It was New Year's Eve in New Rome, and Octavian, like the rest of the Romans, knew how to party.
Obviously, New Year's Eve was one of the best excuses to party, and so his fellow Romans had been setting up various party decorations. The streets of New Rome had been almost completely transformed in the past three days, and were now full of bright lights and fluorescent colours. It seemed that this year the theme would be black light, and so stands for ginormous black lights had been set up. Octavian heard the plan was to replace all the street lights with black lights as well.
Perhaps the best addition to the scene was the giant ball that the Vulcan kids set up. It resembled the one in Times Square, New York, although slightly smaller.
Because preparations had started so early, it felt like a whole year had passed before New Year's Eve finally arrived. Octavian was too busy to help out with the preparations, of course, partially because he didn't really care about New Year's. He didn't like many celebrations, unless they revolved around sacrificing things to the gods. He had asked Reyna, but she said that wasn't really appropriate for a New Year's Eve party.
Finally, it was the thirty-first of December, and New Rome was ready to see in the next year. The party and fireworks took place a few hours early, for the few folk in New Rome who weren't apart of the legion yet. Octavian didn't like fireworks. Octavian didn't like parties. Octavian was a kill-joy.
Still, he found himself drinking an obscene amount of soda. He drank so much that he was sure a regular mortal would have perished by now. It happened; mortals were weird. Octavian was glad he was celebrating New Year's inside Camp Jupiter, where there was a distinct lack of mortals.
On his sixth can of soda, while Octavian was attempting to dance with some people he knew, he finally felt the feeling. The feeling. The potty feeling. He didn't bother excusing himself, or saying goodbye to his acquaintances, because he figured he would be back. There was still lots of time: an entire hour before the ball would drop.
Poor Octavian didn't realize that GROSS had plans for him. Poor, poor Octavian.
The public bathrooms in New Rome weren't the newest, though they weren't too awful. He liked to avoid them as often as possible, because sometimes odd things happened in the bathrooms. Odd, unmentionable things.
Octavian picked a stall at random, and entered it. He turned around to shut the door but- what in Pluto!
Crudely taped (duct taped, no less) to the back of the bathroom stall's door, was a smiling teddy bear. Octavian, still mentally scarred from all of the other traumatizing things that had occurred to him involving teddy bears, stumbled back and fell, landing on his butt on the toilet seat.
It took about a minute for him to calm down from the sudden fright, and once he had, he rose from the toilet and- well, he wasn't really sure what he had been planning on doing next, because he didn't really rise from the toilet at all.
It took about ten seconds for him to realize that he was stuck to the toilet.
Correction, glued to the toilet.
Who did that? Thank the gods above that Octavian still had his pants on, or else it would have been a lot more painful getting unstuck from the accursed toilet.
Octavian had two options: one) somehow take his pants off and run around New Rome naked during one of the busiest times of the year, or, two) wait on the toilet until someone came along and rescued him. He didn't like his chances with option one, so Octavian opted to wait.
And so he waited. And waited. And waited, until he finally heard the bathroom door open.
"Hello?" he called out.
"Uh, hi?" the person called back.
"Look, I need some help-"
"What?" the person said. He sounded awfully familiar. "I'm not helping you with anything you're
doing in the bathroom."
Octavian paused. "But I have a problem."
"Don't we all?"
Octavian palmed his face. "Zhang, is that you?"
"Yeah," Zhang replied. "Wait, Octavian?"
"Yes. I need your help."
He received laughter in response. It was the kind of laughter that originated deep in the stomach, a laugh an awful lot like Santa's laugh. "Zhang, this is serious. Just get in here."
"Dear gods, no," Zhang said. "You're on your own."
"Zhang, uh, Frank, help a fellow soldier out. Someone put glue on the toilet seat."
"I can't do anything about that," Zhang said. Octavian heard the sink run, and was abruptly reminded that he still really had to go.
Octavian growled. "Please, Frank, I'm stuck. Come inside the stall and help me get unstuck."
"Ew, no, I don't want to see anything."
"I'm still wearing pants!" Octavian insisted.
"I don't believe that." Octavian could hear Zhang using the hand dryer. He must have just had to wash his hands.
"Look underneath the stall door," Octavian said. "You can tell that my pants are still on."
Zhang made a weird sound. "Didn't your mother tell you not to look under the stall door?"
"Now is not the time to bring out your stupid Canadian morals!"
"Woah, don't attack my culture. Not cool, Octavian, not cool."
"I'm glued to a toilet and I still really have to go. Please, Zhang, just help a fellow soldier out."
It took a minute for the other boy to reply. "Nah, I'm good."
"What?" Octavian squawked.
"You used to make fun of me. You called me fat."
"... That must have been the other Octavian."
"Nope, I'm pretty sure it was you."
"Please, Frank?" he tried one more time.
Octavian heard the bathroom door open. "Happy New Year!" Zhang said, and then the door shut.
For a moment, all was silent. Then a small beeping sound reached Octavian's ears. It grew more frequent as Octavian realized that it was coming from the bear still taped to the bathroom stall's door. Oh dear, this couldn't be good.
When it finally exploded, Octavian wasn't surprised to see a message from GROSS inside, along with a whole mess of confetti.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
THIS PRANK WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD PRANK GROUP, GROSS.
The now body-less head of the teddy bear continued to grin down at Octavian as he wiped confetti off his pants. The pants that he was still very much wearing, thank you.
Outside the window, the ball dropped in New Rome, and Octavian was still glued to a toilet.
My beta got time to edit, finally! Her name is Darknesse Sidhe and you should probably check her out.
July 15th: next update should be out sometime by the end of August, if I remember to actually write it. I'm currently taking an online course, and it is kicking my butt. I've been super busy, otherwise, and so the next update won't be for a while yet (so please stop leaving "PLZ UPDATE" reviews. They are not helping with the stress I am feeling at the moment).