LbN: PJO came in second on the poll, so I'll be working on this fic as well as the Alice in Wonderland one. Just for quick reference: Annabeth is 18 and Clarisse is 20 in this story. Happy reading!
Annabeth stopped suddenly when she walked out of her school's auditorium. She hadn't expected any of her friends from Camp to come to her graduation—they were busy at Camp already—so she was shocked to see Clarisse talking with her dad. Both waved at her as she approached.
Her dad came forward to hug her. "I'm so proud of you," he said. "Here," he said, handing her a small box. "Wait until you've gotten to Camp to open it. Now, your mother's asked to see you. I'll see you when you come home in September." He gave her a kiss on the forehead and waved at Clarisse.
"How's my favorite teacher?" Annabeth asked with a smirk.
"I am a Battle Instructor, thank you," Clarisse said, rolling her eyes. "The car's this way."
Annabeth laughed and followed her out to a blue 2010 Camero. "Nice!"
"Don't get too attached," Clarisse said. "It's Apollo's. He's just letting me borrow it."
"Because I'm your bodyguard, Smartass. I've got to make sure you make it to Olympus without getting kidnapped or killed." She managed to get them on the road before the swarm of students and their families rushed to their cars.
"Okay, the world's about to end, right?" Annabeth said. "I haven't needed a bodyguard in two years. Mom hasn't asked to see me since I rebuilt Olympus."
"I love how you say you rebuilt it, like you were raising the columns yourself," Clarisse said, grinning.
"Fine, redesigned. Anyway, I'm randomly getting summoned, Apollo's lending out his fleet, and Mr. D's letting you skip work so you can make sure I don't get abducted? Something's gone to shit somewhere, hasn't it?"
"I wish I knew," Clarisse shrugged. "But you'll have to let me know when you find out. Seatbelt on?"
"We've been driving for five minutes and now you ask?" Annabeth laughed.
"Well, we're not going be driving for much longer." Clarisse shifted gears, and a second later they were traveling jet fast into the clouds.
Annabeth had forgotten how terrifying Apollo's cars were. Thankfully, they were landing on a golden pillar not ten minutes later. She stumbled a bit getting out of the car, but Clarisse caught her around the waist. "Thanks."
"Yeah. I'm really glad he doesn't design roller coasters…"
Clarisse laughed and they made their way into the hall of Zeus.
Clarisse wondered, briefly, were her father was. She figured she didn't have anything to worry about (this time), since most of the gods were missing. Only Zeus, Hera, Athena and Apollo were present.
"Thank you for bringing her safely, Clarisse," Athena said.
Clarisse smiled and bowed slightly, but stayed quiet.
"You may go and see your father now," Zeus said.
Clarisse hesitated slightly, glancing at Annabeth. But she nodded and started to walk down the hall to the right. She hadn't made it very far when Zeus called her.
"I've informed Mr. D that you'll be taking the summer off," he said, in a carrying voice. "You'll be continuing your duties as Annabeth's bodyguard."
"Yes, my lord Zeus," she said, and continued down the hall. Really, she wasn't that unhappy about being allowed to cut work at Camp to hang out with Annabeth, but she knew she was about to catch hell from…
"Bodyguard? Isn't that what the satyrs are for?"
Clarisse sighed as she leaned against the doorframe of her father's lounge. "They probably think I'll do a better job," she said, trying to sound nonchalant.
Ares said nothing to this. He spun back toward his wall of TVs and continued watching the fighting in Iraq. "Come here."
She walked to stand next to him, and looked up at the screens. Her brothers and sisters were either running around the dessert or flying. Either way, they were all kicking ass and taking names.
"Built for the battlefield, every one of you. Is there a reason you're the only one who resists that fact?"
"I don't resist it at all. An instructor is just as important as the warrior," Clarisse said, trying to stay calm. It wouldn't do to blow up within the first two minutes of talking to her father.
"Hmmm…" Ares said, standing. "I suppose, since I know you'll be babysitting for a while, I can give you your birthday present now. I know it was three months ago," he said at Clarisse's look of confusion.
She laughed. "Are you going to let me choose?"
"Why in Tartarus would I do that?" he asked, pulling a black backpack out of a chest. He slid a panel to the side, revealing a wall with enough weapons to make any army general salivate. "New wrist guards, and Under Armour. Olympian Under Armour—you can't get this kind at WalMart. Oh, and here." He tossed a book into the backpack.
"What's that?" Clarisse asked.
"A special copy of The Iliad. Do me a favor—don't open it unless you are really, really, in trouble."
Clarisse gave him a Look, but nodded. "Thanks."
"Don't thank me. Just don't embarrass me further by letting your girlfriend get killed."
"She's not my girlfriend."
"Because you've been lacking in courage lately and haven't asked her, not because you don't want her to be."
Clarisse rolled her eyes. "Don't suppose you could tell me what all this is about?" she asked, nodding toward the throne room.
"You're familiar with the story of Jason and the Argonauts?"
"The Golden Fleece was an offering to me, initially, but once Jason recovered it, it went to Athena. It's been stolen."
"Are you joking?" Clarisse asked. "All this for a blanket?"
"Hades stole it."
"Fu—I mean, crap," Clarisse amended. Even she wasn't brazen enough to curse in front of a god. "Not again."
"We don't know why he wanted it, but it's offensive that he thinks he can get away with this. Annabeth's going to be searching for it. I'd get back if I were you. Don't want to be late for your nanny duties."
Clarisse smirked. "Thank you, Dad."
He glared at her. He hated the term.
She smiled, bowed, and walked out of the lounge.
Annabeth was waiting for her by the elevator, holding her graduation present. "Apollo needs the car, so we're on our own getting back to Camp."
"This is going to be an interesting summer…"
LbN: Hope you liked it! Send reviews!