruffled her feathers.

"Well, since I did technically pay for all this," Apollo pointed to the bags with the toilet scrubber. "What's it for?"

"Oh that? It's just a little shopping I did with Trucy."

"By the looks of the bags, it looks...expensive."

"Well, yeah it was," Maya said with a wink, and Apollo felt his stomach fall. "But it's for a special occasion."

"What kind of special occasion?"

"You see, our little Trucy is going on her first date."

Apollo dropped the toilet scrubber, his older brother instincts taking control, "Oh, no she isn't! She's too young to date!"

Maya laughed and turned to face Phoenix behind her, who was still reading his magazine calmly, "What about you, Papa Phoenix."

"Huh," he looked up at Maya, indifferent to the situation. "What about it?"

"Aren't you mad that Trucy's going on a date with a boy?"

The older man shrugged and turned a page in his magazine, completely calm.

She pointed to Apollo who was now scrubbing the toilet with fury. "Look at Apollo, he looks like he's gonna burst a gasket."

"If Trucy wants to date boys then let her. It's cheaper for me anyway if boys buy her dinner instead of me."

"Mr. Wright!" Apollo screech echoed from the bathroom. "That's no way to think of it!"

Maya pushed Phoenix's beanie over his eyes, "You're no fun. All the dads on television always freak out when their little girl goes out on their first date."

"Is that right?"

"Yeah Nick, you're supposed to be all, 'A boy's coming to take my darling little girl out on a date? Get me my gun!' or something."

Apollo couldn't help but laugh at the mental image of Phoenix with a gun. As if an emotionally-depraved man like him would ever have such an outburst.

"Maya," Phoenix adjusted his hat correctly on his head. "I don't even own a gun, and besides I doubt anyone really reacts that way."

"Well, Apollo looks pretty peeved," Maya mumbled under her breath.

"He doesn't count; Apollo gets like that about everything."

Just as Apollo was going to object, there was a bang on the door.

"Ah, that must be him," Phoenix said, about to get up, but he was pulled down by his sleeve by Maya.

"Don't answer it!"

"What? Why not? He's knocking isn't he?"

"Don't you know anything? You never answer the first knock, it makes it seem like you're too eager to see him!"

There was another knock on the door, this one much harder than before.

"Great," Apollo mumbled, "Now he thinks she has a hearing problem."

"Let go, Maya," Phoenix said as he tugged his arm free from her grasp. "I would like to have a front door by the end of the night."

Just as the third round of knocking, Phoenix swung the door open, stopping the visitor mid-knock.

"Well, hello the-" Phoenix began to say, but suddenly stopped short.

Both Maya and Apollo slowly made there way behind the tall man to see the boy who was standing in the doorway. He was a tall, lean boy no more than seventeen, with his hair completely disheveled and in his eyes.

He stood with a bit of a slouch and stank of cigarettes something terrible. The hand he still had in the air from knocking the door was covered in rings and Apollo could see a hint of a tattoo that was slightly hidden from his filthy shirt sleeve. Both of his ears were pierced by two steel clips, and his chin covered with the black stubble.

"Hey Gang," the boy grinned smugly, as he dug both his hands into the pockets of his jeans. "I'm here to pick little Trucy Doll up. Is she ready?"

Apollo and Maya were too stunned to speak; Phoenix had yet to move from the doorway.

"Here I am, Jagger," Trucy piped as she slowly made her way from her bedroom with Pearl on her heels.
Pearl took one look at Jagger and instantly ran behind Maya for safety, and Apollo couldn't blame her. He gave off an intimidating aura, and although Apollo was used to dealing with formidable, unnerving people, he couldn't help but shudder when the boy smiled a wicked smile.

Trucy, on the other hand, didn't seem to notice. Her appearance was completely transformed, no longer in her everyday outfit, her magician uniform was replaced with a beautiful white sundress and her blue silk hat was replaced with a pretty white hat. Apollo and Maya gaped like fish out of water, watching as the pure, angelic, innocent Trucy walked over to the demon child who stood in the doorway.

"Well, look at you, Trucy Doll," Jagger smiled his smug grin once again. "Aren't you all dolled up and pretty."

"You really think so?" Trucy blushed at the boy's compliment and Apollo could feel the bile slowly rise in his throat.

This was not okay.

"Oh, Jagger, I'd like you to meet everyone," Trucy smiled as she introduced Jagger to Maya, Pearls, Apollo and Phoenix, as things were not uncomfortable enough. Phoenix was still not moving.

"Hey Nick," Maya whispered, shaking his arm slightly. "Are you alright?"

"Mr. Wright?" Apollo asked, wondering if the shock of seeing Jagger had killed the man.

Phoenix slowly bit his bottom lip and began to take deep, even breaths. Trucy, on the other hand, was too young and naïve to notice her father's sudden change in demeanor.

"So Daddy," she asked, truthfully curious. "What do you think of Jagger?'

Apollo, on the other hand, was sure that if it were some sort of cartoon, there would be steam gushing from Phoenix's ears. Both he and Maya quickly backed off, knowing full well what was about to take place. Quickly, Phoenix's rage got the better of him, and like a volcano dormant for years, he exploded.