Note to everyone: never try to beat a ghost in a staring competition.
Even Nico di Angelo was having a hard time with it. Caitlyn simply would not blink. It was unnerving. Usually Nico was good at staring contests, but this girl was crazy! He reasoned that it had been at least five minutes now and she was showing no signs of weakness as they both stared into each other's eyes, their lids wide.
Tears started to prickle on the edges of his stinging eyes and his cheek twitched. But he refused to blink. He would not lose a contest of any kind to a five-year-old dead girl.
Finally he gave in. "All right, all right, I admit it!" he cried, rubbing his eyes and letting the reflex tears flow.
Unseen to him because he was currently nursing his poor blink-deprived eyeballs, Caitlyn pumped her fists and jumped into the air. "YES!"
"Jeez," he scowled. "You are GOOD at those. How do you do that?"
She stared at him. "I'm dead, moron. I don't have to blink."
Nico considered this and nodded blankly. "I should have thought of that."
"So, whaddya wanna play next?" she asked brightly, as if he was not half-crying and groaning. He didn't answer, save for much more groaning, so she answered for him. "That's a brilliant idea! I'd love to have a hold-your-breath contest!"
"No!" he gasped desperately. "Please, no!"
She grinned. "I thought so."
They both sat down on the dry ground again, then drifted into silence as Caitlyn thought about gummy bears and Nico about his sore eyes. Soon it was just Caitlyn thinking about said gummy bears because Nico's eyes had stopped hurting and he had moved on to vanilla ice cream. At the same time, both of them had the exact same thought, even though neither of them knew it. Gummy bears on vanilla ice cream.
Caitlyn looked at Nico, and he looked at her. A grin cracked out on her face, greatly unnerving Nico. The grin by itself was not the unnerving part. No, the unnerving part came when you looked into her eyes and saw the evil, manic fire blazing in them like twin blue suns. The worst part was that Nico recognized this grin and this fire.
"Hey," said the dead daughter of Apollo, "wanna play another game?"
"Please no," he replied without hesitation.
"Too bad!" Her eyes blazed brighter. "And anyway, you should be good at this game."
"Is it the no talking game?"
"Hey, my mom loved that one!"
"I can see why."
"But nah, that's not it. I don't like that game. We're going to play the no smiling game."
At this, Nico perked up significantly. He was good at these. "All right," he said. "I'm in."
The grin grew wider. "Okay! I'll try to make you smile first." She cleared her throat, cleared it again, cleared it one more time (by now Nico was worrying that she was having a seizure), and then sat back, crossed her legs, put her hands in her lap, tilted her chin up, and closed her eyes.
Nico just sat there, perfectly poker faced.
Then her eyes flew open and locked on Nico's. Her face was grave as she opened her mouth and said flatly, "Don't smile."
Nico did nothing.
She leaned her head forward. "Don't smile." Still in the same monotone, though her mouth was opening a bit wider than before.
Nico's right eye twitched, but little else.
There was a silence, during which another mini-staring contest took place. This time, only Nico blinked freely. Caitlyn's face was still as solemn as death. "Don't. Smile." The words were spoken same as before, though quite a bit slower. Her nostrils flared.
Nico's lips tightened a teensy, tiny bit. Caitlyn almost grinned before she checked herself. Good. She was almost breaking him. Time to pull out the sledgehammer.
"DOOOOOOOOON'T," she said, opening her mouth as wide as it could go, crossing her eyes, and adding a whale-ish noise to her voice, "SSSSSMMMMMIIIIIIIIIII-ELLLLLLLLL!" On the dragged-out L's, she stuck out her tongue as she was saying them.
A sound like a snort mixed with a raspberry was heard through Nico's mostly closed lips, and he turned away with his hand over his mouth. In the process of turning around, though, he tipped over and sprawled on the ground, half laughing and half crying. Caitlyn scrambled to his side with amazing speed. "DOOOOON'T LAAAAAAAAAFFFFFFFF," she enunciated loudly and slowly into his ear as he very audibly laughed.
"Cut it out! Please, stop!" he choked over his own giggles, rolling very embarrassingly on the ground as Caitlyn fluttered about him, repeating "Don't smile" and "Don't laugh" in the whale voice, still with the same straight face.
The Furies were, once again, watching, still quite weirded out.
"Should we tell his father?" asked Megaera.
Tisiphone's constant scowl deepened. "He does seem to be in need of some kind of…help."
"Mental help, specifically," added Alecto.
They were silent as they watched the second great tickle war ensue. Then they exchanged glances, and all at the same time said, "Nah."
You get the other reference this time? :)